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May 14, 2006, 11:02 AM CT

Ionic Air Purifiers Aggravates Asthma

Ionic Air Purifiers Aggravates Asthma
With more and more people having respiratory problems, whether as a result of asthma, pollen allergies or simply as a reaction to pollutants, air purifiers for domestic use are becoming a big market.

Some of the more common typers of air cleaners use either HEPA filters or ionization technology. Air purifiers which use ionization electrically charges the air particles and draws them to metals plates that captures them, and therefore circumvents the issues of filter-change, motor-noise and draft associated with devices that use HEPA filters.

However, a review of ionizing air purifiers published by Consumer Reports indicate that, ironically, these devices may even aggravate respiratory problems. The root of the problem is that these gadgets emit ozone as a by-product. What's wrong about ozone?

Experts agree that an ozone concentration more than 80 ppb for eight hours or longer can cause coughing, wheezing, and chest pain while worsening asthma and deadening your sense of smell. It also raises sensitivity to pollen, mold, and other respiratory allergy triggers, and may cause permanent lung damage.

As per their survey, only 2 out of the 7 room air cleaners tested performed well in eliminating smoke, dust and pollen. And worse, the 5 poorly rated ones were also found to emit ozone higher than the acceptable levels. And if you believe that by getting the more expensive one, you're on the safe side, well, think again. Or better, check out the Consumer Report's ratings for Room Air Cleaners.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 13, 2006, 11:13 PM CT

Here Comes The Plus-size Bride

Here Comes The Plus-size Bride
Plus-size brides looking for the perfect dress for their special day can now find it at Lane Bryant. The nation's largest women's plus-size specialty apparel retailer is proud to introduce its exclusive collection of bridal gowns for women sizes 14-28 available online now at the Lane Bryant Bridal Boutique at

The new bridal dress collection features styles created specifically for the plus-size woman. Elegant gowns designed in curve-hugging satin and flowing chiffon fabrics are perfect for every type of wedding, be it a formal evening affair or an afternoon ceremony. Lane Bryant offers three gown silhouettes including: a floor-length satin gown; a satin bodice gown with a flowing chiffon skirt; and a cocktail-length lace bodice dress. Each of these gowns is available for $149.50. The collection also features a bejeweled sleeveless top for $299.50 with a fish tail satin skirt with train for $99.50.

"Every bride deserves a dress that reflects her inner radiance and elegance," says Lorna Nagler, president of Lane Bryant. "The new Lane Bryant bridal collection offers our plus-size brides a selection of figure-flattering styles designed with them in mind at prices that fit their budget".

Customers visiting the online Bridal Boutique will find a one-stop-shop for planning the perfect wedding day look. In addition to full descriptions of each style and a fit guide, Lane Bryant offers a collection of bridal accessories including elegant jewelry, hosiery, and bridal gifts. No bridal look is complete without the right undergarments. For a smooth flawless gown fit, Lane Bryant offers shapewear including Smooth Performance briefs, shorts and strapless bras ranging from $12.50 to $52.00.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 12, 2006, 6:55 AM CT

Mobile DNA Part of Evolution's Toolbox

Mobile DNA Part of Evolution's Toolbox
The repeated copying of a small segment of DNA in the genome of a primeval fish may have been crucial to the transition of ancient animals from sea to land, or to later key evolutionary changes in land vertebrates. The discovery is "tantalizing evidence" that copied DNA elements known as retroposons could be an important source of evolutionary innovations, says the director of the research, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator David Haussler.

"The big question is whether this is a special case or whether it's the tip of the iceberg," says Haussler, who is at the University of California, Santa Cruz. A report on the research is reported in the May 4, 2006, issue of the journal Nature.

Haussler and colleagues were led to the discovery through their work on what they call "ultraconserved elements"-segments of DNA hundreds of nucleotides long that are almost exactly the same in a wide variety of vertebrate organisms. Haussler and postdoctoral fellow Gill Bejerano discovered the ultraconserved elements in 2003, and since then they have been trying to figure out how they arose and what function they serve.

One ultraconserved element in particular caught their eye. "We were very interested in this sequence, because it had many copies elsewhere in the genome," says Bejerano, who is the first author of the study. Close copies of the sequence were ubiquitous in amphibians, birds, and mammals, indicating that it served an important function. "We found it in every species for which we have genomes, from frogs to humans," says Bejerano.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source

May 12, 2006, 6:52 AM CT

Epstein-Barr Virus And Multiple Sclerosis

Epstein-Barr Virus And Multiple Sclerosis
Scientists have found that patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) carry a population of immune cells that overreact to Epstein-Barr virus. The virus, which causes mononucleosis and may contribute to some cancers, has long been suspected to play a role in MS. However, the mechanism linking the virus to the disease was poorly understood.

Researchers believe that MS-which can cause vision problems, muscle weakness, and difficulty with coordination and balance-is a result of the immune system attacking the body's own nervous system. Not everyone who is infected with Epstein-Barr develops MS, but the results of the new study, reported in the June 2006, issue of the journal Brain, suggest that some individuals' uncommonly strong reaction to the virus may trigger the disease. The findings could lead to new therapeutic strategies for better control of the damage caused in this autoimmune disorder.

The culprit, the scientists say, may be a population of T cells that helps boost other components of the immune system in response to the virus. "What we discovered in the peripheral blood of the MS patients were T cells that appeared to be primed for action against EBV," said Nancy Edwards, an HHMI-NIH research scholar at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and co-author of the paper, which was published in advance online.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source

May 12, 2006, 6:48 AM CT

Many Pregnant Women Lack HIV Testing

Many Pregnant Women Lack HIV Testing
Despite state laws requiring that every pregnant woman be offered HIV testing multiple times during pregnancy, about 20 percent of women reach their third trimester without it, as per a review of Florida women from 2003-04, scientists say.

Rapid HIV testing performed on 1,867 women who lacked proof of testing when they reached the delivery room identified one HIV-positive mother and doctors were able to preventively reduce the baby's infection risk, says Dr. Andrew W. Helfgott, chief of the Section of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia.

"Rapid testing is an easy, relatively inexpensive means of identifying women who are infected, treating them and their babies and preventing perinatal infection," says Dr. Helfgott.

Rapid testing of the 1,379 women cost $27,000, far less than the lifetime cost of treating even one infected child, he says.

Availability of the 20-minute, highly accurate tests that can be used even in the last minutes of pregnancy should preclude HIV infection in every newborn, he says. Still, an estimated 280 to 370 HIV-infected children are born each year in this country.

Dr. Helfgott was directing a high-risk pregnancy program in Pensacola, Fla., in 2002 when Florida led the nation with 37 perinatal transmissions, three of which occurred in the relatively small town where he worked. He started working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Florida Department of Health Bureau of HIV officials to focus attention on the importance of testing.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source

May 12, 2006, 6:43 AM CT

Protein May Detect Head And Neck Cancer

Protein May Detect Head And Neck Cancer
The blood of patients with head and neck cancer appears to have unique patterns of protein expression that one day could serve as a screening test for the highly aggressive cancer that is often diagnosed too late, scientists say.

Studies comparing protein expression in 78 patients with head and neck cancer to 68 healthy controls revealed numerous differences in protein expression, Medical College of Georgia scientists say.

"We found scores and scores of proteins that were differentially expressed," says Dr. Christine Gourin, MCG otolaryngologist specializing in head and neck cancer and the study's lead author. "We found there are at least eight proteins whose expression significantly differs between controls and people with cancer".

This protein fingerprint correctly classified study participants as cancer patients with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity - 82 percent and 76 percent, respectively, as per research reported in the current issue of Archives of Otolaryngology.

"If these results hold up over time, they would suggest that this would be a good screening test for at-risk people," Dr. Gourin says. "Right now there is no good, effective screening test for head and neck cancer short of physical examination. Unfortunately it takes the development of symptoms to warrant a visit to the doctor, such as a sore throat; ear, tongue or mouth pain; painful eating or swallowing; or a change in the voice. Sometimes the first sign is a lump in the neck which is already a sign of an advanced tumor that has spread to the lymph nodes".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 12, 2006, 6:40 AM CT

Fulfilling A Lifelong Dream

Fulfilling A Lifelong Dream
A scar near his left eye reminds Stanley Bartlett, 40, of why he wanted to become a nurse.

After taking a fall on the playground, a kind nurse assisted the doctor putting stitches in his wound.

"I thought I wouldn't be able to see out of that eye again, but she reassured me that everything would be OK," said Mr. Bartlett, who graduates from the Medical College of Georgia School of Nursing this Friday. "From this point on, I wanted to help people as a nurse".

