Archive for July 24th, 2012
But a recent review has found little evidence that herbal sleep aids are effective.
Health practitioners know that sleep disorders can profoundly affect a person’s whole life and have been linked to a range of diseases, including obesity, depression, anxiety, and inflammatory disorders.
Often over-the-counter or herbal sleep aids are used to induce sleep, but surprisingly, very little research has been done to study their efficacy.
This topic is discussed in an article found in the journal Alternative and Complementary Therapies.
People need many hours of sound, restorative sleep every night to maintain an optimal state of physiological and psychological health. However, many factors can disrupt sleep schedules and compromise the quality of sleep.
In the review article, researchers conducted a search of the Internet and electronic databases to identify literature on herbal remedies that are commonly used to manage insomnia.
They found allopathic solutions of valerian, hops, kava-kava, chamomile, and St. John’s wort have all been suggested as sleep aids.
Unfortunately, few scientific studies had been published on the therapeutic potential and safety of these herbal remedies and, when a study has been performed, the results were either inconclusive or contradictory.
The authors concluded that, considering the benefits that a natural management strategy could offer patients with insomnia, additional research is required to assess the effectiveness and safety of herbal remedies as therapeutic agents.
Source: Mary Ann Liebert
- Efficacy of herbal remedies for managing insomnia (medicalxpress.com)
- Herbal Sleep Remedies to Help Treat Insomnia, Sleep Apnea (naturalsociety.com)
Severe psychological and physical neglect produces measurable changes in children’s brains, according to a new study by researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital.
“Increasingly we are finding evidence that exposure to childhood adversity has a negative effect on brain development,” said Margaret Sheridan, Ph.D., of the Labs of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children’s Hospital.
“The implications are wide-ranging, not just for institutionalized children but also for children exposed to abuse, abandonment, violence during war, extreme poverty and other adversities.”
Researchers led by Sheridan and Charles Nelson, Ph.D., analyzed brain MRI scans from Romanian children in the ongoing Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP), which has transferred some children reared in orphanages into foster care homes.
The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, add to earlier studies by Nelson and his colleagues showing cognitive impairment in institutionalized children, but also showing improvements when children are placed in good foster homes.
The researchers compared three groups of 8- to 11-year-old children: 29 who had been reared in an institution; 25 who were selected at random to leave the institution for a high-quality foster care home; and 20 typically developing children who were never in an institution.
Children with histories of any institutional rearing had significantly smaller gray matter volumes in the cortex of the brain than never-institutionalized children, even if they had been placed in foster care, the researchers noted.
Children who remained in institutional care had significantly reduced white matter volume as compared with those never institutionalized. For children who had been placed in foster care, white matter volume was indistinguishable from that of children who were never institutionalized.
The researchers note that growth of the brain’s gray matter peaks during specific times in childhood, indicating periods when environment can strongly influence brain development.
White matter, which is necessary for forming connections in the brain, grows more slowly over time, possibly making it more malleable to foster care intervention, the researchers postulate.
“We found that white matter, which forms the ‘information superhighway’ of the brain, shows some evidence of ‘catch-up,’” said Sheridan. “These differences in brain structure appear to account for previously observed, but unexplained, differences in brain function.”
“Our cognitive studies suggest that there may be a sensitive period spanning the first two years of life within which the onset of foster care exerts a maximal effect on cognitive development,” Nelson added.
“The younger a child is when placed in foster care, the better the outcome.”
Source: Children’s Hospital Boston
Most have heard the warnings that multi-tasking is inefficient, ineffective and may be dangerous, then go ahead and do it anyway.
A new study qualifies the general disclaimers that some types of multi-tasking are more dangerous than others.
For example, trying to do two visual tasks at once hurt performance in both tasks significantly more than combining a visual and an audio task, the research found.
Researchers also discovered that people who tried to do two visual tasks at the same time rated their performance as better than did those who combined a visual and an audio task — even though their actual performance was worse.
“Many people have this overconfidence in how well they can multitask, and our study shows that this particularly is the case when they combine two visual tasks,” said Zheng Wang, lead author of the study.
“People’s perception about how well they’re doing doesn’t match up with how they actually perform.”
The study appears in a recent issue of the journal Computers in Human Behavior.
Researchers used eye-tracking technology to show that people’s gaze moved around much more when they had two visual tasks compared to a visual and an audio task. Additionally, they spent much less time fixated on any one task.
That suggests distracted visual attention, Wang said.
