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In the news ... what the editors are researching ...

Hypnosis is effective, that has been proven. EEG

Is your stress changing my brain? "Brain changes associated with stress underpin many mental illnesses including PTSD, anxiety disorders and depression," says Jaideep Bains, PhD, professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and member of the HBI. "Recent studies indicate that stress and emotions can be 'contagious'. Whether this has lasting consequences for the brain is not known." University of Calgary. Nature Neuroscience

Mind-body therapies immediately reduce unmanageable pain. Mindfulness training and hypnotic suggestion significantly reduced acute pain experienced by hospital patients. Patients reported an immediate decrease in pain levels similar to what one might expect from an opioid painkiller (drugs). This study is the first to compare the effects of mindfulness and hypnosis on acute pain in the hospital setting. University of Utah Hospital. Journal of General Internal Medicine

E-cigarettes increase risk of cigarette smoking in youth. Dartmouth Norris Cotton Cancer Center research finds strong and consistent evidence that e-cigarette use is one cause of subsequent cigarette smoking initiation in adolescents and young adults. JAMA Pediatrics

Brains synchronise during a conversation. The rhythms of brainwaves between two people taking part in a conversation begin to match each. This interbrain synchrony may be a key factor in understanding language and interpersonal communication. Through electroencephalography (EEG) - a non-invasive procedure that analyses electrical activity in the brain - the scientists measured the movement of their brainwaves simultaneously and confirmed that their oscillations took place at the same time. Scientific Reports

Sugar-sweetened beverages, obesity. A new American Cancer Society study concludes that sugar-sweetened beverages have become more affordable in nearly every corner of the globe, and are likely to become even more affordable and more widely consumed. The study concludes that without policy action to raise prices, global efforts to address the obesity epidemic will be hampered. "Overall in the countries we studied, a person in 2016 could buy 71 percent more sugar-sweetened beverages with the same share of their income than they could in 1990," said Jeffrey Drope, Ph.D., study co-author. "Sugary drinks became even more affordable in developing countries, where 2016's income could buy 89 percent more sugar-sweetened beverages than in 1990. That's essentially half-price."

"Although the increase in affordability is partly due to economic progress that resulted from rapid global economic development, it is also attributable to a lack of action taken by policy makers to affect the price of sugar-sweetened beverages," write the authors. "We argue and the scientific literature strongly suggests that this environment of increasingly affordable sugar-sweetened beverages will inevitably drive increased consumption of such products and will certainly hamper global efforts to address the overweight and obesity epidemic."

The authors also reviewed price trends for bottled water comparing them to sugar-sweetened beverages to provide a control, and found that bottled water is typically more expensive and less affordable than sugar-sweetened beverages. Because rising incomes are a positive sign of growth, the authors say "the logical intervention is for governments to affect prices through excise taxation, as they have done with other unhealthful products such as cigarettes." Preventing Chronic Disease

The secret bribes of big tobacco click to read full story

"No Smoking" - a 1955 movie. A village chemist invents an anti-smoking pill but the tobacco companies (and governments) aren't happy!

Menopause, stress, depression - A study suggests that the estradiol (a form of estrogen) fluctuation that is common during the menopausal transition may enhance emotional sensitivity to psychosocial stress. When combined with a very stressful life event, this sensitivity is likely to contribute to the development of a depressed mood. Says NAMS Executive Director JoAnn Pinkerton, MD, NCMP. "This study provides a foundation for future studies to evaluate the value of psycho-social interventions, such as cognitive therapies, to lessen the effect of major life events, as well as the use of estrogen therapy during perimenopausal and menopausal stressful times." Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Menopause

Keep fears at bay - Exposure therapy is a commonly used and effective treatment for anxiety disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias. The goal of such therapy is to extinguish fear, which is accomplished by presenting cues that are known to predict a negative experience in the absence of that experience. Over time, learning that the 'danger cue' is no longer dangerous produces extinction of the fearful response. However, fears and the associated defensive behaviors resulting from that fear often return after they have been extinguished, undermining the long-term effectiveness of treatment.

This led a team of researchers at New York University to hypothesize that, as opposed to traditional extinction where the threat is omitted during therapeutic training, extinction could be successfully enhanced by instead replacing the potential threat with a neutral one. They were right. The subjects were initially 'trained' to associate an aversive stimulus (the danger cue) with an electrical shock. Later, half the subjects then underwent standard extinction, where the danger cue was presented but the shock was eliminated. For the other half of the subjects, the electric shock was replaced with a new, neutral outcome when the same cue was presented.

The modified fear extinction procedure was more effective in preventing the return of fear than simply omitting the electric shock. These data provide evidence that extinction can be successfully augmented by replacing, rather than omitting, an expected threat.

"The paper by Dunsmoor and colleagues highlights that we are still learning important information about how to maintain the benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy," said Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. "It shows that it is not only important to break the links between environmental cues and fear, but also to substitute new learning about safety that prevents fears from encroaching on hard-won therapeutic gains."

Novelty-Facilitated Extinction: Providing a Novel Outcome in Place of an Expected Threat Diminishes Recovery of Defensive Responses by Joseph E. Dunsmoor, Vinn D. Campese, Ahmet O. Ceceli, Joseph E. LeDoux, and Elizabeth A. Phelps. Biological Psychiatry

Hypnotherapy FAQs Editor's Note: Many Clinical and Scientific Hypnotherapists have been using replacement therapy for many years.

Chemicals in e-cigarette flavors linked to respiratory disease - Diacetyl, a flavoring chemical linked to cases of severe respiratory disease, was found in more than 75% of flavored electronic cigarettes and refill liquids tested by researchers. Two other potentially harmful related compounds were also found in many of the tested flavors, which included varieties with potential appeal to young people. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the flavoring industry have warned workers about diacetyl because of the association between inhaling this chemical and the debilitating respiratory disease bronchiolitis obliterans, colloquially termed "Popcorn Lung" because it first appeared in workers who inhaled artificial butter flavor in microwave popcorn processing facilities.

"Since most of the health concerns about e-cigarettes have focused on nicotine, there is still much we do not know about e-cigarettes. In addition to containing varying levels of the addictive substance nicotine, they also contain other cancer-causing chemicals, such as formaldehyde, and as our study shows, flavoring chemicals that can cause lung damage," said study co-author David Christiani, Elkan Blout Professor of Environmental Genetics. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Environmental Health Perspectives

The brain treats real and imaginary objects in the same way - The human brain can select relevant objects from a flood of information and edit out what is irrelevant. It also knows which parts belong to a whole. If, for example, we direct our attention to the doors of a house, the brain will preferentially process its windows, but not the neighboring houses. Goethe University Frankfurt

Education empowers but raises risks - The higher your level of education, the greater your earnings and your sense of "personal mastery" or being in control of your fate - but there's a downside. The study confirms that graduates report the highest sense of mastery, mainly due to their above-average earnings and lower exposure to financial strain. However, these well-educated people are also more likely to encounter overwork, job pressure, and work-to-family conflict. And, in turn, each of these stressors actually undermines mastery. Professor Scott Schieman, Canada Research Chair in the Social Contexts of Health, and PhD student Atsushi Narisada. University of Toronto

The Importance of Hope in Recovery  - Hope is a critical component in recovery from eating disorders, and mostly dependent on clinicians – those who provide treatment – to convey through therapeutic relationships and interventions. The therapeutic relationship has been identified as one of the most important variables in therapy outcomes. "In fact, hopelessness has been identified as a risk factor for dropping out of treatment, symptoms of co-morbid depression and even suicidality," says Nicole Siegfried, PhD, CEDS and Clinical Director with Castlewood Treatment Centers. "Our task is to communicate that hope can be conveyed through the therapeutic relationship through the expression of a belief in recovery through strategic use of real-life examples of recovery and sharing statistics on recovery in eating disorders," adds Mary Bartlett, PhD, an independent mental health consultant, assistant professor of counseling at University of Alabama at Birmingham. According to Dr. Bartlett, the clinician's skillful use of empathy and validation are among ways to effectively communicate hope.
iaedp - International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals.

