Global surge in ADHD diagnosis: just marketing by Big Pharma?

Original content comes to us from Attention Deficit Disorder News — ScienceDaily

A new article attributes ADHD’s global growth to five trends: expanded, overseas lobbying efforts by drug companies; the growth of biological psychiatry; the adaptation of the American-based Diagnostic and Statistical Manual standards, which are broader and have a lower threshold for diagnosing ADHD; promotion of pharmaceutical treatments by ADHD advocacy groups that work closely with drug companies; and the easy availability of ADHD information and self-diagnosis via the Internet.

You can’t catch attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Yet the diagnosis and treatment of this behavioral condition is spreading like a contagion — surging as much as tenfold in some countries.

Call it an economic and cultural plague, but not necessarily a medical one, says Brandeis professor Peter Conrad. In a recent paper in the journal Social Science and Medicine, Conrad and coauthor Meredith Bergey examined the growth of ADHD in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Brazil.

Until recently, North America tallied by far the most ADHD diagnoses, and the United States consumed 90 percent of all Ritalin, one of the most common ADHD drugs. ADHD diagnoses continue to grow in the U.S., but Americans account for only 75 percent of Ritalin users today.

Conrad and Bergey attribute ADHD’s growth to five trends. Drug companies are effective lobbyists, and have spurred some countries to relax marketing restrictions on stimulants. Psychoanalytic treatment with talk therapy is giving way to biological psychiatry — treating psychological problems with drugs. More European and South American psychologists and psychiatrists are adopting the American-based Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) standards, which are broader and have a lower threshold for diagnosing ADHD. Vocal ADHD advocacy groups work closely with drug companies to promote pharmaceutical treatment. Lastly, the easy availability of ADHD information and self-diagnosis via the Internet empowers consumers to ask for prescription treatment.

Many websites promoting ADHD drugs offer checklists with questions like these:

  • Do you fidget a lot?
  • Is it hard for you to concentrate?
  • Are you disorganized at work and home?
  • Do you start projects and then abandon them?

“These checklists turn all kinds of different behaviors into medical problems,” Conrad says. “The checklists don’t distinguish what is part of the human condition and what is a disease.”

According to the study, in the U.K., diagnosis of the disorder in school-age children grew from less than one percent in the 1990s to about five percent today. In Germany, prescription ADHD drugs rose from 10 million daily doses in 1998 to 53 million in 2008.

Growth in Italy and France has been slower, in part due to those countries’ more restrictive pharmaceutical drug laws. However, even those nations are becoming more lax, says Conrad. In Brazil, a rising number of ADHD advocacy groups, many with close ties to the pharmaceutical industry, are raising awareness of the disorder.

“There is no pharmacological magic bullet,” says Conrad. No drug can account for nonmedical factors that may contribute to behavior. A fidgety student may be responding to the one-size-fits-all compulsory education system, Conrad says, not a flaw in his brain chemistry.

ADHD continues a long history of medicalizing behaviors, especially in the U.S., Conrad says. A century ago, masturbation was considered a disease. Men and women diagnosed with masturbatory insanity were institutionalized or subjected to surgical treatment.

“I think we may look back on this time in 50 years and ask, what did we do to these kids?” Conrad says.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brandeis University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Peter Conrad, Meredith R. Bergey. The impending globalization of ADHD: Notes on the expansion and growth of a medicalized disorder. Social Science & Medicine, 2014; 122: 31 DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.10.019

Cite This Page:

Brandeis University. “Global surge in ADHD diagnosis has more to do with marketing than medicine, expert suggests.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 November 2014.

from Attention Deficit Disorder News — ScienceDaily

Research: How chemical exposure factors in rising autism rates

Neurobehavioral development disorders, like autism, affect approximately 10—15% of all births, and prevalence rates of autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder seem to be steadily increasing in the United States….

Research: How chemical exposure factors in rising autism rates

Read more…

Subscribe for the latest in Holistic Health from Enlightened Lotus Wellness Founder, Ellice Campbell, Arapahoe County Holistic Health Examiner @examinercom

Some parenting tactics could lead to materialistic attitudes later in life

Original content comes to us vía Living Well News — ScienceDaily

A new study found that parents who use material goods as part of their parenting techniques may be setting children up for difficulties later in adulthood.

With the holiday season in full swing and presents piling up under the tree, many parents may be tempted to give children all the toys and gadgets they ask for or use the expectation of gifts to manage children’s behavior. Now, a new study from the University of Missouri and the University of Illinois at Chicago found that parents who use material goods as part of their parenting techniques may be setting children up for difficulties later in adulthood.

