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October 28, 2008, 5:15 AM CT

Study Reveals That Red Enhances Men

Study Reveals That Red Enhances Men
A groundbreaking study by two University of Rochester psychology experts would be published online Oct. 28 by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology adds color-literally and figuratively-to the age-old question of what attracts men to women.

Through five psychological experiments, Andrew Elliot, professor of psychology, and Daniela Niesta, post-doctoral researcher, demonstrate that the color red makes men feel more amorous toward women. And men are unaware of the role the color plays in their attraction.

The research provides the first empirical support for society's enduring love affair with red. From the red ochre used in ancient rituals to today's red-light districts and red hearts on Valentine's Day, the rosy hue has been tied to carnal passions and romantic love across cultures and millennia. But this study, said Elliot, is the only work to scientifically document the effects of color on behavior in the context of relationships.

"It's only recently that psychology experts and scientists in other disciplines have been looking closely and systematically at the relationship between color and behavior. Much is known about color physics and color physiology, but very little about color psychology," said Elliot. "It's fascinating to find that something as ubiquitous as color can be having an effect on our behavior without our awareness".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 28, 2008, 5:08 AM CT

Green neighborhoods may reduce childhood obesity

Green neighborhoods may reduce childhood obesity
Childhood obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes, asthma, hypertension, sleep apnea and emotional distress. Obese children and youth are likely to be obese as adults, experience more cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke and incur higher healthcare costs. In an article reported in the December 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, scientists report that children living in inner city neighborhoods with higher "greenness" experienced lower weight gains in comparison to those in areas with less green space.

Scientists from the University of Washington, Indiana University-Purdue University and Indiana University School of Medicine followed more than 3800 children, predominantly African-American and poor, aged 3-16 over a two-year period. Using satellite imaging data to measure vegetation coverage, the researchers observed that higher greenness was significantly linked to lower body mass index (BMI) changes in those children. In prior studies of adults, residential density tended to predict physical activity levels, with highly urban environments leading to more walking, less driving and lower BMI. The current study did not find this correlation for children.

Children and youth in urban environments may be active in a wider variety of open spaces (e.g., yards, parks, vacant lots) and less likely to constrain activity to streets and sidewalks. Greenness might indicate proximity to parks, playfields or other open spaces that promote either physical activity or increased time spent outdoors in active play.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 27, 2008, 10:40 PM CT

Statins associated with lower risk of death from pneumonia

Statins associated with lower risk of death from pneumonia
Individuals who take cholesterol-lowering statins before being hospitalized with pneumonia appear less likely to die within 90 days afterward, as per a report in the October 27 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

In the United States and Europe, pneumonia hospitalization rates have increased 20 percent to 50 percent over the past decade, as per background information in the article. About 10 percent to 15 percent of those with pneumonia die from the disease. A recent review article indicated that statins may benefit patients with sepsis (infection of the bloodstream) or bacteremia (presence of bacteria in the bloodstream), possibly due to the medications' anti-clotting, anti-inflammatory or immune-modifying properties.

Reimar W. Thomsen, M.D., Ph.D., of Aarhus University and Aalborg Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark, and his colleagues evaluated data from 29,900 adults hospitalized with pneumonia between 1997 and 2004. Of these, 1,371 (4.6 percent) were taking statins at the time.

"Mortality [death] among statin users was lower than among non-users: 10.3 percent vs. 15.7 percent after 30 days and 16.8 percent vs. 22.4 percent after 90 days," the authors write. The lowest relative death rate linked to statins was observed in patients older than 80 and in those with bacteremia. "The differences became apparent during the first few weeks of hospitalization, a period linked to a high number of pneumonia-related deaths, and they increased only minimally between 30 and 90 days after admission, which suggests that statin use is beneficial primarily in the early phase of infection".........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


October 27, 2008, 10:35 PM CT

Caregiving may be associated with poorer health

Caregiving may be associated with poorer health
Older white caregivers (those who provide regular care or assistance for a child or a disabled or sick adult) appear to have poorer health outcomes than black female caregivers, as per a report in the October 27 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Eventhough past studies have observed that caregivers have poorer immune status than non-caregivers, there has not been any consistent evidence stating that caregiving increases disease occurrence or death, as per background information in the article. "These inconsistent results suggest the need to examine factors that may influence the association between caregiving and health decline in elderly adults, especially race, sex and overall level of physical activity of caregivers and non-caregivers," the authors write. Since physical activity is linked to lower stress and depressive symptoms, and protects against heart disease, death and mobility disability, including it in studies of caregiving "may provide a more accurate description of how caregiving affects physical health".

