• 27 Feb
    eWellness Expert

    Quitting smoking boosts mental health

    Quitting smoking boosts mental health

    WASHINGTON: Quitting smoking after a heart attack has immediate benefits, including less chest pain, better quality of daily life and improved mental health, scientists have found.

    Many of these improvements became apparent as little as one month after quitting and are more pronounced after one year, according to the research.

    "Even in people who smoked and had a heart attack, we see fairly rapid improvements in important measures of health and quality of life when they quit smoking after their heart attacks, compared with people who continue smoking," said senior author Sharon Cresci, assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis.

    Quitting smoking after a heart attack has been known to reduce risk of a second attack and risk of death in general.

    But little was known about other health benefits that might have a more immediate impact on people's day-to-day lives and provide additional motivation to kick the habit.

    The researchers analysed data from about 4,000 patients participating in several trials that studied heart attacks.

    At the time of their heart attacks, patients were classified as never smokers, former smokers who quit before their heart attacks or active smokers.

    Of the active smokers, 46 per cent quit in the first year following their heart attacks.

    "Obviously those patients who had never smoked did the best after their heart attacks," Cresci said.

    "But those who had quit prior to their heart attacks looked remarkably similar to the never smokers," Cresci said.

    "The patients who quit after the heart attacks had an intermediate level of recovery but were markedly better than the active smokers, who fared the worst in the amount of chest pain they experienced and in their responses to questionnaires measuring mental health and quality of life," Cresci said.

    The health improvements remained significant even when the researchers controlled for other factors that play a role in measures of mental health and general quality of life, such as pre-existing depression, other medical conditions and socioeconomic factors.

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  • 27 Feb
    eWellness Expert

    Thorpe reveals mental health issues since a teen

    Thorpe reveals mental health issues since a teen

    SYDNEY: Swimming great Ian Thorpe Thursday revealed he has battled mental health issues since his teenage years as he opened up about his struggle with depression.

    Australia's most decorated Olympian, with five gold medals at the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Games, was admitted to a rehabilitation facility for the condition in 2014 after being found disoriented on a Sydney street.

    The 33-year-old has said previously that he kept the problem secret from his loved ones, but is now part of Young Minds Matter, a campaign designed to raise awareness of children's mental health issues backed by Prince William's wife Kate Middleton.

    "I am someone who has struggled with mental health issues since I was a teen," Thorpe wrote in a blog post for news website Huffington Post Australia.

    "From the outside, many would not see my pain nor be able to relate to the sometimes-daily struggle I was facing.

    "This is part of the deception of depression and also mental illness: what may appear at face value is a stark difference from the agony that lies within."

    Thorpe, still hugely popular in many parts of the world, became the first person to win six gold medals at one world championships, in 2001, among 11 world titles overall -- along with 10 Commonwealth Games gold medals.

    But the demands of a celebrity lifestyle and grinding training saw him quit in 2006.

    He was unable to find a direction, dabbling in jewellery design and television while attempting a number of university courses before a comeback in 2012 in which he failed to qualify for the London Olympics.

    In 2014, several months after treatment for depression, he received widespread praise by revealing he was gay in a move advocates said helped remove the stigma of homophobia in sport.

    In the blog, Thorpe admitted that in the past he sometimes became "a hermit and tried to shut out the world" as he encouraged young people to recognise and confront any mental health issues.

    "If you concede to your illness and accept its reality you fall into the trap of not only being depressed but also taking on the depressed mindset," he said.

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  • 27 Feb
    eWellness Expert

    How violence affects children's mental health

    How violence affects children's mental health

    CHIldren who live in societies witnessing violence may have high levels of behavioural and emotional problems, according to a US study based on the mental health of children in Juarez, Mexico -- once dubbed the murder capital of the world.

    The finding of the study by Texas Tech University Health Sciences Centre-El Paso researchers suggests that the mental health of children was negatively affected by exposure to the mass murders and acts of terror, like kidnappings, bombings and decapitations, related to the city's drug violence in 2010.

    "I am very worried about the children who lived in Juarez when the drug violence peaked a few years ago," says Marie Leiner, a paediatric researcher at TTUHSC El Paso who led the study and gathered data about the mental health of youth living on the US-Mexico border.

    For the study, Leiner compared the mental health of children living in relatively safer El Paso, Texas to that of children living in its neighbouring city Juarez.

    After analysing data collected from both groups, Leiner found that the prevalence of issues like depression, aggression, anxiety, withdrawal and attention deficit disorder were three times higher in children living in Juarez.

    "I'm not saying that kids in El Paso are not affected by violence, but they did not have this exposure to violence everywhere in their neighbourhoods. They did not attend their family funerals and they didn't go to school to learn that their friends' families were murdered," Leiner said.

    The children and their families were not directly asked about their personal experiences with drug violence and the study assumes those living in Juarez were indirectly exposed to the violence.
    The study findings were published in the journal Salud Mental.
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  • 27 Feb
    eWellness Expert

    Tips to maintain your mental health

    Tips to maintain your mental health

    Mental health is often negated in front of physical health. But what many don't know is that by 2020, mental illness will be the second top cause of morbidity and mortality after heart disease. How is your mental well-being tested? Let's take a simple test. Do you find it tough to ward off negative thoughts? Do you find it tricky to deal with difficult situations? Sudden work assignment or unruly behavior by the boss pulls down your spirit? Do you find comfort in food when you are stressed? If you have answered most of them in affirmation, you surely need to keep a check on your mental health. Mental well-being means you are able to function well in your day-to-day life and sudden challenges don't make you fall. We spoke to Dr Rajesh Goyal, consultant psychiatrist, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, to bring you top six practical ways to maintain mental well being.

    Maintain a regular routine
    Try and create a daily routine, from waking up time to eating to sleeping. People who follow a regular routine are found to be healthier emotionally as well as physically.

    Exercise 5 times a week
    This stands true for every ailment. Make sure you exercise atleast 5 times a week if not all days. Staying physically active is a key reason for mental wellness as any form of workout releases happy hormones.

    Balanced diet
    Eat a well balanced meal that comprises of atleast 5 fruits and vegetables a day. Also, coconut water and bananas are rich in potassium and help in elevating the mood. Dark chocolate works equally well in mood elevation.

    Pursue a hobby
    You may not find 'me' time during the week due to work and personal commitments, but set aside half a day during the week to pursue something that you like. It could be something as simple as listening to music, reading books or even visiting a salon to pamper yourself. "We are so busy treating others that we forget to treat ourselves."

    Article taken from

  • 27 Feb
    eWellness Expert

    Older adults respond to emotional terms more positively: study

    Older adults respond to emotional terms more positively

    Press Trust of India  |  Washington February 27, 2016 Last Updated at 17:57 IST 

    Older adults perceive emotional terms differently and respond to them more positively and actively than younger persons, according to a new study that may help caregivers improve treatment and interactions with elderly people.

    Researchers from the University of Massachusetts recruited 32 older adults aged 60 to 92, and 111 younger adults aged 18 to 32, and asked them to judge 70 emotional terms on whether the words had a positive or negative connotation and if the words were activating or arousing.

    "Older adults report feeling more serenity than younger persons. They also have a richer concept of what it means to feel serene than younger persons," said Rebecca Ready from University of Massachusetts.

    "We were surprised to find that younger adults associated more self-deprecating terms with feeling sad and lonely, such as being ashamed or disgusted with themselves, than older persons," Ready said.

    Researchers found the word groupings were similar between older and younger persons for many words but they noted systematic differences for sadness, loneliness and serenity.

    They also found that older adults perceive emotional terms as most positive and more active than younger persons. Emotions overall may be more stimulating for older than younger persons.

    For example, excited is generally rated as a high activation word, while serene is associated with less activation. They then had participants group similar words together.

    The older adults in the study reported fewer depressive symptoms than the younger participants, researchers said.

    In a word grouping task, older adults associated more positive emotional terms with serene, such as cheerful, happy and joyful, than did younger people.

    Researchers speculate that "this broader conception of serene" is associated with the fact that older adults report more calming positive emotions than younger people.

    "We gained a deeper appreciation of some relatively unknown benefits of ageing, such as increased positive emotions and less shame associated with feeling sad or lonely," Ready said.

    "It is imperative to determine how older adults define emotions differently than younger adults. These data ensure effective communication with older adults, accurate understanding of their emotion experiences, and appropriate access to psychological interventions," Ready said.

    The findings are "highly clinically significant" because the information could help caregivers, psychotherapists and workers at assisted living facilities, for example, better understand the emotions of older people in their care, which could lead to improved treatment and quality of interactions, researchers said.

    The findings were published in the journal Ageing and Mental Health.

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