Are Your Ears Trying to Protect Themselves?

En español |Our senses have warning systems to alert us to possible dangers. A bitter taste warns us away from poisons. A putrid smell alerts us that food may not be safe to eat. Our eyes close automatically when exposed to a flash of light. Pain receptors in our skin warn us to pull away from something hot. But what about hearing? We all know that noise damages our hearing, and most of us have thought of hearing as an …

Study: Suffering Increasing at the End of Life

It’s been more than 15 years since the Institute of Medicine released its seminal 1997 report detailing the suffering many Americans experience at the end of life and offering sweeping recommendations on how to improve care. So has dying in America gotten any less painful? Despite efforts to build hospice and palliative-care programs across the country, the answer seems to be a resounding no. The number of Americans experiencing pain in the last year of life actually increased by nearly …

Placebo Power: Can It Relieve Your Migraine?

It’s called the placebo effect – the surprising power of the brain to affect the body when we take a pill we think is medication, even though it isn’t. It’s been found to influence a number of conditions, including depression and irritable bowel syndrome, as Smithsonian magazine noted, but the most recent research concerns the pain of chronic migraines – those severe pounding headaches often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. In the study, published in Science Translational …

Meditation Rivals Medication for Depression

Want a free, easy tip for reducing anxiety, depression and pain without medications? Try meditation. New research finds that meditation may be equally as effective as antidepressants in helping to reduce anxiety, depression and pain, according to a review of studies published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers reviewed 47 randomized clinical trials with 3,515 participants and found that mindfulness meditation improved symptoms of depression by 10 to 20 percent and symptoms of anxiety by 5 to 10 percent. “This is …

Redford, Loneliness and the Ocean

Anyone who has never been in the middle of an ocean surrounded by an eternity of waves can ever imagine  how lonely it can be. Time has no meaning and distance is a dream on an empty sea, whether you’re on a cruise ship, a troop ship, a battle ship or a canoe. It’s all the same in a cosmic vision. The ocean is a metaphor for loneliness. Robert Redford, the actor who once seemed to offer little more than …

What Does the New End-of-Life Study Mean?

When it comes to end-of-life medical decisions, Americans are divided over what they think is right: to pull out all the stops and try everything regardless of the situation, or discontinue treatment and allow someone to die if he or she chooses. A newly released survey by the Pew Research Center asked nearly 2,000 adults by telephone to weigh in on their beliefs, including the hot-button issue of physician-assisted suicide. The results: 66 percent think a patient should be allowed …