- 12 Ways to Burn Fat Without Setting Foot In the Gym
- The New Bottom Line on Your Daily Aspirin
- The 2017 TED Prize Winner Is Raj Panjabi
- What You Need to Know About Magic Mushrooms and Depression
- I Took A Psychedelic Drug for My Cancer Anxiety. It Changed My Life
- Just One Dose of This Psychedelic Drug Can Ease Anxiety
- Smoking to Be Prohibited in Public Housing Developments Nationwide
Posted: 01 Dec 2016 08:04 AM PST
Have you been skipping the gym lately? No biggie—as long as you stay active in other ways. “A lot of people skip workouts completely when the holidays get busy and promise they’ll exercise in January,” says Mike Donavanik, a personal trainer in Los Angeles. “But it’s that much harder to motivate when you’ve skipped the gym for two-plus weeks.” While you don’t have to maintain your exact same exercise routine, keeping your body in motion will help you balance out the indulgences and start the year strong. To help you do that on the quick, we’ve rounded up a dozen research-backed ways to get more out of your workouts and improve your metabolism.
Start the day with exercise
Before you scarf down meal number one, get moving: Working out first thing in the morning can help you lose 20 percent more fat than exercising after breakfast, according to a 2013 study in the British Journal of Nutrition. For a quick sweat session, try this fat-burning HIIT workout that includes challenging moves like squat jumps and lunges, but can still be done in the comfort of your living room. The best part? It takes just 10 minutes to complete.
Move on up
Take a 10-minute break from your busy day of present wrapping or online shopping to walk up and down the stairs in your house or apartment, and you’ll say goodbye to about 100 calories, says Donavanik. You’ll also feel less tense and cramped. Want to maximize your calorie burning potential? Run up and down those stairs instead and you’ll zap the same number of calories in half the time.
Health.com: 25 Surprising Ways to Lose Weight
Keep it short
Usually work out for 30 minutes? Exercise for a third of that—but go hard! “An intense 10 minutes jump-starts your metabolic furnace and equals about 20 or 30 minutes at a moderate intensity,” says Jordan Metzl, MD, author of Dr. Jordan Metzl’s Workout Prescription. If you can’t spare the full 10 minutes, you can sweat for even less time: According to a 2013 study from Colorado State University, exercising for just 2 ½ minutes at a high intensity (think running or biking sprints) can help you burn 200 more calories over the rest of the day.
Take a long winter’s nap
If you’re actively watching your weight this season, know this: Research from the University of Chicago found that dieters lost 55% less fat when they slept for 5½ hours than when they slept for 8½ hours. To settle into slumber more easily, avoid lit screens, food and, yes, booze for a full two hours before bed, and fill your plate with foods that help you fall asleep earlier in the night (think cherries, jasmine rice, and bananas).
Going for a jog before a night out is a great way to crush calories, but if you strength train, you’ll continue to burn fat post-workout. To maximize the afterburn, do “weight-bearing exercises involving the most muscle mass,” such as mountain climbers, push-ups, and lunges, advises Len Kravitz, PhD, program coordinator of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.
Take a walk
Stroll around the block for 15 minutes and you’ll torch nearly three times as many calories as you would by sitting for the same amount of time, says a new study in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health. Plus, walking after a big holiday meal will help aid digestion. In the mood for a longer stroll? These three 40-minute walking workouts from celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak will help you burn even more calories.
Health.com: 7 Proven Ways to Keep Off Holiday Pounds
Pick up the pace
“Speed is key—move, walk, or run a little faster and you’ll burn more total calories,” says Kravitz. In fact, changing up your walking pace quickly and frequently can help you melt up to 20% more calories, compared with maintaining a constant speed, according to a 2015 study from Ohio State University. Try speeding up for 30 seconds, then walking at a comfy pace for three minutes.
Yes, you can dance your way slim! Grooving hard while celebrating with pals can blast even more calories than running, swimming, or cycling, per recent research from the University of Brighton in England. Dancing for an hour can burn anywhere from 200 and 600 calories, while also helping to build strength, increase flexibility, and even slow the aging process.
This winter, just say no to snowblowers: “Shovel your driveway and maybe your neighbor’s, too—because holiday cheer—and you’ll burn more than 400 calories in an hour,” says Donavanik.
