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Don't Laugh Until You Try This

Scott LaFee on

Researchers say that for patients with clinical depression who do not improve with antidepressant medications, the remedy might be nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas.

A small study found that a low dose of laughing gas was just as effective at improving depression as a higher dose of standard medications in patients with treatment-resistant depression. There were also fewer adverse side effects after two weeks. Larger clinical trials are planned.

Body of Knowledge

Thumbs have their own pulse, which is why doctors use middle and index fingers to take yours. The big artery in the thumb, called the princeps pollicis, makes it hard to feel the pulse in the neck or wrist.

Get Me That, Stat!

In a poll from the nonprofit West Health and Gallup, more than 80% of the 3,700 surveyed said the government should play a major role in keeping Medicare prescription costs down, but only 20% thought government intervention would hamper medical and pharmaceutical innovation.

 

Incidentally, an AARP report says brand-name prescription drugs rose twice as fast in 2020 as rate of inflation. Over the last 15 years, 65 regularly used brand name drugs have experienced a cumulative price increase of nearly 280%.

Stories for the Waiting Room

After a decade of seemingly encouraging data, trends in diabetes treatment and control appear to be flatlining or worsening. A survey of 6,000 adult patients with diabetes found that only half were hitting their blood sugar control target, down from 57% in 2000. Likewise, there was no improvement in cholesterol control.

Doc Talk

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