#Allergies and Depression: The Surprising Connection

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Are allergies and depression or anxiety related?

Allergy symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose, coughing, a sore throat, and a headache. These symptoms range from mild to severe. While some people with allergies can go about their normal daily routine in only slight discomfort, others might feel physically ill.

CONNECTIONSIf you have depression and anxiety along with allergies, you might think the former conditions have nothing to do with the latter. But as it turns out, there appears to be a connection between allergies and depression or anxiety.

Interestingly, allergic rhinitis has been linked with higher rates of depression and suicidal behavior.

Now, this doesn’t mean that everyone who has allergies will also have depression or anxiety, and vice versa. But you may be at risk for depression if you have a history of allergies.

What’s the connection?

Anyone who lives with chronic, persistent allergies may attest to feeling bad most days of the week or month. Feeling under the weather for one or two days might not dampen your overall mood. On the other hand, experiencing more bad days than good could eventually affect your outlook — and not for the better.

Life doesn’t stop when you’re dealing with allergies, which means you have to maintain your daily routine even when you don’t feel well. Allergies can affect your performance at work and school, and depending on the severity of symptoms, any type of activity can be physically draining.

Even though some people don’t connect their allergies with depression, there’s a long-standing relationship between physical health and mood.

In fact, included among the causes of clinical depression are stressful events and illness. For example, being diagnosed with coronary heart disease or cancer can make a person more susceptible to depression.

Of course, allergies aren’t as serious as some health problems. Nonetheless, feeling sick day after day can have an emotional toll on you, regardless of the severity of the illness.

ALLERGENSIt’s important to note that allergens that may trigger depression and anxiety don’t only include dust mites, pet dander, grass, ragweed, or pollen. Depression might also occur if you can’t tame food allergies (shellfish, nuts, gluten).

The old adage holds true that “you are what you eat.” In a 2017 study of children with and without food allergies (between the ages of 4 and 12), researchers concluded that food allergies played a role in higher levels of social anxiety and general anxiety in minority children of lower socioeconomic status.

The study didn’t find a link between depression and food allergies.

Of course, mood disorders can occur separate of allergies.

Mild depression and anxiety can resolve on its own. If not, speak with your doctor about treatment. Options can include psychotherapy, an anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication, or a support group.

Home remedies might also prove effective, such as:

TREATING ALLERGIES CAN HELPTreating allergies may also improve depression and anxiety. Allergic rhinitis releases cytokines, a type of inflammatory protein. It’s believed that this protein can have a negative effect on brain function, triggering sadness and depression.

Along with taking allergy medication, you can fight inflammation with food. Eat more leafy greens, berries, and nuts. Also, ginger and green tea can help reduce inflammation, as can getting plenty of sleep, massage therapy, and regular exercise.

Can treating your allergies help your depression or anxiety?

If you have bouts of depression or anxiety when your allergies flare, getting control of your allergy symptoms can help you feel better physically, and possibly lift a sad mood.

Avoid your allergy triggers and take over-the-counter or prescription allergy medication to keep symptoms at bay.

Lifestyle changes can help

  • Wash bedding frequently.
  • Vacuum your house once or twice a week.
  • Keep doors and windows closed to reduce exposure to outdoor allergens.
  • Avoid scented products (candles, lotions, perfumes, and so on).
  • Wear a mask when cleaning the house or working in the yard.
  • Rinse out your nasal passages.
  • Sip water or hot liquids to thin mucus in your throat.
  • Avoid cigarette smoke.

If you suspect a food allergy, ask your doctor about a skin test or a blood test to help pinpoint the foods that trigger your symptoms.

Can treating allergies make you feel worse?

Make sure you’re aware of possible side effects of over-the-counter and prescription allergy medications. These medications are effective, but they can also cause drowsiness, an upset stomach, or constipation.

Sides effects are usually temporary. They can, however, make you feel worse and heighten depression or anxiety.

