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June 7, 2007, 7:11 PM CT

Growth in ADHD medications

Growth in ADHD medications
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been traditionally viewed as a childhood disorder, while ADHD in adults has been underdiagnosed and undertreated. A recent study shows that therapy rates have been increasing in all age groups, and improved identification has contributed to rapidly growing therapy rates for adults. Female patients show the greatest increase of all.

The study, published by SAGE in the recent issue of the Journal of Attention Disorders, revealed rapid growth of ADHD medicine use in all demographic groups except seniors, with some groups showing markedly faster rates than others. Between 2000 and 2005, therapy rates grew more rapidly for adults than for children, more rapidly for women than for men, and more rapidly for girls than for boys.

Improved diagnosis of ADHD in adult and female patients contributed to the rapid growth in ADHD medicine use. The study observed that there were a number of changes in the types of medications used, as well. Scientists observed that methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine use declined for both children and adults, the use of amphetamine mixtures increased for adults, atomoxetine use (introduced in 2002) grew rapidly across both groups, use of extended-release products increased in children more dramatically than adults, and generic ADHD medicine use declined significantly in pediatric patients while remaining relatively stable in adults.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

June 6, 2007, 10:00 PM CT

Colonoscopy up in NYC

Colonoscopy up in NYC
More New Yorkers are getting life-saving colonoscopies than ever before, the Health Department announced recently, and people of all races and incomes are benefiting. The test which can detect, prevent, or cure colorectal cancer is generally recommended once every decade for people 50 and older, and earlier for those with a family history of the disease. Four years ago, only 43% of New Yorkers age 50 and older had been screened during the prior decade. Health officials will announce today that 60% of New Yorkers 50 and older had a colonoscopy in the past ten years, an increase of some 350,000 tests compared with 2003. The announcement is being made at the 4th Annual Citywide Colon Cancer Control Coalition (C5) summit at the American Conference Centers (780 Third Avenue, between 48th & 49th Streets).

In 2003, we set a five year goal to increase the percent of New Yorkers 50 and older who have been screened for colon cancer to 60%, said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Im proud to report that weve reached that goal two years ahead of schedule. Since 2003, colonoscopies increased among New Yorkers of all races, ethnicities, income level and insurance status. That means across the board more cancers will be prevented, and lives will be saved.

While whites were more likely than either blacks or Hispanics to have had a colonoscopy in 2003, the three groups screening rates were nearly equal in 2006, just four years later. More people are getting colonoscopies to prevent or find early colon cancer and it is saving lives, said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden. The health gap for screening for this important cancer is closing. Weve accomplished a great deal, but we have more to do. We want to increase the colon cancer screening level to more than 80% of New Yorkers over 50 in the next 5 years.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source

June 6, 2007, 9:53 PM CT

Organic Food Miles take toll on environment

Organic Food Miles take toll on environment
Organic fruit and vegetables may be healthier for the dinner table, but not necessarily for the environment, a University of Alberta study shows.

The study, conducted by a team of student scientists in the Department of Rural Economy at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, showed that the greenhouse gas emitted when the produce is transported from great distances mitigates the environmental benefits of growing the food organically.

If youre buying green, you should consider the distance the food travels. If its travelling further, then some of the benefits of organic crops are cancelled out by extra environmental costs, said researcher Vicki Burtt.

Burtt and her fellow scientists compared the cost of food miles between organic and conventionally grown produce, and observed that there was little difference in the cost to the environment.

Food miles are defined as the distance that food travels from the field to the grocery store. The study observed that the environmental cost of greenhouse gas (CO2) emitted to transport 20 tonnes of organically grown produce was comparable to that of bringing the same amount of conventional fruit and vegetables to market.

For the study, the team collected retail price data from six grocery stores and interviewed suppliers about their shipping methods. They created comparable food baskets of both organic and conventionally-grown fruit and vegetables being transported to Edmonton stores by truck, train or ship, and observed that most travels by truck. Since 1970 truck shipping has increased, replacing more energy-efficient rail and water transport.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 6, 2007, 9:10 PM CT

Seniors' Plans For End-of-life Care

Seniors' Plans For End-of-life Care
As a brain-damaged woman named Terri Schiavo lived her final days in 2005, her family's bitter feuding imparted a tragic lesson about the importance of specifying one's wishes for end-of-life medical therapy.

