VIGILANCE FOR BRAIN CANCER

Brain cancer is a very serious form of cancer. Recently, Sen. John McCain revealed he has been diagnosed with a primary glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) – the most aggressive type of brain tumor. GBMs originate in the brain; it does not spread there from another part of the body. The cause is not known. This tumor has no relation to melanoma, the skin cancer for which McCain was treated in the past.

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QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT CHEMOTHERAPY

Chemotherapy is a standard treatment for cancer. It kills healthy cells along with cancer cells, inflicting damage on the body and seriously compromising the immune system. Chemotherapy also kills most rapidly dividing healthy and cancer cells, but not all the cells are fast growing. Cancer stem cells (CSCs), a small population of cancer cells that are slow growing and thus resistant to treatment, do not die. Chemotherapy makes these cells even more numerous as the ratio of highly malignant cells….

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RESTORING DIGNITY AND ’DOS

For many women facing cancer, the most devastating aspect is learning they may lose their hair due to chemotherapy.  “Most women tell me that as soon as they hear the oncologist say, ‘You’re going to lose your hair,’ that’s the last thing they remember hearing,” said Eric Johnson, co-owner, with his wife, Jeletta, of Hair Institute in Lexington. “They can deal with the sickness; they can deal with the treatments; but it’s the hair loss that gets them the most.

….FULL ARTICLE

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The behavioral or environmental factor for a family connection to fear has already been established. A 2012 study at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid, Spain, confirmed the emotional transmission of fear of the dentist among family members and analyzed the different roles mothers and fathers might play. They concluded the father plays a key role in the emotional transmission of dental fear. The researchers suggest parents should be relaxed when they go to the dentist to assure their children. However, this won’t help the many adults who still experience anxiety and fear at the dentist.


Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) can help with dental fears. CBT is a short-term therapy that typically lasts six to 10 sessions. It has been successfully shown to reduce dental anxiety and thus increase dental attendance. King’s College London Dental Institute, Health Psychology Service at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust collaborated on a study last year using CBT for dental fear. Of all the patients in the study, four-fifths (79 percent) were able to have dental treatments without the need for sedation. On average, it only took five CBT sessions to get the patients to that point.


“There is a need for people with dental phobia to be carefully assessed by trained CBT practitioners working with dental health professionals,” said the lead author of the study, Prof. Tim Newton of the King’s College Dental Institute London. “Some of the patients referred to us were found to be experiencing additional psychological difficulties and needed further referral and management.”


There will still be those with dental fears who need sedation when they require urgent dental treatment or because they are having particularly invasive treatments. CBT can complement sedation.

Dentophobia – fear of the dentist – is fairly common. According the UK Adult Dental Health Survey, about one in 10 people suffers from dental phobia. Significant fear affects 10 percent to 20 percent of U.S. adults. For some, this fear prevents them from seeking proper dental care.


Psychology researchers at West Virginia University report dental fear and anxiety is in part due to inherited influences. Their study is the first to suggest genetics along with environmental factors for dentist-chair fears. The study also showed fear of pain, a problem related to but separate from dental fear, is also inheritable. The researchers theorize this can clarify how fear of pain may contribute to the development of dental fear.


University of Wisconsin-Madison psychiatric researchers demonstrated neurological proof that fear is genetically inherited from parents. The university’s Department of Psychiatry and the Health Emotions Research Institute found an overactive brain circuit in three brain areas involved in anxiety and depression and demonstrated this is passed from parents to offspring in an extended family of Rhesus monkeys. The researchers wanted to understand the specific regions in the brain responsible for the inheritable traits of anxiety and depression.


“We think that to a certain extent anxiety can provide an evolutionary advantage because it helps an individual recognize and avoid danger,”

FEAR OF THE DENTIST

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

said senior author Dr. Ned Kalin. “But when the circuits are overactive, it becomes a problem and can result in anxiety and depressive disorders.”


Understanding that parents pass on anxiety to children and knowing the exact areas of impact in the brain gives researchers an advantage in designing therapeutics for specific targets, said Kalin. PET brain scans of “scary” encounters showed over-activity of the prefrontal-limbic-midbrain circuit is inheritable and directly associated with extreme anxiety in early childhood and depression- anxiety later in life. The three regions involved in anxiety and depression are survival-related brain regions: the brain stem (the most primitive part of the brain), the amygdala (the limbic fear center) and the prefrontal cortex (the seat of intelligence and higher level reasoning, which is fully developed only in humans and primates). The function of brain structure – not its size – was passed down from parents to offspring.


“Now that we know where to look, we can develop a better understanding of the molecular alterations that give rise to anxiety-related brain function,” said Kalin.