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July 7, 2008, 9:34 PM CT

Pregnancy and risk of heart attack

Pregnancy and risk of heart attack
Eventhough acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is rare in women of child-bearing age, pregnancy can increase a woman's risk of heart attack 3- to 4-fold, as per a research studyreported in the July 15, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology Since women today may delay having children until during the later part of life, and advances in reproductive medicine enable older women to conceive, the occurrence of AMI linked to pregnancy is expected to increase.

The study, authored by Arie Roth, M.D., Tel Aviv University in Israel, and Uri Elkayam, M.D., University of Southern California (USC), is a follow up to their initial report released in 1995. The report is based on a review of 103 women with pregnancy-related AMI in the last decade and outlines key recommendations for the diagnosis and therapy of this condition in pregnant women that also considers the health and safety of the developing baby.

"It's extremely important that physicians who take care of women during pregnancy and after delivery be aware of the occasional occurrence of AMI in pregnancy and not overlook symptoms in these young patients," said Dr. Elkayam, who is a professor of Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology at USC. "Eventhough a number of of the standard principles for diagnosing and treating AMI in non-pregnant patients also apply to pregnant women, two patients need to be treatedthe mother and her babyand the health status of both should play a major role in the selection of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


July 7, 2008, 9:16 PM CT

Child care factors associated with weight gain in infancy

Child care factors associated with weight gain in infancy
Nine-month-old infants regularly cared for by someone other than a parent appear to have higher rates of unfavorable feeding practices and to weigh more than infants cared for only by parents, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Almost three-fourths of infants receive some form of child care by persons who are not their parents during the first year of life, as per background information in the article. Child care has been linked to positive development in cognition (thinking, learning and memory), language, social and emotional realms and academics, the authors note. However, no information previously existed regarding the relationship of child care to infants' weight or to certain feeding practices that may affect the risk of becoming overweight, including breastfeeding and introducing solid foods at an earlier age.

Juhee Kim., Sc.D., of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Karen E. Peterson, Sc.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, analyzed data collected during home visits with 8,150 9-month-old infants. During the visits, which occurred in 2001 and 2002, the infants were weighed and measured and the primary caregiver provided information regarding child care.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 3, 2008, 9:11 PM CT

Red wine ingredient wards off effects of age on heart

Red wine ingredient wards off effects of age on heart
Large doses of a red wine ingredient can ward off a number of of the vagaries of aging in mice who begin taking it at midlife, as per a new report published online on July 3rd in Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication. Those health improvements of the chemical known as resveratrolincluding cardiovascular benefits, greater motor coordination, reduced cataracts and better bone densitycome without necessarily extending the animals' lifespan.

Sinclair and de Cabo's team further show evidence that resveratrol mimics the beneficial effects of eating fewer calories. In mice, they observed that resveratrol induces gene activity patterns in multiple tissues that parallel those induced by dietary restriction and every-other-day feeding.

" From a health point of view, the quality of life of these mice at the end of their days is much better," said Rafael de Cabo of the National Institute on Aging. It suggests that resveratrol may "extend productive independent life, rather than just extending life span".

" I was most surprised by how broad the effects were in the mice," added David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School. "Usually, you focus on slowing down or ameliorating one disease at a time. In this case, resveratrol influences a whole series of seemingly unrelated diseases linked to aging." Sinclair said he expects some of the effect seen in the mice would have even greater impact if they hold in humans. That's because, unlike people, mice commonly don't die as a result of heart disease, or suffer from weakening bones.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 3, 2008, 9:09 PM CT

Malaria on the increase in the UK

Malaria on the increase in the UK
Plasmodium (malarial parasite)
A huge rise in the numbers of UK residents travelling to malaria endemic areas, combined with a failure to use prevention measures, has significantly increased cases of imported falciparum malaria in the UK over the past 20 years, as per a research studypublished on BMJ.com.

Between 1987�� there were 5120 reported cases of the potentially fatal faliciparum malaria, increasing to 6753 in 2002��. These findings highlight the urgent need for health messages and services targeted at travellers from migrant groups visiting friends and family abroad, say the authors.

