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December 7, 2010, 7:06 AM CT

Questions about genetic testing of newborns

Questions about genetic testing of newborns
Required genetic screening of newborns for rare diseases is creating unexpected upheaval for families whose infants test positive for risk factors but show no immediate signs of the diseases, a new UCLA study warns.

"Eventhough newborn screening undoubtedly saves lives, some families are thrown on a journey of great uncertainty," said UCLA sociology professor Stefan Timmermans, the study's main author. "Rather than providing clear-cut diagnoses, screening of an entire population has created ambiguity about whether infants truly have a disease and even what the disease is." .

The study, which appears in the recent issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, describes these families as "the collateral damage of newborn screening," an unanticipated consequence of the expansion of required screening for a wide range of conditions in 2005.

"Basically you're telling families of a newborn, 'Congratulations, but your child may have a rare genetic condition. We just don't know, and we don't know when we'll know,'" Timmermans said.

Conducted with Mara Buchbinder, who earned a doctorate in anthropology at UCLA and is now an assistant professor of social medicine at the University of North CarolinaChapel Hill, the study paints a picture of families caught in limbo as they wait months for conclusive evidence that their children are out of the woods for conditions that have been linked to schizophrenia, mental retardation, heart and lung disease, coma and sudden death.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


November 30, 2010, 7:52 AM CT

Belly fat puts women at risk for osteoporosis

Belly fat puts women at risk for osteoporosis
For years, it was believed that obese women were at lower risk for developing osteoporosis, and that excess body fat actually protected against bone loss. However, a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) observed that having too much internal abdominal fat may, in fact, have a damaging effect on bone health.

"We know that obesity is a major public health problem," said the study's main author, Miriam A. Bredella, M.D., a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and assistant professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "Now we know that abdominal obesity needs to be included as a risk factor for osteoporosis and bone loss." .

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 72 million American adults are considered obese. The CDC defines obesity as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. Obesity is linked to a number of health problems including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma, sleep apnea and joint diseases. Yet despite all the health issues, it was usually accepted that women with increased body weight were at lower risk for bone loss.

But not all body fat is the same. Subcutaneous fat lies just below the skin, and visceral or intra-abdominal fat is located deep under the muscle tissue in the abdominal cavity. Genetics, diet and exercise are all contributors to the level of visceral fat that is stored in the body. Excess visceral fat is considered especially dangerous, because in prior studies it has been linked to increased risk for heart disease.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 30, 2010, 7:51 AM CT

Acupuncture changes brain's perception of pain

Acupuncture changes brain's perception of pain
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), scientists have captured pictures of the brain while patients experienced a pain stimulus with and without acupuncture to determine acupuncture's effect on how the brain processes pain. Results of the study, which the scientists say suggest the effectiveness of acupuncture, were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"Until now, the role of acupuncture in the perception and processing of pain has been controversial," said lead researcher Nina Theysohn, M.D., from the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology and Neuroradiology at University Hospital in Essen, Gera number of. "Functional MRI gives us the opportunity to directly observe areas of the brain that are activated during pain perception and see the variances that occur with acupuncture".

fMRI measures the tiny metabolic changes that take place in an active part of the brain, while a patient performs a task or is exposed to a specific external stimulus.

In the study, conducted in close collaboration with the Department of Complementary and Integrative Medicine at University of Duisburg-Essen, 18 healthy volunteers underwent fMRI while an electrical pain stimulus was attached to the left ankle. Acupuncture needles were then placed at three places on the right side, including between the toes, below the knee, and near the thumb. With the needles in place, fMRI was repeated while electrical currents were again directed at the left ankle. The scientists then compared the images and data obtained from the fMRI sessions with no acupuncture to those of the fMRI sessions with acupuncture.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 23, 2010, 7:51 AM CT

Role of dietitians in diabetes management

Role of dietitians in diabetes management
St. Louis, MO, November 23, 2010 Proper nutrition treatment is essential for the successful management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and registered dietitians (RDs) can play a key role as part of the health care team. An article in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reviews the evidence and nutrition practice recommendations presented in the American Dietetic Association Nutrition Practice Guidelines for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in Adults. This complete and systematic review presents 29 key nutrition practice guidelines in order to best support people with diabetes.

