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September 3, 2007, 1:01 PM CT

Work time and a person's sleep

Work time and a person's sleep
Work time is the primary lifestyle factor with the largest reciprocal relationship to a persons sleep time the more hours a person works, the less sleep that he or she gets, as per a research studyreported in the September 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

The study, authored by Mathias Basner, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania, focused on a total of 47,731 respondents to the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) conducted in 2003, 2004 and 2005. The telephone survey was 15-20 minutes in length, and asked people how they spent their time between 4 a.m. the prior day and 4 a.m. the interview day, including where they were and whom they were with.

As per the results, most waking activities were inversely correlation to sleep time. The largest reciprocal relationship to sleep on both weekdays and weekends was found for work time. Respondents who slept four-and-a-half hours or less worked an average of 93 minutes more on weekdays and 118 minutes more on weekends than the average sleeper, while those who slept 11-and-a-half hours or more worked an average of 143 minutes less on weekdays and 71 minutes less on weekends than the average sleeper.

These cross-sectional results in a nationally representative sample suggest that compensated work time is the most potent determinant of sleep time, in which case work time should be considered an important factor when evaluating the relationship between sleep time and morbidity and mortality, said Dr. Basner.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 3, 2007, 12:05 AM CT

Lettuce, leafy greens and E. coli

Lettuce, leafy greens and E. coli
The rise in year-round consumption of fresh leafy greens such as lettuce and baby spinach is increasing the difficulty of keeping produce free from contamination by food poisoning bacteria, as per US researchers speaking today (Monday 3 September 2007) at the Society for General Microbiologys 161st Meeting at the University of Edinburgh, UK, which runs from 3-6 September 2007.

The only land suitable for supplying this abundance of year-round, high quality, fresh leafy vegetables, which are eaten raw by large populations in Europe and the United States, is in special geographic regions, with ideal soil and climate conditions, says Robert Mandrell from the US Department of Agricultures Research Service in Albany, California.

This move to the year-round supply of leafy vegetables has mandatory new methods to clean, package and deliver rapidly these fragile food items across large distances to consumers in a number of parts of the world. These include harvesting mowers for some leafy greens, processing in water flumes and triple washing, and modified atmosphere packaging for extended shelf-life.

Recent food scares and food poisoning outbreaks have led to intensive investigations of farms and ranches. These have shown that at least some food poisoning bacteria outbreaks have been due to field contamination before the greens are even harvested.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 3, 2007, 11:32 AM CT

First Common Height Gene Identified

First Common Height Gene Identified
Whilst we all know that tall parents are more likely to have tall children, researchers have been unable to identify any common genes that make people taller than others. Now, however, researchers have identified the first gene, known as HMGA2, a common variant of which directly influences height.

The difference in height between a person carrying two copies of the variant and a person carrying no copies is just under 1cm in height, so does not on its own explain the range of heights across the population. However, the scientists believe the findings may prove important.

Prior studies have suggested that, unlike conditions such as obesity, which is caused by a mix of genetic and environmental factors so called "nature and nurture" 90% of normal variation in human height is due to genetic factors rather than, for example, diet. However, other than very rare gene variants that affect height in only a small number of people, no common gene variants have until now been identified.

The research was led by Dr Tim Frayling from the Peninsula Medical School, Exeter, Professor Mark McCarthy from the University of Oxford and Dr Joel Hirschhorn from the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT in Cambridge, US. Dr Frayling and Professor McCarthy were also part of a Wellcome Trust-funded study team that discovered the first common gene associated with obesity in April this year.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


September 3, 2007, 10:50 AM CT

Psychiatrists are the least religious of all physicians

Psychiatrists are the least religious of all physicians
A nationwide survey of the religious beliefs and practices of American physicians has observed that the least religious of all medical specialties is psychiatry. Among psychiatry experts who have a religion, more than twice as a number of are Jewish and far fewer are Protestant or Catholic, the two most common religions among physicians overall.

The study, reported in the September 2007 issue of Psychiatric Services, also observed that religious physicians, particularly Protestants, are less likely to refer patients to psychiatry experts, and more likely to send them to members of the clergy or to a religious counselor.

