3 Ways Pets Can Help Boost an Employee’s Production

As the demand for services and goods continues upward, many employers are aggressive in pushing their workers to their full production capacity. This ultimately means more late nights at work for employees, and often times, they even need to perform certain tasks that do not actually belong in their job descriptions. This may be a good reason why many of today’s working class is suffering from depression and other related illnesses due to work stress.

too-many-phone-calls

Numerous studies show that job stress is by far one of the major sources of stress for American adults as it has escalated progressively over the past few decades.  Increased levels of job stress, as assessed by the perception of having little control but high demands at work, have been associated with increased rates of heart attack, hypertension and other disorders.

In New York, Los Angeles and other US business prime spots, the relationship between job stress and heart attacks is so well acknowledged that any police officer who suffers a coronary event on or off the job (like having a heart attack sustained while on a fishing trip or at a gambling spree in Las Vegas) is assumed to have a work related injury and is compensated accordingly.

What can be noted here is that as much as this generation demands the full capacity of each individual, people must also learn to cope with alternative approaches as to how they can overcome work stress.

As such, one of the easiest and most comforting ways to do just that is by owning a pet!

How exactly do pets give employees their much needed boost for work?

Come home to a Fluffy Friend

Employees are often subject to insurmountable amounts of stresses not only from work, but pressure from family, friends and other relationships. In this regard, the human psychology may be subjected to so much stretch and strain that mental ailments can come easily at a certain point. This is why it is vital that people take time to just relax and feel the air.

How does one go about getting some important R and R? One of the more fun and novel ways is adopting or keeping a pet.

Owning a dog or cat can make a person feel much happier and more relaxed. In fact, playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine which are responsible for the feeling of being calm and serene. Similarly, by being relaxed, people are less likely to have heart diseases.

According to studies, having pets like dogs can make one less likely to have heart disease. This is because owners exercise more when walking their pets and therefore, induce lower blood pressure. Lower blood pressure means fewer reasons to be stressed, and less stress means a happier outlook in life.

Also, relaxation can come from other sources. This is where physical activities play a major role towards a more serene lifestyle. Aside from its evident effects on the body, physical exercises can also help the brain become more active as it is when doing mental exercise. This is due to the fact that the most powerful brain boosters are actions which incorporate both aerobic activity and coordination.

happy-dog

Physical activities, like sports, essentially improve one’s mood, improve concentration, as well as mend bad sleeping habits. This bridges the physical and perceptual aspects that make up a person’s overall mental health. This is where pets can assist anyone in starting off to get the most benefit. Since these lovely animals live actively and are always sniffing around places, people are more motivated in playing them which can actually be a form of human exercise.

Boosted Confidence equals Better Opportunities

In the game of business, the ones who are not afraid to take the risks are the ones who are likely to succeed. However, before becoming an aggressive employee that the company needs, it is important to know that mental stability and a great sense of confidence in him or herself is needed to get the job done.

Mental health proves to be a major marker of having good overall health. In this regard, it is important to make efforts in training the mind to be mentally stable in order to handle complex tasks.  Unfortunately, training the mind can come as very linear and uninteresting for many people since it takes a lot of time to do so.

To create a whole new perspective on this dilemma, having pets provides a whole new outlook on mental health management. With pets, everything is brand new and exciting.  While providing wonders for their owner’s mental health, they give a certain light to the room that only pet lovers and owners can tell

Dogs, cats and birds can be great domestic companions. Often a dog is very intuitive and will seek out his owner when they are feeling down, refusing to allow that person to remain alone. A cat’s furry presence can bring new light to an owner’s moments of feeling down.  In times one is mentally and emotionally drained from his or her job, going home to an emotional support cat can have wondrous effects.

stress-cat

Also, owning a pet can make a person achieve a higher sense of confidence and trust in himself, especially with his capabilities and outlook on what he can do. Pets are valuable beings that help people see a different perspective on his or her likeability and amiability. Furthermore, since pets are social magnets, they give a sense of comfort and company especially if a person is an innate pet lover. Because of this, people with pets are generally happier, more trusting, and less lonely than those who don’t have pets. They also visit the doctor less often for minor problems, and they are less likely prone to be depressed.

