October 29, 2009, 7:20 AM CT
People with depression have more physical symptoms
New research shows people who feel depressed tend to recall having more physical symptoms than they actually experienced. The study indicates that depression -- not neuroticism -- is the cause of such over-reporting.
Psychology expert Jerry Suls, professor and collegiate fellow in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, attributes the findings to depressed individuals recalling experiences differently, tending to ruminate over and exaggerate the bad.
Published electronically this month in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, the study was conducted by researchers in the UI Department of Psychology, the Center for Research in the Implementation of Innovative Strategies in Practice (CRIISP) at the Iowa City VA Medical Center, and the UI College of Nursing.
The 109 study participants, all female, completed baseline surveys to assess their levels of neuroticism and depression. Each day for three weeks, they reported whether they felt 15 common physical symptoms including aches and pains, gastrointestinal and upper-respiratory issues. On the 22nd day, they were asked to remember how often they had experienced each physical symptom in the preceding three weeks. People who scored higher in depression were more likely to overstate the frequency of their past symptoms.........
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October 29, 2009, 7:17 AM CT
Tai Chi reduces osteoarthritis pain
Scientists from Tufts University School of Medicine have determined that patients over 65 years of age with knee osteoarthritis (OA) who engage in regular Tai Chi exercise improve physical function and experience less pain. Tai Chi (Chuan) is a traditional style of Chinese martial arts that features slow, rhythmic movements to induce mental relaxation and enhance balance, strength, flexibility, and self-efficacy. Full findings of the study are reported in the recent issue of Arthritis Care & Research
, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology.
The elderly population is at most risk for developing knee OA, which results in pain, functional limitations or disabilities and a reduced quality of life. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are 4.3 million U.S. adults over age 60 diagnosed with knee OA, a common form of arthritis that causes wearing of joint cartilage. A recent CDC report further explains that half of American adults may develop symptoms of OA in at least one knee by age 85.
For this study, Chenchen Wang, M.D., M.Sc., and his colleagues recruited 40 patients from the greater Boston area with confirmed knee OA who were in otherwise good health. The mean age of participants was 65 years with a mean body mass index of 30.0 kg/m2. Patients were randomly selected and 20 were asked to participate in 60-minute Yang style Tai Chi sessions twice weekly for 12 weeks. Each session included: a 10-minute self-massage and a review of Tai Chi principles; 30 minutes of Tai Chi movement; 10 minutes of breathing technique; and 10 minutes of relaxation.........
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October 29, 2009, 7:14 AM CT
Treating steroid-induced osteoporosis
A recent study determined glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (OP) is now treatable with Teriparatide, a synthetic form of the human parathyroid hormone. Scientists found patients with glucocorticoid-induced OP who were treated with teriparatide for 36 months had a greater increase in bone mineral density (BMD) and fewer new vertebral fractures than those treated with alendronate. The findings of this study are reported in the recent issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism
, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).
Glucocorticoids are steroid hormones that are naturally produced in the body or synthetically created compounds (drugs) used to reduce inflammation. These steroid drugs are used to control inflammation in patients with such autoimmune diseases as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and Crohn's disease as well as inflammatory conditions such as asthma. Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis occurs when patients taking steroid medications such as prednisone, prednisolone, dexamethasone, and cortisone exhibit reduced bone mass and bone strength.
This 36-month, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial, led by Kenneth Saag, M.D., from the University of Alabama, was conducted at 76 centers located in 13 countries. A total of 428 patients between the ages of 22-89 with confirmed OP who had received greater than 5 mg/day of prednisone or equivalent for more than 3 months preceding screening were included. Research measures included changes in lumbar spine and hip bone, BMD, changes in bone biomarkers, fracture incidence, and safety.........
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October 29, 2009, 7:13 AM CT
Brain cell transplants to repair neural damage
A Swiss research team has observed that using an animal's own brain cells (autologous transplant) to replace degenerated neurons in select brain areas of donor primates with simulated but asymptomatic Parkinson's disease and previously in a motor cortex lesion model, provides a degree of brain protection and appears to be useful in repairing brain lesions and restoring function.
