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April 29, 2008, 8:22 PM CT

Body image program reduces onset of obesity

Body image program reduces onset of obesity
In their research on eating disorders, Oregon Research Institute (ORI) researchers help young women reduce the influence of the thin ideal, which is described as associating success and happiness with being thin.

ORI scientist Eric Stice, Ph.D. and colleagues have observed that their obesity prevention program reduced the risk for onset of eating disorders by 61% and obesity by 55% in young women. These effects continued for as long as 3 years after the program ended. Results of this study are reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

These results are noteworthy because, to date, the idea that we can reduce risk for future onset of eating disorders and obesity has been an unrealized goal: over 80 prevention programs have been reviewed, but no prior program had been found to significantly reduce risk for onset of these serious health problems.

Stice notes that, One reason these programs might be more effective is that they require youth to take a more healthy perspective, which leads them to internalize the more healthy attitudes. In addition, these programs have simple take-home messages, which may be easier to remember in the future than messages from more complex prevention programs.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Stice has been studying eating disorders for 18 years. He has conducted this line of research at Stanford University and the University of Texas, and now continues at the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene, Oregon. He is presently funded by NIH to conduct two research studies to further test these programs with young women in Eugene/Springfield.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 29, 2008, 8:11 PM CT

How cancer spreads

How cancer spreads
Metastasis, the spread of cancer throughout the body, can be explained by the fusion of a cancer cell with a white blood cell in the original tumor, as per Yale School of Medicine researchers, who say that this single event can set the stage for cancers migration to other parts of the body.

Their work was Reported in the recent issue of Nature Reviews Cancer. The studies, spanning 15 years, have revealed that the newly formed hybrid of the cancer cell and white blood cell adapts the white blood cells natural ability to migrate around the body, while going through the uncontrolled cell division of the original cancer cell. This causes a metastatic cell to emerge, which like a white blood cell, can migrate through tissue, enter the circulatory system and travel to other organs.

This is a unifying explanation for metastasis, said John Pawelek, a researcher in the Department of Dermatology at Yale School of Medicine and at Yale Cancer Center, who conducted the studies with colleague Ashok K. Chakraborty and several other Yale scientists. Eventhough we know a vast amount about cancer, how a cancer cell becomes metastatic still remains a mystery.

The fusion theory was first proposed in the early 1900s and has attracted a lot of scientific interest over the years. Pawelek and colleagues began their research several years ago by fusing white blood cells with tumor cells. These experimental hybrids the scientists observed, were remarkably metastatic and lethal when implanted into mice. In addition, the researchers noted, some of the molecules the hybrids used to metastasize originated from white blood cells, and these molecules were the same as those used by metastatic cells in human cancers. Pawelek and his team then validated prior findings that hybridization occurs naturally in mice, and results in metastatic cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 28, 2008, 9:53 PM CT

Will you be misdiagnosed?

Will you be misdiagnosed?
New York, April 28, 2008 How frequently do doctors misdiagnose patients? While research has demonstrated that the great majority of medical diagnoses are correct, the answer is probably higher than patients expect and certainly higher than doctors realize. In a Supplement to the recent issue of The American Journal of Medicine, a collection of articles and commentaries sheds light on the causes underlying misdiagnoses and demonstrates a nontrivial rate of diagnostic error that ranges from <5% in the perceptual specialties (pathology, radiology, dermatology) up to 10% to 15% in a number of other fields.

The sensitive issue of diagnostic error is rarely discussed and has been understudied. The papers in this volume confirm the extent of diagnostic errors and suggest improvement will best come by developing systems to provide physicians with better feedback on their own errors.

Guest Editors Mark L. Graber, MD, FACP (Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Northport, NY and Department of Medicine, SUNY Stony Book) and Eta S. Berner, EdD (School of Health Professions, University of Alabama at Birmingham) oversaw the development and compilation of these papers. Drs. Berner and Graber conducted an extensive literature review concerning teaching, learning, reasoning and decision making as they relate to diagnostic error and overconfidence and developed a framework for strategies to address the problem.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 28, 2008, 8:48 PM CT

Language skills develop at 6

Language skills develop at 6
Psychology experts at the University of Liverpool have discovered that children as young as six are as adept at recognising possible verbs and their past tenses as adults.

In a study conducted by the Universitys Child Language Study Centre, children aged between six and nine were given sentences containing made-up verbs such as the duck likes to spling and were asked to judge the acceptability of possible past tense forms. The study focused on the process the children used to come to their conclusions rather than whether their answers were right or wrong.

