Thursday, September 3, 2020

Lockdowns Tough on People With Eating Disorders

The coronavirus pandemic has brought significant challenges for people with eating disorders, a new study finds.

During the early stages of the pandemic lock down in the United Kingdom, researchers at Northumbria University in Newcastle surveyed people who currently had an eating disorder or were recovering from an eating disorder.

In all, 87% of the survey respondents said their symptoms had worsened due to lockdown-related disruptions to daily life, and more than 30% said their symptoms were much worse.

Harmful mental health impacts included a reduced sense of control, increased social isolation, more thoughts about disordered eating and lack of social support, according to the report published online Aug. 24 in the Journal of Eating Disorders.

The negative effects of the pandemic may be due to changes in regular routine, living situation, time spent with friends and family, access to treatment, physical activity, relationship with food and use of technology, according to study authors Dawn Branley-Bell and Catherine Talbot.

Study Says for a Longer Life, Any Exercise is Good Exercise

Want to live longer? Take the stairs, stretch or toss a volleyball around, a new study suggests.

Those activities were among several tied to lower rates of early death in an Arizona State University study of nearly 27,000 U.S. adults between 18 and 84 years of age.

Researchers wondered which of the more socially oriented exercises -- such as team sports -- contribute to longevity. They asked participants in 1998 which types of activity they engaged in, then watched for causes of death through 2015.

While they found that any form exercise helps, stretching and volleyball were uniquely tied to a lower risk of early death. Fitness activities such as walking, cycling and aerobics were also beneficial. Only an association was seen between activities and death rates.

The findings suggest some kinds of exercise have special benefits when it comes to reducing the risk of early dying, but most have no effect on longevity, researchers said.

"If you're doing any exercise, that's better than if you're doing nothing," said lead author Connor Sheehan, an assistant professor in ASU's T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics.

"I wouldn't go out of your way to adjust your lifestyle to the results of this study, because it might be harder for you to stretch than to play volleyball, for instance," he said in a university news release.

Feeling Anxious? Yoga Can Help Soothe You

Yoga may help people soothe frayed nerves during the coronavirus pandemic, but the ancient practice may also help those with more serious, chronic forms of anxiety, new research suggests.

The study compared yoga, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and stress management for treating people with generalized anxiety disorder. While cognitive behavioral therapy remains the preferred first-line treatment for anxiety, yoga -- specifically Kundalini yoga -- outperformed stress management education during the initial 12 weeks of the study.

When the researchers followed up six months later, CBT was the most effective treatment of the three. The effects from yoga and stress education had leveled off after six months.

"Generalized anxiety disorder is a chronic, impairing condition that's undertreated. Many people don't seek or can't access care, so while there are effective treatments available, we need more options for people to overcome barriers to care," said study author Dr. Naomi Simon. She's a professor in the department of psychiatry at NYU Langone Health, in New York City.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychological therapy. It's designed to help people identify and change negative ways of thinking, according to the American Psychological Association.

The study used a type of yoga known as Kundalini. Simon said this type of yoga involves 3 components: exercise (posing), a concentration on breathing & a mindfulness or meditative component. She said other types of yoga that rely on these components would likely be similarly helpful.