Electronic cigarettes are not a 'safe alternative' - Although heavily promoted as a safer cigarette and an aid to quit smoking, electronic cigarettes and the nicotine they deliver pose particular risks to the developing brains and organs of children. Use of electronic cigarettes by school-age children has surpassed traditional cigarette smoking, and it is critical to recognize and understand the risks related to nicotine exposure, addiction, and the poor regulation of these products. Dean E. Schraufnagel, MD, Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, provides a detailed look at the composition and varieties of electronic cigarettes. Dr. Schraufnagel describes electronic cigarettes as a potential "gateway to addiction." Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology

2 in 3 smokers will die from their habit - A large study has provided independent confirmation that up to two in every three smokers will die from their habit if they continue to smoke. "We knew smoking was bad but we now have direct independent evidence that confirms the disturbing findings that have been emerging internationally, said lead author Professor Emily Banks, Scientific Director of the Sax Institute's 45 and Up Study and a researcher at the Australian National University.

"We found that smokers have around three-fold the risk of premature death of those who have never smoked. We also found smokers will die an estimated 10 years earlier than non-smokers."

Until relatively recently it was thought that about half of smokers would die of a smoking-related illness, but newer studies in UK women, British doctors and Amercian Cancer Society volunteers have put the figure much higher, at up to 67%.

"We have been able to show exactly the same result in a very large population-wide sample," Professor Banks said.

Scott Walsberger, Tobacco Control Manager at Cancer Council NSW, said the research results highlighted an important message for smokers: "It's never too late to quit no matter what your age, or how much you smoke." SAX Institute. BMC Medicine.

Brains of smokers who quit successfully might be wired for success - The study showed greater connectivity among certain brain regions in people who successfully quit smoking compared to those who tried and failed. Duke University Medical Center. Neuropsychopharmacology

Weight Watchers: Shed the pounds but lose your friends? - "When consumers start working toward a goal, they often feel uncertain about how to achieve the goal and see others at a similar stage as friends. They pass on helpful tips and cheer each other on. But once the goal is in sight, consumers feel more certain and believe they don't need support from others, so they become distant and keep useful information to themselves," write authors Szu-chi Huang (Stanford University), Susan M. Broniarczyk (University of Texas at Austin), Ying Zhang (Peking University), and Mariam Beruchashvili (California State University, Northridge). Journal of Consumer Research.

Could our brain instruct our bodies to burn more fat? - By uncovering the action of two naturally occurring hormones, scientists may have discovered a way to assist in the shedding of excess fat. The findings give new insights into how the brain regulates body fat and may lead to more effective ways to lose weight and prevent obesity by promoting the conversion of white fat to brown fat. Monash University. Cell.

Clinical Hypnotherapy enables your sub-conscious and your conscious mind to work in harmony, helping you achieve your goals. HypnotherapyFAQs.com

Smoking induces early signs of cancer - DNA damage caused by smoking can be detected in cheek swabs. The study provides evidence that smoking induces a general cancer program that is also present in cancers which aren't usually associated with it - including breast and gynaecological cancers. Professor Martin Widschwendter commented: 'The results also demonstrate that smoking-related DNA damage to the epigenome of certain genes had been reversed in ex-smokers who had quit 10 years previously before sample collection, highlighting the key health benefits of quitting smoking, or not taking it up at all.' University College London. JAMA Oncology

Tobacco Industry Exaggerates - The tobacco industry's favorite argument against tobacco tax increases and other policies to reduce tobacco use is that such measures will cause an increase in the illicit tobacco market. A new report finds that tobacco "industry-sponsored estimates of the size of the illicit market tend to be inflated. More generally, concerns have been raised about the quality and transparency of industry-funded research on the illicit tobacco trade." Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Quitting smoking has favorable metabolic effects - "In general, people think that when they stop smoking, they are going to gain weight and their diabetes and insulin resistance are going to get worse, but we didn't find that," said principal investigator Theodore C. Friedman, MS, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Internal Medicine of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, California. "Our study showed that insulin resistance was basically the same and some of the fat redistribution seemed to be better. Initially fat might have gone into the abdomen, but later, it went back to the thigh, which is more benign." The Endocrine Society

Guidelines for smoking cessation - Tobacco-related diseases are the most preventable cause of death worldwide; smoking cessation leads to improvement in cancer treatment outcomes, as well as decreased recurrence. "The NCCN Guidelines for Smoking Cessation is a crucial addition to the NCCN Guidelines for Supportive Care," said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. "Addressing the physical and behavioral impact of cigarette smoking dependency and offering a support system for people with cancer can positively impact their quality of life, both during treatment and during survivorship." Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. National Comprehensive Cancer Network®

Prescription painkillers, widely used by childbearing age women, double birth defects risk - Many women are unaware that prescription opioid-based medications such as codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, or morphine, used to treat severe pain, may increase the risk for serious birth defects of the baby's brain, spine, and heart, as well as preterm birth when taken during pregnancy. Use of these medications also can cause babies to suffer withdrawal symptoms when born, a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome or NAS, a growing problem in U.S. birthing hospitals. 

Since half of all pregnancies are unplanned, women may be prescribed opioid-based pain medications before they or their health care providers know they are pregnant. "This highlights the importance of promoting safer alternative treatments, when available for women of reproductive age. We must do what we can to protect babies from exposure to opioids." stated Coleen A. Boyle, PhD, MSHyg, Director of CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD). "

In the U.S., a baby is born with a birth defect every four and a half minutes, and one out of every five deaths in the first year of life is caused by a birth defect.

Lack of data on opioid drugs for chronic pain - A National Institutes of Health white paper finds little to no evidence for the effectiveness of opioid drugs in the treatment of long-term chronic pain, despite the explosive recent growth in the use of the drugs. Many of the studies used to justify the prescription of these drugs were either poorly conducted or of an insufficient duration.

That makes prolific use of these drugs surprising, says Dr. David Steffens, chair of the psychiatry department at UConn Health. When it comes to long-term pain, he says, "there's no research-based evidence that these medicines are helpful." Yet despite this, prescriptions for opioid drugs (also known as opiate drugs; the two terms are technically distinct, but most physicians use them interchangeably) have more than tripled in the past 20 years. At the same time, the abuse of these drugs has also skyrocketed, leading some to refer to prescription drug abuse as an epidemic. University of Connecticut. Annals of Internal Medicine.

Tobacco-related cancer risks
In China, smoking now causes nearly a quarter of all cancers in adult males. Sixty-eight percent of men in the study were smokers, and they had a 44 percent increased risk of developing cancer compared with nonsmokers.

This excess risk accounted for 23 percent of all cancers that arose between the ages of 40 and 79 years, with significantly elevated risks of cancers of the lung, liver, stomach, esophagus, and a collection of five other minor sites. Smoking causes an estimated 435,000 new cancers each year in China.

"The tobacco-related cancer risks among men are expected to increase substantially during the next few decades as a delayed effect of the recent rise in cigarette use, unless there is widespread cessation among adult smokers," the authors wrote.