His military career put that dream on hold, however, and Mr. Bartlett worked as air traffic control technician for more than 15 years. "I wanted the educational benefits the Army had to offer, so I joined right out of high school," he said. "Becoming a nurse never escaped my mind, though..... it just took a little longer."

Mr. Bartlett planned to apply to MCG in 1995 after completing a pre-nursing program at Georgia Military College, but was sidetracked by a two-year mission in Korea. His 20 years in the Army also took him to Gera number of and the Middle East.

"When I came back in '97, it was too late to get into MCG, so I pursued a degree in health care management," he said. "Once I finished that, I pursued a master's degree in health services administration."

He retired from the Army in 2000 and began work as a staff developer at Georgia Regional Hospital. He later became a training administrator, teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid to hospital staff.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 11, 2006, 0:22 AM CT

Nanotechnology To Treat Heart Disease

Nanotechnology To Treat Heart Disease
A new tactic in the battle against cardiovascular disease - employing nanoengineered molecules called "nanolipoblockers" as frontline infantry against harmful cholesterol - is showing promise in early laboratory studies at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

In a paper scheduled for publication June 12 in the American Chemical Society's journal Biomacromolecules and now appearing on that journal's Web site, Rutgers scientists propose a way to combat clogged arteries by attacking how bad cholesterol triggers inflammation and causes plaque buildup at specific blood vessel sites. Their approach contrasts with today's statin drug treatment, which aims to reduce the amount of low density lipids, or LDLs ("bad" cholesterol), throughout the body.

In an ironic twist, the Rutgers approach aims to thwart a biological process that is typically beneficial and necessary. Prabhas Mogue, the principal investigator and associate professor of biomedical engineering and chemical and biochemical engineering at Rutgers, said that vascular plaque and inflammation develop when certain forms of LDL are attacked by white blood cells that scavenge cellular debris and disease agents. "While these scavengers, called macrophages, perform an essential role in keeping organisms healthy, their interaction with highly oxidized LDL molecules has quite the opposite effect," he said.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source

May 11, 2006, 0:19 AM CT

Young Adults Happier Than Adolescents

Young Adults Happier Than Adolescents
Eventhough young adults are faced with a diversity of life choices, they seem to be coming to terms with themselves and their lives in their 20s, says new University of Alberta research that shows psychological well-being improves after adolescence and girls improve faster than boys.

Dr. Nancy Galambos from the Department of Psychology followed a sample of the same cohort of people over a seven-year period and looked specifically at how 18-25 year olds make the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Few studies have tracked changes in psychological well-being in this age group.

"I see these results as good news," said Galambos. "We can expect the average 18-year-old to show improved mental health over the course of the next seven years. I think it is important to note, though, that these are average trends, and we cannot ignore the fact that some mental health problems first appear in the early 20s and rates of clinical depression are quite high in this age group. So a certain proportion of young people will not do well during this period."

Another interesting finding was that improved psychological well-being reduced the gender differences first appearing in adolescence. As expected, women showed significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms and lower levels of self-esteem at age 18 than men, but on both indicators women improved at a faster rate than did men by age 25, bringing the two genders closer together.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 11, 2006, 0:09 AM CT

Home Testing Kit To Identify Hidden Caffeine

Home Testing Kit To Identify Hidden Caffeine
you've ever wondered whether your favorite coffee, tea or soda contains caffeine - despite its decaf label or the absence of caffeine on the ingredient list - then you may soon be able to test the beverage yourself. Chemists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are developing a quick, convenient "dipstick" test that they say could represent the first home testing kit to detect the common stimulant, which can cause insomnia and make you jittery. Their study will appear in the June 1 print issue of the American Chemical Society's Analytical Chemistry.

"We envisioned that a simple method to measure caffeine, even in hot beverages, such as coffee, would be of value to individuals and institutions wanting to verify the absence of caffeine," says study leader Jack H. Ladenson, Ph.D., a chemist at the university. "This will greatly assist individuals who wish to avoid caffeine."

Ladenson hopes to develop a simple caffeine test in which test strips that are treated with a specific antibody will react by changing color in the presence of caffeine.

The new test will be designed to be qualitative only: It allows a person to quickly determine whether caffeine is present, but does not indicate the exact amount or concentration of caffeine. In preliminary tests using coffee and cola, an experimental version of the test effectively distinguished caffeinated versions of these products from their decaf counterparts, Ladenson says.........

Posted by: Janet      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. Archives of health news blog

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