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January 12, 2006, 11:22 PM CT

Your Purse And Depression Treatment

Your Purse And Depression Treatment
Low-income people with depression are less likely to respond to therapy and more likely to be suicidal than those who have higher incomes, as per a studyin the recent issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Socioeconomic factors, including income, education and occupation, have long been linked to health status, illness and death. Research has shown that people with lower socioeconomic status (SES) are more likely to develop a depressive illness and that their depression is more severe than that of people higher on the SES scale. Several studies have hypothesized that socioeconomic factors, including income and education, would also affect how people respond to medications and other therapies for depression, but have ultimately proved inconclusive, according to background information in the article.

Alex Cohen, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School, Boston, and his colleagues reanalyzed two prior clinical trials funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and conducted at the University of Pittsburgh. The 248 participants were all 59 years or older and receiving antidepressant medications combined with psychotherapy. Their education levels were assessed at the beginning of the original studies. Median annual household income for their areas was obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau. Low-income was defined as less than $25,000, middle-income between $25,000 and $50,000 and high-income more than $50,000. The subjects' depressive symptoms and response to therapy were measured weekly.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink


January 12, 2006, 11:16 PM CT

Eating Disorders May Cause Problems In Infants

Eating Disorders May Cause Problems In Infants
Certain complications during and immediately after birth are associated with the development of the eating disorders anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, as per a studyin the recent issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Eating disorders are believed to be caused by a complex interaction of genetic and environmental factors, according to background information in the article. Observational reports suggest that problems during neurodevelopment in the fetus might lead to anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa later in life, and some studies have found a correlation between obstetric complications and anorexia nervosa. "Obstetric complications might have more than one role in the etiopathogenesis of eating disorders; first, they may cause hypoxic-induced damage to the brain that impairs the neurodevelopment of the fetus, and second, the adequacy of nutrition during pregnancy and in the immediate postnatal period seems to influence the nutritional status of the adult and appetite programming throughout life," the authors write.

Angela Favaro, M.D., Ph.D., and his colleagues at the University of Padua, Italy, completed an analysis of 114 females with anorexia nervosa, 73 with bulimia nervosa and a control group of 554 without either condition, all born at Padua Hospital between Jan. 17, 1971, and Dec. 30, 1979. Fifteen of the people with anorexia, 22 with bulimia and all of the control subjects had participated in a prior study of the prevalence of eating disorders in Padua. The authors added in a sample of 99 people with anorexia and 51 with bulimia who had been referred to an outpatient clinic for their conditions. They then merged the samples and analyzed data about obstetric complications obtained from hospital archives.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink


January 11, 2006, 7:50 PM CT

How Seniors Sleep Without Drugs

How Seniors Sleep Without Drugs
A new study lays to rest the notion that sleepless seniors might respond poorly to therapys that emphasize behavioral treatment over drugs.

Behavioral interventions for insomnia offer "a very powerful strategy" in people over 55, said Michael Irwin, M.D., of UCLA, the lead author of a systematic evidence review. "Their benefits may be greater than pharmacologic therapys, because they can persist for a longer period of time."

Treating insomnia with drugs may impair functioning, create dependency and worsen sleep after they are discontinued, he says.

Poor sleep is one of the more common complaints among adults, and the prevalence rate among the elderly is almost double that of younger adults. Moreover, scientists are now recognizing the importance of sleep to overall health.

"Insomnia is increasingly implicated as a predictor of cardiovascular and noncardiovascular disease mortality," says the review.

This review is the first in a new series of would be published in Health Psychology. Each evidence-based review will center on a specific psychological assessment or therapy conducted in the context of a physical disease process or risk reduction effort.

The systematic review included 23 randomized controlled trials involving more than 500 participants. The various non-drug therapys - cognitive behavioral treatment, relaxation and changes in sleep behavior - yielded "robust improvements" in a variety of common problems such as poor sleep quality, difficulty falling asleep and awakening during the night.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink


January 11, 2006, 7:37 PM CT

Elderly With Alcoholism And Heart Attack

Elderly With Alcoholism And Heart Attack
Older Americans with alcohol problems do not get worse therapy than their sober peers when they are hospitalized for a heart attack, according to new research on Medicare patients across the country.

