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November 16, 2010, 7:02 AM CT

Rational family structure dominates

Rational family structure dominates
Couples do not live together for traditional or romantic reasons.

Credit: University of Gothenburg

ntellectual and social. The nuclear family still holds a strong position in Sweden. Some 70 percent of the population live in a nuclear family, shows research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

A number of families today consist of networks of various people that include a whole host of constellations, without being a nuclear family.

Family scientists are at any rate pleased at the break up of the nuclear family, and the late 20th century is of particular interest to those who specialise in to family research.



Not giving enough


"The number of divorces in Sweden and other countries increased dramatically during the 1960s and 70s. A new form of relationship began to emerge in modern society, with people no longer forming partnerships and living together for traditional or romantic reasons. The new relationship takes a rational approach, where people ask what the relationship is giving them and what they get in exchange emotionally, financially, intellectually and socially. The answer often shows that the relationship is not giving enough in return, which explains the increase in the number of divorces in our part of the world, with reference to research carried out by the English sociologist Anthony Giddens and others," says Thomas Johansson, Professor of education specialising in child and youth studies at the Department of Education, Communication and Learning.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 16, 2010, 7:00 AM CT

Radiation fears should not deter women from mammography

Radiation fears should not deter women from mammography
The risk of radiation-induced breast cancer from mammography screening is slight compared to the benefit of expected lives saved, as per a newly released study appearing online and in the recent issue of the journal Radiology

"Recently, there have been reports in the press focusing on the potential radiation risk from mammography, especially as used for periodic screening," said the study's main author, Martin J. Yaffe, Ph.D., senior scientist in imaging research at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and professor in the departments of medical biophysics and medical imaging at the University of Toronto. "Our study shows that the risk of cancer linked to routine screening in women age 40 and over is very low, particularly when in comparison to the benefits linked to early detection".

Dr. Yaffe and his colleague, James G. Mainprize, Ph.D., developed a model for estimating the risk of radiation-induced breast cancer following exposure of the breast to ionizing radiation from various screening mammography scenarios and estimated the potential number of breast cancers, fatal breast cancers, and years of life lost attributable to mammography screening.

Using a radiation dose estimate of 3.7 milligrays (mGy), which is typical for digital mammography, and a cohort of 100,000 women, the scientists applied the risk model to predict the number of radiation-induced breast cancers attributable to a single examination and then extended the model to various screening scenarios beginning and ending at different ages.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 16, 2010, 6:58 AM CT

Nighttime sleep beneficial to infants' skills

Nighttime sleep beneficial to infants' skills
At ages 1 and 1-1/2, children who get most of their sleep at night (as opposed to during the day) do better in a variety of skill areas than children who don't sleep as much at night.

That's the finding of a new longitudinal study conducted by scientists at the University of Montreal and the University of Minnesota. The research appears in the November/December 2010 issue of the journal Child Development

The study, of 60 Canadian children at ages 1, 1-1/2, and 2, looked at the effects of infants' sleep on executive functioning. Among children, executive functioning includes the ability to control impulses, remember things, and show mental flexibility. Executive functioning develops rapidly between ages 1 and 6, but little is known about why certain children are better than others at acquiring these skills.

"We observed that infants' sleep is linked to cognitive functions that depend on brain structures that develop rapidly in the first two years of life," explains Annie Bernier, professor of psychology at the University of Montreal, who led the study. "This may imply that good nighttime sleep in infancy sets in motion a cascade of neural effects that has implications for later executive skills".

When the infants were 1 year old and 1-1/2 years old, their mothers filled out three-day sleep diaries that included hour-by-hour patterns, daytime naps, and nighttime wakings. When the children were 1-1/2 and 2, the scientists measured how the children did on the skills involved with executive functioning.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 16, 2010, 6:53 AM CT

Stereotyped views in preschoolers

Stereotyped views in preschoolers
Preschool teachers can inadvertently pass on lessons in stereotypes to their students when they highlight gender differences, as per Penn State psychology experts.

A study has observed that when teachers call attention to gender, children are more likely to express stereotyped views of what activities are appropriate for boys and girls and which gender they prefer to play with, said Lynn Liben, Distinguished Professor of psychology, human development and family studies, and education, Penn State.

