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April 14, 2010, 10:59 PM CT

Reducing teenage smoking

Reducing teenage smoking
Dr James White from Cardiff University's School of Medicine undertook a three-year-study, involving some 3,500 11 to 15 year-olds, as part of the British Youth Panel Survey a self report survey of children in the British Household Panel survey.

Results indicated that one of the strongest protective factors for reducing the risk of experimenting with smoking in early adolescence was how often fathers talked with their children, both boys and girls, about 'things that mattered'.

Dr White, who presents his findings to the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference today (Thursday 15th April) said: "This study suggests that a greater awareness of parents' and particularly fathers' potential impact upon their teenagers' choices about whether to smoke is needed. Fathers should be encouraged and supported to improve the quality and frequency of communication with their children during adolescence.

"The impact of teenager parenting is relatively un-researched and further research is very much needed."

Only children who had never smoked at the time the study began took part. As well as their smoking, the children were also asked about the frequency of parental communication, arguments with family members and the frequency of family meals.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 1, 2010, 6:38 AM CT

Short-term program for binge eaters

Short-term program for binge eaters
A newly released study finds that a self-guided, 12-week program helps binge eaters stop binging for up to a year and the program can also save money for those who participate. Recurrent binge eating is the most common eating disorder in the country, affecting more than three percent of the population, or nine million people, yet few therapy options are available.

But a first-of-a-kind study conducted by scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Wesleyan University and Rutgers University observed that more than 63 percent of participants had stopped binging at the end of the program - in comparison to just over 28 percent of those who did not participate. The program lasted only 12 weeks, but most of the participants were still binge free a year later. A second study, also reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, observed that program participants saved money because they spent less on things like dietary supplements and weight loss programs.

"It is unusual to find a program like this that works well, and also saves the patient money. It's a win-win for everyone," said study author Frances Lynch, PhD, MSPH, a health economist at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. "This type of program is something that all health care systems should consider implementing".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 1, 2010, 6:35 AM CT

CT and MRI scans leads to shorter hospital stays

CT and MRI scans leads to shorter hospital stays
Advanced imaging techniques such as computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) might shorten the length of a person's hospital stay and decrease the high costs linked to hospitalization if used early, as per a research studyin the recent issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology (www.jacr.org).

Inpatient costs represent 18 percent of total health care insurance premiums paid, and they continue to grow approximately 8 percent annually," said Juan Carlos Batlle, MD, MBA, main author of the study. "The stable growth of hospital costs despite marked increases in imaging costs has led to the observation that the increased use of modern imaging has been linked to a decrease in other costs of hospitalization, such as length of stay, which our study seeks to demonstrate," said Batlle.

The study, performed at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA, included 10,005 hospital admissions that included at least one advanced imaging study during the period from one day previous to admission through discharge. "Results showed that in comparison the length of stay was significantly shorter for those imaged on the day before or day of admission vs. day one or two for all admissions of at least three days," said Batlle.

The mean length of stay for abdominal CT exams was 8.4 vs. 9.7 days and for neurologic MRI exams it was 7.6 vs. 8.7 days. "In terms of cost, given that an average cost of a hospital stay is $2,129 per day, the estimated decrease in cost for one-year period analyzed in this study linked to an average one day reduction in length of stay is $2,129 per admission," said Batlle.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 1, 2010, 6:33 AM CT

Direct patient access to imaging test

Direct patient access to imaging test
Providing patients with direct access to their imaging test results could improve patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes. However, physicians are concerned that it could lead to increased patient anxiety and unrealistic demands on doctor time, as per a research studyin the recent issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology (www.jacr.org).

"Patients do not receive as much medical information as they want," said Annette J. Johnson, MD, MS, main author of the study. "Given the manner in which test results are typically shared with patients (e.g., verbally, briefly, and days or weeks later), this dissatisfaction with information access is not surprising," said Johnson.

