Livin' on the MDedge

Ecstasy for PTSD, cockroach-tough C. diff, cardio-friendly queso


Rolling in ecstasy

Treating post-traumatic stress disorder could now be as simple as hitting the club. Not really, but in the longest and largest study of its kind, researchers looked at the effects of MDMA on patients with chronic PTSD.

Crowd applauding on a concert bernardbodo/gettyimages

After three sessions of taking MDMA (in a controlled environment, not in a warehouse in Brooklyn), 76% of study participants no longer met the criteria for PTSD. This is excellent news for those who suffer from PTSD – and the latest breakthrough in a significant shift toward accepting hallucinogenic drugs as possible treatments for mental health issues. Who knows, perhaps medicinal molly cards could soon be appearing.

And what next after that? Ketamine? Oh wait.

Infection is its own reward

Cockroaches are tough. Really tough. Survive compression forces of 300 times their body weight tough. Live without a head for a week tough. Laugh off a nuclear Armageddon tough. Can anything be tougher than that? Researchers at De Montfort University in Leicester, England, have a possible candidate, and it’s not Chuck Norris (Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2018 Oct 16:1-6. doi: 10.1017/ice.2018.255).

3D illustration of a clostridium difficile bacteria gaetan stoffel/gettyimages

They took cotton bed sheets contaminated with Clostridium difficile and put them “through a simulated washer extractor cycle using an industrial bleach detergent with sodium hypochlorite 15% and peracetic acid sour 14%.” Other contaminated sheets went to a commercial laundry service, “where they were washed in a washer extractor (infected linen wash) with industrial detergent, pressed, dried, and finished according to the current National Health Service in the United Kingdom’s health care laundry policy,” they said in a separate written statement. The result of all that effort? The average C. difficile spore load was reduced by 40%. In other words, most of the spores survived.

That not-so-comforting outcome does, however, leave us with a slightly comforting bit of conjecture: Those super tough cockroaches – the ones that survive the apocalypse that wipes out humans – will probably have diarrhea.

More cheese, please

The healing powers of cheese are now backed with science. A study from the University of Eastern Finland examined the incidence of coronary heart disease in men who ate a lot of fermented dairy (cheese, yogurt, kefir) and men who did not.

Man smelling cheese Atide/gettyimages

Researchers divided 2,000 men into four groups based on fermented dairy consumption and found that the men in the highest-consumption group had a 26% lower risk of incident coronary heart disease. Unfortunately for the “Got Milk?” ad campaign, researchers also discovered that men who consumed high levels of non-fermented dairy had a higher risk of coronary heart disease.

Next time your doctor asks about your cheese consumption, you can show them this study as proof that cheese helps the heart and the soul.

The new math, health care edition

You may think that 2 plus 2 always equals 4, but health care billing has taken another route. Here’s a seemingly simple equation, as reported by Kaiser Health News: One patient with a rash that got worse when she used her antifungal cream plus one allergy skin-patch test (okay, so it involved 119 allergens – we’ll give you that) at Stanford (Calif.) Health Care equals one bill … for $48,329.

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