Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Did you hear about the lady that said she was haunted in L.A. California?

In this TED talk we meet Carrie Poppy. She feared she was hunted. Here story is fascinating.

Even after a home cleansing ritual she heard voices, she felt uncomfortable, she was scared and confused... She needed to know the truth.

(13 minute long, worth every second.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What makes a happy and healthy life... Long term study says:

Robert Waldinger is the Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, a 77 year longitudinal study looking at what makes us happy and healthy throughout out lives.

Some of the original subjects were Harverd College men, others were the poor of the poor from inner city Boston. 

In this 13 minute TED talk you get an update on this study and what it means for you personally. What makes people happy and healthy over a lifetime isn't, money or wealth its is... 






Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A funny look at human perception and behavior through the eyes of an ad man.

Enjoy this TEDGlobal 2009 ·  16:39 · Filmed Jul 2009

A fun look at how we humans can be "encouraged" to act in a particular way. 



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Does exercise help memory of people over 50?


According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the answer is, yes. 
The researchers conducted a systematic review with multilevel meta-analysis. This is fancy speak for looking at many studies and redoing the math to see if the combined data confirmed what the individual studies showed.



The research group was just under 13,000 adults, 50-years of age and older. A total of 39 studies were evaluated. 
  • 18 studies looked at aerobic exercise (walking, running, or swimming).
  • 13 studies looked at resistance training in the form of weightlifting.
  • 10 studies focused on a combination of exercise programs.
  • The rest of the studies analyzed tai chi and yoga.
All exercises helped, but the type mattered
The analysis showed that aerobic exercise and tai chi helped overall brain function, while resistance training increased the participants’ memory.
In conclusion:
This is another study which shows that as we age it is important to keep moving. As I have said many times before, the best exercise for you is the one that you will keep doing, day after day. 
I think I will go for a walk now …

Read the full article:

Monday, May 8, 2017

Suicide often harms surviving spouse mentally and physically


A report was published online in JAMA Psychiatry. It looked at the effects of suicide on the surviving spouse.
The researches combed a national register that included almost 7 million people in Denmark from 1980 to 2014. The registry looked at nearly 5,000 men and 11,000 women whose spouses committed suicide.
The study found male spouses of partners who died by suicide had a 70 percent higher risk of developing mental health problems than partners of those who succumbed to other causes of death, such as illness or accident. For women, the risk of developing a mental health disorder was 50 percent higher.
The researchers noted that surviving spouses are more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. Surviving spouses were themselves at an increased risk of suicide.
Additionally, physical ailments, including cirrhosis of the liver, sleeping disorders, cancer, and back pain developed at a higher rate in surviving spouses than the population at large.



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Smokers have harder time staying of drugs after rehab




Researchers at the department of epidemiology at Columbia University's School of Public Health looked at just under 35,000 adults enrolled in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.
The data showed the following relapse rates:

  • 11% Smokers at the start of treatment, and continued to smoke during treatment.
  • 8% Individual that quit smoking during treatment
  • 6.5% Non smokers
The study authors point to the importance of adding tobacco treatment along side illicit drug treatment. 
"Quitting smoking will improve anyone's health," says lead author Andrea Weinberger, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "But our study shows that giving up cigarettes may be even more important for adults in recovery from illicit substance use disorders since it may help them stay sober.”

Monday, March 13, 2017

What is Acupuncture, by Harriet Hall, MD

Philip Copitch, Ph.D. – 


According to Dr. Hall, none of the following are true about acupuncture:
  • It’s an ancient Chinese treatment method.
  • Involves sticking needles in acupoints
  • It’s widely used in China.
  • Works to relieve pain and nausea.
  • Works for other conditions like infertility.
  • Can be used for surgical anesthesia.
  • Is harmless – no side effects.
  • Has been validated by scientific research
What you think you know about acupuncture is most likely incorrect.


The James Randi Educational Foundation, and Dr. Harriet Hall, have developed 10 free video courses looking at critical thinking and medical claims called Science-Based Medicine. The lectures are:

1. Science-Based Medicine vs. Evidence-Based Medicine
2. What Is CAM?
3. Chiropractic
4. Acupuncture
5. Homeopathy
6. Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine
7. Energy Medicine
8. Miscellaneous “Alternatives”
9. Pitfalls in Research
10.Science-Based Medicine in the Media and Politics

There is also a free course guide.

Lecture 4: Acupuncture, by Harriet Hall, MD (32 minute)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What is Chiropractic: Free courses by Dr. Hall

Philip Copitch, Ph.D. – 

In this lecture, Dr. Hall looks at the history and science behind chiropractic care. 
Dr. Hall starts her lecture with some interesting facts:
  • Chiropractic is NOT a science.
  • Chiropractic is NOT based on neurology, anatomy and physiology.
  • Chiropractors are NOT doctors of the nervous system.
  • Chiropractic DOES NOT improve health and quality of life.
The James Randi Educational Foundation, and Dr. Harriet Hall, have developed 10 free video courses looking at critical thinking and medical claims called Science-Based Medicine. The lectures are:

1. Science-Based Medicine vs. Evidence-Based Medicine
2. What Is CAM?
3. Chiropractic
4. Acupuncture
5. Homeopathy
6. Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine
7. Energy Medicine
8. Miscellaneous “Alternatives”
9. Pitfalls in Research
10.Science-Based Medicine in the Media and Politics

There is also a free course guide.

