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For many, wintertime means holidays spent with loved ones, warm nights snuggled by the fire and cool, sunny afternoons on the slopes. However, for up to eight million Americans who suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), this time of year can be very difficult. In fact, even more people experience sub-syndromal SAD, a mild form of SAD often referred to as "the winter blues" or "the winter blahs." The nonprofit organization Mental Health America answers questions about SAD so that you can help yourself and your clients deal with symptoms during this time of year. What is SAD? Who gets it? What are the symptoms? Is it treatable? How is it treated? What should I do if I think I have SAD?
SAD is a mood disorder associated with depression and related to seasonal variations of light. Brought on by the shorter days and longer nights, symptoms disappear completely in the spring.
People in northern geographic areas, where days are shorter, are most affected. Women get SAD four times more often than men and women in their thirties are most at risk. It is not common in children and, for adults, risk decreases with age.
Symptoms may include sleep problems, lethargy, overeating, depression, social problems, anxiety, loss of libido and mood changes.
There are many effective options for treating SAD. Regardless of which treatment a person determines to work best, relief is possible.
Primary treatment options include phototherapy (exposure to bright light for 30 minutes per day throughout the fall and winter) and increasing exposure to natural light. Antidepressant medications and psychotherapy are also possible treatments.
If a person worries they may have SAD, he or she should talk with a health professional.
For many, wintertime means holidays spent with loved ones, warm nights snuggled by the fire and cool, sunny afternoons on the slopes. However, for up to eight million Americans who suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), this time of year can be very difficult. In fact, even more people experience sub-syndromal SAD, a mild form of SAD often referred to as "the winter blues" or "the winter blahs."
The nonprofit organization Mental Health America answers questions about SAD so that you can help yourself and your clients deal with symptoms during this time of year.
What is SAD?
Who gets it?
What are the symptoms?
Is it treatable?
How is it treated?
What should I do if I think I have SAD?
The best way to reap the health benefits of fruits and vegetables without exposing yourself to potentially harmful pesticides is to choose organic produce whenever possible, especially those varieties which are more likely to be contaminated. But if organic produce is cutting into your budget, it's okay to buy non-organic varieties of the fruits and vegetables listed below, which tend to contain the least amount of pesticides. However, make it a habit to wash them thoroughly before eating or cooking, to remove dirt and bacteria.
- Corn (sweet, frozen)
- Peas (sweet, frozen)
Six months of traditional Chinese or even sham acupuncture treatment appeared more effective than conventional treatment ...
Distribution and marketing of BORBA Skin Balance Waters and drinkable skin care line allows beer company to participate in the emerging nutraceutical beverage category; provides expansion opportunity.
The Spa at Mohonk Mountain House announced a new nature-inspired treatment—Awaken the Senses—that helps to refresh the mind, body and spirit. The New Paltz, NY, spa’s treatment features an aromatherapy bath scented with rosemary and mint. 845-255-1000
Are the 300,000 nail salon workers in the United States -- many of them Asian -- being negatively affected by the chemicals they use on their customers?
According to the New York Times, two recent studies indicate that the danger does exist and may affect mental acuity, both in those who work in nail salons and those whose mothers did.
A Wayne State University study found that prolonged work in nail salons was associated with poor performance on a variety of tests to determine a person's attention acuity, mental processing speed, memory and verbal learning, the Times reports. And another study by University of Toronto scientists found similar problems in children who were prenatally exposed.
"The intensity of exposure for salon workers is 1,200 times what it would be for the average American," Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst for the non-profit Environmental Working Group, told the newspaper. "Immigrant women often don't understand the safety information."
Three compounds long used in nail salons -- toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate -- are on the denagrous list, the Times reports. Toluene is a colorless solvent, formaldehyde helps harden nails and dibutyl phthalate makes nail polish flexible. One company that makes the chemicals, OPI Products, has said it would begin removing toluene and dibutyl phthalate from its product list, the newspaper said.
