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June 19, 2006, 8:29 PM CT

Newborn Screening Can Cause Parental Stress

Newborn Screening Can Cause Parental Stress
Virtually all babies in the U.S. have their heels pricked soon after birth to get a blood sample for genetic testing. These "heel stick" tests identify rare metabolic disorders before they cause irreversible damage, but as more disorders are added to the screening - a number of states now test for 30 or more - false-positive results are on the rise. In the recent issue of Pediatrics, scientists from Children's Hospital Boston report that false-positive results cause considerable parental stress, even when the baby proves negative on retesting, and that the stress could be alleviated by better education for parents and pediatricians.

Psychology expert Susan Waisbren, PhD and Elizabeth Gurian, MS in Children's Division of Genetics interviewed 173 families who had received false-positive screening results and a comparison group of 67 families with normal newborn screening results.

Eventhough mothers in the false-positive group were interviewed at least six months after their child's diagnosis had been ruled out, they reported more worry about their child's future and rated themselves less healthy than mothers in the comparison group. Fifteen percent said their child needed extra parental care, versus 3 percent of mothers in the comparison group. After adjustment for socioeconomic factors, both mothers and fathers in the false-positive group had higher scores on the standardized Parenting Stress Index (PSI); 11 percent of mothers (versus no mothers in the comparison group) scored in the clinical range, in which therapy might be prescribed.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

June 19, 2006, 8:25 PM CT

Ethnic Disparities In Teen Exercise

Ethnic Disparities In Teen Exercise
A study of 17,000 U.S. adolescents finds that black and Hispanic girls are less physically active than white girls, but that this difference is attributable to the schools they attend: black, white and Hispanic girls attending the same school have no difference in physical activity. In contrast, among boys, blacks and Hispanics were more physically active than whites attending the same schools. The researchers, led by Tracy Richmond, MD, in the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Children's Hospital Boston, report and discuss their findings in the recent issue of Pediatrics.

Richmond and his colleagues carefully analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a school-based study of 7th-to-12th graders.

"Obesity is a growing problem in all adolescents, but it affects racial and ethnic minorities disproportionately," Richmond says. "Since physical activity is one protective factor against obesity that we can influence, we wanted to know whether schools might help determine physical activity levels."

Their key findings are as follows:
  • On average, black and Hispanic adolescents had a higher body mass index (BMI) than white adolescents.
  • Overall, adolescent girls were less physically active than boys, reporting fewer physical activities per week.
  • ........

    Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

    June 18, 2006, 6:53 PM CT

    Another Grape Excuse To Hit The Bottle

    Another Grape Excuse To Hit The Bottle
    Researchers in Italy say they have discovered that the grapes used to make some of the most popular red wines contain high levels of the sleep hormone melatonin. (Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture DOI 10.1002/jsfa2537). Melatonin is naturally secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, particularly at night. It tells the body when it is time to sleep.

    The discovery of melatonin in grape skin could explain why so a number of of us hit the bottle in the evening to wind down after a day's hard slog. 'The melatonin content in wine could help regulate the circadian rhythm [sleep-wake patterns], just like the melatonin produced by the pineal gland in mammals,' says researcher Iriti Marcello at the University of Milan.

    Until recently, melatonin was believed to be exclusively produced by mammals but has recently been discovered in plants. It is thought to have antioxidant properties. Iriti's study discovered high levels of melatonin in Nebbolo, Merlot, Cabernet Savignon, Sangiovesse and Croatina grape varieties.

    Iriti's team have also shown that melatonin content can be enhanced in grapes by treating vines with a plant vaccine Benzothiadiazole.

    Richard Wurtman of the brain and cognitive science department at MIT is unconvinced, however, and believes further research is needed to determine whether the compounds discovered are melatonin, or something very similar.........

    Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

    June 18, 2006, 6:00 PM CT

    Is It Safe To Swim After Eating?

    Is It Safe To Swim After Eating?
    Is it necessary to avoid swimming for three hours after a meal? "It all depends on what you've eaten," says Marielle Ledoux, a professor in the Department of Nutrition at Universite de Montreal.

    "If you've had a light meal with no alcohol, there's no point in waiting that long. But if you've eaten steak or poutine, you should really wait a few hours."

    The reason is simple, as per Ledoux. "Foods that are rich in fat are harder to digest than carbohydrates. It takes more oxygen to metabolize them, so they aren't as good a source of energy for physical activity".

