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March 5, 2009, 6:26 AM CT

Injectable birth control causes weight gain

Injectable birth control causes weight gain
Women using depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), usually known as the birth control shot, gained an average of 11 pounds and increased their body fat by 3.4 percent over three years, as per scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB).

However, women who switched to nonhormonal contraception began to slowly lose the weight and fat mass they gained nearly four pounds over two years, while those who used oral contraception after the shots gained an average of four additional pounds in the same time span. The amount of weight gain was dependent on the length of time DMPA was used, as the rate of weight gain slowed over time.

The study, which appears in the March 4 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind.

DMPA is an injected contraceptive administered to patients every three months. More than two million American women use DMPA, including approximately 400,000 teens. DMPA is relatively inexpensive in comparison to some other forms of birth control, has a low failure rate and doesn't need to be administered daily, which contributes to the contraceptive's popularity.

"Women and their doctors should factor in this new data when choosing the most appropriate birth control method," said main author Abbey Berenson, M.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health at UTMB.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 4, 2009, 6:16 AM CT

Will teenagers listen to parent's advice on smoking?

Will teenagers listen to parent's advice on smoking?
Parents can help their teenagers to never start smoking. A Swedish study reported in the open access journal BMC Public Health has observed that adolescents respond positively to their parents' attitudes towards smoking.

The research, carried out by a team led by Maria Nilsson of Ume University, Sweden,.

utilized statistics obtained from three national surveys conducted by The National Board for Health and Welfare and The Swedish National Institute of Public Health in 1987, 1994 and 2003. The surveys explored the attitudes, beliefs and tobacco use of teenagers across Sweden. Responses were obtained from young people aged 13, 15 and 17 years old, with 1500 adolescents in each age group. A total of 13500 adolescents were surveyed. The aim of the study was to determine adolescent attitudes towards parental intervention on tobacco use in Sweden and to see if these have changed over time.

Teenagers are more positive today towards their parents' attempts to discourage them from smoking, regardless of whether or not they smoked, than in the past. The most effective actions parents could take include dissuading their children from smoking, not smoking themselves and not allowing their children to smoke at home. Younger children were more positive about these approaches than older children.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 4, 2009, 6:14 AM CT

Portrayals of alcohol in films and TV leads to more drinking

Portrayals of alcohol in films and TV leads to more drinking
New research has shown for the first time that portrayals of alcohol in films and TV advertisements have an immediate effect on the amount of alcohol that people drink.

The research, published online today (Wednesday 4 March) in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism [1], found that people who watched films and commercials in which alcohol drinking featured prominently immediately reached for a bottle of beer or wine and drank an average of 1.5 bottles more than people who watched films and commercials in which alcohol played a less prominent role.

Scientists in The Netherlands and Canada conducted a randomised, controlled trial in which they allocated 80 male university students, aged 18-29, to one of four groups; 20 watched a film (American Pie) in which characters drank alcohol 18 times and alcoholic drinks were portrayed an additional 23 times, and a commercial break that included ads for alcohol; 20 watched American Pie and a neutral commercial break with no alcohol ads; 20 watched a film (40 Days and 40 Nights) in which alcohol appeared far less prominently (characters consumed it three times and alcoholic drinks were shown 15 times) and a commercial break including ads for alcohol; and 20 watched 40 Days and 40 nights and a neutral commercial break with no alcohol ads.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 4, 2009, 6:09 AM CT

Emotions hold sway over physical health

Emotions hold sway over physical health
A researcher from the University of Kansas has spearheaded a new investigation into the link between emotions and health. The research proves that positive emotions are critical for upkeep of physical health for people worldwide, above all for those who are deeply impoverished.

The study, a joint undertaking between KU and Gallup, will be presented today at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in Chicago.

"We've known for a while now that emotions play a critical role in physical health," said Sarah Pressman, assistant professor of psychology at KU and a Gallup senior research associate. "But until recently, most of this research was conducted only in industrialized countries. So we couldn't know whether feelings like happiness or sadness matter to the health of people who have more pressing concerns like getting enough to eat or finding shelter. But now we do".

