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Hope Therapy

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Hope is an emotion characterized by positive feelings about the immediate or long-term future and often coupled with high motivation, optimism, and a generally elevated mood.Hope is a partially subjective term, and both psychologists and philosophers have struggled to define it. Some argue that hopefulness is a relatively stable personality trait, others believe that hope depends on external circumstances and previous experience, and some people view hope as a choice. Hope is commonly associated with warm feelings about the future, an increased willingness to work toward a goal, and an upbeat mood.

Hope therapy is a fairly recent idea with a fairly basic point. The main way this therapy is practiced is by teaching people in a group class setting to become more oriented toward positive thinking . Positive thinking with positive goals and behavior will help people toachieve their goals. It is separate from the idea of optimism, which is generally having a pervasive belief that good things are likely to happen. Instead, researchers believe that people can be taught to improve their outlook and minor depression in class settings, instead of through traditional talk therapy, which may tend to focus on negative experiences.

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It is observed that Hope therapy helps a lot to the people with severe macular degeneration, and people with mild depression, who were not classed as having a mental illness. Most people learn how to create goals, how to determine ways to reach goals and also how to use positive self-talk. Instead of focusing on negative incidents. Hope therapy relied on positive goal-based training. Many people in the groups noted significant elevation of mood, were able to absorb the training and became more goal oriented and were successfully able to use positive self-talk to diminish negative thinking patterns.

Hope therapy is  not just about the “power of positive thinking.” Instead it is based somewhat on the cognitive behavioral model of therapy which works to replace old or negative “hot thoughts” or core beliefs with new ones that are more truthful and positive. However, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) does spend at least some time analyzing how negative thoughts or experiences have influenced thoughts and behavior patterns in the here and now. Hope therapy appears to differ from this by focusing more on simply learning to change mindset, without much examination of what caused negative mindset in the past.

People who are facing personal and emotional conflicts, it is not that everything is lost for them. There is HOPE for them, they can also leave beautiful and happy life if some goal is set for them and with proper mental training they start exerting to reach the goal. The Hope Therapy Center (HTC) is a place where disheartened people may find healing and an opportunity to talk with a trained pastoral psychotherapist.

Hopelessness can also affect physical health. People who are not optimistic about their health or about their medical treatment are more likely to remain sick, more likely to report high levels of pain, and less likely to see an improvement in their overall health. Some mental health practitioners, aware of the role hope plays, encourage clients to work on thinking positively about life developments and finding things to be hopeful about. Many mental health professionals believe that hope is an indispensable key to happiness and that people cannot be happy without hope.

Hope therapy will be very much active and successful if this therapy is done along with Yoga exercise with Pranayama & Meditation under the guide line of some expert.

Help taken from:
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-hope-therapy.htm
http://www.hopetherapycenter.com/index.html
http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/what-is-hope

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Gene to Spot Early Heart Risk

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A US research team led by an Indian-origin doctor has pinpointed a gene that may help identify people who are at risk of suffering a heart attack before they turn 40.

Cardiologist Svati Shah at the Duke University School of Medicine and her colleagues have shown that a variant of the gene called NPY makes people susceptible to early coronary artery disease.

Scientists have known for years that some people are at risk of developing coronary artery disease even in their 30s and that this condition is inherited. But no one had succeeded in identifying the genes involved.

The Duke researchers examined genetic sequences from individuals across 920 families and found that the earliest age of onset of coronary artery disease was associated with a specific variant of the NPY gene.

The researchers are hoping their discovery leads to genetic tests that will allow them to find young people at risk of early heart disease and get them to change their diet or lifestyle to reduce the risk of heart attacks.

“These young patients are a vulnerable population, but they are particularly hard to identify,” said Shah, the lead author of a research paper on the discovery published yesterday in the journal Public Library of Science Genetics. “Such genetic findings may help us in future to identify these patients prior to the development or coronary artery disease or their first heart attack.”

The connection between the gene and early heart disease was even stronger in patients with heart disease before the age of 37. “If a person has the NPY gene variants in one of two copies from the mother and father, then he/she may develop coronary disease earlier,” said Elizabeth Hauser, associate professor of medical genetics at the Duke University.

Studies on mice have confirmed that the NPY gene and its protein are involved in promoting atherosclerosis — the buildup of deposits along walls of the arteries that can choke blood flow to the heart and raise risk of a heart attack.

The Duke team’s work has shown that variants of the NPY gene can be transmitted from generation to generation across a population of patients susceptible to early onset coronary artery disease.

This gene makes an important protein in the body that regulates appetite and feeding behaviour, in addition to other functions. “If you had one or two copies of this version of the gene, there could be a change in NPY level,” Shah said.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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How to Prevent Back Pain at Work

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Simple, basic movements at your desk can lead to major back problems—unless you change a few habits.

