Women More Likely Than Men to Seek Mental Health Help, Study Finds

By
June 27th, 2014

Women with chronic physical illnesses are 10% more likely to seek support for mental health issues than men with similar illnesses, according to a new study.

The study from St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Science also found that women tend to seek out mental health services months earlier than men. Researchers looked at people diagnosed with at least one of four illnesses: diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Of people diagnosed with these conditions, women were not only more likely than men to seek mental health services, but they also used medical services for mental health treatment six months earlier than men in any three-year period.

For the purposes of the study, “mental health services” were defined as one visit to a physician or specialist for mental health reasons, such as depression, anxiety, smoking addiction or marital difficulties.

“Our results don’t necessarily mean that more focus should be paid to women, however,” study author Flora Matheson, a scientist in the hospital’s Centre for Research on Inner City Health, said. “We still need more research to understand why this gender divide exists.”

The findings, published in the British Medical Journal’s Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, could suggest various conclusions about the way that different sexes use mental health services. It may mean that women feel more comfortable seeking mental health support than men or that men delay seeking support. The study could also imply that symptoms are worse among women, which would encourage more women to seek help and to do so sooner.

“Chronic physical illness can lead to depression,” Matheson said. “We want to better understand who will seek mental health services when diagnosed with a chronic physical illness so we can best help those who need care.”

 

Birth Control Works in Long-Term Acne Treatment, Study Says

By
June 6th, 2014

 @Hgoldberg15

More effective than previously thought

Birth control pills are as effective as antibiotics for treating women’s acne in the long term, according to a new review of clinical studies.

The dermatological study shows that antibiotics are more effective than the Pill for the first three months of treatment, but are equally successful after six months.

“This confirms that birth control pills are a good solid treatment for acne, and they’re probably underutilized,” Dr. Steven R. Feldman, a dermatologist at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, toldReuters. “Given the desire to minimize antibiotic resistance and exposure, hormonal birth control could be a good alternative.”

Birth control pills may soon be the more benign alternative to some of the antibiotics and harsh topical gels used in acne treatment. Dermatologists are already recommending low doses of birth control for female acne patients, Feldman said.

Husbands, If You Want a Good Night’s Sleep Make Sure Your Wife Is Happy

By
June 6th, 2014

 @@stephy_burnett

happy wife
A new study finds that sleep-wake schedules are more synchronized when a wife is content

A happier wife may bring better sleep for husbands.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, married couples are more likely to sleep in sync when a wife is more satisfied with her marriage.

The study indicates that partners who sleep in the same bed are awake, or asleep, at the same time for 75 percent of the time – but it also suggests that the percentage is higher if the wife has a higher level of marital satisfaction.

“Most of what is known about sleep comes from studying it at the individual level; however, for most adults, sleep is a shared behavior between bed partners,” said Heather Gunn, lead author of the study.

“This suggests that our sleep patterns are regulated not only by when we sleep, but also by with whom we sleep.”

Marijuana may affect fertility in young men

By
June 6th, 2014

> on March 25, 2010 in Berkeley, California.“If you’re a cannabis user and you’re trying for a baby … stop.”

This advice comes from Dr. Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom and lead author of a new study that suggests using marijuana could increase a man’s risk of fertility problems.

The study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, looked at how a man’s lifestyle affects his sperm morphology: the size and shape of sperm. Researchers collected data from 1,970 men who provided semen as part of a fertility assessment.

All of the lifestyle information was self-reported, and researchers made no attempt to confirm accuracy. Of those men, 318 produced abnormal sperm, where less than 4% of it was the correct size and shape (as defined by the World Health Organization). The remaining men’s sperm had a higher percentage at a “normal” size and shape.

“Cannabis smoking was more common in those men who had sperm morphology less than 4%,” Pacey said. “Cannabis affects one of the processes involved in determining size and shape. And we also know that the way cannabis is metabolized is different in fertile and infertile men.”

The study found that men who had less than 4% normal sperm were typically under 30 years old, had used marijuana within three months of giving their sample and were twice as likely to have provided their sample during the summer.

Any of those factors could have influenced sperm morphology, but Pacey said “the only thing we found that was a risk that a man can do something about was cannabis.”

The researchers did not set out to study cannabis; they were simply collecting data about men’s lifestyles to identify risks to fertility. They looked at a number of possibilities, including cigarettes, alcohol, recreational drug use, employment history, BMI, medical history and the type of underwear the men wore. The researchers concluded that none of these were factors.

A third of all infertility cases are linked to the male partner, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (PDF). The society says marijuana is associated with impaired sperm function and should not be used by men trying to conceive.

Society President Rebecca Sokol says the study confirms previous studies that found a possible but not proven link between abnormal semen and sperm function and the use of cannabis. But she warns that the study does not have enough cases to draw definite conclusions.

