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September 4, 2008, 3:59 PM CT

More off-premise alcohol outlets can lead to more injuries

More off-premise alcohol outlets can lead to more injuries
Childhood injuries constitute a serious issue in the United States. In 2001, there were 12,249 deaths among children ages one to 14: injuries were the leading cause, accounting for 33.2 percent of all deaths for children ages one to four, and 39.4 percent of all deaths for children ages five to 14. A new study has observed that numerous off-premise alcohol outlets in neighborhoods can reduce overall guardianship of children's activities, leading to increased injuries.

Results would be reported in the recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

"Neighborhood areas with high levels of social disorganization can make the children who live there more vulnerable to injury in many ways," explained Bridget Freisthler, assistant professor in the department of social welfare at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and affiliated research scientist at the Prevention Research Center, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PRC/PIRE). This research was a joint project between UCLA and PRC/PIRE.

"Impoverished and disorganized neighborhoods may present more physically dangerous environments," said Freisthler. "Limited social capital restricts their ability to respond to social problems that might endanger children's health and well being. Reduced levels of social control may facilitate risky behaviors, such as playing in dangerous streets or vacant buildings. And, areas that have fewer adults available to monitor and supervise children's activities may further exacerbate problem behaviors".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 3, 2008, 7:00 PM CT

College freshmen: pain killers and stimulants less risky than cocaine

College freshmen: pain killers and stimulants less risky than cocaine
First year college students think that occasional nonmedical use of prescription pain killers and stimulants is less risky than cocaine, but more risky than marijuana or consuming five or more alcoholic beverages every weekend, as per a new study reported in the recent issue of Prevention Science, the peer-evaluated journal of the Society for Prevention Research.

This is the first study to describe college students' perceptions about the potential harmfulness of nonmedical use of prescription pain killers and stimulants. Prior studies with high school students show that beliefs about harmfulness of illicit drugs are correlation to drug use. Nonmedical use of pain killers and stimulants can be addictive and can cause serious problems requiring emergency room therapy.

The study by Amelia Arria, Ph.D., of the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland, also observed that college students who can be described as "sensation-seekers" are more likely to use prescription drugs nonmedically; irrespective of how harmful they may perceive the drugs to be. Arria said "sensation-seekers are students who like novel experiences, who want to try something new and a little dangerous, like jumping off the highest diving board or placing themselves in high-risk situations. They are much more likely to use pain killers nonmedically even if they perceive the drugs to be quite harmful".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 31, 2008, 9:07 PM CT

Chewing gum may help reduce stress

Chewing gum may help reduce stress
WHAT: "An investigation into the effects of gum chewing on mood and cortisol levels during psychological stress," to be presented at the 2008 10th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine, observed that chewing gum helped relieve anxiety, improve alertness and reduce stress among individuals in a laboratory setting.* The study examined whether chewing gum is capable of reducing induced anxiety and/or acute psychological stress while participants performed a battery of 'multi-tasking' activities. The use of chewing gum was linked to higher alertness, reduced anxiety and stress, and improvement in overall performance on multi-tasking activities.

WHO: Andrew Scholey, Ph.D., professor of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia led the research study and can discuss the effect of chewing gum on stress relief and focus and concentration.

Gilbert Leveille, Ph.D., executive director, Wrigley Science Institute, will also be available to discuss research on the benefits of chewing gum correlation to stress relief and alertness and concentration in addition to other areas including weight management and oral health.

WHEN: Study to be presented orally on Saturday, August 30 at Rissho University in Tokyo, Japan at the 10th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 31, 2008, 8:34 PM CT

The association with stress and depression

The association with stress and depression
The brain is the key organ in the response to stress. It reacts in a complex, orchestrated manner that is correlation to the activation and inhibition of neural structures involved in sensory, motor, autonomic, cognitive and emotional processes. It is the brain which finally determines what in the world is threatening and might be stressful for us, and which regulates the stress responses that can be either adaptive or maladaptive. Chronic stress can affect the brain and lead into depression: Environmental stressors (e.g. job and family situation, neighborhood) and particularly stressful life events such as trauma or abuse are amongst the most potent factors to induce depression. Since the development of novel approaches to antidepressant therapy is based upon an improved neurobiological understanding of this condition, new information about the cellular changes that take place in the brain is required.

