Sunday, 11 December 2016

Legally dead?

Jewish people have been traditionally wary of signing up to organ donation - but that might be changing. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Smoke and mirrors

One of the most repressive states in the world is trying to become one of the healthiest. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

'It's life-changing'

Twenty-two-year old photographer James is terminally ill and struggles to use a camera alone, so a designer has come up with a way to help. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Friday, 9 December 2016

Light therapy could break down Alzheimer’s brain deposits

An hour a day of light therapy has been found to boost gamma brainwaves and break down brain deposits in mice with Alzheimer's-like symptoms via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Exclusive: Mexico clinic plans 20 ‘three-parent’ babies in 2017

The first baby made using the technique to prevent inherited disease was born this year, and New Scientist has learned that tests suggest he is healthy via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Vaping by US high schoolers has increased by 900 per cent

The US surgeon general has warned that nicotine can contribute to mood disorders and attention deficits in teens, following a sharp increase in those who vape via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Super-you: The mutant powers you get from outsider genes

Genes from other species, and cells from your relatives, live inside your body – and they hint at how we can improve ourselves via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

The alarming drop in US life expectancy shouldn’t be a surprise

Life expectancy is down in the US for the first time since the worst years of the AIDS epidemic. It is a critical moment for health policy, says Laudan Aron via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Almost half of baby boomers’ health problems stem from lifestyle choices

More needs to be done to help them enjoy a healthy old age, says CMO

Related items from OnMedica

Women over 50 shun smear tests
Full screening uptake would prevent 83% of cervical cancer deaths
Benefits of taking aspirin highest in women aged 65 plus
A fifth of over-65s are drinking too much
Drinking by baby boomers costs NHS the most
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Self-harm among children and young people on the rise

Teenagers aged 13 to 17 most likely to need hospital treatment

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Self-harm and injury less likely with lithium than other drugs
Nearly one in four children denied access to mental health services in England
Fifth of all children referred to specialist mental health services rejected for treatment
Child mental health funding not reaching CCGs
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Include pharmacists in general practice team, say patients and carers

Role pays dividends for patients and GPs, survey shows

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Role of pharmacists is set to grow and grow
400 more pharmacists to work in GP surgeries
Pharmacists call for more integrated future with GPs
Pharmacists reject government funding package
Give pharmacists more prescribing rights to ease GP burden
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Ongoing pressures putting NHS at risk of ‘serious lapses in care’, think-tanks warn

This is despite improvements in care quality in key areas

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Care quality set to worsen this year, warn finance directors
Fallout from no-new-NHS-money budget builds
Make emergency care part of ‘A&E hubs’ to ease pressures, urge experts
Emergency care already facing greater ‘winter pressures’ than last year
NHS unprepared for winter pressure, say doctors
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

UK public health experts move to quash e-cigarette fears in wake of US report

US and UK not comparable: don’t be put off helping smokers to switch, they advise

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Smoking hits record low of 17% of adults in England
One in nine people across the EU has tried e-cigarettes
Young people’s regular use of e-cigarettes still low
Experts reject BMA stance on vaping
E-cigarettes linked with successful quitting
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Antibacterial products may help bacteria beat antibiotics

The antibacterial agent triclosan is often present in anything from cleaning products to toys, but tests suggest it can help MRSA survive antibiotics via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

These Kids Rapping About Vegetables Is the Best Thing You'll See Today

These Kids Rapping About Vegetables Is the Best Thing You'll See Today Blog Post

Not everyone gets excited about vegetables, but this video will definitely help and at the very least it has to put a smile on your face. These kids have talent. And they're rapping about growing food and vegetables. Not only that, they're really good—at rapping, dancing, knowing their nutrition facts (around 2:43 they start talking about minerals and vitamins, and nail it) and, from the looks of it, cooking yummy, healthy food.

via EatingWell Blogs - All Blog Posts More READ

UN, international health and development agencies to promote environmentally and socially responsible procurement of health commodities

UN, international health and development agencies to promote environmentally and socially responsible procurement of health commodities via WHO news Read More Here..

