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November 23, 2006, 5:21 AM CT

Prolonged Anthracycline Therapy Reduces Heart Problems

Prolonged Anthracycline Therapy Reduces Heart Problems
Stretching out a dose of chemotherapy over six or more hours may reduce the risk of heart problems caused by certain usually used cancer drugs, as per a new review of recent research.

Anthracycline drugs like daunorubicin and doxorubicin are used to treat a number of types of solid tumors and blood cancers such as leukemias in adults and children.

Anthracycline treatment can be very successful at controlling cancer, but heart damage caused by anthracycline therapy is a considerable and serious problem, said Dr. Elvira van Dalen of the Emma Childrens Hospital in the Netherlands.

She and her colleagues observed that the rates of heart failure among adult patients receiving anthracycline treatment were significantly lower when the patients had an infusion of the drug that lasted six or more hours, in comparison to shorter infusions times.

In five studies involving 557 patients, the longer therapy cut the risk of heart failure by nearly 75 percent in comparison to the risk in patients who received the short therapy.

van Dalen said the prolonged dose of six hours or more might be justified if a patient is at high risk of heart damage or needs a high cumulative dose of the chemotherapy.

The review appears in the latest 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.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 22, 2006, 4:21 AM CT

New Year Without Putting On Pounds

New Year Without Putting On Pounds
Your leftover Halloween candy is almost gone from your cupboards, and the holiday season with all its sweet temptations has begun.

However, all those holiday parties and office gatherings laden with scrumptious food and drink don't have to mean the end of your weight loss plan. It's still possible to enjoy the bounty and not feel deprived of your favorite holiday dishes, says Connie Diekman, director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis.

"The first rule of thumb for eating at holiday gatherings," Diekman says, "is never go to the party hungry. Have a little something healthy before you go - a piece of fruit, half a sandwich or a glass of milk. Be sure when you arrive you aren't overly hungry."

Then when you arrive at the party, Diekman suggests doing a survey of the situation and figure out how you want to approach the buffet table, if there is one.

"Plan on getting your food off the buffet table and then moving away from the table to eat," she says. "Use a plate, and don't stand at the table and pick at the food. Seeing what is on the plate begins the process of realizing how much food is enough for you."

When you do fill your plate, keep in mind that two thirds of the food on it should come from whole grains, fruits and vegetables, Diekman points out. The remaining third can be meats, sauces, and high-fat and high-calorie foods. "Try to concentrate on loading up on those things that are going to fill you up as opposed to the high-calorie, empty foods."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 21, 2006, 8:46 PM CT

Watching TV can improve parenting and child behavior

Watching TV can improve parenting and child behavior
Watching television parenting programmes like ITV's Driving Mum and Dad Mad really can help improve parenting skills and modify children's behavioural problems, as per a research studyat The University of Manchester.

The six-part series followed the progress of five families whose children showed clear behavioural problems through Professor Matt Sanders' 'Triple P-Positive Parenting Programme,' which provides guidance on parenting skills which promote good behavioural and emotional adjustment.

In 'The Great Parenting Experiment: The role of the mass media in preventing anti-social behaviour in children,' clinical psychology experts Dr Rachel Calam and Professor Sanders himself studied a sample of the 4.2 million parents tuning into the first series in Spring 2005. Funded by the Home Office's Respect Task Force, the team assessed how much watching the programmes actually helped parents at home.

Dr Calam said: "This is the first national experiment to monitor parents working alongside a 'TV info-tainment' series and trying out the techniques shown. We wanted to assess whether, by adopting the ideas suggested, mums and dads were able to improve their children's behaviour and reduce their own stress levels.

"465 parents completed an assessment of their children's behaviour, parenting practices, confidence as a parent, stress levels and family circumstances before the series, which was repeated 12 weeks after the series started and again six months later. Parents who just watched the series and those given additional 'enhanced support' reported significantly fewer problems with both their children's conduct and their parenting practices after 12 weeks.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 21, 2006, 5:22 AM CT

Holiday Gluttony Can Spell Disaster For Undiagnosed Diabetics

Holiday Gluttony Can Spell Disaster For Undiagnosed Diabetics
Hearty feasts and couch-potato marathons are holiday traditions, but UT Southwestern Medical Center experts warn that packing on pounds and not exercising could be deadly for the 6 million Americans who have diabetes and don't even know it.

