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May 25, 2007, 7:25 PM CT

Babies able to tell through visual cues

Babies able to tell through visual cues
At four months, babies can tell whether a speaker has switched to a different language from visual cues alone, as per a University of British Columbia study.

Researcher Whitney Weikum observed that infants are able to discern when a different language is spoken by watching the shapes and rhythm of the speaker's mouth and face movements.

The findings suggest that older infants, raised in a monolingual environment, no longer need this facility. However, babies growing up in a bilingual environment advantageously maintain the discrimination abilities needed for separating and learning multiple languages.

In a paper would be reported in the May 25 issue of the journal Science, Weikum explores whether babies use visual speech information to tell the difference between someone speaking their native language(s) and an unfamiliar language. Weikum is a UBC Neuroscience doctoral student working with Canada Research Chair and Psychology Prof. Janet Werker.

The scientists tested three groups of infants ages four, six and eight months from monolingual English homes and two groups of infants ages six and eight months from bilingual homes. They showed each group silent video clips of three bilingual French-English speakers, who recited sentences first in English or French, and then switched to the other language.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 25, 2007, 7:20 PM CT

Limiting eligibility for medical studies

Limiting eligibility for medical studies
A new analysis has observed that a number of alcohol therapy studies are designed in ways that inadvertently omit women and African-Americans from participation. The Stanford University School of Medicine researcher who led the effort said the findings should remind all researchers that strict study eligibility criteria can have unintended, negative consequences.

In reviewing data from a pool of 100,000 alcohol therapy patients, Keith Humphreys, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, determined that women and African-Americans were substantially more likely to be excluded from therapy studies than men or non-African-American patients, because of eligibility requirements involving psychiatric problems, employment and housing problems, and drug use.

"Researchers' own study designs are thwarting their good-faith efforts to recruit representative patient samples," said Humphreys, whose paper would be reported in the recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. "If we want health-care practice to be guided by research, we're going to have to do a better job at studying patients that clinicians actually see".

Medical studies typically exclude certain patients from participation. While some exclusions are often necessary - to protect patient safety, for example - Humphreys suspects scientists often use exclusions in their studies out of habit or tradition. In other cases, scientists may use eligibility criteria to enroll only "desirable" patients in their study, in an effort to make the trial run smoothly or to increase the chances that a favored therapy will show positive outcomes.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 25, 2007, 7:13 PM CT

Aggressive treatment for whiplash no benefit

Aggressive treatment for whiplash no benefit
Whiplash, the most common traffic injury, leads to neck pain, headache and other symptoms, resulting in a significant burden of disability and health care utilization. Eventhough there are few effective therapys for whiplash, a growing body of evidence suggests that the type and intensity of therapy received shortly after the injury have a long-lasting influence on the prognosis. A new study reported in the June 2007 issue of Arthritis Care & Research (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritiscare) examined whether the association between early types of care and recovery time shown in an earlier study was reproducible with whiplash compensated under tort insurance.

A prior study led by Pierre Ct, of the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada, observed that patients compensated under no-fault insurance had a longer recovery if they visited general practitioners numerous times and/or consulted chiropractors or specialists than if they just visited general practitioners once or twice. In the current study, the authors examined patterns of care for 1,693 patients with whiplash injuries who were compensated under tort insurance.

The results showed that increasing the intensity of care to more than 2 visits to a general practitioner, 6 visits to a chiropractor, or adding chiropractic care to general practitioner care was linked to slower recovery. "The results agree with our prior analysis in a cohort of patients compensated under a no-fault insurance scheme and support the hypothesis that the prognosis of whiplash injuries is influenced by the type and intensity of care received within the first month after injury," the authors state.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


May 25, 2007, 7:09 PM CT

Coffee may lower blood uric acid levels

Coffee may lower blood uric acid levels
High uric acid levels in the blood are a precursor of gout, the most common inflammatory arthritis in adult men. It is believed that coffee and tea consumption may affect uric acid levels but only one study has been conducted to date. A new large-scale study reported in the June 2007 issue of Arthritis Care & Research (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritiscare) examined the relationship between coffee, tea, caffeine intake, and uric acid levels and observed that coffee consumption is linked to lower uric acid levels but that this appears to be due to components other than caffeine.

Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world; more than 50 percent of Americans drink it at the average rate of 2 cups per day. Because of this widespread consumption, its potential effects have important implications for public and individual health. Led by Hyon K. Choi, of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, the current study was based on the U.S. Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted between 1988 and 1994. It included over 14,000 men and women at least 20 years old who consented to a medical exam in which blood and urine specimens were obtained. Coffee and tea consumption were determined based on responses to a food questionnaire that assessed intake over the prior month. Scientists estimated the amount of caffeine per cup of coffee or tea using data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


May 25, 2007, 3:41 PM CT

Binge Drinking Among College Students

Binge Drinking Among College Students
People addicted to alcohol and young adults who are heavy drinkers, but not considered alcoholics, have something in common: they possess poor decision-making skills, as per psychology experts at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The findings are based on research examining binge drinking and heavy alcohol use among college students.

The study was led by Anna E. Goudriaan, a former postdoctoral student in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychological Sciences, who is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands). She collaborated with Emily R. Grekin and Kenneth J. Sher of MUs Midwest Alcoholism Research Center. Grekin, a former MU research assistant, is now an assistant professor at Wayne State University. Sher is a Curators professor of clinical psychology at MU.

The team of scientists examined 200 participants during a four-year period by incorporating the Iowa Gambling Test (IGT) into the analysis. The IGT is a test of decision making strategy and measures peoples tendency to make immediate (disadvantageous) or long-term (advantageous) choices. The MU students were between the ages of 18 and 22. The initial alcohol use analysis was conducted when the students were freshmen and continued until their junior years in college. Scientists obtained information about the age they began drinking and their frequency of heaving drinking.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 25, 2007, 3:38 PM CT

Experimental gene therapy 'abolishes' arthritis pain

Experimental gene therapy 'abolishes' arthritis pain
Early-stage research has observed that a new gene treatment can nearly eliminate arthritis pain, and significantly reduce long-term damage to the affected joints, as per a research studypublished recently in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism. While the study was done in mice, they are the first genetically engineered to develop osteoarthritis like humans, with the same genetic predisposition that makes some more likely to develop the disease, the authors said. If all goes well with a follow-up study currently underway, scientists will apply to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for permission to begin human trials next year.

Nearly everyone aged 65 or older suffers from the pain, swelling and permanent joint damage of osteoarthritis. The most common form of arthritis, it develops over time following initial joint injuries or just as a result of aging. In the current study, scientists observed that one injection of a newly designed gene treatment relieved 100 percent of osteoarthritic pain in the study model. In addition, scientists were surprised to find that the treatment also brought about a nearly 35 percent reduction in permanent structural to joints caused by round and after round of osteoarthritic inflammation.

To date, therapy of arthritis is dominated by drug therapys like non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs, COX-2 inhibitors and acetominophen. Morphine and its derivatives are still in common use as well, but can depress breathing and lead to addiction. Taken together, current therapys deliver inconsistent results and new approaches are needed, researcher said. Gene treatment has been attempted in the past, but older, invasive techniques mandatory that therapeutic genes be injected directly into nerve cells. Strong pain relief resulted, but in some cases the injections caused nerve damage.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


May 25, 2007, 3:33 PM CT

Telephone 'Quitlines' To Stop Smoking

Telephone 'Quitlines'  To Stop Smoking
Dentists may be able to help their patients stop smoking by referring them to tobacco-use telephone "quitlines," as per a pilot study reported in the recent issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA).

Dentists who intervene with patients to help them stop using tobacco can play a significant role in decreasing tobacco-related illness and death. However, providing support for such patients requires time and resources that oral health care professionals may not always have. So, scientists at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minn., identified the need to conduct a pilot study to evaluate whether the speedier measure of referring patients to tobacco-use quitlines was also effective in helping patients stop smoking.

The authors randomly assigned eight general dental practices in Minnesota to provide either brief counseling regarding smoking cessation or brief counseling along with referrals to a tobacco-use quitline for patients who reported that they were currently smoking cigarettes.

