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October 1, 2007, 5:35 AM CT

Don't sleep more, don't sleep less

Don't sleep more, don't sleep less
The first study to assess the stability of three aspects of sleep behavior in relation to long-term mortality finds an increased risk of mortality in short sleep, long sleep and frequent use of medications, as per a research studyreported in the October 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

The study, authored by Christer Hublin, MD, PhD, of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki, Finland, focused on the responses of 21,268 twins to questionnaires administered in 1975 and 1981. The subjects were categorized as follows:
  • Short sleepers (less than seven hours)
  • Average sleepers
  • Long sleepers (more than eight hours)
  • Sleeping well
  • Sleeping fairly well
  • Sleeping fairly poorly/poorly
  • Not users of hypnotics and/or tranquilizers
  • