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April 30, 2007, 6:42 PM CT

Pharmaceutical Compounds Found in Fresh Water

Pharmaceutical Compounds Found in Fresh Water
As per a research studyin the May/June 2007 issue of the journal Ground Water, pharmaceuticals are being found in septic tanks and, consequentially, ground water due to incomplete human metabolism and excretion into the waste stream or by disposal of unused medications in the toilet or down the sink.

This screening-level study investigated the occurrence of pharmaceuticals in areas receiving waste water from septic tanks located in sand and gravel deposits in Missoula, Montana.

A number of pharmaceutical and pharmaceutically-active compounds (e.g. caffeine) persist through the human body and are resistant to conventional waste water therapy practices. They are often detected in aquatic environments such as lakes, rivers and ground water, which can receive direct inputs of treated waste water.

"We don't know what toxicological effects these detectable concentrations of pharmaceuticals pose, eventhough typical concentrations in one liter of ground water are commonly much lower than a typical human therapeutic dose," says lead author Emily Godfrey.

While such low concentrations do not appear to pose a threat to human health, this research may help frame policy on the disposal of expired or unused compounds.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 25, 2007, 9:36 PM CT

Physician ties to drug industry

Physician ties to drug industry
Despite the potential for conflict of interest, virtually all practicing physicians in the U.S. have some form of relationship with pharmaceutical manufacturers but the nature and extent of those relationships vary, depending on the kind of practice, medical specialty, patient mix, and professional activities, reports a study in the April 26 issue of the New England Journal (NEJM).

In the first national survey to gauge the predictors and depth of relationships between industry and practicing physicians, 94 percent of doctors report that they have at least one type of relationship with the drug industry, mostly in the form of receiving food in the workplace or prescription samples. However, more than one third are reimbursed for costs linked to professional meetings or continuing medical education (CME), and more than a quarter receive honoraria for consulting, lecturing or enrolling patients in clinical trials, say scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital-Partners Health Care System, Yale University, and the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia.

"Relationships with industry are a fundamental part of the way medicine is practiced today. The real questions relate to how much is too much and how far is too far. It appears that these relationships benefit physicians and industry but the important policy question is to what extent do these relationships benefit patients in the terms of the care they receive," says lead researcher and co-author Eric Campbell, Ph.D., an associate professor of medicine at the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 25, 2007, 9:27 PM CT

Fixing the 'taste' of diet soda

Fixing the 'taste' of diet soda
University of Illinois scientists Soo-Yeun Lee and Shelly Schmidt are trying to solve a mystery: Why doesn't diet soda taste more like regular soda? Can a well-trained panel of "taste testers" pinpoint the exact problem? And can food researchers do anything to fix it?

"If we could make diet soda taste better, it would be a big step in fighting the obesity epidemic," said Shelly Schmidt, a U of I professor of food chemistry. "A number of people know they should cut calories, but they won't drink diet pop because they don't like the taste".

Consumers may claim they don't like diet soda because of artificial sweeteners, but Schmidt and sensory scientist Lee think people are also influenced by a subtle difference called "mouth-feel." Think body, fullness, thickness; regular soda contains high-fructose corn syrup, diet soda doesn't.

What makes these researchers think mouth-feel is the culprit? For one thing, artificial sweeteners have been greatly improved and extensively studied. "Taste profiles for artificial sweeteners now closely match the one for sucrose, which humans describe as the perfect sweetness," Lee said.

But the most compelling piece of evidence is the verdict of Lee's sensory panel--12 people trained for four weeks to use a 15-point scale in order to rate the characteristics that contribute to the mouth-feel of diet and regular soda. Lee called her panelists "highly trained instruments" because they could detect significant differences in the mouth-feel of 14 samples that the scientist's super-sensitive lab instruments identified as very, very small.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 24, 2007, 11:03 PM CT

Hot flashes: genes, obesity and alcohol

Hot flashes: genes, obesity and alcohol
A number of women in the menopausal transition experience hot flashes: unpredictable, sometimes disruptive, periods of intense heat in the upper torso, neck and face. Eventhough generations of physicians have prescribed hormones to reduce these symptoms, very little research has focused on the underlying causes of hot flashes.

