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May 24, 2009, 8:46 PM CT

Interpreting head movements

Interpreting head movements
May 21, 2009 It is well known that people use head motion during conversation to convey a range of meanings and emotions, and that women use more active head motion when conversing with each other than men use when they talk with each other.

When women and men converse together, the men use a little more head motion and the women use a little less. But the men and women might be adapting because of their gender-based expectations or because of the movements they perceive from each other.

What would happen if you could change the apparent gender of a conversant while keeping all of the motion dynamics of head movement and facial expression?.

Using new videoconferencing technology, a team of psychology experts and computer researchers led by Steven Boker, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia were able to switch the apparent gender of study participants during conversation and observed that head motion was more important than gender in determining how people coordinate with each other while engaging in conversation.

The researchers observed that gender-based social expectations are unlikely to be the source of reported gender differences in the way people coordinate their head movements during two-way conversation.

The scientists used synthesized faces known as avatars in videoconferences with nave participants, who believed they were conversing onscreen with an actual person rather than a synthetic version of a person.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 24, 2009, 8:43 PM CT

People by nature are universally optimistic

People by nature are universally optimistic
At the country level, optimism is highest in Ireland, Brazil, Denmark, and New Zealand and lowest in Zimbabwe, Egypt, Haiti and Bulgaria. The United States ranks number 10 on the list of optimistic countries.

Credit: University of Kansas/Gallup

Despite calamities from economic recessions, wars and famine to a flu epidemic afflicting the Earth, a newly released study from the University of Kansas and Gallup indicates that humans are by nature optimistic.

The study, to be presented Sunday, May 24, 2009, at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science in San Francisco, found optimism to be universal and borderless.

Data from the Gallup World Poll drove the findings, with adults in more than 140 countries providing a representative sample of 95 percent of the world's population. The sample included more than 150,000 adults.

Eighty-nine percent of individuals worldwide expect the next five years to be as good or better than their current life, and 95 percent of individuals expected their life in five years to be as good or better than their life was five years ago.

"These results provide compelling evidence that optimism is a universal phenomenon," said Matthew Gallagher, a psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Kansas and lead researcher of the study.

At the country level, optimism is highest in Ireland, Brazil, Denmark, and New Zealand and lowest in Zimbabwe, Egypt, Haiti and Bulgaria. The United States ranks number 10 on the list of optimistic countries.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 24, 2009, 8:41 PM CT

How superbugs control their lethal weapons

How superbugs control their lethal weapons
It appears that some superbugs have evolved to develop the ability to manipulate the immune system to everyone's advantage.

A team of scientists at The University of Western Ontario, led by Joaquin (Quim) Madrenas of the Robarts Research Institute, has discovered some processes that reduce the lethal effects of toxins from superbugs, allowing humans and microbes to co-evolve. This discovery may lead to novel alternatives to antibiotics that specifically target the toxic effects of these superbugs. The findings are being reported in the journal Nature Medicine and are available online today.

Madrenas holds a Canada Research Chair in Immunobiology and is a Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, and Medicine at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western. He also is head of Immunology at Robarts Research Institute and Director of the FOCIS Centre for Clinical Immunology and Immunotherapeutics.

Staphylococcus (staph) aureus is the leading cause of infections in hospitals and the second most common cause of infections in the general population. By itself, it is associated with more than half a million hospital admissions a year in North America with estimated costs of more than $6 billion per year. Among the a number of weapons produced by this superbug, the most potent and lethal ones are known as superantigens. These lethal weapons cause massive and harmful activation of the immune system that leads to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). TSS is a very serious disease that carries a high mortality, for which we do not have a specific therapy.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


May 22, 2009, 5:13 AM CT

Identifying Alzheimers disease early

Identifying Alzheimers disease early
Analyzing MRI studies of the brain with software developed at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) may allow diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and of mild cognitive impairment, a lesser form of dementia that precedes the development of Alzheimer's by several years. In their report that will appear in the journal Brain and has been released online, the MGH/Martinos team show how their software program can accurately differentiate patients with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease from normal elderly individuals based on anatomic differences in brain structures known to be affected by the disease.

