Meditation and mindfulness could be in even more demand as civility declines and stress increases. An expert explains how it works.
Dr. Richard Davidson, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and founder and director, Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and co-author, Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Medication Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body
Neurologists are warning that Parkinson’s disease could soon become pandemic. A report in the journal JAMA Neurology finds that nearly seven million people have Parkinson’s worldwide, a number that’s likely to more than double by the year 2040. Researchers say that makes Parkinson’s the fastest growing neurological disorder, outpacing even Alzheimer’s disease. Neurological disorders have become the world’s leading cause of disability.
Too much stress is bad for our health, but a little bit turns out to be very good at keeping aging cells robust. A study on animals in the journal Cell Reports shows that when aging cells are mildly stressed, they emit signals that keep quality control machinery in the cell working. This may double the animal’s lifespan by preventing the accumulation of damaged proteins that otherwise would lead to a variety of degenerative diseases.
And finally, yet another use for Botox relieving migraines in children and adolescents. A study presented to the American Society of Anesthesiologists finds that migraines that didn’t respond to traditional treatments did much better after Botox injections. Headaches that previously lasted as long as 24 hours were cut down to seven hours after Botox and on the 1-10 pain scale, headaches that used to come in at an eight were reduced to a five.
Stress is a familiar occurrence for adults in our hectic world, but recently it has also shown up in great numbers in high schools. A combination of social media, cyberbullying, and college pressure may be to blame.
Online, teenagers often act as their own public relations managers, constantly posting updates and replying to feedback — often until late at night. Sometimes they share in order to create false personas of who they want to be, or who they think they should be.
At school, the stress multiplies as students are encouraged to think about college as early as their freshman year. “The bar is being raised for the kids in almost every element of life that you could think of,” shares Jared Mason, Teen Programming Director at the Alive Center. “It’s being raised for academics, it’s being raised for athletics, it’s being raised for extracurricular involvement, all these different areas.” He mentions that teens believe that performing “under the bar” is unacceptable, and they internalize the stress they accumulate.
This stress is not only brought on by social media and schools, but by parents. Some parents will request that their child be placed in accelerated, honors, or Advanced Placement courses, regardless of if their child is capable of handling the workload. Mason suggests that parents might be the next step in helping their child avoid stress by teaching them to stop listening to the “noise” of fellow students and of Ivy League schools. By asking their children what they want to do or what they’re interested in doing, parents can use communication to effectively help with stress.
The culture of stress is hard to break, and since colleges have begun to consider more holistic reviews of students, looking at both academics and extracurriculars, students are feeling even more stressed than ever. Kandice Henning, founder of the Alive Center, says that teens now feel pressured to have both a stellar GPA and full schedule. While some students are able to work well under pressure, most are left wondering why it so hard to be a “well-rounded student.” A new kind of parenting may offer a solution, wherein parents teach their children to cope with their stress and understand why they’re stressed. “Stress is not bad. In the appropriate dose, stress is strengthening, says Dr. Michael Bradley, clinical psychologist and author, “you want to find that sweet spot in the middle.”
We reported last week on the opioid epidemic. Now a new study finds yet another symptom of opioid addiction—amnesia. The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report describes a group of 14 patients—almost all opioid addicts–who couldn’t remember things they’d just been told. Along with short-term memory loss, the patients had abnormal MRI scans as well. Doctors are concerned the patients represent a new condition triggered by substance abuse that they were not previously aware of. Researchers say most of the patients recovered their normal memory after several months substance free.
Sitting in traffic is a sure way to increase your stress level and a new study shows it also increases domestic violence. A study at Louisiana State University correlated 25 million traffic observations and two million police reports over four years and found that extreme traffic jams increase the likelihood of domestic violence when people get home by about 6 percent.
People who’ve suffered concussions are held out of sports and school until they’re considered recovered but a new study shows that even then, they may have trouble driving. The study in the Journal of Neurotrauma tested the driving skills of 14 people who’d had a concussion but felt they were now over it. Researchers say that at times they drove as if they were drunk.
And finally…parents who use threats and raised voices to get their kids to behave often end up doing the opposite. A study in the journal Child Development shows that kids parented harshly as ‘tweens are more likely to drop out of school, engage in early sex, and commit theft a few years later. Researchers say those kids reject their domineering parents and seek approval from their peers instead.