Fortified Immunity, Less Days off

Since many people who belong to the working class undergo various pressures both in the mind and body, it is inevitability for them to be sick. Considering both the employees and the employer, down times can be an unfortunate and unproductive situation. As a business owner and employer, absenteeism result to less production.  From the employee’s standpoint, it equates to less pay for them.

Thanks to having pets, all of these can be lessened dramatically.

Pets are very good boosters of immunity to diseases. Contrary to popular belief, research shows that a home with a furry friend can reduce the likelihood of childhood allergies by 14 percent.  Anyone who has ever wiped down muddy paw prints knows that dogs aren’t necessarily the cleanest family members. However, the extra dirt and allergens a dog introduces to a home actually helps strengthen the immune system in their human owners.

The ‘hygiene hypothesis’, which suggests human’s modern day obsession with cleanliness has left their bodies incapable of reacting appropriately to harmful elements. Not only does this persnickety approach to what people touch leave them open to attacks from bad bacteria, it also leaves their immune systems hyperactive to harmless substances like pollen, and results in allergies.

shaking-hands-with-dog

Having said that, researchers from Arizona’s Department of Psychiatry have launched a study called “Dogs as Probiotics for People” to examine whether dogs can improve human health by acting as a probiotic, particularly in older people. Humans already have a strong emotional bond with their dogs, and the study explores the possible existence of a biological bond that can improve the immune system of both people and their pets. The researchers say their work will build on previous findings that dog owners are much more likely to share the same kind of “good” bacteria with their dogs.

Dental Doohickey – 7 Popular Myths on Dental Health Debunked

It’s a common belief that you don’t have to go to a dentist if you’re not feeling any dental pain, and that white teeth is an indication of healthy teeth. Well, that’s not entirely true – nor is the fact that you don’t need to floss. To get everything straight, here are 7 myths on dental care debunked. You should keep them in mind so that you can fully take care of your teeth and achieve that perfect smile!

big scary smile

White teeth mean healthy teeth.

One of the most common myths is that having whiter teeth means that your teeth are healthy. Your teeth may be white, but this cannot really show if there is an infection or cavities between the teeth. Plus, not everyone can achieve the pearly white teeth advertised in TV ads. The natural color of teeth varies from one person to another, and people with healthy teeth could have more yellowish teeth than another person.

Moreover, teeth naturally become a little discolored as one ages. This is also the case with teeth when they begin to break down. As such, tooth discoloration has been associated with unhealthy teeth – but, again, it is not always the case.

Bleaching is dangerous for your teeth.

Bleaching has been practiced by dentists for years now, and it’s no longer dangerous to your dental health.

Bleaching is a popular service being offered in recent years, given the availability of the technology that allows patients to get whiter smiles faster and safer. However, prior to 90’s, the raw materials used to bleach teeth were acidic and would actually break down enamel. Nowadays, the bleaching materials have a neutral PH and do not show any evidence of damage to the enamel or root of the tooth.

whitened teeth

When you are bleaching your teeth, you are simply oxidizing your teeth using carbamide peroxide so that light refracts more favorably off the enamel. What can be dangerous is aggressively using high concentrations of whitening gels that can traumatize or shock the teeth. Prolonged use of bleaching could cause sensitivity, but once you stop using any bleaching solutions, traces of pain should go away naturally.

Beauty salons are excellent places to get your teeth whitened.

Contrary to popular belief, beauty salons shouldn’t be a place to go to when you want your teeth whitened. It is illegal for beauticians to offer tooth-whitening treatments, and it is solely done by licensed practitioners of dentistry. This means that tooth whitening can only be legally performed by a dentist, a dental therapist, dental hygienist or a clinical dental technician working on the prescription of a dentist. You also need to see a dentist before you see the other dental professionals to receive the treatment.

