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September 13, 2006, 9:34 PM CT

Depressive Symptoms In Teens

Depressive Symptoms In Teens
There has been much controversy in recent years regarding the connection between teenage suicide and the use of antidepressant drugs. At an FDA meeting reviewing this topic, the majority of clinical trials examined did not show that the drugs were effective in treating depression in children and adolescents.

In a recent study reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Dr. Richard Malone, from the Department of Psychiatry at Drexel University College of Medicine and Philadelphia Health & Education Corporation, and his colleagues suggest that the short duration of depressive symptoms in this age group makes it difficult to distinguish drug efficacy from placebo.

Using a naturalistic study design, the scientists advise using multiple assessments to establish a continuous baseline before randomizing patients to therapy, which would remove those who spontaneously recover in a very short period of time. In addition to having an impact on the accuracy of future clinical trials, this approach may help decrease the number of children who are exposed to unnecessary long-term drug treatment and possible side effects, since those who spontaneously recover quickly would not be started on drug treatment.

The article "Impersistence of Depression in Youth: Implications for Drug Study Design" can be accessed at no-charge for a limited time at The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology's web site at www.jclinpharm.org/cgi/reprint/46/9/1044........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 13, 2006, 9:01 PM CT

Dieting Female Athletes More Likely to Get Stress Fractures

Dieting Female Athletes More Likely to Get Stress Fractures
Female college athletes on low-calorie diets could be putting themselves at risk for stress fractures, as per new Saint Louis University research published in this month's The American Journal of Sports Medicine.

Scientists studied risk factors for exercise-related leg pain, including stress fractures in women participating in four popular fall sports - cross-country running, field hockey, soccer and volleyball.

Women with "disordered eating," which includes eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia but more generally refers to insufficient caloric intake, were more likely to develop stress fractures as a result of decreased estrogen production, says researcher Mark Reinking, PT, Ph.D., chairman of the department of physical treatment at Saint Louis University's Doisy College of Health Sciences.

"When people expend more calories than they consume, they release fewer hormones, which slows down menstrual cycles. This decreases estrogen in the body, which is responsible for bone development," says Reinking, also chairman of the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.

Leg pain is one of the most common problems afflicting athletes, Reinking says.

"It causes people to miss practices and competitions, and I wanted to understand if two people were undergoing the same exercise regime, why only one of them would have leg pain," he says. "It's not as simple as 'Run less' or 'Change your shoes every 300 miles.' It's a complex problem, and you can't prevent something if you don't know what causes it."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 13, 2006, 5:06 AM CT

Violence In The Home And Childhood Bullying

Violence In The Home And Childhood Bullying
Children who were exposed to violence in the home engaged in higher levels of physical bullying than youngsters who were not witnesses to such behavior, as per a research studyby scientists from the University of Washington and Indiana University.

The study is one of the first in the United States to specifically examine the association between child exposure to intimate partner violence and involvement in bullying. It also is one of the first to break down bullying into physical aggression (hitting, pushing and other forms outward aggression) and relational aggression (teasing, being mean and ostracizing peers).

Overall, 34 percent of the children studied engaged in bullying and 73 percent reported being the victim of some form of bullying in the prior year. Almost all of the bullies, 97 percent, said they were also victims of bullying.

"Children learn from seeing what their primary caregivers do. They are very attuned and very observant about what goes on in a household," said Dr. Nerissa Bauer, lead author of the study and a former UW pediatrician who is now an assistant professor of pediatrics at Indian and Riley Children's Hospital.

"Parents are very powerful role models and children will mimic the behavior of parents, wanting to be like them. They may believe violence is OK and they can use it with peers. After all, they may think, 'If Daddy can do this, perhaps I can hit this kid to get my way.' When parents engage in violence, children may assume violence is the right way to do things," she said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 13, 2006, 5:02 AM CT

Added Benefit Of Statins

Added Benefit Of Statins
UC Davis scientists have shown that statins not only improve cholesterol levels, but also dramatically reduce disease-causing inflammation in patients with metabolic syndrome - a condition defined by symptoms that include abdominal obesity and high blood pressure.