You bend over to grab a folder from your filing cabinet and you feel it—a sudden flash of fiery pain that shoots through your spine. But while that motion may have set off the painful sensation, bending down was probably just the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak.

Day in and day out we treat our backs poorly, mostly with improper and repetitive movements. It only makes sense that a big part of the problem is how we move—and, more often, don’t move—at work, where most of us spend a major portion of our lives. Other factors play a role as well, such as the number and variety of manual tasks performed on the job, along with age, genetics, your schedule, desk setup and stress load. Experts say all these things combine to create unnecessary discomfort.

In Pictures: Preventing Back Pain at Work also Tips for Preventing Back Pain at Work:

“It’s important to know that aspects of the work environment can make things better or worse,” says Dr. Jeffrey Katz, associate professor of medicine and orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, and author of the book Heal Your Aching Back.

A common problem

Back pain is a much more common problem than most people realize. Lower-back pain is cited as the number-two reason why Americans see their doctors, second only to colds and the flu. And patients suffering from backaches consume more than $90 billion annually in health care expenses, according to 2004 research from Duke University.

On the whole, up to 80 percent of people will deal with this health problem at some point in their life, Katz says. In an office setting of 100 people, he estimates that on a given day, 10 to 12 people probably have some kind of back pain.

Despite the prevalence of the problem, most people don’t put in the effort to examine and tweak their regular work habits to prevent it.

“People don’t take care of themselves until they’re in pain,” says Todd Langer, a Boulder, Colo.-based corrective exercise expert and creator of the P.A.S.T. Functional Fitness Method, which aims to relieve pain through unique balance-board-driven exercises.

Langer, who works with back pain sufferers at One Boulder Fitness Health Club, says the biggest mistake office workers make is continuing to sit in their desk chairs for hours on end. Sitting for sustained periods of time puts too much pressure on the discs and joints in your back.

To give your body a break, Langer suggests regularly moving your rear around in your chair and shifting your weight. If you spend a lot of time on the phone, stand up occasionally during conversations and try to take a short walk at least every half-hour, even if it’s just to the water cooler or printer. Use your e-mail to send yourself reminders until it becomes a habit.

It’s also a smart idea to examine your work station for potential causes of imbalances, says Stefan Aschan, owner and founder of Strength123, a provider of nutrition and fitness programs in New York City and online. Are the floors in your office uneven? Does your chair rest half on and half off a thick, plastic rug pad? Do you, as many men do, keep your wallet in your back pocket and sit on it all day long? Do you cradle the phone between your head and shoulder instead of wearing a headset?

If so, you may be changing the way your body weight is distributed on your discs, Aschan says. Over time, that pressure may cause a disc to bulge, which can be painful.

While you’re looking at your desk, check on the positioning of your chair, computer and phone. You may have heard this advice before, but following through is another story. Todd Sinett, owner of the New York-based Midtown Chiropractic Health and Wellness practice and author of The Truth About Back Pain, recommends asking your company for an adjustable chair that will help maintain the natural curves of your spine, supporting your lower back. (Placing a pillow behind you will also do the trick if your boss won’t spring for an ergonomic chair.)

Your feet should lightly rest on the floor or, if you’re short, on a footrest. You shouldn’t have to crane your neck forward, up or down to see your monitor, and you shouldn’t have to strain to reach your phone. The goal is to square yourself.

Emotional element:

Work-related stress can take its toll on your back too, Sinett says. While people manifest stress in different ways, it usually creates muscle tension. That constant contracting, over time, can cause muscle spasms and headaches—and possibly make you more vulnerable to injury.

If you’re too tired and stressed out after a long day of work to do anything but pass out on the couch, you could be compounding the problem, says Dr. Stephen Courtney, an orthopedic surgeon at Texas’ Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano. Just as you should be stretching your muscles throughout the day, you should also be giving them a regular workout, either at the gym, on the court or in the yoga studio.

As with any change you make to your daily habits, there’s no guarantee an exercise regime will protect you from back problems. But it might decrease the frequency of recurrent episodes, according to Katz. For people in pain, it’s a move in the right direction.

Sources:msn health & fitness

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New Guidelines for Healthy Living

 

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Moderate exercise adds up for sluggish adults. Take a quick walk around the block or suit up for the neighborhood softball game. More fit adults could pack in their week’s requirement in 75 minutes with vigorous exercise, such as jogging, hiking uphill, a bike race or speedy laps in the pool.

Children and teens need more – brisk activities for at least an hour a day, the guidelines conclude.

Consider it the exercise version of the food pyramid. The guidelines, from the Health and Human Services Department, aim to end years of confusion about how much physical activity is enough, while making clear that there are lots of ways to achieve it.

