The ‘silent treatment’ is a sign of an unhealthy relationship

Communication is one of the most important factors in any healthy relationship - whether it's with family, friends, loved ones, coworkers, bosses, or whomever. And much of the social conflict we experience in our lives is due to some type of miscommunication or lack of communication. One study published in the journal Personal Relationships has identified one pattern that's common in most negative and toxic relationships. Psychologists looked at over 100 married couples in the U.S. and had them keep diary reports of the status of their marriage and current marital conflicts. The participants also rated their individual depressive symptoms. By analyzing these reports, researchers discovered that a "demand-withdraw" pattern was one of the biggest predictors of marital dissatisfaction and symptoms of spousal depression. A "demand-withdraw" pattern is when one individual attempts to "demand" a change from their partner, and...

Read More

How super is your poo? The search for ‘super poo donors’ for fecal transplants

Claudia Campenella, 31, works as a student support administrator at a UK university, and in her spare time she is a poo donor. "Some of my friends think it is a bit weird or disgusting, but it doesn't worry me. It's very easy to donate and I just want to help with medical research. I'm glad to contribute." Her faeces, teeming with "good" bugs, will be put into the bowel of a sick patient to help their poorly gut get better. Claudia knows her donation is extremely useful - that is why she does it - but is her poo extra special? ...

Read More

Is DNA to blame? – Should killers with a violence gene get lighter sentences?

In 2015, Anthony Blas Yepez was sentenced to more than 22 years in prison after killing George Ortiz, his girlfriend's step-grandfather. Three years prior, Yepez and his girlfriend were living with Ortiz when, according to testimony, Ortiz hit Yepez's girlfriend in the face. Yepez says he isn't sure what happened next but that he "must have blacked out." When he came to, he was on top of Ortiz, who was bleeding and appeared to be dead. Yepez and his girlfriend then poured cooking oil on the victim, lit him on fire, and fled the scene in Ortiz's car. Now, Yepez's lawyer, Helen Bennett, is seeking a retrial for her client - and she's relying on an unusual argument: that Yepez is genetically inclined to act violently due to the "warrior gene." Specifically, Bennett is arguing that Yepez has low levels...

Read More

Should you take probiotics if you need to take antibiotics?

Your intestinal bacteria are part of your immune system, and researchers are discovering that microbes of all kinds play instrumental roles in countless areas of your health. For example, beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics, have been shown to: Modulate your immune response1 and reduce inflammation2Produce vitamins,3 absorb minerals4 and break down indigestible dietary fiber, turning it into beneficial short-chain fatty acids5Eliminate toxins6 from your bodyBenefit your mood and mental healthBoost weight loss7,8,9Beneficial bacteria also control the growth of disease-causing bacteria by competing for nutrition and attachment sites in your colon. This is of immense importance, as pathogenic bacteria and other less beneficial microbes can wreak havoc with your health if they gain the upper hand. ...

Read More

Yes, the rich and famous actually are quite narcissistic

Have you ever wondered whether those who inhabit the ethereal world of the truly wealthy are, at their core, narcissistic? Does it seem that the ability to satisfy your every whim, to have well-paid staff wait on you hand and foot, and to socialize with other high-flyers can make almost anyone become unduly self-centered and entitled? Imagine yourself being able to walk into a room and immediately draw the attention of all who want to impress you. Consider what it would be like to have personal shoppers come to you with a panoply of expensive designer clothes and jewelry and you don't even have to peek at the price tag. Someone is hired to come every day to freshen your appearance and you have personal trainers who inspect every muscle as you enter your in-home gym. If you're not just...

Read More

The ‘dream team’ for the cold and flu season

As we are in the midst of the annual cold and flu season, I want to share the basic plan I use to support my patients during this time. It includes three supplements I use for people of all ages when they feel an acute illness coming on. First, it is important to remember that even though it is common to blame all acute illnesses on microbes, fundamentally, viruses and bacteria are scavengers in nature. Bacteria digest debris in nature, and viruses are intracellular parasites that "infect" cells that demonstrate some type of weakness. In other words, the infectious nature of acute illness is only one side of the story; the other side is the "terrain," or the condition of the person who gets sick. The three supplements I predominantly use for most acute illnesses address both sides of this...

Read More

EAT-Lancet’s plant-based planet: 10 things you need to know

An important new study about global nutrition was published this week that deserves everyone's full attention: "Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems." This paper was commissioned and published by The Lancet - one of the world's oldest and most respected medical journals - and penned by an international group of 37 scientists led by Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard University. The product of three years of deliberation, this 47-page document envisions a "Great Food Transformation" which seeks to achieve an environmentally sustainable and optimally healthy diet for the world's people by 2050. Its core recommendation is to minimize consumption of animal foods as much as possible, and replace them with whole grains, legumes and nuts: ...

Read More

Proper breathing brings better health

As newborns, we enter the world by inhaling. In leaving, we exhale. (In fact, in many languages the word "exhale" is synonymous with "dying.") Breathing is so central to life that it is no wonder humankind long ago noted its value not only to survival but to the functioning of the body and mind and began controlling it to improve well-being. As early as the first millennium B.C., both the Tao religion of China and Hinduism placed importance on a "vital principle" that flows through the body, a kind of energy or internal breath, and viewed respiration as one of its manifestations. The Chinese call this energy qi, and Hindus call it prana (one of the key concepts of yoga). A little later, in the West, the Greek term pneuma and the Hebrew term rûah referred both to the breath...

Read More

Mitochondria play an unexpected role in killing bacteria

According to biology textbooks, a macrophage engulfs a bacterium, internalizes it in a toxin-filled vesicle called a phagosome, then shuttles the cellular remains to a lysosome for degradation. But killing microbial invaders turns out to be a lot more complex, with other organelles such as mitochondria-the main sites of energy production in the cell-participating in the process. One piece of evidence for mitochondria's role surfaced in 2011, when researchers curtailed the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) - highly destructive molecules that are byproducts of metabolism - in mouse macrophage mitochondria, and found that the immune cells became less effective at killing bacteria. Four years later, immunologist Mary O'Riordan of the University of Michigan Medical School uncovered another piece of the puzzle when she exposed mouse macrophages to the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. This appeared to activate a particular stress pathway...

Read More

How to unwind your busy monkey mind

Most people believe relaxing activities are only done in the evenings, and should be grouped in categories, scheduled, or put in an evening "routine," as if it's simply another item to check off your "to-do" list. The good news? You don't have to wait until the evening to unwind and relax. In fact, you shouldn't. You deserve to feel grounded in your center and a sense of peace all day, not for just a few hours at the end of your day. You shouldn't have to, and you absolutely do not have to and mustn't do so. It is time to do away with the philosophy that it is only safe to entertain the idea of relaxation at the very end of your day, after spending the large majority of your waking hours walking through the day scattered, stressed, anxious,...

Read More