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April 3, 2007, 10:44 PM CT

Secondhand smoke proves to be serious

Secondhand smoke proves to be serious
A study published in this months issue of the Journal of Periodontology observed that subjects with periodontitis who were exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to develop bone loss, the number one cause of tooth loss.

Scientists studied rats that were induced with periodontal disease. One group was not exposed to cigarette smoke while the other two groups were exposed to either 30 days of smoke inhalation produced by non-light cigarettes (cigarettes containing higher tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide levels) or light cigarettes (cigarettes containing lower tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide levels). Results showed that bone loss was greater in the subjects exposed to secondhand smoke regardless of if it was smoke from light or non-light cigarettes than those who were exposed to no smoke at all.

"Prior clinical research has proven a strong positive connection between smoking and gum disease. However, this study is unique in that it reviewed the impact of secondhand smoke on periodontitis," explained study author Getulio da R. Nogueira-Filho, DDS.

"This study really drives home the fact that even if you dont smoke the effects of secondhand smoke can be devastating. Part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle should include avoiding smoke filled places such as nightclubs, bars and even some restaurants," said Preston D. Miller, Jr., DDS and AAP president. "The Academy applauds the cities that are taking steps to make their hospitality industries smoke free so all patrons can enjoy not only a good time but also good overall health." .........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 3, 2007, 10:43 PM CT

Allergic Diseases and Autoimmune Diseases

Allergic Diseases and Autoimmune Diseases
A new study by scientists at Children's and the University of Washington (UW) identifies a correlation between allergic diseases such as atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, and autoimmune diseases. The study was reported in the April 1 edition of Nature Immunology.

Approximately 75 percent of autoimmune diseases occur in women, most frequently during the childbearing years. These diseases also comprise a significant portion of chronic childhood disorders. Autoimmune disease refers to a group of more than 80 serious, chronic illnesses including diseases of the nervous, gastrointestinal, and endocrine systems as well as skin and other connective tissues, eyes, blood, and blood vessel. In all of these diseases, the underlying problem is similar-the body's immune system (including B and/or T immune cells) becomes misdirected, attacking the very organs it was designed to protect.

"Our study implies that allergic and inflammatory diseases may actually trigger autoimmune diseases by relaxing the controls that normally eliminate newly produced, self-reactive B cells. This is important because a number of autoimmune diseases are caused by self-reactive antibodies produced by such B cells" said Dr. David Rawlings lead researcher and section head of Immunology at Children's Hospital and the UW.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 3, 2007, 10:40 PM CT

Parkinson drugs for stroke-related disability

Parkinson drugs for stroke-related disability
Researchers have untangled two similar disabilities that often afflict stroke patients, in the process revealing that one may be treatable with drugs for Parkinson's disease.

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis showed that stroke damage in a brain region known as the putamen is strongly associated with motor neglect, a condition that makes patients slow to move toward the left side.

Like stroke patients with motor neglect, Parkinson's patients are also slow to initiate responses involving movement. Researchers attribute this deficit in Parkinson's disease to loss of neurons that use the neurotransmitter dopamine to regulate activity in the putamen.

"Earlier attempts to treat stroke patients with neglect with dopamine-like compounds have produced mixed results," says lead author Ayelet Sapir, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher in neurology. "It's possible, though, that those unfavorable outcomes resulted from an inability to identify the patients most likely to benefit from the intervention. Our data indicate that patients with damage to the putamen may respond differently to this therapy than patients who have neglect from stroke damage to other parts of brain".

Sapir describes the research, which appears in The Journal of Neuroscience, as part of a broader effort to precisely determine how strokes in different parts of the brain's right hemisphere affect patients. She and others want to closely link damage in a given right brain region to a particular set of symptoms.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 3, 2007, 10:15 PM CT

Men and Women See Things Differently

Men and Women See Things Differently
In the hands of the wrong person, power can be dangerous. That's particularly the case in the workplace, where the abuse of power can lead to sexual harassment.

Issues of power, workplace culture and the interpretation of verbal and non-verbal communication linked to sexual harassment were the focus of a study by Debbie Dougherty, assistant professor of communication in the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Working with a large healthcare organization in the Midwest, Dougherty examined the question: why does sexual harassment occur?.

