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January 7, 2008, 10:46 PM CT

How To Overcome Colonoscopy Fears?

How To Overcome Colonoscopy Fears?
Patients who have had a colonoscopy can play a life-saving role by encouraging other patients to follow through with their own colorectal cancer screenings, as per new research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. These peer coaches can provide important information to combat myths and fears that serve as barriers to colonoscopy issues patients say their doctors often fail to address. In a randomized trial, clinicians in the Division of General Internal Medicine studied patients who were at increased risk of missing their scheduled colon study appointment. They observed that those who received telephone mentoring from a trained peer coach were two times more likely to keep their first colonoscopy appointment than those who received an educational brochure about the procedure in the mail or received no peer or literature support.

This study addresses an important gap in colorectal cancer prevention in the United States patients who dont follow through with their appointments, says lead author Barbara J. Turner, MD, MSEd, Professor of Medicine and Director of Penns General Medicine Clinician Scientist Fellowship. This is one of the first studies to show that patients can help other patients overcome barriers to getting tests that can prevent this deadly disease. The findings will be published this month in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


January 6, 2008, 10:30 PM CT

Potent Cancer-Fighting Marine Product

Potent Cancer-Fighting Marine Product
Salinispora tropica
An unexpected discovery in marine biomedical laboratories at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has led to new, key information about the fundamental biological processes inside a marine organism that creates a natural product currently being tested to treat cancer in humans. The finding could lead to new applications of the natural product in treating human diseases.

A research team led by Bradley Moore, a professor with UCSD's Scripps Oceanography Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and postdoctoral researcher Alessandra Eustáquio, along with their colleagues at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, discovered an enzyme called SalL inside Salinispora tropica, a promising marine bacterium identified in 1991 by Scripps researchers.

As they describe in the most recent issue of Nature Chemical Biology, the scientists also identified a novel process-a "pathway"-for the way the marine bacterium incorporates a chlorine atom, the key ingredient for triggering its potent cancer-fighting natural product. Previously known methods for activating chlorine were processed through oxygen-based approaches. The new method, conversely, employs a substitution strategy that uses non-oxidized chlorine as it is found in nature, as with common table salt.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 6, 2008, 10:19 PM CT

Contact lenses purchased over Internet

Contact lenses purchased over Internet
Purchasing contact lenses online may save consumers time, but the process could cause more problems in the long run, as per a new study published in the recent issue of Optometry: Journal of the American Optometric Association. This research, which was conducted by Joshua Fogel, Ph.D., and Chaya Zidile of Brooklyn College, observed that individuals who did not purchase their contact lenses from an eye doctor, but from an online site or store, are potentially placing themselves at greater risk. The findings indicated that online and store purchasers (consumers who get their contacts at a wholesale club or optical chain outlet) are less likely to adhere to healthy eye care practices, as recommended by their eye doctor.

As per the Contact Lens Institute (CLI), more than 30 million individuals wear contact lenses. With the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act taking effect in 2004, mandating that the prescribing eye doctor provide a copy of the contact lens prescription at no charge to the patient, consumers have the option to purchase their lenses (with a valid prescription) elsewhere. With the Internet becoming a more recognized source for health and medical information, consumers are increasingly purchasing their contact lenses online.

We observed that a pattern exists regarding the method of contact lens purchasing and following recommendations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said Dr. Fogel. Those who bought contact lenses at their doctors office followed many FDA recommendations more so than those who bought contact lenses elsewhere.........

Posted by: Mike      Read more         Source


January 6, 2008, 10:13 PM CT

Assembling the jigsaw puzzle of drug addiction

Assembling the jigsaw puzzle of drug addiction
Using an integrative meta-analysis approach, scientists from the Center for Bioinformatics at Peking University in Beijing have assembled the most comprehensive gene atlas underlying drug addiction and identified five molecular pathways common to four different addictive drugs. This novel paper appears in PLoS Computational Biology on January 4, 2008.

