Is Your Teen Suffering From Depression?

Could a simple pencil and paper test diagnose depression in teens?

A few minutes spent filling out a widely accepted mental health assessment in a doctor’s waiting room could make a big difference for some teenagers suffering from depression.

Medical is reporting on the research conducted by Sharolyn Dihigo, an assistant professor at The University of Texas.

Dr. Dihago is also a nurse practitioner, and she wanted to find out whether nurse practitioners and others in primary care settings should add a mental health screening when a teenager comes in for a checkup.

She found that a simple paper test called a CES-DC would be a reliable, quick way of determining whether the practitioner should refer a teen for counseling.

Nationally, it’s estimated that five to 20 percent of adolescents suffer from depression, but many don’t receive the treatment they need.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children and teenagers be screened for mental health problems in primary care.

Dr. Dihago says “Getting teens treatment when they need it is essential and has potentially life-saving benefits.”

She points out that providing this test while a family waits for their appointment can overcome a teen’s hesitation to talk about feelings that are linked to depression.

The good news is that if the test detects depression, the physician or nurse practitioner can help the teen get the treatment that he or she needs

By the way, in case you’re wondering, “CES-DC” is short for Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children.  It’s free and doesn’t require extra training for the person who administers the screening.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

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The Link Between Anger & Heart Attacks

Here’s another reason to keep your cool under stress.  HealthDay News is reporting on a new study that found that angry outbursts could raise your odds for a heart attack or stroke.

The researchers say the risk to any one person of a having heart trouble after an outburst remains very low.  But their review of multiple studies found that the risk did rise considerably compared to periods of calm.

Dr. Sripal Bangalore at NYU Medical Center in New York City says “It’s not surprising that such an association is seen since we know that anger is associated with increased reaction of the body’s nervous system to stress.”

The unhealthy reaction to anger includes “increases in heart rate and blood pressure — both of which can have immediate negative consequences.

In the study, researchers found that within two hours of an angry outburst, a person’s risk of heart attack increased nearly five-fold, their risk of stroke rose nearly four-fold and their risk of a dangerous heart rhythm disorder called ventricular arrhythmia also rose.

The risk was highest among people who got angry more often and had existing risk factors such as prior heart problems.

Lead researcher Elizabeth Mostofsky at the Harvard School of Public Health, says because outbursts of anger are relatively rare and the effect seems to be temporary, “the impact on an individual’s absolute risk of a cardiovascular event is small.”

But she says certain people might be at higher risk, such as those who have already had a heart attack, a stroke or diabetes.

To learn more about caring for your heart and the risk factors for heart disease, visit the American Heart Association’s website at

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today audio here.

Invest in Your Health

Thinking about retirement? Why not take that extra time to pump some iron and get your heart pumping?
Sound crazy? It’s never too late to exercise. A recent study followed older women who participated in weight training and outdoor walking classes for six months.
You’d guess the women were healthier, but there were other benefits.
Those who participated in the classes had lower health care costs and fewer doctor visits. Plus, other studies show aerobic and weight training improves cognitive performance.
You can see positive health benefits from only fifteen to thirty minutes of strength training and exercise per day, even if you’re older. And you don’t have to use really heavy weights.
While you’re planning your 401K, make sure you invest in your health. It can help your body and your bottom line.

Find more information on this and many other health topics, when you log onto Shine.FM.

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Sleeping Safety

Few things make new parents more anxious than the possibility of sudden infant death syndrome, otherwise known as SIDS.


SIDS is still the number one cause of death in infants one month to one year old.


SIDS is troubling because some of the deaths cannot be prevented, but several simple steps by parents can reduce the risk of SIDS by over fifty percent.


Eliminate bumper pads and soft bedding. Don’t share your bed with your baby or allow your baby to be exposed to tobacco smoke. These simply aren’t safe.


Don’t let your baby get too hot. Also, if you can, breast-feed through the entire first year. Most importantly, remember the back to sleep rule: babies should be put to bed on their backs, not their tummies.


There is plenty you can do to help your little one drift safely off to sleep.


Find more information on this and many other health topics, when you log onto Shine.FM.

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Might You Have Dust Mites?

They’re in your carpet, clothing, pillows, your child’s stuffed animals, even in your bed. And they could be affecting your asthma or worsening your allergies.


Dust mites are nothing to sneeze at.


