Turning Off Stress

By Medical News Today


Post-traumatic stress disorder can affect soldiers after combat or ordinary people who have undergone harrowing experiences. Of course, feelings of anxiety are normal and even desirable – they are part of what helps us survive in a world of real threats. But no less crucial is the return to normal – the slowing of the heartbeat and relaxation of tension – after the threat has passed. People who have a hard time “turning off” their stress response are candidates for post-traumatic stress syndrome, as well as anorexia, anxiety disorders and depression.

How does the body recover from responding to shock or acute stress? This question is at the heart of research conducted by Dr. Alon Chen of the Institute’s Neurobiology Department. The response to stress begins in the brain, and Chen concentrates on a family of proteins that play a prominent role in regulating this mechanism. One protein in the family – CRF – is known to initiate a chain of events that occurs when we cope with pressure, and scientists have hypothesized that other members of the family are involved in shutting down that chain. In research that appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Chen and his team have now, for the first time, provided sound evidence that three family members known as urocortin 1, 2 and 3 – are responsible for turning off the stress response.

Full story at Medical News Today

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Progress Made in Developing Methamphetamine Vaccine

By Rick Nauert, PhD


Researchers report promising advances in the lab toward the development of a vaccine to treat methamphetamine addiction.

Although the abuse of “speed” or methamphetamines is under the radar screen for many, the costs associated with the addiction are astronomical exceeding $23 billion annually. Expenditures include medical and law enforcement outlays as well as lost productivity.

In the paper, Kim Janda, Ph.D., and colleagues note that “meth” or “crystal meth” can cause a variety of problems including cardiovascular damage and death. Meth is highly addictive, and users in conventional behavioral treatment programs often relapse.

Full story at PsychCentral

Personality Affects How Likely We Are To Take Our Medication

By Christopher Fisher, PhD


The results of a unique study from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, show that personality has an impact on how likely people are to take their medication. This is the first major study of its kind to be published in the online open access journal PloS ONE. Check the end of this report for a link to download the original, full-text study.

The study was based on 749 people with chronic diseases who responded to a questionnaire on medication adherence behavior – or in other words, whether they take their medicine. Their personalities were also assessed using another questionnaire, the Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), which comprises 60 statements with five different responses. The questionnaire was based on five personality traits: neuroticism, extroversion, openness to experiences, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.

Full story at The Behavioral Medicine Report

NICOTINE CAUSES COMPLICATIONS FOR DIABETICS

By Addition Treatment Magazine


Smoking is responsible for elevating multiple health risks, including heart disease and several types of cancer. For diabetics, however, the stakes are especially high. A new study has revealed that nicotine is responsible for blood sugar levels remaining high over an extended period of time in those who have diabetes and smoke.

The study was presented at the 241st National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society. The lead author, Xiao-Chuan Liu, PhD, is a researcher at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona California and presented the study’s results at the meeting. Liu stressed the importance of the findings, indicating that the results are the first to establish a clear link between nicotine and complications for diabetics.

Full story at Addiction Treatment Magazine

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Environmental Toxins: What Your Doctor’s Not Telling You

By Sarah Lovinger


I have been thinking about environmental toxins a lot lately. From the nuclear accident in Fukushima Japan to the 25th anniversary of the nuclear meltdown in Chernobyl to my own work as part of the Chicago Clean Power Coalition — a group of 50 nonprofits working to clean up or shut down Chicago’s deadly and dangerous coal-fired power plants — I am becoming more and more aware that we are all constantly exposed to toxic chemicals and radiation. How much exposure endangers our health? The answer to that question depends on whom you ask.

I’m a wife and mother, so I ask that question in order to do what I can to protect my family. I am also a primary care physician and the director of the Chicago chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing what we cannot cure. If the levels of radiation emitted in the above-ground testing of nuclear weapons (now universally banned) could increase disease — particularly cancer — rates, shouldn’t your physician know about this? If nuclear accidents in one country sent billowing clouds of radioactive waste half-way around the world and landed in the soil where a grazing cow was busy producing milk that your child would some day drink, shouldn’t public health officials know about this risk? If many U.S. farmers applied the weed killer atrazine — a proven endocrine disrupter — to their land every spring, and the runoff ended up in drinking water all across our country and babies, children and adults drank water putting them at higher risk of subsequent infertility and prostate cancer, shouldn’t the medical community be aware of this and take action to restrict the use of this widespread chemical?

Full story at HuffingtonPost