December 1, 2008, 5:50 PM CT
Bariatric surgery may resolve liver disease
Obesity is a growing epidemic in the U.S. with a significant increase in prevalence from 15 percent to 32.9 percent from 1980 to 2004. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an emerging problem correlation to the obesity epidemic, becoming one of the most common causes of liver disease in the nation.
Bariatric surgery has become a popular and effective method for rapid and permanent significant weight loss in morbidly obese individuals. A recent study reports bariatric surgery results in improvement of histopathological features of NAFLD. Complications of NAFLD, including steatosis, steatohepatitis and fibrosis appeared to improve or completely resolve in a majority of patients after bariatric surgery-induced weight loss, as per results of a study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
, an official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute.
"Even today, the effect of weight loss after bariatric surgery on the liver, especially NAFLD, remains unclear. There is a lack of well-defined trials exploring this relationship," said Gagan K. Sood, MD, of the University of Texas Medical Branch and lead author of the study. "Our team assessed and quantified this effect and found encouraging news: a majority of patients experience complete resolution of NAFLD after bariatric surgery, and the risk of progression of inflammatory changes and fibrosis seems to be minimal".........
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December 1, 2008, 5:48 PM CT
New treatment eliminates heel pain
Combining an ultrasound-guided technique with steroid injection is 95 percent effective at relieving the common and painful foot problem called plantar fasciitis, as per a research studypresented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
"There is no widely accepted treatment or standard of care for patients when first-line therapys fail to relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis," said the study's lead author, Luca M. Sconfienza, M.D., from Italy's University of Genoa. "Our new technique is an effective, one-time outpatient procedure".
Plantar fasciitis, the most common cause of heel pain, is an inflammation of the connective tissue called the plantar fascia that runs along the bottom of the foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot. The condition accounts for 11 percent to 15 percent of all foot symptoms requiring professional care and affects one million people annually in the U.S.
Conservative therapys, which may take up to a year to be effective, include rest, exercises to stretch the fascia, night splints and arch supports.
When the condition does not respond to conservative therapys, patients may opt for shockwave treatment, in which sound waves are directed at the area of heel pain to stimulate healing. Shockwave treatment is painful, requires multiple therapys and is not always effective. Complications may include bruising, swelling, pain, numbness or tingling and rupture of the plantar fascia. In the most severe cases of plantar fasciitis, patients may undergo invasive surgery to detach the fascia from the heel bone.........
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November 27, 2008, 5:21 AM CT
Encouraged by drop in colorectal cancer deaths
The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) heralds the recent news of a decline in U.S. cancer deaths and incidence rates, with colorectal cancer among the top three cancers with significant declines. ASGE, representing the specialists in colorectal cancer screening, is excited by the report showing that colorectal cancer deaths among men and women dropped 4.3 percent per year between 2002 and 2005. The incidence rate for colorectal cancer (the rate at which new cancers are diagnosed) dropped 2.8 percent per year among men and dropped 2.2 percent per year among women between 1998 and 2005.
The study, issued annually since 1998 by the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, showed for the first time a simultaneous decline in both cancer death rates and incidence rates in men and women. Incidence rates for all cancers combined (15 most usually diagnosed) decreased 0.8 percent per year from 1999 through 2005 for both sexes combined; rates decreased 1.8 percent per year from 2001 through 2005 for men and 0.6 percent per year from 1998 through 2005 for women. The decline in both incidence and death rates for all cancers combined is due in large part to declines in the three most common cancers among men (lung, colon/rectum, and prostate) and the two most common cancers among women (breast and colon/rectum), combined with a leveling off of lung cancer death rates among women.........
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November 27, 2008, 5:19 AM CT
Parents are the unsung heroes
It's a parents worst nightmare, a newborn baby going under the knife to repair a heart defect. If the baby survives, that's when the real work begins for parents. University of Alberta nursing professor Gwen Rempel has seen hundreds of babies on the brink as a former pediatric cardiology nurse; she wanted to find out just what parents go through.
"I'm not 100 per cent convinced that health-care professionals get what these parents are doing," said Rempel. "I think [pediatric cardiology nurses] really pleased to offer what we offer and we're proud of ourselves that these kids are now surviving." .
