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Medical News Notes – October 19, 2010

Simple ways to reduce your risk of breast cancer. A major change in the administration of CPR. A possible new breakthrough in the treatment of clinic depression. These and other interesting stories from the world of health and medicine in this week’s Medical News Notes.

Things You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer.

Breast CancerEven if you have a family history of breast cancer, there are still things you can do to significantly reduce your chances of getting this dreaded disease. The University of Rochester Medical Center recommends these preventive steps:

  • Vigorously exercising at least 20 minutes for five or more days per week;
  • Keeping your weight normal for your height and age;
  • Consuming one or fewer alcoholic drinks per day.

Researchers have found that these simple behavioral changes can lower breast cancer risk in all women, regardless of their family histories.

Changes Recommended for CPR.

CPRFor nearly 30 years, people learning Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) have been taught their ABCs: Airway, Breathing, Compression. Now, the American Heart Association (AHA) is changing that order to CAB, as research has shown that keeping blood flowing through the body during a heart attack is of No. 1 importance. Using the old protocols, too many patients suffered brain and heart damage while those administering CPR struggled to clear their airways and perform mouth-to-mouth before beginning chest compressions. The AHA believes that by starting with chest compressions, recovery rates can be significantly improved and long-term damage reduced.

Scientists Find Genetic Trigger for Depression

DepressionResearchers at Yale University have discovered a gene that appears to trigger many of the major symptoms of clinical depression. By directly addressing this gene’s chemistry, they hope to create a new generation of anti-depressants that will be more effective than those currently on the market, drugs that fail to work on as many of 40 percent of all depression sufferers. Depression currently afflicts almost 16 percent of Americans in any given year, and particularly targets women in their 20s and early 30s. The disease is believed to drain as much as $100 billion a year from the U.S. economy.

That Which Does Not Kill You Makes You Stronger…

Mountain Climbing…as long as it doesn’t hurt too much, according to a study just published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. In the study, the researchers were not surprised to find that people who had undergone major physical and/or emotional traumas tended to experience long-term and often debilitating reactions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, they were surprised to learn that a moderate amount of adversity tended to make people feel happier and more confident over time. In fact, people who had experienced and triumphed over significant but not truly horrific adversities in their life had a more positive mental state and higher quality of life than people who experienced little or no adversity at all.

FDA Approves Botox to Fight Migraine Headaches

Migraine HeadachePeople who suffer migraine headaches know how truly horrific they can be. Now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of Botox, the anti-wrinkle injection from Allergan, to treat specific forms of this disease. It can be used to treat a specific form of migraine headache that strikes at least 15 days a month and has proven immune to most conventional drug treatments. Industry analysts estimate the migraine treatment will be $1,000 to $2,000 per injection, depending on the amount of medicine used and the physician’s fee. Some private insurance companies are likely to cover this now that it has received FDA approval.

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