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Play in Youth, Pay in Old Age

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Playing tennis or badminton might be an excellent way of keeping fit, but if you’re not careful, you may end up paying in old age, healthwise.

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A new study headed by Navah Ratzon, director of occupational therapy department at Tel Aviv University (TAU), can be applied to any number of leisure sport activities.

“Increasing numbers of adults are pursuing amateur athletics during their leisure hours. But we’ve found worrying indications that this activity — when not done properly — may have negative effects on the musculoskeletal system,” Ratzon warned.

For example, in the US, musculoskeletal disorders and disease are the leading cause of disability, and are the cause of chronic conditions in 50 per cent of all people 50 years and older.

Musculoskeletal complaints include discomfort, pain or disease of the muscles, joints or soft tissues connecting the bones.

Focusing specifically on bowlers, Ratzon and her graduate student Nurit Mizrachi found that 62 per cent of the 98 athletes in their study reported musculoskeletal problems — aches and pains in the back, fingers, and wrist, for example.

According to the study, the degree of pain a player reported was in direct proportion to the number of leagues in which the person participated. Their conclusion is that the intensity of the sport exacerbated the risk of long-term musculoskeletal damage.

The risks are particularly high in sports where the body is held asymmetrically and repetitive movements are made, according to a TAU release. These findings were recently published in the journal Work.

All ball sports should be played with caution, Ratzon advised, including sports like golf, basketball, tennis and squash. “Your body is meant to work in a certain way,” she added.

“If you jump for the tennis ball while twisting your back, you put too much stress on your body because it’s an unnatural movement.”

Stretching before games is an obvious prevention method against long-term damage. But people should take other measures to keep their bodies fit.

Sources: The Times Of India

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‘Talking Cure’ for Mental Problems

Intensive psychoanalytic therapy, the “talking cure” rooted in the ideas of Freud, has all but disappeared in the age of drug treatments and managed care.
But now researchers are reporting that the therapy can be effective against some chronic mental problems, including anxiety and borderline personality disorder.

In a review of 23 studies of such treatment involving 1,053 patients, the researchers concluded that the therapy, given as often as three times a week, in many cases for more than a year, relieved symptoms of those problems significantly more than did some shorter-term therapies.

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The authors, writing in Wednesday’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, strongly urged scientists to undertake more testing of psychodynamic therapy, as it is known, before it is lost altogether as a historical curiosity. The review is the first such evaluation of psychoanalysis to appear in a major medical journal, and the studies on which the new paper was based are not widely known among doctors.

The field has resisted scientific scrutiny for years, arguing that the process of treatment is highly individualized and so does not easily lend itself to such study. It is based on Freud’s idea that symptoms are rooted in underlying, often longstanding psychological conflicts that can be discovered in part through close examination of the patient-therapist relationship.

Experts cautioned that the evidence cited in the new research was still too meager to claim clear superiority for psychoanalytic therapy over different treatments, like cognitive behavior therapy, a shorter-term approach. The studies that the authors reviewed are simply not strong enough, these experts said.

“But this review certainly does seem to contradict the notion that cognitive or other short-term therapies are better than any others,” said Bruce Wampold, chairman of the department of counseling psychology at the University of Wisconsin.

“When it’s done well, psychodynamic therapy appears to be just as effective as any other for some patients, and this strikes me as a turning point” for such intensive therapy.

The researchers, Falk Leichsenring of the University of Giessen and Sven Rabung of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, both in Germany, reviewed only those studies in which the therapy had been frequent – more than once a week – and had lasted at least a year or, alternatively, had been 50 sessions long. Further, the studies had to have followed patients closely, using strict definitions of improvement.

The investigators examined studies that tracked patients with a variety of mental problems, among them severe depression, anorexia nervosa and borderline personality disorder, which is characterized by a fear of abandonment and dark squalls of despair and neediness.

Psychodynamic therapy, Leichsenring wrote in an email message, “showed significant, large and stable treatment effects which even significantly increased between the end of treatment and follow-up assessment”.

The review found no correlation between patients’ improvement and the length of treatment. But improve they did, and psychiatrists said it was clear that patients with severe, chronic emotional problems benefited from the steady, frequent, close attention that psychoanalysts provide.

The new review is encouraging, some psychoanalysts said, but also a reminder of how much more study needs to be done.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Insecurity may impact your immune system

Feeling insecure in close relationships may take a toll on the immune system, preliminary Italian research suggests………...click & see 

A team led by Angelo Picardi from the Italian National Institute of Health in Rome reports its findings in Psychosomatic Medicine.

In a study of 61 healthy women the researchers found that those who had difficulty establishing close, trusting relationships showed signs of weaker immune function.

Specifically, lab experiments showed that the women’s “natural killer”immune system cells were less lethal compared with those from other study participants.

Whether this means they’re more susceptible to disease is unknown, and for now the answer to that question is a “very prudent maybe”, says Picardi.

The findings are in line with research showing that chronic stress can impair immunity, and the extent of the impact may depend on how an individual perceives and responds to stress.

In short, personality traits may affect immune function. The researchers looked at the trait known as “attachment insecurity,”characterised by difficulty trusting and depending on others, feeling uncomfortable with emotional intimacy or worrying about being abandoned by loved ones.

A person’s “attachment style”forms in childhood, based on a child’s relationship with his or her parents, says Picardi. And it affects and is further shaped by romantic relationships later in life. So attachment style can be seen as a fairly stable trait that affects a person’s response to stressful events.

Picardi says attachment insecurity affects people’s ability to regulate emotions, including how they perceive and deal with stress—which may affect the body’s physiological response to stress.

For their study, Picardi and team recruited a random sample of female nurses, who were younger than 60 years old, had no chronic illnesses and no history of major psychiatric disorders.

The researchers measured the women’s attachment style using standard questionnaires and collected blood samples to study the function of their immune system cells.

The study found, women with greater attachment insecurity had lower activity in their natural killer cells, key defenders against illness.

Picardi noted that in other research, his team found associations between insecurity and certain skin diseases related to immune dysfunction.

These include plaque psoriasis, a condition where scaly patches form on the skin, and alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss.

Source:The Times Of India