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Jan 29

Erectile dysfunction (ED) may be a problem for your sex life, but it could also point to an equally important issue: heart disease.

An Austrialian study published this week in PLOS Medicine offers new evidence than the common sexual condition is linked to the most pervasive killer in the Western world—cardiovascular disease.

Putting Two & Two Together

Researchers from the Australian National University and other research facilities examined patients in the Australian data pool known as the 45 and Up Study. They looked into the connection between incidents of erectile dysfunction and cardiovascular disease in more than 95,000 men.

The research revealed that men who didn’t report any cardiovascular problems but experienced severe erectile dysfunction were 35 percent more likely to be hospitalized for cardiovascular problems within two years. Those men also had a startling 93 percent greater chance of death from any condition than those without ED.

Because erectile dysfunction is often a side effect of cardiovascular disease and many of its treatments, it’s no surprise that 64 percent of the men who already knew they had cardiovascular problems also experienced ED.

What the Results Mean

This research isn’t the first to connect erectile dysfunction to heart problems, but the scope and size of the study does lend validity to the theory that men with ED run a much higher risk of a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke.

The researchers made a point of saying that their findings do not demonstrate that ED causes heart problems, but rather that the two conditions may share the same underlying cause, namely atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

The study authors say that erectile dysfunction should be considered a warning sign or risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which encompasses heart disease and other heart-related ills.

These results could lead to advances in men’s health screening techniques. Men are notorious for not going to the doctor, especially for problems related to the bedroom and the heart, so doctors should be on the lookout and begin screening for the two conditions at once.

How to Improve Your Erections & Your Heart

The penis-heart connection may be the basis for Fifty Shades of Grey and other romance novels, but that’s not what we’re talking about. It’s not about dating advice, it’s about staying alive.

Not all causes of erectile dysfunction are immediately linked to heart health, although many are associated with behavior that’s bad for your heart. Causes of erectile dysfunction include:
•drugs, smoking, and alcohol use
•stress, anxiety, and other mental issues
•physical injury affecting the nerves
•hypogonadism or low testosterone (Low T)

Many behaviors, namely consuming drugs and alcohol, smoking, and living under stress, are bad for your heart anyway. Thankfully, certain lifestyle changes are good for both your heart and your, ahem, neither regions:
•losing weight
•getting regular exercise
•cutting out the bad: smoking, alcohol, and drugs
•reducing your stress through meditation or therapy

Jan 29

Bulimia Test: Am I Bulimic?

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A test for bulimia can help answer the question, “Am I bulimic?” Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by the extreme need to control the intake of food. Bulimia is typified by the intake of large amounts of food, known as bingeing, and then ridding the body of calories in an unhealthy way, known as purging. Bulimia nervosa is a potentially life-threatening illness that should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible to achieve the best possible outcome of life-long remission.

Take A 10 Question Bulimia Test

There is no single test for bulimia, but some behaviors and physical bulimia symptoms are strong indicators of the disorder. If you’re wondering, “Am I bulimic?” then the following bulimia test may indicate whether you need professional help to deal with an eating disorder.

Honestly answer the following bulimia test questions1 with a “yes” or “no” answer:
1.Do you eat to the point of being uncomfortably full and making yourself sick?
2.Do you worry about controlling how much you eat?
3.Have you recently lost more than 14 pounds in a 3-month period?
4.Do you believe yourself to be fat while others say you are thin?
5.Would you say that food and eating dominates your life?
6.Do you consume large amounts of food in one sitting and feel guilty afterwards?
7.Do you eat in secret or avoid eating in front of other people?
8.Have you used vomiting, laxatives, excessive exercise, fasting, diuretics, or other medications to control your weight?
9.Do you feel that your self-worth is determined by your body’s shape and size?
10.Are you depressed, anxious or have a substance abuse problem?

Bulimia Test Results First Step in Answering Question: “Am I Bulimic?”

Have you answered “yes” to any of the bulimia test questions? If so, print out this page with your answers. Consider watching your eating behavior over the next several months and reassess by taking the test again. You may be in danger of having or developing bulimia or another eating disorder. Disordered eating problems and patterns are changed most effectively when caught early and treated by a professional.

If you answered “yes” to three or more questions on this test for bulimia, make an appointment with your doctor and discuss your results and your eating habits. Also, ask someone you trust, like a family member, to help you monitor your eating habits and watch for signs of bulimia.