"Traditionally Alzheimer's has been diagnosed based on a combination of factors such as a neurologic exam, detailed medical history and written tests of cognitive functioning with neuroimaging used primarily to rule out other diseases such as stroke or a brain tumor," says Rahul Desikan MD, PhD, of the Martinos Center and Boston University School of Medicine, main author of the Brain paper. "Our findings show the feasibility and importance of using automated, MRI-based neuroanatomic measures as a diagnostic marker for Alzheimer's disease."

The scientists note that mild cognitive impairment occurs in about 20 percent of elderly individuals as a number of as 40 percent of those over 85 80 percent of whom develop Alzheimer's within five or six years. Since drugs that may slow the progression of Alzheimer's are in development, the ability to treat patients in the earliest stages of the disease may significantly delay progression to dementia. To investigate whether MR imaging can produce diagnostic markers for mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease, the research team used FreeSurfer an openly available imaging software package developed at the Martinos Center and the University of California at San Diego to examine many neuroanatomic regions across a range of normal individuals and patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


May 22, 2009, 5:06 AM CT

Younger men with advanced prostate cancer

Younger men with advanced prostate cancer
Prostate cancer
While young men with prostate cancer have a low risk of dying early, those with advanced forms of cancer do not live as long as older men with similar forms of the disease. That is the conclusion of a newly released study reported in the July 1, 2009 issue of CANCER, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society. The paradoxical findings indicate that there appears to be biological differences between prostate cancers that develop in younger men and those that develop in older men, and that uncovering these differences may help tailor screening and therapy strategies for patients based on age.

In general, a younger cancer patient has a better prognosis than an older patient with the same type of cancer. Few studies have analyzed the health of younger vs. older men after diagnosis and therapy for prostate cancer, though.

To investigate the impact of age on prostate cancer prognosis, Daniel Lin, M.D., of the University of Washington and his colleagues designed a study to examine the association between age at diagnosis and health outcomes in men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United States. Mining the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database, the researchers identified 318,774 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1988 and 2003. Men aged 35 to 74 years were stratified by age at the time of diagnosis, and the scientists examined differences in tumor characteristics, therapy, and survival within each age group.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


May 22, 2009, 5:03 AM CT

African-American women with advanced breast cancer

African-American women with advanced breast cancer
A newly released study finds that nearly one in four African American women with late stage breast cancer refused chemotherapy and radiation treatment, potentially life saving therapies. Reported in the July 1, 2009 issue of CANCER, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society, the study indicates that more efforts are needed to ensure that all women with breast cancer receive appropriate care.

In the United States, African American women have almost twice the rate of advanced (stage III) breast cancer than white women. To get a better sense of the tumor characteristics and medical care of these patients, scientists led by Monica Rizzo, M.D., of the Emory University School of Medicine and Emory University's Avon Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center at Grady evaluated stage III breast cancer data from 2000 to 2006 from an inner city hospital in Atlanta that serves a large African American population.

The researchers identified 107 cases of stage III breast cancers diagnosed and/or treated at this hospital over the six years of study. Approximately 87 percent of these cases were in African American women. Triple negative tumors accounted for 29 percent of the cases. These cancers do not express the estrogen receptor, the progesterone receptor or the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) and therefore do not respond well to therapies that target these proteins (such as trastuzumab, or Herceptin, which blocks HER2).........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 22, 2009, 5:02 AM CT

Low vitamin D cancer link

Low vitamin D cancer link
Food rich in Vitamin D
In studying the preventive effects of vitamin D, scientists at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego, have proposed a new model of cancer development that hinges on a loss of cancer cells' ability to stick together. The model, dubbed DINOMIT, differs substantially from the current model of cancer development, which suggests genetic mutations as the earliest driving forces behind cancer.

"The first event in cancer is loss of communication among cells due to, among other things, low vitamin D and calcium levels," said epidemiologist Cedric Garland, DrPH, professor of family and preventive medicine at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, who led the work. "In this new model, we propose that this loss may play a key role in cancer by disrupting the communication between cells that is essential to healthy cell turnover, allowing more aggressive cancer cells to take over".

