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Half of Dr. Oz’s medical advice is baseless or wrong, study says – The Washington Post

“I haven’t seen a doctor in eight years,” the New Yorker quoted one viewer telling Oz. “I’m scared. You’re the only one I trust.” But is that trust misplaced? Or has Oz, who often peddles miracle cures for weight loss and other maladies, mortgaged medical veracity for entertainment value? These questions have hammered Oz for months. In June, he was hauled in front of Congress, where Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) told him he gave people false hope and criticized his segments as a “recipe for disaster.” Then last month, a study he widely trumpeted lauding coffee bean weight-loss pills was retracted despite Oz’s assertions it could “burn fat fast for anyone who wants to lose weight.”

via Half of Dr. Oz’s medical advice is baseless or wrong, study says – The Washington Post.

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Emotional Health Affects Women’s Sexual Function More Than Hormones

Source: The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism

Levels of testosterone and other naturally-occurring reproductive hormones play a limited role in driving menopausal women’s interest in sex and sexual function, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

“While levels of testosterone and other reproductive hormones were linked to women’s feelings of desire and frequency of masturbation, our large-scale study suggests psychosocial factors influence many aspects of sexual function,” said one study author, Dr John F. Randolph, of the University of Michigan Medical School. “A woman’s emotional well-being and quality of her intimate relationship are tremendously important contributors to sexual health.”

The longitudinal cohort study examined data from 3,302 women who participated in the decade-long Study of Women’s Health around the Nation (SWAN).

They were asked about their interest in sex and sexual activity and had tests of testosterone and other reproductive hormones, including DHEAS.

Women who naturally had higher levels of testosterone and DHEAS reported feeling sexual desire more frequently than women with low levels and they masturbated more often.

However, women who reported having fewer sad moods and higher levels of satisfaction in their relationships reported better sexual function.

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First Female Genital Mutilation Case To Go To Trial

Source: Louise Hall via The Sydney Morning Herald

An elderly woman has pleaded not guilty to performing female genital mutilation on two young sisters.The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will stand trial next year alongside the girls’ mother and a man.

Chief Justice Tom Bathurst has allowed the case to be heard in the Supreme Court as it is the first time in NSW – and possibly Australia – that a person or people have been prosecuted for such an offence….Read More>>

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Is Depression an Infectious Disease?

Source: Carolyn Gregoire via Huffington Post

We know that the brains of people with depression are different from the brains of healthy people in both their chemical balance and structure, but despite the fact that roughly 10 percent of the U.S. population struggle with the disease, scientists know startlingly little about why these changes occur. Clinical depression — also known as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) — is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, psychological and biological factors. But one psychologist believes we’ve overlooked biological factors that may be the missing piece of the puzzle. In a provocative new paper, Dr. Turhan Canli, associate professor of integrative neuroscience at Stony Brook University, makes a case for reconceptualizing depression as an infectious disease caused by foreign invaders like parasites, bacteria or viruses that make their way into the body and cause changes in the brain….Read More>>

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Mental Health of Children and Young People ‘At Risk in Digital Age’

Source: Denis Campbell via The Guardian

Violent video games, the sharing of indecent images on mobile phones, and other types of digital communications, are harming young people’s mental health, MPs warned on Wednesday, amid evidence of big increases in self-harm and serious psychological problems among the under-18s.

Cyberbullying and websites advocating anorexia and self-harm are also posing a danger to the mental wellbeing of children and young people, the Commons health select committee says in its report….Read More>>

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Target Australia Pulls Grand Theft Auto V From Shelves After Customer Feedback On Violence

Source: Ben Grubb via The Sydney Morning Herald

Target Australia has pulled R-rated video game Grand Theft Auto V from its shelves and says it will no longer sell it following feedback from customers about the game’s depictions of violence against women.

The decision to pull the game — which sparked an immediate backlash from gamers — appeared to be in response to a Change.org petition launched on Saturday by three women who said they were survivors of violence.

“It’s a game that encourages players to murder women for entertainment,” Nicole, Claire and Kat, who didn’t give their last names, said in the petition, which has gained more than 40,000 supporters.

“The incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get ‘health’ points – and now Target are stocking it and promoting it for your Xmas stocking.”

After announcing the decision to pull the game on Wednesday night, more than four thousand people, particularly gamers, inundated Target’s Facebook page, with many criticising the move. Hundreds more voiced their disapproval on Twitter….Read More>>

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Psychiatry Needs More Science

Source: Author unknown via The Lancet Pscyhiatry

Changing practice requires a high standard of evidence, although existing practice does not always have a solid scientific base. Management of mental health often seems intuitive, so many interventions have been developed and rolled out on the basis of good intentions rather than good science (eg, post-traumatic stress disorder counselling after natural disasters). We do not deny the role of clinical expertise and the art of the individual psychiatrist, but we believe that studies aimed at altering the status quo should be rigorous in planning, execution, and communication….Read More>>

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Omega-3 Supplements Reduce Smoking

Source: Sharon Rabinovitz via Journal of Psychopharmacology 

Taking omega-3 capsules significantly reduces nicotine craving and the number of cigarettes that people smoke a day, according to an Israeli study.

Researchers at the University of Haifa performed a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial of 48 adult smokers who smoked at least ten cigarettes a day.

They received five omega-3 capsules or a placebo for thirty days. At no stage were the participants asked to stop smoking.

After a month, the smokers who had taken omega-3 reduced their cigarettes by an average of two a day (an 11% decrease) and reported a significant decrease in nicotine cravings. There were no changes in the placebo group….Read More>>

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Violence Against Women ‘Epidemic’

Source: Charlotte Alter via Time Magazine

100-140 million women have undergone female genital mutilation worldwide, and 3 million African girls per year are at risk. 7% of women will be sexually assaulted by someone besides their partner in their lifetimes. Almost 70 million girls worldwide have been married before they turned 18. According to WHO estimates, 30% of women worldwide have experienced partner violence. The researchers said that these problems could only be solved with political action and increased funding, since the violence has continued “despite increased global attention,” implying awareness is not enough….Read More>>

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Depression: It’s Not Just in Your Head, It’s Also in Your Genes

Source: Lloyd I. Sederer, M.D via Huffpost Healthy Living

Ninety-seven healthy girls, ages 10 to 14, had saliva DNA samples taken. About half of them had moms with histories of depression, and about half had moms who did not. None of the girls had histories of depression.

The girls whose moms had suffered depression had significant reductions in the length of their telomeres. We all want to understand telomeres, the caps at the ends of our DNA strands, because the longer they are the longer we tend to live — and live freer of age related illnesses like heart disease, stroke, dementia, diabetes and osteoporosis. The girls whose moms didn’t have histories of depression, the control group of the study, did not show the same changes in their DNA as a result of reductions in the length of their telomeres.

The researchers took the study another step: they compared both groups of girls, the former or “high-risk” group and the control or “low-risk” group, by measuring their response to stressful mental tasks. The children of moms with depression had significantly higher levels of cortisol, our stress hormone, released during these tasks than those in the control group; both had normal levels of cortisol before the stressful tasks….Read More>>

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