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May 4, 2010, 7:04 AM CT

Exposure to prenatal smoking

Exposure to prenatal smoking
It is well-known that maternal smoking during pregnancy can have long-term effects on the physical health of the child, including increased risk for respiratory disease, ear infections and asthma. New research shows that prenatal smoking also can lead to psychiatric problems and increase the need for psychotropic medications in childhood and young adulthood.

Finnish scientists observed that adolescents who had been exposed to prenatal smoking were at increased risk for use of all psychiatric drugs particularly those uses to treat depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and addiction in comparison to non-exposed youths. The study will be presented Tuesday, May 4 at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

"Recent studies show that maternal smoking during pregnancy may interfere with brain development of the growing fetus," said Mikael Ekblad, main author of the study and a pediatric researcher at Turku University Hospital in Finland. "By avoiding smoking during pregnancy, all the later psychiatric problems caused by smoking exposure could be prevented".

Ekblad and colleagues collected information from the Finnish Medical Birth Register on maternal smoking, gestational age, birthweight and 5-minute Apgar scores for all children born in Finland from 1987 through 1989. They also analyzed records on mothers' psychiatric inpatient care from 1969-1989 and children's use of psychiatric drugs.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 4, 2010, 6:29 AM CT

Less sleep more pounds

Less sleep more pounds
Adolescents who don't get enough sleep may gain more than some extra time to play video games or text their friends. They also may gain weight, as per research being presented Tuesday, May 4 at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Other studies have shown a relationship between sleep and weight issues, especially in young children. However, this is one of the first studies to document an association between sleep duration and weight in adolescents, even after controlling for calorie intake, activity level and depressive symptoms.

In research led by Leslie A. Lytle, PhD, from the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children's Research Institute, study researchers collected data on 723 adolescents (mean age 14.7 years) about how long they slept on weeknights and weekends, and how frequently they experienced sleep problems. On three separate occasions, scientists also asked the youths about the foods and beverages they had consumed the previous day to determine how a number of calories they consumed.

To measure activity, participants wore accelerometers on their belts for seven days. Unlike pedometers, which count the number steps walked, these highly specialized devices measure movement on three different planes. In addition, the wearer cannot see any data on how active they are.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 4, 2010, 6:27 AM CT

Pay-for-performance programs may worsen medical disparities

Pay-for-performance programs may worsen medical disparities
Rewarding primary care physicians for providing better care to patients could end up widening medical disparities experienced by poorer people and those belonging to racial and ethnic minorities, as per a new RAND Corporation study.

Scientists observed that under a typical pay-for-performance program medical practices that serve vulnerable populations would likely receive lower payments than other practices, a result of existing gaps in the quality of health care received by patients in these groups.

The finding suggests that pay-for-performance programs could divert resources away from medically needy communities, further eroding the quality of medical care rather than driving improved quality.

"Paying for performance may have the unintended effect of diverting medical resources away from the communities that need these resources the most," said Dr. Mark Friedberg, the study's main author and an associate natural scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "If you don't watch where the money goes, pay-for-performance programs have the potential to make disparities worse".

The study is the first to simulate the impact of pay-for-performance on doctor practices that serve medically vulnerable communities. The findings appear in the May edition of the journal Health Affairs that is devoted to issues in primary care.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 29, 2010, 6:37 AM CT

Preventive Measures for Alzheimer's

Preventive Measures for Alzheimer's
A number of preventive measures for cognitive decline and for preventing Alzheimer's disease-mental stimulation, exercise, and a variety of dietary supplements-have been studied over the years. However, an independent panel convened this week by the National Institutes of Health determined that the value of these strategies for delaying the onset and/or reducing the severity of decline or disease hasn't been demonstrated in rigorous studies.

"Alzheimer's disease is a feared and heart-breaking disease," said Dr. Martha L. Daviglus, conference panel chair and professor of preventive medicine and medicine at Northwestern University, Chicago. "We wish we could tell people that taking a pill or doing a puzzle every day would prevent this terrible disease, but existing evidence doesn't support this".

The panel's evaluation of the available evidence revealed that progress to understand how the onset of these conditions might be delayed or prevented is limited by inconsistent definitions of what constitutes Alzheimer's disease and cognitive decline. Other factors include incomplete understanding of the natural history of the disease and limited understanding of the aging process in general. The panel recommended that the research community and clinicians collaborate to develop, test, and uniformly adopt objective measures of baseline cognitive function and changes over time.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 29, 2010, 6:34 AM CT

Could organic labels lead you to overeat?

Could organic labels lead you to overeat?
Could organic labels lead you to overeat? These labels certainly appear to make people think their organic snack has a lot fewer calories than it really does.

These findings were presented at this week's Experimental Biology conference in Anaheim, Calif. They showed that people who ate organic cookies labeled as "organic" believed that their snack contained 40% fewer calories than the same cookies that had no label, as per Jenny Wan-Chen Lee, a graduate student with the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.

"An organic label gives a food a 'health halo,' said coauthor, Brian Wansink, Cornell professor and author of the book, Marketing Nutrition. It's the same basic reason people tend to overeat any snack food that's labeled as healthy or low fat. They underestimate the calories and over-reward themselves by eating more."

The study even identified two personality types most likely to make these low estimates people who claim to "commonly buy organic foods," and those who typically read labels for nutritional information.

What if you don't want to overeat an organic food?.

