A study finds that obesity is associated with increased risk of “at least 13 types of cancer,” and advocates for behavioral changes to reduce weight – PCPs are likely to need behavioral help with this. Another study questions whether it is possible to exercise too much and harm the brain. MD’s are talking about whether to ask their patients if they want to discuss touchy issues, such as weight, excessive drinking, etc.  Mental health professionals should ask the same questions.

Study finds obesity is associated with increased risk of “at least”13 cancers, from New York Times article published on 8-24-16.

From the article:

*these 13 cancers account for 42% of all new cancer diagnoses

* only smoking compares as an environmental risk factor

* research has not established whether losing weight reduces cancer risk for obese people

*women have a higher set of risk factors, are advised to take note of these findings

Exercise Boosts Brain Health, but Is There a Downside?” was published by the New York Times on 8-24-16.  This article discusses an interesting question about the effect of exercise on the brain – is it possible to do too much exercise, so that new neurons from exercise “crowd out” existing neurons and impair long term memory?  A study done in 2014 with mice supported this concern – but follow up studies with rats find that “exercise allowed rats to develop new neurons, without destabilizing their existing circuitry.”  Of course, rats are not humans, but “available evidence suggests that, unless you are a mouse, working out is going to be quite beneficial for your brain.”

Can We Talk About Your Weight?” was published by the New York Times on 8-25-16.  This article discusses a controversy in the medical field about whether to ask permission of patients before discussing difficult topics, particularly behavioral concerns such as drug us and obesity.  The author, an MD, discusses research that supports asking, rather than imposing this type of discussion, as this increases patient engagement. The author, however, makes the case for not deferring on crucial issues.  Mental health professionals can learn from this discussion, and it would be advisable to be mindful of your own preference for how to handle this type of therapy discussion.

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