Try on Tabata
For this lightning-fast Tabata workout, pick four total-body moves (plank jacks, jump squats, etc.). Do one for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then do it again. Continue to the next move and repeat. The routine is just four minutes long—and you’ll torch 13½ calories a minute and double your calorie burn for half an hour afterward, per research from Auburn University in Alabama.
Shake a leg
Enjoying a holiday movie binge? During commercials, stand up, pace and fidget. Mayo Clinic research shows that doing this can crush an extra 350 calories over the course of a day. Also good: This can help counteract the negative effects of sitting down for long periods of time.
Don’t forget to laugh often
This season is all about joy. Find yours and share some laughs with your family and friends. Doing so for 10 to 15 minutes can burn as many as 40 calories. Imagine an entire day filled with giggles—the good times and calorie blasting will surely add up.
Posted: 01 Dec 2016 05:00 AM PST
Aspirin can be a life saver; it can reduce the risk of further heart attacks in people who have already had one and lower the risk of certain cancers.
That encouraging data led people to ask if the over-the-counter drug could also help prevent heart problems and cancer in the first place. In the latest study on the subject, published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers led by Dr. David Agus at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine report that for older people, daily aspirin can lower the risk of heart attack and some cancers while leading to a longer life.
The model for the study is based on national databases about various health factors, from cancer incidence to rates of other chronic diseases, as well as body mass index and how functional people remain as they get older. The model also incorporates costs of health care for an aging population, and found that broader use of aspirin could save hundreds of thousands of lives and $692 billion in health care costs.
The results are the latest in the debate over whether aspirin should be used in healthy people to prevent a first heart attack, stroke, cancer or other health problem. Because aspirin helped prevent second heart attacks in people with heart disease, at first doctors recommended that those at high risk for heart problems start taking a low dose of aspirin every day. (At 80mg, that dose was much lower than the pain-killing doses that are typically three to four times higher.) Aspirin is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, and researchers believe it can reduce the inflammation that can trigger heart attacks. In the case of cancer, the inflammation can cause damage that promotes abnormal cells like tumors to grow.
But in 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deemed that such preventive doses in otherwise healthy people produced more risk than benefit. Aspirin, which works to reduce inflammation, activates enzymes that can irritate stomach and intestinal tissues, causing ulcers and bleeding. For people who haven’t yet had a heart attack, therefore, the FDA determined that the risk of such side effects were too great compared to the potential benefit they might get.
The American Heart Association (AHA) and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a government-appointed panel of experts that studies large health questions, also have concerns about the drug’s side effects. But they continue to recommend the medication for a specific group of people who have not yet had a heart attack but who are at higher risk for one. They call for calculating an individual’s specific risk of developing heart disease in the next 10 years, based on a number of factors including their age, family history of heart trouble, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Despite that advice, however, 40% of men and 10% of women who fit those criteria and should be taking aspirin are not, according to the latest study. The authors also predict that if everyone who meets the conditions would take the drug as recommended, an estimated 900,000 more people would be alive by 2036. That’s because for every 1,000 people, 11 cases of heart disease and four cases of cancer would be averted.
So should everyone over age 50 start taking daily low-dose aspirin in order to live longer? Agus and his team also predicted what would happen under this scenario. The benefits of the drug have to be weighed against the fact that people who may avoid heart disease and add more years to their lives may also be more likely to develop cancer, diabetes or a disease of aging. The side effects of intestinal bleeding also have to be considered.
Still, Agus argues that at the very least, people who currently meet recommended criteria for taking aspirin—including those who are at higher risk of heart problems—should be taking the medication. “No matter how you look at it, the benefits are there. With [everyone taking it] the results are tempered, because other diseases happen, but clearly there is still benefit.”
The findings should push more people toward the AHA and USPSTF advice, which calls for people to discuss with their doctor their individual risk and benefit ratio, rather than deciding that aspirin is or isn’t right for them based on the drug’s label. “We can’t tell everybody over 50 what they should do,” says Agus. “The role of the physician is to explain risk and benefit and together with the patient make a decision.”
Posted: 01 Dec 2016 05:00 AM PST
Dr. Raj Panjabi is not your ordinary doctor. He’s a Harvard Medical School instructor, a doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a TIME 100 Most Influential People honoree for his work on Ebola in rural Liberia, and now, he’s the 2017 winner of the coveted TED Prize.