Data from the Gallup World Poll drove the findings, with adults in more than 140 countries providing a representative sample of 95 percent of the world's population. The sample included more than 150,000 adults.

Participants reported emotions such as happiness, enjoyment, worry and sadness. They described their physical health problems such as pain and fatigue and answered questions about whether their most basic needs like food, shelter and personal safety were adequately met.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 3, 2009, 6:15 AM CT

Drinking wine lowers risk of Barrett's esophagus

Drinking wine lowers risk of Barrett's esophagus
Drinking one glass of wine a day may lower the risk of Barrett's Esophagus by 56 percent, as per a newly released study by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in the recent issue of Gastroenterology Barrett's Esophagus is a precursor to esophageal cancer, the nation's fastest growing cancer with an incidence rate that's jumped 500 percent in the last 30 years.

Barrett's Esophagus affects 5 percent of the population and occurs when heartburn or acid reflux permanently damages the esophageal lining. People with Barrett's Esophagus have a 30- to 40-fold higher risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma (a type of esophageal cancer) because the Barrett's Esophagus cells can grow into cancer cells.

Because there are no symptoms or warning signs of Barrett's Esophagus, people discover they have Barrett's Esophagus when an endoscopy for anemia, heartburn or a bleeding ulcer reveals esophageal cells that were damaged, then changed form during the healing process. Currently nothing can be done to treat Barrett's Esophagus; it can only be monitored.

This is the first and largest population-based study to examine the correlation between alcohol consumption and risk of Barrett's Esophagus. Funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, the Kaiser Permanente study looked at 953 men and women in Northern California between 2002 and 2005 and observed that people who drank one or more glasses of red or white wine a day had less than half the risk (or 56 percent reduced risk) of Barrett's Esophagus. There was no reduction of Barrett's Esophagus risk among people who drank beer or liquor.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


March 3, 2009, 6:13 AM CT

TV viewing before the age of 2

TV viewing before the age of 2
A longitudinal study of infants from birth to age 3 showed TV viewing before the age of 2 does not improve a child's language and visual motor skills, as per research conducted at Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School. The findings, reported in the recent issue of Pediatrics, reaffirm current guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that recommend no television under the age of 2, and suggest that maternal, child, and household characteristics are more influential in a child's cognitive development.

"Contrary to marketing claims and some parents' perception that television viewing is beneficial to children's brain development, no evidence of such benefit was found," says Marie Evans Schmidt, PhD, main author of the study.

The study analyzed data of 872 children from Project Viva, a prospective cohort study of mothers and their children. In-person visits with both mothers and infants were performed immediately after birth, at 6 months, and 3 years of age while mothers completed mail-in questionnaires regarding their child's TV viewing habits when they were 1 and 2 years old. It was conducted by scientists in the Center on Media and Child Health at Children's and the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 3, 2009, 6:12 AM CT

Swimming lessons do not increase drowning risk

Swimming lessons do not increase drowning risk
Providing very young children with swimming lessons appears to have a protective effect against drowning and does not increase children's risk of drowning, reported scientists at the National Institutes of Health.

The scientists state that the findings should ease concerns among health professionals that giving swimming lessons to children from ages 1 to 4 years might indirectly increase drowning risk by making parents and caregivers less vigilant when children are near bodies of water.

"Swimming lessons are appropriate for consideration as part of a comprehensive drowning prevention strategy," said Duane Alexander, M.D., director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the NIH Institute at which the study was conducted. "Because even the best swimmers can drown, swimming lessons are only one component of a comprehensive drowning prevention strategy that should include pool fencing, adult supervision, and training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation".

The findings are reported in the March Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Health The study's first author was Ruth A. Brenner, M.D., M.P.H., at the NICHD's Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research when the study was conducted. Other authors of the study were Gitanjali Saluja Taneja, Denise L. Haynie, Ann C. Trumble, and Mark A. Klebanoff, also of the Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research; Ron M. Klinger, Westat Inc, and Cong Qian, Allied Technology Group, Inc.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 27, 2009, 6:25 AM CT

Modern lifestyle prevents tooth decay

Modern lifestyle prevents tooth decay
New research has observed that modern lifestyle habits may play a bigger role than food alone, when it comes to tooth decay.

