Improving Your Memory

How can we have a better memory?

This topic certainly interests me. Why? Just last week, I forgot something and had to drive back. And there are many times I walk upstairs to my home office and forgot why I’m there. As we age, our memory usually becomes more challenging.

While not a cure all, tips from Adam Grant, writing for the NY Times, may be helpful:

“’Everybody has a great memory for something, Joshua Foer explained on my WorkLife podcast. “Incredible memory capacities are latent inside of all of us — if we use the right techniques to awaken them. So ditch the bad study habits you learned in school, and start with these three steps.”

“First: Say goodbye to the all-nighters of cramming. In a series of experiments, students listened to stories and then took a test of how much information they remembered an hour later. Recall spiked by 10 to 30 percent if they had been randomly assigned to sit and do nothing in a dark, quiet room for a few minutes right after hearing the story. Your mind needs rest and space to consolidate and store information. That’s especially true for people who have memory difficulties. When the same experiment was done with patients who had suffered strokes and other neurological injuries, resting improved their recall to 79 percent from 7 percent.”

“Second: Don’t bother with rereading or highlighting. Research reveals that they don’t help much; they’re too passive. Instead, try something active: quiz yourself. Evidence shows that practice tests lead to better retention than any other technique. When you retrieve knowledge from your mind over and over again, you know where to find it the next time, and you quickly discover where the gaps in your memory are.”

“Third: Tell someone. In a recent experiment, people learned about sound waves and the Doppler effect. (You know, the phenomenon that causes the siren on a police car to be high-pitched as it approaches you and drop as it passes you). At the end of studying, the participants were randomly assigned to deliver a lesson on the material with or without notes. A week later, they came back and had to take a surprise test on their recall. The ones who had taught the lesson without notes did better.”

Click the image to read more.

Improving Your Memory
 

Grief and Your Immune System

We have all experienced some form of grief.

First, we look at grief in general. Then we consider grief and your immune system.

An Overview of Grief

Consider these observations from the Mayo Clinic:

“Grief is a strong, sometimes overwhelming emotion for people, regardless of whether their sadness stems from the loss of a loved one or from a terminal diagnosis they or someone they love have received. They might find themselves feeling numb and removed from daily life, unable to carry on with regular duties while saddled with their sense of loss.”

“Grief is the natural reaction to loss. Grief is both a universal and a personal experience. Individual experiences of grief vary and are influenced by the nature of the loss. Some examples of loss include the death of a loved one, the ending of an important relationship, job loss, loss through theft, or the loss of independence through disability.”

“Experts advise those grieving to realize they can’t control the process and to prepare for varying stages of grief. Understanding why they’re suffering can help, as can talking to others and trying to resolve issues that cause significant emotional pain, such as feeling guilty for a loved one’s death.”

“Mourning can last for months or years. Generally, pain is tempered as time passes and as the bereaved adapts to life without a loved one, to the news of a terminal diagnosis or to the realization that someone they love may die.”

“If you’re uncertain about whether your grieving process is normal, consult your health care professional. Outside help is sometimes beneficial to people trying to recover and adjust to a death or diagnosis of a terminal illness.”

Grief and Your Immune System

From our own health perspective, grief can have a dramatic effect on our immune systems. Understanding this is vital.

According to new research as reported by Futurity:

“Losing a loved one is one of the most stressful life experiences a person will endure. And its toll can be physical as well as emotional. Science has shown, for example, that widows and widowers have a 41 percent higher risk of early death, compared to their still-married peers.”

“The relationship between grief and the immune system may explain bereavement’s association with increased risk for disease and early mortality, at least in part. Since researchers began studying it in 1977, evidence has shown that people may experience negative changes in their immune function following the loss of a loved one.”

In a new research review article in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, Lindsey Knowles, a psychology doctoral student at University of Arizona, and associate professors of psychology Mary-Frances O’Connor and John Ruiz examined 41 years of existing research on bereavement and the immune system. They focused specifically on 13 studies deemed to be of high scientific quality.”

Click the image to read Knowles and O’Connor discussion of their findings, as well possible directions for future research.

Grief and Your Immune System
(Credit: LoboStudio Hamburg/Unsplash)

 

Surprising Bad Habits and Cancer

Please be good. 🙂

In prior posts we looked at: Sometimes Overlooked Cancer Causes. Can We Outsmart Cancer? And Cancer Health. Today, we examine surprising bad habits and cancer.

As Beth Ward writes for Sharecare:

“While quitting smoking and eating right are certainly important to your health, they aren’t the only habits to consider. There are many seemingly harmless things you do every day that could be bad for you—so bad that they could up your cancer risk.”

Click the image below for a short Sharecare slideshow and see  what habits you may want to rethink to stay as healthy as possible.