The rules are there to protect your teeth and gums. Dental medicine practitioners train for many years to understand the ins and outs of dental medicine, to recognize disease and to know what treatments best suit which patient and how to carry them out. The same is true with teeth whitening procedures. Professionals in tertiary hospitals or specialized facilities like Hamptons Dental use whitening gels and high grade equipment just to make sure that the whitening in your teeth is done right.

Brushing teeth immediately after eating is the best way to go.

Brushing your teeth immediately after eating can actually affect the enamel of your teeth. Surely, it’s tempting to grab your toothbrush and scrub away at your teeth straight after a meal to get rid of any food particles. In reality, this can be detrimental to your dental health as it can do more harm than good.

teeth brushin

Foods containing citric acid, like oranges, grapefruits and lemons, weaken tooth enamel. Brushing too soon after eating them can damage the enamel in its weakened state.

If you really want to stimulate the sensation of brushing, it is more recommended for you to chew sugar-free gum – it stimulates saliva flow, cleans the mouth of food debris and neutralizes plaque acids. When you do get around to cleaning your teeth a little later, try not to be too aggressive with your brushing. Far better is to invest in a powered toothbrush that scientists have proven to be a better, kinder option for your teeth.

The more sugar you eat, the worse off your teeth become.

Surely, sugar is bad for your teeth, but it’s actually not the sugar that is hurting them. Bacteria in the mouth needs processed sugar to survive, but if you don’t consume sugar and have poor oral hygiene habits, you are still prone to the same decay. Also, if you eat a lot of processed sugars you are more likely to incur a certain amount of tooth decay.

Several species of oral bacteria feed on carbohydrates and produce acid as a byproduct through a process of simple fermentation. These bacteria live on the teeth in a biofilm called plaque. At this point, the acid slowly eats away at the tooth enamel, a thin layer of largely calcium that covers the tooth. The human tooth is in a constant state of mineralization and demineralization. Saliva helps neutralize acid from food to keep demineralization at a minimum. However, if the region gets too acidic, then demineralization takes over and rot sets in.

Nonetheless, maintaining oral hygiene through brushing and flossing regularly clears away food residue and starves the bacteria, keeping its growth in check. In the absence of brushing, the carbohydrates that linger the longest can cause the most damage.

Overall, the true cause of tooth decay is the combination of bacteria, sugar, and acid. Your gums can get irritated if sugar gets caught in between your teeth. It is important to brush or rinse after eating, especially after sweets, to get rid of the sugars and acids that can damage the enamel.

Flossing is not Important

Flossing is definitely important for oral health. Flossing is an extra step that a lot of people tend to skip after brushing their teeth which can lead to the buildup of bacteria. If you don’t floss, you are not cleaning almost 33% of the tooth surfaces that regular brushing can’t reach.

teeth flossin

Brushing alone cannot clean the whole area around a tooth when there is another tooth beside it. Flossing completes tooth brushing by removing dental plaque and food debris remaining in the inter-proximal region (the area that is between two teeth). That region is a place where tooth decay commonly forms.

Also, if dental plaque that is found between teeth is not cleaned, it can eventually release bad odors from your mouth. This is a major reason why a person may suffer from bad breath (halitosis). In fact, Tooth decay and gum disease, also caused by dental plaque, are the usual source of a bad smell in the mouth.

“Fine”-looking teeth is enough of a sign to disregard your dentist appointment

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality does not apply to oral health; it’s mainly because you wouldn’t really know if something’s wrong with your teeth until you go to a dentist or when the situation has gone worse. This is why you should have your teeth checked up regularly.

perfect smile

Experts at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommend that adults should be called for check-ups, depending on risk factors including alcohol, tobacco use and diet. It is recommended to go to a dentist every three months for those who are at high risk of dental problems, and every two years for those with lower risks.