By highlighting the powerful effect of classroom environments on preschool children's gender-related beliefs and behaviors, the findings have implications for how teachers structure classrooms and interact with children, as per Liben, who worked with Lacey Hilliard, a Penn State graduate student, on the experiment.

"The biggest impact of the study and the findings seems to be that classroom structure really matters," said Liben. "It shows that if teachers emphasize gender--in any way-- it has amazingly profound effects on how children interact with each other".

The researchers, who published their results in the current issue of Child Development, reviewed 57, 3- to 5-year-olds at two preschools over a two-week period. The two schools were similar in class size, teacher-child ratio and populations served. In one set of classrooms, teachers were asked to avoid making divisions by sex, which was the policy of the preschool. In the other, teachers were asked to use gendered language and divisions, such as lining children up by gender and asking boys and girls to post their work on separate bulletin boards, but still avoid making statements comparing boys and girls or fostering competition between them. For example, they were asked to avoid saying, "Who can be quieter: boys or girls?".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 16, 2010, 6:51 AM CT

New low-cost method to deliver vaccine

New low-cost method to deliver vaccine
A health-care practitioner administers an intranasal vaccine.

Credit: Content provider: CDC/Dr. Bill Atkinson Photo credit: James Gathany

Scientists have developed a promising new approach to vaccination for rotavirus, a common cause of severe diarrheal disease that is responsible for approximately 500,000 deaths among children in the developing world every year. As per a research findings reported in the recent issue of Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, a vaccine delivered as nasal drops effectively induced an immune response in mice and protected them from rotavirus infection. The new vaccine delivery system has also been tested successfully and found to be heat stable with tetanus and is currently being tested with diphtheria and pertussis.

The team from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and Tufts University School of Medicine collaborated with scientists from Boston and Tulane Universities to test the effectiveness of immunization with harmless bacteria that were engineered to display rotavirus protein.

"The new vaccine, in conjunction with an agent that enhances immunity, induced sufficient antibody formation against rotavirus to protect mice against infection when the mice were exposed to rotavirus three weeks after their third immunization," explained John E. Herrmann, PhD, research professor in the infectious diseases division of the department of biomedical sciences at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and the senior author of the published study.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


November 12, 2010, 7:47 AM CT

Circuitry of fear

Circuitry of fear
Neurobiologists at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research have identified, for the first time, clearly defined neural circuits responsible for the processing of fear states. These findings could ultimately help people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety disorders. The scientists' results have been reported in the latest issue of Nature.

Fear arises in the almond-shaped brain structure known as the amygdala. It is the amygdala which processes the strange noise, shadowy figure or scary face and not only triggers palpitations or nausea but can also cause us to flee or freeze. That much has long been known about the function of this part of the brain. What remains largely unclear, however, is precisely how fear develops, and which of the countless neurons in the amygdaloid region are involved in this process. But finding answers to these questions is vital for those who wish to improve the quality of life for people suffering as a result of traumatic experiences. In particular, patients with post-traumatic stress or anxiety disorders could benefit from the elucidation of neural processes in the amygdala.

Neurobiologists at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI, part of the Novartis Research Foundation) have become the first to identify neural pathways and types of neurons in the amygdala which play a key role in the behavioral expression of fear. In two studies reported in the latest issue of Nature, they show that there are clearly defined types of neurons in the amygdala which fulfill specific functions in the processing of fear inputs and subsequent fear responses. These cell types are organized in circuits, connecting neurons and various areas within the amygdala.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 12, 2010, 7:38 AM CT

Alcohol damages much more than the liver

Alcohol damages much more than the liver
Alcohol does much more harm to the body than just damaging the liver. Drinking also can weaken the immune system, slow healing, impair bone formation, increase the risk of HIV transmission and hinder recovery from burns, trauma, bleeding and surgery.

Scientists released the latest findings on such negative effects of alcohol during a meeting Nov. 19 of the Alcohol and Immunology Research Interest Group, held at Loyola University Medical Center.

