Alzheimer’s Association Art Program Revives Lost Memories

Alzheimer’s Association

With the backing of the Alzheimer’s Association, an art program called Memories in the Making helps people paint their memories. Losing one’s memory through dementia — be it short-term or long-term — is an excruciating experience both for the sufferer and for their loved ones. Often, people who live with dementia because of Alzheimer’s disease or other memory impairments don’t know how to interact or function in a world that no longer works easily for them. But the Alzheimer’s Association is combating the isolation and disempowerment of dementia through a program called Memories in the Making (MIM). Memories in the Making began in California over 20 years ago when art therapist Selly Jenny faced the dilemma of communicating with her own mother, who’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Jenny began using art to help communicate with her mother, and the program quickly grew with the backing of the Alzheimer’s Association.        …read more

11 Spa Treatments to Heal Whatever’s Hurting You

spa treatments

There’s a whole world of spa treatments designed to cure colds, depression, stress, wrinkles and more. Instead of tea, tissues, and chicken noodle soup when you’ve got a cold, how would you like a spa treatment? Or if you’re carrying around emotional baggage, try curing it the way our ancestors have been doing it for generations: with a specific tree used in a spa treatment. There are some super-cool (literally) spa treatments available today, which are said to do everything from easing muscle pain, to zapping evil spirits, to helping with depression. Select your ailment, and then book your treatment. 1. To Reduce Inflammation: Cryotherapy Strip down to your underwear while standing in an odd contraption that works like a freezer, getting down to about -250 F (yes, that would be colder than Mars but, no, you won’t get frostbite). The point of forking over about $50 for the three-minute        …read more

This Sex Podcast Could Bridge an American Divide

sex podcasts

Sex podcasts are demystifying one of America’s favorite pastimes. A man who’s married to a RealDoll. A trans performer who’s fearful for her future. A former United States Surgeon General who was fired for suggesting Americans teach children about masturbation. These people couldn’t seem more different, but their stories can help us reexamine the way we view sex in the United States, which is exactly what sex podcasts such as American Sex aim to do. He’s into clown play, and she fancies mimes. Much like their guests, one might not imagine American Sex creators and hosts Sunny Megatron and Ken Melvoin-Berg to fit into a traditional love story narrative. Yet, somehow, the sexuality educators have found a way not only to make their relationship work but to also inspire their listeners each week. Though they’re perhaps best known for their work on the Showtime series Sex with Sunny Megatron, the        …read more

Autoimmune Diseases: Why Millions Go Undiagnosed​ & What to Do about It

autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune diseases are more common than you think, but they’re misunderstood in the medical community. In early 2013 I became chronically exhausted for no apparent reason. I began going to bed right after work and sleeping through the weekends, but my fatigue only worsened. Next came the unexplained fevers and rashes, the extreme dizziness when I was exposed to sunlight, and the joint and muscle pain that was so severe it sometimes left me in tears. I explained my symptoms to my primary care doctor and told her about the lengthy history of autoimmune disease in my family. After running the most basic blood work possible, she told me I was physically fine, my symptoms were likely due to “stress and anxiety,” and sent me on my way. I spent the next four years going through the exact same process with four different doctors in New York and Seattle. By        …read more

Should Science Edit out Genetic Disorders?

genetic disorders

Is a new scientific breakthrough in the treatment of genetic disorders tantamount to eugenics? Some people claim it is. Scientists have successfully modified the DNA of a human embryo to erase a genetic and lethal heart condition. The experiment, published August 2 in the journal Nature, used a tool known as CRISPR, or Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, and was the first to successfully “correct” a gene mutation in human embryos. Reactions to this news range from excitement to horror. Soon we could have the technology to help parents who carry genes for genetic disorders to conceive children free of those traits. But should we? Some of the strongest opposition to CRISPR has come from people with genetic disorders themselves. Far from hoping for a path to prevent their children from inheriting pathogenic genes, some people with genetic conditions fear science may soon “wipe out” people like them. They        …read more