Two women's different stories of fat shaming

One woman tells the BBC's World Have Your Say how fat shaming helped her to change her lifestyle, while another said abuse made her suicidal. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

US life expectancy drops for first time in 20 years

‘Only good news’ is fall in cancer death rates

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Men’s life expectancy getting closer to that of women
Life expectancy rising alongside illness and disability
Life expectancy of over 65s is highest ever
Eastern Mediterranean conflict jeopardising decades of health gains
More progress needed to prevent stillbirths globally
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

'If I didn't meet you, I'd be dead in a year'

Thomas was diagnosed with prostate cancer after Errol McKellar - mechanic and cancer survivor - persuaded him to get a test during a visit to his garage. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Brain activity may predict falls risk in older adults

Scientist need to find underlying mechanisms

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Short hospital stay linked to increased risk of death following hip fracture
Care for dementia patients with hip fractures - ‘sadly lacking’
Hip fractures in the elderly caused by falls, not osteoporosis
Exercise for elderly helps minimise fall injuries
Walking programme for sedentary older people does not curb fall risk
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

New rules ban junk food ads aimed at children

Industry acts following public consultation

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Child type 2 diabetes is a ‘wake-up call’ to the nation
GP leaders condemn obesity strategy delay
Levy on sugary drinks announced in Budget
Children order fast food from schools, report shows
Child mental health funding not reaching CCGs
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Spending on public mental health is ‘negligible’

Some councils spend nothing on prevention

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Mental health should be taught in schools, like numeracy
New mothers to get more help with mental health
Promises to boost mental health funding stall
Child mental health funding not reaching CCGs
‘No improvement’ in community mental health care
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Health watchdog ‘must demonstrate value for money’

‘Goodwill lost’ over fees hike warn commissioners

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CQC regime is ‘damaging’ patient care, says survey
CQC inspection fees set to rise
Majority of GP practices receive good CQC ratings
CQC fee hike plans will hobble frontline care, GP leaders warn
CQC to target inspections with better intelligence
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

More at-risk people will get access to HIV preventive treatment

NHS England has announced plans to expand access to PrEP to 10,000 people, but only as part of a three-year trial investigating how best to roll out the drug via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should fertility clinics offer experimental unproven treatments?

Are clinicians that offer experimental menopause reversal and three-parent babies providing desperate patients with a last stab at parenthood, or offering false hope? via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

‘I feel young again’: Why a woman injects her ovaries with blood

Private clinics are offering to reverse early menopause by injecting a woman’s ovaries with her own blood products, but the treatment hasn’t been through clinical trials via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Light therapy could break down Alzheimer’s brain deposits

An hour a day of light therapy has been found to boost gamma brainwaves and break down brain deposits in mice with Alzheimer's-like symptoms via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

'Flashing light therapy' for Alzheimer's

A flashing light therapy might help ward off Alzheimer’s, say scientists after successful trials in mice. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

India doctor to operate on '500kg' Egyptian woman

An Egyptian woman, said to weigh 500kg, is to be airlifted to India for weight reduction surgery. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Exclusive: First visit to Russia’s secret nuclear disaster site

Deep in the cold war, Russia managed to hide another Chernobyl – a catastrophic explosion that affected thousands. Fred Pearce visits the Mayak evacuation zone via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

UK launches avian influenza protection measures

Health bodies say risk to humans is low

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Ducks act as 'living labs' for new bird flu viruses
Last winter’s death rate halved due to type of flu virus
European microbiology labs ‘well prepared’ for infectious disease threats
Bird flu detected at Scottish farm
Web tool to boost handwashing cuts spread of flu virus
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Pfizer fined a record £84.2m for overcharging

Price of epilepsy drug rose 2,600% overnight

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Expensive cancer drugs have little impact on survival
UK pays less than neighbours for cancer drugs
The medicine price debate
NHS cancer patients still denied treatments available in other countries
Study shows huge global variation in cancer drug costs
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Scotland launches organ donor consultation

Doctors welcome ‘soft’ opt-out option

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Hundreds of families overrule deceased’ wishes to donate organs
Three people die every day due to organ donor shortage
Wales introduces ‘deemed consent’ for organ donation
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Opt-out organ donation well-meant but ‘misguided’
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Funding boost for local cancer services

And new investment in radiotherapy

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Doctors’ leaders slam progress report on cancer strategy for England
Expensive cancer drugs have little impact on survival
Fertility preservation for girls with cancer ‘haphazard’
Survival rates rise for lung cancer surgery
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Pfizer fined record £84.2m for overcharging NHS

Drugs giant Pfizer has been fined a record £84.2m by the regulator for overcharging the NHS. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Doctors need to develop skill of empathy

Burnout risk when doctors get this wrong

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Consultation models
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Difficult patients really are harder to diagnose
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Australian court approves intersex child's surgery

A five-year-old child born genetically male will grow up as a sterilised female after a court ruling. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Reluctantly casting doubt on 'life-saving' stoves

Research casts doubt on a global mission to use cleaner-burning stoves, to prevent pollution-induced illness in the world's poorest children. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Kenya strike: Patient's brother says strike is "inhumane"

The brother of a patient in a Kenyan hospital tells the BBC's World Have Your Say he thinks the doctors' strike over pay is "inhumane". via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Generation clean: Why many young adults choose to stay sober

Younger people are drinking less – or not at all – despite booze getting cheaper, and it's pitting health experts and the alcohol industry against each other via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

The Science of Raising a Friendly Psychopath

What makes someone a psycopath? Nature or Nurture? And can we stop at risk children from growing up into dangerous adult psycopaths? One of the oldest queries in psychology — Nature Vs Nurture — asks if what makes us who we are is predisposed by our DNA, or by life experiences. It is a pretty poignant question when it comes to psychopaths, who are estimated to account for up to 50% of all serious crimes in the US.

