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June 5, 2007, 0:29 AM CT

Divorce increases risk of Ritalin use

Divorce increases risk of Ritalin use
Divorce puts children at higher risk of Ritalin use in comparison to kids whose parents stay together, says new research by a University of Alberta sociologist, who cautions that this doesnt necessarily mean that divorce is harmful to a child. The study appears in this weeks issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Dr. Lisa Strohschein observed that there is a significantly higher risk of Ritalin usenearly twice as highfor children whose parents divorce in comparison to children whose parents remain together. It is the first study to follow children over time and evaluate whether experiencing parental divorce increases the risk for subsequent Ritalin use, a drug usually prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Prior studies have only compared the proportion of children taking Ritalin in two- biological parent homes versus single parent households. While such studies showed that living in a single parent household was a risk factor for Ritalin use, Strohschein suggests that a snapshot comparison across different family types provides an incomplete picture. There are many other ways--including being born to a never-married motherthat a child can come to live in a single-parent household.

So the question was, is it possible that divorce acts a stressful life event that creates adjustment problems for children, which might increase acting out behaviour, leading to a prescription for Ritalin" said Strohschein.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 5, 2007, 0:24 AM CT

Diagnosing skin cancers with light, not scalpels

Diagnosing skin cancers with light, not scalpels
In an early step toward nonsurgical screening for cancerous skin cancers, Duke University chemists have demonstrated a laser-based system that can capture three-dimensional images of the chemical and structural changes under way beneath the surface of human skin.

"The standard way physicians do a diagnosis now is to cut out a mole and look at a slice of it with a microscope," said Warren Warren, the James B. Duke Professor of chemistry, radiology and biomedical engineering, and director of Duke's new Center for Molecular and Biomedical Imaging. "What we're trying to do is find cancer signals they can get to without having to cut out the mole.

"This is the first approach that can target molecules like hemoglobin and melanin and get microscopic resolution images the equivalent of what a doctor would see if he or she were able to slice down to that particular point," Warren said.

The distributions of hemoglobin, a component of red blood cells, and melanin, a skin pigment, serve as early warning signs for skin cancer growth. But because skin scatters light strongly, simple microscopes cannot be used to locate those molecules except right at the surface. Eventhough laser methods have been developed to probe deeper down for some other molecules that can be made to glow, both melanin and hemoglobin remain dark and inaccessible using those methods.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 5, 2007, 0:20 AM CT

Pancreatic Surgery Riskier for Obese Patients

Pancreatic Surgery Riskier for Obese Patients
Obesity may contribute to a greater likelihood of post-operative complications for patients having pancreatic surgery, a surgeon at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital has found.

A study of 202 pancreatic surgeries from 2000 to 2005 indicates obese patients had an increased time on the operating table, blood loss, length of hospital stay and rate of serious complications in comparison to normal weight individuals, said Adam Berger, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.

"A rise in a patient's Body Mass Index (BMI) is one of the most important health issues facing health care professionals today," Dr. Berger noted. "Higher BMI can lead to a greater risk of a patient developing diabetes and heart disease, as well as esophageal and pancreas cancers.

"Increased BMI has been demonstrated to be an important factor predicting perioperative morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing numerous operations," Dr. Berger added.

At the time of surgeries, 85 (46 percent) patients were normal weight, 54 (29 percent) were overweight and 45 (25 percent) were obese, the study indicates. There were four perioperative patient deaths (2 percent), two of which were in the normal weight group and two in the obese group.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 5, 2007, 0:12 AM CT

African-American men understimate risk of prostate cancer

African-American men understimate risk of prostate cancer
A number of African-American men radically underestimate the likelihood that having a needle biopsy for suspected prostate cancer will result in a cancer diagnosis, as per a research studyfrom the University of Chicago Medical Center.

The researchers, who presented their results at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago, say this is alarming. African-American men have a higher incidence rate, are diagnosed later, and have a higher mortality rate from prostate cancer than Caucasians.

"A group that underestimates the risk of having cancer is likely to underestimate the value of early detection and thus skip the whole process," said study author William Dale, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine/geriatrics at the University of Chicago, "which may explain, in part, why African-American men are so often diagnosed later and thus have worse outcomes".

Dale and his colleagues collected data on what 243 patients expected from their biopsies and their anxiety levels while waiting in a urology clinic. The average age of these patients was 63. Almost 40 percent of the men were African-American. Fifty-six percent had at least a college education level.

Despite being referred for biopsy because they were known to be at increased risk for prostate cancer, commonly due to a blood test, 55 percent of the African-American men at the time of prostate biopsy said they had a zero percent chance of having prostate cancer (i.e. that it was impossible). Only 20 percent of the Caucasian men said this.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


June 5, 2007, 0:11 AM CT

Low libido in menopause linked to trouble sleeping

Low libido in menopause linked to trouble sleeping
Women whose sexual desire diminishes during menopause are more likely to report disturbed sleep, depression symptoms, and night sweats, as per Group Health research in the June American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

To the best of the research teams knowledge, this marks the first time that sleep disturbance has been independently linked to diminished sexual desire during or after menopause.

The paper is based on data from Group Health's Herbal Alternatives for Treatment of Menopause Symptoms (HALT) study. Other results from this study, showing that the herbal supplement black cohosh did not relieve menopausal hot flashes or night sweats (hot flashes during sleep), were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2006.

All 341 of the women were chosen to be in the study because they were age 45 to 55 and had hot flashes, night sweats, or both. Of them, 64 percent reported diminished sexual desire, 43 percent slept poorly, and 18 percent had major depression.

