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May 18, 2006, 11:11 PM CT

Gossip Creates Friendships

Gossip Creates Friendships
An article reported in the current issue of Personal Relationships finds the good in bad gossip. Research shows that sharing negative attitudes about others may have positive consequences; it promotes closeness and friendship. In their study, the authors find that negative attitudes are frequently shared among friends and can even promote friendships among strangers. Gossip is alluring because it establishes in-group/out-group boundaries, boosts self-esteem, and conveys highly informative information about the attitude holder. "We certainly do not deny that gossip behavior has it drawbacks," the authors state. "Still, if there is a positive side of gossip, we believe it is that shared, mild, negative attitudes toward others can create and/or amplify interpersonal intimacy."

In the first two parts of the study, two groups of participants were instructed to list the positive and negative attitudes they shared at the early and later stages of close relationships. Both groups recalled more negative than positive attitudes about other people. In the third section, participants listened to a conversation between two fictional characters and explained what they liked or did not like about one speaker (a third person). They were then told that they shared or did not share the same thoughts as another participant whom they would be partnered with. The authors found that those whose partner had a mutual dislike of the person felt closer to this stranger than people who learned that they shared a liking.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 18, 2006, 9:40 PM CT

Giving Rest To Restless Legs

Giving Rest To Restless Legs
Life can be hard. Sometimes you feel sad or distracted or anxious. Or maybe you feel a compelling urge to move your legs. But does that mean you are sick? Does it mean you need medication?

Maybe, maybe not. For some people, symptoms are severe enough to be disabling. But for a number of others with milder problems, these "symptoms" are just the transient experiences of everyday life. Helping sick people get therapy is a good thing. Convincing healthy people that they are sick is not. Sick people stand to benefit from therapy, but healthy people may only get hurt: they get labeled "sick," may become anxious about their condition, and, if they are treated, may experience side effects that overwhelm any potential benefit.

"Disease mongering" is the effort by pharmaceutical companies (or others with similar financial interests) to enlarge the market for a therapy by convincing people that they are sick and need medical intervention [2]. Typically, the disease is vague, with nonspecific symptoms spanning a broad spectrum of severity-from everyday experiences a number of people would not even call "symptoms," to profound suffering. The market for therapy gets enlarged in two ways: by narrowing the definition of health so normal experiences get labeled as pathologic, and by expanding the definition of disease to include earlier, milder, and presymptomatic forms (e.g., regarding a risk factor such as high cholesterol as a disease in itself).........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 18, 2006, 7:02 AM CT

Tailored Chemotherapy For Her2 Positive Patients

Tailored Chemotherapy For Her2 Positive Patients
Scientists from Canada have reported that chemotherapy may be most effective when choices of drugs are tailored to the specific gene mutation or gene amplification. They report that when treating Her2 positive breast cancer, patients who have HER2 gene amplification respond better to chemotherapy regimen containing anthracyclin group of drugs.

This study that is reported in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine shows that breast cancer patients who have HER2 gene amplification are best treated with a combination of cyclophosphamide, epirubicin and fluorouracil (CEF) rather than with a combination of cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and fluorouracil (CMF). The study showed that use of CEF resulted in reduction of 10-year risk of death by about 48 percent in women who have HER2 gene amplification compared to therapy with CMF.

This study actually builds up on a prior study, which showed that CEF outperformed CMF in women with node-positive breast cancer. With these results the scientists went back to that study and reinvestigated the outcome of women with HER2 gene amplification.........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink

May 17, 2006, 11:42 PM CT

Summer Activities Can Increase Hearing Loss

Summer Activities Can Increase Hearing Loss
People tend to spend more time outdoors in the summer, and their exposure to loud noise increases. Whether the noise is from powerboats, firecrackers, lawnmowers or motorcycles, a University of Cincinnati (UC) otolaryngologist encourages people to take precautions to protect their ears.

Tinnitus (perception of sound in the ears) affects most people at some point in their lives and is often due to hearing loss or the result of exposure to loud noises. Other causes include stress, ear-damaging drugs, ear infections, jaw misalignment, brain or head injury and, in rare cases, a tumor on the auditory nerve.

"It's important for people to realize they can help minimize tinnitus caused by loud noises," says Ravi Samy, MD, assistant professor of otolaryngology. "The cochlear hair cells in your ears can be damaged when listening to loud music or working around loud equipment (such as lawnmowers) for prolonged periods of time, which can lead to hearing loss.

"Protecting your hearing can be as simple as turning the music down and wearing ear plugs when mowing, attending concerts, working with machinery or engaged in other loud activities." .

The American Tinnitus Association estimates that 50 million Americans suffer from the condition. For most it's temporary, but for 12 million people it can disrupt their lives.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink

May 17, 2006, 11:38 PM CT

Tobacco Smoke Linked to Allergic Rhinitis in Infants

Tobacco Smoke Linked to Allergic Rhinitis in Infants
University of Cincinnati (UC) epidemiologists say it's environmental tobacco smoke-not the suspected visible mold-that drastically increases an infant's risk for developing allergic rhinitis by age 1.

Usually known as hay fever, allergic rhinitis occurs when a person's immune system mistakenly reacts to allergens (aggravating particles) in the air. The body then releases substances to protect itself, causing the allergy sufferer to experience persistent sneezing and a runny, blocked nose.

This is the first study to show a relationship between environmental tobacco smoke exposure and allergic rhinitis in year-old infants, the UC team reports in the recent issue of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology and an early online edition May 17.

"Prior studies have addressed risk factors for allergic rhinitis, but they failed to examine multiple environmental exposures, and some yielded contradictory results," says Jocelyn Biagini, lead author and an epidemiologist in UC's environmental health department.

The study evaluated the effects of numerous indoor exposures to such things as environmental tobacco smoke, visible mold, pets, siblings and the day-care environment on 633 infants under age one.

"We found that infants who were exposed to 20 or more cigarettes a day were three times more likely to develop allergic rhinitis by their first birthday than those who were not exposed," says Biagini.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

May 17, 2006, 11:34 PM CT

Substance Abuse Screening May Help Teenagers

Substance Abuse Screening May Help Teenagers
Teenagers are known for testing their limits - coming home after curfew, swearing and skipping school. But some teens will go even further and engage in risk-taking behavior like reckless driving that, when combined with alcohol or drugs, can result in serious injury or even death.

Scientists at the University of Michigan Health System believe one way to help curb such risky behavior is to do drug screening for all hospitalized pediatric trauma patients, and offer brief alcohol and substance abuse intervention programs to those who test positive.

Their study revealed that nearly 40 percent of the pediatric trauma patients ages 14 to 17 screened for substance abuse tested positive. Of those patients, 29 percent of positive tests were for opiates like opium or heroin, 11.2 percent for alcohol, and 20 percent for cannabis, or marijuana.

These findings, reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Pediatric Surgery, support the value of routine substance abuse screening for all injured teenage hospital patients regardless of age, gender or type of injury, says study lead author Peter F. Ehrlich, M.D., MHS, clinical associate professor, Department of Pediatric Surgery at the U-M Medical School.

"The two major preventable health issues facing adolescents are injuries that result in death or disability, and lifestyle choices that have long-term, adverse health consequences," says Ehrlich. "To help alter this risk-taking behavior, it is essential that drug testing and brief substance abuse intervention programs be included in the therapy of all injured adolescents."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink

May 17, 2006, 11:30 PM CT

Hepatitis C Virus Infection Increases Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Hepatitis C Virus Infection Increases Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection who are 40 years of age or older have three times the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with their uninfected counterparts, as per a report in the recent issue of Diabetes Care.

"HCV is a diabetogenic agent that by means of increasing insulin resistance strongly predisposes infected patients to type 2 diabetes," Dr. Rafael Simo from Hospital Vall d'Hebron, Barcelona, Spain told Reuters Health. Dr. Simo and his colleagues reviewed the available evidence concerning the epidemiological association between HCV infection and diabetes.

In all studies that contained a control group, there was a higher prevalence of HCV antibodies among patients with type 2 diabetes than among nondiabetic patients, the authors report. This was not the case for patients with type 1 diabetes.

Similarly, data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) confirmed a three-fold increased risk of type 2 diabetes in patients who were at least 40 years old and infected with HCV. Again, the results indicate, there was no association between HCV infection and type 1 diabetes.