    Ledoux is a sports medicine specialist with a rare combination of expertise in both nutrition and physical education. She notes that muscle cramping is not caused by swimming in particular, but by any physical exertion. "However, if you have cramps in the water, it can be a catastrophe".

    Parents may keep their children out of the water after a meal because of a false belief that there's a link between digestion and fainting while swimming. Ledoux explains that the real cause of fainting in the water is the heart's reaction to the shock of the cold water on very hot skin. It is true that body temperature rises during digestion, increasing the risk of shock, but this can happen even several hours after eating. A lengthy sunbath can have the same result.........

    Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

    June 18, 2006, 5:14 PM CT

    Laberge Study Shows Benefits Of Exercise

    Laberge Study Shows Benefits Of Exercise Suzanne Laberge
    Secondary school students who are cramming for final exams this month can improve their concentration by adding physical activity to their schedule, as per a research studydone by a team under the direction of Suzanne Laberge, a professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Universite de Montreal.

    Laberge had modest expectations when she embarked on her research. "The Comite de gestion de la taxe scolaire de l'île de Montreal wanted to know if exercise would boost academic results," she reports. "But since there are thousands of factors affecting success, most importantly socio-economic status, family life, age and life experience, we didn't believe that forty-five minutes of daily exercise would outweigh these overwhelming influences".

    Laberge and Paula Bush, whose work on the project constituted her master's research, set up an eighteen-week program of activities, including aerobic dance, martial arts, weight training, team sports and Playstation, for volunteer Secondary Two students at ecole Saint-Germain in Saint-Laurent.

    The study found a pronounced positive connection between involvement in the program and the students' ability to pay attention and concentrate. But closer analysis of the findings revealed that the difference was observable only in male students because, Laberge believes, growing teenaged boys need an outlet for their high levels of energy.........

    Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

    June 14, 2006, 0:00 AM CT

    Non-Hispanic Blacks May Have Best Hearing

    Non-Hispanic Blacks May Have Best Hearing
    Non-Hispanic black adults in the U.S. have on average the best hearing of the three most prevalent race-ethnic groups in the nation, a new study shows, with women hearing better than men in general. Overall, the nation's hearing health remains about the same as it was 35 years ago, despite massive changes in society and technology. The results were presented last week at the Acoustical Society of America's spring meeting in Providence, Rhode Island.

    William Murphy, Christa Themann, and Mark Stephenson at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in Cincinnati reported on the hearing test results of more than 5,000 U.S. adults aged 20-69 who were asked to identify themselves as members of a particular ethnic group. They studied the adults' "hearing thresholds," the softest sound an individual could hear, over a range of frequencies. Comparing data on the three most prevalent race-ethnic groups in the U.S., the scientists found that non-Hispanic blacks have on average the best hearing thresholds, non-Hispanic whites the worst, with Mexican Americans in between. Women in general had better hearing compared to men.

    Revisiting a similar study from 35 years ago with adults aged 25-74, the scientists found the median hearing levels in U.S. adults have not changed much; the hearing of U.S. residents is on average not any worse, nor any better than in the early part of 1970s. This is somewhat surprising because of the greater number of noise sources now present in our society. One potential factor is that hearing protection was not widely available in the early part of 1970s. Another speculation for the results is that fewer U.S. residents are working in noisy factory jobs, potentially offsetting the effects of newer noise sources. In addition, it is worth noting that the effects of playing portable music players such as now-ubiqitous iPod too loudly might still not fully be accounted for, since the analyzed data span the years 1999-2004.........

    Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source

    June 13, 2006, 11:22 PM CT

    Acupuncture Relief For Fibromyalgia

    Acupuncture Relief For Fibromyalgia
    Evidence suggests acupuncture reduces the symptoms of fibromyalgia, as per a Mayo Clinic study.

    Typically fibromyalgia is a disorder considered disabling by a number of, and is characterized by chronic, widespread musculoskeletal pain and symptoms such as fatigue, joint stiffness and sleep disturbance. No cure is known and available therapys are only partially effective.

    Mayo's study involved 50 fibromyalgia patients enrolled in a randomized, controlled trial to determine if acupuncture improved their symptoms. Symptoms of patients who received acupuncture significantly improved compared with the control group, as per the study reported in the recent issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

    "The results of the study convince me there is something more than the placebo effect to acupuncture," says David Martin, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the acupuncture article and a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist. "It affirms a lot of clinical impressions that this complementary medical technique is helpful for patients."

