11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Chameleons change colors by enlarging or contracting small crystals in their skin that reflect different hues. (Learn more at USA Today) 2. It’s only human to buy high and sell low, especially in the stock market. (Learn more at AARP) 3. After menopause, female killer whales provide key information that is critical to their pod’s survival. (Learn more at National Geographic) 4. Jimi Hendrix recorded with a group called Curtis Knight & the Squires. (Learn more …

Are We Treating Depression When We Should Be Treating Hearing Loss?

Could we be prescribing antidepressants to those who really need a hearing test? A large-scale study published last April based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2010 found a significant correlation between hearing loss and depression, confirming some smaller studies and also anecdotal evidence. What was most interesting was that the link was found only in certain populations. There was no relationship between hearing loss and depression in people who were either culturally deaf or functionally deaf. There was no …

Hot Flashes Can Linger for How Many Years??

Up to 80 percent of menopausal women suffer hot flashes, but doctors have typically reassured women that these embarrassing, uncomfortable bursts of heat and sweat won’t last long. You know, maybe six months. Two years, tops. Ha-ha. Try up to 14 years. A new study — one of the first to look at a large, multiracial group of women — found that hot flashes typically last for seven years or more and that some women have reported suffering with them …

Study: Suffering Increasing at the End of Life

It’s been more than 15 years since the Institute of Medicine released its seminal 1997 report detailing the suffering many Americans experience at the end of life and offering sweeping recommendations on how to improve care. So has dying in America gotten any less painful? Despite efforts to build hospice and palliative-care programs across the country, the answer seems to be a resounding no. The number of Americans experiencing pain in the last year of life actually increased by nearly …

Holiday Blues? 7 Ways to Cheer Up

The winter solstice — and the shortest day of the year — will soon be upon us (Dec. 21), and not everyone is feeling the holiday spirit. Illness, loneliness, financial troubles, family problems and depression can make many dread the “most wonderful” time of the year and endanger both mental and physical health. A recent University of Chicago study found that feelings of loneliness and isolation can lead to increased stress, higher blood pressure and other health problems. Here are some things you can do …

Helping Older Adults With Depression

The recent death of actor and comedian Robin Williams prompted much-needed public discussion about depression, which affects millions of older Americans — including many who face a number of common risk factors such as financial stress, decline in physical and cognitive health, and social isolation. Research has linked depression to poorer functioning, health status and quality of life among older adults. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to identify and treat depression in this population, a challenge that comes with a substantial …