Pop Music in Memory Recall of People with Brain Injuries

Pop stars like Michael Jackson, Madonna and the contemporary ones today such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Beyonce might have been doing you more good than you can ever imagine. Immersing yourself in more familiar music today may help you summon back personal recollections someday.

If you’re a bit older, the blasting of pop music today can be irritating, loud or just plain unexplainable. But then if you have had a severe brain injury and has lived through this music, it could have helped you recall memories better, study says.

Study on MEAMs

The MEAM’s or the Music-Evoked Autobiographical memories were the center focus of the study of Amee Baird and Séverine Samson with which the result they outline in the journal of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation.

Baird and Samson took the first study on the subject and are pioneers in the said subject. The two has extracted music from Billboard Hot 100 number one songs. They played it in random order to five patients. These songs are made sure to be taken from the music that has been popular in a patient’s lifespan starting at the age five until the current age of the patient. Another set of people who have no brain injury has also been played to of the same music.

The researchers have asked how the records were familiar, whether they liked it.

And the most important question asked is, did the songs invoked memories?

Study Result

The study has found out and recorded that MEAMs are similar in both group.  Only one in their study has not recorded any MEAMs and its a person with ABI. But then the highest MEAMs have been recorded by the patient with ABI or acquired brain injury as well.

The most recalled memories were those of people, a life period, a specific person and all were positive. The songs that have invoked memories are those that are more familiar and more liked.

Reason Behind the Study’s Positive Outcomes

It has been known that music has many uses in terms of therapeutic cases. The result has established that MEAM’s are even better than AMI or the Autobiographical Memory Interview in recalling autobiographical memories.

When people undergoes an acquired brain injury , tendency is they will be prone to autobiographical amnesia or forgetting one’s own life events or incapability to recall memories.

“The findings suggest that music is an effective stimulus for eliciting autobiographical memories and may be beneficial in the rehabilitation of autobiographical amnesia,” researchers say.

Music as a tool becomes the effective stimulus that can elicit memories. These can be due to the association of the music to the certain person’s life events. The relationship of the memory, music and emotion still though needs to be further studied.

The study has taken the Billboard Hot 100 number one songs in American Music industry. For different countries, own billboard tops can also be utilized.

Pop Music and MEAM’s Implications

The pop music of today might play a big role in helping patients with traumatic brain injuries in the near future. And this study might open up several more doors in helping brain injured patients. Plus music might even play a bigger role in the medical industry someday once more studies come to light.

History of Music as Used in the Medical Field

Music has been long established, and with evidences to date, to affect changes in the physical, psychological, cognitive and social domains of a person.

In regular settings, the playing of one’s favorite music can send out all the blues out of the windows. It can improve mood and help in relaxation. But that doesn’t qualify as music therapy yet.

Music therapy as used in the field of medicine involves a trained therapist and the right environment. It has become then a powerful means to achieve goals set by the patients and the therapist. It can address the goal set and can have positive outcomes.

More medical use of music includes:

    1. Pain lessening
    2. Mood improver
    3. Can help alleviate depression
    4. Help patients express feelings.
    5. Reduce anxiety
    6. Keep Alzheimer’s patients cal down and recall memories.
    7. Keep infants calm

And to that, music therapy can’t just be done by untrained therapist. One has to be licensed. And with the new findings over the benefits of pop music and MEAMs, it has become an additional in the roster of music benefits for medical field.

Image Credit: RelaxingMusic from Flickr.

Omega 3 – Are You Getting Enough?

Image credit: Health365

You have probably heard on the Dr. Oz show, or on other health shows, about the importance of getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet. It serves so many beneficial purposes – and not just in the area of weight loss.

The fatty acids in Omega 3 are essential to our ability as humans to metabolize food. Most people do not get enough Omega 3 in their diets. This is especially true of Americans, whose diets as a whole tend to be on the heavy side and short of the nutritious food choices that provide Omega 3 fatty acids. The American diet is heavy on the wrong kind of fats and too much fried food, so it fails to provide the right balance of nutrients to achieve maximum health benefits.

Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in fish, with salmon being one of the richest sources of this essential nutrient. Salmon has become a popular staple in many homes and is very affordable if you are a savvy shopper. This means watching for sales and shopping at the big warehouse membership type stores like Costco or Sam’s Club. When cooked correctly, Salmon can rival a nice juicy steak any day and will beat it out hands down in the nutrition arena.

Other types of fish that contain the invaluable Omega 3 fatty acids include sardines and tuna. Of course, you can get too much of a good thing, especially when It comes to tuna. While high in Omega 3, tuna also has a high mercury content thanks to our 20th and 21st century life style. But don’t be afraid to add a little tuna to your diet once or twice a week.

Other natural sources of Omega 3 are healthy oils such as olive oil, sunflower oil and avocado oil. Avocados themselves are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids with the added bonus that they are high in fiber. This combination makes them very desirable to those on a weight loss plan because, when eaten in moderation, the good oil and fiber content cancel out any fatty content avocado may add to your diet.

But we can’t talk about Omega 3 fatty acids without mentioning all the positive health benefits to be had by eating a diet rich in this nutritional gem. It is good for the skin; it’s good for the heart and blood pressure, and it helps with weight loss. So waste no time incorporat

Omega 3 fatty acids have been proven to lower a hormone called Leptin in the body. The lower the Leptin levels, the easier it is to lose weight. In addition, Omega 3 speeds up the metabolism, which means the burning of more calories. But another bonus of a faster (hotter) metabolism is that it helps keep the weight off. Anyone who has ever dieted has probably experienced the frustration of losing weight only to gain it right back again. So, keep eating those Omega 3 fatty acids, folks, and you will keep the weight off!

As was mentioned earlier, Omega 3 in the diet makes for a healthy heart. But Of course there are other well-known benefits to a diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, including a healthy and effective way to prevent or fight cancer. So when it comes to including Omega 3 in your diet, weight loss is not the only benefit!

Omega-3 regulates blood clotting, which is one of the reasons we say it promotes a healthy heart. Blot clots contribute to many other undesirable medical conditions such as phlebitis and stroke. Omega 3 fights the free radicals that can cause cancer. It builds up the cell membranes to help build healthy cells.

It is a polyunsaturated fat, which is one of the more heart-healthy fats, made even healthier, of course, if it has a high fiber content. It helps to reduce undesirable triglycerides and lowers the LDL (think bad cholesterol) as opposed to HDL (think H for “healthy” cholesterol) in the body.

Another thing that Omega 3 does for our bodies is curb inflammation. Excessive inflammation is the culprit in many serious diseases, including auto-immune diseases like Lupus. Inflammation causes unspecific pain such as with fibromyalgia that can impact the quality of our lives with its crippling symptoms.

It’s important to know where your food is coming from if you want to optimize the balance in your diet between Omega 3 and Omega 6 (which is also a desirable fatty acid but depending on its source, can increase rather than decrease inflammation). It is best to eat meat that is grass fed in order to reap the benefits of the Omega 3 and Omega 6.

However, in our Western society, it is first necessary to determine if that grass the animals are eating has been exposed to toxins through insecticides and such. I know. It gets complicated. But I wanted to throw the information out there. You can decide how much of a purist you want to be.

How about supplements? Yes. Supplements can help, especially if for some reason you find it difficult to balance all these Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in your diet. Maybe you are on the run too much or eat out too often. Whatever the reason, if you feel you are not getting the proper amount of Omega 3 in your diet, by all means, take the supplements.

That being said, it is always better to get any of your nutrients, be they vitamins, minerals or Omega 3 or Omega 6, by means of a healthy balanced diet. It is just the most natural way to provide these beneficial fatty acids and nutrients. But a good quality supplement can’t hurt.

Taking care of our bodies and our health should be a number one concern for each and every one of us. Whether we seek the benefits of Omega 3 for purposes of weight loss or to help fight disease, or just for our overall health, it will drastically improve the the way you feel as well as your risk of contracting life-impairing diseases.