The Ritz-Carlton, Naples's spa introduced two new treatments: Drift Away, designed to soothe those who have trouble sleeping; and Body Training Systems, professionally choreographed exercise classes. 239-598-3300
Incorporating techniques from colonial, African-American and American Indian cultures, The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg recently opened with multiple treatment and relaxation rooms. 800-688-6479
By Nancy Jeffries
The link between nutrition and beauty is inspiring a new breed of beauty products. Marketers are recognizing the value of rolling health care and beauty into overall treatment programs supported by eco-friendly products, and both manufacturers and consumers are feeling their way through a transition as conscience and economics converge.
A coffee habit, coupled with regular exercise, may help prevent skin cancers better than either factor alone, new research suggests.
The study was done only with animals, however, and it's not a reason to abandon standard sun-protection habits.
"You should not give up the sunblock," said Dr. Allan H. Conney, senior author of the study, published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The findings aren't entirely new. "In earlier studies, we found caffeine and exercise -- either one by themselves -- inhibited ultraviolet light-induced skin cancer in mice," said Conney, the director of the Laboratory for Cancer Research at the School of Pharmacy at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
But the new research shows that "the combination [of the two] works better," he said, providing a dramatically better anti-cancer result.
Both caffeine and exercise seem to help kill the UVB-damaged cells before malignancy sets in. "We really don't know how that happens," Conney said.
In the study, his team looked at four groups of hairless mice. The rodents' exposed skin is very vulnerable to the sun.
One group was given caffeinated water to drink each day, the equivalent of a person drinking a couple of cups of coffee a day, Conney said. Another group ran voluntarily on a running wheel, the equivalent of a person running two or two and a half miles every day, he said. (These mice will happily go on an exercise wheel if one is available, Conney said.) A third group had both the caffeine and the exercise, while a fourth group had neither and served as the control group.
The mice in all four groups were exposed to lamps that generated UVB radiation that damaged the skin cells' DNA.
While some degree of healthy, programmed skin cell death ("apoptosis") was seen in all four groups of mice, the caffeine drinkers and exercisers were best at killing off the damaged cells, the researchers found.
To find out how different the four groups were in terms of killing off damaged skin cells, the researchers looked at physical changes in those cells. They also looked at chemical markers, such as enzymes, involved in killing damaged cells.
The differences were dramatic. The caffeine drinkers showed a 96 percent increase in damaged cell death compared to the control group and the exercisers showed a 120 percent increase. Even more significant, the mice that drank caffeine and ran on the training wheel had a nearly 400 percent increase in cell death of damaged cells.
Whether this combination would work in people is not known, Conney said, although some research has found that caffeine and exercise does reduce certain cancer risks. He said he would like to do a clinical study in humans next.
More than a million non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed in the United States annually, according to the American Cancer Society. About 62,190 cases of melanoma, the most deadly skin cancer type, will be diagnosed this year.
A spokesman for the Skin Cancer Foundation urged caution in interpreting the study findings, however. "It will take years of extensive testing to determine whether this will be a worthwhile concept before you can say anything specific about it," said Dr. Michael Gold, founder of the Gold Skin Care Center in Nashville, Tenn.
"Mice and humans are very different. That said, we do know that caffeine applied topically has been popular as a 'cosmeceutical' anti-aging ingredient and might be useful in helping prevent non-melanoma skin cancers," Gold said. "The concept of systemic caffeine needs to be addressed further. We also know that moderate exercise is an immune moderator and can help ward off cancers and other diseases."
He echoed standard advice to wear sunscreen when out in the sun. "If you are exercising outside you must wear sunscreen no matter what," Gold said. "If you don't protect yourself from the sun while exercising outdoors you are increasing your risk of getting non-melanoma skin cancers and melanoma. Protecting yourself from the sun is currently the only proven way to prevent skin cancer."
By Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay News, July 30, 2007