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May 31, 2006, 9:13 PM CT

Guidance In Treatment Of Alcohol Dependence

Guidance In Treatment Of Alcohol Dependence
A large-scale study of different therapy approaches for alcohol dependence underlines that medicine can play a key role in therapy.

While a number of therapy approaches were found helpful, the authors report that the patients who were most successful in abstaining from alcohol 16 weeks after therapy were those prescribed naltrexone under medical management and those participating in a multi-session program of alcohol counseling delivered by a behavioral specialist.

The paper appears in the May 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association and reports on the largest clinical trial ever conducted of pharmacologic and behavioral therapys for alcohol dependence.

"The most robust finding in the study is that those receiving any medicine did much better than those who received no pills at all," says The Scripps Research Institute's Professor Barbara Mason, an author of the paper. "This should be a wakeup call. With less than one percent of those seeking help for alcohol dependence receiving a prescription, medicine is underutilized. Medication for alcoholism can offer patients an advantage for their recovery, particularly in a real-world setting."

Another important aspect of the study, says Mason, is that it offers new safety data on the prescription drugs used in the trial, naltrexone and acamprosate, which were administered at higher-than-standard doses. "We had no serious drug-related events during the course of the research," she says. "That fact should offer prescribing physicians a high degree of comfort".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 31, 2006, 9:08 PM CT

Energy Balancing Therapy For Breast Cancer Patients?

Energy Balancing Therapy For Breast Cancer Patients?
Catherine Palter recalled being skeptical as she began her first session of a complementary treatment, known as Healing Touch, to try to ease the nausea, fatigue and feelings of fear and worry that accompanied her breast cancer therapy. "I didn't expect to feel anything," said Palter, a resident of San Mateo and a Stanford University environmental planner, who was in for a surprise. "I almost immediately felt energy flowing through my body. It was like magic".

Magic, medicine or placebo effect?

That's the issue that Kathy Turner, RN, a nurse practitioner in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, wants to investigate. Last year she established Healing Partners, a program that offers the treatment through Women's Health @ Stanford. She said it is modeled on programs in Hawaii and Colorado and described it as involving a noninvasive form of energy-balancing work that aims to promote deep relaxation. So far Healing Partners has paired more than 30 breast cancer patients, including Palter, with volunteer providers who have been trained in the technique.

Healing Touch is based on the Eastern medicine concept that a person's body is surrounded by a field of energy, and unblocking the body's energy flow can help or prevent illness. During a session, the clothed patient lies on a massage table while the practitioner assesses the patient's energy field by placing her hands a few inches above the body. She then lightly touches or moves her hands above the blocked areas, in an effort to increase energy flow.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 31, 2006, 9:01 PM CT

How To Live With Diabetes

How To Live With Diabetes
People with type-2 diabetes can learn life skills to manage their disease during a six-class workshop organized by the Patient Education Research Center at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Participants will be surveyed as part of a study to assess the effectiveness of the new course.

Without careful management, diabetes can lead to other disorders, such as cardiac complications, hypertension, strokes and kidney failure. Patients frequently don't get enough help from their primary health-care providers. "Once you have the disease, you have it for the rest of your life, and you have to manage it or it will lead to complications," said project coordinator Frank Villa, MPH. "You have to change the way you eat, increase your physical activity, watch your sugar levels and manage your medications".

The diabetes class is the latest in a series of self-management classes run by the center. For 20 years, the center has helped people manage chronic conditions such as arthritis and HIV by teaching self-help techniques. "The diabetes workshops do more than just provide information," said Villa. "People learn skills and techniques that are easy to apply to their day-to-day lives".

The first session of the course is tentatively scheduled for later this month at 1000 Welch Road, Suite 204, in Palo Alto, though the exact date has yet to be determined. The course will be repeated throughout the year in Palo Alto and at other Bay Area locations. During the six weekly, two-and-a-half hour workshops, two lay facilitators, also diabetic, will provide more information about managing the disease including healthful eating habits, ways to incorporate exercise into their lives and coping with medications and the health-care system. The program is intended to complement any instructions from the patients' physicians.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 30, 2006, 11:37 PM CT

MR Spectroscopy Reduces Need For Breast Biopsy

MR Spectroscopy Reduces Need For Breast Biopsy
In a study featured in the recent issue of Radiology, scientists found that imaging suspicious breast lesions with magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy reduced the need for biopsy by 58 percent. The investigators, from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, discovered that with the addition of MR spectroscopy to their breast MR imaging (MRI) protocol, 23 of 40 suspicious lesions could have been spared biopsy, and none of the resultant cancers would have been missed.

