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You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > DepressionPain


Intervention Helps Reduce Pain and Depression

Depression • • PainMay 28 09

For patients who experience pain and depression, common co-existing conditions, an intervention that included individually tailored antidepressant therapy and a pain self-management program resulted in greater improvement in the symptoms of these conditions than patients who received usual care, according to a study in the May 27 issue of JAMA.

Pain complaints account for more than 40 percent of all symptom-related outpatient visits, and depression is present in 10 percent to 15 percent of all patients who receive primary care. Pain and depression frequently co-exist (30 percent-50 percent co-occurrence), effect the treatment responsiveness of each, and have adverse effects on quality of life, disability, and health care costs, according to background information in the article.

Kurt Kroenke, M.D., of Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis, and colleagues conducted a study to determine if a combined pharmacological and behavioral intervention improves both depression and pain in primary care patients with musculoskeletal pain and co-existing depression. The trial (Stepped Care for Affective Disorders and Musculoskeletal Pain [SCAMP]) included 250 patients who had low back, hip, or knee pain for 3 months or longer and at least moderate depression severity. Patients were randomly assigned to the intervention (n = 123) or to usual care (n = 127). Depression was assessed with the 20-item Hopkins Symptom Checklist, and pain primarily with the Brief Pain Inventory.

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New Therapy Enlists Immune System to Boost Cure Rate in a Childhood Cancer

Children's Health • • Cancer • • ImmunologyMay 28 09

A multicenter research team has announced encouraging results for an experimental therapy using elements of the body’s immune system to improve cure rates for children with neuroblastoma, a challenging cancer of the nervous system.

John M. Maris, M.D., chief of Oncology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, co-authored the phase 3 clinical trial, which was led by Alice Yu, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of California, San Diego. Maris chairs the committee supervising the trial for the Children’s Oncology Group, a cooperative organization that pools resources from leading medical centers to study and devise new treatments for pediatric cancers.

Neuroblastoma, a cancer of the peripheral nervous system, usually appears as a solid tumor in the chest or abdomen. Neuroblastoma accounts for 7 percent of all childhood cancers, but due to its often aggressive nature, causes 15 percent of all childhood cancer deaths.

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Many at-risk women don’t follow mammogram schedule

Cancer • • Breast CancerMay 26 09

Women who have been treated for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) tend to stop following the recommended guidelines for mammography screening over time, despite the fact that they still have a higher-than-average risk for recurrence and development of a new DCIS in the other breast.

This finding, published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, is drawn from a study of more than 3,000 women who underwent breast-conserving surgery for DCIS between 1990 and 2001. Breast-conserving surgery is a procedure in which only the abnormal cells, or tumor, plus a margin - an area of normal cells surrounding the abnormal cells - are removed.

DCIS is a noninvasive condition in which abnormal cells are found in the lining of a breast duct. These abnormal cells have not yet spread outside the duct to other tissues in the breast. Some physicians consider this a “precancerous condition,” while others classify it as very early-stage breast cancer.

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H1N1 flu infects 13,000 in 46 countries: WHO

Flu • • InfectionsMay 26 09

The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that nearly 13,000 people have been confirmed to have infection of the new H1N1 flu strain but the number of countries affected is stable at 46.

In its latest tally, which tends to lag behind national reports, but is considered more accurate, the United Nations agency said its labs have confirmed 12,954 infections with the newly discovered strain that has killed 92 people.

Mexico has been most heavily affected by the flu outbreak, which has caused 80 deaths there. The other fatalities have been in the United States, where 10 people have died, and Costa Rica and Canada, which have reported one death each.

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Heart saves muscle

HeartMay 25 09

A heart muscle protein can replace its missing skeletal muscle counterpart to give mice with myopathy a long and active life, show Nowak et al. The findings will be published online on Monday, May 25, 2009 (http://www.jcb.org) and will appear in the June 1, 2009 print issue of the Journal of Cell Biology.

The contraction machinery protein, actin, exists in different forms in the adult heart and skeletal muscles. The heart form, ACTC, is also the dominant form in skeletal muscle of the fetus. But during development, the skeletal form, ACTA1, increases in production and by birth has taken over. It is not clear why the switch occurs, or why it doesn’t occur in the heart, but it happens in every higher vertebrate and, for that reason, has been considered vitally important.

Mutations to the ACTA1 gene cause a rare but serious myopathy. Most patients die within the first year of life and some are born almost completely paralyzed. Mice lacking ACTA1 die nine days after birth. Nowak et al. wondered if ACTC could compensate for a lack of ACTA1. The two proteins differ only slightly but, like the developmental switch in production, this difference is conserved across species. Many researchers therefore assumed such compensation would never work.

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Meat intake/prep not linked to breast cancer

Cancer • • Breast CancerMay 25 09

A large study has found no link between eating meat—total meat, red meat, processed meat, or meat cooked at high temperatures—and the risk of breast cancer in older women.

Some studies have found that women who eat a lot of red and processed meat are more likely to develop breast cancer than other women; but other studies have found no such link. Saturated fat, found mainly in animal products, has been tied to higher breast cancer risk in some studies, but not in others.

The current findings stem from 120,755 postmenopausal women who participated in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. The women provided information on what they ate and how often they ate certain foods when they entered the study between 1995 and 1996. They also provided information on meat-cooking methods.

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Depression tied to build-up of hidden belly fat

Depression • • Fat, DietaryMay 25 09

A new study links depression to an accumulation of visceral fat—deep hidden fat deposits around the abdominal organs—which confers a greater risk of heart disease and diabetes than the more obvious subcutaneous fat that collects just under the skin.

Depression is known to increase the risk of heart disease, but just how they are connected has been unclear.