Yet, beyond headline-grabbing cases such as Schiavo's, what truly motivates people to plan for medical care at life's end" With record numbers of Americans - the Baby Boom generation - now reaching age 60, we still know surprisingly little about these decisions or the factors that shape them, says University of Wisconsin-Madison sociologist Deborah Carr.

A study by Carr and her Rutgers University colleague Dmitry Khodyakov now offers insight into a critical aspect of end-of-life planning: the choice to appoint a "health care proxy" who will make therapy decisions should a person become incapacitated. Writing in the recent issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, the scientists report that education, religious attitudes and experience with a loved one's death - particularly a painful death - are all powerful influences on this decision.

The findings have important implications for policies and practices designed to encourage people to name a proxy, also known as a "durable power of attorney for health care" (DPAHC). Federal law currently mandates that patients entering a federally funded hospital or clinic be asked whether they have a DPAHC or a document called an advance directive. Medical personnel will also sometimes discuss the issue with patients; however, they tend to employ abstract arguments or ask patients to imagine their future state of health, says Carr.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 5, 2007, 0:29 AM CT

Divorce increases risk of Ritalin use

Divorce increases risk of Ritalin use
Divorce puts children at higher risk of Ritalin use in comparison to kids whose parents stay together, says new research by a University of Alberta sociologist, who cautions that this doesnt necessarily mean that divorce is harmful to a child. The study appears in this weeks issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Dr. Lisa Strohschein observed that there is a significantly higher risk of Ritalin usenearly twice as highfor children whose parents divorce in comparison to children whose parents remain together. It is the first study to follow children over time and evaluate whether experiencing parental divorce increases the risk for subsequent Ritalin use, a drug usually prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Prior studies have only compared the proportion of children taking Ritalin in two- biological parent homes versus single parent households. While such studies showed that living in a single parent household was a risk factor for Ritalin use, Strohschein suggests that a snapshot comparison across different family types provides an incomplete picture. There are many other ways--including being born to a never-married motherthat a child can come to live in a single-parent household.

So the question was, is it possible that divorce acts a stressful life event that creates adjustment problems for children, which might increase acting out behaviour, leading to a prescription for Ritalin" said Strohschein.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

June 5, 2007, 0:11 AM CT

Low libido in menopause linked to trouble sleeping

Low libido in menopause linked to trouble sleeping
Women whose sexual desire diminishes during menopause are more likely to report disturbed sleep, depression symptoms, and night sweats, as per Group Health research in the June American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

To the best of the research teams knowledge, this marks the first time that sleep disturbance has been independently linked to diminished sexual desire during or after menopause.

The paper is based on data from Group Health's Herbal Alternatives for Treatment of Menopause Symptoms (HALT) study. Other results from this study, showing that the herbal supplement black cohosh did not relieve menopausal hot flashes or night sweats (hot flashes during sleep), were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2006.

All 341 of the women were chosen to be in the study because they were age 45 to 55 and had hot flashes, night sweats, or both. Of them, 64 percent reported diminished sexual desire, 43 percent slept poorly, and 18 percent had major depression.

It seems reasonable that night sweats can disturb sleep, said Susan D. Reed, MD, MPH, the papers lead author. Dr. Reed is an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and epidemiology at the University of Washington and an affiliate investigator at Group Health Center for Health Studies. And poor sleep can reduce energy for everything, including sex.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

June 5, 2007, 0:10 AM CT

Children innately prepared to learn language

Children innately prepared to learn language
To learn a language is to learn a set of all-purpose rules that can be used in an infinite number of ways. A new study shows that by the age of seven months, human infants are on the lookout for abstract rules and that they know the best place to look for such abstractions is in human speech.

In a series of experiments appearing in the recent issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, Gary Marcus and co-authors Keith Fernandes and Scott Johnson at New York University exposed infants to algebraically structured sequences that consisted of either speech syllables or non-speech sounds.

