Early Intervention of a Healthy Lifestyle – Rising Kashmir

An important step to save the health and wellbeing of our children

Post by DR. TAIZEENA KHAN on Friday, November 25, 2022

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WHO (World Health Organization)– Defines health as complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.At an early stage children not only need love and care, but alsoa proper road map for a healthy life style. This road map should be devised by keeping in mind all the parameters of health and wellness.It should not only focus on physical and mental health of our children but also on the social aspects of it. To achieve this goal we need to enhance the skills of parents. The health and wellness plan from the birth of a child will decide the future of our coming generations. In recent years of my clinical practice as a physiotherapist, I have noticed more youngsters coming to me with musculoskeletal disorders.This abrupt rise of my younger generation patients, their lack of physical activity, unnecessary stress and lack of social set up that could provide them with a platform to practice a healthy lifestyle at an early stage urged me to choose this topic today.

In recent years children as young as 12- 18 years have been coming to me with musculoskeletal disorders. While consulting/counselling these youngsters I have come to the conclusion that there is not only the lack of physical activities but also a lot of avoidable stress leading to unhealthy choice of life style in this age group these days. To a large extent I believe that technology has also played a great role in this. No doubt that technology has become an integral component of our daily lives. Technology has to a great extent made our lives easier but at the same time it has done that at the cost of our physical, mental and our social lives .This all begins when we as a parent make a choice of offering a smart phone to our 6months old, so that we can feed the child. Children are easily attracted to new toys and smart phone with so many features is no doubt the best form of toy for them. It has a cartoon that speaks to them anytime they hit the button. The best fictional stories they could ever watch and everything they could get their hands on. Meanwhile, we don’t realize the cost of bringing this technology to them at this early stage of their life. We happily embrace making our child technology dependent too early, as it is not only saving us time in this fast moving world but we also think that we are making our child happy.

Physical inactivity in children is becoming a growing problem day by day and has been considered as epidemic according to research. WHO (World health organization) reports that about 70%of the boys and up to 88% of the girls under the age 10 don’t get the physical activity they need for their age. Think back of the times when we were growing up as kids. How did we spend our time in school as well as home? There were no computers, no smart phones, almost no technology. There wasa good balance between our books, TV time and playing games. We were encouraged to go out and play. We had more real friends than social media friends whom we could talk and discuss our stress with. We also used to spend a lot of time in our vacation with our extended family members, especially with our grandparents. We used to listen to their stories, the folk stories, their real life experiences etc.  I remember going on for long walks with my grandfather and on the way bothering him with lots of inquisitive questions about the trees, the birds, or whatever we saw on our way. This helped me appreciate nature, love animals and observe things keenly. But times have changed. Children today are hardly seen playing after school or have a good social life. Pressure from parents to perform better in academics, more and more access to technology and lack of Physical activity is leading to overall physical, mental and social problems in their lives.

This sedentary lifestyle arising due to various problems discussed above is the leading cause of childhood obesity, hypertension, cardiac problems juvenile diabetes, anxiety, aggression, depression and other behavioral changes and musculoskeletal disorders in children. Delayed growth and development in infants and toddlers is also seen due to changed patterns of raising our children and more and more technology taking over our burdens. In recent years more and more infants and toddlers are facing delayed speech and learning disabilities.  Investing time and efforts in early childhood development starting from infancy is pertinent to stop this epidemic and give our children a best life. Plan a proper balanced healthy lifestyle program for your Child’s health and wellness.

Here are some tips to lay a foundation to the health and wellbeing of our children whose benefits last a lifetime.

  • Do not introduce technology to your children at a very early age.
  • Instead introduce games which stimulate their brains, e.g. educational and learning toys such as building blocks, numbers, shapes, colors etc.
  • Spend more and more time with them while they are still in their infancy. Read a story book for them, this encourages them to read and write.
  • Feed them while they are observing nature and not offering them a smart phone, this helps them enjoy their food and develop their taste buds better.
  • Encourage them to feed themselves as soon as you think they are ready for it.
  • Encourage them to do small independent activities e.g. feeding themselves, combing, brushing, tying shoe laces, etc.This will not only help them stay physically fit but also independent.
  • Introducing a healthy balanced diet plan and avoiding junk food is imperative.
  • Regularize the feeding and sleeping time.
  • Encourage going to bed early and do not give them access to technology at bed time.
  • Limit the technology, TV and video game time, e.g.you can allow technology time which includes any form of technology only 1-2 hours a day.
  • Encourage them to spend more time playing games with friends, extended family members, especially grandparents.
  • You can also select a day to play with your kids e.g. weekends, this will help you bond with your kids and also help you and your kids stay physically fit.
  • Encourage them to spend more time playing outdoors.
  • Encourage them to spend time with grandparents, let them listen to their real life experiences and learn from them, encourage physical activity as much as possible.
  • Bond with your kids. Listen to them with open mind and heart. Do not put pressure on them to achieve academic or any other goals in life, instead encourage them to do well in life by giving them all the support they need.
  • Last but not the least, be a practical example for your own kids. Practice a healthy life style and they will follow you.

(Author is a physiotherapist. She has done BPT (Bangalore India), PGDMS (London), MBA (USA). MIAP (Member India Association of Physiotherapists). Fellowship in Geriatric Rehabilitation, Fellowship in Paediatric Rehabilitation, Certified women’s health exercise expert)

New subvariants, family gatherings may bring more Covid-19 after holiday, but experts don’t expect severe surge – CNN

CNN  — 

As millions of Americans travel to gather with friends and family over the next few days, there’s a good chance that Covid-19 will follow.

Experts expect that Thanksgiving gatherings will stir up social networks and give new coronavirus subvariants fresh pockets of vulnerable people to infect. As a result, cases and hospitalizations may tick up after the holiday, as they have for the past two years.

Covid-19 is not unique in this regard. Thanksgiving gatherings have the potential to amp up the spread of other viruses too, notably respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, and influenza, which are both already at high levels for this time of year.

“We have seen, in some regions, RSV numbers starting to trend downward. Flu numbers are still on the rise. And we are concerned that after holiday gathering, lots of people coming together, that we may see increases in Covid-19 cases as well,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday on CNN.

But things have been relatively quiet on the Covid-19 front. Experts say it may not stay that way for long.

