Yoga in the Park
Saturday 4th February 2012
Time: 10am to 12.30pm
Venue: Daffodil Lawn, North Hagley Park
Venue Information: Summer Theatre site - best entry is to walk in off Riccarton Ave
This is a free event
For more details: http://bethere.co.nz/community/2012/9525-yoga-in-the-park
New Rochelle, NY, November 11, 2010—Yoga has a greater positive effect on a person's mood and anxiety level than walking and other forms of exercise, which may be due to higher levels of the brain chemical GABA according to an article in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The article is available free online.
Yoga has been shown to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, a chemical in the brain that helps to regulate nerve activity. GABA activity is reduced in people with mood and anxiety disorders, and drugs that increase GABA activity are commonly prescribed to improve mood and decrease anxiety.
Tying all of these observations together, the study by Chris Streeter, MD, from Boston University School of Medicine (Massachusetts) and colleagues demonstrates that increased GABA levels measured after a session of yoga postures are associated with improved mood and decreased anxiety. Their findings establish a new link between yoga, higher levels of GABA in the thalamus, and improvements in mood and anxiety based on psychological assessments. The authors suggest that the practice of yoga stimulates specific brain areas, thereby giving rise to changes in endogenous antidepressant neurotransmitters such as GABA.
"This is important work that establishes some objective bases for the effects that highly trained practitioners of yoga therapy throughout the world see on a daily basis. What is important now is that these findings are further investigated in long-term studies to establish just how sustainable such changes can be in the search for safe non-drug treatments for depression," says Kim A. Jobst, MA, DM, MRCP, MFHom, DipAc, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
"ScienceDaily (Nov. 2, 2011) — A woman goes into labor, and gives birth. The newborn is swaddled and placed to sleep in a nearby bassinet, or taken to the hospital nursery so that the mother can rest. Despite this common practice, new research published in Biological Psychiatry provides new evidence that separating infants from their mothers is stressful to the baby.
It is standard practice in a hospital setting, particularly among Western cultures, to separate mothers and their newborns. Separation is also common for babies under medical distress or premature babies, who may be placed in an incubator. In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics specifically recommends against co-sleeping with an infant, due to its association with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.
Humans are the only mammals who practice such maternal-neonate separation, but its physiological impact on the baby has been unknown until now. Researchers measured heart rate variability in 2-day-old sleeping babies for one hour each during skin-to-skin contact with mother and alone in a cot next to mother's bed. Neonatal autonomic activity was 176% higher and quiet sleep 86% lower during maternal separation compared to skin-to-skin contact.
Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry, commented on the study's findings: "This paper highlights the profound impact of maternal separation on the infant. We knew that this was stressful, but the current study suggests that this is major physiologic stressor for the infant."
This research addresses a strange contradiction: In animal research, separation from mother is a common way of creating stress in order to study its damaging effects on the developing newborn brain. At the same time, separation of human newborns is common practice, particularly when specialized medical care is required (e.g. incubator care). "Skin-to-skin contact with mother removes this contradiction, and our results are a first step towards understanding exactly why babies do better when nursed in skin-to-skin contact with mother, compared to incubator care," explained study author Dr. Barak Morgan.
More research is necessary to further understand the newborn response to separation, including whether it is sustained response and whether it has any long-term neurodevelopmental effects.
However, skin-to-skin contact has known benefits, and certainly, most would agree that unnecessarily stressing a newborn is unacceptable. Thus, as further evidence emerges, the challenge to doctors will be to incorporate skin-to-skin contact into routine treatment whilst still safely providing the other elements of newborn medical care."
In mild cases of H1N1 influenza, a traditional Chinese herb mixture may relieve a fever about as well as the antiviral drug Tamiflu, researchers reported Monday.
The herb product, called maxingshigan-yinqiaosan, is not widely available on store shelves in western countries.
But in a study of 410 Chinese adults with H1N1 flu (also known as swine flu), those who took the herb mixture typically saw their fevers resolve after 16 hours, versus 26 hours in patients in a "control group" whose only flu treatment was acetaminophen (Tylenol) if their fever passed 102 degrees F.
Patients in a third group received the prescription antiviral drug Tamiflu, known generically as oseltamivir. With Tamiflu, fevers typically resolved after 20 hours, or six hours sooner than in the control group.
A fourth study group received both the herb mix and Tamiflu, with their fevers generally disappearing in 15 hours, according to findings published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Exactly what the results mean for flu sufferers around the world is not clear.
The study included only young and middle-aged adults who, other than having a fairly mild case of the flu, were healthy. Tamiflu and another antiviral drug, Relenza (zanamivir), are usually reserved for people with severe cases, or those at high risk of flu complications like pneumonia.
The elderly and people with certain chronic health conditions, like heart or lung disease, are among those at high risk.
It was necessary to first study the effects of maxingshigan-yinqiaosan in low-risk people with milder cases of the flu, said Dr. Lixing Lao, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore who was not involved in the research.
But that's also a limitation of the study, he noted.
"In people with severe illness, this herb may not work. We don't know yet," said Lao, who also directs the traditional Chinese medicine research program at the university's Center for Integrative Medicine.
And for healthy people with mild cases of the flu, there's the question of availability.
The herbs used in the study, which were heated and made into a beverage, have a long history of use in China for colds and flu.
They are also widely available in certain other countries, like Japan, Korea and Germany, according to Drs. Cheng Wang and Bin Cao of the Beijing Institute of Respiratory Medicine, who led the study.
It's possible, the researchers say, that maxingshigan-yinqiaosan could offer a flu-fighting alternative in certain places where Tamiflu is scarce -- like rural China.
But one of the key ingredients is ephedra, or ma huang, which is banned from use in dietary supplements in the U.S. and Canada. Those bans came after ephedra in weight-loss and body-building supplements was linked to heart attacks, strokes and deaths in some users.
That ban did not apply to ephedra's use in Chinese medicine, where small doses are mixed with other traditional herbs -- in contrast to the single, higher doses used in the banned supplements.
However, Americans cannot go to their local store and pull maxingshigan-yinqiaosan off the shelf. They would need to go to a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, Lao said.
Properly using the right mix of herbs, he said, "requires some knowledge."
Lao said he was happy to see that a prestigious medical journal published a study on a traditional Chinese remedy as it is actually practiced -- combining small doses of different herbs.
"If you only look at one herb, it may not work," Lao told Reuters Health.
He also pointed out that the small herb doses used in practice limit the risk of side effects.
In this study, two of the 103 patients who used maxingshigan-yinqiaosan alone developed nausea and vomiting. There were no side effects reported in the other three study groups.
The H1N1 swine flu broke out in 2009 and quickly spread around the world, killing more than 18,000 people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO declared the H1N1 flu pandemic over in August of last year, but H1N1 has now taken over as the main seasonal flu strain in circulation around the world.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends Tamiflu and Relenza for treating the flu in people who are very sick or at high risk of complications.
But in general, the agency says, flu sufferers who are otherwise healthy do not need the drugs. They can recover by getting plenty of rest and fluids, and using over-the-counter remedies like acetaminophen for fever.
According to Lao, the current findings are a "good first step" in showing through a controlled clinical trial that traditional Chinese herbs may also battle flu symptoms.
The CDC stresses, however, that the best defense against the flu is the flu vaccine. Experts recommend that everyone older than six months receive a yearly flu shot, which now includes a vaccine against H1N1.