Can blocking a single protein tackle depression, obesity, and pain?

Depression, obesity, and chronic pain are some of the most pressing global health concerns. New research may have found a drug that could one day tackle all of these three conditions.

Almost 40 percent of adults in the United States were living with obesity in 2015–2016. Worldwide, nearly 40 percent of adults are overweight, and 13 percent of them have obesity.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the leading cause of disability across the globe. In the U.S., over 17 million adults have experienced at least one episode of major depression in their lives.

Full story at Medical News Today

Small changes can go far in preventing childhood obesity

In the United States, the percentage of children and adolescents with obesity has more than tripled since 1970. Today, approximately one in five school-aged children (ages 6 to 19) is obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—and that figure doesn’t include children who are considered merely overweight and not obese.

According to Dr. Alka Sood, a family medicine physician with Penn State Health Medical Group – Park Avenue in State College, Pennsylvania, children with obesity face physical, social and emotional hurdles while growing up.

“Children with obesity are more likely than their classmates to be teased or bullied and to suffer from low self-esteem, social isolation and depression,” Sood said. “They are at higher risk for other chronic health problems, including asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, and type 2 diabetes, and are more likely to be obese as adults— resulting in increased risk of heart disease and other serious medical conditions.”

Full story at Medical Xpress

Could singing relieve the symptoms of Parkinson’s?

According to a recent pilot study, singing therapy might reduce some of the difficult-to-treat motor and mood symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative condition that affects more than 10 million people worldwide.

Because Parkinson’s predominantly affects older adults, as the population of the United States ages, its prevalence is increasing.

Symptoms include tremor and difficulty coordinating movements. Also, mood changes can occur, with anxiety and depression being relatively common.

Full story at Medical News Today

Osteopathy can be used to treat mental health related to back pain – new study

Millions worldwide suffer from chronic musculoskeletal back pain (lasting more than three months). The problem is so big that in the UK alone, it is estimated that 116m days of work are lost, a million hospital appointments are made and five million GP visits are scheduled – just for low back pain.

The physical agony is often not a standalone problem, however. 35% of people who suffer with low back pain are also diagnosed with depression, anxiety and social isolation.

NICE guidelines suggest that chronic back pain sufferers should have physical therapy as part of a broader package of treatment which includes psychological help. But we have been exploring how one single type of osteopathic treatment can be used to treat both the physical and mental conditions.

Full story at Medical Xpress

Art therapy facilitates improvement of patients with severe depression

Create a picture of how you are feeling on this particular day, said the first exercise in the art therapy. After ten treatments the patients who suffered from severe or moderately severe depression had shown more improvement than the patients in the control group, shows research at Sahlgrenska academy.

“The conclusion is that it was the art therapy that facilitated their improvement”, says Christina Blomdahl, PhD at the institute of health and care sciences, licensed occupational therapist and art therapist.

As part of her dissertation, she has allowed 43 patients with severe or moderately severe depression to undergo a manual-based art therapy that she has developed herself. The control group consisted of 36 people who all suffered from the same medical condition.

Full story at News Medical

Sports-related concussion symptoms linger twice as long for adolescent girls

Adolescent female athletes suffer concussion symptoms twice as long as their male counterparts, according to a new study in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. Researchers found the extended recovery period may be due to underlying conditions including migraines, depression, anxiety and stress.

The research analyzed the medical records of 110 male and 102 female athletes, ages 11 to 18, with first-time concussion diagnoses. The median duration of symptoms was 11 days for boys and 28 days for girls. The data also showed that symptoms resolved within three weeks for 75 percent of boys, compared to 42 percent of girls.

“These findings confirm what many in sports medicine have believed for some time,” said lead researcher John Neidecker, DO, a sports concussion specialist in Raleigh, North Carolina. “It highlights the need to take a whole person approach to managing concussions, looking beyond the injury to understand the mental and emotional impacts on recovery when symptoms persist.”

Full story at Science Daily

Playing High School Football May Not Lead to Impaired Cognition or Depression

Many have questioned the long-term safety of football due to previous reports stating there is an increased risk for cognitive impairments and depression later in life among those who played football. Though concerning and informative, many of these studies contain biases or lack a control group. Therefore, these authors followed 2,692 men (~65 years of age) who graduated from high school in 1957 to identify the long-term association of playing high school football with cognitive impairment using a composite cognitive score (letter fluency, delayed word recall tests), and depression using the modified Center for Epidemiological Studies’ Depression Scale score. These items were assessed at 54, 65, and 72 years of age. The authors matched high school football players (834 players; 31%) to 3 versions of controls: all controls (858 men), non-collision sport participants, and those that did not participate in any sports. Participants were matched based on several factors such as IQ, family background, and education level. The authors found that football players did not have different cognitive composite scores than all controls or when compared to non-sports participants. There was a small effect found between football players and non-collision sport players. Football players were less likely to report depressive symptoms compared with all controls.

Full story at Sports Medicine Research

New findings from research into multiple concussions in hockey players

The relationship between head injuries suffered during contact sport and Alzheimer’s disease is now being called into question thanks to research by the Sahlgrenska Academy, which has revealed that hockey players with multiple concussions probably have other injuries in their brains.

“There seem to be two separate conditions and pathologies involved here,” says Pashtun Shahim, a doctor and researcher of neurology and physiology.

He himself has met the 28 sportspeople who were the subjects of the research, the majority of whom were elite ice hockey players from Sweden (both male and female).

All of them had experienced long-term problems after suffering concussion on multiple occasions, with complaints including sensitivity to noise and light, irritability, depression, difficulty concentrating and memory problems.

Full story of findings into hockey player concussions at Science Daily

NSAIDs may help reduce depression for osteoarthritis sufferers

For people with a painful cartilage condition, common pain relievers may have small benefits for depression symptoms as well, a new study hints.

Depression is more than twice as common among people with osteoarthritis, which happens when cartilage wears down around the hands, lower back, knees or other joints.

As many as 27 million Americans have osteoarthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To help manage their pain, those patients often take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, like ibuprofen or naproxen.

“This work suggests that anti-inflammatory agents may play a role in reducing the burden of depression,” senior author Dr. Michael E. Farkouh of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said.

His team’s study includes data from five previous trials of over-the-counter NSAIDs and prescription Celebrex, a NSAID manufactured by Pfizer, which provided the Celebrex results. In each of the trials, people with osteoarthritis were randomly assigned to take one of those medications or a drug-free placebo pill for six weeks.

Full story of depression and osteoarthritis at MedCity News

Inspired by Denise

f the M.R.I. scan that the neurosurgeon was pointing to was, as it appeared to me, a map of South America, the tumor in the brain of my wife, Denise, was the size of Brazil. Enormous, imposing, bulging all its borders, not to be denied.

Amazing Story of Healing the Tumor in the BrainIt was early October. Denise had not been herself for months. A cheerful and enthusiastic woman, dedicated to her family, her friends, her work, she had become distant, lethargic. Often fatigued, her interests and activities had diminished. Her co-workers had called asking if she was all right, her sisters had taken note, her friends could not understand the changes in her. I thought that she was tired, possibly depressed. I thought that maybe she was in a rut, that patience and empathy was needed.

What was needed was surgery. After a fall at home from which she couldn’t rise we went to the emergency room where the questions, the examinations and an M.R.I. turned up what was wrong: Denise had a meningioma growing in the membrane between her brain and her skull. It had probably been growing for years and was now seven centimeters, of a size and weight that was affecting her vision, her functions, her balance, her personality.

Denise was in the hospital for six weeks. She remained valiant and determined through three brain surgeries and intense physical and occupational therapy. She never faltered. She started therapy as soon as she could, from light bedside therapy, to participation from a wheelchair, through working with a walker, to walking with a cane. I observed one afternoon and was mightily impressed with Denise’s determination to get up and down the training steps, to swing in and out of the car door simulation, to work at it until she was too tired to continue. She wanted to give her all, as she has done since I’ve known her. Denise wanted to return to the people, the interests, the very life that she enjoyed and was missing.

Full story of Denise at The New York Times

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