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November 10, 2006, 4:37 AM CT

Antioxidant Therapies And Radiation Treatment

Antioxidant Therapies And Radiation Treatment
Cancer patients can get the vital nutritional benefits from taking antioxidants without the risk of interfering with radiation therapy, as per research findings being presented this weekend at the Society of Integrative Oncology's Third International Conference in Boston. The Society for Integrative Oncology is a non-profit organization of oncologists and other health professionals studying and integrating effective complementary therapies in cancer care.

The study, Effect of Concomitant Naturopathic Therapies on Clinical Tumor Response to External Beam Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer, was conducted by scientists at Cancer Treatment Centers of America and evaluated PSA levels of patients with prostate cancer after receiving radiation treatment. Scientists found no difference between patients taking antioxidants and those who did not. Antioxidants used in the study included green tea extract, melatonin, high-potency multivitamins, vitamin C and vitamin E.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America chose this study to address clinical concerns about the use of dietary supplements in conjunction with conventional cancer therapies. The study addressed the concern that antioxidants might interfere with cancer cell oxidation levels that contribute to tumor killing by chemotherapy and radiation treatment.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

November 8, 2006, 9:16 PM CT

Social Exclusion Changes Brain Function

Social Exclusion Changes Brain Function
Poor Bridget Jones. At the beginning of the first film about her diary and life, the character, played by actress Rene Zellweger, is fat and alone in her apartment where she mimes one of the great self-pitying song hits of all time: "All by Myself." But Bridget's problem may be more than skin deep.

In new research, published in the current online issue of the journal Social Neuroscience, scientists from the University of Georgia and San Diego State University report for the first time that social exclusion actually causes changes in a person's brain function and can lead to poor decision-making and a diminished learning ability.

"Our findings indicate that social rejection can be a powerful influence on how people act," said W. Keith Campbell, a psychology expert who led the research. The new research is the first to examine subjects' brain patterns following social exclusion using the magnetoencephalography (MEG) technique.

Other authors of the paper include Jean Twenge of San Diego State University; Brett Clementz and Jennifer McDowell, also psychology faculty members at UGA; and UGA graduate students Elizabeth Krusemark, Kara Dyckman and Amy Brunnell.

Scientists have known for a long time that there is a link between social exclusion and the failure of self-control. For instance, people who are rejected in social situations often respond by abusing alcohol, expressing aggression or performing poorly at school or work. (Bridget Jones chooses "vodka and Chaka Khan.").........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

November 8, 2006, 9:01 PM CT

Traditional Books Provide Parent-child Interaction

Traditional Books Provide Parent-child Interaction
Parents and pre-school children have a more positive interaction when sharing a reading experience with a traditional book as opposed to an electronic book or e-book, according scientists at Temple University's Infant Laboratory and Erikson Institute in Chicago. This shared positive experience from traditional books characteristically promotes early literacy skills.

The scientists presented the findings of their study, "Electronic books: Boon or Bust for Interactive Reading?" on Nov. 3 as part of the Boston University Conference on Language Development.

The first-of-its-kind study was conducted by Julia Parish-Morris, a graduate student in developmental psychology at Temple University, and Molly F. Collins, assistant professor at Erikson Institute. Parish-Morris and Collins collaborated with Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, the Lefkowitz Professor of Psychology and director of the Temple Infant Lab.

"It is very obvious from the media, from toy stores and bookstores that electronic learning products are becoming very, very popular," said Parish-Morris. "Parents are really buying into the idea that electronic media is essential to their children's development".

Parish-Morris recruited 19 children ages 3-5, along with their parents, at Philadelphia's Please Touch Museum; Collins recruited 14 at the Chicago Children's Museum.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

November 8, 2006, 8:50 PM CT

About Reading Difficulty

About Reading Difficulty
At least one in three children in this country has difficulty learning to read. Research shows that children's aggressive behavior and reading difficulties during early elementary school years are risk factors for adolescent problem behaviors such as delinquency, academic failure, and substance use. Oregon Research Institute (ORI) researchers recently received high marks for their work to reverse this trend.

An evaluation of a reading program for elementary students conducted by ORI researchers has been identified as the only study in the country that met the highest standards for research on programs for English language learners. The What Works Clearinghouse, in their review of research on effective interventions for English language learners, identified the reading program used in ORI's Schools and Homes in Partnership (SHIP) project as having potentially positive effects on the reading achievement of English language learners.

