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August 26, 2010, 10:55 PM CT

Vitamin A and HIV virus in breast milk

Vitamin A and HIV virus in breast milk
Vitamin A and beta-carotene supplements are unsafe for HIV-positive women who breastfeed because they may boost the excretion of HIV in breast milk---thereby increasing the chances of transmitting the infection to the child, a pair of new studies suggest.

Epidemiologist Eduardo Villamor of the University of Michigan School of Public Health says transmission of HIV through breastfeeding happens because breast milk carries viral particles that the baby ingests. Supplementing HIV-positive women with vitamin A and beta-carotene appears to increase the amount of the virus in milk.

This appears to be partly because the same nutrients raise the risk of developing subclinical mastitis, an inflammatory condition which causes blood plasma to leak into the mammary gland and viral particles to then leak into the milk, he says.

Villamor's findings are published in two separate articles in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the Journal of Nutrition. The results are significant because they provide biological explanations for a prior report that supplementation with these nutrients increased chances of mother-to-child HIV transmission.

"So there are now strong arguments to consider the implications of supplementation to pregnant or lactating women who are HIV-positive," said Villamor, associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health sciences. "It does not look like it's a safe intervention for them."........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 25, 2010, 6:57 AM CT

Salmon baby food?

Salmon baby food?
Salmon
Has your toddler eaten fish today? A University of Illinois food science professor has two important reasons for including seafood in your young child's diet, reasons that have motivated her work in helping to develop a tasty, nutritious salmon baby food for toddlers.

"First, babies need a lot of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish for brain, nerve, and eye development, and when they switch from breast milk or formula to solid food, most of them don't get nearly enough," said Susan Brewer, also a registered dietitian.

"Second, children's food preferences are largely developed by the time they're five, so I urge parents to help their kids develop a taste for seafood early," she said.

Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, have huge health benefits and help to prevent coronary artery disease, but most adults don't eat fish twice weekly as experts recommend. In predisposing children toward liking fish, parents are doing their kids a big favor, she said.

Brewer knows her recommendations might meet with some resistance. "When we started working on salmon baby food, I thought, Ewwwh! But the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics is solidly behind the idea, and fish-based baby foods, common in Asian markets, have been marketed successfully in the United Kingdom and Italy".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 25, 2010, 6:48 AM CT

Federal school lunches linked to childhood obesity

Federal school lunches linked to childhood obesity
With children going back to school, parents are concerned that their youngsters are staying fit and eating right, particularly those who dine in a school cafeteria.

New research funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds that children who eat school lunches that are part of the federal government's National School Lunch Program are more likely to become overweight.

The same research study found, however, that children who eat both the breakfast and lunch sponsored by the federal government are less heavy than children who don't participate in either, and than children who eat only the lunch, says economist Daniel L. Millimet at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Millimet authored the study with economists Rusty Tchernis, Georgia State University, and Muna S. Hussain, Kuwait University. For a link to the journal article and to more information see http://tinyurl.com/2874wqn.

"The fact that federally funded school lunches contribute to the childhood obesity epidemic is disconcerting, eventhough not altogether surprising," said Millimet, whose research expertise is the economics of children, specifically topics correlation to schooling and health.

The newly released study was reported in the Summer issue of The Journal of Human Resources. It is titled "School Nutrition Programs and the Occurence rate of Childhood Obesity".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 24, 2010, 7:16 AM CT

Media Tool Empowers Children to Skirt Alcohol

Media Tool Empowers Children to Skirt Alcohol
Playing "media detective" allows children to understand the intentions of marketers and the goals of advertising while empowering them to resist messages that encourage alcohol or tobacco use.

A study reported in the current journal Pediatrics shows that teaching children as early as third grade to be more skeptical of media messages can help prevent substance use. The study, based on the research of Erica Weintraub Austin, director of the Murrow Center for Media and Health Promotion at Washington State University, reveals that a brief, two-week course boosted the critical thinking skills of third through fifth graders and reduced their intentions to use alcohol and tobacco while increasing their belief that they will be able to resist them.