"Power," she said. "It was the common answer. It came up repeatedly. However, what I found were multiple definitions of power."

Those definitions varied by gender. Dougherty's assessment was based on the opinions and perceptions of 23 participants (11 women and 12 men) representing a range of hierarchical levels and job types within the healthcare organization. The average participant┬┐s age was 38, and each participant had been employed by the company an average of seven years. None were doctors. After being placed in discussion groups, they openly discussed sexual harassment and confirmed what some scientists have argued - sexual harassment is more about power than sex, Dougherty said. In fact, moderators never asked participants to address the issue of power.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 2, 2007, 11:02 PM CT

Rapid response to 1918 flu pandemic

Rapid response to 1918 flu pandemic
One of the persistent riddles of the deadly 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic is why it struck different cities with varying severity. Why were some municipalities such as St. Louis spared the fate of the hard-hit cities like Philadelphia when both implemented similar public health measures? What made the difference, as per two independent studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was not only how but also how rapidly different cities responded.

Cities where public health officials imposed multiple social containment measures within a few days after the first local cases were recorded cut peak weekly death rates by up to half compared with cities that waited just a few weeks to respond. Overall mortality was also lower in cities that implemented early interventions, but the effect was smaller. These conclusions--the results of systematic analyses of historical data to determine the effectiveness of public health measures in 1918--are described in two articles published online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

These important papers suggest that a primary lesson of the 1918 influenza pandemic is that it is critical to intervene early, says Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of NIHs National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which funded one of the studies. While scientists are working very hard to develop pandemic influenza vaccines and increase the speed with which they can be made, nonpharmaceutical interventions may buy valuable time at the beginning of a pandemic while a targeted vaccine is being produced.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


April 2, 2007, 10:14 PM CT

Primary Medical Care For Children With Autism

Primary Medical Care For Children With Autism
Children with autism do not receive the same quality of primary care as children with other special health care needs, as per research from the University of Minnesota Medical School.

A study reported in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine observed that parents of children with autism were less likely to report that their children received the type of primary care advocated by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) when in comparison to parents of children with other special health care needs. The "medical home model," which is defined by the AAP as accessible, continuous, comprehensive, family-centered, compassionate, culturally effective, and coordinated with specialized services was used as a measure for ideal primary care of children.

"This study shows that children with autism are less likely to receive the type of primary medical care that we hope for all children," says principal investigator Allison Brachlow, M.D., research fellow at the Department of Pediatrics. "With increasing numbers of children diagnosed with autism, it is imperative to understand how to provide optimal care for these children".

Specifically, Brachlow observed that parents of children with autism were less likely to report their childs care was family-centered, comprehensive, or coordinated. For example, parents of children with autism were less likely to report that their childs primary care provider spent adequate time with them, offered understandable explanations, or discussed outside services, such as speech and occupational therapies. Furthermore, parents of children with autism were more likely to report difficulties obtaining subspecialty care, such as referrals to a gastroenterologist or other subspecialty doctor.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 1, 2007, 9:35 PM CT

How a traumatic memory can be wiped out

How a traumatic memory can be wiped out
French CNRS researchers in collaboration have shown that a memory of a traumatic event can be wiped out, eventhough other, associated recollections remain intact. This is what a scientist in the Laboratory for the Neurobiology of Learning, Memory and Communication (CNRS/Orsay University), working with an American team, has recently demonstrated in the rat. This result could be used to cure patients suffering from post-traumatic stress.

Recalling an event stored in the long-term memory triggers a reprocessing phase: the recollection then becomes sensitive to pharmacological disturbances before being once more stored in the long-term memory. Is drug treatment capable of wiping out the initial memory, and only that memory?

