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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A healthy lifestyle is a big focus for Alzheimer’s research. “We encourage diet and exercise,” McKinney said. “All the things that are good for your heart are good for your brain. Stay active and quit smoking if you are a smoker. Exercise to get your blood flowing and heart rate up. Fuel up by eating a balanced diet. It is never too late to incorporate healthy habits.”


Doing mental activities is also helpful. “There are 10 ways to love your brain, including hitting the books,” McKinney said. “Take a class at a community college. Learn a second language. Read. Do crossword puzzles. Continue to keep learning and challenging your mind.”


Clinical trials such as those conducted by the Sanders Brown Center on Aging in Lexington are showing promise. People who are interested in participating are encouraged to check them out through a service called Trial Match. You can sign up to obtain more information or to be notified if there is a trial in your area that is a match for you.


“It can be as invasive as a spinal tap, having blood work or [taking] drugs that are

The Alzheimer’s Association is front and center when it comes to new discoveries related to Alzheimer’s disease. The majority of the association’s funding goes toward research and there are always new clinical trials starting.


“Every year the Alzheimer’s Association hosts an international conference to which researchers and scientists from all over the globe are invited,” said Lisa McKinney, communications coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter. “They present their findings, collaborate and share in efforts to move the mission forward to promote some kind of drug or treatment to prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s.”


One of the latest revelations is that reproductive history might impact dementia risk. “In a trial of 15,000 women, it was found that women with three or more pregnancies had a 12-percent lower risk of developing dementia,” McKinney said. “But every miscarriage you have increases your risk.”


When a woman starts her menstrual cycle also has an effect. “If you did not have your first period until you were 16 or older, you have a 30-percent greater chance of dementia than if you started at 13 or younger,” McKinney said.

WHAT’S NEW IN ALZHEIMER’S RESEARCH

JAMIE LOBER

Jamie Lober is a Staff Writer for Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Jamie Lober

going through trials or something as simple as a computer game where you sit down and take a memory test,” McKinney said.


One of the biggest keys to moving forward with Alzheimer’s research is keeping the conversation flowing. “We are working to reduce the stigma and get information out there,” McKinney said. “This means differentiating between normal aging and some of the risks and signs of Alzheimer’s so you can seek treatment sooner.”


The Alzheimer’s Association offers many opportunities to make a financial contribution to help fund research. “One of our signature events is on June 21, the longest day of the year and the summer solstice,” McKinney said. “The day with the most light is the day we fight.”  People are encouraged to put on an event or do something they love in memory of someone with the disease or to recognize someone living with it. The Alzheimer’s Association will gladly provide materials to make it possible. Visit www.alz.org or call 1-800-272-3900.