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18 Nov

7 Days On, 7 Days Off – A Case Study of a Sub-optimal Schedule

by Andrew Lewis | November 05, 2019

The Starting Strength novice progression works when it’s done perfectly. It even works when it’s done sub-optimally. A trainee squats, presses, and deadlifts their first day for sets of five. Two or three days later, they squat, bench, and deadlift. But this session, the weight is heavier. This cycle repeats with weight being added to the bar every session for each exercise. It works for every novice: man or woman, young or old, athletic or not so athletic. 

It works so effectively because it accounts for two simple facts:   

  1. An untrained individual can adapt to a stress event quickly. 
  2. Strength training is a process to achieve a specific goal. Most training variables are held constant and one variable is deliberately changed.

This thinking could be applied to almost any program to produce results. This is not to understate the importance of the remaining variables of the SS novice progression. What makes the program work for four months instead of two weeks are the sets, reps, exercise selection, technique, nutrition, rest time, and a host of other details outlined in Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training. You should absolutely read the book and do the program as outlined as closely as you can. However, the fundamental power of the program is the recognition that an untrained individual can add weight to the bar every two or three days. 

Unfortunately, the trainee will detrain if there is too much time between these workouts. The process can be disheartening for trainees who consistently travel for work. They may think that because their lifting schedule is constantly interrupted, there is no point in training. This all-or-nothing thinking is wrong. The starting point for any sub-optimal training is always “do the Starting Strength novice progression as closely as possible, see what happens, and modify based on programming principles.”

Shane, an airline pilot in his late 40s, started training with me in February of 2019. He came in to get stronger and lose some fat. He had not lifted since the 1990s. His intermittent work schedule created a problem to solve. 

In the first month of training, his back didn’t bother him as much from sitting on a plane for five hours. Shane steadily increased the weight on the bar over the next five months. Every time he came off of work, he hungrily attacked the barbell and noted how much better his muscles and joints felt afterward. He also lost 14 pounds and an inch off his waist. We ended the novice progression with intermittent light days and a few fun milestone days.

February to August progress



Squat (lb)



Deadlift (lb)



Bench (lb)



Press (lb)



Waist (inches)



Squat weight from early February to early August

Bodyweight progress with trendline

How We Did It

Shane started with a single session before flying for eight days. He came back and trained for three sessions, then was gone again for seven days. This pattern continued with some favorable weeks – three days flying followed by five lifting sessions. There were also some unfavorable weeks –  eleven days flying or on vacation followed by two lifting sessions followed by eight days flying. The average consecutive time without training was 6.5 days. The longest consecutive time without training was eleven days. 

Neither of us knew if this was going to work. We started the novice progression like nothing was atypical, but set up a few rules based on my coaching experience and programming knowledge:

  • Situation 1: If there were four or fewer days between training sessions, make no modifications.
  • Situation 2: If there were five to seven days between training sessions, do the same weight as the previous workout, but with only two work sets.
  • Situation 3: If there were eight or more days, do the weight from the workout before last with only two work sets.

Note: We never had more than eleven consecutive days off.

Although expected, we noted that he was relatively sorer following his first day returning to training. This “two steps forward, one step back” approach worked well but needed to be adapted for the upper body lifts.

When he was gone for longer than four days, I had Shane both press and bench his first day back with one or two fewer work sets. For example, the first day back would include squat 2×5, press 2×5, bench 2×5, deadlift 1×5. If the previous workout was particularly slow for one of the upper body lifts, I might have him just do 1×3 for that exercise and then repeat the weight on the next workout for 2×5. This approach of doing both upper-body days on the day back was born out of necessity. I looked at Shane’s schedule, mapped out the workouts,  and realized he was going to add about 5 lb to his upper body lifts a month if I didn’t change something. We tried it out, and it worked.

The theory behind the efficacy of this modified approach comes back to Seyle’s General Adaptation Syndrome. It didn’t matter what we did to Shane in the beginning – he was going to get stronger. However, we had to be more careful as we progressed further. Detraining and loss of neuromuscular efficiency became a problem. The solution was to keep the weight as high as we possibly could on the first day. This meant a step backward in some cases. We also kept the volume relatively low; this allowed him to lift heavy weights without causing debilitating soreness. These general concepts spawned the practical decisions. 

