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January 8, 2009, 9:58 PM CT

Help for the overweight over the phone

Help for the overweight over the phone
Counselling via the phone and internet can help weight management in overweight individuals, as per a Dutch study reported in the open access journal, BMC Public Health

The project compared counselling via phone and e-mail with the standard practice of issuing self-help literature in approximately 1400 workers as an aid to weight management. The study was undertaken by a group led by Willem Van Mechelen of the Department of Public and Occupational Health/EMGO Institute of VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This study was funded by The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development, The Netherlands Heart Foundation and Body@Work TNO-VUmc.

Globally, obesity rates are increasing. However, few people receive professional help in weight management programmes; the reasons for this are unknown. The face-to-face counselling of these programmes requires frequent visits to a therapy facility, making it less appealing for those with busy lifestyles. In cases like this, counselling by phone or via the internet appears to be of greater use. Trials evaluating phone counselling for weight loss programmes have shown mixed results, and few trials have reviewed e-mail based counselling, but those that have found the results encouraging. The impacts of the two have not, however, been compared.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 8, 2009, 9:53 PM CT

Behavioral difficulties at school

Behavioral difficulties at school
Adolescents who misbehave at school are more likely to have difficulties throughout their adult lives, finds a 40-year study of British citizens published on bmj.com today. These difficulties cover all areas of life, from mental health to domestic and personal relationships to economic deprivation.

Severe behavioural problems in schools affect about 7% of 9-15 year olds and have been on the increase for the past 30 years. Prior studies have shown that individuals with severe conduct problems place a significant burden on society in terms of crime as well as the additional needs of education, health and welfare.

Ian Colman, an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Population Health Investigator, and Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta's School of Public Health, and colleagues examined the health and social problems of adults who had mild and severe behavioural problems as adolescents. The findings are based on more than 3,500 individuals taking part in the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development (the British 1946 birth cohort), over a 40-year period. All the participants were aged between 13 and 15 at the start of the study. Approximately a quarter of the participants had mild behavioural problems.

Participants were rated by their teachers as having severe, mild or no conduct problems and were followed up between the ages of 36 and 53 when they were asked about their mental health, and social and economic status.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 8, 2009, 9:51 PM CT

Experiences of older people

Experiences of older people
It's debilitating, isolating and can lead to severe depression - yet pain is widely accepted as something to be expected and regarded as 'normal' in later life.

Now a newly released study from The University of Nottingham examines older people's experiences of pain and how best Government, the NHS and social care agencies can address the issue.

The report, Pain in older people: reflections and experiences from an older person's perspective, aims to highlight the issue of pain in older people by exploring their experiences of living and coping with persistent pain.

Funded by Help the Aged and the British Pain Society, the study saw scientists interview older people about their experiences of pain and how it affected their lives, both physically and psychologically. Literature on pain in older people was also evaluated.

The report - which reveals that nearly five million people over the age of 65 are in some degree of pain and discomfort in the UK - has already led to questions being asked of the Government in the House of Lords.

By interviewing older people, the scientists identified specific themes in the way that they communicate, cope with and experience their pain. These include;.
  • The stiff upper lip - "I understand my generation very well. We learned our attitude to pain from British society in general and from our families. It was: 'Don't make a fuss'."
  • ........

    Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 8, 2009, 9:47 PM CT

Women's brains recognize smell of male sexual sweat

Women's brains recognize smell of male sexual sweat
A new Rice University study reported in the Journal of Neuroscience observed that socioemotional meanings, including sexual ones, are conveyed in human sweat.

Denise Chen, assistant professor of psychology at Rice, looked at how the brains of female volunteers processed and encoded the smell of sexual sweat from men.

The results of the experiment indicated the brain recognizes chemosensory communication, including human sexual sweat.

Researchers have long known that animals use scent to communicate.

Chen's study represents an effort to expand knowledge of how humans' sense of smell complement their more powerful senses of sight and hearing.

The experiment directly studied natural human sexual sweat using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Nineteen healthy female subjects inhaled olfactory stimuli from four sources, one of which was sweat gathered from sexually aroused males.

