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June 28, 2006, 11:57 PM CT

Taij Benefit Older Adults

Taij Benefit Older Adults Image courtesy of achinatravel.com
New work by scientists at the University of Illinois lends strength to prior research documenting the health benefits of Qigong and Taiji among elderly adults who practice these ancient Chinese martial-arts forms.

Qigong (chee-kung) and Taiji (tye-chee) - or Tai Chi, as it is more usually known in the U.S. - combine simple, graceful movements and meditation. Qigong, which dates to the middle of the first millennium B.C., is a series of integrated exercises believed to have positive, relaxing effects on a person's mind, body and spirit. Tai Chi is a holistic form of exercise, and a type of Qigong that melds Chinese philosophy with martial and healing arts.

"Traditional Tai Chi training includes Qigong, but most contemporary Tai Chi scientists have omitted Qigong from their research," said visiting kinesiology professor Yang Yang. "As a result, prior scientists may not have documented all of the health benefits possible from traditional Tai Chi training".

Yang, a Tai Chi master with three decades of experience, said Tai Chi and Qigong are relatively simple, safe and inexpensive, and require no props or special equipment, making them easily adaptable for practice by healthy senior citizens.

In two studies - one quantitative, one qualitative - presented recently at the North American Research Conference on Complementary & Integrative Medicine, lead researcher Yang found that healthy seniors who practiced a combination of Qigong and Tai Chi three times a week for six months experienced significant physical benefits after only two months.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 28, 2006, 11:49 PM CT

First Human Trial Of Antibacterial Contact Lens

First Human Trial Of Antibacterial Contact Lens
Biotechnology company Biosignal Ltd and the Institute for Eye Research have received ethics approval for the first human clinical trial of an antibacterial extended-wear contact lens.

The ASX-listed company commercialises a novel anti-bacterial technology identified by UNSW scientists at the Centre for Marine Biofouling and Bioinnovation.

The trial beginning on June 29 will compare the safety performance of an antibacterial contact lens to that of a standard contact lens.

The comparison involving ten people will evaluate eye health, lens performance on the eye and wearers' subjective responses. Biosignal will announce the trial's results to the market in July.

"Adverse events caused by microbial contamination of contact lenses are a major impediment to more convenient, extended wear of contact lenses," says UNSW Professor Mark Willcox, who will supervise the trial. "This trial is the first significant step towards overcoming this significant problem".

Acute red eye occurs in 20 percent per year of the estimated 100 million wearers of contact lenses worldwide. Microbial keratitis, a serous eye disease that can cause blindness, occurs in one in 500 contact lens wearers per year if they sleep in lenses. There is currently no antibacterial contact lens in the market.........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink         Source


June 28, 2006, 0:16 AM CT

Radioactive Scorpion Venom For Fighting Cancer

Radioactive Scorpion Venom For Fighting Cancer
Health physicists are establishing safe procedures for a promising experimental brain-cancer treatment which uses a radioactive version of a protein found in scorpion venom. For a number of, this will conjure images of Spiderman's nemesis, the Scorpion. The purpose of this work is not science fiction, but rather to help to develop a promising new treatment for brain cancer. The venom of the yellow Israeli scorpion preferentially attaches to the cells of a type of essentially incurable brain cancers known as gliomas.

Responding to this urgent problem, researchers at the Transmolecular Corporation in Cambridge, Massachusetts created a radioactive version of this scorpion venom. Called TM-601, it contains an artificial version of the venom protein, attached to a radioactive substance called iodine-131 (I-131). When it enters the bloodstream, the compound attaches to the glioma cells, then the I-131 releases radiation that kills the cell.

This compound has enabled an experimental therapy for high-grade gliomas, found in 17,000 people in the US every year and commonly causing death in the first year of diagnosis. Patients would simply be injected with the compound in an outpatient procedure, without needing chemotherapy or traditional radiotherapy. The first, early human trials of the venom treatment showed promising signs for treating the tumor and prolonging survival rates for patients.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 27, 2006, 11:51 PM CT

Smoking, Obesity And Erectile Dysfunction

Smoking, Obesity And Erectile Dysfunction
What's the link between smoking, obesity and erectile dysfunction? That's exactly what researchers from the Harvard University School of Public Health is trying to answer. These researchers have found that obesity and smoking are strongly associated with a greater risk of erectile dysfunction (ED). Meanwhile, regular physical activity appeared to have a significant impact on lowering the risk of ED. This is the first large-scale prospective study to examine the links between ED and smoking, obesity, alcohol and a sedentary lifestyle. The study will appear in the July 2006 issue of The Journal of Urology.

