According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.” However, that’s not what the epidemiology of the disorder suggests. By age 35, half of all people who qualified for active alcoholism or addiction diagnoses during their teens and 20s no longer do, according to a study of over 42,000 Americans in a sample designed to represent the adult population.
Only a quarter of people who recover have ever sought assistance in doing so (including via 12-step programs). This actually makes addictions the psychiatric disorder with the highest odds of recovery.
Metafilter's own maias
on myths surrounding the disease(?) of substance addiction
, and their impact on medicine and policy.
Since 2006, Alice Proujansky has photographed childbirths around the world
for a project entitled 'Birth Culture.' Her intent is to highlight
'the universal aspects of childbirth, elements that are culturally-specific and the struggle to provide women with safe, respectful maternity care.' Images: Photographer's site
. NYTimes Gallery
. Some photos may be NSFW.
Sorry You Were Tricked Into a C-Section
What disapproving friends don’t understand about cesarean births
"Postpartum depression isn’t always postpartum. It isn’t even always depression. A fast-growing body of research is changing the very definition of maternal mental illness, showing that it is more common and varied than previously thought." ‘Thinking of Ways to Harm Her’
and "After Baby, an Unraveling"
. [more inside]
"If an NHS trust proposed today that it was going to introduce Viagra sales reps into men's genitourinary wards, or reps for walking aids to orthopaedic wards, the very least you'd expect would be some stout resistance. It is a measure of the strength of the association between "motherhood" and "buying stuff" that the presence of commercial representatives on maternity wards has been tolerated for so long." [more inside]
Post-operative Check: "It's okay that you don't remember me. My name is Shara, and I'm part of the surgical team. I'm checking to see how you're doing after your surgery. Do you know where you are right now?" [more inside]
Scientists Progress in Quest to Grow Muscle Tissue in Labs
- "The researchers
are now working
on optimizing the growth of human muscle tissue, including finding a way to get blood flow to the tissue, the best source of cells and the best growing medium for the cells."
Insomnia causes depression as much as depression causes insomnia: Three surprising points from a fascinating episode of KQED Forum
[audio, no transcript] with guest Dr. Michelle Primeau of the Stanford School of Medicine.
- Insomnia has long been taught to be a symptom of depression, but in many cases is a cause of depression.
- CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is an effective treatment for both insomnia and depression.
- CBT can be more effective and longer lasting than sleeping pills
For those averse to audio (like me, normally), the NYT also covered the research in print:
First story: Treating Insomnia to Heal Depression,
Follow up a couple of days later: Double Effectiveness of Depression Treatment by Treating Insomnia,
Two readers (both psychiatrists) respond, and
A NYT editorial. [more inside]
More than half the population of small, rural Madras, Oregon (population: ~6059) and its surrounding community is served by one clinic: Madras Medical
. At the beginning of 2006, the clinic's doctors and nurses decided to ban pharmaceutical reps from visiting their practice. No more free lunches. No more free drug samples. No more gifts. And yet.... "It's made us better doctors." (Via) [more inside]
A junior doctor writes
about the experience of watching the slow deaths-by-old-age of the elderly. (see also How Doctors Die
An in-depth talk at Google that sums up the scientific research on living a healthy life with lots of practical advice
"India's supreme court has ruled against Swiss drug giant Novartis in a landmark case
that activists say will protect access to cheap generic drugs in developing nations." [more inside]
“The gap between what patients and doctors expect from these procedures, and the benefit that they actually provide, shows the profound impact of a certain kind of mechanical logic in medicine,” he explains. “Even though doctors value randomized clinical trials and evidence-based medicine, they are powerfully influenced by ideas about how diseases and treatments work. If doctors think a treatment should work, they come to believe that it does work, even when the clinical evidence isn’t there.” [more inside]
The New Yorker's take on Dr Mehmet Oz
Jennie Linn McCormack "isn’t the only woman in recent years to be prosecuted for ending her own pregnancy. But her case could change the trajectory of abortion law in the United States": The Rise of DIY Abortions
. [more inside]
On November 30, the Tampa Bay Times published a sympathetic profile of Spring Hill, FL resident Gretchen Molannen: "Persistent genital arousal disorder brings woman agony, not ecstasy
." Her condition, also known as PGAD, is a rare sexual disorder (not recognized by the DSM,) 'characterized
by spontaneous, persistent, unwanted sexual arousal unrelated to feelings of sexual desire.' The Times reported that Ms. Molannen's condition had virtually destroyed her personal and professional life and led to several suicide attempts. One day after the article was published, she successfully committed suicide
. [more inside]
and "extensively" resistant
strains make containment and treatment of tuberculosis
ever more difficult. Fortunately, researchers based in Switzerland
have (re-)discovered a naturally-made antibiotic called pyridomycin
, which will kill isoniazid-resistant M. tuberculosis
The Medical School at the University of California, San Francisco “presents Mini Medical School
for the Public, a series of programs providing an opportunity to learn about health and the health sciences directly from UCSF faculty members and other nationally-recognized experts.”
Videos particularly geared toward integrative medicine and healthy living can be found here.
