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January 25, 2010, 7:59 AM CT

Benefits of psychodynamic psychotherapy

Benefits of psychodynamic psychotherapy
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is effective for a wide range of mental health symptoms, including depression, anxiety, panic and stress-related physical ailments, and the benefits of the treatment grow after therapy has ended, as per new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Psychodynamic treatment focuses on the psychological roots of emotional suffering. Its hallmarks are self-reflection and self-examination, and the use of the relationship between therapist and patient as a window into problematic relationship patterns in the patient's life. Its goal is not only to alleviate the most obvious symptoms but to help people lead healthier lives.

"The American public has been told that only newer, symptom-focused therapys like cognitive behavior treatment or medicine have scientific support," said study author Jonathan Shedler, PhD, of the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. "The actual scientific evidence shows that psychodynamic treatment is highly effective. The benefits are at least as large as those of other psychotherapies, and they last." .

To reach these conclusions, Shedler evaluated eight meta-analyses comprising 160 studies of psychodynamic treatment, plus nine meta-analyses of other psychological therapys and antidepressant medications. Shedler focused on effect size, which measures the amount of change produced by each therapy. An effect size of 0.80 is considered a large effect in psychological and medical research. One major meta-analysis of psychodynamic treatment included 1,431 patients with a range of mental health problems and found an effect size of 0.97 for overall symptom improvement (the treatment was typically once per week and lasted less than a year). The effect size increased by 50 percent, to 1.51, when patients were re-reviewed nine or more months after treatment ended. The effect size for the most widely used antidepressant medications is a more modest 0.31. The findings appear in the recent issue of American Psychology expert, the flagship journal of the American Psychological Association.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 25, 2010, 7:57 AM CT

Prostate cancer is treated differently

Prostate cancer is treated differently
Scientists at Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego and his colleagues have observed that prostate cancer therapys varied significantly between county hospitals and private providers. Patients treated in county hospitals are more likely to undergo surgery while patients treated in private facilities tend to receive radiation or hormone treatment. These findings were published online by the journal Cancer on January 25.

"The study examined the factors that drive therapy choices for prostate cancer patients" said J. Kellogg Parsons, MD, MHS, principal investigator and urologic oncologist at Moores UCSD Cancer Center. "We observed that decisions are significantly influenced by the type of health care facility where they receive care".

Surgery, radiation and hormone treatment are the most common therapys for localized prostate cancer. Each is linked to different risks and benefits with no consensus as to the most effective form of therapy, though life expectancy, other illnesses, cancer severity and patient preferences may account in part for therapy choices. Parsons and his colleagues at UCLA compared the types of therapys patients with prostate cancer received from public and private hospitals as part of a California public assistance program. The scientists analyzed the care provided to 559 men enrolled in a state-funded program for low-income patients known as Improving Access, Counseling and Treatment for Californians with Prostate Cancer (IMPACT).........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


January 25, 2010, 7:47 AM CT

Fast food menus with calorie information

Fast food menus with calorie information
In a newly released study, the amount of calories selected by parents for their child's hypothetical meal at McDonald's restaurants were reduced by an average of 102 calories when the menus clearly showed the calories for each item. This is the first study to suggest that labeled menus may lead to significantly reduced calorie intake in fast food restaurant meals purchased for children. Led by researcher Pooja S. Tandon, MD, from Seattle Children's Research Institute, these findings support nutritional menu labeling and show that when parents have access to this information they may make smarter meal choices for their children. "Nutrition Menu Labeling May Lead to Lower-Energy Restaurant Meal Choices for Children" published online January 25 in Pediatrics

At a pediatric practice in Seattle, 99 parents of 3- to 6-year-olds who sometimes eat in fast food restaurants with their children were surveyed about their fast food dining habits. They were presented with sample McDonald's restaurant menus which included current prices and pictures of items, and asked what they would select for themselves and also for their children as a typical meal. Half of the parents were given menus that also clearly showed calorie information for each item. Choices included most of the items sold at McDonald's, including a variety of burgers, sandwiches, salads, dressings, side items, beverages, desserts and children's "Happy Meals." Parents who were given the calorie information chose 102 fewer calories on average for their children, compared with the group who did not have access to calorie information on their menus. This reflects a calorie reduction of approximately 20%. Notably, there was no difference in calories between the two groups for items the parents would have chosen for themselves.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 22, 2010, 8:24 AM CT

Lung cancer patients who quit smoking

Lung cancer patients who quit smoking
People diagnosed with early stage lung cancer can double their chances of survival over five years if they stop smoking compared with those who continue to smoke, finds a study published on bmj.com today.