SIDE EFFECTSStop taking a medication if you experience unpleasant side effects. Ask your doctor about an alternative drug. Sometimes, a lower dose can stop side effects, while continuing to provide allergy relief.

The bottom line

Many people live with seasonal and year-long allergies. When you’re unable to control their symptoms, allergies can lead to anxiety or depression. Talk to your doctor about options for allergy relief, as well as your options to treat a mood disorder.

With the right medication and lifestyle changes, you can put allergy symptoms behind you and get rid of the black cloud hanging over your head.



#Un #feedback personnalisé lors du dépistage du #cancer colorectal améliore les habitudes de vie des patients

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 Une intervention au moyen d’un feedback écrit personnalisé (FP) lors d’une sigmoïdoscopie de dépistage est associée à une légère amélioration des habitudes de vie susceptibles de prévenir les cancers, selon une étude publiée dans le numéro de décembre de la revue Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Markus Dines Knudsen, Ph.D., du Cancer Registry of Norway d’Oslo, et ses collègues ont assigné de manière aléatoire 3 642 hommes et femmes invités à passer une sigmoïdoscopie de dépistage à recevoir un FP, une brochure standard concernant les habitudes de vie susceptibles de prévenir les cancers, ou à faire partie d’un groupe témoin. Les participants ont reçu par la poste des questionnaires auto-signalés concernant leurs habitudes de vie (QHV) à la référence (prédépistage) et un an plus tard. L’intervention au moyen du FP se basait sur les réponses au QHV administré lors du prédépistage. Les auteurs ont comparé les différences entre les groupes en termes de facteurs individuels susceptibles de prévenir les cancers et en termes de nombre d’habitudes de vie susceptibles de prévenir les cancers lors du prédépistage et lors du suivi à un an. L’étude portait sur 1 054 participants au dépistage ne présentant aucun signe de néoplasie.

Les chercheurs ont observé que par rapport au groupe témoin, le nombre d’habitudes de vie susceptibles de prévenir les cancers du groupe FP avait augmenté de manière significative, de 0,11. Par rapport au groupe témoin, les individus en surcharge pondérale/obèses du groupe FP présentaient une perte de poids plus importante, de 0,84 kg.

« Le bénéfice associé au fait d’enseigner des comportements susceptibles de prévenir les cancers dans le cadre d’un dépistage basé sur la population est que cela pourrait augmenter les chances d’atteindre une partie majeure de la tranche d’âge ou de la catégorie démographique visée », indique Knudsen dans un communiqué. « Au moment du dépistage, ces individus pourraient être plus sensibles aux informations concernant la prévention des cancers. »

L’un des auteurs a divulgué des liens financiers avec Amgen.

#Mindfulness training may support #weight loss

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Mindfulness training may improve the effectiveness of intensive weight management programmes, according to findings of a small new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The study included 53 adults attending a tier 3-based obesity service in the United Kingdom. Among those recruited into the study, 33 participants completed at least three of four group sessions where they were taught mindfulness-based eating behaviour strategies. A retrospective control group, composed of 33 randomly chosen participants who had not been taught mindfulness techniques, was also included.

The study found participants who received mindfulness teaching had significantly greater weight-loss of 2.85 kg than control participants who had no mindfulness teaching (P=.036). Participants also had a statistically significant improvement of 14.3 points (4% improvement) in overall self-reported eating style (P=.009) between assessments performed at baseline and following completion of attendance at the group sessions.

Qualitative feedback showed participants felt better able to plan meals in advance after the sessions and felt more confident in self-managing weight-loss.

The authors noted a relatively high drop-out rate from the group sessions and said alternative means of administering mindfulness programmes to patients with obesity should be explored.

#El uso intensivo de #móviles reduce las oportunidades de interacción en la #primera infancia

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El uso de los móviles por los niños debe realizarse bajo la supervisión de un adulto, previa selección de contenidos, siempre a partir de los 24 meses y nunca como moneda de cambio, según las recomendaciones del Centro de Atención Infantil Temprana San Juan de Dios de Sevilla.

