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September 18, 2006, 9:45 PM CT

CAM For Insomnia Or Trouble Sleeping

CAM For Insomnia Or Trouble Sleeping
A new study reveals that over 1.6 million American adults use some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to treat insomnia or trouble sleeping* as per researchers at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the National Institutes of Health. The data came from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2002 the NHIS, an in-person, annual health survey, included over 31,000 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older. A CAM supplement to the survey asked about the use of 27 types of CAM therapies, as well as a variety of medical conditions for which CAM may be used, including insomnia or trouble sleeping. Survey results show that over 17 percent of adults reported trouble sleeping or insomnia in the past 12 months. Of those with insomnia or trouble sleeping, 4.5 percent--more than 1.6 million people--used some form of CAM to treat their condition.

"These data offer some new insights regarding the prevalence of insomnia or trouble sleeping in the United States and the types of CAM therapies people use to treat these conditions," said Dr. Margaret A. Chesney, Acting Director of NCCAM. "They will help us develop new research questions regarding the safety and efficacy of the CAM therapies being used."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


September 17, 2006, 10:21 PM CT

Prozac Interferes With Reproduction

Prozac Interferes With Reproduction
Scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and North Carolina State University (NCSW) have demonstrated that a usually prescribed antidepressant can interfere with the reproductive cycle of freshwater mussels--at least in a controlled setting. The research, presented this week at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society*, was conducted to better understand the environmental impact of pharmaceuticals in waste water.

More and more studies are turning up evidence of common drugs and their breakdown products in the nation's waterways (see NIST Tech Beat, www.nist.gov/public_affairs/techbeat/tb2005_1222.htm#drugs, raising concerns about potential health impacts for both humans and animals from low-level but continuous exposure to the chemicals. NIST and NCSU scientists at the Hollings Marine Laboratory (Charleston, S.C.) examined the effect of fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) on a native freshwater mussel (Elliptio complanata). Fluoxetine, sold under the trade name ProzacTM, is one of the most heavily prescribed antidepressants in the United States. In humans, it acts to increase the levels of serotonin at nerve synapses, relieving depression and associated illnesses. But for many aquatic species, serotonin moderates the reproductive system--and has been used to artificially induce spawning in bivalves.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 13, 2006, 9:34 PM CT

Depressive Symptoms In Teens

Depressive Symptoms In Teens
There has been much controversy in recent years regarding the connection between teenage suicide and the use of antidepressant drugs. At an FDA meeting reviewing this topic, the majority of clinical trials examined did not show that the drugs were effective in treating depression in children and adolescents.

In a recent study reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Dr. Richard Malone, from the Department of Psychiatry at Drexel University College of Medicine and Philadelphia Health & Education Corporation, and his colleagues suggest that the short duration of depressive symptoms in this age group makes it difficult to distinguish drug efficacy from placebo.

Using a naturalistic study design, the scientists advise using multiple assessments to establish a continuous baseline before randomizing patients to therapy, which would remove those who spontaneously recover in a very short period of time. In addition to having an impact on the accuracy of future clinical trials, this approach may help decrease the number of children who are exposed to unnecessary long-term drug treatment and possible side effects, since those who spontaneously recover quickly would not be started on drug treatment.

The article "Impersistence of Depression in Youth: Implications for Drug Study Design" can be accessed at no-charge for a limited time at The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology's web site at www.jclinpharm.org/cgi/reprint/46/9/1044........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 13, 2006, 5:05 AM CT

Violence In The Home And Childhood Bullying

Violence In The Home And Childhood Bullying
Children who were exposed to violence in the home engaged in higher levels of physical bullying than youngsters who were not witnesses to such behavior, as per a research studyby scientists from the University of Washington and Indiana University.

The study is one of the first in the United States to specifically examine the association between child exposure to intimate partner violence and involvement in bullying. It also is one of the first to break down bullying into physical aggression (hitting, pushing and other forms outward aggression) and relational aggression (teasing, being mean and ostracizing peers).

Overall, 34 percent of the children studied engaged in bullying and 73 percent reported being the victim of some form of bullying in the prior year. Almost all of the bullies, 97 percent, said they were also victims of bullying.

