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June 20, 2017
Mindfulness-based childbirth classes may ease pain, depression
Reuters

When birthing classes include mindfulness-based education instead of focusing only on the biology of having a baby, women may have an easier time coping with labor pain and a lower risk of postpartum depression, a small experiment suggests.

Fear of childbirth is linked with lower tolerance for labor pain and higher odds of postpartum depression, researchers note in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. For the current study, they randomly assigned 30 mothers to receive either traditional or mindfulness-based birth classes during their last trimester of pregnancy. Read more.


June 14, 2017
What Diet Choices Can Help Kids With ADHD Calm Down?
US News & World Report

According to findings published in the journal Pediatrics in February, the Mediterranean diet, mostly comprised of vegetables, nuts and healthy fats, may be linked to a lower risk of a child’s attention deficit hyperactivity disorder diagnosis. It’s thought that the diet’s omega-3 fatty acids and nutrients may combat dietary imbalances pertaining to cognitive and physical growth. At the same time, the researchers noted that such findings don’t point to a direct cause and effect between foods that are consumed and ADHD, but rather that such knowledge may be beneficial when creating dietary strategies to help improve quality of life.

Dr. Sanford Newmark, head of the Pediatric Integrative Neurodevelopmental Program and Medical Director at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California–San Francisco, says that a “sensible diet is important for all children, but especially those with ADHD.” Read more.


June 11, 2017

Mindfulness programme helps move youth in San Francisco out of homelessness
Life & Soul Magazine

California is awash with yoga and meditation studios but there is one, unique class taking place in San Francisco that is reaching out to and providing mindfulness teachings to an often neglected community, at-risk and homeless young people. The UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, in partnership with Larkin Street Youth Services, has developed an innovative mindfulness programs for at-risk and homeless youth. Read more.


June 5, 2017
Can mindfulness reduce fear of labour and postpartum depression?
The Guardian

Many women feel anxious about giving birth. Fear of the unknown and over-sharing by others (“I felt I was ripped apart,” one mother told my antenatal group) can make labour daunting. Being frightened of childbirth can prolong labour – by an average of 47 minutes, but it feels longer – increase the need for pain relief, make a caesarean section more likely and raise the risk of postpartum depression. Last month, a small, randomised controlled trial added to the evidence that teaching mindfulness to pregnant women could reduce these risks. Read more.


June 1, 2017
How to Be Mindful Holding a Baby
New York Times

“Being mindful while holding a baby can be an incredibly gratifying, renewing and sometimes challenging mindfulness practice. Babies cycle through various states of being throughout their days and nights. How you are in relationship to a baby in these various states is truly a practice in everyday life. It can be helpful to remember that whatever state of being that your baby is in at any particular moment, it is not a permanent condition. Nothing is.” — Nancy Bardacke, founding director of Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting. Read more.


May 31, 2017
The Benefits of a Mindful Pregnancy
New York Times

Many expectant mothers worry about the physical pain that accompanies labor and childbirth. New research suggests that including mindfulness skills in childbirth education can help first-time mothers cope with their fears.

The study, published in the journal BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, also indicates that mindfulness may help decrease women’s symptoms of prenatal and postpartum depression. Read more.


May 24, 2017
Mindfulness-focused childbirth education leads to less depression, better birth experiences
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Mindfulness may be good for new moms.

A study this month from researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) shows mindfulness training that addresses fear and pain during childbirth can improve women’s childbirth experiences and reduce their depression symptoms during pregnancy and the early postpartum period. Read more.


May 17, 2017
Postpartum Depression May be Prevented When Mindfulness Is Part of Childbirth Education
University of Wisconsin-Madison

A new study from researchers at UW-Madison and University of California-San Francisco shows mindfulness training that addresses fear and pain during childbirth improves childbirth experiences and lessens depression symptoms both during pregnancy and the early postpartum period.

This rigorous new study comparing mainstream childbirth education with childbirth education including mindfulness skills points to the benefits of this novel mind-body approach for reducing fear of childbirth among first time mothers. Read more.


April 20, 2017
Fidget Cubes Won’t Solve the American Recess Crisis
Vice.com

When I was in high school, my attention problems were so bad that I once spent a math class covering my entire body in those little paper circles you use to repair the holes in loose leaf paper. Needless to say, I was kicked out of class. Another time, I drew so much on my left arm that by the end of class, I was completely blue from my wrist to my shoulder. Then I got prescribed ADHD medication. It helped me concentrate, but it also made me feel terrible, interfered with my sleep, and disordered my eating patterns. And it was addictive to boot. When I got off of my meds, I went through a yearlong withdrawal.

