Wednesday, 09 February 2011 16:00At a recent American Stroke Association conference, the organization presented results from a national study which reveals that stroke rates among young men and women have increased by 51 percent and 17 percent, respectively, since the mid-1990s, the Associated Press reported.
Researchers said the spike in stroke rates may stem from rising obesity rates in kids and young adults. In previous studies, the condition has also been linked to high blood pressure, which can be exacerbated by factors such as stress and anxiety
Results of the study may suggest that employers who offer comprehensive health benefits which include prevention and screening for cardiovascular diseases may have a hand in preventing stroke in younger staff members. Additionally, employee wellness programs that promote healthy lifestyle habits may be beneficial in staving off more serious illnesses.
The highest increases in stroke rates were observed in males aged between 15 and 34 years, at 51 percent. In males aged 35 to 44, stroke occurrence increased by 47 percent; and the rates for females in the same age bracket rose by 36 percent.
The American Heart Association says that warning signs of a stroke include numbness or weakness in one side of the face or limbs, sudden confusion or loss of speech, vision problems, severe headache and dizziness. The organization warns that ignoring symptoms of stroke can be detrimental.
Organizations that offer employee health benefits may be better able to maintain a healthy, happy staff.
Monday, 07 February 2011 16:00Research conducted at the University of Michigan suggests that people with low levels of a brain molecule known as neuropeptide Y (NPY) may not handle stress well and could even be prone to depression.
Scientists used three methods of research to study the effect of NPY levels in the brain, and how it affects stress response and mental health in participants with low levels of the neuropeptide.
First, they conducted a word association test using neuroimaging. Next, they measured the stress response of participants when pain was induced. Lastly, researchers compared NPY levels in people with and without depressive disorders.
In all three trials, scientists concluded that individuals with low levels of NPY have stronger reactions to psychological and physical pain. Also, those with less NPY tended to have been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder.
Results of the study suggest that employers who provide employee wellness programs that focus on stress relief may help prevent depression in certain individuals. Additionally, reducing workplace stress can help strengthen employee performance and boost a company's bottom line.
Tuesday, 25 January 2011 16:00A study that was recently published in the journal Neuron has suggested that people with certain neurological traits may be more prone to depression when exposed to a stressful environment.
Results may suggest that stress could be even more detrimental to employees than previously thought. Implementing employee wellness programs that combat stress could help reduce employee health benefit costs due to later complications. Additionally, benefits that include mental healthcare coverage could prevent depression in certain employees.
Scientists from Yamaguchi University in Japan tested mice with different genetic traits. They found that one type of mice was resilient when exposed to chronic mild stress while the other showed depression-like behaviors in response.
The mice who were more susceptible to stress and eventually depression had less expressive neurotrophic factors, which help regulate brain plasticity.
Co-author Dr. Shusaku Uchida said the results of the study could lead to novel ways for depression treatment.
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic back up the suggestion that chronic stress could lead to depression and a severely impacted quality of life.
Employers who take proactive steps to combat workplace stress may be putting themselves at an advantage by preventing more serious conditions in their employees.
Tuesday, 25 January 2011 16:00Researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health have conducted a study, which shows that an organization's key employees experience the most job-related stress.
Of the 18 percent of survey respondents who reported that their job was highly stressful, most were higher-level employees or management who worked long hours and had anxiety about how their performance would affect others.
Results from the study may suggest that employee wellness programs that target workers with the most responsibilities could significantly reduce workplace stress and boost employee performance.
Dr. Carolyn Dewa, senior scientist and head of CAMH's Work and Well-being Research and Evaluation Program, noted a $17 billion annual cost in Canada due to low productivity and said that employee health benefits that are inclusive of mental health could help lower those costs.
"Employers should be very concerned with keeping this population healthy. From a business perspective, it is in a company's best interest to support these workers," said Dewa.
The researchers examined 2,737 individuals between 18 and 65 years old. More than 80 percent said they had low job stress, and those workers tended to be single, male and work for a small business.
Sunday, 16 January 2011 16:00Employees who suppress positive attitudes at work drain themselves of energy and end up with more negative feelings regarding their job and organization, according to a recent study by researchers from Rice University, Purdue University and the University of Toronto.
Some professionals - like journalists, doctors and law enforcement officers - are obligated to retain a neutral demeanor in order to do their jobs. However, the study showed that in a customer service position, participants who were asked to suppress their positive emotions had poorer employee performance and experienced higher workplace stress.
Employers in industries like medicine or law enforcement where a straight face is required may be able to counteract these negative feelings through employee wellness programs. Studies have shown that regular exercise combats stress, so a workplace gym or gym membership could help professionals in these fields. An article on the Atlanta Business Chronicle website says fostering open communication, honesty and encouragement are key things bosses can do to help workers. It also suggests implementing a company sports league to build morale and support systems.
Individuals who do not work in fields that require a poker face may want to keep in mind that a positive attitude can be contagious. The study showed that customers who interacted with happy employees rated the organization better in the end.
Whatever the job description, studies have shown stress to be detrimental to health and productivity. Employee wellness programs are available to combat stress and help support a company's bottom line.
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