“Our research suggests that children who receive many material rewards from their parents will likely continue rewarding themselves with material goods when they are grown — well into adulthood — and this could be problematic,” said Marsha Richins, Myron Watkins distinguished professor of marketing in the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business at MU. “Our research highlights the value of examining childhood circumstances and parenting practices to understand consumer behaviors of adults.”

Richins, who completed the study with Lan Chaplin, associate professor of marketing at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Business Administration, found that three parenting strategies led to greater materialism:

  • Rewarding children with gifts when they have accomplished something, such as making the soccer team or getting straight As.
  • Giving gifts as a way to show affection.
  • Punishing children by taking away their possessions, such as a favorite toy or video game.

When parents use material goods in these ways, their children, when grown, are on average more likely to believe that success in life is defined by the quality and number of material goods an individual owns or that acquiring certain products will make them more attractive. According to Richins, previous research has shown that adults who define themselves or others by their possessions are at a much higher risk for marital problems, gambling, financial debt and decreased well-being. Materialism also contributes to environmental degradation due to overconsumption and waste of goods.

“Loving parents tend to provide their children with material rewards,” Richins said. “One explanation for the link between material rewards and later materialism is that children who receive these rewards are more likely than others to use possessions to define and enhance themselves, an essential element of materialism.”

Other aspects of parenting also can have an effect on the development of an adult’s attitude toward material goods. For example, the researchers also found that a relationship existed between parental rejection and materialism. Children who felt that their parents either did not have time for them or were disappointed in them were more likely to be materialistic. Additionally, adults who received both material rewards and material punishments as children are more likely to admire people with expensive possessions.

“It’s OK to want to buy things for your children, but remember to encourage them to be grateful for all the people and things they have in their lives,” Chaplin said. “Each time children express their gratitude, they become more aware of how fortunate they are, which paves the way for them to be more generous and less materialistic. Spend time with your children and model warmth, gratitude and generosity to help curb materialism.”

In their study, Richins and Chaplin surveyed more than 700 adults. The researchers asked respondents to report on a variety of childhood circumstances, their relationship with their parents, and the rewards and punishments they received during three critical stages of childhood.

The study, “Material Parenting: How the Use of Goods in Parenting Fosters Materialism in the Next Generation,” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. “Certain parenting tactics could lead to materialistic attitudes in adulthood.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2014.
Vía Living Well News — ScienceDaily

11 Easy Handmade Christmas Gifts Under $10 #DIY

Make your own gifts under $10.

“ ‘Tis the Season” doesn’t have to mean weekends at the mall and all that conspicuous consumption. Instead of battling for doorbusters, standing in line and wasting money of stuff no one needs, consider making thoughtful handmade Christmas gifts under $10 that won’t require you to try to get approved for a credit card increase.

Gift giving can be a way fun and rewarding experience for both you and those on your gift list when you get off the holiday treadmill and instead make simple handmade gifts. It is the thought that counts and that is certainly the case with these simple ideas for Christmas gifts under $10.

This holiday season, remember to be present because the holidays shouldn’t be about the presents, but should be about spending time with your family, de-stressing and making cookies!

Handmade Christmas Gifts under $10

  1. Easy Wood Slice Coasters – What could be easier than repurposing that tree branch you cut down this fall into useful coasters?
  2. Sharpie Mugs – Turn thrift store mugs into customized works of art for the coffee or tea drinker on your list.
  3. Mason Jar Sewing Kit – This useful project would work for anyone on your list–we all have needed to sew something in a hurry.
  4. Bread in a Jar – Use a mason jar or glass bottle to gift a quick bread mix. Print out the recipe to include with your gift.
  5. Lemon Sugar Scrub – Give the gift of soft skin with this tutorial for homemade lemon sugar scrub.
  6. Photo Votive Candles – Give some memories with this how-to for making decoupaged candle holders.
  7. S’mores Kit – Kids and adults alike love s’mores!
  8. Homemade Heating Pad - Give a gift that will keep on giving all year long.
  9. Keychain Lip Balm Holder – Perfect for anyone who always carries lip balm with them.
  10. Peppermint Lip Balm – And make the lip balm to go along with the holder.
  11. Coffee Liqueur – Make and bottle your own coffee liqueur for the grown-ups on your list.

Related on Organic Authority

5 Holiday Gifts for Under $20

Our Top 25 Foodie Christmas Gifts: Deck the Halls!

13 Clever Ways to Save Money on Christmas Gifts This Year

Top Image:


The post 11 Easy Handmade Christmas Gifts Under $10 appeared first on Organic Authority.

from OrganicAuthority RSS feed

No Worries! Spa Set, Relaxing Bath set added to my Etsy shop!

