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Health Updates 10 May 2011

  • Frequent business travel takes a health toll: “Adults who spent 20 or more nights away from home each month were 2.5 times as likely to rate their health as poor or fair, compared with travelers away from home just one to six nights a month, according to the analysis, which was published in April in The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.  The most frequent travelers were also twice as likely to be obese as those who went out-of-town infrequently”.  (NY Times)
  • Better choices with the blues?:  Here’s a surprise: “Depression appears to have an upside: Clinically depressed patients outperformed their nondepressed peers on a test of sequential decision-making.”  In a computer designed test that evaluates decision-making abilities, researchers “found that nondepressed people tended to set the threshold for their [job] choices too low, while depressed patients imposed higher thresholds and were less willing to accept inadequate options.”  As observed in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, “This finding indicates that the effect of depression on cognitive functioning is complex”.  (MedPage Today)
  • Looking again at supplements for infants: “Nearly one in 10 babies are given supplements of plant-based teas to soothe colic or help with teething during the first year of life, even though the products are unproven and may contain contaminants or spur allergies, a new study says”.  Dr. Sara B. Fein, a researcher of consumer habits with the FDA, reports that “we’re encouraging mothers to be proactive about contacting a physician if they think they should give their child a dietary supplement”. (NY Times)
  • More doctors prescribing yoga and meditation: “Doctors may be more accepting of certain complementary and alternative medicine therapies, such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing, than they have been in the past, a new study suggests.  The results show about 3 percent of Americans use such mind-body therapies because of a referral from a physician”. (MSNBC)

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