"This is quite an honor for us," notes ORI scientist Barbara Gunn, Ph.D., who directed the study. "Eventhough there are a number of studies of the effectiveness of instructional practices, few are well-designed experimental evaluations and even fewer focus on effective approaches for teaching beginning readers."

As teachers face growing requirements to improve academic outcomes for their students it is very important that scientists give them the information they need to make knowledgeable decisions on programs and approaches to use in their classrooms. This research was unique because it used the highest standards set for educational research and demonstrated that this kind of study can be done in schools across the state.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

November 7, 2006, 11:32 PM CT

Most Canadian Med School Grads Lack Basic Surgical Skills

Most Canadian Med School Grads Lack Basic Surgical Skills
A number of medical school graduates in Canada have not received adequate training in basic surgical skills, such as suturing and tube placements, says a new study published recently in the Canadian Journal of Surgery.

"There is compelling evidence to suggest that undergraduate surgical education may fail to provide appropriate instruction in basic surgical skills and principles, writes Dr. Daniel Birch, a professor in the University of Alberta Department of Surgery and the lead author of the study.

The scientists gathered their results from surveys of 123 recent medical school graduates and 55 surgeons. The results show that the respondents felt there are at least 8 to 10 surgical skills that are highly relevant to current medical practices; however, the average medical graduates will achieve proficiency in only three of them.

"You want to think that med graduates feel comfortable with their basic surgery skills, but a number of of them don't. And this is important because it's very likely that they will have to use these skills at some point in their careers," Birch added.

There are a number or reasons for the deficient surgical training in Canada, with the prime one being a lack of time and resources, Birch noted. Currently, when medical students go through surgical clerkships (commonly lasting about four weeks), the skills they learn are correlation to whatever situations they encounter during their clerkship.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

November 7, 2006, 10:10 PM CT

Happy People Are Healthier

Happy People Are Healthier
Happiness and other positive emotions play an even more important role in health than previously thought, as per a research studyreported in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine by Carnegie Mellon University Psychology Professor Sheldon Cohen. The paper will be available online at

This recent study confirms the results of a landmark 2004 paper in which Cohen and colleagues observed that people who are happy, lively, calm or exhibit other positive emotions are less likely to become ill when they are exposed to a cold virus than those who report few of these emotions. In that study, Cohen observed that when they do come down with a cold, happy people report fewer symptoms than would be expected from objective measures of their illness. In contrast, reporting more negative emotions such as depression, anxiety and anger was not linked to catching colds. That study, however, left open the possibility that the greater resistance to infectious illness among happier people may not have been due to happiness, but rather to other characteristics that are often linked to reporting positive emotions such as optimism, extraversion, feelings of purpose in life and self-esteem.

Cohen's recent study controls for those variables, with the same result: The people who report positive emotions are less likely to catch colds and also less likely to report symptoms when they do get sick. This held true regardless of their levels of optimism, extraversion, purpose and self-esteem, and of their age, race, gender, education, body mass or prestudy immunity to the virus.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

November 7, 2006, 4:59 AM CT

Why Do We Stick To Our Bad Habits?

Why Do We Stick To Our Bad Habits?
Why do we ignore public warnings and advertisements about the dangers of smoking, drinking alcohol, overeating, stressing out and otherwise persist in habits and behaviours that we know aren't good for us?

Because, says a University of Alberta researcher, we aren't getting at the underlying reasons of why we persist in bad habits or risky behaviour.

In two recent case studies asking people to rate the danger of various types of risks including lifestyle habits, it was clear that they understood what types of behaviour are the riskiest, but that knowledge wasn't enough to motivate them to change their ways, said Dr. Cindy Jardine, an assistant professor of rural sociology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

"The results showed that in fact, people have a very realistic understanding of the various risks in their lives. We as risk communicators--scientists, academics, government agencies--have to get beyond the thought of 'If they only understood the facts, they'd change.' They do understand the facts, but we need to look at other factors we haven't been looking at before".

Jardine presented her findings recently at the RiskCom 2006 Conference in Sweden.

