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June 13, 2007, 12:43 AM CT

Women well informed about breast cancer

Women well informed about breast cancer
As per a new GfK Roper Public Affairs survey sponsored by CancerCare, a national nonprofit cancer support organization, while the majority (76 percent) of women surveyed said they know at least a fair amount about breast cancer, a number of remain unaware of the important recent progress made in therapy. Fewer than one out of four (23 percent) women ages 50-65 have heard of new therapies for breast cancer, revealing a gap between awareness and information that women can use toward better therapy.

"These survey results suggest that a number of women still lack essential disease therapy information, which reinforces the need for women to educate themselves to help get the best therapy," said Diane Blum, MSW, executive director of CancerCare. "While great progress has been made in breast cancer awareness through public education and increased media coverage, women with breast cancer would benefit from more information about advances in therapys after surgery".

As per the survey, nearly all respondents were aware of chemotherapy and radiation. However, fewer than one out of four had heard of newer therapies such as aromatase inhibitors or monoclonal antibodies, nor were they informed about their benefits.

Doctor-patient dialogue is vital

If diagnosed, the majority of respondents said they would actively work with their doctor to identify the proper therapy. The survey also observed that 71 percent of women would research the condition on their own in addition to discussing therapy options with their doctor. However, 86 percent were not certain they would know what questions to ask.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 13, 2007, 12:32 AM CT

Simple steps make breast cancer survivors eager to exercise

Simple steps make breast cancer survivors eager to exercise
Simple steps, like giving breast cancer survivors an exercise workbook or step pedometer, can improve their quality of life and fatigue levels.

In research published this week in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, University of Alberta scientists observed that those simple steps, along with a recommendation to exercise, helped breast cancer survivors exercise more than survivors who were only given a recommendation to exercise. More activity led to improvements in quality of life and energy levels.

Finding ways to help cancer patients and survivors be more physically active is important because the evidence is growing that exercise can improve quality of life both during and after therapy and may reduce the risk of the disease coming back. Translating these findings into action is the challenge.

"People want to help themselves, but we need to find practical ways to support them beyond telling them what to do. In this study, offering these women simple, low cost tools helped them get active and led to important benefits," said Jeffrey Vallance, Ph.D., a researcher with the Alberta Cancer Board, and lead author of the paper. The work was conducted while Vallance was a doctoral student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

The study followed 377 breast cancer survivors for 12 weeks. All study participants received a recommendation to perform 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity at least five days a week. In addition, some women received a step pedometer, a printed exercise guidebook designed to promote physical activity in breast cancer survivors, or both the pedometer and the guide.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 13, 2007, 12:26 AM CT

Links Between Taconite And Mesothelioma

Links Between Taconite And Mesothelioma
A 240 ton truck carries taconite rock to the crusher building at Hibbing Taconite. (MPR Photo/Bob Kelleher)
The Minnesota Department of Health is launching two major studies to answer long-simmering questions about taconite and human health.

The agency says men in northeastern Minnesota have twice the expected rate of a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma.

It's caused by asbestos, but the Health Department wants to find out whether it can also be caused by fibers in the taconite on the Iron Range.

Duluth, Minn. - Mining, and processing taconite, are dirty, dusty jobs. It's hard to avoid breathing the dust from the taconite, which is crushed to the consistency of talcum powder. And asbestos is still used in some older furnaces and other equipment.

Jim Kelly retired three years ago from the Northshore mine at Silver Bay. He has a spot on one lung that's probably a precursor to asbestosis. It's a disease that causes shortness of breath and chronic coughing, and indicates an increased risk of lung cancer.

But he's not about to blame taconite for that. He worked in other industries, and was exposed to asbestos on several jobs. He's heard claims about the dangers of taconite for 30 years, and he doesn't think they're based on much.