"Children learn from seeing what their primary caregivers do. They are very attuned and very observant about what goes on in a household," said Dr. Nerissa Bauer, lead author of the study and a former UW pediatrician who is now an assistant professor of pediatrics at Indian and Riley Children's Hospital.

"Parents are very powerful role models and children will mimic the behavior of parents, wanting to be like them. They may believe violence is OK and they can use it with peers. After all, they may think, 'If Daddy can do this, perhaps I can hit this kid to get my way.' When parents engage in violence, children may assume violence is the right way to do things," she said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 13, 2006, 4:33 AM CT

Black-white IQ Gap Has Narrowed

Black-white IQ Gap Has Narrowed Image courtesy of www.careerplanners.net
In a paper would be reported in the October issure of the journal Psychological Science, William Dickens and James Flynn show that the gap in measured cognitive ability between blacks and whites has narrowed by at least a quarter since 1972. The scientists analyzed nationally representative samples of blacks and whites on four different tests of cognitive ability. On all four tests, blacks show large gains relative to whites with results varying somewhat across the different tests. Pooling the results, the scientists find that blacks have gained an average of.18 IQ points a year on whites from 1972 to 2002 for a total gain of 5.4 IQ points. Further, blacks have gained on whites at all points in the distribution of ability, with gains being only modestly lower for those in the top 10 percent.

These gains in cognitive ability have come during a time when blacks have made notable progress towards social and economic equality in some areas and suggest the possibility that further progress will bring further IQ gains.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


September 13, 2006, 4:25 AM CT

Children's Behavioral And Mental Health Problems

Children's Behavioral And Mental Health Problems
Limited access to services for children and adolescents with behavioral problems or mental illness often leads to inadequate care and therapy based on insufficient scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness, concludes a report by the American Psychological Association (APA) released recently.

As per the report, a product of the APA Working Group on Psychotropic Medications for Children and Adolescents, gaps in the scientific knowledge concerning which therapys work best for specific diagnoses and patients, a dearth of clinicians specifically trained to work with children, cuts in Medicaid funding, and poor reimbursement for mental health services leads to a number of children being treated with medicine despite limited efficacy and safety for their use especially with children.

Research published earlier this year showed a five-fold increase in the use of antipsychotic drugs to treat behavioral and emotional problems in children and adolescents from 1993 to 2002.

"This entire state of affairs is in part correlation to our health care system's failure to provide sufficiently for children, especially in the area of pediatric mental health care," states Ronald T. Brown, PhD, chair of the APA Working Group and Professor of Public Health and Dean at Temple University. "As a result, much of the care provided to children for mental health issues has been limited to medicine even though a number of psychosocial therapys have been found to be effective and some with better risk profiles. Psychosocial therapys, however, can be more labor intensive and more expensive." .........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 5, 2006, 5:02 AM CT

Drinking During Pregnancy And Alcoholism Later

Drinking During Pregnancy And Alcoholism Later
Individuals whose mothers drink three or more glasses of alcohol at any one occasion in early pregnancy have an increased risk of developing alcohol disorders by 21 years of age, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Exposure to maternal drinking during early childhood has been linked to difficulties in thinking, learning and memory, as well as mental and behavioral problems. However, few studies have examined the link between drinking during pregnancy and a child's later risk for alcohol dependence and other disorders, as per background information in the article. Animal studies have provided extensive evidence of a link between exposure to alcohol before birth and early acceptance of alcohol. "Similar results replicated in human studies would carry considerable implications for public health intervention," the authors write. "First, such studies would suggest that even small quantities of alcohol exposure, if consumed in a single session, may cause in utero neurodevelopmental changes that in turn may lead to the early onset of alcohol disorder in youth. Second, they would provide support for the role of a biological origin of alcohol disorders".

