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November 28, 2007, 9:49 PM CT

Dosing instructions for prescription drugs

Dosing instructions for prescription drugs
You have just been prescribed a new medicine by your doctor and the container label says: "take one tablet by mouth twice daily for 7 days." How much and how often should you take your medicine" This might be easy for you to answer, but 46 percent of adults misunderstand at least one prescription container label, as per a 2006 study published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Ninety million Americans about half of the adult population suffer from low health literacy. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) defines health literacy as the degree to which individuals can obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services they need to make appropriate health decisions.

At todays Sixth Annual National Health Communication Conference co-sponsored by the American College of Physicians Foundation (ACPF) and IOM, Alastair J.J. Wood, MD, FACP, proposed an evidence-based system of simplified, standardized dosing instructions for prescription medicine container labels.

Dr. Wood, a member of the ACPF Medication Labeling Technical Advisory Board, called for a Universal Medication Schedule (UMS) that standardizes prescription medicine dosing times on drug container labels so that patients are told to take their medicine at the same four times per day, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime. The UMS would replace the current practice which either instructs patients to take the medicine a specific number of times per day or at specific time intervals.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 26, 2007, 9:51 PM CT

Smoking and depressionr in new mothers

Smoking and depressionr in new mothers
Smoking and depression often go hand-in-hand for new mothers, as per a research studyin the November 2007 issue of Preventive Medicine by Temple University researcher Dr. Robert Whitaker.

"While smoking and depression adversely affect a mother's health, the combination may also affect the health of her child," Whitaker said.

For children, the potential consequences of maternal smoking include sudden infant death, asthma, ear infections and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, while the potential consequences of maternal depression include behavior problems, language delay and childhood depression.

"Giving a mother who smokes the telephone number to a 'quit line' is probably not going to be enough if smoking is helping the mother cope with her symptoms of untreated depression," said Whitaker, a pediatrician and professor of public health at Temple University. "Depression and addiction to tobacco should not be diagnosed or treated in isolation from each other".

The issue is especially troublesome for low-income families.

"Unfortunately, an adequately financed primary-care system for low-income mothers does not exist beyond pregnancy. You can improve the well-being of the child by addressing the health and well-being of the mother. Care of mothers and their children should be better integrated in our healthcare system," Whitaker said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 26, 2007, 3:55 PM CT

Link Between Obesity, Poor Bone Health

Link Between Obesity, Poor Bone Health
Being overweight is a known risk factor for heart disease, diabetes and a host of other health conditions. Now, a University of Georgia study reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that obesity may also be bad for bone health.

Scientists conducted advanced three-dimensional bone scans on 115 women ages 18 and 19 with normal (less than 32 percent) and high (greater than 32 percent) body fat. After adjusting for differences in muscle mass surrounding the bone, the scientists observed that the bones of participants with high body fat were 8 to 9 percent weaker than those of normal body fat participants.

"Obesity is an epidemic in this country, and I think this study is critical because it highlights another potential negative health effect that people haven't considered," said co-author of study Richard D. Lewis, professor of foods and nutrition at the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Prior studies on bone health and obesity used a two-dimensional bone densitometer that is usually used in osteoporosis screenings. Lewis explained that a notable shortcoming of the bone densitometer is that it does not take into account bone shape and geometry, which have a substantial influence on bone strength. The new study used a three-dimensional imaging technique that measures both the amount of mineral in the bone and its shape and geometry. The study observed that, surprisingly, normal- and high body-fat young adult females have comparable bone strength in a direct comparison that does not account for muscle mass.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 24, 2007, 8:14 AM CT

Age, burden, divorce and heavy tea consumption

Age, burden, divorce and heavy tea consumption
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common disorder with a high incidence rate in adults of 10 - 38%. The diagnosis and therapy of GERD are therefore important because the disease, in addition to the highly disturbing typical symptoms, has a series of known consequences. The presence of GERD may affect patients' quality of life, decrease functional activity, and increase the risk of esophageal carcinoma.