    Increasingly, patients are interested in pursuing complementary medicine techniques in conjunction with their mainstream medical care, Dr. Martin says. But often, such techniques lack scientific evidence to justify a patient's expense and time.........

    Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source

    June 13, 2006, 9:45 PM CT

    Child Abuse Can Cause Schizophrenia

    Child Abuse Can Cause Schizophrenia
    University of Manchester researcher Paul Hammersley is to tell two international conferences, in London and Madrid on 14 June 2006, that child abuse can cause schizophrenia.

    The groundbreaking and highly contentious theory, co-presented by New Zealand clinical psychology expert Dr John Read, has been described as "an earthquake" that will radically change the psychiatric profession.

    Clinical psychology expert and writer Dr Oliver James commented: "The psychiatric establishment is about to experience an earthquake that will shake its intellectual foundations [and] may trigger a landslide."

    Mr Hammersley, Programme Director for the COPE (Collaboration of Psychosocial Education) Initiative at the School of Nursing Midwifery and Social Work, said: "We are not returning to the 1960s and making the mistake of blaming families, but professionals have to realize that child abuse was a reality for large numbers of adult sufferers of psychosis."

    He added: "We work very closely in collaboration with the Hearing Voices Network, that is with the people who hear voices in their head. The experience of hearing voices is consistently associated with childhood trauma regardless of diagnosis or genetic pedigree."

    Dr Read said: "I hope we soon see a more balanced and evidence-based approach to schizophrenia and people using mental health services being asked what has happened to them and being given help instead of stigmatizing labels and mood-altering drugs."........

    Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

    June 13, 2006, 9:34 PM CT

    Drinking Coffee May Protect Liver

    Drinking Coffee May Protect Liver
    Drinking coffee could help protect against alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. That's the finding of a new study in the June 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

    Scientists at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., followed more than 125,000 health plan members who underwent a medical exam between 1978 and 1985. At the time, none of the members had diagnosed liver disease. Participants filled out a questionnaire detailing how much alcohol, coffee and tea they drank per day. By the end of 2001, 330 participants had been diagnosed with liver disease, including 199 with alcoholic cirrhosis. The scientists found that the more coffee a person drank, the less likely they were to develop alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.

    "Consuming coffee seems to have some protective benefits against alcoholic cirrhosis, and the more coffee a person consumes the less risk they seem to have of being hospitalized or dying of alcoholic cirrhosis," said Arthur Klatsky, MD, an investigator with Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research and the lead author of the study. "We did not see a similar protective association between coffee and non-alcoholic cirrhosis".

    "This is not a recommendation to drink coffee," said Klatsky. "Nor is it a recommendation that the way to deal with heavy alcohol consumption is to drink more coffee. The value of this study is that it may offer us some clues as to the biochemical processes taking place inside liver cells that could help in finding new ways to protect the liver against injury."........

    Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source

    June 13, 2006, 0:32 AM CT

    Pregnancy Cravings Can Harm Your Oral Health

    Pregnancy Cravings Can Harm Your Oral Health
    Pregnant women may often make ice cream runs to calm their cravings as they wait for their baby's arrival. Other women suffering from an eating disorder called pica, will have cravings for ice, freezer frost, or even soil.

    Pica combined with bulimia can have adverse effects on an individual's oral health during pregnancy and also can be hard to diagnose and treat during those nine months, as per a research studyreported in the May/June 2006 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal.

    Pica, commonly a secretive behavior, is a compulsive eating disorder in which sufferers have a constant appetite for non-nutritious substances. Bulimia is a condition in which patients overeat and then purge due to a fear of gaining weight. While the conditions' association and cause during pregnancy are not known, a number of suggest cultural and physiological factors are to blame. Others believe depression or iron and zinc deficiencies during pregnancy could be a factor.

    "Eating disorders can cause serious erosion of the tooth's enamel, as well as sensitivity, thinning, and chipping," says Paula Jones, DDS, FAGD, AGD spokesperson. "Dentists can detect the signs and provide patients with therapy options."

    While women often believe they should avoid dental care during pregnancy, it is very important for those suffering from eating disorders to continue with their dental visits. "Dentists are often the first to witness the physical effects of an eating disorder on an individual's oral health," says Dr. Jones. "A number of of those who suffer will not self-report the problem."........

    Posted by: Emily      Permalink         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. Archives of society medical news blog

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