2017 Press

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November 10, 2017
Can Relaxation Techniques Help Children With ADHD?
US News & World Report

We’ve all read about the calming benefits of various relaxation techniques, from practicing yoga to walking in nature. While this may be helpful for adults, what’s to be said of relaxation techniques when it comes to young children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? Can learning ways to reduce anxiety lead to symptom improvements? Read more.

October 5, 2017
Colloidal Silver Turns You Blue, But Can it Save Your Life?

In 2008, Paul Karason, a 57-year-old man from the Pacific Northwest, agreed to appear on the Today show. And appear is the best word for it, since he was there because of the way he looked. From head to toe, Paul Karason was the color blue.

Not a subtle light-wash tint, either. This was closer to navy—like Beast from the X-Men or some elder Smurf. His graying auburn hair heightened the effect; the whites of his eyes had a leaden tint. “I’ve gotten kind of used to it,” he told Matt Lauer. Read more.

September 20, 2017
How Your Own Mind Can Reduce the Fear of Giving Birth
Mindful Magazine

The physical pain of giving birth is very real, and expectant mothers are well aware of that. As a result, quite a few of them are fearful of the whole prospect of bringing a child into the world. Many wouldn’t even consider giving birth without pain medication while others would prefer having a Cesarean birth. Read more.

September 7, 2017
Yoga could complement traditional treatment for depression
Harvard Heath Blog

New research on yoga has yielded promising evidence that yoga could complement traditional treatment for depression. The scientific study of yoga has grown rapidly in the past decade. Between 1975 and 2014, a total of 312 randomized controlled trials on yoga from 23 countries were published. Between 2005 and 2015, 24 randomized controlled trials have investigated yoga as a way to help treat depression — nearly five times the number that existed before 2005. Most of these studies are still limited due to small sample sizes or have focused on specific groups, such as pregnant women or older adults, so results cannot be generalized. However, these studies suggest that yoga can be a useful tool to consider alongside traditional forms of treatment for depression, such as medication or psychotherapy. Read more.

September 5, 2017
This Novel Approach to Childbirth can Make it Infinitely more Bearable.
Elephant Journal

So many things went wrong during the birth of my son Leo eight years ago that the obstetrician who delivered him described our experience as being like that scene at the end of “Return of the Jedi,” when the Millennium Falcon just manages to fly out of the Death Star before it explodes.

In other words, we made a very narrow escape. Read more.

September 1, 2017
Can Mindfulness Help Reduce Postpartum Depression?

Greater Good Magazine

Nearly 15 percent of women in the United States report suffering from postpartum depression, which can arise after childbirth from a combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and fatigue.

As the National Institute of Mental Health reports, “Without treatment, postpartum depression can last for months or years. In addition to affecting the mother’s health, it can interfere with her ability to connect with and care for her baby and may cause the baby to have problems with sleeping, eating, and behavior as he or she grows.” Read more.

August 15, 2017
How Your Own Mind Can Reduce the Fear of Giving Birth

Mindful Magazine

The physical pain of giving birth is very real, and expectant mothers are well aware of that. As a result, quite a few of them are fearful of the whole prospect of bringing a child into the world. Many wouldn’t even consider giving birth without pain medication while others would prefer having a Cesarean birth.

Few people know better about how expectant moms, their partners, and their families feel about birth than Nancy Bardacke. Read more.

August 15, 2017
Preventing Loss of Independence through Exercise

US Department of Veterans Affairs Website

Preventing Loss of Independence through Exercise (PLIÉ) is a unique group movement program for Veterans with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. This innovative San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC) program is a way to improve function and quality of life for these Veterans, and it may reduce the rate of falls and delay hospitalization. PLIÉ recently received a “Spark Seed Spread” grant from the VA Innovators Network to help spread this program to other Medical Centers throughout the VA system. Read more.

August 3, 2017
How Yoga Can Help Adults with Depression
Also syndicated to WNDU and 60 Ivanhoe affiliate stations

Depression affects 15 million adults during a given year. But now, a new way to treat depression may have some patients heading to a yoga studio. A first-of-its-kind study shows symptoms of depression improved significantly once patients committed to yoga just twice a week. Watch the video.

Not everyone can (or wants to) take medication, but finding an alternative treatment that is equally effective can be tough. The good news? Solid research supports taking a daily fish oil capsule to curb the symptoms of ADHD, with or without medication. Read more.

Journalist Susannah Meadows tells the stories of people who faced tough medical odds, but found ways to heal for her new book, The Other Side of Impossible: Ordinary People Who Faced Daunting Medical Challenges and Refused to Give Up. The book was inspired by her son’s struggle with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Listen to the program. Note: our Dr. Newmark’s ADHD patient is referenced in this interview.

