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November 30, 2006, 5:14 AM CT

Fortified Milk For Preschool Children

Fortified Milk For Preschool Children
Consumption of milk fortified with specific micronutrients-zinc, iron, selenium, copper, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E-significantly reduces diarrhea and acute lower respiratory illness among children in developing countries, as per scientists from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Center for Micronutrient Research at Annamalai University in India. The study was published November 28, 2006, on the website of the British Medical Journal.

"Some micronutrients have a crucial role in generation, maintenance and amplification of immune responses in the body. Deficiencies in multiple micronutrients among preschool children are an important determinant of child health in developing countries," said Sunil Sazawal, MD, MPH, PhD, lead author of the study and an associate professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health's Department of International Health.

The authors conducted a randomized, controlled trial among 633 children aged 1-4 years in a peri-urban population in New Delhi, India, from April 2002-April 2004. An intervention group of 316 children received milk fortified with additional micronutrients-7.8 mg zinc, 9.6 mg iron, 4.2 µg selenium, 0.27 mg copper, 156 µg vitamin A, 40.2 mg vitamin C and 7.5 mg vitamin E-while a control group of 317 children received the same milk without fortification. The study was undertaken in children over 12 months of age, of which breast feeding is not the primary source of nutrition.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

November 30, 2006, 5:02 AM CT

Go To Church To Breathe Easier

Go To Church To Breathe Easier
Going to church might help you breathe easier. A new study by Temple Universitys Joanna Maselko, Sc.D., observed that religious activity may protect and maintain pulmonary health in the elderly.

Pulmonary function is an important indicator of respiratory and overall health, yet little is known about the psychosocial factors that might predict pulmonary function. At the same time, religious activity is emerging as a potential health promoting factor, particularly among the elderly. We wanted to determine whether there was a correlation between the two, Maselko said.

Religious Service Attendance and Decline in Pulmonary Function in a High-Functioning Elderly Cohort, reported in the November 2006 issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, was conducted while Maselko, assistant professor of public health, was at Harvard University.

Using peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), scientists measured pulmonary function in 1,189 study subjects ranging in age from 70 to 79 years. They observed that.

regular religious service attendance (at least weekly attendance) was linked to a slower pulmonary function decline among men and women, in comparison to those who never attend services. The findings could not be explained by differences in smoking or physical activity.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

November 30, 2006, 4:27 AM CT

Seven-point System Gauges Seriousness Of Heart Failure

Seven-point System Gauges Seriousness Of Heart Failure
simple points system may soon help guide therapy of elderly heart failure patients. Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis observed that by counting how a number of of seven easy-to-obtain health factors a patient has, physicians can estimate the patient's risk of dying.

The points system may steer doctors toward considering more aggressive therapys such as implantable defibrillators and pacemakers for those at low risk of death. However, elderly patients with a high risk may want to avoid stressful and unnecessary medical intervention and may benefit most from palliative or hospice care.

"It has typically been very difficult to predict how long a person hospitalized with heart failure may survive," says senior author Michael W. Rich, M.D., associate professor of medicine and a geriatric heart specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. "That has made it hard for the treating doctor to know how aggressive to be with treatment."

Heart failure afflicts about 5 million people in the United States, hospitalizing more than a million patients each year. The occurence rate of heart failure increases with age, and with people 65 and older becoming the fastest growing segment of the population, the personal and financial burden of heart failure will likely increase.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source

November 29, 2006, 9:36 PM CT

Risks Increase On Episodic Antiretroviral Therapy

Risks Increase On Episodic Antiretroviral Therapy
Results from one of the largest HIV/AIDS therapy trials ever conducted show that a specific strategy of interrupting antiretroviral treatment more than doubles the risk of AIDS or death from any cause. In the study, the researchers used two predetermined levels of CD4+ T cells, the primary immune cell targeted by HIV, to guide them in respectively suspending or restarting the study participants on antiretroviral treatment.

