Surveys show that fewer Americans have a primary care doctor, especially among younger people. Experts discuss the ramifications of this trend both medically and economically, reasons behind it, and how primary care practitioners are changing the way they work to answer objections.
Dr. Ana Maria Lopez, President, American College of Physicians
Dr. John Cullen, President, American Academy of Family Physicians
Dupuytren disease (pronounced DOO-pah-tren) is the most common disorder crippling hands that most people have never heard of. It is a genetic condition of the fascia beneath the skin of the palms, and it stubbornly resists treatment. An expert and a patient discuss the disorder.
Tom Knapp, Dupuytren patient and board member, Dupuytren Foundation
Dr. Charles Eaton, hand surgeon and Executive Director, Dupuytren Foundation
Folate, or vitamin b-9, is an essential nutrient, especially for pregnant women. Folic acid is often added to bread, flour, cereal, and pasta to help eliminate deficiencies. Now new research shows supplementation is more important than we thought, because once somebody is short on folate, the damage can’t be fixed. The study in the journal PNAS shows that folate deficiency triggers errors in chromosomes that are passed on as the cell divides. Once those changes occur, they’re permanent.
If you’ve ever fibbed to your doctor, you’re not alone. In fact, a study in the journal JAMA Network Open finds that between 60 and 80 percent of people are less than forthcoming to their doctors about things that could affect their health. People apparently want to avoid being judged or lectured by doctors… or sometimes, they’re simply too embarrassed to tell the truth.
Various forms of dementia are increasing… and now scientists have found that a single specific mutation in one gene can cause one of them. “Frontotemporal dementia” accounts for about 20 percent of all early-onset forms of the disease…. which can affect people as young as their 40’s. A study in the journal Translational Psychiatry has tracked down a single mutation as the cause… and researchers say the finding could be important for both treatment and in research on Alzheimer’s disease.
And finally… a new study shows that forcing kids to apologize usually backfires. The study in the journal Merrill-Palmer Quarterly finds that children who receive an insincere apology dislike the apologizing kid even more than they did before. Transgressors feel worse, too… and don’t learn to have empathy for their victim.
Experts have believed that autism affects four times as many boys as girls, but the ratio may not actually be quite that high. Doctors are learning that autism shows up differently in girls’ behavior as a result of brain differences. This leaves many girls with autism undiagnosed. Experts discuss how it appears in girls and the consequences of those differences.
Dr. Thomas Frazier, Chief Science Officer, Autism Speaks
Dr. Rachel Loftin, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Northwestern University
Dr. Kevin Pelphrey, Jefferson Scholars Foundation, Professor of Neurology, University of Virginia
Experts say incest is the most common of all sexual abuse, but the least discussed openly. This can leave victims isolated and less able to reveal abuse, which can have further psychological ramifications later on. A noted expert on sexual abuse discusses how incest makes girls feel particularly responsible and unable to come forward, and a non-profit organization that seeks to help them.
Dr. Patti Feuereisen, clinical psychologist and author, Invisible Girls: Speaking the Truth About Sexual Abuse
It’s well known that the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is rising… but the speed of the increase is stunning researchers. A study in the journal Lancet Neurology finds that the number of people with dementia around the world has more than doubled since 1990. Researchers estimate that within about 30 years… more than 100 million people will be affected with dementia.
Air pollution is bad for your health… but researchers haven’t been able to quantify just how bad until now. A Danish study in the journal Environment International used advanced models to simulate the effects of pollution on large populations. It shows that cutting city pollution to the level found in the country could increase the lifespan of the average urban dweller by one full year.
And finally… it doesn’t take long to believe your own lies. And the older you are, the less time it takes. A study in the journal Brain and Cognition used EEG’s to monitor brain activity of people purposely telling lies… then telling the truth to the same questions 45 minutes later. Researchers found that people over 60 are much more likely than young people to accept as the truth a lie they had told less than an hour earlier. Apparently, scientists say, telling a lie scrambles the memory so people ultimately accept it as what really happened.
Drug and alcohol addiction and abuse is rising. Researchers have found that “fear mongering” educational efforts to combat it in adolescents doesn’t work. New science has discovered that certain personality types are predictably predisposed to addiction risk, and that educational efforts can be targeted to them effectively. Experts discuss.
Dr. Natalie Castellanos-Ryan, Assistant Professor of Psychoeducation, University of Montreal
Maia Szalavitz, author, Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction