Health News: Canadian Scientists Develop Drug That Can Erase Bad Memories

Recalling painful memories while under the influence of the drug metyrapone reduces the brain’s ability to re-record the negative emotions associated with them, according to University of Montreal researchers at the Centre for Studies on Human Stress of Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital. The team’s study challenges the theory that memories cannot be modified once they are stored in the brain.

“Metyrapone is a drug that significantly decreases the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that is involved in memory recall,” explained lead author Marie-France Marin. Manipulating cortisol close to the time of forming new memories can decrease the negative emotions that may be associated with them. “The results show that when we decrease stress hormone levels at the time of recall of a negative event, we can impair the memory for this negative event with a long-lasting effect,” said Dr. Sonia Lupien, who directed the research.

Thirty-three men participated in the study, which involved learning a story composed of neutral and negative events. Three days later, they were divided into three groups — participants in the first group received a single dose of metyrapone, the second received double, while the third were given placebo. They were then asked to remember the story. Their memory performance was then evaluated again four days later, once the drug had cleared out.. “We found that the men in the group who received two doses of metyrapone were impaired when retrieving the negative events of the story, while they showed no impairment recalling the neutral parts of the story,” Marin explained. “We were surprised that the decreased memory of negative information was still present once cortisol levels had returned to normal.”

The research offers hope to people suffering from syndromes such as post-traumatic stress disorder. “Our findings may help people deal with traumatic events by offering them the opportunity to ‘write-over’ the emotional part of their memories during therapy,” Marin said. One major hurdle, however, is the fact that metyrapone is no longer commercially produced. Nevertheless, the findings are very promising in terms of future clinical treatments. “Other drugs also decrease cortisol levels, and further studies with these compounds will enable us to gain a better understanding of the brain mechanisms involved in the modulation of negative memories.”

[Source]

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Health News: Study Finds Cultured Men Are Happier

Men who enjoy taking in the ballet or browsing art museums are more likely to be happy with their lives and satisfied with their health than men who don’t enjoy the finer things in life, a new study finds. And although greater enjoyment of cultural activities is associated with higher income, the arts have a beneficial effect regardless of other factors that might influence health and happiness, including socioeconomic status. The results suggest that encouraging cultural participation may be one way to encourage healthfulness, the authors reported online May 23 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

Hit the jump for the full story.

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Health News: UN Predicts Nuclear Plume Could Hit U.S. by FRIDAY

Radiation from the toxic plume spewing from the reactor is set to hit California and the West Coast on Friday, according to the UN’s Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation. It predicts the plume will head into Southern California and further into Nevada, Utah and Arizona.

While the organisation did not give any further details on the level of radiation to hit the U.S., health officials emphasised that – as with the Chernobyl disaster 26 years ago – most radiation in the atmosphere is set to dissipate throughout its journey over the Pacific.

On Sunday, the U.S. Nuclear Regulator Commission said it expected no harmful levels of radiation would reach the U.S. from Japan given the thousands of miles between the two countries.

WOW.

Read the rest of the story @ The Daily Mail UK.

Health News: Alcohol Kills More Worldwide Than AIDS, TB, or Violence: WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) – Alcohol causes nearly 4 percent of deaths worldwide, more than AIDS, tuberculosis or violence, the World Health Organization warned on Friday.

Rising incomes have triggered more drinking in heavily populated countries in Africa and Asia, including India and South Africa, and binge drinking is a problem in many developed countries, the United Nations agency said.

Yet alcohol control policies are weak and remain a low priority for most governments despite drinking’s heavy toll on society from road accidents, violence, disease, child neglect and job absenteeism, it said.

Approximately 2.5 million people die each year from alcohol related causes, the WHO said in its “Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health.”

Full story after the jump.

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San Francisco Bans McDonalds Happy Meals With Toys

The San Francisco, California, Board of Supervisors on Tuesday banned most McDonald’s Happy Meals with toys, as they’re now served. The ordinance, which requires McDonald’s and other fast- food servings with toys to meet new nutritional standards, now goes to Mayor Gavin Newsom, who indicated before his election last week to California lieutenant governor that he would veto the law.

*STORY HIGHLIGHTS*

– All fast food with toys must meet new nutrition criteria

-If nutrition standards are met, McDonald’s and other chains can offer toys with meals

-The measure is part of a ” food justice” movement; officials expect a legal challenge

Damn no more Happy Meals? Those were heaven when I was little.

More info after the jump.

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Health News: Oral Sex Linked to Rise in Men’s Throat Cancer

For years now, doctors have urged young women to be vaccinated against the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is believed to cause cervical cancer. But now, growing research in Europe and the United States is implicating HPV in a rising number of cases of head and neck cancers in men, and many doctors are recommending that all boys be vaccinated as well.

Doctors say that changing sexual behaviors — earlier sex, more partners and especially oral sex — are contributing to a new epidemic of orpharyngeal squamous cell cancers, those of the throat, tonsils and base of the tongue.

These cancers can be deadly, and are striking men at a younger age and in increasing numbers.

“There’s a lag in information,” said Dr. John Deeken, a medical oncologist at Georgetown University. “We physicians have done a poor job of advertising the fact that boys and girls should have the vaccine.”

Interesting but a good read. Hit the jump for more. BE SAFE.

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