Every year since 2005, the nonprofit TED has issued an annual prize, providing honorees with $1 million to accomplish their “wish”—a powerful, world-changing idea of their choosing. Previous honorees include Bono and chef Jamie Oliver. Panjabi says he will work on refining his wish with the TED team, and will announce his vision at the 2017 TED Conference in April.
At the age of 9, Panjabi, fled civil war in his home country of Liberia to the United States. He returned to Liberia in 2005 nearly two decades later as a doctor, and used funds he received as a wedding gift to launch Last Mile Health, an organization that trains and equips people to become health care workers and provide for their communities in Liberia. When Panjabi arrived in Liberia in 2005, there were only 51 doctors to serve nearly its 4 million people. For perspective, that’s as if the entire city of Washington, DC, had only 8 doctors.
“People were dying from conditions that they shouldn’t in the 21st century, like pneumonia and childbirth,” says Panjabi in an interview with TIME. “They would die anonymously.”
Today, thanks in large part to his work, the country has hundreds of health workers and is on it’s way to training and employing over 4,000.
The award is granted each year to an exceptional person with the means to tackle a global problem.
“I feel shocked and humbled,” says Panjabi, whose ultimate goal is to provide medical care to “everyone, everywhere, every day.”
“We look for an individual and issue that in our opinion will experience a tipping moment in the year ahead,” says TED Prize director Anna Verghese. “Raj is incredibly wise and compassionate, and he’s created something really successful. He’s dignifying the role of the community health worker, and the prize will really accelerate the progress.”
Health care workers trained and supported by Last Mile Health were critical in helping snuff out the devastating Ebola outbreak that began in 2014. The organization trained 1,300 community health workers who offered care and logistics during the outbreak, particularly in reaching people outside of city centers which weren’t easily reached by already scant resources.
Now, the group is working with the Liberia Ministry of Health to launch a National Community Health Assistance Program that will train and employ more than 4,000 community health workers throughout the country. In 2016, Last Mile Health’s community health workers conducted over 42,000 patient visits, including treatment of 22,000 cases of malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea in children.
A 2015 report by Last Mile Health, the World Bank and others shows that every dollar invested in community health workers in sub-Saharan Africa results in an economic return of $10. More health care workers means fewer people have untreated infectious diseases, for instance, and they miss fewer days of work. Of course, sub-Saharan Africa isn’t the only place that can benefit.
“Coming after the election it’s clear that rural America has an economic crisis and a health care crisis,” says Panjabi, adding that thousands of jobs could be created if a similar initiative was put into place stateside.
“Being a physician taught me that we are not defined by the crises in our lives,” says Panjabi. “We are defined by how we respond.” Currently, 1 billion people worldwide live without access to health care because they live too far away from clinics and physicians—a gap Last Mile Health endeavors to narrow.
“There is so much to be done,” says Panjabi. “The healthier we keep our communities, the more productive they will be. Morally, it’s the right thing to do.”
Posted: 30 Nov 2016 09:01 PM PST
Tripping on magic mushrooms may come with some mental health benefits. On Thursday, two separate studies found impressive effects of the psychedelic drug psilocybin on people with cancer. They found that the drug substantially reduced feelings of depression and anxiety, and the effects from a single dose lasted for six months.
Here’s what you should know about the new science of psilocybin:
What is it?
Psilocybin is a compound from magic mushrooms that can change a person’s emotions and perceptions. For thousands of years psilocybin and other similar compounds have been used in healing and spiritual practices to induce altered mind states. Significant research has also been done on the potential medical uses for the drug, including easing mental health disorders like anxiety and addiction.
What did the new reports find?
The two studies were published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, and both looked at people who had cancer or were in remission. They found that the drug significantly reduced cancer-related anxiety and depression for up to six months. In the Johns Hopkins study, 83% of the people reported increases in their well-being and life satisfaction, and 67% of the people said the trial was one of the top five most meaningful experiences in their life.
What does it feel like to be on psilocybin?
The experience can be very individual, but several people described scenarios where they felt intense love. Dinah Bazer, one of the trial participants, says she saw her fear as a black mass inside her, and she screamed at it to get out. It disappeared. “I began to feel like I was floating in the instrumental music playing from the headphones I had on, and I started to feel love,” she said. “I felt like I was being bathed in love and it was overwhelming, amazing, wonderful. I kept floating and floating.” You can read her full account here.
