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January 28, 2011, 7:01 AM CT

Retired NFL players misuse painkillers

Retired NFL players misuse painkillers
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
Retired NFL players use painkillers at a much higher rate than the rest of us, as per new research conducted by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The scientists say the brutal collisions and bone-jarring injuries linked to football often cause long-term pain, which contributes to continued use and abuse of painkilling medications.

The study is published online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. It involved 644 former NFL players who retired from football between 1979 and 2006. Scientists asked them about their overall health, level of pain, history of injuries, concussions and use of prescription pain pills.

The study observed that 7 percent of the former players were currently using painkilling opioid drugs. That's more than four times the rate of opioid use in the general population. Opioids are usually prescribed for their analgesic, or pain-relieving, properties. Medications that fall within this class of drugs include morphine, Vicodin, codeine and oxycodone.

"We asked about medications they used during their playing careers and whether they used the drugs as prescribed or whether they had ever taken them in a different way or for different reasons," says principal investigator Linda B. Cottler, PhD, professor of epidemiology in psychiatry at Washington University. "More than half used opioids during their NFL careers, and 71 percent had misused the drugs. That is, they had used the medicine for a different reason or in a different way than it was prescribed, or taken painkillers that were prescribed for someone else".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 25, 2011, 7:41 AM CT

Practicing retrieval is best tool for learning

Practicing retrieval is best tool for learning
Research findings by Jeffrey D. Karpicke, a Purdue assistant professor of psychological sciences who studies learning and memory, show that the time students invest in rereading or reviewing their notes would be better spent practicing retrieval, such as self-testing, to ensure better learning. (Purdue University photo/Andrew Hancock)

The time students invest in rereading or reviewing their notes would be better spent practicing retrieval to ensure better learning, as per new research from Purdue University.

"We continue to show that practicing retrieval, or testing yourself, is a powerful, robust tool for learning," said Jeffrey D. Karpicke (pronounced CAR-picky), an assistant professor of psychological sciences who studies learning and memory. "Our new research shows that practicing retrieval is an even more effective strategy than engaging in elaborative studying.

"Educators, scientists and students are often focused on getting things 'in memory,' so techniques that encourage students to elaborate on the material are often popular. But learning is fundamentally about retrieving, and our research shows that practicing retrieval while you study is crucial to learning. Self-testing enriches and improves the learning process, and there needs to be more focus on using retrieval as a learning strategy".

He also observed that most students are not good at judging the success of their study habits.

"When students have the material right in front of them, they think they know it better than they actually do," he said. "A number of students do not realize that putting the material away and practicing retrieval is such a potent study strategy".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 25, 2011, 7:10 AM CT

Workers most invested in their jobs have highest stress levels

Workers most invested in their jobs have highest stress levels
A workplace's key employees appears to be at the greatest risk of experiencing high levels of work stress, as per a newly released study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

In a survey of 2,737 workers, 18 per cent reported that their job was "highly stressful."

The odds of having high stress were greater if workers were managers or professionals, if they thought their poor job performance could negatively affect others, or if they worked long or variable hours. The study was published in this month's International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

"The people who report high stress are the ones most invested in their jobs," says Dr. Carolyn Dewa, Senior Scientist and Head of CAMH's Work and Well-being Research and Assessment Program. "Employers should be very concerned with keeping this population healthy. From a business perspective, it is in a company's best interest to support these workers." .

The job characteristics linked to stress pointed to workers who were engaged and responsible. If workers felt their poor job performance could result in any physical injury, damage to company's equipment or reputation, or a financial loss, they were twice as likely to report high stress.

Having a worksite remote from their home, or having to entertain or travel for their jobs also increased the odds of being stressed. So did variable hours such as being on call, doing shift work or having a compressed work week.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 22, 2011, 6:34 AM CT

Preventing tooth decay in the youngest American Indians

Preventing tooth decay in the youngest American Indians
The dark stained decay is irreversible loss of tooth tissue that must be repaired with dental treatment. The white patch on the tooth is an earlier stage of decay which can be stopped without drilling and filling.

Credit: Andrea Ferreira Zandoná, DDS, PhD, Indiana University School of Dentistry

-A study conducted in four American Indian communities in the Pacific Northwest presents an effective strategy to convince mothers to switch young children from drinking sweetened soda to water and shows that eliminating these sugary drinks from the diets of the youngest members of the tribe significantly decreased tooth decay.