If you answered “yes” to six or more questions on this bulimia test, you should immediately book an appointment with a doctor for a complete screening to rule out an eating disorder. The doctor will likely ask you questions like those above, complete a physical exam and run urine or blood analysis. Your doctor may also wish to test for physical damage caused by long-term bulimia. (See effects of bulimia)

Please remember, this bulimia test is not designed to provide a diagnosis of bulimia; only a licensed doctor or mental health professional can do that. For information on treatment of bulimia, go here.

article references

Jan 29

Mindfulness Meditation May Soothe Inflammation

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In a new study published in the January 2013 issue of Brain, Behavior and Immunity, neuroscientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison report that mindfulness meditation techniques, defined as a constant focus on breathing, bodily sensations, and mental relaxation, relieved inflammatory symptoms brought on by stress.

The researchers used different health regimens aimed at reducing stress on two separate groups of subjects. One group participated in the campus Health Enhancement Program, which combined nutritional education with exercise and music therapy. The other group participated in a health-boosting program with a mindfulness meditation approach. Both programs required the same amount of training, instructor expertise, and home practice.

Psychological stress was then induced on both groups using a tool called the Trier Social Stress Test, with capsaicin cream used to induce inflammation on the skin. The scientists then collected immune and endocrine measures. They found that the health program with the mindfulness meditation-based approach was more effective in lowering stress-induced inflammation.

“This is not a cure-all, but our study does show that there are specific ways that mindfulness can be beneficial, and that there are specific people who may be more likely to benefit from this approach than other interventions,” said Melissa Rosenkranz, PhD, assistant scientist at the center and lead author on the paper, in a press release.

Despite the fact that mindfulness mediation is a staple of alternative health, particularly with conditions involving chronic pain, little scientific evidence supports direct medical benefits of meditation and mindfulness. By including mindfulness meditation with an existing health regimen that already included social support and interaction, the UW scientists were able to show specific benefits of mindfulness meditation, according to the release.

Psychological stress is a common trigger for inflammation associated with chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. A continuous cycle of stress and flares can make living with RA a challenge. And while doctors often prescribe medication and lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet to help manage rheumatoid arthritis, mindfulness meditation may enhance the benefits.

“The mindfulness-based approach to stress reduction may offer a lower-cost alternative or complement to standard treatment, and it can be practiced easily by patients in their own homes, whenever they need,” Rosenkranz said in the release.

Jan 22

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) Test

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Jasper/Goldberg Adult ADD/ADHD Screening Quiz
By Larry Jasper & Ivan Goldberg

http://psychcentral.com/addquiz.htm

Jan 22

Significant Increase in ADHD Over Last 9 Years

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By Rick Nauert PhD

A new study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics finds that new cases of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder by physicians jumped 24 percent between 2001 and 2010.

Investigators examined the electronic health records of nearly 850,000 ethnically diverse children, aged 5 to 11 years, who received care at Kaiser Permanente Southern California between 2001 and 2010. The research findings are in line wih a number of recent nationwide studies documenting more diagnoses of ADHD.

It found that among these children, 4.9 percent, or 39,200, had a diagnosis of ADHD, with white and black children more likely to be diagnosed with the neurobehavioral disorder than Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islander children.

Researchers discovered non-Hispanic white children presented the highest diagnostic rates. The study also showed there was a 90 percent increase in the diagnosis of ADHD among non-Hispanic black girls during the same nine-year period.

For instance, in 2010, 5.6 percent of white children in the study had an ADHD diagnosis; 4.1 percent of blacks; 2.5 percent of Hispanics; and 1.2 percent of Asian/Pacific Islanders.

The study also examined increases in the rates of first-time ADHD diagnosis. Researchers found that the incidence of newly diagnosed ADHD cases rose from 2.5 percent in 2001 to 3.1 percent in 2010 — a relative increase of 24 percent.

Black children showed the greatest increase in ADHD incidence, from 2.6 percent of all black children 5 to 11 years of age in 2001 to 4.1 percent in 2010, a 70 percent relative increase.

Rates among Hispanic children showed a 60 percent relative increase, from 1.7 percent in 2001 to 2.5 percent in 2010. White children showed a 30 percent relative increase, from 4.7 percent in 2001 to 5.6 percent in 2010, while rates for Asian/Pacific Islander children and other racial groups remained unchanged over time.

“Our study findings suggest that there may be a large number of factors that affect ADHD diagnosis rates, including cultural factors that may influence the treatment-seeking behavior of some groups,” said study lead author Darios Getahun, M.D., Ph.D., from Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s Department of Research & Evaluation.

“These findings are particularly solid given that our study relied on clinical diagnoses of ADHD based on the criteria specified within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and that it represents a large and ethnically diverse population that can be generalized to other populations,” he said.

In addition, the study found that boys were three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls.

Higher family incomes also were associated with the likelihood of ADHD diagnosis; children from families with a household income of more than $30,000 a year were nearly 20 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than children from families making less $30,000.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ADHD is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders of childhood. The CDC estimates that between 4 percent and 12 percent of school-aged children have the disorder, which generates health care costs of between $36 billion and $52 billion per year.

Children with ADHD are more likely to experience learning problems, miss school, become injured and experience troublesome relationships with family members and peers, according to the researchers.

“While the reasons for increasing ADHD rates are not well understood, contributing factors may include heightened awareness of ADHD among parents and physicians, which could have led to increased screening and treatment,” said Getahun.

“This variability may indicate the need for different allocation of resources for ADHD prevention programs, and may point to new risk factors or inequalities in care.”

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD/ADD) also known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a chronic disease occurs in certain age and years of a children, defined as a condition with characteristics of co-existence of attentional problems and hyperactivity. It effects about 5% of the all children in the world with boys have 3-4 times higher risk than girl. Over one third of children with ADHD will have continued symptoms existed into their adult life.

ADHD/ADD in conventional medicine perspective
1. Diagnosis
Diagnosis depending to the observation of the symptoms of the children with ADHD and answering to questions about past and present problems, and a medical exam is also important to rule out other causes for symptoms. The diagnosis of children with development A is always a stressful and time consuming road for both parent and children, because each doctor in conventional medicine mostly specializes in one field and can not make any suggestion outside of his or her professional judgement. You may be recommended to see other specialists if one found to be necessary. Since ADHD is complex disease, it requires a team of doctor before it can be diagnosed correctly and many wrong diagnosis have been done, leading to overwhelming pressure and time wasting to the parent and their children. Fortunately, many cases of ADHD have been correctly diagnosed and are treated accordingly.
To avoid wasting your time, here is the basic list of doctors and specialists who have been required for all children with development disorder to be diagnosed correctly.
1. Development and behaviour pediatrician
2. Paediatric neurologist
3. Children psychiatrist
4. Children psychologist
5. Developmental/Behavioral Pediatricians
6. Occupational therapist
7. Neuropsychologists
8. Behavioral therapy
9. Social worker
Some children may require more or less specialists than the list above in their road to find a cure, but we believe the list is a basic team for fast and corrected diagnosis.

2. Treatments
Cognitive behavioral therapy and medication may be at least partially helpful in the treatment of children with ADHD or with ASD, if it is not accompanied with diet and nutrition as in Children with Autism, researchers said, according to the study “Effectiveness of nutritional interventions on the functioning of children with ADHD and/or ASD. An updated review of research evidence” by Martí LF., posted in PubMed(a)
2.1. Cognitive behavioral therapy
The aims of behaviour theory is to help the ADHD children to overcome the emotional, behavioural and cognitive dysfunction through a goal-oriented, systematic procedure. It is said that this types of treatment have proven to be successful in treating mood, anxiety, personality, eating, substance abuse, and psychotic disorders in some degrees.

2.2. Exercise
Research is demonstrating that acute exercise facilitated performance in the Stroop Test, particularly in the Stroop Color-Word condition. Additionally, children in the exercise group demonstrated improvement in specific WCST performances in Non-perseverative Errors and Categories Completed (10)

2.3. Parental Training
Parental Training in early alliance and change in alliance over time predicted improvements in several parenting behaviors and child outcomes, including peer sociometrics in a lab-based playgroup. These preliminary findings lend support to the importance of examining the parent-therapist alliance in parent-training groups for youth social and behavioral problems (11). Even though it is always difficult for parent to try them in the beginning, but be consistent. follow through on punishments and rewards. Keep rewards frequent and short-term, etc.

2.4. Occupational therapy
Occupational therapy is a type of program, helping to compromise physically, intellectually or emotionally to integrate coping skills into their lives in order to perform necessary tasks. but for children with ADHD, the main goal of occupational therapy is to integrate sensory perception through recognition and interpretation of sensory stimuli based chiefly on memory, therefore it helps the child to gain a more peaceful frame of mind and concentrate on certain tasks.

