October 26, 2006, 5:16 AM CT
Moderate Drinking May Boost Memory
In the long run, a drink or two a day may be good for the brain.
Scientists observed that moderate amounts of alcohol - amounts equivalent to a couple of drinks a day for a human - improved the memories of laboratory rats.
Such a finding may have implications for serious neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, said Matthew During, the study's senior author and a professor of molecular virology, immunology and cancer genetics at Ohio State University.
"There is some evidence suggesting that mild to moderate alcohol consumption can protect against diseases like Alzheimer's in humans," said During. "But it's not apparent how this happens".
He and his colleague, Margaret Kalev-Zylinska, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Auckland, in New Zealand, uncovered a neuronal mechanism that may help explain the link between alcohol and improved memory.
"We saw a noticeable change on the surface of certain neurons in rats that were given alcohol," During said. "This change may have something to do with the positive effects of alcohol on memory".
The scientists presented their findings at the annual Society for Neuroscience conference in Atlanta.
During and Kalev-Zylinska designed a special liquid diet for the rats. One formulation included a low dose of alcohol, comparable to two or three drinks a day for a human, while the other diet included a much higher dose of alcohol, comparable to six or seven drinks a day for a human. A third group of rats was given a liquid diet without alcohol. All animals were given their respective diets daily for about four weeks.........
Posted by: Daniel Permalink Source
October 26, 2006, 5:11 AM CT
Linking Emotions And Memories
Having a child with bottled up emotions isn't a good thing. Psychology experts from Case Western Reserve University have observed that the range of emotions that children use in play can be used as an indicator of how emotionally charged their memories will be.
Emotions--whether positive or negative--in play offer important information to people working with children about how able they will be at expressing the emotional side of their memories. Accessing emotional memories is important for adjusting to traumas experienced.
A number of children are unable to start talking about their emotions or memories with someone new, but watching children play can help child therapists and others working with children gauge how open children might be to talking about the emotions linked to past memories, as per Sandra Russ, Case professor of psychology. She has been studying the emotional side of play and how play benefits children for more than 20 years.
Russ, with Ethan D. Schafer, discusses this discovery in the Creativity Research Journal article, "Affect in Fantasy Play, Emotion in Memories, and Divergent Thinking." In the past, this link between emotions in play treatment and emotions in memories was observed but had not been formally studied in children.........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink Source
October 26, 2006, 5:07 AM CT
Insight Into Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
New research into Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is leading to a better understanding of its underlying neurobiology, risk factors and long-term implications. The findings appear in a recent issue of Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences and were revealed at a conference jointly sponsored by the New York Academy of Sciences and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Scientists are studying many previously unexplored topics, including an examination of trauma within hours of the event, the thought processes that keep sufferers focused on the trauma and possibilities for prevention and treatment. New and promising research is engaged with mapping the neural circuitry involved in response to danger and with investigations of the complex genetics of individual risk.
Eventhough the NIMH was created 60 years ago partly in response to an increased awareness of the psychological consequences of war, little PTSD research had been done before the Vietnam War. Since that time, PTSD has been found in veterans dating back to World War II. Eventhough PTSD appears at a high rate among veterans, the condition is also seen in the civilian population: the events of 9/11 have increased the urgency of finding answers.
A study of the general population observed that PTSD affects 5% of men and 10% of women. Studies also show a greater likelihood of PTSD development in the children of trauma survivors, including data on babies born to women who were pregnant and escaped from the World Trade Center on September 11 suggesting in utero and other developmental effects.........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink Source
October 26, 2006, 4:59 AM CT
HIV-positive individuals with inadequate care
In a first-of-its-kind study, UCLA scientists have shown that segments of the HIV-infected population who have little to no consistent outpatient medical care -- and yet are most in need of such services -- are overwhelmingly minorities, the poor and substance abusers.
Prior studies had shown minorities, the poor and substance users who were receiving routine medical care for the HIV infection, and whose data could therefore be easily captured in healthcare studies, were likelier to be medically underserved and to die more quickly. But Dr. William Cunningham, and the study's lead author, said UCLA scientists tracked HIV-infected people who were not receiving regular care -- and thus more difficult to find. Often this segment showed up in the medical system in emergency situations.
