Round-Up of Global News In Health and Complementary Medicine
Week Beginning 7 January 2002
Smoker’s Cough Not To be Ignored
If you are a smoker you have a morning cough. On average in the region of 20% of smokers will suffer from persistent coughing and they should not ignore the implications of this. Because the dry, hacking cough is very often the first symptom of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is almost exclusively seen in smokers. It is a progressive and irreversible disease in which air entry into the lungs becomes progressively smaller as the lungs stiffen in response to inflammation. Sufferers find that they become progressively more breathless with time. Initially on extreme exertion and ultimately at rest. Smokers who have a persistent cough lasting more than a month or two should go straight to their GP. The earlier COPD is treated the slower the progress of the disease and the better the maintenance of well being and lifestyle.
Genetics Referrals Are Of No Great Benefit
Women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer are needlessly being sent to genetics clinics for counselling. That is the view of two of the country’s leading cancer charities, the Cancer Research Campaign and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. Evidence in fact shows that most women who suffer from these cancers do not have a strong history of family members having had the same. The charities argue that the reason so many women are sent to genetics clinics is that GPs feel that they do not have the expertise or complete knowledge to counsel their patients. Furthermore, huge media coverage of breast and ovarian cancers had engendered a big demand for advice – a demand which could not be met by genetics clinics alone.
The Daily Telegraph
£1Million Can Buy Happiness Oh Yeah!
How does the song go? "Who wants to be a millionaire?" It’s that age-old question: does money buy you happiness? Well, apparently it does. At least according to economics researchers at the University of Warwick. But it’s going to cost you – a cool £1 million in fact. Economists have just completed a 10-year study of money and happiness and their findings only confirm what many of us have feared. Those with money are happier but only once they have £1 million in their coffers. This seems to be the critical point for true pleasure and contentment in life.
New Vision For The Blind
The age of bionics has advanced further it was announced this week with the development of an artificial retinal implant. The implication is renewed sight for the blind. The retina has been developed by medical scientists at the University of Houston. Instead of the light cells in natural retinas, the cells which convey signals about light from images from the eye to the brain, the scientists have used solar implants – an amazing 100,000 of them per retina. The team comment, "This is a huge breakthrough in the management of blindness and partial blindness. Sight is such a vital function for anyone. To be able to restore it is a great act". But don’t expect to be able to walk into your local optician and request in the near future. The team fully expects it to be at least 5 years before the retinas have been fully assessed.
Depression Growing In The US
A new study, published in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association, indicates that depression levels in the US have risen dramatically in recent times to record figures. The per centage of American receiving antidepressant medication has risen over two-fold in just 10 years. The authors of the study, carried out New York’s Columbia University, advise that in 1987 out of every 1000 people in the US population only seven were receiving treatment for depression. By 1997 this figure had risen sharply to 23 in every 1000 people. Of these people, 37% were receiving antidepressants in 1987, whilst in 1997 75% were receiving such treatment. The reasons for the dramatic change? The authors conclude that there have been dramatic changes in society in the time span 1987 to 1997 with more violence and neglect and less social support. Recent events in the US will most probably have increased figures still further.
The Daily Mirror
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