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August 26, 2010, 7:27 AM CT

Spouses do not grow more alike

Spouses do not grow more alike
Contrary to popular belief, married couples do not become more similar over time, as per a team of scientists led by Michigan State University.

Instead, people tend to pick their spouse based on shared personality traits, the scientists report in the latest issue of the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

"Existing research shows that spouses are more similar than random people," said Mikhila Humbad, lead investigator. "This could reflect spouses' influence on each other over time, or this could be what attracted them to each other in the first place. Our goal in conducting this study was to help resolve this debate".

The scientists analyzed the data of 1,296 married couples, one of the largest such studies to date, said Humbad, MSU doctoral candidate in clinical psychology. The data came from the Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research.

The scientists wanted to know if husbands and wives become more similar as the marriage progressed. They examined a host of personality characteristics and observed that, in most cases, the couples did not become more alike with more years of marriage.

The conclusion: Spousal similarity is better explained by selection than gradual convergence.

The one exception to this pattern was aggression. "It makes sense if you think about it," Humbad said. "If one person is violent, the other person may respond in a similar fashion and thus become more aggressive over time".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 26, 2010, 7:09 AM CT

Vitamin D to treat allergy in cystic fibrosis patients

Vitamin D to treat allergy in cystic fibrosis patients
Aug. 25 Vitamin D appears to be an effective treatment to treat and even prevent allergy to a common mold that can cause severe complications for patients with cystic fibrosis and asthma, as per scientists from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Louisiana State University School of Medicine.

Results of the study, led by Jay Kolls, M.D., Ph.D., a lung disease researcher at Children's Hospital and professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, are reported in the September 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation

Aspergillus fumigatus, is one of the most common airborne molds and while it does not cause illness in the vast majority of those who inhale it, it can cause life threatening allergic symptoms in patients with cystic fibrosis. As a number of as 15 percent of patients with cystic fibrosis will develop a severe allergic response, known as Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA). Some patients with asthma also can develop ABPA.

The research team led by Dr. Kolls studied cystic fibrosis patients from the Antonio J. and Janet Palumbo Cystic Fibrosis Center at Children's Hospital who had A. fumigatus infections. One group had developed ABPA, while the other hadn't. The scientists observed that the ABPA patients had a heightened response by immune cells known as type 2 T helper (Th2) cells, and that a protein known as OX40L was critical to this heightened response. The heightened Th2 response correlated with lower levels of vitamin D as compared with the non-ABPA patients. Adding vitamin D to these cells in the laboratory substantially reduced the expression of OX40L and increased the expression of other proteins critical to the development of allergen tolerance.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 25, 2010, 6:57 AM CT

Salmon baby food?

Salmon baby food?
Salmon
Has your toddler eaten fish today? A University of Illinois food science professor has two important reasons for including seafood in your young child's diet, reasons that have motivated her work in helping to develop a tasty, nutritious salmon baby food for toddlers.

"First, babies need a lot of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish for brain, nerve, and eye development, and when they switch from breast milk or formula to solid food, most of them don't get nearly enough," said Susan Brewer, also a registered dietitian.

"Second, children's food preferences are largely developed by the time they're five, so I urge parents to help their kids develop a taste for seafood early," she said.

Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, have huge health benefits and help to prevent coronary artery disease, but most adults don't eat fish twice weekly as experts recommend. In predisposing children toward liking fish, parents are doing their kids a big favor, she said.

Brewer knows her recommendations might meet with some resistance. "When we started working on salmon baby food, I thought, Ewwwh! But the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics is solidly behind the idea, and fish-based baby foods, common in Asian markets, have been marketed successfully in the United Kingdom and Italy".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 25, 2010, 6:48 AM CT

Federal school lunches linked to childhood obesity

Federal school lunches linked to childhood obesity
With children going back to school, parents are concerned that their youngsters are staying fit and eating right, particularly those who dine in a school cafeteria.

New research funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds that children who eat school lunches that are part of the federal government's National School Lunch Program are more likely to become overweight.

