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Fear, Safety and the Role of Sleep in Human PTSD

The effectiveness of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment may hinge significantly upon sleep quality, report researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System in a paper published today in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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State Medical Marijuana Laws Linked to Lower Prescription Overdose Deaths

In states where it is legal to use medical marijuana to manage chronic pain and other conditions, the annual number of deaths from prescription drug overdose is 25 percent lower than in states where medical marijuana remains illegal, new research suggests.

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Penn Study Shows 25 Percent Fewer Opioid-Related Deaths in States Allowing Medical Marijuana

On average, states allowing the medical use of marijuana have lower rates of deaths resulting from opioid analgesic overdoses than states without such laws. Opioid analgesics, such as OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin, are prescribed for moderate to severe pain, and work by suppressing a person’s perception of pain. A new multi-institutional study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine and led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, examined the rate of deaths caused by opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2010. Results reveal that on average, the 13 states allowing the use of medical marijuana had a 24.8 percent lower annual opioid overdose mortality rate after the laws were enacted than states without the laws, indicating that the alternative treatment may be safer for patients suffering from chronic pain related to cancer and other conditions.

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High Insulin Levels Tied to Obesity Pathway

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UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a crucial link between high levels of insulin and pathways that lead to obesity, a finding that may have important implications when treating diabetes.

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Use a Rule of Thumb to Control How Much You Drink

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Sticking to a general rule of pouring just a half glass of wine limits the likelihood of overconsumption. That’s the finding of a new Iowa State and Cornell University study to be published in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Drug Policy.

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Children with Autism Have Extra Synapses in Brain

Children and adolescents with autism have a surplus of synapses in the brain, and this excess is due to a slowdown in a normal brain “pruning” process during development, according to a study by neuroscientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). Because synapses are the points where neurons connect and communicate with each other, the excessive synapses may have profound effects on how the brain functions. The study was published in the August 21 online issue of the journal Neuron.

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Severing Nerves May Shrink Stomach Cancers

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Research from Columbia University Medical Center shows that nerves may play a critical role in stomach cancer growth and that blocking nerve signals using surgery or Botox® (onabotulinumtoxinA) could be an effective treatment for the disease.

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Scientists Discover Area of Brain Responsible for Exercise Motivation

Scientists at Seattle Children’s Research Institute have discovered an area of the brain that could control a person’s motivation to exercise and participate in other rewarding activities – potentially leading to improved treatments for depression.

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New Research Helps Explain Why Elderly Are Prone to Sleep Problems

Reported online today in the journal Brain, findings from researchers at the University of Toronto and Harvard University show that a group of inhibitory neurons, whose loss leads to sleep disruption in experimental animals, are substantially diminished among the elderly and individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

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Study Finds Women Seek Anti-Aging Clinicians for Menopausal Symptoms

Feeling that conventional doctors did not take their suffering seriously, women instead sought out hormonal treatments for menopausal symptoms from anti-aging clinicians, according to a Case Western Reserve University study that investigated the appeal of anti-aging medicine.

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