The Effects of a Campus Forest-Walking Program on Undergraduate and Graduate Students’ Physical and Psychological Health (Bang et al, 2017) We evaluated the effects of an on-campus, forest-walking program on the physical and psychological health of undergraduate and graduate students. Pre-, post-, and follow-up variables were measured to compare an experimental group and a control group. The effectiveness on psychological health, which was shown with higher levels of parasympathetic nerve activation and decreased depression, is the most noteworthy aspect of the forest-walking intervention. The results of increased parasympathetic activity in the experimental group are consistent with previous studies of physiological responses to the forest environment, suggesting that walking in forests may provide health benefits of relaxation. Numerous forest-walking studies have shown the effects on relieving negative emotions such as anxiety and depression.
Perceived Stress and Colorectal Cancer Incidence: The Japan Collaborative Cohort Study (Kikuchi et al, 2017) Although the number of rectal cancer cases was small (n=330) among 61,563 men and women followed up for a maximum of 19–21 years, perceived stress was significantly associated with the risk of rectal cancer, but not with the risk of colon cancer. The association between perceived stress and rectal cancer incidence remained consistent across the three statistical models, suggesting that our results are robust.
Anti-stress Effect of Green Tea with Lowered Caffeine on Humans: A Pilot Study (Unno et al, 2017) We examined whether the ingestion of low-caffeine green tea is able to suppress the stress-response in students. The subjective stress of students was significantly lower in the low-caffeine-group than in the placebo-group during pharmacy practice. The level of sAA increased significantly after daily pharmacy practice in the placebo-group but not in the low-caffeine-group. The ingestion of green tea with lowered caffeine may suppress excessive stress in students.
Evidence of a Christmas spirit network in the brain: functional MRI study (Hougaard et al, 2015) There is a “Christmas spirit network” in the human brain comprising several cortical areas. This network had a significantly higher activation in a people who celebrate Christmas with positive associations as opposed to a people who have no Christmas traditions and neutral associations. Further research is necessary to understand this and other potential holiday circuits in the brain. Although merry and intriguing, these findings should be interpreted with caution.
Meditation and Yoga can Modulate Brain Mechanisms that affect Behavior and Anxiety-A Modern Scientific Perspective(Krishnakumar et al, 2015) Our brains do not contain fixed hardwiring; the neural pathways and circuits can in fact change with learning and with mental exercises, and meditation may be a harmless way to encourage the growth of new neurons (neurogenesis) along with the formation of new connections between existing neurons (synaptogenesis). By tying together the neurobiological effects of neurotransmitters, brain waves, mental exercise and the empirical evidence from the psychological experiments, it is evident that meditation is an effective treatment for anxiety, and it does not suffer from any side effects. It may also function as a preventive medicine; therefore, it is highly recommended to everyone and not limited to patients suffering from disease.
The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis, Obesity, and Chronic Stress Exposure: Sleep and the HPA Axis in Obesity (Lucassen and Cizza, 2012) Chronic stress associated hyperactivation of the HPA axis and subsequent hypercortisolism result in increased fat storage particularly in the visceral region, further contributing to the related metabolic adverse consequences. The present review underlines, how the HPA axis play an essential role in the developing obesity epidemic of Western society, where high levels of ambient stress and availability of high fat, sweet foods are abundantly present.
Lipid Replacement as an Adjunct to Therapy for Chronic Fatigue, Anti-Aging and Restoration of Mitochondrial Function(Nicolson, 2003) When individuals experience fatigue, their mitochondrial function is inevitably diminished, indicating that mitochondrial function seems to be directly linked to fatigue. On a biochemical level, as fatigue is interconnected to the metabolic energy available to tissues and cells, the integrity of cellular and intracellular membranes, especially in the mitochondria (where aerobic ATP is produced), is critical to cell function and energy metabolism. When the mitochondrial membranes are damaged by oxidation, they need to be repaired or replaced in order to sustain the production of cellular energy to alleviate fatigue. This study found that Lipid Replacement Therapy is a valuable tool in helping to maintain mitochondrial function, reducing fatigue by approximately 40%, from severe to moderate after eight weeks.
Role of cold and emotional stress in Raynaud's disease and scleroderma(Freedman and Ianni, 1983) In Raynaud's disease about one third of the vasospastic attacks were associated with tachycardia and increased stress ratings without declines in ambient temperature. This study highlights the importance of effectively managing emotional stress for individuals with Raynaud's disease.