Volunteer Work Is Good for the Brain

An analysis of data from the 2010, 2012, and 2014 Swedish National Prescribed Drug Register reveals that seniors who regularly perform volunteer work in their community are significantly less likely to develop dementia than those who don’t do volunteer work or only do so infrequently. The authors of the analysis write, “Our results largely support the assumptions that voluntary work in later life is associated with lower self-reported cognitive complaints and a lower risk for dementia, relative to those who do not engage, or only engage episodically in voluntary work.” PLOS ONE, March 2017

Quote of the Week

“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Enjoy a Massage

The use of massage therapy can help can help relax the body and mind as well as ease pain and stress. The Mayo Clinic says possible benefits of massage include: managing anxiety, stress-related insomnia, and headache; easing pain and discomfort associated with fibromyalgia, sports-related injuries, injuries of the soft tissues, and temporomandibular joint pain; and reducing muscle tension. Despite these benefits, representatives from the Mayo Clinic add that massage therapy should not be considered a replacement for regular healthcare. Mayo Clinic, March 2017

Type 1 Diabetics at Increased Risk for Intracerebral Hemorrhage

Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) occurs when a blood vessel bursts inside the brain, which can damage the surrounding brain cells and even result in death. In this study, researchers looked at the incidence of ICH among type 1 diabetics, type 2 diabetics, and non-diabetics in Scotland between 2004 and 2013. While type 2 diabetics had a slightly greater risk for ICH than non-diabetics, the researchers found type 1 diabetics had a 74% elevated risk for ICH and a 35% greater risk of death within 30 days of hospital admission for ICH than non-diabetics. Diabetes, Obesity, & Metabolism, March 2017

Sugar Can Impact Sleep

Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet can lead to a more restful night’s sleep. The National Sleep Foundation notes the following: too much sugar may increase your risk of waking during the night; your energy may crash after a high-sugar treat, prompting you to feel drowsy during the day; and avoid refined sugars found in cereals, juices, desserts, white bread, sodas, and white pasta. National Sleep Foundation, March 2017

Law Enforcement Officers Often Suffer from Back Pain

Police officers are often exposed risk factors for low back pain (LBP), but few studies have specifically looked at LBP and its effect on members of this profession. Questionnaires completed by 3,589 law enforcement officers revealed that nearly 70% reported LBP symptoms in the past twelve months, and almost 97% of them perceived that presence of LBP was totally/partially linked to their work in the police force. Nearly 30% of respondents lived with chronic LBP, and these officers were more likely to report a reduction of work activities and lost work days in the past year. The findings shed light on the frequency and burden of chronic low back pain among police officers and underscore the importance implementing workplace management programs for this condition.

Spine, February 2017

Exercise Counters Cancer-Linked Fatigue

Cancer can be exhausting, but a new research review reveals there are ways to fight cancer-related fatigue. Investigators reviewed 113 past studies that included over 11,000 cancer patients and found that exercise and/or behavioral and educational therapy are more effective than prescription medication for dealing with fatigue. Based on the findings, researchers say that more studies are now needed to explore the ideal way to integrate exercise and psychological interventions with cancer patients. JAMA Oncology, March 2017