Rempel interviewed parents from across Western Canada, talking to both mothers and fathers about their day-to-day life with a child growing up with a congenital heart defect.
"These parents are extraordinary in what they're doing. Not just what they're doing for their child, but what they're doing to take care of themselves," said Rempel.
In these families, it's all about teamwork. Common public perception is that mothers do most of the work with newborns, but in these families fathers know just as much about their baby. The study observed that some of the things both the mothers and the fathers were doing included calculating how much formula the baby needed, feeding the baby and monitoring both the baby's weight and oxygen levels.........
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November 27, 2008, 5:17 AM CT
Winter brings flu, summer brings bacterial infections
In the same way that winter is usually known to be the "flu season," a new study suggests that the dog days of summer may well be the "bacterial infection" season.
Scientists have discovered that serious infections caused by gram-negative bacteria can go up as much as 17 percent with every 10 degree increase in seasonal temperature. The findings, which were based on seven years of data from infections in a Baltimore hospital, suggest that the incidence there of some of these illnesses might be up to 46 percent higher in summer than in winter.
The cause is not known, researchers said, but the seasonal variation is clear.
"Gram-negative bacteria are a frequent cause of urinary tract, gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, as well as more serious things like pneumonia, wound or blood infections," said Jessina McGregor, an assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University. "Everyone knows there is a seasonality to some viral infections such as influenza or the common cold, but we're now finding that some of these bacterial infections peak in the heat of summer".
Recognition of these seasonal trends, the scientists said, may improve disease diagnosis, prompt therapys and better interventions to prevent the infections in the first place.........
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November 25, 2008, 10:34 PM CT
Pain is in the eyes of the beholder
By manipulating the appearance of a chronically achy hand, scientists have found they could increase or decrease the pain and swelling in patients moving their symptomatic limbs. The findingspublished in the November 25th issue of Current Biology
, a Cell Press publicationreveal a profound top-down effect of body image on body tissues, as per the researchers.
"The brain is capable of a number of wonderful things based on its perception of how the body is doing and the risks to which the body seems to be exposed," said G. Lorimer Moseley, who is now at the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute in Australia. (The work was done at the University of Oxford.).
In the study, the scientists asked ten right-handed patients with chronic pain and dysfunction in one arm to watch their own arm while they performed a standardized set of ten hand movements. The participants repeated the movements under four conditions: with no visual manipulation, while looking through binoculars with no magnification, while looking through binoculars that doubled the apparent size of their arm, and while looking through inverted binoculars that reduced the apparent size of their arm.
While the patients' pain was always worse after movement than it was before, the extent to which the pain worsened depended on what people saw. Specifically, the pain increased more when participants viewed a magnified image of their arm during the movements, andperhaps more surprisinglythe pain became less when their arm was seen through inverted binoculars that minimized its size.........
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November 25, 2008, 10:32 PM CT
Caring for ailing spouse may prolong your life
Older people who spent at least 14 hours a week taking care of a disabled spouse lived longer than others. That is the unexpected finding of a University of Michigan study forthcoming in Psychological Science
, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
The study supports earlier research showing that in terms of health and longevity, it really is better to give than to receive.
"These findings suggest that caregivers may actually benefit from providing care under some circumstances," said U-M researcher Stephanie Brown, lead author of the study report. "Prior studies have documented negative health effects of caregiving. But the current results show that it is time to disentangle the presumed stress of providing help from the stress of witnessing a loved one suffer".
Brown is an assistant professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School and a faculty associate at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR). She is also affiliated with the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Hospital.
For the study, Brown and his colleagues evaluated seven years of data from the U-M Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative sample of Americans age 70 and older. The analysis focused on 1,688 couples, all of whom lived on their own.........
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November 25, 2008, 10:31 PM CT
Estrogen therapy could be dangerous for women
Hormone treatment could accentuate certain pre-existing heart disease risk factors and a heart health evaluation should become the norm when considering estrogen replacement, new research suggests.