"Widespread smoking cessation offers China one of the most effective, and cost-effective, strategies for avoiding cancer and premature death over the next few decades" said Professor Zhengming Chen.
Professor Zhengming Chen, DPhil, of the University of Oxford in the UK and Professor Liming Li, MD, of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in China. American Cancer Society, CANCER

TV use and unhealthy eating - A study by professor Temple Northup suggests people who watch excessive amounts of TV tend to eat more unhealthy foods and might not understand the foundations of a healthy diet. University of Houston

It's Better to Give Than to Receive - People find the act of giving more rewarding than receiving, according to research that used hypnosis to tap into the subconscious mind. The results support existing studies showing that the generous-hearted are not only less stressed, but healthier and happier. The scientific study demonstrated how simple everyday gestures can have an uplifting return on our overall well-being. The hypnosis research was commissioned by Fox's Biscuits.

Every year 6 million people die of smoking-related diseases - Every year, about 6 million people die of smoking-related diseases and an estimated US$200 billion is spent on tobacco-related health-care costs worldwide. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

Smokers and those exposed to passive smoke - Smokers and those exposed to passive smoke require more anesthetic and painkiller during operations. Tobacco smoke consists of more than 4,000 particles with toxic and carcinogenic (cancer causing) properties, in both gas and particulate form. Euroanaesthesia

Primary care doctors report prescribing fewer drugs for pain - Nine in 10 primary care physicians say that prescription drug abuse is a moderate or big problem in their communities and nearly half say they are less likely to prescribe opioids to treat pain compared to a year ago.

Primary care doctors also appear to recognize many risks of prescription opioid use, including addiction and death by overdose. The clinical use of prescription opioids nearly doubled between 2000 and 2010, and in 2010, more than 38,000 people died from drug overdoses of all kinds, with many of these deaths caused by prescription opioids. Only in recent years has the medical community paid much attention to the mounting epidemic.

"Our findings suggest that primary care providers have become aware of the scope of the prescription opioid crisis and are responding in ways that are important, including reducing their over reliance on these medicines," says study leader G. Caleb Alexander, MD, MS, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and co-director of Johns Hopkins' Center for Drug Safety & Effectiveness. "The health care community has long been part of the problem and now they appear to be part of the solution to this complex epidemic."

Surprisingly, despite concerns about over prescribing, nearly all physicians surveyed (88 percent) expressed confidence in their own ability to prescribe opioids appropriately. Such attitudes may reflect the fact that doctors tend to perceive their own clinical skills and judgment as superior to that of their peers. For example, physicians' "ego bias" has been demonstrated in the setting of engagements with pharmaceutical manufacturers. Prior studies have shown that most doctors believe their colleagues' prescribing decisions are swayed by pharmaceutical marketing and promotion, yet they themselves are immune to such effects.

Alexander says he hopes more physicians and patients look toward more non-opioid treatments for pain, such as other types of pain relievers and non-drug treatments. JAMA Internal Medicine.

Stress-related inflammation may increase risk for depression - Inflammation is the immune system's response to infection or disease, and has long been linked to stress. Previous studies have found depression and anxiety to be associated with elevated blood levels of inflammatory molecules and white blood cells after a confirmed diagnosis. Georgia Hodes, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher in Neuroscience. The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Training your brain to prefer healthy foods - It may be possible to train the brain to prefer healthy low-calorie foods over unhealthy higher-calorie foods, according to new research by scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University and at Massachusetts General Hospital. 

"We don't start out in life loving French fries and hating, for example, whole wheat pasta," said senior and co-corresponding author Susan B. Roberts, Ph.D., director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA, who is also a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and an adjunct professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine. "This conditioning happens over time in response to eating – repeatedly! - what is out there in the toxic food environment." Nutrition & Diabetes.

Coping techniques help patients improve mentally, physically - Coaching patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to manage stress, practice relaxation and participate in light exercise can boost a patient's quality of life and can even improve physical symptoms. Duke University Medical Center. Psychosomatic Medicine.

Smoking and higher mortality - A study demonstrates an association between smoking and loss of the Y chromosome in blood cells. The researchers have previously shown that loss of the Y chromosome is linked to cancer. Smoking is a risk factor for various diseases, not only lung cancer.

'These results indicate that smoking can cause loss of the Y chromosome and that this process might be reversible. We found that the frequency of cells with loss of the Y chromosome was not different among ex-smokers compared to men who had never smoked. This discovery could be very persuasive for motivating smokers to quit', says Lars Forsberg, researcher at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology.
The study is a collaboration between researchers at Uppsala University, Södertörn University, Karolinska Institutet, the University of Oxford, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University, the University of Liverpool, New York University and Stockholm School of Economics. Science.

Smokers underestimate risks of a few cigarettes - Many people still dangerously underestimate the health risks associated with smoking even a few cigarettes a day, despite decades of public health campaigning. The results demonstrate powerfully that the war against smoking is far from over, says oncologist Dr Laurent Greillier from Hopital Nord in Marseille, France. "It seems that people are aware about the dangers of tobacco for health, but might consider that the risks are not for themselves, but only for other people," Greillier said. "It is essential that public health policies continue to focus on the tobacco pandemic. Our findings suggest to urgently initiating campaigns concerning the risk of any cigarette. The war against tobacco is not over!"

Dr Carolyn Dresler, a US-based Board Member of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), said that the results reflect a common situation internationally. "People who smoke very much tend to underestimate their risks," Dresler said, "and it makes me think that 'denial' is still prevalent. As an oncologist and tobacco control advocate, it amazes me and strikes me as so unfortunate that such lack of knowledge is so prevalent." European Society for Medical Oncology. European Lung Cancer Conference.

Smoking when pregnant increases cancer risk for daughters - Smoking during pregnancy is usually linked to a number of health risks for children including reduced birth weight, reduced lung capacity, asthma and obesity. A new study has found women who smoke when pregnant are putting their daughters at a greater risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer later in life. Australian National University. Human Reproduction

Nonsmokers exposed to significant secondhand smoke - Nonsmokers sitting in an automobile with a smoker for one hour had markers of significantly increased levels of carcinogens and other toxins in their urine, indicating that secondhand smoke in motor vehicles poses a potentially major health risk. The nonsmoking passengers showed elevated levels of butadiene, acrylonitrile, benzene, methylating agents and ethylene oxide. This group of toxic chemicals is "thought to be the most important among the thousands in tobacco smoke that cause smoking-related disease," said senior investigator Neal L. Benowitz, MD, a UCSF professor of medicine and bioengineering and therapeutic sciences and chief of the division of clinical pharmacology at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.
"This indicates that when simply sitting in cars with smokers, nonsmokers breathe in a host of potentially dangerous compounds from tobacco smoke that are associated with cancer, heart disease and lung disease." University of California - San Francisco. Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Florida jury awards record $23 billion against Tobacco company in a wrongful death lawsuit. Chicago Tribune. 19072014 - Florida court upholds tobacco award to a woman whose husband died of lung cancer after decades of smoking its cigarettes. Reuters.

Learning the smell of fear: Mothers teach babies their own fears  - Babies can learn what to fear in the first days of life just by smelling the odor of their distressed mothers, new research suggests. And not just "natural" fears: If a mother experienced something before pregnancy that made her fear something specific, her baby will quickly learn to fear it too -- through the odor she gives off when she feels fear. "During the early days of an infant rat's life, they are immune to learning information about environmental dangers. But if their mother is the source of threat information, we have shown they can learn from her and produce lasting memories," says Jacek Debiec, M.D., Ph.D., the U-M psychiatrist and neuroscientist who led the research. University of Michigan Medical School and New York University. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Burden of smoking-related disease - Cigarette smoking generates as much as $170 billion in annual health care spending in the United States. Despite declines in the rates of smoking in recent years, the costs on society due to smoking have increased. Cigarette smoking remains a leading cause of serious, preventable disease, with adults reporting at least 14 million major medical conditions attributable to smoking

The study concludes that "comprehensive tobacco control programs and policies are still needed to continue progress toward ending the tobacco epidemic in the U.S. 50 years after the release of the first Surgeon General's report on smoking and health."
Georgia State University's School of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and RTI International. Georgia State University's School of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and RTI International. Georgia State University's School of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and RTI International. American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Women, quitting smoking for New Year? Neuroscientist reveals ...  - The menstrual cycle appears to have an effect on nicotine cravings, according to a study by Professor Adrianna Mendrek of the University of Montreal and its affiliated Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal. "Our data reveal that incontrollable urges to smoke are stronger at the beginning of the follicular phase that begins after menstruation. Hormonal decreases of oestrogen and progesterone possibly deepen the withdrawal syndrome and increase activity of neural circuits associated with craving," Mendrek said. She believes that it could therefore be easier for women to overcome abstinence-related withdrawal symptoms during the mid-luteal phrase, i.e. after ovulation, when their levels of oestrogen and progesterone are elevated, but psycho-social factors cannot be excluded, as tested women were explicitly asked in the study about the phase of their menstrual cycle. "Taking the menstrual cycle into consideration could help women to stop smoking," Mendrek said. Psychiatry Journal.

Toxin from tobacco smoke, increased pain - A neurotoxin called acrolein found in tobacco smoke is thought to increase pain in people with spinal cord injury. Purdue University. Neuroscience Bulletin.

Men's hot flashes: Hypnotic relaxation may ease the discomfort men don't talk about - Men who experience hot flashes are unlikely to talk much about it, but they may find relief from their silent suffering if they are willing to try hypnosis treatment. After seven weeks of hypnotic relaxation therapy, a 69-year-old man who had uncontrolled hot flashes following prostate cancer surgery showed a drastic decrease not only in hot flashes but also an impressive improvement in sleep quality. He experienced a 94 percent reduction in hot flashes. His sleep quality improved by 87 percent.

"Men are more reluctant to report hot flashes, and it's not as prevalent. There are fewer ways to deal with it," said study author Gary Elkins, Ph.D., director of Baylor's Mind-Body Medicine Research Laboratory and a professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences. "If a guy has hot flashes, you can't say, 'Well, why don't we put you on estrogen?' But it's a pressing problem."

Elkins has done extensive research showing that hypnotic relaxation therapy greatly benefits postmenopausal women and breast cancer survivors who suffer from hot flashes. Hypnotherapy reduced hot flashes by as much as 80 percent, and also improved participants' quality of life and lessened anxiety and depression. Hypnotic relaxation therapy allows patients to be involved in their own healing. Hypnotic relaxation therapy has been shown to be the most effective drug-free option. Baylor University. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis.

Add years to life - Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory disorders - the incidence of these non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is constantly rising in industrialised countries. Attention is focusing, amongst other things, on the main risk factors for these diseases which are linked to personal behaviour – i.e. tobacco smoking, an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful alcohol consumption. Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Zurich. Preventive Medicine.

Tackling anxiety may help prevent more severe problems - Showing students how to cope with test anxiety might also help them to handle their built-up angst and fretfulness about other issues. Carl Weems. University of New Orleans. Prevention Science.

Smoking, elevated risk of developing a second smoking-related cancer - Cigarette smoking prior to the first diagnosis of lung (stage I), bladder, kidney or head and neck cancer increases risk of developing a second smoking-associated cancer (up to five-fold higher risk of developing a second smoking-associated cancer compared to survivors of the same cancers who never smoked.) Tobacco use constitutes the largest preventable cause of death and disability in developed countries and is a rapidly growing health problem in developing nations. It is responsible for 30% of all cancer deaths and is associated with increased risk for at least 17 types of cancer. "Our study demonstrates that health care providers should emphasize the importance of smoking cessation to all their patients, including cancer survivors," said Meredith S. Shiels, PhD, MHs, a research fellow with the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics. American Society of Clinical Oncology. Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Change Unhealthy Ways - “Tobacco use and obesity are two health issues that have been vying in the last five years for first place as the major health problem,” said Joseph Kang, assistant professor in preventive medicine-biostatistics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Northwestern Medicine® and Northeastern Illinois University. Preventive Medicine.

Smoking is a pain in the back - A new Northwestern Medicine study has found that smokers are three times more likely than nonsmokers to develop chronic back pain, and dropping the habit may cut your chances of developing this often debilitating condition. Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Human Brain Mapping.

Thirdhand Smoke: Toxic Airborne Pollutants Linger Long After the Smoke Clears - Looking at levels of more than 50 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and airborne particles for 18 hours after smoking had taken place, scientists found that thirdhand smoke continues to have harmful health impacts for many hours after a cigarette has been extinguished. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Environmental Science & Technology.

Secondhand cigarette smoke causes weight gain - Exposure to cigarette smoke can actually cause weight gain. But here’s the kicker: Secondhand smoke is the biggest culprit. “For people who are in a home with a smoker, particularly children, the increased risk of cardiovascular or metabolic problems is massive,” said author Benjamin Bikman, professor of physiology and developmental biology at Brigham Young University
. American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Cognitive Therapy - There is a simple and effective emotion-regulation strategy that has neurologically and behaviorally been proven to lessen the emotional impact of personal negative memories. Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

Visualizing a safe place reduces procedural pain - Visualising a safe place reduces operative pain, according to research presented at EuroHeartCare. The researchers found that patients who used visualisation during the procedure were in pain less often and asked for fewer painkillers. European Society of Cardiology. 042014 

Hypnotherapists and healers have of course known that for a very, very long time.

Hypnosis therapy shown to decrease fatigue levels in breast cancer patients - Breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy showed decreased fatigue as a result of cognitive behavioral therapy plus hypnosis.

The results showed that the treatment group had significantly less fatigue than a control group both during treatment and for up to six months afterwards. 

"These results support CBTH as an evidence-based complementary intervention to control fatigue in patients undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer," said Dr. Montgomery. "CBTH works to reduce fatigue for patients who have few other treatment options. It is also noninvasive, has no adverse side-effects, and its beneficial effects persist long after the last intervention."

"This study is important because it shows a new intervention that helps to improve patients' quality of life during taxing course of breast cancer radiotherapy and for long after," said Montgomery. 

Guy Montgomery, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of the Integrative Behavioral Medicine Program in the Department of Oncological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Boosting self-esteem  - “Because self-esteem is associated with psychological wellbeing and physical health, raising self-esteem would be an ideal way to help prevent health problems later in life,” says Sarah Liu. Concordia University, McGill University, Northwestern University. Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Feeling sad for chocolate? - The instant gratification and the pleasure derived from consuming excessive chocolate and deep-fried foods can lead way to a double-edged sword of negative consequences ranging from weight gain to feelings of low self-esteem. Anthony Salerno, Juliano Laran (both University of Miami), and Chris Janiszewski (University of Florida). Journal of Consumer Research.

Obesity and lower academic attainment  - Research conducted by the Universities of Strathclyde, Dundee, Georgia and Bristol. International Journal of Obesity.

Teens prescribed anti-anxiety or sleep medications more likely to abuse those drugs illegally - Teens prescribed anti-anxiety or sleep medications may be up to 12 times more likely to abuse those drugs illegally than teens who have never received a prescription. "This is a wake-up call to the medical community as far as the risks involved in prescribing these medications to young people," said lead researcher Carol J. Boyd, PhD, a professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing. "When taken as prescribed, these drugs are effective and not dangerous. The problem is when adolescents use too many of them or mix them with other substances, especially alcohol." American Psychological Association. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

Fivefold increased risk for heart attack after angry outburst - The study results showed that the risk of heart attack or acute coronary syndrome – the symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath or sweating related to a blocked artery – was 4.7 times higher in the two hours following an angry outburst than at any other time. And the risk for stroke caused by a blocked artery in the brain was 3.6 times higher than at other times. One of the studies included in the review indicated a 6.3 fold increased risk for brain aneurysm in the hour following an outburst of anger compared with other times. BIDMC. European Heart Journal.

Excess weight linked to brain changes  - Being overweight appears related to reduced levels of a molecule that reflects brain cell health in the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in memory, learning, and emotions, and likely also involved in appetite control. SUNY Downstate Medical Center. Neuroimage: Clinical.

Caffeine Use Disorder - A recent study coauthored by American University psychology professor Laura Juliano indicates that more people are dependent on caffeine to the point that they suffer withdrawal symptoms and are unable to reduce caffeine consumption even if they have another condition that may be impacted by caffeine - such as a pregnancy, a heart condition, or a bleeding disorder. American University. Journal of Caffeine Research. 012014

Need help with overcoming or changing habits? We can help.

Drug companies - Drug companies spent $97.5 million marketing pharmaceuticals in the District of Columbia in 2012, with $30.5 million (31.3 percent) of that spending taking the form of payments and gifts to physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers, according to a report by researchers at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.

Treatment to quit smoking - Smokers may avoid treatment to quit smoking if they previously gained weight while trying to quit. Researchers suggest that clinicians should ask smokers if they had previously gained weight while trying to quit. If so, these smokers should be assured that strategies to maintain weight will be addressed in treatment. Penn State College of Medicine. The International Journal of Clinical Practice.

Neural reward response may demonstrate quitting smoking - For some cigarette smokers, strategies to aid quitting work well, while for many others no method seems to work. Researchers have identified an aspect of brain activity that helps to predict the effectiveness of a reward-based strategy as motivation to quit smoking. Yale University School of Medicine. Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience.

The bigger the better: Cigarette warning labels prompt quit attempts - Cigarette warning labels can influence a smoker to try to quit even when the smoker is trying to avoid seeing the labels. Larger, more graphic warning labels were better at getting people's attention and motivating them to attempt quitting.

"Mediational Pathways of the Impact of Cigarette Warning Labels on Quit Attempts," Hua-Hie Yong, PhD, and Ron Borland, PhD, The Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues; American Psychological Association. Health Psychology.

Stopping smoking linked to improved mental health - Many smokers want to stop but continue smoking as they believe smoking has mental health benefits. And health professionals are sometimes reluctant to deal with smoking in people with mental disorders in case stopping smoking worsens their mental health. 

The research team found consistent evidence that stopping smoking is associated with improvements in depression, anxiety, stress, psychological quality of life, and positivity compared with continuing to smoke. Universities of Birmingham, Oxford, and King's College London. BMJ-British Medical Journal.

Surgeon General report says 5.6 million U.S. children will die prematurely unless current smoking rates drop - Over the last 50 years, more than 20 million Americans have died from smoking. The report concludes that cigarette smoking kills nearly half a million Americans a year, with an additional 16 million suffering from smoking-related conditions. It puts the price tag of smoking in this country at more than $289 billion a year in direct medical care and other economic costs.

The historic 1964 Surgeon General’s report concluded that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer. Since that time, smoking has been identified as a cause of serious diseases of nearly all the body’s organs. Today, scientists add diabetes, colorectal and liver cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, erectile dysfunction, age-related macular degeneration, and other conditions to the list of diseases that cigarette smoking causes. In addition, the report concludes that secondhand smoke exposure is now known to cause strokes in nonsmokers. The report concludes that the tobacco industry started and sustained this epidemic using aggressive marketing strategies to deliberately mislead the public about the harms of smoking. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General.

14 million smoking-attributable major medical conditions - Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease. Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ and organ system in the body. "The disease burden of cigarette smoking in the United States remains immense and updated estimates indicate that COPD (emphysema) may be substantially underreported in health survey data." 

Steven A. Schroeder, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, writes: "The data from Rostron et al should serve to keep tobacco control and its 2-fold aims of preventing initiation and helping smokers quit as the most important clinical and public health priorities for the foreseeable future." Brian L. Rostron, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Center for Tobacco Products, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Md., and colleagues. The JAMA Network Journals.

Nearly 1 in 3 UK lung cancer patients dies within 3 months of diagnosis

The findings suggest that family doctors may not be picking up the signs of lung cancer and investigating them as appropriately as they might, or promptly enough, say researchers. Current smokers were also 43% more likely to die early than those who had never smoked, but former smokers were less likely to do so than those who had never smoked. BMJ-British Medical Journal.

Keys to successful long-term weight loss maintenance - The results show that long-term weight loss maintenance is possible if individuals adhere to key health behaviors.

J. Graham Thomas, Ph.D., says, "On average, participants maintained the majority of their weight loss over this extended follow-up period, and better success was related to continued performance of physical activity, self-weighing, low-fat diets, and avoiding overeating." 

Thomas's primary affiliation is The Miriam Hospital, where he is a researcher in the weight control and diabetes research center. He is also an assistant professor of psychiatry/human behavior (research) at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Other researchers involved in the study with Thomas include Dale Bond, Ph.D. and Rena Wing, Ph.D., also of The Miriam Hospital and Alpert Medical School; Suzanne Phelan, Ph.D. of the California Polytechnic State University; and James O. Hill, Ph.D., of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Performance anxiety - "The way we talk about our feelings has a strong influence on how we actually feel," said study author Alison Wood Brooks, PhD, of Harvard Business School. American Psychological Association. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Self-worth boosts ability ... - For people in poverty, remembering better times - such as past success - improves brain functioning by several IQ points and increases their willingness to seek help from crucial help services. The findings suggest that reconnecting the poor with feelings of self-worth reduces the powerful stigma and psychological barriers that make it harder for low-income individuals to make good decisions or access the very assistance services that can help them get back on their feet. University of British Columbia. Psychological Science.

Scientists and practitioners don't see eye to eye on repressed memory - Skepticism about repressed traumatic memories has increased over time, but new research shows that psychology researchers and practitioners still tend to hold different beliefs about whether such memories occur and whether they can be accurately retrieved.

"Whether repressed memories are accurate or not, and whether they should be pursued by therapists, or not, is probably the single most practically important topic in clinical psychology since the days of Freud and the hypnotists who came before him," says researcher Lawrence Patihis of the University of California, Irvine. Study co-authors include Elizabeth Loftus and Ian W. Tingen of the University of California, Irvine; Lavina Y. Ho of Pennsylvania State University; and Scott O. Lilienfeld of Emory University. Psychological Science.

Avoid 200 million tobacco deaths - Tripling taxes on cigarettes around the world would reduce the number of smokers by one-third and prevent 200 million premature deaths from lung cancer and other diseases this century. Controlling tobacco marketing is also key to helping people quit smoking.

