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August 22, 2006, 6:48 PM CT

Snap Judgments Decide A Face's Character

Snap Judgments Decide A Face's Character
We may be taught not to judge a book by its cover, but when we see a new face, our brains decide whether a person is attractive and trustworthy within a tenth of a second, as per recent Princeton research.

Princeton University psychology expert Alex Todorov has observed that people respond intuitively to faces so rapidly that our reasoning minds may not have time to influence the reaction -- and that our intuitions about attraction and trust are among those we form the fastest.

"The link between facial features and character may be tenuous at best, but that doesn't stop our minds from sizing other people up at a glance," said Todorov, an assistant professor of psychology. "We decide very quickly whether a person possesses a number of of the traits we feel are important, such as likeability and competence, even though we have not exchanged a single word with them. It appears that we are hard-wired to draw these inferences in a fast, unreflective way."

Todorov and co-author Janine Willis, a student researcher who graduated from Princeton in 2005, used timed experiments and observed that snap judgments on character are often formed with insufficient time for rational thought. They published their research in the recent issue of the journal Psychological Science.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

August 22, 2006, 6:36 PM CT

Home Needles For Blood clots

Home Needles For Blood clots
Looks like those long days you spend in the hospital for therapy of blood clots are over. Scientists have shown that therapy of blood clots in the deep veins of the legs or the lungs with an older, less expensive form of the anticoagulant medicine heparin can be just as safe and effective as similar therapy with a newer and more expensive heparin, as per a research studyled by Clive Kearon, professor of medicine at McMaster University, reported in the August 23 issue of JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association).

When injected subcutaneously (beneath the skin), unfractionated (regular) heparin was shown in a randomized trial to work just as well as subcutaneous injection of the more expensive, low-molecular weight heparin in the therapy of venous thromboembolism. Traditionally, when unfractionated heparin is used in therapy, it is administered intravenously and accompanied by coagulation monitoring, which requires hospitalization. This standard approach includes ongoing dose adjustment in response to measurement of the APTT, a test that measures how fast the blood clots in a test tube under certain conditions.

The newer low-molecular weight heparins, which are administered by injection in fixed-weight doses, have gradually been replacing unfractionated heparin.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

August 22, 2006, 5:10 AM CT

Schizophrenics At Risk For Type 2 Diabetes

Schizophrenics At Risk For Type 2 Diabetes
Dissecting the relationship between schizophrenia and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes has physician-researchers reaching across the Atlantic Ocean.

They are looking at newly diagnosed schizophrenics in an upper-middle-class Spanish community to find whether the disease that causes patients to hear voices and smell, feel and even taste unreal objects also increases their risk of diabetes.

Researchers know the drugs that best control the psychosis increase the risk. "We know it's the medicine; I'm asking whether it's the disease as well," says Dr. Brian Kirkpatrick, vice chair of the Medical College of Georgia Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior and principal investigator on the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases-funded study.

Dr. Kirkpatrick and his colleagues at Hospital Clinic at the University of Barcelona in Spain and the University of Maryland note mounting evidence that developmental problems, resulting from significant maternal stress in the second or early third trimester of pregnancy, may cause schizophrenia and related problems.

"The brain has this incredibly complex development where cells are born here and march over here and send communication over here; that goes wrong from the very beginning probably," says Dr. Kirkpatrick of the complex process of laying down normal communication pathways that apparently go awry in about 1 percent of people.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

August 21, 2006, 9:56 PM CT

Cost Of Treating Chest Pain In The Average Woman

Cost Of Treating Chest Pain In The Average Woman
Treating chest pain linked to coronary artery disease (CAD) could cost a woman more than $1 million during her lifetime; and even the chest pain linked to mild artery blockage (nonobstructive CAD) could reach $750,000 for an average woman, as per a research studypublished in Circulation.

Chest pain symptoms may be the most important driver of women's cardiovascular healthcare costs, said lead study author Leslee J. Shaw, Ph.D.

"Lifetime healthcare costs can reach $1 million for each woman with heart disease in this country," she said. "The societal burden for coronary artery disease for women with chest pain is expensive and could be responsible for a sizeable portion of U.S. healthcare costs".

Scientists investigated the economic burden of cardiac symptoms on women. Shaw and researchers from the Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE) study evaluated data on 883 women who had been referred for coronary angiography and compared data on their health, finances and quality of life for at least five years. Coronary angiography is a specialized X-ray examination of the coronary arteries and is one of the most frequently preformed procedures in women.

Scientists observed that 62 percent of women studied had nonobstructive coronary artery disease defined as blockage less than 50 percent of the artery. Seventeen percent had one coronary artery vessel blocked or narrowed, 11 percent had two vessels narrowed and 10 percent had three vessels affected.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source

August 21, 2006, 9:53 PM CT

Nicotine Withdrawal Begins Quickly

Nicotine Withdrawal Begins Quickly
Smokers who have tried to quit are well aware of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal: cravings for cigarettes, mood disturbances, appetite increase and sleep problems. However, it had not previously been known when withdrawal symptoms first appear. Thomas H. Brandon, Ph.D., Director of H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute's Tobacco Research & Intervention Program and his research team from Moffitt and the University of South Florida study examined this and observed that within 30 minutes, the abstaining smokers reported greater cravings for cigarettes. Results have been reported in the most recent issue of Psychopharmacology, authored by Peter S. Hendricks, Joseph, W. Ditre, and David J. Drobes, and Brandon.

The team brought 50 pack-a-day smokers into the laboratory for four hours of testing. Half the smokers were randomly selected to continue smoking as usual, while the other half were asked to abstain from smoking for the four hours. Every half-hour these participants received a series of tests. Differences between the two groups were considered evidence of nicotine withdrawal.

