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Articles in Category: Health Alerts

Upright Posture Helps Improve Mood for Depressed Patients

Sit up straight and smile!

Upright Posture Helps Improve Mood for Depressed Patients
Published Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Several studies have already demonstrated that proper posture helps improve mood and self-esteem in healthy people, but what effect does it have on those with depressive disorders? Researchers estimate that about 10 million Americans suffer from mild to moderate depression. A new study from the University of Auckland sought to understand more about the benefits of sitting up straight for these patients.  

  • The study consisted of 61 people, all with mild to moderate depressive disorders. Before the test, the researchers noted that all participants had significantly more slumped posture than the norm, indicating that slumped posture and depression often go hand in hand.
  • Participants were randomly assigned to continue their normal posture or to adopt and maintain upright posture with the help of physiotherapy tape.
  • The researchers then put them through two tests in which they had to deliver a five-minute speech and count backwards from 1,022 in steps of 13.
  • Those with upright posture showed more enthusiasm, using more words and speaking more clearly during their speeches.  They also demonstrated less fatigue and made fewer errors when counting.
  • Those in the upright posture group also used fewer first-person singular pronouns, such as “I” and “me” in their speeches, suggesting they were less self-focused and had a more positive mood.

The report authors mention that “for severe, disabling depression, sitting posture is not likely to make much of a difference. But for mild or moderate depression, sitting up straight may help patients manage their mood and be more productive.”

Though more research needs to be done, especially with respect to those with severe depressive disorders, these findings clearly demonstrate that having upright posture can go a long way in improving one’s mood. The upright posture group showed more confidence and energy performing their tasks than those with slumped posture.  So, next time you’re feeling fatigued or down, check and adjust your posture for a mood boost. It may be just what you needed.

You can read the full study here

The Dirty Dozen Updated for 2017

(The list, not the movie.)

The Dirty Dozen Updated for 2017
Published Tuesday, 11 April 2017

In early March, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its annual Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists. Using data from US Department of Agriculture tests, the EWG ranks conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables based on how many pesticides remain on the produce after it is prepared for consumption. Often the synthetic chemicals found in pesticides can stay on produce even after it is washed or peeled, and even low levels of pesticide exposure can be detrimental to young children’s development.

  • Strawberries remained in the number one spot in the Dirty Dozen this year due to the high out-of-season demand for them. Ninety-nine percent of the USDA samples in 2014 and 2015 had detectable residue of at least one pesticide.
  • Spinach moved from eighth to second place this year. Seventy-five percent of the samples were found to have residues of permethrin, a neurotoxic insecticide which is banned in the EU.
  • Pears and potatoes joined the list this year in the sixth and twelfth spots, respectively.
  • Sweet corn moved to the top spot on the Clean Fifteen list, knocking avocados down to number two. The Clean Fifteen list tracks produce whose samples were found to have the least amount of pesticide residues, if any.
  • The EWG’s lists rank fruits and vegetables based on the amount of pesticides found on them, not the toxicity of the pesticides themselves. Therefore, while produce high on the Dirty Dozen list may have a lot of pesticide residue, that residue could possibly be less harmful than residue found on a fruit or vegetable from the Clean Fifteen list.

However, according to the EWG website, “Since researchers are constantly developing new insights into how pesticides act on living organisms, no one can say that concentrations of pesticides assumed to be safe today are, in fact, harmless.”

While the EWG’s lists do help to limit your family’s intake of pesticides, this doesn’t mean that you should never buy strawberries again. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to maintain a balanced diet and to avoid consuming too much of one harmful chemical. Buy organic when it’s accessible and affordable for you. A shopper’s guide is available to help you buy foods with fewer types of pesticides when buying organic isn’t an option.

See the full Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists here.  

Mental Wellness As We Age

Protecting yourself from dementia with an active mind

Mental Wellness As We Age
Published Tuesday, 14 March 2017

A new study shows that seniors who engage in mentally-stimulating activities significantly reduce their risk for developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which often leads to dementia.