A trainee with even fewer lifting sessions per work cycle will have to take an even more conservative approach. Do not forget that training while working becomes increasingly attractive the more the trainee works. We may find this unavoidable as we move Shane into intermediate programming.

Shane made five months of strength progress and reduced his back pain by training in a way most would think ineffectual. Even if the schedule cannot be perfect, you should still start with the Starting Strength novice progression. Progress can be made in sub-optimal circumstances.

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20 Sep

A wise person once said: “When the going gets tough, take a couple of naps” and another one said: “Always take naps when you can. It is cheap medicine.”

While hilarious, witty and fun, these statements have never been truer than they are today. According to a recent study conducted by researchers from the University Hospital of Lausanne in Switzerland, taking one to two afternoon naps a week could reduce your risk for heart attack, heart failure and stroke by a whopping 48% (so naps aren’t just a lazy indulgence after all!). 

As with most things in life, you can have too much though… Taking more than two afternoon naps in a week did not provide the same benefit. Ugh.

“We found that frequent nappers had initially a higher risk for incident cardiovascular disease,” Nadine Hausler, lead author of the study and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, said in a statement. 

“However, when we took sociodemographic, lifestyle and cardiovascular risk factors into account, this increased risk disappeared.”

How the study was done 

The study, published in the British Journal of Medicine: Health, analysed the napping habits of close to 3 500 Swiss adults between the ages of 35 and 75 over a period of five years. The researchers also looked at the participants’ night-time sleep habits, gathered their lifestyle information and took a range of medical tests to assess their overall health. 

Soil Organic Essential Oil – Sleep (soothing herbal extracts with a mild sedative effect)

R 129


At the end of it, 155 participants had heart-related medical events – some fatal. Compared to the people who did not nap at all, the results showed that nappers (one to two times a week) cut their risk for cardiovascular disease by 48%. 

While the link between napping and heart health was found, the researchers couldn’t quite give a reason as to why the link existed. 

“The mechanisms are not straightforward. We assume that occasional napping might be a result of physiological compensation allowing to decrease the stress due to insufficient nocturnal sleep, and this could have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular disease events,” Hausler explained. 

READ MORE: 9 Things You’re Doing In Your Sleep That Signal A Bigger Health Problem

The study’s limitations

The study noted that there were some limitations to their findings, the most important of which is the fact that a lot of the study relied on self-reported data. 

“Due to the observational nature of the data, we cannot rule out the possibility of residual confounding,” the study said. 

“The study was conducted in a Swiss population-based study, so generalisability to other settings where naps are either more or less frequent is not guaranteed. Hence it would be important that our findings be replicated in other settings.” 

Limitations or not, Hausler expressed that these findings were important to know and consider going forward. 

“We can say that occasional naps can potentially decrease cardiovascular disease risk for healthy adults.” Boom. 

Women’s Health participates in various affiliate marketing programmes, which means we may get commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.

READ MORE ON: Health Health Advice Sleep

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19 Sep

Greenhouse gas emissions could cause the Earth’s temperature to rise higher than previously estimated and far beyond the targeted limits, according to a study released Tuesday.

In the worst-case scenario of the study from France’s National Center for Scientific Research CNRS, the atomic energy commission CEA and weather office Meteo-France, average global temperatures could rise between 6 and 7 degrees Celsius (10.8 degrees to 12.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

That’s far beyond the targets set in Paris at the COP 21 climate conference in 2015, when nations agreed to keep global temperature increase “well below” 2 degrees Celsius. Of the models projected in the newly released study, only one found that global temperatures increases could stay below 2 degrees Celsius. That schema required carbon neutrality by 2060 and subsequent increases in carbon capture technology.

“There’s a jump in quality in the result of the models for numerous indicators,” CEA climate scientist Pascale Braconnot said at a press conference, according to a translation from Bloomberg. “We have more confidence in the new version compared to the previous one.”