The study, performed at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC, looked at the possibility of radiologists using the Internet to communicate rapid online imaging results directly to patients. Eight radiologists and seven referring physicians took part in the study, which was made up of two focus groups.

Radiologists and referring physicians agreed that there are some potential benefits of an online system for patient access including increased patient satisfaction and the ability to offer patients hyperlinks to high quality educational material. However with regard to potential disadvantages, radiologists and referring physicians offered several.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 24, 2010, 12:13 AM CT

Advance care planning improves end of life care

Advance care planning improves end of life care
Advance care planning improves end of life care and reduces stress, anxiety and depression in surviving relatives, as per new research published on bmj.com today.

Advance care planning has the potential to improve end of life care by enabling patients to discuss and document their future health wishes, and appoint a substitute decision maker (surrogate), thus increasing the likelihood of patient wishes being known and respected at the end of life.

But no randomised controlled trials have investigated whether advance care planning improves end of life care.

So scientists based in Australia set out to test the theory that coordinated advance care planning would improve end of life care, the perceptions of the quality of care, and levels of stress, anxiety, and depression in surviving relatives.

Their study involved 309 competent patients aged 80 or more who were admitted to a large university hospital in Melbourne between August 2007 and March 2008.

A total of 155 patients received usual care (control group) and 154 received usual care plus advance care planning from trained non-medical facilitators (intervention group). Advance care planning aimed to assist patients to reflect on their goals, values, and beliefs; to consider future medical therapy preferences; to appoint a surrogate; and to document their wishes.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 17, 2010, 8:00 PM CT

Video Game for Improving Hand Function

Video Game for Improving Hand Function
Credit: Rutgers Tele-Rehabilitation Institute
System combined a Sony PlayStation 3 console and a commercial gaming glove with custom-developed software and games to provide exercise routines aimed at improving hand speed and range of finger motion.
Engineers at Rutgers University have modified a popular home video game system to help teenagers with cerebral palsy improve hand functions. In a pilot trial with three participants, the system improved the teens' abilities to perform a range of daily personal and household activities.

The modified system combined a Sony PlayStation 3 console and a commercial gaming glove with custom-developed software and games to provide exercise routines aimed at improving hand speed and range of finger motion.

The Rutgers engineers, who are members of the university's Tele-Rehabilitation Institute, worked with clinicians at the Indiana University School of Medicine to deploy systems in participants' homes for up to 10 months. A description of the modified system and its use in the pilot trial appeared this week in the journal, IEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine.

"Based on early experience, the system engages the interest of teens with cerebral palsy and makes it convenient for them to perform the exercises they need to achieve results," said Grigore Burdea, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Rutgers Tele-Rehabilitation Institute.

Each system communicated via the Internet to allow the Indiana and Rutgers scientists to oversee participants' exercise routines and evaluate the effectiveness of the systems. The system is an example of both virtual rehabilitation, where patients interact with computer-generated visual environments to perform exercises, and tele-rehabilitation, where patients perform exercises under remote supervision by physical or occupational therapists.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 10, 2010, 8:14 AM CT

Baseball throwing arm injuries

Baseball throwing arm injuries
Throwing arm injuries are on the rise in Little League and other youth baseball programs. After these injuries occur, a number of players are out for the season; others require surgery and must refrain from play for an even longer duration; still others sustain injuries so severe that they cause permanent damage and are unable to continue playing baseball.

Three new studies presented today at the at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) address this critical issue, each offering new solutions to help prevent these injuries.

Five-minute stretch after play can help young players avoid throwing-arm pain

Pitchers and catchers under the age of 15 often experience tightness of a shoulder ligament known as the posterior-inferior glenohumeral ligament. If this ligament is not stretched, it will become increasingly tighter and more prone to pain or injury as the player ages, if that player continues to play baseball.

A study of 1,267 youth baseball players, led by Charles Metzger, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in upper extremities in Houston, Texas, observed that a simple stretch known as the posterior capsular stretch can help.