The newest item added to EnlightenedLotusByEC! Get it for (12.95 USD) @
Our No Worries! Spa set includes the essentials for your personal time out. This set includes our All Natural Relaxing Bath Soak, Luxe Lavender & Hemp Body Polish and our small batch body butter inVetiver & YlangYlang scent. This is the ultimate indulgent treat when a little relaxation is overdue.Our delightful, freshly handmade Luxe Lavender & Hemp Body Polish uses the best quality all natural ingredients to slough away dead skin cells and reveal younger, glowing skin beneath. Our body polishes gently scrub away dirt and impurities while lightly moisturizing with all natural & organic vegetable oils. Scrubs and polishes are recommended for all skin types, especially dry and dull.

Our Relaxing bath soak will enhance any spa or bath experience. All natural bath soaks help set the mood and relax your state of mind. Simply add our naturally therapeutic and fragrant bath salts to your spa or bath to obtain the desired aroma level. While enhancing your spa or bath experience, the therapeutic benefits of our all natural bath soaks will last even longer. Bath salts are an all natural remedy for aches and pains, they help to reduce tension and stress by increasing circulation, and enhance self-healing capabilities while eliminating toxins.

Handmade organic body butter is crafted in small batches to pamper and nourishing even the roughest skin! This organic recipe was formulated to support the health of your skin with essential oils and organic oils and butters. Scented with therapeutic grade Vetiver & Ylang Ylang oils.

If you are still hesitating whether our products are the right match for your daily beauty routine, please, grab a sample first and see yourself how it works!

For your personal time out:

Begin with Bath Salt/Soak:
Add entire contents to warm bath water. Soak for at least 20 minutes to get maximum benefits.

Use the scrub or body polish after skin has softened in the bath:
Sprinkle a small amount of polish/ scrub onto your palm and gently rub over your body in firm, circular, strokes towards the heart. Rinse well with water. Scrub or body polish can be used 3-5 times per week.

Follow with body butter. Enjoy your renewed outlook and super soft skin!

Set includes: Single use bath salts/soak, Sample size scrub/polish, 2 oz body butter

Although my products are formulated for even the most sensitive skin, test a small area to ensure compatibility with your skin. Also, as is recommended with any products containing pure, therapeutic grade essential oils, consult your doctor before use if you have a chronic medical condition or are pregnant or nursing. For more information about products that would be best suited for your particular situation you can always send us a message before ordering.

I am happy to alter any of my recipes to accommodate allergies, medical needs, or personal preference, just send me a message! (Custom orders may result in additional charges)

All of my products are made with care with the best ingredients available, and are free from synthetic ingredients including SLS, parabens, phthalates, and fragrance. We always use therapeutic grade essential oils to ensure quality and consistent results.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Check out our entire selection of holistic lifestyle products, or get something custom made

Family Winners

Thank you to everyone who nominated a family to receive a free Family Physicians Kit. We received over 2,000 nominations, all with extremely deserving families. We are happy to announce that instead of the five families we were originally going to give a kit to, we have decided to give 10 deserving families the gift […]

To begin experiencing dōTERRA Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils simply visit and click shop or to become a Wellness advocate and enjoy all the benefits of membership in dōTERRA international including saving 25% off retail prices, fill out the short form and I will be in touch:! Original content from dōTERRA Blog

Making Room for Essential Oils

Original content from dōTERRA Blog

What an exciting time to be involved with essential oils and modern medicine! The culture of medicine is changing. Traditionally, this has been a paternalistic culture, where a patient goes to the doctor and is told what to do. This model is episodic and reactive. It has been called “the hero approach, where the physician is the only source of knowledge, education, and decision making and everyone else is there to support the physician.” (Building a Team Based Medical Practice,” Medical Economics, Sept. 10, 2013). The culture is not moving toward a patient-centered, team approach focused on the health of a patient.

The team may consist of a counselor, an acupuncturist, a chiropractor, a physician, a health coach, a Wellness Advocate, etc., all surrounding the patient. This structure places the patient as the leader of the team of people interested in maintaining and treating his or her health. The responsibility now rests on the patient- its rightful place. For decades,  physicians shouldered the lion’s share of responsibility for their patients’ health with limited success. But patients and doctors and discovering a better way.

Options to Choose

So why is this exciting? As patients and consumers of health care, we can decide for ourselves what advice we will take and from whom. We can decide what prescriptions we will fill from our doctor’s office and what alternatives we would like to explore. As we take advice from each member of our team, we can assimilate that information and decide what we will and will not do. This does not mean that we become like irresponsible children and begin to think that some members of our team have no value. Rather, it means that we weigh advice and research options, leading us to make insightful decisions regarding our own health.

