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Health & Lifestyle

How training your mind can help Lose weight 5 times more.



Losing weight requires making diet and lifestyle adjustments, but once we’ve done that, can we do anything to maximize the good results? A new study shows that applying a simple mind imagery technique could boost weight loss significantly.

Recently, Dr. Linda Solbrig and colleagues, from the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom, conducted a study.

Its main objective was to find out which types of motivational intervention would be the most effective in aiding weight loss efforts.

The scientists compared a fairly common talking therapy known as Motivational Interviewing (MI) with a novel type of motivational intervention called Functional Imagery Training (FIT).

In MI, the person embarking on a weight loss program receives counseling that allows them to find and voice what motivates them to change (in this case, shedding excess weight).

With FIT, however, the person who wishes to lose wight is taught to fully visualize, in as realistic a way as possible, achieving their goal of weight loss, and what that would allow them to do or experience that they are unable to do or experience at present.

 “Most people agree that in order to lose weight, you need to eat less and exercise more, but in many cases, people simply aren’t motivated enough to heed this advice — however much they might agree with it,” explains Dr. Solbrig.

“So FIT comes in with the key aim of encouraging someone to come up with their own imagery of what change might look and feel like to them, how it might be achieved and kept up, even when challenges arise,” she adds.

The researchers wanted to see which approach — MI or FIT — would bring about the best results for the participants. The study’s findings appear in the International Journal of Obesity.

Talking therapy vs. functional imagery

Dr. Solbrig and team recruited 141 participants with body mass indexes (BMIs) of at least 25. Current guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) say that a person with a BMI of 25 is deemed overweight, and a person with a BMI of 30 or over could be diagnosed with obesity.

Of the total number of participants, 55 underwent MI and 59 underwent FIT. They all participated in two sessions of the intervention that had been allocated to them: one face-to-face, and one by phone.

The participants also received follow-up calls every couple of weeks for a period of 3 months, and then once per month for another 3 months. The maximum contact time for each person was 4 hours over the entire study period.

Assessments took place at baseline, after 6 months (at the end of the intervention), and then again after 12 months from baseline.

The researchers found that the participants who underwent FIT had lost five times more weight, on average, compared with those who underwent MI. Specifically, participants in the FIT group lost 4.3 centimeters more around their waists over 6 months than those in the MI group.

This amounts to an average of 4.11 kilograms lost by individuals in the FIT group, compared with an average of 0.74 kilograms lost by those in the MI group.

Moreover, those who underwent the FIT intervention reported still losing excess weight even after the 6-month intervention period. At the 12-month mark, participants in the FIT group had lost 6.44 kilograms, on average, and those in the MI group had lost only 0.67 kilograms, on average.

“It’s fantastic that people lost significantly more weight on this intervention, as, unlike most studies, it provided no diet/physical activity advice or education,” as Dr. Solbrig points out. “People were completely free in their choices and supported in what they wanted to do, not what a regimen prescribed.”


A potent multisensory technique

What makes FIT so much more effective than MI, the specialists believe, is that it uses multisensory imagery, asking people to imagine everything about their enhanced experiences following weight loss — from how these might look and feel to how they might taste and smell.

An optional app to support the participants in picturing these scenarios was also made available to them.

“We started with taking people through an exercise about a lemon [regarding the FIT technique],” says Dr. Solbrig, adding, “We asked them to imagine seeing it, touching it, juicing it, drinking the juice, and juice accidently squirting in their eye, to emphasize how emotional and tight to our physical sensations imagery is.”

This technique might be particularly effective in the case of people who may find it truly difficult to keep up their motivation for losing weight.

For example, one study participant who was allocated to the FIT group notes that it allowed her to really stay focused on her reasons for embarking upon her weight loss journey.

“I lost my mum at 60, and being 59 myself with a variety of health problems, my motivation was to be there for my daughter. I kept thinking about wearing the dress I’d bought for my daughter’s graduation, and on days I really didn’t feel like exercising, kept picturing how I’d feel,” the participant explains.

“I’ve gone from 14 stone to 12 stone 2,” she adds, “and have managed to lower the dosage I need for my blood pressure tablets. I’d still like to lose a touch more, but I’m so delighted with the mindset shift.”



Health & Lifestyle

DR Congo blame Unending Ebola Outbreak on Violence , Community Mistrust.



DR Congo Ministry of Health spokesperson Jessica Ilunga has declared that violence and community mistrust have continued to hamper all efforts to control and end the fresh Ebola outbreak, which started Aug. 1.

Though according to the World Health Organization the number of new Ebola cases has dropped slightly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as there are 33% fewer cases to date in February compared with the same time period in December per STAT’s Helen Branswell, but some experts warn Axios that there remain signs that this outbreak is far from over.

Meanwhile, some experts warn that, that doesn’t mean the world’s second-largest Ebola outbreak on record is yet under control, and in fact it could simply be moving to new areas of the sprawling country.


Johns Hopkins’ public health expert Jennifer Nuzzo maintains there are several reasons people should continue to view this outbreak as a cause for concern.

However, Nuzzo said Congo needs more than money from the international community and the U.S. in particular. Safety concerns have largely caused the CDC to limit its Ebola experts to the capital city of Kinshasa, where some have returned after being evacuated during an uptick in election-related violence, Nuzzo added that Now is the time for the U.S. to send them into the field.


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Health & Lifestyle

Sports head injuries Balanced reportage is required – Experts



A group of more than 60 leading international neuroscientists, including Mark Herceg, PhD, a neuropsychologist at Northwell Health’s Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, NY, and a member of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, published a correspondence today in The Lancet Neurology, asking for balance when reporting on sports-related injury chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a type of dementia associated with exposure to repeated concussions, and has been linked with a variety of contact sports such as boxing, football, American football and rugby.

Although CTE is commonly featured in the news media and discussed among peers, the medical community is just beginning to understand how to recognize the disease, guidelines for how to assess its severity have yet to be established.

“We don’t currently have a clear understanding of the link between CTE pathology and any specific symptoms,” noted Dr. Herceg. “It’s important to note to the public at large that CTE is at an early stage of scientific and medical understanding, with many important aspects of the disease yet to be established.”


“Dr. Herceg and his colleague’s CTE research is timely and impactful as a major step forward to more clearly defining the risk and prevalence of this important syndrome,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute.


-Northwell Health

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