This is the first review of studies to measure the effects of continued smoking after diagnosis of lung cancer and suggests that it appears to be worthwhile to offer smoking cessation therapy to patients with early stage lung cancer.

Worldwide, lung cancer is the most usually diagnosed form of cancer. In the UK, it is second only to breast cancer, accounting for around 39,000 new cancer diagnoses annually.

Smoking increases the risk of developing a primary lung cancer; lifelong smokers have a 20-fold increased risk compared with non-smokers. But it is not known whether quitting after a diagnosis of lung cancer has any benefit.

So scientists at the University of Birmingham analysed the results of 10 studies that measured the effect of quitting smoking after diagnosis of lung cancer on prognosis.

Differences in study design and quality were taken into account to minimise bias.

They observed that people who continued to smoke after a diagnosis of early stage lung cancer had a substantially higher risk of death and a greater risk of the tumour returning compared with those who stopped smoking at that time. Data suggested that most of the increased risk of death was due to cancer progression.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


January 22, 2010, 8:22 AM CT

Childhood clues to adult schizophrenia

Childhood clues to adult schizophrenia
Years before adults develop schizophrenia, there is a pattern of cognitive difficulties they experience as children, including problems with verbal reasoning, working memory, attention and processing speed.

Drawing on a long-term study of more than 1,000 New Zealanders born from 1972 to 1973, a team led by Duke scientists has found a consistent pattern of developmental difficulties that first appeared when adult study subjects with schizophrenia were 7 years old.

"The proportion of kids who don't score well on these tests is big, and the number of kids who develop schizophrenia is tiny," said co-author of study Terrie E. Moffitt, the Knut Schmidt Nielsen professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke. But now that the study subjects are in their late 30s and mental illnesses have been identified, "we looked backwards to understand more about how schizophrenia may develop".

By age 32, 1 percent of the study participants met the formal criteria for schizophrenia and had been hospitalized and put on antipsychotic medication. Another 2.5 percent met the diagnostic criteria for the disorder, but hadn't received therapy.

Knowing what they know now, the scientists were able to track the progress of these cognitive deficits as the subjects went through testing at ages 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13 as part of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 22, 2010, 8:22 AM CT

Do children need both a mother and a father?

Do children need both a mother and a father?
The presumption that children need both a mother and a father is widespread. It has been used by proponents of Proposition 8 to argue against same-sex marriage and to uphold a ban on same-sex adoption.

On the other end of the political spectrum, Barack Obama endorsed the vital role of fathers in a 2008 speech: "Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation".

The lead article in the recent issue of Journal of Marriage and Family challenges the idea that "fatherless" children are necessarily at a disadvantage or that men provide a different, indispensable set of parenting skills than women.

"Significant policy decisions have been swayed by the misconception across party lines that children need both a mother and a father. Yet, there is almost no social science research to support this claim. One problem is that proponents of this view routinely ignore research on same-gender parents," said sociologist Timothy Biblarz of the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Extending their previous work on gender and family, Biblarz and Judith Stacey of NYU analyzed relevant studies about parenting, including available research on single-mother and single-father households, gay male parents and lesbian parents. "That a child needs a male parent and a female parent is so taken for granted that people are uncritical," Stacey said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 22, 2010, 8:20 AM CT

Face Masks and Hand Hygiene

Face Masks and Hand Hygiene
Ordinary face masks and hand hygiene can effectively reduce the transmission of influenza-like illness during flu season. The finding comes from a newly released study, now available online, reported in the Feb. 15 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases. In an influenza pandemic, vaccination may not be initially available, and antiviral prescribing appears to be limited, which is why researchers need to understand how effective other measures are in preventing influenza.