2.5. Social skill training
Social skill training plays an important role for many children with ADHD to learn social skills for improving relationships with peers for the child and formed part of the ADHD treatment.

2.6. Make Environment ADHD Friendly
Some researchers suggested that making environment friendly may be essential for children with ADHD such as reduce distractions and strategies for keeping attention for the ADHD children

2.7. Medication
Stimulants are used to treat and manage ADHD. All stimulants involved the increasing levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain associated with pleasure, movement, and attention.
a. Methylphenidate , including Biphentin®, Concerta® or Ritalin®)
a. 1. Methylphenidate is a piperidine compounds used to treat ADHD by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain byreleasing medication in the body over a period of time to prvide a paradoxically calming and attention effect on individuals with ADHD. Some researchers have found the beneficial effects of methylphenidate for both boys and girls. Methylphenidate therefore would appear to be as useful a treatment for ADD girls as for ADD boys.(22)
a.2. Side Effects are not limit to
a.2.1. It can be addictive
a.2.2. the medication of can cause nervousness including dizziness, agitation, anxiety and irritability
a.2.3. It may also cause gastrointestinal disorders including stomach ache, nausea, decreased appetite, vomiting, etc.
a.2.4. Do not use the medication if you have high blood pressure or any form of heart disease
a.2.5. The medicine is easy to abuse and toxicity
As therapeutic use increases, the risk increases of unintentional overdoses, medication errors, and intentional overdoses caused by abuse, misuse, or suicide gestures and attempts. Side effects during therapy, which include nervousness, headache, insomnia, anorexia, and tachycardia, increase linearly with dose. Clinical manifestations of overdoses include agitation, hallucinations, psychosis, lethargy, seizures, tachycardia, dysrhythmias, hypertension, and hyperthermia(23)
a.2.6. Etc.

b. Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®, amphetamine mixed salts (Adderall XR®)
b.1. Dextroamphetamine used as part of a treatment program to control symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, is a central nervous system stimulants used by changing the amounts of certain natural substances in the brain in which involved the effect in wakefulness and focus as well as decreased fatigue and decreased appetite.
b.2. Side Effects are not limit to
b.2.1. Prolonged period of use may decrease the effectiveness of the medicine
b.2.2. Over doses or using can cause cause serious heart problems or sudden death.
b.2.3. The medicine can cause nervous tension, including restlessness, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, headache, uncontrollable shaking of a part of your body , etc.
b.2.4. Dextroamphetamine can also cause digestive
disorder, including diarrhea, constipation loss of appetite, etc.
b.2.5. abuse, misuse, and diversion
Although, evidence on abuse, misuse, and diversion was limited, if compare to the use of Methylphenidate. But misuse and diversion rates varied by age and were highest among college students, and rates of diversion were highest with amphetamine-based products but similar among methylphenidate products. Evidence of effects in important subgroups of patients with ADHD (e.g. comorbid anxiety) was not comparative.(24)

c. Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse®)
c.1. Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (LDX) is the medicine used in children with and without previous exposure to stimulant medication in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as a significantly less active form to dextroamphetamine. As LDX reduced the core symptoms of ADHD with more severe adverse events in stimulant-naïve than previous-exposure subjects. Future controlled studies with larger samples should address the impact of previous stimulant exposure on other ADHD treatments(25)
c.2. Side effects are not limit to
c.2.1. The medication can cause nervous tension, including mild irritability, nervousness, restlessness, dizziness, trouble sleeping, etc.
c.2.2. Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate can also cause digestive disorders, including, constipation, decreased appetite, diarrhea, dry mouth, nausea, stomach pain; vomiting, etc.
c.2.3. It may be subject to abuse cause as increased risk for impairment in driving behaviors.(26)
c.2.4. Etc.

Recommended E books
Dr. Joseph Mercola’s Complete Guide
To Weight Loss, Preventing Diseases, Premature Aging,
And Living Healthy And Longer

For other children health articles, please visit http://medicaladvisorjournals.blogspot.ca/p/children-health.html
other health articles, please visit
http://medicaladvisorjournals.blogspot.com/

(10) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17344150
(11) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22357462
(12) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19220770
(13) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22314765
(14) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22122653
(15) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10904121
(16) http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?Volume=164&page=973&journalID=13
(17) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22359275
(18) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22292574
(19) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22375727
(20) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22417186
(21) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19773716
(22) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2676966
(23) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11981294
(24) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22420008
(25) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22372513
(26) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22277301

Jan 21

Will Antidepressants Zap Your Good Emotions?

