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Mimi N.'s blog

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Unnatural Causes

In March of 2008, PBS showed the first of a series of a four hour documentary titled Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? The project is funded by the Ford Foundation, CPB-National Minority Consortia, the MacArthur Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The series tries to figure out how inequities, socioeconomic, race and environment in which we live affect us all and influence the outcomes of our health. The team also provides a website as a companion to the documentary. Besides the video clips, transcripts of the interviews, discussion guides and teaching materials for educators, there exists a question-answer section handled by experts (1).

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The Power of Positive Thinking: The Placebo Effect

Wouldn’t it be great if eating some sugar could alleviate pain, cure a cold, or even cancer? Recent studies suggest this may be possible due to a placebo effect.

In Latin the word “placebo” means “I will please.” In the medical field a placebo is known as a pharmacologically inert substance which may produce therapeutic results because of the belief in its efficacy (1). In research, a placebo is an inactive substance or procedure, which on its own has no effect, used as a control. A placebo effect takes place when the subject given the placebo demonstrates similar results as the experimental substance or procedure (3).

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Insomnia and the Mechanisms of Sleep

Sleep is needed for our proper nervous system and daily function as well as for our physical and mental health. It is essential for our survival. People with problems falling asleep or staying asleep may wake up during the night or wake up too early the next morning. Lack of sleep makes them feel sleepy during the day and also affects their driving ability, performance, cognitive skill, psychomotor coordination, mood, memory, concentration and enjoyment of family and social life. This sleep disorder is called Insomnia.


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