ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Living Near Major Road May Boost Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Bones
CANCER
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
Scams and Shams That Prey on Cancer Patients
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Mild Flu Season Coming to a Close
Simpler Sleep Apnea Treatment Seems Effective, Affordable
Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
DIABETES
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
DIET, NUTRITION
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
Fruit Even Healthier Than Thought: Study Shows
Holiday Eating Without the Guilt -- or the Pounds
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Global Warming Biggest Health Threat of 21st Century, Experts Say
Sunken, Unexploded Bombs Pose Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Nearly 18 Million Will Have Macular Degeneration by 2050
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
FITNESS
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Keep Safety in Mind While Your Kids Are Cooling Off in the Water
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
New Methods Could Speed Production of Flu Vaccines
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds
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
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
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The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk

More evidence has come in on the dangerous side effects of Accutane, the powerful acne drug, that is also known as Roaccutane in Europe. A Canadian study confirms that Accutane increases depression risk. The study found that Accutane more than doubles the risk of depression.

The study is the first controlled investigation to find a statistically substantiated link between isotretinoin (the active ingredient in Accutane) and depression, Dr. Anick Berard, from CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre in Montreal, and colleagues stated in a report in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The researchers studied 30,496 people from Quebec who had at least one prescription of Accutane between 1984 and 2003. Among these people, 126 had a reported depression case. The researchers looked for Accutane use five months before the reported depression case (risk period) and compared it to a five-month control period. After adjusting for potential risk factors for depression, the study found that exposure to Accutane increases the risk of depression by 2.6 times.

The research report finishes by recommending that "current guidelines should possibly be modified to include psychiatric assessments of patients prior to and during isotretinoin therapy."

There are two known pathways Accutane can lead to depression: lower availability of serotonin and decreased brain activity in the areas that mediate depression.

Earlier research has shown that Accutane reduces the availability of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is also known as the "feel good" hormone. Low levels of serotonin have been linked consistently to many psychiatric symptoms, such as aggression, anxiety disorders, and suicidal ideation. Naturalnews reported about the study here: Suicide Link to Acne Drug Officially Established.

Among other side effects, Accutane increases sensitivity to sunlight. And dermatologists advice patients to avoid sunlight while on Accutane treatment. Sunlight is known to increase serotonin levels, and avoiding sunlight may further increase the problem with serotonin levels.

Another study, published at the American Journal of Psychiatry in 2005, found that Accutane was associated with decreased brain metabolism in the orbitofrontal cortex. Orbiofrontal cortex is the brain area known to counter symptoms of depression. Once you understand the history of Accutane, these side effects shouldn't come as a surprise.
Chemotherapy drug for acne

Accutane is a cancer drug. Bet you didn't know that. Isotretinoin, the active ingredient in Accutane, was originally developed as a chemotherapy drug. During the chemotherapy trials doctors noticed patients' acne clearing.

What do we know of chemotherapy drugs? They are among the most dangerous poisons. Chemotherapy treatment often does serious damage to the body. And, if the patient is lucky, may have a little effect on cancer. In this context it's no wonder the list of Accutane's side effects looks truly frightening. Ranging from chapped lips to heart attacks, serious organ damage and suicides. Click here for a complete list of Accutane's side effects.
Do the benefits of Accutane warrant such risks?

The fact remains that only a small percentage of the patients treated with Accutane develop severe side effects. Still, just because you don't develop acute symptoms from Accutane doesn't mean Accutane is safe for you. It causes damage to everybody who takes it. But in many cases the body can handle it in a way that doesn't produce immediate symptoms.

Accutane is often dubbed as the "Miracle Drug" because it works where no other (allopathic) acne treatment does. It is said to work up to 85% of the cases. As dermatologists often argue, in the balance sheet of tragedy, Accutane has the least awful bottom line -- it saves more lives than it costs. This might be true, if Accutane had no effective alternatives and would permanently cure acne. If this were the case, many acne victims would agree to face the risk. Because acne, though not fatal, can have serious psychological effects and devastate a person's self-esteem and social life.

But there are alternatives. Acne, like being overweight, is a lifestyle problem. And it responds quickly to dietary and lifestyle changes. Dietary and lifestyle changes are the holy grail of acne treatments. They can give you the permanent freedom you are looking for. And in the process profoundly increase the quality of your life. Something that Accutane or other prescription drugs can never do.

And many acne victims find their new found, Accutane-given freedom much too temporary. Often acne returns as quickly as six months after the treatment.

In the end you are left with one question. How much are you willing to risk for temporary freedom?

-Seppo Puusa