"A posterior capsular stretch is done after play and since it is different from the general stretches players already know, it must be taught," says Dr. Metzger. "Once learned, however, it is very simple, and takes only five minutes to complete. Nearly 97 percent of young players who performed the stretch properly and consistently reported shoulder improvement".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 8, 2010, 8:59 AM CT

Genomic test result discussions

Genomic test result discussions
A newly released study has observed that one in three early-stage patients with breast cancer who received genomic testing when deciding about therapy options felt they did not fully understand their discussions with physicians about their test results and their risk of recurrence. About one in four experienced distress when receiving their test results.

Published early online in CANCER, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings suggest there is room for improvement in communicating cancer recurrence risks and therapy decisions with patients.

Genomic testing is an increasingly important part of care for patients after they are diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. The test, which looks at 21 genes in breast tumors removed during surgery, can indicate the chance the patient's cancer will recur. Such information can help guide decisions by physicians and patients about chemotherapy therapys. Patients with a high risk of recurrence may opt for more aggressive therapy, while those with lower risk may safely avoid over-treatment and its potential side effects. It can be challenging, however, for physicians to determine the best way to talk to patients about their test results and to use the results to make important therapy decisions with patients. Currently, there is little consensus regarding the most effective method to communicate risk information to patients.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 2, 2010, 10:13 PM CT

An apple a day?

An apple a day?
A new University of Illinois study touts the benefits of soluble fiberfound in oats, apples, and nuts, for starterssaying that it reduces the inflammation linked to obesity-related diseases and strengthens the immune system.

"Soluble fiber changes the personality of immune cellsthey go from being pro-inflammatory, angry cells to anti-inflammatory, healing cells that help us recover faster from infection," said Gregory Freund, a professor in the U of I's College of Medicine and a faculty member in the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences' Division of Nutritional Sciences.

This happens because soluble fiber causes increased production of an anti-inflammatory protein called interleukin-4, he said.

The study will appear in the May 2010 issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity and is available online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/08891591.

In the experiment, laboratory mice consumed low-fat diets that were identical except that they contained either soluble or insoluble fiber. After six weeks on the diet, the animals had distinctly different responses when the researchers induced illness by introducing a substance (lipopolysaccharide) that causes the body to mimic a bacterial infection.

"Two hours after lipopolysaccharide injection, the mice fed soluble fiber were only half as sick as the other group, and they recovered 50 percent sooner. And the differences between the groups continued to be pronounced all the way out to 24 hours," said Christina Sherry, who also worked on the study.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 25, 2010, 2:45 AM CT

Are You Getting Enough?

Are You Getting Enough?
Lactose intolerance is a real and important clinical syndrome, but quantifying its public health burden is challenging. An NIH Consensus Development panel was convened this week to assess the available evidence on lactose intolerance and health across the age spectrum and across racial and ethnic groups.

The panel will hold a telebriefing to highlight their findings today at 2:00 p.m. EST. Reporters may participate by calling 888-428-7458 or visit http://consensus.nih.gov/2010/lactosemedia.htm for more information.

A number of individuals with diagnosed or perceived lactose intolerance avoid dairy products, which constitute a readily accessible source of calcium, other nutrients, and vitamin D (when fortified). Inadequate consumption of these nutrients may increase the risk for chronic health problems, including osteoporosis and decreased bone health.

The panel defined lactose intolerance as the onset of gastrointestinal symptoms-diarrhea, abdominal pain, flatulence, and/or bloating-after ingesting lactose-containing foods and beverages; this is due to deficient levels of lactase, an enzyme necessary to break down lactose. Lactose malabsorption occurs when reduced levels of lactose are incompletely broken down in the intestine, which may or may not result in gastrointestinal symptoms after eating dairy products. Reduction of lactase in humans occurs in childhood and persists through the lifespan in most individuals (lactase nonpersisters). These individuals may or may not have the gastrointestinal symptoms of lactose intolerance. Understanding the distinction and interplay between these conditions is important when considering ways to meet nutritional needs.........

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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