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February 18, 2010, 10:04 PM CT

Regulating anesthesia via computer

Regulating anesthesia via computer
A team of scientists from the Canary Islands has developed a technique for automatically controlling anaesthesia during surgical operations. The new system detects the hypnotic state of the patient at all times and supplies the most appropriate dose of anaesthetic.

"This is an efficient control technique which regulates anaesthesia in operating theatres by computer, with the aim of adapting the dose of the drug administered as per the individual characteristics of each patient", Juan Albino Mndez, main author of the study and a researcher in the Anaesthesia Control Group at the University of La Laguna (ULL), tells SINC.

The group has developed an IT tool together with the team of anaesthetists from the University Hospital of the Canary Islands, in order to facilitate the work of these health professionals. The new system, which has been published in Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering, keeps the patient in the desired hypnotic state throughout the operation.

The system uses sensors and a monitor to record the patient's encephalogram (EEG) and bispectral index (BIS), a parameter without units that measures hypnotic state and relates this to the patient's level of consciousness.

The BIS value fluctuates between 100 (maximum possible state of alertness) and 0 (lack of cortical electrical activity, the state of deepest unconsciousness). This research focuses on the BIS region involved in general anaesthesia, between 40 and 60.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 10, 2010, 8:20 AM CT

Chronic Illnesses and Acupuncture

Chronic Illnesses and Acupuncture
Doctors at Rush University Medical Center are offering pediatric patients diagnosed with chronic illnesses acupuncture treatment to help ease the pain and negative side effects like nausea, fatigue, and vomiting caused by chronic health conditions and intensive therapys. The confluence of Chinese and Western medicine at Rush Children's Hospital is part of a study to analyze and document how acupuncture might help in reducing pain in children and increase quality of life.

"Treating children with acupuncture is a new frontier," said Dr. Paul Kent, pediatric hematology and oncology expert, Rush Children's Hospital. "We are looking to see if there is an effective pain management treatment we can offer that does not have the serious side effects that can be caused by narcotics and other serious pain medications".

The lack of options for pain management in children has been reported as one of the most difficult aspects of providing care to pediatric patients. Research indicates that up to 70 percent of pediatric patients experience pain and those with chronic illnesses often do not have adequate relief or prevention of pain.

"Acupuncture could be a potential solution to this dilemma of controlling pain in pediatric patients," said Angela Johnson, Chinese medicine practitioner at Rush.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 8, 2010, 7:57 AM CT

Genetic variant linked to biological aging

Genetic variant linked to biological aging
Researchers announced recently (7 Feb) they have identified for the first time definitive variants linked to biological ageing in humans. The team analyzed more than 500,000 genetic variations across the entire human genome to identify the variants which are located near a gene called TERC.

The study in Nature Genetics published recently by scientists from the University of Leicester and King's College London, working with University of Groningen in the Netherlands, was funded by The Wellcome Trust and the British Heart Foundation.

British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiology at the University of Leicester Professor Nilesh Samani, of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, who co-led the project explained that there are two forms of ageing chronological ageing i.e. how old you are in years and biological ageing whereby the cells of some individuals are older (or younger) than suggested by their actual age.

He said: "There is accumulating evidence that the risk of age-associated diseases including heart disease and some types of cancers are more closely correlation to biological rather than chronological age.

"What we studied are structures called telomeres which are parts of one's chromosomes. Individuals are born with telomeres of certain length and in a number of cells telomeres shorten as the cells divide and age. Telomere length is therefore considered a marker of biological ageing.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 8, 2010, 7:38 AM CT

Beer and bone health

Beer and bone health
A newly released study suggests that beer is a significant source of dietary silicon, a key ingredient for increasing bone mineral density. Scientists from the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California, Davis studied commercial beer production to determine the relationship between beer production methods and the resulting silicon content, concluding that beer is a rich source of dietary silicon. Details of this study are available in the recent issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Society of Chemical Industry.

