Blog

Therapy by smart phone?

Brooding in your apartment on Saturday afternoon? A new smart phone intuits when you’re depressed and will nudge you to call or go out with friends.

It’s the future of therapy at a new Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine center where scientists are inventing web-based, mobile and virtual technologies to treat depression and other mood disorders. The phone and similar projects bypass traditional weekly therapy sessions for novel approaches that provide immediate support and access to a much larger population.

Less couch time means fewer cookies

Simply ejecting your rear from the couch means your hand will spend less time digging into a bag of chocolate chip cookies.

That is the simple but profound finding of a new Northwestern Medicine study, which reports simply changing one bad habit has a domino effect on others. Knock down your sedentary leisure time and you’ll reduce junk food and saturated fats because you’re no longer glued to the TV and noshing. It’s a two-for-one benefit because the behaviors are closely related.

Women’s reaction to reproductive health debate

With women’s reproductive health reemerging as a heated issue this year in policy debates and news reports, this month’s Kaiser Health Tracking Poll assesses women’s perceptions and reactions to that attention and its potential impact on the upcoming presidential election.

Fear of Spiders? Try tarantula therapy.

People with spider phobia handle tarantulas and have lasting changes in fear response!   A single brief therapy session for adults with a lifelong debilitating spider phobia resulted in lasting changes to the brain’s response to fear.  The therapy was so successful the adults were able to touch or hold a tarantula in their bare hands six months after the treatment, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.

It’s Don’t Fry Day! Protect your skin!

The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day.”  This year it is May 25.   The goal?  To make sure people stay safe in the sun and protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors—on “Don’t Fry Day” and every day.

Here’s why. Skin cancer is on the rise in the United States; the American Cancer Society estimates that one American dies every hour from skin cancer. In 2012 alone, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be more than 76,250 new cases of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.

Some good news for diabetics

Heart disease and stroke deaths drop significantly for people with diabetes!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) healthier lifestyles, better disease management are helping people with diabetes live longer.   Death rates for people with diabetes dropped substantially from 1997 to 2006, according to a study published May 22 in the journal Diabetes Care. Among the most promising findings,

Heart disease in Ireland on the rise

Ireland, a land of “happy wars and sad love songs,” is also a nation that  is adopting some of the bad eating habits found in the U.S.  and is trying to break those habits.

That assessment comes from Ian Graham, MD, of Dublin’s Trinity College, who chairs the Irish Heart Foundation Cardiovascular Prevention Council and is co-chair of the program committee at EuroPRevent 2012, which opened with “Ireland Day,” a series of presentations focusing on efforts to tame cardiovascular disease among the Irish.

New test for depression in teens

 A Northwestern Medicine scientist has developed the first blood test to diagnose major depression in teens, a breakthrough approach that allows an objective diagnosis by measuring a specific set of genetic markers found in a patient’s blood.   Diagnosing teens is an urgent concern because they are highly vulnerable to depression and difficult to accurately diagnose due to normal mood changes during this age period.   The current method of diagnosing depression is subjective. It relies on the patient’s ability to recount his symptoms and the physician’s ability and training to interpret them.