Malaria acquired in one of the 150 countries where it is endemic and then imported into non-endemic countries accounts for a significant proportion of largely preventable disease and death in Europe every year.

Dr Adrian Smith and his colleagues from the Health Protection Agency's Malaria Reference Laboratory, present the latest trends in malaria in the UK between 1987 and 2006, using data from the Malaria Reference Laboratory, involving 39 300 confirmed cases of malaria.

64.5% of 20 488 malaria cases amongst UK travellers had visited friends and relatives in malaria endemic countries. This is reflected by the huge increase in the number of UK residents travelling to malaria endemic areasfrom 593 000 visits in 1987 to 2.6 million visits in 2004.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


July 3, 2008, 9:03 PM CT

Statins have unexpected effect on brain cells

Statins have unexpected effect on brain cells
Cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins have a profound effect on an elite group of cells important to brain health as we age, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center have found. The new findings shed light on a long-debated potential role for statins in the area of dementia.

Neuroresearchers observed that statins, one of the most widely prescribed classes of medicine ever used, have an unexpected effect on brain cells. Scientists looked at the effects of statins on glial progenitor cells, which help the brain stay healthy by serving as a crucial reservoir of cells that the brain can customize depending on its needs. The team observed that the compounds spur the cells, which are very similar to stem cells, to shed their flexibility and become one particular type of cell.

The new findings come at a time of increasing awareness among neurologists and heart specialists of the possible effects of statins on the brain. Several studies have set out to show that statins provide some protection against dementia, but the evidence has been inconclusive at best. Meanwhile, there is some debate among physicians about whether statins might actually boost the risk of dementia. The new research reported in the recent issue of the journal Glia by Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., and first author Fraser Sim, Ph.D., provides direct evidence for an effect of statins on brain cells.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 3, 2008, 9:01 PM CT

Woman aquires new accent after stroke

Woman aquires new accent after stroke
A woman in southern Ontario is one of the first cases in Canada of a rare neurological syndrome in which a person starts speaking with a different accent, McMaster University scientists report in the recent issue of the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences

The puzzling medical phenomenon known as foreign-accent syndrome (FAS) arises from neurological damage, and results in vocal distortions that typically sound like the speaker has a new, "foreign" accent.

This particular case, however, is even more unusual because the English-speaking woman did not acquire an accent that sounds foreign but one that instead sounds like Maritime Canadian English.

The woman, referred to here as Rosemary, was recovering from a stroke two years ago, when her family noticed a change in her speech. They asked medical personnel at the Integrated Stroke Unit of Hamilton General Hospital why their mother was suddenly speaking with what sounded like a Newfoundland accent. It was at that point that the medical team joined forces with scientists in McMaster's Cognitive Science of Language program to study the case.

"It is a fascinating case because this woman has never visited the Maritimes, nor has she been exposed to anyone with an East Coast accent," says one of the study's authors, Alexandre Svigny, associate professor of cognitive science in the Department of Communication Studies & Multimedia at McMaster University. "Her family lineage is Irish and Danish, and neither of her parents ever lived anywhere but in southern Ontario."........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 3, 2008, 8:55 PM CT

Disclosing violence to primary care or obestetrics

Disclosing violence to primary care or obestetrics
Scientists from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) observed that patients who disclose intimate partner violence (IPV) to their clinicians of any type did not experience serious harm. However, those who disclosed IPV in a primary care or obstetrics/gynecology setting received the most benefit. The findings, which appear in the Biomedical Central Public Health Journal, also conclude that disclosures made in an emergency department setting were more problematic from the patient's point of view.

Scientists studied 27 IPV survivors recruited through community support programs in Massachusetts. The participants were given in-depth interviews to ascertain types of medical encounters relating to abuse, with encounters described as either single interactions or continued contact over a period of time.

