Doctors Frequently Make the Wrong Diagnosis



A new study finds that internists make the correct diagnosis in only 55 percent of simple illnesses, and in just 6 percent of complex cases.


 

DOCTORS FREQUENTLY MAKE THE WRONG DIAGNOSIS

When we see our doctor because we are sick, most of us expect that we will leave his or her office with a reasonably accurate diagnosis, and the appropriate treatment recommendations for our illness.  However, a newly published clinical research study suggests that these expectations might be rather unrealistic, particularly if we are suffering from an illness that requires a reasonably complex evaluation by our physician.  This new clinical study appears in the current issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.

In this study, 118 general internists were recruited from throughout the United States.  All of these physicians were asked to provide a diagnosis for 4 previously validated patient scenarios, including both straightforward and complex clinical cases.  These doctors were asked to provide their diagnoses after reading the histories, physical examination findings, general diagnostic testing results, and disease-specific testing results for each of these 4 cases.

The results of this clinical study were not exactly reassuring to prospective patients….   The 118 participating internists came up with the correct diagnosis for only 55 percent of the straightforward cases.  When it came to making the correct diagnosis for the more challenging patient scenarios, the physician-volunteers in this study correctly diagnosed only 6 percent of the more complex clinical cases!  Moreover, the doctors who participated in this web-based clinical study appeared to have little insight into their diagnostic shortcomings, as their very high level of confidence in their diagnoses was similar for both the straightforward cases and the more complex cases.   This latter finding led the study’s authors to question whether or not physicians who are dealing with complex patient cases realize how likely their diagnosis is to be wrong.  (If a physician is unaware that his or her diagnosis is very likely to be wrong, then they may miss an opportunity to perform a more in-depth evaluation of their patient.)

While this is a small pilot study, its findings are nonetheless quite disturbing.  It suggests a simultaneous lack of diagnostic accuracy and over-confidence on the part of at least some physicians when it comes to evaluating patients, arriving at a correct diagnosis, and (hence) prescribing the correct treatment.  Whether or not the findings of this small study can be generalized to all internists (or to all doctors in the United States) is not clear.  However, the disconcerting findings of this clinical study should serve as a red flag to physician residency training programs and physician certification boards.  Meanwhile, becoming an educated healthcare consumer, and asking your physician to explain his or her assessment to you, may be just what the doctor ordered!

 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

 

Join Dr. Wascher on Facebook

 

Additional Links for Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS

New Facebook Page for Doc Wascher Music

New Instrumental Rock by Dr. Wascher (Facebook)

Facebook Page for A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race

CNN Story on CTCA’s Organic Farm in the Phoenix Area

Dr. Wascher Discusses Signs & Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Profile of Dr. Wascher by Oncology Times

Bio of Dr. Wascher at Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Dr. Wascher Discusses Predictions of Decreased Cancer Risk on azfamily.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Environmental Risk Factors for Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer on talkabouthealth.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention Strategies on LIVESTRONG

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention on Newsmax

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer Risk & Cancer Prevention on The Doctors Radio Show

Dr. Wascher Discusses Lymphedema After Breast Surgery on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Chronic Pain After Mastectomy for Breast Cancer on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy for Cancer on cancersupportivecare.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Exercise in Cancer Prevention on Open Salon

Dr. Wascher Discusses Aspirin as a Potential Preventive Agent for Pancreatic Cancer on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Radiation Therapy in the Treatment of Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Treatment of Stomach Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Management of Metastatic Cancer of the Liver on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on hopenavigators.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on interactmd.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Thyroid Cancer on health2fit.com

 

