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New study shows owning a dog lowers risk of cardiovascular disease

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Everyone knows that a dog is a man’s best friend, but a recently released Swedish study is giving that hackneyed saying a whole new meaning for men — and women — everywhere.

The study, published in Scientific Reports on Friday, found that dog ownership may really help you live longer.

The study tracked, over a period of 12 years, more than 3.4 million Swedish adults without a history of heart disease. Overall, the study concluded, dog ownership was associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease and "all-cause mortality" in the general population.

The effects of dog ownership were especially pronounced in single-person households, where the presence of a pet lowered the risk of death by 33 percent and chances of a heart attack by 11 percent.

The study linked ownership of breeds originally bred for hunting, including terriers and retrievers, with the lowest risk of CVD.

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      Story Source:
      Materials provided by Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
      Journal Reference:
      Amélie Catala, Britta Mang, Lisa Wallis, Ludwig Huber. Dogs demonstrate perspective taking based on geometrical gaze following in a Guesser–Knower task. Animal Cognition, 2017; DOI: 10.1007/s10071-017-1082-x
      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170407091829.htm
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      At the end of last summer, Selena Gomez announced she was taking time off for herself. "I want to be proactive and focus on maintaining my health and happiness," she explained in a statement. It was later reported, that she checked into a Tennessee rehab facility to make her mental wellness top priority. Gomez's vocal support for self-care marked a shift in the collective dialogue, homing in on the need to take time for ourselves. —Selena Gomez
      Carve quality time with your kids
      "If I make my kids something delicious and we sit down to eat it, and I put my phone away and I really listen, that is such money in the bank," 43-year-old Gwyneth Paltrow told Self. Balancing a career with motherhood isn't easy for anyone, but it's a juggling act Paltrow has come to relish. "It's a fantastic age," she says, of being 44. "You can still find yourself at a party at 3 a.m., but you also know enough about who you are and how that informs the choices you make." —Gwyneth Paltrow
      Purpose, not perfection
      "It's really about changing the conversation. It's not about perfection. It's about purpose," the singing sensation told Elle U.K. "We have to care about our bodies and what we put in them. Women have to take the time to focus on our mental health—take time for self, for the spiritual, without feeling guilty or selfish. The world will see you the way you see you, and treat you the way you treat yourself." —Beyoncé
      Food is fuel
      "Getting busy and realizing that food was fuel and simply getting older," said Lena Dunham in People was the key to body acceptance. "I really feel good with my size now," she said. "I know when I say that people are like, 'mm-hmm,' but I just do! It used to be when I went into a room with all thin women I felt like, what's wrong with me? Now I just feel special." —Lena Dunham
      http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-28822/9-celebrity-self-care-tips-youll-definitely-want-to-steal.html?utm_source=mbg&utm_medium=email&utm_content=daily&utm_campaign=170215
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Date:
      December 13, 2016
      Source:
      University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
      Summary:
      A study of older adults links consumption of a pigment found in leafy greens to the preservation of 'crystallized intelligence,' the ability to use the skills and knowledge one has acquired over a lifetime.