It’s wise to visit your dental team regularly even if you are not experiencing any problems with your mouth or teeth. Having your teeth checked regularly helps you and your dentist, dental hygienist or dental therapist in keeping your teeth and gums healthy and pain-free.

International Clinical Trials Day

19 May, 16 | by aaldcroft

By Sir George Chalmers, c 1720-1791 - [1], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32922810

Today is Clinical Trials Day. Celebrated around the world on or near May 20, Clinical Trials Day commemorates the date when, in 1747, James Lind started the first clinical trial to test citrus fruits as a treatment for scurvy.

This year’s campaign from the NIHR is OK To Ask, which encourages patients and carers to inquire about research opportunities that could be available. We here at BMJ Open support initiatives for patient involvement in research and decision-making and hope that, in making our content freely available online, we help make research more familiar and accessible to the public, including patients, for whom the research is ultimately intended.

While James Lind’s basic principle for the trial remains, the scale, sophistication, and problems surrounding modern trials are evolving rapidly. The importance of registering drugs and publishing all trial results is recognised, but adherence remains unsatisfactory. The notion of what constitutes an intervention is also changing, with text messaging and educational methods now being studied using the same framework as drugs.

BMJ Open will continue efforts to improve the quality of reporting trials, emphasizing the importance of publishing null and negative results and study protocols. The clinical trial is certainly worthy of celebration, along with improvement.

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By Sir George Chalmers, c 1720-1791 - [1], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32922810

Today is Clinical Trials Day. Celebrated around the world on or near May 20, Clinical Trials Day commemorates the date when, in 1747, James Lind started the first clinical trial to test citrus fruits as a treatment for scurvy.

This year’s campaign from the NIHR is OK To Ask, which encourages patients and carers to inquire about research opportunities that could be available. We here at BMJ Open support initiatives for patient involvement in research and decision-making and hope that, in making our content freely available online, we help make research more familiar and accessible to the public, including patients, for whom the research is ultimately intended.

While James Lind’s basic principle for the trial remains, the scale, sophistication, and problems surrounding modern trials are evolving rapidly. The importance of registering drugs and publishing all trial results is recognised, but adherence remains unsatisfactory. The notion of what constitutes an intervention is also changing, with text messaging and educational methods now being studied using the same framework as drugs.

BMJ Open will continue efforts to improve the quality of reporting trials, emphasizing the importance of publishing null and negative results and study protocols. The clinical trial is certainly worthy of celebration, along with improvement.

Why grant application peer review needs you – and vice versa

How peer review is important for grant applications, particularly at the MRC
How peer review is important for grant applications, particularly at the MRC
Medical Research Council

To be sure we fund important research questions, high-quality research and well-designed studies we need to ask for the opinions of people who best understand that research area. It is a long, difficult and sometimes imperfect process but it is the only way to ensure we allocate finite funds to the very best projects.

Peer review at the Medical Research Council

Sometimes the office has to approach as many as 15 people to receive only three or four reviews.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) peer review process relies on receiving a sufficient number of reviewer comments. The office approaches the best, most relevant experts first, but if they don’t respond, the net has to be widened. Sometimes the office has to approach as many as 15 people to receive only three or four reviews. That situation is not ideal – it’s a huge amount of work, and it could mean that the application is not reviewed by the most appropriate people.

Committees, boards and panels bring together people with a wealth of expertise. But no board can comprise experts on all topics. So we need to be absolutely sure that those difficult decisions are based on the best possible evidence, and that’s where peer review comes in.

The video below explains the MRC peer review process specifically:

[embedded content]

Peer reviewer expectations

As a peer reviewer, you’re not expected to spend huge amounts of time digging into the literature and checking everything the applicant says they’re going to do. You’re being asked for your opinion and the proposal should contain everything you need to be able to judge it.