Diabetes, a metabolic disorder linked with obesity, can be a silent killer because its symptoms aren't sudden, but build up over time and lead to heart disease or other maladies.

That's bad news for those with undiagnosed diabetes.

"The obesity epidemic is surging and people don't realize they're setting themselves up to develop diabetes. They're like ticking time bombs," said Dr. Manisha Chandalia, an endocrinologist at UT Southwestern. "Without therapy, high levels of blood sugars in the body can damage blood vessels and nerves over time, leading to high cholesterol, hypertension, stroke, kidney disease and amputations".

If you are age 40 or older, obese, lack physical activity or have a family history of diabetes, Dr. Chandalia recommends making time during the holidays to visit a doctor for a diabetes test. Symptoms include excessive thirst or hunger, dramatic weight loss, fatigue, frequent urination or blurry vision.

The holidays also are a perfect time to start getting healthy, she said, offering these tips:........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 21, 2006, 5:16 AM CT

Does student achievement spur national economic growth?

Does student achievement spur national economic growth?
Educational policy discourse supports the idea that increases in science and mathematics achievement correlate to nation-wide economic gains. However, a thought-provoking new study from the American Journal of Education challenges the perceived causal links between educational achievement and economic growth. Francisco O. Ramirez (Stanford University) and his co-authors find that without the so-called "Asian Tigers," the correlation diminishes and all but disappears.

"This is a striking finding that calls into question the disproportionate attention (and envy) focused on those few countries with the very highest achievement scores," write the authors. "It is clear that education and its reforms are everywhere seen in light of their supposed economic effects. It is also clear that the areas of education given the most attention as relevant to economic goals have been science and mathematics, the new keys to economic growth".

Comparing national GDP data with international standardized test scores over two twenty-year periods (1970-1990 and 1980-2000), the scientists observed that countries with high science and math scores do tend to grow somewhat more rapidly than other countries - but not when Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan are removed from the analysis, or in an analysis of the last two decades. Additionally, "Moving from the 'middle of the pack' to the top provides less of an economic boost," the authors write.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 21, 2006, 5:12 AM CT

Clues From Dragonfly About Human Obesity

Clues From Dragonfly About Human Obesity Among dragonfly (Libellula pulchella) a supposedly harmless parasite triggers metabolic disorders similar to those found in humans afflicted with insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Parasite-infected dragonflies suffer the same metabolic disorders that have led to an epidemic of obesity and type-2 diabetes in humans, reveal the findings of research conducted at Penn State University that are due would be reported in the 5 December 2006 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and also in the PNAS early online edition at www.pnas.org on 21 November. The discovery expands the known taxonomic breadth of metabolic disease and suggests that the study of microbes found in human intestines may provide a greater understanding of the root causes of human metabolic dysfunction.

James Marden, professor of biology and an insect physiologist at Penn State, and Ruud Schilder, who in August 2006 earned his doctorate in biology at Penn State and is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Nebraska, are the first to show a non-mammalian species suffering from metabolic dysfunction in ways similar to humans. "Metabolic disease isn't some strange thing having just to do with humans," said Marden. "Animals in general suffer from these symptoms".

The work is also novel because it links metabolic disease to a supposedly harmless parasite living in the dragonfly's gut. The parasites, known as gregarines, belong to the Apicomplexa, a group of microorganisms that includes protozoa, which cause diseases like malaria and cryptosporidiosis. The dragonfly species that Marden and Schilder studied is Libellula pulchella. The microbes disrupting the dragonfly metabolism may hold clues for researchers looking for the root causes of metabolic diseases in humans, as per Marden and Schilder's paper.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 20, 2006, 5:08 AM CT

Yeast Model Shows Promise As Alzheimer's Test

Yeast Model Shows Promise As Alzheimer's Test
A century ago this month, German psychiatry expert Alois Alzheimer formally described characteristics of the neurodegenerative disease which ultimately came to bear his name. While international efforts to learn about Alzheimer's disease and develop therapys have progressed significantly in recent years, a cure remains an elusive goal.

