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January 16, 2011, 9:22 PM CT

Menu labeling didn't change behavior

Menu labeling didn't change behavior
An effort in King County, Washington, to add nutrition facts labeling to fast food menus had no effect on consumer behavior in its first year.

As part of a comprehensive effort to stem the rise in obesity, the county, which includes Seattle and environs, imposed a required menu labeling regulation on all restaurant chains with 15 or more locations beginning in January, 2009. Restaurants had to disclose calorie information at the point of purchase.

Scientists from Duke-National University of Singapore (NUS) Graduate Medical School and the public health department of Seattle & King County found, in the 13 months after the legislation went into effect, food-purchasing behavior at the Taco Time locations in King County was identical to that in Taco Time locations where menu boards remained unchanged.

The total number of sales and average calories per transaction were unaffected by the menu labeling.

"Given the results of previous studies, we had expected the results to be small, but we were surprised that we could not detect even the slightest hint of changes in purchasing behavior as a result of the legislation," said main author Eric Finkelstein, Ph.D., associate professor of health services at Duke-NUS. "The results suggest that required menu labeling, unless combined with other interventions, appears to be unlikely to significantly influence the obesity epidemic".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 16, 2011, 9:12 PM CT

Berries may reduce high blood pressure

Berries may reduce high blood pressure
Credit: Susy Morris, Flickr

Hypertension - or high blood pressure - is a main cardiovascular diseases worldwide. It leads to stroke and heart disease and costs more than $300 billion each year. Around a quarter of the adult population is affected globally - including 10 million people in the UK and one in three US adults.

Published next month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the new findings show that bioactive compounds in blueberries called anthocyanins offer protection against hypertension. Compared with those who do not eat blueberries, those eating at least one serving a week reduce their risk of developing the condition by 10 per cent.

Anthocyanins belong to the bioactive family of compounds called flavonoids and are found in high amounts in blackcurrants, raspberries, aubergines, blood orange juice and blueberries. Other flavonoids are found in a number of fruits, vegetables, grains and herbs. The flavonoids present in tea, fruit juice, red wine and dark chocolate are already known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

This is the first large study to investigate the effect of different flavonoids on hypertension.

The team of UEA and Harvard researchers studied 134,000 women and 47,000 men from the Harvard established cohorts, the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study over a period of 14 years. None of the participants had high blood pressure at the start of the study. Subjects were asked to complete health questionnaires every two years and their dietary intake was assessed every four years. Occurence rate of newly diagnosed high blood pressure during the 14-year period was then correlation to consumption of various different flavonoids.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 16, 2011, 8:57 PM CT

Smoking causes genetic damage within minutes

Smoking causes genetic damage within minutes
In research described as "a stark warning" to those tempted to start smoking, researchers are reporting that cigarette smoke begins to cause genetic damage within minutes � not years � after inhalation into the lungs.

Their report, the first human study to detail the way certain substances in tobacco cause DNA damage associated with cancer, appears in Chemical Research in Toxicology, one of 38 peer-evaluated scientific journals published by the American Chemical Society.

Stephen S. Hecht, Ph.D., and his colleagues point out in the report that lung cancer claims a global toll of 3,000 lives each day, largely as a result of cigarette smoking. Smoking also is associated with at least 18 other types of cancer. Evidence indicates that harmful substances in tobacco smoke termed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, are one of the culprits in causing lung cancer. Until now, however, researchers had not detailed the specific way in which the PAHs in cigarette smoke cause DNA damage in humans.

The researchers added a labeled PAH, phenanthrene, to cigarettes and tracked its fate in 12 volunteers who smoked the cigarettes. They observed that phenanthrene quickly forms a toxic substance in the blood known to trash DNA, causing mutations that can cause cancer. The smokers developed maximum levels of the substance in a time frame that surprised even the researchers: Just 15-30 minutes after the volunteers finished smoking. Scientists said the effect is so fast that it's equivalent to injecting the substance directly into the bloodstream.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 10, 2011, 10:19 PM CT

Abstinence, heavy drinking, binge drinking

Abstinence, heavy drinking, binge drinking
Prior research regarding the association between alcohol consumption and dementia or cognitive impairment in later life suggests that mild to moderate alcohol consumption might be protective of dementia. However, most of the research has been conducted on subjects already rather elderly at the start of the follow-up. A newly released study reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease addresses this problem with a follow-up of more than two decades.