What they found:

  • The report is based off of a population-based cohort study of 1929 cognitively normal participants all over the age of 70. The study followed the participants for an average of four years.
  • The study’s team found that people who participated in mentally-stimulating activities at least once or twice a week had less cognitive decline than those who participated in the same activities only two or three times a month.
  • These mentally-stimulating activities included computer use, which decreased participants’ risk by 30%, craft activities (28%), social activities (23%), and game play (22%).
  • Researchers also followed the development of participants who were APOE e4 carriers, a genetic risk factor for MCI and Alzheimer’s disease. Mentally-stimulating activities may help to reduce the risk of new-onset MCI for these participants, as well.
  • In addition to mentally-stimulating activities, older adults should try to maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper diet and exercise in order to ensure the best defense against cognitive decline.

Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle is important no matter your age. This study reemphasizes the importance of taking care of your mind as well as your body.

Dr. Yonas Geda, a senior author of the study, states, “What is perhaps most exciting about this effort is that we are expanding the conversation around mental health, particularly among the elderly, to better understand how to remain mentally fit as we age.”

Head Injuries and Sports

Soccer players may be "heading" for concussions

Soccer Heading for Concussion
Published Wednesday, 01 March 2017

One of the most popular sports in the world, soccer is often considered a rite of passage for today’s youth. It is also a sport known for a high rate of concussions in it players, according to a study published in 2007 by the Journal of Athletic Training. In 2013, researchers conducted the Einstein Soccer Study, tracking soccer players in order to determine if “heading” the ball intentionally contributed to concussion symptoms to the same degree as accidental impacts, such as player-to-player or goal post collisions.

  • During the study, 222 amateur adult soccer players (79% male) completed questionnaires over a two-week period. The questionnaires asked them about their practice and game schedules, any intentional or unintentional head impacts that may have occurred during those practices or games, and any concussion symptoms (headache pain, dizziness, confusion) they may have experienced.
  • Researchers found that players who intentionally headed the ball the most were three times more likely to experience concussion symptoms.
  • However, players who suffered two or more unintentional head collisions were six times more likely to report concussion symptoms as those who only suffered a single impact. This suggests that unintentional head collisions are more risky than intentional ones.
  • In an interview with Reuters Health, the lead author of the study, Dr. Michael Lipton stated that this study only shows the short-term effects of heading, and more research is needed to address the long-term consequences.
  • The study followed amateur adult athletes in the northeast United States, so it is still unknown if the results can be applied to teenagers and children as well.

The report, published on February 1, 2017 in Neurology, demonstrates that concussion symptoms do arise from intentional heading, though more severe symptoms of concussion did mainly occur due to accidental collisions with other players or goal posts. While this may cause concern in parents over their children heading the ball in youth leagues, Lipton stressed there is a need for more research to track the long-term brain changes associated with heading.

Speaking to the New York Times, Lipton said, “We don’t know how much is too much. It would be great to say ‘no heading,’ but we don’t have enough information to say that. Public health interventions have to be based on evidence.”

Read more about the Einstein Soccer Study here.

The Smallest Changes Can Make The Biggest Impact in Diabetes

One small change you can make today to improve your health

Published Wednesday, 09 November 2016

Chiropractic Nutrition Nuts Prevent DiabetesThere are a lot of extreme diets out there today. Low Carb, Paleo, Low Glycemic, and Perricone…just to name a few. It can be a little overwhelming to consider making any change to your eating habits for fear of following the wrong advice. Also, the extreme nature of these diets does little to motivate those of us that need to make healthy changes. Completely overhauling your entire way of eating is very difficult to maintain for long.

If diet and exercise are on your mind as a way to halt chronic diseases in their track, we have good news for you. Preventing diabetes may be easier than you think!

Replacing just 5 percent of the calories you get from saturated fat (think butter and cheese) or carbohydrates (such as bread, cake, and crackers) with unsaturated fats (such as those found in avocados or nuts) could cut your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes by 22 percent and your risk of heart disease by 7 percent. This is according to a recent analysis led by researchers at Cambridge University in England. (They analyzed 102 studies involving 4,220 people.)

