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Depression is a significant problem in the United States. New research suggests that phone therapy might keep more people in treatment. Study author David Mohr, a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, found that only 21% of people receiving therapy via telephone dropped out compared to 33% of those in face-to-face therapy. "Psychotherapy can be delivered over the phone safely and effectively, and it should be considered as an option for treating depression," said Mohr. Results of the study appeared in the June 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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About one-quarter of all primary care visits involve people with clinical depression yet, most people don't follow through when referred to psychotherapy. Transportation barriers, time constraints, and availability of services are factors in the initiation and continuation of therapy.


Mohr recruited 325 people from the Chicago area diagnosed with a major depressive disorder. Volunteers were randomly assigned to receive 18 sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy, either by phone or in-person.


Commenting on the study, Dr. Gary Kennedy, director of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, said: "Telephone therapy is accessible, and it works so well that insurance companies should be paying for this. It may not be a substitute for all face-to-face therapy, but it could be part of the continuum of depression treatment."


Phone therapy can be a valuable tool, especially in areas where access to care might be limited.


Both experts said they also expect that computer videoconferencing will be a part of therapy options in the future. Mohr noted the need for secure channels to ensure patient confidentiality.


See "Teleclasses Improve Belonging, Vitality, and Health in Church Homebound" on pages 243-245 of this issue of JCN.- 7/18/2012



The use of an order verification screen that included a pediatric patient's photo reduced misplaced orders in electronic medical records at Children's Hospital Colorado. Researchers said the strategy lowered the number of near-miss incidents in which a treatment or test was detected before being delivered to the wrong patient. The findings appear in the journal Pediatrics."-ANA SmartBrief, June 5, 2012.



Swiss researchers randomly assigned 200 women with unexplained fatigue to take either 80 milligrams of iron daily or a placebo. Over 12 weeks, both groups improved, but women on iron supplements fared better, report researchers in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The study focused on women who were chronically tired and had relatively low iron stores, but not full-blown iron deficiency anemia.


On average, scores of fatigue fell by nearly half-from 25 to 13, on a scale of zero to 40-among women receiving the iron supplement. Placebo group scores fell from 25 to just over 16. The findings suggest that when a woman's persistent fatigue cannot be explained by any health condition, low iron should become a suspect, according to lead researcher Paul Vaucher.


Iron deficiency is tested by measuring blood levels of hemoglobin, but hemoglobin levels usually don't fall until the later stages of iron deficiency. Vaucher's team measured women's blood levels of ferritin, a marker of stored iron. Healthcare providers may or may not order that test when looking for iron deficiency. "This marker will give a better idea of whether iron load is low or not, even if women are not anemic," Vaucher said.


Dr. Christine Gerbstadt, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics said the iron-pill advantage was significant in statistical terms. She cautioned that a wide range of problems can lead to fatigue. "Iron deficiency should only be considered once other causes have been ruled out," states Gerbstadt.


Experts recommend that women in their reproductive years get 18 mg of iron per day, and no more than 40 mg. Iron deficiency is much less common in men and in women past menopause. The study included only women who were still menstruating.


To help prevent iron deficiency eat a balanced diet that includes food rich in iron-like beef, poultry, fortified cereals, beans, and spinach. Eating vitamin C-rich foods also helps the body absorb the iron in plant foods.- 7/24/2012

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There are over 40,000 oncology nurses in the United States providing the cornerstone in optimal care for cancer patients. Given the challenges faced in oncology nursing there is need for an outlet of support each by sharing information, experiences, ideas, and emotions. UBM Medica US's Oncology Nurse Community ( is a free social community developed to support and connect oncology nurses, encouraging them to share their collective knowledge and experiences. Importantly, TheONC is a gated community; registration is required to help members feel comfortable and engage in conversation with one another in a safe environment. This forum empowers oncology nurses with emotional support, which may ultimately optimize the quality of care for their patients. Beyond providing a forum for nurses and featured bloggers, the site offers a library of materials for professional education, as well as relevant news items to keep nurses aware of oncology developments. UBM Medica showcased TheONC at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), held in Chicago, Illinois, June 1-5, 2012.-Amy Erdman, UBM Medica Press Release, May 31, 2012.



"Health care workers can breathe easier. Medline's BioMask(TM), is the first FDA cleared antiviral, antimicrobial medical face mask shown to inactivate 99.99% of laboratory tested flu viruses. Traditional face masks act only as an air filter and do not neutralize harmful pathogens that remain active on the mask itself. In addition to filtering the air, Medline's BioMask inactivates harmful pathogens, including imminent pandemic and seasonal strains of influenza (flu) viruses, such as H1N1, Avian flu and Swine flu that land on both the outside and inside surfaces of mask."


The BioMask works by using a natural and safe combination of citric acid, zinc, and copper. BioMask provides protection from cross-contamination as the outer facing of the mask is frequently touched by the user, who then touches other things or people. Since BioMask inactivates 99.99% of the tested flu viruses on 5 minutes contact, the risk of spreading the virus is greatly reduced.-Cision Press Release, 6/5/2012.



Recent Pew Research Center polls indicate that more Americans are changing religions, becoming non-denominational and commingling disparate spiritual traditions. Forty-four percent of U.S. adults have either switched religious affiliation, or report "no affiliation"; more than 16% report they are unaffiliated with a religion, which includes those who are spiritual but not religious, and agnostics and atheists; 28% have switched from the religion in which they were raised.


"Type in 'new religious movements' in Wikipedia and you'll see the hundreds of religions that have popped up since the 1800s, and those are just the registered ones," says Eli Just, Christian author of the Manny Jones series and The Eddy. One created in 2000 is called Jediism-a movement based in the "Star Wars" movies. Jedi churches often incorporate beliefs from mainstream spiritual traditions including Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism and Stoicism.-News and Experts Press Release, 7/23/12.



"While discovering the true purpose of prayer...we must also learn to give up our tendency to see God's will as if it could be fully defined within the context of one circumstance; as if God's will in each circumstance stood alone. God is working out His will according to an eternal strategy. Each individual piece will be part of the big plan."


"When you are in a situation that has an outcome that seems not to be according to God's will, wait to see what happens next. The story is not over. That circumstance will set the stage for the next event, which will lay the foundation for the next step, which will open the door for the next piece of the plan, and on and on. Finally, you will look back from a place in your life that is 'immeasurably more than all you ask for or imagine' (Ephesians 3:20), and you will say, 'I could not be here if I'd never been there.'"


"As God's power and provision flow through your life, blending one circumstance into the next, you will find that the story is never over. Don't put a period where God has put a comma. There is no end. What looks like a defeat this the ground from which victory will flow."-Excerpted from Live a Praying Life, pp. 40-41, New Hope Publishers, 2010.


-PulseBeats compiled by Cathy Walker, JCN Associate Editor