Links to Other Breaking Health News

Music May Heal The Heart

Poor Oral Hygiene Increases Cancer Risk

Autism May Affect Female Brains Differently than Male Brains

Child Obesity Rates Fall for the First Time

New Teeth Grown from Urine

HPV Virus Newly Linked to One-Third of All Oral Cancer Cases

FDA Approves New Brain Scan to Assess for ADHD in Kids

Epidemic of Drug Overdose Deaths Among Middle-Aged Women

Man Loses 155 Pounds

Naked Mole Rat May Provide Important Cancer Prevention Clue

The Effects of Poverty on the Brain

Half of Us Will Develop Cancer in Our Lifetimes

Protein Critical for Long-Term Memory Identified

HPV Virus and Cancer Risk

Probiotics May Decrease Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea caused by C. difficile

3-D Printer Helps to Save Baby’s Life

Experimental Drug May Reduce Heart Damage after Heart Attack

Vitamin D May Improve Asthma Symptoms

Doctor Provides Patients with Own Feces for Fecal Transplants

Rising Arsenic Levels in Chicken

Dramatic Increase in Suicide Rate Among Middle Aged Americans Over the Past Decade

Cutting Umbilical Cord Too Soon May Cause Anemia in Newborns

Spiny New Bandage May Speed Healing of Skin Wounds

Study Confirms that Men Really Do Have Trouble Reading the Thoughts of Women

Deadly new Bird Flu Strain Cases Continue to Rise

Abdominal Fat Increases Kidney Disease Risk

Increasing Dietary Potassium & Decreasing Salt Intake Reduces Stroke Risk

A New Explanation for the Link Between Red Meat & Cardiovascular Disease

Deadly New Bird Flu Identified in China

Infection Risk: Keeping an Eye on Your Dentist

Couple Loses 500 Pounds in Two Years

Coffee May Reduce Crash Risk for Long-Distance Drivers

Tiny Implant Tells Your Smart Phone When You Are Having A Heart Attack

Transplanted Kidney Causes Death Due to Rabies

Eating While Distracted Increases Calorie Intake

Resistant Bacteria are on the Rise

High Levels of Stress Linked to an Increase in Heart Disease Risk

Small Snacks Cut Hunger as Well as Big Snacks

Poor Sleep May Increase the Risk of Heart Failure

Ancient Mummies Found to Have Heart Disease by CT Scan

Physically Fit Kids Do Better on Math & Reading Tests

How Melanoma Skin Cancer Evades the Immune System

Possible Link Between BPA and Asthma

Baby Boomers Appear Less Healthy Than Their Parents

The Biology of Love in the Brain

Millennials May be the Most Stressed-Out Generation

Even Modest Alcohol Intake Raises Cancer Risk

Why Do Boys Receive Lower Grades than Girls?

Negative Emotions and Feelings Can Damage Your Health

Canker Sore Drug Cures Obesity (At Least in Mice…)

How Technology is Changing the Practice of Medicine

New Salt Intake Guidelines for Children

High Levels of Distress in Childhood May Increase Risk of Heart Disease in Adulthood

Quitting Tobacco by Age 40 Restores a Normal Lifespan in Smokers

Cancer Death Rates Continue to Fall

Self-Help Books Improve Depression

Marines Try Mindfulness and Meditation to Reduce PTSD

Dying Nurse Volunteers Herself to Teach Nursing Students about the Dying

Regular Walks Cut Stroke Risk

Falling Asleep While Driving More Common than Previously Thought

Celebrity Health Fads Debunked

Obesity Among Young Children May Be Declining

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Satisfaction with Life May Actually Increase with Age

Brain Changes in the Elderly May Increase Susceptibility to Being Scammed


Dr. Wascher’s Home Page



According to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, 3.5 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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Helping Others Reduces Heart Disease Risk Factors



A new clinical study reveals that performing acts of kindness can lower our personal risk of heart disease.


 

HELPING OTHERS REDUCES HEART DISEASE RISK FACTORS

Booker T. Washington once said, “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”  Certainly, most of us would agree that lending a helping hand benefits both the person in need and the person who has volunteered to help.  Other than the satisfaction of knowing that you have made a positive difference in the life of another person, however, are there other potential benefits associated with altruistic behavior?   Well, a newly published prospective randomized clinical research study suggests that volunteering to help others may actually improve the heart health of those who lend a helping hand to others in need.  This study appears in the current issue of the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

A total of 106 tenth grade students agreed to participate in this prospective randomized clinical research study. The student volunteers were divided into two groups. The first group was assigned to volunteer to work with elementary school children on a weekly basis, while the other group (the “control” group) did not participate in any volunteer activities. At the beginning of this clinical study, measurements of the following cardiovascular disease risk factors were performed on all study participants: C-reactive protein level, interleukin 6 level, total cholesterol level, and body mass index. These same heart disease risk factors were measured again 4 months later.

The findings of this study were quite interesting. The results of testing at the beginning of this study revealed no significant differences in the measured cardiovascular disease risk factors between the two groups of study participants. However, 4 months later, significant differences in these established cardiovascular risk factors were observed between the two groups of high school students. Specifically, interleukin 6 levels, total cholesterol levels, and body mass index (a measure of weight versus height) were all significantly improved within the “volunteer group” when compared to the control group. While marginally significant, blood levels of the inflammatory C-reactive protein were also noted to be lower in the group of teens that had been randomized to work with elementary school children. Most interesting was the observation that the greatest decrease in these cardiovascular risk factors occurred, over time, among the teens in the volunteer group who also demonstrated the greatest increase in empathy and altruistic behaviors, and the largest decrease in negative mood, during the course of this study.

The findings of this very novel prospective randomized clinical study suggest that engaging in acts of empathy and altruism may directly lead to a reduction in several well known cardiovascular disease risk factors, although this study did not follow its very young volunteers long enough to determine whether or not the act of volunteering to help others actually reduced the incidence of cardiovascular disease.  However, based upon this innovative study’s findings, it certainly appears that helping others is a definite win-win situation.  The persons being helped obviously benefit from the acts of empathy and altruism bestowed upon them by others.  At the same time, not only does it feel good to help others in need, but the person who voluntarily reaches out to another may very well reap, in turn, the benefit of improved health!  (Another positive finding of this study is that this very positive phenomenon apparently works on teenagers!)

As I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle not only reduces your risk of dying from cancer, but also reduces your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease as well!

 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!


Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

 

Join Dr. Wascher on Facebook

 

Additional Links for Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS

Profile of Dr. Wascher by Oncology Times

Bio of Dr. Wascher at Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Dr. Wascher Discusses Predictions of Decreased Cancer Risk on azfamily.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Environmental Risk Factors for Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer on talkabouthealth.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention Strategies on LIVESTRONG

Dr. Wascher Discusses Cancer Prevention on Newsmax

Dr. Wascher Answers Questions About Cancer Risk & Cancer Prevention on The Doctors Radio Show

Dr. Wascher Discusses Lymphedema After Breast Surgery on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Chronic Pain After Mastectomy for Breast Cancer on cancerlynx.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy for Cancer on cancersupportivecare.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Exercise in Cancer Prevention on Open Salon

Dr. Wascher Discusses Aspirin as a Potential Preventive Agent for Pancreatic Cancer on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on eHealth Forum

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Role of Radiation Therapy in the Treatment of Breast Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Treatment of Stomach Cancer on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses the Management of Metastatic Cancer of the Liver on Sharecare

Dr. Wascher Discusses Obesity & Cancer Risk on hopenavigators.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Hormone Replacement Therapy & Breast Cancer Risk on interactmd.com

