Jules Howard, writing in The Guardian »
The good news, at face value, is this: if you are looking for proof that having a pet improves your general health, the evidence abounds. For instance, there is plenty about how a bout of pet-stroking can lower your heart rate (and the pet’s), easing your body into a less stressed condition. This seems to apply across the spectrum, from dogs and cats to snakes and goats. And there’s more. There’s evidence from Germany and Australia (sample size: 10,000) that pet-owners make fewer visits to the doctor and, from China, that pet-owners sleep more soundly than those who aren’t. Just last week, the American Heart Association reported that the survival prospects for people who have had heart attacks and strokes are better in dog-owners than in those who are not.
If we were able to put all these pros and cons into a melting pot and come up with a definitive answer to the question of whether or not pets are good for us, what would the answer be? The answer would be … complicated. Because humans and our circumstances are so universally mixed up and complex. The simple truth is that having a pet has good and bad sides, and it may not be for everyone. Which means we have a duty to think carefully before acquiring one. We need to imagine the good times we might have with a pet and to consider the bad times, too: the insecurity, the grumpiness in old age, the infirmity.
Read the whole article at The Guardian »
Exercise training and increased physical activity are effective for both prevention and treatment of depression, concludes research published in the Current Sports Medicine Reports, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.
“The evidence of the use of physical activity and exercise for the management of depression is substantial and growing fast,”comment Felipe Barretto Schuch, PhD, of Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Brazil, and Brendon Stubbs, PhD, of King’s College London, lead authors of the special ‘Exercise Is Medicine’ article. “Despite this substantial evidence, the incorporation of exercise as a key component in treatment is often inconstant and often given a low priority.” Continue reading
Dog ownership is associated with a 33% lower risk of early death for heart attack survivors living alone and 27% reduced risk of early death for stroke survivors living alone, compared to people who did not own a dog.
Dog ownership was also associated with a 24% reduced risk of all-cause mortality and a 31% lower risk of death by heart attack or stroke compared to non-owners.
Anne Harding, writing for Reuters »
Overall, dog owners were 24% less likely to die over the next decade than non-dog owners. People who’d suffered a heart attack or other cardiovascular event had a 65% reduced risk of dying over the next decade if they owned a dog. Dog ownership reduced overall mortality from cardiovascular causes by 31%.
Increased physical activity plays a key role in the cardiovascular benefits of dog ownership, said Kramer, noting that her own step count has climbed “sky high” since she adopted Romeo, an energetic miniature schnauzer that she walks at least three times a day.
Read more at Reuters »
More » CNN, Science Daily, USA Today
Robby Berman, writing for Big Think »
- For simplicity and speed, parents may employ untruths as conversation-enders and to coerce desirable behavior using empty threats.
- Telling kids not to lie while modeling contrary behavior is, not surpassingly, a problem.
- Lying as an adult is just one of the issues lied-to children exhibit as grownups.
Read more at Big Think »
Ashley Lyles at MedPage Today writes »
“The findings suggest that a mindset of optimism is associated with lower cardiovascular risk and that promotion of optimism and reduction in pessimism may be important for preventive health,” the authors wrote.
These findings are consistent with a growing and large literature showing that optimism in particular, and psychological well-being in general, have an independent association with cardiovascular and overall health outcomes, wrote Jeff Huffman, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, in an accompanying editorial.
Read more »
More » Reuters
The review data, collected and analyzed by researchers Charles Hall and Melinda Knuth at Texas A&M University and published in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture, supports the notion that living in or near green spaces, and spending as much time as possible in both natural settings and cultivated gardens, can improve mood, reduce the negative effects of stress, encourage physical activity and other positive behaviors, improve cognition, reduce aggression, and enhance overall well-being in people of all ages under many different circumstances.
Specifically, the researchers found that people who surround themselves with plant life and other forms of natural beauty, indoors and out, experience emotional and mental health benefits that have a positive impact on their social, psychological, physical, cognitive, environmental, and spiritual well-being,
» Read more at Psychology Today…
Saumya Joseph, writing for Reuters »
Researchers examined more than 1,700 adults in the Czech Republic and found that dog owners tended to be younger, female and more likely to smoke than people with different pets or with no companion animals. Yet the dog owners were also more active, had better levels of blood fat and blood sugar, and were less likely to be obese, giving them an overall better cardiovascular health profile than the rest.
“If you’re thinking about getting a pet, getting a dog will likely help you with your cardiovascular health goals. This should be a point that will help you make that decision,” said coauthor Dr. Jose Medina-Inojosa of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Dog owners are known to engage in more physical activity and are more likely to have regular exercise habits than those without dogs, the study authors note in Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Innovations, Quality and Outcomes. These benefits were recognized in a 2013 statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) that linked owning a pet, especially a dog, with lower risk of heart disease.
Read more »
A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that where low-income people live plays a key role in their health. Stanford Health Policy’s Maria Polyakova, PhD, and Lynn Hua, a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, found that older, low-income Americans tend to be healthier if they live in more affluent areas of the country.
Not only are they healthier, but their physical well-being is better across the board with a lower prevalence of dozens of chronic conditions, particularly if they live in rural communities. This, despite their income having less purchasing power in those better-resourced neighborhoods.
» Read more from Beth Duff-Brown at Stanford Medicine…
The team say that once factors such as body mass index, diet, physical activity, smoking and education were taken into account, that translates to a 17% higher risk of death among those consuming two glasses a day compared with those drinking less than one glass a month.
The trend was seen for both sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened beverages. Similar results were seen for both men and women.
While sugary drinks have previously been linked to obesity, the researchers say that did not fully explain the association of high consumption with an increased risk of death.
When the team looked at specific causes of death they found frequent consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks was associated with a higher risk of death from circulatory diseases, while sugar-sweetened soft drinks were associated with a higher risk of death from digestive disease. Soft drinks overall were also associated with a greater risk of death from Parkinson’s disease.
» Read more of the article by Nicola Davis at The Guardian…
» Updated Sept 6 » Read Death by Diet Soda? by Andrew Jacobs at the NY Times…
Rachael Turner, writing for Country Life »
Research published by Mayo Clinic has found keeping a pet is associated with better cardiovascular health, especially if that animal is a dog.
The study examined the association of pet ownership with cardiovascular disease risk factors.
‘In general, people who owned any pet were more likely to report more physical activity, better diet and blood sugar at ideal level,’ said researcher Andrea Maugeri. ‘The greatest benefits from having a pet were for those who owned a dog, independent of their age, sex and education level.’
Read more at Country Life »