They observed that the childrens judgements followed a virtually identical pattern to those of linguistics students who took part in a similar study at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the US.

University of Liverpool psychology expert, Ben Ambridge, said: Prior studies have concentrated on getting children to produce past tense forms for made-up words. This study is unique in that the children were asked to judge the acceptability of different forms that we gave them.

One of the main questions raised when looking at childrens ability to pick up their native language is whether abstract symbolic rules or the use of memory and comparison affect how a child attributes past tenses to words.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 28, 2008, 5:43 PM CT

Brain's Reaction to Potent Hallucinogen

Brain's Reaction to Potent Hallucinogen
Jacob Hooker
Brain-imaging studies performed in animals at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory provide scientists with clues about why an increasingly popular recreational drug that causes hallucinations and motor-function impairment in humans is abused. Using trace amounts of Salvia divinorum - also known as "salvia," a Mexican mint plant that can be smoked in the form of dried leaves or serum - Brookhaven researchers observed that the drug's behavior in the brains of primates mimics the extremely fast and brief "high" observed in humans. Their results are now published online in the journal NeuroImage.

Quickly gaining popularity among teenagers and young adults, salvia is legal in most states, but is grabbing the attention of municipal lawmakers. Numerous states have placed controls on salvia or salvinorin A - the plant's active component - and others, including New York, are considering restrictions.

"This is probably one of the most potent hallucinogens known," said Brookhaven chemist Jacob Hooker, the lead author of the study, which is the first to look at how the drug travels through the brain. "It's really important that we study drugs like salvia and how they affect the brain in order to understand why they are abused and to investigate their medicinal relevance, both of which can inform policy makers."........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 28, 2008, 5:31 PM CT

Predicting breast cancer patient outcome

Predicting breast cancer patient outcome
Not a day goes by without a new story about the environment. Eventhough we often consider the environment on a global scale, cells in our body also have to contend with environmental factors. New studies from a team of scientists from the Research Institute of the MUHC and McGill University show that the environment surrounding breast cancer cells plays a crucial role in determining whether tumor cells grow and migrate or whether they fade away. Their study is the first to identify the genes behind this environmental control and correlate them with patient outcome. Their findings appear in this weeks issue of Nature Medicine.

A tumour can not exist on its own. It has to be supported and nourished by the cell types around it, the microenvironment, says senior author Dr Morag Park, Director of the molecular oncology group at the Research institute if the MUHC. When we began this study there was little known about the importance of this microenvironment on cancer initiation and progression. We now know that this environment is pivotal; different patients have distinct tumour microenvironments at a gene level. Our findings show that the gene profile of these distinct microenvironments can be used to determine clinical outcome who will fare well and who will not.

Dr Park, a professor of oncology, biochemistry, and medicine at McGill University, and her team analyzed tissue from 53 patients with breast cancer. They used a unique technique, laser capture microdissection (LCM), to separate tumour cells from microenvironment tissue. They compared the gene expression between the microenvironment tissue and controls using micro-array analysis. From thousands of genes they identified 163, which correlated with patient outcome. A good outcome was defined as having no tumour metastasis and tumour migration and non-responsiveness to treatment was considered poor outcome.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 28, 2008, 5:11 PM CT

Stem Cells In the Pituitary

Stem Cells In the Pituitary
A team of scientists led by researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have for the first time identified stem cells that allow the pituitary glands of mice to grow even after birth. They observed that, in contrast to most adult stem cells, these cells are distinct from those that fuel the initial growth of this important organ. The results suggest a novel way that the hormone-secreting gland may adapt, even in adolescents and adults, to traumatic stress or to normal life changes like pregnancy.

Seeking Adult Stem Cells

Maturity, in some respects, brings diminished possibilities. As a fertilized egg cell repeatedly divides to grow into a mature animal, most of the resulting cells become ever more specialized. But a small number of cells, known as stem cells, remain uncommitted even as they spawn more specialized progeny. The most versatile stem cells, taken from days-old embryos, are able to form any cell type - but studying them in people is controversial. Even in adults, however, other types of stem cell persist that have a more limited repertoire. Some replace specific cells as they wear out; others help to rebuild damaged tissues. Still other stem cells are suspected by some researchers of starting or maintaining cancers.

