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January 23, 2009, 6:28 AM CT

Better methods to quit smoking

Better methods to quit smoking
Scientists from the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies led by Dr Linda Bauld at Bath, along with colleagues from the University of Glasgow, have published research in the recent issue of Addiction journal comparing the success and cost-effectiveness of two types of stop smoking support services offered by the NHS. These are community-based group stop smoking support and one-to-one support provided in a pharmacy setting.

The study, funded by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Health Scotland, observed that more than a third of smokers using support groups quit smoking after four weeks; almost double the proportion of those using a pharmacy-based support scheme to help them quit.

Dr Linda Bauld said: "Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the UK, and the single biggest cause of inequalities in health.

"These findings agree with prior research which shows that smokers who used a support group were more likely to quit. But we know that only a very small proportion of smokers using NHS stop smoking services in the UK use this form of help.

"We need to get the message across that group support, combined with stop smoking medications, works well for a number of people.

"However, we observed that both types of service in Glasgow are reaching and treating smokers from disadvantaged areas in substantial numbers, which is extremely encouraging and will contribute to efforts to reduce inequalities in health".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 23, 2009, 6:06 AM CT

Do video games make you socially crippled?

Do video games make you socially crippled?
A newly released study connects young adults' use of video games to poorer relationships with friends and family and the student co-author expresses disappointment at his own findings.

Brigham Young University undergrad Alex Jensen and his faculty mentor, Laura Walker, publish their results Jan. 23 in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence

The research is based on information collected from 813 college students around the country. As the amount of time playing video games went up, the quality of relationships with peers and parents went down.

"It appears to be that young adults remove themselves from important social settings to play video games, or that people who already struggle with relationships are trying to find other ways to spend their time," Walker said. "My guess is that it's some of both and becomes circular".

For the record, Walker did not stand in the way of her family's wish for a Nintendo Wii. Jensen had hoped to find some positive results as justification for playing Madden NFL.

Study participants reported how often they play video games. They also answered a battery of questions measuring relationship quality, including how much time, trust, support and affection they share with friends and parents.

But the scientists say video games do not themselves mean "game over" for a relationship because the connection they found is modest.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 20, 2009, 7:28 PM CT

Is genetic theory of inheritance incorrect?

Is genetic theory of inheritance incorrect?
Scientists at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have detected evidence that DNA may not be the only carrier of heritable information; a secondary molecular mechanism called epigenetics may also account for some inherited traits and diseases. These findings challenge the fundamental principles of genetics and inheritance, and potentially provide a new insight into the primary causes of human diseases.

Your mother's eyes, your father's height, your predisposition to disease-- these are traits inherited from your parents. Traditionally, 'heritability' is estimated by comparing monozygotic (genetically identical) twins to dizygotic (genetically different) twins. A trait or disease is called heritable if monozygotic twins are more similar to each other than dizygotic twins. In molecular terms, heritability has traditionally been attributed to variations in the DNA sequence.

CAMH's Dr. Art Petronis, head of the Krembil Family Epigenetics Laboratory, and his team conducted a comprehensive epigenetic analysis of 100 sets of monozygotic and dizygotic twins in the first study of its kind. Said Dr. Petronis, "We investigated molecules that attach to DNA and regulate various gene activities. These DNA modifications are called epigenetic factors."

The CAMH study showed that epigenetic factors acting independently from DNA were more similar in monozygotic twins than dizygotic twins. This finding suggests that there is a secondary molecular mechanism of heredity. The epigenetic heritability may help explain currently unclear issues in human disease, such as the presence of a disease in only one monozygotic twin, the different susceptibility of males (e.g. to autism) and females (e.g. to lupus), significant fluctuations in the course of a disease (e.g. bipolar disorder, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis), among numerous others.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


January 20, 2009, 7:25 PM CT

Socially active and not easily stressed?