A new research tool developed by Susan Liebman, distinguished university professor of biological sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, may ultimately provide a means for treating the earliest stage of Alzheimer's, thereby stemming its progression.

Typically alzheimer's disease is characterized by the formation of plaques in the brain largely composed of fibers made from a peptide called beta-amyloid, or A-beta, for short. There is abundant evidence to support the hypothesis that accumulation of A-beta peptide triggers the appearance of Alzheimer's. But while earlier research suggested the A-beta fiber caused Alzheimer's, recent research points at much smaller aggregates of the peptide as the culprit.

"We've developed a yeast model system in which A-beta small aggregate formation can be detected," said Liebman. "The system employs a fusion of the human A-beta peptide to a functional yeast protein, called a reporter protein, which is only active in allowing cells to grow on test media if the fusion does not form aggregates".........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


November 20, 2006, 5:05 AM CT

Adolescent Girls More Active if Neighborhoods Have Parks

Adolescent Girls More Active if Neighborhoods Have Parks
Adolescent girls who live within half a mile of a public park are significantly more physically active than other girls, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill scientists have found.

The study observed that physical activity was higher for girls who lived within a mile of parks and showed highest levels among girls who lived less than one-half mile from a park, said Dr. Diane Catellier, a study investigator and research associate professor of biostatistics in the UNC School of Public Health. The scientists observed that girls only got about 114 minutes a week of intense physical activity outside of school hours, or about 16 minutes a day.

Dr. Deborah Cohen, a senior natural scientist at RAND Corporation and lead author of the study, said the U.S. surgeon general recommends that all children and adolescents get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day. "We still have a long way to go in encouraging girls to be active".

The results appear in the November 2006 issue of Pediatrics. The study was led by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization. Scientists from UNC-Chapel Hill, the University of Arizona, the University of South Carolina and San Diego State University participated. Funding was provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 20, 2006, 5:01 AM CT

Confusion About Calories Is Nothing New

Confusion About Calories Is Nothing New
While enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family, most try to avoid thinking about the seemingly unending number of Calories they're consuming.

It probably never crosses their minds, however, to think about why food is measured in Calories.

James L. Hargrove, associate professor of foods and nutrition in the University of Georgia's College of Family and Consumer Sciences, said a number of nutritionists aren't even sure of the true origin of the Calorie (or why it's supposed to be capitalized).

"We all teach this unit, and nobody knows where it came from, not even the historians of nutrition," he said.

After this realization, Hargrove began studying the origins of the Calorie. He details his findings in a study would be reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

Formally, a Calorie is a measure of the amount of energy mandatory to heat one kilogram of water one degree Celsius. It was first used in engineering and physics, but eventually found its niche in nutrition, where it is used to measure the amount of energy food contains.

Hargrove observed that there's some controversy about who "invented" the Calorie. Some references show that two Frenchmen, P.A. Favre and J.T. Silbermann, invented the Calorie in 1852. Other texts state that a German physician, Julius Mayer, effectively invented the Calorie in a study he published in 1848.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 19, 2006, 9:22 PM CT

Women At Higher Risk Of PTSD

Women At Higher Risk Of PTSD
Males experience more traumatic events on average than do females, yet females are more likely to meet diagnostic criteria for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as per a review of 25 years of research published in the recent issue of Psychological Bulletin, published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

The authors evaluated 290 studies conducted between 1980 and 2005 to determine who is more at risk for potentially traumatic events (PTE) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) males or females? The results of the meta-analysis observed that while males have a higher risk for traumatic events, women suffer from higher PTSD rates. PTSD is defined as an anxiety disorder precipitated by a traumatic event and characterized by symptoms of re-experiencing the trauma, avoidance and numbing and hyperarousal.

From the review, scientists David F. Tolin, PhD of the Institute of Living and Edna B. Foa, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine observed that female study participants were more likely than male study participants to have experienced sexual assault and child sexual abuse, but less likely to have experienced accidents, nonsexual assaults, witness death or injury, disaster or fire and combat or war. Sexual trauma, the authors conclude, may cause more emotional suffering and are more likely to contribute to a PTSD diagnosis than other types of trauma.........

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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