Las nuevas tecnologías están introduciendo continuamente cambios en los modelos comportamentales y conductuales de la sociedad, mucho más aún cuando comienzan a conocerse los comportamientos de los llamados nativos digitales, es decir, de las generaciones cuyo desarrollo y aprendizaje están íntimamente ligados al uso de dispositivos digitales.

Por un lado, existe una corriente contraria al uso de teléfonos móviles o tablets en los primeros años de infancia; por otro, voces más aperturistas a la introducción de estos dispositivos en la vida de los más pequeños. “Como ocurre casi siempre con cualquier cosa y como indica el sentido común, no puede ser todo o nada”, ha explicado Lucía Ponce, psicóloga del Centro de Atención Infantil Temprana (CAIT) de Sevilla, que aconseja que “podemos hacer uso de dispositivos móviles bajo la premisa del aprendizaje; pero no bajo la del entretenimiento”, y siempre a partir de los 24 meses de edad.

En el Centro de Atención Infantil Temprana San Juan de Dios de Sevilla empiezan a detectarse cuadros de ansiedad, irritabilidad, problemas de sueño, dependencia o frustración en niños pequeños a causa de un uso no controlado de móviles.

El uso de móviles puede realizarse para fomentar el aprendizaje pero no el entretenimiento

En un modelo educacional en el que los padres hagan un uso intensivo de las nuevas tecnologías con los pequeños, se están perdiendo oportunidades para la interacción y para aprender relaciones sociales. “Si a un niño se le ponen constantemente vídeos que, por su reiteración han hecho que éste aprenda a contar en inglés antes de saber usar palabras en su idioma materno, el niño está asumiendo contenidos y aprendizajes descontextualizados”, ha añadido Ponce.

Móviles como moneda de cambio


El móvil como moneda de cambio con los niños se traduce también en un uso negativo. Ponce ha afirmado que si ofrecemos a un niño un móvil para que acceda a contenidos de entretenimiento mientras le damos de comer, desviamos la atención de la comida, lo que provoca que pierda atención sensorial y no aprenda a comer. “Eso hace que no le estemos enseñando una correcta relación con la comida y si el niño es buen comedor puede incluso no percibir correctamente su nivel de saciedad y haga ingestas muy superiores a las que debe, porque está pendiente de unos dibujos, no de qué y cómo se come”.

Sin embargo, desde el CAIT de San Juan de Dios abogan por un uso controlado y responsable de los dispositivos por parte de los padres o cuidadores de los niños, ya que pueden favorecer habilidades como la resolución de conflictos, la coordinación visomotora o la capacidad de asociación y contextualización.

Si el adulto controla los contenidos o aplicaciones se pueden aprovechar las ventajas que se desprenden de un entorno tan intuitivo como el de móviles y tablets, pues existen aplicaciones que son puzles cuyas piezas los niños ensamblan con el dedo; otras para buscar la diferencia entre objetos prácticamente idénticos o al revés, etc.

Se trata de que la familia en su ámbito doméstico eduque con un modelo de uso, que debe ser un espejo por parte de los adultos hacia los niños y que controlen los contenidos para aprovechar las potencialidades de los pequeños.

Recomendaciones para el uso de móviles

Lucía Ponce hace una llamada de atención sobre el tiempo que los adultos de la familia pasan mirando las pantallas de sus dispositivos móviles frente al que pasan y dedican a los pequeños de la casa, “pues estamos enseñándoles un patrón que ellos reproducirán”.

Por ello, además del control y selección de contenidos, es importante que se marquen espacios y momentos libres de móviles en casa, delimitando su uso en determinadas franjas horarias, por ejemplo.

Por ello, Ponce ha añadido que a la hora de pensar en un regalo para los niños, lo primero que ha de tenerse en cuenta es la edad, para adecuarlo a sus expectativas y necesidades. A partir de ahí, es siempre positivo buscar juguetes que fomenten la interacción entre iguales y con adultos. Así, los juegos simbólicos, son una buena opción.

Por otro lado, es un acierto buscar juguetes que fomenten la creatividad. No se debe dar todo hecho al niño, sino poner en sus manos un juego que le permita crear y recrear, esto es, “materiales no estructurados que le permitan experimentar, comunicarse o pedir ayuda. Esto sucede, por ejemplo, con los juegos a bases de piezas que les permiten montar edificios, aparatos, o inventos”.

#Contracepção e #gravidez em adolescentes

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Por Sharon Levy, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Director, Adolescent Substance Abuse Program, Boston Children’s Hospital

Muitos adolescentes participam de atividades sexuais, mas podem não ter sido plenamente informados sobre contracepção, gravidez e doenças sexualmente transmissíveis, incluindo a infecção pelo vírus da imunodeficiência humana (HIV). Impulsividade, falta de planejamento e uso concomitante de drogas e álcool diminuem a probabilidade de que os adolescentes usem métodos contraceptivos e métodos de proteção de barreira (como preservativos).


Qualquer um dos métodos contraceptivos adultos pode ser usado por adolescentes, mas o problema mais comum diz respeito ao cumprimento. Muitas meninas adolescentes, por exemplo, se esquecem de tomar o contraceptivo oral diariamente ou param completamente de tomá-lo, frequentemente sem substituí-lo por outra forma de método contraceptivo. Ainda que preservativos masculinos sejam a forma mais frequentemente usada de contracepção, ainda há percepções que podem inibir o uso consistente (ideias, por exemplo, de que o preservativo diminui o prazer o interfere no “amor romântico”). Algumas meninas também se sentem envergonhadas em pedir ao parceiro para usar preservativos durante o sexo. Recentemente, a utilização de métodos contraceptivos de longo prazo, como injeções mensais, se tornou mais comum entre meninas adolescentes.


A gravidez também pode ser uma fonte significativa de estresse para os adolescentes.

Adolescentes grávidas e seus parceiros tendem a abandonar a escola ou o estágio, piorando assim sua situação econômica, baixando sua autoestima e sobrecarregando os relacionamentos pessoais. Adolescentes grávidas (que somam 13% de todos os casos de gravidez nos Estados Unidos) têm menor propensão do que as adultas a obter cuidados pré-natais, o que resulta em gravidez com resultados desfavoráveis, como elevadas taxas de nascimento prematuro. Adolescentes grávidas, particularmente as que são bastante jovens e aquelas que não estão recebendo acompanhamento pré-natal, têm mais probabilidade de ter problemas médicos, como anemia (quando o organismo não tem uma quantidade suficiente de glóbulos vermelhos saudáveis) e pré-eclâmpsia (hipertensão arterial e proteína na urina que pode causar prejudicar o feto) que as mulheres na faixa dos vinte anos.

Bebês de mães jovens (especialmente mães com menos de 15 anos de idade) são mais propensos a nascer prematuramente e ter baixo peso no nascimento. Contudo, com cuidados pré-natais adequados, adolescentes com mais idade não correm risco mais elevado de problemas de gravidez do que adultas com antecedentes semelhantes.

A adolescente pode decidir dar fim à gravidez. Fazer um aborto não elimina os problemas psicológicos de uma gravidez indesejada – nem para a adolescente, nem para o seu parceiro. Crises emocionais podem ocorrer:

  • Quando a gravidez é diagnosticada

  • Quando a decisão de fazer o aborto é tomada

  • Imediatamente depois que o aborto é realizado

  • Na época em que o bebê deveria ter nascido

  • Nos aniversários daquela data

Uma adolescente grávida pode optar por desistir da criança voluntariamente (adoção) ou criar a criança por si própria ou com o pai da criança, geralmente com o apoio de membros da família.

Todas as opções causam estresse emocional. Aconselhamento familiar e informações sobre métodos contraceptivos, tanto para a menina quanto para o seu parceiro, podem ser muito úteis.

Os pais podem ter reações diferentes quando sua filha diz que está grávida ou seu filho diz que engravidou alguém. As emoções podem variar, indo desde apatia a decepção até raiva. É importante que os pais expressem seu apoio e disposição para ajudar a adolescente a ponderar suas escolhas. Os pais e adolescentes precisam se comunicar abertamente sobre aborto, adoção e paternidade — todas elas opções difíceis demais para o a adolescente encarar sozinho.

#Infeções na infância podem aumentar risco de doenças mentais

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Fonte de imagem: parenting.firstcry

As infeções que as crianças contraem durante a infância podem fazer aumentar o risco de doenças mentais durante aquele período e adolescência, demonstrou um novo estudo.

O estudo que foi conduzido por investigadores da Universidade de Aarhus e pelo Hospital Universitário de Aarhus, Dinamarca, seguiu 1.098.930 crianças nascidas na Dinamarca entre 1 de janeiro de 1995 e 30 de junho de 2012.

Os investigadores analisaram os tratamentos recebidos pelas crianças para a febre, dores de garganta e infeções, desde o nascimento das mesmas e o risco subsequente de doenças mentais até à adolescência das mesmas.

Foi apurado que as crianças que tinham sido hospitalizadas devido a infeção corriam um risco 84% mais elevado de terem uma doença mental e 42% maior de receberem uma prescrição para tratamento de doenças mentais.

Adicionalmente, o risco de as crianças desenvolverem determinadas doenças mentais, como autismo, distúrbios da personalidade e doenças psicóticas, era também mais elevado. A equipa descobriu ainda que o risco de doenças mentais era mais elevado logo após a infeção, o que parece sugerir que a mesma poderá contribuir para o desenvolvimento dos problemas mentais.

“Os internamentos hospitalares devido a infeções estão particularmente associados a um aumento de doenças mentais, mas também a infeções menos graves que são tratadas com medicamentos [prescritos] pelo próprio médico de família do paciente”, adiantou Ole Köhler-Forsberg, que colaborou neste estudo.

“Este conhecimento aumenta a nossa perceção sobre a existência de uma relação próxima entre o corpo e o cérebro e que o sistema imunitário pode desempenhar um papel no desenvolvimento das doenças mentais. Mais uma vez, a investigação indica que a saúde física e mental estão intimamente ligadas”, concluiu o investigador.




#Anxiety Treatments Can Help People with COPD Breathe a Little Easier

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Cognitive behavioral therapy can help people with COPD deal with the anxiety associated with breathing difficulties.

Relaxation techniques are among the therapies people with COPD can use for anxiety. Getty Images

Imagine not being able to breathe easily. You’d probably be a little anxious.

That’s what happens to many of the 12 million adults in the United States suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

COPD obstructs airflow to the lungs and in the process can cause anxiety in many patients, which only makes breathing more difficult.

“It causes a spiral,” said Bill Clark, who has COPD and leads community engagement at the COPD Foundation. “The stress and anxiety causes the breathing to get worse, which causes more stress and anxiety, and gets worse again, and creates cycles of shortness of breath.”

Treating that anxiety may lead to reduced suffering by COPD patients — and reduced costs for treatment and hospitalization.

And a new study has found a better method for treating the problem.

It calls for using cognitive behavior therapy in settings that take into account the unique difficulties of COPD patients.

What the study revealed

In the recent study, Karen Heslop-Marshall, PhD, a nurse consultant at Newcastle-upon-Tyne NHS Foundation Trust hospital in England, and her team screened COPD patients for anxiety.

Of 1,500 patients, 59 percent had anxiety symptoms.

Some of those with COPD and anxiety symptoms were given cognitive behavioral sessions with nurses specializing in respiratory issues.

Others were just given self-help literature on anxiety management.