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If you’re depressed, antidepressants can help you minimize those feelings of sadness and hopelessness — but will the drugs also undermine your ability to feel joy?

Emotional blunting — an overall unfeeling or numbness — is a common complaint of depression patients prescribed to certain antidepressants. This diminished capacity to have feel-good emotions during positive moments can be a significant side effect for some people taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.

And when research supporting the idea was first discussed at a national conference in 2002, mental health professionals nodded in agreement over the existence of this unwanted side effect, recalls psychiatrist Heidi Combs, MD, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington in Seattle.

However, emotional blunting is largely based on what doctors hear from their patients, as opposed to results from clinical research. So what can be done about it?

Who Experiences Emotional Blunting?

SSRIs are a class of antidepressants that affect the way the brain uses the neurotransmitter serotonin. Their effect is intended to relieve the symptoms of depression — and they’re often successful in doing so. Unfortunately, explains Dr. Combs, the drugs also act on the reward pathways in the brain — the pathways that bring us pleasure. For some people, this means that they experience emotional blunting, or the sensation that all their emotional responses are dulled.

“If something positive is going on, these patients might not have the full response,” Combs says. Though there are many case studies, the lack of large clinical studies makes it difficult to predict which people will experience this side effect — and which ones won’t.

Part of the problem is the very nature of depression. People struggling with depression often complain that they have lost some of their ability to respond emotionally to events and people around them. So for a long time, emotional blunting caused by antidepressants was written off a as symptom of hard-to-treat depression.

However, says Combs, it’s fairly easy now for physicians to tease apart the symptoms of depression itself and this antidepressant side effect. If the depression symptoms have improved, but emotional blunting persists, it’s likely due to the antidepressant. If, on the other hand, the emotional blunting continues alongside unrelieved sadness, weepiness, and other depression symptoms, then it’s more apt to be part of the original disorder, she explains.

Get Your Glee Back: What to Do About Emotional Blunting

To regain your pleasure response, Combs recommends these solutions:

Switch antidepressants. It may be a good idea to move to another class of antidepressants entirely because someone who responds to one SSRI drug with emotional blunting may respond the same way to another one.
Add a second medication. If switching to another class of drugs just leaves you with more troublesome symptoms (which can happen if you’re dealing with anxiety), ask your doctor about adding just a small amount of another antidepressant to free the reward pathways.
Talk it out. If you’re feeling an overall loss of emotional response, working through the problems that are causing stress and depression in the first place (including solving practical problems like those related to housing or income) may help.

If you find that your depression medication is edging out all your emotions, talk to your doctor. This is a real effect, emphasizes Combs, but the good news is that it has real solutions.

Jan 18

What Is Dysgraphia?

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By: National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) (2006)

Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing abilities. It can manifest itself as difficulties with spelling, poor handwriting and trouble putting thoughts on paper. Because writing requires a complex set of motor and information processing skills, saying a student has dysgraphia is not sufficient. A student with disorders in written expression will benefit from specific accommodations in the learning environment, as well as additional practice learning the skills required to be an accomplished writer.

What are the warning signs of dysgraphia?

Just having bad handwriting doesn’t mean a person has dysgraphia. Since dysgraphia is a processing disorder, difficulties can change throughout a lifetime. However since writing is a developmental process -children learn the motor skills needed to write, while learning the thinking skills needed to communicate on paper – difficulties can also overlap.

If a person has trouble in any of the areas below, additional help may be beneficial.
Tight, awkward pencil grip and body position
Illegible handwriting
Avoiding writing or drawing tasks
Tiring quickly while writing
Saying words out loud while writing
Unfinished or omitted words in sentences
Difficulty organizing thoughts on paper
Difficulty with syntax structure and grammar
Large gap between written ideas and understanding demonstrated through speech.

What strategies can help?

There are many ways to help a person with dysgraphia achieve success. Generally strategies fall into three categories:
Accommodations: providing alternatives to written expression
Modifications: changing expectations or tasks to minimize or avoid the area of weakness
Remediation: providing instruction for improving handwriting and writing skills

Each type of strategy should be considered when planning instruction and support. A person with dysgraphia will benefit from help from both specialists and those who are closest to the person. Finding the most beneficial type of support is a process of trying different ideas and openly exchanging thoughts on what works best.