Dr. Jha and Sir Richard noted that the 21st-century hazards of smoking have been reliably documented only in the past year, when several researchers published papers showing that men and women who started smoking when they were young and continued throughout adulthood had two or three times the mortality rate of non-smokers. An average of 10 years of life is lost from smoking. Many of those killed are still in middle age, meaning on average they lose about 20 years of life expectancy

Both Dr. Jha and Sir Richard published papers last year showing that people who quit smoking when they are young can regain almost all of the decade of life they might otherwise have lost. Dr. Prabhat Jha, director of the Centre for Global Health Research of St. Michael's Hospital and a professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Professor Sir Richard Peto of the University of Oxford, co-author. New England Journal of Medicine.

Nicotine-Addicted Parent, Child - Heavy Smokers - The more time a child is exposed to a parent addicted to smoking, the more likely the youth will not only take up cigarettes but also become a heavy smoker. The findings suggest that parental smoking cessation early in their children's lives is critical to prevent habitual smoking in the next generation.

"It is difficult to dissuade children from smoking if one or both parents are heavily dependent on cigarettes," says the study's lead investigator, Darren Mays, PhD, MPH, an assistant professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi. "It is also important for parents who smoke to know that their children may model the behavior, particularly if a parent is nicotine dependent."

"For parents who want to quit help can be provided." Raymond Niaura, PhD, the study's leader and senior author, is an adjunct professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi, and associate director for science of the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies in Washington. Georgetown University Medical Center. Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Pediatrics.

Nowhere to hide: Kids, once protected, exposed to tobacco marketing - "For several years, the emphasis in the tobacco industry has been on direct marketing, especially to young people who are highly price sensitive and who may find coupons, samples, and promotions appealing," said lead author Samir Soneji, PhD, Norris Cotton Cancer Center researcher and assistant professor at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

In 2010, the tobacco industry spent $236 million in cigarette coupons and $22 million in Internet marketing. To reduce these messages from entering the household, parents should consider removing their names from industry mailing lists, because it may reduce their children's risk of smoking. The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

Smoking may dull ability to taste - “Obese people often crave high-fat foods,” M. Yanina Pepino said. “Our findings suggest that having this intense craving but not perceiving fat and sweetness in food may lead these women to eat more. Since smoking and obesity are risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, the additional burden of craving more fats and sugars, while not fully tasting them, could be detrimental to health.” M. Yanina Pepino, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and Julie Mennella, PhD, a biopsychologist at the Monell Center in Philadelphia. Obesity.

Smokers - A study based on blood samples from more than 55,000 persons shows a direct correlation between smoking and mortality. It is a fact that smoking is harmful and associated with deadly diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Researchers also know that smokers die earlier than non-smokers. Smoking is associated with premature death, and heavy smokers have a 75 percent higher risk of dying than never-smokers of the same age. University of Copenhagen and Copenhagen University Hospital.

Graphic photos on tobacco packs save lives - Large, graphic health warnings on tobacco packets in China would increase awareness about the harms of smoking, help to cut smoking rates, and in doing so save lives according to global studies. It is estimated that tobacco use kills more than 1 million people every year in China, which will increase to 3 million each year by 2050 if current smoking rates are not reduced. Tobacco health warnings in China – Evidence of effectiveness and implications for action, from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project). University of Waterloo.

Smoking may raise risk for heart defects in babies - Women who smoke during pregnancy may be putting their newborns at risk for congenital heart defects, and the more they smoke, the higher the risk. Pediatric Academic Societies. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Prenatal nicotine exposure may lead to ADHD in future generations - Prenatal exposure to nicotine could manifest as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children born a generation later. Professors Pradeep G. Bhide and Jinmin Zhu have found evidence that ADHD associated with nicotine can be passed across generations. In other words, your child's ADHD might be an environmentally induced health condition inherited from your grandmother, who may have smoked cigarettes during pregnancy a long time ago.

"What our research and other people's research is showing is that some of the changes in your genome — whether induced by drugs or by experience — may be permanent and you will transmit that to your offspring," said Bhide, chair of developmental neuroscience and director of the Center for Brain Repair at the College of Medicine.

In addition to Zhu and Bhide, the paper's co-authors are Kevin P. Lee, a research assistant in the FSU College of Medicine, and Thomas J. Spencer and Joseph Biederman, both of the pediatric psychopharmacology unit of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Florida State University College of Medicine. The Journal of Neuroscience.

Smoking cessation improves mental health - Health professionals who treat people with psychiatric problems often overlook their patients' smoking habits, assuming it’s best to tackle depression, anxiety or substance abuse problems first. However, new research shows that people who struggle with mood problems or addiction can safely quit smoking and that kicking the habit is associated with improved mental health.

“About half of all smokers die from emphysema, cancer or other problems related to smoking, so we need to remember that as complicated as it can be to treat mental health issues, smoking cigarettes also causes very serious illnesses that can lead to death,” explained Patricia A. Cavazos-Rehg, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry. Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Psychological Medicine.

Smoking - yet another study confirming increased risk of cancer - "The health hazards associated with smoking are numerous and well known. This study adds to our knowledge in suggesting that with respect to breast cancer, smoking may increase the risk of the most common molecular subtype of breast cancer ...," said Christopher Li, MD, PhD. American Cancer Society. Cancer.

Want a good night's sleep in the new year? Quit smoking - As if cancer, heart disease and other diseases were not enough motivation to make quitting smoking your New Year's resolution, here's another wake-up call: New research suggests that smoking disrupts the circadian clock function in both the lungs and the brain. Translation: Smoking ruins productive sleep, leading to cognitive dysfunction, mood disorders, depression and anxiety. 

"If you only stick to one New Year's resolution this year, make it quitting smoking," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "Only Santa Claus has a list longer than that of the ailments caused or worsened by smoking. If you like having a good night's sleep, then that's just another reason to never smoke." Department of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y.; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Menthol cigarettes linked to increased smoking - Menthol cigarettes have been directly linked to elevated nicotine addiction among youth. “The appeal of menthol cigarettes among youth stems from the perception that they are less harmful than regular cigarettes. The minty taste helps mask the noxious properties, but the reality is that they are just as dangerous as any unflavoured cigarette,” said Sunday Azagba, a scientist. University of Waterloo. Cancer Causes and Control.

Smoke-free air policies - Cardiovascular disease, related deaths drop after public smoking ban - "There is no nationwide federal policy banning indoor smoking, even though such a policy might improve public health and potentially reduce health care costs," said Sourabh Aggarwal, M.D., resident physician, Department of Internal Medicine at Western Michigan University School of Medicine, and lead investigator of the study. "Health care can't just take place at the individual level. It must be multipronged, and that includes public health policies being implemented at the highest levels."  American College of Cardiology.

Total smoking bans work best - Completely banning tobacco use inside the home – or more broadly in the whole city – measurably boosts the odds of smokers either cutting back or quitting entirely, report University of California, San Diego School of Medicine researchers. Preventive Medicine

Progressively reducing the nicotine content of cigarettes may not lead smokers to quit - The US Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, passed in 2009, permits the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to set standards for cigarette nicotine content. The FDA is accordingly supporting research into how very low nicotine content (VLNC) cigarettes might function as a regulatory measure to make cigarettes non-addictive, reduce smoke exposure, and improve public health, even among people who don't want to quit smoking. New research shows that simply reducing the nicotine content of cigarettes may not be enough to eliminate smoking dependence. Addiction

Passive smoking causes irreversible damage to children's arteries - The thickening of the arteries' walls associated with being exposed to parents' smoke, means that these children will be at greater risk of heart attacks and strokes in later life. The researchers from Tasmania, Australia and Finland say that exposure to both parents smoking in childhood adds an extra 3.3 years to the age of blood vessels when the children reach adulthood.