The researchers, led by Constance Bacon, a former post-doctoral fellow at HSPH, and Eric Rimm , associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at HSPH, surveyed 22,086 healthy subjects between the ages of 40 and 75 from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who reported good or very good erectile function and no major chronic disease before 1986. Among the participants, 17.7 percent (3,905) reported new onset of ED between 1986 and 2000. The scientists adjusted the results to take into account those with and without prostate cancer during the follow-up period, since prostate cancer therapys, such as radiation or surgery, may lead to ED.

The results showed that both smoking and obesity were associated with a higher risk of the development of ED among previously healthy men with good erectile function. The scientists also found that regular physical activity showed a strong inverse association with ED risk. "We found a 2.5-fold difference in risk of ED when we compared obese men who did little exercise with men who were not overweight and averaged 30 minutes of vigorous exercise a day. (Obesity was defined as a body mass index of more than 30 kilograms in weight divided by the square of height in meters.) For men younger than 55 there was a 4-fold difference in risk for the same comparison," said Rimm. Alcohol consumption did not increase the risk of ED. In general, men without prostate cancer showed stronger associations with these lifestyle factors than those with prostate cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 27, 2006, 11:37 PM CT

Variable Blood Pressure Increases Risk Of Stroke Death

Variable Blood Pressure Increases Risk Of Stroke Death
Erratic blood pressure during the first hours after a stroke dramatically lowers the chances of survival. That's the finding of a Mayo Clinic study reported in the current issue of the journal Neurology.

The scientists studied 71 emergency room patients with ischemic stroke symptoms of less than 24 hours. Blood pressures were checked every five minutes during the patients' stay in the emergency department. Results showed that patients with widely fluctuating blood pressure during the first three hours in the emergency room were much less likely to survive more than 90 days after the stroke.

"These data suggest that additional studies are needed to clarify the optimal management of blood pressure in the setting of acute ischemic stroke," says Latha Stead, M.D., Mayo Clinic emergency medicine specialist and lead author of the study. "Until those studies are performed, health care providers should be careful not to overtreat hypertension acutely after ischemic stroke and need to consider urgently supporting blood pressure in those patients in whom the blood pressure is low".

In an earlier study, also published in Neurology, the research team had shown that a low initial blood pressure in stroke patients upon arrival in the emergency department was an early indicator of poorer survival. This new research supports that finding, but clarifies that of all the aspects of blood pressure studied, the variability -- particularly in diastolic blood pressure -- during the emergency room stay was the most predictive of a poor outcome. The scientists believe the increased mortality of patients in this study was due to impaired autoregulation of blood pressure and that those who had a more constant blood pressure had better flow of blood to the ischemic penumbra -- the part of the brain that lacked in blood supply, but had enough blood flow that it might still be saved with aggressive therapy. This differs from the infarcted tissue, which is damaged beyond repair.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


June 27, 2006, 7:23 PM CT

Bald Is A Look You Can Live With

Bald Is A Look You Can Live With
Turning Heads is a collection of powerful photographs of beautiful, bald women. They are bald because they have cancer. They are beautiful because they have been buffed by stylists and captured by some of the best photographers in the world -- four Pulitzer Prize winners among them. And they are powerful because they no longer hide their cancer -- or hide behind it.

Many women diagnosed with cancer fear losing their hair more than losing their lives. This fear can prevent them from getting proper treatment. When they do get treatment, hair loss adds insult to injury and can lead to seriously lowered self-esteem.

The standard reaction is to cover up with a wig or scarf, or stop going out -- to let cancer disrupt your routine and define your identity. "Women shouldn't be ashamed of the way they look. They shouldn't want to hide," says editor Jackson Hunsicker, who spent five years assembling these inspiring images. "They should be seen for who they are -- brides, teachers, mothers, lawyers.... The fact that they don't have any hair only means that they are on their way to coming back stronger. Turning Heads shows everyone that bald is a look you can live with."

Turning Heads contains pictures of women who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy. It features some of the best fashion and news photographers in the world -- including four Pulitzer Prize winners. Many women diagnosed with cancer fear losing their hair more than losing their lives. This fear can prevent them from getting proper treatment.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 27, 2006, 7:20 AM CT

Chest X-rays May Increase Risk Of Breast Cancer In Some

Chest X-rays May Increase Risk Of Breast Cancer In Some
Getting plain chest X-rays may be a simple thing for a number of of us, but it could be a dangerous thing when it comes to women who may have inherited the breast cancer associated genes (BRCA) that would increase the risk of breast cancer. A recent study involving women with genetic mutation that is known to predispose to breast cancer have found that having a routine chest X-ray could double or even triple the risk of having a breast cancer.

