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February 6, 2006, 11:33 PM CT

Connection Between Dementia And Cancer

Connection Between Dementia And Cancer
By expressing a protein associated with Alzheimer's disease in the brain of the fruit fly, scientists have demonstrated an intriguing link between neuronal death and proteins previously associated with cancer.

The findings are reported by Vik Khurana, Mel Feany, and his colleagues from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Burnham Institute.

Neurons in the brain generally do not divide. It is therefore perplexing that in Alzheimer's disease, and other dementias associated with a protein called tau, dying neurons actually re-express proteins normally seen during cell division or in cancer. It has previously been unclear whether such cell-division proteins cause neuronal death, protect neurons from death, or are irrelevant.

In the present work, the scientists used a fruit-fly model of Alzheimer's disease to examine the relationship of cell-division proteins to neurodegeneration. The power of this model, which recapitulates key features of the human disease, lies in the ability to use genetic tools to establish a causal correlation between a molecular pathway and neuronal death. Khurana and his colleagues found that, as in human disease, abnormal expression of cell-cycle proteins accompanied neuronal death in their fly model. Most importantly, loss of neurons could be prevented when the cell cycle was genetically blocked or when flies were fed anticancer drugs. Cell-cycle activation depended upon a hyperactive cell growth molecule, TOR (target of rapamycin), also known to be abnormally activated in Alzheimer's disease. By establishing these causal connections, this study suggests that anticancer drugs are potential therapies for Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. More broadly, the results point to an intriguing correlation between cancer and dementia, two of the most important diseases in the elderly.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink

February 2, 2006, 10:04 PM CT

Can Snoring Ruin a Marriage?

Can Snoring Ruin a Marriage?
The husband snores. The wife nudges him to flip over. Both wake up feeling grouchy the next morning. It's a common occurrence that may have more of an impact on the marriage than most couples think.

The Sleep Disorders Center at Rush University Medical Center is conducting a scientific sleep study to evaluate how a husband's sleep apnea impacts the wife's quality of sleep and the couple's marital satisfaction.

"This is a frequent problem within marriages that nobody is paying enough attention to," said Rosalind Cartwright, PhD, founder of the Sleep Disorders Center at Rush. "Couples who struggle with sleep apnea have a high-divorce rate. Can we save marriages by treating sleep apnea? It's a question we hope to answer".

The Married Couples Sleep Study is evaluating 10 couples in which the male has been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. After completing surveys about sleepiness, marriage satisfaction, and quality of life, the couple spends the night in the sleep lab where technicians determine each partner's quality and quantity of sleep. Following two weeks of therapy, the diagnostic tests and surveys are repeated.

"Our early results are showing that the wife's sleep is indeed deprived due to the husband's noisy nights. This is not a mild problem. The lack of sleep for both partners puts a strain on the marriage and creates a hostile and tense situation," said Cartwright.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink

January 30, 2006, 11:33 PM CT

Women Feel Rushed Even With More Time

Women Feel Rushed Even With More Time
While more free time sounds like a good thing for everyone, new research suggests it is a better deal for men than it is for women.

A study found that men who have more free time feel less rushed than men with less leisure time. But even when women have more time free from paid work and household tasks, they don't feel less rushed.

The results suggest that women - especially mothers - may feel the pressures of childcare and housework even when they have time for relaxation, said Liana Sayer, co-author of the study and assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State University.

"The meaning of free time for men's and women's lives are quite different," Sayer said. "Particularly for wives and mothers, it appears free time is still combined with other activities or responsibilities."

Women, in effect, pay a "family penalty," she said.

For example, the study found that men who were married and had children didn't feel more rushed in their daily lives than single, childless men.

But the odds of feeling sometimes or always rushed were 2.2 times higher for married women with children than it was for single, childless women.

Sayer conducted the study with Marybeth Mattingly of the University of Maryland. Their results appear in the February 2006 issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

January 28, 2006, 4:31 PM CT

Keys To Fighting Winter Blues

Keys To Fighting Winter Blues
As the long, dark stretch of winter lingers on, it can be a struggle for some people to keep the blues at bay, but there are several tips that can help until spring arrives, a Purdue University expert says.