Why does it work?
Researchers don’t yet have a definitive answer for how psilocybin works, but some evidence suggests it activates parts of the brain that are impacted by serotonin, which can play a role in anxiety, mood and depression.
If I take it recreationally, will it have the same effect?
The researchers don’t recommend it. The trial was a very controlled environment, where people were able to lie down for several hours while they experienced the trip. Multiple investigators were in the room monitoring patients the entire time and were available if they felt scared or needed help.
What do doctors think about it?
Several experts in psychiatry, including two past presidents of the American Psychiatric Association, wrote editorials in support of the research that were published alongside the two studies. However, in the early 1970s, psilocybin was classified as a schedule 1 drug, which means the government believes it has a high potential for abuse. More research is needed and is being conducted.
Posted: 30 Nov 2016 09:01 PM PST
Surviving cancer is a milestone every patient wants to reach, but waiting to hear if the cancer has recurred is its own nightmare. In 2010, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and even though my chemotherapy was a success, my anxiety made me a mess.
I was approaching the two-year mark of being cancer-free (most recurrences happen within two years), and my anxiety was increasing. Waiting to hit that two year anniversary was even more stressful than the chemotherapy had been. I would lie awake at night overcome with dread. When I feel anxious I overeat, and this time was no different. I was eating compulsively and gaining weight.
That’s when one of my doctors told me about a study at NYU: people with cancer-related anxiety and depression could receive a single dose of psilocybin, the mind-altering drug that comes from psychedelic mushrooms. Though I had experienced a bad trip in college with a synthetic version of mescaline, I was assured that the clinical trial was closely monitored and safe. This was about four years ago, and I jumped at the chance.
On the morning of the trial, I took the capsule of psilocybin and sat down on the sofa at NYU. It was a peaceful room and I picked up an art book to browse through. There was a fifty-fifty chance that the dose I’d been given was a placebo, but it soon became clear that I’d taken the real thing. When I felt the drug start to kick in I put a sleep mask over my eyes, headphones on my ears, and lay down.
At first it was terrifying, as though I were tumbling through space, or on a ship in a stormy sea. But then I remembered that the researchers were right there next to me. I stuck my hand out from under the blanket and said “I’m so scared!” One of the doctors took my hand and said, “Just go with it.” I let myself go, and suddenly I saw my fear. It was a black mass inside my body. I felt a volcanic anger toward my fear and I screamed, “Get the f-ck out, I won’t be eaten alive!”As soon as I screamed at it, the black mass of fear disappeared.
I began to feel like I was floating in the instrumental music playing from the headphones I had on, and I started to feel love. I felt like I was being bathed in love and it was overwhelming, amazing, wonderful. I kept floating and floating.
Several hours later, I became aware of people talking softly and the crinkling of paper. One of the researchers was unwrapping a piece of chocolate for me. I knew immediately that I had changed.
The feeling of immense love lingered for weeks, and four years later I still feel it at times. My fear and anxiety were completely removed, and they haven’t come back. I’m an ice skating instructor, and the day after getting the drug, I had one of my best lessons ever. A student who usually clings to my side let go of my hand and skated on her own, as if my new confidence and peace of mind were communicated to her. The experience changed how I wanted to live my life. I used to get up, grab a quick snack and eat it in the car. But I no longer want to be in a hurry. Now I get up an hour early, make a real breakfast and read my paper. I have made new friends, and reestablished old contacts.
I used to imagine what it would be like if the cancer recurred, but I don’t think about it the same way any more. When I don’t feel well and thoughts of a recurrence creep into my mind, I lack fear and simply think, “Let’s just see what happens.”
Dinah Bazer is a former IT professional who has been teaching ice skating since 2002. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, and has two adult daughters.
Posted: 30 Nov 2016 09:01 PM PST
Cancer is a brutal disease on both the body and mind. Not only do treatments like chemotherapy take a massive toll, but the emotional side effects can be hard to bear. Depression and anxiety are high among people with cancer, including those in remission. But two new studies offer promising relief through an unlikely source: hallucinogenic drugs.