"Something about psychiatry, perhaps its historical ties to psychoanalysis and the anti-religious views of the early analysts such as Sigmund Freud, seems to dissuade religious medical students from choosing to specialize in this field," said study author Farr Curlin, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. "It also seems to discourage religious physicians from referring their patients to psychiatry experts".

"Prior surveys have documented the unusual religious profile of psychiatry," he said, "but this is the first study to suggest that that profile leads a number of physicians to look away from psychiatry experts for help in responding to patients psychological and spiritual suffering".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 31, 2007, 5:11 AM CT

Cannabis Use On Vacation And Daily Life

Cannabis Use On Vacation And Daily Life
One particular brand of "deviance tourism" that may be gaining in popularity, Santos said, is travel to such locales as Amsterdam and Morocco to consume marijuana or hashish.

Photo by Yaniv Belhassen
Don't be surprised if some of your colleagues and acquaintances aren't exactly forthcoming about how they spent their summer vacations.

Those who appear to have a don't-ask, don't-tell policy when it comes to discussing details of their trips to certain locations in Asia, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, South America and elsewhere abroad may be among a sub-set of travelers engaging in so-called "deviance" tourism.

According to Carla Santos, a professor of recreation, sport and tourism at the University of Illinois, "deviance tourism refers to a phenomenon in which travelers engage in behaviors that would be considered illicit, illegal or counter-normative in their countries of origin".

One particular brand of such tourism that may be gaining in popularity, Santos said, is travel to such locales as Amsterdam and Morocco to consume marijuana or hashish. Santos is a co-author with her doctoral student, Yaniv Belhassen, and Natan Uriely of "Cannabis Use in Tourism: A Sociological Perspective," published in the recent issue of the journal Leisure Studies. The article is based on work Belhassen completed for his master's thesis at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, with Uriely, a professor of hotel and tourism management at Ben-Gurion.

"The study focuses on the relationship between cannabis use in tourism and everyday life," said Belhassen, who completed his doctoral requirements this summer and has accepted a faculty position at Ben-Gurion.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 31, 2007, 5:08 AM CT

The science of growing neurons

The science of growing neurons
Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a method for culturing mammalian neurons in chambers not much larger than the neurons themselves. The new approach extends the lifespan of the neurons at very low densities, an essential step toward developing a method for studying the growth and behavior of individual brain cells.

The technique is described this month in the journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry - Lab on a Chip.

"This finding will be very positively greeted by the neuroscience community," said Martha Gillette, who is an author on the study and the head of the cell and developmental biology department at Illinois. "This is pushing the limits of what you can do with neurons in culture".

Growing viable mammalian neurons at low density in an artificial environment is no easy task. Using postnatal neurons only adds to the challenge, Gillette said, because these cells are extremely sensitive to environmental conditions.

All neurons rely on a steady supply of proteins and other "trophic factors" present in the extracellular fluid. These factors are secreted by the neurons themselves or by support cells, such as the glia. This is why neurons tend to do best when grown at high density and in the presence of other brain cells. But a dense or complex mixture of cells complicates the task of characterizing the behavior of individual neurons.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


August 31, 2007, 5:05 AM CT

HPV vaccines may decrease risk of oral cancer

HPV vaccines may decrease risk of oral cancer
Oral cancer
The Centers for Disease Control report that nearly 25 million women are infected with some form of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Of those, more than three million are thought to have one of the four strains known to cause cases of cervical cancer and genital warts.

HPV is associated with oropharyngeal cancer and may be associated with oral cancers as well, and vaccines that have been developed to treat HPV might decrease the risk of these cancers, as per a research studyin the May/recent issue of General Dentistry, the clinical, peer-evaluated journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).

James J. Closmann, BS, DDS, the lead author of the study, observed that oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OOSCC) have been associated with high-risk HPV strains, the same strains that cause cervical cancer.

Recently, a vaccine was developed to treat patients with HPV against cervical cancer, and this could have an effect on womens oral health.

