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July 28, 2009, 11:30 PM CT

Being active as a preschooler pays off

Being active as a preschooler pays off
Being active at age 5 helps kids stay lean as they age even if they don't remain as active later in childhood, a new University of Iowa study shows.

"We call this effect 'banking' because the kids benefit later on, similar to having a savings account at a bank. The protective effect is independent of what happens in between," said main author Kathleen Janz, professor of health and sport studies in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "The implication is that even 5-year-olds should be encouraged to be as active as possible because it pays off as they grow older".

The UI team tested the body fat and activity level of 333 kids at ages 5, 8 and 11 using gold-standard technology: a special scanner that accurately measures bone, fat and muscle tissue, and an accelerometer that measures movement every minute. The kids wore accelerometers to record their activity level for up to five days, providing much more reliable data than relying on kids or parents to track minutes of exercise.

The study, published this month in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, indicates that kids who are active at age 5 end up with less fat at age 8 and 11, even when controlling for their accumulated level of activity.

The average 5-year-old in the study got 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per day. For every 10 minutes on top of that, kids had one-third of a pound less fat tissue at ages 8 and 11.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 27, 2009, 11:17 PM CT

Cigarette packaging still misleading consumers

Cigarette packaging still misleading consumers
New research suggests that current regulations have failed to remove misleading information from cigarette packaging, revealing that a substantial majority of consumers believe cigarettes are less hazardous when the packs display words such as "silver" or "smooth," lower numbers incorporated into the brand name, lighter colours or pictures of filters.

In a study of 603 adults published recently (Tuesday) in the online edition of the Journal of Public Health, Canadian scientists call for the list of words banned from cigarette packaging to be expanded beyond the current prohibition of "light," "mild" and "low-tar" and suggest that other pack design elements may need to be eliminated to prevent consumers erroneously believing that one brand is less harmful than another.

"Research has already shown that using words such as 'light,' 'mild' and 'low tar' on cigarette packaging misleads consumers into thinking that one brand carries a lower health risk than another and that's why those words have been outlawed in more than 50 countries, but there has been virtually no independent research on these other packaging tactics to support broader regulation," said the study's leader, David Hammond, a professor of health studies at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. "Our study observed that commonly-used words not covered by the bans, as well as other packaging design elements such as colour, the use of numbers and references to filters, were just as misleading, which means there's a loophole that needs to be closed."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 27, 2009, 11:04 PM CT

Smoking increases risk of metastatic pancreatic cancer

Smoking increases risk of metastatic pancreatic cancer
Smoking has once again been implicated in the development of advanced cancer. Exposure to nicotine by way of cigarette smoking may increase the likelihood that pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma will become metastatic, as per scientists from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. Their study was reported in the August edition of the journal Surgery

The culprit behind the increased metastasis potential may be an isoform (variant type) of a protein called osteopontin, as per Hwyda Arafat, M.D. Ph.D., an associate professor of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and a member of the Jefferson Pancreatic, Biliary & Related Cancers Center.

Nicotine promotes the expression osteopontin, and high levels of osteopontin have been reported in pancreatic ductal carcinoma (PDA). Dr. Arafat and her research team analyzed PDA samples and confirmed that the isoform, called OPNc, was also expressed on invasive PDA lesions. Prior studies have shown that OPNc is expressed in several invasive cancers, and supports metastatic behavior.

The scientists correlated OPNc expression with the patients' smoking history. OPNc expression was found on 87 percent of the invasive PDA lesions analyzed, of which 73 percent were from smokers. The OPNc expression also correlated with higher expression levels of osteopontin. Precancerous lesions expressed no OPNc.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


July 27, 2009, 11:02 PM CT

How the pathology of Parkinson's disease spreads?

How the pathology of Parkinson's disease spreads?
Accumulation of the synaptic protein alpha-synuclein, resulting in the formation of aggregates called Lewy bodies in the brain, is a hallmark of Parkinson's and other related neurodegenerative diseases. This pathology appears to spread throughout the brain as the disease progresses. Now, scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea, have described how this mechanism works. Their findings the first to show neuron-to-neuron transmission of alpha-synuclein will appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on July 29.

