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Kathy Marshack News

Mathematics Used to Fight Obesity

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

One in three Americans are obese while two in three Americans are overweight. Obesity is an epidemic sweeping the nation. The average weight of Americans has increased by 20% from 1975 and 2005. Ever wondered how to control it? The answer may surprisingly lie with mathematics.

Carson Chow, a mathematician, has been studying the obesity epidemic and has come up with some very interesting conclusions. Working alongside Kevin Hall, a mathematical physiologist, they created a math model of the human body. After a lot of work, one simple equation was developed that may answer some important health questions.

According to Chow, the idea that 3,500 calories less is needed to lose a pound is incorrect. He says that it is easier to gain weight if you are heavier. So, a few extra calories for a heavier person means more. They predict that if you eat 100 less calories a day over a period of three years without cheating, you will lose 10 pounds. Click here to use an interactive version of the math model.

Chow's suggestions for helping ward off this epidemic is to stop marketing food to children and as simple as it sounds...cut caloric intake. To learn more about mathematics and obesity, read the article - A Mathematical Challenge to Obesity.

For additional information, visit Weight Control on my webpage.

A Link Between Depression and Dementia

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Depression can take a serious toll on a person's life. Not only will it impair daily living, but it can also put you at risk for long-term problems. The Archives of General Psychiatry published a study about how depression that strikes during middle age creates a greater risk for dementia in the future.

By studying 13,000 people during midlife (40's and 50's) to their 80's, those who did have symptoms of depression were 20% more likely to have dementia in old age. If they received a depression diagnosis later in life, they were at a 70% risk of dementia. Interestingly, timing played a role in the type of dementia. Depression diagnosed in midlife was linked to vascular dementia while later in life depression it’s linked to Alzheimer's. For more information on this fascinating study, read Depression in middle age linked to dementia.

It is still unknown if treatment for depression would change the likelihood of dementia. Regardless of the answer, depression should still be treated and the good news is that depression is treatable. To learn more about available treatment options, visit Overcoming Depression.

How to Decrease Memory Loss

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Would you like to decrease memory loss? No doubt you would. Losing memory is sadly a product of aging, but studies show that there are two simple things you can do to lessen your odds of memory loss.

The Mayo Clinic released a study about how combining computer use and moderate exercise can lessen memory loss in older individuals. The key is to combine these two activities because you’re exercising both the mind and the body. Focusing on the 70 to 93 age group, the study showed that those who were not physically active and not active on the computer, 21.1% were cognitively normal while 37.6% showed signs of mild cognitive impairment. On the other hand, those who are moderately active and used the computer, 36% were normal and 18.3% had signs of mild cognitive impairment.

So, if you are interested in keeping your brain healthy, get active mentally and physically. It is important to note that being mentally active is not limited to computer use. Any activity that is mentally stimulating is beneficial for the brain. Choose physical and mental activities that you enjoy.

Take care of your brain. It is a valuable asset! For more information on the mind and body connection, visit Holistic Health.

Genetics and Environment Play a Part in Adoptive Child's Future

Monday, April 30, 2012

As a parent of adopted children, I am keenly interested in all issues facing adopted children and their parents. One issue that has recently surfaced is about the risk of drug abuse for adopted children. The Archives of General Psychiatry published a Swedish study about how genetics and environment are risk factors when it comes to addiction and adopted kids.

The study showed that adopted children are twice as likely to abuse drugs if they had a biological parent who also abused drugs. This is due to a genetic predisposition. However, environment can also play a part. If the environment that an adoptive child is raised in is a negative one with criminal activities, drug or substance abuse, or divorce, this also puts the child at greater risk for substance abuse in the future.

If you are parents with adopted children or are interested in adopting, you should look into your child's biological history. If you find out that addiction is in your child's history, be alert to possible signs that this could be a problem for your child. Take preemptive steps to ensure a positive and nurturing environment. This can greatly affect the child's future.

Being an adoptive parent is hard work, but the reward is great. Do not take your role as a parent lightly. Educate yourself by reading books, attending seminars, or speak to an adoption specialist. Even speaking a mental health care professional can be a valuable tool. For more information, visit Adoptive Families.