"All cancers in this study were identified with MR spectroscopy. There were no false-negative results," said Lia Bartella, M.D., lead investigator and assistant professor in the Department of Breast Imaging at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. "With the addition of MR spectroscopy to our breast MRI exam, we found that the number of biopsies recommended on the basis of MRI findings decreased significantly. These results should encourage more women to take this potentially life-saving test."

MRI is playing an increasingly important role in the screening of women at high risk for breast cancer. One drawback of the technology, however, has been a considerable number of breast biopsy procedures recommended on the basis of imaging findings, which turn out to be benign. With MR spectroscopy, the radiologist is able to see the chemical make-up of a tumor, so in most cases, he or she can tell without biopsy whether or not the lesion is malignant.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 30, 2006, 11:31 PM CT

Hypnotherapy For Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Hypnotherapy For Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) who took part in hypnotherapy sessions reported reduced symptoms and improved quality of life, as per research reported in the recent issue of Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Dr Graeme D Smith from University of Edinburgh studied 75 patients with IBS - which affects up to one in seven adults - before and after they took part in four to five therapy sessions over three months.

He discovered that before the sessions, women were most concerned with quality of life issues such as diet and energy and that men had the highest levels of anxiety and depression and worried about their physical role.

The 20 men and 55 women who participated in the study reported that hypnotherapy brought about significant improvements in the physical and emotional symptoms correlation to IBS.

These included a 30 per cent improvement in their emotional quality of life and a 25 per cent improvement in energy levels.

Mental health improved by 21 per cent, sleep by 18 per cent, physical health by 16 per cent and diet by 14 per cent.

The participants also reported that their social role had improved by 20 per cent and their physical role by 18 per cent.

Average anxiety levels fell by 12 per cent and depression fell by four per cent. Men showed higher levels of both problems before the hypnotherapy sessions, but also reported greater improvements than women.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


May 30, 2006, 11:22 PM CT

Keep Kids Safe From Lawn Mower Injuries

Keep Kids Safe From Lawn Mower Injuries
With summer approaching and the school year coming to a close, thousands of children across the country will take on a familiar chore - mowing the lawn. Whether it's to help their parents mow the backyard or a summer job to earn money, this routine task can be dangerous for children and adults alike if proper safety precautions are not taken. In fact, more than 230,500 people -- approximately 20,000 of them children under age 19 -- were treated in doctors' offices, clinics and emergency rooms for lawn mower-related injuries in 2004, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports.

To help prevent injures, the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM), the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) have teamed up to educate parents, adults and children about the importance of lawn mower safety during National Safety Month, June 2006.

"The power lawn mower is one of the most dangerous tools around the home, but a number of children view it as a potential toy - resulting in thousands of debilitating injures every year," said ASRM President L. Scott Levin, MD, FACS. "Lawn mower injuries often include deep cuts, loss of fingers and toes, limb amputations, broken and dislocated bones, burns, and eye injuries. Most of these injuries can be prevented by following a few simple safety tips."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 30, 2006, 11:04 PM CT

Acetaminophen Safe To Use After Heart Attack

Acetaminophen Safe To Use After Heart Attack
Acetaminophen is safe to use as a pain reliever and fever reducer after a heart attack, but it does not protect the heart muscle, a new study using sheep and rabbits concluded.

The study, using rabbits and sheep, could have implications for people who have suffered heart attacks, about a million people in the U.S. each year, said researcher Robert C. Gorman, a medical doctor and associate professor of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. "It's a high volume problem," he said.

People who suffer heart attacks need to know which pain relievers are safe to use. Some studies have suggested there is an increased risk of stroke and heart attack among patients taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Gorman said. And a recent clinical study from Denmark suggested that NSAIDS may increase mortality if taken after a heart attack. NSAIDs are a major class of pain reliever and fever reducer that includes ibuprofen.

Acetaminophen is a popular over-the-counter pain medicine that is an alternative to NSAID and aspirin. It is the active ingredient in Tylenol. Some classify aspirin as an NSAIDs, eventhough Gorman said it is more common to place aspirin in its own separate category.