Three new studies explore the role of genes, obesity and alcohol consumption in contributing to - or lessening - the intensity and frequency of hot flashes in midlife women. These studies are part of a five-year research effort led by University of Illinois veterinary biosciences professor Jodi Flaws and his colleagues at the University of Maryland, Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore and the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University.

Physicians have long noted that some factors, such as smoking, increase the likelihood that a woman will experience more - or more intense - hot flashes than other women. Race also appears to play a role, with African American women at higher risk than others. But the mechanisms that cause some women to suffer from severe (frequent and intense) hot flashes have remained a mystery.

"Even though more than 40 million women experience hot flashes each year," the authors wrote in their paper published in Maturitas, "little is known about the factors that predispose women to hot flashes".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 24, 2007, 10:51 PM CT

FDA causes unnecessary scare

FDA causes unnecessary scare
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has caused an unnecessary scare about some pain relievers by adding a warning to drugs that are safe, says Curt Furberg, M.D., Ph.D., from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. At the same time, he says the agency has failed to recognize the harm of a pain reliever that should be taken off the market.

"The FDA is adding 'black box' warnings to all prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers even to naproxen which the evidence shows is safe," said Furberg, who serves on the FDA Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee. "This is based on the false assumption that all nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs increase the risk of heart attacks. In fact, there are major differences between these agents".

In a commentary published by Trials, an online journal of BioMed Central, Furberg says the FDA has failed to recognize current scientific evidence when it made decisions on the safety of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are often used to treat the pain or inflammation from arthritis.

The most usually used NSAIDs are ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), and diclofenac (Voltaren). There are more than a dozen others, including drugs such as celecoxib (Celebrex) that are in a special class known as selective COX-2 inhibitors because of the hormone they target. The other NSAIDs are known as "non-selective".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


April 23, 2007, 9:42 PM CT

School Environment And Student Aggression

School Environment And Student Aggression Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
The culture of a school can dampen - or exacerbate - the violent or disruptive tendencies of aggressive young teens, new research indicates. A large-scale study from the University of Illinois observed that while personal traits and peer interactions have the most direct effect on the aggressive behavior of middle school students, the school environment also influences student aggression.

The study assessed individual, family and school predictors of aggression in 111,662 middle school students. The findings are reported in the March 2007 issue of the journal, Youth & Society.

The scientists used a statistical method called hierarchical linear modeling, which separates individual and contextual effects to determine the relative importance of each. The data were compiled from surveys of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders at geographically, socioeconomically and racially diverse middle schools.

In the surveys, the students were asked to report how a number of times in the prior six months they had acted mean toward others, hit others or got into fights. The students also reported on how they reacted to events that upset them, their daily experience of problems or hassles, and their perceptions of family and teacher social and emotional support.

Other questions measured the students' sense of belonging in school, their perception of the fairness of school disciplinary actions and policies, and the presence or absence of cultural sensitivity training. The students were also asked to report on whether their school offered them opportunities to participate in rule making or otherwise contribute to shaping the school environment.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 23, 2007, 5:22 PM CT

Adjustable chairs reduce shoulder and neck pain

Adjustable chairs reduce shoulder and neck pain
Adjustable-height chairs with ergonomically curved seats can significantly reduce neck and shoulder pain in garment workers, as per a new study in the April 20 issue of Spine.

The study shows that chair design affects neck and shoulder pain among garment workers -- and possibly in other laborers engaged in visually intensive manufacturing work, the scientists say.

The study was led by David Rempel, MD, MPH, director of the ergonomics program at San Francisco General Hospital and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco; and Beate Ritz, MD, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology, at University of California, Los Angeles.

As per the authors, garment workers typically work in a seated position for seven to 10 hours per day, using their hands to manipulate cloth or to complete fine-motor tasks while sewing. The work is visually intensive, so workers often lean forward and hold their arms and shoulders up. In 2000, the garment industry employed 11 million workers worldwide. Approximately 350,000 of these workers were in the United States. Los Angeles is the home of the largest garment production center in the country.

