Helping Others Reduces Heart Disease Risk Factors



A new clinical study reveals that performing acts of kindness can lower our personal risk of heart disease.


 

HELPING OTHERS REDUCES HEART DISEASE RISK FACTORS

Booker T. Washington once said, “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”  Certainly, most of us would agree that lending a helping hand benefits both the person in need and the person who has volunteered to help.  Other than the satisfaction of knowing that you have made a positive difference in the life of another person, however, are there other potential benefits associated with altruistic behavior?   Well, a newly published prospective randomized clinical research study suggests that volunteering to help others may actually improve the heart health of those who lend a helping hand to others in need.  This study appears in the current issue of the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

A total of 106 tenth grade students agreed to participate in this prospective randomized clinical research study. The student volunteers were divided into two groups. The first group was assigned to volunteer to work with elementary school children on a weekly basis, while the other group (the “control” group) did not participate in any volunteer activities. At the beginning of this clinical study, measurements of the following cardiovascular disease risk factors were performed on all study participants: C-reactive protein level, interleukin 6 level, total cholesterol level, and body mass index. These same heart disease risk factors were measured again 4 months later.

The findings of this study were quite interesting. The results of testing at the beginning of this study revealed no significant differences in the measured cardiovascular disease risk factors between the two groups of study participants. However, 4 months later, significant differences in these established cardiovascular risk factors were observed between the two groups of high school students. Specifically, interleukin 6 levels, total cholesterol levels, and body mass index (a measure of weight versus height) were all significantly improved within the “volunteer group” when compared to the control group. While marginally significant, blood levels of the inflammatory C-reactive protein were also noted to be lower in the group of teens that had been randomized to work with elementary school children. Most interesting was the observation that the greatest decrease in these cardiovascular risk factors occurred, over time, among the teens in the volunteer group who also demonstrated the greatest increase in empathy and altruistic behaviors, and the largest decrease in negative mood, during the course of this study.

The findings of this very novel prospective randomized clinical study suggest that engaging in acts of empathy and altruism may directly lead to a reduction in several well known cardiovascular disease risk factors, although this study did not follow its very young volunteers long enough to determine whether or not the act of volunteering to help others actually reduced the incidence of cardiovascular disease.  However, based upon this innovative study’s findings, it certainly appears that helping others is a definite win-win situation.  The persons being helped obviously benefit from the acts of empathy and altruism bestowed upon them by others.  At the same time, not only does it feel good to help others in need, but the person who voluntarily reaches out to another may very well reap, in turn, the benefit of improved health!  (Another positive finding of this study is that this very positive phenomenon apparently works on teenagers!)

As I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle not only reduces your risk of dying from cancer, but also reduces your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease as well!

 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!


Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

 

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Additional Links for Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS

Profile of Dr. Wascher by Oncology Times

Bio of Dr. Wascher at Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Dr. Wascher Discusses Predictions of Decreased Cancer Risk on azfamily.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Environmental Risk Factors for Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer on talkabouthealth.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention Strategies on LIVESTRONG

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Dr. Wascher’s latest video:

Dark as Night, Part 1


Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1


At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, more than 2.8 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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Acts of Kindness Improve Social Acceptance Among Pre-Teens



A new study confirms that acts of kindness improve happiness and social acceptance among pre-teens.


 

ACTS OF KINDNESS IMPROVE SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE AMONG PRE-TEENS

Some have observed that “nice guys finish last,” and, indeed, there is some data to suggest that, in the corporate world at least, the arrogant are, ironically, often viewed as more motivated, more goal-oriented, and more deserving of advancement when compared to their less aggressive peers.  However, most of us would like to believe that a kind and caring heart will be rewarded in life, and rewarded by others.  But, is there any objective evidence that kindness really does beget happiness and kindness?  According to a newly published clinical study from Canada, kindness really does appear to increase our personal sense of well-being, as well as increasing the likelihood that others will regard us kindly in return.  Moreover, the social benefits of being kind towards others appear to begin relatively early in life, as this newly published study in the journal PLOS ONE reveals.

For teenagers, and for those on the cusp of adolescence, being accepted and being liked by one’s peers is of the utmost importance.  Indeed, young people who feel excluded from social groups at school often end up feeling like outcasts, and may suffer considerable long term injury to their self-confidence and self-esteem.  In this newly published clinical study, 415 children between the ages of 9 and 11 years volunteered to participate in this study for a period of 4 weeks.  These young volunteers were randomly assigned either to perform 3 acts of kindness or, instead, to visit 3 places on a weekly basis.  At the end of week, each student was asked to report on their activities during the previous week.  

At the end of this 4-week study, both groups of students experienced measurable improvements in their sense of well-being.  However, the students who were assigned to complete 3 acts of kindness per week experienced a significantly greater improvement in acceptance and approval by their student peers (based upon confidential classroom surveys) when compared to the student volunteers who had been randomized to visit 3 places per week.

The authors note in their conclusion that, based upon the findings of this study, “doing good” for others benefits not only the recipients of kind acts, but also the person who is performing the kind acts as well.  Furthermore, in view of the importance of being accepted by one’s peers, and of being happy, during the pre-teen and teenage years of our lives, the finding that simple acts of kindness increase both acceptance by social peers and internal happiness are very important findings, indeed.  Other important findings from this study include the observation that children who are well-accepted by their peers are more inclusive in their actions towards others, and are less likely to engage in exclusionary behaviors towards others, including bullying (or worse…).  At the classroom level, the authors of this study also note that the absence of both favored and marginalized children is associated with improved overall classroom mental health.  Based upon the findings of this intriguing study of pre-teen children, the authors suggest that teachers and parents should strive to introduce a culture of regular “acts of kindness” and inclusion within classrooms, which sounds like a very good idea to me.

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Dr. Wascher’s latest video:

Dark as Night, Part 1



Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1



At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is now more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.




Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


 

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, more than 2.4 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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