Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Meditation Help Brain Block Out diversion

Mindfulness meditation can help relieve pain and improve memory by regulating a brain wave known as the alpha rhythm, which turns down the volume on distractions. Using meditation was better able to modulate the waves when they were told where to direct their attention after they finished an eight-week course. It has been reported to enhance numerous mental abilities, including rapid memory recall, our discovery that mindfulness mediators more quickly adjusted the brain wave that screens out distraction could explain their superior ability to rapidly remember and incorporate new facts.

The alpha rhythm plays a role in the cells that process senses like touch, sight and sound in the brain's cortex. It helps the brain ignore distractions, helping a person to focus while many things are going on, the findings may explain reports that mindfulness meditation decreases pain perception, Enhanced ability to turn the alpha rhythm up or down could give practitioners greater ability to regulate pain sensation.

Given what we know about how alpha waves arise from electrical currents in sensory cortical cells, these data suggest that mindfulness meditation practitioners can use the mind to enhance regulation of currents in targeted cortical cells. The implications extend far beyond meditation and give us clues about possible ways to help people better regulate a brain rhythm that is deregulated in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and other conditions.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Exercise is solution for People with Arthritis

Exercise is a good way for people with arthritis to control pain and improve physical function. People who have arthritis are often scared to exercise because they think they will hurt themselves, but the condition will only get worse if people don't get moving. The best way to start is to talk to your doctor about exercising and then work with a therapist or personal trainer to establish guidelines.

Exercise offers a number of benefits for people with arthritis, including: increasing muscle strength and endurance to improve joint stability; preserving and restoring joint motion and flexibility; and boosting aerobic conditioning to improve mental health and decrease the risk of other diseases.

Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form. It occurs when cartilage deteriorates, leaving nearby joints with no cushion between bones. Many people also suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, which occurs when inflammation in the joint causes it to lose shape and alignment. The best type of exercise program can depend which form of arthritis a person has, but some workouts benefit all patients. All arthritis sufferers can benefit from stretching to increase range of motion around an affected joint. The type of stretching one should do depends on which joint is affected. Arthritis sufferers may also want to try light weights a few times a week to build muscle strength and low-impact aerobic exercise such as walking.

Start slow, with 10 to 15 minutes of aerobic exercise every other day, to see how it impacts your body, as your body adapts to the new routine, gradually increase duration to 30 to 45 minutes. Other good exercises can include water aerobics, stationary cycling, gardening, swimming, yoga and Tai-Chi.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Almost 20 percent of Lung Cancer Patients Keep Smoking

Many patients diagnosed with lung cancer as well as their family caregivers continue to smoke even though doing so may risk their recovery and long-term health. They looked at 742 cancer patients and caregivers at multiple sites and found that 18 percent of smokers with lung cancer failed to quit after their diagnosis. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer.

Among a subset of smokers with colorectal cancer, which is not strongly associated with tobacco use, 12 percent of the patients continued smoking. An even higher proportion of the patients' family caregivers also kept on smoking 25 percent of those caring for lung cancer patients and 20 percent of those caring for colorectal cancer patients. Most of the caregivers were middle-aged females and were often spouses of the patients. In some cases, both the patient and the caregiver continued smoking. If family caregivers see the cancer patient quit, they're more likely to quit themselves. But if either the patient or caregiver continues to smoke, it can trigger issues of guilt, stigma or blame.

Continued smoking has serious repercussions for lung cancer patients. Patients may develop appetite loss, fatigue, and cough or coughing up of blood, pain and poor sleep. Self-esteem suffers too, and anxiety and depression may also develop. The immediate benefits of quitting smoking are easier breathing, increased circulation and improved efficacy of cancer treatments. People find that once they quit, they have an increased joy of life, no matter how much they believed in the myth that they would miss cigarettes.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Vaccine measured for Deadly Brain Cancer

Adding up a new vaccine to standard therapy extensive survival for people with the most deadly type of brain cancer. The patients were divided into two groups: Both received surgery, radiation and the chemotherapy drug temozolomide, but one group of 18 patients also began receiving injections of the new vaccine one month after completing radiation and continued to receive the vaccine as long as it appeared to be effective.

Median survival time for those in the vaccine group was 26 months, compared with 15 months for the control group. Progression-free survival was 14.2 months in the vaccine group, compared to 6.3 months in the control group. The vaccine appeared to stimulate an immune response in approximately half of the patients who received it, suggesting such responses were linked to increased survival time, but the numbers are so small that we cannot conclude this with any degree of certainty.

The vaccine knocks out a growth factor associated with the most aggressive form of the brain cancer. The presence of EGFRvIII allows cancer cells to multiply out of control, seeding new tumors throughout the brain, the researchers explained. Even with advances in chemotherapy and radiation, prognosis for patients with glioblastoma is poor, with an average survival time of one year after diagnosis.