What We Are Reading

Here are articles that caught Joy’s eye this month:

By Joy Burkhard, MBA


One of my favorite things to do is comb through articles that come across my desk (more like kitchen counter, where I work) from various sources. Here are the articles that I picked to share with you this month.

Wired: Virtual Reality’s Latest Use: Diagnosing Mental Illness?

Diagnosing psychiatric and neurological conditions is tricky. Physicians have long reported that diagnoses are fraught with complications and subtleties. Anywhere from 35 percent to 85 percent of mental health conditions go undetected and undiagnosed, according to the World Health Organization, depending on where you live on the planet. Needless to say, to treat depression, Alzheimer's, or autism, it must first be detected. Now clinicians and researchers are trying a new tool: virtual reality. Read it here.

Science Daily: Predicting Postpartum Depression

A new study was able to predict with 72.8 percent accuracy whether a new mother would experience worsening depressive symptoms over the first year after giving birth. The scientists predicted this depression trajectory using four maternal characteristics that put the mother at risk. These factors include: number of children, ability to function in life, education, and depression severity at 4-8 weeks postpartum. Identifying these factors early in the postpartum period will allow mothers to seek treatment earlier and improve their chance of a full recovery. Read it here.

Medical News Today: Stress May Raise the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease

Individuals with five to nine symptoms of vital exhaustion -- which signals psychological distress -- were 25% more likely to develop dementia, while those with 10 to 17 symptoms were 40% more likely to develop dementia, compared with those who didn't have any symptoms, according to a study reported in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Every additional vital exhaustion symptom was associated with a 2% increase in dementia risk, the study found. Read it here.

Reach MD: Risk of Suicide—As Well As Depression—Found in the Genome

Yale researchers have discovered several genetic variants that signal the risk of serious suicide attempts and noted some variants have also been linked to major depressive disorder. Read it here.

Kaiser Health News: Call The Midwife! (If The Doctor Doesn’t Object)

Hospitals and medical practices are battling outdated stereotypes and sometimes their own doctors to hire certified nurse midwives. Research shows that women cared for by certified nurse midwives have fewer cesarean sections, which can produce significant cost savings for hospitals. Read it here.

Kaiser Health News: GoFundMe CEO: ‘Gigantic Gaps’ In Health System Showing Up In Crowdfunding

Fundraising for medical expenses leads this crowdfunding website, according to its chief executive, and highlights a deep national need to address the high costs of health care. Read it here.

NY Times: A Device that Gives Parents of Stillborn Babies Time to Say Goodbye

A 2016 study in Michigan of bereaved women whose babies were stillborn or died soon after birth found that they were four times more likely to be depressed and seven times more likely to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress than mothers with live babies. High levels of psychological distress persisted for at least nine months among the women whose babies had died. Eighteen women whose babies had died reported that they didn’t get to see them, 36 did not get to hold their infants, and 34 reported that they were told they could not hold them. Read it here.