"The factors in brewing that influence silicon levels in beer have not been extensively studied" said Charles Bamforth, main author of the study. "We have examined a wide range of beer styles for their silicon content and have also studied the impact of raw materials and the brewing process on the quantities of silicon that enter wort and beer".

Silicon is present in beer in the soluble form of orthosilicic acid (OSA), which yields 50% bioavailability, making beer a major contributor to silicon intake in the Western diet. As per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), dietary silicon (Si), as soluble OSA, appears to be important for the growth and development of bone and connective tissue, and beer may be a major contributor to Si intake. Based on these findings, some studies suggest moderate beer consumption may help fight osteoporosis, a disease of the skeletal system characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 4, 2010, 8:18 AM CT

Electronic health records need better monitoring

Electronic health records need better monitoring
Dean Sittig, Ph.D.
UT School of Health Information Sciences at Houston
The push is on for healthcare providers to make the switch to electronic health records but it is hard to tell how well these complex health information technology systems are being implemented and used, writes a health informatics researcher at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in a Feb. 3 commentary in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association.

To improve monitoring, Dean Sittig, Ph.D., main author and associate professor at The University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences at Houston (SHIS), has called for coordinated oversight by both the healthcare providers implementing these systems and by government authorities.

Doctors and hospitals are racing to take advantage of billions in federal incentives to digitize health records, Sittig said. The monies were included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). "The ARRA stimulus is pushing people to take risks," Sittig said. "It's like life. If you're late for work, you may drive a little faster than you should. This can lead to accidents".

Even under the best of circumstances, as per Sittig, implementing an electronic health record system is difficult, costly, time-consuming and fraught with unintended adverse consequences. Assessment of these systems following implementation shows that some do not meet safety standards established in other industries like the airline and pharmaceutical industries, he said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 3, 2010, 8:14 AM CT

Gene variation makes alcoholism less likely in some

Gene variation makes alcoholism less likely in some
Washington University School of Medicine

Elliot C. Nelson, M.D.
Exposure to severe stress early in life increases the risk of alcohol and drug addiction. Yet surprisingly, some adults sexually abused as children - and therefore at high risk for alcohol problems - carry gene variants that protect them from heavy drinking and its effects, as per scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The researchers, from the university's Midwest Alcoholism Research Center, say the finding could aid the development of therapies for alcohol dependence by offering suggestions for targeted therapys based on genetic traits and history of exposure to severe stressors.

Researchers estimate that about half the risk for alcoholism is encoded in a person's genes. The rest comes from environmental factors, such as age at first drink and exposure to extreme stress. Other research has suggested that when the environmental risk factors occur during key periods of brain development, genes and environment working together can increase the likelihood an individual will become alcohol dependent. Child sexual abuse is one of the environmental stressors that can interact with genes to significantly increase the risk for alcohol problems.

But the scientists report in the recent issue of Addiction Biology that people with a particular pattern of genetic markers seem to be protected against alcohol problems, even if they were sexually abused as children.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 3, 2010, 7:59 AM CT

Women should be allowed to eat, drink during labor

Women should be allowed to eat, drink during labor
The traditional practice of restricting food and fluids during labour does not provide any benefits, finds a new review co-authored by a Queen's University Associate Professor.

"Based on our review, there is no convincing and existing evidence to support restriction of fluids, and perhaps food, for women during labour. Women should be able to choose for themselves," says Dr. Joan Tranmer of the Queen's School of Nursing.

Practitioners have been concerned about eating and drinking during labour since the 1940s. The restriction is thought to prevent Mendelson's syndrome (named after work by Dr. Carl Mendelson), a rare, but sometimes fatal, condition caused by regurgitation of acidic stomach contents into the lungs when a general anaesthetic is given.

"With medical advances over the past 60 years, including the increase use of epidural anesthesia, we thought it was time to question the widespread ban on food and drink now that we are in the 2000s," says Professor Tranmer. "The use of general anesthesia during C-sections is low. And even when used, the techniques have improved since the 1940s, so the risk of maternal death or illness is very, very low" .