"Take your best guess at its calorie count. Then double it. You'll end up being more accurate, and you'll probably eat a lot less," explained Wansink.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 29, 2010, 6:25 AM CT

Antibiotic for reactive arthritis

Antibiotic for reactive arthritis
Scientists from University of South Florida College of Medicine found a combination of antibiotics to be an effective therapy for Chlamydia-induced reactive arthritis, a major step forward in the management, and possibly cure, of this disease. Results of this study are reported in the recent issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

Reactive arthritis (ReA), also known as Reiter's syndrome, occurs in response to an infection. As per National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), the bacterium most often linked to ReA is Chlamydia trachomatis. Respiratory infections with Chlamydia pneumoniae can also trigger ReA, while associated infections in the digestive tract include Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia, and Campylobacter. ReA symptoms commonly last 3 to 12 months, eventhough symptoms can return or develop into a long-term disease. In the past it was thought that only a small percentage of people would experience chronic symptoms of ReA. However, more recent data suggests that as a number of as 30%-50% of patients could develop a chronic form of the disease. In chronic ReA, symptoms can be severe and difficult to control with therapy, which could lead to joint damage.

The use of long-term antibiotic therapy for patients with ReA is controversial. Several reported studies have indicated that prolonged antimicrobial monotherapy is not efficacious, while other studies suggest there might be a benefit, specifically with early-stage Chlamydia-induced ReA.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


April 29, 2010, 6:19 AM CT

Best care for the oldest lung cancer patients

Best care for the oldest lung cancer patients
Eventhough more than two fifths of lung cancers are diagnosed in patients over 70, data from clinical trials on the safest and most effective therapys for this age group are scarce. Now Italian oncologists are conducting many trials targeting elderly patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and offer a review of the latest findings - and their recommendations - in the current issue of Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology, published by SAGE.

As per Paolo Maione, Antonio Rossi, Cesare Gridelli and his colleagues from S.G. Moscati Hospital in Avellino, Italy, elderly patients have more co-morbidity and don't tend to tolerate toxic medical therapys as well as younger patients. This means that clinical findings from studies on younger populations don't necessarily apply to the majority of elderly patients with NSCLC.

More than half of all cases of advanced NSCLC are diagnosed in patients over 65, and recent Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program data from the United States show that patients aged 70 years or older account for 47 percent of all lung cancers. Most prospective clinical data on chemotherapy and molecularly targeted treatment for elderly NSCLC patients come from studies in advanced disease. Unfortunately, by the time most patients from any age group receive a lung cancer diagnosis, the majority already have metastatic disease and a systemic, palliative therapy is their primary therapeutic option.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


April 29, 2010, 6:17 AM CT

Use of alternative therapy

Use of alternative therapy
In a University of Michigan Health System study, 1 out of 3 patients with chronic pain reported using complementary and alternative medicine therapies such as acupuncture and chiropractic visits for pain relief.

Socioeconomic factors primarily race and age played a large role in the use of alternative treatment in chronic pain patients, the study showed. Whites used alternative modalities more frequently than blacks and older adults had a higher frequency of using alternative therapies than younger adults.

As per the main author, Carmen R. Green, M.D., U-M professor of anesthesiology and obstetrics and gynecology and associate professor of health management and policy, this pattern appears to be due to alternative medicine therapies commonly attracting individuals with higher education levels and income, or the pattern could be a result of differences in insurance coverage.

Also, as people age, there is a greater chance that they will deal with chronic pain, therefore as age increases, so does the likelihood that people will seek alternative therapies to deal with the pain.

The study which appears in the journal, Pain Medicine, highlights the importance of complementary and alternative medicine, its increasing usage, its economic impact, and concerns about safety and effectiveness.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 25, 2010, 1:38 PM CT

Studying epilepsy

Studying epilepsy
Neuroscience scientists have zeroed in on a novel mechanism that helps control the firing of electrical signals among neurons. By isolating the molecular and electrical events that occur when this control is disrupted, the new research sheds light on epileptic seizures and potentially on other prominent diseases involving poorly regulated brain activity.

"By better understanding the detailed events that occur in epilepsy, we are gaining knowledge that could ultimately lead to better therapys for epilepsy, and possibly for other neurological diseases," said neuroscientist Douglas A. Coulter, Ph.D., the corresponding author of the research study, from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Temporal lobe epilepsy, in particular, often resists current therapys".

Coulter's research group, collaborating with a team led by co-senior author Philip G. Haydon, Ph.D., of Tufts University School of Medicine, published a study online today in the journal Nature Neuroscience

In epilepsy, excessive signaling between neurons, a major type of brain cell that communicates electrical signals across gaps called synapses, can lead to epileptic seizures. However, another class of brain cells called glia can regulate those signals. Among the glia are star-shaped cells called astrocytesthe particular focus of this research.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 20, 2010, 6:54 AM CT

Adverse drug effects in epileptic patients

Adverse drug effects in epileptic patients
Scientists have observed that polytherapy with multiple anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) did not result in greater adverse effects than monotherapy for patients with refractory epilepsy. This observational study also found AED load was not a factor in causing adverse effects, but suggests that individual susceptibility, type of AEDs used, and physicians' skills determine which patients suffer adverse effects. Results of this study are available today in Epilepsia, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the International League Against Epilepsy.

There are more than 20 different AEDs used to treat epilepsy. However, only about one-half of patients become seizure-free with the first prescribed AED; an additional 20% of patients may find complete relief from seizures through a polytherapy AED regimen. The medical community has extensively debated the value of monotherapy versus polytherapy, not only for relative efficacy in reducing frequency of seizures, but also for impact on health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Past studies have indicated that polypharmacy therapy provides only modest advantages in controlling seizures, with the added burden of potentially increasing adverse effects. In contrast, other studies suggest AED toxicity appears to be better correlated with 'drug load' (the sum of ratios between actual prescribed daily doses and the average therapeutic dose of each drug) than with the number of AEDs administered.........

Posted by: Daniel      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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