ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Osteoporosis May Raise Risk for Vertigo
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
CANCER
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
CAREGIVING
Mild Flu Season Coming to a Close
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
DIABETES
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Eating Vegan or Raw-Vegan at Regular Restaurants
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Main Ingredients in Household Dust Come From Outdoors
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
EYE CARE, VISION
Retinal Gene Is Linked to Childhood Blindness
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
FITNESS
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Meet Exercise Guidelines
Bursts of Vigorous Activity Appear to Be a 'Stress-Buffer'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Parents Influence Sex Decisions, Hispanic Teens Say
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Health Gains From Lowered Smoking Rates in Jeopardy
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Gene Variation Found in Boys With Delinquent Peers
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
MEN'S HEALTH
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Chocolate a Sweet Pick-Me-Up for the Depressed
The Unmedicated Mind
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
SENIORS
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Add your Article

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