For the study, scientists from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, led by Allison E. Aiello, PhD, recruited more than 1,400 college students living in university residence halls during the 2006-2007 influenza season. Participants were assigned to one of three groups: those who wore face masks, those who wore masks and used alcohol-based hand sanitizer, or a control group who received no intervention. Students were monitored for influenza-like symptoms for six weeks. All participants viewed a basic hand hygiene instructional video. Subjects in the hand hygiene and mask group were given an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and written instructions regarding proper face mask and hand sanitizer use. Those in the mask group received written instructions on face mask use only. The students began using the measures just after laboratory confirmation of influenza on the University of Michigan campus had been made.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


January 22, 2010, 8:15 AM CT

How to Live Your Life Twice

How to Live Your Life Twice

Prof. Carlo Strenger
Elliot Jacques coined the term "mid-life crisis" 40 years ago, when the average lifespan was 70 and "mid-life" came at age 35. Individuals could expect their quality of life to decline from that point forward, Jacques argued, so some extreme reactions to encroaching mortality were to be expected, such as having extra-marital affairs and buying a Corvette.

Not any more, says Prof. Carlo Strenger of Tel Aviv University's Department of Psychology. In an article co-authored with the Israeli researcher Arie Ruttenberg for the Harvard Business Review last year, and another in the journal Psychoanalytic Psychology, Prof. Strenger posits that the mid-life years are the best time of life to flourish and grow.

Citing research based on empirical evidence and studies from the field, Prof. Strenger says that adult lives really do have second acts.

"Somehow this line has been drawn around the mid and late 40s as the time for a mid-life crisis in our society," says Prof. Strenger. "But as people live longer and fuller lives, we have to cast aside that stereotype and start thinking in terms of 'mid-life transition' rather than 'mid-life crisis.'" He dismisses the prevailing myth that reaching the years between the 40s and the early 60s means adapting to diminished expectations, both internally and from society.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 21, 2010, 8:24 AM CT

Going to the gym shouldn't be a workout for your eardrums

Going to the gym shouldn't be a workout for your eardrums
Listening to an iPod while working out feels like second nature to a number of people, but University of Alberta researcher Bill Hodgetts says we need to consider the volume levels in our earphones while working up a sweat.

Hodgetts, assistant professor in the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology at the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, says his research has observed that exercising in a gym often prompts people to turn up the volume to potentially unsafe levels for the ear.

The researcher observed that the study participants, who were in a gym-like setting, listened at potentially dangerous levels while working out, likely due to the presence of background noise. But he says it isn't the listening level alone that's risky, it's how long a person listens at that level. What Hodgetts found is that almost half of his study participants listened for a length of time during exercise that put them at risk for hearing loss.

The good news? The solution is simple, he says: get better earphones, those that "seal" the ear canal, acting as an earplug and thus reducing background noise.

Hodgetts' mission is to get the message out that proper earphones will make a huge difference in auditory health while allowing people to enjoy music at a lower, and safer volume.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 21, 2010, 8:22 AM CT

Older brains make good use of 'useless' information

Older brains make good use of 'useless' information
Toronto A newly released study has observed promising evidence that the older brain's weakened ability to filter out irrelevant information may actually give aging adults a memory advantage over their younger counterparts.

A long line of research has already shown that aging is linked to a decreased ability to tune out irrelevant information. Now researchers at Baycrest's world-renowned Rotman Research Institute have demonstrated that when elderly adults "hyper-encode" extraneous information and they typically do this without even knowing they're doing it they have the unique ability to "hyper-bind" the information; essentially tie it to other information that is appearing at the same time.

The study, which appears online this week in the journal Psychological Science, was led by Karen Campbell, a PhD student in psychology at the University of Toronto, with supervision from Rotman senior scientist Dr. Lynn Hasher, a leading authority in attention and inhibitory functioning in younger and elderly adults.

"We observed that older brains are not only less likely to suppress irrelevant information than younger brains, but they can link the relevant and irrelevant pieces of information together and implicitly transfer this knowledge to subsequent memory tasks," said Campbell.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Studies in monkeys and women suggest that unlike traditional estrogen therapy, a diet high in the natural plant estrogens found in soy does not increase the risk of uterine cancer in postmenopausal women, according to Mark Cline, D.V.M., Ph.D., an associate professor of comparative medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

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