August 20, 2009, 6:41 AM CT
Majority of US hospitals will have smoke-free campuses
While hospital buildings are often smoke-free, a newly released study finds that by February 2008, 45 percent of US hospitals had adopted "smoke-free campus" policies, meaning that all the property owned or leased by the hospital, both indoors and outdoors, was smoke-free and there were no designated smoking areas on those properties.
The study, "The Adoption of Smoke-Free Hospital Campuses in the United States," is the first of its kind to examine the national prevalence of smoke-free hospital campus policies. It was conducted by The Joint Commission, the world's largest healthcare standards setting and accrediting body, and scientists from the Henry Ford Health System's Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. The study was funded by the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and appears in the online version of the peer-evaluated journal Tobacco Control
"Besides the 45 percent that already had smoke-free campuses, another 15 percent indicated that they would be implementing similar policies in the near future. Hence, it is safe to assume on the basis of these results that the majority of US hospitals will have smoke-free campuses by the end of 2009," as per Scott C. Williams, PsyD, of The Joint Commission.........
Posted by: Janet Read more Source
August 20, 2009, 6:40 AM CT
Women with abnormal paps
Less than half of Ontario women with abnormal Pap tests receive recommended and potentially life-saving follow-up care, as per a new women's health study by scientists at St. Michael's Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). What's more, low-income women are less likely to be screened for cancer in comparison to their high-income counterparts.
"Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer, yet in Ontario more than one million women have not been screened, and a disproportionate number of these are women living in lower-income communities," says Dr. Arlene Bierman, a doctor at St. Michael's Hospital and principal investigator of the Project for an Ontario Women's Health Evidence-Based Report (POWER). "We need to make special efforts to reach women who are screened, but do not receive the necessary follow-up and may eventually fall through the cracks. To improve surveillance and therapy, we need a system that ensures all abnormal Pap tests are followed-up so that Ontario women can receive the best care possible," added Dr. Bierman, a researcher at ICES.
The joint study titled POWER (the Project for an Ontario Women's Health Evidence-Based Report), from St. Michael's Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), is the first in the province to provide a comprehensive overview of women's health in relation to gender, income, education, ethnicity and geography. The findings are detailed in the report titled Cancer the second to be released this year as part of the study. Findings can be used by policymakers and health-care providers to improve access, quality and outcomes of care for Ontario women. Dr. Monika Krzyzanowska, a medical oncologist at Princess Margaret Hospital/University Health Network is the main author on the cancer chapter. The POWER Study is funded by Echo: Improving Women's Health in Ontario, an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.........
Posted by: Emily Read more Source
August 19, 2009, 7:19 AM CT
Neurons that control obesity in fruit flies
A team of researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have pinpointed two groups of neurons in fruit fly brains that have the ability to sense and manipulate the fly's fat stores in much the same way as do neurons in the mammalian brain. The existence of this sort of control over fat deposition and metabolic rates makes the flies a potentially useful model for the study of human obesity, the scientists note.
Their findings were reported in the August 13 issue of the journal Neuron
By manipulating neural activity in fruit fly brains using transgenic techniques, the scientists observed that, "just as in mammals, fly fat-store levels are measured and controlled by specific neurons in the brain," says Caltech postdoctoral scholar Bader Al-Anzi, the Neuron paper's first author. "Silencing these neurons created obese flies, while overactivating them produced lean flies".
Mammalian brains are given information about the body's fat stores by hormones such as leptin and insulin, and respond to that information by inducing changes in food intake and metabolism to maintain a constant body weight. The scientists observed that similar behavioral and metabolic changes occurred in the fruit flies, though which changes occurred depended on which of the two sets of newly identified neurons was silenced.........
Posted by: Scott Read more Source
August 19, 2009, 6:55 AM CT
Retirees' health-care benefits at risk
L. Brian Stauffer
A nearly two-decade trend that is stripping away employer-provided health-care benefits for retirees in private business will likely continue and could soon hit an even deeper pool of government retirees, new research by University of Illinois elder law expert Richard Kaplan warns.
A nearly two-decade trend that is stripping away employer-provided health-care benefits for retirees in private business will likely continue and could soon hit an even deeper pool of government retirees, new research by a University of Illinois elder law expert warns.
