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November 25, 2009, 7:59 AM CT

Scarless Thyroid Surgery

Scarless Thyroid Surgery
Tulane University School of Medicine surgeon Dr. Emad Kandil is one of the first in the country to perform a new form of endoscopic surgery that uses a small incision under the arm to remove all or a portion of the thyroid or parathyroid glands without leaving a scar on the neck.

The technique, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this summer, uses the latest Da Vinci® three-dimensional, high-definition robotic equipment to make a two-inch incision below the armpit that allows doctors to maneuver a small camera and specially designed instruments between muscles to access the thyroid. The diseased tissue is removed endoscopically through the armpit incision.

"This is an exciting new therapy option for certain patients who need thyroid surgery but are concerned about having a visible and permanent neck scar," says Kandil, who is chief of the Endocrine Surgery Section, assistant professor of surgery and adjunct assistant professor of otolaryngology at Tulane. "This technique safely removes the thyroid without leaving so much as a scratch on the neck".

Traditional thyroidectomies can involve a long incision at the base of the neck.

Kandil is performing the "scarless" thyroidectomy surgery at Tulane Medical Center and is one of only a few surgeons in the United States trained in the technique. In fact, he chairs an annual symposium at Tulane to teach surgeons how to perform minimally invasive thyroid surgery and will be teaching the technique to doctors from across the country.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 24, 2009, 11:22 AM CT

What makes obese people develop diabetes?

What makes obese people develop diabetes?
Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes.
A number of people who are overweight or obese develop insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes at some stage in their lives. A European research team has now discovered that obese people have large amounts of the molecule CXCL5, produced by certain cells in fatty tissue.

The main risk factors for type 2 diabetes are obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. The biomedical community has known for a number of years that substances produced by fatty tissue are responsible for the link between obesity and diabetes. "Chronic inflammation of the adipose tissue, which is characteristic of obese people, is a crucial stage in the development of insulin resistence and type 2 diabetes", Lluis Fajas, main author of the study and a researcher at the Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) in France, told SINC.

The results of this newly released study show that serum levels of a chemokine molecule called CXCL5, produced by certain adipose tissue cells, appear at much high levels in the tissues of obese people than in those of individuals with normal weight. This has helped Lluis Fajas's research team to come to a biomedically relevant conclusion: "The CXCL5 molecule helps cause insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes".

The most important part of this study, reported in the journal Cell Metabolism, is the discovery that an experimental therapy aimed at inhibiting the action of CXCL5 can help to protect obese mice from develping type 2 diabetes. "If these studies can be confirmed in humans, this therapy would represent a fundamental improvement in the quality of life of obese individuals", the researcher concludes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 24, 2009, 11:20 AM CT

Involving family in medical rounds

Involving family in medical rounds
Involving family members of pediatric cancer and hematology patients in medical rounds benefits both the family and the medical team, as per a new Indiana University School of Medicine study.

Riley Hospital for Children, where the study was conducted, is now one of only a small number of hospitals nationwide routinely offering the parents of pediatric cancer and hematology patients the opportunity to join their child's medical team as active participants in the discussion and planning of their son's or daughter's care.

Medical rounds in hospitals across the United States have changed over the years. They have evolved from formal didactic presentations conducted with great pomp in auditoriums with theater seating where the patient sat quietly on display; to bedside rounds as portrayed in television programs such as Scrubs, Grey's Anatomy and House. The current practice of sit-down team rounds physically removed from the family and patient have become standard due to heighted sensitivity to medical privacy.

The composition of rounding teams has evolved as well. At leading medical institutions, like Riley Hospital, the rounding team has expanded to include nurses, social workers, nutritionists, clinical pharmacists, and others in addition to the traditional medical students, residents, fellows and the attending physician. The more medical participants involved, the less likely parents were to participate as team rounds moved from the bedside to the conference room.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 20, 2009, 8:39 AM CT

Supplying prescriptions as three month supply

Supplying prescriptions as three month supply
Purchasing prescription drugs in a three-month supply rather than a one-month supply has long been regarded as a way to reduce the cost of drugs for patients and third-party payers. New research from the University of Chicago quantifies the savings for the first time.