In two new studies released simultaneously by researchers at New York University and Johns Hopkins, doctors reveal that a single dose of psilocybin—a compound from magic mushrooms—can ease anxiety and depression for up to six months. The results have great potential for people dealing with the fear associated with a cancer diagnosis, but also for people with psychiatric disorders that haven’t responded to traditional treatments like psychotherapy or antidepressants.
The studies, both published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, are accompanied by 11 editorials of support from leaders in psychiatry, including two past presidents of the American Psychiatric Association. “Our results represent the strongest evidence to date of a clinical benefit from psilocybin therapy, with the potential to transform care for patients with cancer-related psychological distress,” says NYU study author Dr. Stephen Ross, director of substance abuse services in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone in a statement.
The NYU Langone Medical Center study involved 29 people who had serious psychological distress, like anxiety or depression, stemming from advanced cancer. (Some were in remission.) Each person received either a capsule of psilocybin or a placebo capsule; in a second session, they were given the pill they hadn’t yet taken. The sessions lasted from four to six hours in a room equipped with music to listen to, a couch and a sleep mask.
People had their own individual experiences with the drug. But the results were remarkable: 60-80% of people in the study reported reductions in their depression and anxiety symptoms that lasted six months after the treatment.
The Johns Hopkins study, which involved 51 adults, had similar results. They each received one large dose of the drug, and six months later, 80% of the people in the trial continued to show decreases in depression and anxiety symptoms. Eighty-three percent of people reported increases in their well-being and life satisfaction, and 67% said the trial was one of the top five most meaningful experiences in their lives.
Several people described experiencing an overwhelming feeling of love while on the drug and felt they had changed immediately. “The feeling of immense love lingered for weeks, and four years later I still feel it at times,” says participant Dinah Bazer, who was experiencing severe anxiety about a possible ovarian cancer recurrence. “My fear and anxiety were completely removed, and they haven’t come back.” (You can read more about Bazer’s experience in her personal essay here).
Lisa Callaghan’s late husband, former TV news director Patrick Mettes, was also in the NYU trial. Mettes eventually died from cancer of the bile ducts, but undergoing the trial gave him a sense of peace, says his wife. “In his trip there was an evolution through all of these stages of emotional development,” says Callaghan. “He was reborn into this place of personal and universal love. He said he felt it all around him, and he felt a sense of forgiveness too.”
The potential therapeutic use of psilocybin has been recognized for years, but strict drug laws implemented 45 years ago stalled research. In the 1950s and 1960s, several teams in the United States studied psychedelic compounds for potential mental disorder treatments. But widespread recreational use of the substances became cause for concern and overshadowed the possible therapeutic benefits. In 1971, psilocybin and other psychedelic compounds were classified as schedule 1 drugs, meaning that the government believes they have high potential for abuse. This classification makes it very difficult for research to continue, despite the fact that experts argue adverse side effects from psilocybin (when used responsibly) are rare.
“I tried to understand how something this big had been buried,” says Ross. Due to these restrictions, Ross says it took the hospital a couple years to get their study off the ground.
Some of the men and women in the studies did experience side effects, like nausea and headaches, but none were severe. It’s unclear precisely how psilocybin works, but the study authors say that the drug may activate parts of the brain that are impacted by serotonin, which can play a role in anxiety, mood and depression.
Significantly more research is needed before psilocybin could be considered as a clinical therapy. The researchers stress that psilocybin in the trials was given in a very controlled environment with multiple investigators present, and that people should not attempt the drug on their own. There’s also some concern that pharmaceutical companies may not see financial incentives in single-dose therapies.
Still, many people in the medical community are hopeful. “We’re excited about finding a medicine that can be helpful to people suffering from conditions not successfully treated by standard treatment,” says Dr. George Greer, medical director of the Heffter Research Institute, which helped fund the studies. “There’s a lot of interest.”
Posted: 30 Nov 2016 11:56 AM PST
(WASHINGTON) — The Obama administration has announced a final rule prohibiting smoking in public housing developments nationwide.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development says more than 228,000 public housing units are already smoke-free. The rule HUD announced Wednesday will expand the impact to more than 940,000 units.
The final rule prohibits lit tobacco products in all living units and indoor common areas, and all outdoor areas within 25 feet of housing and administrative offices. The new rule gives public housing agencies 18 months to implement the ban.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the smoke-free policy will save housing agencies $153 million every year in repairs, preventable fires and health care costs. That amount includes $16 million in costs associated with smoking-related fires.
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