For Weight Loss Success, Think About When, Not Just What, You Eat

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January 30th, 2013

By Alexandra Sifferlin

Timing is everything for losing weight .

In the latest collaborative study, researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Tufts University and the University of Murcia in Spain, found that the time of day you eat large meals may help to predict how many pounds you drop.

In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, the scientists monitored 420 overweight participants on a 20-week weight loss program in Spain. The volunteers were split into two groups: early-eaters and late-eaters. Since lunch is considered the largest meal in Spain–about 40% of the day’s calories are consumed in the mid-day meal–half the participants ate lunch before 3 p.m. while the remainder ate lunch after 3 p.m.

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Yoga and the Mind: Can Yoga Reduce Symptoms of Major Psychiatric Disorders?

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January 29th, 2013

By Alexandra Sifferlin

Yoga does the body good, and according to a new study, it may ease the mind as well.

“Yoga has also become such a cultural phenomenon that it has become difficult for physicians and consumers to differentiate legitimate claims from hype,” researchers from Duke University Medical Center write in their study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry. In order to explore the widely held belief that practicing yoga can relieve mental stress, the team reviewed more than 100 studies on the effect of yoga and mental health.

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How Disasters and Trauma Can Affect Children’s Empathy

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January 24th, 2013

Do children become more kind and empathetic after a disaster— or does the experience make them more focus more on self-preservation?

The first study to examine the question in an experimental way shows that children’s reactions may depend on their age.

The ability to study the altruistic and empathetic tendencies of youth before and after a natural disaster emerged

after an earthquake struck in May 2008 in Mianyang, China. Scientists from the U.S. and Canada were already collaborating with Chinese researchers in the town in Sichuan province on a study of altruistic behavior when the earthquake, which measured 8.0 on the Richter scale, killed some 87,000 people, including many children.

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Revisions to Mental Health Manual May Turn Binge Drinkers into ‘Mild’ Alcoholics

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January 24th, 2013

Are you an alcoholic— or just a problem drinker? It may not matter, according to the latest version of the DSM, psychiatry’s diagnostic manual.

And now, in a new study of the different levels of alcohol misuse, scientists say the changes made to the DSM-5 may not even represent a significant improvement in the diagnosis of alcoholism. In fact, the revised definition collapses the medical distinction between problem drinking and alcoholism, potentially leading college binge drinkers to be mislabeled as possible lifelong alcoholics. The changes take effect in May, when the DSM-5 will be released.

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Child Abuse: Why It’s So Hard to Determine Who’s at Risk

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January 24th, 2013

By Bonnie Rochman

Prevention is nearly always preferable to treatment when it comes to our health, and the stakes are even higher in cases of child abuse. But is it even possible to identify children at risk of abuse before it’s too late? That’s the question the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) addressed, in a comprehensive review of the available data on ways to detect maltreatment of children.

The task force is a government-funded group of independent experts that considers all the available evidence on a range of health topics, then grades studies on their reliability and validity before making recommendations based on the quality of those results. In recent years, its review of the benefits of mammography in preventing breast cancer and prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing in detecting prostate tumors caused controversy when it recommended that men skip regular PSA screening altogether, and that women wait until they reach 50 to begin routine mammogram testing — a full 10 years later than previous advice.

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