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This site is an archive of our Well Written Blog posts until April 2020. For the most up-to-date content visit NWIJournal.com.

The opinions and thoughts expressed here those of the authors and do not necessarily correlate with those of the National Wellness Institute. Read more.

 

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Why Diets Work Well for Some, but not Others (August 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Sunday, August 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
According to research published in the July 2010 issue of Genetics, the way diets work for each individual may have a biological cause. Using fruit flies, researchers have found that genes interacting with diet, rather than diet alone, are the main cause of variation in metabolic traits, such as body weight. This helps explain why some diets work better for some people than others, and suggests that future diets should be tailored to an individual's genes rather than to physical appearance.

Each person has a unique set of genetic and environmental factors contributing to his or her metabolic health. The researchers who did the study recommend that as a society, we should stop looking for a panacea and start accepting that this is a complex problem that may have a different solution for each individual.

To make this discovery, the scientists studied 146 different genetic lines of fruit flies that were fed four different diets (nutritionally balanced, low calorie, high sugar, and high fat). Researchers then measured a variety of metabolic traits, including body weight, in each group. Flies in some of the genetic lines were highly sensitive to their diets, as reflected by changes in body weight, while flies of other lines showed no change in weight across diets. The scientists were able to ascertain what portion of the total variation in the metabolic traits was determined by genetics alone, by diet alone, or by the interaction between genotype and diet. Results showed that diet alone made a small contribution to the total variation, while genotype and genotype interactions with diet made very large contributions. This study strongly suggests that some individuals can achieve benefits from altering their dietary habits, while the same changes for others will have virtually no effect.

What does the National Wellness Institute say: Focus on being healthy, exercise, relationships and even if you think your genes are working against you, make food choices that support health.

Genetics Society of America (2010, July 28). Why fad diets work well for some, but not others. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2010/07/100728144351.htm

Tags:  August 2010  Diet  Nutrition  Physical 

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Binge Drinking (6 drinks two or more times a week): Long-term Detrimental Effects. (August 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Sunday, August 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
Academics at Northumbria University have demonstrated a link between teenage binge drinking and damage to prospective memory. Prospective memory is an important aspect of day-to-day memory function and is defined as the cognitive ability to remember to carry out an activity at some future point in time.

In the first study to examine the effects of binge drinking on prospective memory in teenagers, researchers tested the ability of fifty students from universities in North East England to remember a series of tasks. The students were shown a 10-minute video clip of a shopping district in Scarborough and were asked to remember to carry out a series of instructions when they saw specified locations.

Twenty-one of the students were categorized as binge drinkers. For women, this meant that they drank the equivalent of six standard glasses of wine or, for men, six pints of beer, two or more times a week. The remaining 29 participants were categorized as non-binge drinkers.

The study found that the binge drinkers recalled significantly fewer location-action/items combinations than their non-binging peers. These findings were observed after screening out teenagers who used other substances (such as ecstasy, cannabis and tobacco), those who had used alcohol within the last 48 hours, and after observing no between-group differences on age, anxiety and depression.

High levels of drinking amongst teenagers is particularly worrying given the mounting evidence that the teenage brain is still maturing and undergoing significant development in terms of its structure and function. Intriguingly, one other finding of the study is that binge drinkers do not perceive themselves to have a poor memory, suggesting teenagers do not appreciate the damage that is being done.

Journal Reference:

T. Heffernan, R. Clark, J. Bartholomew, J. Ling, S. Stephens. Does binge drinking in teenagers affect their everyday prospective memory? Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2010; 109 (1-3): 73 DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2009.12.013

Tags:  Alcohol  August 2010  Health  Intellectual  Physical 

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Fun Facts, Studies find evidence for living longer (August 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Sunday, August 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012

This month's fun facts collect the latest evidence to living longer and better.

1. Friends will help you live longer: Study

The study, published in the PLoS Medicine Journal online at http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1000316, and entitled: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review, showed that people with strong social relationships increased their odds of survival over a certain time period by 50 percent. That's on par with ceasing smoking, and nearly twice as beneficial as physical activity in terms of decreasing your odds of dying early.

The researchers reviewed 148 studies that examined the link between social relationships and mortality. The studies involved more than 308,000 participants in total, and subjects were followed for an average of 7.5 years. The studies measured social relationships in a number of ways. Some simply looked at the size of a person's social network or whether or not they were married or lived alone. Others assessed peoples' perceptions about their relationships, such as whether or not they felt others were there for them. And still others looked at how integrated people were in their social networks or communities.

2. Get up and live longer: Study

A study recently published in the American Journal of Epidemiology (http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/current.dtl) concluded that the amount of time an individual "sits" has just as much of a detrimental consequence on mortality as the amount of exercise an individual gets.