Richard L. Kaplan says the steady erosion of private sector benefits stems largely from a 1992 change in accounting standards that requires employers to project future coverage costs, rather than just booking expenses when payouts are made years down the road.
This year, the same accounting requirements take effect for state and local governments, he said, adding hefty new financial obligations to balance sheets already out of whack amid the nation's worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
"When those future costs are disclosed, the pattern has been that stakeholders - in this case taxpayers - say, 'This is too much,' " Kaplan said. "There could be a big pushback from ordinary taxpayers who used to get these benefits and had them taken away or who never got them at all".
Private companies have increasingly scaled back retiree health-care benefits or eliminated coverage entirely to shore up bruised bottom lines and investor confidence, said Kaplan, whose research appears in the current issue of the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law and Ethics.........
Posted by: Janet Read more Source
August 19, 2009, 6:41 AM CT
MRI-detected breast lesions
Reston, Va. Breast MRI allows physicians to evaluate suspicious lesions using a variety of variables. Scientists have found though that computer-aided kinetic information can help significantly in distinguishing non-malignant from cancerous suspicious breast lesions on MRI, as per a research studyreported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR).
In the study, performed at the University of Washington Medical Center, scientists analyzed and compared the computer-aided assessment variables of 125 suspicious breast lesions. Three different kinetic curves (washout, plateau and persistent), were compared along with lesion morphology (size and shape). "We wanted to clarify which, of the a number of variables that reflect kinetics, were most predictive of malignancy, said Constance Lehman, MD, main author of the study. "We found overlap in kinetic patterns across non-malignant and cancerous lesions, but we did determine that the "most suspicious" curve type, washout, was useful in separating non-malignant from cancerous lesions," said Dr. Lehman.
"Of lesions with the most suspicious curve type (any washout), 45.7 percent were cancerous compared with 20.0 percent with plateau and 13.3 percent with entirely persistent enhancement," she said.........
Posted by: Janet Read more Source
August 18, 2009, 11:07 PM CT
Ancient Chinese herbal formulas on heart health
Shedding new light on ancient Chinese herbal formulas for cardiovascular indications from left to right are: Yong-Jian Geng, M.D., Ph.D.; Yaoping Tang, M.D., Nathan S. Bryan, Ph.D.; and Harsha Garg.
Credit: The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
New research at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston suggests that ancient Chinese herbal formulas used primarily for cardiovascular indications including heart disease may produce large amounts of artery-widening nitric oxide. Findings of the preclinical study by researchers in the university's Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases (IMM) appear in the Sept. 15 print issue of the journal Free Radical Biology & Medicine
Nitric oxide is crucial to the cardiovascular system because it signals the inner walls of blood vessels to relax, which facilitates the flow of blood through the heart and circulatory system. The messenger molecule also eliminates dangerous clots, lowers hypertension and reduces artery-clogging plaque formation.
The results from this study reveal that ancient Chinese herbal formulas "have profound nitric oxide bioactivity primarily through the enhancement of nitric oxide in the inner walls of blood vessels, but also through their ability to convert nitrite and nitrate into nitric oxide," said Nathan S. Bryan, Ph.D., the study's senior author and an IMM assistant professor.
Herbal formulas are a major component of traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs), which also include acupuncture and massage. "TCMs have provided leads to safe medications in cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes," said C. Thomas Caskey, M.D., IMM director and CEO. "The opportunity for Dr. Bryan's work is outstanding given that cardiac disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States".........
Posted by: Daniel Read more Source
August 18, 2009, 11:02 PM CT
Milk is safe after treatment for milk allergy
Some children with a history of severe milk allergy can safely drink milk and consume other dairy products every day, as per research led by the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and reported in the Aug. 10 online edition of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Investigators followed up with a subset of children who were part of an earlier Hopkins Children's-led study published in 2008 in which patients allergic to milk were given increasingly higher doses of milk over time. For a number of of them, continuous exposure to milk allergens the proteins that trigger bad reactions slowly and gradually retrained their immune systems to better tolerate the very food that once sent those systems into overdrive.
The follow-up of 18 children ages 6 to 16 whose severe milk allergies had eased or disappeared observed that all children were able to safely consume milk at home, and that reactions, while common, were generally mild and grew milder and milder over time. The follow-up varied from three to 17 months, depending on how long it took patients to increase their milk intake.
These findings also suggest that regular use of milk and dairy foods appears to be needed for children to maintain their tolerance.
"We now have evidence from other studies that some children once successfully treated remain allergy-free even without daily exposure, while in others the allergies return once they stop regular daily exposure to milk," says Robert Wood, M.D., the study's senior investigator and director of Allergy & Immunology at Hopkins Children's. "This may mean that some patients are truly cured of their allergy, while in others the immune system adapts to regular daily exposure to milk and may, in fact, need the exposure to continue to tolerate it," he adds.........
Posted by: JoAnn Read more Source
August 18, 2009, 7:58 AM CT
Ibuprofen is as effective as acetaminophen with codeine
Children with arm fractures fared as well with ibuprofen to control their pain as acetaminophen with codeine, as per a newly released study by scientists at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and Children's Research Institute.
The study, which was led by Amy Drendel, D.O., assistant professor of pediatrics at the Medical College, will appear in the Aug. 18, 2009, issue of the Annals of Emergency Medicine
Dr. Drendel also is a pediatric emergency medicine specialist at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.
Up to this point, an evidence-based pain management regimen for children with simple arm fractures after discharge from the emergency department has not been identified.
"Our study calls into question the practice of using acetaminophen with codeine as a rescue medicine if ibuprofen fails to treat fracture pain for children," explains Dr. Drendel.
This study compared how children ages four to 18 years respond to therapy when prescribed ibuprofen or acetaminophen with codeine for pain. Overall, there was no difference in the number of children that failed therapy in the two groups but the children receiving ibuprofen reported better functional outcomes, higher satisfaction, and fewer adverse effects than those receiving acetaminophen with codeine.........
Posted by: JoAnn Read more Source
August 18, 2009, 7:57 AM CT
Work together for successful kids
It is widely understood that, ideally, schools and parents should work together to ensure that children can succeed as students and citizens. But what is the right balance? And how much do teachers want parents involved in the classroom? A newly released study from North Carolina State University identifies ways that schools and communities can work with parents to give children the greatest chance of success.
Scientists at NC State say that the formation of "child and family teams" (CFTs) appears to be extremely useful in helping young people who are having difficulty with grades or behavior become more engaged and do well in school and life. Dr. Jocelyn Taliaferro, an associate professor of social work at NC State and co-author of the study, explains that a CFT "takes a 'village' approach. A child and his or her family decide who would be on the team such as teachers, social workers, pastors or other community members and then work with the team to develop a plan for helping the child succeed both in school and in the broader community. One advantage of this approach is that it removes the 'us versus them' mentality, by bringing in a broad support group and giving the child and family some control over the situation".
However, the scientists found in their study that some school personnel and community members are ambivalent about the prospect of involving family members in the decision-making process at their schools. For example, Taliaferro says, teachers think parental involvement is important, but they also are often concerned that the parents appears to be contributing to a child's problem rather than being part of the solution.........
Posted by: Janet Read more Source
August 18, 2009, 7:54 AM CT
Video-game playing and health risks in adults
While video gaming is generally perceived as a pastime for children and young adults, research shows that the average age of players in the United States is 35. Investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emory University and Andrews University analyzed survey data from over 500 adults ranging in age from 19 to 90 in the Seattle-Tacoma area on health risks; media use behaviors and perceptions, including those correlation to video-game playing; and demographic factors. In an article reported in the October 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine,
they found measurable correlations between video-game playing and health risks.
Participants reported whether they were players or nonplayers, and weekly usage was collected. Internet usage was assessed, as was the relative importance of the Internet as a social support. The personal determinants examined in this study included self-evaluations of depression, personality, health status, physical and mental health, body mass index (BMI), and poor quality of life. Immersion in media environments was reviewed using the participants' estimates of the time they spent during a typical week surfing the Internet and watching TV, including videos and DVDs. The SeattleTacoma area was selected because of its size (13th largest US media market) and its Internet usage level is the highest in the nation.........
Posted by: Janet Read more Source