Electroconvulsive therapy still has a stigma, with the reputation of being a painful, disturbing procedure that wipes out memories and, if movies are to be believed, even creates zombies. Experts explain the reality—that ECT is a quiet procedure that provokes a short brain seizure, releasing huge amounts of neurotransmitters to reset the brain in what is the quickest and most dependable treatment for severe and often suicidal depression.
Dr. Sarah Lisanby, Director, Translation Research, National Institute of Mental Health and Director, NIMH Non-Invasive Neuro-Modulation Unit
Dr. Dan Maixner, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Michigan
People who injure their foot often think they have a mere sprained foot or ankle when they actually have an injury that is potentially much more severe and disabling if not treated. Experts explain the Lisfranc joint and injuries that can hurt it.
Dr. Mark Hardy Balance Foot and Ankle Wellness Center, Lakewood, OH
Dr. Bryan Waxman, orthopedic surgeon, Illinois Bone and Joint Institute
If you think your hands are germ-free after you use hand sanitizer…think again. A study in the journal Science Translational Medicine finds that a few kinds of germs are developing resistance to alcohol-based hand sanitizers…and people who don’t rub their hands with them long enough are helping them along. Researchers say using sanitizer is still a good idea, but you can’t expect sanitizers to make up for sloppy habits.
A new study advises surgeons to stay away from children’s tonsils. The study in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery finds that removing tonsils and adenoids in childhood triples the odds of respiratory infections and allergic diseases later on. Tonsil removal is one of the most common pediatric surgeries performed worldwide, with more than 500,000 done each year on children in the U.S. alone.
A person’s biological age is often different from their chronological age…and the number of pregnancies a woman’s had can be one reason. A study in the journal Scientific Reports shows that during pregnancy, the cells in a woman’s body appear younger. But after pregnancy, that all changes. Later on, each pregnancy a woman has in her life ages her cells by as much as two years.
And finally…your sparkling water may be calorie-free…but it may still sabotage your diet. A study in the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice shows that carbonated water such as La Croix dramatically raises blood levels of ghrelin…the hormone that tells your brain that you’re hungry. Apparently, carbon dioxide bubbles are the culprit. Mice who drank carbonated water for a year ate significantly more than those who drank plain tap water…so they gained significantly more weight. A short study on people confirmed that ghrelin levels ended up six times higher in those drinking calorie-free carbonated water.
Many children are bullied, especially in the middle school years, and many parents worry about their kids, especially if the parents have experienced this themselves growing up. But kids with disabilities are about twice as likely to be victims as those without disabilities. Experts discuss the problem and provide specific how-to’s to educate parents and schools to work together to prevent bullying of these children.
Barb Ziemke, Senior Advocate and Parent Trainer, Pacer Center and National No Bullying Prevention Center, Minneapolis
Jan Urbanski, Director of Safe and Humane Schools, Clemson University Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life and Olweus Bullying Prevention Program
Major League Baseball teams spend $1.7 billion annually on pitchers, yet it is an extremely risky investment. Teams haven’t figured out how to prevent all-too-frequent arm injuries, which are now filtering down to children as well. A journalist who investigated the science of pitching injuries explains.
Jeff Passan, baseball columnist, Yahoo Sport and author, The Arm: Inside the Billion Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports
We recently reported on children who experience severe stress and how they are more likely to develop psychiatric disorders in adulthood but how does one lead to the other? According to a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, childhood stress changes our genes. Researchers compared the whole genomes of girls with stressful childhoods against girls with relatively calm childhoods and found a difference in gene expression in more than 1,400 genes as a result of the amount of stress the girls had experienced.
Artificially sweetened drinks have a reputation of being bad for your health but for patients with colon cancer they may be a healthy choice, according to a study in the journal PLOS One. Researchers found that among patients who’d already been treated for colon cancer, those who drank at least one can of artificially sweetened beverage per day had a 46 percent decline in risk of cancer recurrence or death.
Students won’t do better in school by taking unprescribed ADHD drugs. These so-called study drugs may make you feel smarter… but a study in the journal Pharmacy finds they don’t actually improve test performance. Researchers say a standard dose of Adderall will improve attention and focus but that doesn’t help on tasks involving short-term memory, reading comprehension, and fluency.
And finally dogs are known to be man’s best friend and a new study shows that over thousands of years, dogs have become very good at reading our social cues. A study in the journal Learning & Behavior shows that not only can dogs sense what their owners are feeling they’ll go through barriers to help their owners. Researchers say that when dogs heard their owner crying in another room, they hurried to push through the door to comfort them.
After criminal convictions, many people with substance use disorder are placed on probation with the condition they remain completely drug-free. They are often jailed when they relapse, setting back recovery and removing them from treatment that helps keep them clean. Is that fair, when relapse is a common symptom of their disease (and many others)? Addiction and legal experts discuss.
Lisa Newman-Polk, attorney and social worker, Ayer, MA
Michael Botticelli, Executive Director, Grayken Center for Addiction, Boston Medical Center and former Director, National Drug Control Policy
Dr. Barbara Herbert, Immediate Past President, Massachusetts Society of Addiction Medicine
Dr. Sally Satel, addiction psychiatrist and Lecturer, Yale University School of Medicine and Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute