June 29, 2010, 7:11 AM CT
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy
Mothers who drink alcohol while they are pregnant appears to be damaging the fertility of their future sons, as per new research to be presented at the 26th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Rome today (Tuesday 29 June).
Doctors in Denmark observed that if mothers had drunk 4.5 or more drinks a week while pregnant, then the sperm concentration of their sons, measured about 20 years later, was a third lower compared to men who were not exposed to alcohol while in the womb. A drink was measured as 12 grams of alcohol, which is the equivalent to one 330 ml beer, one small (120 ml) glass of wine or one glass of spirits (40 ml).
Dr Cecilia Ramlau-Hansen, senior researcher at the Department of Occupational Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital (Denmark) and clinical associate professor at the Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Public Health, University of Aarhus, told a news briefing: "Our study shows that there is an association between drinking a moderate amount of alcohol (about four to five drinks a week) during pregnancy and lower sperm concentrations in sons. However, because this is an observational study we cannot say for certain that the alcohol causes the lower sperm concentrations. It is possible that drinking alcohol during pregnancy has a harmful effect on the foetal semen-producing tissue in the testes and thereby on semen quality in later life but our study is the first of its kind, and more research within this area is needed before any causal link can be established or safe drinking limits proposed".........
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June 28, 2010, 7:38 AM CT
MMRV vaccine associated with 2-fold risk of seizures
The combination vaccine for measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox (MMRV) is linked to double the risk of febrile seizures for 1- to 2-year-old children compared with same-day administration of the separate vaccine for MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and the varicella (V) vaccine for chicken pox, as per a Kaiser Permanente Division of Research study appearing online in the journal Pediatrics
A febrile seizure is a brief, fever-related convulsion but it does not lead to epilepsy or seizure disorders, scientists explained.
Funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the study analyzed 459,000 children 12 to 23 months old from numerous health systems across the United States receiving their first dose of measles-containing vaccine and found MMRV to be linked to a two hundred percent increased risk of fever and febrile seizures 7-10 days after vaccination compared with same-day administration of a separate shot for MMR and the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine. This study observed that the risk for a febrile seizure after the first dose of MMRV vaccine is low, eventhough it is higher than after MMR vaccine and varicella vaccine administered as separate injections.
The study found no evidence of an increased febrile seizure risk after any measles vaccine beyond 7-10 days post vaccination.........
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June 24, 2010, 11:14 PM CT
Teens and alcohol study
Parents appears to be surprised, even disappointed, to find out they don't influence whether their teen tries alcohol.
But now for some good news: Parenting style strongly and directly affects teens when it comes to heavy drinking - defined as having five or more drinks in a row - as per a new Brigham Young University study.
The scientists surveyed nearly 5,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 about their drinking habits and their relationship with their parents. Specifically, they examined parents' levels of accountability - knowing where they spend their time and with whom - and the warmth they share with their kids. Here's what they found:
- The teens least prone to heavy drinking had parents who scored high on both accountability and warmth.
- So-called "indulgent" parents, those low on accountability and high on warmth, nearly tripled the risk of their teen participating in heavy drinking.
- Strict" parents - high on accountability and low on warmth - more than doubled their teen's risk of heavy drinking.
Previous research on parenting style and teen drinking was a mixed bag, showing modest influence at best. Unlike prior research, this study distinguished between any alcohol consumption and heavy drinking.........
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June 24, 2010, 11:01 PM CT
Polarized arguments about breast screening
Polarised arguments about the benefits and harms of breast screening are not helping women to make an informed decision, argues a senior doctor on bmj.com today.
Klim McPherson, Professor of Public Health Epidemiology at the University of Oxford looks at the evidence and calls for dispassionate analysis of all available data.
The burden of breast cancer is unremitting and we must do anything we can to contain it, he says. But screening for a progressive disease is justified only if earlier diagnosis and therapy improve disease progression.
