Depression: Is brain inflammation tied to suicidal thoughts?

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A new study confirms the link between inflammation of the brain and the prevalence of suicidal thoughts in people diagnosed with major depression. This is the first study of its kind to measure relevant biomarkers in living individuals.

Major depression is a very common mental condition, with 6.7 percent of all adults in the United States having had at least one severe depressive episode in 2014 or 2015.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is also currently the leading cause of years spent with disability worldwide.

Some people diagnosed with major depression experience suicidal thoughts, which may result in suicide attempts. In the U.S., “suicide is the 10th leading cause of death.” Now, researchers wonder whether or not suicidal ideation in people with major depression may be linked to abnormal inflammation of the brain.

Dr. Peter Talbot and other researchers based at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom have conducted a study testing the levels of a biomarker associated with brain inflammation in the systems of people diagnosed with clinical depression.

The scientists’ findings were reported in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

 

Read More: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319526.php?utm_campaign=sniply&utm_medium=sniply&utm_source=sniply

Monitoring the heart’s mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?

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Credit: Dr. John Kheir, Boston Children’s Hospital & Shutterstock

A new device can assess in real time whether the body’s tissues are receiving enough oxygen and, placed on the heart, can predict cardiac arrest in critically ill heart patients, report researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital and scientists from Cambridge device maker Pendar Technologies. Their study, conducted in animal models, is the cover article in today’s issue of Science Translational Medicine.

 

“With current technologies, we cannot predict when a patient’s heart will stop,” says John Kheir, MD of Boston Children’s Heart Center, who co-led the study. “We can examine heart function on the echocardiogram and measure blood pressure, but until the last second, the heart can compensate quite well for low oxygen conditions. Once cardiac arrest occurs, its consequences can be life-long, even when patients recover.”

The device uses a technology called resonance Raman spectroscopy to measure whether enough oxygen is reaching the mitochondria, the organelles that provide cells with energy. In critically ill patients with compromised circulation or breathing, oxygen delivery is often impaired, making it hard for mitochondria to do their job. This is especially a problem for the heart, which has constant high energy needs.

The current standard for measuring tissue oxygenation, known as mixed venous saturation (SvO2), requires repeated blood draws, adding extra risk in critically ill patients. More importantly, SvO2 cannot tell whether oxygen supply is sufficient to meet the dynamic demands of heart muscle.

“We wanted to create an organ-specific, continuous, reliable readout of how adequately mitochondria are being fed oxygen,” says Kheir. “This is the first demonstration of a device that can monitor mitochondria in living tissues to predict impending organ failure.”

Using light to monitor mitochondria

This technology is the product of a collaboration between the Translational Research Lab in Boston Children’s Heart Center, co-led by Kheir and Brian Polizzotti, PhD, and Pendar Technologies (Cambridge, Mass.). “At the bedside, we saw patients who had a limitation to coronary blood flow, and wanted a device that could provide an early warning sign,” Kheir says.

The team created a metric they call 3RMR that uses light readings generated by resonance Raman spectroscopy to quantify oxygenation and mitochondrial function in real time.

 

Read More: http://snip.ly/bt6o8#https://scienmag.com/monitoring-the-hearts-mitochondria-to-predict-cardiac-arrest-2/

Brain Activity and Good Diet May Prevent Insomnia-Related Depression

Brain Activity and Good Diet May Prevent Insomnia-Related Depression
While lack of sleep is a major risk factor for depression, not everyone who tosses and turns at night becomes depressed. According to a study, individuals whose brains are more attuned to rewards may be protected from the negative mental health effects of poor sleep. The findings revealed that students with poor quality sleep were less likely to have symptoms of depression if they also had higher activity in a reward-sensitive region of the brain.”This helps us begin to understand why some people are more likely to experience depression when they have problems with sleep,” said Ahmad Hariri, Professor at the Duke University in North Carolina, US. “This finding may one day help us identify individuals for whom sleep hygiene may be more effective or more important,” Hariri added.