More than 100 strains of HPV have been identified, says Dr. Closmann. They have been shown to cause other non-malignant and cancerous disorders, which now include those in the mouth. Nearly 30,000 new cases of oral and oropharyngeal cancer are reported each year. Its possible that oral and oropharyngeal cancers could be reduced if vaccination were more widespread; however, additional research is needed.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


August 31, 2007, 5:01 AM CT

Some Kids Are Being Misdiagnosed With Asthma

Some Kids Are Being Misdiagnosed With Asthma
Typically vocal cord dysfunction (vcd) is the sudden, abnormal narrowing of the vocal cords during inhalation causing obstruction of the airflow, and is characterized by a noise that can mimic the sound of wheezing. A VCD attack can easily be mistaken for an asthma attack though it does not respond to asthma medications.

Treatment of VCD relies on correct identification of the disorder using breathing and relaxation techniques to help the vocal cords relax. During an acute VCD attack, spirometry (a device that measures airflows) can show patterns that are highly suggestive of VCD.

Doctors at Columbus Childrens Hospital performed a clinical research study using spirometry in Childrens Emergency Department to try to identify adolescents who had findings suggestive of VCD in comparison to an acute asthma attack. The year-long study (February 2005-February 2006) included patients 12-21-years-old who suffered from acute episodes of respiratory distress. The manuscript was reported in the recent issue of Pediatric Pulmonology.

Both asthma and VCD are very common, and emergency departments across the country are seeing more and more kids with these kinds of symptoms, said Karen McCoy, MD, chief of Pulmonology at Columbus Childrens Hospital and a faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. While they may appear similar to parents, the conditions act differently and must be treated differently. It is important that parents, coaches and family doctors are aware of the differences.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 31, 2007, 4:54 AM CT

Underage drinking starts before adolescence

Underage drinking starts before adolescence
As schools reopen around the country, a new study finds that parents and teachers should pay attention to alcohol prevention starting as early as fourth grade.

A review of national and statewide surveys conducted over the last 15 years shows that among typical 4th graders, 10% have already had more than a sip of alcohol and 7% have had a drink in the past year. While the numbers are small in the fourth grade, the surveys show that the percent of children who have used alcohol increases with age, and doubles between grades four and six. The largest jump in rates occurs between grades five and six, as per John E. Donovan, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He is author of the study, Really Underage Drinkers: The Epidemiology of Childrens Alcohol Use in the United States, reported in the recent issue of Prevention Science, a peer-evaluated journal of the Society for Prevention Research (SPR).

Dr. Donovan said that eventhough there are a number of published national surveys of alcohol use among adolescents, national surveys and those conducted by state governments that have looked at alcohol use among young children are often unpublished. He observed that 39 of the 50 states have conducted statewide surveys that included children in the 6th grade or younger. His study summarized the results of the available national surveys as well as the statewide surveys conducted by Arizona, Delaware, New York, Ohio and Texas, which included fourth and fifth graders. Several of the surveys conducted on a regular basis since 1990 show that the numbers of elementary school children who have ever used alcohol, who have used alcohol in the past year, and who have used alcohol in the past month have all decreased significantly over time. But the numbers are still alarming because of the correlation between early alcohol consumption and negative outcomes later during both adolescence and young adulthood. It is this linkage that argues most strongly for preventing alcohol use previous to adolescence, Donovan said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 31, 2007, 4:52 AM CT

Children stressed 6 months before starting school

Children stressed 6 months before starting school
The first few days at school can be an anxious time as children face the challenge of a new environment and making new friends but as per new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, children show signs of stress three to six months before term even starts.

The researchers, led by Dr Julie Turner-Cobb at the University of Bath, were studying the effect of childrens temperament and behaviour on how stressful they found the experience of starting school.

To do this, they measured the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in children two weeks after they had started primary school and then measured them again six months later. They also took cortisol measurements three to six months before the children started school to provide baseline levels for comparison.

But the scientists were surprised to find that, far from providing a baseline, childrens cortisol levels were already high several months before the start of the school term. This suggests that stress levels in anticipation of starting school begin to rise much earlier than we expected, says Dr Turner-Cobb.

Why a preschool child should be anxious about an event so far in the future is something of a mystery but Dr Turner-Cobb speculates that parents were getting stressed about their children starting school and that their stress was being passed on to the children.........

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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