“Covid positivity is going up,” said Shishi Luo, associate director of bioinformatics and infectious disease at the genetic testing company Helix, which has been monitoring coronavirus variants. “It’s increasing fastest among 18- to 24-year-olds” in the Helix sampling.

It’s the first time test positivity in the Helix data has risen since July.

When test positivity increases, it means a greater proportion of Covid-19 tests are returning positive results, and it can be an indication that transmission is on the rise.

“We should expect more cases,” Luo said. “Whether they’re measured in how we measure cases right now, I don’t know, but I think in general, you should see more people who are sick. I definitely am.”

Increasing cases may not be picked up as quickly by official counts because people are mostly testing for Covid-19 at home and not reporting their results – if they test at all.

Will new subvariants drive a wave of cases?

The BQ subvariants of Omicron have risen to dominate transmission in the US. BQ.1 and its offshoot BQ.1.1 are descendants of BA.5; they have five and six key mutations, respectively, in their spike proteins that help them evade immunity created by vaccines and infections. Because of these changes, they’re growing more quickly than BA.5 did.

For the week ending Nov. 19, the CDC estimates that BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 were causing about half of all new Covid-19 cases in the US. But so far, they’ve risen to predominance without much impact.

Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have remained flat for the past four weeks. But it’s not gone: On average, more than 300 Americans die and 3,400 people are hospitalized each day with Covid-19, according to CDC data.

Nobody knows exactly what will happen with the BQ variants. Many experts say they feel hopeful that we won’t see the big waves of winters past – certainly nothing like the original Omicron variant, with its jaw-dropping peak of nearly a million new daily infections.

There’s reason for optimism on a number of fronts.

First, there’s the experience of other countries like the UK, where BQ.1 has outcompeted its rivals to dominate transmission even as cases, hospitalizations and deaths have fallen. Something similar happened in France and Germany, notes Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert who directs the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

“Cases went up in France and Germany just before the subvariants came in. Then the subvariants came in, and cases actually dropped,” he said.

Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, thinks our behavior and our social contacts might be bigger determinants of whether cases will rise this go-round than whatever variant is in the lead.

He thinks it’s likely that we’ll see a rise in cases that may peak around the second week in January – as it has in years past – but that it won’t have a big effect on hospitalizations and deaths.

Andrew Pekosz, a virologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says that’s probably because BQ.1’s advantages are incremental, not drastic.

“It’s probably got a bit more of a fitness advantage, so what we’re seeing is gradual replacement without a massive change in the total number of Covid-19 cases,” he said.

America lags in vaccination

All that’s not to say that BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 won’t have any impact. They’ve shown marked resistance to the antibodies that are available to protect and treat people who are vulnerable to severe Covid-19 infections. From that standpoint, there’s good reason for people to be cautious if they have weakened immune systems or will be around someone who does.

But these subvariants will land at a time when population immunity is higher than ever, thanks to vaccines and infections. It’s a very different setting than the virus encountered when Omicron emerged a year ago, and that should also help dampen any coming wave, Pekosz says.

“With lots of people now being boosted and vaccinated and with people having some immunity from an Omicron infection, it’s also a very, very different sort of population landscape for a variant to emerge in,” he said. “All the signs are, I think, the best part of the scenario in terms of not seeing these massive increases in cases.”

If there’s reason to worry about BQ in the US, it could be this: Americans aren’t as well-vaccinated or boosted as other countries. CDC data shows that two-thirds of the population has completed the primary series of the Covid-19 vaccines, and only 11% of those who are eligible have gotten an updated bivalent booster. In the UK, 89% of the population over age 12 has completed their primary series, and 70% have been boosted.

New research indicates that a country’s vaccination rate matters more than any other single factor when it comes to the effects of variants on a population.

Scientists at Los Alamos National Labs recently completed a study delving into what drove the effects of 13 dominant variants of coronavirus as they transitioned from one to another in 213 countries. The study includes data up to the end of September and was published as a preprint ahead of peer review.

Among 14 variables that influenced the speed and height of new Covid-19 waves, a population’s vaccination rate was by far the most important.

The number of previous cases in a country, the percentage of people who wore masks, average income and the percentage of the population older than 65 ran a distant second, third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

How many other variants are in the mix when a new one rises is also an important factor, says senior study author Bette Korber, a laboratory fellow in the Theoretical Biology and Biophysics Group at Los Alamos.

She points to the Alpha variant, B.1.1.7, and how it behaved in the UK versus the US.

“When it came through England, it was just extremely fast, but it was much slower in the Americas,” Korber said.

By the time Alpha reached the United States, we were evolving our own variants out of California and New York “that were very distinctive and had a competitive edge compared to what it had to come up against in England,” Korber said, which probably slowed its roll here.

The CDC is tracking a soup of more than a dozen Omicron subvariants that are causing cases in the US, and that variety may end up helping dampen any wave over the winter.

But Korber isn’t making any predictions. She says it’s just too difficult to know what’s going to happen, pointing to Asia as the source of her uncertainty.

Asian countries have been contending with waves driven by the recombinant XBB, a subvariant that really hasn’t had much of a presence in the US. The BQ variants arrived later, but she says they look impressive against XBB, which is also highly immune-evasive.

“BQ is really making a stand there,” Korber said. “So I think it’s not really possible to be certain yet” what could happen in the US.

“To me, it’s a good time, when it’s possible, to wear masks,” she said. Masks protect the wearer as well as others around them. “And get the booster if you’re eligible and it’s the right moment for you,” especially as we gather around the table to feast with our friends and family.

“It’s a time to exercise a little additional caution to prevent that wave that we don’t want to see happening, or at least make it a smaller bump,” Korber said

Does cinnamon lower cholesterol? – Medical News Today

Some people take cinnamon supplements to reduce their cholesterol. While some studies suggest it has a cholesterol-lowering effect, conclusive evidence is lacking. Diet and lifestyle changes may be more effective for people with high blood cholesterol.

This article will look into the effects of cinnamon on cholesterol, how a person can reduce their cholesterol, and when to see a doctor.

Cinnamon is a type of spice. Several types of cinnamon exist. They come from different species of the cinnamon tree.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) notes that the most common type of cinnamon sold is cassia cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is grown in southeastern Asia.

Cinnamon comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree. It can come in powdered form or sticks of dried bark. Additionally, people sometimes take cinnamon as a dietary supplement.

People use cinnamon in sweet and savory foods. Countries such as China, India, and Iran have also used cinnamon in traditional medicine.

There is some controversy about whether cinnamon can lower cholesterol. Below, we look at what cholesterol is and what research says about cinnamon’s effect on cholesterol.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a substance that the body uses to build cells and make vitamins and hormones. A person’s liver makes all the cholesterol they need. Cholesterol is also taken into the body from the food a person eats.

Lipoproteins carry cholesterol around a person’s bloodstream. Two types of lipoproteins carry cholesterol.

Experts sometimes refer to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) as “good” cholesterol, as it transports cholesterol back to the liver. The liver then removes it from the body.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is known as “bad” cholesterol. This can build up inside a person’s arteries, leading to blockages. These blockages can cause health conditions, such as heart attack or stroke.

Learn more about HDL vs. LDL cholesterol.

Research into the effects of cinnamon on cholesterol

Research from 2017 looked into the effects of cinnamon on people with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is when a person has diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.

Researchers found that, after 16 weeks, participants who took 3 grams (g) of cinnamon supplements daily had:

These improvements were more significant in people who had taken cinnamon supplements than in those who did not. However, researchers note that further studies are needed to investigate these effects.

Researchers also gave participants healthy diets to follow and encouraged them to exercise. Additionally, the researchers did not mention the kind of cinnamon used.

A research review from 2021 looked at various studies on the effects of cinnamon on cholesterol. Reviewers found several studies concluding that cinnamon helped reduce LDL cholesterol in people with diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Reviewers also noted that in a study in healthy participants, LDL levels were lowered after 3 months of treatment with increasing levels of cinnamon. However, HDL levels did not improve. Another study in healthy participants found no difference in cholesterol levels between people taking cinnamon and those not.

Yet another study in the review found no difference in cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes after daily treatment with 1 g of cinnamon for 3 months.

The American Heart Association (AHA) looked into the effects of dietary supplements compared with cholesterol-lowering medication. These dietary supplements included a daily 2.4 g cinnamon supplement.

Researchers found that, after 28 days, the LDL and total cholesterol levels of people taking the supplements were similar to those of people taking a placebo. Researchers also stated that dietary supplements are unlikely to directly affect a person’s cholesterol levels.

People should speak with their doctor before changing their diet if they want to lower their cholesterol levels. Supplements should never be used in place of prescription medication.

People claim various spices may help lower a person’s cholesterol. There is some evidence that the following spices may help to improve a person’s cholesterol levels. However, these spices should not be used instead of prescribed medication.

Ginger

A 2018 study found that taking 5 g of raw ginger daily for 3 months reduced LDL levels in people with high cholesterol. However, the study size was fairly small, so further research is required to confirm these effects.

Learn more about the health benefits of ginger.

Capsaicin

A review from 2022 looked into the effects of capsaicin on cholesterol. Capsaicin is a component of chili peppers. Reviewers found that eight out of nine studies researched found that capsaicin reduced LDL levels in people with metabolic syndrome.

However, reviewers also found that eight out of nine studies indicated that capsaicin did not affect HDL.

Learn more about the health benefits of capsaicin.

Garlic

Research from 2016 studied the effects of garlic and lemon juice on cholesterol. Researchers noted that people with high cholesterol had a reduction in LDL and total cholesterol levels after taking 20 g of garlic and a teaspoon of lemon juice daily for 8 weeks.

However, people taking garlic and lemon juice and those in other groups that took garlic or lemon juice had only an increase in HDL levels. Researchers note that more studies into these effects are required.

Learn more about the health benefits of garlic.

Turmeric

A review from 2017 looked into the effects of turmeric and its component curcumin on cholesterol.

Reviewers found seven studies that stated that turmeric and curcumin could reduce LDL levels in people at risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, reviewers suggested further studies should be undertaken into these effects.

Learn more about the health benefits of turmeric.

A person can reduce their cholesterol levels by changing their lifestyle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has the following advice for a person who wants to lower their cholesterol:

  • Limit saturated fats: Decrease intake of foods high in saturated fat, such as cheese, dairy, fatty meats, and tropical oils, such as palm oil.
  • Eat a healthy diet: For a balanced, nutritious diet, choose foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, salt, and added sugar, such as fruit and vegetables.
  • Add fiber to your diet: Consume foods that naturally have high fiber, such as oatmeal and beans.
  • Eat unsaturated fats: Foods that contain unsaturated fats include avocados and nuts.
  • Lose weight if you need to: As needed, lose weight or maintain a healthy body weight. This can lower blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
  • Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help people maintain a healthy weight.
  • Stop smoking: Smoking can damage blood vessels, harden arteries, and increase the risk of heart disease.
  • Limit alcohol intake: Too much alcohol can raise cholesterol levels.

A doctor may also prescribe cholesterol-reducing medication, such as statins.

High cholesterol levels do not cause any symptoms. This means that a person should have their cholesterol levels checked regularly.

The CDC recommends that a healthy person should have their cholesterol levels checked every 4 to 6 years. If a person has a health condition, such as heart disease or diabetes, they may need to have their cholesterol levels checked more frequently.

Additionally, a person with a family history of high cholesterol should have their levels checked more often.

The CDC also suggests that children and adolescents between ages 9⁠ and 11 and ages 17⁠ and 21 should have their cholesterol levels checked.

Learn more about cholesterol level tests.

Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the bark of cinnamon trees. Some research suggests that cinnamon may be able to improve cholesterol levels. However, more research is needed to assess cinnamon’s effect on cholesterol.

A person should never use cinnamon or other supplements in place of prescribed medication.

People claim that various other spices can improve cholesterol levels. However, these effects require more studies before they can be confirmed.

A person can reduce their cholesterol levels with lifestyle changes. Additionally, a doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medication to people with high cholesterol.

High cholesterol levels do not cause any symptoms. This means a person should have their cholesterol levels checked by a doctor every 4 to 6 years.

Are peanuts good or bad for cholesterol? – Medical News Today

Peanuts contain monounsaturated fats and plant sterols that may help improve cholesterol levels. Peanuts are also a good source of plant-based protein, which may help with weight loss.

Peanuts, peanut butter, and peanut oil may all be beneficial for cholesterol. Although high in calories, eating them in moderation may also help people maintain a moderate weight as part of a healthy diet.

This article looks at how peanuts affect cholesterol, ways to include them in the diet, and other tips for managing cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol is a type of fat that the liver makes. It is also present in some foods. Diet and lifestyle factors can affect how much cholesterol is in the bloodstream.

Certain proteins, called lipoproteins, carry cholesterol around the body. There are two main types of cholesterol:

Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. A combination of high triglyceride levels, high LDL and low HDL levels may increase the risk of plaques forming in the arteries.

Total cholesterol is the measurement of both LDL and HDL cholesterol in the blood.

Learn about the causes of high cholesterol.

Peanuts are a source of monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fats help reduce LDL cholesterol and help protect heart health.

Peanuts contain a range of compounds that help prevent cholesterol absorption from dietary sources. These compounds include:

Phytosterols may help improve cholesterol levels and lower LDL cholesterol by up to 14%, helping to reduce cardiovascular risks.

Peanuts are also high in arginine, an amino acid that helps improve circulation, lower blood pressure, and may be beneficial in treating heart-related disease.

According to a 2020 article, low cholesterol diets that focus on plant-based protein and fats, including nuts, peanuts, and peanut butter, are linked to lower mortality rates than diets with animal-based protein and fats, such as lamb, pork, or chicken.

A 2021 review looked at the effects of peanuts and tree nuts on people with diabetes. The research suggests that a daily intake of peanuts and tree nuts may significantly reduce total cholesterol and triglycerides in people with type 2 diabetes.

There was no evidence that daily intake of peanuts and tree nuts altered concentrations of LDL or HDL cholesterol. This suggests peanuts may be a helpful addition in monitoring blood fats in people with type 2 diabetes.

Although peanuts are high in calories, they may help people maintain a moderate weight. A 2019 study found that increasing nut consumption of any type, including peanuts, may help reduce weight gain in the long term. Replacing less healthy foods with nuts and including them as part of a healthy diet may help prevent obesity.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), excess weight may contribute to higher LDL cholesterol levels and lower HDL cholesterol levels. Losing as little as 5–10% of body weight may help a person improve their cholesterol levels.

Learn more about the nutritional benefits of peanuts.

According to the AHA, the recommended serving size for nuts — including peanuts — is either a small handful or 1.5 ounces of whole nuts or 2 tablespoons of nut butter.

People may choose to consume peanuts in the form of:

Palm oil and palm kernel oil are sources of saturated fat, which may increase cholesterol. A person should look for peanut butter without these ingredients and without added sugars.

People can eat peanuts raw or roasted. Excess salt can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and other health conditions, so look for unsalted peanuts and peanut butter with low salt. Eating peanuts with their skin on may increase their antioxidant content.

People can use peanut oil for cooking, salad dressings, or marinades, such as peanut sauce.

Learn more about the different types of fat.

A person can consider other ways to help lower LDL and increase HDL cholesterol. This includes:

  • limiting intake of saturated fats found in meat, dairy, and tropical oils
  • limiting intake of trans fats found in baked goods, fried foods, or foods containing hydrogenated oils
  • including healthy unsaturated fats, such as avocados, oily fish, olives, and seeds
  • using liquid plant oils, such as sunflower, canola, or olive oil
  • increasing soluble fiber intake by eating foods such as oats, lentils, beans, barley, fruits, and vegetables
  • eating plant sterols, compounds that occur naturally in plant foods and may fortify certain foods such as cereals, low fat yogurt, and milk
  • increasing physical activity, particularly aerobic and resistance exercise, and aiming for 30–60 minutes per day
  • achieving and maintaining a moderate weight
  • limiting alcohol intake to reduce triglyceride levels, and lower the risk of high blood pressure and obesity
  • quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke
  • taking cholesterol-lowering medications such as statins to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, if necessary

Learn about lowering cholesterol naturally without medication.

Peanuts are a good source of monounsaturated fats, which help reduce LDL cholesterol. Limiting saturated and trans fats and replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may help improve cholesterol levels.

Peanuts also contain phytosterols, which help to lower LDL cholesterol. Peanuts are rich in arginine, which may help to improve blood vessel health and lower blood pressure.

Peanuts are a good source of plant protein, and eating them in moderation as part of a healthy diet may help people avoid weight gain. Reducing excess weight can help to increase HDL cholesterol levels while decreasing LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

People can eat peanuts raw or roasted, as peanut butter, or use peanut oil in cooking and sauces. A daily serving consists of a small handful of peanuts or 2 tbsp of peanut butter.

The Infamous Moon Pose Is Forbidden on Bodybuilding Stages – BarBend

If you’re a bodybuilding competitor, don’t even think about it. The appropriately dubbed moon pose, named for its iconic rear hip hinge posture in which the athlete bends over to “moon” the audience, is one of the few poses you’ll (almost) never see during a modern physique competition.

That’s not just because a certain slice of the bodybuilding community regards it as lewd — the moon pose is formally banned by the National Physique Committee, the IFBB Professional League, and many other major bodybuilding organizations.

What Is the Moon Pose?

Historical information on the moon pose is sparse, but you can trace it back at least as far as the career of bodybuilder Tom Platz. If you know your bodybuilding history, you know that Platz is among the most famous physique stars to ever grace the stage, despite having never won the Mr. Olympia competition (he did, however, place third in 1981).

Platz is widely regarded as possessing the most impressive pair of wheels in bodybuilding history. Part of that reputation is, of course, owed to his craft at posing and posture.

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“The Quadfather,” as he’s known, helped popularize the moon pose as a way of showing off his carved-from-marble posterior chain. By facing his backside to the audience and folding over from a standing position, Platz could reveal every individual striation in his glutes, hamstrings, and calves.

Eight-time Mr. Olympia winner Ronnie Coleman also performed the pose in competition, though he hardly made it his calling card. Coleman is famous for having perhaps the best overall backside in bodybuilding; his insane muscularity made him a perfect candidate for the moon pose.

The moon pose is also starkly similar to the forward fold stretch in yoga, in which the practitioner bends at the waist, attempting to wrap their arms around their calves or touch the floor with their palms.

This stretch not only highlights the muscles of the rear leg but also provides a tremendous stretch in the soft connective tissues around the ankle and knee.