I can’t help but wonder if a fidget toy would have done the trick instead. Read more.


“I am an adult with ADHD, and I do not take medication. I do fine most of the time, but there are moments, especially at work, when I feel medication would help me focus. Should I ask my doctor to prescribe it?”

This is an individual decision. ADHD medication certainly could help, but, before you consider taking meds, it is important to evaluate how lack of focus affects your life. If there is substantial impact, medication might be the answer. There are, of course, possible side effects that you need to be aware of and evaluate if they occur. Read more.


April 20, 2017
Should You Do Yoga to Treat Depression?
US News & World Report

In any given year, nearly 7 percent – or about 1 in 14 adults – suffers from an episode of major depression, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

If not treated, episodes last about six to 12 months on average, and often continue for longer, marked by symptoms ranging from a loss of pleasure in activities a person previously found enjoyable to disturbance of sleep as well as characteristic depressed, or low, mood. While some people find relief through conventional treatment, such as therapy and medication, many either avoid treatment – for reasons including perceived stigma related to mental illness and reluctance to seek help or difficulty accessing care – or aren’t able to overcome the disorder through conventional treatment. Read more.


April 15, 2017
UCSF Study Suggests Yoga Eases Depression
KTVU TV

Researchers have found a break-through anti-depressant, and it’s thousands of years old: yoga. A study at UCSF, with subjects who have major depression, found their condition eased with regular yoga classes.  Watch the video and read more.


April 14, 2017
When the Dalai Lama asks you to make an app…

UCNet

In her house on a hill in San Francisco with sweeping views of the city, Eve Ekman has a meditation altar, which highlights her spiritual interests.

In a nearby room, Ekman has the lamp by which her father, Paul Ekman, UC San Francisco professor emeritus in psychology, studied facial expressions — part of his work about external emotions that have permeated the public through outlets such as the television series “Lie to Me.” Read more.


April 14, 2017
Hatha yoga shows promise in the treatment of major depression
PsyPost

New preliminary research published in PLoS One indicates that yoga could help reduce symptoms of depression.

The study of 38 adults meeting the criteria for major depression found an 8-week hatha yoga program was linked to clinically significant reductions in symptom severity. Hatha yoga focuses on physical and mental strength building exercises and postures. Participants attended 90-minute hatha yoga practice groups twice weekly. Read more.


April 14, 2017
Is Yoga an Effective Antidepressant?
Psychology Today

Practicing yoga may ease mild to moderate major depression, even in people who aren’t taking antidepressant medication or receiving psychotherapy. That’s the message of a small but intriguing new study published in the journal PLoS ONE in March. It was the first study in the United States to look at yoga as a standalone treatment for diagnosed depression. Read more.


April 14, 2017
Added Evidence for Yoga for Major Depression
Mad in America

A new study out of the University of California San Francisco recently published in PLoS ONE explores the efficacy of an 8-week yoga intervention for the treatment of depression. For adults diagnosed with mild-to-moderate major depression, the 8-week hatha yoga program showed clinically significant results in reducing symptoms and also improved self-esteem and self-efficacy. Read more.


April 13, 2017
Major Depression Symptoms Eased by Yoga?
MD Magazine

Yoga appears to help people with mild to moderate major depressive order, a small study found. San Francisco researchers reported that in a small pilot study, they concluded that twice-a-week, 90-minute hatha yoga sessions for 8 weeks resulted in clinically significant reductions in the severity of depressive symptoms. Measured by the Beck Depression Inventory, 60% of the study sample that completed the 8 weeks of yoga versus 10% of the control group achieved remission from symptoms. Read more.


April 13, 2017
Yoga Could Help Relieve Depression, Study Suggests
Psychology Today

 A pilot study based in San Francisco has found promising evidence that yoga can help treat depression. The randomized controlled trial is the first of its kind outside of India to examine whether yoga alone can help mild-to-moderate depression. Researchers found that people with depression significantly improved after eight weeks of active yoga sessions twice weekly compared to those who just learned about the history of yoga. Although the study is small in size, with a sample of 38 people, it sets important groundwork for a larger study. Read more.


April 11, 2017
Should you treat your aching back with a crack?

CNN

Spinal manipulation might make a small difference in your lower-back pain, but it’s unlikely to have you doing backflips right away, according to an analysis published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.The research, which pooled 26 prior studies, found that spinal manipulation was linked to “modest improvements” in pain and function among people with short-term lower-back pain. Their pain improved an average of one point on a 10-point scale.

