November 20, 2015
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, it is a good time to focus on giving thanks. Research shows that practicing gratitude can result in a number of benefits, including improved physical and psychological health. People who practice gratitude take better care of themselves, engage in more protective health behaviors like exercise and eating healthy, and get regular check-ups.
August 28, 2015
Millions of Americans suffer from some form of mental health problems. It is estimated that in the U.S., about 40 million adults suffer from anxiety, about 20 million adults suffer from depression, and another 8 million suffer from PTSD. Many more people, about 78 million, report suffering from high levels of stress with poor health in self or a family member being the primary reason for the stress. Unfortunately research consistently shows that two-thirds of these people do not seek out treatment for their problems. And those who are interested in help often run into barriers that prevent them from receiving treatment. Barriers can include lack of or inadequate health insurance, lack of mental health resources in rural or impoverished areas or the stigma of getting help for mental health problems.
Apps on smart phones could help address some of these barriers. There are hundreds of apps focused on helping people with anxiety, depression, PTSD, stress and other symptoms.
July 22, 2015
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle
We are constantly inundated by “advice” from our doctors, family, friends and even advertisements to make lifestyle changes to improve our health and well-being. This is all well and good but for many of us the mere thought of trying to make behavior changes, can be overwhelming and daunting. We often stop ourselves before we even start. If you happen to be one of the few who actually makes changes, you may struggle to keep it up over time.
So what’s the secret to making behavior changes? And for these changes to become habits?
June 18, 2015
Over the years, the World Health Organization’s discussion around disability has changed from “impairment, disability, and handicap” to “impairment, activity, and participation.” In other words, the focus has shifted to that of function through activity and participation. This shift in perspective is important but not sufficient.
April 22, 2015
Numerous studies over the past several decades have consistently shown that social interaction has positive benefits to our health and well-being. The potential benefits cited in many of these studies include reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, reduced blood pressure, and reduced mental health issues such as depression and alcoholism. More recent studies are focusing on the positive impact that social interaction may have on optimizing our brain functioning.
March 16, 2015
What does a dog, cat, horse, bird and fish have in common?
These animals and many others share...
January 20, 2015
The ABLE Act, also known as The Achieving A Better Life Experience Act, was finally approved by Congress on a 76-16 vote and was signed into law by President Obama in December 2014. Although the ABLE Act does not directly benefit individuals with disabilities acquired later in life, it is a bold first step in recognizing the financial needs of individuals with disabilities and not penalizing these individuals from receiving public benefits. What is the ABLE Act? The ABLE Act allows people with disabilities and their families to set up a special savings account for disability related expenses. Earnings on an ABLE account would not be taxed. Disability related expenses is broad in definition and includes: medical and dental care, education, community based support, personal support services, employment training, assistive technology, housing, and transportation. How is the ABLE Act different from existing law?...
November 13, 2014
Currently the standard protocol for diagnosing depression involves asking a patient a series of questions or administering a self-report questionnaire about a patient’s mood, energy level, interest and engagement in activities, appetite, sleep, and so on. A patient’s responses as well as observations of mood and behavior would then be used as an indicator for depression. Depression is often difficult to diagnose because diagnosis is dependent on patients being truthful in reporting symptoms and being clear in their description of symptoms. Researchers at Northwestern University (Redei et al., 2014) have developed a blood test that ...
September 05, 2014
Many people with Multiple Sclerosis look forward to the cooler temperatures and reduced humidity that comes with fall and winter. Symptoms can be worse in the warm summer months so relief comes to many with the lower temperatures. With fall and winter right around the corner, it’s important to be aware of and prepare for the Winter Blues. The Winter Blues is fairly common in northern latitudes where the days become shorter and there is reduced sunlight. The Winter Blues is often characterized by feeling irritable or gloomy, having less energy, sleeping more but not feeling more rested, and eating more, often with cravings for carbohydrates. So what can one do to prevent the Winter Blues?
April 10, 2014
April is National Stress Awareness Month so it seems appropriate to look at the impact of stress on people living with MS and to become more aware of what one can do to better manage one’s reaction to the inevitable stressors in life. There is a growing body of research that suggests there is an association between stress and an increased risk of MS exacerbations and the development of new lesions in patients with MS. A group of Dutch researchers followed 73 patients with RRMS and found that those patients who reported a major stressful event were 2.2 times more likely to have an MS exacerbation in the following four weeks. In 2006, a group of U.S. researchers followed 36 people with MS and found that after experiencing a major life stress, those MS patients were 1.6 times more likely to develop a new lesion in the next eight w...