In other studies, HCV-positive patients with chronic hepatitis were three times as likely to have glucose abnormalities, compared with HCV-negative subjects with other liver diseases. Diabetes and impaired fasting glucose were also more common among patients with anti-HCV antibodies.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

May 17, 2006, 10:45 PM CT

Popular Supplement Doesn't Reduce High Cholesterol

Popular Supplement Doesn't Reduce High Cholesterol
Countering prior research, a new study found that the nutritional supplement policosanol wasn't any more effective at lowering cholesterol than a placebo.

"Policosanol had no effects on blood lipids beyond placebo, not even with very high doses," said study author Dr. Heiner Berthold, a professor of clinical pharmacology at the University of Cologne, and executive secretary of the Drug Commission of the German Medical Association, in Berlin.

Policosanol is a natural supplement, usually derived from sugar cane wax. It can also be made from wheat germ, beeswax and rice bran. Policosanol made from Cuban sugar cane is sold commercially in dozens of countries, as per background information in the article. Along with its purported cholesterol-lowering effects, the supplement is also supposed to have antioxidant action and to help keep blood from clotting.

While there have been a number of positive studies documenting policosanol's cholesterol-lowering abilities, the article points out that most of this research was done by a single research group in Cuba.

Because of this, the German research group involved in this study felt there was a need for independent confirmation of the positive findings.

So, they recruited 143 people from 14 different centers in Gera number of. Then, they randomly assigned the study volunteers to five different therapy groups. Twenty percent received a placebo, and the remaining 80 percent were divided into four therapy groups that received either 10, 20, 40 or 80 milligrams of policosanol daily for 12 weeks.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink

May 17, 2006, 10:31 PM CT

About Summer Sun Safety

About Summer Sun Safety
Fifty years of medical studies show that sun exposure is a primary component in the development of melanoma, the most serious and deadly type of skin cancer, report leading dermatologists in the April 2006 issue of Dermatology Surgery.

"Though genetics may play a role in the development of some melanomas, there's overwhelming evidence that shows sun exposure adversely affects patients both with and without genetic predisposition to melanoma," said Elisabeth K. Shim, M.D., an Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Keck USC Medical School of Medicine in Los Angeles, CA.

It's not clear what pattern of sun exposure causes melanoma or whether it's short, intense intermittent or cumulative. Further more, it's not clear if ultraviolet B (UVB), ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, or both are responsible for causing melanoma. "Regardless, the sun acts as an initiating and promoting agent in causing melanoma, and causes immunosuppression," noted Dr. Shim.

With summer quickly approaching, it's necessary to protect yourself by using sunscreen and sun protective measures to prevent melanoma, and other skin cancers, despite current controversy.........

Posted by: George      Permalink         Source

May 17, 2006, 9:44 PM CT

The Strangest, Easiest Way To Lose Weight

The Strangest, Easiest Way To Lose Weight
You have a legacy brain. We've talked about that a lot on this blog, and in my presentations. Your brain thinks you're still living in a cave. Although your mind knows you're in the 21st centry, your brain never got the memo.

A big part of the learning theory we use in the Head First books is figuring out how to "trick" your brain into thinking that learning Java is as important as watching for tigers. We pay a great deal of attention to what your brain cares about, especially when the concerns (tigers-but-not-java) are in direct conflict with what your mind cares about (java-but-not-tigers).

Besides caring about tigers-and-not-java--and the problems that creates when we're trying to pay attention, learn, and remember--our legacy brain does something else we all struggle with--it thinks you won't get much to eat all winter, so it better store it up while it can.

Your brain thinks that food is scarce for you, so it better hang on to it. In other words, for almost all adults (especially in the US), our brain wants us to be weigh more than our conscious mind wants. The brain never got the memo about how you probably aren't going to starve this winter.

Given how interested we are here into hacking and creating workarounds for the legacy brain issues, a new diet book that claims to take this approach got my attention. The claims are outrageous, the "plan" is absurd and counter-intuitive, but when the publisher sent me a copy of the book I figured it wouldn't hurt to try it. I say "wouldn't hurt" because it is ridiculously easy to try. And since the Freakonomics guys were recommending it, I figured there had to be something interesting. Plus. I loved the name: the Shangri-La Diet.........

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. Archives of health news blog

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