The study’s release comes shortly before the United Nations holds a climate summit to address what it has described as “the defining issue of our time.” The U.N.’s 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warned that the world has 12 years left to ensure that global temperatures don’t rise above 1.5 degrees Celsius. If temperatures rise above that level, the report said, droughts, floods, displacement and conflict will ensue.

Yet even as the U.N. prepares for events to address the growing urgency of climate change, past failures to take aggressive action loom in the foreground.

Critics and and climate organizations said that the Paris Climate Accord, which required countries to pledge Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, didn’t do enough to force binding action on climate change. Those concerns persisted after last year’s COP24 in Katowice, Poland, ended with nations setting the rules for how countries cut greenhouse gas emissions but failing to achieve a transformative breakthrough to address climate change.

America’s role in aggravating climate change also looms large over ongoing discussions of how to pursue more forceful action on the issue. Although it is widely acknowledged that wealthy countries have driven climate change, while poorer ones will bear the brunt of its impact, the U.S. has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accord. Despite its status as the 2nd-largest greenhouse gas emitter, the current administration has rolled back a range of Obama-era climate regulations while bolstering ties with oil and gas industry officials.

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19 Sep

A new finding suggests that the pediatric sleep study, used to diagnose pediatric sleep apnea and to measure improvement after surgery, may be an unreliable predictor of who will benefit from having an adenotonsillectomy.

About 500,000 children under age 15 have adenotonsillectomies every year in the U.S. to treat obstructive sleep apnea. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the surgery as a first-line therapy to treat the condition, which can cause behavioral issues, cardiovascular problems, poor growth, and developmental delays. The premise is that surgically removing or reducing the severity of the obstruction to the upper airway will improve sleep and reduce other problems caused by the disorder.

In 2012, the AAP recommended that pediatricians should screen children who snore regularly for sleep apnea, and refer children suspected of having the condition for an overnight in-laboratory sleep study. The group also recommended an adenotonsillectomy based on the results of the test. But results from the new UMSOM study, published in the September issue of the journal Pediatrics, call into question those recommendations because the data they analyzed found no relationship between improvements in sleep studies following surgery and resolution of most sleep apnea symptoms.

“Resolution of an airway obstruction measured by a sleep study performed after an adenotonsillectomy has long been thought to correlate with improvement in sleep apnea symptoms, but we found this may not be the case,” said study lead author Amal Isaiah, MD, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Otorhinolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery and Pediatrics at UMSOM. “Our finding suggests that using sleep studies alone to manage sleep apnea in children may be a less than satisfactory way of determining whether surgery is warranted.”

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18 Sep

In a world where information abounds by the moment and you can find a study to prove nearly anything you want to stand behind, how then, can a person make informed decisions and maintain a healthy lifestyle?  Is all animal protein bad? Even if it is from clean, grass-fed or free-range animals? Does a primarily raw, vegan diet really starve you of nutrients?  While there are many more questions and not all of them have a perfectly scientific answer, we have found that there are recent studies coming out in prestigious journals that are adding to the confusion of what we should do to help us stay healthy longer.

Imagine a new study that is headlined in the mass media stations as well as the scientific journals:  The Earth Really IS Flat!   Everything you thought you knew about a round planet is wrong! But new evidence is cited and all you really need to do is believe it and change your thinking.  How hard would that be for you?

We have discussed before in this blog the value of “critical thinking.”  My friends, with the new wave of “Scientific Studies” coming out, I cannot recommend enough that you critically analyze everything you are reading and don’t take anything too seriously unless you have great respect and confidence in your sources.

The Lancet, a highly-regarded journal, published a rather large study just last month that has caused the Paleo and Keto Diets advocates to jump for joy.  The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study is a large, epidemiological cohort study of 135,000 individuals aged 35–70 years in 18 countries over the course of 7 years.  Dietary intake of the individuals was recorded using validated food frequency questionnaires.