“The take-home lesson of the article is that clinicians should counsel their patients on the possible relationships between lifestyle factors, abnormal semen parameters and fertility outcomes,” Sokol said. “This should include a discussion that the data are often inconclusive, but the motto ‘everything in moderation’ is a wise approach for the couple who is planning a pregnancy.”

Another paper on the health consequences of cannabis was published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and a team of the institute’s researchers prepared a paper detailing the risks based on the strongest scientific evidence currently available. According to the paper, they wanted to dispel “the popular notion that marijuana is a harmless pleasure” and does not need to be regulated.

The paper details what the research shows are the adverse effects of recreational use, including the risks of addiction. Approximately 9% of those who try marijuana will become addicted; one in six of those who start as teenagers and 25% to 50% of those who smoke daily become addicted.

The researchers also wrote about the harmful effects of cannabis use on brain development, especially in kids and teenagers. Preliminary research shows that adolescents who are early-onset smokers are slower at tasks, have lower IQs later in life and have an increased incidence of psychotic disorders.

Other problems associated with marijuana use, according to the paper, include impaired short-term memory and motor coordination, altered judgment, effects on school performance, a higher risk of motor-vehicle accidents and higher risk of cancer and other health issues like heart disease and stroke.

“There is a widespread and growing perception among not only youth, but the public in general, that marijuana is a relatively harmless drug, and it has been difficult marshaling science to correct this perception,” Volkov said. “The science of marijuana is far from settled, and this has allowed advocates of various positions to cherry-pick evidence to support their particular stance.”

The review also lists some of the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis. Conditions and symptoms that may be helped by marijuana treatment include glaucoma, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, nausea, inflammation and AIDS-related anorexia and wasting syndrome, according to the report.

Volkow and her fellow researchers fear that as governments begin to modify marijuana policy toward legalization, recreational use will increase, as will a host of negative health problems.

However, Mason Tvert, communications director at the Marijuana Policy Project, says the report by the National Institute on Drug abuse researchers is not an objective review of current scientific evidence.

The Marijuana Policy Project has worked to reform marijuana policies and laws since 1995 at both the federal and state level. It lobbies for legislation that would replace marijuana prohibition in favor of legal regulation. It provided much of the staff and funding in the push to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older in Colorado in 2012, and its goal is to pass, by 2017, at least 10 more laws that would regulate cannabis like alcohol.

“NIDA has long been criticized for prioritizing politics over science,” Tvert said. “They fail to acknowledge any of the well-known research that refutes, and in some cases completely debunks, their conclusions. This more closely resembles a poorly written college essay … than it does an objective, evidence-based journal article. Every objective study on marijuana has concluded that it poses far less harm than alcohol to the consumer and to society.”

Post by: Saundra Young – CNN Medical Senior Producer
Filed under: Fertility • Marijuana • Men’s Health

HIFU Treatment for Prostate Cancer

By
June 5th, 2014

High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a treatment for prostate and other forms of cancer where intense, concentrated sound waves traveling at a high frequency are sent into the cancerous tissue to heat it and kill it off (cancerresearchuk.org). For prostate cancer, since the gland inhabits an area deep within the body, the probe emitting is inserted into the rectum for this treatment. In the medical field this is called a transrectal probe. From this position the ultrasound waves can be concentrated on the prostate directly. HIFU is an effective treatment in combating prostate cancer. It is generally used when the cancer is first diagnosed or when a patient is experiencing a recurrence of the disease. HIFU is a new treatment however, so long term results are still unknown. Some trials suggest that HIFU be used instead of radiotherapy or surgery to treat prostate cancer that is localized, that is to say that hasn’t spread to other tissues in the body. HIFU has minimal side effects (prostatecancer.ca). You won’t have to stay in the hospital for very long after treatment. It also is minimally invasive. It is expensive however. The long term effects are still unknown. It may not be as effective as other treatments in controlling the cancer. And it has an effect of scarring the prostate.
Some of the side effects include urine leakage also known as urinary incontinence, infection and fistula development. A fistula is an opening in the bowl or urinary system. This treatment is best for localized prostate cancer for patients who are advanced in their years that have a low to moderate risk of dying from the disease and have a life expectancy of around ten years (nih.gov). Talk to your doctor or oncologist if you fall into this description and are suffering from prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men. Discuss all of the treatment options available to you. Make sure to visit more than one specialist, talk over the results of the test and treatment options with your loved ones and decide which option is right for you. Though you may have prostate cancer, treatment may not always be proper or necessary in all instances. Some cancers are so slow growing that a man of a certain age will never pass away from it. Others move quickly and can go metastatic, meaning spread to other parts of the body and endanger the patient’s life. Your age, the type of cancer you have, its rate of growth, your overall health and other factors will help you and your healthcare provider decide which treatment option, if any, is best for you.

HIFU