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April 1, 2010, 6:33 AM CT

Direct patient access to imaging test

Direct patient access to imaging test
Providing patients with direct access to their imaging test results could improve patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes. However, physicians are concerned that it could lead to increased patient anxiety and unrealistic demands on doctor time, as per a research studyin the recent issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology (www.jacr.org).

"Patients do not receive as much medical information as they want," said Annette J. Johnson, MD, MS, main author of the study. "Given the manner in which test results are typically shared with patients (e.g., verbally, briefly, and days or weeks later), this dissatisfaction with information access is not surprising," said Johnson.

The study, performed at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC, looked at the possibility of radiologists using the Internet to communicate rapid online imaging results directly to patients. Eight radiologists and seven referring physicians took part in the study, which was made up of two focus groups.

Radiologists and referring physicians agreed that there are some potential benefits of an online system for patient access including increased patient satisfaction and the ability to offer patients hyperlinks to high quality educational material. However with regard to potential disadvantages, radiologists and referring physicians offered several.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 31, 2010, 7:53 PM CT

Flavonoids in Orange Juice

Flavonoids in Orange Juice
Eating foods containing flavonoids -- orange juice, in this case -- along with a high-fat, high-carbohydrate fast-food meal neutralizes the oxidative and inflammatory stress generated by the unhealthy food and helps prevent blood vessel damage, a newly released study by University at Buffalo endocrinologists shows.

Free radicals, or reactive oxygen species, are known to induce inflammation in blood vessel linings and contribute to the risk of heart attack and stroke. Study scientists say the potent preventative effect of orange juice likely is associated with its heavy load of the flavonoids naringenin and hesperidin, which are major antioxidants.

"Our data show, for the first time to our knowledge, that drinking orange juice with a meal high in fat and carbohydrates prevented the marked increases in reactive oxygen species and other inflammatory agents," says UB's Husam Ghanim, PhD, first author on the study.

"This did not happen when participants drank water or a sugary drink with the meal," he says. "These issues of inflammation following a meal are important because the resultant high glucose and high triglycerides are known to be correlation to the development of cardiovascular events".

Ghanim is a research assistant professor in UB's Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. The study appears in the recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and appeared online ahead of print.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 31, 2010, 7:50 PM CT

Bacon or Bagels For Your Breakfast?

Bacon or Bagels For Your Breakfast?
The age-old maxim "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper" may in fact be the best advice to follow to prevent metabolic syndrome, as per a new University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) study.

Typically metabolic syndrome is characterized by abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, insulin resistance and other cardiovascular disease-risk factors.

The study, published online March 30 in the International Journal of Obesity, examined the influence exerted by the type of foods and specific timing of intake on the development of metabolic syndrome characteristics in mice. The UAB research revealed that mice fed a meal higher in fat after waking had normal metabolic profiles. In contrast, mice that ate a more carbohydrate-rich diet in the morning and consumed a high-fat meal at the end of the day saw increased weight gain, adiposity, glucose intolerance and other markers of the metabolic syndrome.

"Studies have looked at the type and quantity of food intake, but nobody has undertaken the question of whether the timing of what you eat and when you eat it influences body weight, even though we know sleep and altered circadian rhythms influence body weight," said the study's main author Molly Bray, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology in the UAB School of Public Health.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 31, 2010, 7:40 PM CT

New brain nerve cells key to stress resilience

New brain nerve cells key to stress resilience
Southwestern Medical Center scientists have found new clues that might help explain why some people are more susceptible to stress than others.

In a study of mice, the scientists determined that weeks after experiencing a stressful event, animals that were more susceptible to stress exhibited enhanced neurogenesis the birth of new nerve cells in the brain. Specifically, the cells that these animals produced after a stressful event survived longer than new brain cells produced by mice that were more resilient.

In addition, when scientists prevented neurogenesis in both stress-susceptible and resilient mice, the animals previously susceptible to stress became more resilient.