A report describing this researchwhich involved 318 clinical sites in 33 countriesappears in this week's issue of The New England Journal (NEJM). The trial, known as Strategies for Management of Anti-Retroviral Therapies, or SMART, was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

"The SMART trial has provided important new data that will help physicians and their HIV-infected patients make therapy decisions," says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "The study reflects an extraordinary global collaboration among hundreds of dedicated AIDS clinicians and thousands of their patients, all of whom should be commended for their contributions to this pivotal HIV/AIDS therapy study".

As HIV/AIDS has evolved into a chronic disease without a cure, lifelong antiretroviral treatment has become the norm. Lifelong treatment, however, can be difficult to adhere to as well as expensive. For these reasons, there has been a concerted research effort to test therapy interruption strategies that may enhance patients' quality of life and limit adverse drug effects. The experimental strategies vary in their approach to when to interrupt treatment. Some, like SMART, use a specific CD4+ count as a guide; others schedule regular time periods during which therapy is stopped (for example, alternating one month off and three months on).........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source

November 29, 2006, 9:33 PM CT

preserve fertility after cancer

preserve fertility after cancer
The Center for Reproductive Research at Northwestern University is launching a new, experimental research program for young women who may be at risk to lose their ovarian function and fertility following therapy for cancer.

The program, in which a woman's ovary is removed and frozen for possible future use, is being led by Teresa Woodruff, Ph.D., associate director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and executive director of the Institute for Women's Health Research at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine. The long-term goal of the program is to be able to extract and mature eggs from cryopreserved (frozen) ovarian tissues to initiate pregnancies once cancer therapy has been completed.

"This breakthrough may permit not only the potential preservation of fertility options for women and girls with cancer, but also can be applied to normal in vitro fertilization patients. This procedure, when developed, could radically change the way infertility is viewed, reduce and eliminate embryo storage and provide better options for women who do not respond to hormonal treatment, " said Woodruff.

In recognition of the Cancer Center's commitment to providing fertility options to women and men with cancer, it has been recognized as a Fertile Hope Center of Excellence, the fifth medical center in the country to receive this designation. Fertile Hope is a non-profit organization that assists cancer patients faced with infertility.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

November 29, 2006, 4:55 AM CT

Painkillers May Threaten Power Of Vaccines

Painkillers May Threaten Power Of Vaccines
With flu-shot season in full swing and widespread anticipation of the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, a new University of Rochester study suggests that using common painkillers around the time of vaccination might not be a good idea.

Scientists showed that certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), also known as cyclooxygenase inhibitors, react with the immune system in such a way that might reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.

The research has widespread implications: study authors report that an estimated 50 to 70 percent of Americans use NSAIDs for relief from pain and inflammation, even though NSAIDs blunt the bodys natural response to infection and may prolong it.

For years we have known that elderly people are poor responders to the influenza vaccine and vaccines in general, said principal investigator Richard P. Phipps, Ph.D., a professor of Environmental Medicine, and of Microbiology and Immunology, Oncology and Pediatrics. And we also know that elderly people tend to be heavy users of inhibitors of cyclooxygenase such as Advil, aspirin, or Celebrex. This study could help explain the immune response problem.

The study is available online in the Dec. 1, 2006, Journal of Immunology, and was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health. (See full study at:

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

November 29, 2006, 4:24 AM CT

Don't Understand Prescription Medicine Labels?

Don't Understand Prescription Medicine Labels?
When Michael Wolf paged though dusty, yellowing pharmacists logs from the 1890s at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, he found the following entry about a druggists encounter with a confused patient: Shake well, a patient apparently read out loud to the pharmacist from his prescription bottle label. Does that mean I shake myself".

It sounds like the punch line of a bad joke, but it wasnt. And the confusion experienced by that patient more than a century ago hasnt changed much.

A number of people still dont fully understand the seemingly simple label instructions on their prescription medication, as per a new study of low-income patients by Wolf, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern Universitys Feinberg School of Medicine. The study was published Nov. 29 online in Annals of Internal Medicine ( Wolf is presenting a position piece on how to improve those labels Nov. 29 at the American College of Physicians Foundation conference in Washington, D.C.

