ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
CANCER
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
CAREGIVING
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
DIET, NUTRITION
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Warmer-Than-Average Temperatures Raise Migraine Risk
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
EYE CARE, VISION
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
FITNESS
MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
U.S. Prepares for Possible Return of Swine Flu in Fall
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Smog Tougher on the Obese
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
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Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors

THURSDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer survivors who suffer from hot flashes can reduce these attacks significantly with hypnosis, a new study finds.

Hot flashes are a problem for many women who survive breast cancer. Not only do they cause discomfort, but they interrupt sleep, cause anxiety and affect a woman's quality of life.

"This is a very encouraging study of hypnosis as a treatment for hot flashes in breast cancer survivors," said Dr. Ted Gansler, director of Medical Content at the American Cancer Society, who was not involved in the study. "This is an important topic because of the high prevalence of these symptoms in breast cancer survivors, and because few other treatment options are both safe and effective for this population," he added.

There have been some other studies of hypnosis and cancer that indicate that the treatment is useful, but currently underutilized, Gansler noted.

The report was published in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

For the study, researchers led by Gary Elkins, a professor of psychology at Baylor University, randomly assigned 60 breast cancer survivors who suffered from hot flashes to five weekly sessions of either hypnosis or no treatment.

During each session of hypnosis, women were given mental imagery and suggestions for relaxation and coolness. They were also told to disassociate themselves from hot flashes. In addition, they were taught to use positive suggestions and imagery during self-hypnosis.

Women who underwent hypnosis had an average 68 percent decrease in the frequency and severity of hot flashes, the researchers found. In addition, these women said they experienced less anxiety and depression. They also had significant improvements in sleep and their ability to perform daily activities, compared with women who received no treatment.

"Women are interested in alternatives to traditional hormone therapy and pharmacologic interventions, and this study demonstrates the feasibility and potential effectiveness of hypnosis as an alternative treatment," the researchers concluded.

But since the control group received no treatment, it's difficult to say whether some or even all of the improvement represents a "placebo effect," Gansler noted. "However, the researchers reasonably suggest that the improvement is so substantial that it is unlikely to be due entirely to a placebo effect," he said.

Nancy E. Avis, a professor in the department of social sciences and health policy at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and author of an accompanying journal editorial, agreed that hot flashes are a symptom of cancer treatment that needs to be paid attention to.

"We don't have good interventions for hot flashes," Avis said. "We know that hormone therapy treats hot flashes, but women who have had breast cancer don't want to take hormone therapy," she said.

Many mind-body approaches are promising, Avis said. "The hypnosis study has impressive results, but we need more research," she said. "Based on these small studies, we are not ready to say they work."

Avis believes alternative approaches such as hypnosis are appealing to a lot of women. Many other approaches such as meditation and yoga are available at cancer centers, she noted.

"There is no reason to think they are not safe," Avis said. "The advice is -- try it -- there is no harm in trying. As long as you do it with somebody who knows what they're doing, there are no downsides," she said.

More information

For more on breast cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.



SOURCES: Nancy E. Avis, Ph.D., professor, Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Ted Gansler, M.D., director, Medical Content, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; September 2008, Journal of Clinical Oncology

Last Updated: Sept. 25, 2008

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