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February 4, 2009, 5:56 AM CT

Green tea blocks benefits of cancer drug

Green tea blocks benefits of cancer drug
Contrary to popular assumptions about the health benefits of green tea, scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) have observed that the widely used supplement renders a cancer drug used to treat multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma completely ineffective in treating cancer.

The study, which observed that a component of green tea extract (GTE) called EGCG destroys any anticancer activity of the drug Velcade in tumor-bearing mice, will be published in a future print edition of the journal, Blood It is now available online at the journal's pre-publication First Edition website.

"Our finding that GTE or EGCG blocked the therapeutic action of Velcade was completely unexpected," says main author Axel H. Schnthal, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. "Our hypothesis was that GTE or EGCG would enhance the anti-tumor effects of Velcade, and that a combination of GTE with Velcade (or EGCG with Velcade) would turn out to be a superior cancer therapy as in comparison to therapy with Velcade alone."

Herbal remedies, including green tea, have become a popular remedy for cancer patients dealing with side effects of chemotherapy. However, these supplements are unregulated and, for most, their beneficial and/or detrimental effects have not been qualified through research.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 4, 2009, 5:50 AM CT

Cost of methamphetamine abuse

Cost of methamphetamine abuse
The economic cost of methamphetamine use in the United States reached $23.4 billion in 2005, including the burden of addiction, premature death, drug therapy and a number of other aspects of the drug, as per a new RAND Corporation study.

The RAND study is the first effort to construct a comprehensive national assessment of the costs of the methamphetamine problem in the United States.

"Our findings show that the economic burden of methamphetamine abuse is substantial," said Nancy Nicosia, the study's main author and an economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.

Eventhough methamphetamine causes some unique harms, the study finds that a number of of the primary issues that account for the burden of methamphetamine use are similar to those identified in economic assessments of other illicit drugs.

Given the uncertainty in estimating the costs of methamphetamine use, scientists created a range of estimates. The lowest estimate for the cost of methamphetamine use in 2005 was $16.2 billion, while $48.3 billion was the highest estimate. Researchers' best estimate of the overall economic burden of methamphetamine use is $23.4 billion.

The study was sponsored by the Meth Project Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to reducing first-time methamphetamine use. Additional support was provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 3, 2009, 6:26 AM CT

Maternal drinking and behavioral dysfunction in children

Maternal drinking and behavioral dysfunction in children
While a number of people are aware that drinking during pregnancy can lead to a range of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs), including the serious Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), linkages between maternal-drinking measures and child outcomes have been inconsistent. Scientists have now designed a "metric" or combination of measures that appear better able than individual measures to predict prenatal neurobehavioral dysfunction and deficits in children.

Results would be reported in the recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

"The number of children being born with FAS remains unnecessarily high," said Lisa M. Chiodo, a researcher at Wayne State University and corresponding author for the study. "In part this is because it is difficult to identify patterns of drinking during pregnancy that put women's children at risk for FAS and other FASDs".

Chiodo said that eventhough there are several measures of maternal drinking during pregnancy, their ability to predict child outcomes especially cognitive and behavioral problems has been inconsistent. "We thought that combining a number of of the clinical and research measures of alcohol drinking into a single metric might help us find every child in our study who had been exposed to levels of alcohol that put them at risk," she said.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more


February 3, 2009, 6:21 AM CT

How fast will you lose your memory?

How fast will you lose your memory?
While a higher level of education may help lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease, new research shows that once educated people start to become forgetful, a higher level of education does not appear to protect against how fast they will lose their memory. The research is reported in the February 3, 2009, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

In the study, researchers tested the thinking skills of 6,500 people with an average age of 72 from the Chicago area with different levels of education. The education level of people in the study ranged from eight years of school or fewer to 16 or more years of schooling. Interviews and tests about memory and thinking functions were given every three years for an average of 6.5 years.

At the beginning of the study, those with more education had better memory and thinking skills than those with less education. However, education was not correlation to how rapidly these skills declined during the course of the study.

The study observed that results remained the same regardless of other factors correlation to education such as occupation and race and the effects of practice with the tests.

"This is an interesting and important finding because researchers have long debated whether aging and memory loss tend to have a lesser affect on highly educated people. While education is linked to the memory's ability to function at a higher level, we found no link between higher education and how fast the memory loses that ability," says study author Robert S. Wilson, PhD, with the Alzheimer's Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


February 3, 2009, 6:18 AM CT

Get excess salt out of our diet

Get excess salt out of our diet
Added salt in our diets is unnecessary and contributes to health problems such as high blood pressure and strokes, write Dr. Ken Flegel and Dr. Peter Magner and the CMAJ editorial team http://www.cmaj.ca/press/pg263.pdf. Consumers must be vigilant, read food labels, avoid food with high salt content and demand low salt food in stores and restaurants.

"Of the estimated one billion people living with hypertension, about 30% can attribute it to excess salt intake," write the authors. They note that populations, such as the Yanomami Indians in South America, with very low levels of salt intake do not have hypertension. In contrast, Japan, with a salt intake of 15 g per person, has high rates of high blood pressure and the highest stroke rates in the industrialized world.

They recommend a maximum daily intake of 2.8 g for active young people and 2.2 for elderly adults.

"The correct default should be no added salt in food we purchase, leaving those who still wish to do so free to indulge at their own risk," the authors conclude.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


February 3, 2009, 6:08 AM CT

Skin cancer risk from beach vacations

Skin cancer risk from beach vacations
PHILADELPHIA Vacationing at the shore led to a 5 percent increase in nevi (more usually called "moles") among 7-year-old children, as per a paper published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Number of nevi is the major risk factor for cancerous melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Melanoma rates have been rising dramatically over recent decades. More than 62,000 Americans are diagnosed with melanoma each year and more than 8,000 die.