The study results show the time people spend on their derrieres is associated with an increased risk of mortality, regardless of their physical activity level.

Current public health guidelines focus largely on increasing physical activity with little or no reference to butt-on-the-chair time. Alpa Patel, a researcher at the American Cancer Society (ACS), and his colleagues analyzed survey responses from 123,216 individuals (53,440 men and 69,776 women) who had no history of cancer, heart attack, stroke or emphysema that were enrolled in the ACS's Cancer Prevention II study in 1992. Participants were followed from 1993 to 2006. The researchers examined the participants' amount of time spent sitting and physical activity in relation to mortality over the 13-year period.

Among other findings, researchers discovered women are more affected by sitting.

3. Confidence will keep you going: Study

Published in the July issue of Health Psychology, a journal of the American Psychological Association, a new study finds that people who are untrusting, fear rejection, or are otherwise insecure about their relationships might be at a greater risk for health problems than their more secure counterparts.

Since these insecurities are thought to develop at a young age, the work adds to a growing body of research that suggest that negative experiences in childhood have a wide range of negative outcomes in terms of mental health and [physical] health later in life.

The study analyzed surveys on attachment types from 5,645 adults ages 18 to 60. Participants also reported their lifetime histories of chronic health problems, including arthritis, severe headaches, chronic pain, stroke and heart attack. They also said whether they had been diagnosed with heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma, chronic lung disease, diabetes, high blood sugar, ulcers, epilepsy, seizures or cancer. Finally, subjects were assessed for psychiatric disorders, such as depression. After adjusting for demographic variables, the researchers found avoidant attachment was associated mainly with pain-related health conditions, including arthritis and headaches. Anxious attachment was associated with pain problems, but also with cardiovascular problems, including stroke and heart attack. Secure attachment was not linked to any health problems studied. When the researchers accounted for psychiatric disorders that might explain the health problems, anxious attachment was the only attachment type to still show a link with health. It was associated with chronic pain, heart attack, high blood pressure and ulcers.

Tags:  August 2010  Intellectual  Longevity  Physical  Social 

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What the US Department of Health and Human Services is Doing to Support Wellness...And Why is Matters to You! (August 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Sunday, August 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
1. HHS Awarded $9 Million to Train Preventive Medicine Physicians

Recovery Act Investments Will Support Preventive Medicine Residency Programs through the allocation of 15 awards totaling $9 million to support Preventive Medicine Residency Programs at accredited schools of public health, schools of medicine, and hospitals. Of these funds, nearly $6.7 million is part of the $200 million appropriated to HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to address the nation's health care workforce shortages.

HRSA's Preventive Medicine Residency Program provides support to plan and develop new residency programs; maintain, improve and expand existing programs; and provide financial support to residency trainees in these programs. These new funds will provide financial support to approximately 56 residents. Over the next three years, it is projected that more than 180 preventive medicine residents will receive training in a variety of public health settings—including state, local and tribal public health departments, hospitals, community health centers, industrial sites, occupational health centers, and academic centers.

This matters to health practitioners as well as patients because preventive medicine physicians have training in both clinical medicine and public health, giving them a unique understanding of how to reduce the risks of disease and disability for the increasing number of people in need.



2. HHS Allocated $88 Million for Home Visiting Program to Improve the Wellbeing of Children and Families

A total of $88 million in grants, provided under the Affordable Care Act, to support evidence-based home visiting programs focused on improving the wellbeing of families with young children was announced in July. Through the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, nurses, social workers, or other professionals meet with at-risk families in their homes, evaluate the families' circumstances, and connect families to the kinds of help that can make a real difference in a child's health, development, and ability to learn—such as health care, developmental services for children, early education, parenting skills, child abuse prevention, and nutrition education or assistance.

This matters to health practitioners as well as patients because there is strong research evidence that these programs can improve outcomes for children and families and also yield Medicaid savings by reducing preterm births and the need for emergency room visits.

3. New Health Care Access Guidance Promotes Preventive Medical Care Services for People with Mobility Disabilities.

Last month, the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office for Civil Rights issued new technical assistance guidance for medical providers which will help people with mobility disabilities obtain accessible medical care. Access to Medical Care for Persons with Mobility Disabilities will assist medical care providers in understanding how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 apply to them. This 19-page document includes an overview of general ADA requirements, commonly asked questions, and illustrated examples of accessible facilities, examination rooms, and medical equipment.

This matters to health practitioners as well as patients because it is critical that all individuals, including those with disabilities, have access to health care. But far too often, barriers prevent people with disabilities from visiting a doctor's office or a clinic. Due to barriers, people with disabilities are less likely to receive even basic medical treatment that will prevent routine small problems from turning into major and possibly life threatening ones.

Tags:  August 2010  Intellectual  Occupational  Physical  Policy  Wellness 

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Quotes (August 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Sunday, August 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012

This month's quotes are inspired by a forwarded email…while the author does not usually appreciate forwarded emails…there are some gems here. P.S. There are no requirements for passing this along.



Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

When you say, 'I love you,' mean it.

When you say, 'I'm sorry,' look the person in the eye.

Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

Believe in love at first sight.

Never laugh at anyone's dreams. People who don't have dreams don't have much.

Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

Don't judge people by their relatives.

Talk slowly but think quickly.

When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, 'Why do you want to know?'

Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

Say 'bless you' when you hear someone sneeze.

When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.

Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

Spend some time alone.

Tags:  August 2010  Emotional  Inspiration  Intellectual  Quotes  Social  Wellness 

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Quotes (July 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Thursday, July 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
Summer is a great time to slow down. As we recharge, this month's quotes are meant to inspire us to listen more than we talk.

The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people. – Woodrow Wilson

Many a man would rather you heard his story than granted his request.– Phillip Stanhope,Earl of Chesterfield

In some South Pacific cultures, a speaker holds a conch shell as a symbol of temporary position of authority. Leaders must understand who holds the conch—that is, who should be listened to and when. –Max De Pree

Let a fool hold his tongue and he will pass for a sage.– Publilius Syrus,First Century BC, Maxim 914

Effective questioning brings insight, which fuels curiosity, which cultivates wisdom. – Chip Bell

Silence is a source of great strength. – Lao Tzu

We should never pretend to know what we don't know, we should not feel ashamed to ask and learn from people below, and we should listen carefully to the views of the cadres at the lowest levels. Be a pupil before you become a teacher; learn from the cadres at the lower levels before you issue orders. – Mao Tse-tung

The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them. – Ralph Nichols

Just because I didn't do what you told me, doesn't mean I wasn't listening to you! – Hank Ketcham

One friend, one person who is truly understanding, who takes the trouble to listen to us as we consider a problem, can change our whole outlook on the world. – Dr. E. H. Mayo

There is no such thing as a worthless conversation, provided you know what to listen for. And questions are the breath of life for a conversation. – James Nathan Miller

It is the province of knowledge to speak. And it is the privilege of wisdom to listen. Oliver Wendell Holmes

There's a big difference between showing interest and really taking interest. – Michael P. Nichols,The Lost Art of Listening

Man's inability to communicate is a result of his failure to listen effectively. – Carl Rogers

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. – Winston Churchill

Big egos have little ears. – Robert Schuller

Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much. – Robert Greenleaf

Wisdom is the reward for a lifetime of listening ... when you'd have preferred to talk. – D.J. Kaufman

The best time to hold your tongue is the time you feel you must say something or bust. – Josh Billings

Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. – Karl Menninger

No man ever listened himself out of a job. – Calvin Coolidge

I only wish I could find an institute that teaches people how to listen. Business people need to listen at least as much as they need to talk. Too many people fail to realize that real communication goes in both directions. – Lee Iacocca,Former CEO Chrysler Corporation

Seek first to understand, then to be understood. – Stephen R. Covey,7 Habits of Highly Effective People

To say that a person feels listened to means a lot more than just their ideas get heard. It's a sign of respect. It makes people feel valued. – Deborah Tannen, Author and Professor of Linguistics Georgetown University

June Rokoff, Senior VP for Software Development at Lotus credits her success in turning around the company's position in the software industry to building a team that listens: she made listening the culture of her team. – Glen Rifkin,New York Times

Just being available and attentive is a great way to use listening as a management tool. Some employees will come in, talk for twenty minutes, and leave having solved their problems entirely by themselves. – Nicholas V. Luppa

Of all the skills of leadership, listening is the most valuable—and one of the least understood. Most captains of industry listen only sometimes, and they remain ordinary leaders. But a few, the great ones, never stop listening. That's how they get word before anyone else of unseen problems and opportunities. – Peter Nulty,National Business Hall of Fame Fortune Magazine

The way to stay fresh is you never stop traveling, you never stop listening. You never stop asking people what they think. – Rene McPherson,Former Chairman, Dana

Tags:  Emotional  Inspiration  Intellectual  July 2010  Quotes  Social 

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Fun Facts (July 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Thursday, July 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
Michael Jordan makes more money from Nike annually than the entire Nike factory workers in Malaysia combined.

Each square inch of human skin consists of twenty feet of blood vessels.

An average person uses the bathroom 6 times per day.

Babies are born with 300 bones, but by adulthood we have only 206 in our bodies.

Beards are the fastest growing hairs on the human body. If the average man never trimmed his beard, it would grow to nearly 30 feet long in his lifetime.

Wearing headphones for an hour increases the bacteria in your ear 700 times. Think about THAT next time you jack into the i-pod!

You can't kill yourself by holding your breath.

The electric chair was invented by a dentist.

