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March 23, 2009, 10:09 PM CT

Read meat consumption may be dangerous

Read meat consumption may be dangerous
Individuals who eat more red meat and processed meat appear to have a modestly increased risk of death from all causes and also from cancer or heart disease over a 10-year period, as per a report in the March 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. In contrast, a higher intake of white meat appeared to be linked to a slightly decreased risk for overall death and cancer death.

"Meat intake varies substantially around the world, but the impact of consuming higher levels of meat in relation to chronic disease mortality [death] is ambiguous," the authors write as background information in the article.

Rashmi Sinha, Ph.D., and his colleagues at the National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Md., assessed the association between meat intake and risk of death among more than 500,000 individuals who were part of the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. Participants, who were between 50 and 71 years old when the study began in 1995, provided demographic information and completed a food frequency questionnaire to estimate their intake of white, red and processed meats. They were then followed for 10 years through Social Security Administration Death Master File and National Death Index databases.

During the follow-up period, 47,976 men and 23,276 women died. The one-fifth of men and women who ate the most red meat (a median or midpoint of 62.5 grams per 1,000 calories per day) had a higher risk for overall death, death from heart disease and death from cancer than the one-fifth of men and women who ate the least red meat (a median of 9.8 grams per 1,000 calories per day), as did the one-fifth of men and women who ate the most vs. the least amount of processed meat (a median of 22.6 grams vs. 1.6 grams per 1,000 calories per day).........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 23, 2009, 10:03 PM CT

Vitamin D supplements leads to improved bone health

Vitamin D supplements leads to improved bone health
Oral vitamin D supplements at a dose of at least 400 international units per day are linked to a reduced risk of bone fractures in elderly adults, as per results of a meta-analysis reported in the March 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"The anti-fracture benefits of vitamin D have been questioned by several recent trials, leading to uncertainty among patients and physicians regarding recommendations for vitamin D supplementation," the authors write as background information in the article. "Factors that may obscure a benefit of vitamin D are low adherence to therapy, low dose of vitamin D or the use of less potent ergocalciferol (vitamin D2)".

Heike A. Bischoff-Ferrari, Dr.P.H., of the University of Zurich, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland, and his colleagues performed a meta-analysis on 12 previously published clinical trials of oral vitamin D supplements among adults age 65 or older. These double-blind randomized controlled trials involved 42,279 participants (average age 78) and looked at non-vertebral (non-spinal) fractures, including eight trials of 40,886 participants specifically studying hip fractures.

When the results of the trials were pooled, vitamin D supplements decreased the risk of non-vertebral fractures by 14 percent and of hip fractures by 9 percent. The authors then pooled the results of only the nine trials in which participants received doses of more than 400 international units per day. At this dosage, vitamin D supplements reduced non-vertebral fractures by 20 percent and hip fractures by 18 percent. Doses of 400 international units per day or lower did not reduce the risk of either fracture type. A greater reduction in risk was also seen among trial participants whose blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (a usually used measure of blood vitamin D levels) achieved a greater increase.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 23, 2009, 9:58 PM CT

Do you have a family history of blood clots?

Do you have a family history of blood clots?
Children and siblings of those with venous thrombosis, or blood clots in the veins, appear to have more than double the risk of developing the condition than those without a family history, as per a report in the March 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Venous thrombosis typically begins in leg veins, eventhough the clot may subsequently break off and travel to the lungs. Several genetic risk factors have been identified that increase risk, as per background information in the article. Carriers of these factors have an additional elevated risk when exposed to an environmental risk factor such as surgical therapy, injury, a period of immobilization or the use of oral contraceptives. "Because universal screening is not cost-effective, research efforts are focused on selection criteria that appears to be used to increase the chance of finding a genetic risk factor," the authors write. "Family history is an evident candidate".

Irene D. Bezemer, M.Sc., and his colleagues at Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands, collected blood samples and information about family history and environmental risk factors from 1,605 patients who had experienced their first clot between 1999 and 2004. Their data was compared with that of 2,159 control participants who were the same sex and age but had not had venous thrombosis.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 22, 2009, 9:54 PM CT

Acetaldehyde in alcohol

Acetaldehyde in alcohol
A newly released study published recently in the journal Addiction shows that drinking alcohol is the greatest risk factor for acetaldehyde-related cancer. Heavy drinkers appears to be at increased risk due to exposure from multiple sources.

