MDNN: Physician Stigmatizing, Pokemon GO, Depression by Gender, and Fast Food Fertility


This week on MDNN: Stigmatizing phrasing influences patient care, Pokemon GO improves behavioral health, depressed women and men differentiate in gene expression, and fast food can stall a woman's time to pregnancy.

Hi, I’m Cecilia Pessoa Gingerich, I’m Kevin Kunzmann, this isn’t my coat, and this is MD Magazine News Network - it’s clinical news for connected physicians.

Cecilia: Your doctor is judging you right now as we speak. Okay, probably not, but a recent study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that the presence of stigmatizing language in a patient’s medical records eventually affects a physician’s clinical decision-making. Researchers analyzed how reading a vignette about a hypothetical patient with sickle cell disease that contained stigmatizing language affected how study participants treated that patient’s pain, as compared to participants who read a neutral vignette of the same patient. The finding is particularly concerning, as researchers noted that such records may be the only source of information a new clinician has about some patients.

Kevin: See, that’s why when I write about something, I do it as plainly as possible. No description.

Cecilia: Yeah but you’re a writer.

Kevin: I sure am. Smartphone app and 2016 global phenom Pokemon GO could have potential therapeutic benefits for those with mental illness. Research shows that the game, which has been reportedly downloaded more than 750 million times worldwide, could have a great impact on the teenage and young adult population, a historically difficult-to-treat population for depression and anxiety disorders. One-third of participants in a recent study said using the app changed their social behavior, with 85% of that group reported having spoken to more new people, 76% reporting increased time spent with friends, and 41% reporting having made new friends. Researchers could not confirm whether the app has any therapeutic benefit for Cubone, the Pokemon famous for wearing the skull of his dead mother.

Cecilia: Oh my God.

Kevin: Yeah, he’s real messed up.

Cecilia: Moving on. Women and men with major depressive disorder display opposite alterations in the expression of the same genes, a new study has found. The discovery indicates that males and females with depression might require different depression treatments based on their sex, and underscores the notion that some psychiatric disorders might manifest differently in men and women. In one such example, women are about twice as likely as men to be affected by major depressive disorder and 3 times as likely to have atypical depression accompanied by excessive sleepiness and weight gain. Researchers advocated for the potential development of future novel treatments separately designed for men and women.

Kevin: Lower intakes of fruit as well as a higher intake of fast food by women in the period of preconception are associated with a longer time to pregnancy than average. According to a team of Australian-based researchers, women who consumed fruit just 1 to 3 times per month versus those that consumed it at least 3 times daily corresponded to a 19% increase in time to pregnancy.

For women who consumed fast food at least 4 times per week, a corresponding 24% increase in time to pregnancy was reported when compared to those who consumed no fast food at all.

These clinical findings add to the evidential list of lifestyle factors — such as smoking and obesity — that have been linked to longer time to pregnancy or even infertility, regardless of other health conditions. But since I’m a man, I can eat all the fast food and smoke all the cigarettes I want, right?

Cecilia: Not if you want to get pregnant, you can’t. For these stories and more, visit us online at I’m Cecilia Pessoa Gingerich, and I’m Kevin Kunzmann. Thank you for watching.

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