The Advantages of Being a Working Mother

Though many women believe that a long maternity leave and lots of rest are essential to the process of bringing a baby home, recent studies have shown that returning to work shortly after the change may in fact be better for a woman’s health. The research implies that working women have better physical and psychological health than stay-at-home moms.

According to specialists from the University of Akron and Penn State University, women involved in both careers and family lives have been found to have higher energy levels and mobility, as well as confidence and contentment. They are also less likely to go through depression.

The study states that the results are especially accurate among first-time parents. The financial independence and social interaction at the workplace reduce stress, sadness and worry, experts explain.

Adrianne Frech, lead researcher and professor, said:

“Work is good for your health, both mentally and physically. It gives women a sense of purpose, self-efficacy, control and autonomy. They have a place where they are an expert on something, and they’re paid a wage.”

The study’s results reveal that 28% of unemployed mothers consider themselves depressed, while only 17% of working mothers feel similarly. Housewives are apparently more likely to be overweight, and women with inconsistent job situations were found to be the unhealthiest.

“Struggling to hold on to a job or being in constant job-search mode wears on their health, especially mentally, but also physically,” Frech explained. “It is harder to enter the workforce if you don’t have a solid work history. Don’t give up on work and education.”

She encouraged women to establish a stable work history before starting a family, so that they can easily return to the lifestyle later on.

 

Obesity May Cause Cognitive Decline

A recent study involving 250 people has revealed that obesity during senior years may trigger mental decline, and not only physical as previously believed. The study participants, aging through 60s and 70s, were tested over the course of five years. Those with higher body fat levels were less successful in mental ability exams during that time.

The study, conducted by scientists from Seoul National University, measured the waists and BMI levels of each participant regularly, analyzing the information along with the results from ‘Mini Mental State Examinations.’ These short tests included simple questions in math, orientation and memory.

As the researchers predicted, the participants with lower body fat achieved higher scores in the exams. Interestingly, the gap narrowed in people over 70 years of age.

Dae Hyun Yoon, the lead author of the study, said: “Our findings have important public health implications. The prevention of obesity, particularly central obesity, might be important for the prevention of cognitive decline or dementia.”

The UK Alzheimer’s Society said “We have all heard how a high BMI is bad for our heart but this research suggests it could also be bad for the head.” The organization added that dementia wasn’t observed in the study. However, past research has implied that risk factors for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease can also cause dementia. Of

According to the Society, a third of people over the age of 65 will die with dementia. Still, this study, as well as others, has suggested that a balanced diet, regular exercise, and healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels can change the odds.

‘Astronaut’ Crew Emerges After 520 Days of Isolation

The crew of a long-duration isolation study finally “landed” back on earth to be greeted by daylight and applause after living 520 days, or seventeen months, in a simulation of space travel to Mars.

The Mars500 experiment, which cost $15 million, aimed to test whether humans could stay physically and mentally healthy during the months of travel to Mars.

Six male volunteers from Europe, Russia and China took part in the experiment. On Friday, they emerged from their cells red eyed but smiling, and were allowed to greet friends and family briefly before being sent into a three-day quarantine.

“It’s really, really great to see you again, rather heartwarming,” said Diego Urbina, an Italian-Colombian participant. “On this mission we’ve achieved the longest isolation ever so that humankind can go to a distant but reachable planet.

Psychologists worry that the noise and activity of normal life will shock the would-be astronauts greatly.

“Time seems to have flown by since we closed the hatch last year. But how time really felt to the crew we’ll soon know. Probably we’ll have a very big difference of opinion,” said Igor Ushakov, head of the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems, which ran the experiment.

Having fed on real astronauts rations, rarely showered and taken daily urine and blood samples, the men felt truly distant from Mission Control.

“I felt a physical distance between out crew and the people in Mission Control. My reasoning knows that they’re just 20 m away from us but my mind can’t accept it.”

HealthyPlace.com Chosen Best Tool For Mental Health Information and Support

Did you know that there is a web site called HealthyPlace.com? And that it just won a Merit award in the category called Best Health Website? Well, chances are that you do know since this site is the largest consumer mental health site on the internet, receiving much more than one million visitors each month.

The winners were announced this past week on November 5th, out of almost 500 entries which were received for the Web Health Awards for 2010.

The site also received a Merit award in the web-based tool or resource category for its ground-breaking “Mood Tracker Tool” and a Bronze award for Natasha Tracy’s blog on bipolarism, “Breaking Bipolar.”

HealthyPlace.com is an authoritative web-site which offers accurate information as well as support to people with a large variety of mental health concerns. There are, according to many estimates, somewhere between 35 and 50 million people in the United States with mental health issues, making HealthyPlace.com an important and valuable resource for a large number of people.

Study Shows Kids Upset When Parent Leaves for War

New research has shown that, not surprisingly, there are more visits to the doctor for mental health issues in children of military families when one of the parents is deployed. I what is being called the most comprehensive study so far conducted on this issue, the conclusion of the research showed a 10% rise in doctor visits when one parent is deployed as compared to when that parent is at home.

Interestingly, although doctor visits for problems in children such as anxiety and school misbehavior increase when the parent is off to war, other complaints for all physical problems fell.

It is not rocket science to know that deployment puts a strain on families, especially on the parent who is left at home with the kids. But this study surveyed over half a million children, making it an excellent and reliable reflection of the general reality that military families face when a parent is deployed.

The study will be published in the journal Pediatrics was led by Dr. Gregory H. Gorman of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He and his team analyzed the health records of children between the ages of 3 and 8 who have at least one parent in the military services. The over 640,000 records compared how often and for what reasons children were brought to the doctor during 2006-2007 when parents were home and when they were deployed.

“This study gives us an excellent beginning to understand what’s happening” in military households, said Benjamin Karney, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “It’s pretty amazing that they were able to look at essentially the entire military population and strongly document something we suspected was happening but didn’t know for sure.”

Being a Mama’s Boy May Have Health Benefits

Time.com reports that boys who have close relationships with their mothers may have better mental health than do those with more distant relationships.  A recent study, presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, found that boys who maintained close emotional connections to their mothers were more emotionally available as they aged, and had better mental health ratings.

The study, conducted by Carlos Santos, a professor at Arizona State University School of Social and Family Dynamics, surveyed 426 boys through middle school.  He found, interestingly enough, that the father-son relationship does not have the same effect.

Santos described his findings as such, “If you look at the effect size of my findings, mother support and closeness was the most predictive of boys’ ability to resist [hyper-masculine] stereotypes, and therefore predictive of better mental health.”