The research also showed that in women without existing atherosclerosis, hormone treatment use included some positive effects on lipids but also some negative effects correlation to heart health, said MaryFran Sowers, lead researcher and professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
The U-M study came about, Sowers said, in trying to explain what's behind the so-called timing hypothesis. The timing hypothesis suggests that if a woman implements a hormone treatment program within six years of her final menstrual period, this narrow window is enough to deter heart disease from developing with the onset of menopause. But the U-M findings suggest that explanation isn't quite so simple, Sowers said.
Even within the six-year window, there were negative aspects correlation to heart disease. While the positive outcomes on HDL and LDL cholesterol levels were observed, Sowers said, scientists also saw negative outcomes in terms of the inflammation process-which can be correlation to heart disease.
Sowers said the research shows it's critical for women considering hormone treatment to discuss their heart health with their doctor.........
Posted by: Daniel Read more Source
November 25, 2008, 9:51 PM CT
Do you know you're having a stroke?
A Mayo Clinic study shows a majority of stroke patients don't think they're having a stroke -- and as a result -- delay seeking therapy until their condition worsens. The findings are reported in the current issue of Emergency Medicine Journal
Scientists studied 400 patients who were diagnosed at Mayo Clinic's emergency department with either acute ischemic stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a temporary interruption of blood flow to part of the brain.
Less than half of the patients -- 42 percent -- thought they were having a stroke. In fact, most in the study did not go to the emergency room when symptoms appeared. The median time from onset of symptoms to arrival at the hospital was over three and a half hours. Most said they thought the symptoms would simply go away. The delay in seeking medical help was the same among men and women.
When asked how they knew about stroke symptoms, nearly one-fifth said they thought a stroke always came on gradually. Just over half (51.9 percent) said they thought that seeking medical care immediately was important.
Significance of the findings
"Time is crucial in treating stroke," says Latha Stead, M.D., emergency medicine specialist and lead author of the study. "Each individual's medical background differs and affects recovery, but in general the sooner a patient experiencing a stroke reaches emergency care, the more likely the stroke can be limited and the condition managed to prevent further damage and improve recovery." The scientists say their findings clearly indicate that better public understanding of stroke symptoms will lead to a faster response and better outcomes.........
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November 25, 2008, 9:47 PM CT
Link between obesity and bone mineral density
Scientists at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine, Toronto, Canada, have discovered that adiponectin, a protein secreted from adipocytes, is a metabolic link that can explain, in part, the known positive relationship between obesity and both bone mineral density and reduced susceptibility to fractures. This study appears in the recent issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine
Circulating adiponectin levels are significantly lower in obese humans and rodent models than in lean controls. It is known that excess body weight and elevated body mass index are strongly correlated with high bone mineral density, and that weight loss is linked to loss of bone mineral density and increased risk of fractures. However, the mechanism for this relationship is unclear.
The research team, Dr. Michael C. Archer, Earle W. McHenry Professor and Chair, Dr. Wendy E. Ward, Associate Professor, Dr. Kafi Ealey, Postdoctoral Fellow and predoctoral student Jovana Kaludjerovic, in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, investigated whether adiponectin modulates bone development using transgenic mice that overexpress this protein. These mice were initially developed by Dr. P. Scherer's research group at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, N.Y. Bone mineral density and biomechanical strength properties, surrogate measures of fracture risk at multiple skeletal sites, were the outcomes used to assess bone development. Female mice overexpressing adiponectin had weaker vertebra at 8 weeks of age than control mice and this delay in bone development persisted through to the end of the study period, representing early adulthood. The weaker vertebra model compression fractures of the lumbar spine in humans, among the most common type of fragility fracture linked to low bone mass and osteoporosis. The strength of the femur neck, representing the hip, was also weaker in both females and males overexpressing adiponectin. Serum adiponectin levels were inversely correlated with femur bone mineral content, further emphasizing that a high level of adiponectin impedes bone development at not only the lumbar spine but also the hip. Whether or not the delay in bone development resolves in later life or is sustained and leads to an increased risk of fragility fracture, especially during aging when bone loss rapidly occurs due to declining levels of sex steroids, requires further investigation.........
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