A silent epidemic is at work in doctors around the world: depression. An estimated 400 physicians are lost each year to suicide, often because of unacknowledged and untreated mental illnesses. Dr. Pamela Wible, founder of the Ideal Medical Care movement and author of Physician Suicide Letters, Answered, and Dr. Louise Andrew, founder of MD Mentor, explain why doctors are committing suicide at a higher rate than the general population and why others are covering it up.
Starting from medical school, through residency, and then in their professional practices, doctors face a harsh and often unhealthy school and work environment that leaves many of them frustrated and disappointed. In turn, the suicide rate for doctors is two to five times higher than that of the general population, Dr. Wible says. Furthermore, doctors have a greater knowledge of drugs and the human body, which leads their suicide attempts to result in death more often.
The root of these high suicide rates is often left undiscovered or covered up. Many doctors will not be able to diagnose themselves or will not be approached by concerned colleagues or family members. If the mental illness is discovered, doctors often avoid acknowledging it for fear of losing their medical license or insurance. Finally, if doctors do try to get treatment, they are faced with an additional challenge; many doctors feel uncomfortable treating other doctors.
With the odds stacked against them, Dr. Wible and Dr. Andrew say that the responsibility falls to all of us to bring this issue to light and to acknowledge that our physicians are people too.
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Dr. Pamela Wible, founder of the Ideal Medical Care movement and author of Physician Suicide Letters, Answered
With the recent rise in food recalls due to contamination, many Americans are wondering why this is happening and what they can do to protect themselves from foodborne illnesses and infections. Dr. Mark Tamplin, former food safety adviser to both the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and author of Phage, explains two primary causes and what consumers can do to stop the contamination from spreading.
A Listeria outbreak is one of the biggest challenges to the food industry, Tamplin says, and, it is often to blame in cases of food contamination, especially in ready-to-eat produce. Because of the increasing size of processing plants, once contamination spreads, it is hard to stop, and if something goes wrong, a lot of people are affected. Listeria thrives in the cold temperatures that stop other bacteria from growing and lives in hard-to-clean places, making it a challenge to contain.
Furthermore, Norovirus is the number one cause of foodborne illnesses in the US, responsible for 60% of those illnesses. This virus comes only from humans, so it raises concerns about how processing companies and consumers themselves handle their food. Tamplin advises consumers to always rinse their produce, even if it has been pre-washed, to never keep food in the danger zone between 40-140 degrees for longer than 4 hours, and to clean and sanitize their kitchens properly. With the right precautions and regulations, the contamination in our homes and the food industry can be contained.
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Dr. Mark Tamplin, former food safety adviser to the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and author of Phage
Scientists have long sought the genetic connections to depression, and a major new study has found several dozen of them. The study in the journal Nature Genetics has identified 44 genomic variants associated with depression…30 of them totally new discoveries. Researchers say the more of these variants a person has, the more likely they are to have depression. Many of the genes are also linked to other disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obesity, and sleep disorders. Scientists call the study a “game changer.”
Every day when the sun sets, about 20 percent of Alzheimer’s patients suffer increased anxiety, disorientation, irritation and aggression. But now scientists have located the brain pathway causing “sundown syndrome,” at least in mice, and have developed a way to shut it down. They say the circadian rhythm disorder in humans is very similar and they hope to use the protein tool they’ve developed to stop the disorder in mice in the same way.
And finally, when someone loses a spouse, they’re more than 40 percent more likely to die in the next six months. And now researchers have figured out at least part of the reason. A study in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology shows that in the first three months of becoming a widow or widower, levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines rise significantly in the bloodstream while heart rate variability goes down. Both are connected with cardiac events and could help explain why it really is possible to die of a broken heart.