These findings come from Dr. David Goldgar and colleges of University of Utah School of medicine. Their research findings appear in the latest issue of Journal of Clinical Oncology. The findings from the study are entirely clear-cut and it is still not clear what kind of chest X-rays causes greatest risk of breast cancer.

The study population included women who have BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, which are, know to increase the risk of breast cancer and ovary cancer.

"The results from this study raise potentially significant clinical considerations," Goldgar writes. "The absolute risk of breast cancer by age 50 years is in the order of 40 percent in BRCA1 carriers and 15 percent in BRCA2 carriers".

Scientists evaluated 1,600 women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations and assessed the effect of ever having a chest X-ray particularly before the age 20. Goldgar's team found that women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 who reported having a chest X-ray were 54 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than those who had never had one.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 26, 2006, 10:55 PM CT

Cell Phone Emissions Excite The Brain Cortex

Cell Phone Emissions Excite The Brain Cortex
Electromagnetic fields from cell phones excite the brain cortex adjacent to it, with potential implications for individuals with epilepsy, or other neurological conditions. This finding is published in Annals of Neurology, a journal by John Wiley & Sons. The article is also available online via Wiley Interscience (www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/ana).

More than 500 million people in the world use cell phones which emit electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Though many studies have looked at the effects of EMFs on the body, few have focused on their effects on the brain. Such effects could be harmful, neutral, or beneficial and might be particularly important for individuals with conditions involving cortical excitability, such as epilepsy.

Researchers in Italy, led by Paolo M. Rossini, M.D., Ph.D. of Fatebenefratelli, used Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to investigate brain function under exposure to electromagnetic fields from a common type of cell phone. Their study reports the effects of EMF exposure on brain physiology for the first time.

The researchers developed a double-blind study in which 15 young male volunteers were exposed to EMF signals from a GSM 900 cell phone for 45 minutes. They measured Motor Evoked Potentials (MEPs) during motor cortex TMS before, and immediately after EMF exposure, and also one hour later.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


June 26, 2006, 10:52 PM CT

Treatment Information Fails To Address Fears

Treatment Information Fails To Address Fears
Men with prostate cancer make emotionally driven therapy decisions influenced by anecdote and misconception rather than consideration of clinical trial evidence, as per a new study. Reported in the August 1, 2006 issue of CANCER (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/cancer-newsroom), a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study reveals that fear and uncertainty drove initial therapy decisions seeking rapid results, and that there was little interest in seeking second opinions. Furthermore, patient decisions were influenced by misconceptions about disease management options, and men often erroneously applied the anecdotal experiences of others with prostate cancer to their own circumstances, even when the severity of their own disease and available therapy options were significantly different.

While there are several therapy options for men with localized prostate cancer, clinical trials have failed to demonstrate one optimal treatment. Each therapy option has benefits and its own unique and significant adverse side effects. Radical prostatectomy, for example, has only minimal survival benefits compared to even observation, but is associated with complications, such as impotence and urinary incontinence. With no clear-cut medical guidance, patients must assume a greater role in deciding on therapy in the face of disquieting statistics and risk-benefit information.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


June 26, 2006, 10:45 PM CT

Coffee Intake Linked To Lower Diabetes Risk

Coffee Intake Linked To Lower Diabetes Risk
Drinking coffee, particularly when it is decaffeinated, may be associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, as per a report in the June 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Prior studies in the United States and Europe have linked coffee to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, as per background information in the article. The link between coffee and diabetes risk appears to be consistent across different ages and body weights; in addition, most research has found that the more coffee an individual generally drinks, the lower his or her risk for diabetes. However, it remains unclear whether it is the caffeine or another ingredient in coffee that may confer a protective effect.

Mark A. Pereira, Ph.D., and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, studied coffee intake and diabetes risk in 28,812 postmenopausal women in Iowa over an 11-year period. At the beginning of the study, in 1986, the women answered questions about their risk factors for diabetes, including age, body mass index, physical activity, alcohol consumption and smoking history. They also reported how often they consumed a variety of foods and beverages over the prior year, including regular and decaffeinated coffee.

Based on information published in the initial questionnaire, about half of the women (14,224) drank one to three cups of coffee per day; 2,875 drank more than six cups; 5,554 four to five cups; 3,231 less than one cup; and 2,928 none. Over the following 11 years, 1,418 of the women reported on surveys that they had been newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. After adjusting the data for some of the other diabetes risk factors, women who drank more than six cups of any type of coffee per day were 22 percent less likely than those who drank no coffee to be diagnosed with diabetes; those who drank more than six cups of decaffeinated coffee per day had a 33 percent reduction in risk compared with those who drank none.........

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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