The same research study found, however, that children who eat both the breakfast and lunch sponsored by the federal government are less heavy than children who don't participate in either, and than children who eat only the lunch, says economist Daniel L. Millimet at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Millimet authored the study with economists Rusty Tchernis, Georgia State University, and Muna S. Hussain, Kuwait University. For a link to the journal article and to more information see http://tinyurl.com/2874wqn.

"The fact that federally funded school lunches contribute to the childhood obesity epidemic is disconcerting, eventhough not altogether surprising," said Millimet, whose research expertise is the economics of children, specifically topics correlation to schooling and health.

The newly released study was reported in the Summer issue of The Journal of Human Resources. It is titled "School Nutrition Programs and the Occurence rate of Childhood Obesity".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 25, 2010, 6:47 AM CT

Mumps Vaccine Coverage Should Be Improved

Mumps Vaccine Coverage Should Be Improved
Eventhough immunity to mumps is high in the United States, mumps vaccine coverage must be maintained and improved to prevent future outbreaks, as per a newly released study, now available online, in the September 1, 2010 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Mumps-a viral illness found in most parts of the world-can cause serious complications, including deafness, sterility, meningitis, and encephalitis. Since 1977, mumps vaccination has been recommended in the U.S. and is given as part of the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine. Two doses are currently recommended for children. By 2000, the annual number of reported U.S. mumps cases had declined to less than 500. But in 2006, the country's largest mumps outbreak in 20 years began on college campuses in Iowa and resulted in more than 6,000 reported cases. This event raised questions about how to prevent future outbreaks and about the feasibility of eliminating mumps.

To measure the U.S. population's immunity to mumps, Preeta K. Kutty, MD, MPH, and other scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) obtained blood samples from 6- to 49-year-old participants in a nationwide health survey and tested the samples for antibodies to mumps. Serum samples were tested and survey data were collected during 1999-2004 from more than 15,000 people. Scientists observed that 90 percent of the participants had antibodies to mumps; this is on the lower end of what is needed to protect the overall population through "herd immunity"-the proportion of the population that needs to be vaccinated to stop transmission of mumps.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 24, 2010, 7:16 AM CT

Media Tool Empowers Children to Skirt Alcohol

Media Tool Empowers Children to Skirt Alcohol
Playing "media detective" allows children to understand the intentions of marketers and the goals of advertising while empowering them to resist messages that encourage alcohol or tobacco use.

A study reported in the current journal Pediatrics shows that teaching children as early as third grade to be more skeptical of media messages can help prevent substance use. The study, based on the research of Erica Weintraub Austin, director of the Murrow Center for Media and Health Promotion at Washington State University, reveals that a brief, two-week course boosted the critical thinking skills of third through fifth graders and reduced their intentions to use alcohol and tobacco while increasing their belief that they will be able to resist them.

"We underestimate the extent to which young children internalize advertising messages," Austin said. "This can affect their consumer decisions later on. For example, children who associate tobacco use with popularity and independence may want to use tobacco when the opportunity arises.

"Message designers put a lot of proprietary research into making their messages appealing to young people, and children need to understand early on that messages are not always developed with their best interests in mind. This means children must and can learn to discount appeals to their emotions." .........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 24, 2010, 7:13 AM CT

Polyphenol inhibit iron absorption

Polyphenol inhibit iron absorption
Health benefits from polyphenol antioxidants substances found in a number of fruits and vegetables may come at a cost to some people. Penn State nutritional researchers observed that eating certain polyphenols decreased the amount of iron the body absorbs, which can increase the risk of developing an iron deficiency.

"Polyphenols have been known to have a number of beneficial effects for human health, such as preventing or delaying certain types of cancer, enhancing bone metabolism and improving bone mineral density, and decreasing risk of heart disease," said Okhee Han, assistant professor of nutritional sciences. "But so far, not a number of people have thought about whether or not polyphenols affect nutrient absorption".

The researchers, led by Han, studied the effects of eating grape seed extract and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) found in green tea. They used cells from the intestine where iron absorption takes place to assess the polyphenols' effect and observed that polyphenols bind to iron in the intestinal cells, forming a non-transportable complex. This iron-polyphenol complex cannot enter the blood stream. Instead, it is excreted in the feces when cells are sloughed off and replaced.