Wolf observed that nearly half of the patients in the study misinterpreted at least one or more out of the five prescription labels they were shown. Patients with low literacy made the most mistakes and frequently were unable to grasp four out of five label instructions. But even people with a high-school education and higher had problems.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

November 28, 2006, 8:00 PM CT

How Old Is Too Old?

How Old Is Too Old?
Average paternal age is increasing in the UK (and USA) Growing evidence shows that the offspring of older fathers have an increased risk of some birth defects, some cancers, including breast , prostate and nervous system and schizophrenia. The public health implications have not been widely anticipated or debated. In October, in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health , a paper was published, "Advanced Paternal age: How old is too old?', led by epidemiologist Dr. Isabelle Bray.calling for a discussion of this issue.

It is thought that there is an increased risk of certain conditions due to an accumulation of mutations etc. in the sperm of older men. It was cited that the "accumulation of damage to DNA in sperm of men age 36-57 is three times that of men <35.", They include studies of childhood cancers, childhood brain cancer, retinoblastoma, acute lymphoblastic leukemia all having increased incidence with advanced paternal age. The epidemiologists state in the article that as our appreciation of the genetic contribution to disease develops it seems probable that if the current trends in the timing of fatherhood continues, the consequences at a population level may be worth considering. To illustrate the possible scale of the effects, results from a Swedish population based cohort study have been used to estimate that the increase in paternal age since 1980 could account for 10% of new cases of schizophrenia diagnosed in the UK in 2002. Adverse health outcomes should be weighed up against potential social advantages and disadvantages for children born to older parents, mindful that these societal effects are likely to change over time. Possible interventions they imagine might include health promotions advising people about the risk of delaying childbearing or changes at a societal level (family benefits, etc.) that encourage couples to have children earlier rather than later.........

Posted by: Dorje      Permalink         Source

November 28, 2006, 5:11 AM CT

Aging Gene Protects Against Prostate Cancer

Aging Gene Protects Against Prostate Cancer
Cancer researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia have shown that a gene that is involved in regulating aging also blocks prostate cancer cell growth. The researchers, led by Kimmel Cancer Center director Richard Pestell, M.D., Ph.D., hope the newly found connection will aid in better understanding the development of prostate cancer and lead to new drugs against the disease.

SIRT1 is a member of a family of enzymes called sirtuins that have far-reaching influence in all organisms, including roles in metabolism, gene expression and aging.

"We know that sirtuins play a role in aging, and that the risk for prostate cancer increases with aging, but no one has ever linked the two until now," says Dr. Pestell, who is also professor and chair of cancer biology at Jefferson Medical College.

"We've shown that by making a prostate cancer with cells overexpressing a mutation for the androgen receptor, which is resistant to current forms of treatment, we can almost completely block the growth of these cells with SIRT1," he says. Dr. Pestell and his team report their findings in November in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biology.

As per Dr. Pestell, prostate cancer cells can express a mutation that makes patients resistant to current forms of therapy such as hormonal treatment. Such treatment focuses on inactivating the androgen receptor by giving agents that shut off testosterone production.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source

November 28, 2006, 5:09 AM CT

Boy Or Girl: How Brain Processes Words

Boy Or Girl: How Brain Processes Words
Boys and girls tend to use different parts of their brains to process some basic aspects of grammar, as per the first study of its kind, suggesting that sex is an important factor in the acquisition and use of language.

Two neuroresearchers from Georgetown University Medical Center discovered that boys and girls use different brain systems when they make mistakes like "Yesterday I holded the bunny". Girls mainly use a system that is for memorizing words and associations between them, whereas boys rely primarily on a system that governs the rules of language.

"Sex has been virtually ignored in studies of the learning, representation, processing and neural bases of language. This study shows that differences between males and females may be an important factor in these cognitive processes," said the lead author, Michael Ullman, PhD, professor of neuroscience, psychology, neurology and linguistics.

He added that since the brain systems tested in this study are responsible for more than just language use, the study supports the notion that "men and women may tend to process various skills differently from one another." One potential underlying reason, suggested by other research, is that the hormone estrogen, found primarily in females, affects brain processing, Ullman said.........

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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