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If depression lingers, consult a physician

If depression lingers, consult a physician

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Your Health

(CNN) -- I was interested to hear the results this week of a Duke University study on St. John's Wort.

It was the largest clinical trial performed to date on the popular herbal supplement used by many to treat minor depression. But what about severe depression? The results aren't as good.

Duke scientists concluded that for sufferers of major depression St. John's Wort does about as much good as a sugar pill. As you might expect, the results drew a rapid-fire response from alternative health practitioners who were concerned about the findings.

The makers of St. John's Wort are quick to point out that their product is indicated only for minor depression, or the "blues."

Duke researchers also examined how effective the popular prescription drug Zoloft is in treating depression.

The lead researcher for the study admitted Zoloft did not fare much better than St. John's Wort, but added that may be because the drug was administered in such low doses.

Click here to submit medical questions to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, then watch CNN at 2:30 p.m. EDT Saturdays to see if it is answered.

As I see it, depression can be treated. If you have only mild symptoms, over-the-counter and even herbal medications may work.

However, if your symptoms last longer than two weeks, or are getting worse, you should probably see a physician and get the good and effective treatment that is available.

Click here for more on this story.

A virus and colon cancer

Researchers have injected a genetically engineered cold virus into cancer patients' arteries --specifically, the arteries that supply blood to the liver.

The cold infected the tumors, which due to a genetic defect had no way to fight off the cold. That caused the tumors to shrink.

The 28 patients involved in the study, on average, lived six months longer than expected.

CNN's medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen explains.

More promising cancer news

Early clinical trails show that some patients who took the drug phenoxodiol suffered only slight toxicity and the drug was able to stabilize the cancer progression in several patients.

Research results were presented last week at the annual Association of Cancer Research meeting.

Click here to learn how the drug stabilizes cancer while causing minimal side effects, according to the preliminary study.

Pregnancy weight gain and breast cancer

Study results made public this week claimed that women who put on more than 38 pounds during pregnancy run a 40 percent greater chance of developing breast cancer after menopause.

Click here to find out how pregnancy weight and breast cancer are linked.

College drinking linked to deaths

The statistics will leave you numb: Alcohol has played some role in more than 14,000 college students' deaths, half a million student injuries and 70,000 sexual assaults.

The study, done by the Boston University School of Public Health, concluded drinking is far more widespread among college students than ever suspected.

A variety of strategies accompanied the results suggesting ways to curb the problem.

To read the details of this study, check out the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Web site.




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