Lisa Fredman, Ph.D., of the Boston University School of Public Health, and his colleagues assessed the physical activity (including daily routine, exercise and caregiving activity) and health of 3,075 healthy adults (ages 70 to 79) from 1997 to 1998. Of these, 680 (about 22 percent) were caregivers. Demographic information such as race and sex were also noted. Participants were clinically examined or interviewed every year for eight years and short telephone interviews were conducted six months between each annual interview.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 27, 2008, 10:31 PM CT

Methamphetamine abuse linked to underage sex

Methamphetamine abuse linked to underage sex
Children and adolescents who abuse alcohol or are sexually active are more likely to take methamphetamines (MA), also known as 'meth' or 'speed'. Research published recently in the open access journal BMC Pediatrics reveals the risk factors linked to MA use, in both low-risk children (those who don't take drugs) and high-risk children (those who have taken other drugs or who have ever attended juvenile detention centres).

MA is a stimulant, commonly smoked, snorted or injected. It produces sensations of euphoria, lowered inhibitions, feelings of invincibility, increased wakefulness, heightened sexual experiences, and hyperactivity resulting from increased energy for extended periods of time. As per the lead author of this study, Terry P. Klassen of the University of Alberta, Canada, "MA is produced, or 'cooked', quickly, reasonably simply, and cheaply by using legal and readily available ingredients with recipes that can be found on the internet".

Because of the low cost, ready availability and legal status of the drug, long-term use can be a serious problem. In order to assess the risk factors that are linked to people using MA, Klassen and his team carried out an analysis of twelve different medical studies, combining their results to get a bigger picture of the MA problem. They said, "Within the low-risk group, there were some clear patterns of risk factors linked to MA use. A history of engaging in behaviors such as sexual activity, alcohol consumption and smoking was significantly linked to MA use among low-risk youth. Engaging in these kinds of behaviors may be a gateway for MA use or vice versa. A homosexual or bisexual lifestyle is also a risk factor".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 27, 2008, 10:30 PM CT

Brain stimulation improves dexterity

Brain stimulation improves dexterity
Applying electrical stimulation to the scalp and the underlying motor regions of the brain could make you more skilled at delicate tasks. Research published recently in the open access journal BMC Neuroscience shows that a non-invasive brain-stimulation technique, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), is able to improve the use of a person's non-dominant hand.

Drs. Gottfried Schlaug and Bradley Vines from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, tested the effects of using tDCS over one side or both sides of the brain on sixteen healthy, right-handed volunteers, as well as testing the effect of simply pretending to carry out the procedure. The volunteers were not aware of which of the three procedures they were receiving. The test involved using the fingers of the left hand to key in a series of numbers displayed on a computer screen.

The results were striking; stimulating the brain over both the right and left motor regions ('dual hemisphere' tDCS) resulted in a 24% improvement in the subjects' scores. This was significantly better than stimulating the brain only over one motor region or using the sham therapy (16% and 12% improvements, respectively).

tDCS involves attaching electrodes to the scalp and passing a weak direct current through the scalp and skull to alter the excitability of the underlying brain tissue. The therapy has two principal modes depending on the direction in which the current runs between the two electrodes. Brain tissue that underlies the positive electrode (anode) becomes more excitable and the reverse is true for brain tissue that underlies the negative electrode (cathode). No relevant negative side effects have been reported with this type of non-invasive brain stimulation. It is not to be confused with electroconvulsive treatment, which uses currents around a thousand times higher.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 27, 2008, 10:28 PM CT

New brain link as cause of schizophrenia

New brain link as cause of schizophrenia
A lack of specific brain receptors has been linked with schizophrenia in new research by researchers at Newcastle University.

In work published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team has observed that NMDA receptors are essential in modifying brain oscillations electrical wave patterns which are altered in patients with schizophrenia.