"Garment workers have not been the focus of a number of studies, despite the fact that they face important occupational health risks," Rempel explained. "Their work is physically demanding, particularly on the upper extremities and neck."........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


April 21, 2007, 8:16 AM CT

Benefits Of Remote Monitoring

Benefits Of Remote Monitoring Image courtesy of medic4all-services.com
Scientists from Canada and Australia have observed that the use of remote monitoring for patients with chronic heart failure has the potential to significantly improve clinical outcomes (mortality, morbidity and quality indicators).

The use of remote monitoring (telephone support or telemonitoring) to electronically transfer a patients' physiological data such as blood pressure, weight and ECG and oxygen details, to their healthcare provider has increased in prevalence over the past years. As per research recently published in The British Medical Journal, remote monitoring for patients with chronic heart failure helped reduce heart failure admissions to hospitals and lowered all cause mortality by nearly twenty per cent.

"What we found is that the use of remote monitoring programs can improve outcomes in patients with heart failure and such an approach could help deal with the increasing number of patients with chronic heart failure that cannot be accommodated in existing specialty clinics due to access issues correlation to geography, lack of resources or infirmity, said Dr. Finlay McAlister, University of Alberta researcher.

Because remote monitoring (either through close telephone follow-up with specially trained nurses or telemonitoring involving the daily transmission of a patients vital signs, weight and symptoms to health care providers) permits closer follow-up of patients with heart failure, this allows for the potential for earlier detection and management of changes in a patients health.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 21, 2007, 6:44 AM CT

Family turmoil and domestic violence

Family turmoil and domestic violence
Adolescents who are chronically exposed to family turmoil, violence, noise, poor housing or other chronic risk factors show more stress-induced physiological strain on their organs and tissues than other young people.

However, when they have responsive, supportive mothers, they do not experience these negative physiological changes, reports a new study from Cornell.

But the research group also observed that the cardiovascular systems of youths who are exposed to chronic and multiple risk factors are compromised, regardless of their mothers' responsiveness.

The study, led by environmental and developmental psychology expert Gary Evans, is reported in the recent issue of Developmental Psychology. It is the first study to look at how maternal responsiveness may protect against cumulative risk as well as the first, as per the researchers, to look at cardiovascular recovery from stress in children or youths.

Evans said that the findings suggest that the physiological toll of coping with multiple risk factors is significantly greater than with that of coping with a single event, even if that event was rather severe. "Moreover the burden appears to register in physiological systems that help us regulate our responses to stress," said Evans, the Elizabeth Lee Vincent Professor of Human Ecology and professor of human development and of design and environmental analysis in Cornell's College of Human Ecology.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 18, 2007, 11:06 PM CT

Smoking indicator of alcohol misuse

Smoking indicator of alcohol misuse
Where there is cigarette smoking there is probably misuse of alcohol too, as per a research studyby Yale School of Medicine scientists in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

"This means cigarette smoking status can be used as a clinical indicator for alcohol misuse, which presents an opportunity for intervention," said the principal investigator, Sherry McKee, assistant professor of psychiatry.

She said that eventhough brief screening and brief intervention provided in primary care settings are effective, clinicians do not frequently screen for alcohol misuse. This is a matter of concern because 26 percent of the U.S. population is drinking at hazardous levels, which puts them at increased risk for alcohol-related consequences such as injuries from motor vehicle crashes, hypertension, depression, and certain cancers.

"Only an estimated 30 percent of individuals who had a primary care visit reported being screened for an alcohol or drug use problem," McKee said. "Physicians are much more likely to ask patients whether and how often they smoke".

She and her collaborators arrived at their conclusions after analyzing data obtained from 42,374 adults in a national epidemiological survey on alcohol misuse and other related conditions. Following guidelines that physicians use to assess tobacco and alcohol use, they observed that non-daily smokers are five times more likely to have a problem with alcohol in comparison to people who have never smoked. Daily smokers are three times more likely to have an alcohol problem.........

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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