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Meditation helps to cope with pain

A short investment of time in mental training can help you manage pain, says a new study. The study, which examined the perception of pain and the effects of various mental training techniques, found that relatively short and simple mindfulness meditation training can have a significant positive effect on pain management.

Though pain research during the past decade has shown that extensive meditation training can have a positive effect in reducing a person’s awareness and sensitivity to pain, the effort, time commitment, and financial obligations required has made the treatment not practical for many patients.

The study at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, shows that a single hour of training spread out over a three day period can produce the same kind of analgesic effect.

“Not only did the meditation subjects feel less pain than the control group while meditating but they also experienced less pain sensitivity while not meditating,” noted Fadel Zeidan, lead author.

Asthmatic women suffer more

Asthmatic women are more anxious, face difficulties in napping and are more tired during the day than their male counterparts, a new study said. However, females with asthma tend to be better at following their treatment than men, adds thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in close collaboration with Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

“Men and women with asthma differ biologically, socially, culturally and psychologically, which affects their quality of life,” says Rosita Sundberg. “It’s important that we take account of this when caring for teenagers and young adults with asthma,” the study adds.

Monday, the most popular sick day

Monday is the most popular day for workers calling in sick, a new UK research reveals. The study, by consultant firm Mercer, found that more than a third of all sick leave is taken on the first day of the week.

What’s more, the highest rate of absence by far occurs in January, the study added. And the most common reason for absence was musculo-skeletal problems. Following them were viral infections and stress-related illness.

The findings are based on an analysis of sickness management records for 11,000 employees from a range of private sector organisations. The study found that 13 of the 20 most popular days for sickness absence occurred in January — six of these between 2 and 9 January. On Thursday 3 and Friday 4 January nearly 5 per cent of the total employee population was absent on sick leave.

Thirty five per cent of all sick leave is taken on a Monday. However, the lowest sick leave rate was recorded on Fridays at just 3 per cent of the total.

Muscle strength and Alzheimer’s

People with weaker muscles are at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, claims a new study. Alzheimer’s disease is characterised by declines in memory and other cognitive (thinking, learning and memory) functions, according to background information in the article. However, it is also associated with other features, such as impaired gait and other motor functions, depression and decreased grip strength.

“Because Alzheimer’s disease develops slowly over many years and its hallmark is change in cognitive function, we examined the association of muscle strength with cognitive decline,” the authors write.

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