February is American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month

Heart conditions are some of the most common conditions that people suffer from in the United States. From heart disease to high blood pressure to strokes to heart attacks, millions of people suffer from these conditions every day.

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A Drug to cure fear? Could this really work...and where does fear come from?

·      Phobias, panic attacks and PTSD extremely common

o   29% of American adults suffer anxiety at some point in their lives

·      What is fear?

o   Fear is a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus

§  Causes the release of chemicals that cause:

·      racing heart

·      fast breathing

·      energized muscles

·      also known as the fight-or-flight response

o   Stimulus could be a spider, a knife at your throat, an auditorium full of people waiting for you to speak or the sudden, load noise

o   The process of creating fear begins with a scary stimulus and ends with the fight-or-flight response.

·      Fear and anxiety stems from emotional memory

o   Emotional memory: associations you have between various stimuli and experiences and your emotional response to them.

o   Because of emotional memory fear is learned

o   Previously harmless situation can predict danger

·      Current treatment for phobias

o   Exposure therapy: repeated exposure to feared object or frightening memory in a safe setting

§  Done to create new safe memory in the brain alongside the bad memory

§  Fear is suppressed

§  If patient is re-traumatized or re-exposed to original experience, his old fear will return worse than before

§  Can be difficult to relive scarring memories

§  Limitations of exposure therapy

§  Only works for ~50% of PTSD cases

·      New Research in Curing Fear

o   New research from University of Amsterdam suggests that it may be possible to change and perhaps ERASE certain types of emotional memories

o   Past research

§  Memories are uniquely vulnerable to alteration at two points

·      when we first lay them down

·      when we retrieve them

o   Study published last month suggests emotional fear response in healthy people with arachnophobia, erased

o    published in the journal Biological Psychiatry

§  compared three groups made up of 45 subjects in total

·      One group was exposed to a tarantula in a glass jar for two minutes then given a beta-blocker (propranolol)

·      One was exposed to the tarantula and given a placebo

·      One was just given propranolol without being shown the spider, to rule out the possibility that propranolol by itself could decrease spider fear

§  subjects’ anxiety when they were shown the spider the first time, then again three months later, and finally after a year

o   Results:

§  Those given propranolol alone and those who got the placebo had no improvement in their anxiety

§  Those exposed to the spider and given the drug were able to touch the tarantula within days and, by three months, many felt comfortable holding the spider with their bare hands

§  Their fear did not return even at the end of one year

o   Mechanism:

§  Propranolol blocks the effects of norepinephrine in the brain

§  Chemical similar to adrenaline, enhances learning

·      Blocking it disrupts the way a memory is put back in storage after it is retrieved — a process called reconsolidation

·      By reactivating the fear, the fear memory was made susceptible to the influence of propranolol




 An Oklahoma 2 year old died after ingesting button batteries, or lithium batteries. Died six days after swallowing one of the batteries, which are small, silver, and shaped like a button

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Planned Parenthood vs. Obamacare

Planned Parenthood vs. Obamacare

Republicans in Congress are again demanding the government to cut all funding for Planned Parenthood which has been around for over a 100 years, providing women's health services. This latest uproar sparked after videos of officials from Planned Parenthood went record discussing compensation for providing fetal tissue from abortions. Other challenges the group is facing is with the Affordable Care Act. Formerly uninsured women are not less reliant on Planned Parenthood for access to birth control, abortions and other reproductive healthcare. 

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Puerto Rico Braces for Health Care Crisis

Puerto Rico Braces for Health Care Crisis

Puerto Rico is beginning to face another budget cut to a highly-used Medicare program as well as an alarming shortage of Medicaid funds. The health care system is moving towards a crisis which could further undermine the island's gutted economy. The first sign of this crisis regarding the health care system was seriously in trouble when a large amount of doctors, a total of 3,000 in 5 years, began to leave the island for better positions, more money and less stress in the United States. 

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California Vaccine Bill Bans Personal, Religious Exemptions

California Vaccine Bill Bans Personal, Religious Exemptions

California House passed a proposal that would outlaw a family's personal and religious beliefs as reasons to exempt their children from school vaccinations.

Controversial proposal now returns to the Senate, which must approve amendments for so-called SB277 to advance to Gov.Jerry Brown for his signature. Senate passed the initial bill in May.

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Obama Wins: Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare

Obama Wins: Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has saved Obamacare for a second time, writing the majority opinion Thursday that upheld the health care law’s key provision of paying tax subsidies to customers in all states and saying the law otherwise would be a mess — something he doubted Congress intended.

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