Addiction Rising Among Older Community

Monday, April 23, 2012

There is a misconception that drug addiction affects mostly young people in our society, but that is not the case. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that drug addiction is escalating in the older community. The number of older people using illegal drugs in a year doubled between 2002 and 2007. (Read Depression, Anxiety Ups Addiction Among Older Americans)

What are the some of the common reasons why older people are turning to drugs and alcohol? For some, it may be due to depression or anxiety. Depression or anxiety could stem from the many changes that occur during this time period. Retirement, economic struggles, health problems or the realization that old age in setting in can impact your outlook. Whatever the reason may be, drugs and alcohol are not the answer.

Addiction leads to many negative consequences. First off, it will never solve the problem, it will only aggravate it. It will also affect your physical health and emotional health. Relationships with family and friends are often strained and sometimes ruined.

If you find yourself struggling with addiction, speak to a doctor immediately. You will also want to see a therapist who deals with substance abuse. Identifying the root cause of your addiction will help lead you to recovery.

For more information visit Alcohol Recovery or contact my office to set up an appointment.

Entrepreneurial Life - Beware of Burnout

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Are you an entrepreneur? Have you ever experience "burnout?" The entrepreneurial lifestyle is a demanding one. Of course, there are many rewards, but if not kept in check, this lifestyle can lead you down a very unhealthy path, emotionally and physically.

Since entrepreneurs are driven to succeed, it is easy to push through without stopping to evaluate if you’re on the path to self-destruction. Regardless of how you feel at this moment, if you are an entrepreneur, I encourage you to stop and honestly evaluate yourself. Take note of the signs that you may be burned out.

Signs of Burnout:

  • You are usually creative, but instead you feel like you have hit a wall
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of enthusiasm or drive for your work
  • A cranky, negative attitude that won't disappear
  • Hypertension
  • Trouble sleeping or insomnia
  • Chronic headaches or stomach problems
  • Family and friends voicing concerns for your well-being

If you see yourself in this list, then it is time to take a time out. It may be as simple as taking a few hours out of your work week for a hobby or time with your family. How about scheduling in a long weekend or a vacation? Whatever you need to do, do it immediately. Success is wonderful, but not a the expense of your mental or physical health. If taking a break does not relieve your symptoms, then you may need to get the assistance of a mental health care professional. There could be deeper issues that need to be addressed. Doing so will be worth your while.

For more information, visit Entrepreneurial Life and Managing Stress.

The Power of Perception in Your Life

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Have you heard of the power of perception? The power of perception can shape the course of your life for the good or for the bad. A perception is formed when information enters the brain by means of the five senses. That information is then processed and put into action. Different people form different responses based on the same data due to interpretations. Interpretations are formed by previous experience. Our experiences then shape our perceptions.

Changing your perceptions can have a powerful effect on your life. One way to do this to imagine . . . Imagine the outcome that you want in every situation. This requires creativity which is not a gift that comes naturally to all, but it can be developed with practice. If the outcome is different then what you imagined, you have the power to adjust your response. Adjusting perceptions and the good results that can come about can be likened to the placebo effect.

Beau Lotto, artist and neuroscientist, says the first step to changing perceptions comes from awareness. He says, "You must see yourself see. It's about observation and curiosity, having a sense of wonder, becoming aware of the connection between the past and the present. Becoming an observer of yourself enables you to do amazing things." For more information on the power of perception, I recommend the article, The Power of Perceptions: Imagining the Reality You Want on

If you would like to learn how to change your perceptions, set up an appointment with a mental health care professional. Contact my office for an appointment if you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area.

For more information, visit Holistic Health.

Understanding Eating Disorders

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating are all classified as eating disorders. Eating disorders affect men, women, boys, and girls. Having an eating disorder is serious. It can cause severe physical and psychological problems. These three types of eating disorders are different, but yet all of them have a common thread – being preoccupied with weight and food.

Anorexia nervosa is an obsession with being thin. This obsession will lead the individual to literally starve. It doesn't matter how thin a person with anorexia is, when they look in the mirror they see someone that is overweight. Because of this unhealthy body image, they refuse to eat much for fear it could make them fat. A person with anorexia is usually dangerously thin.

