19-08 Segment 1: Veterinarian Suicide

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A new CDC report shows that suicide among veterinarians is much higher than in the general population. Experts discuss the unique stresses that affect these professionals, including financial, compassion fatigue, euthanasia, and online harassment. They also discuss measures being taken to prevent mental health struggles and suicide.

Guests:

  • Dr. Jason Sweitzer, veterinarian, Thousand Oaks, CA and board member, Not One More Vet
  • Dr. Debbie Stoewen, Director of Veterinary Affairs, Lifelearn Animal Health

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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 18-22

 

Medical Notes this week…

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.

And that’s Medical Notes this week.

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18-07 Segment 2: Manufacturing Happiness

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We all want to be happy yet the American culture appears to be experiencing a joy-deficit. While it is well known that some individuals suffer from a chemical imbalance in the brain that affects their ability to be happy, many people are not aware of the fact that they can change the happiness that they feel by creating it on their own.

Seeking joy is an important aspect of human life. Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, Professor of Psychology at University of California, Riverside and author of The How of Happiness and Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy But Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy But Does explains that Americans have the opportunity to experience joy everyday, but many are overlooking the small ways to feel it. She believes that people spend too much time waiting for big moments, rather than taking advantage of the little moments to experience joy.

So, what can a person do to feel more joy? Dr. Alex Korb, neuroscientist at University of California, Los Angeles and author, The Upward Spiral: Using Neural Science to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change At a Time states that it is possible for people to increase their serotonin levels on their own and provides a few ways, such as sitting in the sunlight, remembering positive memories, and partaking in simple exercises. Just by partaking in some of these activities, people have the possibility to experience a little more joy in their daily lives.

Guests:

  • Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, Professor of Psychology at University of California-Riverside and author of The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want and Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy But Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, But Does
  • Dr. Alex Korb, researcher at University of California, Los Angeles and author of The Upward Spiral: Using Neural Science to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change At a Time

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18-04 Segment 1: Anxiety and Depression–Not a Chemical Imbalance?

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For the last several decades, doctors have believed many mental illnesses were the result of chemical imbalances in the brain. However, a journalist’s investigation shows that lost human connection, dissatisfaction, and loneliness are behind many cases of depression and anxiety. He explains.

Guests:

  • Johann Hari, author, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression—and the Unexpected Solutions

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Coming up on Radio Health Journal Show 18-04

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Anxiety and Depression – Not a Brain Chemical Imbalance?

For the last several decades, doctors have believed many mental illnesses were the result of chemical imbalances in the brain. However, a journalist’s investigation shows that lost human connection, dissatisfaction, and loneliness are behind many cases of depression and anxiety. He explains.

TBI’s and Personality Change

Traumatic brain injuries, even mild ones, may product cognitive and personality changes months later, when that “bump on the head” has been forgotten. An expert explains these injuries and how to prevent some of the consequences.

Medical Notes 17-17

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Medical Notes this week…

We’ve reported on how dogs can sniff out a variety of diseases in people with scientists trying to create a mechanical nose to do the same thing. Now a study presented to the American Chemical Society shows they’re making progress. Researchers have identified a signature odor in 90% of cases of prostate cancer and have developed a chemical test to detect it. Doctors are looking for an alternative to the PSA test to detect prostate cancer because of the high proportion of false positives.

People who are depressed have a surprisingly high risk for heart disease. A new study in the journal Atherosclerosis shows that depression is just as much of a cardiovascular risk as obesity and high cholesterol. The 10-year study finds that depression is to blame for about 15% of all heart disease deaths, a rate exceeded only by smoking and high blood pressure. About 350 million people around the world suffer from depression.

It might be easier to get into an argument when you’re tired because you’re misreading the emotions of other people. A study in the journal Neurobiology of Sleep and Circadian Rhythms shows that sleepy people have trouble interpreting some emotions in the faces of others compared to those who are well rested. Tired people can read fear and anger in others’ faces but more subtle emotions are misinterpreted far more often.

And finally, slightly more than half of parents give sports the green light for their kids but about one in every six completely rule them out. The reason? Concussions. The rest of parents, about a third of them, allow participation on a sport by sport basis, according to a Harris survey for the American Osteopathic Association. About two thirds of parents say basketball and baseball are ok for kids. But less than 20% approve of their children playing football.

And that’s Medical Notes this week.