      Lutein helps with the preservation of “crystallized intelligence" and is acquire through the diet, primarily through eating leafy green vegetables, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, or egg yolks.
      Credit: © nyul / Fotolia
      A study of older adults links consumption of a pigment found in leafy greens to the preservation of "crystallized intelligence," the ability to use the skills and knowledge one has acquired over a lifetime.
      The study is reported in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.
      Lutein (LOO-teen) is one of several plant pigments that humans acquire through the diet, primarily by eating leafy green vegetables, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, or egg yolks, said University of Illinois graduate student Marta Zamroziewicz, who led the study with Illinois psychology professor Aron Barbey. Lutein accumulates in the brain, embedding in cell membranes, where it likely plays "a neuroprotective role," she said.
      "Previous studies have found that a person's lutein status is linked to cognitive performance across the lifespan," Zamroziewicz said. "Research also shows that lutein accumulates in the gray matter of brain regions known to underlie the preservation of cognitive function in healthy brain aging."
      The study enrolled 122 healthy participants aged 65 to 75 who solved problems and answered questions on a standard test of crystallized intelligence. Researchers also collected blood samples to determine blood serum levels of lutein and imaged participants' brains using MRI to measure the volume of different brain structures.
      The team focused on parts of the temporal cortex, a brain region that other studies suggest plays a role in the preservation of crystallized intelligence.
      The researchers found that participants with higher blood serum levels of lutein tended to do better on tests of crystallized intelligence. Serum lutein levels reflect only recent dietary intakes, Zamroziewicz said, but are associated with brain concentrations of lutein in older adults, which reflect long-term dietary intake.
      Those with higher serum lutein levels also tended to have thicker gray matter in the parahippocampal cortex, a brain region that, like crystallized intelligence, is preserved in healthy aging, the researchers report.
      "Our analyses revealed that gray-matter volume of the parahippocampal cortex on the right side of the brain accounts for the relationship between lutein and crystallized intelligence," Barbey said. "This offers the first clue as to which brain regions specifically play a role in the preservation of crystallized intelligence, and how factors such as diet may contribute to that relationship."
      "Our findings do not demonstrate causality," Zamroziewicz said. "We did find that lutein is linked to crystallized intelligence through the parahippocampal cortex."
      "We can only hypothesize at this point how lutein in the diet affects brain structure," Barbey said. "It may be that it plays an anti-inflammatory role or aids in cell-to-cell signaling. But our finding adds to the evidence suggesting that particular nutrients slow age-related declines in cognition by influencing specific features of brain aging."
      Story Source:
      Materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Original written by Diana Yates. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
      Journal Reference:
      Marta K. Zamroziewicz, Erick J. Paul, Chris E. Zwilling, Elizabeth J. Johnson, Matthew J. Kuchan, Neal J. Cohen, Aron K. Barbey. Parahippocampal Cortex Mediates the Relationship between Lutein and Crystallized Intelligence in Healthy, Older Adults. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 2016; 8 DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2016.00297

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Alexandria, VA—For the third year in a row, Mental Health America (MHA) released its annual State of Mental Health Report, which ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on several mental health and access measures. The results show a country that is indeed more insured, but still falling dramatically short in meeting the needs of those with mental health concerns. 
       
      Health care reform has reduced the rates of uninsured adults with mental health conditions—19 percent remain uninsured in states that did not expand Medicaid, 13 percent remain uninsured in states that did expand Medicaid. Over 40 million Americans are dealing with a mental health concern—more than the populations of New York and Florida combined. There are over 1.2 million people currently residing in prisons and/or jails with a mental health condition and lack of access to mental health care is linked with higher rates of incarceration. 56 percent of adults still don’t receive treatment. Youth mental health problems are on the rise, and 6 out of 10 young people with major depression do not receive ANY mental health treatment. In states with the lowest workforce, there’s only 1 mental health professional per 1,000 individuals—that includes psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors and psychiatric nurses combined. In the overall rankings, Connecticut came out as #1, while Nevada landed at #51. “Once again, our report shows that too many Americans are suffering, and far too many are not receiving the treatment they need to live healthy and productive lives,” said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO, Mental Health America. “Mental illness touches everyone. We must improve access to care and treatments, and we need to put a premium on early identification and early intervention for everyone with mental health concerns.”
       
      In developing the report, MHA looked at 15 different measures to determine the rankings. MHA hoped to provide a snapshot of mental health status among youth and adults for policy and program planning, analysis, and evaluation; to track changes in prevalence of mental health issues and access to mental health care; to understand how changes in national data reflect the impact of legislation and policies; and to increase the dialogues and improve outcomes for individuals and families with mental health needs.
       
      “This is ultimately about policy decisions we make.  It isn’t just about what states are red and what states are blue,” Gionfriddo added, “because there are some of each near the top and the bottom.  But political environments in states do seem to matter.  Those that invest more in mental health clearly have to throw away less money on jails and prisons.  

      “It’s time to act—we must invest in the overall physical and mental well-being of our citizens—every day,” concluded Gionfriddo. “We must address these mental health concerns before crisis and tragedy strikes—before Stage 4.”


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