Socially active and not easily stressed?
A newly released study shows that people who are socially active and not easily stressed appears to be less likely to develop dementia. The research is reported in the January 20, 2009, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study involves 506 older people who did not have dementia when first examined. The group was given questionnaires about their personality traits and lifestyle. The personality questions identified people with different degrees of neuroticism, a term meaning easily distressed. The questions also measured extraversion, or openness to talking to people. Those who were not easily distressed were calm and self-satisfied, whereas people who were easily distressed were emotionally unstable, negative and nervous. Outgoing people scored high on the extraversion scale and were socially active and optimistic in comparison to people with low extraversion who were reserved and introspective.

The lifestyle questionnaire determined how often each person regularly participated in leisure or organizational activities and the richness of their social network. Participants were followed for six years. During that time, 144 developed dementia.

The study observed that people who were not socially active but calm and relaxed had a 50 percent lower risk of developing dementia compared with people who were isolated and prone to distress. The dementia risk was also 50 percent lower for people who were outgoing and calm in comparison to those who were outgoing and prone to distress.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 20, 2009, 6:24 AM CT

Providing support to psoriasis patients

Providing support to psoriasis patients
Online support communities appear to offer both a valuable educational resource and a source of psychological and social support for individuals with psoriasis, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"Psoriasis currently affects approximately 0.6 percent to 4.8 percent of the world's population," as per background information in the article. In addition to causing skin and joint problems, psoriasis can also impair individuals' financial status and emotional, physical and sexual well-being. It is estimated that 10 percent of psoriasis patients have contemplated suicide. "As a result, it is a necessity to provide patients with access to psychological support".

Shereene Z. Idriss, B.A., and his colleagues at the Center for Connected Health and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, assessed perceived benefits and usage of online psoriasis support groups among 260 adults who participated in one of five such groups (average age 40). Patients' disease characteristics and demographic information were also recorded.

Participants were mostly white (75.7 percent), female (60.4 percent) and college-educated (84.3 percent). "A total of 188 (73.7 percent) reported having moderate or more severe psoriasis, and 206 (79.9 percent) rated their current general health status as average or better," the authors write.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


January 20, 2009, 6:11 AM CT

People on low-carb diets more effectively burn fat

People on low-carb diets more effectively burn fat
People on low-carbohydrate diets are more dependent on the oxidation of fat in the liver for energy than those on a low-calorie diet, scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found in a small clinical study.

The findings, reported in the journal Hepatology, could have implications for treating obesity and related diseases such as diabetes, insulin resistance and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, said Dr. Jeffrey Browning, assistant professor in the UT Southwestern Advanced Imaging Research Center and of internal medicine at the medical center.

"Instead of looking at drugs to combat obesity and the diseases that stem from it, maybe optimizing diet can not only manage and treat these diseases, but also prevent them," said Dr. Browning, the study's main author.

Eventhough the study was not designed to determine which diet was more effective for losing weight, the average weight loss for the low-calorie dieters was about 5 pounds after two weeks, while the low-carbohydrate dieters lost about 9 pounds on average.

Glucose, a form of sugar, and fat are both sources of energy that are metabolized in the liver and used as energy in the body. Glucose can be formed from lactate, amino acids or glycerol.

In order to determine how diet affects glucose production and utilization in the liver, the scientists randomly assigned 14 obese or overweight adults to either a low-carbohydrate or low-calorie diet and monitored seven lean subjects on a regular diet.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 19, 2009, 11:52 PM CT

Fingerprints of domestic violence

Fingerprints of domestic violence
Women who are victims of intimate partner violence tend to have different patterns of facial injury than women who experience facial trauma from other causes, as per a report in the January/recent issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. This information, and other key characteristics such as a delay before visiting a health care facility, could help surgeons and other physicians recognize patients who are victims of this type of abuse.