Early Writers

Below are some examples of how to teach individuals with dysgraphia to overcome some of their difficulties with written expression.
Use paper with raised lines for a sensory guide to staying within the lines.
Try different pens and pencils to find one that’s most comfortable.
Practice writing letters and numbers in the air with big arm movements to improve motor memory of these important shapes. Also practice letters and numbers with smaller hand or finger motions.
Encourage proper grip, posture and paper positioning for writing. It’s important to reinforce this early as it’s difficult for students to unlearn bad habits later on.
Use multi-sensory techniques for learning letters, shapes and numbers. For example, speaking through motor sequences, such as “b” is “big stick down, circle away from my body.”
Introduce a word processor on a computer early; however do not eliminate handwriting for the child. While typing can make it easier to write by alleviating the frustration of forming letters, handwriting is a vital part of a person’s ability to function in the world.
Be patient and positive, encourage practice and praise effort – becoming a good writer takes time and practice.

Young Students
Allow use of print or cursive – whichever is more comfortable.
Use large graph paper for math calculation to keep columns and rows organized.
Allow extra time for writing assignments.
Begin writing assignments creatively with drawing, or speaking ideas into a tape recorder
Alternate focus of writing assignments – put the emphasis on some for neatness and spelling, others for grammar or organization of ideas.
Explicitly teach different types of writing – expository and personal essays, short stories, poems, etc.
Do not judge timed assignments on neatness and spelling.
Have students proofread work after a delay – it’s easier to see mistakes after a break.
Help students create a checklist for editing work – spelling, neatness, grammar, syntax, clear progression of ideas, etc.
Encourage use of a spell checker – speaking spell checkers are available for handwritten work
Reduce amount of copying; instead, focus on writing original answers and ideas
Have student complete tasks in small steps instead of all at once.
Find alternative means of assessing knowledge, such as oral reports or visual projects
Encourage practice through low-stress opportunities for writing such as letters, a diary, making household lists or keeping track of sports teams.

Teenagers & Adults
Provide tape recorders to supplement note taking and to prepare for writing assignments.
Create a step-by-step plan that breaks writing assignments into small tasks (see below).
When organizing writing projects, create a list of keywords that will be useful.
Provide clear, constructive feedback on the quality of work, explaining both the strengths and weaknesses of the project, commenting on the structure as well as the information that is included.
Use assistive technology such as voice-activated software if the mechanical aspects of writing remain a major hurdle.

Many of these tips can be used by all age groups. It is never too early or too late to reinforce the skills needed to be a good writer.

Though teachers and employers are required by law to make “reasonable accommodations” for individuals with learning disabilities, they may not be aware of how to help. Speak to them about dysgraphia, and explain the challenges you face as a result of your learning disability.

How to approach writing assignments
Plan your paper (Pull together your ideas and consider how you want them in your writing.)
Organize your thoughts and ideas
Create an outline or graphic organizer to be sure you’ve included all your ideas.
Make a list of key thoughts and words you will want to use in your paper.

Write a draft

This first draft should focus on getting your ideas on paper — don’t worry about making spelling or grammar errors. Using a computer is helpful because it will be easier to edit later on.

Edit your work
Check your work for proper spelling, grammar and syntax; use a spell checker if necessary.
Edit your paper to elaborate and enhance content – a thesaurus is helpful for finding different ways to make your point.

Revise your work, producing a final draft
Rewrite your work into a final draft.
Be sure to read it one last time before submitting it.

Copyright 2007 by National Center for Learning Disabilities, Inc. All right reserved. Used with permission.

WASHINGTON—When it comes to losing weight, a popular New Year’s resolution for many, people often focus on eating less and exercising more. But results of a new survey of psychologists suggest dieters should pay attention to the role emotions play in weight gain and loss if they hope to succeed.

The survey, conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, asked more than 1,300 licensed psychologists how they dealt with clients’ weight and weight loss challenges. When asked which strategies were essential to losing weight and keeping it off, psychologists cited “understanding and managing the behaviors and emotions related to weight management” as essential for addressing weight loss with their clients (44 percent). Survey respondents also cited “emotional eating” (43 percent) as a barrier to weight loss, and included “maintaining a regular exercise schedule” (43 percent) and “making proper food choices in general” (28 percent) as keys to shedding pounds. In general, gaining self-control over behaviors and emotions related to eating were both key, indicating that the two go together.

