HERBS FOR HEALTH MANAGEMENT

Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IMPACTS PSYCHOLOGICAL HARDINESS

Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.

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ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…

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Scientifically designed plasticity-based options target specific brain machinery to improve cognitive functioning. Brain exercises should rely on novelty and complexity. WebMD and Lumosity provide some excellent options for exercising the brain. Neville and her colleagues have produced a film for non-scientists called Changing Brains. You can view it at http://changingbrains.uoregon.edu/ watch.html.


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REMEMBER BRAIN FITNESS AND WELL-BEING

environmental or neural processes. During such changes, the brain engages in synaptic pruning, deleting neural connections that are no longer necessary or useful and strengthening necessary ones. One of the most attractive features of plasticity-based fitness activities is they are drug free. They rely on retraining the brain through repetitious and challenging activities.


There is a growing understanding of and interest in brain plasticity. This effort is driving a revolution in brain health and science. One way smart technology and smart brain fitness has been realized is with musicians stricken with focal dystonia who are learning to play again. It has also been realized in people with mild cognitive impairment benefiting from brain exercises and brain games. Cancer patients whose ability to function has been impeded by the lasting cognitive effects of chemotherapy treatment have in some cases benefited from brain plasticity, as have stroke or traumatic brain injury patients. Brain exercises can facilitate neuroplasticity, thereby modifying the connections that allow the brain to re-wire itself. The brain’s anatomy ensures certain areas have functions that are predetermined by a person’s genetic make-up.

DR. THOMAS W. MILLER, PH.D, ABPP

Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut and Professor, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine and Department of Gerontology, College of Public Health, University of Kentucky.

more articles by Dr thomas w. miller

Recent advances in neuroscience have effectively put an end to the nature-or-nurture debate. Instead, the focus of discussion has switched to mechanisms and brain-based interventions. More specifically, the question has become: In what ways are neural circuits changed by experience? When is the brain most receptive to learning new things? What effect does neuroplasticity have on the development of neurocognition?


Perhaps no one is more intrigued by and committed to answering these questions than Dr. Helen Neville, director of the Brain Development Lab at the University of Oregon. In her address at the 25th American Psychological Society Annual Convention in Washington, D.C., Neville discussed how experiences and genetics interact to influence neurocognitive development and brain fitness.


Brain fitness occurs when individuals choose to focus on physical, cognitive, behavioral and relational skills together, rather than in isolation. Providing a more holistic approach to building challenge areas and enhancing strengths increases one’s confidence, comprehension and communication, processing, memory and relational skills involved in brain functioning.


Neuroplasticity involves a change in neural pathways and synapses that occurs due to certain factors, such as behavioral,