Review Category : Health

Can World Cup Heartbreak Affect Your Health?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As Brazilian fans start to recover from their devastating loss to Germany in the World Cup semifinals, experts say that heartbroken fans should be sure to take care of themselves as losing can come at a cost greater than national pride.

A 2013 study published in Psychological Science journal found that fans were more likely to eat high fat and high calorie meals after their team lost an important game. Researchers looked at the eating habits of 726 people in cities with National Football League teams.

In cities where a team lost, fans consoled themselves by eating 10 percent more calories than a normal Monday and 16 percent more saturated fat, according to The Telegraph.

A similar study by the same authors conducted a study with 78 French sports fans and found when fans — especially soccer fans — wrote about a game their favorite team had lost, they ended up reaching for comfort food.

While experts have long known that people can overeat when they’re emotional, it wasn’t clear if simply losing the big game would qualify.

According to the study’s lead author and Ph.D candidate in marketing at the INSTEAD business school in Paris, Yann Cornil, the researchers were surprised with how clear the findings were.

“The research was usually done in a lab in which people watch sad movies and we look at how much we eat,” said lead author Yann Cornil. “It’s not very realistic. We were not sure in collecting real world data would replicate the results.”

But binging after a loss isn’t the only way a game can affect the health of devoted fans. Yann pointed out a 2011 study that examined traffic patterns after college and basketball games and found that nerve-rattling, close games could result in a rise in fatalities by as much as 133 percent.

Dr. Todd Peters, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Vanderbilt Medical Center, said the biggest fans will often strongly identify with a team and this can be even more pronounced during international competitions where a sense of national pride also unifies fans.

“There’s the associating with the players, but also saying ‘This is us against the world,’ in the competition,” said Peters. “People will identify with certain player attributes or identity of a team…it’s that key piece that does bring up the level of emotions you see in defeat.”

Peters said it might just be game, but that fans can experience the same emotional devastation as going through a break-up, including depression and anger.

“When there is a loss it is almost like a break-up,” said Peters. “The team can no longer go on. You have to wait another four years to experience it again.”

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Anesthesiologists Need to Improve Their Hand Hygiene Habits

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(LEBANON, N.H.) — A new study on hand hygiene in hospital operating rooms suggests that anesthesiologists need to remember what their moms told them: Don’t forget to wash your hands.

Researchers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center observed anesthesiologists during operations and found they were least likely to properly clean their hands during the first and last 20 minutes of patient anesthesia.

The researchers noted that the lack of hand washing corresponds with sharp increases in bacterial contamination of the 20 most frequently touched objects during the same time periods.

Researchers also found that anesthesiologists were least likely to exercise proper hand hygiene immediately before patient contact and after contact with the patient’s surroundings, but were most likely to properly wash their hands after potential exposure to body fluids.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 157,000 surgical site infections in the U.S. annually.

The study’s authors conclude that “new methods to reduce bacterial contamination of the anesthesia work environment are needed to prevent health care-associated infections.”

The study is published in the July issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

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Anesthesiologists Need to Improve Their Hand Hygiene Habits

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(LEBANON, N.H.) — A new study on hand hygiene in hospital operating rooms suggests that anesthesiologists need to remember what their moms told them: Don’t forget to wash your hands.

Researchers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center observed anesthesiologists during operations and found they were least likely to properly clean their hands during the first and last 20 minutes of patient anesthesia.

The researchers noted that the lack of hand washing corresponds with sharp increases in bacterial contamination of the 20 most frequently touched objects during the same time periods.

Researchers also found that anesthesiologists were least likely to exercise proper hand hygiene immediately before patient contact and after contact with the patient’s surroundings, but were most likely to properly wash their hands after potential exposure to body fluids.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 157,000 surgical site infections in the U.S. annually.

The study’s authors conclude that “new methods to reduce bacterial contamination of the anesthesia work environment are needed to prevent health care-associated infections.”

The study is published in the July issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

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Liv Tyler Shares Her Beauty Tips, Including Colonics and Fasting

Paul Schiraldi/HBO(LOS ANGELES) — Liv Tyler works hard to look as good as she does.

One of her secrets? A week-long retreat to a detox spa in California.

“I do really hot baths with different salts and oils a few times a week and exfoliate,” she told Violet Grey. “I also believe in going to We Care [spa], doing a week of fasting, colonics, and sleeping a lot.”

Now appearing as a cult target in the HBO series, The Leftovers, Tyler, 37, said she welcomes playing such a stripped-down role. It was something she’d sought out for a while, as doing “weird things” has always been a passion.

“I go to work with no makeup and they still take me down, make me a little dirty,” she said. “It’s been really liberating.”

Off-camera, Tyler admits to having a few indulgences. She loves a glass of wine and chicken nuggets, and spending time with girlfriends, including Kate Hudson and Eva Mendes.

“I love women,” she said. “I’m intrigued by them. I think women are fascinating and complex.”

After all, she said, having a rich internal life attributes to looking good.

“I believe that beauty comes from the inside out,” she said. “There’s no cream that can fix you if you’re not beautiful on the inside.”

