Psilocybin Could Help Cancer Patients
"Magic mushrooms" may have a place in medicine: Psilocybin—the ingredient that gives them their hallucinogenic kick—could help relieve anxiety in terminal cancer patients, a new study suggests. Researchers gave 12 adults with late-stage cancer one low dose of psilocybin, or 0.2 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, and all were markedly less anxious and depressed up to six months later, according to research published Monday in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Most also needed fewer narcotic pain relievers. The findings suggest the drug could be used to improve cancer patients' moods and make their last days more peaceful, The Los Angeles Times reports. But this isn't the first time psilocybin has been eyed as a potential therapy: Early studies involving the drug were abandoned in the '70s after "shrooms" became popular among recreational users. Psilocybin's effects are comparable to those of LSD.
Hereditary Cancers: Prevent Them With Surgery?
Thousands of women have been tested for BRCA1 and BRCA2, gene mutations linked to a very high risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Most women found to carry either mutation have chosen to have frequent monitoring, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz writes. Some, however, have had their breasts, ovaries, or both removed in a desperate effort to prevent the often-deadly cancers. Turns out that these drastic measures work better than monitoring for both cancers, and removing the ovaries leads to longer lives than does screening for early detection, according to a study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
None of the 247 women in the study who had preventive mastectomies developed breast cancer during three years of follow-up, while 7 percent of the 1,372 women screened with frequent ultrasounds and mammograms were diagnosed with the disease. What's more, 3 percent of the 975 women screened for ovarian cancer developed the disease while none of the 442 women did who had their ovaries and fallopian tubes surgically removed. This procedure, called a salpingo-oophorectomy, also lowered the risk of developing breast cancer and of dying from breast or ovarian cancer. "This is the first study to show that this risk-reducing surgery can extend the life of women," says Virginia Kaklamani, an associate professor of medicine at Northwestern University, who wrote an editorial that accompanied the study. [Read more: Hereditary Cancers: Prevent Them With Surgery?]
Retirement 2.0: What You Should Know About the Future of Retirement
"Retirement today isn't your grandfather's gold watch and a goodbye party at age 65," quips Ron Kauffmann, a Florida-based certified senior advisor. It also may not include weeks on the green or months of sipping Bloody Marys on a yacht in Bora Bora. In other words, due in part to the market meltdown, the rapidly rising cost of health care, and inflation, years of luxury retirement living are likely not on the horizon for our 78 million baby boomers, writes Michelle Seitzer of Seniors for Living.
Even before the financial meltdown, Steve Vernon, a financial services advisor and president of Rest-of-Life Communications, says people were underestimating their retirement savings needs. "The retirement savings of most Americans aged 55 and older are far less than the amounts needed to generate a comfortable retirement, even when you factor in expected Social Security benefits."
One contributing factor, says Vernon, is that many people retire too early. "If you are broke at age 80, but you live to age 90, what happens then?" he says. Virtually all books on retirement are written for the 10 to 15 percent of the population that can afford to implement the retirement savings strategies in the book. But what about the rest of us? [Read more: Retirement 2.0: What You Should Know About the Future of Retirement.]
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