"We aimed at determining whether autografted cells derived from cortical gray matter, cultured for one month and re-implanted in the caudate nucleus of dopamine depleted primates, effectively survived and migrated," said Dr. Jean-Francoise Brunet who, along with colleagues, published their study in Cell Transplantation
(18:7), now freely available on-line at http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct. "The autologous, re-implanted cells survived at an impressively high rate of 50 percent for four months post-implantation".
While the use of neural grafts to restore function after lesions or degeneration of the central nervous system has been widely reported, the objective of this study was to replace depleted neurons to a restricted brain area and to avoid both the ethical controversies accompanying fetal cell transplants as well as immune rejection.
Scientists observed that the cultured cells migrated, re-implanted into the right caudate nucleus, and migrated through the corpus callosum to the contralateral striatum. Most of the cells were found in the most dopamine depleted region of the caudate nucleus. This study replicated in primates the success the research team had previously reported using laboratory mice.........
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October 28, 2009, 6:31 AM CT
Vegetables can protect unborn child against diabetes
New evidence is emerging for how important it is for pregnant women to eat good, nutritious food. Expecting mothers who eat vegetables every day seem to have children who are less likely to develop type 1 diabetes, a newly released study from the Sahlgrenska Academy has revealed.
The study waccording toformed in collaboration with Linkoping University, which is conducting a population study called ABIS (All Babies in Southeast Sweden). The results have been reported in the journal Pediatric Diabetes.
"This is the first study to show a link between vegetable intake during pregnancy and the risk of the child subsequently developing type 1 diabetes, but more studies of various kinds will be needed before we can say anything definitive," says researcher and clinical nutritionist Hilde Brekke from the Sahlgrenska Academy.
Blood samples from almost 6,000 five year-olds were analysed in the study. In type 1 diabetes, certain cells in the pancreas gradually get worse at producing insulin, leading to insulin deficiency. Children at risk of developing type 1 diabetes have antibodies in their blood which attack these insulin-producing cells.
Of the 6,000 children tested, three per cent had either elevated levels of these antibodies or fully developed type 1 diabetes at the age of five. These risk markers were up to twice as common in children whose mothers rarely ate vegetables during pregnancy. The risk was lowest among children whose mothers stated that they ate vegetables every day.........
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October 28, 2009, 6:25 AM CT
Crushing cigarettes in a virtual reality environment
Smokers who crushed computer-simulated cigarettes as part of a psychosocial therapy program in a virtual reality environment had significantly reduced nicotine dependence and higher rates of tobacco abstinence than smokers participating in the same program who grasped a computer-simulated ball, as per a research studydescribed in the current issue of CyberPsychology and Behavior,
a peer-evaluated journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. (www.liebertpub.com). The article is available free online at www.liebertpub.com/cpb.
Benoit Girard, MD, Vincent Turcotte, and Bruno Girard, MBA, from the GRAP Occupational Psychology Clinic (Quebec, Canada), and Stphane Bouchard, PhD, from the University of Quebec in Gatineau, randomly assigned 91 smokers enrolled in a 12-week anti-smoking support program to one of two therapy groups. In a computer-generated virtual reality environment, one group simulated crushing virtual cigarettes, while the other group grasped virtual balls during 4 weekly sessions. The authors document the results in the article "Crushing Virtual Cigarettes Reduces Tobacco Addiction and Treatment Discontinuation".
The findings demonstrate a statistically significant reduction in nicotine addiction among the smokers in the cigarette-crushing group versus those in the ball-grasping group. Also, at week 12 of the program, the smoking abstinence rate was significantly higher for the cigarette-crushing group (15%) in comparison to the ball-grasping group (2%).........
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October 28, 2009, 6:21 AM CT
Exercise for lymphoma patients
A healthy dose of exercise is good medicine, even for lymphoma patients receiving chemotherapy, University of Alberta scientists have found.
The Healthy Exercise for Lymphoma Patients (HELP) trial, a three-year study led by Kerry Courneya, Canada Research Chair in physical activity and cancer in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, observed that a regimen of aerobic exercise training produced significant improvements in physical functioning and overall quality of life benefits in patients with lymphoma.
Scientists recruited 122 patients with Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, then stratified participants by disease type and therapy status; whether they were undergoing chemotherapy at the time or receiving no therapys. Participants were randomly assigned to an exercise program designed to maximize cardiovascular fitness or to usual care, which did not include an exercise component.
