"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Symptoms of Not Knowing 

A CDC study found that the vast majority of Americans (75%) don't know the signs of a heart attack, and only a few of those who do would know how to respond. Since heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the US, it's important to know the signs:
- Chest pain (usually squeezing or pressure)
- Pain in neck, shoulder, or jaw, arms or back
- Shortness of breath
- Others - nausea, cold sweat, light headedness.
Even if you're not sure a person with the signs is having a heart attack, call 911 immediately. Time to treatment is a top determinant of survival.

Speaking of not knowing, we really don't know what causes depression. Aside from the serotonin hypothesis, which is at best a gross oversimplification, and more likely a bad theory, research indicates that much of the effect of antidepressant medications may be placebo. The meta-analysis of numerous trials of the drugs found only marginal effects beyond placebo in all but the most severely depressed patients - a much smaller group indeed than those who take these drugs every day.

These results could well have some spectacular impacts on much of the field of health care, since so many patients are on antidepressants, and the costs are staggering. What if it's all a waste?

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