New York Presbyterian

FALL 2014

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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5 w w w. s p i r i t o f w o m e n . c o m FA L L 2 014 S P I R I T O F W O M E N SHUTTERSTOCK H E A L T H C E N T R A L N E W S Weighty issues for smokers Say goodbye to guilt trips When you've hurt someone and can't let go of the guilt to forgive yourself, you could be more vulnerable to depression or anxiety. But it can be difficult to give yourself a break when you think you deserve to feel bad. The solution may be to make amends, say Baylor University researchers who published their findings in The Journal of Positive Psychology. In two different studies, the researchers asked volunteers about offenses they had committed. The first study involved real-life situations; the second study presented a hypotheti- cal example. Researchers found that the more people made amends, the more they felt self-forgiveness was morally permissible. Women, how- ever, were generally less self-forgiving than men were. • Yuk it up for your health As you age, excessive stress may cause your body to release the steroid hormone cortisol, which can affect your memory and learning ability as well as increasing your risk for serious health conditions. But laughter, which alleviates stress, can help lessen the damage cortisol may cause, suggests a new study from Loma Linda University. Researchers showed a funny 20-min- ute video to two groups of older adults, one healthy and one with diabetes. Both groups had their cortisol levels measured before and after the video. The groups were then asked to complete a memory assessment test. As a control, a third group that didn't watch the video also did the memory test. The two groups of video viewers experienced a decrease in cortisol con- centrations as well as improvement in all areas of memory assessment—including learning, recall and sight recognition— compared with the control group. So the next time you're having a movie night, consider a comedy to boost your spirits and your brain power. • I f you're a smoker who gained weight when you last tried to quit, you may be reluctant to participate in treatment to stop smoking if weight is very important to you, according to a study recently published in The Interna- tional Journal of Clinical Practice. For the study, researchers asked 186 smokers who sought treatment—and 102 smokers who refused treatment—whether they had gained weight during previ- ous efforts to quit and whether they were concerned about their weight. About half of all the smokers had gained weight when they'd tried to stop smoking in the past. However, the smokers in that group who were highly concerned about their weight were more likely to avoid seeking treatment to help them quit. If you're reluctant to stop smoking because you are afraid of gaining weight, make sure to seek out a program that includes diet strategies as part of the treatment. • A message to parents at the wheel: It can wait Unfortunately, having their child in the car doesn't prevent parents from distracted driving, according to a recent study that was published in Academic Pediatrics. The study, conducted in two Michigan emergency rooms, showed that two-thirds of respondents talked on cellular phones while driving their child. In addition, 15 percent said they texted and drove. There were other parental distractions as well, such as turning to give food to a child or picking up a toy. The parents' education level wasn't a deterrent, according to the study. In fact, parents with higher education were more likely to report using cel- lular phone and navigation systems while they were driving. •

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