An analysis of 26,852 prescriptions filled for 395 different drugs from 2000-2005 showed that patients who purchased their drugs in three-month supplies rather than with one-month supplies saved on average 29% in out-of-pocket costs. After factoring in third-party payers, including Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies, total savings averaged 18%.

"These savings may not seem large to some, but they could help trim the cost of health care, which is particularly important given the nationwide debate about how to finance health care reform," said G. Caleb Alexander, MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center and senior author of the study, which will be published in print November 20, 2009, in Applied Health Economics & Health Policy

Eventhough prescription drug costs represent only about 10% of the nation's total health care bill, they are one of the fastest growing sectors and affect a large proportion of patients.

"No matter what any health care reform package looks like, millions of Americans are burdened by prescription drugs costs, and this is one important way to help relieve that burden," Alexander said. "Other methods to lower prescription drug costs include substituting generic drugs for brand-name drugs and discontinuing non-essential medicines".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 19, 2009, 0:05 AM CT

Transcendental meditation for college students

Transcendental meditation for college students
The Transcendental Meditation technique appears to be an effective method to reduce blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and anger among at-risk college students, as per a newly released study to be reported in the American Journal of Hypertension, December 2009.

"The Transcendental Meditation Program, a widely-used standardized program to reduce stress, showed significant decreases in blood pressure and improved mental health in young adults at risk for hypertension," said David Haaga, PhD, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at American University in Washington, D.C.

This study was conducted at American University with 298 university students randomly allocated to either the Transcendental Meditation technique or wait-list control over a three-month intervention period. A subgroup of 159 subjects at risk for high blood pressure was analyzed separately. At baseline and after three months, blood pressure, psychological distress, and coping ability were assessed.

For the students at risk for developing hypertension, significant improvements were observed in blood pressure, psychological distress and coping. In comparison to the control group, students practicing the Transcendental Meditation program showed reductions of 6.3 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure and 4.0 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure. These reductions are linked to a 52% lower risk for development of high blood pressure in later years.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 19, 2009, 0:00 AM CT

Vitamin A deficiency in women

Vitamin A deficiency in women
Almost half of UK women could be suffering from a lack of vitamin A due to a previously undiscovered genetic variation, researchers at Newcastle University have found.

The team, led by Dr Georg Lietz, has shown that almost 50 per cent of women have a genetic variation which reduces their ability to produce sufficient amounts of vitamin A from beta-carotene.

Vitamin A also known as retinol plays a vital role in strengthening our immune system, protecting us against common infections such as flu and winter vomiting. Vitamin A also helps to maintain healthy skin and mucus linings such as inside the nose and the lungs.

In 1987, an American study observed that excessive use of vitamin A during pregnancy was linked to certain birth defects. Beta-carotene, however, was deemed to be safe and this led to the general advice that we should eat more of this nutrient, allowing the body to convert what it needs into vitamin A.

However, Dr Lietz' latest research reported in the FASEB Journal and presented this month at the 2nd Hohenheim Nutrition Conference in Stuttgart shows that for a number of women, beta-carotene is not an effective substitute for vitamin A.

Dr Lietz explained: "Vitamin A is incredibly important especially at this time of year when we are all trying to fight off the winter colds and flu.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 18, 2009, 11:55 PM CT

Liver protective effects of green tea

Liver protective effects of green tea
Several studies have shown that lipid peroxidation stimulates collagen production in fibroblasts and hepatic stellate cells (HSC), and plays an important role in the development of liver fibrosis. Hepatoprotective effects of green tea against carbon tetrachloride, cholestasis and alcohol induced liver fibrosis were reported in many studies. However, the hepatoprotective effect of green tea in dimethylnitrosamine (DMN)-induced models has not been studied.

A research article published on November 7, 2009 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. The research team, led by Prof. Hong-Yon Cho from Korea University examined the protective effect of green tea extract (GT) on hepatic fibrosis in a rat HSC line and in a rat model of DMN-induced hepatic fibrosis.

