New findings to be presented in April at the American Academy of Neurology’s 66th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia link high stress levels to increased occurrence of headaches – a belief that has long been considered.

The researchers, which included Dr. Sara H. Schramm of University Hospital at the University Duisberg-Essen in Germany analyzed over 5,100 people between the ages of 21 and 71.

The study found that for each headache type, the more stress a person experienced, the more headaches they had each month. The headache types tested included tension-type, migraine, and non-classified headache.

Dr. Schramm says patients who suffer frequent headaches should adopt stress management strategies. “The results add weight to the concept that stress can be a factor contributing to the onset of headache disorders, that it accelerates the progression to chronic headache, exacerbates headache episodes, and that the headache experience itself can serve as a stressor.”

The researchers also noted that the results accounted for other factors that could impact headache frequency, including smoking, drinking and regular use of headache medication……..Medical News Today  2/20/14

 

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Emotional eating is familiar to most of us. After a rough week, maybe all you want to do is escape to the couch with a giant bowl of buttery, salty popcorn. Happy or sad, up or down, our moods can dictate the foods we choose to eat sometimes.

Recently, studies have shown that negative moods and positive moods may actually lead to preferences for different kinds of foods. If given the choice for example, would someone in a good mood be more apt to choose grapes over an Oreo cookie?

And, can we make better choices in any emotional state?

An upcoming article written by University of Delaware associate professor Meryl Gardner thinks there’s more to stress eating than just emotion, and believes that thinking about the future may help people make better food choices.

“We were interested in the ‘why,'” said Gardner. “Why when someone is in a bad mood will they choose to eat junk food and why when someone is in a good mood will they make healthier food choices?”

“In an evolutionary sense, it makes sense that when we feel uncomfortable or are in a bad mood, we know something is wrong and focus on what is close to us physically and what is close in time, in the here and now,” said Gardner. “Were seeing the trees and not the forest, or how to do things and not why to do things.”

Gardner with co-authors Brian Wansink of Cornell University, Junyong Kim of Hanyang University and Se-Bum Park of Yonsei University found that a lot depends on our perspective of time.

“It suggests that positive mood makes people think about the future, and thinking about the future makes us think more abstractly,” said Gardner.

The findings also point to the time horizon, demonstrating that people in positive moods who make healthier food choices are often thinking more about future health benefits than those in negative moods, who focus on the immediate taste and sensory experience.

“If people in a bad mood typically choose to eat foods that have an immediate, indulgent reward, it might be more effective to encourage what we call mood repair motivation, or calling their attention to more innocuous ways to enhance their mood,” Gardner said. “Instead of looking at nutrition warning labels, try talking to friends or listening to music.”

So, the next time you want a snack, and you’re not sure what to have, try thinking about the future….. you might make a better food choice!       Medical News Today    2/20/14

 

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