Of 82 patients, 60 were referred to the tobacco-use quitline and 22 received only brief counseling. At six months, 25 percent of the patients in the quitline group and 27.3 percent of the patients in the brief-counseling group had abstained from tobacco use. Abstinence rates among patients in the quitline group rose if those patients completed more telephone consultations.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 23, 2007, 10:05 PM CT

Guideline For Treating Lyme Disease

Guideline For Treating Lyme Disease
A guideline developed by the American Academy of Neurology finds conventionally recommended courses of antibiotics are highly effective for treating nervous system Lyme disease. However, there is no compelling evidence that prolonged therapy with antibiotics has any benefit in treating symptoms that persist following standard treatment. The guideline is published May 23, 2007, in the online edition of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Lyme disease, an infectious disease caused by tick-borne bacteria, affects the nervous system in 10 to 15 percent of infected patients.

"While other guidelines exist to help diagnose and treat general Lyme disease, there continues to be considerable controversy and uncertainty about the best approach to treating neuroborreliosis, in which Lyme disease involves the nervous system," said lead guideline author John J. Halperin, MD, with Atlantic Health in Summit, NJ, and Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.

To develop the guideline, the authors analyzed all available scientific studies on the topic.

The evidence shows that using antibiotics for two to four weeks is highly effective for treating neuroborreliosis. Lyme disease responds well to the intravenous antibiotics penicillin, ceftriaxone, cefotaxime, and oral doxycycline, and these antibiotics are probably safe and effective when taken for 14 to 28 days by children and adults.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


May 23, 2007, 10:02 PM CT

In utero exposure to smoking and risk of ADHD

In utero exposure to smoking and risk of ADHD
Women smokers who become pregnant have long been encouraged to reduce or eliminate their nicotine intake. A new study being reported in the June 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry provides further reason to do so, as it presents new evidence that in utero exposure to smoking is linked to attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) problems in genetically susceptible children.

The study investigated male and female twin pairs, aged 719 years, to assess the relationship between genetic variations, prenatal substance exposures, and ADHD sub-types. Rosalind Neuman, Ph.D., one of the studys authors, explains the findings: "When genetic factors are combined with prenatal cigarette smoke exposure, the ADHD risk rises very significantly. When the child has either or both of two specific forms of dopamine pathway genes (DAT and DRD4), and was exposed to cigarette smoking in utero, the risk for having combined type ADHD (a number of inattention and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms) increased 3 to 9 fold".

John H. Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry and affiliated with both Yale University School of Medicine and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, adds, "These data highlight a new risk of maternal smoking, increasing the risk for ADHD in their children. ADHD, in turn, increases the risk for substance abuse. Thus, it appears that in utero exposure to nicotine may help to perpetuate a cycle across generations that links addiction and behavioral problems".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


May 23, 2007, 10:01 PM CT

Psychological bullying hits just as hard

Psychological bullying hits just as hard
School bullying doesn't have to leave physical bumps and bruises to contribute to a hostile and potentially dangerous school environment. Behavior that intentionally harms another individual, through the manipulation of social relationships (or 'relational aggression'), is just as significant a concern for adolescent psychosocial development and mental health, as per Dr. Sara Goldstein from Montclair State University and her colleagues from the University of Michigan.

Their study[1], published this month in Springer's Journal of Youth and Adolescence, shows that adolescents exposed to high levels of relational aggression perceive their school to be less safe, and are less pleased with the general social atmosphere of the school. Adolescent boys who are exposed to relational aggression are also more likely to carry a weapon to school. This is not the case for girls.

A total of 1,335 African American and European American adolescents, aged 11 - 19 years, from a public school district in Detroit, Michigan, took part in an Internet survey which looked at how relational aggression at school is linked to adolescents' perceptions of, and participation in, a hostile school environment.

Respondents were asked about their direct experience of being victims of both relational aggression (e.g. How often in the last month have students told stories about you that were untrue? How often in the prior month did students not include you in joining in what they were doing?), and overt aggression. Respondents were also asked about their experience of witnessing both relational and overt aggression.........

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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