Participants described disclosure of IPV to medical personnel. They also reported episodes in which they were asked about or treated for an IPV related problem in which they did not disclose. The scientists determined the medical specialty in which the encounters occurred, and limited their focus to emergency department, obstetrical/gynecological care, and primary care. The scientists also labeled whether harms occurred as a result of any disclosure as well as the perceived helpfulness (beneficial or not).........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 2, 2008, 10:38 PM CT

ETH Zurich and IBM improve diagnosis of osteoporosis

ETH Zurich and IBM improve diagnosis of osteoporosis
With the goal of developing an accurate, powerful and fast method to automate the analysis of bone strength, researchers of the ETH Zurich Departments of Mechanical and Process Engineering and Computer Science teamed up with supercomputing experts at IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory. The breakthrough method developed by the team combines density measurements with a large-scale mechanical analysis of the inner-bone microstructure.

Using large-scale, massively parallel simulations, the scientists were able to obtain a dynamic "heat map" of strain, which changes with the load applied to the bone. This map shows the physician exactly where and under what load a bone is likely to fracture. "With that knowledge, a physician can also detect osteoporotic damage more precisely and, by adjusting a surgical plate appropriately, can best determine the location of the damage," explains Dr. Costas Bekas of IBM's Computational Sciences team in Zurich. "This work is an excellent showcase of the dramatic potential that supercomputers can have for our everyday lives".

The joint team utilized the massively large-scale capabilities of the 8-rack Blue Gene /L supercomputer to conduct the first simulations on a 5 by 5 mm specimen of real bone. Within 20 minutes, the supercomputer simulation generated 90 Gigabytes of output data. "It is this combination of increased speed and size that will allow solving clinically relevant cases in acceptable time and unprecedented detail", says Professor Ralph Mller, Director of the ETH Zurich Institute for Biomechanics.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 2, 2008, 10:35 PM CT

Healthy or diseased?

Healthy or diseased?
Prof. Dr. Karsten Suhre
Researchers from the Institute for Bioinformatics and Systemic Biology of the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Faculty for Biology of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität have shown that biological indicators for diseases caused or influenced by environmental factors can be detected by the systemic analysis of the body's metabolism (metabolomics). The procedure presented here is also suitable for pre-clinical drug testing and allows for the early detection of possible side effects of a new medication.

Metabolomics aims to determine the totality of all small molecules of a cell or a tissue. The exponents of bioinformatics analyzed data collected in the framework of a pre-clinical metabolomics study in healthy and diabetic mice. In each case, a subgroup of the animals was treated with the diabetes drug RoziglitazoneTM. Then, more than 800 metabolites were quantitatively determined in a blood plasma sample of a total of forty mice, representing the factors "healthy/diabetic" and "treated/untreated".

Karsten Suhre, who led the work at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, explains the results: "It transpired that in a number of cases the ratios between the concentrations of certain metabolites were much more informative than their absolute concentrations." By a subsequent clustering of the test statistics of such metabolite pairs, it is possible to identify groups of metabolites which discriminate the animals by the factors "healthy/diabetic" or "treated/untreated".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 2, 2008, 10:30 PM CT

Weight Watchers Versus Fitness Centers

Weight Watchers Versus Fitness Centers
In the first study of its kind, using sophisticated methods to measure body composition, the nationally known commercial weight loss program, Weight Watchers, was in comparison to gym membership programs to find out which method wins in the game of good health. A University of Missouri researcher examined the real-life experiences of participants to determine which program helps people lose pounds, reduce body fat and gain health benefits. The answer is that both have pros and cons and that a combination of the two produces the best results.

Participants who attended Weight Watchers for 12 weeks lost an average of 5 percent of their body weight, or about nine pounds. However, Steve Ball, assistant professor of exercise physiology in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences, observed that a large percentage of the lost weight was lean tissue and not fat.

"Participants' body fat percentage did not improve at all because they lost a much higher percentage than expected of lean tissue," said Ball, MU Extension state fitness specialist. "It is advantageous to keep lean tissue because it is correlated with higher metabolism. Losing lean tissue often slows metabolism. What your body is made of is more important than what you weigh".

The majority of other Weight Watcher studies had not considered body fat percentage change and only focused on body weight.........

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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