"The discovery of cell-to-cell transmission of this protein may explain how alpha-synuclein aggregates can pass to new, healthy cells," said first author Paula Desplats, project scientist in UC San Diego's Department of Neurosciences. "We demonstrated how alpha-synuclein is taken up by neighboring cells, including grafted neuronal precursor cells, a mechanism that may cause Lewy bodies to spread to different brain structures." .

This insight will impact research into stem cell treatment for Parkinson's disease. "Our findings indicate that the stem cells used to replace lost or damaged cells in the brains of Parkinson's disease patients are also susceptible to degeneration," said Eliezer Masliah, MD, professor of neurosciences and pathology at UC San Diego School of Medicine. "Knowledge of the molecular basis of the intercellular transmission of alpha-synuclein may result in improved stem-cell based therapies with long-lasting benefits, by preventing the grafted cells to uptake α-synuclein or by making them more efficient in clearing the accumulated alpha-synuclein."........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 27, 2009, 10:48 PM CT

Anesthesia not harmful for babies during birth process

Anesthesia not harmful for babies during birth process
Mayo Clinic scientists have observed that children exposed to anesthesia during Cesarean section are not at any higher risk for learning disabilities during the later part of life than children not delivered by C-section. These findings are published in the current issue of the journal Anesthesiology

"We observed that the occurence rate of learning disabilities was equal between children who were delivered vaginally and those who were delivered via C-section but with general anesthesia," says Juraj Sprung, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist who led the study. "It's reassuring that the anesthetics mandatory for Cesarean delivery do not appear to cause long-term brain problems".

The study was conducted with data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project. Scientists analyzed the medical records of 5,320 children born between 1976 and 1982 to mothers living in Olmsted County. They compared birth records with scholastic achievement and IQ tests administered to the children during the later part of life as part of their schooling.

The study builds on a prior project, reported in March, which observed that children exposed to a single dose of anesthesia during the first three years of life had no increased risk for learning disabilities, but those exposed multiple times had an almost doubled risk for later identification of learning disabilities.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


July 24, 2009, 0:04 AM CT

Testing trauma cases for blood alcohol levels

Testing trauma cases for blood alcohol levels
New findings show that testing for blood alcohol levels (BALs) can identify high-risk patients, even if they previously denied excessive drinking, and help to predict alcohol-related health complications.

Too much alcohol often causes trauma, complicates evaluation of injury, and interferes with inpatient care. Even though 20 to 37 percent of accident cases in trauma centers are alcohol-related, some trauma patients are reluctant to self report their drinking. A newly released study has observed that testing for alcohol biomarkers especially blood alcohol levels (BALs) can identify high-risk patients admitted to trauma centers who had denied excessive drinking.

Results would be reported in the recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

"Alcohol use is linked to higher rates of motor vehicle accidents, falls, injuries inflicted by weapons, and workplace injuries than in persons not using alcohol," said Michael F. Fleming, professor of family medicine and corresponding author for the study. "In addition, patients processed through emergency may not be aware of their injury severity until the alcohol is out of their system, and in persons suffering from head trauma it is difficult to assess changes in mental status".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 24, 2009, 0:01 AM CT

Blood pressure drugs might protect against dementia

Blood pressure drugs might protect against dementia
A particular class of medicine used to treat hypertension could protect elderly adults against memory decline and other impairments in cognitive function, as per a newly published study from Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Research suggests that some of the drugs classified as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, specifically those types of ACE inhibitors that affect the brain by crossing the blood-brain barrier, may reduce inflammation that could contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease, a major cause of dementia.

The study appears in the current issue of Archives of Internal Medicine

"Hypertension is an important risk factor for Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia," said Kaycee Sink, M.D., M.A.S., main author of the study, geriatrician and an assistant professor of internal medicine gerontology. "Our study observed that all blood pressure medications may not be equal when it comes to reducing the risk of dementia in patients with hypertension".

