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May 25, 2006, 10:52 PM CT

Preventing Lyme Disease

Preventing Lyme Disease Ixodes scapularis, tic responsible for lyme disease
It's tick season, but gardeners, hikers, and others enjoying the great outdoors shouldn't let concerns about Lyme disease keep them inside. A few tips to keep ticks away, and some advice from infectious diseases doctors about Lyme disease, should help you enjoy the spring and summer weather, as per the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), a medical professional association representing the nation's foremost experts in Lyme and other infectious diseases.

"With tick season upon us, it's important to put Lyme disease into perspective," said Gary P. Wormser, MD, chairman of the IDSA expert panel on Lyme disease and chief, division of infectious diseases, department of medicine, New York Medical College, Valhalla. "The vast majority, more than 95 percent, of people who do contract the disease are easily treated and cured with short-term antibiotic treatment."

Lyme disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi is a bacterial infection transmitted by a particular type of tick that typically feeds on small mammals, birds and deer but may also feed on cats, dogs and humans. Eventhough the disease has been reported in nearly all states, most cases are concentrated in the Mid-Atlantic and northeast states. Many cases also have been reported in Wisconsin, Minnesota and northern California.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source

May 25, 2006, 10:03 PM CT

Want To Lose Weight? Sleep More

Want To Lose Weight? Sleep More
You may be spending very few hours for sleep, now stop this and try to relax and avoid gaining weight, that's the message from a recently published study. This interesting study shows that women who sleep 5 hours or less are more prone to weight gain compared to women who sleep 7 hours. Researchers presented this study in the American Thoracic Society International conference in May 2006.

The study was interesting because it showed that women who sleep 5 hours or less per day were 32 percent more at risk of developing significant weight gain compared to women who sleep for 7 hours per day. The definition of significant weight gain was a gain in weight amounting to 33 pounds ore more. The results of this study also indicated that women who sleep 5 hours or less have 15 percent higher risk of becoming obese during the 16 year study period, compared to women who get 7 hours of sleep. The group in between, who had only 6 hours of sleep per day, had 12 percent higher chance of developing major weight gain and 6% increased risk of obesity when compared to women who regularly get 7 hours of sleep.

These conclusions are from a large study, comprising of a total of 68,183 middle-aged women, who were part of the Nurses health study. Women who participated in the study were required to state their sleeping habits and asked to report their weights every couple of years of the span 16 years covered by the study. Even at the beginning of the study women who slept 5 hours or less per day on an average had 5.4 extra pounds in their body in comparison to women who had 7 hours of sleep. The principle investigator of this study, Sanjay Patel MD, who an Associate Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University located in Cleveland, Ohio, says that this is the largest study of sleep habits and weight gain. Dr. Patel says that, this is the first study to show that reduced sleeping is associated with increased risk of weight gain over time.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

May 25, 2006, 6:46 AM CT

Five Women, Five Stories, Five Breast Cancer Survivors.

Five Women, Five Stories, Five Breast Cancer Survivors.
A year and a half ago, these women gathered for the first time for a writing and performance workshop. Having been through the world of oncology, they arrived needing to express their feelings of fear and powerlessness - as they would say, to Get It Off Our Chests. They joined the workshop to reclaim their power and use their voice and words to help other women who would follow them through the world of cancer. They knew they had a powerful message to share - there is life after cancer; there is hope; you are not alone.

Facilitated by a theatre director (me, Leah Carey) and a writing coach (novelist Jodi Picoult), the group spent three months writing, sharing their stories with each other, and learning new skills that would help them share their stories onstage. I developed a script from their writing, and three nights of performances were planned for their family, friends, and medical teams. What happened next took us all by surprise.

The response to our show, by both media and audiences, was astounding. Word spread. We were invited to perform in three states. The women jumped at the chance to take their message of hope and healing on the road (on weekends only, since all of the women have jobs and families). At each stop, audience members urged the group to record the show so it could be seen by a wider audience. ........

Posted by: Leah Carey      Permalink

May 25, 2006, 0:24 AM CT

Super-sizing Your Food Takes Toll

Super-sizing Your Food Takes Toll
From a soft drink in a mega-size cup to a jumbo order of fries, a number of fast food restaurants let you upsize your meal for pennies -- seemingly a great value.