Iron is necessary to carry oxygen from the lungs throughout the body and for other cellular functions. People already at risk for iron deficiency increase that risk if they consume high amounts of grape seed extract or EGCG.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 24, 2010, 7:10 AM CT

Genetic variation linked to lupus

Genetic variation linked to lupus
Genes reside along long chains of DNA called chromosomes. UCLA scientists have observed that a variation in a gene on the sex chromosome X may enhance an immune response that leads to lupus in men.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease that predominantly affects women. Interestingly, scientists observed that eventhough the variation occurred in a gene on the X, or female, chromosome, its influence was stronger in men than in women. Humans hold two sex chromosomes men have an X and Y, while women have two Xs. Prior studies have shown that genetic variations on the X chromosome contribute to the development of lupus.

In this study, scientists observed that certain common variations of DNA sequences within a specific X-linked gene triggered a stronger response in the immune system, increasing the risk of developing lupus, particularly in men.

This study was part of an international effort to study the genetics of lupus in broader ethnic groups. Scientists genotyped 9,274 Eastern Asians individuals, including those with lupus and healthy controls. The stronger genetic effects were seen in men, compared with women, and particularly in Chinese and Japanese men. Further study will look at other ethnicities.

Scientists say the finding will lead to greater understanding of the development of lupus and to further exploration of the sex-specific genetic contributions of the disease, which could result in more targeted therapies.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 23, 2010, 7:29 AM CT

Bottled tea beverages may contain fewer polyphenols

Bottled tea beverages may contain fewer polyphenols
Many commercially bottled tea beverages contain little or no healthful antioxidants, new research suggests.
The first measurements of healthful antioxidant levels in commercial bottled tea beverages has concluded that health-conscious consumers may not be getting what they pay for: healthful doses of those antioxidants, or "poylphenols," that may ward off a range of diseases.

Researchers reported here today at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) that a number of of the increasingly popular beverages included in their study, beverages that account for $1 billion in annual sales in the United States alone, contain fewer polyphenols than a single cup of home-brewed green or black tea. Some contain such small amounts that consumers would have to drink 20 bottles to get the polyphenols present in one cup of tea.

"Consumers understand very well the concept of the health benefits from drinking tea or consuming other tea products," said Shiming Li, Ph.D., who reported on the newly released study with Professor Chi-Tang Ho and colleagues. "However, there is a huge gap between the perception that tea consumption is healthy and the actual amount of the healthful nutrients polyphenols found in bottled tea beverages. Our analysis of tea beverages observed that the polyphenol content is extremely low".

Li pointed out that in addition to the low polyphenol content, bottled commercial tea contains other substances, including large amounts of sugar and the accompanying calories that health-conscious consumers appears to be trying to avoid. He is an analytical and natural product chemist at WellGen, Inc., a biotechnology company in North Brunswick, N.J., that discovers and develops medical foods for patients with diseases, including a proprietary black tea product that will be marketed for its anti-inflammatory benefits, which are due in part to a high polyphenol content.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


August 23, 2010, 7:14 AM CT

Protein made by breast cancer gene purified

Protein made by breast cancer gene purified
A key step in understanding the origins of familial breast cancer has been made by two teams of researchers at the University of California, Davis. The scientists have purified, for the first time, the protein produced by the breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA2 and used it to study the oncogene's role in DNA repair.

The results will be published online Aug. 22 in the journals Nature, and Nature Structural and Molecular Biology. They open new possibilities for understanding, diagnosing and perhaps treating breast cancer.

BRCA2 is known to be involved in repairing damaged DNA, but exactly how it works with other molecules to repair DNA has been unclear, said Stephen Kowalczykowski, distinguished professor of microbiology in the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences, UC Davis Cancer Center member and senior author of the Nature paper.

"Having the purified protein makes possible far more detailed studies of how it works," Kowalczykowski said.

Kowalczykowski's group has purified the protein from human cells; another group led by Professor Wolf-Dietrich Heyer, also in the UC Davis Department of Microbiology and leader of the Cancer Center's molecular oncology program, used genetic engineering techniques to manufacture the human protein in yeast. That work is published in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.........

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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