Dr. Wascher Discusses Thyroid Cancer on health2fit.com

Links to Other Breaking Health News

Study Confirms that Men Really Do Have Trouble Reading the Thoughts of Women

Deadly new Bird Flu Strain Cases Continue to Rise

Abdominal Fat Increases Kidney Disease Risk

Increasing Dietary Potassium & Decreasing Salt Intake Reduces Stroke Risk

A New Explanation for the Link Between Red Meat & Cardiovascular Disease

Deadly New Bird Flu Identified in China

Infection Risk: Keeping an Eye on Your Dentist

Couple Loses 500 Pounds in Two Years

Coffee May Reduce Crash Risk for Long-Distance Drivers

Tiny Implant Tells Your Smart Phone When You Are Having A Heart Attack

Transplanted Kidney Causes Death Due to Rabies

Eating While Distracted Increases Calorie Intake

Resistant Bacteria are on the Rise

High Levels of Stress Linked to an Increase in Heart Disease Risk

Small Snacks Cut Hunger as Well as Big Snacks

Poor Sleep May Increase the Risk of Heart Failure

Ancient Mummies Found to Have Heart Disease by CT Scan

Physically Fit Kids Do Better on Math & Reading Tests

How Melanoma Skin Cancer Evades the Immune System

Possible Link Between BPA and Asthma

Baby Boomers Appear Less Healthy Than Their Parents

The Biology of Love in the Brain

Millennials May be the Most Stressed-Out Generation

Even Modest Alcohol Intake Raises Cancer Risk

Why Do Boys Receive Lower Grades than Girls?

Negative Emotions and Feelings Can Damage Your Health

Canker Sore Drug Cures Obesity (At Least in Mice…)

How Technology is Changing the Practice of Medicine

New Salt Intake Guidelines for Children

High Levels of Distress in Childhood May Increase Risk of Heart Disease in Adulthood

Quitting Tobacco by Age 40 Restores a Normal Lifespan in Smokers

Cancer Death Rates Continue to Fall

Self-Help Books Improve Depression

Marines Try Mindfulness and Meditation to Reduce PTSD

Dying Nurse Volunteers Herself to Teach Nursing Students about the Dying

Regular Walks Cut Stroke Risk

Falling Asleep While Driving More Common than Previously Thought

Celebrity Health Fads Debunked

Obesity Among Young Children May Be Declining

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Satisfaction with Life May Actually Increase with Age

Brain Changes in the Elderly May Increase Susceptibility to Being Scammed

 

Dr. Wascher’s latest video:

Dark as Night, Part 1


Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1


At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, more than 2.8 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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Speaking Two Languages Improves Brain Function Late in Life



A new study shows that speaking at least two languages improves brain function later in life.


 

 

 

SPEAKING TWO LANGUAGES IMPROVES BRAIN FUNCTION LATE IN LIFE

Although there are an estimated 6,000 distinct languages spoken on the planet, only about 1 in 4 countries officially identify themselves as bilingual or multilingual nations.  However, there are more people in the world who speak at least two languages than there are people who speak only one language.  Therefore, the majority of humankind can be thought of as generally being bilingual or multilingual.

Based upon previously published cognitive studies, being bilingual or multilingual appears to “strengthen” the areas of the brain that are involved in both language processing and other higher cognitive functions.  Indeed, based upon these prior studies, lifelong multilingual people appear to experience a later onset of cognitive decline in life, and a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, compared to monolingual people.  Now, a newly published research study, which appears in the Journal of Neuroscience, provides fascinating new insights into exactly how bilingualism and multilingualism may help to preserve cognitive function in the brain as we age.

In this study, 110 older monolingual and bilingual adults participated in several “task-switching” exercises that test cognitive function.  Using a sophisticated imaging system that measures blood flow within specific areas of the brain (functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI), these monolingual and bilingual study volunteers were put through their paces with various task-switching exercises while their brain function was monitored by fMRI.