"It appears to me that the scientific community and the medical community cannot come to agreement on what is the specific hazard here," he says. "At least I have to date never heard anything specific."........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source

June 13, 2007, 12:17 AM CT

Looking Forward To Asbestos Ban

Looking Forward To Asbestos Ban
A deal is near on legislation banning the use of asbestos, a fibrous mineral often used in brake linings, gaskets, cement products and even yarns and threads imported into the country despite its deadly health risks.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a leading advocate of the ban, and Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., said Tuesday that they are within a week or two of wrapping up a compromise that also would authorize $50 million in research to combat the health effects that have killed as a number of as 231,000 people since 1980 and could claim at least that a number of more by 2040.

The measure has a long road ahead: It must be approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, then be approved by the full Senate. Then the House of Representatives would have to take up the issue.

But for Murray, Tuesday's committee hearing where the deal was announced was a milestone. It was the first time in the six years she has been pressing for the ban that it had reached the full committee, and the first time passage seems within reach.

"It's shocking to me that it has taken six years, and the deaths of several close friends," Murray said afterward.

The panel's chairwoman, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., joined Murray in introducing the ban bill earlier this year.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source

June 13, 2007, 12:12 AM CT

Problem-based learning in pharmacology

Problem-based learning in pharmacology
Irrational use of medicines is a major problem all over the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) and a number of other bodies are concentrating on improving the use of medicines. Problem-based teaching of Pharmacology and Therapeutics to undergraduate medical students has been recognized as a key intervention to improve the use of medicines.

Personal or P-drugs are important for medical students, doctors in training and prescribers. P-drugs are drugs with which a person has become familiar and has chosen to prescribe regularly. The P-drug concept is not just the name of a pharmacological substance but also includes the dosage form, dosage schedule and duration of therapy.

Personal drugs are drugs with which a doctor has chosen to become familiar and which he/she intends to use regularly in therapy. The department of Pharmacology at the Manipal College of Medical Sciences (MCOMS), Pokhara, Nepal concentrates on teaching rational use of medicines to medical students.

The department has been teaching the P-drug concept to the third and fourth semester medical students for over two years in our institution. Students select a drug for a disease on the basis of efficacy, safety, cost and convenience. The method described in the WHO books, The Guide to Good Prescribing and the teachers Guide to Good Prescribing is basically followed. We use the numerical method developed by Joshi and Jayawickramarajah at the Institute of Medicine, Kathmandu, Nepal.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 13, 2007, 10:00 AM CT

Neural stem cells reduce Parkinson's symptoms

Neural stem cells reduce Parkinson's symptoms
Stem cells
New Haven, Conn.Primates with severe Parkinsons disease were able to walk, move, and eat better, and had diminished tremors after being injected with human neural stem cells, a research team from Yale, Harvard, the University of Colorado, and the Burnham Institute report today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

These results are promising, but it will be years before it is known whether a similar procedure would have therapeutic value for humans, said the lead author, D. Eugene Redmond Jr., professor of psychiatry and neurosurgery at Yale.

Not only are stem cells a potential source of replacement cells, they also seem to have a whole variety of effects that normalize other abnormalities, Redmond said. The human neural stem cells implanted into the primates survived, migrated, and had a functional impact. Its an important step, but there are many studies that need to be done before determining if this would be of any value in clinical settings.

Parkinsons disease is caused by a degeneration of dopamine neurons in an area of the midbrain known as the substantia nigra, which is responsible for dopamine production. Reduced production of dopamine in late stage Parkinsons causes symptoms such as severe difficulty in walking, fewer movements, delays in moving, lack of appetite, difficulty eating, periods of remaining motionless known as freezing, and head and limb tremors.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

June 13, 2007, 8:25 AM CT

Disability from long-term rheumatoid arthritis reduced

Disability from long-term rheumatoid arthritis reduced
New data demonstrating the safety and efficacy of Enbrel (etanercept) in the therapy of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients over the long-term were presented today at the EULAR (European League Against Rheumatism) congress (1). Over 2,000 patients receiving this biologic therapy for up to nine years, saw improvements in disability whilst safety was also sustained over the long-term.

Biologics, such as etanercept, work by blocking the action of a naturally occurring protein in the body called tumor necrosis factor that is involved in causing inflammation (2). When combined with methotrexate, etanercept, also known as an anti-TNF treatment, has been shown to halt radiographic damage in patients with moderate RA activity over multiple years which means the disease is halted at that stage (3).