In the first case study conducted by Jardine, 1,200 people in Alberta were surveyed in both 1994 and 2005. Lifestyle habits like cigarette smoking, stress and sun-tanning were ranked as the top three risks, being considered more dangerous to the Alberta public than technology or pollution hazards such as chemical contamination, ozone depletion and sour gas wells. Cigarette smoking was ranked as "very dangerous" by 53 per cent of those surveyed in 1994 and by 60 per cent of the respondents surveyed in 2005. Stress was ranked as "very dangerous" by 54 per cent of the people in 1994 and by 65 per cent in 2005. In contrast, sour gas wells were ranked as "very dangerous" by only 24 per cent of the people in 1994 and by 28 per cent in 2005.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

November 7, 2006, 4:49 AM CT

More Hemodialysis May Improve Survival

More Hemodialysis May Improve Survival
A study recently published in Hemodialysis International observed that more frequent hemodialysis therapys (five or more weekly) can significantly increase the survival rate of patients suffering from irreversible kidney failure. Typical therapy in the U.S. generally involves three sessions weekly.

The study examines the mortality rate of 117 U.S. patients. Those receiving five or more therapys per week were shown to have a 61% better chance of survival when in comparison to patients receiving conventional therapy.

"More frequent hemodialysis has been shown to improve patient well-being, reduce symptoms during and between therapys and have beneficial effects on clinical outcomes," as per Christopher R. Blagg M.D., lead researcher of the study.

U.S. hemodialysis patients continue to have a high annual mortality rate, despite a number of improvements in dialysis and overall medical care. Increasing the frequency of dialysis may be an effective means of improving patient survival.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source

November 7, 2006, 4:43 AM CT

Smoking, Fractures And Ligament Injuries

Smoking, Fractures And Ligament Injuries
Cigarette smoking, which causes over 8.6 million illnesses annually in the U.S., has been shown to have harmful effects on a variety of orthopedic conditions. Studies have shown that the numerous toxins contained in cigarette smoke can undermine fracture and ligament repair following injury. In addition, smokers have higher rates of hip fracture, fracture healing problems and bone infections and smoking has been shown to impair soft tissue wound healing. Two new studies, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Football League Charities, examined the effects of smoking on fractures and ligament healing in mice and observed that healing of both types of injury was delayed. The studies are published in the December 2006 issue of the Journal of Orthopaedic Research (, the official journal of the Orthopaedic Research Society.

Led by Hossam B. El-Zawawy of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO the first study involved 35 mice divided into a smoking group, which was exposed to cigarette smoke 6 days per week for a month, and a control group. Surgery waccording toformed on all the mice to achieve a simple fracture. Scientists used type II collagen expression as a marker of cartilage formation (chondrogenesis) during healing. They observed that smoking delayed fracture healing and that it began at the early stages of the healing process, eventhough over time it did not inhibit normal healing. Specifically, they were able to show that there was a delay in the development of mature cartilage cells in the mice exposed to cigarette smoke. This was the first study to analyze the molecular and cellular mechanisms of fracture healing in mice exposed to smoke.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source

November 6, 2006, 4:48 AM CT

Who Would Cut The Cake?

Who Would Cut The Cake?
Suppose a cake is to be divided between two people, Alice and Bob. A fair procedure is to have Alice cut the cake and then have Bob choose whichever piece he prefers. Alice has an incentive to cut the cake exactly in half, since she will be left with whichever piece Bob does not take.

This "you cut, I choose" method, known since time immemorial, has been used in dispute resolutions ranging from land division in the Bible to children's squabbles over birthday cake. An article to appear in the December 2006 issue of the Notices of the AMS draws on the power and precision of mathematics to show there are even better ways to cut a cake.

The three authors of the article, Steven J. Brams, Michael A. Jones, and Christian Klamler, point out that the cut-and-choose method has the desirable property of "envy-freeness": Neither person envies the other, because each knows he has gotten at least half the cake. But the method lacks another desirable property, that of equitability: The subjective value that the two people place on the pieces they get might not be the same. For example, suppose one half of the cake is frosted with vanilla icing and the other with chocolate icing, and suppose Alice values chocolate icing twice as much as vanilla. It is possible that Alice's valuation of the piece she gets will be less than Bob's valuation of his piece, making these the two valuations inequitable.........

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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