Acetaldehyde is ubiquitous in daily life. Widely present in the environment, it is inhaled from the air and tobacco smoke, ingested from alcohol and foods, and produced in the human body during the metabolism of alcoholic beverages. Research indicates that this organic chemical plays a significant role in the development of certain types of cancers (particularly of the upper digestive tract), and it is currently classified as possibly carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization. New research from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto and the Chemical and Veterinary Investigation Laboratory Karlsruhe (CVUA) in Gera number of recently provided the necessary methodology for calculating the risk for the ingestion of alcoholic beverages.

The research team observed that risk from ingesting acetaldehyde via alcoholic beverages alone may exceed usual safety limits for heavy drinkers. Their risk evaluation study observed that the average exposure to acetaldehyde from alcoholic beverages resulted in a life-time cancer risk of 7.6/10,000, with higher risk scenarios (e.g. contaminations in unrecorded alcohol) in the range of 1 in 1,000. As such, the life-time cancer risks for acetaldehyde from ingestion of alcoholic beverages greatly exceed the usual limits for cancer risks from the environment.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 19, 2009, 5:13 AM CT

Few friends combined with loneliness

Few friends combined with loneliness
Eventhough not having a number of close friends contributes to poorer health for a number of elderly adults, those who also feel lonely face even greater health risks, research at the University of Chicago suggests. Older people who are able to adjust to being alone don't have the same health problems.

The study is the first to examine the relationships between health and two different types of isolation. Scientists measured the degree to which elderly adults are socially connected and socially active. They also assessed whether elderly adults feel lonely and whether they expect that friends and family would help them in times of need.

"Social disconnectedness is linked to worse physical health, regardless of whether it prompts feelings of loneliness or a perceived lack of social support," said co-author of study Linda Waite, the Lucy Flower Professor in Sociology at the University of Chicago and a leading expert on aging.

However, the scientists found a different relationship between social isolation and mental health. "The relationship between social disconnectedness and mental health appears to operate through feelings of loneliness and a perceived lack of social support," Waite explained.

Elderly adults who feel most isolated report 65 percent more depressive symptoms than those who feel least isolated, regardless of their actual levels of connectedness. The consequences of poor mental health can be substantial, as deteriorating mental health also reduces people's willingness to exercise and may increase health-risk behaviors such as cigarette smoking and alcohol use, Waite explained.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 18, 2009, 5:06 AM CT

Mussels glue for faster surgical wound healing

Mussels glue for faster surgical wound healing
Using the natural glue that marine mussels use to stick to rocks, and a variation on the inkjet printer, a team of scientists led by North Carolina State University has devised a new way of making medical adhesives that could replace traditional sutures and result in less scarring, faster recovery times and increased precision for exacting operations such as eye surgery.

Traditionally, there have been two ways to join tissue together in the wake of a surgery: sutures and synthetic adhesives. Sutures work well, but require enormous skill and longer operating times. Additionally, the use of sutures is linked to many surgical complications, including discomfort, infection and inflammation. Synthetic adhesives are also widely used, but they are the source of increasing concerns over their toxicological and environmental effects. One such concern with some synthetic medical adhesives is that because they are not biodegradable they do not break down in the body and therefore may cause inflammation, tissue damage, or other problems.

But new research shows that adhesive proteins found in the "glue" produced by marine mussels appears to be used in place of the synthetic adhesives without these concerns, because they are non-toxic and biodegradable, as per co-author of study Dr. Roger Narayan. In addition, the mussel proteins can be placed in solution and applied using inkjet technology to create customized medical adhesives, which may have a host of applications. For example, Narayan says this technique may "significantly improve wound repair in eye surgery, wound closure and fracture fixation." Narayan is an associate professor in the joint biomedical engineering department of NC State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 10, 2009, 10:59 PM CT

Impact of nurse practitioners prescriptions

Impact of nurse practitioners prescriptions
Family nurse practitioners need to be more aware of the commercial pressures they face as a result of their increased involvement in prescribing, as per a survey reported in the recent issue of the UK-based Journal of Advanced Nursing

"Our detailed study of 84 family nurse practitioners (FNPs) showed low awareness of how marketing by pharmaceutical companies affects clinical decisions and creates conflicts of interest" says Dr Nancy Crigger, from William Jewell College, Missouri, USA.