Once infants became familiar with these sequences, scientists presented the infants four new unique sequences: Two of these new sequences were consistent with the familiarization grammar, while two were inconsistent. (For example, given familiarization with la ta ta, ge lai lai, consistent test sentences would include wo fe fe and de ko ko (ABB), while inconsistent sentences would include wo wo fe and de de ko (AAB). Marcus and colleagues then measured how long infants attended to each sequence in order to determine whether they recognized the previously learned grammar.

In the first two experiments, the scientists examined infants rule learning using sequences of tones, sung syllables, musical instruments of varying timbres and animal noises.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

May 31, 2007, 11:48 PM CT

Improves recovery for elderly with depression

Improves recovery for elderly with depression
Adding a medicine to a standard therapy regimen for major depressive disorder in the elderly improves chances of recovery in those who do not adequately respond to the first-course treatment or who relapse from it, finds a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, the official journal of the American Psychiatric Association. Up to 84 percent of the elderly who experience depression either fail to respond to first-course therapy or relapse during the first six to 12 weeks of therapy.

The study observed that adding a second drug to the therapy of depressed participants over the age of 70 who either did not respond to initial therapy with the antidepressant paroxetine and interpersonal psychotherapy, or to those who responded to the initial therapy but quickly relapsed, caused the likelihood of recovery to rise from 40 percent to 60 percent. Recovery was slower in those who did not respond to the original therapy.

Depression should not be considered a normal part of aging. The scientific evidence is growing that there are many effective therapy options available for people of all ages, said Mary Amanda Dew, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, psychology and epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh and lead author of the study.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

May 31, 2007, 11:46 PM CT

Nursing Home Placement And Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer's Disease

Nursing Home Placement And Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer's Disease
People with Alzheimer's disease experience an acceleration in the rate of cognitive decline after being placed in a nursing home as per a new study by the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center. The study, reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, finds that previous experience in adult day care may lessen this association.

The observational study involved 432 older persons with Alzheimer's disease who were recruited from health care settings in the Chicago area. At baseline, they lived in the community and 196 participants were using day care services from 2 to 6 days a week for an overall mean of 1.7 days a week. At six month intervals for up to four years, they completed nine cognitive tests from which a composite measure of global cognition was derived.

On average, cognition declined at a gradually increasing rate for all participants. During the study period, 155 persons were placed in a nursing home, and placement was linked to a lower level of cognition and more rapid cognitive decline.

Study participants who had prior adult day care experience fared better. As level of day care use at study onset increased, the association of nursing home placement with accelerated cognitive decline substantially decreased. Thus, people using day care 3 to 4 days a week at the beginning of the study showed no increase in cognitive decline upon nursing home placement.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

May 31, 2007, 11:42 PM CT

Cigarette smoke alters DNA in sperm

Cigarette smoke alters DNA in sperm
The science has long been clear that smoking causes cancer, but new research shows that children could inherit genetic damage from a father who smokes.

Canadian scientists have demonstrated in mice that smoking can cause changes in the DNA sequence of sperm cells, alterations that could potentially be inherited by offspring. The results of their study are reported in the June 1 issue of Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Here we are looking at male germline mutations, which are mutations in the DNA of sperm. If inherited, these mutations persist as irreversible changes in the genetic composition of off-spring. said Carole Yauk, Ph.D., lead author of the study and research scientist in the Mutagenesis Section of Health Canadas Environmental and Occupational Toxicology Division. We have known that mothers who smoke can harm their fetuses, and here we show evidence that fathers can potentially damage offspring long before they may even meet their future mate.

Males, whether they are mouse or man, generate a constant supply of new sperm from self-renewing spermatogonial stem cells. Yauk, along with colleagues at Health Canada and.

McMaster University, studied the spermatogonial stem cells of mature mice that had been exposed to cigarette smoke for either six or 12 weeks to look for alterations in a specific stretch of repeated portions of DNA, called Ms6-hm, which does not contain any known genes. The smoking mice were exposed to two cigarettes per day, the equivalent based on blood levels of tobacco by-products of an average human smoker, as per research previously published by one of the study's co-authors.........

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. Archives of society medical news blog

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