But there's a hidden cost to those larger portions, even beyond the health consequences of gaining weight. A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison nutritional researchers has calculated how much money a single bout of overeating can cost over the following year, as per a research studywould be published in June 2006 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

"When confronted with the overwhelming costs of obesity to society as a whole, people don't always take the statistics personally," says Rachel Close, who completed the study with professor of nutritional science Dale Schoeller as part of her master's thesis. "This is another way to present the costs associated with weight gain, and might help convince people that upsizing a meal is no bargain after all. With obesity projected to rise from the current 30 percent to 40 percent of the American population by 2010, this is an important message."

Schoeller and Close were interested in how additional weight affected the amount of money spent on medical care and a vehicle's gasoline mileage, as well as the cost of the additional caloric energy mandatory to support increased body weight. The pair anchored their study on two key assumptions: that the additional calories from upsizing a fast-food meal would be stored as excess energy -- in other words, that they would lead to weight gain -- and that diners would not compensate for the excess calories during subsequent meals. Close notes that the results of this study apply to overeating regardless of the type of food consumed -- fast-food or a home-cooked meal -- as long as the diner does not compensate for the calories at a later meal.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 25, 2006, 0:21 AM CT

Switch For Skeletal-Muscle Atrophy

Switch For Skeletal-Muscle Atrophy Amber Pond, a research scientist at Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine, tests skeletal muscle and heart tissue as Xun Wang, a graduate student in basic medical sciences, takes notes. The two are part of a research team investigating treatments that arrest the muscle atrophy caused by cancer and other diseases. (Purdue photo/David Umberger)
Scientists in Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine have discovered genetic and drug-treatment methods to arrest the type of muscle atrophy often caused by muscle disuse, as well as aging and diseases such as cancer.

The findings might eventually benefit people who have been injured or suffer from diseases that cause them to be bedridden and lose muscle mass, or sometimes limbs, due to atrophy, said Amber Pond, a research scientist in the school's Department of Basic Medical Sciences.

"The weight loss and muscle wasting that occurs in patients with cancer or other diseases seriously compromises their well-being and is correlated with a poor chance for recovery," Pond said. "In addition, muscle weakness caused by atrophy during aging can lead to serious falls and bone loss. Exercise is the most beneficial strategy to treat atrophy. However, a number of individuals are too ill to adequately participate in exercise programs.

"We've found a chemical 'switch' in the body that allows us to turn atrophy on, and, from that, we also have learned how to turn atrophy off."

Findings based on the research, funded in large part by the American Heart Association, are detailed in a study available online today (Wednesday, May 24) in The FASEB Journal, published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The study will be in the journal's print edition in July.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source

May 24, 2006, 7:01 PM CT

Stressed? Then slip out to the health farm in your lunchbreak

Stressed? Then slip out to the health farm in your lunchbreak
It's generally accepted that taking a break is much better for productivity than working through lunch. But what's the best way to spend the hour? Going for a walk? Light lunch in a cafe? Quick trip to the gym? How about a visit to a health farm?.

While this might seem more associated with a weekend away than an activity for the middle of the working day, Adagio skin care centre in Newmarket Road Cambridge has introduced a lunch time beauty treat for those like the experience of a health farm but don't have the time.

Says Adagio owner Naz Mitchell: 'Spa therapys are the ultimate treat for the busy lifestyle of today, so taking a break from work to have the type of relaxing and de-stressing therapy normally associated with health farms is the ideal pick me up for the middle of the day.'

For those really pushed for time there's the 25 minute body smoother. This therapy smooths and silkens the entire body using a body buffing cloth, dry body brush and exfoliating body scrub. The therapy includes a dry body brush to take home.

With a little more time there's the 45 minute back bliss. This deep cleansing back therapy helps to recondition, decongest and rehydrate this often neglected area and includes a relaxing back massage.

For the full hour there are two therapys that really bring the feel of the health farm. The detoxifying enzymatic sea mud wrap detoxifies and exfoliates the body with a warm purifying seaweed and mud pultice, specially wrapped to promote relaxation. The wrap is infused with vitamins, minerals and micronutrients to leave skin feeling smooth and soft.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 24, 2006, 6:58 AM CT

Women With High Risk Should Have MRI of the Breast

Women With High Risk Should Have MRI of the Breast
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast is a much more sensitive test for detecting breast tumors when compared to mammogram. A recent study has observed that women who have genetic mutation and high risk of developing breast cancer should receive MRI of the breast rather than mammogram as the screening test for breast cancer.

Women who inherit BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations have about 60 to 80 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the best screening test for those women who have BRCA mutation. MRI is expensive and costs 10 times more than mammography but is capable of detecting small tumors, which may be missed by mammogram giving a chance to treat such tumors earlier. However the high sensitivity of MRI causes significant false positive results, by showing a number of non-malignant breast abnormalities.

