Medical Notes 17-17

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Medical Notes this week…

We’ve reported on how dogs can sniff out a variety of diseases in people with scientists trying to create a mechanical nose to do the same thing. Now a study presented to the American Chemical Society shows they’re making progress. Researchers have identified a signature odor in 90% of cases of prostate cancer and have developed a chemical test to detect it. Doctors are looking for an alternative to the PSA test to detect prostate cancer because of the high proportion of false positives.

People who are depressed have a surprisingly high risk for heart disease. A new study in the journal Atherosclerosis shows that depression is just as much of a cardiovascular risk as obesity and high cholesterol. The 10-year study finds that depression is to blame for about 15% of all heart disease deaths, a rate exceeded only by smoking and high blood pressure. About 350 million people around the world suffer from depression.

It might be easier to get into an argument when you’re tired because you’re misreading the emotions of other people. A study in the journal Neurobiology of Sleep and Circadian Rhythms shows that sleepy people have trouble interpreting some emotions in the faces of others compared to those who are well rested. Tired people can read fear and anger in others’ faces but more subtle emotions are misinterpreted far more often.

And finally, slightly more than half of parents give sports the green light for their kids but about one in every six completely rule them out. The reason? Concussions. The rest of parents, about a third of them, allow participation on a sport by sport basis, according to a Harris survey for the American Osteopathic Association. About two thirds of parents say basketball and baseball are ok for kids. But less than 20% approve of their children playing football.

And that’s Medical Notes this week.

17-15 Segment 2: Why Taming Sleep Leaves Us Restless

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Sleep used to be natural, governed by darkness, light, and fatigue. Now it’s highly processed and scheduled. An author discusses his research on the ways this has led to a poorer night’s sleep.

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Medical Notes 17-12

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Medical Notes this week…

People who’ve gone to the hospital for treatment of a mental health disorder have an increased risk of stroke for months afterward. A study presented to the International Stroke Conference in Houston shows that people going to the hospital for psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety and PTSD have triple the risk of a stroke in the next month and double the risk for the next year or more. Scientists speculate that mental illness may provoke the body’s “fight or flight” mechanism which can raise blood pressure and stroke risk.

Early risers may be healthier than people who sleep in. A study in the journal Obesity shows that early birds tend to eat more balanced diets than night owls. They also eat earlier in the day, which helps with weight loss and lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

And finally, many Americans are working from home at least part of the time and a new poll shows we like it that way. However, a little bit of office camaraderie is a good thing. The Gallup survey finds that 43 percent of employees work remotely at least part of the time and that the most engaged workers are those who spend three to four days a week working from home. People who work in the office all the time or at home all the time are the least engaged employees.

And that’s Medical Notes this week.

16-45 Segment 1: Yawning

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Virtually all animals with a backbone yawn, but scientists don’t know what purpose it serves or why yawns are so contagious. Experts discuss what’s known and what’s behind a yawn.

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16-36 Segment 2: Lucid Dreams

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Synopsis: The dreaming brain is nearly as active as it is when we are awake. Experts discuss ways to shape dreams to help solve problems.

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Click here for guest information and the transcript

15-09 Story 2: Infant Sleep and Shaken Babies

 

Synopsis:  New parents are often at wits’ end when their baby won’t sleep. Infants who won’t sleep and cry inconsolably are also at major risk of being victims of shaken baby syndrome. Experts discuss the connection and ways babies can be more reliable sleepers.

Host: Nancy Benson. Guests: Dr. Ronald Barr, Professor of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia and Fellow, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research; Dr. Janet Krone Kennedy, clinical psychologist, founder, NYC Sleep Doctor and author, The Good Sleeper: The Essential Guide to Sleep For Your Baby and You

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Click here for the transcript.