Monthly Archives: August 2016

How to Be Positive Thinking

Patients with coronary heart disease who have positive expectations about recovery, expressing beliefs such as “I can still live a long and healthy life,” had greater long-term survival, researchers reported.

Among a cohort of almost 3,000 patients undergoing coronary angiography, those with the highest expectations for outcomes actually had the best outcomes, Dr. John C. Barefoot, and colleagues from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

“Patients differ widely in terms of their psychological reactions to major illnesses such as coronary heart disease,” Barefoot’s group explained online in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Related: Should I Have an Angiogram?

To explore the specific potential influence of recovery expectations, rather than overall optimistic personality traits, the investigators enrolled 2,818 patients with clinically significant disease and followed them for about 15 years.

Recovery expectations were assessed on the Expectations for Coping Scale, in which patients agreed or disagreed with statements such as “I doubt that I will ever fully recover from my heart problems” and “My heart condition will have little or no effect on my ability to do work.”

Patients were stratified into quartiles according to their expectation scores.

After adjustment for multiple variables, the mortality rate in the highest quartile — the most optimistic group — was 32 per 100 versus 46 per 100, respectively, “illustrating a substantial magnitude of this effect even after taking multiple covariates into account,” Barefoot and colleagues observed.

“These observations add to a compelling body of evidence that endorsing optimistic expectations for one’s future heart health is associated with clinically important benefits to cardiovascular outcomes,” Dr. Robert Gramling, and Dr. Ronald Epstein, of the University of Rochester in New York, wrote in a commentary accompanying the study.

“The degrees of evidence observed in these studies suggest that optimism is a powerful ‘drug’ that compares favorably with highly effective medical therapies,” they wrote.

Other experts advised caution, however.

“Like all observational studies, unmeasured patient characteristics may have contributed to the better outcomes,” observed Dr. Steven E. Nissen, of the Cleveland Clinic.

“Patients with a ‘positive’ attitude may simply be healthier than patients with a negative attitude. In fact, their ‘attitude’ may reflect their health status,” Nissen wrote to MedPage Today and ABC News in an e-mail.

Two “plausible” hypotheses can help explain the study findings, according to Barefoot and colleagues.

First, patients who are optimistic may use more effective strategies to cope with recovery from illness, by addressing the problem and reducing risk factors.

Second, patients whose outlook is more negative may experience worse stress that in turn could have harmful cardiac effects.

Happiness is healthy body

images-7Suze Orman has been called many things: an uber brand, a pop culture icon, a New York Times best-selling author, an Emmy award winner, one of Forbes magazine’s most powerful women in America, one of Time magazine’s most influential people in the world, Oprah’s money guru, America’s money lady, and the list goes on. For me personally, she embodies all those things, but most importantly I am proud to call her a trusted friend and mentor.

It’s for this reason that as I assumed my new role as “inspiration editor” for EverydayHealth.com, Suze was my first call. Every month I’ll be doing interviews with some of the most … well … inspiring people in the world, and I knew that Suze would provide me with brilliant information while still being patient and tolerant enough to be my very first “celebrity” interview.

And so we begin on a Friday evening. She’s just flown back to her home in Florida after wrapping up an exhilarating speaking engagement where she brought more than 600 inner-city teens to their feet in uproarious applause. This is the tail end of her book tour for her latest best seller, The Money Class. I presumed she’d be exhausted due to her breakneck schedule, but I was wrong!

In typical Suze fashion it begins with a smack-down. “Jillian, as your mentor I need to stress that whenever you are doing an interview and you are recording somebody you should get them on tape giving you permission to record.” So without hesitation I ask, “Suze, do I have your permission to record?” “You most certainly do. Okay, go on, sweetheart,” she replies. And now we are off to the races.

A little history lesson: I remember watching TV late one night and coming across one of Suze’s PBS specials. This is when she hooked me. She told a compelling tale about how she went from rags to riches that left me feeling like I myself could conquer the world. So in case you missed it, this is where we begin…

Jillian Michaels: We have come to accept you as America’s money guru, but that wasn’t always the case. With so many feeling lost in life, can you share with us the path that led you to your true calling?

Suze Orman: That question can be answered in so many ways. But here is the story I think you are after. I went to the University of Illinois from 1969-1973, and after four years I decided I was going to strike out and see the world. I borrowed $1,500 from my brother Bobby and bought a used Ford Econoline van. I drove out to Berkeley, Calif., where I lived in that van on the streets for about four months. I didn’t have enough money to pay for the first and last months’ rent for an apartment until I landed my dream job as a waitress at the Buttercup Bakery. I worked there from the age of 23 to 30. So for seven years I worked for $400 a month as a waitress until I got this brainstorm that I could open my own restaurant.