The results of the dental arm of "The Toddler Overweight and Tooth Decay Prevention Study" (TOTS), which targeted American Indians from birth to 30 months of age, appear in the current issue (Volume 20, Number 4) of the peer evaluated journal Ethnicity & Disease

The arrival of Europeans brought diseases such as measles, influenza and smallpox to the Americas. Less well known is that Europeans also brought premature tooth decay to American Indians by introducing sugar and sugared foods. Before the adoption of European food patterns, tooth decay was mostly a disease of old age in the New World. With the addition of sugar to the American Indian diet, tooth decay became a disease that begins early in life. Today American Indians of all ages, a number of without adequate or timely access to dental care, are severely affected by tooth decay.

To implement TOTS the scientists worked closely with tribal councils. In three of the four communities, good tasting water was made readily available in water fountains and inexpensive, refillable gallon jugs. Sugared soda was removed from tribal stores, and substitution of water for soda was actively encouraged through community outreach programs. Families received food counseling and breastfeeding support through tribal community health workers.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 18, 2011, 7:52 AM CT

Binge drinking: Too prevalent and hazardous

Binge drinking: Too prevalent and hazardous
Binge drinking, an activity that a number of young people engage in, has associated adverse health risks and we need to do a better job of controlling overall alcohol usage, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) (pre-embargo link only) http://www.cmaj.ca/embargo/cmaj110029.pdf.

"Given the a number of stakeholders involved in the sale and consumption of alcohol, we need a national strategy for controlling overall alcohol use," write Drs. Ken Flegel, Noni MacDonald and Paul H�bert in the editorial. "Public health agencies, the hospitality industry, liquor manufacturers and control boards, municipalities and major granting agencies should collectively turn their attention to evaluate strategies to curb binge drinking".

"As we await evidence about beneficial interventions, we should strengthen surveillance programs so we can increase public awareness of the high prevalence and known dangers of heavy and binge drinking." Communication and discussion with children and youth about the dangers of intoxication such as rape, violence and risk of death is important as is good role modeling about responsible consumption.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 18, 2011, 7:26 AM CT

Barriers to performing skin cancer exams

Barriers to performing skin cancer exams
Time constraints, other illnesses and patient embarrassment may prevent dermatologists, internists and family practitioners from conducting full-body skin examinations, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. However, dermatologists are significantly more likely than internists and family practitioners to conduct such screenings.

Skin cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the United States, as per background information in the article. "It is critical for patients to adhere to primary prevention behaviors and for clinicians to adopt secondary prevention strategies aimed at early detection of skin cancer to reduce its associated morbidity and mortality," the authors write. "Prior studies have suggested that a number of individuals, especially those with established risk factors for melanoma, would benefit from active skin cancer screening and surveillance, and screening by dermatologists in particular may also be cost-effective".

Susan A. Oliveria, Sc.D., M.P.H., of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and his colleagues surveyed 2,999 physicians randomly selected from the American Medical Association's Medical Marketing Services database in 2005. Of those, 1,669 (59.2 percent) returned surveys, including 559 family practitioners, 431 internists and 679 dermatologists.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


January 18, 2011, 7:22 AM CT

Smoking accounts for up to 60 percent of gender gap in deaths

Smoking accounts for up to 60 percent of gender gap in deaths
Smoking accounts for up to 60% of the gender gap in death rates across Europe, and kills twice as a number of men as alcohol, reveals research published online in Tobacco Control

The reasons why women have been outliving men in developed European countries since the mid to late 18th century, in some cases, have been hotly contested.

The gender gap in death rates has sometimes been put down to simple biology, or the fact that women seek out health care more readily than men. But the magnitude and variability of the trends suggests a rather more complex picture, say the authors, who set out to explore this discrepancy in more detail.

They used World Health Organisation figures on death rates among men and women from all causes as well as those attributable to smoking and drinking in 30 European countries for the years closest to 2005.

Smoking related deaths included respiratory tract cancers, coronary artery disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Those correlation to alcohol included cancers of the throat and gullet and chronic liver disease as well as alcoholic psychosis and violence.

