May 2012

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.

New report includes LGBT health disparities

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered individuals (LGBT) experience differences in receipt of health care services and are sometimes denied services according to a new report. Some of the  key findings from the National Healthcare Disparities Report (NHDR) related to health care for the LGBT population are:

Beduin women subject to unacceptible violence

A recent visit to Israel included a drive into the desert of the Negev region.   I noticed small groups of tents  and our guide said they were Bedouin —people who have no land and are not connected to water or electricity.  They roam whenever they need new sources of food and water for their animals and have very limited participation in the growing country of Israel.