Diets Deficient in Omega-3 and Depression

Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency has been suggested as a factor in numerous disorders. In a study of mice given a diet low in omega-3 fatty acids, researchers revealed that lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids had a negative consequence on emotional behaviors and synaptic functions.

In developing nations, diets have been deficient in essential fatty acids from the start of the 20th century. The ratio between dietary omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids increased consistently throughout the 20th century. These are “essential” fatty acids since the body can’t synthesize them. The fatty acids must therefore be provided by way of food and their dietary balance is important to maintain optimum brain functions.

via Diets Deficient in Omega-3 and Depression.

New sunscreen labels offer clearer sunburn, skin cancer information

With the unofficial start of summer just a few days away, many people will soon be stocking up on sunscreen. The products they’ll be seeing in stores look different than they have in the past. That’s because new rules for sunscreen labels are now in effect. The changes are good ones for consumers.

The new rules, mandated by the FDA, are making sunscreen more informative with less misleading information. For example, the term “sunblock” is banned because none of these products can block all of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. “Waterproof” is also banned, replaced by “water-resistant”—which must be accompanied by a set time for reapplication. Another big change has to do with SPF, or sun protection factor.

When sunlight hits your skin, it is being exposed to ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. UVB rays are the main cause of sunburn, while UVA can prematurely age and wrinkle skin. Both contribute to skin cancer. Sunscreens vary in their ability to protect against UVA and UVB.

via New sunscreen labels offer clearer sunburn, skin cancer information – Harvard Health Publications.

Creativity Linked with Deficit in Mental Flexibility

Creative types are often seen as rather flaky — their minds leaping wildly from one bizarre idea to another, ever seeking inspiration. But a new study suggests that people who actually achieve creative success have minds that stubbornly cling to ideas, even to the point where it impairs their ability to shift focus.

In one experiment, researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois selected 34 students out of more than 300 who completed a questionnaire on creative achievement, ultimately including 19 who had outstanding achievements in music, art, science, writing or other areas and 15 of those whose scores ranked them as being among the least creative.

via Creativity Linked with Deficit in Mental Flexibility | TIME.com.

Matchless strategy for tick removal; 6 steps to avoid tick bites

My first tick sighting was a mixture of horror and fascination. It happened during my one and only experience with summer camp, on the shores of Alma Lake in north-central Wisconsin. One of my cabin mates discovered a big, fat tick burrowed into the skin of his belly. “Gross!” we chorused, unable to stop looking. Ideas for how to remove the tick swirled fast and furious. The leading contender was to light a match, blow it out, and touch the hot tip to the back end of the tick. As we scurried around looking for matches, cooler heads prevailed and the kid went off to the nurse for a more effective form of tick removal.

Knowing how to remove a tick is a useful skill for anyone who spends time outdoors, or who cares for someone who does. The sooner a tick is removed—correctly—the less likely the critter can deliver microbes that cause Lyme disease or other tick-borne diseases.

via Matchless strategy for tick removal; 6 steps to avoid tick bites – Harvard Health Publications.

Statin benefits questioned for heart disease prevention

Cholesterol-lowering statins are heavily promoted for heart patients but research is calling into question their use as a preventive medicine.

Statins such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and simvastatin (Zocor) are among the widely used prescription drugs.

Since the drugs were first marketed 30 years ago in the U.S. for preventing a second heart attack or stroke in those who’ve already had one, there’s been a shift toward prescribing statins for otherwise healthy people in Canada and the U.S.

“These are patients who really haven’t had an event, a cardiovascular event, but they seem to be at high risk,” said pharmacy Prof. Muhammad Mamdani, who works at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

“You also get populations where people seem to be relatively healthy, their cholesterol levels aren’t that high, but for whatever reason, they are placed on a statin. That’s a patient population that is a lot more debatable and some practices may not be warranted.”

via Statin benefits questioned for heart disease prevention – Health – CBC News.

Breast Cancer: Know Your Risks

Breast cancer strikes more than 2.7 million women in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute. One in eight women will be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lives.

Dr. Richard Besser, chief health and medical correspondent for ABC News, hosted a tweet chat this week on breast cancer prevention to help women understand their risk factors for the disease and what steps they can take to minimize these risks.

Besser was joined by doctors from top hospitals from all over the country, as well as medical experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society and various chapters of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

via Breast Cancer: Know Your Risks – ABC News.

Rapid antidepressant effects of ketamine ignite drug discovery

David Prietz has struggled with depression for more than 20 years. He’s tried a slew of different antidepressants and even electroconvulsive therapy, but, for the most part, nothing much has worked. Nothing, that is, except for an experimental agent he received in the fall of 2011, when he enrolled in a clinical trial of AZD6765, one of a new class of drugs designed to provide rapid symptom relief for people with major depression who don’t respond to traditional antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Prietz, 48, a scheduling supervisor at a sheet-metal manufacturer in Rochester, New York, who has been on disability leave for several years, started to feel his head clear from the fog of depression within days of receiving AZD6765. After his second infusion, he vividly began noticing the fall foliage of the trees outside his doctor’s office—something he hadn’t previously appreciated in his depressed state. “The greens seemed a lot greener and the blue sky seemed a lot bluer,” he says. Although the lift lasted only a couple months after the three-week trial finished and the drug was taken away, the experience gave Prietz hope that he might one day get better. “I can’t recall feeling as well I did at the time,” he says.

via Rapid antidepressant effects of ketamine ignite drug discovery : Nature Medicine : Nature Publishing Group.