It’s Wednesday, so I would like to tell you about some cool things I learned this past week about the science of how exercise can be used as a treatment for three common ailments.
First, some background about exercise: The great thing about exercising every day that you eat is that this magic potion is not a shot or a pill. It does not involve a doctor burning or squishing anything in your body. There are no HIPAA forms, no insurance pre-certifications, and not even a co-pay. It’s as we say, easy and free. And drum roll please…exercise is active—not passive.
Here’s the Mandrola take on how exercise might treat three specific medical conditions: Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*
Meditation sounds like a great idea from the perspective of a psychiatrist: Anything that calms and focuses the mind is a good thing (and without pharmaceuticals, even better).
Personally, I tried transcendental meditation as a kid (more to do with my mother than with me) and found it to be boring. I have trouble keeping my thoughts still. They wander to what I want for dinner, and should I write about this on Shrink Rap, and will Clink and Victor ever eat crabcakes with me again, and did I remember to give my last patient informed consent, and a zillion other things. Holding my thoughts still is work.
The New York Times Well blog has an article on meditation and brain changes. In “How Meditation May Change the Brain,” Sindya N. Bhanoo writes:
The researchers report that those who meditated for about 30 minutes a day for eight weeks had measurable changes in gray-matter density in parts of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. The findings will appear in the Jan. 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging.
M.R.I. brain scans taken before and after the participants’ meditation regimen found increased gray matter in the hippocampus, an area important for learning and memory. The images also showed a reduction of gray matter in the amygdala, a region connected to anxiety and stress. A control group that did not practice meditation showed no such changes.
Lower stress, lower blood pressure, higher empathy. I may have to give meditation another try.
*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*
Scientists at Arizona State University have developed a new method of non-surgical brain stimulation using pulsed ultrasound that enhances cognitive function in mice, and may one day be used to non-invasively treat patients with mental retardation, Alzheimer’s disease and other central nervous system (CNS) dysfunctions.
In intact motor cortex in mice, ultrasound was found to stimulate action potentials and elicit motor responses comparable to those only previously achieved with implanted electrodes and related techniques. It also activates meaningful brain wave patterns and the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the hippocampus — one of the most potent regulators of brain plasticity. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*