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Beyond Sadness

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With the traumatic suicidal losses of well- known Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain this year, depression is rightly considered as a major chronic disorder that needs extra attention from the public. Mental illness often gets pushed aside if there are no apparent symptoms that can be physically observed. That is why a greater emphasis must be placed on depression, and that the symptoms are not taken lightly as just “sadness”.

Though the neurotransmitter serotonin, which affects mood and emotions, is commonly associated with this disorder, the main causes are genetics and experiences. Depression is categorized as a feeling of hopelessness, lack of energy, and displeasure in prior enjoyable experiences. Without treatment, this chronic disease can hinder a person’s ability to function normally on a daily basis. Other side effects are appetite changes, loss of energy and sleep, and thoughts of suicide.

Run for the Cure

Luckily, this illness is treatable, and about 80-90% people respond positively to treatment. There are medication and antidepressants to modify a person’s brain chemistry but could be unsubstantial most of the time. Other treatments such as psychotherapy could treat more severe cases to talk through emotional difficulties.

A major type of treatment that tends to be overlooked is the impact of physical activity. Regular exercise eases depression by releasing endorphins, which are natural chemicals to help your body feel good and earn a better sense of well- being. Other than its ability to improve cardiovascular disease and lung disease, high- intensity activity helps to support nerve cell growth and connections in the hippocampus, which relieves depression. Moreover, it helps the individual to gain confidence, engage in more social interaction, and manage in a healthier way that doesn’t involve alternative drug dosages. Having at least 30 minutes of physical exercise 3-5 days a week can significantly improve depression or anxiety symptoms. This self- care method will have long-term effects, and there are great ways to improve your health with such simple remedies. 

It’s important to keep in mind that progress may not be linear. There is no single pill or dose that could magically treat the patient until they feel whole again. With about 1 in 5 people who have a mental health condition, that means everyone is unique and so is their mental illness. It is a common and growing topic that we all must realize so that we can potentially save someone’s life.

 

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Alzheimers

Is Bad Oral Hygiene Connected with Alzheimer’s Disease?

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Alzheimer’s a neuronal disease that progressively forms plaques and tangles to healthy brain cells and eventually dies. This unfortunate disease affects 47 million people worldwide and there is currently no cure. However, research findings have presented that there is hope.

A new study in the Journal Science Advances found a correlation between the high amounts of bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalism, and the effect on brain deterioration. This bacteria is associated with gum disease and researchers found toxic enzymes produced by it.

Experiments were done on mice that showed early- stage Amnesia had a significantly higher infection of P.gingivalis and amyloid plaques in their brains compared to normal brains. Note that this evidence is only a lead of how gum disease and Alzheimer’s are correlated, but not a matter of causation.

Photo by Amauri Acosta Montiel on Unsplash

This is the first time in research that showed these enzymes can kill neurons, and now there is clinical research ongoing to develop a drug that could clear this bacterial infection. However, there are multiple other factors such as genetics and lifestyle that need to be considered before confirming the true diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

In other words, there is still ambiguity on knowing whether gum disease increases the risk of Alzheimer’s or if people with dementia incur gum disease because of poor oral care. Hopefully, the discovery of a new therapy could one day be the cure to treat humans as the brain and human bacterium plays a central role in development.  

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A-Z

Did You Hear About the Woman Who Cannot Hear Men’s Voices?

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Remember all the times your parents might have told you not to blast the music so loud? Well, they are right. Surrounding yourself in a noisy environment could eventually lead to a loss of hearing over time, and can increase the possibility for other auditory loss symptoms.

Last week, a woman named Ms. Chen from China was diagnosed with a rare disease called reverse-slope hearing loss. As mentioned first on Daily Mail, she woke up one morning and was unable to hear her own boyfriend’s voice.

This condition affects only about 3,000 people in the U.S. and Canada and is a genetic condition that is unfortunately untreatable. This disease affected the fluid surrounding inner hair cells and was potentially triggered by a sudden viral infection.

The patient is unable to hear low-pitched voices and can only listen to women’s voices that are naturally higher pitched. Also, these patients are unable to hear vowels, which have a low pitch energy that our eardrums cannot perceive.

There is a slight hope if the ear, nose, throat (ENT) specialist could catch the condition overnight and provide a steroid injection, but most conditions are permanent. The patient revealed that she has been under large amounts of stress which may have caused it.

More Information on Reverse- Slope Hearing Loss (RSHL)

This hearing loss mostly affects low-frequency audible noises. It is caused by a dominant gene that affects the inner hair cells, which send messages from outside sounds to the brain.  

Some symptoms include difficulty understanding speech and men’s volume. It is difficult to hear low tuned environmental noises such as the refrigerator humming. Many people who use a hearing aid utilize it to hear higher frequency noises, so it would not be an effective tool for people diagnosed with RSHL. People with this disorder require a different amplification so that they would need different settings.

Photo from Pexels

This rare disease is difficult to treat because not many physicians have encountered this disorder. Although the symptoms are not severe, it is critical to hear low environmental noises, such as a car heading towards you.

There are some starting points to treat RSHL, such as using a digital, multichannel, nonlinear hearing aid. This would amplify lower frequency settings at a level that is comfortable for the patient.

Reference: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6574093/Woman-unable-hear-voices-men-pick-higher-frequency-tones-females.html

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Stress

What is evening stress and why should we beware of it?

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When we experience stress, it can often lead to a series of hormones being released in the body. New studies have suggested that we actually have a vulnerability to stress as the day progresses. Our body may actually react more strongly to acute psychological stress in the evening compared to stress that we might experience in the morning.

Studies conducted by Japan’s Hokkaido University are suggesting that even with normal work hours and sleeping habits, we react differently to acute psychological stress later on into the evening. In a study conducted on 27 healthy young volunteers as they went about their normal routine, it was determined that hypersonic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis changes occurred, leading to different responses for acute stress as the day progressed.

The HPA axis connects directly to the central nervous system and endocrine system in the body. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone that gets released every few hours when the HPA gets activated due to a stressful event. Stressful events will directly provide us with energy and activate a fight-or-flight response. The circadian clock within our body can actually work to maximize these responses and make sure that a fight-or-flight response can get supercharged during specific hours of the day.

Throughout the experience, the research team worked to measure the cortisol levels in volunteers at their baseline when they first woke up. Volunteers were divided into two groups where one group was exposed to stress in the morning and another group was exposed to stress in the evening, around 10 hours after they’d been awake.

Volunteers that were taking the test in the evening continued to experience a much higher heart rate than individuals that were taking the test in the morning. It seemed as though the participants that were exposed to stress in the morning had a much easier time activating their HPA axis within the sympathetic nervous system. Individuals that were exposed to stress in the evening experienced a vulnerability in preventing extreme stress within their system.

The largest issue with evening stress now that we know we are susceptible to it and that it can prevent sleep. When we get worked up before it’s time for our bodies to go to sleep, it often leads to fits of insomnia and issues when it comes to sleeping. As we know that our biological clock can have a large effect on our ability to manage stress, the more time that we continue to change our city and rhythm and go without sleep, the worse our reaction to stress can be.

If you have ever felt extremely frazzled as a result of several days of not sleeping, you have likely experienced this connection in action yourself. Recognizing that we can be more susceptible to stress in the evening can help us prepare our schedules accordingly. If you have some stressful activities planned for the day, it could be a wise idea to schedule these actions for the morning where your body can be better equipped to handle the extra stress.

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