Health & Wellness


Bankers Use Secret Clinics to Treat Breakdowns

On a private island 20 minutes by helicopter from central London, a hovercraft sits on the lawn of a turreted Edwardian manor house as swallows swoop around. Trees and wildflowers line a lane that leads to a cluster of buildings that house a pool table, a 12-seat movie theater and an art studio. A yacht is moored nearby.

The island isn't a country hideaway. It's the Causeway Retreat, a mental health and addiction center that charges as much as 10,000 pounds ($20,000) a week for treatment away from the prying eyes of colleagues and the media. There is a waiting list for the facility's 15 rooms.

''We get lots of CEOs of companies, traders, high-end business guys,'' says Managing Director Brendan Quinn. ''They want treatment, but they want it to be discreet.''


Infant Sensitivity To Negative Emotional Expressions Develops At Around 6 Months

Scientists working in the Academy-funded Research Programme on Neuroscience (NEURO) have discovered important changes in the way that infants react to another person's face at age 5 - 7 months.

Infants aged 5 months react very differently to a fearful face than those aged 7 months. "At the age of 7 months babies will watch a fearful face for longer than a happy face, and their attentiveness level as measured by EEG is higher after seeing a fearful than a happy face. By contrast, infants aged 5 months watch both faces, when they are shown side by side, for just as long, and there is no difference in the intensity of attention in favour of the fearful face," said Mikko Peltola, researcher at the University of Tampere, at the Academy's Science Breakfast this week.

It seems that at age 6 months, important developmental changes take place in the way that infants process significant emotional expressions. A fearful face attracts intense attention by the age of 7 months. In addition, it takes longer for infants to shift their attention away from fearful than from happy and neutral faces.

"Our interpretation of this is to suggest that the brain mechanisms that specialise in emotional response and especially in processing threatening stimuli regulate and intensify the processing of facial expressions by age 7 months," Peltola said.


Sleep Selectively Preserves Emotional Memories

As poets, songwriters and authors have described, our memories range from misty water-colored recollections to vividly detailed images of the times of our lives.

Now, a study led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Boston College offers new insights into the specific components of emotional memories, suggesting that sleep plays a key role in determining what we remember - and what we forget.

Reported in the August 2008 issue of the journal Psychological Science, the findings show that a period of slumber helps the brain to selectively preserve and enhance those aspects of a memory that are of greatest emotional resonance, while at the same time diminishing the memory's neutral background details.

"This tells us that sleep's role in emotional memory preservation is more than just mechanistic," says the study's first author Jessica Payne, PhD, a Harvard University research fellow in the Division of Psychiatry at BIDMC. "In order to preserve what it deems most important, the brain makes a tradeoff, strengthening the memory's emotional core and obscuring its neutral background."


Test To Protect Food Chain From Human Form Of Mad Cow Disease

Scientists are reporting development of the first test for instantly detecting beef that has been contaminated with tissue from a cow's brain or spinal cord during slaughter - an advance in protecting against possible spread of the human form of Mad Cow Disease.


National Guard and Reserve Vets turning to alcohol

Chicago - National Guard and Reserve combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are more likely to develop drinking problems than active-duty soldiers, a new military study suggests. The authors speculate that inadequate preparation for the stress of combat and reduced access to support services at home may be to blame.

The study, appearing in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first to compare Iraq and Afghanistan veterans' alcohol problems before and after deployment.


New Evidence On Benefits Of Breast Feeding

Researchers in Switzerland and Australia are reporting identification of proteins in human breast-milk - not present in cow's milk - that may fight disease by helping remove bacteria, viruses and other dangerous pathogen's from an infant's gastrointestinal tract.

Niclas Karlsson and colleagues point out that researchers have known for years that breast milk appears to provide a variety of health benefits, including lower rates of diarrhea, rashes, allergies, and other medical problems in comparison to babies fed with cow's milk. However, the biological reasons behind this association remain unclear.

To find out, the scientists collected human and cow's milk samples and analyzed their content of milk fat. They found that fat particles in human milk are coated with particular variants of two sugar-based proteins, called MUC-1 and MUC-4.


UK: Prince Charles warns of GM food 'disaster'

The Prince of Wales has warned the development of genetically modified crops risks creating "the biggest disaster environmentally of all time".


Contraceptive pill 'can lead women to choose wrong partner'

Taking the contraceptive pill can lead a woman to choose the "wrong" partner, the findings of a study published today suggest.


US: Anti-Epileptic Drugs and the Risk of Suicide

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has evaluated the risk of suicide associated with antiepileptic drugs. The FDA examined 11 antiepileptic drugs, among nearly 28,000 patients, and found that patients taking an antiepileptic drug have an increased risk for suicidal behavior or ideation, compared to 16,000 patients receiving a placebo.


Emergency Rooms Prepare For Taser Injuries

HealthDay News generated an article posted at about Taser injuries requiring emergency room preparation. See, "Taser Injuries Require Preparation In ERs," HealthDay News, Modern Medicine , 7/28/08. The posting states that, according to a paper in the August Journal of Emergency Nursing, emergency nurses and other care providers need to be prepared to handle taser injuries given law enforcement officers' growing use of tasers and accumulating amounts of deaths from the electroshock devices. Id. "Kristopher C. Pidgeon of Memorial Regional Hospital and Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, and collegaues write that more than 150 people in the United States may have died from such electroshock injuries since June 2001," as reported in the article. Id.