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Addiction meds may help treat gamblers

It is possible to treat pathological gambling with medications that decrease urges and increase inhibitions, says a new study.

University of Minnesota researchers found positive outcomes in gamblers treated with medications often used for substance addictions.

People with pathological gambling disorder will continue their gambling behaviour in the face of damaging consequences to themselves and their families.

Dr Jon Grant and his team used tasks that measure cognition to identify what motivates this extreme type of gambling behaviour.

They enrolled men and women with a primary diagnosis of pathological gambling in one of three medication studies. Study sites varied in size from 70 to 100 participants.

Researchers sought to understand how gamblers decide whether or not to bet by focusing on two brain processes: urge and inhibition.

Grant found that family history plays an important role in refining this group even further.

People with a family history of addiction responded even better to the opioid blocker, which has been shown in other studies to decrease the urge to use substances such as alcohol.

Surgery to reverse Type 2 diabetes in obese people

Bariatric surgery has been found to effectively reverse Type 2 diabetes in morbidly obese people, say researchers.

The experts present at the Diabetes Surgery Summit (DSS) suggested that surgery should be considered for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes in patients with a BMI of 35 or more who are inadequately controlled by lifestyle and medical therapy.

“With an emphasis on caution and patient safety, the DSS position statement boldly advances a revolutionary concept: the legitimacy of gastrointestinal surgery as a dedicated treatment for Type 2 diabetes in carefully selected patients,” said lead author Dr Francesco Rubino, director of the gastrointestinal metabolic surgery programme at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College and associate professor of surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Transcendental meditation can cut heart attack risk

Transcendental meditation can have a beneficial effect on heart disease and stress, a new study has shown.

According to the results of a first-ever study presented  during the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, patients with coronary heart disease who practiced the stress-reducing Transcendental meditation technique had nearly 50 per cent lower rates of heart attack, stroke, and death compared to nonmeditating controls.

The nine-year, randomised control trial followed 201 African American men and women, average age 59 years, with narrowing of arteries in their hearts who were randomly assigned to either practice the stress-reducing Transcendental meditation technique or to participate in a control group which received health education classes in traditional risk factors, including dietary modification and exercise.
All participants continued standard medications and other usual medical care.

Smoking may increase Lou Gehrig’s disease risk

Smoking can increase a person’s risk of developing Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, say researchers.Lead researcher and neurologist Dr Carmel Armon, from Baystate Medical Centre, has found compelling evidence linking smoking and ALS, and insists it can now be considered an ‘established’ risk factor.

ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disease affecting the motor nerves and the voluntary muscles.“Application of evidence-based methods separates better-designed studies from studies with limitations that may not be relied on. The better-designed studies show consistently that smoking increases the risk of developing ALS, with some findings suggesting that smoking may be implicated directly in causing the disease,” said Armon.

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