20 Facts About Headaches

A headache is the most common pain complaint any individual experience every day. By definition, a headache is a result of pain signals due to the interactions between the blood vessels, the brain and the surrounding nerves. The pain comes from the agitated nerves that surrounds the skull, head muscles and blood vessels and not  from the brain as many believe. Primary and secondary are the two types of headaches known today. A primary headache is an actual clinical condition and not a symptom of another disorder. This includes cluster headaches, migraine and tension headaches. A secondary headache is one arising to a condition known to cause a headache or is due to other medical conditions such as allergies, dental disorders, sinuses, head injury or brain tumors. Whether any person is plagued with regular headaches everyday of only get once in a while, here are 20 facts about the dreaded headache that you may not know yet or already know.

  1. Eating a bedtime snack can minimize morning headaches. Most morning headaches are caused by low  blood sugar that occurs overnight. Having a light snack before going to sleep can help minimize morning headaches. A light snack will provide enough sugar for the body to use  and prevent headaches from happening. Diced fruits with cottage cheese, a small bowl of cereal or a cracker and milk can offer relief.
  2. Prolonged watching 3d images can cause headaches and brain strain. A study was made by the  Northwestern University states that people exposed or watching 3d movies for long periods can develop a headache and nausea. The effect is due to the brain strain in processing 3d images.
  3. Rebound headaches are caused by taking in many headache medications in a given time frame. The headache will not go away unless the individual stops taking all medications. Overdosing on pain killers will damage the kidneys, liver and can cause death. Check with a preferred physician for the right medication.
  4. Over exposure to insecticides and pesticides can cause  headaches plus dizziness, vomiting, nausea and breathing troubles. This is a serious case since dangerous chemicals are involved and can even cause death. Over exposure will require immediate medical attention.
  5. High cholesterol can cause headaches. A study was made and linked migraine with aura (flashing lights and tingling sense) and high cholesterol in seniors. This is also linked to a higher risk of stroke and heart disease.
  6. Ancient Greeks and Romans drank chamomile, lavender rosemary and peppermint tea to treat headaches. This has been proven that drinking different kinds of tea and coffee provides caffeine that relieves pain as quickly as painkillers.
  7. Migraines may be hereditary. People suffering migraines have at least one family member having the same condition. If a parent is suffering from migraine, there’s a 50% chance of one of the kids will have the same condition.
  8. Most headaches are harmless although most of them are uncontrollable and disabling at times. Most can be cured by over the counter medications or just by taking a full rest.
  9. Alcohol as a headache trigger  is overstated. Some researchers believe that stress, fatigue and menstruations in women are some of the top triggers. Although too much alcohol in one night will cause a massive hangover and dizziness the morning after.
  10. Sex can cause headaches. This, according to the American Headache Society, men are more likely  to get these kinds of headaches than women. There are two types of headaches related to sex – a dull headache that happens as sex increases and a severe attack as orgasms nears.
  11. Some headaches are caused by dental issues. Jaw clenching  and teeth grinding during sleep are some of headache triggers. Checked with a preferred dentist for any dental issues and solutions regarding teeth grinding and jaw clenching.
  12. Fasting can cause headaches. As mentioned earlier, an individual with a low blood sugar lever will suffer from headaches. Fasting for a number of hours will lower a person’s blood sugar level.
  13. Hormones and headaches are linked. Headaches and migraines are linked to hormonal spikes and fluctuations. This is true for women a few days before and during their periods.
  14. An unhealthy lifestyle will trigger migraines and headaches. Too much smoking, lack of sleep, too much alcohol and an unhealthy diet can cause massive head pains.
  15. Headaches due to tension can affect anyone. It is mostly caused by the neck and shoulder muscles going into spasms, in some cases lasting for days.
  16. During the Neolithic period, it is believed that headaches are caused by bad spirits thus circular chunks of the skull were removed to let the bad spirits go out and escape. Be thankful that this practice is no longer is use.
  17. Brain freeze. Gulping a large Slurpee or eating a frozen dessert as fast as your body can hold will surely give you a brain freeze. This pain is caused by  blood vessel spasms caused by  intense cold from foods. The spasms interrupt the flow of blood and causes the vessels to swell thus the brain freeze.
  18. Acupuncture can help in stopping headaches. A study made by the University of Rochester found that acupuncture bolster a neurotransmitter called “adenosine” that has a numbing effect to nerve cells and bring natural pain relief.  It is said that it is more effective in minimizing the frequency of migraines and headaches during the first 4 months of therapy.
  19. Dehydration and temperature can trigger headaches. When dehydrated, avoid drinking sodas, coffee, tea or alcoholic beverages because it will worsen dehydration. Drink lots of water and rest. High temperatures and low air pressure will also increase the risks of headaches.
  20. Some think that recurrent headaches are something that they have to live with, this is not true. Headaches can be managed with proper medical care, effort and education.

