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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 20, 2008, 1:17 AM CT

79 million US adults have medical bill problems

79 million US adults have medical bill problems
The proportion of working-age Americans who have medical bill problems or who are paying off medical debt climbed from 34 percent to 41 percent between 2005 and 2007, bringing the total to 72 million, as per recent survey findings from The Commonwealth Fund. In addition, 7 million adults age 65 and over also had problems paying medical bills, for a total of 79 million adults with medical bill problems or medical debt.

In a new Commonwealth Fund report about the survey findings, Losing Ground: How the Loss of Adequate Health Insurance is Burdening Working Families, the authors describe how working-age adults are becoming more exposed to the rising costs of health care, either because they have lost insurance through their jobs or because they are paying more out of pocket for their health care. This combination of factors, along with sluggish growth in average family incomes, is contributing to problems with medical bills and cost-related delays in getting needed health care.

The report finds that in 2007, nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults under age 65, or 116 million people, had medical bill problems or debt, went without needed care because of cost, were uninsured for a time, or were underinsuredinsured but had high out-of-pocket medical expenses or deductibles relative to income.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 18, 2008, 8:55 PM CT

Oral contraceptives may ease suffering of women with severe PMS

Oral contraceptives may ease suffering of women with severe PMS
A new clinical trial at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill using a popular low-dose contraceptive could uncover a more effective therapy for the 5 to 10 percent of women who suffer from premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

PMDD is much more severe than premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. The disorder interferes with a woman's ability to function effectively several days out of each month, every month. Physical symptoms include bloating, low energy, heart palpitations and joint or muscle pain. Far more disruptive emotional symptoms include irritability, anxiety, depression, mood swings, difficulty focusing and trouble sleeping. For a number of women with PMDD, five or more of these symptoms occur the week before menstruation starts and disappear a few days after the period begins.

The National Institute of Mental Health awarded UNC a $3 million grant for a five-year clinical trial using a low-dose contraceptive called YAZ (ethinyl estradiol/drospirenone). The trial is based on prior research by David Rubinow, M.D., the Asad Meymandi Distinguished Professor and chair of psychiatry in the UNC School of Medicine.

Rubinow discovered it is the change in not the level of reproductive hormones that triggers depression in women who are susceptible to PMDD. In other words, women with the disorder don't have abnormal levels of reproductive hormones, but are more sensitive to the shifts in them that occur previous to menstruation. That sensitivity triggers mood symptoms.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


July 29, 2008, 11:54 PM CT

Staying ahead of the drug-taking and genetic manipulation

Staying ahead of the drug-taking and genetic manipulation
The race to ensure that researchers stop drug-taking athletes from damaging sport by using performance enhancing drugs or undergoing genetic manipulation is a constant challenge, as per a major four-decade review by three of the World's leading experts on doping in sport.

Writing in the recent issue of the European-based Journal of Internal Medicine, they say that significant advances have been made in the fight against drugs in sport over the last 40 years. However, the authorities face a constant battle to keep up with both the athletes who use drugs and their rogue scientific advisors.

"A cardinal feature of doping is that some athletes will experiment with any new substance that might improve their performance" says Professor Don Catlin, Founder and former Director of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory at the University of California, USA, and CEO of the Anti-Doping Research Institute.

"They do not wait for regulatory approvals. If they can obtain a supply they will try it. This means that researchers need to anticipate and develop tests even before the drug has been misused by athletes.

"Considerable concerns have also been expressed about gene doping, a prohibited spin off of gene manipulation, a medical advance that has been developed to alter a person's DNA to fight diseases like muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 23, 2008, 4:40 PM CT

Giving The Right Exercise Advice

Giving The Right Exercise Advice
It is common knowledge that regular exercise supports physical and mental well-being. Despite this and recommendations from health care providers, the majority of patients with chronic illnesses remain inactive. In a new study, University of Missouri scientists observed that adults with chronic illness who received interventions focused on behavior-changing strategies significantly increased their physical activity levels. In contrast, interventions based on cognitive approaches, which attempt to change knowledge, beliefs and attitudes, and are most usually used by health care providers, did not improve physical activity.

"The information that physicians are giving patients isn't working. Patients are not motivated when they hear 'exercise is good; it will improve your health.' What works is providing patients with simple, action-orientated strategies to increase their activity levels," said Vicki Conn, professor and associate dean of research in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing.

Behavior strategies include feedback, goal setting, self-monitoring, and stimulus or cues. Self-monitoring, any method where participants record and track their activity over time, significantly increased awareness and provided motivation for improvement, Conn said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 21, 2008, 9:36 PM CT

Beijing pollution may trigger heart attacks

Beijing pollution may trigger heart attacks
Olympic athletes aren't the only ones who need to be concerned about the heavily polluted air in Beijing. The dirty air may trigger serious cardiovascular problems for some spectators.

Two scientists in pulmonary medicine and critical care at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine warn that for people in certain risk groups, breathing high levels of pollution can cause heart attacks and strokes within 24 hours of exposure and increase the possibility of having blood clots in their legs on the plane home.

The people who are vulnerable include those who already have known cardiovascular disease or risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, lung disease, a current smoking habit or a family member diagnosed with heart disease before age 55.

"If the air quality is bad, you are more likely to have serious heart disease related events," said Gokhan Mutlu, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the Northwestern's Feinberg School and a doctor at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "Being exposed to higher levels of pollution may unmask heart disease even if you've never had any symptoms."



