CDC: 4 Things Could Prevent 200,000 Deaths Yearly

At least 200,000 Americans under age 75 die needlessly each year from heart disease and stroke that could have been prevented by doing four important things: quitting smoking, reducing cholesterol, controlling blood pressure and taking a daily low-dose aspirin if a doctor approves. The findings are from a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that also points out that more than half of these avoidable deaths are occurring among those under 65. “These findings are really …

Is That Aching Head Hurting Your Brain?

If you suffer from migraines, how worried should you be about a recent study that suggests the painful disorder may permanently change brain structure? For this study, published online Wednesday in the journal Neurology, researchers at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark analyzed 19 different studies and found that people who suffer from migraines have an increased risk of brain lesions – tiny scars on the brain – as well as more infarct-like abnormalities and changes in brain volume. The results showed …

Facing the Enemy Within

I was telling my wife Cinelli about a Carole King album called Tapestry I had purchased online when I was stopped by the word “album.” I couldn’t say it. I said “alume” and “abul” and “alome,” but not “album.” It just wouldn’t come out. It was not only annoying, it was eerie. “What’s going on?” asked Cinelli, studying me. By then the word had popped back into my head. “I’m trying to say album,” I replied. “There, I said it! …

2 Cups of Coffee Daily May Cut Suicide Risk

Chalk up yet another health benefit to coffee: A new study indicates that drinking two to four cups a day may lower suicide risk — by half! Yes, it seems amazing, but Harvard School of Public Health researchers found that people who drank two to three cups of caffeinated coffee daily had a 45 percent lower chance of taking their own life, while those who drank more than four cups of coffee daily had a 53 percent lower risk when …

The BRAIN Initiative: 5 Things to Noodle

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy called on the nation to set as its goal “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth” by the end of the decade. Today, President Barack Obama called on the nation to set a similarly ambitious goal: mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer’s disease. “We can study particles smaller than an atom, but we still haven’t unlocked the mystery of the three pounds of matter …

Three Ways Caregivers Can Use Music Therapeutically

As a music therapist, I worked for many years with older adults and children with special needs using music as a tool to achieve non-musical goals. I used music to encourage expression and social interaction, physical activity and movement, brain stimulation, healing, verbal expression and communication, expression of emotions, reminiscence and even achieve simple eye contact. I created a hand-chime choir with my adult day services center participants who traveled around performing for their peers at other centers. One of …