Health Buzz: Tanning Bed Use May Lead to Addiction, Study Warns

Addressing the primary-care shortage; how stress affects wound healing.

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Tanning Bed Use May Lead to Addiction, Study Warns

Indoor tanning can be addictive, a new study finds. Researchers surveyed more than 400 college students about their indoor tanning habits and found that 30 to 40 percent met enough criteria to be called "tanning addicts," HealthDay reports. Addicted tanners are those who continue to use tanning beds despite the known health risks, according to study coauthor Catherine Mosher, a postdoctoral research fellow at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Mosher says an indoor tanning addiction could evolve as a way to cope with stress or to boost mood, HealthDay reports. "In that way it's similar to other addictive behaviors," she said. The results are published in the Archives of Dermatology.

[Read How to Break Your Addiction to Tanning and Tougher Restrictions Possible for Indoor Tanning.]

Bringing Better Health to Rural America

For Vincent Proy, 28, deciding to become a rural family doctor wasn't a tough call. His father has a family practice in his hometown of Corry, Pa., and growing up, Proy saw firsthand what the job was like. "I knew I wanted to practice rural family medicine because of all of the interesting challenges that my father faced," says Proy, who graduated in 2007 from the Physician Shortage Area Program at Jefferson Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Facing a continued shortage of primary-care physicians nationwide, and an especially tight supply in rural areas and small towns, medical schools are making an effort to recruit students like Proy to launch long-lasting careers in rural areas, U.S. News's January Payne writes. While 1 in 5 U.S. residents lives in a rural area, just 9 percent of doctors practice there, according to a 2002 study. The shortage of primary-care doctors in rural areas isn't new, but it's poised to get worse. Fewer than 4 percent of recent medical school graduates say they intend to start their careers in rural areas or small towns. And the number of practicing physicians will shrink as baby boomers retire.

Since the early 1970s—after national recognition of physician shortages in the 1950s and 1960s—medical schools have ramped up efforts to recruit, train, and provide support for new doctors in an effort to encourage them to build their lives and their careers in small towns. Read more.

[Read How to Make the Most of Your Medical School Experience and The New Doctors in the House.]

Does Stress Hinder Wound Healing?

Psychological stress can extend the time required to heal wounds by 25 percent or more, writes Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, U.S. News Health Advice expert in clinical psychology. Studies in which researchers have created small wounds about the size of a pencil eraser, and then measured the rate of healing, show that stress slows closure. For example, dental students took an average of 40 percent longer to heal a small, standardized wound made prior to exams, compared to an identical wound made during their summer vacation.

In contrast to the relatively mild and predictable stress of academic examinations, surgery is a high-stakes stressor, and people's anxiety levels before surgery are often very high. After surgery, anxiety and depression can make pain worse—and pain is certainly another stressor that can slow your healing. Read more.

[Slide Show: 5 Reasons Your Doc Might Prescribe Meditation—and One Reason She Won't.] [Read What Science Is Discovering About Exercise and Depression.]

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