Dementia is the broad term used to describe conditions in the brain that cause loss of brain function. There are several different causes of dementia, but Alzheimer's disease and strokes are two of the most common. People with dementia begin to lose their memory and may not be able to think well enough to do normal activities, such as getting dressed or eating, may lose their ability to solve problems or control their emotions, may experience personality changes and/or appears to become agitated or see things that are not there.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 23, 2009, 11:57 PM CT

The Sea food and 'See food' diet

The Sea food and  'See food' diet
Current research suggests that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent one of the leading causes of legal blindness among the elderly. The related report by Tuo et al, "A high omega-3 fatty acid diet reduces retinal lesions in a murine model of macular degeneration," appears in the August 2009 issue of the American Journal of Pathology

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), loss of vision in the center of the visual field (macula) due to retinal damage, is one of the leading causes of legal blindness among the elderly. Approximately 10% of people from 66 to 74 years of age will develop some level of macular degeneration, making it difficult for them to read or even recognize faces.

A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids has been found to protect against a variety of diseases including atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. Retrospective studies have suggested that diets high in fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids may also contribute to protection against AMD. A group led by Dr. Chi-Chao Chan at the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, MD examined the direct effect of omega-3 fatty acids on a mouse model of AMD. A diet with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids resulted in slower lesion progression, with improvement in some lesions. These mice had lower levels of inflammatory molecules and higher levels of anti-inflammatory molecules, which may explain this protective effect.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 23, 2009, 11:55 PM CT

Injection reverses heart-attack damage

Injection reverses heart-attack damage
Injured heart tissue normally can't regrow, but scientists at Children's Hospital Boston have now laid the groundwork for regenerating heart tissue after a heart attack, in patients with heart failure, or in children with congenital heart defects. In the July 24 issue of Cell, they show that a growth factor called neuregulin1 (NRG1), which is involved in the initial development of the heart and nervous system, can spur heart-muscle growth and recovery of cardiac function when injected systemically into animals after a heart attack.

After birth, heart-muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) normally withdraw from the cell cycle meaning they stop dividing and proliferating. But the researchers, led by Bernhard Khn, MD, and Kevin Bersell of the Department of Cardiology at Children's, were able to restart the cell cycle with NRG1, stimulating cardiomyocytes to divide and make copies of themselves -- even though they are not stem cells.

"Eventhough a number of efforts have focused on stem-cell based strategies, our work suggests that stem cells aren't mandatory and that stimulating differentiated cardiomyocytes to proliferate appears to be a viable alternative," says Khn, the study's senior investigator and a practicing pediatric heart specialist at Children's since 2007.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 23, 2009, 11:53 PM CT

One in FourSpanish women take antidepressants

One in FourSpanish women take antidepressants
Psychopharmaceutical use has risen over recent years. This is fact, but what is not clear is the reason why. Scientists from four Madrid-based health centres have shown that family conflict is not a significant factor. However, the results reported in the journal Atencin Primaria are striking: in Spain, 24% of women take antidepressants and more than 30% take tranquillisers.

"The use of psychopharmaceuticals is often correlation to family or work-related problems. We wanted to see if there was actually a positive link between the consumption of antidepressants and benzodiazepines and any kind of family dysfunction", Sonsoles Prez, main author of the study reported in the renowned journal Atencin Primaria, and a doctor at the Las guilas Health Centre in Madrid, tells SINC.

The authors studied 121 women aged between 25 and 65, using family dysfunction surveys (the Apgar test), and the additive scale used to evaluate social readjustment (SLE). The psychopharmaceuticals analysed were antidepressants and benzodiazepines (anxiolytics such as lorazepam and bromazepam).

"Eventhough one might believe that family conflicts lead to greater consumption of psychopharmaceuticals among women, we did not find any such relationship", the researcher says, adding that the use of such drugs depends a lot on the population segment taking them. "Some people with family, work-related or financial problems do not feel able to tackle their problems and fall back on the use of drugs", Prez points out.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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