I asked my parents for $20,000 and they didn’t have that kind of money to give to me. I went to work the next day and Fred Hasbrook, one of the people I had waited on for seven years, came into the bakery and asked me, “What’s wrong, Sunshine? You don’t look happy.” I told him the story. To make a long story short, all the people that I had been waiting on for all those years rallied together and gave me $50,000 to open up my own restaurant. I didn’t know what to do with that money and they told me to go down and put it in a money market account with Merrill Lynch and let it sit there until I learned what to do to open up a restaurant.

Again to make a long story short the broker who took that money ended up trading it in one of the most speculative strategies around — the options market — and within three months lost all $50,000. I didn’t know what to do so I thought, well, I can be a broker, they just make you a broker. So I went and I interviewed for a job at Merrill Lynch because I knew that I would never be able to pay back that $50,000 making $400 a month. They didn’t have any women working for Merrill Lynch in the Oakland office at that time as stockbrokers, so when I ended up in the manager’s office, this is what he said to me “Suze, women belong barefoot and pregnant. I will hire you, but you will be out of here in six months.” So I asked him how much he was going to pay me to make me pregnant. When he said $1,500 a month, I said, I’ll take it — and before you knew it I was learning how to be a stockbroker. To this day I think they hired me to fill their women’s quota, but regardless I was on my way.

How to Get All Your Brain Power

download-16Nearly your entire brain is engaged in striving for success when you play games, according to a new study.

The finding that many more brain regions besides the reward centers activate in an attempt to win games, such as rock-paper-scissors, makes sense in terms of evolution, the Yale University researchers noted.

“Our brain functions to maximize the chance of survival and reproduction, so reward should be important for all cognitive functions, and thus most brain regions,” lead author Timothy Vickery, a postdoctoral fellow in the psychology department, said in a university news release.

He and his colleagues used a special pattern analysis technique to examine functional MRI scans of volunteers as they won and lost games. The results showed that wins and losses were recognizable in nearly all areas of the brain.

The study appears in the Oct. 6 issue of the journal Neuron.

“To offer some perspective, the Kenyan refugee camps are located more than 50 miles from the Somalian border,” explains Ella Gudwin, vice president of emergency response for AmeriCares, one of the few relief organizations able to mobilize in the devastated region. “What breaks my heart are the not-uncommon stories of people leaving their dying children and elderly parents behind as they push forward in the crushing heat to save the rest of their families.”

In August, AmeriCares landed its first of several emergency aid air shipments to Mogadishu, the war-torn capital. These desperately needed airlifts are supplying nutritional supplements, basic medicines and medical supplies to the health clinics and mobile medical teams that have scrambled to treat the swelling refugee population in and around the capital. Your donation will help keep the food and medicine flowing to those who need them.

The Affect of Brain Activity

Holding a cell phone to your ear for a long period of time increases activity in parts of the brain close to the antenna, researchers have found.

Glucose metabolism — that’s a measurement of how the brain uses energy — in these areas increased significantly when the phone was turned on and muted, compared with when it was off, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and colleagues reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Although we cannot determine the clinical significance, our results give evidence that the human brain is sensitive to the effects of radiofrequency-electromagnetic fields from acute cell phone exposures,” co-author Dr. Gene-Jack Wang of Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, where the study was conducted, told MedPage Today.

Although the study can’t draw conclusions about long-term implications, other researchers are calling the findings significant.

“Clearly there is an acute effect, and the important question is whether this acute effect is associated with events that may be damaging to the brain or predispose to the development of future problems such as cancer as suggested by recent epidemiological studies,” Dr. Santosh Kesari, director of neuro-oncology at the University of California San Diego, said in an e-mail to MedPage Today and ABC News.

There have been many population-based studies evaluating the potential links between brain cancer and cellphone use, and the results have often been inconsistent or inconclusive.

Most recently, the anticipated Interphone study was interpreted as “implausible” because some of its statistics revealed a significant protective effect for cell phone use. On the other hand, the most intense users had an increased risk of glioma — but the researchers called their level of use “unrealistic.”

But few researchers have looked at the actual physiological effects that radiofrequency and electromagnetic fields from the devices can have on brain tissue. Some have shown that blood flow can be increased in specific brain regions during cell phone use, but there’s been little work on effects at the level of the brain’s neurons.

So Dr. Volkow and colleagues conducted a crossover study at Brookhaven National Laboratory, enrolling 47 patients who had one cell phone placed on each ear while they lay in a PET scanner for 50 minutes.

The researchers scanned patients’ brain glucose metabolism twice — once with the right cell phone turned on but muted, and once with both phones turned off.

There was no difference in whole-brain metabolism whether the phone was on or off.