The study, conducted at the University of Turku, University of Helsinki and National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland based on subjects from the Finnish Twin Cohort, shows that midlife alcohol consumption is correlation to the risk of dementia assessed some 20 years later. The study indicates that both abstainers and subjects consuming large amounts of alcohol have a greater risk for cognitive impairment than light drinkers.

"Our finding is significant as the changes typical of Alzheimer's disease � the most common dementia syndrome � are thought to start appearing two to three decades before clinical manifestation and therefore identification of early risk factors is imperative", states Jyri Virta, researcher at University of Turku, Finland.

In addition to total alcohol consumption, the authors were able to assess the effects of different drinking patterns. The study suggests that drinking large amounts of alcohol (defined as a bottle of wine or the equivalent) at a single occasion at least monthly is an independent risk factor for cognitive impairment. Such binge drinking doubles the risk of cognitive impairment even when total alcohol consumption was statistically controlled for.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 10, 2011, 6:52 AM CT

Many survivors of the WTC attacks experience PTSD

Many survivors of the WTC attacks experience PTSD
Nearly 10 years after the greatest human-made disaster in U.S. history-- the destruction of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers -- there has been little research documenting the attacks' consequences among those most directly affected -- the survivors who escaped the World Trade Center towers. In a study just released by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, in conjunction with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry (ATSDR), scientists observed that of the 3,271 civilians who evacuated the Twin Towers, 95.6% of survivors reported at least one current posttraumatic stress symptom and 15% screened positive for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), two to three years after the disaster. While past studies have examined PTSD prevalence among rescue and recovery workers, Lower Manhattan residents, other downtown building occupants, and passersby, this is the first study to focus specifically on people who were inside the towers when they were struck. The full study findings are currently online in the American Journal of Epidemiology

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that occurs after experiencing or witnessing events that threaten death or serious injury and that involves intense feelings of fear, helplessness, or horror and is the third most common anxiety disorder in the United States. The scientists report that five characteristics of direct exposure to the terrorist attacks were predictors of PTSD: a key driver was initiating evacuation late. Other predictors were being on a high floor in the towers, being caught in the dust cloud that resulted from the tower collapses, personally witnessing horror, and sustaining an injury. Working for an employer that sustained fatalities also increased risk. Each addition of an experience of a direct exposure resulted in a two hundred percent increase in the risk of PTSD.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 10, 2011, 6:49 AM CT

Grape ingredient resveratrol

Grape ingredient resveratrol
Resveratrol, a compound in grapes, displays antioxidant and other positive properties. As per a research findings published this week, scientists at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio describe a novel way in which resveratrol exerts these beneficial health effects.

Resveratrol stimulates the expression of adiponectin, a hormone derived from cells that manufacture and store fat, the team found. Adiponectin has a wide range of beneficial effects on obesity-related medical complications, said senior author Feng Liu, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and member of the Barshop Institute of Longevity and Aging Studies at the Health Science Center.

Both adiponectin and resveratrol display anti-obesity, anti-insulin resistance and anti-aging properties.

"Results from these studies should be of interest to those who are obese, diabetic and growing older," Dr. Liu said. "The findings should also provide important information on the development of novel therapeutic drugs for the therapy of these diseases".

The scientists confirmed the finding in cells and animal models. The study is in the Jan. 7 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Prior studies

In July 2009 in the journal Nature, the Barshop Institute and collaborators reported that the compound rapamycin extended life in mice. Rapamycin, like resveratrol, is under scrutiny for its beneficial health.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


January 10, 2011, 6:25 AM CT

Fear of the dentist's drill

Fear of the dentist's drill
An innovative device which cancels out the noise of the dental drill could spell the end of people's anxiety about trips to the dentist, as per experts at King's College London, Brunel University and London South Bank University, who pioneered the invention.

It is widely known that the sound of the dental drill is the prime cause of anxiety about dental therapy, and some patients avoid trips to the dentist because of it. This new device could help address people's fears and encourage them to seek the oral healthcare therapy they need.

