Today’s Headlines: One Way to Keep Your Brain Young, How Meditation May Help Relieve Back Pain, and the FDA Regulations on Opioid Medication

Exercise may help fight against aging in your brain. A recent study has shown that moderate exercise may make a brain 10 years younger. “The 10 percent who said they took part in moderate- to high-intensity exercise scored better on the [cognitive] tests 12 years later. These included running, racquetball, aerobics, or calisthenics. “We found that those with moderate-heavy activity had higher baseline scores and slower decline in comparison to inactive patients,” the team wrote.” While exercise seemed to help many, the study found that exercise did not seem to be effective in the older people who had already shown signs of memory loss or other age-related brain issues. (NBC)

Learning how to meditate may decrease chronic lower back pain. A study released on Tuesday showed that meditation may be more effective than other pain management methods. “At 26 weeks, 61 percent of those in the meditation group reported improvement in the activities they could do, compared with 58 percent in the CBT [cognitive behavioral therapy] group and 44 percent of those who stuck to their usual routines. The results for pain improvement were similar, with 55 percent in the meditation group reporting improvement compared with 45 percent in the CBT group and 27 percent in the usual-care group. The numbers were similar when rechecked at 52 weeks.” Researchers are still not sure exactly why meditation may work as an effective method. (Washington Post)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is going to implement new warning labels on opioid medications. The abuse of painkillers in the U.S. is a growing epidemic and the government hopes more detailed labels can reduce or decrease this growth. “The agency said the changes would mostly apply to immediate-release opioids — usually intended for use every four to six hours — and would include new boxed warnings, the agency’s strongest type, about the risks of abuse and death. The new labeling says that the drugs ‘should be reserved for pain severe enough to require opioid treatment and for which alternative treatment options are inadequate or not tolerated,’ the F.D.A. said.” Research has shown that in recent years more Americans have died from drug overdoses than car accidents and opioids are responsible for a large part of that statistic. (NYT)