Drug addiction is a serious worldwide problem with strong genetic and environmental influences. So far different technologies have revealed a variety of genes and biological processes underlying addiction. However, individual technology can be biased and render only an incomplete picture. Studying individual or a small number of genes is like looking at pieces of a jigsaw puzzle - only when you gather most of the pieces from different places and arrange them together in an orderly fashion do interesting patterns emerge.

The team, led by Liping Wei, surveyed scientific literature reported in the past 30 years and collected 2,343 items of evidence linking genes and chromosome regions to addiction based on single-gene strategies, microarray, proteomics, or genetic studies. They made this gene atlas freely available in the first online molecular database for addiction, named KARG (http://karg.cbi.pku.edu.cn), with extensive annotations and friendly web interface.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 6, 2008, 10:08 PM CT

Key factor in flu infection

Key factor in flu infection
Researchers have identified a key factor that determines the ability of influenza viruses to infect cells of the human upper respiratory tracta necessary step for sustaining spread between people. The research, described in the January 6 online edition of Nature Biotechnology and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), offers new insights into how the H5N1 avian flu virus currently circulating in birds would have to change in order to gain a foothold in human populations.

The H5N1 virus has infected several hundred people, but person-to-person transmission has been limited. To trigger a widespread outbreak, experts agree that the bird flu virus must infect the cells lining our noses and throats. We then would spread the virus to others through coughing or sneezing. The latest study, led by Ram Sasisekharan, Ph.D., of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, refines this notion: The virus can gain access only through a subset of the sugar molecules coating the cells of our upper airways.

"Using an approach that combines experimentation and database analysis, Sasisekharans team has changed our view of flu viruses and how they must adapt to infect us, said Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the NIH component that supported the research. The work may improve our ability to monitor the evolution of the H5N1 virus and thwart potential outbreaks.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


January 3, 2008, 10:02 PM CT

Exercise Reduces Menopausal Anxiety

Exercise Reduces Menopausal Anxiety
With more menopausal women seeking natural therapies to ease symptoms, a new study has observed that simply adding a brisk walking routine can reduce a variety of psychological symptoms such as anxiety, stress and depression. The research is reported in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

"With the aging population, physical activity represents one way for women to stay mentally healthy. Physical activity can help throughout the menopausal transition and afterwards," said Temple University public health researcher Deborah Nelson, Ph.D, the study's lead author.

From 1996 to 1997, 380 women living in Philadelphia were recruited and they have been followed for more than eight years. The women reported their physical activity level and menopausal symptoms including stress, anxiety, depression and hot flashes.

The average age at the beginning of the study was 42 -years -old; 49 percent were African American, 58 percent reported more than a high school education, and 38 percent smoked cigarettes.

"We recruited African-American and Caucasian women living in Philadelphia for this study to better represent the large population of urban women. These results can be generalizable to both urban Caucasian and African-American women, groups of women that have been under-represented in prior studies," Nelson said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 3, 2008, 9:55 PM CT

Children sipping and tasting alcohol in the home

Children sipping and tasting alcohol in the home
Most studies of alcohol use among youth have focused on drinking by children in middle or high school. This study is one of the few to examine the earliest exposure to alcohol sipping or tasting in a large community sample of children. Findings indicate that the introduction to alcohol occurs long before adolescence, and it is an experience that occurs in the home.

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

Almost all of the limited scientific literature on alcohol use in children has focused on drinking, not sipping or tasting alcohol, said John E. Donovan, an associate professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh. Local community studies seem to show that drinking by children not sipping correlates with higher levels of disinhibition, more positive alcohol expectancies, more peer alcohol use, and lower school grades, just as it does in adolescence.