Essential oils are an obvious part of those choices. My own experience with essential oils started as many of yours did.  My wife and I were enjoy watching movies with our five children. One night she had her head on my chest and could hear my heart beating in a irregular rhythm. This greatly concerned her. I promised that I would have one of my colleagues thoroughly look into this symptom and make sure that that was not going to be a problem for me. After going through several episodes of testing, I was diagnosed with a common irregularity which, thankfully, would not shorten my life. My wife had been doing her own research and suggested one night that I apply Ylang Ylang oil to my chest and feet before we watched a movie together. I was amazed at how quickly I felt my heart assume a normal rhythm  and maintain that for 6-8 hours. I knew then that these oils had the power to alter the physiology of the body. There are times when seeing a physician is the appropriate choice, but often we can maintain our health with educated application, inhalation, or consumption of these amazing gifts of the Earth. Education about our bodies and essential oils can help us determine which choice is right in which circumstance. I also firmly believe that we all have the gift of intuition when it comes to our body.

Role of Essential Oils

As a family medicine physician, I am grateful to have more to offer my patients than just pharmaceuticals. I have found essential oils to be effective for their health and wellness. Education in essential oils has led me to recommend them to patients with increasing frequency. As I study dōTERRA essential oils and blends and avail myself of the ever increasing volume of literature about them, I am continually amazed at the properties possessed by these plants. The depth and breadth of the chemistry within a single oil is mind-blowing! We have just uncovered the tip of the iceberg in understanding what these oils have the ability to give us.

I am often asked by my colleagues in medicine why I feel comfortable recommending therapies that come from plants. As I have begun looking into natural health, I have found many plant-derived medicines that are commonly used. Most physicians prescribe medications such as Colchicine for gout, Digoxin for congestive heart failure, and Scopolamine patches for sea or motion sickness. All of these are plant-derived compounds. The list of prescription medications that come from plats in long and varied. Therefore, most practitioners of traditional western medicine are already prescribing plant-derived medications on a daily basis. The gap is not as wide as we may have imagined and, as physicians, we need to take that small step of utilizing all the resources available to us, including essential oils. I am confident in the standards that dōTERRA has established and am anxious to learn more about the research and application of essential oils.

Dr. Brannick Riggs has been practicing medicine for 13 years. In 2001, he graduated from the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson while receiving some of his training in complementary and alternative medicine. He specializes in family medicine and is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He currently practices in Utah and enjoys using the oils in his home and integrating them into his practice to bless the lives of his patients. Dr. Riggs is partnering with dōTERRA in an effort to provide volunteer service with essential oils and hospice.

*These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. dōTERRA products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. Pregnant or lactating women and persons with known medical conditions should consult a physician prior to the use of any dōTERRA product.

To begin experiencing dōTERRA Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils simply visit and click shop or to become a Wellness advocate and enjoy all the benefits of membership in dōTERRA international including saving 25% off retail prices, fill out the short form and I will be in touch:!

Original content from dōTERRA Blog

Holiday DIY Gift Ideas

Ellice Campbell:

Easy and Healthy essential oil DIYs from my oil business. Cross of those last few gifts on your list

Originally posted on My Oil Business Blog:

There are so many different things you can get for your friends, and family for Christmas. Sometimes it is easy to find gift ideas and other times it is not as simple as we wish it would be. Make this year really easy by making some great gifts yourself for those around you, while using essential oils.

Find a few different recipe ideas below from Bubble Bath to Foaming Hand Soap

Relaxing Bubble Bath:

  • 1/2 cup of Unscented Liquid Castile Soap
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Raw Honey to moisturize and cleanse the skin
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 15-20 drops of your Favorite Essential Oil (Balance & Lavender, Wild Orange & Lavender, Peppermint)
  • 16 oz Glass Jar

Bath Salts:

  • 6oz Glass Jar
  • 1/4 cup Epsom Salt
  •  2 1/2 TBSP Course Sea Salt
  • 2 TBSP Baking Soda
  • 10-12 Drops of Your Favorite Essential Oils (Lavender & Peppermint, Holiday Blend, Eucalyptus & Peppermint)


View original 114 more words

Women’s age at first menstrual cycle linked to heart disease risk stroke, a new study finds

This articles comes to us vía Living Well News — ScienceDaily

The risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure was significantly higher when menstruation began at age 10 or younger, or age 17 or older. First menstrual cycle at the age of 13 posed the lowest risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.

Women who had their first menstrual cycle at age 10 or younger, or age 17 or older, may be at higher risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and complications of high blood pressure, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

Researchers analyzed data collected from 1.3 million women aged 50 to 64 years old, who were mostly white. After over a decade of observation, those women who had their first menstrual cycle at the age of 13 had the least risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.