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Nature Versus Nurture: Great Musicians Edition

iStock/Thinkstock(EAST LANSING, Mich.) — Are great musicians born with an innate talent or are their skills the result of countless hours of practice? A new study indicates it’s both.

A study by Michigan State University suggests accomplished musicians are genetically programmed to commit to the long hours of practice required to become skilled musicians.

Researchers studied 850 sets of twins and found that accomplished musicians practiced much more than those who didn’t attain the same level of musical expertise.

When they compared identical twins, who share 100 percent of their genes, and fraternal twins, who share 50 percent of their genes, the researchers reached the conclusion that a predisposition to practice more was driven partly by genetics.

Study leader Zach Hambrick, a professor of psychology at Michigan State University, says the findings contradict the popular view that a lack of a natural ability can be overcome with more practice and training.

“Contrary to the view that genetic effects go away as you practice more and more, we found that genes become more important in accounting for differences across people in music performance as they practice,” says Hambrick.
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Nature Versus Nurture: Great Musicians Edition

iStock/Thinkstock(EAST LANSING, Mich.) — Are great musicians born with an innate talent or are their skills the result of countless hours of practice? A new study indicates it’s both.

A study by Michigan State University suggests accomplished musicians are genetically programmed to commit to the long hours of practice required to become skilled musicians.

Researchers studied 850 sets of twins and found that accomplished musicians practiced much more than those who didn’t attain the same level of musical expertise.

When they compared identical twins, who share 100 percent of their genes, and fraternal twins, who share 50 percent of their genes, the researchers reached the conclusion that a predisposition to practice more was driven partly by genetics.

Study leader Zach Hambrick, a professor of psychology at Michigan State University, says the findings contradict the popular view that a lack of a natural ability can be overcome with more practice and training.

“Contrary to the view that genetic effects go away as you practice more and more, we found that genes become more important in accounting for differences across people in music performance as they practice,” says Hambrick.
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Liv Tyler Shares Her Beauty Tips, Including Colonics and Fasting

Paul Schiraldi/HBO(LOS ANGELES) — Liv Tyler works hard to look as good as she does.

One of her secrets? A week-long retreat to a detox spa in California.

“I do really hot baths with different salts and oils a few times a week and exfoliate,” she told Violet Grey. “I also believe in going to We Care [spa], doing a week of fasting, colonics, and sleeping a lot.”

Now appearing as a cult target in the HBO series, The Leftovers, Tyler, 37, said she welcomes playing such a stripped-down role. It was something she’d sought out for a while, as doing “weird things” has always been a passion.

“I go to work with no makeup and they still take me down, make me a little dirty,” she said. “It’s been really liberating.”

Off-camera, Tyler admits to having a few indulgences. She loves a glass of wine and chicken nuggets, and spending time with girlfriends, including Kate Hudson and Eva Mendes.

“I love women,” she said. “I’m intrigued by them. I think women are fascinating and complex.”

After all, she said, having a rich internal life attributes to looking good.

“I believe that beauty comes from the inside out,” she said. “There’s no cream that can fix you if you’re not beautiful on the inside.”

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Doctors Call: End Warning on Antidepressants or Risk Suicides

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Mental health experts are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to remove its most severe label — the so-called “black box warning” — on all categories of antidepressants because it has been “highly correlated” with a more than 33 percent jump in suicide attempts over the last decade as doctors and patients who could benefit from the drugs have shied away from using them.

A June study published in the BMJ backs up previous research that shows a link between fears about the use of antidepressants and young people taking their lives.

The data is “startling,” said Dr. Gene Beresin, executive director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds, which is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital.

“A black box earning means parents and doctors must be aware and monitor,” he told ABC News. “But that’s the next closest thing to prohibition.”

“If an infection, asthma, or heart condition increased 30 percent over the last decade, the public would go ballistic,” said Beresin. “The FDA would have been under massive attack from all sectors of the population if any other medical condition escalated in this manner. …Everyone would be scrambling to reduce any and all possible risk factors.”

In 2003, the FDA reviewed clinical trial data on 2,200 children who had been treated with SSRIs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a widely prescribed class of antidepressants. It noted a 4 percent increase in “suicide thinking and behavior” among those aged 18 to 24 during the first two months of treatment.

In October 2004, the FDA issued its most serious warning on all categories of antidepressants, indicating a suicide risk in children and adolescents with major depressive disorders. In 2006, the warning was extended to young adults up to 25 and recommended that doctors “must balance this risk with the clinical need.”

But the FDA study was limited in scope, according to psychiatrist Beresin. One of the side effects of SSRIs is “a certain amount of agitated behavior, but there were no attempted suicides and no deaths.”

“Teens may be suicidal anyway — that was worrisome,” he said. “But nobody died and nobody killed themselves.”

Beresin and other mental health professionals have argued that the perceived risks of antidepressants elicited fear among parents and general practitioners, the doctors who typically first diagnose mental disorders. And they say many young people who could have benefited from the drugs went untreated.

