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Health Updates 1 March 2012

  • Hypnosis may help kids’ stomach woes long-term: “Hypnosis may bring lasting relief to some kids with irritable bowel syndrome or chronic stomach pain, a small study suggests.  Researchers found that of 52 children with the tummy troubles, those who had six hypnosis sessions – plus at-home ‘self-hypnosis’ – were still doing well five years later. More than two-thirds were free or mostly free of abdominal pain.  That compared with just 20 percent of kids who were given standard therapy alone….Many people think of hypnosis as someone waving a pocket watch in front of your face, then making you do strange things, noted Miranda van Tilburg, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  But in medicine, hypnosis is used to help people create relaxing images in their minds to ease symptoms like pain and anxiety….The current findings are important, she told Reuters Health, because they suggest that hypnosis can offer lasting relief.” (Reuters Health)
  • Job loss fears sow unhappiness in work, family life: “People worried about losing their jobs become dissatisfied with many aspects of their life and their work performance, and their commitment suffers, a new study indicates….As the fear of job loss increases, ‘people are less satisfied with their personal, work and family lives and they are less committed to their work….The researchers also found that job insecurity has different effects on blue-collar workers (supermarket shelf-stockers or hospital attendants, for example), white-collar workers (office or administration) and professionals (nurses, doctors or engineers). When faced with job uncertainty, blue-collar workers ‘are less satisfied with life…”.” (HealthDay)
  • Nicotine patches no help in pregnancy: “Adding nicotine patches to behavioral counseling did not improve quit rates among pregnant women who smoked, a randomized trial showed.  Only 9.4% of women assigned to nicotine patches remained abstinent from their quit date through delivery, compared with 7.6% who received placebo patches….Nor were there any differences between the groups in adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes, although low compliance in both groups limits the ability to draw conclusions about the safety of nicotine-replacement therapy during pregnancy, the researchers reported in the March 1 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.  The lack of efficacy is consistent with the results of two previous, smaller randomized trials and calls into question guidelines recommending the use of nicotine-replacement therapy to help pregnant women quit smoking.” (Todd Neale, MedPage Today)
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Gulf War veterans: “Gulf War veterans who develop Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) do not have to prove a connection between their illnesses and military service to be eligible to receive VA disability compensation.  CFS must have emerged during active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations or by December 31, 2016, and be at least 10 percent disabling.  CFS is an unexplained, severe and persistent fatigue that is not helped by rest.  There may be flu-like symptoms such as sore throat, swollen lymph glands, low-grade fever, headache, muscle pain and poor sleep.   Patients may undergo a variety of tests to rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms.” ( US Dept. of Veterans Affairs)
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