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Dr. Grohol's Blog of Psychology

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 Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Empowerment in cyberspace - Electronic discussion helps cancer patients cope
Isolation and the feeling of being out of control of one's life are common experiences for cancer patients. The Internet can be a valuable tool in helping to make patients feel part of an understanding community, said Mette Terp Hoeybye, from the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Copenhagen, Denmark, speaking at ECCO 12 - The European Cancer Conference on Monday, September 22, 2003).

"Telling your own story on the internet becomes an empowerment strategy, and the mailing list is a unique room where the women can express their frustration or joy, or simply ask questions," said Ms. Hoeybye.

(Posted at 10:30:22 AM EDT.) Discuss this...

 Friday, September 19, 2003

Marriage Appears To Be Beneficial To Women's Health
Women who are in satisfying marriages have a health advantage over unmarried women or those in unsatisfying marriages, according to a study published in the September issue of Health Psychology, a journal of the American Psychological Association (APA). The study, involving middle-aged women over a 13-year period, finds that women in good marriages were less likely to develop risk factors that lead to cardiovascular diseases compared with other middle-aged women.

Results indicate that women in marriages characterized by high levels of satisfaction showed a health advantage when compared with participants in marriages characterized by low levels of satisfaction and with unmarried participants (single, widowed or divorced). This included lower levels of biological and lifestyle cardiovascular risk factors - such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels and body mass index - and lower levels of psychosocial cardiovascular risk factors - such as depression, anxiety and anger. Those women in highly satisfying marriages also showed this same health advantage when compared with women in moderately satisfying marriages, but to a lesser extent.

Of course, my only question is... What about men's health?!

(Posted at 11:26:03 AM EDT.) Discuss this...

International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Annual Meeting
The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies will conduct its 19th annual meeting October 29-November 1, 2003, in Chicago, Illinois, at the Palmer House Hilton. This premier meeting of traumatic stress treatment and research specialists features a theme of "Fragmentation and Integration in the Wake of Psychological Trauma" and will focus on moving the field of traumatic stress disorders and their treatment toward evidence-based approaches that address the biological and psychosocial complexities in an integrative manner. Save on your registration fee by registering before September 23, 2003. Online registration, conference highlights, Pre-Meeting Institutes, concurrent session schedule and hotel and travel information is available at

(Posted at 11:13:53 AM EDT.) Discuss this...

Funny Stuff from Microsoft
In the latest of a long line of security patches for the popular Microsoft Windows operating system, Microsoft notes:

Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition (SE), and Windows 95 also are not affected by this issue. However, these products are no longer supported. Users of these products are strongly encouraged to upgrade to later versions.

Oh, okay. So I should upgrade to a newer system (which many people simply cannot do, since it means upgrading to new hardware as well, a pricey proposition for most) according to Microsoft, a newer system that is more vulnerable to viruses and Internet worms! Interesting logic, that.

(Posted at 09:16:52 AM EDT.) Discuss this...

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Lithium Cuts Suicide Rate in Bipolar Patients
The most widely prescribed treatment for manic depression in the United States carries a suicide risk that's as much as three times higher than that for lithium, a new study has found. Lithium was the first drug approved to treat manic depression -- more appropriately called bipolar disorder -- a whipsawing of emotions that affects about 2 million Americans. Since the late 1990s, doctors have preferred divalproex (Depakote), another mood stabilizer.

But in a head-to-head study of the two therapies in more than 20,600 patients, researchers found people on the newer drug attempted suicide, and succeeded, far more frequently than did those on lithium. The findings appear in the Sept. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association

Wow, that's pretty significant. You can't help but wonder how come this difference didn't show up in the original FDA drug safety trials for this drug. Maybe because such safety trials don't have nearly the same number of people in them, nor do they study the drug nearly as long as this study did (over a 7 year time period). The abstract of the article is available.

(Posted at 08:40:47 AM EDT.) Discuss this...

Friday, September 5, 2003

Federal Agents Raid Three Offices of WebMD
Federal agents on Wednesday (September 3, 2003) raided three offices of WebMD Corp., the health information and transaction company said. The search warrant was issued in connection with an investigation being conducted by the Department of Justice with respect to the dealer acquisition program of the company's physician services segment, WebMD Medical Manager, and the company's 1999 $5.5 million financial restatement, the company said.

Now isn't that interesting...? A company that is looked upon and relied upon by so many consumers to provide reliable health information apparently has difficulty in providing reliable financial data to its investors and the government. It makes you wonder that if so much focus is on a possible lawsuit and government investigation, how well could they possibly be serving their customers and consumers?

(Posted at 03:50:52 PM EDT.) Discuss this...

Study shows brain activity influences immune function
Staying healthy may involve more than washing hands or keeping a positive attitude. According to a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, it also may involve a particular pattern of brain activity.

By monitoring activity levels in the human brain's prefrontal cortex, the researchers demonstrate for the first time that people who have more activity in the left side of this area also have a stronger immune response against disease. The findings, soon to be published in the online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pinpoint one of the mechanisms underlying the link between mental and physical well-being.

(Posted at 09:03:52 AM EDT.) Discuss this...

Web filters not good for schools or students, education professor says
Internet filters may help protect parents from their fears, and schools from lawsuits, but they're "highly imperfect" tools for protecting children, says Nicholas Burbules.

"They create a false sense of security and, ironically, could actually exacerbate the problem," says Burbules, the Grayce Wicall Gauthier professor of education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Parents and teachers who believe filters block all harmful material -- when none come close to doing that -- may pay less attention to what kids are actually doing online, Burbules said. Read the rest of this...

I tend to agree. Filters are so imperfect (and ludicrous in some of the legitimate information that they block) that they are not a very useful solution to the problem. Parents often don't have the time or knowledge to do anything more than to buy a filter for the Internet, however, so I understand why they are so popular. But this problem, along with spam, seems to be frustrating in our inability to find a reasonable, workable solution for all.

(Posted at 08:52:45 AM EDT.) Discuss this...

Study shows virtual demonstrations lead consumers to make real purchases
Companies that offer Web sites that allow consumers to directly interact with a product through manipulating it with a mouse have a two to five times greater chance of selling their products than those that only provide static information, according to a recent study done by a University of Washington professor.

(Posted at 08:48:37 AM EDT.) Discuss this...

Happy Birthday to Me!
Wednesday, Sept. 10 is my birthday. I'll be 35. I sure don't feel like 35!!

(Posted at 08:47:07 AM EDT.) Discuss this...

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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