Ninety-two percent of the 306 respondents who provide weight loss treatment reported helping a client “address underlying emotional issues related to weight gain.” More than 70 percent identified cognitive therapy, problem-solving and mindfulness as “excellent” or “good” weight loss strategies. In addition, motivational strategies, keeping behavioral records and goal-setting were also important in helping clients to lose weight and keep it off, according to survey results. Cognitive therapy helps people identify and address negative thoughts and emotions that can lead to unhealthy behaviors. Mindfulness allows thoughts and emotions to come and go without judging them, and instead concentrate on being aware of the moment. The survey results will be reported in the February 2013 issue of Consumer Reports Magazine® and online at Consumer Reports.

“Anyone who has ever tried to lose a few pounds and keep them off knows that doing so isn’t easy. The good news is that research and clinical experience have shown that, in addition to behavioral approaches, cognitive behavioral therapy that targets emotional barriers helps people lose weight,” said Norman B. Anderson, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Psychological Association.

Consumer Reports surveyed 1,328 licensed psychologists who provide direct patient care in September 2012 about their work and professional opinions regarding weight loss. The online poll was designed by the Consumer Reports National Research Center in partnership with experts provided by the American Psychological Association. Survey participants were randomly selected from the American Psychological Association’s membership file. The margin of error was +/- 3 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. A total of 55 percent of the sample was female, and the median age was 59 years old.

“Although it is generally accepted that weight problems are most often caused by a combination of biological, emotional, behavioral and environmental issues, these new results show the key role of stress and emotional regulation in losing weight. Therefore, the best weight loss tactics should integrate strategies to address emotion and behavior as well as lifestyle approaches to exercise and making healthy eating choices,” said Anderson.

Psychologists help people identify emotional triggers that affect their eating and exercise behaviors, and develop strategies and problem-solving skills to make healthy choices. To learn more about psychological research on weight and behaviors and how licensed psychologists can help, visit the American Psychological Association.

Jan 4

Suddenly Solo is now available at Amazon!

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Divorced? Widowed? Over 50? You’re not alone. The number of mature men who are “Suddenly Solo,” by choice or not, has grown remarkably in the past few years. No matter what the underlying circumstances, many Suddenly Solos find themselves searching for real-life coping skills as they enter into this new (and yes, exciting!) single phase of their lives. Suddenly Solo has real-world answers to questions about dating, housekeeping, finances, sex (by the way, there are more single women out there then there are single men!) and so many other issues that will likely be on your mind. Told in a light-hearted way (but backed by extensive, original research), Suddenly Solo is a welcome traveling companion for the mature divorced or widowed man as they transition into their new world.

Jan 4

By Amber Moore Children who get good sleep at night are more likely to have good vocabulary as they can learn and retain new words better than kids who don’t get enough sleep.

A new study has found that the mechanism that the adults use to learn is the same mechanism that enables children to develop vocabulary.

“These are truly exciting results which open up a new dimension of research in our understanding of language development. Our work provides the first evidence that sleep is associated with the integration of newly-learned words into the mental dictionaries of children,” said Dr Anna Weighall from the psychology research group at Sheffield Hallam.

Researchers found that new words began assimilating with other words in the brain after a cycle of 12 hours. But, this process happens only if the child has slept during the period. Sleep provides an environment that helps the brain start consolidating learned material that it shifts from short-term memory to long-term memory.

“Children’s ability to recall and recognise new words improved approximately 12 hours after training, but only if sleep occurs. The key effects were maintained one week later, suggesting that these new words are retained in long-term memory,” said Dr Lisa Henderson from the Department of Psychology at University of York.

Children with disturbed sleep or those who snore a lot while sleeping are more likely to have problems with learning and behavior. Previous research has shown that sleep can aid in learning of a complex motor-skill.

Researchers say that further studies in the field will show how sleep affects children who are diagnosed with developmental and neurological problems like autism and dyslexia.

“Clearly, children need to learn material well in the first place, but then they also need to sleep well in order to weave these new memories in with their established knowledge. The combination of these two components is the key to robust learning,” said Professor Gareth Gaskell in the Department of Psychology at University of York.

Read more at http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/13294/20121128/good-sleep-linked-improved-vocabulary-children.htm#wRHs9AWk0Z6EEvzr.99

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