Bulimia is when an individual begins a pattern for eating large amounts of food (binging) and then purging after eating. Purging could be vomiting, taking laxatives, fasting, or exercise to an extreme degree to rid the extra calories.

Binge eating is eating excessive quantities of food on a regular basis without some sort of purging. A binge eater will eat even if they are not hungry. Binge eating is usually accompanied with guilt which usually spirals them into another session of eating. Many binge eaters are overweight or obese.

There are several reasons why someone may develop an eating disorder. For one thing, there is an incredible amount of pressure in our society to look a certain way. Many young girls are convinced that being thin equals true beauty. Many get entangled in this snare. Biological factors are another reason. Eating disorders sometimes run in families leading to the possibility that in some cases it could have to do with genes. The last reason is psychological. If someone is a perfectionist, has anxiety, or low self esteem, they could easily fall into an eating disorder. It becomes something that they feel they have control over. Eating disorders are accompanied with other issues such as depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders.

Overcoming an eating disorder is very difficult, but it can be done with the help of psychotherapy. In addition to intense therapy, nutritional education is also recommended. If not treated, eating disorders can lead to death. If you are struggling with an eating disorder, seek out help immediately. Contact my office if you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area.

Use Affirmations to Heal Within

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Your brain is a powerful organ. Since your brain and body are in constant communication, your brain has the power to influence your body in either a negative or positive way. Therefore, taking a holistic approach to health and wellness is necessary at times. You have the power within yourself to heal as well as reduce stress and other negative behaviors. One way you can do this is by using affirmations.

Simply put, affirmations are an assertion that a person makes about a state of being. Affirmations empower the subconscious to overtime believe the stated affirmation. Once the subconscious believes, a person is more willing to work and strive for what they want. Thoughts become actions.

Affirmations can be done verbally or visually. In order for an affirmation to be most effective, it should be in the present tense and be positive in nature. For example, "I am happy" versus "I am going to be happy." Keep them short and concise. It makes it easier to remember. You must also be prepared to repeat your affirmation regularly.

You can have a brilliant affirmation, but it will not do you any good unless you are prepared to put it into action. Only by being open-minded and allowing yourself to truly feel the affirmation will you truly begin to believe it.

If you have low self-esteem, are trying to lose weight, or battling depression or an addiction, I encourage you to give affirmations a try. If you interested in pursuing a holistic approach in your life, seek out a therapist who understands and practices these methods. If you live in Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington, feel free to contact my office to set up an appointment.

Is ADHD Being Over-Diagnosed?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a behavioral disorder that affects millions of children and adults. Some of the common symptoms include disorganization, problems following directions, easily distracted, forgetful, and impulsive. ADHD affects all areas of a person’s life and without therapy or medication, more serious issues like depression, anxiety, and substance abuse can easily creep in.

The March issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal includes a study that is looking at the potential of over-diagnosing ADHD in younger children. After following over 900,000 children in British Columbia, Canada, researchers say that youngest children in the classroom are more likely diagnosed with ADHD than the oldest children in the same class. The cut off in British Columbia for kindergarten is December 31st, so if a child was born in January, they could be almost a year older than others in the same class. The statistics in the study stated that around 30% of boys born in December were diagnosed with ADHD and 70% of girls born in December were diagnosed compared to children born in January.

Researchers are concerned that in some cases, a child may not have ADHD, but rather is just exhibiting immaturity due to age. Misdiagnosing ADHD in place of immaturity is very serious. A child wrongly diagnosed and treated for ADHD can cause serious lifelong effects. The flip side is also true, not diagnosing ADHD can have serious consequences.

If you know an adult or child who might have ADHD, I recommend seeking out the professional opinion of a ADD/ADHD specialist. To assess whether a person has ADD or ADHD, specialists consider several questions: Are these behaviors excessive, long-term, and pervasive? Is this a continuous problem, not just a response to a temporary situation? Do the behaviors occur in several settings or only in one specific place? The person's pattern of behavior is then compared against a set of criteria and characteristics of the disorder.

For more information, visit ADD/ADHD Overview on my website. If you are interest in treating ADD/ADHD, contact my office to set up an appointment.

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