For the study, appearing in The Journal of Neuroscience, the team examined a region deep within the brain called the ventral striatum in 1,129 college students. Ventral striatum helps regulate behaviour in response to an external feedback as well as reinforce behaviours that are rewarded, while reducing behaviours that are not. The results showed that those who were less susceptible to the effects of poor sleep showed significantly higher brain activity in response to positive feedback or reward compared to negative feedback.

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The effects of poor sleep showed significantly higher brain activity

“Poor sleep is not good, but you may have other experiences during your life that are positive. And the more responsive you are to those positive experiences, the less vulnerable you may be to the depressive effects of poor sleep,” Hariri said.

 

Read More: http://snip.ly/ttax2#http://food.ndtv.com/health/brain-activity-and-good-diet-may-prevent-insomnia-related-depression-1753267

Shipley Center Website Offers Prostate Cancer Facts for Patients

One in every seven men in the United States will get prostate cancer, making it the second most common type, after skin cancer, for American men. It tends to be a slow-growing disease, but can sprint to life-threatening severity if detected too late. Screening for prostate cancer can yield false-positive findings, but those most at risk for the disease—men whose father or a brother had prostate cancer, African American men, overweight men, and those in their 60s and 70s who are in good health and could expect years more of life—still should ask their doctors whether screening makes sense for them.

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The website for the Shipley Prostate Cancer Research Center provides basic information about the prostate gland and how disease affects it.

That information comes from the just-launched website of the Shipley Prostate Cancer Research Center at the School of Medicine. Created with a $10.5 million gift from BU trustee Richard Shipley (Questrom’68,’72), the center’s labs will be in the Conte Building on the Medical Campus when it opens. The center’s research will be focused on finding genomic approaches to determine which prostate cancers are aggressive and need treatment, and which can simply be monitored.

The center’s website and its Facebook page and Twitter account are up and running now, offering easy-to-follow, impartial information on practically everything anyone needs to know about prostate cancer. There’s “Prostate 101,” an overview about the prostate, information about prostate cancer and getting a second opinion, and a checklist of symptoms; information on screening; treatment options; and the state of research.

This knowledge is available to patients everywhere, “irrespective of where they choose to get their medical care or where they are in terms of testing, diagnosis, or treatment,” says site editor Gretchen Gignac, a School of Medicine associate professor of hematology and medical oncology.

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Most cases of prostate cancer are slow-growing tumors that have a very high cure rate, but some cases are fast-growing.

For its founding donor, the center is as much a beacon of information to patients as an incubator for medical research. Shipley was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014 and chose focal laser ablation, a new and less invasive treatment than surgery and other therapies.

“The website will be unique in that it will provide up-to-date information, both on diagnostic and treatment options, in a form the layman can easily understand,” Shipley says.

Read More: http://snip.ly/olj5q#http://www.bu.edu/today/2017/shipley-center-website-offers-prostate-cancer-facts-for-patients/

Teens also at risk for organ damage from high blood pressure

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And the damage to the heart and blood vessels can occur in youth at that are below the clinical definition of hypertension in youth.

High blood pressure in youth is defined differently than it is in adults. In childhood, high blood pressure is based on percentiles, rather than blood pressure level. Researchers looked at whether in teens develops below the 95th percentile, which is the clinical definition of in youth.

Researchers studied blood pressure and measured organ damage in 180 teenagers (14-17 years old, 64 percent white, 57 percent males). They found evidence of organ damage even among the youth categorized as “normal” with blood pressure less than in the 80th percentile. They also found heart and vessel damage in the mid-risk group, which had blood pressures in the 80th to 90th percentiles and the high-risk group, with blood pressures above the 90th percentile.

 

Read More: http://snip.ly/0v63t#https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-09-teens-high-blood-pressure.html

OSHA Proposes Extending Compliance Deadline for Crane Operator Certification Requirements to 2018

OSHA Proposes Extending

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to extend the employer’s responsibility to ensure crane operator competency and enforcement for crane operator certification to Nov. 10, 2018.

OSHA issued a final rule in September 2014, extending the deadline by three years for crane operator certification requirements in the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard. The final rule also extended by three years the employer’s responsibility to ensure that crane operators are competent to operate a crane safely.

The agency is now proposing an extension of the enforcement date to address stakeholder concerns over the operator certification requirements in the Cranes and Derricks in Construction standard.