"As we expected, they are much less likely to get routine outpatient care but more likely to get acute care, when they are at their sickest," said Cunningham, who is professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "This is just the group that needs to get grassroots outreach service".
For this study, would be reported in the recent issue of the journal Medical Care, the scientists compared socio-demographic, clinical and health care utilization characteristics of HIV-infected adults from two samples: 1,286 people from the 2001-02 Targeted HIV Outreach and Intervention Initiative (Outreach) and 2,267 who were interviewed in 1998 for the HIV Costs and Services Utilization Study (HCSUS).........
Posted by: Mark Permalink Source
October 26, 2006, 4:42 AM CT
Exercise Protects From Colds
A moderate exercise program may reduce the occurence rate of colds. A study reported in the recent issue of The American Journal of Medicine, led by scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, observed that otherwise sedentary women who engaged in moderate exercise had fewer colds over a one year period than a control group.
Subjects in a group of 115 overweight and obese, sedentary, postmenopausal women were randomly assigned to either a moderate exercise program (45 minutes per day, five days per week and comprised of mostly brisk walking) or to a once-weekly 45 minute stretching session. Both the exercisers and the stretchers filled out questionnaires every 3 months on the number of episodes of allergies, upper respiratory tract infections (colds and flu) and other infections. Subjects were taught how to distinguish various forms of infections and were followed for one year.
Over 12 months, the risk of colds decreased modestly in exercisers and increased modestly in stretchers. In the final three months of the study, the risk of colds in stretchers was more than 3-fold higher than that of exercisers. More stretchers than exercisers had at least one cold during the 12-month study period (48.4% vs 30.2%), and among women reporting at least one cold, stretchers tended to report colds more frequently than exercisers.........
Posted by: Sue Permalink Source
October 25, 2006, 4:47 AM CT
Twins More Likely To Have Premature Menopause
Twins are more likely to have a premature menopause than other women, as per research published on line today (Wednesday 25 October) in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction.
In a study of more than 800 Australian and UK twin pairs, lead by Dr Roger Gosden, Professor of Reproductive Biology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York, premature ovarian failure was between three and five times greater when measured at age 40 and age 45 than in the general population. Ovarian failure before the age of 40 normally affects only around one woman in a hundred.
The finding applied whether or not the twins were identical (monozygotic) or non-identical (dizygotic). It confirms tentative prior data on premature ovarian failure (POF) in non-identical twins, but it is the first time it has been established in identical twins as well.
However, there were twins in the study where the menopausal ages were very different - a disparity of more than 20 years in a few cases. It was disparity in menopausal ages among twins that led to this study. First, it was prompted by the recent case of ovarian transplantation between 24-year-old identical twins at the Infertility Center in St. Louis carried out by this study's co-author Dr Sherman Silber. One twin had undergone unexplained POF at age 14, but this was reversed through ovarian tissue transplantation from her sister, and she later conceived. Subsequently, several more identical twin pairs came forward for possible therapy and the scientists received anecdotal information about other cases of disparity in menopausal ages among twins.........
Posted by: Emily Permalink Source
October 25, 2006, 4:38 AM CT
Study On Leading Cause Of Vision Loss
UT Southwestern Medical Center is participating in a nationwide study investigating whether modified combinations of vitamins, minerals and fish oil products can slow the progression of vision loss from age-related macular degeneration.
"This study will evaluate nutrient-based factors that may influence the development and progression of the two most prevalent age-related eye diseases, age-related macular degeneration and cataracts," said Dr. Yu-Guang He, an ophthalmologist and principal investigator of the study at UT Southwestern.
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, will build upon results from an earlier study that found high-dose antioxidant vitamins and minerals taken orally reduced the risk of AMD progression by 25 percent and the risk of moderate vision loss by 19 percent. That study involved vitamins C and E, beta carotene, zinc and copper.