They now want to investigate whether optimising the function of the receptors, which are already know to be involved in making memories, could lead to a new way of treating the mental illness.

Schizophrenia is one of the most common serious mental health conditions in the UK and can cause a range of different psychological symptoms, including hallucinations and delusions. One in 100 people will experience at least one episode of acute schizophrenia during their lifetime and it affects men and women equally. While its exact cause is unknown, most experts think that the condition is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Dr Mark Cunningham, who led the research at Newcastle University, UK, says: "We have shown that by selectively targeting receptors we can modify the dynamics of the brain. Our hope would be that in the long term this could lead to a method for actually improving brain function, not only for people with schizophrenia but potentially for a number of other brain conditions.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 27, 2008, 5:42 AM CT

Vaccinating family members offers important flu protection to newborns

Vaccinating family members offers important flu protection to newborns
Vaccinating new mothers and other family members against influenza before their newborns leave the hospital creates a "cocooning effect" that may shelter unprotected children from the flu, a virus that can be life-threatening to infants, as per scientists at Duke Children's Hospital.

The hospital-based outreach tested in this study proved effective at boosting immunization rates in parents particularly new fathers and siblings who otherwise may not be vaccinated.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend vaccinating newborns for flu because they're too young, however they're a part of the population that is at highest risk," explains Emmanuel (Chip) Walter, MD, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Duke Children's Hospital. He presented the findings of the CDC-funded study at the annual ICAAC/IDSA meeting in Washington, DC.

"Newborns have the highest rate of hospitalizations due to influenza when in comparison to any other age group of children. Their rates of influenza-related hospitalization are similar to people age 80 and older. And, in some seasons the influenza-associated mortality rate is highest among infants. We want to protect the newborn by vaccinating the entire family, and send parents home with one less thing to worry about".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 27, 2008, 5:41 AM CT

Purple tomatoes: The richness of antioxidants against tumors

Purple tomatoes: The richness of antioxidants against tumors
Scientists from the John Innes Centre in Norwich, Great Britain, in collaboration with other European centres participating to the FLORA project, have obtained genetically modified tomatoes rich in anthocyanins, a category of antioxidants belonging to the class of flavonoids. These tomatoes, added to the diet of cancer-prone mice, showed a significant protective effect by extending the mice lifespan. The research has been reported in the 26 recent issue of Nature Biotechnology

It is a remarkable step ahead in the study on antioxidants, especially flavonoids, widely considered as a useful tool for preventing a large number of diseases, from cardiovascular disease to certain types of can-cer. The diet followed by the majority of people living in the Western world does not appear to be suffi-cient to guarantee an adequate intake of these substances, present in a number of fruits and vegetables such as berries. That is why the FLORA project aims at understanding their mechanisms trying to find new ways to increase their consumption.

Scientists from the John Innes Centre, coordinated by Cathie Martin, tried to step on it by putting on the lab bench a naturally anthocyanins-free product as tomato and engineering it to enhance its flavonoid content. In this way scientists have obtained an ideal model to study the effect of anthocyanins.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 27, 2008, 5:37 AM CT

High-dose influenza vaccine shows increased immune response

High-dose influenza vaccine shows increased immune response
Washington, DC, October 26, 2008 - Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of sanofi-aventis Group, announced recently that an investigational high-dose influenza vaccine demonstrated increased immune responses among adults 65 years of age and older compared with the standard influenza vaccine. The candidate high-dose intramuscular formulation of the influenza vaccine is being developed by sanofi pasteur.

The results were reported today at the 48th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC)/Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) 46th annual meeting.

As per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the currently available inactivated influenza vaccine offers public health benefits in reducing influenza-related morbidity and mortality in elderly adults. Study authors explain, however, that as people age, the immune system tends to weaken. Elderly adults become not only more susceptible to infections, but also less responsive to vaccination. When infected with the influenza virus, they are less able to mount an immune response to neutralize the attack. "Development of an influenza vaccine that will provide an improved immune response in elderly adults is important because this population has the highest rates of complications from influenza including hospitalization and death," said Ann R. Falsey, MD Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, NY; Infectious Diseases Unit, Rochester General Hospital. Approximately 90 percent of the 36,000 average annual influenza-associated respiratory and circulatory related deaths occur among adults 65 years of age and older.........

Posted by: Mark      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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