Jane Kinyon, a clinical professor in the School of Nursing, says mild depression, or the "blahs," are common in the winter due to the double impact of a lack of sunlight and the often bitter cold temperatures that discourage outdoor activities. She says that's why more discipline is needed this time of year to keep spirits afloat.

"In addition to the obvious things - eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep - it's important to make ourselves do things like have lunch with a friend or take a walk," Kinyon says. "We must schedule activities like this and make ourselves get out in the winter because we might not do them otherwise".

Putting more light into our lives also is beneficial, she says.

"Having a lot of lights on in the house may not be a substitute for sunlight, but it can raise our spirits," Kinyon says. "If your house is dark and it's dark outside, it just contributes to a low mood".

Kinyon says another tactic that is helpful is what she calls "reframing".

"It's just like in your house, where you have a picture hanging on the wall that you like but are tired of the frame," she says. "Reframing is about turning a given situation around to make it more positive".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

January 18, 2006, 8:07 PM CT

Parent Deployment And Teen's Emotions

Parent Deployment And Teen's Emotions
Understanding how a parent's deployment affects the emotional and behavioral development of their teenage children is the focal point of research conducted by Angela Huebner, associate professor of human development at Virginia Tech, National Capital Region, and Jay A. Mancini, professor of human development, Blacksburg campus.

Through a grant funded by the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University, and supported by the Department of Defense, the research team, based in Virginia Tech's College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, conducted focus groups comprised of 107 youth attending summer camps in Hawaii, Washington, Georgia, Texas, and Virginia, all sponsored by the National Military Family Association.

The war in Iraq and the global war on terrorism have changed the course of military service for Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve members. Today, the context of military service includes a higher operation tempo, increased deployments, relocations and family separations. In short, military families are facing more stressors than ever before. About 39 percent (over 469,999) of the children of deployed parents are age one and under), 33 percent (over 400,000) are between the ages of six and 11 and about 25 percent (over 300,000) are youth between the ages of 12 and 18.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

January 18, 2006, 0:26 AM CT

Parents In The Operating Room

Parents In The Operating Room
Knowing whether the presence of a parent diminishes or increases a child's anxiety previous to surgery may soon be answered with a new psychometric instrument developed at Yale School of Medicine and the University of Georgia.

An article in the recent issue of Anesthesiology details PCAMPIS (Perioperaitve Child-Adult Medical Procedure Interaction Scale), a scale that creates a complex coding of parent-child communications during the period before surgery. The instrument was developed by Alison Caldwell-Andrews, associate research scientist in the Department of Anesthesiology at Yale School of Medicine and Ronald Blount of the University of Georgia.

The senior author of the study, Zeev Kain, M.D., professor in the Departments of Anesthesiology, Pediatrics, and the Child Study Center at Yale, said bringing parents into the operating room for surgical procedures is not always beneficial to the child or to the parents and may even increase the child's anxiety.

"We simply must look at the interactions between the parents and child," said Kain, who is executive director and founder of the Center for the Advancement of Perioperative Health (CAPH) at the medical school. "We think that what parents say and do is what is important, not simply whether or not they are present".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

January 18, 2006, 0:08 AM CT

Stress In Infancy May Lead To Addictions

Stress In Infancy May Lead To Addictions
Female rats appear to be affected more than males by stress early in life, leading to a higher likelihood of cocaine addiction and eating disorders as adults, as per a studyby Yale School of Medicine scientists in Neuropsychopharmacology.

"These results differ somewhat from our prior study conducted with male rats," said Therese Kosten, research scientist, Department of Psychiatry, and lead author of the study. "Early life stress produces a greater increase in cocaine self-administration in female versus male rats".

In addition, the neonatal stress enhances responding for food treats in female, but not male, rats, she said. "We believe this may suggest that women with early life stress have an enhanced risk of developing drug addiction, as well as eating disorders," Kosten said.

Of the rats in the research, some were isolated from their mothers as "infants." The rats were studied as adults who had learned to self-administer cocaine and food treats. The scientists found the rats that had been kept in isolation worked harder to obtain food and drug rewards.

