Health Buzz: FDA Panel Endorses Weight Loss Drug

4 ways to unleash your creative genius; how to encourage your kid's creativity.

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FDA Panel: Diet Pill Works, But May Cause Health Risks

A new weight loss drug got the thumbs up from a federal advisory committee Tuesday, despite concerns about possible health risks. A panel of experts convened by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted 13 to 7 to back the drug Contrave, but urged the manufacturer, Orexigen Therapeutics, to conduct larger clinical studies to examine potential heart effects. Although the FDA is not required to follow the panel's recommendation, the agency usually does and is expected to make a decision by January. Contrave—which mixes the antidepressant bupropion with the anti-addiction drug naltrexone—appears to work by boosting metabolism while curbing appetite and cravings, Reuters reports. About 35 percent of patients who took the drug in a clinical trial lost five percent of their weight, but they also had an increased risk of elevated blood pressure and pulse rate. "In terms of efficacy, they made it by the hair of their chinny-chin-chin," Melanie Coffin, a patient representative on the panel who voted to recommend the drug's approval, told reporters. "It's not going to be a perfect drug for everyone. But it will be useful to some." Only one prescription weight loss drug remains on the market; Meridia, was removed from shelves in October after it was linked to heart attacks and strokes. And the FDA nixed approval of two other weight-loss drugs earlier this year.

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  • 4 Ways to Unleash Your Creative Genius

    "But I'm not creative!" If that thought is what froze you the last time you decided not to (fill in the blank), it's time to adjust your thinking, Meryl Davids Landau writes for U.S. News. Many people who can't draw anything more elaborate than a stick figure allow insecurity about their creativity to stop them from expressing their ideas, says Mark Runco, professor of creative studies at the University of Georgia and editor of Creativity Research Journal. But holding back is a mistake, experts say, because self-expression is known to reduce stress, enhance the immune system, and increase joy.

    Psychologists define creativity as producing something that is original and that works—a key aspect of human experience and fulfillment, Runco says. That can cover everything from rearranging your furniture and designing a garden to generating a fresh solution to a business dilemma or world hunger. In general, young children most readily heed their creative impulses, because they haven't started editing themselves out of fear of the judgment of others. Studies have shown that this begins around age 10, when kids start focusing on teachers' rules and what their peers think, a phenomenon known as the "fourth-grade slump." [Read more: 4 Ways to Unleash Your Creative Genius.]

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    • How to Encourage Your Kid's Creativity

      Little kids are naturally and unselfconsciously creative. U.S. News reports that you can help your child stay that way by:

      Tolerating "wrong" answers. Creativity depends upon ambiguity, making mistakes, and being playful, says Kyung Hee Kim, assistant professor of educational psychology at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Applaud your child's imagination when he draws wings on a kitten or writes using incorrect spellings. The rules will assert themselves soon enough.

      Lowering your standards. A spotless playroom stifles creativity, because kids may not feel they can engage in messy experiments or art. (That doesn't mean they shouldn't learn to clean up afterward.) Similarly, always reining in an energetic, talkative, or spontaneous child because you prefer quiet may short-circuit her impulses. "The very qualities that facilitate creative accomplishments can be ones that sometimes make creative children hard to live with," Kim says.

      Going easy on the rewards. Research links kids' creativity with their intrinsic motivation; praise or reward them too much and you zap both. Refrain from praising every drawing your child makes, or if you must comment, remark on his originality or effort rather than the results, advises Mark Runco, professor of creative studies at the University of Georgia and editor of Creativity Research Journal. [Read more: How to Encourage Your Kid's Creativity.]