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Health & Spirit

Window onto ailments: First database of brain-cell types released

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SEATTLE, Three years ago, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen doubled down on brain research, luring some of the nation's top experts to Seattle and pledging an additional $300 million to study the world's most complex organ at a level of detail never before possible.

Now, the Allen Institute for Brain Science is releasing initial results from that...Read more

Don't blame behavior on 'disease,' psychiatrist says

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Modern psychology can do more harm than good, asserts retired psychiatrist Anthony Daniels (pen name: Theodore Dalrymple) in his book, "Admirable Evasions: How Psychology Undermines Morality."

Instead of taking responsibility for ourselves, "checklist psychiatry" allows us to blame any pattern of behavior on a "disease," said Daniels, 65.

When...Read more

FDA will consider patient experiences in their medical-device reviews

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For decades, the Food and Drug Administration and the medical device industry have puzzled over how to factor the experiences of patients when making regulatory decisions. This month, they got some answers.

The Medical Device Innovation Consortium, a collaboration of the device industry, the FDA and the National Institutes of Health, released a...Read more

Exercise helps the body, but the brain may benefit the most

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Exercise tones the legs, builds bigger biceps and strengthens the heart. But of all the body parts that benefit from a good workout, the brain may be the big winner.

Physical fitness directly affects our mind and plays a crucial role in the way the brain develops and functions. Moreover, exercise is linked to brain changes throughout all stages...Read more

Take a bow: Mother, violinist daughter share a genetic disorder and a dream

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CHICAGO -- Rebecca Binkley was still setting up the video camera in the aisle of the seventh floor theater at Roosevelt University when Krissy Cooper took the stage holding her violin.

Finally, the mother and daughter were in the moment they had strived toward for decades, through hundreds of hospital visits and heartbreaking pep talks as each ...Read more

Medical scopes linked to superbug remain a risk

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SILVER SPRING, Md. -- Patients across the nation continue to face considerable risk from medical scopes linked to deadly bacterial outbreaks due to basic design flaws and a lack of easy fixes, a federal panel was warned Thursday.

Testimony from physicians and researchers came as the Food and Drug Administration and Olympus Corp., a leading ...Read more

As PTSD cases surge, Army overhauling mental health services

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SEATTLE -- The Army is overhauling mental health services after years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, aiming to end an era of experimentation in which nearly 200 programs were tried on different bases.

At Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) and elsewhere, the Army has pushed counseling teams out of hospitals to embed with troops. It's also cutting ...Read more

Walk-in clinics bring affordable, on-demand health care to the masses

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WASHINGTON -- The tradition and inconvenience of appointment-based health care is under attack across America.

A growing number of walk-in health clinics, with late-night and weekend hours, on-site prescription drugs and cheaper prices, are proving a hit with busy patients who've grown tired of getting medical treatment when it's most ...Read more

To make smokers healthy, it helps to make them wealthy, study finds

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Would the promise of an $800 payout motivate you to quit smoking? And if so, what's the most effective way to dangle that reward?

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania sought to answer those questions, with help from more than 2,500 smokers who either worked for CVS Caremark or were their family members or friends.

They found that ...Read more

Marijuana pills fail to ease dementia symptoms

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Pills containing an extract of marijuana do not significantly ease some of dementia's most difficult symptoms, including agitation, aggression and nighttime wandering, says the largest-ever study testing the safety and effectiveness of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, on elderly dementia patients.

The new research did, however, offer some hope ...Read more

Breast cancer proposal could leave 17 million without mammogram coverage

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WASHINGTON -- A new report estimates that 17 million women ages 40 to 49 could lose free annual mammogram coverage if an influential medical panel adopts its proposed breast cancer screening guidelines.

The new figures from consulting company Avalere Health are the latest development in a growing medical and political controversy that was ...Read more

The unclothed patient: The modesty movement won't take it lying down

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Patient modesty might seem like an oxymoron when those seeking medical care are routinely told to remove their clothes, put on a flimsy gown, lie back and let the professionals do their work.

But to many people, everything about those instructions induces anxiety and even anger. They fear the vulnerability that comes with it. They can't relax ...Read more

FDA proposes letting gay men donate blood, with some restrictions

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The Food and Drug Administration proposed new rules Tuesday that would allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood in the U.S. for the first time in decades.

In a move that has been anticipated for months, the FDA released draft regulations that would eliminate the blanket ban on donor blood from any man who has had sex with another man at least...Read more

New audio technology allows ALS victim to preserve voice for his kids

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AKRON, Ohio -- An incurable, degenerative disease slowly is robbing David Stuczynski of his ability to walk, talk and breathe.

But the Akron-area husband and father has made sure ALS will never take away his voice.

With the help of the University of Akron's Audiology and Speech Center and a research project in Delaware, Stuczynski can continue...Read more

Researchers finally see hope for Alzheimer's treatment, prevention

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PITTSBURGH -- Alzheimer's disease is one of the conditions that Americans are most afraid they will get, second only to cancer. Yet at least a generation of focused research has gone by without an effective treatment or sure advice on how to prevent it.

University of Pittsburgh Alzheimer's researchers are among those leading studies and while ...Read more

Despite laws, mental health still getting short shrift

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WASHINGTON -- Under federal law, insurance plans that cover mental health must offer benefits that are on par with medical and surgical benefits. Twenty-three states also require some level of parity.

The federal law, approved in 2008, and most of the state ones bar insurers from charging higher copayments and deductibles for mental health ...Read more

The problem with Obama's plan to pay doctors based on performance

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WASHINGTON -- Until recently, the U.S. government and insurance companies paid doctors for volume of services provided, rewarding them for needless treatments. Economists and policymakers have long called for flipping those incentives so physicians are paid for the quality, not quantity, of care they deliver. That goal is embedded in the ...Read more

Making the case for a 'gentler' C-section

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PITTSBURGH -- Cesarean sections have long been the stepchildren of the labor and delivery world. But now, the procedure is getting a makeover.

At West Penn Hospital, a dedicated "stork nurse" is placing the baby "skin to skin" on the mother, and even initiating breastfeeding, while the mom is still being sewn up. At Magee-Womens Hospital of ...Read more

Does the allure of float tanks to ease mind and body hold water?

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ST. LOUIS -- When I would tell people that I was going to try this new place where you float in a tank in total darkness and complete silence for 90 minutes, I would get two reactions: That sounds blissful, or that sounds torturous.

F.LO.A.T. opened its doors and four float tanks to the public earlier this year, and I was one who couldn't wait ...Read more

Balancing exercise and safety on vacation

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It's every traveler's worst nightmare.

You or someone you are traveling with gets hurt or dies on vacation. An added twist is when the injury occurs while you are trying to keep yourself healthy by exercising.

How many times have you been the only one at a hotel gym? How long would it take for someone to find you if you suffered a debilitating...Read more