Compared to women who had their first menstrual cycle at age 13, women with their first menstrual cycle at age 10 or younger, or age 17 or older, had up to:

  • 27 percent more hospitalizations or deaths due to heart disease;
  • 16 percent more hospitalizations or deaths from stroke; and
  • 20 percent more hospitalizations with high blood pressure, or deaths due to its complications.

“The size of our study, the wide range of ages considered, and the vascular diseases being examined made it unique and informative,” said Dexter Canoy, M.D, Ph.D., study lead author and cardiovascular epidemiologist at the Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford in the U.K. “Childhood obesity, widespread in many industrialized countries, is linked particularly to early age at which the first menstrual cycle occurs. Public health strategies to tackle childhood obesity may possibly prevent the lowering of the average age of first menstrual cycle, which may in turn reduce their risk of developing heart disease over the long term.”

The effect of age of the first occurrence of menstruation on heart disease was consistently found among lean, over-weight, and obese women, among never, past or current smokers, and among women in lower, middle, or higher socioeconomic groups.

For the majority of these women, however, their additional risk of developing a vascular disease was small. Of the million women, only four percent of them had their first menstrual cycle occurring at age 10 or younger, and only one percent at age 17 or older.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association.Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Dexter Canoy, Valerie Beral, Angela Balkwill, F. Lucy Wright, Mary E. Kroll, Gillian K. Reeves, Jane Green, and Benjamin J. Cairns. Age at Menarche and Risks of Coronary Heart and Other Vascular Diseases in a Large UK Cohort. Circulation, December 2014 DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.010070

Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. “Women’s age at first menstrual cycle linked to heart disease risk.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 December 2014. <>

Vía Living Well News — ScienceDaily

This Is the Easiest Productivity Hack in the History of Work

Ellice Campbell:

Down with Multitasking! ;)

Originally posted on TIME:

To learn better, hit control-s and “outsource” your remembering.

In a new study, scientists found that people tackling a mental challenge on a computer did a better job if they saved the previous work they had been doing beforehand.

“Saving one file before studying a new file significantly improved memory for the contents of the new file,” the authors write. “Saving has the potential to significantly influence how people learn and remember.”

In a series of experiments, participants were instructed to study two PDF files and remember words it contained. Subjects did a better job remembering material from the second file if they successfully saved the first file before proceeding onto the second one.

“Saving allows us to maintain access to more data and experiences than would be possible otherwise,” says says Benjamin Storm, assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and lead author of the…

View original 288 more words

Essential Oil Spotlight: Frankincense

Renowned as one of the most prized and precious essential oils, Frankincense has extraordinary internal and external health benefits. In addition to its notoriety in the New Testament, the Babylonians and Assyrians would burn Frankincense in religious ceremonies and the ancient Egyptians used Frankincense resin for everything from perfume to salves for skin ailments. This […]

To begin experiencing dōTERRA Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils simply visit and click shop or to become a Wellness advocate and enjoy all the benefits of membership in dōTERRA international including saving 25% off retail prices, fill out the short form and I will be in touch:! Original content from dōTERRA Blog

DIY: Aromatherapy Salt Dough Ornaments and Gift Tags

Adding a personal touch to your presents has never been easier with these aromatherapy salt dough ornaments and gift tags. These ornaments can be given as a wrapping accessory on a present and can then easily be transformed into an ornament for your friends and family to enjoy for many years to come. You can […]

To begin experiencing dōTERRA Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils simply visit and click shop or to become a Wellness advocate and enjoy all the benefits of membership in dōTERRA international including saving 25% off retail prices, fill out the short form and I will be in touch:! Original content from dōTERRA Blog

Brain activity after smokers quit predicts chances of relapsing, suggests study

Quitting smoking sets off a series of changes in the brain that researchers say may better identify smokers who will start smoking again—a prediction that goes above and beyond today’s clinical or behavioral tools for assessing relapse risk.


Reporting in a new study published this week in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, James Loughead, PhD, associate professor of Psychiatry, and Caryn Lerman, PhD, a professor of Psychiatry and director of Penn’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction, found that smokers who relapsed within seven days from their target quit date had specific disruptions in the brain’s working memory system during abstinence that separated them from the group who successfully quit. Such neural activity — mainly a decrease in the part of the brain that supports self-control and a boost in the area that promotes an “introspective” state — could help distinguish successful quitters from those who fail at an earlier stage and serve as a potentially therapeutic target for novel treatments.

“This is the first time abstinence-induced changes in the working memory have been shown to accurately predict relapse in smokers,” said senior author Lerman, who also serves as deputy director of Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center.

The study’s lead author, Loughead, said: “The neural response to quitting even after one day can give us valuable information that could inform new and existing personalized intervention strategies for smokers, which is greatly needed.” Indeed, smoking in the U.S. is at an all-time low in adults; however, there are still 42 million Americans who do smoke, including teenagers and young adults.