Clinically known as anti-social personality disorder in the DMS-V, some troublesome psychopathic traits include:

• an egocentric identity
• an absence of pro-social standards in goal-setting
• a lack of empathy
• an incapacity for mutually intimate relationships
• manipulativeness
• deceitfulness
• callousness
• irresponsibility, impulsivity and risk taking
• hostility

Although these characteristics may be unpleasant, not all psychopaths are dangerous or criminals, and not all dangerous criminals are psychopaths. Counter-intuitively there are pro-social psycopaths too. Nonetheless, some psychopaths do pose a genuine threat for the safety of others.

The real unsolved problem when it comes to psychopathy is how to treat the personality disorder. Although certainly not to be considered impossible with the malleable brains we have even as adults, Dr. Nigel Blackwood, a leading Forensic Psychiatrist at King’s College London, has stated that adult psychopaths can be treated or managed but not cured. Curing adult psycopathy is considered a near-impossible challenge.

Therefore, understanding when and how psychopathy develops from child to adult is an important part of the research engine that will hopefully identify what parents, caregivers and governments can do to prevent an at risk child from growing up to be a psycopath — and at the very least, find ways to minimize potential harm to the self and others in raising a pro-social psycopath.

Development of psycopathic personalities is mainly due to genes

Enter new psychopathy research published in Development and Psychopathology by lead author Dr. Catherine Tuvblad from the University of Southern California. Her research was a twin-based study designed to overcome many of the drawbacks and limitations of past research. Ultimately the study was designed to provide a more reliable indication of the extent to which genes or the environment, that is nature or nurture, is responsible for the development of psychopathic personality features as a child grows into a young adult.

In the study, 780 pairs of twins and their caregivers filled out a questionnaire that allowed for measuring features of child psychopathy at ages 9–10, 11–13, 14–15, and 16–18 years. This includes measuring psychopathic personality features that can be used to predict the development adult psychopathy, such as high levels of callous behavior towards peers and problems adhering to social norms.

The changes in the childrens’ psychopathic personality features between age groups was considered to be 94% due to genetics between the ages of 9-10 and 11-13, 71% genetic between the ages of 11–13 and 14–15, and 66% between 14-15 and 16-18. After genetics, environmental factors became increasingly more important to developing psycopathic traits as children age.

This suggests that environmental factors may increasingly play a key part in changing the levels of psychopathic features when reaching teenage years, which is very promising for the development of future interventions for the prevention of psychopathy.

It should be noted that while the children’s test results pointed to the environment around them becoming increasingly important to their psycopathic behavior, their parents almost exclusively thought that the psycopathy they observed in their children was purely genetic. Considering parents are largely responsible for their child’s environment, its not that surprising.

Nurture is important at key developmental stages in psychopathy development

The analysis also revealed that there is a key turning point in the development of psychopathy during the age range studied. The authors considered this turning point to be caused by the onset of puberty, when gene-environment interactions that are highly significant in inhibiting or promoting the development of psychopathy are at play.

Interestingly, the data also indicates that if these rapid gene-environment based changes in psychopathy development occur early on (e.g. 11-13), any later additional environmental changes to psychopathic traits would be minimal. In other words, once the psychopathic personality traits are set during puberty, they tend to last into later years.

Other research has found that there may be other key turning points on route to becoming a psychopath much earlier in life. One study found that the total number of early negative life events between the ages of 0-4 were positively correlated with the emotion-based aspects of psychopathy. The findings suggest that early environmental factors could have important implications for the development of psychopathic traits and may also impact attachment to parents for children with genetic potential for psychopathy.

So although psychopathy is largely genetic, where it’s mostly down to if you have the right combination of genes needed to become a psychopath or not, life experiences during puberty and early infant years could make or break a potential psychopath.

The cure for psychopathy is love?

So what does science suggest as a successful environmental antidote to developing psychopathy? Believe it or not, love!

One neuroscientist, Dr. James Fallon, made a shocking discovery that on paper he is a psychopath. For example, he had a version of the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) gene that is linked with violent crime and psychopathy. Also known as the warrior gene, MAOA encodes an enzyme that affects the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.

His brain scans also resembled those of a psychopath. He had low activity in certain areas of the frontal and temporal lobes linked challenges with empathy, morality and self-control. In his family tree, there were also seven alleged murderers.