July 25, 2017
Integrative medicine seeks to mend the mind-body split
KALW Radio

Western medicine once shunned alternative treatments like acupuncture, acupressure or the Indian system of Ayurveda. But the field of medicine is now taking them more seriously.

Proof can be found in the emerging field of integrative medicine. Its approach is to combine modern medicine with alternative and complementary approaches, to take into account the whole person. Dr. Sudha Prathikanti a strong believer in integrative medicine. As the daughter of Indian immigrants, she grew up around meditation, yoga and Ayurveda. Like her father she went to medical school and more recently, established the first integrative psychiatry program at UC San Francisco’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. She’s also researched the effectiveness of using yoga to treat major depression. Listen to the program.

June 20, 2017
Mindfulness-based childbirth classes may ease pain, depression

When birthing classes include mindfulness-based education instead of focusing only on the biology of having a baby, women may have an easier time coping with labor pain and a lower risk of postpartum depression, a small experiment suggests.

Fear of childbirth is linked with lower tolerance for labor pain and higher odds of postpartum depression, researchers note in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. For the current study, they randomly assigned 30 mothers to receive either traditional or mindfulness-based birth classes during their last trimester of pregnancy. Read more.

June 14, 2017
What Diet Choices Can Help Kids With ADHD Calm Down?
US News & World Report

According to findings published in the journal Pediatrics in February, the Mediterranean diet, mostly comprised of vegetables, nuts and healthy fats, may be linked to a lower risk of a child’s attention deficit hyperactivity disorder diagnosis. It’s thought that the diet’s omega-3 fatty acids and nutrients may combat dietary imbalances pertaining to cognitive and physical growth. At the same time, the researchers noted that such findings don’t point to a direct cause and effect between foods that are consumed and ADHD, but rather that such knowledge may be beneficial when creating dietary strategies to help improve quality of life.

Dr. Sanford Newmark, head of the Pediatric Integrative Neurodevelopmental Program and Medical Director at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California–San Francisco, says that a “sensible diet is important for all children, but especially those with ADHD.” Read more.

June 11, 2017
Mindfulness programme helps move youth in San Francisco out of homelessness
Life & Soul Magazine

California is awash with yoga and meditation studios but there is one, unique class taking place in San Francisco that is reaching out to and providing mindfulness teachings to an often neglected community, at-risk and homeless young people. The UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, in partnership with Larkin Street Youth Services, has developed an innovative mindfulness programs for at-risk and homeless youth. Read more.

June 5, 2017
Can mindfulness reduce fear of labour and postpartum depression?
The Guardian

Many women feel anxious about giving birth. Fear of the unknown and over-sharing by others (“I felt I was ripped apart,” one mother told my antenatal group) can make labour daunting. Being frightened of childbirth can prolong labour – by an average of 47 minutes, but it feels longer – increase the need for pain relief, make a caesarean section more likely and raise the risk of postpartum depression. Last month, a small, randomised controlled trial added to the evidence that teaching mindfulness to pregnant women could reduce these risks. Read more.

June 1, 2017
Yoga May Be Effective for Mild to Moderate Depression

A brief course in yoga significantly reduces depression severity, new research shows. Results of a small, randomized controlled trial conducted by investigators at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) showed that for adults with mild to moderate depression, an 8-week course of hatha yoga resulted in statistically and clinically significant reductions in depression severity. Read more. (free registration required)

June 1, 2017
How to Be Mindful Holding a Baby
New York Times

“Being mindful while holding a baby can be an incredibly gratifying, renewing and sometimes challenging mindfulness practice. Babies cycle through various states of being throughout their days and nights. How you are in relationship to a baby in these various states is truly a practice in everyday life. It can be helpful to remember that whatever state of being that your baby is in at any particular moment, it is not a permanent condition. Nothing is.” -Nancy Bardacke, founding director of Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting. Read more.

May 31, 2017
The Benefits of a Mindful Pregnancy
New York Times

Many expectant mothers worry about the physical pain that accompanies labor and childbirth. New research suggests that including mindfulness skills in childbirth education can help first-time mothers cope with their fears.

The study, published in the journal BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, also indicates that mindfulness may help decrease women’s symptoms of prenatal and postpartum depression. Read more.

May 28, 2017
Treating Major Depression with Yoga
Medical News Bulletin

The World Health Organization describes major depression, a mental disorder characterized by at least two weeks of consistent low mood, low energy, and loss of interest in normal activities, as the second most disabling condition in the United States. Depression is a contributor to almost 50,000 deaths in the United States each year through suicide. Additionally, depression can influence other medical conditions including coronary artery disease and diabetes. Read more.