The study, published online in the September 12 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, offers new hope to the one in four Americans with metabolic syndrome who have double the risk of developing heart disease and are five times more likely to develop diabetes.

"Changes in diet and exercise, resulting in weight loss are still the therapy of choice for preventing the consequences of metabolic syndrome," said Kenny Jialal, a professor of internal medicine at UC Davis Health System and director of the Laboratory for Atherosclerosis and Metabolic Research. "However, people don't always adhere to those changes. Our results suggest that statin may be a way to forestall the deadly complications of metabolic syndrome".

Statins are a class of drugs used to prevent and treat heart disease. They work by lowering cholesterol levels and preventing atherosclerosis, the blockage of blood vessels due to plaque build-up. Previously, Jialal's group showed that statins, as a class of drugs, are anti-inflammatory. Typically since the metabolic syndrome, is characterized by low-grade inflammation and insulin resistance, they decided to look at the direct effect of statins on inflammation in these patients.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


September 13, 2006, 4:53 AM CT

Preventing Epileptic Seizures

Preventing Epileptic Seizures
Scientists at MIT are in the process of developing a device that could detect and prevent epileptic seizures before they become debilitating.

Epilepsy affects about 50 million people worldwide, and while anticonvulsant medications can reduce the frequency of seizures, the drugs are ineffective for as a number of as one in three patients.

The new therapy builds on an existing therapy for epilepsy, the Cyberonics Inc. vagus nerve stimulator (VNS), which is often used in patients who do not respond to drugs. A defibrillator typically implanted under the patient's collar bone stimulates the left vagus nerve about every five minutes, which has been shown to help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in a number of patients.

The MIT scientists and his colleagues at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) seek to improve the therapy by combining it with a detector that measures brain activity to predict when a seizure is about to occur. The new device would sense the oncoming seizure and then activate the VNS, in principle halting the seizure before it becomes manifest.

"Our contribution is the software that decides when to turn the stimulator on," said John Guttag, MIT's Dugald C. Jackson Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Guttag developed the system along with Ali Shoeb, a graduate student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


September 13, 2006, 4:41 AM CT

Exercise Reduces Colon-cancer Risk

Exercise  Reduces Colon-cancer Risk
Regular, moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise significantly reduces a risk factor linked to the formation of colon polyps and colon cancer in men, as per a research studyled by scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The findings, from the first randomized clinical trial to test the effect of exercise on colon-cancer biomarkers in colon tissue, appear in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

"In men who met the study's exercise prescription of an hour of aerobic activity per day, six days a week for a year, we saw a substantial decrease in the amount of cellular proliferation in the areas of the colon that are most vulnerable to colon cancer," said lead author Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D., an internist and epidemiologist who directs the Hutchinson Center's Prevention Center. "However, we observed that even four hours or more of exercise weekly was enough to produce a significant benefit," she said.

Specifically, the scientists saw a decrease in the number of actively dividing cells, or cellular proliferation, within the colonic crypts - tiny tube-like indentations in the lining of the colon, or epithelium, which help regulate the absorption of water and nutrients. "A certain amount of cellular proliferation at the bottom part of the crypt is normal. But when these cells start dividing too quickly, they can migrate up the sides of the crypt to the surface and eventually form a polyp," she said. While most polyps are benign, over time some types can become cancerous.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


September 13, 2006, 4:33 AM CT

Black-white IQ Gap Has Narrowed

Black-white IQ Gap Has Narrowed Image courtesy of www.careerplanners.net
In a paper would be reported in the October issure of the journal Psychological Science, William Dickens and James Flynn show that the gap in measured cognitive ability between blacks and whites has narrowed by at least a quarter since 1972. The scientists analyzed nationally representative samples of blacks and whites on four different tests of cognitive ability. On all four tests, blacks show large gains relative to whites with results varying somewhat across the different tests. Pooling the results, the scientists find that blacks have gained an average of.18 IQ points a year on whites from 1972 to 2002 for a total gain of 5.4 IQ points. Further, blacks have gained on whites at all points in the distribution of ability, with gains being only modestly lower for those in the top 10 percent.