"This work shows that there is a period of time during which it appears to be possible to alter memories relevant to a social situation by manipulating adult-generated nerve cells in the brain," said Dr. Amelia Eisch, associate professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study, available in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences "This could eventually lead to a better understanding of why, in humans, there is an enormous variety of responses to stressful situations".

Mice that are susceptible to stress exhibit long-lasting social avoidance and depressive-like behavior after experiencing a stressful event, such as being placed in a cage with a more aggressive mouse. Resilient mice behave more like unstressed control animals. This animal model is usually used in studies of stress and depression, as understanding the changes in the brain and behavior of the mice can shed light on stress-induced changes in the human brain and in human behavior.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 25, 2010, 7:57 PM CT

Talk to your babies

Talk to your babies
Northwestern University scientists have observed that even before infants begin to speak, words play an important role in their cognition. For 3-month-old infants, words influence performance in a cognitive task in a way that goes beyond the influence of other kinds of sounds, including musical tones.

The research by Alissa Ferry, Susan Hespos and Sandra Waxman in the psychology department in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, will appear in the March/April edition of the journal Child Development In the study, infants who heard words provided evidence of categorization, while infants who heard tone sequences did not.

Three-month-old infants were shown a series of pictures of fish that were paired with words or beeps. Infants in the word group were told, for example, "Look at the toma!" -- a made-up word for fish, as they viewed each picture. Other infants heard a series of beeps carefully matched to the labeling phrases for tone and duration. Then infants were shown a picture of a new fish and a dinosaur side-by-side as the scientists measured how long they looked at each picture. If the infants formed the category, they would look longer at one picture than the other.

The results, say the authors, were striking. The scientists observed that eventhough infants who heard in the word and tone groups saw exactly the same pictures for exactly the same amount of time, those who heard words formed the category fish; those who heard tones did not.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 25, 2010, 7:56 PM CT

Breast cancer and anthracyclines

Breast cancer and anthracyclines
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way of detecting which patients with breast cancer are going to respond best to chemotherapy that includes anthracycline antibiotics*.

The research, presented at the seventh European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC7) in Barcelona today (Thursday), is important because, until now, there was conflicting evidence about the best way of predicting response to anthracyclines and it was unclear whether any of the known biomarkers, such as the genes HER2 and TOP2A, were accurate indicators of response to these drugs.

By conducting a meta-analysis of four large breast cancer trials including nearly 3,000 patients, the scientists have discovered that an abnormality on chromosome 17, called CEP17, is linked to a worse outcome for patients, but also that its presence is a highly significant indicator that the tumour will respond to anthracyclines.

After adjusting for additional factors relating to the tumour and its therapy, the scientists observed that if patients with CEP17 were treated with anthracyclines, they were approximately two-thirds more likely to survive and to survive without a recurrence of cancer than those who did not receive anthracyclines (recurrence free survival was 67% and overall survival was 63%).........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 25, 2010, 7:53 PM CT

Notion of 'group think' questioned

Notion of 'group think' questioned
A University of Alberta researcher is questioning the notion of "group think" a common psychological phenomenonthat has been used to explain some of the extreme things people do once they are within the confines of a group. Rob Wilson, a professor in the Department of Philosophy, rejects the popular idea that groups tend to have a mind of their own and says the notion of a collective mind is problematic.

"Groups are not thinking entities and do not share a collective consciousness," Wilson said. "The mind does not begin or end in the skull, but it's still the mind of the individual. It is individual minds, not group minds, that exists. The idea of group minds [is] either an ontological extravagance or an outright mystery".

In addition to arguing that groups don't have minds, Wilson says also in a recently published book, Boundaries of the Mind, that groups can have positive effects on people by helping them overcome challenges in their lives. He says groups (and by his definition "group" can mean two people) can play a key role in augmenting the cognitive abilities of individuals suffering from certain diseases, and could help those trying to lose weight.

