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Soothing music best for easing anxiety

Massage eases anxiety, but it is no more effective than simple relaxation in a room alone with soft, soothing music, concludes a new study.

A new randomised trial has shown that on average, three months after receiving a series of 10 massage sessions, patients had half the symptoms of anxiety. This improvement resembles that previously reported with psychotherapy, medications, or both. But the
trial also found massage to be next best option after simple relaxation.

“We were surprised to find that the benefits of massage were no greater than those of the same number of sessions of ‘thermotherapy’ or listening to relaxing music,” said Karen J Sherman, a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute. “This suggests that the benefits of massage may be due to a generalised relaxation response.”

Massage therapy is among the most popular complementary and alternative medical (CAM) treatments for anxiety, she added.

Teens who drink fruit juice have healthier diets

A new study has shown that teenagers who drink 100 per cent fruit juice have more nutritious diets overall compared to non-consumers.

The findings revealed that teens between the age group of 12-18 who drank any amount of 100 per cent juice had lower intakes of total dietary fat and saturated fat and higher intakes of key nutrients, including Vitamins C and B6, folate, potassium and iron.

Those who drank greater than six ounces of 100 per cent juice a day also consumed more whole fruit and fewer added fats and sugars. Milk consumption was not affected by juice intake.

In addition, the study found no association between 100 per cent fruit juice consumption and weight status in the nearly 4,000 adolescents examined — even among those who consumed the most juice.

Lead author Dr Theresa Nicklas, Baylor College of Medicine, said that encouraging consumption of nutrient-rich foods and beverages such as 100 per cent juice is particularly critical during adolescence — a unique period of higher nutrient demands.

New research expands drug arsenal used to fight HIV

A new Canada-US research may shed more light on how to fortify the immunity of HIV patients.

Senior author Dr Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, a professor at the Université de Montréal and scientific director of the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute of Florida, said: “Our findings show that the membrane protein PD-1 is up-regulated during HIV infection by the release of bacterial products from the gut and this subsequently increases the production of a cell derived factor, IL-10 that paralyses the immune system”.

“We are the first to show that these two molecules work together to shut down the function of CD4 T-cells in HIV patients. This in turn, may lead to paralysis of the immune system and an accelerated disease progression.”

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