There is tremendous variation in the practice of fluid and food restriction across birth settings (home births versus hospitals).........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


February 1, 2010, 8:14 AM CT

Multiple sclerosis and the season

Multiple sclerosis and the season
Prior studies have shown multiple sclerosis (MS) patients are more often born in spring than in any other season, indicating that there is an environmental risk factor for the disease. A paper in the journal Neurology, evaluated for f1000 Medicine by Emmanuelle Waubant and Ellen Mowry, now suggests that this seasonal effect is mediated by the gene HLA-DRB1.

In a number of European populations, the HLA-DRB1*15 allele of this gene is linked to an increased risk of MS, and the large-scale study of MS patients from Canada, Sweden and Norway now shows that this allele is more common among patients born in the spring.

Waubant and Mowry said the study was "unique in its attempt to understand how genes and environment interact in MS". However, even though there is a connection between birth month, genetics and risk of MS, it is still not clear how this is regulated.

One likely contender is vitamin D, which influences expression of the HLA-DRB1*15 allele. Since vitamin D production fluctuates with the seasons, a vitamin D deficit in pregnant mothers could be correlation to the increased risk of MS among spring births, but this requires further investigation.

Waubant and Mowry said the study may influence preventative and therapeutic therapys through the understanding of environmental risks and their interaction with relevant genotypes.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


February 1, 2010, 8:13 AM CT

Handling of milk in restaurants

Handling of milk in restaurants
A study recommends better handling of milk in restaurants.

Credit: SINC

One-third of samples of milk and dairy products analysed in various restaurants exceed the microbe contamination limits set by the European Union, as per a research studycarried out by scientists from the University of Valencia (UV). The experts advise against keeping milk in jugs and suggest that these foodstuffs need to be better handled.

"Out of all the dairy products we analysed, 35% of the samples exceeded the maximum contamination levels established by EU law for enterobacteriaceae, and 31% exceeded the limits set for mesophilic aerobic microorganisms (which grow at an optimum temperature of between 30 and 45C)", Isabel Sospedra, a researcher at the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health of the UV and one of the authors of the study, tells SINC.

The researchers examined 265 batches of milk and ready-to-use milk derivatives in a range of bars and restaurants in Valencia, and checked whether their microbial quality fell into line with European Union regulations. The results, which have been published recently in the journal Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, show that one-third of the samples had some kind of microorganism contamination and were not fit for human consumption.

"Luckily none of the batches we analysed tested positive for Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes or Salmonella spp, which are pathogenic microorganisms that cause both food poisoning and toxoinfections", the study's authors says.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 1, 2010, 8:08 AM CT

Hip Fractures In Grandfathers

Hip Fractures In Grandfathers
The study, reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, shows that hip fractures in grandfathers are associated with low bone density and reduced bone size in their grandsons.

"This is the first time this risk factor for low bone mass has been demonstrated across two generations," says associate professor Mattias Lorentzon, who led the research team at the Sahlgrenska Academy. "This new risk factor appears to be significant for the diagnosis of low bone mass and suggests possible mechanisms for the inheritance of low bone mass and fracture risk".

The study looked at around 3,700 grandparents and their grandsons from a national register. 270 of these grandsons had reduced bone density, in other words less bone mineral in their skeleton. All of these also had a grandparent who had broken their hip, as opposed to those who did not have any relatives who had broken a hip and had normal bone health.

"We then divided these men with reduced bone density into two groups," says Lorentzon. "In the first, we looked at those who had a grandmother who had broken a hip. In the second, we looked at whether a grandfather had suffered a hip fracture".

It emerged that the men who had a male relative who had suffered a fracture had up to 5% less bone density and 4% smaller bones than those who did not. By way of comparison, 10% less bone density can increase the risk of fractures as much as threefold.........

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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