As per Marion J Franz, MS, RD, main author and noted nutrition consultant, "This publication has evaluated the process for developing the guidelines, identified major and contributing factors for diabetes nutrition treatment, evaluated and summarized research, and stated the nutrition practice recommendations that are to be integrated into the nutrition care process. The nutrition practice guidelines provide recommendations for assessing client/patient needs and for selecting interventions, monitoring and evaluating outcomes. The evidence is strong that medical nutrition treatment provided by RDs is an effective and essential treatment in the management of diabetes. RDs are uniquely skilled in this process".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 18, 2010, 7:03 AM CT

US adults most likely to forgo care due to cost

US adults most likely to forgo care due to cost
A new 11-country survey from The Commonwealth Fund finds that adults in the United States are far more likely than those in 10 other industrialized nations to go without health care because of costs, have trouble paying medical bills, encounter high medical bills even when insured, and have disputes with their insurers or discover insurance wouldn't pay as they expected. As per the report, the findings highlight the need for Affordable Care Act reforms that will ensure access to health care, protect people from medical debt, and simplify health insurance.

The U.S. stands out for the most negative insurance-related experiences. One third (33%) of U.S. adults went without recommended care, did not see a doctor when sick, or failed to fill prescriptions because of costs, in comparison to as few as 5 percent to 6 percent in the Netherlands and the U.K., as per the study published recently as a Health Affairs Web First article. In addition, one-fifth of U.S. adults had major problems paying medical bills, in comparison to 9 percent in France, the next highest country, 2 percent in the U.K., 3 percent in Gera number of, and 4 percent in the Netherlands. Uninsured and insured U.S. adults reported equally high rates of out-of-pocket costs, with one-third (35%) of U.S. adults paying $1,000 or more out-of-pocket in the past year for medical bills, significantly higher than all of the other countries.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 16, 2010, 7:02 AM CT

Rational family structure dominates

Rational family structure dominates
Couples do not live together for traditional or romantic reasons.

Credit: University of Gothenburg

ntellectual and social. The nuclear family still holds a strong position in Sweden. Some 70 percent of the population live in a nuclear family, shows research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

A number of families today consist of networks of various people that include a whole host of constellations, without being a nuclear family.

Family scientists are at any rate pleased at the break up of the nuclear family, and the late 20th century is of particular interest to those who specialise in to family research.



Not giving enough


"The number of divorces in Sweden and other countries increased dramatically during the 1960s and 70s. A new form of relationship began to emerge in modern society, with people no longer forming partnerships and living together for traditional or romantic reasons. The new relationship takes a rational approach, where people ask what the relationship is giving them and what they get in exchange emotionally, financially, intellectually and socially. The answer often shows that the relationship is not giving enough in return, which explains the increase in the number of divorces in our part of the world, with reference to research carried out by the English sociologist Anthony Giddens and others," says Thomas Johansson, Professor of education specialising in child and youth studies at the Department of Education, Communication and Learning.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 12, 2010, 7:38 AM CT

Alcohol damages much more than the liver

Alcohol damages much more than the liver
Alcohol does much more harm to the body than just damaging the liver. Drinking also can weaken the immune system, slow healing, impair bone formation, increase the risk of HIV transmission and hinder recovery from burns, trauma, bleeding and surgery.

Scientists released the latest findings on such negative effects of alcohol during a meeting Nov. 19 of the Alcohol and Immunology Research Interest Group, held at Loyola University Medical Center.

At Loyola, about 50 faculty members, technicians, post-doctoral fellows and students are conducting alcohol research. Studies at Loyola and other centers could lead to therapies to boost the immune system or otherwise minimize the effects of alcohol, said Elizabeth J. Kovacs, PhD, director of Loyola's Alcohol Research Program and associate director of Loyola's Burn & Shock Trauma Institute.