In the study, participants who were performing two visual tasks were asked to complete a pattern-matching puzzle on a computer screen while giving walking directions to another person using instant messaging (IM) software.
Those who combined a visual and an audio task tried to complete the same pattern-matching task on the screen while giving voice directions using audio chat.
The two multitasking scenarios used in this study can be compared to those drivers may face, Wang said.
People who try to text while they are driving are combining two mostly visual tasks, she said. People who talk on a phone while driving are combining a visual and an audio task.
“They’re both dangerous, but as both our behavioral performance data and eyetracking data suggest, texting is more dangerous to do while driving than talking on a phone, which is not a surprise,” Wang said.
“But what is surprising is that our results also suggest that people may perceive that texting is not more dangerous – they may think they can do a good job at two visual tasks at one time.”
In the study 32 college students sat at computer screens and were asked to complete a matching task in which they saw two grids on the screen, each with nine cells containing random letters or numbers.
They had to determine, as quickly as possible, whether the two grids were a “match” or “mismatch” by clicking a button on the screen. They were told to complete as many trials as possible within two minutes.
After testing the participants on the matching task with no distractions, the researchers had the students repeat the matching task while giving walking directions to a fellow college student, “Jennifer,” who they were told needed to get to an important job interview.
Participants had to help “Jennifer” get to her interview within six minutes. In fact, “Jennifer” was a trained confederate experimenter. She has been trained to interact with participants in a realistic but scripted way to ensure the direction task was kept as similar as possible across all participants.
For this part of the task, half of the participants used instant messaging software (Google Chat) to type directions while the other half used voice chat (Google Talk with headphones and an attached microphone) to help “Jennifer” reach her destination.
Results showed that multitasking, of any kind, seriously hurt performance.
Researchers found that in the group that gave audio directions performance in visual pattern-matching dropped by 30 percent drop in visual pattern-matching performance.
Participants who used instant messaging did even worse — they had a 50 percent drop in pattern-matching performance.
Interestingly, although those who gave audio directions completed more steps in the directions task than did those who used IM, when asked to rate themselves, those that gave IM gave themselves higher ratings that those who used audio chat.
“They’re both dangerous, but as both our behavioral performance data and eyetracking data suggest, texting is more dangerous to do while driving than talking on a phone.”
“It may be that those using IM felt more in control because they could respond when they wanted without being hurried by a voice in their ears,” Wang said.
“Also, processing several streams of information in the visual channel may give people the illusion of efficiency. They may perceive visual tasks as relatively effortless, which may explain the tendency to combine tasks like driving and texting.”
Eye-tracking results from the study showed that people paid much less attention to the matching task when they were multitasking, Wang said. As expected, the results were worse for those who used IM than for those who used voice chat.
Overall, the percentage of eye fixations on the matching-task grids declined from 76 percent when that was the participants’ only task to 33 percent during multitasking.
Fixations on the grid task decreased by 53 percent for those using IM and a comparatively better 35 percent for those who used voice chat.
“When people are using IM, their visual attention is split much more than when they use voice chat,” she said.
These results suggest we need to teach media and multitasking literacy to young people before they start driving, Wang said.
“Our results suggest many people may believe they can effectively text and drive at the same time, and we need to make sure young people know that is not true.”
In addition, the findings show that technology companies need to be aware of how people respond to multitasking when they are designing products.
For example, these results suggest GPS voice guidance should be preferred over image guidance because people are more effective when they combine visual with aural tasks compared to two visual tasks.
“We need to design media environments that emphasize processing efficiency and activity safety. We can take advantage of the fact that we do better when we can use visual and audio components rather than two visual components,” Wang said.
Source: Ohio State University
Alison Dilaurentis, a character in the show Pretty Little Liars is very mean,popular,gorgeous,and queen Bee. I just love her personality and they way she acts. She always gets what she wants. I want to be just like that. I love her fashion and her room decor
so I want to my fashion and room just like hers, but I don’t feel right because its not right to be mean and spoiled but I really want too and I would feel bad if I treated the way she treated other people. I feel a little weird because I’m not naturally (mostly) like that. I mean I could act like her but I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do. I feel like I’m a copycat and not being original, and that is probably one of the worse feelings ever.
A: It is tempting to identify with a character who gets everything she wants. But perhaps you want to be like her for only part of her portrayal. It sounds like you want to be like the parts of her that achieves her goals, is popular and takes care of herself. Mean doesn’t make those things happen.
While you are working on your room, look around for a character that has all these traits – but without the one you don’t want. My guess is that role model will be much more appealing. Don’t try to be who you’re not.