In the study, researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to explore the effects of brief abstinence from smoking on working memory and its associated neural activation in 80 smokers seeking treatment. Participants were between 18 and 65 and reported smoking more than 10 cigarettes a day for more than six months.

Two fMRI sessions occurred: one immediately after a person smoked and one 24 hours after abstinence began. Following smoking cessation counseling, participants set a future target quit date. Seven days after the target quit date, participants completed a monitoring visit, during which smoking behavior was accessed, including a urine test. Past research strongly suggests that if a person is tobacco free after seven days, they will likely remain that way for six months, if not longer, and is therefore highly predictive of long-term quitting success.

Sixty one smokers relapsed and 19 quit successfully for this period, the researchers reported.

Those who relapsed had decreased activity in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which controls executive functions, like working memory, compared to those who quit. Working memory is an essential cognitive function necessary for staying focused, blocking distractions, and completing tasks. They also had reduced suppression of activation in the posterior cingulate cortex, a central part of the default mode network of the brain, which is more active when people are in a so-called “introspective” or “self-referential” state.

Past studies have shown relationships between these brain networks. A study inJAMA Psychiatry from Lerman and colleagues published earlier this year showed how smokers suffering from nicotine withdrawal have more trouble shifting from the default mode network into the executive control network, where people can exert more conscious, self-control over cravings and to focus on quitting for good. However, this new study is the first to use that brain activity to help predict relapse in smokers.

Today, there are clinical and behavioral predictors for relapse, including age, the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence and other smoking urges and withdrawal tests, but there is much room for improvement.

In the study, researchers determined predictive values of these two relapse models, as well as a new model that includes the working memory data. Using resampling methods that generate 1,000 replicates of the data from the 80 smokers, they found that incorporating the working memory-related brain activity resulted in an 81 percent correct prediction rate, a significant improvement over current models. Without that data, the prediction values were 73 percent for the model of withdrawal symptoms and demographic/smoking history predictors, and 67 percent for demographic/smoking history predictors only.

While broad implementation of neuroimaging assessment is not currently clinically or economically feasible, these changes in the working memory are potential targets for improved assessment instruments, specifically for early smoking relapse. “In additionpredictive models can identify therapeutic targets for pharmacotherapies or neuroscience-based nonpharmacologic interventions to promote smoking cessation,” they write.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. James Loughead, E Paul Wileyto, Kosha Ruparel, Mary Falcone, Ryan Hopson, Ruben Gur, Caryn Lerman. Working Memory-Related Neural Activity Predicts Future Smoking Relapse. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2014; DOI:10.1038/npp.2014.318

Cite This Page:

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “Brain activity after smokers quit predicts chances of relapsing, suggests study.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2014.

from Neuroscience News — ScienceDaily

Parents play a vital role in molding future scientists, according to research

Parents and family make all the difference in creating the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians, according to new research. The research team surveyed 149 participants in the Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program from classes from 2007 to 2013. This competitive internship attracts top high school and undergraduate students who work on real-world research.


Parents and family make all the difference in creating the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians, according to new research by George Mason University.

“We were surprised to learn that the family is more important than we ever thought in terms of igniting the passion of future scientists,” says Lance Liotta, a study author and co-director of George Mason’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine.

The study, featured today in CBE-Life Sciences Education, is the first peer-reviewed article of its kind to focus on what initially attracts young people to the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The findings could shape public policy and encourage community-centered activities designed to foster a love for science in the pre-teen and preschool crowd, says Amy Adams, director of Mason’s Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program and study co-author, along with Mason researchers Cara L. Frankenfeld, Jessica Bases and Virginia Espina.

The research team surveyed 149 participants in the Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program from classes from 2007 to 2013. This competitive internship attracts top high school and undergraduate students who work alongside Mason professors on real-world research.

The majority — 65.5 percent — said science experiences with a family member or a childhood activity piqued their initial interest. Hands-down, 92.6 percent, of the students said hands-on lab experience cemented their decision to make a career in a STEM field.

Researchers say the message is clear: families play the leading role in building the next generation of scientists who may solve daunting problems facing our society. Only after the family, do schools and even colleges play a supporting role.

“As a mom of three children, I am inspired by the Aspiring Scientists’ recollections of what initially got them interested in science,” Adams says. “When I watch my two-year-old sit in a sea of blocks building creative structures or when his 10-year-old brother is amazed by the results of his chemistry experiment in the kitchen, I recognize, more than ever, that experiences like these may shape their interests in the future.”

Liotta says the holiday season is a great time to play.

