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Chronic Diseases

Motor Imagery: Using the Mind to Heal the Body

Athletes have long known the benefits of visualizing specific physical actions to improve sports performance. Now, scientists have been asking whether motor imagery training can be used to improve movement abilities and to stimulate brain development when active movement training is not an option—as is often the case after a stroke.
According to the authors of a research re…

Mind-Body Therapies and Gastrointestinal Disorders

Studies suggest that a variety of mind-body therapies are helpful in reducing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic pancreatitis. The therapies include cognitive therapy, hypnotherapy, and a sequence of Iyengar yoga poses to manage pain and anxiety. Mechanisms for why these therapies are successful are unclear. Until more studies determine the causal factors, however, suf…

High Cholesterol and Prostate Cancer Linked

There may be an association between high cholesterol and prostate cancer, according to Italian researchers. About 3,000 men participated in a 9-year study, published in the April 12 online edition of Annals of Oncology. Participants who had prostate cancer, particularly older men, were twice as likely to have high cholesterol as those without prostate cancer.
Study authors noted…

Arthritis Sufferers Don’t Exercise Enough

If you have clients with arthritis, you may already know that pain is one of their barriers to exercise. Making clients understand that exercise can help them not only with their pain but also with their function is sometimes a challenge. But at least your clients are trying. A study in the May issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that people with arthritis don’…

Barefoot Cobblestone Walking Lowers Blood Pressure

The ancient Chinese practice of walking barefoot on paths made of river stones is good for health in more ways than one. Researchers from Oregon Research Institute, motivated to identify low-cost forms of exercise to improve functioning in older adults, found that cobblestone mat walking not only improved balance and mobility but also reduced blood pressure more than regular walking,
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Breast Cancer Survivors Benefit From Weight Training

Strength training significantly enhances the quality of life of women recently treated for breast cancer, according to a new study. Published March 27 online at www.cancer.org, the study found that 6 months of twice-weekly exercise that improved strength and body composition was enough to benefit patients’ overall physical and emotional condition. (The study …

Antioxidants and Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Did you know that age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in people in developed nations? What if diet could slow the progression of AMD?
Research published in the December 28, 2005, issue of JAMA suggests that…

Yoga May Reduce Risk of Heart Disease

Leading cardiologists, including Dean Ornish, MD, have helped increase the popularity of yoga by touting its ability to assist in preventing and managing heart disease. Now investigators at the Center for the Study of Complementary and Alternative Therapies at the …

Got Gout?

Gout is a painful rheumatic arthritic disease that affects at least 1% of the population in Western countries, especially men over age 40, according to the website for the American Journal of Managed Care. Unfortunately, gout is on the rise. Long associated with red meat and a…

Music, Imagery and Healing Touch Help Heart Patients

People who listened to soothing music, participated in guided imagery and received healing-touch therapy before heart surgery were more likely to be alive 6 months later than those who did not experience these interventions, according to a study published in The Lancet (2005; 366, 211–17).
Lead investigator Mitchell W. Krucoff, MD, from Duke Clinical Research Institu…

Physical Activity Improves Survival After Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Do you have a client who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer? There is evidence that continuing an exercise program may improve her chances of survival. A study published in the May 25 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (2005; 293 [20], 2479–86) found that women with breast cancer who participated in physical activity equal to walking 1 or more hours pe…

Baby Boomers Face Heavy Arthritis Risk

Baby Boomers are still the generation in the spotlight, but here’s some attention they might prefer to do without. Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have found that Baby Boomers suffer from obesity-related arthritis more than the previous generation.
The study, which appeared in the September issue of the American Journal of Public Health, concluded that …

Exercise Good for Chronic, Not Acute, Low-Back Pain

Who hasn’t experienced some type of back pain? Whether it’s acute and hits suddenly, or it’s chronic and comes and goes over time, back pain is a fairly common complaint. Research fellows at the Institute for Work & Health in Toronto examined 61 studies of more than 6,000 adults with low-back pain. Results were published in the May 3 issue of the Annals of Internal M…

Stress Increases Risk of Unexplained Cardiac Arrest

News stories are filled with incidents of cardiac arrest after earthquakes, fires and other traumatic events. What has puzzled researchers is that sometimes the victims do not have underlying heart disease. A recent study, published in Psychosomatic Medicine (2005; [67], 359–65), suggests that emotional stress may trigger unexplained, or what is referred to as “idiopath…