The research showed that several parts of the brain are involved in processing the emotional value of the olfactory information. These include the right fusiform region, the right orbitofrontal cortex and the right hypothalamus.

"With the exception of the hypothalamus, neither the orbitofrontal cortex nor the fusiform region is considered to be linked to sexual motivation and behavior," Chen said. "Our results imply that the chemosensory information from natural human sexual sweat is encoded more holistically in the brain rather than specifically for its sexual quality".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 8, 2009, 9:42 PM CT

Obesity starts in the head?

Obesity starts in the head?
Joint press release by the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the German National Genome Research Network.

Neuherberg, 2008-01-08. Obesity is known to increase the risk of chronic disorders, such as diabetes (type 2). An international team of researchers with German participation through the Helmholtz Zentrum München identified six new obesity genes. Gene expression analyses have shown that all six genes are active in brain cells.

The international GIANT (Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Parameters) consortium works on the discovery of obesity genes. So far, the researchers have analyzed two million DNA variations in 15 genome-wide association studies with a total of more than 32,000 participants. The hereby identified candidate genes were validated in 14 further studies including 59,000 participants. In addition to the FTO and MC4R genes already known, it was now possible for six more obesity genes to be identified: TMEM18, KCTD15, GNPDA2, SH2B1, MTCH2, and NEGR1.

Gene expression analyses have shown that all six genes are active in brain cells. Also the previously known two obesity genes, FTO and MC4R, show a similar expression pattern; in case of the MC4R gene, a genotype-dependant influence on the behavior of appetite is already established. Researchers of the German National Genome Research Network (NGFN), Prof. H.-Erich Wichmann and Dr. Iris Heid from the Helmholtz Zentrum München, Institute of Epidemiology, who lead the German participation of this consortium, emphasize: "Definitely, the two main causes for obesity are poor nutrition and lack of physical activity. But the biology of these genes suggests genetic factors underlying the different reaction of people to lifestyle and environmental conditions".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 8, 2009, 9:35 PM CT

Alzheimer's patients who are taking antipsychotic drugs

Alzheimer's patients who are taking antipsychotic drugs
The study, funded by the Alzheimer's Research Trust, was led by Prof Clive Ballard's King's College London team and is published in Lancet Neurology on 9 January.

The study involved 165 Alzheimer's patients in care homes who were being prescribed antipsychotics. 83 continued therapy and the remaining 82 had it withdrawn and were instead given oral placebos.

Findings showed a significant increase in risk of death for patients who continued taking antipsychotic medication. The difference between the two groups became more pronounced over time, with 24-month survival rates for antipsychotic-treated patients falling to 46% versus 71% on the placebo and at 36 months it was 30% versus 59%. It means that after three years, less than a third of people on antipsychotics were alive in comparison to nearly two thirds using the dummy drug.

Antipsychotics are used to treat symptoms of agitation, delusions and aggressive behaviour. NICE guidelines recommend that the drugs should only be used for short periods of time and where symptoms are severe, and should be very carefully monitored, eventhough in clinical practice the average length of prescription is 1-2 years. While there is evidence of modest short-term (6-12 weeks) benefits of antipsychotic therapy for the serious behavioural symptoms of Alzheimer's, a prior Alzheimer's Research Trust study showed that these benefits were not evident over longer periods of therapy.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


January 8, 2009, 9:25 PM CT

Older women who are more physically fit

Older women who are more physically fit
New research reported in the international journal Neurobiology of Aging by Marc Poulin, PhD, DPhil, finds that being physically fit helps the brain function at the top of its game. An Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Senior Scholar, Poulin finds that physical activity benefits blood flow in the brain, and, as a result, cognitive abilities.

"Being sedentary is now considered a risk factor for stroke and dementia," says Poulin, a scientist in the Faculties of Medicine and Kinesiology at the University of Calgary. "This study proves for the first time that people who are fit have better blood flow to their brain. Our findings also show that better blood flow translates into improved cognition".

