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November 11, 2010, 7:38 AM CT

Stress on Clinicians Can Be Measured

Stress on Clinicians Can Be Measured
It's no surprise that being a doctor is a very stressful job and carries a lot of responsibility with it.

But two new studies from scientists at the University of Cincinnati indicate that the stressors arising from work in the clinic, where physicians are seeing patients one-on-one, can effectively be measured with hopes of improving patient care and doctor job satisfaction.

Ronnie Horner, PhD, and C. Jeff Jacobson, PhD, both scientists in the department of public health sciences, say their studies, reported in the online editions of the journal Medical Care on Oct. 29 and Nov. 9, showed that certain known measurement tools for assessing non-clinical work intensity can also be used to determine doctor work intensity in clinical settings.

"Work intensity for physicians during office-based patient care affects quality of care and patient safety as well as job satisfaction and reimbursement," says Horner. "There are existing intensity measures that have been used in prior studies of the work environment, but their validity in a clinical office setting hasn't been established".

Horner, Jerzy Szaflarski, MD, PhD, a researcher in the department of neurology and co-author on Horner's study, and Jacobson studied two main instruments: the NASA-Task Load Index (NASA-TLX) and the Subjective Workload Evaluation Technique (SWAT).........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 8, 2010, 7:50 AM CT

Studying the metabolome of smokers

Studying the metabolome of smokers
Examining the blood "metabolomics" profile of smokers immediately after they had a cigarette revealed activation of pathways involved in cell death, inflammation, and other forms of systemic damage, say scientists at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center.

They say their findings, presented at the Ninth AACR Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Meeting, is the best analysis for chemicals unequivocally produced by smoking and indicates the potential toll that carcinogens and toxins poise to smokers years before lung cancer, heart disease, or other smokingrelated diseases appear.

"Our analysis uncovered hallmarks of liver, heart, and kidney toxicity in otherwise healthy patients," says the study's lead investigator, Ping-Ching Hsu, a doctoral student who works in the laboratory of oncology researcher Peter Shields, MD, who specializes in tobacco carcinogenesis. Shields is the senior author.

Shields says the findings could help in the development of new blood tests that will allow scientists to assess the harmfulness of one tobacco product in comparison to another. This could be useful to the federal Food and Drug Administration, the agency charged by Congress to begin controlling the contents of cigarettes.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 28, 2010, 7:54 AM CT

Heavy drinkers consume less over time

Heavy drinkers consume less over time
Problem drinkers in the general population may reduce the amount of alcohol they consume over a period of years but not to the level of the average adult, as per a newly released study in the recent issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs

Given that heavy drinkers often don't become "normal" drinkers on their own, the takeaway message for clinicians and family members is to help connect a problem drinker to a community social service agency or Alcoholics Anonymous. Simply telling someone that they had a drinking problem did not seem to be helpful in this study, but being specific about how to get help did.

Using a telephone screening program, scientists identified 672 problem and dependent drinkers who had not been in an alcohol therapy program for at least 12 months. Eleven years later, men in the study had reduced their average number of drinks per month by 51%, and women had reduced their average number of drinks by 57%. However, even after this reduction, male and female problem drinkers still consumed 160% and 223% more alcohol, respectively, than the average adult without a drinking problem.

The scientists point out that the greatest reductions in alcohol consumption occurred within one to two years after the initial screening and then slowed, suggesting that problem drinkers and heavy drinkers may never lower their consumption to the level of the general population.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 28, 2010, 7:12 AM CT

Preschool-age children exceed daily screen time

Preschool-age children exceed daily screen time
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents limit combined screen time from television, DVDs, computers, and video games to 2 hours per day for preschool-age children. In a study soon to be published in The Journal of Pediatrics, scientists observed that a number of children are exposed to screen time both at home and while at child care, with 66% exceeding the recommended daily amount.