May 24, 2017
Mindfulness-focused childbirth education leads to less depression, better birth experiences
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Mindfulness may be good for new moms.

A study this month from researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) shows mindfulness training that addresses fear and pain during childbirth can improve women’s childbirth experiences and reduce their depression symptoms during pregnancy and the early postpartum period. Read more.

May 24, 2017
Yoga reduces depression severity in patients with hard-to-treat mild to moderate depression

Psychiatric Annals Healio

Outcomes of a randomized, controlled pilot study indicated that hatha yoga practice reduced depression severity in patients with mild-to-moderate depression, according to research presented here at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting.

Sudha Prathikanti, MD, from the University of California, San Francisco, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, presented what she believes is the first randomized clinical trial of yoga monotherapy for major depressive disorder. Read more.

May 17, 2017
Postpartum Depression May be Prevented When Mindfulness Is Part of Childbirth Education
University of Wisconsin-Madison

A new study from researchers at UW-Madison and University of California-San Francisco shows mindfulness training that addresses fear and pain during childbirth improves childbirth experiences and lessens depression symptoms both during pregnancy and the early postpartum period.

This rigorous new study comparing mainstream childbirth education with childbirth education including mindfulness skills points to the benefits of this novel mind-body approach for reducing fear of childbirth among first time mothers. Read more.

April 21, 2017
Should you do yoga to treat depression?

Yoga has been touted to improve several health conditions, but is it a potential treatment for depression? I’m a huge fan of yoga so am happy to share the results of this new study from the University of California–San Francisco.

38 participants diagnosed with mild to moderate depression took part. Half of the group took classes learning the history of yoga while the rest practiced Hatha Yoga. Everyone met twice a week for 90 minutes. After 8 weeks, the group who practiced yoga had significantly improved their depression symptoms compared to the group taking the classes. Watch the video.

April 20, 2017
Fidget Cubes Won’t Solve the American Recess Crisis

When I was in high school, my attention problems were so bad that I once spent a math class covering my entire body in those little paper circles you use to repair the holes in loose leaf paper. Needless to say, I was kicked out of class. Another time, I drew so much on my left arm that by the end of class, I was completely blue from my wrist to my shoulder. Then I got prescribed ADHD medication. It helped me concentrate, but it also made me feel terrible, interfered with my sleep, and disordered my eating patterns. And it was addictive to boot. When I got off of my meds, I went through a yearlong withdrawal.

I can’t help but wonder if a fidget toy would have done the trick instead. Read more.

“I am an adult with ADHD, and I do not take medication. I do fine most of the time, but there are moments, especially at work, when I feel medication would help me focus. Should I ask my doctor to prescribe it?”

This is an individual decision. ADHD medication certainly could help, but, before you consider taking meds, it is important to evaluate how lack of focus affects your life. If there is substantial impact, medication might be the answer. There are, of course, possible side effects that you need to be aware of and evaluate if they occur. Read more.

April 20, 2017
Should You Do Yoga to Treat Depression?
US News & World Report

In any given year, nearly 7 percent – or about 1 in 14 adults – suffers from an episode of major depression, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

If not treated, episodes last about six to 12 months on average, and often continue for longer, marked by symptoms ranging from a loss of pleasure in activities a person previously found enjoyable to disturbance of sleep as well as characteristic depressed, or low, mood. While some people find relief through conventional treatment, such as therapy and medication, many either avoid treatment – for reasons including perceived stigma related to mental illness and reluctance to seek help or difficulty accessing care – or aren’t able to overcome the disorder through conventional treatment. Read more.

April 15, 2017
UCSF Study Suggests Yoga Eases Depression

Researchers have found a break-through anti-depressant, and it’s thousands of years old: yoga. A study at UCSF, with subjects who have major depression, found their condition eased with regular yoga classes.  Watch the video and read more.

April 14, 2017
Hatha yoga shows promise in the treatment of major depression

New preliminary research published in PLoS One indicates that yoga could help reduce symptoms of depression.

The study of 38 adults meeting the criteria for major depression found an 8-week hatha yoga program was linked to clinically significant reductions in symptom severity. Hatha yoga focuses on physical and mental strength building exercises and postures. Participants attended 90-minute hatha yoga practice groups twice weekly. Read more.

April 14, 2017
Is Yoga an Effective Antidepressant?
Psychology Today

Practicing yoga may ease mild to moderate major depression, even in people who aren’t taking antidepressant medication or receiving psychotherapy. That’s the message of a small but intriguing new study published in the journal PLoS ONE in March. It was the first study in the United States to look at yoga as a standalone treatment for diagnosed depression. Read more.

