Archive for April, 2015

Probiotics To Treat Depression

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

What you eat can have a major impact on how you feel emotionally.

A diet rich in probiotics — which support the growth of “healthy” bacteria in the gut — is known to boost digestive health and can even improve a person’s immune system. But now an increasingly robust body of evidence suggests that gut bacteria may exert a significant effect on brain function and mental health.

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that can be found in your body, as well as in supplements and foods fermented with live active cultures such as some yogurts, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir. These “good” bacteria are known to promote digestive and immune health, and researchers are discovering that they may support mental health as well.

Once considered a fringe idea, a growing number of scientists have become interested in probiotics and prebiotics as potential treatments for anxiety, depression and other mental health problems. And in a small, new study at Leiden University, researchers found additional support for the idea: they report that among 40 healthy subjects, those who underwent four weeks of probiotic treatment showed a decrease in negative thoughts and feelings.


More evidence of how deeply dogs are attuned to humans

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Previously, the researchers had shown the eye connection between dogs and humans increases the levels of oxytocin in people. Oxytocin, aka the “cuddle chemical,” is a hormone mammals produce in the brain that encourages bonding between mothers and their offspring. It’s also involved in partner and social bonding.

Most evidence shows this kind of connection works within a species— humans produce oxytocin because of other humans, and dogs produce it because of other dogs.

But the new study is the first to show the hormonal bonding between dog and human.

That is, the feeling is mutual.


This Professor Says Learning To Be Happy Is ‘No Different Than Learning The Violin’ The Huffington Post | By Paige Lavender Email

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Richard Davidson, professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, touted the importance of being mindful, especially in the workplace.

“I think people in leadership positions are starting to understand the importance of [mindfulness practices],” Davidson told HuffPost Live at Davos. “The cost of burnout is enormous, the cost of employee turnover is enormous.”

Davidson said happiness is a skill that can be continually developed.

“I talk about happiness as a skill. It’s actually something that can be cultivated,” he said. “Everything we’ve learned about the brain suggests it’s no different than learning the violin… if you practice, you’ll get better at it.”



Abraham Lincoln’s respect for life extended from humanity to all creatures

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Lincoln was like more than a few of us whose pets have run of the house these days: He also left to those friends the dog’s favorite horsehair sofa on which to nap, as well as a long, specific list of rules for how Fido was to be treated during his waking hours. For example, Fido was not to be scolded if he came inside with muddy paws, and he was to be fed from the dinner table.

Lincoln’s attitudes and relationships with animals were in some ways ahead of their time. Matthew Algeo, author of the new book, Abe & Fido: Lincoln’s Love of Animals and the Touching Story of His Favorite Canine Companion, paints a picture of Lincoln as a deeply compassionate and empathetic person, whose respect for life extended from his fellow men all the way down to the smallest creatures.



For more creativity, TRAVEL

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

“Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms,” says Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School and the author of numerous studies on the connection between creativity and international travel. Cognitive flexibility is the mind’s ability to jump between different ideas, a key component of creativity. But it’s not just about being abroad, Galinsky says: “The key, critical process is multicultural engagement, immersion, and adaptation. Someone who lives abroad and doesn’t engage with the local culture will likely get less of a creative boost than someone who travels abroad and really engages in the local environment.” In other words, going to Cancun for a week on spring break probably won’t make a person any more creative. But going to Cancun and living with local fishermen might.



Stray dogs attend viewing and funeral for woman who fed them

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

According to daughter Patricia Urrutia, Margarita Suarez dedicated his life to caring for stray dogs and cats. After first, rejecting the idea, funeral home owners relented and let the dogs stay. “This was entirely unexpected and it is a beautiful and marvelous thing,” Urrutia said.

Besides family and friends of Suarez, the media attended the service and reported that the dogs were well behaved.

“They stayed with my mother all day and then all night, but they left in the morning,” Urrutia said. ¨Then, when we brought my mom to be cremated the dogs came back and gathered to say goodbye,” she said.


More evidence that dogs and other animals know so much more than some people give them credit for. Those of us who are animals lovers will not be surprised.

One Man’s Life With 5 Identities

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Lee’s dissociative identity disorder treatment continues to evolve. The goals of therapy differ among people with DID. While some may choose to become integrated into one person, that is not Lee’s goal.

“Integration is a choice, and not all DID patients make it a goal,” Baker-Hargrove says. “It would be a huge emotional loss for David to say goodbye to them.”


Australian Family Rescues Abandoned Baby Magpie, Now Has The Coolest Pet Ever

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

In late 2013, 10-year-old Noah Bloom found a deserted magpie chick in a New South Wales suburb. After taking her home and giving her a towel as a bed, the Blooms called a veterinarian friend of the family for advice. They could hand the bird over to an authority, but, being young and abandoned by other magpies, they were told she’d probably be put down. So the Blooms bought some baby bird feed, gave her a name — “Penguin” — and raised her themselves.

Oh, and they set up an Instagram account, which has so far attracted over 27,000 followers.

More here.

Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.