“The easy message is get active, whatever your way is. Get active your way,” HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt said. It’s OK to start slowly.

“For a total couch potato who does zero, zip, nada, getting up and walking 10 minutes a day is a great start,” said Rear Adm. Penelope Royall, deputy assistant secretary for disease prevention.

But people need to work toward eventually hitting that weekly minimum, she added. “Some is better than nothing, and more is better.”

The guidelines come as scientists are trying to spread the word to a nation of couch potatoes that how active you are may be the most important indicator of good health. Yet a quarter of U.S. adults aren’t active at all in their leisure time, government research concludes. More than half don’t get enough of the kind of physical activity that actually helps health – walking fast enough to raise your heart rate, not just meandering, for instance. More than 60 million adults are obese.

Worse, the nation is raising a generation of children who may be less healthy than their parents. About a third are overweight and 16 percent are obese. And while young children are naturally active given the chance, schools are decreasing the amount of recess and gym time. By high school, a recent study found, fewer than a third of teens are getting an hour of activity a day.

To put science behind the how-much-is-enough debate, HHS gathered an expert panel to review all the data. The panel found that regular physical activity can cut the risk of heart attacks and stroke by at least 20 percent, reduce chances of early death, and help people avoid high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer, fractures from age-weakening bones and depression.

The government used that scientific report to set the minimum activity levels.

“The evidence is clear,” Leavitt said on Tuesday in announcing the guidelines. “The more physically active you are, the more health benefits you gain.”

The kind of exercise matters a lot, said Dr. William Kraus, a Duke University cardiologist who co-authored the scientific report. Runners like Kraus can achieve the same health benefit in a fraction of the time of a walker.

“If you do it more intense, you can do less time,” explained Kraus, who praised the guidelines for offering that flexibility. “This brings it back down to earth for a lot of people.”

What’s the right kind of exercise? The guidelines advise:

* You don’t have get all the activity at once. A walk for an hour three days a week works as well as, say, a 30-minute exercise class on weekdays or saving most of the activity for a two-hour Saturday bike ride.

* For aerobic activities, go at least 10 minutes at a time to build heart rate enough to count.

* You should be able to talk while doing moderate activities but not catch enough breath to sing. With vigorous activities, you can say only a few words without stopping to catch a breath.

* Children’s daily hour should consist of mostly moderate or vigorous aerobic activity, such as skateboarding, bike riding, soccer, simple running.

* Three times a week, children and teens must include muscle-strengthening activities – sit-ups, tug-of-war – and bone-strengthening activities such as jumping rope or skipping.

* Adults should do muscle-strengthening activities – push-ups, weight training, carrying heavy loads or heavy gardening – at least two days a week.

* Older adults who are still physically able to follow the guidelines should do so, with an emphasis on activities that maintain or improve balance.

These are minimum goals, the guidelines note. People who do more will see greater benefits.

Sources: THe Times Of India

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Cold Sore Virus Secret Revealed

The secret of how the cold sore virus manages to persist for a lifetime in the human body may have been cracked by US scientists.

The herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) can lie dormant in facial nerves, emerging periodically to cause sores.

A Duke University Medical Center team may have uncovered how it can reactivate itself from a dormant state.

The finding, published in the journal Nature, could eventually lead to new treatments.

When fighting a virus, the immune system relies heavily on the protein chemicals produced by the virus which it uses to help mark it for destruction.

Herpes viruses manage to evade the immune system by shutting down production of these proteins completely, and remaining in this state for long periods before starting to replicate again.

Wake-up call

This is why patients, once infected, have occasional flare-ups of cold sores or genital herpes, and can never get rid of the infection completely.

However, there is one thing that HSV-1 does produce, the precise role of which has puzzled scientists for some years.

It is a type of RNA, a single strand of genetic information copied from the DNA of the virus. In other viruses, these RNAs make proteins that are useful to the virus, but in herpes, this was not the case.

The Duke University team suspected that it somehow helped keep the virus in its dormant state, and studied what happened to these “latent RNAs” in mice.

They found they were broken down into even smaller strands, called microRNAs, and these appeared to block the production of proteins which reactivated the virus.

Effectively, they were helping keep the virus in its dormant state.

Professor Bryan Cullen, who led the research, said: “We have provided a molecular understanding of how HSV-1 hides and then switches back and forth between the latent and active phases.”

He said a drug based on blocking these microRNAs could in theory “wake up” all the viruses, making them vulnerable to antiviral therapy, and raising the possibility of a cure for herpes.

Professor Roger Everett, a Medical Research Council virologist based in Glasgow, said that the research represented a step forward in a “long-standing problem” in the field.

The next step, he said would be to see what happened in an animal using a virus engineered to block production of these RNAs.

Sources: BBC NEWS.July 2 ’08

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