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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

According to an article in the WSJ , Melinda Beck states that many people are using omega-3 supplements to protect against various ailments, despite the fact that research on omega-3’s benefits is mixed. Recent research published in JAMA suggests that omega-3 fatty acids do not protect against heart attacks, strokes or deaths. Some medical associations, including the American Psychiatric Association, recommend regular consumption of fish rich in omega-3 for most people. Still, according to Paul Coates, director of the Office of Dietary Supplements, “There is no single answer here.” Coates adds, “Given that there is a potential for benefit, and the harm has not yet been fully explored, at reasonable levels of intake, it’s not a bad idea.”

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The AP (http://tinyurl.com/sunny-states 12/17, Schmid) reported, people in sunny states such as Louisiana, Hawaii, Florida say they’re the happiest Americans.   The places where people are most likely to report happiness also tend to rate high on studies comparing things like climate, crime rates, air quality and schools.  Ranking No. 1 in happiness was Louisiana, home of Dixieland music and Cajun/Creole cooking.   Rounding out the happy five were Hawaii, Florida, Tennessee and Arizona.  At the other end of the scale, last in happiness — is New York state.   It is suggested that the long commutes, congestion and high prices around New York City account for some of the unhappiness. 

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The AP (http://tinyurl.com/benefits-of-graditude 11/25) says, “Academics have long theorized that expressions of thanks promote health and happiness and give optimism and energy to the downtrodden. Now, “research indicates being thankful might help people actually feel better.” A recent study published in the Current Directions in Psychological Science hypothesizes that gratitude “builds social support, which…is tied to both physical and psychological wellbeing.” Meanwhile, “Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California-Davis, said those who offer gratitude are less envious and resentful,” and may “sleep longer, exercise more, and report a drop in blood pressure.”

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cpHealthDay (6/29, Edelson) reported that, according to a study published online June 29 in the journal Circulation, “anxiety and depression can increase the incidence of angina.” For the study, a team led by Mark Sullivan, MD, PhD, of the University of Washington, followed “191 people with known ischemia who underwent stress testing and heart imaging. They found that 36 percent reported no angina in the previous month, with 35 percent reporting monthly incidents.” Of the group “who had daily or weekly angina, psychological assessments, including a self-reporting anxiety and depression questionnaire, showed that 44 percent had significant anxiety and two-thirds had significant depression.” It remained unclear “whether the psychological problems were heightening the effect of angina or vice versa,” but Dr. Sullivan said that “physicians treating people with angina can use ‘fairly simple screening tests’ to determine the presence of anxiety or depression and treat those conditions, if necessary.”

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onlineIn the Wall Street Journal (6/11) Health Blog, Laura Landro wrote, “Mobile devices, doctor review sites and blogs are changing the way millions of health consumers find and share…health information, according to a new survey released today by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and the California HealthCare Foundation.” The survey of “2,253 adults, age 18 and older,” showed that an estimated 60 percent of respondents “said they have consulted blog comments, hospital reviews and doctor reviews, listened to podcasts about healthcare and signed up to receive updates about health or medical issues.” Notably, “some 60 percent of e-patients say they or someone they know has been helped by following medical advice or health information found on the Web,” compared to “31 percent of e-patients in 2006.” In addition, “close to 40 percent of e-patients use a social networking site” and “22 percent have followed their friends’ personal health experiences or updates on such a site.”

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GlucoseMedscape (6/4, Cassels) reported that, according to a study presented at the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting, “major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with impaired glucose tolerance.” For the study, researchers from the Bergen Regional Medical Center, in Paramus, NJ, “conducted a retrospective chart review among approximately 200 patients with a diagnosis of MDD who had been admitted to the Bergen Regional Medical Center between January and December 2007. Patients” who were “diagnosed with diabetes, coronary artery disease, or obesity were excluded from the study.” The team found that “21.12 percent of MDD patients had high fasting plasma glucose levels of >100 mg/dL and that 13.93 percent had fasting blood glucose levels between 90 and 99 mg/dL.” Notably, “approximately 35 percent of these depressed patients had impaired glucose-tolerance levels.” While “diabetes in the general population is about six…to seven percent,” in “individuals with depression, it is” approximately “21…to 22 percent,” the authors said.

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jartMedscape (5/27, Boughton) reported that, according to “a long-term analysis of Sertraline Antidepressant Heart Attack Randomized Trial (SADHART)” data presented at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting, “patients who fail to recover from depression after an acute episode of myocardial infarction…or unstable angina have double the mortality rate of those who return to psychological health — even seven years after the initial cardiac event.” In addition, investigators “from the SADHART trial also found that patients who had more severe depression — with a score of greater than 18 on the Hamilton Depression Rating…scale — were twice as likely to die as those with fewer symptoms seven years after being hospitalized for acute coronary syndromes.” And, “during the same panel presentation,” Erika Froelicher, PhD, said that “15…to 20 percent of cardiac patients meet the criteria for a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed (DSM-IV) disorder.”

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