Eventhough a number of researchers have reported the prevalence of erosive esophagitis, the prevalence of non-erosive reflux disease (NERD) has not been investigated in China.

A research article reported in the issue 45 of the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. The research team led by Dr. You-Ming Li analyzed a spectrum of GERD subjects based on presenting symptoms and endoscopic findings.

One conclusion reported by the researchers is that of the 2231 recruited participants, 31.4% were diagnosed as having GERD, 10.6% were NERD patients, while 20.80% had objective findings of reflux esophagitis, including 19.5% patients with grade A or B reflux esophagitis, 0.90% with grade C and 0.40% with grade D.

Another conclusion is that old age, being male, having a moderate working burden, being divorced/widowed and heavy tea consumption remained significant independent risk factors for erosive esophagitis. Routine consumption of greasy food and constipation were considered significant independent risk factors for NERD.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


November 19, 2007, 8:18 PM CT

Sitting may increase risk of disease

Sitting may increase risk of disease
Most people spend most of their day sitting with relatively idle muscles. Health professionals advise that at least 30 minutes of activity at least 5 days a week will counteract health concerns, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity that may result from inactivity. Now, scientists at the University of Missouri-Columbia say a new model regarding physical activity recommendations is emerging. New research shows that what people do in the other 15 and a half hours of their waking day is just as important, or more so, than the time they spend actively exercising.

A number of activities like talking on the phone or watching a childs ballgame can be done just as enjoyably upright, and you burn double the number of calories while youre doing it, said Marc Hamilton, an associate professor of biomedical sciences whose work was recently published in Diabetes. Were pretty stationary when were talking on the phone or sitting in a chair at a ballgame, but if you stand, youre probably going to pace or move around.

In a series of studies that will be presented at the Second International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health in Amsterdam, Hamilton, Theodore Zderic, a post-doctoral researcher, and their research team studied the impact of inactivity among rats, pigs and humans. In humans, they studied the effects of sitting in office chairs, using computers, reading, talking on the phone and watching TV. They found evidence that sitting had negative effects on fat and cholesterol metabolism. The scientists also observed that physical inactivity throughout the day stimulated disease-promoting processes, and that exercising, even for an hour a day, was not sufficient to reverse the effect.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 19, 2007, 8:07 PM CT

Women aren't men

Women aren't men
Women's bodies and medical needs are vastly different than men's way beyond their reproductive systems. Women wake sooner from anesthesia, have less familiar symptoms of cardiovascular disease and are more likely to suffer from depression and sleep problems-- just to name a few of the differences.

Yet, there's a cavernous void in research based on sex and gender. Historically, most studies have been done on men and the findings applied to women.

Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine has launched the Institute for Women's Health Research to spur much needed research on health issues that affect women throughout their lifespan. Some topics on the ambitious research agenda: cancer, autoimmune disease, anesthesia, cardiovascular disease, depression, sleeping disorders, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and menopause.

Another mission of the institute will be to create an Illinois Women's Health Registry to provide a large pool of potential study subjects for researchers, who often have trouble recruiting enough participants for their studies. Researchers at the institute also will identify gender-based guidelines for the therapy and prevention of disease in women. For example, do women need a differently designed knee joint than men in replacement surgery or do women need to be given anesthesia differently" The institute will link physicians to these guidelines as they are developed.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 15, 2007, 10:24 PM CT

Report of the health of college students

Report of the health of college students
A report released by the University of Minnesota Boynton Health Service today is the first of its kind in the nation to conduct a comprehensive survey on the health of college students. About 10,000 college students completed the survey. Although the study is focused on students from 14 campuses in Minnesota, the health findings here reflect national health trends for college students, says Dr. Ed Ehlinger, the director and chief health officer of the universitys Boynton Health Service.