Depression: a growing public health burden

Depression is a chronic, recurring, multifactorial, and life-threatening disorder, which represents a collection of psychological, neuroendocrine, physiological and behavioural symptoms. Chronicity and frequency of these symptoms constitute the clinical condition. Depressive disorders affect up to 20% of people at some time in their life. In primary care, an estimated 20��% of patients suffer from depression, but often are not diagnosed correctly (Wittchen, 2000).........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 27, 2008, 9:06 PM CT

Army personnel show increased risk for migraine

Army personnel show increased risk for migraine
Two new studies show that migraine headaches are very common among U.S. military personnel, yet the condition is frequently underdiagnosed. The studies, appearing in Headache, the peer-evaluated journal of the American Headache Society, examine the incidence among soldiers within 10 days of returning from a 1-year combat tour in Iraq , as well as U.S. Army officer trainees.

The U.S. active-duty military population is composed chiefly of young adults, which is the age group at highest risk for migraine. However, the reported rates are higher than those of similar age and gender in the general U.S. population.

The findings show that 19 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq screened positive for migraine and an additional 17 percent screened positive for possible migraine. Soldiers with a positive migraine screen suffered a mean average of 3.1 headache days per month, headache durations of 5.2 hours and 2.4 impaired duty days per month due to headache. Soldiers with migraine contacted 3 months after returning from Iraq had a mean of 5.3 headache days per month.

18 percent of U.S. Army officer trainees experienced migraine headaches over a 1-year period (13.9 percent for males, 31.4 percent for females) and, of those, 50 percent experienced migraines during a 5-week period of intensive military training. Migraine headaches were found to significantly impede training in 4 percent of all cadets during this time. 76 percent of cadets who screened positive for migraine had never been diagnosed.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


August 21, 2008, 8:30 PM CT

How addiction develops

How addiction develops
Permanent drug seeking and relapse after renewed drug administration are typical behavioral patterns of addiction. Molecular changes at the connection points in the brain's reward center are directly responsible for this. This finding was published by a research team from the Institute of Mental Health (ZI) in Mannheim, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg and the University of Geneva, Switzerland, in the latest issue of Neuron The results provide scientists with new approaches in the medical therapy of drug addiction.

Addiction leaves detectable traces in the brain: In particular regions of the central nervous system, which produce the messenger substance dopamine, the drug cocaine causes molecular restructuring processes at the synapses, the points of correlation between two neurons. As a reaction to the drug, protein subunits are exchanged in specific receptor complexes. As a result, the modified synapse becomes able to transmit nervous signals with enhanced strength a phenomenon that has been termed 'drug-induced synaptic plasticity'. Scientists have suspected for a number of years that drug-induced synaptic plasticity plays a crucial role in addiction development. However, this hypothesis has still not been proven experimentally.

Using genetic engineering, scientists headed by Professor Dr. Gnther Schtz at the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) have now been able to selectively switch off those protein components in dopamine-producing neurons that are integrated into the receptor complexes under the influence of cocaine. Jointly with the team of Professor Dr. Rainer Spanagel at the Central Institute of Mental Health (Zentralinstitut fr Seelische Gesundheit, ZI) in Mannheim and the research group of Professor Dr. Christian Lscher at Geneva University, the Heidelberg scientists studied the changes in physiology and behavior of the genetically modified animals.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 20, 2008, 1:27 AM CT

Alcohol dependence linked to delayed childbearing

Alcohol dependence linked to delayed childbearing
Alcohol use during the teen years can not only lead to subsequent alcohol problems, it can also lead to risky sexual behavior and a greater risk of early childbearing. An examination of the relationship between a lifetime history of alcohol dependence (AD) and timing of first childbirth across reproductive development has observed that AD in women is linked to delayed reproduction.

Results would be reported in the recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

"Reproductive dysfunctions include a range of menstrual disorders, sexual dysfunctions, and pregnancy complications that include spontaneous abortion or miscarriage," explained Mary Waldron, assistant professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine and corresponding author for the study. "Teenagers who drink tend to have disruptions in their menstrual cycle as well as unplanned pregnancies."