“I have four grandchildren and love to work on science projects with them during the holidays and on summer vacations,” Liotta says. “Among many of the fun memories, we have made autonomous robots and held robot wars at Thanksgiving. We have also tested new micro airplanes and radio-controlled butterflies, and studied the behavior of cicadas.”

The researchers recommend science gifts for the holiday season to help fuel the imagination of future scientists. Family activities are another way to inspire future scientists, the researchers say.

“Parents who see the spark of science talent in their kids should reinforce that talent through family projects and nature walks,” says College of Science Dean Peggy Agouris.

Cool Science-Inspired Gifts:

  • Biology/Medicine: microscope, human body anatomy toy, insect farm, DNA extraction kit
  • Chemistry: slime lab kit, crystal-growing kit, chemistry set
  • Astronomy/Space Exploration: telescope, meteorite excavation kit
  • Environment/Weather: alternative energy kit, weather lab
  • Physics/Engineering: blocks, electrical circuits, robotics

Family Fun Things to Do During Winter Break

  • Visit a museum
  • Watch science-inspired television shows
  • Perform hands-on science experiments at home
  • Attend a science camp, class or party
  • Visit a nature park
  • Read science-inspired books
  • Play with interactive science apps
  • Practice coding skills with free online tools

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by George Mason University. The original article was written by Michele McDonald. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. A. VanMeter-Adams, C. L. Frankenfeld, J. Bases, V. Espina, L. A. Liotta.Students Who Demonstrate Strong Talent and Interest in STEM Are Initially Attracted to STEM through Extracurricular Experiences. Cell Biology Education, 2014; 13 (4): 687 DOI: 10.1187/cbe.13-11-0213

Cite This Page:

George Mason University. “Parents play vital role in molding future scientists, research shows.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 December 2014.

Vía Living Well News — ScienceDaily

Obesity may shorten life expectancy up to eight years, according to new research

Tis the season to indulge. However, restraint may be best according to a new study. Credit: © TAGSTOCK2 / Fotolia

Tis the season to indulge. However, restraint may be best, according to a new study led by investigators at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and McGill University. The researchers examined the relationship between body weight and life expectancy. Their findings show that overweight and obese individuals have the potential to decrease life expectancy by up to 8 years. The study, published in the current issue of The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, further demonstrates that when one considers that these individuals may also develop diabetes or cardiovascular disease earlier in life, this excess weight can rob them of nearly two decades of healthy life.

“In collaboration with researchers from the University of Calgary and the University of British Columbia our team has developed a computer model to help doctors and their patients better understand how excess body weight contributes to reduced life expectancy and premature development of heart disease and diabetes,” says lead author Dr. Steven Grover, a Clinical Epidemiologist at the RI-MUHC and a Professor of Medicine at McGill University.

Diabetes and cardiovascular disease: the predictors of health

Dr. Grover and his colleagues used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (from years 2003 to 2010) to develop a model that estimates the annual risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in adults with different body weights. This data from almost 4,000 individuals was also used to analyze the contribution of excess body weight to years of life lost and healthy years of life lost.

Their findings estimated that individuals who were very obese could lose up to 8 years of life, obese individuals could lose up to 6 years, and those who were overweight could lose up to three years. In addition, healthy life-years lost were two to four times higher for overweight and obese individuals compared to those who had a healthy weight, defined as 18.5-25 body mass index (BMI). The age at which the excess weight accumulated was an important factor and the worst outcomes were in those who gained their weight at earlier ages.

“The pattern is clear — the more an individual weighs and the younger their age, the greater the effect on their health,” Dr. Grover adds. “In terms of life-expectancy, we feel being overweight is as bad as cigarette smoking.”

The next steps are to personalize this information in order to make it more relevant and compelling for patients. “What may be interesting for patients are the ‘what if?’ questions. What if they lose 10 to 15 pounds? Or, what if they are more active? How will this change the numbers?” says Dr. Grover. The research team is now conducting a three year study in community pharmacies across the country to see if engaging patients with this information and then offering them a web-based e-health program will help them adopt healthier lifestyles, including healthier diets and regular physical activity.

“These clinically meaningful models are useful for patients, and their healthcare professionals, to better appreciate the issues and the benefits of a healthier lifestyle, which we know is difficult for many of us to adopt and maintain, Dr. Grover adds.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University Health Centre.Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Steven A Grover, Mohammed Kaouache, Philip Rempel, Lawrence Joseph, Martin Dawes, David C W Lau, Ilka Lowensteyn. Years of life lost and healthy life-years lost from diabetes and cardiovascular disease in overweight and obese people: a modelling study. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 2014; DOI:10.1016/S2213-8587(14)70229-3

Cite This Page:

McGill University Health Centre. “Obesity may shorten life expectancy up to eight years.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2014.