The Dark Side of the Moon (Pose)

In a sport that celebrates the shape and condition of the human body, it may seem a bit curious to forbid a pose that effectively shows off a significant portion of the body. Regardless, bodybuilding federations have taken a stance against athletes performing the act on stage.

Some within the larger ecosystem of bodybuilding regard the pose as unnecessarily vulgar or inappropriate. It’s possible that bodybuilding organizations wish to avoid any unwanted attention that the world’s most muscular men may unintentionally draw by exposing themselves so fully in little more than posing trunks.

There’s little in the way of formalized reasoning behind prohibiting the moon pose on stage, but some competition regulations do characterize it as a “lewd act.”

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Regardless, there are several other poses in bodybuilding that more than adequately highlight the muscularity and definition of the glutes, hamstrings, and calves; bodybuilders are critiqued from head to toe during poses like the back double biceps.

The moon pose, while extravagant, could also be considered redundant in this regard. It’s far from the only way to show off your legs.

What Are the Mandatory Bodybuilding Poses?

Make no mistake — competitive physique athletes were never under any direct order to hit the moon pose on stage. Bodybuilders are often allowed to perform freestyle posing routines, and some athletes take this opportunity to inject their own personality or artistic vision into the presentation of their physiques.

However, the Men’s Open and 212 divisions in the IFBB Pro League do mandate eight other assorted poses that, in totality, reveal just about every last muscle fiber on the body:

Side Triceps

The side triceps pose highlights the muscularity of the arms, chest, and shoulders. The athlete takes a perpendicular or three-quarters stance to the judges and wraps their arms behind their back, sharply straightening their elbow to flex the triceps brachii.

Side Chest

The side chest pose is similar to the side triceps, but it requires a fully perpendicular stance. To demonstrate the size, shape, and definition of the pectorals (and arms as well), the bodybuilder bends the arm closest to the judges while pressing their far arm into their torso to flex the pecs.

Rear Lat Spread

Back width and silhouette are evaluated during the rear lat spread. Athletes will stand away from the judges and expand their latissimus dorsi muscles as wide as they can, creating the coveted “V” shape from shoulder to hip.

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Judges will often consider the shape and proportion of the lower body during the rear lat spread, including the same muscles shown off by the moon pose.

Back Double Biceps

Similarly to the lat spread, bodybuilders highlight the size of their arms, shoulders, and upper backs by performing the back double biceps pose. Additionally, athletes will “spike” one of their legs by pressing their toes firmly into the floor to tense up their calves and glutes.

Front Double Biceps

Frontal poses like the double biceps put a bodybuilder’s entire physique on display. Athletes raise their arms and contract their biceps, flatten their stomachs, and contract their quadriceps muscles all at once.

Front Lat Spread

The front lat spread pose demonstrates back width and thickness when viewed from the front. Athletes assume roughly the same posture as the rear lat spread but also incorporate some ab and thigh flexion into the mix.

Abdominal & Thigh

Bodybuilders show off their abdominal leanness and leg gains with the Abdominal & Thigh pose. They raise their arms out of the way, placing them behind their heads, crunch their abs down to bring out every cut and crevice, and then flex their quadriceps and calves in equal measure.

Most Muscular

The most muscular pose is an opportunity to show off just how much muscular size a competitor has. It also happens to be a fairly interpretive move, allowing the athlete to flex their entire body in various ways.

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Some athletes stand upright with their arms flared and their entire body tense. Others will lean forward and clasp their hands together to contract their arms and reveal their trapezius muscles as well. The most muscular pose is considered the athlete’s masterstroke — their chance to reveal all their hard work at once.

Waxing and Waning

You’d probably get very different answers if you asked around about the moon pose at a bodybuilding show. Some consider it essential bodybuilding lore, while others consider it needlessly brazen.

Regardless, the pose has been consigned to the history books. Platz and the other practitioners of the pose enjoyed long, storied careers in the sport — despite its gnarly reputation, the moon pose was hardly a death sentence. It just happened to be a dangerously effective way of showing off your legs.

Featured Image: @golden_era_of_bodybuilding on Instagram // Mahmudul-Hassan on Shutterstock (“Banned” image)

What Schools Can Do to Ease Students’ Anxiety – Education Week

Secondary students say anxiety, stress, and depression are derailing their ability to get back on track academically as the pandemic recedes, and they need more support from their schools and teachers.

Mental health issues top the barriers to learning for middle and high school students, according to a report released last month by YouthTruth, a nonprofit that surveys K-12 students and families for school districts. Fewer than half of students in the survey said their school has services to help them with issues like anxiety or depression, and only 1 in 5 had access to a school counselor or therapist.

Rates of anxiety in particular have skyrocketed in the last few years. Studies find this chronic stress not only interferes with learning and memory and social-emotional development, but can lead some students to avoid school entirely—worsening chronic absenteeism.

Educators and researchers at an Education Week virtual summit last week discussed ways that schools can ease anxiety and other mental health burdens for their students to boost their learning and social engagement.

“We’re not trying to necessarily cure students from their anxiety,” said Jessica Gluck, assistant director of special services for the Westwood regional school district in New Jersey. “It’s helping them deal with and cope with and understand that it’s OK to be anxious. You can still work through it.”

Consider the data

Chronic absenteeism sparked the Westwood district’s mental health initiatives, according to Ray Renshaw, Westwood’s director of special services.

“We look at some of our students who exhibit school refusal now in high school, and if you look at the data of their absences and tardies in elementary school, then they jump to be more in middle school, and then they skyrocket come high school. So I think that was a real eye-opener for us when we started this whole initiative, really trying to get back down to what supports students need at each grade level.

The Westwood district partnered with a local mental health agency to provide family mental health outreach at elementary levels, as well as on-site counselors in middle schools and a secondary grades wellness center, with a clinician and a private room for students to take a break.

Check your biases

Experts also advised administrators to monitor how students who show signs of anxiety and other mental health issues are being disciplined in the classroom or referred for special education.

A study out earlier this fall on the pandemic experiences of students of color who have disabilities found that Black children make up about 18 percent of children with individualized education plans, but about 23 percent of students classified as emotionally disturbed. The report, by the research firm Bellwether Education Partners and the nonprofit Easter Seals, and prior studies also found teachers are more likely to discipline Black students for classroom behavior, such as outbursts or disengagement, that they often see as signs of a need for mental health supports for white students.

