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Friday, April 26, 2013

New Study Examines The Power Of Prayer And The Treatment Of Depression

Do you believe in the power of prayer?


How often do you pray? Do you believe in the power of prayer? These might seem like simple questions, but when you think about your day to day life, do you ever say a silent prayer for simple things? For example, if you are running late for work do you ever say something like "please let me get to work on time"? Or if your family member is ill, do you silently ask for their life to be spared? Or perhaps when some horrific event occurs, do you pray for a peaceful outcome. Even if you do not practice a specific religion there is probably a pretty good chance that you call on some "higher power" to intercede and bring about a good result.

New research finds that people who believe in a higher power respond better to psychiatric treatment...


This week the results of a new study "A test of faith in God and treatment: The relationship of belief in God to psychiatric treatment outcomes" were published in the April 2013 issue of the Journal of Affective Disorders. The study's methods included working with 159 patients over the course of one year in a day-treatment program at an academic psychiatric hospital. The researchers assessed the following elements prior to treatment:
  1. Belief in God
  2. Treatment credibility and expectancy
  3. Emotion regulation 
  4. Congregational support

The study's results...


  • Belief in God was significantly higher among treatment responders than non-responders
  • Higher levels of belief were associated with greater reductions in depression
  • Greater improvements in psychological well-being over the course of treatment

Comments from the study's author


WebMD offers insights from the study's lead author, David Rosmarin, a clinician at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA and an instructor in the psychiatry department at Harvard Medical School:
"Our work suggests that people with a moderate to high level of belief in a higher power do significantly better in short-term psychiatric treatment than those without, regardless of their religious affiliation. Belief was associated with not only improved psychological well-being, but decreases in depression and intention to self-harm. Given the prevalence of religious belief in the United States -- more than 90 percent of the population -- these findings are important in that they highlight the clinical implications of spiritual life. I hope that this work will lead to larger studies and increased funding in order to help as many people as possible."  

Going forward...


It is true, this is a small study, but it dovetails with previous research completed by San Francisco General Hospital when they monitored the effects of prayer for 393 cardiac patients - those who were prayed for had fewer complications like pneumonia and needed less drug treatment.

Working with people who suffer from the disease of addiction and co-occurring disorders like depression and self-harm allows us to witness those who find recovery with a higher power in their life. Celebrate Hope culminates a Biblical Christ centered approach to healing, restoration, and reconciliation to God, family, and to one's own dignity and self-worth.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Exercise Could Save Alcoholic's Brain

It is no big secret that years of heavy drinking can have adverse side effects on one’s brain. 


Alcoholics who seek recovery may find that exercise may help their brain, a new study suggests. New research conducted at the University of Colorado, Boulder, found exercise may help prevent damage to white matter in heavy drinkers. You can read the study's abstract here: Aerobic Exercise Moderates the Effect of Heavy Alcohol Consumption on White Matter Damage.

White matter is responsible for: learning, processing, thinking, and communication between various regions of the brain; clearly our white matter is of the utmost importance. In the past, research showed that heavy alcohol exposure may damage white matter, U.S. News reports.

The new studies results have shown that regular aerobic exercise is associated with less damage to white matter in heavy drinkers. 


There were 60 participants who volunteered for the study that were moderate or heavy drinkers; they were queried about their drinking behaviors and their attempts to control their drinking, as well as their exercise routines. Researchers then scanned the participants' brains looking at white matter.

“We found that for people who drink a lot and exercise a lot, there was not a strong relationship between alcohol and white matter,” lead researcher Hollis Karoly said in a news release. “But for people who drink a lot and don’t exercise, our study showed the integrity of white matter is compromised in several areas of the brain. It basically means white matter is not moving messages between areas of the brain as efficiently as normal.”
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Friday, April 12, 2013

National Poll On Chronic Pain And Drug Addiction ~ See Complete Results Here

Have you ever participated in a public opinion poll?


If you watch any television news programs, listen to radio news, sign-up for a live Internet news feed or still read a daily newspaper, then there is a pretty good chance that daily the results of a new public opinion poll will be reported. Have you ever participated in a public opinion poll?  Usually the interviewer will tell you "this survey will only take a few minutes," which may be true if you are just reading the questions; however, if the questions are thought provoking a few minutes might turn into 20 or 30 minutes.

When you hear the results of a poll, do you ever want to know more about the questions asked of the interviewees? Today we read a headline: "Majority of Americans say that doctors should have limits on pain medication prescribing." We wanted to know more...

Research!America - An Alliance For Discoveries In Health


According to their website, Research!America was founded in 1989 by a group of individuals, each realizing that there was a deficiency in funding for medical research and the lack of good research would affect Americans for generations.
Mission Statement 
Research!America is the nation's largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. We urge Congress and the administration to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Science Foundation (NSF) at levels that keep pace with scientific opportunity. We also advocate for federal funding for global health research and a legislative and regulatory climate that stimulates growth in industry research and development.

National Poll: Chronic Pain and Drug Addiction


In March 2013, Zogby Analytics conducted an online National Poll On Chronic Pain for Research!America. 1,016 people participated in the survey and the results have a sampling error of +/- 3.1%. These participants were asked 16 questions. You can see all of the questions and the poll results here. Take the time to read all of the results.

Each of the 16 questions is thought provoking and each of the statistical results would make for a newsworthy headline. You can see from the related articles below that a number of news outlets zeroed in on the poll result that "chronic pain ranks well below drug addiction as a major health problem." 

One question that caught our attention was: "Do you think doctors discuss the possibility of developing dependence or addiction to pain medication too much with their patients, not enough with their patients, or about the right amount with their patients?"  The surveyed participants responded:
  • 54% said "not enough"
  • 21% said "the right amount"
  • 17% said "not sure"
  • 7% said "too much"
Here is another poll question: "Is prescription pain medication abuse and addiction a major problem in your community?" 40% of the respondents said "yes", 25% of the respondents said "no", while 36% of the respondents were "not sure."
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Friday, April 5, 2013

More Favor Marijuana Legalization Than Not

Marijuana has been one of the biggest hot-button topics in last few years; from medical marijuana to all out legalization talks from state to state. There are many in this country who believe that despite the inherent health concerns associated with marijuana, the drug should be legalized the same way that alcohol is - or at least in a similar manner.

A new survey recently conducted has shown that the majority of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana. The survey was conducted by the Pew Research Center; their findings represent a shift in public opinion, especially with the younger people, Reuters reports.

The Pew Research Center’s findings indicate that this is the first time in more than four decades of polling on the issue that a majority of Americans favor legalizing marijuana.

52 percent of those surveyed favor legalization, while 45 percent oppose it. 

Among Americans ages 18 and 32, the survey found 65 percent favor legalizing marijuana, up from 36 percent in 2008. Among Baby Boomers, the survey found, half favor legalization, up from 17 percent in 1990. 59 percent of Democrats favor legalization, compared with 37 percent of Republicans.

Tom Angell, Chairman of the advocacy group Marijuana Majority, told Reuters, "You’re going to start seeing more politicians running toward our movement instead of away from it, just as we’ve seen happen with same-sex marriage."
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