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

Opioid Use in the Elderly a Dementia Risk Factor?

Opioid use in the elderly is associated with an almost 40% increased risk of dementia, in new findings that suggest exposure to these drugs may be another modifiable risk factor for dementia. “Clinicians and others may want to consider that opioid exposure in those aged 75-80 increases dementia risk, and to balance the potential benefits … Read more

Abortion Debate May Affect Rx Decisions for Pregnant Women

Obstetrician Beverly Gray, MD, is already seeing the effects of the Roe v. Wade abortion debate in her North Carolina practice. Dr Beverly Gray The state allows abortion but requires that women get counseling with a qualified health professional 72 hours before the procedure. “Aside from that, we still have patients asking for more efficacious … Read more

Clozapine and Cancer Risk: New Data

Dr. Jari Tiihonen Long-term treatment with clozapine is associated with a small, but significant, risk of hematological malignancies in individuals with schizophrenia, new research shows. Investigators found long-term clozapine use of more than 5 years was linked to a 2.7-fold increased risk of hematological malignancies in a dose-dependent manner compared with other antipsychotics. “Our results … Read more

High Suicide, Depression Risks for Patients With Cancer

Living with cancer can be emotionally devastating. Now, two expansive studies underscore the scale of the burden a cancer diagnosis and treatment can have on patients’ mental health and risk of suicide. In one, a meta-analysis of 28 studies that included more than 22 million patients, researchers found that among people with cancer, the suicide … Read more