"The results of the cocaine self-administration study along with our prior work demonstrating enduring effects of neonatal isolation in female rats point to the possibility that women with early life stress experience may be at increased risk of initiating and maintaining drug addiction," Kosten said. "The fact that early isolation enhances responding for food in female rats, but not male rats, may provide an insight into the role of early life stress on gender differences in vulnerability to develop eating disorders".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

January 16, 2006, 11:40 PM CT

Working Under Influence of Alcohol

Working Under Influence of Alcohol
Workplace alcohol use and impairment directly affects an estimated 15 percent of the U.S. workforce, or 19.2 million workers, according to a recent study conducted at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) and reported in the current issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol.

Information about workplace alcohol use and impairment during the prior 12 months was obtained by telephone interviews from 2,805 employed adults residing in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. The sample of participants was designed to reflect the demographic composition of the adult civilian U.S. workforce from ages 18-65.

Interviews were conducted from January 2002 to June 2003. Those interviewed were asked how often during the prior year they drank alcohol within two hours of reporting to work, drank during the workday, worked under the influence or worked with a hangover.

This is the first study of workplace alcohol use to utilize a representative probability sample of the U.S. workforce.

Based on those responses, Michael R. Frone, Ph.D., principal investigator on the study, estimates that 2.3 million workers (1.8 percent of the workforce) have consumed alcohol at least once before coming to work and 8.9 million workers (7.1 percent of the workforce) have drank alcohol at least once during the workday. Most workers who drink during the workday do so during lunch breaks, though some drink while working or during other breaks.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink

January 13, 2006, 0:07 AM CT

Children's Weight And Neighborhood Safety

Children's Weightand Neighborhood Safety
Children who live in neighborhoods that their parents believe are unsafe are more likely to be overweight than those in neighborhoods perceived as safe, as per a studyin the recent issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Almost 16 percent of 6- to 11-year-old children in the United States are overweight, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of greater than or equal to the 95th percentile of national norms for age and sex, according to background information in the article. Children who are African-American or Hispanic, who watch large amounts of television or who have parents with high BMIs are more likely to be overweight, but little is known about how a child's neighborhood affects his or her risks. Few prior studies have looked specifically at the relationship between neighborhood safety and children's risk of being overweight.

Julie C. Lumeng, M.D., of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and his colleagues collected data from 768 children and families participating in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, a study of families in 10 diverse regions of the United States. The parents completed questionnaires that assessed how safe they thought their neighborhoods were at the time their children were in first grade. The ratings were divided into quartiles, with the first quartile perceived as the least safe and the fourth as safest. Their children's height and weight were measured in the laboratory when they were 4 ½ years old and again the spring of their first-grade year in school, when their mean (average) age was 7. BMI was calculated by dividing their weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

January 12, 2006, 11:59 PM CT

Brain Volume And Dementia

Brain Volume And Dementia
Reduced volume, or atrophy, in parts of the brain known as the amygdala and hippocampus may predict which cognitively healthy elderly people will develop dementia over a six-year period, as per a studyin the recent issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New strategies may be able to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common cause of dementia among older adults, according to background information in the article. Accurate methods of identifying which people are at high risk for dementia in old age would help physicians determine who could benefit from these interventions. There is evidence that adults with AD and mild cognitive impairment, a less severe condition that is considered a risk factor for AD, have reduced hippocampal and amygdalar volumes. However, prior research has not addressed whether measuring atrophy using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can predict the onset of AD at an earlier stage, before cognitive symptoms appear.

Tom den Heijer, M.D., Ph.D., of the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and his colleagues used MRI to assess the brain volumes of 511 dementia-free elderly people who were part of the Rotterdam Study, a large population-based cohort study that began in 1990. They screened the participants for dementia at initial visits in 1995 and 1996 and then in follow-up visits between 1997 and 2003, during which they asked about memory problems and performed extensive neuropsychological testing. The authors also monitored the medical records of all participants. During the follow-up, 35 participants developed dementia and 26 were diagnosed with AD.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink

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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. Archives of psychology news blog

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