“Students of color with disabilities, especially Black students, are more likely to be identified with disability classifications like emotional disturbance that focus more on managing behaviors than they do on things like cultivating academic rigor,” said Harold Hines, an associate partner at Bellwether and co-author of the report.

Hines said teachers need more professional development on how to reach out to students who seem to be having mental health issues in ways that do not stigmatize them.

Gluck agreed, noting that Westwood’s teachers learn to take “Don’t judge” as the first rule of working with students who show symptoms of anxiety or depression or absenteeism.

“Anxiety and depression are really hard because you can’t see them and they display symptoms differently in every different student,” Gluck said. “So it’s often just … be open, welcome them with open arms, be kind to them and just meet them wherever they are. It’s not on us to place a judgment … if you’re being shared with that they have anxiety, believe it.”

Ask students what they need—and keep asking

Westwood staff studied research on ways to make school environments calming, Gluck said, but their mental health initiatives really started to take shape when staff started interviewing students about why they weren’t coming to school.

“We really got down to that root cause as to what was keeping them home: mental health challenges, but also, what was wrong with the typical classroom?” Gluck said.

They found students had negative associations with many aspects of the typical classroom environment.

“The class sizes were too big. They were stressed out about what their peers would think, what their teachers would think; they didn’t want to speak in class,” said Gluck. “So it was nice to have a much smaller environment that was comfortable, cozy and, and relaxing and that kind of exuded calmness and, and serenity.”

In response, the district created a drop-in wellness center, as well as the TEAM (Targeting Emotional Aptitude Mindfully) Day School, a special school-within-the-school for classes of five to six of the most highly anxious and school-avoidant students.

“The space that we created [for the wellness center and TEAM] doesn’t look like a traditional classroom environment at all,” Gluck said. “There are oversized beanbag chairs, couches, positive quotes [on] the walls, different plants. We have a therapy dog that comes about once a month for a few days. … [It] just makes it feel more like a hangout space.”

COVID-19 pandemic back on the upswing in Iowa in last data update before Thanksgiving – Des Moines Register

One week after the state reported its fewest COVID-19 hospitalizations in six months, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Iowa was back on the rise, and new reported cases also increased, according to data released Wednesday by the Iowa Department of Public Health and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

There were 172 people hospitalized in Iowa with COVID-19 as of Wednesday’s update, the federal health department said, including 19 who required intensive care. That’s 35 more COVID-19 hospitalizations than last week, although still slightly fewer than the week prior.

The number of new COVID-19 cases reported this week was also higher, as many Iowans begin gathering for the Thanksgiving holiday. The state health department reported 2,302 new cases this week, the first time it has reported more than 2,000 new cases in one week since late September. That averages to about 329 new cases per day, up from 283 last week.

More:Vaccination rate continues gradual increase as COVID-19 pandemic remains steady in Iowa

As of the most recent update last week, analysis of Des Moines’ wastewater showed an increasing concentration of the coronavirus, which has historically been a signal of rising case counts. That data, from the Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority, still isn’t particularly close to the higher levels seen in the area in the summer and early fall.

The state health department reported an additional 23 COVID-19 deaths this week, raising Iowa’s pandemic death toll to 10,276. Many of the deaths reported this week, however, likely occurred earlier, as the state health department takes time to verify and publicly report new COVID-19 deaths.

More:Iowa jury awards man $27M after he was sent home with the flu. It was really meningitis

The latest COVID-19 numbers in Iowa

The latest data in Iowa since March 2020 for the pandemic, as of midnight Nov. 23, compared with one week earlier:

  • Confirmed cases: 870,897, an increase of 2,302.
  • Deaths: 10,276, an increase of 23.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports vaccination data once per month. As of Nov. 9, 59.7% of Iowa’s population were considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19, having received their initial one- or two-dose vaccine sequence.

How many people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Iowa?

Note: Hospitalization data for COVID-19 is no longer available through the Iowa Department of Public Health. The data below is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  • Hospitalizations: 172, up from 137 one week ago.
  • Patients in intensive care: 19, up from 16.

Tim Webber is a data visualization specialist for the Register. Reach him at twebber@registermedia.com, 515-284-8532, and on Twitter at @HelloTimWebber.

Drake Gets Put Through His Paces In Bodybuilding Workout – HipHopDX

Drake has been spotted putting in some serious work in the gym alongside esteemed bodybuilder Mike Van Wyck.

A sweat-drenched Drizzy was seen on Instagram aggressively hitting chest day on Tuesday (November 22), while Van Wyck coached him through the reps.

“Got some work in today with the Wycked one, proud of our brother,” Drake wrote on his Instagram Story while sharing a photo of his iron-pumping workout.

Van Wyck commemorated the moment on IG as well, simply writing: “family.”

Drake has been hitting the gym hard these past few years and has regularly flexed his progress online. Last year, the 6 God showcased a new pair of post-pandemic abs after taking his health more seriously alongside other artists such as Lil Uzi Vert, Busta Rhymes, The Game and Action Bronson.

In other news, Drake has been busy enjoying all the spoils and controversy of his latest album Her LossM/a> with 21 Savage, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, with 404,000 equivalent album units in its opening week.

The project reportedly produced one of the biggest streaming weeks ever, generating around 500 million. It’s Drizzy’s second No. 1 record of 2022 following his seventh studio album, Honestly, Nevermind, which arrived in June.

Drake Makes People Run Slower Than Any Other Musician New Study Finds

But according to Drake, Her Loss could have done even bigger numbers if Billboard hadn’t “fixed” the charts in 2018 following the success of his Scorpion LP.

Drizzy phoned into a recent episode of Akademiks’ Off The Record podcast featuring 21 Savage, where he accused Billboard of rigging the charts in an attempt to curb his dominance.

“I mean, at the end of the day, ever since we were dunning off the charts from Scorpion, they fixed the charts anyway,” Drizzy said. “So it is what it is. You know, they had to give other people a fair shot.”

He then appeared to turn his attention to Her Loss, saying: “We’ll do what we do. It’s more about the feeling, the momentum; it’s not about how long it stays.”

New oral drug may become alternative to statins to lower cholesterol – Medical News Today

A close up of a man taking medication in tablet form on his tongueShare on Pinterest
Scientists are working on new treatments that can help lower cholesterol. PeopleImages/Getty Images
  • Researchers investigated an experimental cholesterol drug on cell lines and mice.
  • The drug reduced LDL cholesterol by 70% in mouse models of high cholesterol.
  • The researchers noted that their new drug could one day provide an alternative strategy to lower cholesterol.