Professor Lars Klareskog of Karolinska Institute Karolinska University Sweden, said, These strong data should give doctors the confidence to consider a biologic earlier in patients with aggressive and progressive rheumatoid arthritis, and patients should now have the prospect of less disability with a therapy which has also proven to have a good long-term safety.

The analysis includes over nine thousand patient years of data from a total of 2,054 patients who were monitored for serious adverse events (SAEs), serious and opportunistic infections, sepsis, malignancies and lymphomas. Overall rates of SAEs were similar to control groups (0.11 pt-yr and 0.17 pt/yr vs 0.11-0.20/pt yr), as were serious infections, and reports of opportunistic infection were rare (1).........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

June 13, 2007, 8:13 AM CT

Easing out of work

Easing out of work
When Bob Willis thought about retiring, he knew just how he wanted to do it. Slowly. Or maybe never.

Since 1995 Willis, 66, a University of Michigan economist, has directed the enormous Health and Retirement Study conducted by the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR) and funded by the National Institute on Aging. One of the largest and most ambitious social science research projects in the world, the study surveys a nationally representative sample of more than 20,000 Americans over the age of 50 every other year to track how they are doing as they age.

"I was really interested in divesting myself of the administrative duties connected with the study so I could spend more time on a new line of research I've been pursuing," Willis said. "But I also wanted to stay actively involved with the Health and Retirement Study. This study, and the people who work on it, are an important part of my life".

Willis had always consulted closely with the study's founding director, U-M economist F. Thomas Juster, 80, who embodies the process of retiring so gradually you don't really retire at all in any conventional sense. For years after Juster formally retired, he showed up in his ISR office on a daily basis. "Isn't he retired?" puzzled staffers asked each other.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 13, 2007, 8:09 AM CT

Going to bed late may affect the health

Going to bed late may affect the health
College students who go to bed late are more likely to have poor quality sleep, which may affect their mental health and academic performance, as per a research abstract that will be presented Wednesday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

The study, conducted by Jung Kim, PhD, of Pohang University of Science in Technology in South Korea, was based on a survey of 399 college students in Korea.

"The present study shows that the greater one stayed up at night, the more maladjusted in college life, in terms of global mental health, sleep quality and academic performance," said Kim. "It seems important to give relevant information and helpful guidance on good sleep habits to students from the beginning of college life".

The amount of sleep a person gets affects his or her physical health, emotional well-being, mental abilities, productivity and performance. Recent studies associate lack of sleep with serious health problems such as an increased risk of depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Experts recommend that adults get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night to maintain good health and optimum performance.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 13, 2007, 7:54 AM CT

Poor sleep hygiene in children

Poor sleep hygiene in children
A research abstract that will be presented Wednesday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) finds that a snoring child's poor sleep hygiene habits can have a negative influence on his or her daytime behavior.

Lisa Witcher of the University of Louisville, who authored the study, interviewed the parents of 52 children between the ages of five and eight who were reported to snore "frequently" to "almost always". The children underwent an overnight polysomnography, and parents were asked to complete the Children's Sleep Hygiene Scale (CSHS) and the Conners' Parent Rating Scales-Revised (CPRS-R).

The results showed strong negative correlations between the CSHS overall sleep hygiene score and CPRS-R total externalizing behaviors. The CSHS total was also negatively correlated with the CPRS-R cognitive/inattention problems, hyperactivity, perfectionism, ADHD index, and restless and impulsivity total scores among others. Further, the CSHS physiological, cognitive, emotional, environmental, and bedtime routine subscales were also significantly negatively correlated with externalizing behaviors on the CPRS-R.

"The parental reports indicate poorer sleep hygiene is linked to both internalizing and externalizing behavior problems, specifically those linked to ADHD symptoms," said Witcher. "While no causation can be inferred, an overlap between daytime behavior problems, poor sleep hygiene, and potentially problematic bedtime behaviors in snoring children may exist and deserves further study".........

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. Archives of health news blog

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