6 Unusual Relaxation Methods to Help You Find Your Chill

relaxation method

We all know meditation is great for us, but here are six lesser-known relaxation methods. From screaming into pillows to being set on fire, people have found some pretty weird techniques. It’s long been said that meditation is one of the best relaxation methods you can use to reduce your stress, and recent scientific studies show how it can change your brain and how it works. But sitting still, deep breathing and related exercises like yoga and tai chi aren’t the only ways you can relax. Ever think about getting a human stem cell facial? Setting yourself on fire for calming effects? Here are six ways people unwind. Maybe you’ll find your technique of choice among these unusual relaxation methods. 1. Screaming into Pillows I used to have a psychiatrist who insisted, despite the fact that I lived with several roommates in a tiny NYC apartment, that I try screaming into        …read more

How to Make a Difference on World Health Day

World Health Day

Half the world’s population doesn’t have access to health care. Here’s how to help on World Health Day and every day. April 7 is World Health Day, and this year’s cause is access to health care for everyone. According to statistics gathered by the World Health Organization, half the world’s population currently doesn’t have access to health care — and a staggering 100 million people have been forced into poverty due to health care costs. Lack of access to health care affects the most vulnerable populations, both in the U.S. and abroad. I spoke to four medical experts about their biggest areas of concern — and what we can do to help on World Health Day and every other day of the year. Lack of Access to Health Care Is a Multilayered Issue When we hear the phrase “lack of access to health care,” many of us immediately think of people        …read more

Older, Wiser and Happier? Why Older People Excel in Happiness

happiness

Research shows that older adults outpace young adults in the quest for happiness. What can we learn from them? From Saturday Night Live’s “Grumpy Old Man” to the clichéd, oddball elderly characters in some literature, stereotypes of older adults permeate our perception of aging. Contrary to cultural commentary and our obsession with youth, a growing body of research shows that older adults are happier than both middle agers and young adults. And considering that adults over 65 will outnumber kids under 14 by 2050, the emotional health of such a large sector of the population affects everyone. “Longer lives can, and I believe will, improve quality of life at all ages,” says Laura Carstensen, a leading expert on the “paradox of aging,” a term coined by social scientists to describe the findings on increased levels of happiness despite the well-known maladies of aging. “If there’s a paradox of aging, it’s that recognizing        …read more

What’s the Holdup with Legal Marijuana?

legal marijuana

While citizens of a few states now have access to legal marijuana, most of the U.S. isn’t there yet. Over the last few years weed lovers have finally gotten the break they’ve been waiting for. Legislation has gradually been rolled out across the United States decriminalizing and even legalizing cannabis both for medicinal and recreational purposes. And not just for smokers either: plenty of new and creative ideas abound in this thriving young industry. From “Mary Jane massages” to hemp-infused doggy treats, pot is undergoing a nationwide makeover. However, the number of states that have not legalized cannabis far outnumber those that have. Marijuana, along with a wealth of other substances, has a colorful history dating back centuries. But in the last 100 years or so, legal barriers have arisen preventing its free distribution and consumption. Unlike the drugs you can buy at pretty much any grocery store, from aspirin        …read more

How Creative Expression Can Help You Heal after Trauma and Loss

After my friend died while in a religious cult, I suffered traumatic grief. That’s when I learned creative expression could help the brain and body heal. On October 30, 2012, I got the phone call no one wants to receive. The sister of my best friend and kindred spirit, Bethany, was on the other end. Bethany had died — and not only had she died, but she’d been murdered in what turned out to be a spiritual community that had slowly turned into an emotionally and spiritually abusive cult. Later it would be concluded that she’d committed suicide, but for a whole year, investigators treated her death like a homicide and everyone who loved her went through the emotional roller coaster of believing she’d been murdered. Ultimately, my friend had married an abusive man, the cult leader, who’d warped her personality, distanced her from friends and family, psychologically tortured her        …read more