"If someone is suffering from a degenerative disease and they're with a lifelong partner, they can remember things they couldn't otherwise recall, partly because they need their partner's support to compensate for their deficits, for example," Wilson said. "Likewise, someone in a dieting class would be able to regiment themselves and stick to a plan that's more demanding, more readily if they're in a group that's doing the same thing. They get reinforcement from their group".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 24, 2010, 12:20 AM CT

Hair dye and smoking linked to liver disease

Hair dye and smoking linked to liver disease
Hair dye and smoking both increase the risk of progressive liver disease, suggests research involving around 5000 people reported in the journal Gut

Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), which is an early form of liver cirrhosis, is a long term progressive autoimmune disease, in which environmental factors are thought to play a part.

It causes the liver's plumbing system of bile ducts to become inflamed, scarred, and blocked, leading to extensive tissue damage and irreversible, and ultimately fatal, liver cirrhosis.

The authors base their findings on two series of patients, one of which included 318 out of 381 new cases of PBC arising between 1997 and 2003 in the North East of England. The other series included 2258 out of 3217 members of the United Kingdom PBC Foundation, a national support group for people with the condition.

Finally, 2438 out of 3933 people randomly selected from the electoral roll, and matched for age and sex, were used as a comparison group.

All three groups were sent detailed questionnaires on potential environmental and genetic risk factors linked to PBC.

As expected, autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid and coeliac diseases were all more common among those with PBC. And those with a family history of autoimmune disease were more likely to have PBC.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


March 24, 2010, 12:18 AM CT

Indian spice Curcumin may delay liver damage and cirrhosis

Indian spice Curcumin may delay liver damage and cirrhosis
Curcumin, one of the principal components of the Indian spice turmeric, seems to delay the liver damage that eventually causes cirrhosis, suggests preliminary experimental research in the journal Gut

Curcumin, which gives turmeric its bright yellow pigment, has long been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat a wide range of gastrointestinal disorders.

Prior research has indicated that it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which appears to be helpful in combating disease.

The research team wanted to find out if curcumin could delay the damage caused by progressive inflammatory conditions of the liver, including primary sclerosing cholangitis and primary biliary cirrhosis.

Both of these conditions, which can be sparked by genetic faults or autoimmune disease, cause the liver's plumbing system of bile ducts to become inflamed, scarred, and blocked. This leads to extensive tissue damage and irreversible and ultimately fatal liver cirrhosis.

The research team analysed tissue and blood samples from mice with chronic liver inflammation before and after adding curcumin to their diet for a period of four and a period of eight weeks.

The results were compared with the equivalent samples from mice with the same condition, but not fed curcumin.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


March 24, 2010, 12:15 AM CT

Does screening reduce breast cancer deaths?

Does screening reduce breast cancer deaths?
A study from Denmark published on bmj.com today finds no effect of the Danish screening programme on breast cancer deaths.

Similar results have been seen in other countries, including the UK, leading the authors to question whether screening has delivered the promised effect on breast cancer mortality.

A 2005 study suggested that screening had reduced breast cancer deaths by 25% in Copenhagen. But Karsten Jrgensen and Peter Gtzsche from the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen, together with Per-Henrik Zahl from Folkehelseinstituttet in Oslo, identified important problems in this study and decided to undertake a more comprehensive analysis of the data.

They compared annual changes in breast cancer deaths in two Danish regions offering publicly organised screening programmes (Copenhagen and Funen county) with non-screened regions across the rest of Denmark.

Their analysis covered 10 years after screening could have had an effect on breast cancer mortality. For comparison, they also looked at the 10-year period before screening was introduced.

Data for each area were divided into three age bands. Women aged 55-74 years, who could benefit from screening, and women aged 35-55 years and 75-84 years, who were largely unaffected by screening.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Studies in monkeys and women suggest that unlike traditional estrogen therapy, a diet high in the natural plant estrogens found in soy does not increase the risk of uterine cancer in postmenopausal women, according to Mark Cline, D.V.M., Ph.D., an associate professor of comparative medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

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