Exercisers trained three times a week for 12 weeks and were encouraged to stay the course with behavioural support techniques that included perks like free parking, a well-equipped gym, flexible exercise schedules, variation in exercises, follow-up phone calls reminders and positive reinforcement by staff.
Lymphoma patients who received the exercise intervention reported significantly improved physical functioning, overall quality of life, less fatigue, increased happiness, less depression and an improvement in lean body mass. Cardiovascular fitness in the exercise group improved by over 20 per cent. The group receiving chemotherapy benefited as much as the group that was off therapys.........
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October 28, 2009, 6:17 AM CT
Room design can enhance patient care
The design of a consultation room can improve the quality of a visit to the physician's office. A collaborative research study developed by Nurture by Steelcase and Mayo Clinic, was conducted to understand the extent to which a consultation room designed to support present-day clinical encounters could affect the consultation between patients and clinicians. The results of this randomized trial, the first of its kind, will appear in the recent issue of Health Environments Research and Design Journal
"This study supports the notion that the space in which people meet can influence how they work together," says Victor Montori, M.D., the lead Mayo researcher. He also says more studies in other health care systems are needed to confirm these findings. You can view Dr. Montori discussing the study on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24AHuqzYW5c.
"Helping to build a body of evidence that leads to better health care outcomes and experiences is foundational to our mission," says Joyce Bromberg, director of Workspace Futures Research for Steelcase. Nurture is Steelcase's healthcare division a company focused on space and environments and how products within those environments can make them more comfortable, efficient and conducive to the healing process.........
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October 27, 2009, 9:49 AM CT
Married with children the key to happiness?
Having children improves married peoples' life satisfaction and the more they have, the happier they are. For unmarried individuals, raising children has little or no positive effect on their happiness. These findings (1) by Dr. Luis Angeles from the University of Glasgow in the UK have just been published online in Springer's Journal of Happiness Studies.
Prior research suggests that increasing numbers of children do not make people any happier, and in some cases the more children people have, the less satisfied they are with their lives. Rather bleakly, this has been attributed to the fact that raising children involves a lot of hard work for only a few occasional rewards.
Dr. Angeles believes that this explanation is too simplistic. When asked about the most important things in their lives, most people place their children near or even at the top of their list. Contrary to prior work, Dr. Angeles' analysis of the relationship between having children and life satisfaction takes into account the role of individual characteristics, including marital status, gender, age, income and education.
For married individuals of all ages and married women in particular, children increase life satisfaction and life satisfaction goes up with the number of children in the household. Negative experiences in raising children are reported by people who are separated, living as a couple, or single, having never been married. Children take their toll on their parents' satisfaction with social life, and amount and use of leisure time.........
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October 26, 2009, 7:46 AM CT
Mutation dramatically increasing schizophrenia risk
An international team of scientists led by geneticist Jonathan Sebat, Ph.D., of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), has identified a mutation on human chromosome 16 that substantially increases risk for schizophrenia.
The mutation in question is what researchers call a copy number variant (CNV). CNVs are areas of the genome where the number of copies of genes differs between individuals. The CNV is located in a region referred to by researchers as 16p11.2. By studying the genomes of 4,551 patients and 6,391 healthy individuals, Sebat's team has shown that having one extra copy of this region is linked to schizophrenia. The study appears online today ahead of print in the journal Nature Genetics
The mutation identified in this study is a potent risk factor. "In the general population this duplication is quite rare, occurring in roughly one in 5,000 persons", says Sebat, "but for people that carry the extra copy, the risk of developing schizophrenia is increased by more than eight-fold". This finding is the latest in a series of studies that have pinpointed rare CNVs that confer substantial risk of schizophrenia. Others include deletions on chromosomes 1, 15 and 22.
Schizophrenia and autism: two sides of the same coin?
"This is not the first time that the 16p11.2 region has caught our eye," says Sebat. It was previously spotted in a 2007 study with Professor Michael Wigler at CSHL -- a deletion of the identical region was identified in a girl with autism. Studies by several other groups have shown that losing one copy of 16p11.2 confers high risk of autism and other developmental disorders in children.........
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