A recent US report on screening for breast cancer estimated that the mortality reductions attributable to breast screening are 15% for women aged 39-49, 14% for those aged 50-59, and 32% for those aged 60-69. Worse still, estimated numbers of women needed to be invited to a US screening programme in order to save one life are high. For the younger group it is nearly 2,000 while in those aged 60-69 it is still nearly 400. In the UK, the figure is 1,610 for women aged 40-55.
A recent analysis from the Nordic Cochrane Centre also claimed that one in three breast cancers detected in screening programmes is overdiagnosed, eventhough others argue that the lives saved by screening greatly outnumber overdiagnosed cases.........
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June 16, 2010, 7:20 AM CT
Alcohol effect on fetal development
It's long been known that alcohol use in pregnancy can lead to children with mental retardation and birth defects, but scientists who study fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) have not made definitive progress on preventing the disorder, detecting it early, or effectively treating it, say scientists from Georgetown University Medical Center.
In the issue of Developmental Neuroscience
, four first-year medical students at Georgetown University School of Medicine looked into the science and clinical therapy of FAS, and observed that eventhough there is much ongoing study, no new medical strategies exist to change the grim outcome that can occur when a fetus is exposed to alcohol.
"Eventhough there is a lot of research in the field to determine how alcohol acts on the developing brain, there is not much translation into the clinic," says Sahar Ismail, now a second year medical student. "What surprised us the most was the lack of sensitive and specific diagnostic tools to identify children with FAS, given its prevalence and harmful effects on the child, family, and society."
Working with her on the study were medical students Stephanie Buckley, Ross Budacki, and Ahmad Jabbar each student contributed equally. Their study was a project for the Sexual Development and Reproduction Module under directorship of G. Ian Gallicano, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology.........
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June 16, 2010, 7:19 AM CT
How does that taste to you?
Low-salt foods appears to be harder for some people to like than others, as per a research studyby a Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences food scientist. The research indicates that genetics influence some of the difference in the levels of salt we like to eat.
Those conclusions are important because recent, well-publicized efforts to reduce the salt content in food have left a number of people struggling to accept fare that simply does not taste as good to them as it does to others, pointed out John Hayes, assistant professor of food science, who was lead investigator on the study.
Diets high in salt can increase the risk of hypertension and stroke. That is why public health experts and food companies are working together on ways to help consumers lower salt intake through foods that are enjoyable to eat. This study increases understanding of salt preference and consumption.
The research involved 87 carefully screened participants who sampled salty foods such as broth, chips and pretzels, on multiple occasions, spread out over weeks. Test subjects were 45 men and 42 women, reportedly healthy, ranging in age from 20 to 40 years. The sample was composed of individuals who were not actively modifying their dietary intake and did not smoke cigarettes. They rated the intensity of taste on a usually used scientific scale, ranging from barely detectable to strongest sensation of any kind.........
Posted by: Janet Read more Source
June 14, 2010, 10:13 PM CT
Apple juice improves behavior in Alzheimer's patients
Apple juice can be a useful supplement for calming the declining moods that are part of the normal progression of moderate-to-severe Alzheimer's Disease (AD), as per a research studyin American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias
(AJADD), published by SAGE.
In the AJADD study, after institutionalized AD patients consumed two 4-oz glasses of apple juice a day for a month, their caregivers reported no change in the patients' Dementia Rating Scale or their day-to-day abilities. What did change, however, was the behavioral and psychotic symptoms linked to their dementia (as quantified by the Neuropsychiatric Inventory), with approximately 27% improvement, mostly in the areas correlation to anxiety, agitation, and delusion.
Typically alzheimer's disease is characterized by a progressive loss of memory, decline in cognitive function, behavioral changes, and the loss in ability to do daily activities, all of which causes a significant caregiver burden and increased health care costs. While pharmacological therapys can provide temporary reduction in AD symptoms, they're costly and cannot prevent the ultimate decline in cognitive and behavioral function. That's why the authors considered it important to discover any possible nutritional interventions.........
