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May 16, 2006, 0:04 AM CT

Exercise, Diet May Protect Against Colorectal Cancer

Exercise, Diet May Protect Against Colorectal Cancer
Voluntary exercise and a restricted diet reduced the number and size of pre-malignant polyps in the intestines of male mice and improved survival, as per a research studyby a University of Wisconsin-Madison research published May 13 in the journal Carcinogenesis.

The study is the first to suggest that a "negative energy balance" - produced by increasing the mice's energy output by use of a running wheel, while maintaining a restricted calorie intake - appeared to be the important factor in inhibiting the growth of polyps, which are the forerunners of colorectal tumors, says lead author Lisa H. Colbert, assistant professor in the UW-Madison department of kinesiology.

For the study, Colbert and her co-authors used mice with a genetic mutation that predisposed them to develop intestinal polyps.

"Our studies are relevant for humans in that these mice have a mutation in one of the same genes, APC, that is also mutated in human colon cancer," she explains. "The protective effect of exercise and lower body weight in our mice is consistent with epidemiological evidence in humans that suggests higher levels of activity and lower body weight reduces the risk of colon cancer."

Mutations in the APC gene in humans are responsible for an inherited condition called familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). This condition affects about one in 10,000-15,000 people worldwide, and 95 percent of those affected develop polyps in the colon that eventually progress into cancer, commonly before age 40.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 15, 2006, 11:59 PM CT

Extra Pounds May Lower Mortality Rates In Elderly

Extra Pounds May Lower Mortality Rates In Elderly
If you're more than 80 years old, carrying a few extra pounds might not be such a bad idea. In fact, it may be beneficial.

That's one of the findings from a joint UC Irvine and University of Southern California analysis of body mass index (BMI) and mortality rates from participants of a large-scale study based in a Southern California retirement community.

The analysis found that study participants in their 80s and 90s who were overweight by BMI standards (25 to 29.9 range) had lower mortality rates than those who were in the normal range (18.5 to 24.9). The findings suggest that the BMI scale, which applies to all adults, may not be appropriate for the elderly and should be age-adjusted. This supports other research offering the same conclusion. The study appears in the May 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

"We found that what's recommended for everyone else with body mass index measurements isn't necessarily the best for the elderly," says Maria Corrada, an epidemiologist in the UCI School of Medicine who led the analysis effort. "It seems that if you're in your 80s or 90s, you may live even longer if you are a bit overweight by BMI standards".

The study, which is part of the Leisure World Cohort Study at Laguna Woods, Calif., looked at survey data taken from 13,451 residents in the large retirement community in 1981-83 and 1985. The residents, whose average age was 73 at the time of the survey, provided their height and weight at age 21 and at the time of the survey.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 14, 2006, 4:50 PM CT

Carcinogens Found In Their Babies' Urine

Carcinogens Found In Their Babies' Urine Image courtesy of Blogs.globalink.org
When mom or dad puffs on a cigarette, their infants may inhale the resulting second-hand smoke. Now, researchers have detected cancer-causing chemicals associated with tobacco smoke in the urine of nearly half the babies of smoking parents.

"The take home message is, 'Don't smoke around your kids,'" said Stephen S. Hecht, Ph.D., professor and Wallin Chair of Cancer Prevention at The Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota.

As per a research studyof 144 infants, reported in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, Hecht and colleagues found detectable levels of NNAL* in urine from 47 percent of babies exposed to environmental tobacco carcinogens from cigarette smoking family members. NNAL is a cancer-causing chemical produced in the human body as it processes NNK**, a carcinogenic chemical specific to tobacco.

"The level of NNAL detected in the urine of these infants was higher than in most other field studies of environmental tobacco smoke in children and adults," Hecht said.

"NNAL is an accepted biomarker for uptake of the tobacco-specific carcinogen NNK. You don't find NNAL in urine except in people who are exposed to tobacco smoke, whether they are adults, children, or infants."

A prior study by Hecht and colleagues indicated that the first urine from newborns whose mothers smoked during pregnancy contained as much as one-third more NNAL compared to the babies in the current study. The newborn infants, however, took in the carcinogen directly from their mothers through their placentas rather than by breathing second-hand smoke in the air in their family homes and cars.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 12, 2006, 6:48 AM CT

Many Pregnant Women Lack HIV Testing

Many Pregnant Women Lack HIV Testing
Despite state laws requiring that every pregnant woman be offered HIV testing multiple times during pregnancy, about 20 percent of women reach their third trimester without it, as per a review of Florida women from 2003-04, scientists say.

