The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    If you found the information here helpful, please consider supporting this site.If you found the information here helpful, please consider supporting this site.

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    Beneficial health effects of care giving

    Medical News Today reports on this study in the journal, Psychological Science.

    Apparently, “older people who spent at least 14 hours a week taking care of a disabled spouse lived longer than others” who spent less time or no time, according to researchers at the University of Michigan.

    First, the details.

    • The authors reviewed 7 years of data from a nationally representative sample of Americans age 70 and older.
    • Each of the 1688 couples reported how much help they received from their spouse in everyday activities, including eating, dressing and bathing, preparing meals, managing money, and taking medicine.
    • All the couples lived on their own.

    And, the results.

    • 81% said they received no help at all from their spouse.
    • 9% reported getting less than 14 hours of help a week.
    • 10% reported getting at least 14 hours of help each week.
    • Partners who provided at least 14 hours of care a week to their spouse were significantly less likely to die during the study than those who provided no spousal care.
    • The significance held after correcting for possible confounding factors which as health, age, race, gender, education, employment status, and net worth.

    The bottom line?
    The authors conclude, “The results of this study add to a growing literature on the positive, beneficial health effects of care giving, helping, and altruism.”

    That’s news to me.

    I was under the impression that caregivers frequently suffered from depression, stress, and other problems listed here. It’s thought that part of the reason that caregivers often have health problems is that they’re less likely to take good care of themselves.

    It appears however, that the presumed stress of providing help is much less than the stress of witnessing a loved one suffer, say the authors.

    For people who find themselves in the midst of caregiving or know people who are, Strength for Caring is a website that provides family caregivers with information, inspiration, and much needed support.

    11/27/08 21:28 JR

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