The unconditional love and support of pet provides an immediate source of calm and therapeutic benefits for owners with long-term mental health conditions, says a new study.
The findings were published in the open access journal BMC Psychiatry.
Researchers from the University of Manchester suggested that pets should be considered as main source of support in the management of long-term mental health problems.
"The people we spoke to, through the course of this study, felt their pet played a range of positive roles such as helping them to manage stigma associated with their mental health by providing acceptance without judgement," said lead study author Dr Helen Brooks from the University of Manchester.
"Pets were also considered particularly useful during times of crisis. In this way, pets provided a unique form of validation through unconditional support, which they were often not receiving from other family or social relationships. Despite the identified benefits of pet ownership, pets were neither considered nor incorporated into the individual care plans for any of the people in our study," Brooks added.
The team interviewed 54 participants, aged 18 and above, who were under the care of community-based mental health services and had been diagnosed with a severe mental illness.
The participants were asked to rate the importance of members of their personal network including friends, family, health professionals, pets, hobbies, places, activities and objects, by placing them in a diagram of three concentric circles.
Anything placed in the central circle was considered most important; the middle circle was of secondary importance and the outer circle was for those considered of lesser importance.
The pets played an important role in the social networks of people managing a long-term mental health problem, as 60 percent placed their pet in the central most important circle and 20 percent placed their pet in the second circle.
The participants stated that their pet helped by distracting them from symptoms and upsetting experiences such as hearing voices or suicidal thoughts.
"These insights provide the mental health community with possible areas to target intervention and potential ways in which to better involve people in their own mental health service provision through open discussion of what works best for them," Brooks explained.(ANI)Region: United StatesGeneral: HealthResearch
In a Thursday announcement, software giant Microsoft and business social network LinkedIn have revealed that they have closed their acquisition deal; with Microsoft having paid $26 billion to take over LinkedIn.
The finalization of Microsoft's LinkedIn acquisition deal - the largest-ever acquisition by Microsoft - comes nearly six months after reports first started making rounds about Microsoft's plans to purchase the business social network.
At a Wednesday hearing before the Senate judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, Randall Stephenson - the CEO of bigwig US wireless carrier AT&T - promised that AT&T will not restrict Time Warner's TV content from rivals after the massive $85 billion merger of the two companies comes through.
Stephenson specifically said at a hearing: "We will not withhold content to disadvantage someone else."
Practicing yoga for one hour daily can reduce blood pressure in people with prehypertension, says a new study conducted by Indian researchers.
The study was presented at the 68th Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India (CSI) in Kochi, India.
"Patients with prehypertension (slightly elevated blood pressure) are likely to develop hypertension (high blood pressure) unless they improve their lifestyle," said lead author Dr Ashutosh Angrish, a cardiologist at Sir Gangaram Hospital in Delhi, India.
"Both prehypertension and high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure," Angrish added.
"Our research suggests that patients with prehypertension should be advised to practice hatha yoga (a combination of asanas, pranayam and meditation) for one hour daily. It may prevent the development of hypertension and in addition give a sense of well-being," he explained.
Hypertension is defined as a systolic blood pressure (BP) 140 mmHg and/or diastolic BP 90 mmHg, while prehypertension is a systolic BP 120-139 mmHg or a diastolic BP 80-89 mmHg.
The researchers investigated the impact of hatha yoga -- a system of physical exercises and breathing control used in yoga -- on blood pressure in 60 patients with prehypertension, who were otherwise healthy.
The average age of the participants was 56 years in the yoga group and 52 years in the control group.
Briefly, the patients were randomised to two groups of 30 each, to assess the effect of three months of yoga plus conventional lifestyle changes versus conventional lifestyle changes alone on 24 hour ambulatory blood pressure.
Yoga included stretching exercises (asanas), breath control (pranayam) and meditation.
It was taught by a yoga instructor for one month and then patients subsequently followed it at home.
Yoga practice was for one hour every day. Conventional lifestyle changes consisted of moderate aerobic exercise, diet, and smoking cessation.
The 24 hour mean BP at baseline was 130/80 mmHg in the yoga group and 127/80 mmHg in the control group.
The study found that in the yoga group, both 24 hour diastolic BP and night diastolic BP significantly decreased by approximately 4.5 mmHg and 24 hour mean arterial pressure significantly decreased by around 4.9 mmHg.
The control group did not show any significant change in blood pressure.
"Although the reduction in blood pressure was modest, it could be clinically very meaningful because even a 2 mmHg decrease in diastolic BP has the potential to decrease the risk of coronary heart disease by six percent and the risk of stroke and transient ischaemic attack by 15 percent," Dr Angrish explained.(ANI)Region: United StatesGeneral: HealthResearch
A recent study reveals that inhaling through nose heightens memory and response to fearful stimuli, whereas the effects disappear while mouth breathing.
The study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
According to Northwestern Medicine, the rhythm of breathing creates electrical activity in the human brain that enhances emotional judgments and memory recall.
They found that individuals were able to identify a fearful face more quickly, if they encountered the face when breathing in compared to breathing out.
Individuals were also more likely to remember an object if they encountered it on the inhaled breath than the exhaled one. The effect disappeared if breathing was through the mouth.
"One of the major findings in this study is that there is a dramatic difference in brain activity in the amygdala and hippocampus during inhalation compared with exhalation," said lead study author Christina Zelano at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
"When you breathe in, we discovered you are stimulating neurons in the olfactory cortex, amygdala and hippocampus, all across the limbic system," Zelano added.
They suggested that the amygdale-- a roughly almond-shaped mass of grey matter inside each cerebral hemisphere, involved with the experiencing of emotions-- is strongly linked to emotional processing, in particular fear-related emotions.
For the study, they asked about 60 participants to make rapid decisions on emotional expressions in the lab environment while recording their breathing.
The participants were presented with pictures of faces showing expressions of either fear or surprise.
The findings indicate that when faces were encountered during inhalation, subjects recognised them as fearful more quickly than when faces were encountered during exhalation.
These effects diminished when subjects performed the same task while breathing through their mouths.
Thus, the effect was specific to fearful stimuli during nasal breathing only.
In an experiment aimed at assess memory function, the same participants were shown pictures of objects on a computer screen and were asked to remember them.
Later, they were asked to recall those objects.
The researchers found that recall was better if the images were encountered during inhalation.
The findings imply that rapid breathing may confer an advantage when someone is in a dangerous situation, Zelano said.
Another potential insight of the research is on the basic mechanisms of meditation or focused breathing.
"When you inhale, you are in a sense synchronizing brain oscillations across the limbic network," Zelano noted. (ANI)Region: United StatesGeneral: HealthResearch
With bigwig South Korean smartphone maker Samsung expected to officially unveil its new flagship handset - the Galaxy S8 - at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2017, it is being rumored that the handset will apparently boast some new, cutting-edge features.
Though Samsung will not likely divulge any details about the Galaxy S8 handset before its official unveiling, several reports and rumors making rounds about the upcoming handset have been hinting that the company has put its Galaxy Note 7 debacle behind it, and is looking ahead to its new handset.
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