Medical Insights

Here, find posts from our Kripalu faculty that relate to scientific studies, medical findings, and health research.

Posted on June 11th, 2013 by in Medical Insights, Relationships

The Science of Love

Love—it’s the supreme human emotion. Babies need it to survive, it can improve brain function and health, and it’s even essential for animals (one study showed that rats that were licked more often by their mothers grew up to be calmer and more curious than their less-pampered counterparts). Love may feel more like magic than […]

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Posted on May 27th, 2013 by in Medical Insights

The Science of Sleep

Amanda LoRusso, guest blogger Despite years of research, advances in medicine, and the possibility of a cure for cancer within the next decade, we still don’t know the exact function of what we spend one-third of our lives doing: sleeping. National Geographic quotes William Dement, cofounder of the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center, on the mystery […]

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Posted on February 23rd, 2013 by in Healthy Living, Medical Insights

Natural Flu Prevention

While the media frenzy about the flu season we’re facing this year has ebbed, we are still in the midst of cold and flu time. There are various things you can do every day to boost your body’s immunity and preventive health naturally. Here are just a few things to keep in mind. Plants are […]

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Posted on February 21st, 2013 by in Medical Insights, Yoga

Yoga and Positive Emotions

In 1998, researcher Barbara Fredrickson published a paper called “What good are positive emotions?” The paper discussed, in detail, the importance of positive emotions on cognition, action, and interpersonal relationships. While at the time it was arguably a risky scientific article, it turned out to be pivotal. Prior to this, most research focused almost exclusively […]

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Posted on February 19th, 2013 by in Medical Insights, Nutrition

Gluten-Free for All?

For years, the medical community as a whole has resisted recommending a gluten-free diet to patients who have not tested positive for celiac disease, a digestive ailment that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients as a result of eating gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. At the same time, […]

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Posted on January 12th, 2013 by in Healthy Living, Medical Insights, Yoga

The Science of Breath

In his book Light on Pranayama, B. K. S. Iyengar writes: “Prana is the breath of life of all beings in the universe.” It’s no surprise, then, that pranayama, or the regulation of breath, is an essential part of yoga practice. In fact, it’s unusual to enter into a yoga class that doesn’t have at […]

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Posted on October 22nd, 2012 by in Healthy Living, Medical Insights

Are You Happier Than Your Friends?

Though there are, of course, exceptions, research (and Hollywood) have shown that we tend to surround ourselves with people with whom our financial standing is comparable. There are some simple reasons for this, including the logistical fact that as adults, many of our friends are work colleagues or neighbors. On an emotional level, surrounding ourselves with those who do about as well as we do reduces the probability of experiencing envy and jealousy.

A recent study published in the journal Science, however, questions the notion that being the least advantaged people we know leads to dissatisfaction. For more than 20 years, a research collaborative that included economists and sociologists from the University of Chicago and Harvard tracked 5,000 families in five major American cities—including New York, Chicago, and Boston—that had moved out of poor neighborhoods to more affluent ones. The researchers’ hope was that living in the more well-off areas would lead to better jobs and higher incomes for the families. Though that didn’t happen, researchers did find that these families reported being much happier than those who had stayed within their original community—even when they didn’t make more money themselves.

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Posted on October 17th, 2012 by in Healthy Living, Medical Insights

Sleep, Perchance

We need eight hours, yes. But all at once?

Americans have a twisted relationship with sleep. Most of us, when asked, would say that we don’t get enough. We’re too busy, we’re too wired, we can’t manage to stay in bed past 6 am. But then we do all the things we know we’re not supposed to: triple lattes in the afternoon, late-night snacks, e-mailing on our smartphones from under the covers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 41 million of us get six or fewer hours of sleep per night, a fact that stresses us out and causes us to sleep still less. As a collective group, we’re exhausted.

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Posted on October 10th, 2012 by in Healthy Living, Medical Insights

Cancer Prevention

It’s a lot simpler than we think.

At the Union for International Cancer Control’s recent World Cancer Congress,Washington University School of Medicine researcher Graham Colditz, PD, DrPH, reported that more than 50 percent of cancer could be prevented if we implemented certain “lifestyle changes,” including quitting smoking and avoiding obesity.

Seems somewhat obvious, right? Maybe, maybe not. Although we read enough to know that eating right, exercising, and minimizing our exposure to known toxins (cigarettes among them) can limit our risk of developing cancer, most of us don’t necessarily believe it. “Many people are still under the impression that most cancer is genetic,” says Susan B. Lord,MD, a faculty member in Kripalu Healthy Living programs. “But the real figure is actually five percent.” That is, five percent of cancers have strong genetic ties, and the rest are related to environment and lifestyle. This means that the disease is far more preventable than we tend to think it is. In fact, Dr. Colditz estimated that improvement in diet could reduce cancer incidence by 50 percent, and increases in physical activity could reduce cancer incidence by as much as 85 percent, in five to 20 years.

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Posted on September 21st, 2012 by in Kripalu Kitchen, Medical Insights

Organic—and Ornery

Does eating organic make us mean?

A recent study conducted by researchers at Loyola University New Orleans looked at how food related to morality: how and whether what we eat influences how we think and act. The results, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, revealed that eating organic foods can most definitely impact morality, kindness, and attitudes toward others—but not necessarily in a good way. Participants who were exposed to organic foods, the study reported, volunteered significantly less time to help a stranger in need. They were also far more judgmental about others’ actions as they related to food and non-food subjects. In short, people who ate organic food were more likely to be jerks.

While most of the organics-loving people we know are kind, generous, lovely non-jerks, the results of the Loyola study could perhaps be explained by what Aruni Nan Futuronsky, a certified life coach and program advisor for Kripalu Healthy Living programs, calls “the curse of consciousness.” That is, the more we know, the more we want to impose that knowledge onto others. As we make changes for ourselves it becomes easier to notice those who have not made those changes for themselves, or who otherwise live differently. We may then judge them, even unconsciously.

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