Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesay's News 11 11 2008

When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient

According to a new study, one quarter of all family caregivers of Alzheimer’s disease patients succumb to the stress of providing care to a loved one and become hospital patients themselves.

Specifically, Indiana University researchers discovered that a quarter of family caregivers of Alzheimer’s dementia patients had at least one emergency room visit or hospitalization every six months.

While it has long been anecdotally recognized that caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease is stressful, this work is the first to measure just how stressful providing care is and to examine the impact of this stress on both the physical and mental health of the family caregiver.

The study found that the behavior and functioning of the individual with Alzheimer’s dementia, rather than cognitive ability, were the major factors determining whether the caregiver went to the emergency room or was hospitalized.

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Depression Treatment in Developing Countries

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have developed a therapy program to help treat depression in women in developing countries.

Although depression is a major health problem world-wide, experts say its impact is greatest in developing countries where 80 percent of the population live.

Often there are no resources available to treat sufferers.

Professor Atif Rahman from the School of Population, Community and Behavioral Sciences developed a therapy program while working as a Wellcome Trust Career Fellow in Tropical Medicine in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

“Depression is one of the leading causes of mental illness in the world and when the condition affects mothers with newborn babies, it can lead to serious consequences” he says.

“The impacts include low birth-weight, poor growth, frequent diarrhea and the mother failing to ensure the child is properly immunized. These conditions tend to remain untreated in countries like Pakistan where only a fraction of the Government’s budget is spent on health.

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Stopping The Pain Of PTSD Before It Starts

A faint waft of men's cologne in a shopping mall. The smell of a neighbor's barbecue. A flash of a face on TV: small unexpected sensory cues can trigger extreme reactions in people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), about one quarter of all people who have lived through a traumatic event like rape, assault, war or terror attack.

New research by Israeli scientists from Ben Gurion University and Tel Aviv University, suggests that a large dose of a stress hormone may reduce the risk of PTSD, and its associated symptoms. The researchers, who report successful results in an animal model, are hoping this therapy could one day restore life to people who have experienced trauma.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is widely known to affect soldiers at war. But it can strike anyone who has suffered through a terrifying ordeal where life is at stake. According to the National Institute of Mental Health in the US, people with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal and feel emotionally numb, especially with people they were once close to.

"This breaks people's lives up," says Dr. Mike Matar, a psychiatrist affiliated with Ben Gurion University's Anxiety and Stress Research Unit, who participated in the study. People with PTSD "do less and less and less. Basically they are unable to put their lives back together," he tells ISRAEL21c.

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Putting Health Care on an Energy Diet

Some industries are obvious energy hogs: airlines, autos, office buildings. Others, like health care, are stealthier consumers. But the U.S. health-care infrastructure is one of the country's hungriest users of energy.

Medical procedures, for instance, rack up massive energy tabs — especially surgeries, emergency services and pathology laboratory tests. "Enormous amounts of energy are required to build and run high-tech systems in common use — MRIs, CT scans, etc. — with many running 24 hours a day," says Pamela Gray, a trustee of the Transition Network, a U.K.-based organization that supports community-level initiatives to improve sustainability and combat climate change. Further, nearly all pharmaceuticals are made from petroleum derivatives, and so are medical materials (think rubber gloves and intravenous tubing). And then there's transportation: transferring equipment, supplies and lab samples, or getting patients to the right facility, sometimes by ambulance or helicopter.

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