Rapid HIV testing performed on 1,867 women who lacked proof of testing when they reached the delivery room identified one HIV-positive mother and doctors were able to preventively reduce the baby's infection risk, says Dr. Andrew W. Helfgott, chief of the Section of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia.

"Rapid testing is an easy, relatively inexpensive means of identifying women who are infected, treating them and their babies and preventing perinatal infection," says Dr. Helfgott.

Rapid testing of the 1,379 women cost $27,000, far less than the lifetime cost of treating even one infected child, he says.

Availability of the 20-minute, highly accurate tests that can be used even in the last minutes of pregnancy should preclude HIV infection in every newborn, he says. Still, an estimated 280 to 370 HIV-infected children are born each year in this country.

Dr. Helfgott was directing a high-risk pregnancy program in Pensacola, Fla., in 2002 when Florida led the nation with 37 perinatal transmissions, three of which occurred in the relatively small town where he worked. He started working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Florida Department of Health Bureau of HIV officials to focus attention on the importance of testing.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


May 12, 2006, 6:40 AM CT

Fulfilling A Lifelong Dream

Fulfilling A Lifelong Dream
A scar near his left eye reminds Stanley Bartlett, 40, of why he wanted to become a nurse.

After taking a fall on the playground, a kind nurse assisted the doctor putting stitches in his wound.

"I thought I wouldn't be able to see out of that eye again, but she reassured me that everything would be OK," said Mr. Bartlett, who graduates from the Medical College of Georgia School of Nursing this Friday. "From this point on, I wanted to help people as a nurse".

His military career put that dream on hold, however, and Mr. Bartlett worked as air traffic control technician for more than 15 years. "I wanted the educational benefits the Army had to offer, so I joined right out of high school," he said. "Becoming a nurse never escaped my mind, though..... it just took a little longer."

Mr. Bartlett planned to apply to MCG in 1995 after completing a pre-nursing program at Georgia Military College, but was sidetracked by a two-year mission in Korea. His 20 years in the Army also took him to Gera number of and the Middle East.

"When I came back in '97, it was too late to get into MCG, so I pursued a degree in health care management," he said. "Once I finished that, I pursued a master's degree in health services administration."

He retired from the Army in 2000 and began work as a staff developer at Georgia Regional Hospital. He later became a training administrator, teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid to hospital staff.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 11, 2006, 0:19 AM CT

Young Adults Happier Than Adolescents

Young Adults Happier Than Adolescents
Eventhough young adults are faced with a diversity of life choices, they seem to be coming to terms with themselves and their lives in their 20s, says new University of Alberta research that shows psychological well-being improves after adolescence and girls improve faster than boys.

Dr. Nancy Galambos from the Department of Psychology followed a sample of the same cohort of people over a seven-year period and looked specifically at how 18-25 year olds make the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Few studies have tracked changes in psychological well-being in this age group.

"I see these results as good news," said Galambos. "We can expect the average 18-year-old to show improved mental health over the course of the next seven years. I think it is important to note, though, that these are average trends, and we cannot ignore the fact that some mental health problems first appear in the early 20s and rates of clinical depression are quite high in this age group. So a certain proportion of young people will not do well during this period."

Another interesting finding was that improved psychological well-being reduced the gender differences first appearing in adolescence. As expected, women showed significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms and lower levels of self-esteem at age 18 than men, but on both indicators women improved at a faster rate than did men by age 25, bringing the two genders closer together.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 11, 2006, 0:09 AM CT

Home Testing Kit To Identify Hidden Caffeine

Home Testing Kit To Identify Hidden Caffeine
you've ever wondered whether your favorite coffee, tea or soda contains caffeine - despite its decaf label or the absence of caffeine on the ingredient list - then you may soon be able to test the beverage yourself. Chemists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are developing a quick, convenient "dipstick" test that they say could represent the first home testing kit to detect the common stimulant, which can cause insomnia and make you jittery. Their study will appear in the June 1 print issue of the American Chemical Society's Analytical Chemistry.