Lecture 3: Chiropractic, by Harriet Hall, MD (36 MINUTES)


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

What is Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)? Free courses by Dr. Harriet Hall

Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) used to be called "stuff that was not taught in Medical School". But now it covers any procedure that anyone would like to tell you is a fix for a particulate or all medical ailments. It can be wild quackery for curing cancer or seemingly a reasonable but unproven way to to remove warts. It may be very dangerous or relatively safe. The problem is, without scientific scrutiny, how is the public to know if the "treatment" is safe or helpful.  
CAM is really a marketing term. In this lecture Dr. Hall does a nice job of giving you historical information concerning CAM. She also explains what to watch out for when it comes to CAM treatments.
The James Randi Educational Foundation, and Dr. Harriet Hall, have developed 10 free video courses looking at critical thinking and medical claims called Science-Based Medicine. The lectures are:

1. Science-Based Medicine vs. Evidence-Based Medicine
2. What Is CAM?
3. Chiropractic
4. Acupuncture
5. Homeopathy
6. Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine
7. Energy Medicine
8. Miscellaneous “Alternatives”
9. Pitfalls in Research
10.Science-Based Medicine in the Media and Politics

There is also a free course guide.

Lecture 2: What is CAM, by Harriet Hall, MD (36 minutes)


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A look at how we learn to think critically: Free courses by Dr. Hall

Philip Copitch, Ph.D. – 

Critical thinking is the act of learning how to think, with the knowledge that it is very easy to trick or confuse ourselves. It is being aware we are each vulnerable to mistaken thoughts that we feel secure in. 
For example, in the little video below we see a helicopter crash onto a city street. It fell out of the sky and was captured by amateur video:

Helicopter crash

But, as you can see, our eyes can deceived us. Our mind developed over time in a less complicated environment. Thus, our minds are vulnerable to being tricked.
The James Randi Educational Foundation, and Dr. Harriet Hall, have developed 10 free video courses looking at critical thinking and medical claims called Science-Based Medicine. The lectures are:

1. Science-Based Medicine vs. Evidence-Based Medicine
2. What Is CAM?
3. Chiropractic
4. Acupuncture
5. Homeopathy
6. Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine
7. Energy Medicine
8. Miscellaneous “Alternatives”
9. Pitfalls in Research
10.Science-Based Medicine in the Media and Politics

There is also a free course guide.

Lecture 1: Science-Based Medicine vs. Evidence-Based Medicine, by Harriet Hall, MD (37 minutes)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Patients with panic disorder report more antidepressant side effects


Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) looked at 808 patients with diagnosed chronic depression who were taking antidepressant medication.  Within this group, there was a subgroup of 85 people who also had a diagnosis of panic disorder. It is common for patients to have more than one clinical diagnosis. It goes by the ominous term, comorbidity.
In this study, the researchers found that if a patient had both depression and panic disorder, they reported more medication side effects, such as:
• gastrointestinal (47 percent vs. 32 percent)
• cardiovascular (26 percent vs. 14 percent)
• neurological (59 percent vs. 33 percent)
• genital/urinary (24 percent vs. 8 percent) 

In the press release lead author, Stewart Shankman, professor of psychology and psychiatry at UIC stated:

People with panic disorder are especially sensitive to changes in their bodies. It’s called ‘interoceptive awareness.’

Because these patients experience panic attacks — which are sudden, out-of-nowhere symptoms that include heart racing, shortness of breath, and feeling like you’re going to die — they are acutely attuned to changes in their bodies that may signal another panic attack coming on. So it does make sense that these tuned-in patients report more physiological side effects with antidepressant treatment.

Hyperawareness
Often patients with hyperawareness of their bodies tend to report many more symptoms and worries than the non-hyperaware patient. Dr. Shankman points out:
Physicians and therapists should be aware that their patients with panic disorder may report more side effects, and they should do a thorough assessment of these side effects to try to tease out what might be the result of hypersensitivity, or what might be a side effect worth switching doses or medications for.



Please let me know what you think by clicking the “comments” below.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Can antibiotics effect mental status?

An interesting report crossed my desk today. It was published in MedScape Psychiatry.
Antibiotics and Mental Status Changes
All medication can potentially change your mental status, the way you think, feel, or react. In this article, pharmacists from Albany Medical Hospital, Albany NY review this question.
They point out:
Any change in mental status should always prompt a review of medications as a potential contributing factor. Antimicrobials, a drug class that is an often-overlooked etiology, have been associated with a wide range of neurologic symptoms, including sedation, sleep disturbance, confusion, delirium, seizures, mood changes, psychosis, and hallucinations.

A chart of drugs and risk factors is included.