ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Healthy adults have potential autoimmune disease-causing cells
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
CANCER
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
CAREGIVING
Exercise During Pregnancy May Help Baby
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Weight Loss Might Not Curb Knee Arthritis
Breakfast Eggs Keep Folks on Diet
Imagine Food Aromas That Prevent Overeating
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Artificial Light Linked to Prostate Cancer Risk
Gene Explains How High-Fructose Diets Lead to Insulin Resistance
Topical Drugs May Pollute Waterways
EYE CARE, VISION
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
Americans Losing Sight of Eye Health
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
FITNESS
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Fall Cleanup Is a Prime Time for Accidents
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
Less Education May Mean Poorer Health
Have Fun But Put Play It Safe on the 4th
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
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Deployment Takes Toll on Army Wives

War isn't just tough on soldiers. Army wives whose husbands were deployed have higher rates of depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and other mental health issues than the wives of soldiers who stayed home, a new study shows.

Researchers looked at the medical records of more than 250,000 wives, accounting for most women married to active-duty U.S. Army personnel.

Between 2003 and 2006, about 34 percent of the women's husbands deployed for one to 11 months, 35 percent deployed for longer than 11 months, while 31 percent of soldiers were not sent overseas.

Among wives of soldiers deployed for up to 11 months, researchers found almost 3,500 more diagnoses of depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and other mental health issues than among wives who husbands stayed home.

The more months a soldier was deployed, the greater the toll on his wife. Among the wives of soldiers gone for longer than 11 months during the four-year period, they found more than 5,300 additional diagnoses of mental health issues.

"The wives of soldiers who are deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are experiencing greater mental health problems and have a greater need for mental health services," said study author Alyssa Mansfield, a research epidemiologist at RTI International in Research Triangle Park, N.C., who was at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, when she conducted the research. "We also found the longer the [soldier] was deployed, the more likely the spouse was to have a mental health diagnosis."

The study findings are published in the Jan. 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Kristin Henderson, the wife of a Navy chaplain who is serving in Afghanistan and author of While They're At War: The True Story of American Families on the Homefront, said the findings are not surprising -- anxiety and sleepless nights go with the territory. Recently, a fellow military wife confided that she was taking antidepressants to cope with her husband's deployment. "She said, 'Oh, everyone is on Prozac here,'" Henderson said.

For the study, researchers excluded male spouses of female soldiers because their numbers are relatively small. Spouses of Reserve and National Guard, as well as those of active-duty Army personnel who had been in the military less than five years, were also not included because researchers did not have full access to medical information on them during the period before, during and after deployment. The study authors controlled for prior diagnosis of mental health issues.

Still, much remains unanswered about the stresses of war on spouses, including whether depression and other mental health issues are most likely to emerge before, during or after deployment, the authors noted.

Each phase of a deployment can cause stress that could contribute to mental health problems, Mansfield said. Before the deployment, there's anxiety as women prepare themselves and their children for a long absence.

During deployment, women take on added responsibilities as sole caretaker for their home and children, while worrying their husband will be killed or injured. "We know from prior work that the stress surrounding deployment is not limited to the dates of deployments," Mansfield said.

Even the homecoming, called the reintegration period, isn't necessarily easy on the family, Henderson said. Soldiers may come home changed, perhaps because of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or injuries, but in more subtle ways, too.

Wives can also change during the time apart, becoming more independent or simply accustomed to taking care of the children alone.

"The expectations are that everything is going to be OK when he comes home, that any problems we have will be behind us," Henderson said. "But of course, everybody is different. And the longer the deployment, the more things change."

In a second study from the same journal, U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel who were given morphine immediately after sustaining combat injuries were less likely to have PTSD later on.

Of 696 patients, 243 were diagnosed with PTSD while 453 were not. About 61 percent of those who went on to develop PTSD had received morphine during resuscitation or trauma care efforts within an hour of the injury-causing event, while 76 percent of those who did not develop PTSD had been giving morphine.

"Our findings suggest that the use of morphine during trauma care may reduce the risk of subsequent development of PTSD after serious injury," wrote the researchers from the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego.

SOURCES: Alyssa Mansfield, Ph.D., M.P.H., RTI International, Research Triangle Park, N.C.; Kristin Henderson, author, Washington, D.C.; Jan. 14, 2010, New England Journal of Medicine Published on: January 13, 2010