Novel Smartphone App Helps Reduce Fear of Cancer Recurrence

A novel “smartphone psychotherapy” application has been shown to relieve some of the anxiety and fear about cancer recurrence (FCR) that often causes distress to cancer survivors. The intervention is comprised of smartphone problem-solving therapy and behavioral activation apps, and was tested in a study that involved 447 survivors of breast cancer. The results showed … Read more

SUD History Tied to Increased Risk of Death From Other Illnesses

Patients hospitalized for substance use disorder (SUD) are significantly more likely to die from other medical conditions later in life, a new study suggests. Researchers looked at mortality following a diagnosis of 28 different medical conditions, including heart failure, cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and stroke, and found patients with a history of alcohol or drug … Read more

New CDC Guidance on Prescribing Opioids for Pain

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released updated and expanded recommendations for prescribing opioids for adults with acute and chronic pain not related to cancer, sickle cell disease, or palliative/end-of-life care. The 2022 Clinical Practice Guideline provides guidance on determining whether to initiate opioids for pain; selecting opioids and determining opioid … Read more

High-Dose Folic Acid During Pregnancy Tied to Cancer Risk in Kids

Prenatal exposure to high-dose folic acid is associated with a greater than twofold increased risk for cancer in children of mothers with epilepsy, new data from a Scandinavian registry of more than 3 million pregnancies suggests. The increased risk for cancer did not change after considering other factors that could explain the risk, such as … Read more

Easing the Trauma of Terminal Illness

Something was gnawing at Manish Agrawal, MD. Every day, the oncologist treated patients with standard cancer therapies, but his care could never touch their deepest pains: their despair about death. “In 20 years, I’ve treated close to 100,000 patients,” Agrawal says, “and the one thing I know we don’t do well is dying.” Hospitalist Shoshana … Read more

Cannabis for Pain Linked to Slight Risk for Arrhythmia

Patients who received a first prescription for medicinal cannabis for chronic pain were more likely to have new onset of arrhythmia — bradyarrhythmia, tachyarrhythmia, or a conduction disorder — within 6 months than were similar nonusers, in a new case-control study. There were no between-group differences in the incidence of heart failure or acute coronary … Read more

Quitting Smoking Can Halt Dangerous Drinking, Too

Medications that help smokers quit appear to have another benefit: reducing heavy drinking. Researchers in the United States and Russia have found that a variety of therapies to reduce the craving for nicotine ― including prescription and over-the-counter medications ― cut smoking and drinking levels in tandem. People who stopped smoking entirely reduced their drinking … Read more

The Hidden Dangers of Pathologizing Grief

The Weekend That I graduated from law school, my mother told me that she had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, a neurological disease for which there is currently no cure. As I recalled in a recent essay, I spent the following year watching as her muscles atrophied until she … Read more

Will Mental Health Elements of Gun Law Prevent Mass Shootings?

On June 25, President Joe Biden signed into law the most extensive gun safety legislation in decades. Coming after a rash of mass shootings this year, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act expands background checks for gun purchasers younger than 21 years and stiffens penalties against so-called straw purchasers, who buy a gun and sell it … Read more

Genetic Testing for Best Antidepressant Accurate, Cost-Effective

Genetic testing to determine the best antidepressant for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) has the potential to lead to an optimal drug choice on the first try and reduce healthcare costs, new research suggests. CYP2D6 and CYP2C19, from the cytochrome P450 family, are involved in the metabolism and elimination of various molecules, including medications. … Read more