April 14, 2017
Added Evidence for Yoga for Major Depression
Mad in America

A new study out of the University of California San Francisco recently published in PLoS ONE explores the efficacy of an 8-week yoga intervention for the treatment of depression. For adults diagnosed with mild-to-moderate major depression, the 8-week hatha yoga program showed clinically significant results in reducing symptoms and also improved self-esteem and self-efficacy. Read more.

April 13, 2017
Major Depression Symptoms Eased by Yoga?
MD Magazine

Yoga appears to help people with mild to moderate major depressive order, a small study found. San Francisco researchers reported that in a small pilot study, they concluded that twice-a-week, 90-minute hatha yoga sessions for 8 weeks resulted in clinically significant reductions in the severity of depressive symptoms. Measured by the Beck Depression Inventory, 60% of the study sample that completed the 8 weeks of yoga versus 10% of the control group achieved remission from symptoms. Read more.

April 13, 2017
Yoga Could Help Relieve Depression, Study Suggests
Psychology Today

 A pilot study based in San Francisco has found promising evidence that yoga can help treat depression. The randomized controlled trial is the first of its kind outside of India to examine whether yoga alone can help mild-to-moderate depression. Researchers found that people with depression significantly improved after eight weeks of active yoga sessions twice weekly compared to those who just learned about the history of yoga. Although the study is small in size, with a sample of 38 people, it sets important groundwork for a larger study. Read more.

April 11, 2017
Should you treat your aching back with a crack?


Spinal manipulation might make a small difference in your lower-back pain, but it’s unlikely to have you doing backflips right away, according to an analysis published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.The research, which pooled 26 prior studies, found that spinal manipulation was linked to “modest improvements” in pain and function among people with short-term lower-back pain. Their pain improved an average of one point on a 10-point scale.

“For acute back pain, this is usually not considered a clinically meaningful improvement,” said Dr. Wolf Mehling, who practices at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Mehling was not involved in the JAMA study. Read more.

March 27, 2017
How personal experience as a racial minority led to a career studying compassion meditation in diverse populations
Mind & Life Institute Blog

Helen Y. Weng, PhD is a Mind & Life Fellow and a postdoctoral scholar at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Helen is interested in how contemplative practices can improve communication within and between individuals, and how this in turn improves psychological and physical health. Her postdoctoral work is focused on developing a novel fMRI task to measure mindful breath awareness, using community-engaged approaches to adapt fMRI study procedures to underrepresented populations from diverse contemplative communities, and understanding how mindfulness-based interventions impact body awareness and psychophysiological variables. Read more.

March 27, 2017
SF experts map the emotions of a stressed-out city
San Francisco Chronicle

San Franciscans’ emotions these days are roiling — over the new occupant of the White House, stratospheric housing prices, unending homeless tent encampments and constant BART meltdowns. But, hey, in the joyful column: Opening Day at AT&T Park is just two weeks away.

Fortunately for this emotional city, two of its residents are among the world’s foremost experts on emotions. At the behest of their good friend the Dalai Lama (seriously), Paul Ekman and his daughter, Eve Ekman, have created an “Atlas of Emotions” to help people figure out just what emotion they’re feeling in an attempt to determine what triggered it and what they can do about it. They’ll discuss their new atlas at the Exploratorium on Thursday. Read more.

March 27, 2017
A Positive Outlook May Be Good for Your Health
New York Times

“Look on the sunny side of life.”
“Turn your face toward the sun, and the shadows will fall behind you.”
“Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.”
“See the glass as half-full, not half-empty.”

Researchers are finding that thoughts like these, the hallmarks of people sometimes called “cockeyed optimists,” can do far more than raise one’s spirits. They may actually improve health and extend life. Read more.

January 6, 2017
Former NIH Center leader offers directions for integrative research
Integrative Practitioner

At a recent summit entitled “Future Trends in Healthcare: An Integrative Approach to Health and Wellness” at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, the mission was to provide guidance on ways integrative health and medicine might assist that state’s campaign to become the nation’s healthiest. Kicking off the presentations was Margaret Chesney, PhD, who a decade ago served as the deputy director of what is now the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Chesney recommended that amidst the present crisis in the medical industry we need a significant shift of integrative medicine research priorities to include cost effectiveness and other “research that can inform public policy.” Read more.

January 6, 2017
Maya abdominal massage: An answer to ending infertility, miscarriages?
Mercury News

… “Like other alternative healing techniques, Maya massage hasn’t generated reams of scientific studies. Still, mainstream health care providers recognize that different styles of massage offer a variety of benefits, from easing pain, muscle tension and emotional stress to boosting immune function and an overall sense of wellness, says Denise Bowden, an acupuncturist at UC San Francisco’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine…” Read more.

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