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The Beauty of Summer Boredom
July 2011

Recapturing the Golden Days of Childhood

PlayingKidsRemember those endless hours of imaginative play during your youth—tree climbing, making mud pies, flying kites, fishing, building forts/tree houses/lemonade stands, swimming, watching clouds, playground swinging, tea parties, making and then launching sailboats in the creek, catching fireflies/butterflies/frogs, playing jacks and pickup sticks, jumping rope, hopscotch, rolling down hills, daisy chains, skipping rocks, backyard camping, neighborhood baseball games (with self-made rules), twilight games of hide ‘n’ seek and flashlight tag?

The summers of childhood are potent, enabling children to find their personal bliss and cultivate interests and memories that can last a lifetime. The gifts of less-structured summer days are precious, allowing time and space for the possibility of magical activities. Both children and parents benefit from unscheduled breathing room to revisit the forces of creativity and restore resiliency.

 
Play Together, Stay Together
June 2011

Develop Closer Intergenerational Bonds

FamilyA new study has confirmed an old adage: A family that plays together, stays together. According to researchers from Canada’s Concordia and Wilfrid Laurier universities, shared leisure is vital in the formation of bonds that can bridge generations.

“Shared leisure time allows grandchildren and their grandparents to establish common interests that in turn enable them to develop strong inter-generational relationships,” explains Concordia Professor Shannon Hebblethwaite. Grandparents often use get-togethers as opportunities to share family histories, personal experiences and life lessons and to teach, mentor and pass on values, traditions and family legacies.

The study builds on previous research that found how healthy inter-generational connections help grandparents age better and exhibit more positive feelings about life. Family cohesiveness also tends to sharpen youngsters’ sense of empathy as adults.

 
Trans-Fats and Depression Linked?
June 2011

New Study Finds Connection

Man_With_DepressionA new study from Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria universities shows that a high consumption of trans-fats and saturated fats can increase an individual’s risk of suffering from depression. The study further demonstrated, “The more trans-fats [that] were consumed, the greater the harmful effect they produced,” says lead author Almudena Sánchez-Villegas, an associate professor of preventive medicine at Las Palmas.

The researchers worked with 12,059 volunteers, of whom none had experienced depression during the previous six years, analyzing the volunteers’ diets, lifestyles and ailments before, during and after the project. At the end of the study, 657 new cases of depression were detected. The researchers confirmed that participants who had consumed the most trans-fats and saturated fats in their diets had increased their risk of the disease by up to 48 percent, compared to those who did not eat these fats or substituted polyunsaturated fats found in olive and other natural plant oils and fish.

 
Lower Your Risk with These Fruits
June 2011

Berries May Protect Against Parkinson’s

BerriesA study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston, presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 63rd annual meeting, confirms that eating berries can lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease. The study involved 49,281 men and 80,336 women that were monitored for 20 to 22 years.

The researchers concluded that the women who consumed the most anthocyanins, a class of flavonoids found mostly in berries, had a lower risk of developing the disease than those whose diet contained less or different classes of flavonoids. For men, berry anthocyanins, as well as flavonoids found in apples and oranges and other rich dietary sources, made a significant difference in their freedom from the disease.

 
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