Almost 40% of adults in the United States have high cholesterol, which increases the risk of several health conditions, including heart disease and stroke.

Statins are the most common treatment for high cholesterol, followed by PCSK-9 inhibitors. PCSK-9 is an enzyme that marks low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors for degradation.

LDL receptors sit at the liver cells’ surface to remove cholesterol from the blood. PCSK-9 inhibitors thus reduce cholesterol levels by maintaining higher levels of LDL receptors that remove cholesterol from the blood.

Currently, PCSK-9 inhibitors are limited in use as they must be administered as shots. Further research into them could expand their use as an alternative to statins.

Recently, researchers conducted preliminary research on a nitric oxide-derived molecule’s ability to lower cholesterol by inhibiting PCSK-9 enzymes in cell and mouse models.

Their experimental treatment reduced PCSK9 levels and lowered LDL cholesterol in mice by 70%.

“This is of exceptional interest because until now, we have only seen benefits from nitric oxide-based therapies on blood vessel health,” Dr. Rigved Tadwalkar, a board certified cardiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, who was not involved in the study, told Medical News Today.

“Since some people either have or perceive to have side effects from statin medications, this could be an alternative, although we would first need to see how the drug would fare against other established therapies when it comes to longer-term clinical outcomes.”
— Dr. Rigved Tadwalkar

The study was published in Cell Reports.

Nitric oxide (NO) reduces cardiovascular risk by improving blood vessel function, blood pressure, and diabetes. However, studies suggest that NO has little impact on cholesterol.

Previous research demonstrates that a NO-derived molecule regulates the biosynthesis of cellular lipids in yeast.

The researchers thus sought to see if a similar molecule could regulate blood lipid levels in human cell lines and mice.

To begin, they investigated the effects of a NO-derived compound on human cell lines. They found that the molecule could moderate PCSK9 levels.

The researchers next explored the effects of a NO-derived molecule—AL-1576—on mouse models. After four weeks of oral treatment, their LDL and HDL cholesterol were reduced by 50% and 20%.

They then tested the compound on mouse models of high cholesterol. After eight weeks of treatment, their LDL and HDL cholesterol fell by 70% and 25%, respectively.

The researchers wrote their findings suggest that orally-administered PCSK-9- inhibiting molecules could potentially treat high cholesterol.

To understand how the new treatment works, MNT spoke withDr. Murray W. Huff, professor emeritus at the Departments of Medicine and Biochemistry at The University of Western Ontario, who was also not involved in the study.

Dr. Huff noted that the drug observed in this study works by targeting an enzyme in the liver that leads to a cascade of cellular events that prevent PCSK9 from being secreted.

He said this decreases circulating levels of PCSK9, which in turn reduces the numbers of LDL receptors that are ‘switched off’, and leaves more LDL receptors that lower LDL cholesterol levels.

“Our drug works by increasing a molecule called nitric oxide, which is known to prevent heart attacks by dilating blood vessels. We show that nitric oxide inactivates PCSK9, thereby increasing removal of bad cholesterol,” Dr. Jonathan Stamler, professor of cardiovascular innovation and medicine and biochemistry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, the lead author of the study, told MNT.

When asked how PCSK9 inhibitors work differently from statins, Dr. Robert Salazar, a cardiologist with Memorial Hermann in Houston, Texas, who was not involved in the study, told MNT:

“PCSK9 Inhibitors reduce cholesterol levels by increasing the removal of bad cholesterol (LDL-C) already circulating in the blood by the liver. This is a different mechanism from statin medications, which reduce cholesterol levels by reducing the liver’s production of cholesterol from dietary fat.”

Dr. Tadwalkar added that while PCSK9 inhibitors and statins work in different ways, the ‘result is the same, which is [increased numbers] of LDL receptors.’

When asked about the study’s limitations, Dr. Rob Hegele, professor of medicine and biochemistry at Western University, who was not involved in the study, told MNT:

“The authors are mainly describing a new pathway within the liver that regulates cholesterol levels. The action of their new drug is almost an afterthought. The overall work is very basic and is still at a very early stage.”

“The studies were mainly performed in mice with no human studies, so it’s not even clear whether these pathways are relevant in people. There are dozens of examples in the cholesterol field of mechanisms and drugs that looked promising in animals but then didn’t pan out and got lost in translation to humans,” he said.

“The biggest question I have about this approach is the specificity for PCSK9, as I would imagine other proteins are influenced by SCoR2 and, therefore, by its inhibition. This raises questions about the safety of this approach, which would clearly need to be tested preclinically and clinically.”
Dr. Dan Rader, professor of molecular medicine at Penn Medicine, also not involved in the study, speaking to MNT

Dr. Subroto Chatterjee, professor of pediatrics and director of the Sphingolipid Signaling and Vascular Biology Laboratory, who was not involved in the study, told MNT:

“A consistent decrease (20-25%) in HDL the “good cholesterol” in […] needs to be discussed in light of the decreased level of HDL in aging/postmenopausal women, men and a large group of patients with the ‘metabolic syndrome’, type 2 diabetes and obesity.”

Low HDL cholesterol is linked to higher cardiovascular risk and risk for various forms of cancer.

The researchers said that their findings might extend beyond cholesterol and also impact cancer treatments.

“PCSK9 not only targets LDL receptors for degradation; it also mediates the degradation of MHC 1 on lymphocytes, which is used for recognition of cancer cells. PCSK9 is effectively preventing your lymphocytes from recognizing cancer cells. So, if you inhibit PCSK9, you can boost the body’s cancer surveillance,” Dr. Stamler said.

“There may be an opportunity one day to apply these new drugs to that need,” he added.

Dr. Chattergee said that while PCSK-9 may degrade MHC-1 on lymphocytes, reducing PCSK-9 may also reduce the recognition of cancer cells. He continued, however, that studies show PCSK-9 improves the efficacy of certain colorectal cancer treatments.

“Cholesterol is required in tumor growth and metastasis. Thus lowering cholesterol levels in cancer tissue may be helpful. But statin therapy has not been useful in cancer,” he said.

