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September 24, 2006, 10:07 PM CT

Decision-making Process In Alcoholics

Decision-making Process In Alcoholics
People make decisions all the time: they form preferences, take action, and evaluate outcomes, whether rewarding or aversive. Impaired decision making is regarded as one of the neurobehavioral hallmarks of addiction. New research has observed that alcoholics with certain coexisting personality disorders (PDs) have decision-making abilities that are especially impaired.

Results are reported in the recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research

"Normally, we make choices by weighing immediate benefits of different options relative to possible negative consequences in the longer term," said Geert Dom, head of therapy at the Alexian Brothers Psychiatric Centre in Boechout, Belgium. "When these abilities are impaired, people are less able to cognitively evaluate the longer-term consequences of their choices. This is reflected in real life by choices that are socially inadequate and/or correlation to overtly negative outcomes. Substance or polydrug use/abuse is one example".

On a neuronal level, added Dom, decision making is believed to involve multiple brain structures in the limbic region. "These brain regions are very important in the processing of emotions, motivational processes and the processing of rewards and punishments," he said. "Earlier studies have indicated that individuals with lesions in these regions lose the ability to make advantageous decisions, reflected by severe social behavioral problems and impaired performance on decision-making tasks such as the Iowa Gambling Task, which was originally designed to study decision-making in neurological patients with brain lesions."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

September 24, 2006, 9:50 PM CT

Diabetes Not Obesity

Diabetes Not Obesity
Diabetes puts people who are at risk of developing critical illness and dying early, but obesity without diabetes does not. A study published recently in the open access journal Critical Care reveals that individuals suffering from diabetes are three times more at risk of developing critical illness and dying young than individuals who do not have diabetes. Obese individuals who do not have diabetes, by contrast, have the same risk of dying or of falling critically ill as non-obese patients who do not have diabetes. These results are surprising, as obesity is associated with diabetes. The authors of the study conclude that the relationship between obesity, diabetes and critical illness is complex and that obesity, per se, does not predict poor outcomes.

Katarina Slynkova and his colleagues from the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital collaborated with colleagues from Emory University School of Medicine to analyse data from 15,408 subjects aged 44 to 66, coming from four different US communities, who had originally been studied between 1986 and 1989. The authors analysed the subjects' body mass index (BMI), presence of diabetes (either type 1 or type 2) and the subjects' history of critical illness (acute organ failure) and mortality within 3 years.

Slynkova et al.'s results show that, in the absence of diabetes, obese individuals do not have an increased risk of suffering from acute organ failure, and of dying from acute organ failure, than non-obese individuals. By contrast, patients with diabetes are three times more likely to become critically ill with acute organ failure and they are three times more likely to die from acute organ failure, or from any cause, than patients who do not have diabetes, regardless of their BMI. Slynkova et al. conclude that diabetes is a strong independent predictor of acute organ failure and subsequent death, or death from any cause.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

September 23, 2006, 11:44 AM CT

Chronic Pain After Breast Cancer Surgery

Chronic Pain After Breast Cancer Surgery
A woman's young age, extensive surgery, and whether she suffered severe, post-operative pain are risk factors for developing chronic pain after breast cancer surgery, a University of Rochester study found.

Up to half of all women who undergo a lumpectomy or mastectomy feel pain weeks or months later near the breast, adjacent armpit and upper arm on the same side. It is often described as burning, throbbing, and/or a sharp pain.

As per a research findings reported in the September 2006 Journal of Pain, lead author Robert H. Dworkin, Ph.D., a University of Rochester Medical Center professor of anesthesiology, neurology, oncology and psychiatry, and international pain management expert, recommends that women facing breast-cancer surgery should be counseled beforehand to alleviate any distress they may have and improve coping skills. Results of the study suggest that a combination of analgesic drugs and counseling immediately after surgery might also help to prevent long-term problems, he said.

"Women with breast cancer have unique concerns and fears that may be connected to pain," Dworkin said. "And despite considerable changes over time in surgical approaches, these results are consistent with other studies".

