ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
Too Few Screened for Abdominal Aneurysm, Study Says
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
CANCER
Scams and Shams That Prey on Cancer Patients
Yoga Eases Sleep Problems Among Cancer Survivors
HPV Vaccine Has Higher Allergic Reaction Rate
CAREGIVING
Many Alzheimer's Caregivers Admit to Abusive Behavior
Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
Six Healthy-Sounding Foods That Really Aren't
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Small Doses of Carbon Monoxide Might Help Stroke Victims
1976 Italian Dioxin Release Damaged Babies' Thyroids
Cats Can Trigger Eczema in Some Infants
EYE CARE, VISION
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
FITNESS
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Heavy Alcohol Use Linked to Cancer
New Options Offered for Sleep Apnea
Pesticides and How to Affordably Eat Organic or Reduce Pesticide Consumption
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
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
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
Help Your Kids Stay Active
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
Optimism May Boost Immune System
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
SENIORS
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
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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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