These complications may become more pronounced with time, added Sharon C. Wilsnack, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor in the department of clinical neuroscience at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences. "Higher rates of reproductive dysfunction in adult women may reflect the cumulative effects of longer exposure to alcohol for older women than for female adolescents," she said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 18, 2008, 8:58 PM CT

For Earlier Detection Of Autism

For Earlier Detection Of Autism
Top Row- Three views of brain MRI images with the extracted brain structures highlighted. Bottom Row- MRI image with extracted brain structures (bottom left), two different close-up views of extracted brain structures (bottom middle and bottom right).

Recently, Harvard scientists reported that children with autism have a wide range of genetic defects, making it nearly impossible to develop a simple genetic test to identify the disorder. Now, University of Missouri scientists are studying 3-D imaging to reveal correlations in the facial features and brain structures of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which will enable them to develop a formula for earlier detection of the disorder. The scientists anticipate their work also will reveal genetic clues that can direct additional research. Autism is a brain disorder characterized by a complex of social, communication and behavioral difficulties.

"When you compare the faces and head shapes of children with specific types of autism to other children, it is obvious there are variations. Currently, autism diagnosis is purely behavior based and doctors use tape measurements to check for facial and brain dissimilarities. We are in the process of developing a quantitative method that will accurately measure these differences and allow for earlier, more precise detection of specific types of the disorder," said Ye Duan, assistant computer science professor in the MU College of Engineering. "Once we have created a formula, we can pre-screen children by performing a quick, non-invasive scan of each child's face and brain to check for abnormalities. Early detection is crucial in treating children and preparing families".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 13, 2008, 0:38 AM CT

'Erasing' drug-associated memories

'Erasing' drug-associated memories
'Erasing' drug-associated memories may prevent recovering drug abusers from relapsing, scientists at the University of Cambridge have discovered.

The team, led by Professor Barry Everitt, was able to reduce drug-seeking behaviours in rats by blocking a brain chemical receptor important to learning and memory during the recall of drug-associated memories. Their research, which was funded by the Medical Research Council, was published in the 13 recent issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

The Cambridge researchers observed that by disrupting or erasing memories linked to drug use during recall, they could prevent the memories from triggering relapses and drug taking.

Memories exist in different states depending on whether they are being recalled or not. When memories are recalled, they become 'unstable' or malleable and can be altered or erased during the process called reconsolidation. Because relapse by drug abusers is often prompted when they recall drug-associated memories, the researchers observed that by blocking these memories they could prevent relapse.

In order to undertake the experiments, the scientists trained rats to associate the switching on of a light with cocaine. The scientists then exposed the rats to the light, thereby 'reactivating' the memory, without the cocaine. In an effort to receive more cocaine, the rats would perform tasks that the researchers had created which would turn on the light.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 29, 2008, 11:56 PM CT

Right place and right time can trigger drinking

Right place and right time can trigger drinking
Strong cravings for alcohol can be sparked by the mere sight, smell and taste of a person's favorite drink. Responses to such cues that are linked to the positive effects of drinking are a lead cause of relapse in abstinent alcoholics. Using a behavioral animal model, scientists of a new study, scheduled for publication in the August 1st issue of Biological Psychiatry, have observed that the physical surroundings where alcohol cues are experienced can greatly influence the ability of those cues to trigger relapse.

Specifically, Chaudhri and his colleagues taught rats to learn that a brief tone signaled when a small amount of alcohol would be available in a fluid receptacle for them to drink. This learning occurred in a distinctive environment consisting of a particular appearance, smell, and lighting. They were then put into a second, unique context with a different appearance, smell, and lighting, and were repeatedly exposed to the tone but never given alcohol. After several sessions in this new context, the rats gradually learned that the tone no longer predicted alcohol and consequently stopped checking the fluid receptacle. However, upon re-exposure to the original context where alcohol was available, presentation of the tone once again caused the rats to immediately check for it. "This finding demonstrates the power of environments to trigger relapse to alcohol-seeking in response to alcohol-predictive cues," said lead author Nadia Chaudhri, Ph. D., with the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at UCSF. "This effect is highly detrimental to humans who are trying to abstain from drinking." .........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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