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Latest News Around the Web

Parents’ Emotional Support May Help LGB People Have Better Long-Term Health.

HealthDay (4/14, Preidt) reports, “Receiving emotional support and acceptance from parents benefits the long-term health of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults,” according to a study published in the Journal of Homosexuality. Investigators found that “about three-quarters of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults aged 18 to 64 surveyed in Massachusetts said they had revealed their sexual orientation to their parents, typically when they were about 25 years old.” The story adds, “Rates of mental health and substance-abuse problems were significantly lower among those who received support from their parents than among those who felt rejected, the study found.”

Related Links:

— “Gay Adults Rejected by Parents Have Worse Health, Study Finds,”Robert Preidt, HealthDay, April 13, 2012.

Exercise May Help Reduce Fatigue, Depression In Breast Cancer Patients.

The Huffington Post (4/14, Chan) reported, “Exercise could be the secret weapon to help breast cancer patients combat common side effects of cancer and cancer treatments,” according to research presented at a Society of Behavioral Medicine meeting.

HealthDay (4/14, Preidt) reported, “University of Miami researchers examined the physical activity levels and mental/physical health of 240 women with non-metastatic breast cancer…who were recruited for the study four to 10 weeks after surgery.”

WebMD (4/14, Boyles) reported, “Half the women took part in a 10-week, group-based behavioral therapy program aimed at reducing stress, while the other half participated in a much less intensive, single-day educational session.” The investigators “found that women who increased the time they spent engaged in physical activity between the time of surgery and other treatments had less fatigue-related disruptions in everyday activities.” The researchers reported that “women in both groups who exercised more also experienced less depression and scored higher on tests measuring quality of life.”

Related Links:

— “Exercise Could Lower Fatigue And Depression In Breast Cancer Patients: Study,”Amanda L. Chan, The Huffington Post , April 13, 2012.

People With Mental Illnesses May Be More Likely To Report Chronic Health Conditions.

HealthDay (4/14, Preidt) reported, “Adults with mental illness are more likely to have certain types of chronic physical health problems than those without mental illness,” according to a report (pdf) issued April 5 by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). “The report said adults aged 18 and older who had any type of mental illness in the past year had higher rates of high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.” In addition, “people with mental illness had higher rates of emergency-department use and hospitalization,” the report found.

“Those with any mental illness, serious mental illness, or a major depressive episode also had greater use of healthcare resources,” MedPage Today (4/14, Neale) pointed out. “Among those with any mental illness, for example, the rate of emergency department use was 38.8% (versus 27.1% for those who reported no mental illness) and the rate of hospitalization was 15.1% (versus 10.1%).”

Related Links:

— “Mental Illness Tied to Higher Rates of Physical Problems: Report,”Robert Preidt, HealthDay, April 13, 2012.

Former Senators Say Administration Should Issue Regulations On Mental-Health Parity.

In an op-ed for the Washington Post (4/13), former Sen. Pete Domenici, a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, and former Sen. Gordon H. Smith, president and chief executive of the National Association of Broadcasters, call on the Obama administration to “issue its final regulations to implement the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act for mental health parity in health insurance.” They note that when Congress passed the Act in 2008, then-Sen. Obama voted for it, and “all indications are that he remains supportive” as President. However, “regulatory action has stalled since 2010. The final rule that would provide clarity to the millions who have a mental illness or substance-use disorder, and to their employers, has not been issued.”

Related Links:

— “Waiting for mental health parity,”Pete Domenici, The Washington Post, April 12, 2012.

Aging May Increase Vulnerability To Depression.

The Washington Post (4/10, Butler) reports that “aging does seem to make us more vulnerable to depression, but it’s not a foregone conclusion.” Susan Lehmann, MD, director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Day Hospital at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, “notes that research has shown that major depression occurs in about two percent of people 65 and older, while minor depression strikes about a quarter of them, with the number even higher in nursing homes.” Research also suggests that strong social connections can be a proactive safeguard against depression among the elderly, Dr. Lehmann notes.

Small Study: Shortened Telomere Length May Be Associated With Depression, Trauma. On the front of its Personal Journal section, the Wall Street Journal (4/10, D1, Wang, Subscription Publication) reports that according to research conducted in 2011 at the University of California-San Francisco and published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, shortened telomere length, a normal phenomenon of aging, may be associated with depression and even trauma in childhood. In a study involving 47 healthy adult controls and 43 adults with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), researchers found that telomeres were shorter in the people who had PTSD. On average, the shorter length equaled an aging gain of about 4.5 years. A Swedish study of 91 patients with major depression and 451 mentally healthy controls, published this past February in the journal Biological Psychiatry, found an association between shortened telomeres with depression and perceived stress.

Related Links:

— “Aging makes people more vulnerable to depression, but the problem can be treated,”Carolyn Butler, The Washington Post, April 9, 2012.

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