“Our results suggest that central adiposity, which is commonly called belly fat, is an important pathway by which depression contributes to the risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” principal investigator Dr. Lynda H. Powell of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago said in a prepared statement.

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Eighteen U.S. soldiers in Kuwait have H1N1 flu

Flu • • Public HealthMay 25 09

Eighteen U.S. soldiers in Kuwait have H1N1 flu, the first cases in the Gulf Arab oil-exporting region, a government official said on Sunday.

“(The soldiers) were confirmed with the virus upon their arrival from their country to the military base (in Kuwait),” Ibrahim al-Abdulhadi told Reuters.

Kuwait is a logistics base for the U.S. army for neighboring Iraq, where the U.S. military said there were no known cases yet of H1N1.

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Porn star Marilyn Chambers died of heart disease

HeartMay 19 09

Porn star Marilyn Chambers, who was found dead at the age of 56 at her Los Angeles-area home in April, died of complications of heart disease, coroner’s officials said on Monday.

The body of Chambers, who starred in “Behind the Green Door,” one of the first pornographic films to be released widely in the United States, was found at her suburban Canyon Country home on April 12.

Los Angeles coroner’s officials said at the time that Chambers had likely died of natural causes despite her relatively young age.

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Insured immigrants spend less on health: study

Public HealthMay 18 09

Insured immigrants have lower medical expenses than do U.S.-born citizens, even after accounting for lower levels of insurance coverage, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

They said the findings contradict the popular belief that immigrants are a drain on the U.S. health system.

“Many people claim that immigrants are using large health care expenditures in the United States and they are causing emergency room bills to soar,” said Leighton Ku, a health policy researcher at George Washington University, whose study appears in the American Journal of Public Health.

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Genes that influence start of menstruation identified for first time

Gender: Female • • GeneticsMay 18 09

Researchers from the Peninsula Medical School, along with collaborators from research institutions across Europe and the United States, have for the first time identified two genes that are involved in determining when girls begin menstruation. The work will be published in Nature Genetics this weekend.

The findings of the study could have ramifications for normal human growth and weight too, because early-age menstruation is also associated with shorter stature and increased body weight. In general, girls who achieve menstruation earlier in life tend to have greater body mass index (BMI) and a higher ratio of fat compared to those who begin menstruation later.

The study carried out an analysis of 17,510 women across eight different international population-based sources. This number included women of European descent who reported the age at which they reached menstruation of between nine and 17 years.

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Can you see the emotions I hear? Study says yes

Public Health • • StressMay 14 09

By observing the pattern of activity in the brain, scientists have discovered they can “read” whether a person just heard words spoken in anger, joy, relief, or sadness. The discovery, reported online on May 14th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, is the first to show that emotional information is represented by distinct spatial signatures in the brain that can be generalized across speakers.

“Correct interpretation of emotion in the voice is highly important – especially in a modern environment where visual emotional signals are often not available,” for instance, when people talk on the phone, said Thomas Ethofer of the University of Geneva, Switzerland. “We demonstrated that the spatial pattern of activity within the brain area that processes human voices contains information about the expressed emotion.”

Previous neuroimaging studies showed that voice-sensitive auditory areas activate to a broad spectrum of vocally expressed emotions more than to neutral speech melody, the researchers explained. However, this enhanced response occurs irrespective of the specific category of emotion, making it impossible to distinguish different vocal emotions with conventional analyses.

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Allergy season: Cigarettes to the rescue?

Allergies • • Tobacco & MarijuanaMay 14 09

Everyone knows that smoking can kill you, but did you know that it may help with your allergies? A new study shows that cigarette smoke can prevent allergies by decreasing the reaction of immune cells to allergens.

Smoking can cause lung cancer, pulmonary disease, and can even affect how the body fights infections. Along with many harmful effects, smoking cigarettes has a surprising benefit: cigarettes can protect smokers from certain types of allergies. Now, a study recommended by Neil Thomson, a member of Faculty of 1000 Biology and leading expert in the field of respiratory medicine, demonstrates that cigarette smoke decreases the allergic response by inhibiting the activity of mast cells, the major players in the immune system’s response to allergens.

Researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands found that treatment of mast cells with a cigarette smoke-infused solution prevented the release of inflammation-inducing proteins in response to allergens, without affecting other mast cell immune functions.

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Heart disease risk persists in Hodgkin’s survivors

Cancer • • HeartMay 14 09

Survivors of Hodgkin’s disease are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, a Swedish study confirms. The risk is particularly high for patients treated for Hodgkin’s disease before the age of 40 years and with a family history of heart disease.

In the International Journal of Cancer, the investigators note that “previous studies have shown increased cardiovascular mortality as late side effects (in) Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients.” The aim of the current study, Dr. Anne Andersson of Umea University and colleagues explain, was to stratify heart disease risk factors for surveillance.

Hodgkin’s disease, also known as Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is a cancer of the lymphatic system, a part of the immune system. Compared with some other types of lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma usually responds to treatment and most patients can be cured. Because it frequently affects children and young adults, there is a prolonged period in which long-term side effects can develop.

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Pandemic flu to dominate WHO assembly

FluMay 14 09

H1N1 flu will dominate the World Health Organisation’s annual assembly of 193 countries next week, eclipsing other issues like tuberculosis and food safety.

The emergence and spread of the new virus caused WHO Director-General Margaret Chan to declare that a global pandemic is imminent, and public health officials are watching it closely in case it mutates and causes severe symptoms as it spreads.

The annual World Health Assembly in Geneva was due to run from May 18-27 but is now likely to last five days so health ministers can get home to deal with the virus.

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