The prototype device works in a similar way to noise-cancelling headphones but is designed to deal with the very high pitch of the dental drill. Patients would simply unplug their headphones, plug the device into their MP3 player or mobile phone, and then plug the headphones into the device, allowing them to listen to their own music while completely blocking out the unpleasant sound of the drill and suction equipment. The patient can still hear the dentist and other members of the dental team speaking to them but other unwanted sounds are filtered out by the device.

Containing a microphone and a chip that analyses the incoming sound wave, the device produces an inverted wave to cancel out unwanted noise. It also uses technology called 'adaptive filtering' where electronic filters lock onto sound waves and removes them, even if the amplitude and frequency change as the drill is being used.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 6, 2011, 6:19 PM CT

How do data exclusivity periods affect

How do data exclusivity periods affect
Pharmaceutical companies and generic drug manufacturers have long been at odds over regulations about "data exclusivity," the period of time before generic manufacturers can make use of valuable clinical trial data.

A newly released study in the January 2011 issue of Health Affairs is the first to calculate the financial and social costs of limiting access to trial data and finds that extending the term of exclusive access will lead to higher drug costs in the short term but also to more than 200 extra drug approvals and to greater life expectancy in the next several decades.

"Elected officials are unlikely to embrace legislation that would result in higher drug prices, but our research suggests that legislation to extend data exclusivity would spur innovation that would benefit future generations," explained Dana Goldman, main author, director of the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at USC and Norman Topping Chair in Medicine and Public Policy at USC.

The pharmaceutical companies that introduce new drugs are currently granted five years of exclusive access to the clinical trial data they submit during the approval process. An extension of three years is available if new applications arise and a six month extension is granted if the drug is approved for use in pediatric populations.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


January 5, 2011, 6:46 AM CT

Metabolic cost of human sleep deprivation

Metabolic cost of human sleep deprivation
In the first-ever quantification of energy expended by humans during sleep, a University of Colorado team has observed that the metabolic cost of an adult missing one night of sleep is the equivalent of walking slightly less than two miles.

The new findings will help scientists further understand one of the important functions of sleep in humans, said CU-Boulder Associate Professor Kenneth Wright. Wright, who led the study, said the goal was to measure and quantify energy expenditure during both sleep and wakeful periods.

"We observed that people do expend more energy when they are awake in bed than when they are asleep," he said. The findings showed the eight hours of sleep saved roughly 135 calories over eight hours of wakefulness.

"While the amount of energy savings for humans during sleep may seem relatively small, it actually was a little more than we expected," said Wright, a faculty member in CU-Boulder's integrative physiology department and director of CU-Boulder's Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory.

A paper on the subject was reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Physiology Co-authors included CU-Boulder's Christopher Jung and Emily Frydenall, as well as Assistant Professor Edward Melanson, Dr. Leigh Perreault and Dr. Robert Eckel of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Jung, first author on the paper, got his doctorate from CU-Boulder in 2009 and is now at the University of Alaska.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 5, 2011, 6:38 AM CT

Double doses of chicken pox vaccine most effective

Double doses of chicken pox vaccine most effective
When vaccinating children against varicella (chicken pox), scientists at Yale School of Medicine have found, two doses are better than one. In fact, the odds of developing chicken pox were 95 percent lower in children who had received two doses of the vaccine compared with those who had received only one dose.

Reported in the February 1 issue of Journal of Infectious Diseases, the study was led by Eugene D. Shapiro, M.D., professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Yale and colleagues at Yale and Columbia universities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began recommending a single dose of chicken pox vaccine for children ages 1 to 13 in 1995. The chicken pox rate fell drastically and studies showed that the effectiveness of one dose was 86 percent. But there was still a high rate of breakthrough illness in immunized children. The CDC changed the immunization policy for chicken pox in 2006, adding a second dose for children ages 4 to 6. In this study, Shapiro and his team showed that the effectiveness of two doses is 98.3 percent.

Past studies have suggested that two doses of varicella vaccine are associated with higher antibody levels than one dose, but this is the first study to assess the clinical effectiveness of two doses of the vaccine in the general population. In a survey of Connecticut children, Shapiro and his team discovered 71 cases of chicken pox in children ages 4 and older. None of these children had received two doses of vaccine; 66 (93 percent) had received one dose and five (7 percent) had received no vaccine.........

Posted by: Mark      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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