Vía Living Well News — ScienceDaily

A Warm and Healthy Chili Recipe with Grass-Fed Beef, Chickpea, and Butternut Squash

Image by Kimberley Stakal

When winter’s chill sets in and all you want for dinner is something hearty and wholesome, reach for this healthy chili recipe.

It has a bit of everything to make it a complete meal: protein, fiber, and nutrient-dense vegetables—and has a wonderfully subtle air of piney rosemary and spice. This grass-fed beef, chickpea, and butternut squash chili recipe will bring comforting warmth to even your chilliest of evenings this season.

Healthy Chili Recipe with Grass-Fed Beef, Chickpeas and Butternut Squash

Makes about 4 servings


2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/3 pound ground grass-fed beef
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ cups cooked, mashed butternut squash or 1 (15-ounce) carton butternut squash puree
1 ½ cups chopped fresh tomatoes or 1 (15-ounce) carton chopped tomatoes
1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas or 1 (15-ounce) carton chickpeas
2 cups water or broth
½ cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium stockpot over medium. Add beef and cook until browned, stirring, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from stockpot with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl; set aside.

Drain stockpot and add the remaining tablespoon oil; add onion and cook until softened and light golden, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary, pumpkin spice, and salt; cook until just fragrant, stirring, about 1 minute.

Add butternut squash puree, tomatoes, chickpeas, water, and reserved beef to stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until mixture is thickened, about 30 minutes.

Stir in fresh parsley and serve warm.

Related on Organic Authority

Make this Vegetarian Chili Recipe in an Hour with a Pressure Cooker

Warm Up With a Seasonal Pumpkin Chili Recipe

Grass-Fed Bison Chili with Shiitake Mushrooms

Image by Kimberley Stakal


The post A Warm and Healthy Chili Recipe with Grass-Fed Beef, Chickpea, and Butternut Squash appeared first on Organic Authority.

from OrganicAuthority RSS feed

Happiness hormone helps with math rules as well as mood

Rule-applying neurons work better under the influence of the happy hormone, researchers have found. The chemical messenger dopamine – otherwise known as the happiness hormone – is important not only for motivation and motor skills. It seems it can also help neurons with difficult cognitive tasks, they report.

Nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex (marked) can process “greater than” and “less than” rules better under the influence of dopamine. Credit: LS Tierphysiologie/University of Tübingen


The chemical messenger dopamine – otherwise known as the happiness hormone – is important not only for motivation and motor skills. It seems it can also help neurons with difficult cognitive tasks. Torben Ott, Simon Jacob and Professor Andreas Nieder of Tübingen’s Institute for Neurobiology have demonstrated for the first time how dopamine influences brain cells while processing rules. The research is published in the early online edition of Neuron.

The effects of dopamine become very clear when the brain gets too little of it, as is the case with Parkinson’s disease. A dopamine imbalance leads to varied neurological disruptions – particularly movement – but also mental abilities. Our key cognitive center, the prefrontal cortex, which we use for abstract thought, rule-based decisions and logical conclusions, is intensively supplied with dopamine. Despite its major medical significance, we know little about dopamine’s effects on information processing by neurons in the healthy brain.

To test this, the researchers trained rhesus monkeys to solve “greater than” and “less than” math problems. From other recent studies, the researchers knew that certain neurons in the prefrontal cortex answer such questions – one half of these “rule cells” was only activated when the “greater than” rule applied, and the other half was only activated when the “less than” rule applied.

Meanwhile, physiologically small amounts of various substances were being discharged near the relevant cells. These substances can have the same effect as dopamine – or the opposite effect – and could be adsorbed by dopamine-sensitive neurons. The surprising result was that stimulation of the dopamine system allowed the “rule cells” to perform better and to more clearly distinguish between the “greater than” and “less than” rules. Dopamine had a positive effect on the “rule cells’” quality of work.

The study provides new insight into how dopamine influences abstract thought processes needed, for instance, to apply simple mathematical rules. “With these findings, we are just starting to understand how nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex produce complex, goal-directed behavior,” says Ott. Along with a better understanding of the foundations of information processing in this important part of the brain, the results could have medical significance. “These new insights help us to better interpret the effects of certain medicines which may be used for instance in cases of severe psychological disturbance,” says Professor Nieder, “because such medications influence the dopamine balance in the prefrontal cortex in ways we do not understand well to date.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universitaet Tübingen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Torben Ott, Simon Nikolas Jacob, Andreas Nieder. Dopamine Receptors Differentially Enhance Rule Coding in Primate Prefrontal Cortex Neurons.Neuron, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.11.012

Cite This Page:

Universitaet Tübingen. “Dopamine helps with math rules as well as mood.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2014.

from Perception News — ScienceDaily

Awareness. Education. Motivation.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,883 other followers