The results showed GT administration prevented the development of hepatic fibrosis in the rat model of DMN-induced liver fibrosis. These results were confirmed both by liver histology and by quantitative measurement of hepatic hydroxyproline content, a marker of liver collagen deposition. Accordingly, inhibition of proliferation, reduced collagen deposition, and type 1 collagen expression were observed in activated HSC-T6 cells following GT treatment. These results imply that GT reduced the proliferation of activated HSC and down regulated the collagen content and expression of collagen type 1, thereby ameliorating hepatic fibrosis.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 18, 2009, 11:35 PM CT

As women age

As women age
Doctors may one day be able to diagnose age-related diseases in women using samples of their saliva.
In a step toward using human saliva to tell whether those stiff joints, memory lapses, and other telltale signs of aging are normal or red flags for disease, researchers are describing how the protein content of women's saliva change with advancing age. The discovery could lead to a simple, noninvasive test for better diagnosing and treating certain age-related diseases in women, they suggest in a report in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research, a monthly publication. These diseases include lupus, Sjgrens syndrome (linked to dry mouth and dry eye), and other immune-related disorders that affect millions of women worldwide, often at higher rates than in men.

John Yates and his colleagues note that human saliva contains a number of different proteins involved in digestion, disease fighting, and other functions. Researchers are seeking ways to use the proteins as molecular "fingerprints" to develop quick diagnostic tests that provide an alternative to the needle sticks currently needed for blood tests. To do that, they need detailed information on how normal aging affects these proteins.

The researchers analyzed saliva proteins in healthy women aged 20-30 and 55-65. They identified 293 proteins differed between the two age groups. Most were involved in the immune system's defenses against infection. Older women had almost twice as a number of immune-related proteins than younger women. The results suggest that "it is critical to take into consideration these normal differences in protein expression when searching for clinically relevant, disease specific biomarkers," the article notes.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 18, 2009, 11:04 PM CT

Hazards of outdoor second-hand smoke

Hazards of outdoor second-hand smoke
Indoor smoking bans have forced smokers at bars and restaurants onto outdoor patios, but a new University of Georgia study in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that these outdoor smoking areas might be creating a new health hazard.

The study, believed to be the first to assess levels of a nicotine byproduct known as cotinine in nonsmokers exposed to second-hand smoke outdoors, found levels up to 162 percent greater than in the control group. The results appear in the recent issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene

"Indoor smoking bans have helped to create more of these outdoor environments where people are exposed to secondhand smoke," said co-author of study Luke Naeher, associate professor in the UGA College of Public Health. "We know from our prior study that there are measurable airborne levels of secondhand smoke in these environments, and we know from this study that we can measure internal exposure.

"Secondhand smoke contains several known carcinogens and the current thinking is that there is no safe level of exposure," he added. "So the levels that we are seeing are a potential public health issue".

Athens-Clarke County, Ga., enacted an indoor smoking ban in 2005, providing Naeher and colleagues and ideal environment for their study. The team recruited 20 non-smoking adults and placed them in one of three environments: outside bars, outside restaurants and, for the control group, outside the UGOne of the major library. Immediately before and after the six-hour study period, the volunteers gave a saliva sample that was tested for levels of cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine and a usually used marker of tobacco exposure.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 17, 2009, 8:10 AM CT

Parental Monitoring to Reduce Marijuana Use

Parental Monitoring to Reduce Marijuana Use
Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug by adolescents, with almost 42% of high school seniors admitting to having experimented with it. Continued marijuana use may result in many serious consequences including depression, cognitive impairment, cardiovascular disease, and certain forms of cancer. As such, it is critical to prevent marijuana use by adolescents and numerous behavioral and medical researchers have been trying to establish the best means of prevention.

A number of studies have focused on parents as being the best avenue for preventing adolescent marijuana use. Specifically, parental monitoring (when the parents know where their children are, who they are with, and what they are doing) has been seen as attenuating many negative adolescent behaviors, including gambling, sexual activity, and drug use. However, the strength of the relationship between monitoring and marijuana usage has been unclear; for example, if adolescents use marijuana, they appears to be more likely to hide that from their parents, in comparison to other behaviors. Despite this uncertainty, millions of dollars are spent annually on programs and media campaigns that urge parents to monitor their children's behavior.

Psychology experts Andrew Lac and William Crano from Claremont Graduate University evaluated numerous studies to examine the correlation between parental monitoring and adolescent marijuana use. For this review, Lac and Crano selected 17 studies from the literature, which contained data on over 35,000 participants. Criteria the scientists used for selecting studies included adolescent participants, that the research focused exclusively on marijuana, and that parental monitoring was reviewed by adolescent self-reports, not parents' reports of their own monitoring behavior.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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