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November 6, 2006, 4:32 AM CT

Children's Belly Fat Increases More Than 65 Percent

Children's Belly Fat Increases More Than 65 Percent
Abdominal obesity increased more than 65 percent among boys and almost 70 percent among girls between 1988 and 2004. The finding of growing girth is significant because abdominal obesity has emerged as a better predictor of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes risk than the more usually used Body Mass Index, a weight to height ratio that can sometimes be misleading.

As the first nationally representative study to document the increase in children's belly fat, the study in today's Pediatrics paints a bleak picture for these children who have a higher risk of heart disease, adult-onset diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The good news is that, for children and adolescents, the health effects are often reversible through improved lifestyle for weight loss.

"Kids, teens and adults who have early stages of atherosclerosis in their arteries can have a healthy cardiovascular system again," said Stephen Cook, M.D., an assistant professor of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center's Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong and an author of the study about childhood abdominal obesity. "Elderly adults who have plaque build up have a much harder battle, particularly if the plaque has calcified".

Measuring waist circumference is not a "vital sign" normally taken in a visit to the doctor. A BMI is usually calculated at a well visit, but there are limitations to those measurements. A very muscular person may register a high BMI score, even if he is very healthy and has an average waist circumference. On the flip side, a sedentary child may not register a very high BMI score, but if he carries a lot of fat around his middle, he may be at a higher risk for health problems than other children with the same BMI score.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 5, 2006, 9:17 PM CT

Toddlers Learn Complex Actions From Picture-book

Toddlers Learn Complex Actions From Picture-book
Parents who engage in the age-old tradition of picture-book reading are not only encouraging early reading development in their children but are also teaching their toddlers about the world around them, as per a research studyin the recent issue of Developmental Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA). This finding shows that interactions with life-like color pictures can aid in children's learning.

Parents of preschool children reported that they own dozens of children's picture books and spend approximately 40 minutes a day reading books to their small children. To determine the extent of a young child's ability to learn from a picture-book, psychology expert Gabrielle Simcock, PhD, University of Queensland and co-author and psychology expert Judy DeLoache, PhD, University of Virginia, tested if toddlers could imitate specific target actions on novel real-world objects on the basis of a picture-book interaction.

A total of 132 children from three different age groups (18 months, 24 months and 30 months) participated in two studies to determine if age influenced a toddler's ability to learn how to construct a simple rattle from a picture-book reading. In the first study, two groups of children ages 18, 24 and 30-months, were given one of two picture books. One contained six color photographs and the other contained colored pencil drawings that were reproductions of the photograph. At the end of the reading, the children were asked to construct a rattle using the items in front of them. The study revealed that a number of of the children were able to imitate the actions depicted and described in the book.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 5, 2006, 9:06 PM CT

3-D Radiation And Feeding-tube Use

3-D Radiation And Feeding-tube Use Image courtesy of myprimeyears.com
Eventhough current surgical techniques and multi-modality therapy regimens allow organ preservation for a growing number of patients with head and neck cancers, remaining dependent on a feeding tube after therapy is a major problem for these patients. An analysis by Fox Chase Cancer Center scientists sought to identify which therapy-related factors are more likely to avoid feeding-tube dependency.

"Three-dimensional therapy planning appears to have a significant impact on improving quality of life by reducing feeding tube dependency," said medical intern Linna Li, M.D., who presented the results today at the 48th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology in Philadelphia.

The retrospective study analyzed therapy records since 1997 for patients receiving definitive radiation treatment--with or without surgery and chemotherapy--for squamous-cell carcinomas of the throat, including oropharynx, hypoharynx and larynx. Definitive radiotherapy is a curative course of radiation therapy designed to eradicate a known cancer.

Eligible patients--a total of 90--had either stage III or IV cancer with no previous surgery or radiation treatment in the head and neck region and remained cancer-free 18 months or more after completing radiation treatment. The majority of patients were men (82 percent) who had oropharyngeal cancer (63 percent) with a T stage (extent of primary tumor, including size, at diagnosis) of either T2 or T3 (71 percent).........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 5, 2006, 8:57 PM CT

IMRT versus 3D CRT for prostate cancer

IMRT versus 3D CRT for prostate cancer
New research findings show men have fewer long-term gastrointestinal side effects with intensity-modulated radiation treatment (IMRT) than with three-dimensional conformal radiation treatment (3D CRT) for prostate cancer therapy, despite the higher doses of radiation used in the IMRT group. These and other data, including long-term genitourinary side effects, were presented today at the 48th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology in Philadelphia.