Reviews don’t need to be long but the MRC board or panel will rely on them to make judgements. So if you pick up a problem, ensure you describe the nature of the problem. If it’s a really good grant and you can’t find anything wrong, tell them. And if you think it’s an important question, explain why.

I think the more grants you read, the better your own grants become. For early career researchers, reviewing grants is a useful skill to develop

I think the more grants you read, the better your own grants become. For early career researchers, reviewing grants is a useful skill to develop in terms of rapidly assimilating data and coming to a conclusion. Plus, once you’ve seen a good and a bad one, it becomes a lot easier to write your own.

Learning from others

I would say it’s rare, whether your grant is funded or not, not to learn something from the reviewers comments. Even if your grant gets funded the comments can be really helpful in making it better and making sure you don’t make mistakes on the way. For example, experienced peer reviewers can point you to more appropriate methods or alert you to some likely pitfalls.

Reviewing a grant doesn’t take a large amount of time, and if everybody plays their part it means everybody gets more useful reviews and the opportunity to improve.

Engage with the process so you can see it working. By observing an MRC board meeting you see how reviews are used to enable the board to come to a decision. People usually leave with much greater confidence in the system than they had before.

I used to complain and criticize grant funding decisions. Now I’ve sat on boards and committees I don’t complain anymore because I understand how difficult the process is. I think if people genuinely want the best science to be funded they need to recognize that they have an important role to play.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

To be sure we fund important research questions, high-quality research and well-designed studies we need to ask for the opinions of people who best understand that research area. It is a long, difficult and sometimes imperfect process but it is the only way to ensure we allocate finite funds to the very best projects.

Peer review at the Medical Research Council

Sometimes the office has to approach as many as 15 people to receive only three or four reviews.
The Medical Research Council (MRC) peer review process relies on receiving a sufficient number of reviewer comments. The office approaches the best, most relevant experts first, but if they don’t respond, the net has to be widened. Sometimes the office has to approach as many as 15 people to receive only three or four reviews. That situation is not ideal – it’s a huge amount of work, and it could mean that the application is not reviewed by the most appropriate people. Committees, boards and panels bring together people with a wealth of expertise. But no board can comprise experts on all topics. So we need to be absolutely sure that those difficult decisions are based on the best possible evidence, and that’s where peer review comes in. The video below explains the MRC peer review process specifically:

Peer reviewer expectations

As a peer reviewer, you’re not expected to spend huge amounts of time digging into the literature and checking everything the applicant says they’re going to do. You’re being asked for your opinion and the proposal should contain everything you need to be able to judge it. Reviews don’t need to be long but the MRC board or panel will rely on them to make judgements. So if you pick up a problem, ensure you describe the nature of the problem. If it’s a really good grant and you can’t find anything wrong, tell them. And if you think it’s an important question, explain why.
I think the more grants you read, the better your own grants become. For early career researchers, reviewing grants is a useful skill to develop
I think the more grants you read, the better your own grants become. For early career researchers, reviewing grants is a useful skill to develop in terms of rapidly assimilating data and coming to a conclusion. Plus, once you’ve seen a good and a bad one, it becomes a lot easier to write your own.

Learning from others

I would say it’s rare, whether your grant is funded or not, not to learn something from the reviewers comments. Even if your grant gets funded the comments can be really helpful in making it better and making sure you don’t make mistakes on the way. For example, experienced peer reviewers can point you to more appropriate methods or alert you to some likely pitfalls. Reviewing a grant doesn’t take a large amount of time, and if everybody plays their part it means everybody gets more useful reviews and the opportunity to improve. Engage with the process so you can see it working. By observing an MRC board meeting you see how reviews are used to enable the board to come to a decision. People usually leave with much greater confidence in the system than they had before. I used to complain and criticize grant funding decisions. Now I’ve sat on boards and committees I don’t complain anymore because I understand how difficult the process is. I think if people genuinely want the best science to be funded they need to recognize that they have an important role to play.