"We underestimate the extent to which young children internalize advertising messages," Austin said. "This can affect their consumer decisions later on. For example, children who associate tobacco use with popularity and independence may want to use tobacco when the opportunity arises.

"Message designers put a lot of proprietary research into making their messages appealing to young people, and children need to understand early on that messages are not always developed with their best interests in mind. This means children must and can learn to discount appeals to their emotions." .........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 24, 2010, 7:13 AM CT

Polyphenol inhibit iron absorption

Polyphenol inhibit iron absorption
Health benefits from polyphenol antioxidants substances found in a number of fruits and vegetables may come at a cost to some people. Penn State nutritional researchers observed that eating certain polyphenols decreased the amount of iron the body absorbs, which can increase the risk of developing an iron deficiency.

"Polyphenols have been known to have a number of beneficial effects for human health, such as preventing or delaying certain types of cancer, enhancing bone metabolism and improving bone mineral density, and decreasing risk of heart disease," said Okhee Han, assistant professor of nutritional sciences. "But so far, not a number of people have thought about whether or not polyphenols affect nutrient absorption".

The researchers, led by Han, studied the effects of eating grape seed extract and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) found in green tea. They used cells from the intestine where iron absorption takes place to assess the polyphenols' effect and observed that polyphenols bind to iron in the intestinal cells, forming a non-transportable complex. This iron-polyphenol complex cannot enter the blood stream. Instead, it is excreted in the feces when cells are sloughed off and replaced.

Iron is necessary to carry oxygen from the lungs throughout the body and for other cellular functions. People already at risk for iron deficiency increase that risk if they consume high amounts of grape seed extract or EGCG.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 11, 2010, 7:16 AM CT

Drug coverage leads to increased use of antibiotics

Drug coverage leads to increased use of antibiotics
Improved drug coverage under Medicare Part D has led to an increase in the use of antibiotics by seniors, especially of brand-name and more expensive drugs, as per a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health study. Reported in the Aug. 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine and the first to explore spending on antibiotics under Medicare Part D, the study suggests recent changes in drug coverage improved the use of antibiotics for pneumonia, but could lead to unnecessary spending on expensive broad-spectrum antibiotics and the overuse of inappropriate antibiotics.

"Overuse of antibiotics is a common and important problem that can lead to medical complications and drug resistance," said the study's main author, Yuting Zhang, Ph.D., assistant professor of health economics at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. "One of the key questions we sought to answer with our study is how improved prescription drug coverage under Part D affects the usage of these drugs."

The study included more than 35,000 Medicare beneficiaries and compared their use of antibiotics two years before and after the implementation of Medicare Part D, which reduced out-of-pocket drug spending between 13 and 23 percent. They observed that antibiotic use increased most among beneficiaries who lacked drug coverage previous to enrolling in Medicare Part D. Beneficiaries who previously had limited drug coverage also were more likely to fill prescriptions for antibiotics after enrolling in Part D. The largest increases were found in the use of broad-spectrum, newer and more expensive antibiotics.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 22, 2010, 7:42 AM CT

Summer reading keeps skills strong

Summer reading keeps skills strong
To children, the summer slide means water, garden hoses and slippery plastic sheets. To teachers, the "summer slide" is the noted decrease in reading skills after a vacation without books.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, faculty members Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen have completed a three-year study showing a significantly higher level of reading achievement in students who received books for summer reading at home. Allington and McGill-Franzen are both professors of education; McGill-Franzen is also director of the Reading Center in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.

Allington compares the slide in reading ability to an athlete's fitness.

"Just like hockey players lose some of their skills if they stay off their skates and off the ice for three months, children who do not read in the summer lose two to three months of reading development," Allington said.

As per the professors' research, the summer reading setback is the primary reason for the reading achievement gap between children who have access to reading materials at home and those who do not. Students who do not have books at home miss out on opportunities to read. Those missed opportunities can really add up.