 

Read More: http://snip.ly/l4l6i#http://www.forconstructionpros.com/rental/lifting-equipment/crane/press-release/20974421/occupational-safety-health-administration-osha-proposes-extending-compliance-deadline-for-crane-operator-certification-requirements-to-2018

Congress, keep hands off employer sponsored plans in healthcare fights

Congress, keep hands

Lawmakers are back in town and soon the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will once again take up the beast that is healthcare.

Some will be tempted to merely throw more money and the semblance of flexibility into a broken system — we urge them  to reject this Band-Aid, and to instead implement real reforms. The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) implores Congress not to take this opportunity to protect the employer-sponsored health insurance system, which is the single most common source of health coverage in the nation, providing 178 million Americans with access to healthcare.

Congress is focused on stabilizing endangered exchange marketplaces. ERIC heartily agrees that market stabilization is important for everyone, but addressing the cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurance companies is just a small part of solving the problem.

 

Last month, ERIC, along with several other organizations, sent a letter to Congress with policy recommendations that would help stabilize the market, while also ensuring the future of affordable employer-provided health benefits.

We recommended Congress should fund CSR payments to improve affordability in the individual market. Congress should also repeal the 40 percent “Cadillac” tax on employer-sponsored health plans, with no new taxes on health benefits. And lawmakers should repeal the health insurance tax on fully insured health plans, which a recent Oliver Wyman study found will cost Americans $22 billion next year alone. They should also enable employers to innovate with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and protect the ability of employers to offer uniform benefits to employees and their families — no matter where they live, work, or receive medical care.

Tax relief is key to protecting the employer-sponsored system. Since World War II, the American tax code has encouraged employers to set up quality health plans for their employees by exempting company health benefit expenditures from income and payroll taxes. The Affordable Care Act placed a crippling financial burden on plan sponsors through the employer mandate and the taxes mentioned above.

An easy place to start would be fully repealing the highly unpopular Cadillac tax. It has already been delayed until 2020 and lawmakers have voted to repeal it twice. The first time in 2015 and the most recent during the healthcare votes this past July.

The Cadillac tax will hit more than 50 percent of the workforce within ten years of its implementation, according to a January study by the consulting firm Milliman —that’s 60 million Americans. These employees could see their benefits slashed by thousands of dollar while their salaries stay flat.

Some economists theorize that because of the Cadillac tax, workers might see their pre-tax wages increase as employers switch to cheaper plans. But if that happens, employees would also pay a lot more in taxes, costing 12.1 million employees upwards of $1,000 in higher payroll and income taxes.

In fact, 80 percent of the revenue raised by the Cadillac tax is expected to come from workers paying more income and payroll taxes, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Congressional Budget Office.

Aside from health tax relief, another way to improve the healthcare system is updating consumer-directed health options like Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). The Committee and Congress should raise HSA contribution limits, ensuring that HSA and high-deductible plan beneficiaries have access to supplemental benefits. They should also allow consumers to use their HSAs to purchase over-the-counter medicines while updating rules to ensure those enrolled in HSA-compatible plans can benefit from first-dollar coverage for prescription drugs and other medical products and services likely to prevent or reduce catastrophic episodes in the future.

The Senate HELP Committee must also look at value-based healthcare options, which are ways plan sponsors and consumers can spend healthcare dollars smarter. Earlier this year, The ERISA Industry Committee and the Pacific Business Group on Health launched the DRIVE Health Initiative, a campaign to accelerate economic growth by controlling health costs and improving quality through the rapid adoption of value-based healthcare. The initiative calls for targeted deregulation and the use of market-based purchasing strategies by Medicare and other federal health programs.

Fixing healthcare is not easy. As lawmakers move forward in crafting new legislation, they must be sure it protects the employer-sponsored system that has provided affordable, quality coverage to more than half of the population for decades and allow for continued improvement and innovations.

If they don’t, the employer-sponsored health insurance system could be in jeopardy, creating a much bigger problem than that of the ACA exchanges.

James Gelfand is the senior vice president for health policy at The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC). ERIC is the only national association that advocates exclusively for large employers on health, retirement and compensation public policies at the federal, state and local levels.