Among Hurdles For Those With Opioid Addictions: Getting The Drug To Treat It

Louis Morano knew what he needed, and he knew where to get it.

He made his way to a mobile medical clinic parked on a corner of Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, in the geographical heart of the city’s overdose crisis. People call it “the bupe bus.”

Morano, 29, has done seven stints in rehab for opioid addiction in the past 15 years.

Buprenorphine is a drug that curbs cravings and treats the symptoms of withdrawal from opioid addiction. One of the common brand name drugs that contains it, Suboxone, blends buprenorphine with naloxone.

Combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, it is one of the three FDA-approved medicines considered the gold standard for opioid-addiction treatment.

Full story at Kaiser Health News

Social activity in your 60s may lower dementia risk by 12%

New research over a 28-year follow-up period finds significant evidence that frequent social contact at the age of 60 can lower the risk of developing dementia later on.

The link between having a rich social life and brain health has received much attention in the scientific community.

Some studies have suggested that levels of social interaction can predict cognitive decline and even dementia, while others have shown that group socializing can prevent the harmful effects of aging on memory.

New research examines the link between social contact and dementia in more depth. Andrew Sommerlad, Ph.D., from the Division of Psychiatry at University College London (UCL), in the United Kingdom, is the first and corresponding author of the new study.

Full story at Medical News Today

Dealing With The Lingering Effects Of A Mass Shooting

Veronica Kelley was working at an office building across the street from the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif., in December 2015 when a county employee and his wife entered with semiautomatic rifles and opened fire, killing 14 and wounding 22. Most of the victims were co-workers of the gunman.

The couple went on to wound two police officers later that day before being fatally shot by police.

Since then, Kelley, the 52-year-old director of the county Department of Behavioral Health, has broadened the department’s focus to caring for people struggling with psychological trauma from mass shootings — no matter how they’re insured. (The department also coordinates services for low-income people with serious mental illness and substance-use disorders, and youths with serious emotional disturbances. Most are uninsured or have Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program.)

Full story at Kaiser Health

Schizophrenia: Genes related to circadian rhythms may be disrupted

New research examines the brains of people with schizophrenia and finds disrupted patterns of expression in genes linked with sleep-wake cycles.

Worldwide, schizophrenia is one of the top 15 leading causes of disability, affecting about 1% of the world’s population.

In the United States, slightly more than 1% of adults, about 3 million, may be living with schizophrenia, according to some estimates.

The condition causes several symptoms, including impaired thought processes, emotions, and social behavior. People with schizophrenia also frequently experience insomnia and disrupted sleep-wake cycles.

Full story at Medical News Today

Thyroid screening may not be needed in all youth with psychiatric disorders

A new study from researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Cincinnati Children’s looks at the prevalence of abnormal thyroid function in youth with severe mood and anxiety disorder. It is the largest study to date of this population and will help mental health professionals better understand the predictors of abnormal thyroid function, like weight gain, family history or treatment with certain medications.

“I was interested in devising this study because I wanted to better understand any relationship between the physical illness and mood disorder,” says Marissa Luft, a third-year medical student at UC, and lead author on the study.

“The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommends that clinicians consider of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism when assessing anxious or depressed youth, given that some thyroid conditions produce anxiety or depressive symptoms. However, until this study, we had limited evidence as to whether routine screening with a laboratory test was the best approach to screen for thyroid disease in kids with anxiety and depression,” says corresponding author Jeffrey Strawn, MD, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the UC College of Medicine and director of UC’s Anxiety Disorders Research Program, who mentored Luft.

Full story at Science Daily

Trump Wants To Take Guns Away From People In Crisis. Will That Work?

In his response Monday to mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, President Donald Trump called for an expansion of state laws that temporarily prevent someone in crisis from buying or possessing a gun.

A flurry of states have recently passed such laws — known as extreme risk protection orders — which allow a court to intervene when someone shows warning signs of impending violence. Although the laws are widely supported by gun control groups and mental health advocates, others note that the measures alone won’t solve the nation’s gun violence epidemic.

Trump said the shooter in the Parkland, Fla., massacre last year “had many red flags against him, and yet nobody took decisive action; nobody did anything. … We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms, and that if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process.”

Full story at Kaiser Health News

Chronic depression: Form of CBT may fail after 2 years

New research compares the long term effect of two different forms of therapy for chronic depression and finds that the benefits of one approach, which experts developed specifically for this form of depression, fade 2 years after the treatment ends.

According to estimates, 3–6% of people are likely to experience chronic depression at some point during their life.

Unlike episodic depression, chronic depression — also known as persistent depressive disorder or dysthymia — is a condition that lasts for 2 years without interruption.

Full story at Medical News Today

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Deciphering The Democrats’ Health Debate

Twenty Democratic candidates for president debated health care at length over two nights in Detroit this week. But countless 30-second charges and counter charges from “Medicare for All” backers and those who want a more gradual approach to universal coverage may have left the audience more confused than ever about the best way to make the health system better and more affordable.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration sought to counter program against the debates, unveiling plans to allow states to potentially purchase cheaper prescription drugs from Canada and requiring hospitals to make public the prices they negotiate with insurers.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner from Kaiser Health News, Alice Ollstein of Politico, Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner and Caitlin Owens of Axios.

Full story at Kaiser Health News

Stressed at school? Art therapy reduces teenage girls’ headaches

Teenagers report higher levels of stress than adults, and cite school as the highest contributing factor, according to the American Psychological Association’s annual report. A summary from 2013 concluded that while stress among Americans was not new, “what’s troubling is the stress outlook for teens in the United States.”

In response, recently some schools have turned to mindfulness-based programs as a way to alleviate stress among their students. These programs could benefit from more research into what activities students find most useful.

In a pilot study led by the University of Washington, researchers explored art-based mindfulness activities that schools could use to reduce headaches, a common side effect of stress in adolescent girls. The test group of eight teenage girls gave feedback on which activities they preferred.

Full story at Science Daily

Music may replace sedatives for treating pre-op anxiety

Before undergoing an operation, most people experience some form of anxiety. Although this response is common, it is not unproblematic, and treatment often involves a sedative with a whole host of possible side effects. But new research may have found an alternative.

The biggest issue with preoperative anxiety is its ability to affect recovery, including wound healing.

Typically, people receive benzodiazepines — drugs that act as sedatives — to lower anxiety levels before receiving anesthesia.

Full story at Medical News Today