Dentists recommend that a toothbrush be kept at least six feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush.

The average person falls asleep in seven minutes.

We shed 40 pounds of skin in a lifetime.

Brains are more active sleeping than watching TV.

The first owner of the Marlboro cigarette Company died of lung cancer.

When the moon is directly overhead, you weigh slightly less. Remember that next time you check your diet success.

Like fingerprints, everyone's tongue print is different.

Every human spent about half an hour as a single cell.

Studies have suggested that walking at a brisk pace for three or more hours a week can reduce your risk for coronary heart disease by 65 percent.

Tags:  Fun Facts  July 2010  Physical 

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Secondhand Smoke in the Womb Has Lifelong Impact, Study Finds (July 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Thursday, July 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
Newborns of non-smoking moms exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy have genetic mutations that may affect long-term health, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health study published online in the Open Pediatric Medicine Journal. The abnormalities, which were indistinguishable from those found in newborns of mothers who were active smokers, may affect survival, birth weight and lifelong susceptibility to diseases like cancer.

The study confirms previous research in which study author Stephen G. Grant, Ph.D., associate professor of environmental and occupational health at Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health, discovered evidence of gene abnormalities located on the X chromosome in cord blood from newborns of non-smokers exposed to environmental tobacco smoke.

In the current study, Dr. Grant confirmed smoke-induced mutation in additional genes The mutations were the same level and type in newborns of mothers who were active smokers and of non-smoking mothers exposed to tobacco smoke. Likewise, the mutations were discernible in newborns of women who had stopped smoking during their pregnancies, but who did not actively avoid secondhand smoke.

The research was funded by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the University of Pittsburgh Competitive Medical Research Fund.

Tags:  July 2010  Physical  Quitting Smoking  Second-hand Smoke 

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New Report Reveals the Impact Transportation Has on Health (July 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Thursday, July 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
The American Public Health Association (APHA) released "The Hidden Health Costs of Transportation," in May. This new publication addresses how our nation's current transportation system contributes to today's soaring health costs and impedes progress toward improving public health.

Chief among those costs are U.S. traffic fatalities and injuries, which remain unacceptably high. In March 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed a statistical projection that shows that roughly 33,963 people died in traffic crashes in 2009. Furthermore, according to the American Automobile Association, traffic crashes cost an astounding $164.2 billion each year, or roughly $1,051 per person annually. Some of the more hidden costs of transportation include physical inactivity, rising asthma and obesity rates in both adults and children, and degraded air quality. All are increasing to staggering levels and negatively impacting Americans.

The report points out that transportation policies can also have a transformative effect. Increasing sustainable transportation options and improving community transportation designs could significantly improve public health by introducing walking, bicycling and transit use as convenient and cost-effective ways to integrate more physical activity into the daily habits of all transportation users.

"Our country depends on a robust transportation system that facilitates easy, safe commutes and promotes physical activity in order to reduce the burden of death and disease and improve health outcomes of all communities," said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of the American Public Health Association. "Millions of Americans are counting on elected officials to support meaningful policy initiatives that would make the country's transportation system more efficient in areas of the country that need it the most."

The report is available at http://www.apha.org/advocacy/reports/reports/.

Tags:  Exercise  July 2010  Physical  Transportation 

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Why Acupuncture Might Work, Study (July 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Thursday, July 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
A newly released study, detailed online May 30, in Nature Neuroscience found the molecule adenosine as a central player in parlaying some of the effects of acupuncture in the body. Scientists say it could help demysitify why accupuncture seems to ease pain.

Adenosine is a natural compound known for its role in regulating sleep, for its effects on the heart, and for its anti-inflammatory properties. Adenosine also acts as a natural painkiller, becoming active in the skin after an injury to inhibit nerve signals and ease pain in a way similar to lidocaine.

The scientists found that the chemical is also very active in deeper tissues affected by acupuncture. The researchers looked at the effects of acupuncture on the peripheral nervous system—the nerves in our body that aren't part of the brain and spinal cord. The research complements a rich, established body of work showing that in the central nervous system, acupuncture creates signals that cause the brain to churn out natural pain-killing endorphins.

The new findings add to the scientific heft underlying acupuncture, said study leader and neuroscientist Dr. Maiken Nedergaard of the Rochester Medical Center. Nedergaard and her team are presenting the work this week at a scientific meeting, Purines 2010, in Barcelona, Spain.

Once scientists recognized adenosine's role, the team explored the effects of a cancer drug called deoxycoformycin, which makes it harder for the tissue to remove adenosine. The compound boosted the effects of acupuncture treatment dramatically, nearly tripling the accumulation of adenosine in the muscles and more than tripling the length of time the treatment was effective.

Tags:  Acupuncture  Emotional  July 2010  Physical  Wellness 

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