"What we know is that children who do not read in the summer lose two to three months of reading development while kids who do read tend to gain a month of reading proficiency," Allington said. "This creates a three to four month gap every year. Every two or three years the kids who don't read in the summer fall a year behind the kids who do." .........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 22, 2010, 7:36 AM CT

How safe and effective are herbal dietary supplements?

How safe and effective are herbal dietary supplements?
Millions of people are taking herbs and other plant-based dietary supplements to improve their health, but they have precious little information on the actual effectiveness or potential ill effects of these products. That's the topic of an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

C&EN Senior Editor Celia Henry Arnaud suggests that consumers are taking a gamble when it comes to the safety and effectiveness of hundreds of pills and potions cluttering store shelves. Such products include black cohosh and red clover, used by menopausal women to reduce hot flashes, and kava, which is used to treat anxiety and insomnia. Researchers are concerned that some supplements may contain high levels of toxic metals, such as lead and mercury, or pesticides. There's also the possibility that the plant itself might be toxic or that a supplement can cause harm by reacting with conventional drugs.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration, which regulates supplements as foods rather than drugs, recently took a step toward improving the situation by requiring all supplement manufacturers to test their products for contaminants. But researchers still know little about the ingredients in a number of supplements and what effect they might have on the body. Ongoing research is providing new information that will help address these concerns in the future, including the long-term safety of these products for consumers, the article indicates.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 16, 2010, 7:20 AM CT

Behavior Problems in School

Behavior Problems in School
Melissa Sturge-Apple
Contrary to Leo Tolstoy's famous observation that "happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way," a new psychology study confirms that unhappy families, in fact, are unhappy in two distinct ways. And these dual patterns of unhealthy family relationships lead to a host of specific difficulties for children during their early school years.

"Families can be a support and resource for children as they enter school, or they can be a source of stress, distraction, and maladaptive behavior," says Melissa Sturge-Apple, the lead researcher on the paper and an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Rochester.

"This study shows that cold and controlling family environments are associated with a growing cascade of difficulties for children in their first three years of school, from aggressive and disruptive behavior to depression and alienation," Sturge-Apple explains. "The study also finds that children from families marked by high levels of conflict and intrusive parenting increasingly struggle with anxiety and social withdrawal as they navigate their early school years."

The three-year study, published July 15 in Child Development, examines relationship patterns in 234 families with six-year-old children. The research team identified three distinct family profiles: one happy, termed cohesive, and two unhappy, termed disengaged and enmeshed.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 16, 2010, 7:07 AM CT

Not Getting Enough vitamin D

Not Getting Enough vitamin D
Anthony Norman is a distinguished professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences (emeritus) at UC Riverside, and an international expert on vitamin D.

Credit: UCR Strategic Communications.

Vitamin D surfaces as a news topic every few months. How much daily vitamin D should a person get? Is it possible to have too much of it? Is exposure to the sun, which is the body's natural way of producing vitamin D, the best option? Or do supplements suffice?.

In the July 2010 issue of Endocrine Today, a monthly newspaper published by SLACK, Inc., to disseminate information about diabetes and endocrine disorders, Anthony Norman, a distinguished professor emeritus of biochemistry and biomedical sciences and an international expert on vitamin D, notes that half the people in North America and Western Europe get insufficient amounts of vitamin D.

"Elsewhere, it is worse," he says, "given that two-thirds of the people are vitamin D-insufficient or deficient. It is clear that merely eating vitamin D-rich foods is not adequate to solve the problem for most adults." .

Currently, the recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 200 international units (IU) for people up to 50 years old; 400 IU for people 51 to 70 years old; and 600 IU for people over 70 years old.

"There is a wide consensus among researchers that the relative daily intake of vitamin D should be increased to 2,000 to 4,000 IU for most adults," Norman says. "A 2000 IU daily intake can be achieved by a combination of sunshine, food, supplements, and possibly even limited tanning exposure".........

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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