Video game addiction, declining smoking rates, an obstacle to addressing the opioid epidemic, rethinking treatment for depression, and new research on breast cancer therapies are covered in this week’s roundup.
Video games have joined the ranks of alcohol and gambling in the eyes of the World Health Organization. “Gaming disorder” was recently added to the International Classification of Diseases. The move may encourage more therapists to provide treatment. “It’s going to untie our hands,” one doctor told The New York Times.
Chemotherapy may not be necessary for 70 percent of women with one of the most common forms of breast cancer, new research found. A test of 21 genes linked with breast cancer may reveal if women should receive hormonal treatment alone, instead of in tandem with chemo. The test “can spare women unnecessary treatment,” a researcher told CNN. Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, said genetic tests are allowing doctors to “tailor our therapies to the type of breast cancer every woman has.”
Only 14 percent of adult Americans and 9 percent of teens were smokers last year, new all-time lows for the nation, the Associated Press reports. At its peak in the 1960s, 42 percent of adults were lighting up.
Hundreds of people die every day from an opioid overdose, and those that survive may not get treatments, even though effective overdose treatments exist. A new study found only three in 10 people revived after an overdose receive those medications. Doctors may hesitate to prescribe the treatments, for fear the patient may start abusing that drug instead. The study’s author called the findings “stunning,” while another researcher called it a “tragedy.” Get the full story from NPR.
Antidepressant prescriptions have increased 500 percent since the 1980s, but we still remain depressed. This long-form read from Vox dives into how the medical field has approached depression — primarily with chemical treatments. It also offers a new path, which involves treating not just brain chemistry but also social problems contributing to depression and anxiety.