It seems reasonable that night sweats can disturb sleep, said Susan D. Reed, MD, MPH, the papers lead author. Dr. Reed is an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and epidemiology at the University of Washington and an affiliate investigator at Group Health Center for Health Studies. And poor sleep can reduce energy for everything, including sex.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 5, 2007, 0:10 AM CT

Children innately prepared to learn language

Children innately prepared to learn language
To learn a language is to learn a set of all-purpose rules that can be used in an infinite number of ways. A new study shows that by the age of seven months, human infants are on the lookout for abstract rules and that they know the best place to look for such abstractions is in human speech.

In a series of experiments appearing in the recent issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, Gary Marcus and co-authors Keith Fernandes and Scott Johnson at New York University exposed infants to algebraically structured sequences that consisted of either speech syllables or non-speech sounds.

Once infants became familiar with these sequences, scientists presented the infants four new unique sequences: Two of these new sequences were consistent with the familiarization grammar, while two were inconsistent. (For example, given familiarization with la ta ta, ge lai lai, consistent test sentences would include wo fe fe and de ko ko (ABB), while inconsistent sentences would include wo wo fe and de de ko (AAB). Marcus and colleagues then measured how long infants attended to each sequence in order to determine whether they recognized the previously learned grammar.

In the first two experiments, the scientists examined infants rule learning using sequences of tones, sung syllables, musical instruments of varying timbres and animal noises.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 5, 2007, 0:09 AM CT

psychotherapy For Borderline personality disorder

psychotherapy For Borderline personality disorder
An intensive form of talk treatment, known as transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP), can help individuals affected with borderline personality disorder (BPD) by reducing symptoms and improving their social functioning, as per an article in the recent issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, a premier psychiatry journal.

BPD, a chronic and disabling condition affecting about 1% of the United States population, has long defied psychology experts and psychiatry experts seeking to treat the illness. Affecting day-to-day functions, symptoms of the illness include unstable relations with others, pervasive mood instability, chaotic variation in self-image, self-destructive behavior, impulsive behaviors (such as sexual promiscuity, substance abuse, or gambling), and intense, uncontrolled rages.

In the new study, Mark F. Lenzenweger, distinguished professor of psychology at Binghamton University, State University of New York, and his colleagues at the Weill College of Medicine, Cornell University, examined three therapys applied to carefully diagnosed BPD patients for a period of one year.

The therapys included dialectical behavior treatment, supportive psychotherapy, and TFP, a specialized psychodynamic form of talk treatment, pioneered by Otto F. Kernberg, a co-author of study and professor of psychiatry at Weill-Cornell, that focuses on dominant emotionally charged themes that emerge in the relationship between patient and therapist.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 1, 2007, 9:37 PM CT

Innovative Smallpox Vaccine Research Study

Innovative Smallpox Vaccine Research Study
University Hospitals Case Medical Center (UHCMC) and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine are part of a nationwide research study to determine the safety and effectiveness of a new smallpox vaccine geared toward adults ages 18 to 34 who have never been vaccinated against the disease. The study is the first of its type in Northeast Ohio.

The current FDA-approved vaccine, Dryvax®, is not recommended for use on everyone because of the potential for serious side effects in certain individuals. "For example, the current vaccine cannot be used in immune-compromised individuals, such as patients with HIV or individuals with certain skin conditions such as eczema," says Robert A. Salata, M.D., chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and UHCMC.

The new vaccine, IMVAMUNE®, is different from Dryvax® in that it contains a more weakened form of the live-virus within the vaccine.

"Because the vaccine is weakened, the side effects should be minimized enough to give the vaccine to all individuals, even those whose immune systems are suppressed," says Dr. Salata. "Our hope is that the new vaccine will be a safer alternative to the current vaccine".

UHCMC and the School of Medicine will act as a subunit of St. Louis University's Center for Vaccine Development, which is one of seven national testing sites known as Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEUs), designated by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


May 31, 2007, 11:48 PM CT

Improves recovery for elderly with depression

Improves recovery for elderly with depression
Adding a medicine to a standard therapy regimen for major depressive disorder in the elderly improves chances of recovery in those who do not adequately respond to the first-course treatment or who relapse from it, finds a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, the official journal of the American Psychiatric Association. Up to 84 percent of the elderly who experience depression either fail to respond to first-course therapy or relapse during the first six to 12 weeks of therapy.

The study observed that adding a second drug to the therapy of depressed participants over the age of 70 who either did not respond to initial therapy with the antidepressant paroxetine and interpersonal psychotherapy, or to those who responded to the initial therapy but quickly relapsed, caused the likelihood of recovery to rise from 40 percent to 60 percent. Recovery was slower in those who did not respond to the original therapy.

Depression should not be considered a normal part of aging. The scientific evidence is growing that there are many effective therapy options available for people of all ages, said Mary Amanda Dew, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, psychology and epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh and lead author of the study.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 31, 2007, 11:46 PM CT

Nursing Home Placement And Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer's Disease

Nursing Home Placement And Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer's Disease
People with Alzheimer's disease experience an acceleration in the rate of cognitive decline after being placed in a nursing home as per a new study by the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center. The study, reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, finds that previous experience in adult day care may lessen this association.

The observational study involved 432 older persons with Alzheimer's disease who were recruited from health care settings in the Chicago area. At baseline, they lived in the community and 196 participants were using day care services from 2 to 6 days a week for an overall mean of 1.7 days a week. At six month intervals for up to four years, they completed nine cognitive tests from which a composite measure of global cognition was derived.

On average, cognition declined at a gradually increasing rate for all participants. During the study period, 155 persons were placed in a nursing home, and placement was linked to a lower level of cognition and more rapid cognitive decline.

Study participants who had prior adult day care experience fared better. As level of day care use at study onset increased, the association of nursing home placement with accelerated cognitive decline substantially decreased. Thus, people using day care 3 to 4 days a week at the beginning of the study showed no increase in cognitive decline upon nursing home placement.........

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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