"We envisioned that a simple method to measure caffeine, even in hot beverages, such as coffee, would be of value to individuals and institutions wanting to verify the absence of caffeine," says study leader Jack H. Ladenson, Ph.D., a chemist at the university. "This will greatly assist individuals who wish to avoid caffeine."

Ladenson hopes to develop a simple caffeine test in which test strips that are treated with a specific antibody will react by changing color in the presence of caffeine.

The new test will be designed to be qualitative only: It allows a person to quickly determine whether caffeine is present, but does not indicate the exact amount or concentration of caffeine. In preliminary tests using coffee and cola, an experimental version of the test effectively distinguished caffeinated versions of these products from their decaf counterparts, Ladenson says.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 10, 2006, 0:10 AM CT

Hurricane Linked To Long-term Mental Distress

Hurricane Linked To Long-term Mental Distress
Florida State University sociologists in Tallahassee, Fla. have found that some South Floridians who survived 1992's Hurricane Andrew suffered mental health problems a number of years later, a finding that has led the scientists to predict even more dire consequences for those who lived through last year's devastating Hurricane Katrina.

The researchers, sociology doctoral student and lead author David Russell and professors John Taylor and Donald Lloyd, presented their findings at the 2006 annual meeting of the Southern Sociological Society held recently in New Orleans. Eventhough the short-term mental health consequences of Hurricane Andrew have been documented, this study of adolescents is the first to show that it had long-term effects on mental health.

"We found that people who experienced previous stressful events and who had pre-existing symptoms of psychological distress were more adversely affected by exposure to hurricane-related stressful events," Russell said.

"Based on our findings, we believe intervention efforts should include assessments of the previous experiences and psychological well-being of disaster victims. Doing so will aid response workers in identifying those most at risk for developing post-disaster psychological problems."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 10, 2006, 0:06 AM CT

Summer Sun Safety

Summer Sun Safety
Fifty years of medical studies show that sun exposure is a primary component in the development of melanoma, the most serious and deadly type of skin cancer, report leading dermatologists in the April 2006 issue of Dermatology Surgery.

"Though genetics may play a role in the development of some melanomas, there's overwhelming evidence that shows sun exposure adversely affects patients both with and without genetic predisposition to melanoma," said Elisabeth K. Shim, M.D., an Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Keck USC Medical School of Medicine in Los Angeles, CA.

It's not clear what pattern of sun exposure causes melanoma or whether it's short, intense intermittent or cumulative. Further more, it's not clear if ultraviolet B (UVB), ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, or both are responsible for causing melanoma. "Regardless, the sun acts as an initiating and promoting agent in causing melanoma, and causes immunosuppression," noted Dr. Shim.

With summer quickly approaching, it's necessary to protect yourself by using sunscreen and sun protective measures to prevent melanoma, and other skin cancers, despite current controversy.........

Posted by: George      Permalink         Source


May 9, 2006, 11:40 PM CT

Grapefruit Juicecould beDangerous With Some Drugs

Grapefruit Juicecould beDangerous With Some Drugs Image courtesy of Redcooper.com
New research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has identified and established the substance in grapefruit juice that causes potentially dangerous interactions with certain medications.

For almost a decade, people have been told by their doctors and pharmacists to avoid grapefruit juice if they are being treated with certain medications, including some drugs that control blood pressure or lower cholesterol. Studies have shown that grapefruit juice can cause more of these drugs to enter the blood stream, resulting in undesirable and even dangerous side effects.

The drugs affected by grapefruit juice commonly have some difficulty entering the body after they are consumed because an intestinal enzyme, CYP3A, partially destroys them as they are absorbed. Grapefruit juice, but not other usually consumed fruit juices, inhibits this enzyme, allowing more of these drugs to enter the body.

It was originally assumed that the ingredients responsible for drug interactions were the flavonoids that give grapefruit juice its bitter taste.

The new study shows that a group of chemicals called furanocoumarins are the likely culprit.

"This is the best evidence to date that furanocoumarins are the active ingredients in grapefruit juice that cause the interaction with medications," said Dr. Paul Watkins, the Dr. Verne S. Caviness distinguished professor of medicine and director of UNC's General Clinical Research Center (GCRC). Watkins led the study team.........

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.

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