Weekly health rail, this week with a focus on making sure you have happy holidays.


 

  Health Tip: Dealing with Holiday Depression   Some tips that WebMD has compiled on how to chase away the holiday blues:   - Visit the ghosts of Christmases past: Examine why past holidays have given you the blues, and confront the problem, if you can.   - Send a holiday card to yourself: It will cheer you up, even if it’s because you think it’s really silly.   - Lay off the spiked eggnog: Alcohol has mood-altering affects, especially an increase in morose feelings.   - Unwrap your heart: Give gifts that are from your heart, e.g. a gift certificate to spend time with each other when the holidays are over. Something out of the ordinary and heartfelt can change the tenor of the holidays for the giver and receiver.   - Shake things up: Try a different holiday routine this year. And don’t be afraid to say “no” to people.   - Reach out and touch someone: Make that phone call to a beloved aunt or friend.   - Lend Santa a hand: Give your time to charity work. Bringing a smile to a stranger’s face is a gift you’ll never forget.   - Avoid Scrooges and Grinches: That guy who always complains about everything holiday related and drives like a maniac at this time of year should be avoided.   - Don’t burn the Yule Log on both ends: Take some time to slow down. Meditate or take a break to think of something positive.   - Dashing through the snow: Exercise is a great way to beat the blues.   - Remember that it really is “A Wonderful Life”: Be grateful for what you have, and stay focused on the positives.   Quote of Note   "For years, we have had difficulty understanding why obese people have difficulty clearing an infection. Now we understand that dysfunction in some of the mechanisms, as a result of the obesity, explain difficulty in clearing the infection and also the difficulty in wound healing."   Dr. Salomon Amar, associate dean for research at Boston University's School of Dental Medicine, on a study that shows obese people have a harder time staving off infection in their bodies, and it likely is the result of a weakened immune response, HealthDay News reported.   Healing Herbs   WebMD recently released a list of 10 herbs that are starting to attract interest from scientists as being beneficial for a variety of conditions. Over the next couple weeks, we’ll highlight some of these healing herbs.   Ginger: Can prevent stomach upset from many sources, including pregnancy, motion sickness and chemotherapy. "This is one of Mom's remedies that really works," says Suzanna M. Zick, ND, MPH, a research investigator at the University of Michigan. A powerful antioxidant, ginger works by blocking the effects of serotonin, a chemical produced by both the brain and stomach when you're nauseated, and by stopping the production of free radicals, another cause of upset in your stomach. In one study of cruise ship passengers traveling on rough seas, 500 mg of ginger every four hours was as effective as Dramamine, the commonly used OTC motion-sickness medication. In another study, where subjects took 940 mg, it was even more effective than the drug.   Number to Know: 3.2   Grade-point average of students who don’t pull all-nighters, as opposed to 2.95 for students who do, according to a study at St. Lawrence University in Albany N.Y. While the study group was quite small – 120 students – the lesson seems to be that students need to get their sleep.   Children’s Health   Obese children who watch a lot of TV (two to four hours a day) are 2.5 times more likely to have high blood pressure than obese kids who don’t watch as much TV, according to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. In addition to likely getting less exercise, doctors say junk food and increased psychological stress could be contributing factors. Children who watch more than four hours of TV a day had more than triple the risk of having high blood pressure. – Source: Reuters Health   Senior Health   Scientists reported last week that seniors who have high blood pressure are likely to develop problems that lead to dementia. Hypertension was linked to one of two types of mild cognitive impairment, but not the type strongly associated with Alzheimer's disease, according to the study. – Reuters Health   GateHouse News Service