Within 30 minutes, the abstaining smokers reported greater cravings for cigarettes. By one hour, they reported greater anger. Increases in anxiety, sadness, and difficulty concentrating all appeared within the first three hours. Results also show that in the first half-hour the abstaining smokers already performed more poorly on a task requiring sustained attention, and that their heart rate slowed within the first hour, another withdrawal symptom.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

August 21, 2006, 9:20 PM CT

Many Teens Injured On The Job

Many Teens Injured On The Job
A new survey of 6,810 teens showed that more than half of them work, and 514 of them had been injured on the job.

"The findings from this study clearly indicate that work-related injuries among youth are a significant health problem," report Kristina M. Zierold, Ph.D., assistant professor of family and community medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and Henry A. Anderson, M.D., chief medical officer of the Wisconsin Division of Public Health.

Writing in the American Journal of Health Behavior, the authors report that 150 of the teens were injured severely enough that activities at home, work, or school were affected for more than three days, and 97 filed for workers' compensation.

The study, funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, was conducted in Wisconsin while Zierold was an epidemic intelligence service officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Developing programs and strategies to reduce injury must be made a priority," Zierold said.

But training on the job where safety could be stressed often is given by another employee. "This type of training commonly consists of explaining how to do the work and how to work the equipment, without emphasis on safety issues," Zierold said. "In other instances, no training is given at all".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

August 21, 2006, 9:02 PM CT

Anxiety before surgery complicates recovery in children

Anxiety before surgery complicates recovery in children
Children who are anxious before surgery experience a more painful, slow, and complicated postoperative recovery, as per a Yale School of Medicine study published this month in Pediatrics.

The study is important, said lead author, Zeev Kain, M.D., professor in the Departments of Anesthesiology, Pediatrics, and the Yale Child Study Center, because more than five million children in the United States undergo surgery every year and up to 45 percent experience significant stress and anxiety previous to surgery.

In his five-year study supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Kain and his team recruited 241 children aged five- to 12-years-old who were scheduled to undergo elective tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. The personality characteristics of the children and their parents were assessed before the surgery. All of the children were admitted to a research unit at Yale following the surgery and postoperative pain and analgesic consumption were recorded every hour. After 24 hours in the hospital, the children were discharged and followed up at home for the next 14 days.

The scientists observed that anxious children experienced more problems emerging from anesthesia and significantly more pain both during the hospital stay and over the first three days at home. During home recovery anxious children also consumed significantly more codeine and acetaminophen and had a higher occurence rate of postoperative anxiety and sleep problems.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

August 20, 2006, 9:59 PM CT

Cancer survivors may have suicidal thoughts

Cancer survivors may have suicidal thoughts
A survey of adult survivors of childhood cancers observed that more than one out of eight reported having suicidal thoughts or prior attempts to take their lives a number of years after they were treated, say researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The suicidal symptoms were reported by more than 12 percent -- a greater proportion than had been expected -- of patients seen at a clinic providing care for adult cancer survivors, the scientists write in the August 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The findings should prompt providers at survivor clinics to consider the interaction of physical and emotional factors in their follow-up evaluations of patients, they said.

"Most people are doing fine, but there is a serious concern about the minority of survivors who have thoughts of ending their lives," said Christopher Recklitis, PhD, MPH, a psychology expert and director of research in the Perini Family Survivors' Center at Dana-Farber. He is lead author of the paper.

The senior author is Lisa Diller, MD, chief medical officer of Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Care and clinical director of Pediatric Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children's Hospital Boston.

Prior studies have noted a temporary rise in suicidal thoughts among patients in the months after a cancer diagnosis. The new study is the first to substantiate a significant level of suicidality a number of years or even decades after therapy for childhood cancers, and to suggest a link with physical functioning in the survivorship period.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

August 20, 2006, 9:36 PM CT

Exam nerves affects students' immune system

Exam nerves affects students' immune system
It is hardly surprising that one of the medical programmes most important exams is stressful for students. However, research now shows that this mental stress also affects the students immune defence systems, especially amongst those suffering from allergies.

While diseases like asthma and allergies are becoming increasingly common in the West, a number of people think that we are living ever stressful lives. A new study from Karolinska Institutet backs up what a number of people have suspected: that there are important links between mental stress and the complex physical inflammation reactions characteristic of allergies.

In order to understand the link between stress and allergy, the researchers have examined how a major medical exam at Karolinska Institutet affects feelings of stress, stress hormone levels, the immune system and lung function amongst students with and without allergies. The extensive tests were made on two occasions, first with the students during a calm period of study with no exam in sight, and then shortly before a major exam. Twenty two students with hayfever and/or asthma and 19 healthy students took part.

For the first time on record, researchers were able to show that a group of cells that are central to the human immune system known as regulatory T cells appear to increase sharply in number in response to mental stress. A regulatory T cell is a kind of white blood cell that controls the activity of many other types of immune cell. This increase was observed in both groups of students.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

August 19, 2006, 6:51 AM CT

Salads With Some Fat Are Healthier

Salads With Some Fat Are Healthier
Here's some diet advice you don't hear every day -- the next time you prepare a fresh, healthy salad, be sure to throw in some fattening food.

Far from being a dieter's worst enemy, researchers are discovering that a little fat can actually do a lot of good. The researchers aren't saying fry your salad in bacon grease! But they say don't cut all fat out of your diet either. Why? It takes some fat to help your body absorb the cancer fighting nutrients in your vegetables.

Jennifer Jarvis has always tried to stick to a light, healthy diet. But when she volunteered for a food study recently, she learned something that was a little hard to swallow -- that cutting fat completely out of her diet, was actually robbing her body of nutrients.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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