Long-term data comparing 3D CRT for prostate cancer versus the use of IMRT is only now beginning to mature. Few other academic therapy centers have as much experience with 3D CRT and IMRT as Fox Chase.

Both techniques allow precise targeting of the cancer with multiple X-ray beams, but IMRT allows physicians to modulate the radiation dose intensity with far smaller radiation beams. Thus, doses of radiation to the bladder and rectum can be limited. Reducing radiation exposure to healthy normal tissue and other vital organs helps prevent once common side effects such as urinary frequency and diarrhea.

In the study presented today, scientists analyzed data collected prospectively from 1,417 patients treated at Fox Chase. Of these, 928 men were treated with 3D CRT (median follow-up of 63.3 months) and 489 men with IMRT (median follow-up of 29.9 months). The IMRT patients received higher doses of radiation.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


November 5, 2006, 8:39 PM CT

Six Months Of Hormone Therapy Enough For Prostate Cancer

Six Months Of Hormone Therapy Enough For Prostate Cancer
Patients with prostate cancer treated with either radiation or surgery who use hormone treatment for longer than six months do not survive any longer than patients who use the therapy for a shorter amount of time, as per a research studypresented November 5, 2006, at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's 48th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.

"A number of patients with high risk prostate cancer are treated with two or more years of hormone treatment based on studies performed over a decade ago," said Cliff Robinson, M.D., lead author of the study and a radiation oncologist at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. "Our study's findings suggest that treating current patients with shorter-term hormone treatment may not only be equally effective, but also improve their quality of life, due to a lesser degree of therapy side effects."

The authors also observed that patients receiving longer than six months of hormone treatment were twice as likely to die as patients who use the therapy for a shorter amount of time. "The reasons why patients receiving longer term hormone treatment may do worse are unclear," said Dr. Robinson, who also cautions, "Many factors could complicate the issue, and this area needs further investigation before any conclusions can be drawn".........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


November 5, 2006, 8:34 PM CT

Why Men With Prostate Cancer Avoid Radiation?

Why Men With Prostate Cancer Avoid Radiation?
Negative perceptions about radiation treatment can strongly influence a prostate cancer patient's choice to avoid external beam radiation treatment, even though studies have proven the therapy to be as safe and effective as other therapys for the disease, including surgery, as per a research studypresented November 5, 2006, at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's 48th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.

"The study shows that patients base their therapy choice not only on technical information, but also on cultural and personal prejudices," said Riccardo Valdagni, M.D., an author of the study and head of the Prostate Programme at the Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori in Milan, Italy. "It's important for patients to express their fears about radiation therapy to their doctors and for doctors to consider these worries and address any misconceptions about this treatment so that patients can make the best, most informed decision about their therapy".

Men with prostate cancer often choose between external beam radiation treatment, radiation seed implants and surgery to treat their cancer. During external beam radiation, a beam of radiation, or X-ray, is directed through the skin to the cancer and the immediate surrounding area to kill the cancer. To minimize side effects, radiation is given five days a week for several weeks. A number of men with prostate cancer choose external beam radiation over other therapys because it is non-invasive, has a short recovery period and often helps men preserve their sexual and urinary function.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


November 3, 2006, 4:57 AM CT

Heart Catheters Do Not Benefit Patients

Heart Catheters Do Not Benefit Patients Pulmonary artery catheter
Doctors should probably stop using pulmonary artery catheters because they do not benefit patients, say doctors from Australia in this week's BMJ.

The pulmonary artery catheter was invented in 1968. It enabled bedside monitoring in critically ill patients by measuring heart output and capillary pressure in the lungs and became widely used in intensive care units.

But reports of serious complications soon appeared and arguments for and against its use have continued ever since.

The most recent evaluation, commissioned by the NHS Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme, observed that pulmonary artery catheters do not benefit patients and concluded that withdrawing them from UK intensive care units would be cost effective.