Intimate partner violenceabuse by a spouse or significant otheraffects approximately 25 percent to 33 percent of women in the United States, as per background information in the article. Between 88 percent and 94 percent of intimate partner violence victims seek medical attention for injuries to the head and neck, and 56 percent of those have facial fractures. "Because intimate partner violence accounts for 34 percent to 73 percent of facial injuries in women, facial plastic surgeons and other health care providers who treat patients with maxillofacial injuries are in a unique position to identify these victims and refer them to local domestic violence service programs for safety planning, information and referrals, support services and advocacy, depending on the victims' needs and choices," the authors write.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 19, 2009, 6:23 AM CT

Sixty million walk around with deadly heart disease mutation

Sixty million walk around with deadly heart disease mutation
Heart disease is the number one killer in the world and India carries more than its share of this burden. Moreover, the problem is set to rise: it is predicted that by 2010 India's population will suffer approximately 60% of the world's heart disease. Today, an international team of 25 researchers from four countries provides a clue to why this is so: 1% of the world's population carries a mutation almost guaranteed to lead to heart problems and most of these come from the Indian subcontinent, where the mutation reaches a frequency of 4%.

Heart disease has a number of causes, some carried in our genes and others associated with our lifestyle, but all seemingly complex, hard to pin down and incompletely understood. So the newly released study published in Nature Genetics is striking for the size and simplicity of the effect it reports.

The mutation, a deletion of 25 letters of genetic code from the heart protein gene MYBPC3, is virtually restricted to people from the Indian subcontinent. But there, Caste and Tribe, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian and others are all united by this affliction.

The mutation was discovered five years ago in two Indian families with cardiomyopathy, but its significance only became apparent after almost 1500 people from a number of parts of India, some with heart disease and some without, were studied.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


January 19, 2009, 6:18 AM CT

Does water pollution cause male infertility?

Does water pollution cause male infertility?
New research strengthens the link between water pollution and rising male fertility problems. The study, by Brunel University, the Universities of Exeter and Reading and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, shows for the first time how a group of testosterone-blocking chemicals is finding its way into UK rivers, affecting wildlife and potentially humans. The research was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council and is now reported in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives

The study identified a new group of chemicals that act as anti-androgens. This means that they inhibit the function of the male hormone, testosterone, reducing male fertility. Some of these are contained in medicines, including cancer therapys, pharmaceutical therapys, and pesticides used in agriculture. The research suggests that when they get into the water system, these chemicals may play a pivotal role in causing feminising effects in male fish.

Earlier research by Brunel University and the University of Exeter has shown how female sex hormones (estrogens), and chemicals that mimic estrogens, are leading to feminisation of male fish. Found in some industrial chemicals and the contraceptive pill, they enter rivers via sewage therapy works. This causes reproductive problems by reducing fish breeding capability and in some cases can lead to male fish changing sex.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 19, 2009, 6:16 AM CT

Some genetic mutations and childhood obesity

Some genetic mutations and childhood obesity
Three new genetic variations that increase the risk of obesity are revealed in a newly released study, published recently in the journal Nature Genetics The authors suggest that if each acted independently, these variants could be responsible for up to 50% of cases of severe obesity.

Together with existing research, the new findings should ultimately provide the tools to predict which young children are at risk of becoming obese. Health professionals could then intervene to help such children before they develop weight problems, say the scientists from Imperial College London, the French National Research Institute CNRS and other international institutions.

In the UK, one in ten children under the age of six is obese, as per the Department of Health's National Child Measurement Programme 2007/08.

For today's ten-year study, researchers looked at the genetic makeup of obese children under six and morbidly obese adults, most of whom had been obese since childhood or adolescence, and compared this with age matched people of normal weight. The study reveals three previously unidentified genetic variations that increase the risk of severe obesity significantly, giving new insight into the reasons why some people become obese and others do not.

The gene variant most strongly linked to childhood obesity and adult morbid obesity in the study is located near the PTER gene, the function of which is not known. This variant is estimated to account for up to a third of all childhood obesity, and a fifth of all cases of adult obesity.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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