"Our study shows that exposure to passive smoke in childhood causes a direct and irreversible damage to the structure of the arteries. Parents, or even those thinking about becoming parents, should quit smoking. This will not only restore their own health but also protect the health of their children into the future," said Dr Seana Gall, a research fellow in cardiovascular epidemiology at the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania and the University of Tasmania.

"Exposure to parental smoking in childhood or adolescence is associated with increased carotid intima-media thickness in young adults: evidence from the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns study and the Childhood Determinants of Adult Health Study", by Seana Gall et al. European Heart Journal. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehu049 / "Protecting our children from environmental tobacco smoke – one of our great healthcare challenges", by Edmund MT Lau and David S. Celermajer. European Heart Journal, doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehu098

Peer pressure is weaker for kids to quit smoking - Adolescents tend to be more powerful in influencing their friends to start smoking than in helping them to quit. "In order to become a smoker, kids need to know how to smoke, they need to know where to buy cigarettes and how to smoke without being caught, which are all things they can learn from their friends who smoke," said Haas. "But, friends are unlikely to be able to provide the type resources needed to help them quit smoking." "Most often, adolescents will try to either quit cold turkey, or by gradually reducing their smoking, and these are the least successful ways to quit," said Haas. Steven Haas, associate professor of sociology and demography, Penn State. David Schaefer, associate professor of human evolution and social change, Arizona State University. Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

Smoking changes genes - The fact that smoking means a considerable health risk is nowadays commonly accepted. New research findings from Uppsala University and Uppsala Clinical Research Center show that smoking alters several genes that can be associated with health problems for smokers, such as increased risk for cancer and diabetes.

It has been previously known that smokers have an increased risk of developing diabetes and many types of cancer, and have a reduced immune defence and lower sperm quality. Human Molecular Genetics. Uppsala University.

Stop smoking research ... - Smokers who want to stop smoking are three times more likely to succeed if they see a trained advisor than if they try by themselves.

Just buying nicotine patches, gum or other licensed nicotine products from a shop does not seem to improve the chances of quitting.

The study shows not only that stop smoking services are smokers' best bet for stopping, but also that smokers may not be benefiting in the way they should from buying over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies. Addiction.

Passive smoking can cause babies to be stillborn or born prematurely and is linked to certain birth defects, asthma and lung infections. Studies have also suggested that being exposed to second hand smoke during childhood may have long term health implications, contributing to the development of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes in later life. Brigham and Women's Hospital. The Lancet.

Cigarette smoking after cancer diagnosis increases risk of death - Continuing to smoke after a cancer diagnosis? It increases risk of death (by 59 %) compared with those who quit smoking after diagnosis.

"Many cancer patients and their health care providers assume that it is not worth the effort to stop smoking at a time when the damage from smoking has already been done, considering these patients have been diagnosed with cancer," said Li Tao, M.D., M.S., Ph.D., epidemiologist at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California in Fremont. "Our study provides evidence of the impact of postdiagnosis smoking on survival after cancer, and assists in addressing the critical issue of tobacco control in cancer survivorship."

"As far as we know, only a fraction of cancer patients who are smokers at diagnosis receive formal smoking cessation counseling from their physicians or health care providers at the time of diagnosis and treatment, and less than half of these patients eventually quit smoking after the diagnosis," Tao said. "Therefore, there is considerable room for improvement with regard to tobacco control in the postdiagnosis setting for the growing population of cancer survivors. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. American Association for Cancer Research.

Motivational interviewing helps reduce home secondhand smoke exposure - Motivational interviewing, a counseling strategy that gained popularity in the treatment of alcoholics, uses a patient-centered counseling approach to help motivate people to change behaviors. Experts say it stands in contrast to externally driven tactics, instead favoring to work with patients by acknowledging how difficult change is and by helping people devise and implement practical plans for change when they are ready. "The lowered secondhand smoke exposure in the motivational interviewing group is important, because children in Head Start communities are at high risk for asthma and other disorders linked to such exposure," says report lead author Michelle N. Eakin, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Eakin says secondhand smoke exposure is a well-documented and significant threat to children's respiratory health. It plays a role in sudden infant death syndrome, middle ear disease, pneumonia and bronchitis. Johns Hopkins Medicine. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Almost 600 under-16s take up smoking every day in the UK - "Smoking is among the largest causes of preventable deaths worldwide," they write. "The present data should help to raise awareness of childhood smoking and to focus attention on the need to address this important child protection issue," researchers conclude. BMJ-British Medical Journal. Thorax.

e-cigarettes - "Over the last 50 years, 20 million Americans died because of tobacco. We are fiercely committed to preventing the tobacco industry from addicting another generation of smokers," said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. "Recent studies raise concerns that e-cigarettes may be a gateway to traditional tobacco products for the nation's youth, and could renormalize smoking in our society. These disturbing developments have helped convince the association that e-cigarettes need to be strongly regulated, thoroughly researched and closely monitored."

"E-cigarettes have caused a major shift in the tobacco-control landscape," said Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D. FAHA, lead author and chair of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Louisville. "It's critical that we rigorously examine the long-term impact of this new technology on public health, cardiovascular disease and stroke, and pay careful attention to the effect of e-cigarettes on adolescents."

"Nicotine is a dangerous and highly addictive chemical no matter what form it takes – conventional cigarettes or some other tobacco product," said association President Elliott Antman, M.D. "Every life that has been lost to tobacco addiction could have been prevented. We must protect future generations from any potential smokescreens in the tobacco product landscape that will cause us to lose precious ground in the fight to make our nation 100 percent tobacco-free." American Heart Association. Circulation.

E-cigarettes and mental health - People living with depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions are twice as likely to have tried e-cigarettes and three times as likely to be current users of the controversial battery-powered nicotine-delivery devices, as people without mental health disorders. University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Tobacco Control.

E-cigarettes expose people to more than harmless vapor - In a major scientific review of research on e-cigarettes, scientists found that industry claims about the devices are unsupported by the evidence to date, including claims that e-cigarettes help smokers quit. The scientists concluded that e-cigarettes should be prohibited wherever tobacco cigarettes are prohibited and should be subject to the same marketing restrictions as conventional cigarettes. "E-cigarettes do not burn or smolder the way conventional cigarettes do, so they do not emit side-stream smoke; however, bystanders are exposed to aerosol exhaled by the user," said the authors. Toxins and nicotine have been measured in that aerosol, such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetic acid and other toxins emitted into the air ..." Smokers who used e-cigarettes were about a third less likely to quit smoking than those who did not use e-cigarettes. Rachel Grana, PhD, MPH, a postdoctoral fellow at the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education (CTCRE); Neal Benowitz, MD, a UCSF professor of medicine and bioengineering and therapeutic sciences and chief of the division of clinical pharmacology at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center; and Stanton Glantz, PhD, professor of medicine at UCSF, director of the CTCRE and the American Legacy Foundation Distinguished Professor in Tobacco Control. University of California - San Francisco. American Heart Association's Circulation.

E-cigarettes not associated with more smokers quitting or reduced consumption - E-cigarettes are promoted as smoking cessation tools, but studies of their effectiveness have been unconvincing. Rachel A. Grana, Ph.D., M.P.H., and colleagues from the University California, San Francisco. The JAMA Network Journals.