These gains in cognitive ability have come during a time when blacks have made notable progress towards social and economic equality in some areas and suggest the possibility that further progress will bring further IQ gains.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


September 13, 2006, 4:25 AM CT

Children's Behavioral And Mental Health Problems

Children's Behavioral And Mental Health Problems
Limited access to services for children and adolescents with behavioral problems or mental illness often leads to inadequate care and therapy based on insufficient scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness, concludes a report by the American Psychological Association (APA) released recently.

As per the report, a product of the APA Working Group on Psychotropic Medications for Children and Adolescents, gaps in the scientific knowledge concerning which therapys work best for specific diagnoses and patients, a dearth of clinicians specifically trained to work with children, cuts in Medicaid funding, and poor reimbursement for mental health services leads to a number of children being treated with medicine despite limited efficacy and safety for their use especially with children.

Research published earlier this year showed a five-fold increase in the use of antipsychotic drugs to treat behavioral and emotional problems in children and adolescents from 1993 to 2002.

"This entire state of affairs is in part correlation to our health care system's failure to provide sufficiently for children, especially in the area of pediatric mental health care," states Ronald T. Brown, PhD, chair of the APA Working Group and Professor of Public Health and Dean at Temple University. "As a result, much of the care provided to children for mental health issues has been limited to medicine even though a number of psychosocial therapys have been found to be effective and some with better risk profiles. Psychosocial therapys, however, can be more labor intensive and more expensive." .........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 13, 2006, 4:19 AM CT

Fighting Diarrhea In Kids

Fighting Diarrhea In Kids
University of Leicester researchers are heading a worldwide research project which could revolutionise the diagnosis and therapy of diarrhoea in children in developing countries.

The four-year project, the results of which are now being piloted in four hospitals in India, will offer a means of identifying the two most deadly forms of the disease quickly, cheaply and with little training necessary for practitioners.

The implications for improving children's health could be enormous. Diarrhoea is a major killer in developing countries. World Health Organisation statistics indicate that more than 2 million people die each year from the effects of diarrhoea, most of them children under five years old.

Diarrhoea is caused by a range of bacterial, viral and parasitic organisms, and is commonly spread by contaminated water and poor sanitation. Two particular bacteria , enteropathogenic E.coli (EPEC), which causes a persistent infection lasting more than 14 days, and Shigella, the cause of dysentery - are the most deadly in terms of killing children. They cause only 20% of cases of diarrhoea but result in 60% of deaths. It is these two killers - EPEC and Shigella - that the Leicester-led project is targeting.

Peter Williams, Professor of Microbiology in the Department of Genetics, and Leicester colleagues Uta Praekelt and Marie Singer, are working with researchers at the Robert Koch Institute in Gera number of and Anna University in Chennai India, and with doctors at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India, and at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 12, 2006, 5:04 AM CT

Weight-loss Rate Doubles Before Dementia

Weight-loss Rate Doubles Before Dementia
A long-term study of the elderly has revealed that their average rate of weight loss doubles in the year before symptoms of Alzheimer's-type dementia first become detectable. The finding may be useful to scientists seeking ways to detect and treat Alzheimer's before it causes irreversible brain damage.

The study is the first to confirm in precise detail a link between weight loss and dementia tentatively identified a decade ago. Scientists report in the September 2006 Archives of Neurology that one year before study volunteers were diagnosed with very mild dementia, their rate of weight loss doubled from 0.6 pounds per year to 1.2 pounds per year. The analysis used data from the Memory and Aging Project at the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC) of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Alzheimer's scientists are working hard to find biomarkers, indicators that can be used to detect the presence of Alzheimer's before clinical symptoms become obvious. Studies at the ADRC and elsewhere have strongly suggested that if Alzheimer's therapys will ever prevent lasting cognitive damage, they may have to be given to patients before memory loss and other disruptions caused by the disorder are evident.

"A person's weight can vary substantially in a given year, so weight loss alone can't serve as a definite indicator for physicians," says David K. Johnson, Ph.D., research instructor in neurology. "But it's interesting from a biochemical perspective--we don't know why these two phenomena are linked. And weight loss may one day be incorporated into a battery of biomarkers that physicians keep their eyes on for early warning of Alzheimer's-type dementia".........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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