At Loyola, about 50 faculty members, technicians, post-doctoral fellows and students are conducting alcohol research. Studies at Loyola and other centers could lead to therapies to boost the immune system or otherwise minimize the effects of alcohol, said Elizabeth J. Kovacs, PhD, director of Loyola's Alcohol Research Program and associate director of Loyola's Burn & Shock Trauma Institute.

"Of course, the best way to prevent the damaging effects of alcohol is to not drink in the first place," Kovacs said. "But it is very difficult to get people to do this".

Sessions at the conference included Alcohol and Infection, Alcohol and Oxidative Stress and Alcohol and Organ Inflammation. Findings were presented by scientists from centers around the country, including Loyola, Cleveland Clinic, University of Iowa, University of Colorado, University of Massachusetts, Mississippi State University, Chicago State University and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 12, 2010, 7:08 AM CT

Yoga's ability to improve mood and lessen anxiety

Yoga's ability to improve mood and lessen anxiety
New Rochelle, NY, November 11, 2010Yoga has a greater positive effect on a person's mood and anxiety level than walking and other forms of exercise, which appears to be due to higher levels of the brain chemical GABA as per an article in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a peer-evaluated journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The article is available free online.

Yoga has been shown to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, a chemical in the brain that helps to regulate nerve activity. GABA activity is reduced in people with mood and anxiety disorders, and drugs that increase GABA activity are usually prescribed to improve mood and decrease anxiety.

Tying all of these observations together, the study by Chris Streeter, MD, from Boston University School of Medicine (Massachusetts) and his colleagues demonstrates that increased GABA levels measured after a session of yoga postures are linked to improved mood and decreased anxiety. Their findings establish a new link between yoga, higher levels of GABA in the thalamus, and improvements in mood and anxiety based on psychological evaluations. The authors suggest that the practice of yoga stimulates specific brain areas, thereby giving rise to changes in endogenous antidepressant neurotransmitters such as GABA.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 11, 2010, 8:00 AM CT

Citywide smoking ban is effective

Citywide smoking ban is effective
New research released recently takes a look at birth outcomes and maternal smoking, building urgency for more states and cities to join the nationwide smoke-free trend that has accelerated in recent years. As per the new data, strong smoke-free policies can improve fetal outcomes by significantly reducing the prevalence of maternal smoking.

The study, which was presented today at the American Public Health Association's 138th Annual Meeting & Exposition in Denver, compared maternal smoking prevalence in one Colorado city where a smoking ban has already been implemented to that of a neighboring city where there is no ordinance.

Scientists from the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy collected data from mothers residing in Pueblo, Colo., before and after a citywide smoking ban took effect. Results show a 23 percent decrease in the odds of preterm births and a 37 percent decrease in the odds of maternal smoking in Pueblo following the ban. Birth outcomes in El Paso County, Colo., however, showed no such drop during the same time period. Findings in this first-ever study in United States reflect similar findings as national data from Dublin, Ireland.

The study suggests that smoking bans have a significant and immediate positive impact on the health of infants and mothers. Pre-term babies stand a greater likelihood of experiencing cardiovascular issues during the later part of life.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 11, 2010, 7:43 AM CT

Needs of Rural-Dwelling Elderly

Needs of Rural-Dwelling Elderly
A novel project set in a rural community near Rochester, N.Y., to screen elderly people for unmet needs showed that, indeed, there is a great opportunity to match elderly adults with professional assistance.

The University of Rochester Medical Center, Livingston County Department of Health and Office for the Aging, and the Genesee Valley Health Partnership collaborated to create this program, called Livingston Help for Seniors. They describe this new model of care for rural-dwelling adults in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

In one instance, a diabetic who did not own a refrigerator to store insulin was provided a new appliance; other examples included linking patients to professionals who could assist them with paperwork, home weatherization, and unanswered medical questions.

A unique aspect of the program was the use of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) technicians to evaluate older people who live at home for common problems such as falls, depression, or management of medications, said the study's main author Manish N. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of Emergency Medicine, Geriatrics and Community and Preventive Medicine at URMC.

"Despite frequent contact with their primary doctors, older adults often have unmet needs that can only be identified in a home visit," Shah said. "The EMS system has not traditionally served a public health function, but we believe it has significant potential, particularly in rural areas where health care resources are scarce".........

Posted by: Janet      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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