Another recent trial in patients with acute lung injury confirmed these findings, while an analysis of 13 trials reported no overall effect of using these devices on mortality or length of hospital stay.

So what should clinicians do with all this information?

Given that the use of pulmonary artery catheters increases the risk of important complications, continued use of these devices is difficult to defend, say the authors.

The onus is now on the proponents of the pulmonary artery catheter and related devices to limit their use to clinical trials and to show that protocols based on such devices do benefit patients, they conclude.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


November 3, 2006, 4:44 AM CT

Strong Link Between Uric Acid And Hypertension

Strong Link Between Uric Acid And Hypertension
New research shows that higher levels of uric acid are strongly linked to hypertension in blacks, suggesting that a simple blood test could predict risk and that therapys to lower uric acid may be a novel way to reduce hypertension-related complications in this population.

"The novel angle of our study is that the association between uric acid and high blood pressure is much stronger in blacks, a group that disproportionately suffers from kidney disease, stroke and other complications of hypertension," said Philip B. Mellen, M.D., M.S., assistant professor internal medicine, and lead investigator.

The results are reported online in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association.

Uric acid levels are influenced by dietary factors, such as high levels of protein, and by the breakdown of the body's cells. Most uric acid is eliminated in urine. However, if excess uric acid is being produced or if the kidneys cannot remove enough of it, levels build up in the blood.

Very high levels of uric acid cause gout, but recent animal and human studies suggest that modest elevations of uric acid are one cause of hypertension. Currently, studies are under way to evaluate whether lowering uric acid prevents hypertension.

"If these studies show that lowering uric acid is an effective therapy, our research suggests that it may be particularly appropriate for blacks," said Mellen.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


November 3, 2006, 4:36 AM CT

Low Folate Diets Increase Risk Of Colorectal Cancer

Low Folate Diets Increase Risk Of Colorectal Cancer Food items that contain folate
A new study by researchers at the MUHC has revealed that a diet low in folate may increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Reported in the scientific journal Cancer Research today, the study not only illustrates a way to prevent the disease but also provides further insight into the mechanisms of the disease, which could lead to novel therapies. Using animal models, the MUHC study is the first to demonstrate directly that diets low in folate cause colorectal cancer, and follows on the heels of earlier research by the same team that revealed how high folate diets can protect against heart disease.

"This research, which is consistent with prior epidemiological studies in humans, demonstrates a clear link between low dietary folate and the initiation of colorectal cancer in animal models," says Dr. Rima Rozen, Scientific Director of the Montreal Children's Hospital, Deputy Scientific Director of the MUHC, and lead investigator in the study. "None of the mice fed a control diet developed tumours whereas 1 in 4 mice on the folate-deficient diet developed at least one tumour".

Possible mechanisms of the disease were also investigated using molecular biological techniques. "The study shows that a low level of dietary folate may cause an increase in DNA damage, which plays a role in the development of tumours," noted Dr. Rozen. The study also reveals that folate deficiency causes genes which commonly respond to DNA damage to behave abnormally, also contributing to the development of tumours. The results suggest that a diet containing sufficient folate may reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


November 2, 2006, 9:13 PM CT

Computer with Brain Connections

Computer with Brain Connections
Fundamental theories regarding consciousness, emotion and quality of life in sufferers of paralysis from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as 'Lou Gerhig's disease') are being challenged based on new research on brain-computer interaction. ALS is a progressive disease that destroys neurons affecting movement. The study appears in the latest issue of Psychophysiology. The article reviews the usefulness of currently available brain-computer -interfaces (BCI), which use brain activity to communicate through external devices, such as computers.

The research focuses on a condition called the completely locked-in state (CLIS, a total lack of muscle control). In a CLIS situation, intentional thoughts and imagery can rarely be acted upon physically and, therefore, are rarely followed by a stimulus. The research suggests that as the disease progresses and the probability for an external event to function as a link between response and consequence becomes progressively smaller, it may eventually vanish altogether.

Scientists have observed that by implementing a BCI before the CLIS state occurs, a patient can be taught to communicate through an electronic device with great regularity. The continued interaction between thought, response and consequence is believed to slow the destruction of the nervous system.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         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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