Alcoholic patients were less likely than sober patients to receive beta-blocker drugs when they were discharged from the hospital, but there were no other significant therapy differences between the two groups. The study is published in the latest issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

"Alcohol-related diagnoses are not a barrier to receiving most quality of care measures in elderly patients hospitalized" for heart attack, David Fiellin, M.D., of Yale University School of Medicine and his colleagues conclude.

The encouraging finding "speaks to the fact that there have been significant efforts across the board, in medicine in general, to monitor the provision of quality care," Fiellin said.

However, the scientists also note that the "overall provision of quality of care indicators was low," when measured across all patients.

Fiellin and his colleagues analyzed data for 155,026 Medicare patients age 65 and older admitted to a hospital with a heart attack. Only 1,284 of these patients also had an alcohol-related diagnosis on their medical records.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink


January 10, 2006, 6:14 PM CT

Adolescents Females and Alcohol

Adolescents' Females' and Alcohol
Studies with rats have revealed that adolescents and female adults show less sensitivity to the sedative effects of alcohol than do adult males, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center. They said the animals are similar enough to humans that their findings offer significant insight into how the human brain may react to alcohol. For example, they said, their findings may help to explain why adolescents under the influence of alcohol may be more likely to engage in risky behavior -- they are less sedated. Also, said the researchers, their findings may help explain why women are less likely to become addicted to alcohol.

Especially interesting, the scientists said, is that the sex differences appear to extend to the cellular level - a finding not previously reported. The team's findings appear in the January 2006 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

According to the team, research in humans shows that while women typically consume less alcohol than men, they are more susceptible to negative health consequences such as cognitive impairment, heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver due to its effects. A greater understanding of such a sex difference could improve efforts to educate people about the dangers of alcohol and perhaps eventually to a better understanding of the mechanisms of addiction, said the researchers.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink


January 9, 2006, 9:06 PM CT

Obese People Do Not Care About Health Risks

Obese People Do Not Care About Health Risks
MORE THAN a quarter of obese and overweight people do not want to lose weight and a number of more are unaware of the benefits brought by a healthy lifestyle, a new survey by Cancer Research UK reveals.

More than half of the 4000 men and women surveyed were overweight or obese. But 87 per cent of obese people and 32 per cent of overweight people failed to identify their correct weight category.

Being obese or overweight increases cancer risk. But 71 per cent of those at risk because of their weight did not know of the cancer connection.

Cancer Research UK has joined forces with the charity Weight Concern to develop Ten Top Tips - a set of weight management guidelines that can be incorporated into everyday routines without radical lifestyle change. The scientifically-based programme involves adopting ten simple steps and using a weekly checklist over eight weeks to monitor progress and help reinforce the new habits.

Nearly 50 per cent of obese and overweight people did not think that eating healthily could help reduce cancer risk; almost two thirds (64 per cent) were unaware that regular exercise could reduce risk; more than 80 per cent did not know the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight and almost 80 per cent failed to recognise the importance of moderation when drinking alcohol to reduce cancer risk.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink


January 7, 2006, 3:03 PM CT

Lack Of Sleep May Impair Learning

Lack Of Sleep May Impair Learning
As the pace of life quickens and it becomes harder to balance home and work, a number of people meet their obligations by getting less sleep.

But sleep deprivation impairs spatial learning -- including remembering how to get to a new destination. And now researchers are beginning to understand how that happens: Learning spatial tasks increases the production of new cells in an area of the brain involved with spatial memory called the hippocampus. Sleep plays a part in helping those new brain cells survive.

A team of scientists from the University of California and Stanford University found that sleep-restricted rats had a harder time remembering a path through a maze compared to their rested counterparts. And unlike the rats that got enough sleep, the sleep-restricted rats showed reduced survival rate of new hippocampus cells.

The scientists used sleep-restricted rats rather than sleep-deprived rats to more closely mimic the common human experience of inadequate sleep during the work week, said lead investigator Ilana Hairston of both the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University. The paper, "Sleep restriction suppresses neurogenesis induced by hippocampus-dependent learning," appears in the Journal of Neurophysiology published by the American Physiological Society. Stanford scientists Milton T.M. Little, Michael D. Scanlon, Monique T. Barakat, Theo D. Palmer, Robert M. Sapolsky, and H. Craig Heller co-authored the paper.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink


January 4, 2006

Telephone counseling for smokers

Telephone counseling for smokers
People seeking help to quit smoking have a number of options, from support groups to nicotine replacement to prescription drugs designed to lessen the urge to light up. Now Washington University scientists and BJC HealthCare are testing another one: telephone counseling.