Scientists used computer models that set a threshold of $100,000 spent for each year of life gained and demonstrated that use of MRI in high-risk women is cost effective for young women (35 to 54 years) who carry BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink

May 24, 2006, 0:32 AM CT

Alcohol Abuse Increases The Risk Of Pneumonia

Alcohol Abuse Increases The Risk Of Pneumonia
The results of a paper reported in the journal Chest (129(5):1219-25) show that alcoholic and ex-alcoholic individuals have a higher risk of suffering from community acquired pneumonia. Eventhough mortality did not differ significantly, an increase of the severeness of the disease was shown, and consequently, an increase of the morbidity and the complications was revealed. This study was conducted by the Pneumonia Multidiscipline Group of Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, led by Dr. Antoni Torres, from the Institut Clínic del Torax, and leader of the IDIBAPS Group Management and Prevention of the Pulmonary Disease.

The increase of the risk of suffering from pneumonia in alcoholic patients exists due to the fact that the activity of their immune system decreases. This decrease not only is observed in alcoholic, but also in ex alcoholic patients. The daily quantity of alcohol consumption in order to include patients in the group of alcohol abuse was of 80 g in man and 60 g in women, the equivalent of 2 or 3 beers and 3 or 4 cups of wine.

Results are particularly relevant since alcohol is the more abused drug in Spain, and causes a total of 12,000 deaths every year. In addition, pneumonia is a very frequent disease, with 10 patients every 1,000 inhabitants in Catalonia. This number is much higher if we take into account in the population over 65. This is the reason why the consequences of this study, and the possible vaccination of alcoholic of ex-alcoholic individuals against Pneumococcus, would affect a very high number of people. Alcohol consumption could turn into a new risk factor or a worsening factor to take into account in cases of community acquired pneumonia.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source

May 24, 2006, 0:16 AM CT

Hope For The Blind

Hope For The Blind Elizabeth Goldring, a senior fellow at MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies, looks at an image she created to approximate what she sees when she looks through her seeing machine at an image of a staircase. Photo / Donna Coveney
An MIT poet has developed a small, relatively inexpensive "seeing machine" that can allow people who are blind, or visually challenged like her, to access the Internet, view the face of a friend, "previsit" unfamiliar buildings and more.

Recently the machine received positive feedback from 10 visually challenged people with a range of causes for their vision loss who tested it in a pilot clinical trial. The work was reported in Optometry, the Journal of the American Optometric Association, earlier this year.

The work is led by Elizabeth Goldring, a senior fellow at MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies. She developed the machine over the last 10 years, in collaboration with more than 30 MIT students and some of her personal eye doctors. The new device costs about $4,000, low compared to the $100,000 price tag of its inspiration, a machine Goldring discovered through her eye doctor.

Goldring's adventures at the intersection of art and high technology began with a visit to her doctor, Lloyd Aiello, head of the Beetham Eye Institute of the Joslin Diabetes Center. At the time, Goldring was blind. (Surgeries have since restored vision in one eye).

To better examine her eyes, Aiello asked her to go to the Schepens Eye Research Institute at Harvard, where technicians peered into her eyes with a diagnostic device known as a scanning laser opthalmoscope, or SLO. With the machine they projected a simple image directly onto the retina of one eye, past the hemorrhages within the eye that contributed to her blindness. The idea was to determine whether she had any healthy retina left.........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink         Source

May 23, 2006, 11:44 PM CT

Spacers Better Than Nebulizers For Childhood Asthma

Spacers Better Than Nebulizers For Childhood Asthma
Two therapy methods for asthma attacks -- spacers and nebulizers -- are equally effective in staving off hospital admissions, a new review shows. However, at least for children, spacers mean shorter stays in emergency departments.

The review authors, led by Christopher Cates, M.D., of the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada, analyzed information from 25 studies of 2,066 children ages 2 years and older, and 614 adults with asthma. All used either spacers or nebulizers to deliver beta-2 agonists, medications that help "open" the lungs to ease breathing in asthma attacks.

The review appears in the current issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.

A spacer is a holding chamber attached to devices for inhaling asthma medication. A nebulizer is an electrically powered machine that turns liquid medicine into a mist breathed directly into the lungs through a face mask or mouthpiece. Nebulizers are the traditional method for treating asthma attacks, and are still used more often in hospitals.

The authors found that spacers and nebulizers work equally well for treating non-life-threatening asthma attacks, in terms of need for inpatient admission and the number of days in the hospital.........

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. Archives of health news blog

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