A review of the scientific evidence over the past 150 years observed that the effects of fluoride toothpaste, good oral hygiene and health education, may override the effects of food alone on tooth decay. The research is published online in a Supplement to the journal Obesity Reviews

Professor Monty Duggal, an author of the review explained 'Nowadays, it's not enough to just look at what we eat when talking about tooth decay, as other factors seem to be as important. Fluoride toothpaste changes the effect that some foods have on the teeth, as do other good oral hygiene practices'.

He added 'Future research should investigate many lifestyle factors together with different foods that might affect tooth decay. Times have changed and with that, the foods we eat, and how we care for our teeth'.

Professor Duggal is a consultant and head of paediatric dentistry at Leeds dental institute. He has published over 65 research papers in international scientific journals.

The overall aim of the review was to look at the evidence for the claim that sugar was the main cause of dental caries (tooth decay). The authors concluded that out of 31 studies carefully evaluated, the majority did not find a relationship between the amount of sugar consumed and dental caries, but the frequency of consumption appears to be important.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 26, 2009, 6:15 AM CT

Your location and availability of healthy food

Your location and availability of healthy food
The availability of healthy food choices and your quality of diet is linked to where you live, as per two studies conducted by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Scientists examined healthy food availability and diet quality among Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Md., residents and observed that availability of healthy foods was linked to quality of diet and 46 percent of lower-income neighborhoods had a low availability of healthy foods. The results are reported in the March 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the December 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

"Place of residence plays a larger role in dietary health than previously estimated," said Manuel Franco, MD, PhD, main author of the studies and an associate with the Bloomberg School's Department of Epidemiology. "Our findings show that participants who live in neighborhoods with low healthy food availability are at an increased risk of consuming a lower quality diet. We also observed that 24 percent of the black participants lived in neighborhoods with a low availability of healthy food compared with 5 percent of white participants."

Scientists conducted a cross-sectional study to examine the association between the availability of healthy foods and diet quality among 759 participants of a population-based cardiovascular cohort study, the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Using a food frequency questionnaire, Franco, along with colleagues from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the University of Michigan and the University of Texas, summarized diet into two dietary patterns reflecting low and high quality diet. The availability of healthy foods was assessed by examining food stores within MESA participants' neighborhood or census tract, their closest food store and all food stores within one mile of the participants' residence. Availability of healthy foods in each food store was assessed by measuring the availability of items like fresh fruits and vegetables, skim milk and whole wheat bread as recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Their findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 25, 2009, 6:17 AM CT

An angry heart can lead to sudden death

An angry heart can lead to sudden death
Before flying off the handle the next time someone cuts you off in traffic, consider the latest research from Yale School of Medicine scientists that links changes brought on by anger or other strong emotions to future arrhythmias and sudden cardiac arrests, which are blamed for 400,000 deaths annually.

The studyled by Rachel Lampert, M.D., associate professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine, and reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiologydeepens our understanding of how anger and other types of mental stress can trigger potentially lethal ventricular arrhythmias.

Lampert and her team studied 62 patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) and enlarged hearts. They were monitored three months after the ICD was implanted and then given a mental stress test requiring them to recall a stressful situation that angered them.

Lampert and her team sought to discover whether T-wave alternans (TWA), which monitor electrical instability in the heart induced by anger, would predict future ventricular arrhythmias. The team observed that those in the group with more anger-induced electrical instability were more likely to experience arrhythmias one year after the study than those in the control group.

"Further studies are needed to determine whether there is a role for therapies which may reduce anger and the body's response to stress, thereby preventing arrhythmias in those at risk," said Lampert.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Adolescents who suffer physical injuries are vulnerable to emotional distress in the months following their hospitalization, yet almost 40 percent of hospitalized adolescents interviewed for a new study had no source for the follow-up medical care that could diagnose and treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress. These young trauma survivors are at risk for high levels of post-traumatic stress and depressive symptoms, as well as high levels of alcohol use, according to research by researchers at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.

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