In spite of their importance, stem cells are hard to spot among the multitude of cells in complex tissue. Several years ago, neuroscientist Grigori Enikolopov, Ph.D., an associate professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), and colleagues developed a tool to look for stem cells that give rise to new adult brain cells. Scientists had known that a gene called Nestin was active in these neural stem cells. The CSHL team genetically engineered mice so that the same conditions that activate Nestin in a particular cell also make it glow green under ultraviolet light.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


April 24, 2008, 10:26 PM CT

Racial disparities in smoking cessation treatment

Racial disparities in smoking cessation treatment
A new study from the American Cancer Society finds black and Hispanic smokers are less likely than whites to receive and use smoking cessation advice and aids. The study, published in the recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, also finds men and those without a usual source of medical care were less likely to be screened for tobacco use and receive advice to quit.

Members of several racial and ethnic minority populations bear a disproportionate share of the adverse health consequences of tobacco use. There is strong evidence that interventions, ranging from a health care workers brief advice to quit to extensive counseling and the use of pharmaceutical and behavioral adjuncts, can considerably improve cessation rates in smokers. Smoking is associated with socioeconomic disadvantage and is an important contributor to inequalities in health.

For their study, American Cancer Society researchers led by Vilma Cokkinides, Ph.D., analyzed survey results from 4756 smokers (aged 18 and older) who visited a healthcare provider within the past year. All were participants in the 2005 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The analysis found that compared to white smokers, black and Hispanic smokers were less likely to have been asked about tobacco use (85 percent in whites versus 77 percent in blacks and 72 percent in Hispanics); less likely to have been advised to quit (63 percent in whites versus 55 percent in blacks and 48 percent in Hispanics); and less likely to have used tobacco-cessation aids during the past year in a quit attempt (38 percent in whites versus 24 percent in blacks and 21 percent in Hispanics).These racial/ethnic differences in the use of smoking cessation remained significant even after controlling for various other factors (for example, health insurance coverage, or socio-economics status of smokers).........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 24, 2008, 10:21 PM CT

Docs need better bedside manners

Docs need better bedside manners
As the 2008 national presidential election heats up, one topic remains a voter hot button and a constant debate issue the health care crisis in America. Political affiliations aside, there is one aspect everyone can agree on the importance of access to quality health care. But what defines quality health care today" As per a new survey conducted by Kelton Research for the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, a vast majority of Americans wish their doctors demonstrated the care in the term heath care. The survey unveiled that nearly eight out of ten polled (78 percent) complain that todays doctors need better bedside manners and less than half of survey respondents could describe their doctors recent conduct as attentive (49 percent), communicative (44 percent) or compassionate (32 percent) at their last medical visit.

A number of past studies have shown a strong connection between patient and doctor satisfaction and better overall patient outcomes when doctors develop a relationship with their patients, said Arnold P. Gold, MD, founder of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. What this survey shows us is that patients are still craving for their doctor to see the person behind the prognosis and really want a connectedness with their doctor.

As the leading Foundation dedicated to keeping the care in healthcare, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation sponsored the online survey of 1,000 Americans over the age of 18 to garner patient perceptions about their physicians commitment to providing compassionate care. Survey respondents indicate that along with the need for better beside manner, less than half (47 percent) of the doctors visited have displayed an interest in their overall well-being as a person rather than the specific ailment at hand. In addition, a number of Americans report that their dissatisfaction with doctors is due to an experience of disconnection, such as the doctor making them feel rushed (40 percent), not providing enough opportunity to discuss their concerns and questions (36 percent), or even being outright rude or condescending (23 percent).........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 24, 2008, 10:11 PM CT

How Neurons Generate Movement

How Neurons Generate Movement
April 24, 2008 cover of Neuron
When the eye tracks a bird's flight across the sky, the visual experience is normally smooth, without interruption. But underlying this behavior is a complex coordination of neurons that has remained mysterious to scientists. Now, UCSF scientists have broken ground in understanding how the brain generates this tracking motion, a finding that offers a window, they say, into how neurons orchestrate all of the body's movements.

The study, published in the April 24 issue of Neuron, reveals that individual neurons do not fire independently across the entire duration of a motor function as traditionally thought. Rather, they coordinate their activity with other neurons, each firing at a particular moment in time.

"Researchers have known that neurons that connect to muscles initiate movement in a coordinated fashion. But they have not known how the neurons we are studying - which coordinate these front-line neurons -- commit the brain to move the eyes,"says co-lead author David Schoppik, PhD, who conducted the study while a doctoral candidate in the laboratory of senior author Stephen Lisberger, PhD, at the University of California, San Francisco.

"For decades, researchers have been asking, 'Do the signals involve a handful of neurons or thousands? What is the nature of the commands?' The classical understanding has been that one class of neuron is responsible for one movement, such as generating eye movement to the left, and that it remains active across the entire duration of a behavior," he says.........

Posted by: Daniel      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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