Reporting online May 22, 2009 in the Annals of Epidemiology, Garland suggests that such cellular disruption could account for the earliest stages of a number of cancers. He said that prior theories linking vitamin D to certain cancers have been tested and confirmed in more than 200 epidemiological studies, and understanding of its physiological basis stems from more than 2,500 laboratory studies.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 21, 2009, 6:04 AM CT

More than a bad night's sleep

More than a bad night's sleep
Sleep apnea has long been known to be linked to obesity. But a newly released study reported in the recent issue of Diabetes Care finds that the disorder is widely undiagnosed among obese individuals with type 2 diabetes nearly 87 percent of participants reported symptoms, but were never diagnosed.

For those with untreated sleep apnea, it doesn't just mean their sleep is disrupted; existing research shows that it can also mean an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

"The high prevalence of undiagnosed, and therefore, untreated sleep apnea among obese patients with diabetes constitutes a serious public health problem," said Gary Foster, PhD, main author and director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University.

The newly released study, called Sleep AHEAD, looked at 306 obese patients with type 2 diabetes already enrolled in the Look AHEAD trial, a 16-site study investigating the long-term health impact of an intensive lifestyle intervention in 5, 145 overweight or obese adults with type 2 diabetes.

Each participant had a sleep study (polysomnogram) that measures various breathing and brain activity during sleep. Participants also filled out a series of questions about symptoms correlation to sleep (snoring, sleepiness during the day), and had their weight, height, waist and neck circumferences measured.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 20, 2009, 7:39 PM CT

Mother-infant psychotherapy

Mother-infant psychotherapy
Psychotherapists who treat mothers suffering from postpartum depression and other mood disorders with their infants have developed a proven process that contributes to a greater positive experience with immediate insights for the mothers to develop healthy connections between their maternal experiences and their infants' behaviors.

Given the documented detrimental effects of postpartum depression on infants and the mother-infant relationship, mental health professionals concerned with child development and families are anxious to understand models of best practices in order to prevent untoward outcomes.

In a focus group study to evaluate the effectiveness of an agency-based mother-infant therapy program, nine therapists, each with 20 + years experience working with parents and babies, talked about their practices. A Boston University School of Social Work-led research team asked the participants to summarize their work, then describe what makes for therapeutic change in mother-infant treatment and how they know when it's effective. Their findings "Mother-Infant Psychotherapy: Examining the Therapeutic Process of Change," were just published in Infant Mental Health Journal

The therapists -- a multidisciplinary group of three psychology experts, four social workers, one psychiatry expert and an educator -- elaborated on how they helped depressed mothers tune in to the nuances of what their babies were telling them and communicated how best to respond. The clinicians are part of the Jewish Family and Children's Service Early Connections program, a home-based mother-infant psychotherapy intervention that specializes in the therapy of postpartum depression (PPD) and mood disorders. The program's key goal is to increase the mother's ability to be affectively present in her interaction with the child and to address issues that arise as result of becoming a mother.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 20, 2009, 6:54 PM CT

Risk of Gestational diabetes

Risk of Gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes happens in more than three per cent of pregnancies in Ontario. Commonly the condition resolves itself after delivery, but a number of studies have shown that these women are at a very high risk for developing "regular" type 2 diabetes during the later part of life. New research out of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) has observed that even women with mild abnormalities in their blood sugar during pregnancy, previously thought not to have any clinical significance, are 2.5 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes in comparison to those who had completely normal glucose testing.
  • To test for gestational diabetes, women receive a glucose challenge test (GCT) in the late second trimester of pregnancy. If the result of this test is abnormal, they go on to have a diagnostic test, called the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). If this test does not show gestational diabetes, women are reassured their glucose levels are normal and that no further testing is needed.
  • However, recent studies have suggested that women who have even mild abnormalities on either the GCT or the OGTT do actually have subtle differences in their metabolism after pregnancy.
  • The study examined 15,000 pregnant women aged 20-49 in Ontario who had a mild abnormality on their GCT but did not ultimately get diagnosed with gestational diabetes. They were in comparison to about 60,000 pregnant women who did not have abnormalities on their GCT. The women were followed for 6.4 years after delivery, and those who had had an abnormal GCT were 2.5 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes in comparison to those who had not had an abnormal GCT.
........

Posted by: Emily      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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