New blood pressure guideline creates a new level of disease affecting people previously deemed healthy

From NEJM:

The guideline defines normal blood pressure as below 120/80 mm Hg and elevated blood pressure as 120 to 129. What is now called stage 1 hypertension was previously labeled “prehypertension” — a term meant to alert patients and to prompt physicians to provide lifestyle education

By reclassifying people formerly considered to have prehypertension as having hypertension, the guideline creates a new level of disease affecting people previously deemed healthy. According to this definition, about 46% of U.S. adults have hypertension, as compared with about 32% under the previous definition.

The guideline recommends daily sodium intake of less than 1500 mg — a goal that’s difficult for many people to achieve and that was derived from short-term studies.

The primary change in recommendations regarding pharmacologic therapy is the elimination of beta-blockers from first-line therapy for patients with primary hypertension.

Read more here:

Redefining Hypertension — Assessing the New Blood-Pressure Guidelines | NEJM http://bit.ly/2nVBJgJ


Main complications of persistent high blood pressure. Image source: Wikipedia, public domain.

Image sources: Top left, Record breaking snowfall March 2008 at Aubrey, Texas, Wikipedia, public domain; Top Right, Mercury manometer, Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License.

Your choice of social media service/website/app may reveal your personality

This study from Germany included 633 students.

Use of computer games was found to be negatively related to all personality and mental health variables: self-esteem, extraversion, narcissism, life satisfaction, social support and resilience.

The use of platforms that focus more on written interaction (Twitter, Tumblr) was linked to depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms.

In contrast, Instagram use, which focuses more on photo-sharing, was linked to positive mental health variables.

References:

What does media use reveal about personality and mental health? An exploratory investigation among German students http://bit.ly/2nxE7ef

The key to successful ageing is to be a master of 3 domains: physical health, mental wellbeing, and social connectedness

From The Lancet:

Life expectancy in the UK continues to increase by 2 years per decade. Unfortunately, these extra years do not seem to be spent in better health, with morbidity and dependency increasing over the past 20 years. So what can be done to develop resilience with increasing age? Seize control of your health and be better prepared—physically, mentally, and socially—for our later years. This a recurring theme covering 3 domains: physical, mental and social.

The Lancet reviewed the book Enlightened Aging: Building Resilience for a Long, Active Life, by Eric B Larson and Joan DeClaire. One of the most memorable vignette from the book was of Evangeline Shuler, a centenarian, with a “glass half full” approach to life: as she grew older and her friends died, her attitude was to go out and “make new ones”; an avid reader, as she became blind, she switched to audio books.

Translating scientific facts into practical strategies early in the life course can help us live better for longer. Here is what the science shows:

- Maintain a healthy heart, a healthy brain and healthy social existence to achieve successful ageing.

- Proactively build resilience — the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and bounce back from injury, loss, or setbacks — in 3 areas: physical health, mental wellbeing, and social connectedness, to better enjoy our later years. Developing and strengthen emotional resilience.

- Financial independence. In many UK cities, there is a 10-year discrepancy in healthy life expectancy between more socially deprived and affluent areas.

References:

Eric B Larson and Joan DeClaire's Enlightened Aging: Building Resilience for a Long, Active Life.
Successful ageing - Lancet http://bit.ly/2BMMJla

Snap judgments about other people are formed in milliseconds but are often wrong: here is what to do about it

From WSJ:

Snap judgments people make about others’ trustworthiness are wrong more often than most people think. These first impressions are formed in milliseconds, based on instinctive responses in the brain’s emotion-processing center, the amygdala.

Some people conclude a stranger is reliable because he or she looks like someone trustworthy the person already knows. Or they make judgments based on stereotypes, such as an unconscious belief that older or more feminine-looking people are more trustworthy.

This poses a challenge to anyone who must gain others’ trust to perform well in meetings, interviews or other gatherings.

There are ways to head off other people’s shaky snap judgments, try this:

- a happy expression, with the corners of the mouth turned upward and eyebrows relaxed, is likely to inspire trust. Facial expressions are important even when you think no one is looking. People tend to distrust others whose “dominant face,” or habitual expression, is grumpy, disapproving or angry.

- prepare mentally to impress new acquaintances by pausing for a few moments beforehand to think about what you want to accomplish with the other person.

- use breathing techniques to foster relaxed, confident movement, and striving for “symmetry in your stance, with your shoulders straight and even. That first entrance in the room is the same as that first entrance of your character on stage.

- adjust your stance and posture, leaning or turning toward the other person to show you’re focused intently on what he or she is thinking and feeling. Rather than extending your arm stiffly to shake hands at a distance, relax your arm and lower your elbow to your side, drawing the other person closer to you. “This shows you’ve made a subconscious decision to trust the person, without having spoken a word”. Never reach across a table to shake hands - walk around it to greet them face-to-face and offer a relaxed handshake, elbow at your side. In summary:

-- Keep your elbow at your side when shaking hands, drawing the other person closer than arm’s length.
-- Lean forward and focus intently on the other person when he or she is speaking.
-- Stand erect with shoulders squared, balancing your weight evenly.
-- Smile in response to what others say or do, rather than grinning nonstop.
-- Remain mindful of what others are thinking and feeling.

The WSJ article was based on part on an interview with Dr. Alexander Todorov. Here is Google talk: Dr. Alexander Todorov, head of the Social Perception Lab at Princeton University, discusses his new book, “Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions”:



The Mistakes You Make in a Meeting’s First Milliseconds - WSJ http://on.wsj.com/2DRQ8ks

Adolescents' circadian clock and the vicious circle of media use, exposure to light at night, sleep loss and risk behaviors

Sleep is a key element in adolescent development. However, teens are spending increasing amounts of time online with health risks related to excessive use of electronic media (computers, smartphones, tablets, consoles, etc.). This excessive use is negatively associated with daytime functioning and sleep outcomes.

Adolescent sleep becomes irregular, shortened and delayed in relation with later sleep onset and early waking time due to early school starting times on weekdays which results in rhythm desynchronization and sleep loss.

In addition, exposure of adolescents to the numerous electronic devices prior to bedtime has become a great concern because LEDs emit much more blue light than white incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescent bulbs and have therefore a greater impact on the biological clock.

A large number of adolescents move to evening chronotype and experience a misalignment between biological and social rhythms which, added to sleep loss, results in:

- fatigue
- daytime sleepiness
- behavioral problems (problematic media use, alcohol consumption, binge drinking, smoking habits, stimulant use)
- poor academic achievement

The permanent social jet lag resulting in clock misalignment experienced by a number of adolescents should be considered as a matter of public health.

References:

Disruption of adolescents' circadian clock: The vicious circle of media use, exposure to light at night, sleep loss and risk behaviors. - PubMed - NCBI http://bit.ly/2EpYT6J