If you believe the mainstream media headlines, you’d think the PURE study is turning conventional thinking about diet and health completely upside down. “A low-fat diet might kill you,” trumpeted one headline. “Huge New Study Shows Carbs, Not Fat, Are the Problem” said another. Still other articles interpreted the study’s results to mean we should eat fewer fruits and vegetables than the dietary guidelines currently recommends.

Dr. David Minkoff, MD took this opportunity to write in his blog “the study confirms what we’ve known for a long time. Carbohydrates and low-fat processed foods are not the answer, but major health organizations have been telling you for decades to eat more carbs and limit your fat.” Sadly, this doctor introduced his blog with the number of vegans he sees that have cancer and he has lumped vegans into this study which is just plain misrepresentative of what a true plant-based diet really is.  He finished off by suggesting if you eat less grains, beans and potatoes but keep good meats and good fats in your diet, you will be much healthier in the long run.

But as you read their conclusions, you will likely see that as an epidemiological study, it is only based on observation.  These are not the strongest studies to begin with, considering all the other randomized, controlled trials that have proven the value and numerous benefits of a whole-foods plant based diet.

Just three years ago the Kaiser-Permanente Journal published this article to their 15,000 physicians who care for over 9 million people:

“The objective of this article is to present to physicians an update on plant-based diets. Concerns about the rising cost of health care are being voiced nationwide, even as unhealthy lifestyles are contributing to the spread of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. For these reasons, physicians looking for cost-effective interventions to improve health outcomes are becoming more involved in helping their patients adopt healthier lifestyles.”

“Healthy eating may be best achieved with a plant-based diet, which we define as a regimen that encourages whole, plant-based foods and discourages meats, dairy products, and eggs as well as all refined and processed foods. We present a case study as an example of the potential health benefits of such a diet. Research shows that plant-based diets are cost-effective, low-risk interventions that may lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels. They may also reduce the number of medications needed to treat chronic diseases and lower ischemic heart disease mortality rates. Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity.”

“Too often, physicians ignore the potential benefits of good nutrition and quickly prescribe medications instead of giving patients a chance to correct their disease through healthy eating and active living. If we are to slow down the obesity epidemic and reduce the complications of chronic disease, we must consider changing our culture’s mind-set from “live to eat” to “eat to live.” The future of health care will involve an evolution toward a paradigm where the prevention and treatment of disease is centered, not on a pill or surgical procedure, but on another serving of fruits and vegetables.”

The Kaiser Permanente Journal Spring 2013. Read their entire article here:

Veganism is growing rapidly around and the world, and now we know that six percent of Americans identify as vegan – up from only one percent in 2014 according to a report, titled Top Trends in Prepared Foods in 2017 which was prepared by research company GlobalData and shows the explosion in veganism over the last 3 years. It cites a growing awareness of the impact of meat consumption among consumers who are increasingly looking for more ethically produced and environmentally sustainable foods.

The report recognized that while consumers’ diets are diverse, with many people claiming not to follow a specific diet, there is a gradual shift away from meat, largely in response to health trends.

Interestingly the report also showed 44% of consumers in Germany now follow a low-meat diet, which is a significant increase from 2014 (26%).

Meat consumption is held responsible for negative environmental effects as well as a wide range of health issues.  Consumer awareness of the detrimental health effects of poor quality animal products is continuing to increase.

The latest research in nutrition continues to show the negative health impact of poor quality meat consumption. Last month the largest study conducted so far revealed that people who ate the most red meat were 26 percent more likely to die of nine major diseases than those who consume the least. Major health organizations like The American College of Cardiology are taking notice and are now recommending a plant-based diet citing up-to-date research showing plant-protein is significantly more heart-healthy than animal protein.

Vegan athletes continue to gain exposure for veganism and are helping to shift the vegan stereotype, such as the 252lb international rugby star who recently announced he’d been meat-free for two and a half years and was as strong as he’d ever been, and the group of vegan athletes who competed at the Naturally Fit Games and won 32 medals across a range of sports – including bodybuilding, CrossFit, Olympic weightlifting, kettlebell and powerlifting.

It’s no wonder vegan athletes are doing so well – research continues to show that plant-based protein is the better choice for building muscle – as it comes without the harmful elements found in animal products that lead to disease and inflammation, and instead comes packed with antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber that are protective against disease and promote recovery.

As veganism goes mainstream it continues to get easier and more convenient with an increasing number of restaurants and products catering to the rapidly expanding vegan demographic. This year we’ve seen cafes go vegan after watching a YouTube video, ice-cream parlors ditching dairy, as well as popular pizzerias removing animal products from their menus.

The world’s first vegan drive-thru opened this month and a large vegetarian company announced they would soon veganize all their products.

Even New York’s largest dairy company completely ditched dairy after declining sales and is now solely producing plant-based milks instead.

But a word of caution here—meatless so-called foods may be more available, but if they didn’t come from a plant or a tree, they are still considered processed and are not quality life-giving foods.  We have made living nut ice creams and living pizzas, but if they aren’t on the menu in these increasingly available restaurants, please, don’t eat them!

Earlier this year in Europe a group of Danish politicians went vegan to bring awareness of the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet, and 24 EU members of parliament signed a letter urging Europe to shift to plant-based diet, citing the health and sustainability benefits.

All over the world people are waking up to the reality that poor quality meat consumption, our health and the environment are all intrinsically linked.

For the past few decades, meat consumption in the U.S. has seen a steady decline. According to recent studies, 30 percent of Americans are leaving meat off their plates.

Pea protein, a high source of clean, plant-based protein, is emerging as a new contender in the global protein market. The Hallelujah Diet, once again, was a frontrunner in obtaining quality pea protein.

While it appears that people are calling themselves vegan, what is still the most important lesson here is that you maintain a whole food, mostly raw diet that includes a little fish oil and ensure that you don’t ascribe to any of those poor-quality vegan diets that tend to make people sick and give great fodder to those meat eaters who believe that a vegan diet is comprised of potatoes, beans and starchy foods.  You know better than that.  Sadly, as in most cases, people will only see the weakest link and generalize that the entire chain is broken.

Click here to read The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study.

Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center director David Katz, MD, wrote this thoughtful response to mainstream reporting on the PURE study. Get his honest assessment of the data, and what it means for you, when you click here.

The post Another Bogus Study? appeared first on Plant-Based Diet – Recipes & Weight Loss Supplements | Hallelujah Diet.

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18 Sep

Just a few days of sleep deprivation can make people feel less full after eating and metabolize the fat in food differently, according to a new study in the Journal of Lipid Research.

Sleep disruption has been known to be have harmful effects on metabolism for some time. Orfeu Buxton, a professor at Pennsylvania State University and one of the senior authors of the new study, contributed to past research demonstrating that long-term sleep restriction puts people at a higher risk of obesity and diabetes. However, Buxton says in a statement, that most of those studies have focused on glucose metabolism, which is important for diabetes, while relatively few have assessed digestion and metabolism of lipids from food.

Kelly Ness, now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington, ran the study when she was a graduate student in Buxton’s lab. After participants spent a week getting plenty of sleep at home, she said, the 15 healthy men in their 20s checked into the sleep lab for the ten-night study. For five of those nights the participants spent no more than five hours in bed each night.

During the study, Ness says, she and other researchers collected data but also spent time, “interacting with the subjects, playing games with them, talking with them—helping to keep them awake and engaged and positive.”

To find out how the uncomfortable schedule affected metabolism, the researchers gave participants a standardized high-fat dinner, a bowl of chili mac, after four nights of sleep restriction.”It was very palatable—none of our subjects had trouble finishing it—but very calorically dense,” says Ness. Most participants felt less satisfied after eating the same rich meal while sleep deprived than when they had eaten it while well-rested.

Then researchers compared blood samples from the study participants. They found that sleep restriction affected the postprandial lipid response, leading to faster clearance of lipids from the blood after a meal. That could predispose people to put on weight. “The lipids weren’t evaporating—they were being stored,” says Buxton.