Posted by: Daniel Read more Source
June 8, 2010, 6:38 AM CT
Getting extra sleep improves the athletic performance
Getting extra sleep over an extended period of time improves athletic performance, alertness and mood, as per a research abstract that will be presented Tuesday, June 8, 2010, in San Antonio, Texas, at SLEEP 2010, the 24th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.
Results indicate that football players' sprint times improved significantly after seven to eight weeks of sleep extension. Average sprint time in the 20-yard shuttle improved from 4.71 seconds to 4.61 seconds, and the average 40-yard dash time decreased from 4.99 seconds to 4.89 seconds. Daytime sleepiness and fatigue also decreased significantly, while vigor scores significantly improved.
"Sleep duration appears to be an important consideration for an athlete's daily training regimen," said main author Cheri Mah of the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory in Stanford, Calif. "Furthermore, sleep extension also may contribute to minimizing the effects of accumulated sleep deprivation and thus could be a beneficial strategy for optimal performance".
The study involved seven healthy students on the Stanford University football team. Their ages ranged from 18 to 22 years, and they played a variety of positions on the team. Participants maintained their habitual sleep/wake schedule for two weeks at the beginning of the season to establish their baseline measures.........
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June 8, 2010, 6:36 AM CT
Cost of caring for stroke patients
Health-care costs for patients in just the first six months after they have a stroke is more than $2.5 billion a year in Canada, as per a research studypresented today at the Canadian Stroke Congress.
The Canadian Stroke Network's Burden of Ischemic Stroke (BURST) study observed that the direct and indirect health-care costs for new stroke patients tally an average $50,000 in the six-month period following a new stroke. There are about 50,000 new strokes in Canada each year.
Earlier and widely quoted estimates, based on the most recent data from Health Canada's Economic Burden of Illness (1998), indicated that the total cost of stroke in Canada was $2.4 billion a year for both new stroke patients and long-term survivors. There are 300,000 people living with stroke in Canada.
"Our old estimates of how much stroke costs the economy are way off base," says Dr. Mike Sharma, who together with Dr. Nicole Mittmann of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, led the BURST study, which is the first prospective national economic analysis on stroke costs.
"The cost of stroke is far more than we expected at least double prior estimates."
BURST scientists examined the health-care costs of 232 hospitalized stroke patients in 12 sites across Canada at discharge, three months, six months, and one year. The study looked at both disabling and non-disabling stroke.........
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June 7, 2010, 6:48 AM CT
How smarter school lunchrooms increase fruit sales
Professor Brian Wansink will present findings from Cornell University's Smarter Lunchroom Initiative at the Food for Your Whole Life Health Symposium in New York City on June 6-7.
Credit: Jason Koski, Cornell University
How a number of more apples can a school cafeteria sell if the fruit is displayed in an attractive basket and placed in a well-lit area? .
That's the sort of question scientists from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab are exploring as part of their Smarter Lunchrooms Initiativean effort to discover and share low-cost changes that can be made in lunchrooms to subtly guide smarter food choices.
Led by Professor Brian Wansink, the scientists observed a 58 percent increase in fresh fruit sales at one Upstate New York school simply by moving the fruit from a stainless steel tray and into a basket lit by an ordinary desk lamp.
Wansink will present these findings and others at the Food for Your Whole Life Health Symposium on June 6-7 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.
"The best solution is often the simplest one," Wansink explained. "Rather than penalizing a less healthy food choice, we just made the healthier item much more likely to be noticed and chosen."
Later in the week, Wansinkalong with colleagues David Just and Mitsuru Shimizuwill deliver presentations at a two-day Consumer Camp event on the Cornell University campus on June 10-11.
While Thursday's proceedings are geared toward school nutrition professionals and require pre-registration, Friday's sessions are free and open to the public.........
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