June 19th, 2014
08:54 AM ET
Young women are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or die of heart disease if they suffer from depression, a new study suggests.
Researchers looked at 3,237 patients with suspected or established heart disease who were undergoing coronary angiography – a medical procedure used to diagnose narrowing in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. On the same day of the procedure, the patients answered nine questions assessing their state of mind.
If the patient was experiencing moderate to severe depression, and was under 55 years old, researchers found she had double the chance of experiencing a heart attack in the next few years. Depressed women under 55 were also twice as likely to have heart disease or to die from any cause during that time period than those who were not depressed. Men and those women older than 55 with depression did not show the same increased risk.
Depression is as powerful a risk factor for heart disease as diabetes and smoking, study author Dr. Amit Shah, a cardiologist at Emory University in Atlanta, concluded.
April 16th, 2014
04:13 PM ET
Being apathetic is usually defined as showing a lack of enthusiasm or energy. Most people who experience it say they just aren’t motivated to do anything.
Although anyone in any age group can become apathetic, it has been well documented that apathy tends to affect those in their golden years. Now scientists believe that an elderly person’s lack of emotion and indifference to the world could be a sign his or her brain is shrinking.
A study published Wednesday in the journal Neurology, and funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Aging, found that older folks, who are apathetic - but not depressed - may be suffering from smaller brain volumes than those without apathy. FULL POST
October 11th, 2013
12:58 PM ET
Here's a roundup of five medical studies published recently that might give you new insights into your health, mind and body. Remember, correlation is not causation – so if a study finds a connection between two things, it doesn't mean that one causes the other.
Athlete endorsements may be detrimental to kids' health
Could sports superstars be encouraging bad eating habits in children? A new study takes a hard look at the products that professional athletes endorse, and the news isn't good.
"Seventy-nine percent of the 62 food products in athlete-endorsed advertisements were energy-dense and nutrient-poor, and 93.4% of the 46 advertised beverages had 100% of calories from added sugar," study authors wrote.
The awards for most endorsements for energy-dense, nutrient-poor products goes to football player Peyton Manning and basketball player LeBron James. Bleacher Report has more on this study.
Scientists have brain breakthrough in mice
Researchers have discovered the first chemical compound that stops brain tissue from dying in a neurodegenerative disease, TIME.com reports.
This drug could be instrumental in fighting brain conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, scientists say. But so far, the research has only been done in mice; further investigation is necessary to see if it would work in humans.
May 27th, 2013
02:44 PM ET
More than 2 million children have been affected by the military deployment of at least one parent within the past decade, and thousands have had to cope with a parent's death or traumatic injury, experts say.
Therefore, it's imperative that pediatricians and other health care providers address the mental health and well-being of children from U.S. military families, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
"This is guidance (for the providers), but it is the first of its kind," said co-author Dr. Beth Ellen Davis, a pediatrician and retired U.S. Army colonel. "I could think of no better way to honor our service members than to help providers take care of their children."
April 3rd, 2013
10:50 AM ET
Exposure to intimate partner violence and maternal depression before the age of 3 may increase a child's risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine looked a population of more than 2,000 children, and found that those whose parents had reported depression or intimate partner violence were significantly more likely to suffer from ADHD as they grew older.
"It wasn't surprising, from the lens of me being a behavioral pediatrician," said Dr. Nerissa Bauer, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine and the lead study author. "I routinely encounter mental health and behavioral problems in children, and this supports my initial hunch that I was seeing an increase in that." FULL POST
January 3rd, 2013
02:26 PM ET
It's a heated question: should women take antidepressants during pregnancy? Some experts argue for it and some against, but a new study may ease the minds of women facing the decision.
Researchers say taking a common type of antidepressant does not increase the risk of having a stillborn child or losing an infant early in life. The study was published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
"It does strengthen the view that these meds are safer than we once thought," explains Dr. Jennifer Payne, director of the Women's Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. FULL POST
December 10th, 2012
02:49 PM ET
Do bad nutrition habits like overeating or binge eating lead to smoking pot? Some health experts think they might, according to a study published Monday.
Habits like overeating have always been known to affect our health, nutritionists say. In some cases, people say they lose control and just can’t stop. Now scientists are finding that both habits and that feeling of lacking control may lead to other health issues.
Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital studied a group of 16,882 boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 15 who participated in the Growing Up Today Study, beginning in 1996. From that time to 2005, investigators sent out questionnaires every 12 to 24 months, asking if these children were overeating or binge eating. Binge eating was defined as eating an amount of food that is larger than most people would eat in the same time span under similar circumstances and feeling a lack of control over eating during that time. Overeating did not have to be connected to loss of control.
October 31st, 2012
11:53 AM ET
For years, pregnant women who suffer from depression have been told it's safer for them and their unborn child to continue taking antidepressants during pregnancy.
Now a new study is challenging that advice, suggesting the opposite is true and advocating against most women taking these drugs. If the depression is severe, however, the benefits might outweigh the risks, so it's best to check with your psychiatrist or physician.
Experts say about 13% of women take an antidepressant at some point during their pregnancy. Many drugs are called SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Taking these medicines while pregnant, however, may raise safety concerns, according to a review of existing research published Wednesday in the journal Human Reproduction. FULL POST
September 10th, 2012
04:13 PM ET
A new national strategy, unveiled by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and representatives from the military and the private sector, aims to reduce the number of suicides in the United States.
Suicide, according to the group, is becoming a serious public health problem in America. For every person who commits suicide, more than 30 others attempt it, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In fact, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the country, claiming more than twice as many lives each year as homicide - and that number is rising.
The 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention hopes to give families, medical personnel and communities more options to help those who may be thinking about suicide. It also strives to allocate more money to clinics to provide help to more people, along with resources to help better diagnose suicide in certain individuals. FULL POST
August 13th, 2012
04:18 PM ET
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. made headlines last month when he was said to be undergoing treatment for a mood disorder. Now, doctors have specified his condition: Bipolar II disorder.
This mental illness "is a treatable condition that affects parts of the brain controlling emotion, thought and drive and is most likely caused by a complex set of genetic and environmental factors," the Mayo Clinic said in a statement Monday.
Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones also has been treated for bipolar II.
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