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Coping with Anxiety Through Virtual Reality
Picture this: As you float peacefully in a crystal blue sea, dolphins swim gently around you.
One performs a slow barrel roll, while another nudges its pod mate to play.
They’re so close you could touch them.
While it may feel like you’re in the Caribbean somewhere, you’re actually more than a thousand miles away—in Princeton, N.J.
This is virtual reality (VR), and while it is often used throughout the country as part of exposure therapy to treat patients with phobias, therapists at Penn Medicine Princeton House Behavioral Health Inpatient Service are among the first in the region to use it to help patients cope with general anxiety.
“Virtual reality can help patients set aside outside distractions and focus on relaxation techniques that can be useful in reducing anxiety,” said Yuko Martin, MA, director of Allied Clinical Therapies at Princeton House Inpatient Service. “Most pat
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A Little Of This Goes A Long Way
Feeling guilty about taking that afternoon nap? Don’t be. Napping may be good for the brain, according to a new report.
The study, from researchers at University College London and the University of the Republic in Uruguay, found that regular napping may slow the rate at which the brain shrinks as we age. A larger brain volume is associated with better memory and thinking skills and a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
For the study, published in the journal Sleep Health, researchers analyzed medical data from 378,932 men and women who were part of the UK Biobank, a large and ongoing health study of people in Britain. They ranged in age from 40 to 69.
The researchers used a technique called Mendelian randomization that helps to pinpoint the cause of a specific health outcome, in this case the effects of napping on the brain. They identified 97 snippets of DNA that predispos
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Why Climate Change Might Be Affecting Your Headaches
Recurring headaches are one of the most common nervous system disorders, with an estimated 45 million, or one in six, Americans complaining of headaches each year. People who experience headaches or migraines regularly are probably familiar with different triggers for their headaches—such as consuming alcohol, increased stress, or changes in sleep quality. But what people suffering from headaches might not realize is that climate change can have effects on headaches.
How Can Climate Change Cause Headaches?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, rising global average temperature continue to impact widespread changes in weather patterns, and extreme weather events—such as heat waves and hurricanes—are likely to become more frequent or more intense. Experts suggest that the stress of these events can trigger headaches.
“Not only can experiencing an extreme storm itself be stres
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Eat Foods With This Nutrient For Better Brain Health
Eating foods rich in magnesium, a mineral found in nuts and seeds, leafy greens, whole grains, beans and other foods, may be good for the brain. Scientists in Australia report that adults who tend to get the most magnesium in their diets tend to have less shrinkage in their brains as they age. Greater brain volume is tied to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. A magnesium-rich diet was also tied to fewer lesions in the brain’s white matter, which can lower the risk of stroke.
“Our study shows a 41 per cent increase in magnesium intake could lead to less age-related brain shrinkage, which is associated with better cognitive function and lower risk or delayed onset of dementia in later life,” said lead author Khawlah Alateeq, a doctoral candidate from the Neuroimaging and Brain Lab at The Australian National University. “This research highlights the potential