"However they were clear that some marketing activities, promotional items and gifts.

were less ethical and acceptable than others. For example, gifts that benefited patients and conferences were more acceptable than resort seminars and office equipment".

Dr Crigger, herself a qualified FNP, adds: "The influence of marketing on doctor prescribing has been widely researched and this indicates that the more involved physicians are in marketing, the less likely they are to recognise when their clinical judgement has been compromised.

"Our study suggests that the same is now happening to FNPs who have been given greater responsibility for prescribing some types of medication." .

Key findings from the survey included:.
  • 5% admitted that pharmaceutical reps influenced their prescribing and 26% said they did not, with the vast majority answering sometimes. However they said that other FNP colleagues (18%) and physicians (25%) were more likely to be influenced than them.........

    Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 10, 2009, 10:56 PM CT

Migraines, pregnancy and risk of stroke

Migraines, pregnancy and risk of stroke
Women who suffer migraines are at an increased risk of stroke during pregnancy as well as other vascular conditions such as heart disease, hypertension and blood clots, concludes a study published on bmj.com today.

Migraine headache occurs in up to 26% of women of childbearing age and around one third of women aged between 35 and 39. Eventhough it is very common in this age group, little is known about the prevalence of migraine during pregnancy.

So in the largest study of its kind, scientists in the United States set out to test the association between migraine and vascular diseases during pregnancy.

Using a national database of over 18 million hospital discharge records, they identified 33,956 pregnancy related discharges with a diagnosis of migraine from 2000 to 2003.

Older women (40 years of age or more) were 2.4 times more likely to have a diagnosis of migraines than women under 20 years of age, and white women were more likely to have a diagnosis of migraines than any other race or ethnicity.

Migraines during pregnancy were associated with a 15-fold increased risk of stroke. Migraines also tripled the risk of blood clots in the veins and doubled the risk of heart disease. Vascular risk factors were also strongly linked to migraines. These included diabetes, hypertension and cigarette smoking.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 6, 2009, 9:33 PM CT

How a parent's depression affects children

How a parent's depression affects children
Life is hard for the children of a parent suffering from depression. Children take on an enormous amount of responsibility for the ill parent and for other family members. It is therefore important for the health services to be aware of this and have support functions in place for the whole family, and not just for the person who is ill. This is the conclusion of a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Registered Nurse Britt Hedman Ahlstrm has examined the way in which family life is affected when a parent is suffering from depression. Nine families, including ten children and young adults between the ages of 5 and 26, and eleven parents were included in the study.

The results show how the family's daily life changes and becomes more complicated when a parent is suffering from depression. Uncertainty about what is happening has an effect on the daily life of the entire family. Depression also means that the parent becomes tired and exhausted, which then affects and weighs heavily on the children's daily life. Depression changes the relationship between a parent and his/her children, since they no longer communicate with each other as they used to. Family interplay and reciprocity decrease. The depressed parent withdraws from the family, and the children feel that they have been left to themselves.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 6, 2009, 9:30 PM CT

To get the full picture

To get the full picture
During the course of a hospitalization, patients are seen by a variety of specialists in addition to the doctor who has primary responsibility for their care. However, faulty communication, inappropriate timing, inadequate details, illegibility, lost paperwork or other problems may keep the specialists' recommendations from being reviewed and implemented.

An award-winning study by Martin Were, M.D., of the Regenstrief Institute and his colleagues reports on the success of a doctor decision-support tool they developed to overcome these barriers and to complement physician-to-doctor communication processes already in place. The computer tool facilitated convenient flow of information, providing both the specialists and the patient's primary-care doctor with detailed information on the patient and the advice sought at the right time and place. They observed that when using the new computer tool, medical recommendations from geriatrics consultants were implemented 30 percent more frequently than when it was not used.

"Consulted specialists might not have the full clinical or most current picture of the patient. For example, they might not know all medications the patient is taking, the patient's allergies, or the most current results of tests ordered by others. The decision-support system provided by our computer tool eliminated these problems. We alerted the specialist when a drug he was contemplating prescribing conflicted with another medicine the patient was taking. Automatic electronic notification of the exact specialist recommendations eliminated the need for the patient's primary doctor to leaf through a thick medical file to see the specialist's recommendations and the details of these recommendations. The tool also lets the specialists know if their recommendations have been implemented by the patient's primary doctor. All these benefits can be very important for patient safety," said Dr. Were, who is an internist.........

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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