Among the monolingual older adults, areas of the brain associated with the processing of information, and with decision-making, were highly activated during task-switching exercises, indicating that these areas of the brain were working very hard to complete the tasks assigned by the researchers.  The bilingual older adults also experienced increased activity in the left lateral frontal cortex and cingulate cortex, but significantly less so than the monolingual study volunteers.  At the same time, the bilingual volunteers consistently outperformed their monolingual fellow volunteers on the task-switching exercises, despite lower levels of activation of these two key areas of the brain.  Thus, just as has been predicted by previous cognitive testing studies, lifelong bilingualism does indeed appear to increase the efficiency of the areas of the brain that are involved in high-level cognitive processing, and also appear to decrease the rate of loss of these cognitive abilities with advancing age, when compared to monolingualism.  In this clinical study, the bilingual older adults were more successful in completing task-switching cognitive exercises than monolingual older adults; and at the same time, the brains of the bilingual adults accomplished this improved cognitive performance with less effort than their monolingual counterparts (based upon fMRI measurements of brain activity).

While there are many potential personal, professional, social and cultural benefits to speaking more than one language, this elegant clinical research study confirms earlier predictions that lifelong bilingualism and multilingualism may help to preserve the cognitive efficiency and function of the higher processing centers of the brain much later in life.  Given at least the perception that the United States lags behind many other countries in the world in the area of foreign language education, the findings of this new study offer yet another reason for schools in the US to ramp up their foreign language programs.  We live in an increasingly competitive, globalized and multilingual world, and preparing our children for a successful future in that world should include early and continuous exposure to foreign language training, in my view.

 

Links to Other Breaking Health News

Dying Nurse Volunteers Herself to Teach Nursing Students about the Dying

Flu Cases Surge in US, Especially Among the Unvaccinated

Regular Walks Cut Stroke Risk

Falling Asleep While Driving More Common than Previously Thought

Growing Immune Cells to Fight Cancer

Celebrity Health Fads Debunked

Thousands of Surgery Mistakes Are Still Happening Each Year

New Graphic Antismoking Ads Debut in England

Kids with Food Allergies May Become Targets of Bullies

Obesity Among Young Children May Be Declining

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Satisfaction with Life May Actually Increase with Age

Brain Changes in the Elderly May Increase Susceptibility to Being Scammed

“Talking” Therapy May Help Depression When Antidepressant Medications Fail

New Egg-Free Flu Vaccine

Graphic Cigarette Labels in Australia

Predicting Childhood Obesity at Birth

Inexpensive Power Foods


 

Dr. Wascher’s latest video:

Dark as Night, Part 1


Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1


At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is now more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.




Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


 

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, more than 2.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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Oxytocin May Deter Men From Starting Extramarital Affairs






 

A new study finds that oxytocin may reduce men’s interest in other women outside of their monogamous relationships.


 

 

OXYTOCIN MAY DETER MEN FROM STARTING EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIRS

As I noted in a previous column (Oxytocin & Human Kindness), oxytocin is a hormone that appears to have a variety of important functions in humans.  For example, in new mothers, oxytocin stimulates milk secretion from the breast in response to suckling.  Oxytocin is also sometimes referred to as the “love hormone,” as it is believed to contribute to those enchanting feelings of attraction, contentment, happiness, and bonding that occur in new romantic relationships. Oxytocin has also been linked to feelings of empathy and sensitivity towards others, while low levels of oxytocin in the brain have been associated with narcissistic, manipulative, and even sociopathic behavior.

Recent revelations of marital infidelity by retired general David Petraeus, the former Director of the CIA, have focused attention on the perennial topic of married men and their predilection towards having affairs with “other” women.  Now, a new prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical research study asks (and potentially answers) the question, “Can oxytocin help to sustain monogamous attachment in men?”  This new study appears in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

In this study, male volunteers who were involved in monogamous heterosexual relationships were administered either intranasal oxytocin or a placebo nose spray that contained no oxytocin.  These male volunteers were “blinded” with respect to which nasal spray they received.  Then, two novel experiments were performed.  In the first experiment, these male volunteers were approached by other men, and by “attractive women.”  The male volunteers were observed during these staged encounters.  Intriguingly, the males who had secretly received the oxytocin nasal spray maintained a significantly greater distance from the women when compared to the men who had received the placebo nasal spray.  (There was no difference between the two groups of male volunteers when it came to approaching other males in this study.)  A second part of this novel study placed photographs of attractive women before all of the male volunteers.  Once again, the men who had been secretly administered oxytocin were significantly more reluctant to approach the photos of attractive women when compared to the men who had received the placebo nasal spray.