The researchers trained rats to be frightened of two distinct sounds, making them listen to these sounds just before sending an electric shock to their paws. The next day, they gave half of the rats a drug known to cause amnesia for events recalled from memory, and played just one of the sounds again. When they played both sounds to the rats on the next day, those which had not received the drug were still frightened of both sounds, while those which had received the drug were no longer afraid of the sound they had heard under its influence. Recalling the memory of the electric shock linked to the sound played while rats were under the influence of a drug thus meant that the memory was wiped out by the drug, leaving intact the memory linked to the other sound.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 1, 2007, 9:32 PM CT

The formation of social memories

The formation of social memories
Is there a specific memory for events involving people? Scientists in the Vulnerability, Adaptation and Psychopathology Laboratory (CNRS/University Paris VI France ) and a Canadian team at Douglas Hospital, McGill University (Montreal), have identified the internal part of the prefrontal cortex as being the key structure for memorising social information. Published in Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, February 2007.

Social events such as a party with friends, a work meeting or an argument with a partner form an integral part of daily life. Our ability to remember these events, and more precisely to remember the people and the relationships we had with them, is essential to ensure satisfactory adaptation to our social existence. At a cerebral level, various regions of the brain, and especially the hippocampus, are directly involved in learning and memory. Some of these regions are specialised in learning certain types of information, such as the amygdale and our memory for emotions.

The Canadian and French teams (the latter led by Philippe Fossati ) have recently identified a precise region in the frontal cortex which may be specialised in recording and learning social information. Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging technique, the researchers measured cerebral activity in 17 volunteers while they accomplished a memory task involving pictures of social scenes (interacting individuals) and non-social scenes (landscapes with no people). They thus identified the internal part of the prefrontal cortex, called the medial prefrontal cortex, as being the key structure in memorising social information from a picture.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 1, 2007, 9:21 PM CT

Actigraphy to assess and manage sleep disorders

Actigraphy to assess and manage sleep disorders
Actigraphy, the use of a portable device that records movement over extended periods of time, and has been used extensively in the study of sleep and circadian rhythms, provides an acceptably accurate estimate of sleep patterns in normal, healthy adult populations and in-patients suspected of certain sleep disorders, as per practice parameters reported in the April 1st issue of the journal SLEEP.

The practice parameters, authored by the American Academy of Sleep Medicines (AASM) Standards of Practice Committee, were developed as a guide to the appropriate use of actigraphy, both as a diagnostic tool in the evaluation of sleep disorders and as an outcome measure of therapy efficacy in clinical settings with appropriate patient populations.

Actigraphy is indicated to assist in the evaluation of patients with advanced sleep phase syndrome, delayed sleep phase syndrome, and shift work disorder. Additionally, there is some evidence to support the use of actigraphy in the evaluation of patients suspected of jet lag disorder and non-24 hour sleep/wake syndrome. Further, when polysomnography is not available, actigraphy is indicated to estimate total sleep time in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

In patients with insomnia and hypersomnia, there is evidence to support the use of actigraphy in the characterization of circadian rhythms and sleep patterns and disturbances. In assessing response to treatment, actigraphy has proven useful as an outcome measure in patients with circadian rhythms and insomnia.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 1, 2007, 9:10 PM CT

Gender linked to skin cancer

Gender linked to skin cancer
Inherent gender differences instead of more sun exposure may be one reason why men are three times more likely than women to develop certain kinds of skin cancer, say scientists at Ohio State University Medical Center.

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer, accounting for nearly 200,000 new cases in the United States each year. While occurring more often than melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma is not nearly as worrisome. Still, it can be lethal in some patients, particularly those with suppressed immune systems, including transplant recipients or people who are HIV-positive.

A number of studies have shown that the risk of squamous cell carcinoma increases with greater exposure to the sun. For years, researchers assumed that lifestyle had a lot to do with the disparity in the occurence rate of SCC believing that men spend more time outside and are less likely to use sun protection than women.

While that may be true, researchers at Ohio State have shown that there may be another, even more critical factor involved gender-linked differences in the amount of naturally occurring antioxidants in the skin.

The study appears in the April 1 issue of Cancer Research.

Dr. Tatiana Oberyszyn, an assistant professor of pathology and of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics at Ohio State University Medical Center, has been studying non-melanoma skin cancers for years. She had a hunch there might be gender-related variables that accounted for the difference between male and female rates of developing these malignancies, and designed an experiment to find out what they might be.........

Posted by: George      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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