Medical Notes this week…

We recently reported on children who experience severe stress and how they are more likely to develop psychiatric disorders in adulthood but how does one lead to the other? According to a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, childhood stress changes our genes. Researchers compared the whole genomes of girls with stressful childhoods against girls with relatively calm childhoods and found a difference in gene expression in more than 1,400 genes as a result of the amount of stress the girls had experienced.

Artificially sweetened drinks have a reputation of being bad for your health but for patients with colon cancer they may be a healthy choice, according to a study in the journal PLOS One. Researchers found that among patients who’d already been treated for colon cancer, those who drank at least one can of artificially sweetened beverage per day had a 46 percent decline in risk of cancer recurrence or death.

Students won’t do better in school by taking unprescribed ADHD drugs. These so-called study drugs may make you feel smarter… but a study in the journal Pharmacy finds they don’t actually improve test performance. Researchers say a standard dose of Adderall will improve attention and focus but that doesn’t help on tasks involving short-term memory, reading comprehension, and fluency.

And finally dogs are known to be man’s best friend and a new study shows that over thousands of years, dogs have become very good at reading our social cues. A study in the journal Learning & Behavior shows that not only can dogs sense what their owners are feeling they’ll go through barriers to help their owners. Researchers say that when dogs heard their owner crying in another room, they hurried to push through the door to comfort them.


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