(Most of the videos are between sixty and ninety minutes long.) [more inside]
A new model for the American health care system: The Cheesecake Factory
Friends of Science in Medicine
(FSM) is a new advocacy group
of senior medical practitioners and researchers seeking
and alternative medicines
" from universities
around Australia, and to make non-evidence based therapies ineligible for private
health insurance. Naturally, this has caused a fair degree
of outrage and pushback from
In the wake of so many recent controversies over women and their right to safe, affordable health care and the supposed desire of working women to be "put in their place" by aggressive men in the bedroom, Penny Red suggests that "Right now, we are in the middle of a sexual counter-revolution." [more inside]
In March 2010, a pair of health inspectors responding to multiple tips paid a three-day visit to the factory headquarters of the Poly Implant Prothese
(PIP) company, a leading international maker of breast implants. On their second day, the inspectors found something odd: six discarded plastic containers of Silopren, a liquid silicone designed for industrial, not medical use, lined up along the outside wall of the production site. The lead inspector estimated they had contained nearly 9 tons of liquid silicone. It now appears as if between 300,000 and 400,000 women throughout the world may have received potentially toxic, faulty breast implants containing ingredients never clinically tested on humans, manufactured and distributed by a company that knowingly deceived regulators, suppliers, distributors, medical professionals and ultimately, patients.
Reuters photographer's Blog: Operating on an implant scandal. (Last link NSFW, graphic images that contain nudity.) [more inside]
Qualcomm and the X Prize Foundation have launched a new contest: Envision and build the equivalent of Star Trek's medical tricorder
, a portable health monitoring device that can remotely diagnose patients. The winner will receive $10 million
. [more inside]
In 2002, Doug Monroe placed his parents in assisted living
. A decade later, he's looking back at "the weighty financial and emotional costs that come with a parent's immortality": The Long Goodbye
Even a little too much Tylenol over a few days can cause a liver failure.
Paracetamol or acetaminophen, active ingredient of such over-the-counter painkillers as Tylenol, Panadol, Anacin-3 and many, many others, is considered safe - and it is, in prescribed doses. But even a single overdose can lead to liver failure despite treatment, and then only a liver transplant can avert a fatal outcome. [more inside]
Serum hemoglobin is related to endurance running performance. Smoking is known to enhance serum hemoglobin levels ... alcohol may further enhance this beneficial adaptation.
A recent paper
by Kenneth Myers in the Canadian Medical Association Journal
reviews the potential benefits of smoking for endurance atheletes. [more inside]
The US Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy
runs a non-profit, Extending the Cure
, which conducts policy research to extend antibiotic effectiveness, and ResistanceMap
, which generates interactive analysis tools and maps
regarding antibiotic use in Europe and the US. The most recent
ResistanceMap visualizations indicate
that the US Southeast overprescribes antibiotics
at a high rate compared with the rest of the country. Science journalist / "Superbug" blogger Maryn McKenna speculates (while acknowledging that correlation ≠ causation,) that the map might also indicate a link between overuse of antibiotics, obesity, diabetes and stroke
. [more inside]
Jane Pratt (formerly of Sassy Magazine
and her eponymous Jane,
) launched a website for women: xojane
, earlier this year. Last week the site's Health and Beauty Director wrote a blog post explaining that she never uses condoms, birth control pills, or other contraception (for fear of becoming fat) and instead relies on the emergency contraceptive Plan B to prevent pregnancy
. And a segment of the internet exploded. (Her responses to some of the comments seem a bit clueless for someone with her title.)
Critics have noted
that the post was filled with "ignorant
" "inaccuracies and misconceptions
" about womens' health, sex, Plan B and other forms of birth control
. [more inside]
A new malaria vaccine has been shown effective in large-scale field trials. After decades of disappointment, researchers think they're finally on track to unleash the first practical vaccine against malaria, one of mankind's ancient scourges.
In the world's first large field trial of an experimental malaria vaccine, several thousand young children who got three doses had about 55 percent less risk of getting the disease over a year than those who got a control vaccine against rabies or meningitis. [more inside]
Ross Capicchioni's story - Parts 1
- contains violent descriptions
An experiment done in the 1990s exposed children to various levels of lead.
The lawsuit filed in 2001 by the parents of over 100 participants accuses the Kennedy Krieger Institute that the scientists knowingly used the kids as test subjects in toxic dust control study. [more inside]
Gamers solve molecular puzzle that baffled scientists
. The structure of a protein causing AIDS in rhesus monkeys had not been discovered in 15 years of attempts. Players of a videogame did it in ten days. Foldit
, the game in question. Abstract
Last week Johnson & Johnson announced
that it is lowering the maximum daily dose for single-ingredient Extra Strength Tylenol from 8 to 6 pills per day (from 4,000 to 3,000 mg). [more inside]
is a non-profit publisher of books and newsletters for community-based health care, mostly aimed at the third world. Their first book, Where There Is No Doctor, A Village Health Handbook
, has been translated into 88
languages and is one of the most widely used
training and work manuals for community health care in the world. They have now made 20 of their publications available for free download, many of which can now also be browsed online through their website
using an "Ebrary
" in-browser interface. [more inside]
Six Second ECG Simulator.
"The Cardiac Rhythm Simulator generates 25 of the most common cardiac rhythms for you to explore, review, and play."
The Triumph of New-Age Medicine "Medicine has long decried acupuncture, homeopathy, and the like as dangerous nonsense that preys on the gullible. Again and again, carefully controlled studies have shown alternative medicine to work no better than a placebo. But now many doctors admit that alternative medicine often seems to do a better job of making patients well, and at a much lower cost, than mainstream care—and they’re trying to learn from it." [more inside]
The New Biology
- Eric Schadt's quest to upend molecular biology and open source it. (via
have been used with success to treat C.difficile infections
, often acquired in hospital or nursing homes and notoriously difficult to treat. They have also shown some efficacy in treatment of ulcerative colitis
(pdf). [more inside]