The new study will examine whether adding lutein and zeaxanthin (derived from plants) and omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA (derived from fish oil) decreases progression to advanced AMD, which often leads to vision loss. It will also consider the effect these supplements have on cataract and moderate vision loss.
"Everybody talks about the potential benefit of these supplements, but there's no solid evidence for that, no clinical evidence so far," said Dr. He, assistant professor of ophthalmology and director of the Retina Fellowship Program. "This study is going to try to resolve that".........
Posted by: Mike Permalink Source
October 24, 2006, 9:01 PM CT
Women Feel Less Trusting In Their Relationships At Work
They are less likely than men to feel that clients and other people they deal with in other companies are acting honestly with them, says the research, from the University of Bath.
Dr Simon Pervan interviewed 400 senior marketing managers about their relationships with people from other companies in the advertising and marketing sector.
He observed that only 48 per cent of women agreed with the statement: "We are honest with each other about the problems that arise," whereas 67 per cent of men agreed with this.
Only 45 per cent of women agreed with the statements that, in their relationship, "parties were willing to exchange fairly, communicate problems and make up for harm done," compared with 55 per cent of men, an indicator of how reciprocal they felt their relationships were.
"These findings show that women are less likely to feel that the relationship they have with people from other companies is honest or reciprocal," said Dr Pervan, who is based at the University's School of Management Marketing Group.
"It could be that women, being more empathic, are better able to see that the relationships at work are not honest or reciprocal, whereas men wrongly assume they are.
"A cynical interpretation of the results is that men are more likely to blissfully continue in what they perceive, wrongly or rightly, as a good business relationship".........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink Source
October 24, 2006, 6:03 PM CT
New Treatment For Obsessive-compulsive Disorders
In a paper published on-line in advance of publication in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, Sanjaya Saxena, M.D., Director of the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders (OCD) Program at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, reports the surprising finding that the serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI) medication, paroxetine, is effective in treating patients with compulsive hoarding syndrome.
The study of 79 patients diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) 32 of them with compulsive hoarding syndrome suggests that further controlled trials of SRI medications for compulsive hoarding are now warranted.
Compulsive hoarding, which may affect up to 2 million people in the United States, is found in people with many diseases, including anorexia, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease and dementia. It is most often found in patients with OCD, though researchers are not yet sure if it is a subtype of OCD or a separate disorder.
In previous, retrospective studies looking at patients and data from past drug trials compulsive hoarding had been associated with poor response to SRI medications commonly used to treat OCD patients. However, no previous study had ever directly tested this widely held theory. Saxena's prospective study, comparing the hoarding and non-hoarding OCD patients, showed nearly identical responses to paroxetine (commonly known as Paxil.) The symptoms exhibited by patients in both groups improved significantly with treatment.........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink Source
October 22, 2006, 11:15 PM CT
Genes And Perception Of Pain
A new NIH-funded study shows that a specific gene variant in humans affects both sensitivity to short-term (acute) pain in healthy volunteers and the risk of developing chronic pain after one kind of back surgery. Blocking increased activity of this gene after nerve injury or inflammation in animals prevented development of chronic pain.
The gene in this study, GCH1, codes for an enzyme called GTP cyclohydrolase. The study suggests that inhibiting GTP cyclohydrolase activity might help to prevent or treat chronic pain, which affects as a number of as 50 million people in the United States. Doctors also may be able to screen people for the gene variant to predict their risk of chronic post-surgical pain before they undergo surgery. The results appear in the October 22, 2006, advance online publication of Nature Medicine.*.
"This is a completely new pathway that contributes to the development of pain," says Clifford J. Woolf, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, who led the research. "The study shows that we inherit the extent to which we feel pain, both under normal conditions and after damage to the nervous system." .
Dr. Woolf carried out the study in collaboration with Mitchell B. Max, M.D., of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) in Bethesda, Maryland, and his colleagues at the National Institute on Alcoholism Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and elsewhere. Dr. Woolf's work was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). The research team also received funding from NIDCR, NIAAA, and other organizations.........
Posted by: Daniel Permalink Source