Medical Notes 18-50


Medical Notes this week…

Millions of people take low dose aspirin in hopes of warding off a heart attack. Millions more take omega-3 fish oil supplements in part for the same reason. But a pair of studies in the Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine show that if you’re healthy and haven’t had a heart attack already… neither one will do you much good. In both studies, heart events were virtually the same as for people taking a placebo. And those taking aspirin had nearly twice the stomach bleeding… and a lot more indigestion.

People who’ve suffered a terrible loss often suffer worse health afterward. Now scientists have tracked one reason. A study at Rice University shows that people suffering from severe grief experience as much as 53 percent higher levels of inflammation throughout the body compared to normal people, and that outward signs of depression are no guide to the inflammation going on inside. Researchers say inflammation contributes to almost every disease in older people… especially heart attack and stroke.

And finally… some people consider attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder to be a disability. But a study in The Journal of Creative Behavior finds that in some fields, like marketing, product design, and technology, having ADHD is an asset to employment. Researchers find that people with ADHD resist conformity and ignore typical information. In short, they much more easily think outside the box.

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Medical Notes 18-45


Medical Notes this week…

Acute myeloid leukemia, or AML is one of the deadliest cancers, with a five-year survival rate of about 25 percent… and even when a patient has a lasting remission, the disease almost always relapses. But a new study in the journal Nature Communications finds that the disease appears to be the fault of a single gene, which they’ve located. Researchers say the gene rewires the body’s entire set of blood-forming cells and tissues. They hope the breakthrough could eventually lead to a gene-targeted therapy and improve survival rates.

Scientists have discovered some of the reasons why people with obesity have a higher risk of asthma. A study in the Journal of Physiology—Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology shows that inflammation in airways is greater in people with obesity. Those with obesity are also more likely to over-respond to allergens in airway muscles…causing the airways to narrow. Researchers say the discoveries may improve asthma treatment.

Teachers often contribute to a diagnosis of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder in children… but a new study concludes they may be mistaking immaturity for ADHD. The study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry shows that it’s most often the youngest kids in a classroom who are diagnosed with ADHD. Experts also say that in children who are diagnosed… it appears that some parts of the brain mature up to three years later than in kids who are not labeled.

And finally… one good way to get the vitamins you need in the future may be to chew some gum. A study in the Journal of Functional Foods shows that gum loaded with vitamins delivers enough of them to significantly raise levels in the blood. Both water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins were effectively delivered in gum… and researchers say most people think it’s a pleasant way to get nutrition.

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Medical Notes 18-33

 

Medical Notes this week…

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.

 

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18-08 Segment 1: ADHD and Sleep Disorders

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Over the years, the number of diagnoses of ADHD have skyrocketed, not only in children, but adults, as well. But recent research shows that some of these individuals suffering from ADHD could actually just be suffering from a disordered body clock. Dr. Vatsal Thakkar, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and CEO of Reimbursify, explains that any disruption of sleep can lead to cognitive problems, mood and anxiety issues, and a number of physical health complications, too. If this lack of sleep is persistent for years, one could develop ADHD-like symptoms.

So, what causes this inability to sleep? Dr. Sandra Kooij, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Free University Amsterdam Medical Center, states that it is often an issue with the biological clock. The body relies on light and brightness to know when to wake up, and darkness to know when to sleep, but if this system is off, an individual is not capable of sleeping until later than normal.

Most people enjoy to sleep because it helps them to focus better throughout the day, but falling asleep can be a daunting task for those with sleeping disorders. Dr. Kooij explains a few simple tasks that could help get the biological clock back on track and reduce the impact of ADHD in a variety of people.

Guests:

  • Dr. Vatsal Thakkar, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and CEO of Reimbursify
  • Dr. Sandra Kooij, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Free University Amsterdam Medical Center

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Coming Up On Radio Health Journal Show 18-08

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ADHD and Sleep Disorders

New research shows that most people with ADHD have a disordered body clock, prompting disturbed sleep, sleep deprivation, and a worsening of ADHD symptoms. Experts discuss how fixing the body clock could lessen the impact of both ADHD and physical diseases that result from poor sleep.

A Real-Life Star Trek Tricorder

A real-life version of the Star Trek Tricorder, a non-invasive remote medical diagnostic machine, has won a major contest after passing multiple tests. Now it faces FDA scrutiny to go onto the market. Its developer discusses what the device is and how it could be used.