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March 5, 2008, 8:45 PM CT

Excessive drinking among the elderly

Excessive drinking among the elderly
One out of ten older adults on Medicare reports drinking more alcohol than is recommended, as per a new study from Brandeis University.

Even though alcohol problems are more prevalent in younger people, a substantial proportion of elderly adults are consuming alcohol in amounts that exceed recommended guidelines, said co-author of study Elizabeth Merrick, senior scientist at Brandeis Universitys Heller School for Social Policy and Management. The study sheds light on a complex problem that has received scant attention and is often missed by health care and other providers, she said.

Reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the study reviewed data about 12,413 Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 or older. Merrick and her colleagues observed that 9 percent engaged in unhealthy drinkingconsuming more than thirty drinks per month, or drinking four or more drinks on any day in a typical month. The study, based on a 2003 Medicare survey, also reported that two-thirds of beneficiaries do not drink, while one-quarter drink within the recommended guidelines.

As per the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the American Geriatrics Society, risky drinking among those 65 years and older occurs when a person consumes more than seven drinks per week or more than three drinks on a single day. OOther guidelines suggest that the single-occasion drink limit should be no more than two drinks, and that women should drink even lower overall amounts than men.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 4, 2008, 4:25 PM CT

Links Betweenarts Education And Cognitive Development

Links Betweenarts Education And Cognitive Development
Learning, Arts, and the Brain, a study three years in the making, is the result of research by cognitive neuroresearchers from seven leading universities across the United States. In the Dana Consortium study, released recently at a news conference at the Dana Foundation's Washington, DC headquarters, scientists grappled with a fundamental question: Are smart people drawn to the arts or does arts training make people smarter?

For the first time, coordinated, multi-university scientific research brings us closer to answering that question. Learning, Arts, and the Brain advances our understanding of the effects of music, dance, and drama education on other types of learning. Children motivated in the arts develop attention skills and strategies for memory retrieval that also apply to other subject areas.

The research was led by Dr. Michael S. Gazzaniga of the University of California at Santa Barbara. "A life-affirming dimension is opening up in neuroscience," said Dr. Gazzaniga, "to discover how the performance and appreciation of the arts enlarge cognitive capacities will be a long step forward in learning how better to learn and more enjoyably and productively to live. The consortium's new findings and conceptual advances have clarified what now needs to be done".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 4, 2008, 4:17 PM CT

Sticky blood protein yields clues to autism

Sticky blood protein yields clues to autism
A number of children with autism have elevated blood levels of serotonin a chemical with strong links to mood and anxiety. But what relevance this hyperserotonemia has for autism has remained a mystery.

New research by Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers provides a physical basis for this phenomenon, which may have profound implications for the origin of some autism-associated deficits.

In an advance online publication in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Ana Carneiro, Ph.D., and his colleagues report that a well-known protein found in blood platelets, integrin beta3, physically associates with and regulates the serotonin transporter (SERT), a protein that controls serotonin availability.

Autism, a prevalent childhood disorder, involves deficits in language, social communication and prominent rigid-compulsive traits. Serotonin has long been suspected to play a role in autism since elevated blood serotonin and genetic variations in the SERT have been associated with autism.

Alterations in brain serotonin have also been linked to anxiety, depression and alcoholism; antidepressants that block SERT (known as SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) block SERTs ability to sweep synapses clean of serotonin.

Working in the lab of Randy Blakely, Ph.D., Carneiro was searching for proteins that interact with SERT that might contribute to disorders where serotonin signaling is altered.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 3, 2008, 10:07 PM CT

Students With Cell Phones May Take More Risks

Students With Cell Phones May Take More Risks
Carrying a cell phone may cause some college students - particularly women - to take risks with their safety, a new study suggests.

A survey of 305 students at one campus observed that 40 percent of cell phone users said they walked somewhere after dark that they normally wouldn't go.

A separate survey observed that about three-quarters of students said that carrying a cell phone while walking alone at night made them feel somewhat or a lot safer.

"Students seem to feel less vulnerable when they carry a cell phone, eventhough there's not evidence that they really are," said Jack Nasar, co-author of the study and professor of city and regional planning at Ohio State University.

"If anything, they are probably less safe because they are paying less attention to their surroundings".

Nasar conducted the study with Peter Hecht of Temple University in Philadelphia and Richard Wener of Brooklyn Polytechnic University in New York. Their results were published in a recent issue of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.

The study involved online or phone interviews with randomly selected students at Ohio State. One sample in 2001 included 317 students and a separate survey one year later included 305 students.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 3, 2008, 8:56 PM CT

Gender differences in forgiving

Gender differences in forgiving
Forgiveness can be a powerful means to healing, but it does not come naturally for both sexes. Men have a harder time forgiving than women do, according to Case Western Reserve University psychologist Julie Juola Exline. But that can change if men develop empathy toward an offender by seeing they may also be capable of similar actions. Then the gender gap closes, and men become less vengeful.

Exline is the lead author on the Journal of Personality and Social Psychologys article, Not so Innocent: Does Seeing Ones Own Capability for Wrongdoing Predict Forgiveness" She collaborated with researchers Roy Baumeister and Anne Zell from Florida State University; Amy Kraft from Arizona State; and Charlotte Witvliet from Hope College.

In seven forgiveness-related studies Exline conducted between 1998 through 2005 with more than 1,400 college students, gender differences between men and women consistently emerged. When asked to recall offenses they had committed personally, men became less vengeful toward people who had offended them. Women reflecting on personal offenses, and beginning at a lower baseline for vengeance, exhibited no differences in levels of unforgiving. When women had to recall a similar offense in relation to the others offense, women felt guilty and tended to magnify the others offense.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 2, 2008, 9:05 PM CT

How to Say "No" to Alcohol Advertising

How to Say
Teens who can recognize and resist the persuasive tactics used in alcohol ads are less likely to succumb to alcohol advertising and peer pressure to drink.

The results of a three-year study of inner-city middle school students by Weill Cornell Medical College scientists appears online in the journal Addictive Behaviors (April print edition). Prior research has shown the correlation between advertising and adolescent alcohol, use as well as the influence of peers in promoting adolescent alcohol use.

"There are a number of pressures on teens to drink. One very powerful influence is advertising - from television to billboards, it's everywhere. Our study found their ability to be critically aware of advertising as well as their ability to resist peer pressure are both key skills for avoiding alcohol," says Dr. Jennifer A. Epstein, lead author and assistant professor of public health in the Division of Prevention and Health Behavior at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Results were taken from surveys of over 2,000 predominantly African-American adolescents from 13 inner-city junior high schools in New York City over three years. The study observed that seventh graders better able to be critically aware of advertising - something the study terms "media resistance skills" - were significantly less likely to drink alcohol as ninth graders.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 2, 2008, 8:48 PM CT

High prevalence of eating disorders in narcoleptics

High prevalence of eating disorders in narcoleptics
The majority of patients with narcolepsy/cataplexy experience many symptoms of eating disorders, with an irresistible craving for food and binge eating as the most prominent features, as per a research studyreported in the March 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

The study, authored by Hal Droogleever Fortuyn, MD, and Sebastiaan Overeem, MD, of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in The Netherlands, focused on 60 patients with narcolepsy/cataplexy who were recruited from specialized sleep centers and 120 healthy controls.

As per the results, 23.3 percent of the narcolepsy/cataplexy patients fulfilled the criteria for a clinical eating disorder, as opposed to none of the control subjects. Half of the patients reported a persistent craving for food, as well as binge eating. Twenty-five percent of patients even reported binging at least twice a week.

These data make it clear that narcolepsy is not just a sleeping disorder, but a hypothalamic disease with a much broader symptom profile, said Dr. Fortuyn. Hypocretin, the neurotransmitter that is lost in narcolepsy, has been implicated in the regulation of feeding through animal studies. Earlier studies in narcolepsy found a clear increase in body weight. However, we did not find a connection between binge eating and increased weight. Binge eating is apparently not the direct cause of the obesity in narcolepsy, and this suggests that metabolic alterations may be involved. Nevertheless, our study shows that the loss of hypocretin function makes narcolepsy patients not only struggle with staying awake, but also destabilizes their eating pattern, which makes it harder to stay away from the candy jar.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 2, 2008, 8:43 PM CT

Methylphenidate can have sleep benefits

Methylphenidate can have sleep benefits
Treatment with methylphenidate (MPH) appears to have beneficial effects on sleep parameters in adults with ADHD, including increased sleep efficiency and a feeling of improved restorative value of sleep, as per a research studyreported in the March 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

The study, authored by Esther Sobanski, MD, of the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Gera number of, focused on 34 non-medicated patients with ADHD, of whom 24 were without current psychiatric disorders, and 34 control subjects without current psychiatric disorders or psychotropic medication. In comparison to the control group, all subjects in the ADHD sample displayed reduced sleep efficiency, with longer sleep onset latency and more nocturnal awakenings. They had altered sleep architecture, with a higher percentage of stage 1 and reduced percentage of REM sleep. Patients also showed a trend toward the reduced total REM density and elevated percentage of wakefulness after sleep onset.

As per Dr. Sobanski, this study showed that objective and subjective sleep problems in adults with ADHD are identical with sleep problems in children with ADHD, including longer sleep latencies, more nocturnal activity, reduced sleep efficiency, more nocturnal awakenings and slightly decreased REM activity during sleep, eventhough the clinical significance of the last findings remains to be clarified.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 26, 2008, 10:30 PM CT

Depressed Teens Respond Well To Combination Therapy

Depressed Teens Respond Well To Combination Therapy
More than half of teenagers with the most debilitating forms of depression that do not respond to therapy with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) show improvement after switching to a different medicine combined with cognitive behavioral treatment, scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center and their colleagues in a multicenter study have found.

Dr. Graham Emslie, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at UT Southwestern and chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at Children's Medical Center Dallas, was a principal investigator in the study appearing in the Feb. 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"If an adolescent hasn't responded to an initial therapy, go ahead and switch therapys," said Dr. Emslie. "Our results should encourage clinicians to not let an adolescent stay on the same medicine and still suffer." The 334 study participants suffered from depression on average for about two years. The teenagers involved exhibited moderate to severe major depressive disorder, a number of with suicidal ideation. Historically, these types of patients have the worst therapy outcomes.

The scientists observed that nearly 55 percent of teenagers who failed to respond to a class of antidepressant medications known as SSRIs, responded when they switched to a different antidepressant and participated in cognitive behavioral treatment, which examines thinking patterns to modify behavior.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 24, 2008, 10:12 PM CT

Empty Nest Syndrome May Not Be Bad After All,

Empty Nest Syndrome May Not Be Bad After All,
One day they are crawling, the next day they are driving and then suddenly they aren't kids anymore. As children reach adulthood, the parent-child relationship changes as parents learn to adapt to newly independent children. A new study by a University of Missouri professor explored the differences in how mothers and fathers interacted with their young adult children. She found there were few differences in the way mothers and fathers felt and that a number of of the changes were positive, despite the perception that mothers in particular fall apart and experience the so-called empty nest syndrome.

"As children age, direct caretaking and influence diminish, and children are often seen by their parents as peers with whom they are have continuing relationships," said Christine Proulx, assistant professor of human development and family studies in the College of Human Environmental Sciences. "Eventhough our between-families results suggest these patterns of change and continuity differ by parent and child gender, our within-family analyses suggest important similarities among mothers and fathers within the same family."

Of most concern to the parents in the study were firstborns' independence, time spent together and role patterns. The study observed that generally fathers and mothers reported similar changes in the parent-child relationship during their child's movements into young adulthood. Both fathers and mothers reported differences in independence/maturity of the child, closeness/openness in the relationship, contact/time spent together and changes in role pattern.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         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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