“For acute back pain, this is usually not considered a clinically meaningful improvement,” said Dr. Wolf Mehling, who practices at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Mehling was not involved in the JAMA study. Read more.

April 10, 2017
Inspired by Work with Dalai Lama, Eve Ekman Creates App to Map Emotions
UCSF News Center

In her house on a hill in San Francisco with sweeping views of the city, Eve Ekman, PhD, MSW, has a meditation altar, which highlights her spiritual interests.

In a nearby room, Ekman has the lamp by which her father, Paul Ekman, PhD, UC San Francisco professor emeritus in psychology, studied facial expressions – part of his work about external emotions that have permeated the public through outlets such as the television series “Lie to Me.” Read more.


March 27, 2017
How personal experience as a racial minority led to a career studying compassion meditation in diverse populations
Mind & Life Institute Blog

Helen Y. Weng, PhD is a Mind & Life Fellow and a postdoctoral scholar at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Helen is interested in how contemplative practices can improve communication within and between individuals, and how this in turn improves psychological and physical health. Her postdoctoral work is focused on developing a novel fMRI task to measure mindful breath awareness, using community-engaged approaches to adapt fMRI study procedures to underrepresented populations from diverse contemplative communities, and understanding how mindfulness-based interventions impact body awareness and psychophysiological variables. Read more.


March 27, 2017
SF experts map the emotions of a stressed-out city
San Francisco Chronicle

San Franciscans’ emotions these days are roiling — over the new occupant of the White House, stratospheric housing prices, unending homeless tent encampments and constant BART meltdowns. But, hey, in the joyful column: Opening Day at AT&T Park is just two weeks away.

Fortunately for this emotional city, two of its residents are among the world’s foremost experts on emotions. At the behest of their good friend the Dalai Lama (seriously), Paul Ekman and his daughter, Eve Ekman, have created an “Atlas of Emotions” to help people figure out just what emotion they’re feeling in an attempt to determine what triggered it and what they can do about it. They’ll discuss their new atlas at the Exploratorium on Thursday. Read more.


March 27, 2017
A Positive Outlook May Be Good for Your Health
New York Times

“Look on the sunny side of life.”
“Turn your face toward the sun, and the shadows will fall behind you.”
“Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.”
“See the glass as half-full, not half-empty.”

Researchers are finding that thoughts like these, the hallmarks of people sometimes called “cockeyed optimists,” can do far more than raise one’s spirits. They may actually improve health and extend life. Read more.


 March 3, 2017
Can Yoga, Mindfulness Fit With Managed Care?
AJMC Peer Exchange

…Frederick Hecht, MD, research director for the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, told Evidence-Based Diabetes Management™ (EBDM™) in an interview that while evidence of the health benefits of yoga and mindfulness is growing, more work is needed before managed care plans will consider reimbursement… Read more.

February 27, 2017
See San Francisco Like a Local
NorthStar CaliFun

You’ve crossed the Golden Gate, rode the expensive trolley, smelled the seals at Fisherman’s Wharf and although you managed to snap some great selfies along the way, you might have actually missed the essence of San Francisco. Although these historic landmarks are the stuff of postcards, San Francisco is more about the details hidden within its diverse neighborhoods. It’s not the colorful signs or characters that fill the streets, but the community of artists and natural beauty that make you want to leave your heart in San Francisco…

3. Laughter yoga: Be one with your city and join in one of the many free yoga classes offered throughout the city at local parks and schools. Some yoga sessions even use the laughter technique to help center you in a positive way. You will definitely see San Francisco from a different perspective when you are downward dog position. Read more.


January 6, 2017
Former NIH Center leader offers directions for integrative research
Integrative Practitioner

At a recent summit entitled “Future Trends in Healthcare: An Integrative Approach to Health and Wellness” at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, the mission was to provide guidance on ways integrative health and medicine might assist that state’s campaign to become the nation’s healthiest. Kicking off the presentations was Margaret Chesney, PhD, who a decade ago served as the deputy director of what is now the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Chesney recommended that amidst the present crisis in the medical industry we need a significant shift of integrative medicine research priorities to include cost effectiveness and other “research that can inform public policy.” Read more.


January 6, 2017
Maya abdominal massage: An answer to ending infertility, miscarriages?
Mercury News

…”Like other alternative healing techniques, Maya massage hasn’t generated reams of scientific studies. Still, mainstream health care providers recognize that different styles of massage offer a variety of benefits, from easing pain, muscle tension and emotional stress to boosting immune function and an overall sense of wellness, says Denise Bowden, an acupuncturist at UC San Francisco’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine…” Read more.


 

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