Healthy Choices

News and inspiration for healthy living in Northern California

July 16, 2013
How to get more sleep: Put away that smartphone/tablet/laptop

Here's a catchy video by the folks on how to get enough sleep and what happens when you don't:

July 9, 2013
Stave off dementia; Keep your brain active, researchers say

Use it or lose it. That's what researchers say about increasing your chances of staving off dementia in your advanced years.

It's actually possible to have all the signs of Alzheimer's in your brain but not exhibit any decline in mental ability.

This has researchers asking, in effect, "is it the chicken, or the egg that came first?"

Mental activity such as avid reading, problem solving and otherwise using your brain may be the key to avoiding dementia. Or, you may think clearly and on your feet because your brain is somehow protected from the disease. Reasearchers don't really know which is true yet.

But what is certain is that people who keep their minds active stand greater odds at dodging dementia, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine's topic page on Alzheimer's.

June 26, 2013
Successful rehab includes support from the community

Each day, an average of 8,120 people age 12 and above try drugs for the first time. An estimated 12,800 try alcohol, according to the newly published non-fiction book titled "Clean," by David Sheff.

Sheff writes that addiction is a preventable, treatable disease, not a moral failing. As with other illnesses, the approaches most likely to work are based on science.

That's not to say that community and family support is any less important. In Berkeley, the Indian burrito restaurant called Urbann Turbann makes it a point to hire recovering addicts once they've finished their treatment programs.

Here's a short video on community support I shot while at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism's Multimedia Institute: It's called "A Second Chance." Feel free to share.

June 24, 2013
Lack of sleep can cause loss of memory, daytime alertness.

Among other things, not getting enough sleep may play a role in making you more forgetful. The website makes that point in this video titled "How to Understand The Causes of Memory Loss."

The takeaway message? Loss of as little as 1.5 hours of sleep a night may reduce daytime alertness by as much as 32 percent.

May 14, 2013
How mindfulness helps your health: Tips from a congressman

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat from Ohio's rust belt, knows about mindfulness. He's written a book called "A Mindful Nation" in which he talks about how he benefits from mindulness practice every day.

And now he's on the cover of the June issue of Mindful Magazine.

Studies about mindfulness' benefits to our health show the practice has "a 'cooling' effect on the inflammatory processes of the body," Ryan says.

Have you tried mindfulness meditation? Talk about your experience in the comments section below.

Dr. Susan Bauer-Wu, associate professor of nursing at Emory University, says: "Conceivably, if you begin these practices earlier, you may be able to prevent some serious chronic illnesses associated with inflammation."

Inflammation is a factor in dementia, Alzheimer's and cancer, among other diseases.
Mindfulness practice also helps to control stress, another risk factor in chronic disease, such as heart failure.

Something to think about, yes? Here's my story on the growing trend.

About Healthy Choices

Cynthia CraftCynthia H. Craft began her reporting and editing career in Columbus, Ohio, after graduating from Ohio State University. She worked at a Dallas, Texas, newspaper as an editor, and then at the Los Angeles Times, as an editor and Capitol Bureau correspondent. After working as editor in chief at the California Journal, Craft went to Lima, Peru, for three years as a visiting professor of journalism at Peruana Universidad de Ciencias Aplicadas. She was a fellow in 2012 at the National Library for Medicine in Washington, D.C. at the National Institute for Health. She's currently The Sacramento Bee's senior writer on health, a position made possible by a grant from The California Endowment.

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Phone: (916) 321-1270
On Twitter: @cynthiahcraft.

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