To summarize the provocative findings of this unusual clinical study, men involved in a monogamous relationship, and who received a placebo nasal spray, approached unfamiliar attractive women as intently as unattached single men did.  On the other hand, men similarly involved in monogamous relationships, and who secretly received an intranasal oxytocin spray, consistently kept a greater distance from unfamiliar attractive women.  The authors of this study conclude that when “…[oxytocin] release is stimulated during a monogamous relationship, it may additionally promote its maintenance by making men avoid signaling romantic interest to other women through close-approach behavior during social encounters. In this way, [oxytocin] may help to promote fidelity within monogamous human relationships.”

Whether or not retired general David Petraeus, or other men who have engaged in affairs outside of their monogamous relationships, might have made different choices had their oxytocin levels been higher is a matter of speculation.  However, the findings of this novel clinical research study, which builds upon prior studies of the bonding and “commitment” effects of oxytocin in both men and women, suggest that boosting oxytocin levels in men may potentially reduce their inclination towards striking up new relationships with women outside of their current monogamous relationships.  It also suggests that men who have engaged in serial infidelities outside of their marriage, and who wish to change this pattern of behavior, might benefit from intranasal oxytocin, although more clinical research should be performed before offering men intranasal oxytocin as a potential treatment for serial infidelity.


A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race is now available in both printed and digital formats from all major bookstores.  Get your copy now, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle!


Dr. Wascher’s latest video:

Dark as Night, Part 1


Dark as Night, Part 1

Dark as Night, Part 1



At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is now more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.




Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


 

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, 2,017,594 pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 



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Poverty and Low Educational Levels Increase Colorectal Cancer Risk






 

A new study finds that diet and lifestyle choices among the poor account for a high percentage of colorectal cancer cases in that population.


 

 

POVERTY AND LOW EDUCATIONAL LEVELS INCREASE COLORECTAL CANCER RISK

As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, the risk of developing GI tract cancers, including colorectal cancer, is heavily influenced by diet and other modifiable lifestyle factors.

Colorectal cancer tends to be more common in people at the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder, and a number of explanations for this observation have been proposed, although the actual reasons for this finding have not been clear.  Now, a newly published update of the enormous National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study sheds important light on the disparity in colorectal cancer incidence observed between people at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum and those at the higher rungs.  This ongoing prospective public health study is one of the largest such studies in the world, having enrolled more than 506,000 patient volunteers thus far.  This study update appears in the current issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

During the course of this huge ongoing public health study, thus far, 7,676 patient volunteers have developed colorectal cancer.

All of the patient volunteers in this gigantic clinical research study were assessed for the following dietary and lifestyle factors known to increase colorectal cancer risk: lack of physical activity (sedentary lifestyle), unhealthy fat- and meat-rich diets, smoking, and obesity.  When these lifestyle-associated risk factors for colorectal cancer were assessed in patient volunteers at various socioeconomic levels, a clear pattern emerged.  Among patient volunteers with less formal education and in lower income brackets, there was a significantly higher likelihood of engaging in dietary and lifestyle habits known to increase colorectal cancer risk.  Indeed, a striking 44 percent of the colorectal cancer cases that developed during the course of this research study appeared to be associated with high-risk diets and lifestyles among patient volunteers who reported lower levels of formal education.  Similarly, 36 percent of the colon cancer cases that developed during the course of this study were associated with high-risk diet and lifestyle factors among patient volunteers reporting lower income levels.