The study was conducted among children who lived in Colorado, but main author Lori Crane, Ph.D., M.P.H., chair of the Department of Community and Behavioral Health at the Colorado School of Public Health, said the findings are applicable worldwide.

"Parents of young children need to be cautious about taking their kids on vacations that are going to be sun-intensive at waterside locations, where people are outside for whole days at a time in skin-exposing swimsuits," said Crane.

Crane said parents often mistakenly think that sunscreen is a cure-all. Eventhough it does offer some protection, the likelihood is that children stay out in the sun longer, thus increasing their risk.

"We recommend that, for young children, parents keep the kids involved in indoor activities from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to decrease risk, or if they are to be outside, that they wear shirts with sleeves," said Crane.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


February 3, 2009, 6:06 AM CT

Seniors in Medicare's doughnut hole

Seniors in Medicare's doughnut hole
Beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part D who reached a gap in health care coverage known as the "doughnut hole" were much less likely to use prescription drugs than those with an employer-based plan, as per a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health study. The findings, reported in the Feb. 3 online issue of Health Affairs, raise concerns about health consequences and increased costs from hospitalizations and doctor visits that may arise from lack of coverage. To protect seniors, the authors suggest a change in policy that would mandate the coverage of generic drugs in the doughnut hole through a modest increase in initial prescription co-pays.

Medicare Part D, which offers prescription drug coverage for Medicare beneficiaries, took effect in January 2006. A controversial aspect of its design is the doughnut hole, a gap in coverage of prescription drugs that in 2006 occurred when annual individual drug expenditures reached $2,250. The purpose of the annual spending cap is to keep the cost of the program within federally approved limits. Since its inception, "there have been few studies to tell us what happens to beneficiaries once they enter the doughnut hole," said the study's main author, Yuting Zhang, Ph.D., assistant professor of health economics at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 30, 2009, 6:31 AM CT

Tom Cruise smile comes with a price

Tom Cruise smile comes with a price
This is a person receiving a UV light-assisted tooth bleaching treatment.

Credit: Ellen Bruzell, Nordic Institute of Dental Materials

UV light-enhanced tooth bleaching is not only a con, but is dangerous to your eyes and skin, says a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

The light therapy gives absolutely no benefit over bleaching without UV, and damages skin and eyes up to four times as much as sunbathing, reports a study in Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences

Those looking to match Tom Cruise's glittering pearly-whites would be better off ignoring claims of better bleaching with UV light therapy.

The therapy is at least as damaging to skin and eyes as sunbathing in Hyde Park for a midsummer's afternoon one lamp actually gave four times that level of radiation exposure.

And as with sunbathing, fair-skinned or light-sensitive people are at even greater risk, said main author Ellen Bruzell of the Nordic Institute of Dental Materials.

Bruzell also observed that bleaching damaged teeth. She saw more exposed grooves on the enamel surface of bleached teeth than on unbleached teeth. These grooves make the teeth more vulnerable to mechanical stress.

Tooth bleaching is one of the most popular cosmetic dental therapys available. It uses a bleaching agent commonly hydrogen peroxide to remove stains such as those from red wine, tea and coffee, and smoking.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 30, 2009, 6:20 AM CT

Exercise for chronic back and neck pain

Exercise for chronic back and neck pain
Exercise is usually used to improve physical function, decrease symptoms and minimize disability caused by chronic low back or neck pain. Numerous randomized trials and clinical practice guidelines have supported this practice, and studies suggest that individually tailored, supervised exercise programs are linked to the best outcomes.

Nevertheless, there is a lack of knowledge about exercise prescription, including who is prescribing it, who is getting it and what type of exercise is being prescribed. A newly released study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, examined these questions and observed that exercise appears to be underutilized for chronic back and neck pain. The study was reported in the recent issue of Arthritis Care & Research (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/77005015/home).

Led by Timothy S. Carey and Janet K. Freburger of the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, scientists conducted a telephone survey of almost 700 individuals with chronic back or neck pain who saw a physician, chiropractor and/or physical therapist (PT) during the prior 12 months. They asked participants whether they were prescribed exercise, the amount of supervision received, and the type, duration and frequency of the prescribed exercise.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 30, 2009, 5:58 AM CT

Who might be interested in whom

Who might be interested in whom
When it comes to assessing the romantic playing field -- who might be interested in whom -- men and women were shown to be equally good at gauging men's interest during an Indiana University study involving speed dating -- and equally bad at judging women's interest.

Scientists expected women to have a leg up in judging romantic interest, because theoretically they have more to lose from a bad relationship, but no such edge was found.

"The hardest-to-read women were being misperceived at a much higher rate than the hardest-to-read men. Those women were being flirtatious, but it turned out they weren't interested at all," said main author Skyler Place, a doctoral student in IU's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences working with cognitive science Professor Peter Todd. "Nobody could really read what these deceptive females were doing, including other women."

Place's study, reported in the recent issue of the journal Psychological Science, focused on the ability of observers to judge romantic interest between others because this ability has evolutionary benefits when it comes to finding a mate. Decisions that other people around us make, said Place, can influence or inform our own choices.

"So, if you walk into a room and there's 20 people you've never met before, being able to know which individuals might be available and which are clearly smitten by others can make you more efficient in finding your own romantic interest to pursue," he said.........

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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