Rosa Alati, Ph.D., from The University of Queensland, Herston, Australia, and his colleagues explored whether maternal exposure to alcohol during pregnancy increased a child's risk of developing alcohol disorders in 2,138 participants who were followed from birth to age 21. A group of 7,223 mothers was originally interviewed at their first prenatal doctor visit, between 1981 and 1984 in Brisbane, Australia. The mothers and children were assessed at birth and again 6 months and 5, 14, and 21 years later. Before pregnancy, in early (first 18 weeks) and late (last three months) pregnancy, and when their children were age 5 and 14, the mothers were asked how often they drank alcohol and the number of drinks consumed on any one occasion. Children were reviewed for alcohol disorders at age 21.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


September 5, 2006, 4:56 AM CT

Televised Movie Trailers And Tobacco Use

Televised Movie Trailers And Tobacco Use
Despite a ban on tobacco advertising on television, nearly all U.S. children age 12 to 17 years may have been exposed to tobacco use through movie advertisements televised in 2001 to 2002, as per an article in the recent issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Tobacco advertising was banned from television in 1971, but tobacco use is still portrayed in a variety of forms on television, including movie advertisements or trailers. "Trailers pair tobacco use with popular movie stars and edgy action shots," the authors write. "These images translate into positive images of tobacco that are conveyed to a broad audience, including a large population younger than 18 years." Studies have shown that most movies released in the United States contain images of smoking, including about half of those with PG or G ratings, as per background information in the article. Surveys of children and adolescents indicate that they are more likely to smoke if their favorite movie stars do, and that watching movies in which characters smoke can have an immediate effect on their attitudes toward smoking.

Cheryl G. Healton, Dr.P.H., American Legacy Foundation, Washington, D.C., and his colleagues studied all 216 movie trailers that aired in the United States from August 2001 through July 2002. They first analyzed the full-length versions of all the trailers to determine whether they included images of tobacco use. They then obtained viewer information from Nielson Media Research, the primary source of U.S. television ratings, to determine the population exposed to each trailer.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 4, 2006, 10:19 PM CT

Prevention Of Methamphetamine Abuse

Prevention Of Methamphetamine Abuse
New research supported in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, shows that prevention programs conducted in middle school can reduce methamphetamine abuse among rural adolescents years later. Because methamphetamine addiction leads to problems with social interactions and a wide range of medical conditions, research into early interventions such as this is critical to protecting the Nation's youth. The paper is reported in the recent issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

"We now have evidence that prevention programs can be important tools to protect adolescents from the devastating effects of methamphetamine use, and we will continue to explore the effectiveness of other drug abuse prevention programs," says Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, director of the National Institutes of Health. "These findings are part of our ongoing effort to support scientific research that can have practical applications in community settings".

"Prior preventive interventions have shown effects in reducing adolescents' abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana, but this is the first study to examine the effects of a preventive intervention on methamphetamine abuse among youth," says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "The results of this research indicate the effectiveness of prevention programs on lifetime or annual methamphetamine abuse."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 4, 2006, 10:15 PM CT

Anticipation And Human Memory

Anticipation And Human Memory
Psychology experts have long known that memories of disturbing emotional events - such as an act of violence or the unexpected death of a loved one - are more vivid and deeply imprinted in the brain than mundane recollections of everyday matters.

Probing deeper into how such memories form, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have observed that the mere anticipation of a fearful situation can fire up two memory-forming regions of the brain - even before the event has occurred.

That means the simple act of anticipation may play a surprisingly important role in how fresh the memory of a tough experience remains.

The findings of the brain-imaging study, which appear in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, have important implications for the therapy of psychological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety, which are often characterized by flashbacks and intrusive memories of upsetting events.

"The main motivation for this study was a clinical one, in terms of understanding and applying knowledge about memory so that we can better inform the therapy of disorders that have a large memory component, like PTSD," says lead author Kristen Mackiewicz, a graduate student at the University of Colorado who worked on the anticipation study while a student at UW-Madison.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source



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Did you know?
Too little evidence exists to recommend or rule out estrogen as a treatment for schizophrenia in women, a new review of studies finds.People diagnosed with schizophrenia suffer distorted perceptions of reality and hallucinations. Today, estrogen is strictly an experimental therapy for the psychotic symptoms associated with the mental illness.

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