New Smell Tech Could Make VR Therapies More Powerful

An emerging trend in virtual reality – incorporating smell – could be exciting news not just for gaming but for health care as well. A growing number of hospitals across the country are using virtual reality to help patients manage pain, overcome phobias, and calm anxiety. Providers and patients report mostly good results, save for … Read more

German ‘Island’ Aids Children and Adolescents With Addiction

They come from broken homes, from youth welfare organizations, or from the street. These are the addicted children and teenagers who seek help at Germany’s “Teen Spirit Island.” Medscape spoke to the pediatric and adolescent psychiatrist Frank M. Fischer, MD, senior physician of the Addiction and Trauma Therapy Ward at the Auf der Bult Children’s … Read more

Chronic Pain Patients Swapping Opioids for Medical Cannabis

Almost one third of patients with chronic pain report using medical cannabis to manage that pain, with more than half of them decreasing use of other pain medications, including opioids, new research shows. “That patients report substituting cannabis for pain medicines so much really underscores the need for research on the benefits and risks of … Read more

Screen All Patients for Cannabis Use Before Surgery: Guideline

If you smoke, vape, or ingest cannabis, your anesthesiologist should know before you undergo a surgical procedure, according to new medical guidelines. All patients who undergo procedures that require regional or general anesthesia should be asked if, how often, and in what forms they use the drug, according to recommendations from the American Society of … Read more

Novel Approach to Recovery After Attempted Suicide

Researchers propose a conceptual model of personal recovery after attempted suicide that focuses on nonclinical factors such as helping people find meaning and purpose in their lives. Developed by a panel of mental health professionals and individuals who have attempted suicide, the COURAGE model has seven themes: choosing life, optimizing identity, understanding oneself, rediscovering meaning, … Read more

Cluster Headache Tied to Risk of Mental, Neurologic Disorders

Cluster headache (CH) is associated with a significantly increased risk for comorbid conditions, including mental disorders and other neurologic disease, leading to significant disability and absenteeism, new research shows. Results from a Swedish register-based study also showed that patients with CH had a sixfold increased risk for central nervous system (CNS) disorders and a twofold … Read more

Placebo Effect a Major Driver of Pain Reduction in Cannabis Trials

A strong placebo response may be largely responsible for the significant pain reduction observed in clinical trials of cannabis-based therapies, results of a new meta-analysis suggest. Investigators found that while the effect of cannabinoids on pain intensity was significant, the placebo effect was about the same. “The data from the present meta-analysis, including 1,459 patients … Read more

More Evidence Insomnia Contributes to Cognitive Decline

A new study provides more evidence that insomnia may contribute to cognitive decline in older adults and shows that difficulty falling asleep in midlife may be most indicative of future cognitive impairment. Investigators found that having trouble falling asleep most nights (vs rarely/never) was equivalent to the effect of 2 to 3 years of aging … Read more

Recommending Exercise for Migraine: Just Do It

Strength training is the most effective form of exercise for reducing migraine, with high-intensity aerobics coming in second, and both beating top-line migraine medications topiramate and amitriptyline, new research suggests. The new results should encourage clinicians to recommend patients with migraine engage in strength-training exercise whenever possible, study author Yohannes W. Woldeamanuel, MD, a physician-scientist … Read more

Primary Care Moves Patients With Addiction to Self-Advocacy

Samuel Werner, DO, a family medicine physician in West Hartford, Connecticut, vividly remembers one patient who was struggling with a drug addiction. The man was having trouble holding down a steady job because of his dependence, but with Werner’s guidance, he started on buprenorphine. Werner also connected him with a social worker to address housing … Read more