Health Headlines: This is Your Brain on Christmas Music

Plus: MDMA is being studied for PTSD relief and more health headlines.

By | Hub Health |

MDMA is being studied as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). That’s right, MDMA. If you were a big partier in the ’80s and ’90s, you may call it Ecstasy. Even though federal regulators criminalized the drug in 1985, a small number of  labs have been licensed to produce MDMA for research purposes. The treatment combines psychotherapy with a dose of MDMA, and last week, the Journal of Psychopharmacology, wrote that they found 15 of 21 people who recovered from severe post-traumatic stress using the therapy in the early 2000s reported minor to virtually no symptoms today. [New York Times]

When men in relationships are given oxytocin, they stay away from unknown, attractive women, according to a new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience. The findings suggest oxytocin may help promote fidelity within monogamous relationships. The greater the oxytocin levels in the blood of a couple, the longer they stayed together. Is this a real life love potion? [AlphaGalileo Foundation]

Christmas music can make you spend more money. Eric Spangenberg, Ph.D, dean of the College of Business at Washington State University, studied the  influence of music on holiday shopping and says that holiday music combined with holiday scents can influence shoppers by increasing the amount of time they spend in a store, their intention to revisit it, and intention to purchase. [NBC News]

Women working in the automotive and food-canning industries have nearly a five-fold increase in risk for pre-menopausal breast cancer, according to a new study by Environmental Health. The link to breast cancer was strongest in women who worked for more than 10 years in the industries. The researchers also found smaller associations between breast cancer and women who work in agriculture. Yet the smaller associations were also found in women that work in bars and racetracks, where secondhand smoke exposure is common. [The Daily Beast]

Urinary tract infections are becoming harder to treat with antibiotics, according to new research from Extending The Cure (ETC), a project of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy. The data collected from lab samples and prescription information from 1999 to 2010, showed that antibiotic resistance in UTIs increased by about 30 percent throughout the country. Bacteria become resistant to antibiotics through evolution, says Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, MD, at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. “The study suggests that because of resistance, we are going to have to start using stronger antibiotics to treat UTIs,” Gyamfi-Bannerman says. “We only have so many stronger antibiotics, which is why resistance is a problem.” [Women's Health]