The report examines everything from mental health and obesity to financial health and sexual health. It also looks at alcohol use, smoking, personal safety, physical activity and how many students do not have health insurance. One key finding is beginning to show how todays technology is impacting students health and their academics. In fact, 28.7 percent of students surveyed report excessive computer/Internet/TV use and 41.8 percent indicate the activity affected their academic performance.

Ehlinger said members of the public, higher education leaders and policymakers should pay attention to the findings and make the health of college students a priority.

The health of college students is important not only to the institutions they attend but also to the health of the state of Minnesota. Good health helps students remain in school, and a college degree or certificate is an excellent predictor of better health and economic status throughout ones lifetime, Ehlinger said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 14, 2007, 9:53 PM CT

Nicotine addiction slashed in test

Nicotine addiction slashed in test
Researchers are reporting the first successful strategy to reduce smokers nicotine dependence while allowing them to continue smoking. The study provides strong support for proposals now being considered in Congress to authorize FDA regulation of cigarette smoking, as per the research team.

The key to the clinical trials success was providing smokers with cigarettes of gradually decreasing nicotine content over many weeks. If such cigarettes were federally mandated, smokers would find it easier to quit, and more young smokers could avoid addiction, as per the scientists. Tobacco company products marketed as low-nicotine alternatives, in fact, do not change the level of nicotine taken in by smokers, they added.

The research was carried out by researchers at UCSF and San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center and is published in the November 14 issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Legislation giving the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products is currently being considered in Congress. Such regulatory authority would empower the agency to develop and enforce standards to make cigarettes less harmful -- including the reduction of the nicotine yields so that cigarettes would be less addictive, said Neal Benowitz, MD, leader of the study team and an expert on the pharmacology and health effects of nicotine and other smoking products.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 14, 2007, 9:24 PM CT

A dose of God may help medicine

A dose of God may help medicine
Waltham, MAFor some families, the cancer diagnosis of a child strengthens existing religious ties or prompts new ones. Now, a new study by scientists at Brandeis University and the University at Buffalo - SUNY in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology reports that while most pediatric oncologists say they are spiritual, and a number of are open to connecting with the families of very sick children through religion or spirituality, they typically lack the formal healthcare training that could help them build such bridges.

Increasingly, religion and spirituality are being recognized as important in the care of critically ill patients and we know that a number of parents draw on such resources to cope with their childs illness, said coauthor Wendy Cadge, a Brandeis sociologist. This study suggests that we should consider training to help physicians relate spiritually to families confronting life-threatening illness such as cancer.

The study surveyed 74 pediatric hematologists and oncologists at 13 elite hospitals from the U.S. News & World Report ranking of honor roll hospitals. The findings include:
  • 93.3 percent of the physicians surveyed were raised in a religious tradition; 31 percent Protestant; 25.7 percent Catholic; 25.7 Jewish, and 10.8 percent other.........

    Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 13, 2007, 9:55 PM CT

Diabetics risk serious foot problems

Diabetics risk serious foot problems
More than six out of ten people with diabetes are walking around in the wrong-sized shoes, exposing themselves to serious foot problems that could lead to amputation, as per research in the recent issue of IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

Published to coincide with World Diabetes Day (14 November) the study, by the University of Dundee, has been welcomed by an expert in podiatry. She says that ulceration can have serious implications for patients and health services, including impaired quality of life, increased amputation risk and even elevated death rates.

The United Nations, which passed a landmark resolution in December 2006 recognising diabetes as a chronic, debilitating and costly disease, has designated World Diabetes Day as an official United Nations Day for the first time in 2007.

And the World Health Organization has said that the number of people suffering from diabetes could double to 366 million by 2030 and that 80 per cent of diabetic foot amputations could be prevented.

A hundred patients aged 24 to 89 volunteered to take part in the shoe-size study carried out at a general diabetic clinic at Ninewells Hospital Medical School in Dundee, Scotland.

Patients who were also attending specialist foot clinics were excluded, as were patients who had problems standing or were wearing specially provided footwear.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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