The study, Effects of Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Cerebral Blood Flow on Cognitive Outcomes in Older Women, compares two groups of women whose average age was 65 years old. From a random sample of 42 women living in Calgary, the study observed women who took part in regular aerobic activity, and another group of women who were inactive. Poulin's team recorded and measured the women's cardiovascular health, resting brain blood flow and the reserve capacity of blood vessels in the brain, as well as cognitive functions. The team included scientists, doctors and graduate students, with MSc student Allison Brown taking a lead role.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 8, 2009, 9:16 PM CT

Spirituality To Cope With Chronic Illness

Spirituality To Cope With Chronic Illness
Chronic illness can lead to poorer quality of life-especially for adolescents. New research shows that spirituality may help teens cope with their conditions.

Two recent studies, led by Michael Yi, MD, associate professor of medicine, and Sian Cotton, PhD, research assistant professor in the department of family medicine, investigated how adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)-a condition characterized by chronic inflammation in the intestines-may use spirituality to cope with their illness.

These results were published in online versions of the Journal of Pediatrics and the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Spirituality is defined as one's sense of meaning or purpose in life or one's sense of connectedness to the sacred or divine.

IBD is a term that refers mainly to ulcerative colitis-which causes ulcers in the colon-and Crohn's disease-occurring when the immune system attacks the gastrointestinal tract.

Patients with IBD experience recurrent abdominal pain, bloody stools and diarrhea, among other serious problems, and have an increased risk for colon cancer. Adolescents with IBD are also at risk for numerous psychosocial difficulties, including increased mental health problems and social stigma.

The exact cause of IBD is not known, and there is no cure.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 8, 2009, 9:08 PM CT

Genes and Crohn's disease

Genes and Crohn's disease
Scientists at McGill University, the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) and the McGill University and Gnome Qubec Innovation Centre, along with colleagues at other Canadian and Belgian institutions, have discovered DNA variations in a gene that increases susceptibility to developing Crohn's disease. Their study was reported in the recent issue of the journal Nature Genetics

The study was led by McGill PhD candidate Alexandra-Chlo Villani under the supervision of Dr. Denis Franchimont and Dr. Thomas Hudson. Dr. Franchimont, now with the Erasme Hospital in Brussels, Belgium, was a Canada Research Chair formerly affiliated with the Gastroenterology Dept. of the MUHC. Dr. Hudson, former Director of the McGill University and Gnome Qubec Innovation Centre, is now the President and Scientific Director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), located in Toronto.

The scientists pinpointed DNA sequence variants in a gene region called NLRP3 that are linked to increased susceptibility to Crohn's disease. Crohn's is a chronic relapsing inflammatory disease of the digestive system that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. Patients can suffer from many different symptoms in various combinations, including abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, fever, vomiting and weight loss. Rarer complications include skin manifestations, arthritis and eye inflammation.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


January 8, 2009, 9:06 PM CT

For fats, longer may not be better

For fats, longer may not be better
Scientists have uncovered why some dietary fats, specifically long-chain fats, such as oleic acid (found in olive oil), are more prone to induce inflammation. Long-chain fats, it turns out, promote increased intestinal absorption of pro-inflammatory bacterial molecules called lipopolysaccharides (LPS). This study appears in the recent issue of JLR

While dietary fats that have short chains (such as those found in milk and cheese products) can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream from the intestines, long-chain fats need to be first packaged by the intestinal cells into particles known as chylomicrons (large complexes similar to HDL and LDL particles). Erik Eckhardt and his colleagues at the University of Kentucky wondered whether some unwanted LPS particles, routinely shed by the bacteria that inhabit the human gut, might also be sneaking in the chylomicrons.

Their hypothesis turned out to be correct; when they treated cultured human intestinal cells with oleic acid they observed significant secretion of LPS together with the chylomicron particles, a phenomenon that was not observed when the cells were treated with short-chain butyric acid. Similar findings were found in mouse studies; high amounts of dietary oleic acid, but not butyric acid, promoted significant absorption of LPS into the blood and lymph nodes and subsequent expression of inflammatory genes.........

Posted by: Mark      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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