The simulated workweek ended with a simulated Friday and Saturday night when participants could spend ten hours in bed catching up on missed shuteye. After the first night, they ate one last bowl of chili mac. Although participants’ metabolic processing of fat from food was slightly better after a night of recovery sleep, they didn’t recover to the baseline healthy level.

This study was highly controlled, which makes it an imperfect model for the real world, Ness says. It focused on healthy young people, who are usually at a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and all of the participants were men. The researchers also wondered whether giving more recovery time would change the magnitude of recovery they observed.

Nonetheless, according to Buxton, the study gives worthwhile insight into how people handle fat digestion. “This study’s importance relies on its translational relevance. A high-fat meal in the evening, at dinnertime—and real food, not something infused into the vein? That’s a typical exposure. That’s very American.”

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17 Sep

Do parents worry too much about the long-term effects of screen time on their kids? Yep! A new study published in August, and just featured on a podcast for Scientific American, demonstrates what many experts have been saying for years: Worrying about your kid’s brain melting-out because of screen time isn’t really backed by any real science.

“Despite this widespread public attention to the negative implications of technology use, the research base around technology and mental health is far from conclusive,” write the four psychology professors behind a new study in Clinical Psychological Science that explores how screen time—termed “digital technology use” by the experts—affects the mental health of young adolescents.

After acknowledging some of the potential benefits of screen time found in earlier research, they write that the “[f]indings from this EMA study do not support the narrative that young adolescents’ digital technology usage is associated with elevated mental health symptoms.”

But before you get rid of the screen time limits you’ve set for your kids, it’s important to consider what this study is and where it fits into the larger context of what we know about how digital technology use affects mental health. The authors cite earlier work finding that “the research base around technology and mental health is far from conclusive.”

The study team compared a baseline survey given to nearly 400 adolescents (living in either rural or urban regions of North Carolina) in 2015 to data from an longitudinal ecological momentary assessment designed to “facilitate in-the-moment reporting on lived experiences, such as time spent using technology and daily mental health” in the form of three daily surveys administered every day over a two-week period to the same group of adolescents.

Longitudinally, they found that “adolescents’ phone ownership, social-media access, and frequency of social media use were unrelated to later depression, worry, and inattention/hyperactivity symptoms” as well as later conduct problems and mental health symptoms. On a daily basis, greater use of digital technology was not linked to more mental health symptoms in adolescents.

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    The only two significant associations found by the study were that adolescents who sent more texts reported, on average, lower average depressive symptoms. Those who spent more time on technology for schoolwork on average reported more frequent symptoms of inattention/hyperactivity that could be attributed to how adolescents with various difficulties might be stuck with more computerized homework assignments.

    Those who spend the most time on technology creating their own content may actually have better mental health, which makes sense when you consider the benefits of creativity to kids.

    Still, self-reported data from 388 kids in North Carolina isn’t perfect, and the authors agree that objective measures of screen time like device logs and mental health like analyses of text message content is needed.

    But more broadly, there’s a need to move beyond panicking about adolescents’ screen time use “and toward a more comprehensive approach to establishing best practices for educating, parenting, and supporting young people growing up in the digital age.”

    One of the authors of the study said that “[t]he hope is that more parents will hear this message and relax and spend kind of less time worrying about smartphones and more time just talking to their kids.”

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    15 Sep

    New research suggests that many common mental health symptoms have no link to using firearms to threaten someone. The study has been published in the scientific journal Preventive Medicine.

    “Despite the prevailing public and media perception of mental health being associated with gun violence, there is generally a lack of research to support this. We conducted this study to test the link and to provide scientific evidence,” said study author Yu Lu, an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma.

    The researchers examined data from 663 young adults who had been recruited from Houston-area public schools for a longitudinal study.

    The participants were surveyed regarding their firearm possession and use as well as about anxiety, depression, stress, posttraumatic stress disorder, hostility, impulsivity, borderline personality disorder, mental health treatment and other demographic details.

    “Our study looked at two gun-related behaviors, gun carrying outside of homes (this excludes occasions for hunting purposes) and threatening someone with a gun, and their associations with mental health and gun access,” Lu told PsyPost.