The 30 countries included Iceland, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, and several in Western and Eastern Europe, excluding the Russian Federation, and Scandinavia.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 16, 2011, 10:08 PM CT

Suicide risk greater for people living at higher elevations

Suicide risk greater for people living at higher elevations
High Altitude Medicine & Biology, the official journal of the International Society for Mountain Medicine (www.ismmed.org), is an authoritative, peer-reviewed journal published quarterly online. It is the only peer-reviewed journal dedicated exclusively to the latest advances in high altitude life sciences. The journal presents findings on the effects of chronic hypoxia on lung and heart disease, pulmonary and cerebral edema, hypertension, dehydration, infertility, appetite and weight loss, and other diseases. Complete tables of content and free sample issue may be viewed online.

Credit: © Mary Ann Liebert Inc., publishers

Twenty years of mortality data from counties across the United States led to the striking discovery that living at higher altitudes appears to be a risk factor for suicide, as per a provocative study published online ahead of print in High Altitude Medicine & Biology, a peer-evaluated journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The article is available free online. (www.liebertpub.com/ham).

Barry Brenner, MD, PhD, and David Cheng, MD, University Hospitals Case Medical Center (Cleveland, OH), and coauthors Sunday Clark, MPH, ScD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (PA), and Carlos Camargo Jr., MD, DrPH, Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston), examined cause-of-death data from all 2,584 U.S. counties between 1979 and 1998 and observed that, as a group, people living at higher elevations had a statistically significant higher rate of suicide. They report an apparent link between altitude of residence and suicide rate in the article "Positive Association between Altitude and Suicide in 2,584 U.S. Counties."

The positive connection between elevation and suicide risk was present even when the authors controlled for known suicide risk factors, such as older age, male sex, white race, and low income. Interestingly, the authors determined that the increased suicide rates at higher altitudes are not part of a broader association between mortality from all causes and living at higher elevations. In fact, they report a significantly lower overall mortality rate at higher altitudes.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 16, 2011, 9:46 PM CT

Reduction in salt consumption recommended

Reduction in salt consumption recommended
The American Heart Association today issued a call to action for the public, health professionals, the food industry and the government to intensify efforts to reduce the amount of sodium (salt) Americans consume daily.

In an advisory, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the association sets out the science behind the American Heart Association's recommendation for the general population, which is to consume no more than 1500 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day because of the harmful effects of sodium - elevated blood pressure and increased risk of stroke, heart attacks and kidney disease. Elevated blood pressure (hypertension) is a major public health problem - approximately 90 percent of all Americans will develop high blood pressure over their lifetime.

Sodium consumption is currently more than two times higher than the recommended upper limit of 1,500 mg daily, with 77 percent of that consumption coming from packaged, processed and restaurant foods. "Even a modest decline in intake - say 400 mg per day -would produce benefits that are substantial and warrant implementation," say the advisory authors. The 2005 United States Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended a sodium intake limit of 2,300 mg per day, which a number of health experts say is too much for most Americans. Earlier this year, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommended to the secretaries of the United States Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that the goal should be modified to 1,500 mg per day for the general population. The advisory committee consists of leading researchers who evaluated the most recent scientific studies and created a set of recommendations that are being evaluated by the secretaries.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


January 16, 2011, 9:23 PM CT

Chemicals in pregnant women

Chemicals in pregnant women
The bodies of virtually all U.S. pregnant women carry multiple chemicals, including some banned since the 1970s and others used in common products such as non-stick cookware, processed foods and personal care products, as per a newly released study from UCSF.

The study marks the first time that the number of chemicals to which pregnant women are exposed has been counted.

Analyzing data for 163 chemicals, scientists detected polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), phenols, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and perchlorate in 99 to 100 percent of pregnant women. Among the chemicals found in the study group were PBDEs, compounds used as flame retardants now banned in a number of states including California, and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane ( DDT), an organochlorine pesticide banned in the United States in 1972.

Bisphenol A (BPA), which makes plastic hard and clear, and is found in epoxy resins that are used to line the inside of metal food and beverage cans, was identified in 96 percent of the women surveyed. Prenatal exposure to BPA has been associated with adverse health outcomes, affecting brain development and increasing susceptibility to cancer during the later part of life, as per the researchers.........

Posted by: Emily      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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