WHY POLLUTION CAUSES HEART ATTACKS, STROKES AND BLOOD CLOTS


Mutlu published research in 2007 that showed how pollution triggers heart attacks and strokes. He discovered that microscopic air pollution -- particles less than one-tenth of the diameter of a human hair -- makes the blood thicker and sticky. He found when lungs are inflamed by pollution, they secrete a substance, interleukin-6, which causes an increased tendency for blood to clot.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 20, 2008, 5:00 PM CT

Loud music can make you drink more

Loud music can make you drink more
Commercial venues are very aware of the effects that the environment in this case, music can have on in-store traffic flow, sales volumes, product choices, and consumer time spent in the immediate vicinity. A study of the effects of music levels on drinking in a bar setting has observed that loud music leads to more drinking in less time.

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

"Prior research had shown that fast music can cause fast drinking, and that music versus no music can cause a person to spend more time in a bar," said Nicolas Guguen, a professor of behavioral sciences at the Universit de Bretagne-Sud in France, and corresponding author for the study. "This is the first time that an experimental approach in a real context found the effects of loud music on alcohol consumption."

Scientists discretely visited two bars for three Saturday evenings in a medium-size city located in the west of France. The study subjects, 40 males 18 to 25 years of age, were unaware that they were being observed; only those who ordered a glass of draft beer (25 cl. or 8 oz.) were included. With permission from the bar owners, observers would randomly manipulate the sound levels (either 72 dB, considered normal, or 88 dB, considered high) of the music in the bar (Top 40 songs) before choosing a participant. After the observed participant left the bar, sound levels were again randomly selected and a new participant was chosen.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 20, 2008, 4:57 PM CT

Refuting common stereotypes about obese workers

Refuting common stereotypes about obese workers
Mark Roehling, associate professor, School of Labor and Industrial Relations, College of Social Science

New research led by a Michigan State University scholar refutes usually held stereotypes that overweight workers are lazier, more emotionally unstable and harder to get along with than their "normal weight" colleagues.

With the findings, employers are urged to guard against the use of weight-based stereotypes when it comes to hiring, promoting or firing.

Mark Roehling, associate professor of human resource management, and two colleagues studied the relationship between body weight and personality traits for nearly 3,500 adults. Contrary to widely held stereotypes, overweight and obese adults were not found to be significantly less conscientious, less agreeable, less extraverted or less emotionally stable.

The research, done in conjunction with Hope College near Grand Rapids, appears in the current edition of the journal Group & Organization Management.

"Prior research has demonstrated that a number of employers hold negative stereotypes about obese workers, and those beliefs contribute to discrimination against overweight workers at virtually every stage of the employment process, from hiring to promotion to firing," Roehling said.

"This study goes a step further by examining whether there is empirical support for these usually held negative stereotypes. Are they based on fact or fiction? Our results suggest that the answer is fiction".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 19, 2008, 10:15 AM CT

An ID for Alzheimer's?

An ID for Alzheimer's?
Dr. Alzheimer
Every aging baby boomer listens for the footsteps of Alzheimer's, and for good reason: It's estimated that 10 million American boomers will develop the disease. The need to develop preventative strategies, ideally long before Alzheimer's destructive, clinical symptoms appear, is critical.

In furthering the steps toward that goal, UCLA associate professor of neurology John Ringman and colleagues confirm in the current issue of the journal Neurology that during Alzheimer's earliest stages, levels of specific proteins in the blood and spinal fluid begin to drop as the disease progresses, making them potentially useful as biomarkers to identify and track progression long before symptoms appear.

Identifying patients at the clinically "silent" stage is a prerequisite for advancing the strategies needed to prevent the symptoms from appearing. The hope is that one day, screening for such biomarkers could take its place beside such routine tests as colonoscopies and mammograms as another common tool of preventive medicine.

Familial Alzheimer's and sporadic Alzheimer's are two of the basic types of the disease. The majority of Alzheimer's cases are sporadic and late-onset, developing after the age of 65; the causes of this disease type are not completely understood. Familial Alzheimer's (FAD) is a rare form of the disease caused by certain gene mutations that affects less than 2 percent of Alzheimer's patients. FAD is early-onset, meaning the disease develops before age 65, and it is inherited; all offspring in the same generation have a 50-50 chance of developing FAD if one of their parents had it. The markers the scientists tracked came from people with the FAD mutations.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 17, 2008, 9:15 PM CT

Elderly falls cut by 11 percent with education and intervention

Elderly falls cut by 11 percent with education and intervention
Usually viewed as an inevitable consequence of aging and often ignored in clinical practice, falls among the elderly were cut by 11 percent when scientists at Yale School of Medicine used a combination of fall prevention educational campaigns and interventions aimed at encouraging clinicians to incorporate fall-risk assessment and management into their practices.

Reported in the July 17 New England Journal (NEJM), the study also observed that the fall prevention programs resulted in almost 10 percent fewer fall-related hip fractures and head injuries among the elderly, who receive their care from a broad range of health providers in the intervention area.

The study was conducted by Mary E. Tinetti, M.D., the Gladys Phillips Crofoot Professor of Medicine, epidemiology and public health and investigative medicine at Yale School of Medicine, and his colleagues.

It is the first study to examine the effects of fall prevention strategies when used by clinicians who care for the elderly. Prior trials studied fall prevention carried out by researchers, not by elderly patients' own health providers. The study targeted primary care physicians, rehabilitation specialists (physical and occupational therapists), home care nurses, hospital emergency room staff and other clinicians and providers.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Adolescents who suffer physical injuries are vulnerable to emotional distress in the months following their hospitalization, yet almost 40 percent of hospitalized adolescents interviewed for a new study had no source for the follow-up medical care that could diagnose and treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress. These young trauma survivors are at risk for high levels of post-traumatic stress and depressive symptoms, as well as high levels of alcohol use, according to research by researchers at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.

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