They can live on or under many surfaces, but a simple routine may help you take the might out of the dust mites in your home.


Experts recommend washing all bedding in hot water at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also place items in the dryer for at least fifteen minutes at the same temperature.


Doing this once a week significantly reduces dust mites. This is a generally good practice, but it’s specifically important if you have allergies or asthma. Washing this way could have you or your child breathing easier—and have the mites in your home biting the dust.


Find more information on this and many other health topics, when you log onto Shine.FM.

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Facebook Friends

Can spending time too much time with your friends be bad for your health? It may be, if they’re all online.


Facebook builds community, and connects us with family and friends, but too much time following everyone else’s life may leave you hitting the “don’t like button” on yours.


Many studies level of commitment to time spent on Facebook. In other words, frequent users are often more unhappy.


Researchers believe the picture-perfect life in many peoples’ posts can leave others feeling left out or dissatisfied with their own life.


Here’s what you can do to avoid the Facebook blues. Limit your time online. Instead, spend time with friends and family in person. While you’re counting the number of friends you have or likes you receive, don’t forget to count your blessings.


Find more information on this and many other health topics, when you log onto Shine.FM.

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Greek Mythology


A listener asked me, “Is Greek Yogurt really a big deal?” It’s showing up everywhere, but Greek Yogurt is a big trend and overall the hype has some merit, but there is some Greek Mythology that you need to be aware of.

Greek Yogurt can have the same active yogurt cultures and calcium benefits as a regular yogurt. It’s often thicker and creamier, may have less sugar and calories plus significantly higher protein per serving.

However, you have to read the labels. Nutritional content varies widely. Some Greek Yogurts have added sugars that can pack on the calories, while others contain unnecessary thickening ingredients and may not have more protein.

If you want to be safe buy plain Greek Yogurt after you’ve read the label and then add a small amount of honey or fresh fruit. It’s worth buying into the hype as long as you’re buying right.

If you would like to see other blogs by Dr. Walt on this topic, click here and then click on today’s story.

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Alternative Medicines


Your head is pounding from chronic headaches. You’ve tried traditional therapies and wonder if it’s time to try complimentary and alternative options, like massage, acupuncture, herbs, or anything else you think might work.

You’re not alone. In fact, you probably know someone who uses alternatives to over the counter medicines and traditional remedies, and they may swear by their effectiveness. However, as more people look into alternative therapies more questions are arising.

Many complimentary remedies lack scientific evidence that they actually work, or are missing important data on their long-term safety. The good news is there are alternative therapies that may help, but there are many that are questionable.

If you are considering alternative medicines talk to your doctor or pharmacist, and do your homework. Don’t buy into a false claim. You may end up with a headache you don’t want.

If you would like to see other blogs by Dr. Walt on this topic, click here and then click on today’s story.

Listen to today’s audio here. 

Prescription Drug Abuse in the Home

Teen drug use is no laughing matter, but parents themselves may be writing a prescription for abuse.


Prescription drug abuse is on the rise with teens and the problem can start in our own homes. Many teens require prescriptions medications like sedatives, pain relievers, or ADHD medications.


However, researchers found 75% of teens had uncontrolled access to their medications. This means that parents didn’t supervise the use or lock them up when they weren’t needed.


We all want to believe the best in our kids so taking tougher measures may be hard. And many parents are simply caught up in the “my child would never do that” syndrome. But it’s better to be safe than sorry.


Treat prescription drugs like you would alcohol and keep tight control on them. That’s the best medicine for protecting your teen.


If you would like to see other blogs by Dr. Walt on this topic, click here and then click on today’s story.

Listen to today’s audio here. 

Dementia and B Vitamins

There is news worth noting in the battle of Alzheimer’s disease. Two new studies highlight another weapon in possibly preventing it.


Doctors studied people with increased dementia risk and found that high dose B vitamin treatment with folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 slowed brain shrinkage over two years.


In the second study the B vitamin regimen slowed shrinkage of brain rations. Specifically associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.


The benefits of the vitamins were confined to patients with elevated amounts of the amino acid called homocysteine. High levels are linked to faster brain shrinkage and dementia.


So if the condition runs in your family you could ask your physician to check you homocysteine level. If its elevated, high doses of these particular B vitamins may be well be worth a try.


If you would like to see other blogs by Dr. Walt on this topic, click here and then click on today’s story.

Listen to today’s audio here.