Today’s Headlines: Suicide, HPV and Nausea

A blood test for suicide? Biomarkers may identify people at risk: Scientists may have found a new way to identify people at risk for suicide. A new study done in bipolar and schizophrenic men found that “high expression of a gene called SAT1 had strong links to suicidal thinking.” The researchers discovered that the level of this biomarker, detectable in blood samples, was significantly increased in the blood of people who had committed suicide, as well as in people who were hospitalized for suicidal behavior. (Los Angeles Times)

Study ties poor oral health to cancer-causing virus: Pull out your toothbrush. A new study shows that “people with swollen gums, missing teeth and other signs of poor dental health are more likely to be infected orally with the human papillomavirus.” Human papillomavirus (HPV), can cause cancers of the cervix, mouth and throat. The study is “the first to document a link between the infection and poor oral health” but it is still unclear whether “brushing and flossing regularly can prevent oral HPV infection.” (The New York Times)

Two alternative treatments may help relieve postoperative nausea: A pair of new studies shows that “two simple, non-drug treatments—aromatherapy and intravenous administration of a simple sugar solution—may offer effective new approaches to relieving nausea and vomiting after surgery.” In the first study, patients who received aromatherapy with essential oil of ginger or a blend of ginger, spearmint, peppermint and cardamom reported lower nausea scores than people who smelled unscented or alcohol-scented gauze pads. In the second study, patients who received a sugar-based IV solution required fewer anti-nausea medications than people who received standard IV fluids. (EurekAlert!)