Researchers found the cognitive behavioral therapy patients’ management of their anxiety improved considerably more than the other study participants.

The group receiving the therapy also had significantly reduced hospital admissions.

That wasn’t surprising to Clark.

The behavioral therapy works primarily by helping patients work on ways of coping with and managing anxiety, in order to keep it from spinning out of control.

Clark said he was diagnosed with COPD 17 years ago and was given 6 years to live.

He has 20 percent lung function, which he says feels like you’ve just had the wind knocked out of you pretty much all the time.

“I remember the terror of not being able to get enough breath,” he told Healthline.

To cope, he talked with others and learned what he could about coping with that stress.

“The most important thing for a patient to do is to become educated,” he said.

How to cope with anxiety

Heslop-Marshall had an idea for addressing that terror through education.

“A lot of patients don’t get the link between breathlessness and feeling frightened and anxiety,” she told Healthline. “They just think it’s part of COPD.”

It’s not, although it is related.

When you’re frightened — like, say, because you’re struggling to breathe — that makes breathing worse, she explained.

But there are things you can to do control those fears.

Counting backward from 107, Heslop-Marshall suggested.

Or counting how many red cars you see.

“Anything to take your mind off your breathing,” she said.

Getting professional help

It’s a lot easier to master these coping mechanisms with a little help from a professional.

And if that professional also has expertise in lung conditions such as COPD, Heslop-Marshall figured, then they’d be better able to tell whether there was a real breathing problem or whether it was just anxiety.

“If your lungs are at 80 percent and you have a lot of anxiety, then we’d need to push you a bit because it might be in your head more than your lungs,” she said.

That’s why her study relied on cognitive behavioral therapy from respiratory nurses rather than psychologists.

“Because we can bear in mind patients’ lung health, so we can gauge whether the goals they’re setting for themselves are realistic or not,” she said.

She did add it’s important for nurses to check in with psychologists periodically.

In the study, COPD patients saw nurses for behavioral therapy training for an average of about four visits.

Heslop-Marshall said the National Health Service, the United Kingdom’s publicly funded countrywide healthcare system, has asked for the data behind her report and expressed interest in using her recommendations to help lower the hospitalizations of COPD patients — and associated costs.

Getting away from drugs

In the United States, a greater reliance on treatments such as behavioral therapy could potentially decrease reliance on drugs to help control anxiety, which patient advocates say have limited benefits.

“A lot of people with COPD seem to think that they need medications for anxiety or depression,” John Linnell, a COPD advocate who was diagnosed with the disease in 2005, told Healthline. “But a lot of these medications are to correct a chemical imbalance in the brain.”

What COPD patients are suffering from isn’t a chemical imbalance but panic caused by an inability to breathe.

So, at least for many COPD patients, drugs aren’t going to help, Linnell told Healthline. And, he added, many of these meds can lower respiration rates so might end up hurting breathing in the long run.

Linnell also recommended calming techniques, such as mindful awareness.

He and Clark recommended non-pharmacological methods instead, such as pursed-lip breathing, which can help empty lungs of carbon dioxide and refill them.

Talking to other patients to get tips — whether in patient support groups or online boards such as the COPD Foundation’s copd360social.org — can also help patients find coping strategies that work.

To better share such strategies, Heslop-Marshall hopes more nurses working on lung conditions get training in cognitive behavioral therapy.

More behavioral therapy work by nurses could save millions of pounds in COPD drugs and hospitalizations, she said, “but it’s not going to be easy because we would need to train people.”

“We’re trying to train as many people as we can,” she said, “and one day, a digital version would be the goal.”

The bottom line

People with the lung disease COPD often have trouble breathing, which can lead to anxiety.

Cognitive behavior therapy, which helps patients develop strategies for coping with anxiety and similar conditions, can help lower that anxiety and reduce the chances COPD patients will end up in the hospital.

That’s especially true when the behavioral therapy is done by nurses with expertise in lung conditions, a new study finds.

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