Suicide rates have been rising steadily for five years, according to The American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide rates among those 15-24 increased from 10.5 deaths per 100,000 in 2010, to 10.9 in 2011.

The foundation has opposed the FDA warning, urging a “more balanced approach” to the labeling. “The warning was very extreme given the data they were analyzing at the time,” said its chief medical officer, Dr. Christine Moutier. “We have major problems with the way the FDA interpreted the data.”

“The sad thing about the black box warning has been the tremendous effort made in the last 15 to 20 years,” Moutier said of studies that showed a relationship between depression and elevated risk of heart attacks. “It was one of the pivotal findings was on many impacts on the body. It started to validate it as a psychological illness and not just what happens when a person is thrown into stress.”

She said the study results showing a new increase in suicides as a result of FDA warnings are “a step backwards in terms of treatment of this common health condition.”

But the FDA stands firm on what it officially calls its “box warning.” Agency spokeswoman Sandy Walsh said the label is “an important risk signal.

“The labels also say that ‘suicide is a known risk of depression and certain other psychiatric disorders, and these disorders themselves are the strongest predictors of suicide,’” she wrote ABC News in an email. “It should be emphasized that the warnings on the drugs do not say not to treat depression, they say suicidality is a risk in young people, and so the clinician should monitor the young patient when starting, or increasing the dose, of these drugs.”

“The warnings do not suggest avoiding the drugs,” said Walsh. “The FDA has not tried to discourage use of antidepressant drugs in people who may benefit from them. And, the current labeling and patient medication guides remind physicians and caregivers of the monitoring that is needed for patients taking these medications. The FDA has tried to balance the suicidality warning language with a reminder that depression is a serious illness that itself is the major risk factor for suicidal thoughts and actions.

“At this time nothing indicates a need for change in the boxed warning on these drugs, which urges attention to patients starting treatment, which the FDA feels is still good advice.”

The latest BMJ study was carried out by Harvard University’s Department of Population and Medicine and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. It analyzed data on more than 7 million patients in the U.S. Mental Health research network between 2000 and 2010.

It noted a 24 percent decrease in antidepressant prescriptions among young adults and a 33.7 percent increase in suicide attempts by drug overdose alone in the two years following the black box warning.

The study showed no jump in such attempts among adults older than 29. Completed suicides did not change for any group, although researchers said the chance of completing suicide by overdose is rare, so this was an expected result.

A 2007 study published in the American Psychiatry Journal of Psychiatry backs up the most recent research. It examined prescriptions of SSRIs from 2003 to 2005 in patients up to the age of 19 in both the United States and The Netherlands, right after the FDA warning. It noted a 22 percent drop in prescriptions and a 14 percent rise in actual completed suicides, not just attempts.

In The Netherlands, the drop in prescriptions was similar, but the rise is suicide rates was 49 percent. Both countries showed only an increase in suicides among young people, not adults. Researchers said they believed the warning was premature.

The National Institute of Mental Health states that the benefits of antidepressants “likely outweigh their risks to children and adolescents with major depression and anxiety disorders.”

Psychiatrist Beresin adds that antidepressants are “very safe, the SSRIs in particular.”

Other medications including steroids, cholesterol drugs and antibiotics can sometimes be “extremely dangerous” on the body’s organs, but carry no black box warning, he said.

“Depression is one of the most debilitating illnesses known to mankind with one of the highest death rates,” said Beresin, who blames lack of education for fear of antidepressants. He argues that not all patients with mental disorders require medication, and many do well on psychotherapy alone or in conjunction with drugs.

“Yes, you have to monitor their use and be vigilant,” he said. “But we need to drop the warning and use antidepressants as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.”

Beresin said he sees stigma as a “huge” part of the problem.

“The entire culture has a prejudice against patients with psychiatric disorders and it’s prevalent not only among the general population but common in medical schools and among physicians,” he said. “People don’t understand psychiatric illnesses and see it as a moral or ethical problem. …They deny it exists.”

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Most Americans Believe Religion Is the Answer to Today’s Problems

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — According to a new Gallup Values and Beliefs survey, a majority of Americans believe that religion holds the answer to today’s problems.

In the poll, 57 percent of 1,000 adults surveyed agreed with that statement.

Those who were more inclined to put their faith in faith were older, conservative, and generally from the South.

However, the result is a far cry from the 1950s, when Americans seemed to have a lot more belief in a higher authority. Back then, 82 percent said religious was the answer to problems.

As of now, 30 percent of Americans say that depending on religion as a cure for problems is, “old fashioned and out of date.”

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Most Americans Believe Religion Is the Answer to Today’s Problems

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — According to a new Gallup Values and Beliefs survey, a majority of Americans believe that religion holds the answer to today’s problems.

In the poll, 57 percent of 1,000 adults surveyed agreed with that statement.

Those who were more inclined to put their faith in faith were older, conservative, and generally from the South.

However, the result is a far cry from the 1950s, when Americans seemed to have a lot more belief in a higher authority. Back then, 82 percent said religious was the answer to problems.

As of now, 30 percent of Americans say that depending on religion as a cure for problems is, “old fashioned and out of date.”

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