10 Reasons Why You Can’t Concentrate

Are you having a hard time concentrating or can’t even remember where you put the car keys? Are you easily distracted or even daydream during conversations?  We all have days, weeks or even months that  we can’t focus on anything. A minute you’re trying to do research over the internet and then the next minute your opening and reading emails while checking out your Facebook account. And before you can send the messages and get the important points for your research, your sending sms to your colleagues and getting notes for an important meeting. And by the end of the day, you feel that nothing is getting done and accomplished. Some of it is quite normal but when do you know  that it can be a serious problem?  In today’s  technology laden world, there is a nonstop barrage and ruthless assault on everything that breaks one’s attention. It is not entirely your fault and concrete research states that there are actual causes such frustrations, and there are ways to improve and enhance one’s ability to pay attention.

Here are some of the most common triggers of mental distraction and head fuzziness.

  1. Stress and anxiety. These feelings will disrupt will surely disrupt your concentration and can also lead to forgetfulness. If you’re feeling stressed, take a breather. Take your mind out of the matter and relax for a few minutes. Drink water or a cold juice and read some funny anecdotes or comics. Take your mind out of the things causing the anxiety. Breath or have walking, this will refresh your mind and in most cases, a solution to your dilemma may pop up while you’re having a breather.
  2. Technology and gadget overload. Your iPhone, blackberry, iPad, computers and any other gadgets compete for your attention. The human can only take as much information and too much multitasking will result in a harder time concentrating and focused on a single task. Try to organize things by writing down tasks and having  a day planner can help solve such issues. Take a break from your gadgets. If you can set house rules about the times to use your gadgets. It can a gadget free period after dinner or before going to bed. Don’t get tied too much on your gadgets.
  3. Lack of sleep. This is a no brainer. When the body and brain is too tired and worn out, it will result in lack of concentration. You will surely be irritable, will have difficulty managing daily tasks, dealing with a blank mind. A good sleep should be seven to eight hours every night. By getting enough sleep, you should be able to bring back your focus. If you or your mate is having sleeping difficulties and waking feeling tired, checking with a doctor is one of the best bets. You might have an undiagnosed sleep disorder and  your doctor can give the necessary step to make a good sleep happen. There are also reports that lack of sleep can cause death.
  4. Alcohol or drug use. A person dependent on alcohol or any other substance will have focus and concentration problems. The alcohol and drugs will cause the brain to function less than a normal person not  using drugs or drinking too much alcohol. Some medical prescriptions will also have this effect. Check with your doctor to have it treated.
  5. Hormone spikes and changes. Pregnancy and periods, as stated by some women causes forgetfulness and focus problems. Lack of concentration is a common complaint among perimenopausal women.
  6. Prescribed medicine changes can also cause mood swings. Antidepressants can affect a person’s mood and concentration. Sedatives and other anti-anxiety medications can cause prolonged drowsiness and can cloud the mind. Sleeping pills are a big no for this one. Coenzyme Q10 can counteract the side effects.
  7. Anemia is another trigger. Exhaustion and weakness can result to lack of red blood cell production and the much needed oxygen is not distributed and transported properly to the body. This can be treated by changing an unhealthy lifestyle and through nutritional supplements.
  8. Head injury. An accidental hit or knock on the head doing work or sports can cause temporary confusion, temporary memory loss and dizziness. Any serious injuries can cause permanent damage that can lead to concentration issues and difficulties. An immediate treatment after an injury can lower the chances of any permanent damage.
  9. Too little or no exercise.  Studies have stated that regular exercise can keep the mind sharp and increase the memory and learning capacity of  an individual. This is more helpful especially with people suffering from ADHD. Breaking sweat can also help in burning the extra energy that causes  restlessness and help in getting better sleep.
  10. Interest. Researches have found that concentration is driven  by interest and interest is driven by attitude. If your attitude towards a specific work, projects or hobby swells with interest and passion. Concentration will be pretty easy.