Few prospective studies have identified the characteristics of patients who are most likely to develop chronic pain, which can diminish a woman's quality of life by leading to job loss or marriage stress, even if the cancer is successfully treated.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

September 23, 2006, 11:31 AM CT

Taller Women Are More Likely To Have Twins

Taller Women Are More Likely To Have Twins
Taller women are more likely to have twins according to experts. They suggest insulin-like growth factorr is responsible for this increased incedence. By comparing the heights of women who had given birth to twins or triplets with the average height of women in the United States, Gary Steinman, MD, PhD, an attending doctor at Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Center, observed that the multiple-birth mothers averaged more than an inch taller. The study was reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine.

"Any circumstance that affects the amount of available insulin-like growth factor so as to modify the sensitivity of the ovary to follicle-stimulating hormone appears to govern the rate of spontaneous twinning," said Dr. Steinman.

Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) is a protein that is released from the liver in response to growth hormone. It increases the sensitivity of the ovaries to follicle stimulating hormone, thereby increasing ovulation. Some studies also suggest that IGF may help embryos survive in the early stages of development.

Among its a number of effects in the body, IGF stimulates cells in the shaft of long bones to grow. Prior studies have demonstrated that people with short stature have significantly lower levels of IGF. Countries with taller women have higher rates of twinning in comparison to countries with shorter women.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source

September 22, 2006, 4:32 PM CT

Diverticulitis Now Seen In Young, Obese Adults

Diverticulitis Now Seen In Young, Obese Adults
This used to be a disease of older people who are more than 50 years old. Now this this is appearing in younger adults, who are obese. A research study from the University of Maryland Medical Center showed that diverticulitis is now occurring in younger adults who are obese.

"Over the last ten years, I noted that a number of patients coming into the emergency room with CT findings of acute diverticulitis seemed younger than traditional teaching suggested, and often were obese," said Barry Daly, MD, an author of the study partner in research. "We were seeing patients as young as their early twenties, though textbooks typically describe this condition as a disease of the over-fifty age group," he said.

Elderly adults often develop acute diverticulitis, and this is considered to be one of the most frequent acute diseases of the colon. This disease is thoughtful occur because of inadequate amount of fiber in the diet. A diet which is deficient in fiber causes numerous thin-walled out-pouches called diverticula to develop in the bowel wall. This is actually a chronic condition known as diverticulosis. With passage of time bacterial infection of these diverticula can occur and this would cause inflammation that may lead to a perforation in the wall of the intestine and other serious complications.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source

September 21, 2006, 4:52 AM CT

New Link In The Evolution Of Immunity

New Link In The Evolution Of Immunity Gray whale
Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine have discovered a unique evolutionary link between the immune systems of fish and mammals in the form of a primitive version of B cells, white blood cells of the immune system. Their studies link the evolution of the adaptive immune system in mammals, where B cells produce antibodies to fight infection, to the more primitive innate immunity in fish, where they observed that B cells take part in phagocytosis (literally: cell eating), the process by which cells of the immune system ingest foreign particles and microbes.

The finding, which appears in the online version of Nature Immunology and will be featured on the cover of the October issue, represents a sizeable evolutionary step for the mammalian immune system and offers a potential new strategy for developing much-needed fish vaccines.

"When examining fish B cells we see them actively attacking and eating foreign bodies, which is a behavior that, as per the current dogma, just shouldn't happen in B cells," said J. Oriol Sunyer, a professor in Penn Vet's Department of Pathobiology. "I believe it is evidence for a very real correlation between the most primitive forms of immunological defense, which has survived in fish, and the more advanced, adaptive immune response seen in humans and other mammals".........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source

September 21, 2006, 4:44 AM CT

Eculizumab For The Treatment Of PNH

Eculizumab For The Treatment Of PNH Image courtesy of
A study led by Dr Peter Hillmen of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, relating to an uncommon and severe haemolytic anaemia known as paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH), was reported in the current issue of The New England Journal (NEJM). In the Phase III efficacy study, TRIUMPH, 87 patients were treated at 34 sites in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia. The data showed clinically significant improvements in anaemia and the quality of life for patients with PNH.