"Of course, the best way to prevent the damaging effects of alcohol is to not drink in the first place," Kovacs said. "But it is very difficult to get people to do this".

Sessions at the conference included Alcohol and Infection, Alcohol and Oxidative Stress and Alcohol and Organ Inflammation. Findings were presented by scientists from centers around the country, including Loyola, Cleveland Clinic, University of Iowa, University of Colorado, University of Massachusetts, Mississippi State University, Chicago State University and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 12, 2010, 7:08 AM CT

Yoga's ability to improve mood and lessen anxiety

Yoga's ability to improve mood and lessen anxiety
New Rochelle, NY, November 11, 2010Yoga has a greater positive effect on a person's mood and anxiety level than walking and other forms of exercise, which appears to be due to higher levels of the brain chemical GABA as per an article in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a peer-evaluated journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The article is available free online.

Yoga has been shown to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, a chemical in the brain that helps to regulate nerve activity. GABA activity is reduced in people with mood and anxiety disorders, and drugs that increase GABA activity are usually prescribed to improve mood and decrease anxiety.

Tying all of these observations together, the study by Chris Streeter, MD, from Boston University School of Medicine (Massachusetts) and his colleagues demonstrates that increased GABA levels measured after a session of yoga postures are linked to improved mood and decreased anxiety. Their findings establish a new link between yoga, higher levels of GABA in the thalamus, and improvements in mood and anxiety based on psychological evaluations. The authors suggest that the practice of yoga stimulates specific brain areas, thereby giving rise to changes in endogenous antidepressant neurotransmitters such as GABA.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 11, 2010, 8:00 AM CT

Citywide smoking ban is effective

Citywide smoking ban is effective
New research released recently takes a look at birth outcomes and maternal smoking, building urgency for more states and cities to join the nationwide smoke-free trend that has accelerated in recent years. As per the new data, strong smoke-free policies can improve fetal outcomes by significantly reducing the prevalence of maternal smoking.

The study, which was presented today at the American Public Health Association's 138th Annual Meeting & Exposition in Denver, compared maternal smoking prevalence in one Colorado city where a smoking ban has already been implemented to that of a neighboring city where there is no ordinance.

Scientists from the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy collected data from mothers residing in Pueblo, Colo., before and after a citywide smoking ban took effect. Results show a 23 percent decrease in the odds of preterm births and a 37 percent decrease in the odds of maternal smoking in Pueblo following the ban. Birth outcomes in El Paso County, Colo., however, showed no such drop during the same time period. Findings in this first-ever study in United States reflect similar findings as national data from Dublin, Ireland.

The study suggests that smoking bans have a significant and immediate positive impact on the health of infants and mothers. Pre-term babies stand a greater likelihood of experiencing cardiovascular issues during the later part of life.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 11, 2010, 7:43 AM CT

Needs of Rural-Dwelling Elderly

Needs of Rural-Dwelling Elderly
A novel project set in a rural community near Rochester, N.Y., to screen elderly people for unmet needs showed that, indeed, there is a great opportunity to match elderly adults with professional assistance.

The University of Rochester Medical Center, Livingston County Department of Health and Office for the Aging, and the Genesee Valley Health Partnership collaborated to create this program, called Livingston Help for Seniors. They describe this new model of care for rural-dwelling adults in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

In one instance, a diabetic who did not own a refrigerator to store insulin was provided a new appliance; other examples included linking patients to professionals who could assist them with paperwork, home weatherization, and unanswered medical questions.

A unique aspect of the program was the use of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) technicians to evaluate older people who live at home for common problems such as falls, depression, or management of medications, said the study's main author Manish N. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of Emergency Medicine, Geriatrics and Community and Preventive Medicine at URMC.

"Despite frequent contact with their primary doctors, older adults often have unmet needs that can only be identified in a home visit," Shah said. "The EMS system has not traditionally served a public health function, but we believe it has significant potential, particularly in rural areas where health care resources are scarce".........

Posted by: Janet      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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