Donovan, also the corresponding author for the study, added that most surveys of adolescent and child drug and alcohol use ask about ever having had more than a few sips of alcohol. This type of question essentially ignores the alcohol experience of those who have only had sips and tastes of alcohol, which can be a substantial number of children, he said. I wanted to determine what percentage of young children have had this level of experience with alcohol, and to find out if children who have only sipped alcohol are different from those who have not.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 3, 2008, 9:51 PM CT

Surprising findings about drinking behavior

Surprising findings about drinking behavior
Results are reported in the recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research

Most studies use survey methods that require people to recall their drinking behavior days, weeks or months previous and such recall is not always accurate, noted J.D. Clapp, director of the Center for Alcohol and Drug Studies and Services at San Diego State University and corresponding author for the study. By going out into the field and doing observations and surveys, including breath tests for alcohol concentrations, we were able to mitigate a number of of the problems linked to recall of behavior and complex settings.

In addition, said James A. Cranford, research assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan, this study is unique in its focus on both individual- and environmental-level predictors of alcohol involvement. Rather than relying on students' reports of the environment, scientists actually gained access to college-student parties and made detailed observations about the characteristics of these parties.

For three academic semesters, scientists conducted a multi-level examination of 1,304 young adults (751 males, 553females) who were attending 66 college parties in private residences located close to an urban public university in southern California. Measures included observations of party environments, self-administered questionnaires, and collection of blood-alcohol concentrations (BrACs).........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 3, 2008, 9:46 PM CT

Internists prescribe placebos on occasion

Internists prescribe placebos on occasion
In the first study examining American physicians' use of placebos in clinical practice in the 21st Century, 45 percent of Chicago internists report they have used a placebo at some time during their clinical practice scientists report in the recent issue of Journal of General Internal Medicine.

This study indicates a need for greater recognition of the use of placebos and unproven therapies and discussion about its implications," say the study authors, Rachel Sherman, a fourth year medical student at the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine, and John Hickner, MD, MSc, professor of family medicine, at the University of Chicago and University of Chicago Medical Center.

The authors sent questionnaires inquiring about placebo use to 466 internists at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and University of Illinois Chicago. Fifty percent (231) of the physicians responded.

"Placebos have been used in medicine since ancient times, and remain both clinically relevant and philosophically interesting. In addition to their recognized use as controls in clinical trials, this study suggests that placebos themselves are viewed as therapeutic tools in medical practice," says Sherman.

Of the respondents who reported using placebos in clinical practice, 34 percent introduced the placebos to the patient as "a substance that may help and will not hurt." Nineteen percent said, "it is medication," and nine percent said, "it is medicine with no specific effect." Only four percent of the physicians explicitly said, "it is a placebo." In addition, 33 percent of the physicians reported they gave other information to patients, including, "this may help you but I am not sure how it works".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 3, 2008, 9:32 PM CT

Bright light therapy eases bipolar depression

Bright light therapy eases bipolar depression
Bright light treatment can ease bipolar depression in some patients, as per a research studyreported in the journal Bipolar Disorders. Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicines Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic studied nine women with bipolar disorder to examine the effects of light treatment in the morning or at midday on mood symptoms.

There are limited effective therapys for the depressive phase of bipolar disorder, said Dorothy Sit, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and the studys first author. While there are therapys that are effective for mania, the major problem is the depression, which can linger so long that it never really goes away.

In this study, women with bipolar depression were given light boxes and instructed on how to use them at home. The women used the light boxes daily for two-week stretches of 15, 30 and 45 minutes. Some patients responded extremely well to the light treatment, and their symptoms of depression disappeared. The responders to light treatment stayed on the light treatment for an additional three or four months. Four patients received morning light, and five used their light boxes at midday. Participants also continued to take their prescribed medications throughout the study period.

Three of the women who received morning light initially developed what we call a mixed state, with symptoms of depression and mania that occur all at once racing thoughts, irritability, sleeplessness, anxiety and low mood, said Dr. Sit. But when another group began with midday light treatment, we found a much more stable response.........

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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