E-cigarettes - E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution. The user inhales the vapor created and ingests the nicotine. Some e-cigarettes are flavored, and some have been found to contain toxic chemicals.

"This study has two alarming findings," said lead author Robert C. McMillen, PhD, associate professor, Social Science Research Center, and coordinator, Tobacco Control Unit, Department of Psychology, Mississippi State University. "First, the risks of e-cigarette use and exposure to vapor are unknown, yet many parents report using these electronic cigarettes to reduce harm to others. Second, half of current users are nonsmokers, suggesting that unlike tobacco harm-reduction products, e-cigarettes contribute to primary nicotine addiction and to renormalization of smoking behaviors." American Academy of Pediatrics.

Electronic cigarettes: New route to smoking addiction - E-cigarettes have been widely promoted as a way for people to quit smoking conventional cigarettes. Now, researchers are reporting that, at the point in time they studied, youth using e-cigarettes were more likely to be trying to quit, but also were less likely to have stopped smoking and were smoking more, not less. University of California - San Francisco. Journal of Adolescent Health.

Graphic warning labels on cigarette packages reduce smoking rates - There would be several million fewer smokers if graphic warning labels similar to those introduced in Canada nearly a decade ago were required on cigarette packs. University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Waterloo.

Smoking ... Risk of Lung Cancer ... - “While the significant risks of smoking are well known and accepted, very little information exists on the health risks of different sizes of cigarettes,” said Darcy Marciniuk, MD, FCCP and President of the ACCP. “This study indicates that there is an added risk to those smoking long and ultralong cigarettes.” CHEST 2013 is the 79th annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians. researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, Center for Global Tobacco Control.

Smoking cessation, even during pregnancy, may reduce infant hospitalizations and death

Quitting smoking ... - Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable mortality and a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Smoking cessation substantially reduces the risks of CVD. Carole Clair, M.D., M.Sc., of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and colleagues conducted the study. The JAMA Journals.

Smoking, immune system - Smoking affects molecular mechanisms and thus ... immune systems. Dr. Gunda Herberth, Dr. Irina Lehmann. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

"In addition to nicotine, there are some 4,800 other chemicals found in cigarette smoke, many of which are harmful to health."

Cigarette smoke impacts genes linked to health of heart and lungs - New insights into why obese cigarette smokers experience a high risk of heart disease suggest that cigarette smoke affects the activity of hundreds of key genes that both protect the heart and lungs and expose them to damage. American Chemical Society. Chemical Research in Toxicology.

Combination of smoking and heavy drinking 'speeds up cognitive decline' - Researchers found that smokers who drank alcohol heavily had a 36% faster cognitive decline compared to non-smoking moderate drinkers.
University College London. British Journal of Psychiatry.

Smokers' brains biased against negative images of smoking - What if the use of a product influenced your perception of it, making you even more susceptible to its positive aspects and altering your understanding of its drawbacks? This is precisely what happens with cigarettes in chronic smokers.

"Many factors make it difficult for people to quit. Part of the explanation could certainly be because cigarettes 'trick' the brains of smokers," stated Stéphane Potvin, a co-author of the study and researcher at the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Université de Montréal. "Specifically, we discovered that the brain regions associated with motivation are more active in smokers when they see pleasurable images associated with cigarettes and less active when smokers are confronted with the negative effects of smoking."

  • Smokers have a 3 to 9 times greater risk of developing cancer, lung disease or heart problems. Cigarettes are also associated with fertility problems, premature aging, a lack of hygiene and social stigmatization, and they have a negative impact on the health of other people who are exposed to second-hand smoke. 

  • Overall, 1 out of 2 smokers will die from tobacco use

Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal and Université de Montréal.

Tobacco control could prevent heart disease and stroke deaths - Implementing smoke-free laws and increased tobacco taxes in India would yield substantial and rapid health benefits by averting future cardiovascular disease (CVD) deaths, according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicine. The results of this study, conducted by Sanjay Basu and colleagues of Stanford University, USA, suggest that specific tobacco control strategies would be more effective than others for the reduction of CVD deaths over the next decade in India.

Basu S, Glantz S, Bitton A, Millett C (2013) The Effect of Tobacco Control Measures during a Period of Rising Cardiovascular Disease Risk in India: A Mathematical Model of Myocardial Infarction and Stroke. PLoS Med 10(7): e1001480. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001480

Losing weight over the phone - An intensive lifestyle intervention, proven to help people lose weight to prevent diabetes, also works in primary care when delivered over the telephone to obese patients with metabolic syndrome. Group telephone sessions appear to be effective for greater weight loss.
Drs. Paula Trief and Ruth Weinstock. SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Reducing global tobacco deaths - Although global efforts to cut tobacco use have had some success, more can be done to reduce the number of deaths from smoking. Regular smokers have a threefold higher risk of dying from smoking than nonsmokers. Quitting by age 40 will substantially reduce the risk. Global tobacco industry profits equal about $10,000 per death. Global efforts to reduce smoking must counter the tactics and large budgets of tobacco companies that allow them to use lobbying and marketing. Canadian Medical Association Journal

Shisha (smoking pipe) - dangers you must know about ... - 1 hour shisha = 100 cigarettes. Contains toxins, poisons.

Dangers include: oral herpes, lung cancer, mouth and throat cancer, ulcers, heart disease, asthma, cough and wheezing. Watch details

Quit smoking - cut heart disease risk regardless of diabetes status - Postmenopausal women who quit smoking reduced their risk of heart disease, regardless of whether they had diabetes, according to a new study conducted by Juhua Luo, an epidemiologist at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington.

Her findings, "Smoking Cessation, Weight Change and Coronary Heart Disease Among Postmenopausal Women With and Without Diabetes," were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Brain sets prices with emotional value - You might be falling in love with that new car, but you probably wouldn't pay as much for it if you could resist the feeling.

Researchers at Duke University who study how the brain values things - neuroeconomics - have found that your feelings about something and the value you put on it are calculated similarly in a specific area of the brain. The Journal of Neuroscience. 072013

Major 'third-hand smoke' compound causes DNA damage - and potentially cancer - Leftover cigarette smoke that clings to walls and furniture is a smelly nuisance, but it could pose a far more serious threat, especially to young children who put toys and other smoke-affected items into their mouths. Scientists reported that one compound from this "third-hand smoke," which forms when second-hand smoke reacts with indoor air, damages DNA and sticks to it in a way that could potentially cause cancer

"The best argument for instituting a ban on smoking indoors is actually third-hand smoke," said Hang, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).

Researchers have found that many of the more than 4,000 compounds in second-hand smoke, which wafts through the air as a cigarette is smoked, can linger indoors long after a cigarette is stubbed out. Based on studies led by Hugo Destaillats, Ph.D., also at LBNL, these substances can go on to react with indoor pollutants such as ozone and nitrous acid, creating brand-new compounds, some of which may be carcinogenic
Bo Hang, Ph.D.; American Chemical Society.

Tired and edgy? Sleep deprivation ... - Lack of sleep, which is common in anxiety disorders, may play a key role in ramping up the brain regions that contribute to excessive worrying. The results suggest that people suffering from such generalised anxiety disorder, panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder, may benefit substantially from sleep therapy. University of California, Berkeley. Journal of Neuroscience. 062013

Stress and ... - Traumatic stress can cause former smokers to take up the habit again and maintain it. Weill Cornell Medical College.

WHO: Ban tobacco advertising to protect young people - The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for countries to ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship to help reduce the number of tobacco users. Tobacco use kills nearly 6 million people every year.

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