    “We found that the majority of mental health symptoms we examined, including anxiety, depression, stress, PTSD, and borderline personality disorder, were unrelated to gun violence.”

    “Instead, individuals with gun access were 18 times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun compared to those who did not have gun access, even after controlling for mental health, prior mental health treatment, and demographic characteristics, such as age, gender, race/ethnicity,” Lu said.

    Hostility predicted threatening someone with a gun, while impulsivity predicted gun carriage.

    Those who scored higher on a measure of impulsivity in the spring of 2015 were 1.91 times more likely to report carry a gun two years later. Those who scored higher on a measure of hostility were 3.51 times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun two years later.

    “The main takeaway from the study is that we should not stigmatize people with mental health problems, not assume they are dangerous, because more than likely they are not dangerous and actually are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violence,” Lu told PsyPost.

    But the study — like all research — includes some caveats. The study did not examine some severe mental disorders and only measured gun threats — not actual shootings.

    “There is an overall lack of research on gun violence. We are the first one to look at mental illness and gun access together, we are also the first one to use longitudinal data to look at the relationship overtime,” Lu explained.

    “It should be noted that our study participants were young adults primarily from Texas and our study did not test a comprehensive list of mental health symptoms (e.g., we did not test schizophrenia). More research is needed on gun violence overall and to specifically test with other populations and include other types of mental health issues.”

    The study, “Dangerous weapons or dangerous people? The temporal associations between gun violence and mental health“, was authored by Yu Lu and Jeff R. Temple.

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    15 Sep

    Suicide remains the biggest cause of death for Canadian men under the age of 44, but new research by the Movember Foundation found that men still struggle to talk about mental health — especially in the workplace.

    Researchers at Ipsos MORI surveyed 1,000 Canadian men between the ages of 18 and 75, and the results are astounding.

    Twenty-eight per cent of Canadian men said they believed their job could be at risk if they discuss mental health issues at work, and more than 33 per cent of men worry they could be overlooked for a promotion if they mention a problem.

    READ MORE: ‘Depression meals’: How diets connect to mental health

    As well, 42 per cent of men surveyed said they are also worried about colleagues making negative comments behind their backs.

    For men like Peter, these results are completely unsurprising. (Global News has agreed to use a pseudonym to protect his identity.)

    The 29-year-old marketing manager struggles with anxiety and panic attacks. “I’ve dealt with anxiety and panic my entire life, but I only began to acknowledge and treat it when I was 26,” he told Global News.

    WATCH (Sept. 5, 2019): Prioritizing mental health as students head back to school

    Earlier this year, Peter started a new job — a change that made his anxiety difficult to control.

    “Starting a new job is one of the most stressful things you can do… What was supposed to be a career-shifting move turned into a never-ending episode of panic, stress, worry and fear,” he said.

    Peter lived with this intense anxiety about his career and his job for three months, and the whole time, he felt like he was “walking on eggshells.”

    READ MORE: Becoming a father can negatively impact men’s mental health: survey

    The workplace culture didn’t help. According to Peter, it was “fear-based with top-down leadership.”

    “The primary motivator was fear of losing your job. Because this leadership style came from the top down, it wasn’t a collaborative environment. It was every person for themselves,” he said.

    Peter felt like he was stuck in a vicious cycle with no one to talk to about his mental health.

    WATCH (Sept. 9, 2019): Suicide kills one person every 40 seconds, says World Health Organization

    “(I felt that) if I said the wrong thing, I would lose my job and never be able to find a new one, and not be able to pay rent, and never be able to afford a down-payment on a house and I would spend the rest of my life on my parents’ couch,” he said.

    “I’m a very healthy individual. I run marathons, eat vegan and meditate daily… but when employers are the cause of stress, anxiety, fear and uncertainty, short of leaving your job, I don’t think there’s much you can do.”

    Ultimately, a particularly bad week forced Peter to confront his illness and see a doctor. At that point, he thought it would be appropriate to make his employer aware of his mental health — and ask for some leniency as he underwent treatment.