Here’s how this might look in real life: if you consume 1,800 calories per day, that means exchanging a slice of white bread or a 1-ounce piece of cheese for a quarter of an avocado or a tablespoon of peanut butter. That’s it!

For information on natural supplements that can help support diabetes and blood sugar, contact our chiropractors today at (973) 761-0022.

The Downside of Managing Pain with Pills

Dr. Levine explains what pain really means

Published Wednesday, 09 November 2016

What Back Pain Really Means

Medication, there's a time and a place for it. There are people that are managing their diabetes. They're managing certain health conditions with medication, and that's fine. Their body has gotten to a point where they need that assistance. But if we're popping pills for pain and we're not really solving the problem, we're treating, potentially, a mechanical problem with chemistry. You're not going to move a bone off a nerve with chemistry. If my finger gets caught in the door, I can take all kinds of drugs to feel better. But doesn't someone have to open that door to free the finger up? It's the same thing in the human body. We are masking the symptoms and not treating the problem. 

Research has shown that a lot of painkillers are actually prolonging that recovery process. That's not chiropractic research; that's medical research. On the same token, that when you feel better artificially, you tend to do more. When the drug wears off, isn't the problem worse? Potentially yes. 

Lower Back Pain Relief With Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

Natural Methods of Healing Chronic Low Back Pain Once and For All

Published Monday, 10 October 2016

lower back pain and stressThere is a vicious cycle the exists when it comes to chronic low-back pain. The pain cycle may begin with an acute injury from a car accident or with a movement in the wrong direction, but often the cycle continues because of habit. The tension created as a result of the initial injury and pain creates a habit of tensing up muscles and modifying movement because of the fear of the pain. This chronic stress and tension keeps the back pain from truly improving and it can keep you in the pain cycle. 

We've known for a long time that our patients improve when they combine overall wellness practices, like nutrition and meditation, with their chiropractic adjustments. A recent study from the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, Washington clinically proves the physical benefit of mindfulness-based stress reduction on the level of pain experienced by chronic low-back pain sufferers. In this study, adults with chronic low-back pain showed significant improvement after eight weekly two-hour sessions of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a program that combines meditation with simple yoga poses, a new study found. Participants also practiced MBSR at home. 

After six months, 60% of those who did MBSR reported less pain and could more easily perform activities such as walking, climbing stairs and standing for long periods--a better result than those who treated their chronic low-back pain with medication and/or physical therapy.

If you think you might be caught in a stress-pain cycle, reach out to us at (973) 761-0022 to set up an appointment for a complimentary health assessment. Together we can find a path to wellness and pain relief that works for you.

Reference: Daniel Cherkin, PhD, senior investigator, Group Health Research Institute, Seattle.

Harmless Energy Drinks?

Think again...don't let this become a habit.

Published Thursday, 06 October 2016

Natural Energy Boosting Drinks Are Out ThereIn today’s go, go, go society, it is not uncommon to hear people complaining about not having enough energy or wishing they had more energy to tackle their day. Reaching for caffeine in the form of a highly concentrated energy drink like 5-Hour Energy or Red Bull is one way some have resorted to for increased levels of mental and physical energy. Recent studies have pointed to the dangers and risks of supplementing your energy with highly caffeinated drinks.

A study from Sean Nordt, MD from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles states that energy drinks may even be deadly. Large amounts of the caffeine-containing beverages, especially if drunk in rapid succession, may cause anxiety, chest pain, gastro-intestinal upset, insomnia, palpitations, seizures and other problems. 

At greatest risk: People with seizure disorders or atrial fibrillation, a heart arrhythmia.

Did you know that energy drinks and sports drinks can also damage teeth? Beverages such as Red Bull and Gatorade are highly acidic—they can erode tooth enamel and the underlying dentin.

Here's a self-defense: Rinse your mouth with water after drinking any of these beverages…do not brush for at least an hour—brushing can make the damage worse.

For all natural energy booster drinks and other ways to naturally boost your energy, contact our doctors at South Orange Chiropractic Center! As always our health evaluation is complimentary.

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