The study "Role of acetaminophen in acute myocardial infarction," by Bradley G. Leshnower, Hiroaki Sakamoto, Ahmad Zeeshan, Landi M. Parish, Robin Hinmon, Theodore Plappert, Benjamin M. Jackson, Joseph H. Gorman III and Robert C. Gorman, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, will appear in the recent issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology published by The American Physiological Society.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


May 30, 2006, 10:55 PM CT

Making Nerve Fibers Regenerae

Making Nerve Fibers Regenerae Regrowing the optic nerve: Rat retinas treated with beads containing oncomodulin showed increased growth of axons in the optic nerve (bottom) compared with controls (top). Asterisks mark injury sites.
Scientists at Children's Hospital Boston have discovered a naturally occurring growth factor that stimulates regeneration of injured nerve fibers (axons) in the central nervous system. Under normal conditions, most axons in the mature central nervous system (which consists of the brain, spinal cord and eye) cannot regrow after injury. The previously unrecognized growth factor, called oncomodulin, is described in the May 14 online edition of Nature Neuroscience.

Neuroresearchers Yuqin Yin, MD, PhD, and Larry Benowitz, PhD, who are also on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, did their studies in the optic nerve, which connects nerve cells in the eye's retina to the brain's visual centers, and is often used as a model in studying axon regeneration.

When oncomodulin was added to retinal nerve cells in a Petri dish, with known growth-promoting factors already present, axon growth nearly doubled. No other growth factor was as potent. In live rats with optic-nerve injury, oncomodulin released from tiny sustained-release capsules increased nerve regeneration 5- to 7-fold when given along with a drug that helps cells respond to oncomodulin. Yin, Benowitz and his colleagues also showed that oncomodulin switches on a variety of genes associated with axon growth.

Benowitz, the study's senior investigator, believes oncomodulin could someday prove useful in reversing optic-nerve damage caused by glaucoma, tumors or traumatic injury. In addition, the lab has shown that oncomodulin works on at least one other type of nerve cell, and now plans to test whether it also works on the types of brain cells that would be relevant to treating conditions like stroke and.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


May 30, 2006, 10:49 PM CT

Breakthrough For Diabetic Neuropathy Treatment

Breakthrough For Diabetic Neuropathy Treatment Professor David Tomlinson
A potentially ground-breaking therapy for nerve damage caused by diabetes has shown promising results in preclinical and early patient trials.

The University of Manchester team has discovered that injection of a novel therapeutic that works by stimulating a person's genes may prevent nerve damage - primarily to the hands and feet - caused by the disease.

The positive preclinical results - published in the journal Diabetes - are further evidence that the research could lead to a new therapy for diabetic nerve damage or 'neuropathy'; initial-stage clinical trials on patients in the United States have also been encouraging.

Lead researcher Professor David Tomlinson says the study has massive potential for managing the condition and preventing thousands of foot amputations each year.

"The vast majority of non-traumatic hand and foot amputations carried out in UK hospitals are caused by diabetes and there are currently no therapys available to prevent or slow the progress of nerve disease in diabetic patients," he said.

"Our tests have shown that a single injection of a DNA-binding protein protected nerve function, stimulated nerve growth and prevented tissue damage that in humans can lead to limb loss."

An estimated 50 per cent of patients with long-term diabetes develop some form of neuropathy that can cause numbness and sometimes pain and weakness in the hands, arms, feet and legs. Progression to amputation is not inevitable, but it is always a threat.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 30, 2006, 10:45 PM CT

A Closer Look At Smoker Lungs

A Closer Look At Smoker Lungs Image courtesy of SMM
Aided by a powerful imaging technique, researchers have discovered they can detect smoking-related lung damage in healthy smokers who otherwise display none of the telltale signs of tobacco use.

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison were able to probe deeper into smokers' lungs by tracking the movement in the respiratory organs of a harmless gas known as helium. Helium can be inhaled and visually detected via the widely used diagnostic technique known as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which produces high-contrast images of the body's soft tissues. The use of helium is a departure from traditional MRI, which typically distinguishes body tissues from one another by tracking differences in water content.

Writing in the journal Radiology, the UW-Madison researchers suggest that in comparison to existing imaging methods, the helium-based approach could enable doctors to assess lung health more accurately, as well as spot smoking-associated diseases much sooner.

"It's one thing to see a [lung] disease that was already diagnosed, but another to see changes that no one predicted were there," says lead author Sean Fain, a UW-Madison assistant professor of medical physics. "This approach allows us to look at lung micro-structures that are on the scale of less than a millimeter."........

Posted by: Scott      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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