    READ MORE: Doctor-prescribed addiction: How these Canadians got hooked on opioids

    “All I needed was their support, understanding and patience,” Peter said, but that’s not what he was given.

    “Things went on as normal. In fact, it was reiterated to me that I was in a performance-driven position and no accommodations could be made,” he said. “If I had broken my foot, accommodations would’ve been made. If I had pneumonia, accommodations would’ve been made.”

    Four weeks later, Peter was terminated. His employer cited “performance issues,” and during his exit interview, he was made to feel ashamed about his illness. “They alluded to me lying about the illness to (explain my) poor performance,” Peter said.

    The misconception that men aren’t affected by mental illness

    Peter firmly believes that there is a lasting stigma around men who have a mental illness.

    “We’ve come a long way with the stigma around mental health, but we clearly have so much further to go,” he said.

    Movember spokesperson Alexandra Wise lost her father to suicide just three weeks after her mother died from ovarian cancer. In her opinion, stigma played a huge role in his battle with mental illness.

    WATCH (Aug. 28, 2019): Back to school⁠ — UBC president’s personal mental health struggle

    “He struggled with his mental health for most of my childhood, and as I got older, his mental health seemed to decline and things got worse,” she said.

    “It was something that my family and I really didn’t understand. We didn’t understand the extent of what he was dealing with, and we weren’t really sure how to help him.”

    Wise said her father lost his job when she was just a baby, and that the loss really affected him.

    “He didn’t have any social connections and spent a lot of time inside the house, alone. He isolated himself more and more,” she said.

    READ MORE: ‘I couldn’t believe it’ — why disability claims for mental health are often a struggle

    At first, Wise struggled to understand why he would do such a thing. “It was really difficult to understand why he would do that,” she said. “My mom had no choice. My dad seemingly had the choice to live, or that’s what I thought.”

    Since then, Wise has made an effort to learn more about mental health. Now she knows that her father didn’t feel like he had a choice.

    “I think, really, in his mind, he felt like that was the only solution to end his pain and his suffering,” she said.

    Employers need to do more

    The workplace is commonly regarded as a space crucial to forming one’s identity. “It creates purpose,” said Dr. Ashley Bender, occupational psychiatrist and professor at the University of Toronto.

    “Anything that is a potential threat to the loss of work or… their work status is something that could contribute to (someone) not coming forward with mental health issues.”

    According to Bender, silence is seen as “the safe route” even though it puts people at risk by leaving their illness untreated.

    WATCH (July 25, 2019): Doctor who termed “selfie dysmorphia” explains condition

    This pressure could be compounded by the stereotype that men should always be working and that they shouldn’t talk about their feelings.

    “Traditionally, a man’s role has been centered around employment and being productive and having work as a core source of their life and purpose,” said Bender.

    To better support men with mental illness, Bender has three recommendations for workplaces.

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    “One of the ways is to launch anti-stigma campaigns… to impart knowledge and change attitudes about mental health,” he said. “This is really quite impactful, but it’s work that has to be done continuously.”

    Manager training is also a big component so that “when it’s time to have those critical conversations, the individual who’s coming forward doesn’t feel stigmatized,” said Bender.

    Finally, confidentiality is key. “Is there a workplace culture that respects confidentiality, particularly around (mental health issues)?” Bender said.

    Ultimately, actions need to follow words.

    “Attempts to change attitudes by creating awareness but then providing inadequate resources (like low coverage for psychological treatments) says, ‘we’re acknowledging that we have a problem, but we don’t care.’ That drives people into silence, because what’s the point?”


    © 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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    11 Sep

    Pregnant women are often told to sleep on their left side to reduce the risk of stillbirth, but new research suggests they can choose whatever position is most comfortable through most of the pregnancy.

    “We can reassure women that through 30 weeks of pregnancy, different sleep positions are safe,” said study lead author Dr. Robert Silver, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

    Silver said the study didn’t include women past 30 weeks, so researchers can’t make any definitive statements about the last weeks of pregnancy.

    The research is being published in the October issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology and ahead of print online Sept. 10.

    Credit: Source link

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