Can positive thinking improve your health?

Can positive thinking actually help your health?

A study found that patients with a positive mood lived up to 5 years longer. One reason may be that researchers found that this group exercised more than those who had a negative outlook (
A study that was done on law students showed that students who were positive and optimistic had better immune systems, so could fight infections better (
A very interesting study occurred with patient’s with Parkinson’s Disease.  Parkinson’s disease causes tremors and difficulty walking, because the brain cells have decreased levels of Dopamine.   In the study, a new medication was given to half the patients, and the other patients got a “placebo”, or sugar tablet.  The group that was taking the placebo actually showed significant improvement.  And their MRI scans showed improvement in brain activity!  (
How could this possibly happen?  The scientists believe that the placebo actually caused dopamine to be released in the brain.  We know that dopamine is part of the “reward center’ of the brain, and is released when a patient feels happy and rewarded.  So the  placebo actually increased the dopamine level, because the patients felt hopeful and positive about their condition being treated!
Pet Scan of Parkinson’s patient before and after placebo:

How many hysterectomies are performed in the United States a year?

Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus, and may involve removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes.  This surgery is performed for a a variety of reasons, including bleeding, pain, and cancer.

Hysterectomies are performed by gynecologists, and are the most commonly performed gynecologic surgery in the United States.  They are the 8th most common surgery overall.

Every year there are 600,000 hysterectomies performed in the United States, 90% of which are for benign conditions.  This is the highest rate for this surgery in the world.

Risks of hysterectomy surgery include bleeding, infection, and injury to the urinary tract, which occurs in approximately 1 out of every 1000 cases.  The mortality rate for hysterectomy is 0.38 per 1000 cases when performed for benign causes.

Of all women who have a hysterectomy, 35% will have to undergo a related surgery within 2 years.

The average cost of a hysterectomy is about $10,000.  Total costs of hysterectomies in the United States is $5 billion per year.

In the United States, the rate of hysterectomies is 5.4 per 1000 women.  In Canada, the rate is 3.4 per 1000 women.  In Norway, the rate is 1.2 per 1000 women.

In the United States 20% of women will have had a hysterectomy by age of 40, and 33% of women have had a hysterectomy by age 65.




Color Blind

The most common cause of color blindness is genetic.  More men are affected than women, as the gene that is affected is on the X chromosome.  Women have two X chromosomes, so even if they have the defect on one chromosome, their other X chromosome compensates.  Men only have one X chromosome as they are XY.

Red-green is the most common form of color blindness, and affects  up to 8% of men and 0.5 % of women.  Yellow-blue color blindness is more rare.

Color blindness can affect the ability of a person to become a pilot, train driver, or member of the military.  Color blindness can affect the ability to tell the red and green on traffic lights.

There are now special lenses and phone apps that have been developed to help patients who are color blind.

Famous people who were color blind include Bill Clinton, Paul Newman, and Mark Zuckerberg.

Diagnosis can be made with the Ishihara color blindness test, can you see the 74?

color blind

Leave your shoes at the door

Can wearing your shoes inside your house make you sick?  
A study at the University of Arizona found that on average there are 421,000 bacteria on the outside of shoes!  The bacteria included E. Coli, which can cause intestinal infections,  Listeria, which can cause problems for pregnant women, Klebsiella which can cause urinary tract infections, and Serratia ficaria, which can cause respiratory infections.  Another study found that 24% of all shoes had E. Coli present!
In addition, toxins are brought in on your shoes.  A study found at Baylor found that people who lived near asphalt roads that had been sealed with coal tar have an increased risk of cancer, presumably from the toxins.  Other toxins tracked in include gasoline, pesticides and fertilizer from lawns.

Homicidal somnambulism

Homicidal somnambulism is the act of killing someone while sleepwalking. These are cases were someone is murdered, and the suspect states that they were sleepwalking at the time.

In one famous case, Brian Thomas age 59, who later stated he had problems sleepwalking since childhood, strangled his wife Christine. When he called emergency services, he stated,

 “What have I done? I’ve been trying to wake her. I think I’ve killed my wife. Oh my God. I thought someone had broken in. I was fighting with those boys but it was Christine. I must have been dreaming or something. What have I done?…”[8] He claimed he had mistaken his wife for an intruder, waking up to find it was his wife. He was freed in 2009 by a judge, who found him not guilty of murder.

 Is homicidal somnambulism a real thing? We know that when a patient sleeps, we can measure their brain waves and their eye movements. During a period called “non-REM sleep” (non-rapid eye movement), which is a very deep stage of sleep, sleepwalking occurs. During sleepwalking, a person can walk around but does not perceive sight, sound, smells, or even pain. If awoken, they are confused with no memory of the event.

Homicidal somnambulism has been used as a defense in a number of murders, but remains a controversial diagnosis.


Up in smoke

The average pack of cigarettes now cost $6 on average in the United States.
Taxes on cigarettes are 17 cents a pack  in Missouri, up to $6.16 a pack in Chicago.
One study showed that low income smokers (those making under $30,000) spend an average of 23% of their income on cigarettes.  Smokers who make over $60,000 spend about 2% of their income on cigarettes.
In the United States last year, 262 billion cigarettes were sold, generating $93 billion in revenue for the tobacco industry.
The United States government receives $15.5 Billion dollars a year from taxes on cigarettes.
Smokers who smoke one pack per day spend $2190 a year on cigarettes.

Is there a shot that can help alcoholics?

There is a shot that can reduce cravings for patients who are trying to stop drinking.

Vivitrol  (Naltrexone, other trade name is ReVia) for alcohol treatment is also the same drug that can be used to treat narcotic addiction.

How does it work?  It binds to a receptor in the “Addiction Center” of the brain, which decreases the urge to drink.

Vivitrol is given as an IM shot once a month, and is to be used along with counseling for alcohol addiction.  Vivitrol also comes in tablets.

The cost for the shot is about $1250 per month, which some insurance plans cover.

The patient has to have stopped drinking for a period of time (about 7-14 days)  prior to getting the shot.

Does it work?  There is a 25% reduction of heavy drinking for patients who use Vivitrol,  with more abstinent days per month.  It is a fairly new drug, so more studies are in process.