The Call-2-Quit project, funded by a three-year, $1.35 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will compare two approaches to smoking cessation telephone counseling. Both interventions include discussion of key tasks for quitting smoking, but they differ in counseling style and in the range of topics that are covered.

Over the course of several weeks, those who call for phone counseling will participate in seven sessions with trained smoking cessation counselors to learn about methods that may help them stay away from cigarettes.

"We want to provide state-of-the-art counseling," says psychology expert Mark S. Walker, Ph.D., instructor of medicine in Washington University's Division of Health Behavior Research and the study's principal investigator. "The program will vary from person to person, but all callers will receive information about key topics, including avoiding temptation, use of nicotine replacement treatment and overcoming barriers to quitting."

The study will involve employees of BJC HealthCare who are participating in an initiative called Help for Your Health, which was launched two years ago to improve the health of BJC's 26,000 employees.

"BJC HealthCare is committed to helping our employees take charge of their health. Decreasing the incidence of smoking is one of the fastest ways to improving health," according to Steven Lipstein, President and CEO of BJC HealthCare. "Participation in the Call-2-Quit study is one of several initiatives where BJC is taking an active role to address the deadly habit of tobacco use."........

JoAnn      Permalink


January 4, 2006

Mysterious multi-symptom condition among Persian Gulf vets

Mysterious multi-symptom condition among Persian Gulf vets
Comparing veterans deployed in the first Persian Gulf War and veterans deployed elsewhere at the same time has revealed veterans who served in the Persian Gulf have nearly twice the prevalence of chronic multi-symptom illness (CMI), a cluster of symptoms similar to a set of conditions often called Gulf War Syndrome.

To be diagnosed with CMI, veterans must have had symptoms for more than six months in two or three of the following categories: fatigue; mood symptoms or difficulty thinking; and muscle or joint pain.

However, the study also found CMI in veterans who did not serve in the gulf, suggesting that the Persian Gulf conflict isn't the only trigger for CMI.

"We're not yet sure whether CMI is due to a single disease or pathological process," says lead author Melvin Blanchard, M.D., associate chief of medicine at the St. Louis Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center and assistant professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "But this study has identified an intriguing association between CMI risk and diagnosis of depression and anxiety disorders previous to military service."

Other findings from the study include:



  • Having CMI doubles the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes and cirrhosis of the liver.


  • Veterans with CMI report much poorer quality of life, and poorer mental and physical functioning than unaffected veterans.


  • Veterans with CMI utilize more healthcare services.
  • ........

    Daniel      Permalink


    January 4, 2006

    Surprising Rapid Emotional Recovery Of Breast Cancer Survivors

    Surprising Rapid Emotional Recovery Of Breast Cancer Survivors Researcher Tiffany Tibbs discusses breast cancer treatment with a patient.
    Contrary to psychologists' expectations, breast cancer survivors don't experience an extended emotional crisis after their treatment regimens end, according to a new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The study appears in the January issue of Supportive Care in Cancer.

    "We thought we'd find that women do worse psychologically after treatment," says Washington University psychologist, Teresa L. Deshields, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine. "That's the clinical lore. After all, many of the patients referred to us are the ones struggling at the end of treatment. But our study shows that within two weeks most women adjust very well to survivorship".

    The research team surveyed 94 women drawn from patients of the radiation oncology practice at the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. The women, averaging 55 years of age, had stage 0, I, II or III breast cancer and at the start of the study were completing the last of a six- to seven-week course of daily radiation treatments.

    The women were surveyed five times: on their last day of radiation treatment, two weeks later, several days before their first follow-up appointment (four to six weeks post-treatment) and at three and six months. The survey measured patients' depressive symptoms and quality of life (the quality of life measurement quantifies a set of attributes that include physical, social/family, emotional and functional well-being, and breast-cancer-specific concerns).

    For the group of breast-cancer survivors, the average score for indications of depression was heightened at the end of treatment compared to a group of healthy men and women. A higher score on the depression index indicates more severe depressive symptoms.........

    Emily      Permalink



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Did you know?
Too little evidence exists to recommend or rule out estrogen as a treatment for schizophrenia in women, a new review of studies finds.People diagnosed with schizophrenia suffer distorted perceptions of reality and hallucinations. Today, estrogen is strictly an experimental therapy for the psychotic symptoms associated with the mental illness.

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