As per Dr. Pooja Tandon, "A majority of children under the age of 5 years in the United States spend almost 40 hours a week with caregivers other than their parents, and it's important to understand what kind of screen time exposure children are getting with these other caregivers." Dr. Tandon and fellow scientists from the Seattle Children's Research Institute and the University of Washington studied nearly 9000 preschool-age children who took part in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth Cohort (ECLS-b), a longitudinal, observational study of over 10,000 children born in 2001 with diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. The ECLS-b used interviews with parents and child care providers to collect data about each child's daily screen time.

On average, children were exposed to 4 hours of screen time each weekday, with 3.6 hours of exposure coming from home. Children in home-based child care spent a combined average of 5.6 hours watching television or videos at home and while at child care, with 87% exceeding the 2 hour recommendation. Center-based child care scored slightly better, with children watching an approximate total of 3.2 hours each weekday at home and while at child care. Children who did not go to child care also tended to exceed the recommendations, however, with the average child watching 4.4 hours a day.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 27, 2010, 6:57 AM CT

Smoked Salmon Safe to Eat

Smoked Salmon Safe to Eat
Food technologist Andy Hwang and technician Stacy Raleigh study the effect of smoking temperature on survival of Listeria monocytogenes on smoked salmon.

Photo by Peggy Greb.
Researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are helping ensure that the smoked salmon that's always a hit at festive gatherings also is always safe to eat, including among their achievements the development of a first-of-its-kind mathematical model that food processors and others can use to select the optimal combination of temperature and concentrations of salt and smoke compounds to reduce or eliminate microbial contamination of the product.

The studies are led by food technologist Andy (Cheng-An) Hwang with the USDA Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pa. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of ensuring food safety.

A gourmet favorite, smoked salmon is typically sold in vacuum packages that have a refrigerator shelf life of about three to eight weeks, as per Hwang. Since pathogenic microbes such as Listeria monocytogenes can live at refrigerator temperatures, it is important to get rid of these microorganisms before those packages leave the processing plant.

In ongoing research begun in 2006, Hwang is investigating ways that processors can protect the pleasing flavor and texture of smoked salmon while reducing or eliminating microbial contamination.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 26, 2010, 8:00 AM CT

Cardiac wakeup call for Canadian kids

Cardiac wakeup call for Canadian kids
Poor sleep patterns and lack of proper sleep could be threatening thousands of Canadian adolescents with premature heart disease and stroke, warns Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher Dr. Brian McCrindle, a pediatric heart specialist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

"Sleep disorders in kids are on the increase. They are marching hand in hand with other increasing cardiovascular risk factors such as overweight and obesity, lack of physical activity, a poor diet, and high levels of unhealthy cholesterol," Dr. McCrindle today told the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2010, co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.

"Teens who experience more disordered sleep − in terms of duration, quality, and pattern − have a higher body mass index and a correspondingly higher risk of overweight and obesity," says Dr. McCrindle. "This, in turn, can lead to higher levels of cholesterol, another risk factor".

Over 1,600 students in grade 9 (ages 14 to 16) participated in the Healthy Schools screening program run by Heart Niagara. Overall, 22 per cent of students rated their sleep as fairly or very bad. Fourteen per cent of students reported difficulty staying awake during the day one to two times a week. Five per cent reported problems staying awake during the day more than three times a week.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 22, 2010, 8:04 AM CT

Patient navigations improve mammography rates

Patient navigations improve mammography rates
A new research study conducted by Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) shows that patient navigation services significantly improve biennial mammography screening rates among inner city women. The results, published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, indicate the importance of patient navigation in reducing health disparities in vulnerable patient populations.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, with 40,170 deaths in the United States in 2009. Lower mammography screening rates among minority and low income women contributes to the increased morbidity and mortality from breast cancer. As per the American Cancer Society, an estimated 5,320 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed and an estimated 780 women will die from breast cancer in Massachusetts during 2010.