“Moreover, studies show that alirocumab, an antibody against PCSK-9, does not affect inflammation, [thickening of scar tissue], [formation of new blood vessels] etc. So the jury is out there to determine the use of PCSK -9 inhibition in cancer therapy,” he added.

Dr. Shannon Hoos-Thompson, a cardiologist at The University of Kansas Health System, who was not involved in the study, saidthat more research is needed before the drug becomes a potential treatment for cholesterol.

“Cancer and heart disease have many similar risk factors. The hypothesis here is entirely a hypothesis and has no cause/effect proven at this time,” she told MNT.

“The bottom line is that this lab science is still far from becoming a potential therapy in daily medical practice for heart disease or anything else. Science is always building on what we have previously learned and how we can understand and use it better.”
— Dr. Shannon Hoos-Thompson

Mindfulness as Effective as a Commonly Prescribed Antidepressant in Reducing Anxiety – Everyday Health

A guided mindfulness-based stress reduction program was as effective as use of the gold-standard drug — the antidepressant escitalopram (sold under the brand names Lexipro and Cipralex, among others) — for people with anxiety disorders, according to the findings of a first-of-its-kind, randomized clinical trial published on November 9 in JAMA Psychiatry.

“Our study provides evidence for clinicians, insurers, and healthcare systems to recommend, include, and provide reimbursement for mindfulness-based stress reduction as an effective treatment for anxiety disorders because mindfulness meditation currently is reimbursed by very few providers,” said first author Elizabeth Hoge, MD, director of the anxiety disorders research program and associate professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, DC, in a press release.

These are exciting findings, says Neda Gould, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins Medicine and associate director of the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Anxiety Disorders Clinic, both in Baltimore. Dr. Gould was not involved in this research.

“Studies like this help strengthen the role of mindfulness as an evidence-based strategy that can be used independently or in conjunction with medication in the treatment of anxiety disorders,” she says.

About 3 in 10 People Will Experience an Anxiety Disorder in Their Lifetime

There are many different types of anxiety disorders, and they can interfere with all aspects of life, including work, school, and relationships, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

It’s estimated that 19.1 percent of U.S. adults had some type of anxiety disorder in the past year and 31.1 percent will experience an anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.

Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorder and fear of certain places or situations, including crowds and public transportation, all of which can lead to an increased risk for suicide, disability and distress, and are commonly treated in psychiatric clinics, according to the authors.

Drugs that are currently prescribed for the disorders can be very effective, but many patients either have difficulty getting them, do not respond to them, or find potential side effects a barrier to consistent treatment, the authors wrote.

How Can Mindfulness Be Used as an Intervention for Anxiety?

Anxiety is a future-oriented mind state involving worry about potential negative or catastrophic outcomes, says Gould. “Mindfulness is a practice where attention is repeatedly brought to the present moment. While these anxious thoughts may still be present with mindfulness practice, they become somewhat devalued when there is not an actual threat. Over time and with regular mindfulness practice, the mind can distinguish actual threats from perceived threats more readily,” she says.

Mindfulness can help people change their relationship with anxiety, says Nathan Dankner, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Duke Health in Durham, North Carolina, who was not involved in this research. “It allows people to see thoughts as just thoughts and assess whether they are helpful or unhelpful,” he says.

Mindfulness and Escitalopram Lowered Anxiety by About 30 Percent

To compare a mindfulness intervention with escitalopram, researchers recruited 276 patients between June 2018 and February 2020 from three hospitals in Boston, New York City and Washington, DC, and randomly assigned people to either MBSR or escitalopram.

All participants had a current primary diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or agoraphobia. The average age of participants was 33 years old; 76 percent were female, 18.4 percent Asian, 10.5 percent Black, 60 percent white, and 6.8 percent other races or ethnicities.

MBSR was offered weekly for eight weeks via 2.5-hour in-person classes, a daylong retreat weekend class during the fifth or sixth week, and 45-minute daily home practice exercises. Trial enrollment was wrapping up as the COVID-19 pandemic started in early 2020, but most enrollees completed their eight-week course of treatment before the pandemic started.

The meditation techniques included breath awareness, body scanning, in which attention is directed to one body part at a time, and mindful movement, in which stretching and movements bring attention to the body.

Participants in the antidepressant group received 10 milligrams of escitalopram daily the first week, and then took 20 milligrams daily for the rest of the study if the drug was well tolerated.

Patients’ anxiety symptoms were assessed upon enrollment and again at completion of the intervention at eight weeks, along with post-treatment assessments at 12 and 24 weeks after enrollment.

To remove any potential bias of the investigators, the assessments were conducted in a blinded manner — the trained clinical evaluators did not know whether the patients they were assessing received the drug or MBSR.

The researchers used a validated assessment measure to rate the severity of symptoms of anxiety across all of the disorders using a scale of 1 to 7 (with 7 being severe anxiety). Both groups saw a reduction in anxiety symptoms — a 1.35 point mean reduction for MBSR and 1.43 point mean reduction for the drug, down from a mean of about 4.5 for both at the start of the trial. This was a statistically equivalent outcome and translates to about a 30 percent drop in the severity of peoples’ anxiety, according to the authors.

Mindfulness Can Help With Anxiety, but It Takes an Investment of Time and Effort

Researchers believe that these findings could help improve access to treatment for some people with anxiety. “A big advantage of mindfulness meditation is that it doesn’t require a clinical degree to train someone to become a mindfulness facilitator. Additionally, sessions can be done outside of a medical setting, such as at a school or community center,” said Dr. Hoge.

Although mindfulness meditation works, not everyone is willing to invest the time and effort to successfully complete all of the necessary sessions and do regular home practice, Hoge acknowledges.

Future research should explore if less time-consuming mindfulness interventions could still be helpful, says Dr. Dankner. “I would like to see more studies that assess the effectiveness of briefer interventions, as this study required people to practice mindfulness for 45 minutes each day,” he says.

Interested in Checking Out Mindfulness to Help With Anxiety?

“My advice for people who would like to give mindfulness a try is to start small with guided meditations and approach these practices with patience and kindness. While the concept of mindfulness is simple, it takes practice to ‘build the mindfulness muscle,’” says Gould.

Dankner recommends finding a therapist or someone trained in mindfulness to serve as a guide to explore the modality as an intervention for anxiety. If that isn’t possible, there are many apps available, but it is important to build meditation into a daily habit and commit to the process for the best results, he says.