In view of the huge number of patient volunteers participating within this study, the findings presented above are highly likely to accurately reflect a true cause-and-effect relationship, rather than potentially coincidental “associations.”  While it has long been known that folks at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum tend to engage in riskier dietary and lifestyle behaviors than the general population, the eye-opening findings of this study indicate that the “excess” colorectal cancer risk among people with lower education and income levels is strikingly linked to modifiable dietary and lifestyle factors known to increase colorectal cancer risk (as well as other cancer and serious non-cancer illnesses, I might add).  As is the case with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and other diet and lifestyle associated chronic illnesses, colorectal cancer disproportionately affects the poor in our society.  Thus, the disturbing findings of this public health study indicate that more must be done to educate those at greatest risk for colorectal cancer (and other serious cancer and non-cancer diet and lifestyle associated illnesses) regarding healthier diet and lifestyle choices.


A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race is now available in both printed and digital formats from all major bookstores.  Get your copy now, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle now!


At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is now more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.




Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


 

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 






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Oxytocin Gene Variations May Determine Kindness

Welcome to Weekly Health Update



A new clinical study has found that our level of empathy and compassion may be determined by the oxytocin receptor gene, and that even strangers can detect which version of this gene we possess.



OXYTOCIN GENE VARIATIONS MAY DETERMINE KINDNESS

A fascinating new study reveals how profoundly our genetic make-up can influence not only our personality and behavior, but the perceptions that others (including strangers) may have of us, as well.  This new research study appears in the journal,Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Oxytocin is a hormone that appears to have a variety of functions in humans, particularly in pregnant women and new mothers.  Oxytocin plays very important roles in labor and, following delivery, in the stimulation of milk secretion from the breast in response to suckling.  However, the biological effects of oxytocin are not limited to pregnant women and new mothers.  Oxytocin is often referred to as the “love hormone,” as it is thought contribute to the feelings of contentment, happiness, and bonding that typically occur in the early stages of romantic relationships.  Oxytocin has also been, more generally, linked to feelings of empathy and sensitivity towards others, while syndromes associated with little or no oxytocin production in the brain have been, conversely, associated with narcissistic, manipulative, and even sociopathic behavior.

As with most genes in the body, the gene which produces the oxytocin receptor (which is necessary for oxytocin to exert its effects within the body) has multiple different natural forms.  Some forms of the oxytocin receptor gene have been shown to increase the positive effects of oxytocin, while other variants of the oxytocin receptor gene appear to decrease the favorable effects of oxytocin.  In this fascinating study, researchers first tested 46 research volunteers to determine which variant of the oxytocin receptor gene was present in their bodies.  Next, these 46 volunteers were grouped into 23 pairs, in which one volunteer was asked to tell the other volunteer about a stressful or otherwise difficult experience in their life.  (These discussion sessions were videotaped for the second part of this research study.)  Subsequently, volunteer observers, none of whom knew the oxytocin receptor gene status of the other 46 volunteers, were then asked to watch the videotaped discussions, and to rate the 46 other volunteers in terms of empathy and kindness.

The findings of this innovative clinical research study were striking.  In the vast majority of cases, the “observer volunteers” watching the videotaped discussions could accurately select out the “discussion volunteers” who had the “AA” variant (which is associated with decreased levels of empathy and compassion) and the “GG” variant of the oxytocin receptor (which is the variant that has been most closely associated with the “empathy and kindness” effects of oxytocin).  While nobody is suggesting that our genetic make-up completely dictates our personality or behavior, the findings of this intriguing clinical research study suggest that, at least in the case of the oxytocin reception gene, naturally-occurring variations in our genetic make-up may, indeed, have a potentially profound impact on personality and behavior.  Even more provocative is the finding that, in the case of the oxytocin gene receptor, even casual observers are able to select out other people who possess a specific genetic variant with a high degree of accuracy, simply by assessing their interactions with others.  Once again, it is important to note that having a single specific form of one or more genes does not entirely predict an individual’s personality or behavior.  However, in the case of the oxytocin receptor gene, it appears that even strangers can readily identify which among us has the more “pro-social” variant of this gene, simply by observing how we interact with other people!


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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