The study was conducted over a nine-month period and involved 3,895 Boston Medical Center (BMC) general internal medicine primary care practice female patients between the ages of 51-70. Patient navigation services consisted of phone calls and reminder letters to identify the barriers to care and aid in directly scheduling mammograms. At the end of the nine-months, mammography adherence rates increased to 87 percent in those that received patient navigation with no change from the baseline adherence rates of the non navigated group (76 percent). Patient navigation also increased adherence rates across all languages, races, insurance and education groups.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 18, 2010, 7:51 AM CT

Alcohol during pregnancy

Alcohol during pregnancy
Scientific data continue to indicate that higher intake of alcohol during pregnancy adversely affects the fetus, and could lead to very severe developmental or other problems in the child. However, most recent publications show little or no effects of occasional or light drinking by the mother during pregnancy. The studies also demonstrate how socio-economic, education, and other lifestyle factors of the mother may have large effects on the health of the fetus and child; these must be considered when evaluating the potential effects of alcohol during pregnancy.

A very large population-based observational study from the UK observed that at the age of 5 years, the children of women who reported light (no more than 1-2 units of alcohol per week or per occasion) drinking did not show any evidence of impairment on testing for behavioral and emotional problems or cognitive ability. There was a tendency for the male children of women reporting "heavy/binge" drinking during pregnancy (7 or more units per week or 6 or more units per occasion) to have poorer behavioural scores, but the effects were less clear among female offspring.

A second study, published in Pediatrics, based on a population in Western Australia examined the associations between dose, pattern, and timing of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) and birth defects and found similar results, that there was no association between low or moderate prenatal alcohol exposure and birth defects.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


October 18, 2010, 7:45 AM CT

Right foods aid memory and protect against disease

Right foods aid memory and protect against disease
For the first time scientists have found out what effect multiple, rather than just single, foods with anti-inflammatory effects have on healthy individuals.

The results of a diet study show that bad cholesterol was reduced by 33 per cent, blood lipids by 14 per cent, blood pressure by 8 per cent and a risk marker for blood clots by 26 per cent. A marker of inflammation in the body was also greatly reduced, while memory and cognitive function were improved.

"The results have exceeded our expectations! I would like to claim that there has been no prior study with similar effects on healthy subjects", says Inger Bjrck, professor of food-related nutrition at Lund University and head of the University's Antidiabetic Food Centre.

Forty-four healthy, overweight people between the ages of 50 and 75 took part in the diet study. For four weeks they ate foods which are presumed to reduce low-grade inflammation in the body, a condition which in turn triggers metabolic syndrome and thus obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The test diet was high in antioxidants, low-GI foods (i.e. slow release carbohydrates), omega fatty acids, wholegrain products, probiotics and viscous dietary fibre. Examples of foods eaten were oily fish, barley, soy protein, blueberries, almonds, cinnamon, vinegar and a certain type of wholegrain bread. Some of the products in the food portfolio are still not available in the shops, but were developed specifically for the study.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 14, 2010, 7:30 AM CT

Watermelon lowers blood pressure

Watermelon lowers blood pressure
No matter how you slice it, watermelon has a lot going for it sweet, low calorie, high fiber, nutrient rich and now, there's more. Evidence from a pilot study led by food researchers at The Florida State University suggests that watermelon can be an effective natural weapon against prehypertension, a precursor to cardiovascular disease.

It is the first investigation of its kind in humans. FSU Assistant Professor Arturo Figueroa and Professor Bahram H. Arjmandi observed that when six grams of the amino acid L-citrulline/L-arginine from watermelon extract was administered daily for six weeks, there was improved arterial function and consequently lowered aortic blood pressure in all nine of their prehypertensive subjects (four men and five postmenopausal women, ages 51-57).

"We are the first to document improved aortic hemodynamics in prehypertensive but otherwise healthy middle-aged men and women receiving therapeutic doses of watermelon," Figueroa said. "These findings suggest that this 'functional food' has a vasodilatory effect, and one that may prevent prehigh blood pressure from progressing to full-blown hypertension, a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

"Given the encouraging evidence generated by this preliminary study, we hope to continue the research and include a much larger group of participants in the next round," he said.........

Posted by: Janet      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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