How to Reduce Headache Pain

Reducing Headache Pain

Headaches can come and go at a moments notice. They are frustrating and can ruin your day (or even ruin your week if you do not treat it successfully).

Many people believe that headaches cannot be cured or should be left to heal on their own. However this has the potential to cause the headache to turn into a long lasting problem.

The main reason people get headaches is due to lack of hydration. Studies have shown that people who frequently drink water – as opposed to soft drinks – are less likely to have headaches and migraines. Water helps your body to regulate itself. It is important to consume enough water to keep your body and brain functioning as they should be.

The amount of water you should drink varies between different people and there are no solid numbers. However, you should aim to drink water every hour throughout the time that you are awake to reduce the risk of headaches. Headaches are not the only symptom of dehydration but they are the most common.

What most people do not realise is that headaches can be avoided.

If you experience frequent headaches it is important to go to a doctor to have a full check up to make sure it is nothing more serious.

Your diet can play a large role in the prevention (and cause) of headaches. Some foods trigger headaches for some people in a similar way to how allergies can cause a rash. Caffeine is a very common cause of headaches. People often drink more caffeine than they are aware of throughout the day.

If possible, cut down on the amount of caffeine you drink. You should also try to offset the amount of caffeine and sugar drinks you consume by always drinking water as well. If you have water at the same time this will allow your body to function – while still giving you the benefits of the caffeine. Caffeine is known to reduce headache pain – many prescription headache tablets include it. However, too much and too frequently will cause headaches.

Certain foods will cause the same effects but it is not easy to know which foods are causing the symptoms. If you believe food is the cause or you notice certain patterns (for example if you always have a headache an hour after eating) you may wish to eliminate certain parts of your diet.

Start by reducing the amount of sugary foods and drinks you consume. Sugars in foods often cause headaches and it is usually difficult to realise they are the culprit unless you cut them out of your diet altogether.

Exercise will help to fight the symptoms of a headache (provided you are well hydrated) as your brain releases endorphins associated with pain reduction when you exercise. Exercise will also help your body regulate its temperature – you will get used to exerting energy and your body will become more efficient.

Losing weight is often helpful if you have on-going headaches. Headaches are reported more and more frequently as the average weight of the population increases. It is difficult to show a study that shows this conclusively, but many doctors will recommend that you try to lose weight in order to relieve headache symptoms (if you are over weight).

Medicines are useful but should not be taken lightly. If no other methods work then you should only then consider taking medicines. Medicines relieve the symptoms but do not always help fight the cause of the problem. You do not want to become dependant on headache medication to function in day to day life, when the solution may be as simple as increasing your intake of water or changing your daily exercise routine.

All of the natural changes you can make to help aid in reducing headache symptoms also help you in other areas of health. Exercise will improve your physical and mental performance as well as your long-term health. The majority of people should drink more water than they do. And avoiding sugar based or fatty foods can prevent heart problems later in life.

To reduce headache pain you must try to identify the cause of the problem. Try to notice patterns in your weekly schedule and link them to when you experience headaches. Keep a log of all of your activities and write down how severe your headaches were. If your headaches are routine and often appear at a certain time of day you will know that it is very likely to be linked with something you have eaten or done in the hours prior to noticing the headache symptoms.

Reducing headache pain can be simple in some cases, but it is always important to consult with a medical professional in case there is a more serious underlying issue.