International News

Internal Medicine World Report, October 2007, Volume 0, Issue 0

Internet Addiction Disorder Rampant Worldwide

Harefuah

TEL-AVIV, Israel—About 10% of people who use the Internet are addicted to it, an Israeli team reports in (2007;146:549-553, 572, 573), a publication of the Israel Medical Association.

Pinhas Dannon, MD, with Tel Aviv University, said that pathologic obsession with the Internet is a syndrome that can result in feelings of loss of control, irritability, aggression, and the need for more "surfing," because the same amount of hours becomes less pleasurable as the addiction worsens. He has termed the condition "Internet addiction disorder."

Although Internet addiction is currently classified by mental health professionals as an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the condition actually differs from OCD in that it does not manifest itself as an "urge" but rather as a "craving." Adolescents, and people in their 50s who may be experiencing "empty-nest syndrome," are most likely to be affected.

The Israeli psychiatrist recommends "talk therapy" with a mental health professional and the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which are effective for the treatment of kleptomania and pathologic gambling.

Hand-Rolled Cigarettes More Carcinogenic than Manufactured Cigarettes

SEOUL, South Korea—Norwegian investigators say that hand-rolled cigarettes are more likely to cause lung cancer than manufactured cigarettes. The findings, presented at the World Conference on Lung Cancer, are based on a survey of 335 patients with lung cancer.

Heidi Rolke, MD, a pulmonologist at Sorlandet Hospital in Kristiansand, Norway, reported that 83% of the patients had a history of smoking hand-rolled cigarettes, and only 10.4% had smoked standard manufactured cigarettes. The remaining patients said that they had never smoked cigarettes.

Individuals who used hand-rolled cigarettes smoked fewer cigarettes per day and for fewer years. The investigators say that this finding suggests that hand-rolled cigarettes are more toxic than manufactured cigarettes.

People Don't Accept Responsibility for Their Weight Problem

COVENTRY, England—New data from researchers at Warwick University suggest that individuals who are overweight are quick to lay the blame for their excess weight on anything but themselves. And that's because they are too embarrassed to acknowledge that they simply overeat.

Social Science and Medicine

In a recent report in (2007;65:1561-1571), Karen Throsby, PhD, described interviews she conducted with 35 individuals who planned to undergo weight-loss surgery. She asked the patients why they believed that weight-loss surgery was their sole option.

The 3 most popular responses were: (1) their condition was genetic; a fat gene ran in their family. (2) Their overweight began when they were children and has been an ongoing battle ever since. (3) A stressful lifestyle was responsible for their weight gain.

Dr Throsby said that overweight people tend to offer excuses because of the way "society" treats them. "Those who become fat often find themselves needing to account for their size in order to refute the suggestion of moral failure that attaches itself easily to the fat body," she said.

Drug Combo Sustains Symptom Relief in Men with BPH

PARIS, France—Men with moderate-to-severe symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) and prostate enlargement who receive combination drug therapy with the dual 5-alpha reductase inhibitor dutasteride (Avodart) plus the alpha-blocker tamsulosin (Flomax) are more likely to have sustained symptomatic improvement than men who receive either drug alone, new data show.

These findings, released at the Congress of the International Society of Urology, are based on a 2-year follow-up of patients enrolled in the ongoing Combination Therapy with Avodart and Tamsulosin study.

Lead investigator Claus Roehrborn, MD, chairman of the Division of Urology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, and coinvestigators randomized 4800 men aged ≥50 years to dutasteride (0.5 mg/d), tamsulosin (0.4 mg/d), or once daily combination of both for 4 years.

Urinary symptoms were assessed at screening, baseline, and then every 3 months using the International Prostate Symptom Score.

P

During 24 months, combination treatment provided a significantly greater ( <.001) improvement in symptoms from baseline (6.2 units) than either dutasteride (4.89 units) or tamsulosin (4.3 units) treatment alone. And the benefit of combination therapy was seen within the first year.

"This the first time we have documented a benefit for combination therapy over monotherapy during the first 12 months of treatment," said Dr Roehrborn. He added that the results can be used to guide initial therapy for men with symptomatic BPH.

Depression Difficult to Treat in Patients with Parkinson's Disease

BRUSSELS, Belgium&#8212;Antidepressants appear to be ineffective in nearly 50% of Parkinson's disease patients with depression, according to data released at the Congress of the European Federation of Neurological Societies.

The Profile of Depressive Symptoms in Parkinson's Disease study showed that 488 (44.1%) of 1106 patients with Parkinson's disease receiving antidepressant treatment continued to experience depressive symptoms.

"These symptoms have a significant impact on Parkinson's disease patients' quality of life, often equal in impact to that of the traditionally better known motor symptoms of Parkinson disease," said Paolo Barone, MD, PhD, with the University of Naples Federico II in Naples, Italy. "The results suggest that many depressive symptoms are an expression of Parkinson's disease, rather than a depressive syndrome."