Surprising Bad Habits and Cancer

 

Lauren Cox — A Millennial Hero for Us All

A Type 1 diabetic playing top-level college basketball.

Despite adulation for sports stars, they are not “heroes” in the true sense of the word. Athletes’ on-field performance does not make them heroes. Their off-field exploits may. As may the way they live their lives.

A new hero for me is Lauren Cox. She is a 20-year old star woman’s basketball player for Baylor University. Her team  won the NCAA championship on Sunday in a close game. Lauren was hurt in that game, and missed the last quarter with a leg injury.

So, what makes her someone I admire? As a 25+-year diabetic (the last 4 as a virtual Type 1 diabetic), I know how tough it can be just to live well every day. In Lauren Cox’s case, to be able to play top-level basketball as a Type 1 diabetic, she has an insulin monitor on her at all times. Yet, she never complains or gets down about her condition.

As Lindsay Schnell reports for USA today:

“Lauren Cox swears it doesn’t hurt. But when she describes the act of getting her insulin tube ripped out, or having someone accidentally ram a knee or elbow into the insulin infusion point on her hip during a basketball game, it sounds extremely painful.” 

“’I mean at this point, I’m used to it,’ the 6′-4″ player for the Baylor women’s basketball team told USA TODAY Sports. And she plays while checking her blood sugar multiple times a game. And that,  makes her, according to longtime Baylor trainer Alex Olson, ‘just amazing.’”

“Cox is used to rough and tumble play — she actually picked college basketball over college volleyball because she prefers the physicality of hoops — and she’s used to playing with Type 1 Diabetes. She’s been doing it for 13 years.”

“Cox’s blood sugar is checked every five minutes by her Continuous Glucose Monitor. Using Bluetooth technology, her CGM sends the number to her insulin pump, a handheld device a little smaller than an iPhone, that connects a tube to an infusion port in her hip. During games, she tucks the pump into the side of her sports bra, and checks the number anytime she steps off the court. She and Olson are looking for a reading between 120-150; if it gets below 70 or above 300, she’s automatically pulled out of competition.” 

Go Lauren. Here’s hoping you have a full recovery from your leg injury. 🙂

Lauren Cox -- A Millennial Hero for Us All
(Photo: Raymond Carlin III, USA TODAY Sports)

 

We’re Not There Yet on Doctor-Patient Relationships

We can still do better. 🙂

Earlier this month, I gave a presentation to about 65 residents and other doctors on “Roles in Patient-Doctor Relationships: Seeing Both Sides.”

This is the sixth and final post from that talk:

Despite the progress made, as noted in the 5 posts above, there is still a ways to go in doctor-patient relationships.

Check out the charts below, which are based on four possible relationships. The optimal relationship is obviously mutuality. But the other three possibilities still exist. That needs to change. We need to have relationships be win-win!!!
 
We’re Not There Yet on Doctor-Patient Relationships
 
We’re Not There Yet on Doctor-Patient Relationships
 
We’re Not There Yet on Doctor-Patient Relationships
 
We’re Not There Yet on Doctor-Patient Relationships
 
We’re Not There Yet on Doctor-Patient Relationships
 

Patient Actions Improving Doctor Relationships

How patients can enhance doctor relationships

Earlier this month, I gave a presentation to about 65 residents and other doctors on “Roles in Patient-Doctor Relationships: Seeing Both Sides.”

This is the fifth post:

In the doctor-patient relationship, what can patients do to enhance communications? After all, it is not all on the doctor to make the relationship work.

Check out the chart below, and these highlights from the chart:

Patients need to see doctors regularly. And not wait until it is too late. Early diagnosis is a big plus for continued good health.

Patients must always be truthful. Also, they always should come prepared (such as having a list of the prescriptions taken).

Patients should not ask for harmful medications.

Patients need to thoroughly understand treatment options and make informed decisions.

Patient Actions Improving Doctor Relationships
 

Doctor Actions Improving Patient Relationships

How doctors can enhance patient relationships

Earlier this month, I gave a presentation to about 65 residents and other doctors on “Roles in Patient-Doctor Relationships: Seeing Both Sides.”

This is the fourth post:

In the doctor-patient relationship, what can doctors do to enhance communications?

Check out the chart below, and these highlights from the chart:

Doctors need to show positive body language, such as not hanging in the doorway.  This shows less respect for the patient.

Studies show that the simple act of a doctor’s sitting, makes patients feel much better. They like being on the same physical level. And they tend to believe the doctor is with them longer than he/she actually is.

Doctors should allow their patients to speak uninterrupted. Studies show that, typically,  doctors interrupt patients within 11-18 seconds!!  

The doctor should always leave the patient with some hope, even when a prognosis is poor.

Doctor Actions Improving Patient Relationships