Although Dr. Fallon, in his own words, is obnoxiously competitive, kind of an asshole and won’t even let his grandchildren win games, he was certainly not a dangerous psychopath. So why not? His genes and even his brain screamed potential for antisocial psychopathy.

His answer was that the love he received from his mother led to him becoming a pro-social psycopath. And a newly published study tends to agree with him. OK love in itself is not enough. But, how a mother expresses that love in guiding the child’s pro-social behavior and in setting good examples of pro-social behavior might be the real key.

A new discovery coming from research on adopted infants suggests this is the case. Researchers found that the development of one of the largest child risk factors for psychopathy, that is highly heritable from biological mothers with severe antisocial behaviors — callous-unemotional behavior — was inhibited by high levels of positive reinforcement at 18 months by the adopted mother.

Further research will hopefully identify a whole repertoire of ways parents, schools and governments alike can lovingly nurture the development of at risk children through these key developmental stages. Ultimately, this could stop a large amount of future violent criminals literally in their diapers, before they even start.


Bartels, M., Hudziak, J. J., van den Oord, E. J. C. G., van Beijsterveldt, C. E. M., Rietveld, M. J. H., & Boomsma, D. I. (2003). Co-occurrence of Aggressive Behavior and Rule-Breaking Behavior at Age 12: Multi-Rater Analyses. Behavior Genetics, 33(5), 607–621. doi:10.1023/a:1025787019702

Hawes, S. W., Byrd, A. L., Waller, R., Lynam, D. R., & Pardini, D. A. (2016). Late childhood interpersonal callousness and conduct problem trajectories interact to predict adult psychopathy. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12598

Hyde, L. W., Waller, R., Trentacosta, C. J., Shaw, D. S., Neiderhiser, J. M., Ganiban, J. M., … Leve, L. D. (2016). Heritable and Nonheritable pathways to early callous-unemotional behaviors. American Journal of Psychiatry, 173(9), 903–910. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.15111381

Miller, J. D., Jones, S. E., & Lynam, D. R. (2011). Psychopathic traits from the perspective of self and informant reports: Is there evidence for a lack of insight? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 120(3), 758–764. doi:10.1037/a0022477

Neumann, C. S., & Hare, R. D. (2008). Psychopathic traits in a large community sample: Links to violence, alcohol use, and intelligence. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76(5), 893–899. doi:10.1037/0022-006x.76.5.893

Rogers, T. P., Blackwood, N. J., Farnham, F., Pickup, G. J., & Watts, M. J. (2008). Fitness to plead and competence to stand trial: A systematic review of the constructs and their application. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 19(4), 576–596. doi:10.1080/14789940801947909

Tuvblad, C., Wang, P., Bezdjian, S., Raine, A., & Baker, L. A. (2015). Psychopathic personality development from ages 9 to 18: Genes and environment. Development and Psychopathology, 28(01), 27–44. doi:10.1017/s0954579415000267

Image via jarmoluk / Pixabay.

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5 Meal-Prep Ideas We LOVE

5 Meal-Prep Ideas We LOVE Blog Post

Do you ever feel pressed for time trying to get a meal together? Yup, us too—which is why we love giving ourselves a helping hand up front by taking advantage of make-ahead meals. These mouthwatering meal-prep ideas are just the inspirational eye-candy we need to make a plan to eat healthy (and deliciously) this week.

Related: How to Meal-Prep on Sunday for a Week of Healthy Dinners

via EatingWell Blogs - All Blog Posts More READ

Egypt arrests 'organ trafficking ring'

Egypt arrests 25 people, including doctors and nurses, accused of illegal organ trafficking. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Bucket list student Matt Greenwood 'overwhelmed by support'

A 21-year-old bone cancer patient says he's been overwhelmed by the support of friends who've raised more than £56,000 to help him achieve his bucket list. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Menopause and work

Louise Newson discusses new guidelines

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via OnMedica Blogs Read More Here..

The sugar tax: a sweet stocking filler?

Cancer Research UK welcomes the publication of the draft legislation for the sugar tax

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Survival rates rise for lung cancer surgery

Number of operations also increases

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Autistic brains share ‘signature’ abnormalities

Findings could lead to new treatments

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Polycystic ovarian syndrome and autism link
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‘Zero tolerance’ policy on hospital infections

Recommendations set out following inquiry

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Tackling antimicrobial resistance
GPs slash total antibiotic scrips by over 7% in a year
Progress made in cutting antimicrobial resistance
US use of broad-spectrum antibiotics shows worrying increase
Point-of-care diagnostics needed to curb antimicrobial resistance
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'Exercise boosts men's sperm count'

Doing half an hour of exercise three times a week may boost men's sperm count, scientists have found. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..