The study was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that tested the safety and efficacy of eculizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody against complement protein C5, that inhibits terminal complement activation. Patients received either placebo or eculizumab intravenously. Eculizumab therapy significantly improved anaemia in patients as both primary endpoints were achieved, including median transfusion rate and haemoglobin stabilization over six months. The median transfusion rate was reduced from 10 units per patient with placebo to 0 units per patient with eculizumab (p<0.001). Haemoglobin stabilization was achieved by 49&#37; of eculizumab patients as in comparison to 0&#37; for placebo (p<0.001). Patients treated with eculizumab also experienced significantly less intravascular hemolysis, fatigue, pain, and shortness of breath, together with improvements in overall health status and functioning.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source

September 20, 2006, 10:10 PM CT

Prenatal vitamins may reduce risk of brain tumors in children

Prenatal vitamins may reduce risk of brain tumors in children
Women who take multivitamins early in pregnancy may reduce the risk that their child will develop some types of brain tumors.

Public health agencies already urge pregnant women to take multivitamins that contain folic acid early in pregnancy to reduce their fetus's risk of developing a neural tube defect such as spina bifida. "This current study suggests another possible protective effect for the vitamins," said study leader Greta R. Bunin, Ph.D., of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She added, "Children whose mothers took multivitamins close to the time of conception seemed less likely to suffer medulloblastoma and primitive neuroectodermal tumors of the brain".

While childhood brain tumors are, fortunately, relatively rare, medulloblastoma is the second most common brain tumor in children. Occurring in one in 20,000 children under age six, it appears in the cerebellum, the lower portion of the brain, and the area of the brain that coordinates movement. Primitive neuroectodermal tumors of the brain (PNET) are similar to medulloblastoma but occur in other parts of the central nervous system.

Dr. Bunin led a study comparing 315 children diagnosed with those tumors before age six to 315 randomly chosen healthy children. The children with cancer, all of whom were diagnosed between 1991 and 1997, were registered in the Children's Oncology Group, a multicenter collaborative organization of pediatric cancer programs in the U.S. and Canada.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source

September 20, 2006, 9:54 PM CT

Skeletal Microdamage Stable After First Year

Skeletal Microdamage Stable After First Year
Skeletal microdamage resulting from bisphosphonate therapy may be maximal during the first year of therapy, and not continue to accumulate with longer periods of therapy, as per new research being presented today at the 28th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR).

Bisphosphonates are the most common class of drugs used for the therapy of osteoporosis because of their demonstrated effect on fracture reduction but the occurence rate of microcracks - small cracks in the skeleton - has been shown to increase with bisphosphonate therapy. This has led to some concerns regarding the potential long-term adverse effects of these agents. This study shows that the continued use of alendronate (a bisphosphonate) is not linked to continued accumulation of microdamage.

Matt R. Allen, Ph.D., assistant research professor, and David B. Burr, Ph.D., chairman, both from the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Indianapolis, IN, reviewed the effects of alendronate in one-year-old female beagles. The beagles were given oral doses of alendronate at levels comparable to that employed in humans (.2 mg/kg/day) or at five times the clinical dose (1 mg/kg/day) for either 1 year or 3 years.

Scientists found there was no increase in vertebral microcracks after 3 years of alendronate therapy compared to the beagles treated for 1 year. These results suggest that microcrack accumulation is greatest during the early course of alendronate therapy. This is an encouraging sign for long-term safety of these drugs.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source

September 20, 2006, 9:47 PM CT

NSAIDs and GI complications

NSAIDs and GI complications
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) provide a broad range of benefits for patients who require their use, but health care providers need to carefully consider the associated risks before prescribing these drugs for their patients, as per a multi-disciplinary panel of experts convened by the AGA Institute. Gastrointestinal (GI) morbidities are the most common adverse events linked to NSAID use, including complications in both the upper- and lower-GI tracts; serious GI complications, such as potentially fatal bleeding ulcers, occur in one to four percent of NSAID users annually.

The findings of the panel, "Consensus Development Conference on the Use of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Including Cyclooxygenase-2 Enzyme Inhibitors and Aspirin," were reported in the recent issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, published by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute.

"NSAIDs are the most widely used medications in the world, and the broad use of these drugs confirms their effectiveness and relative safety," as per C. Mel Wilcox, MD, professor of medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and lead author of the paper. "However, well-recognized GI complications and previously unrecognized cardiac risks have caused great concern about the use of these drugs among healthcare professionals. The AGA Institute convened the consensus conference to increase awareness about the benefits and the risks of GI and cardiovascular toxicities linked to these medications and to improve their use".........

Posted by: Sue      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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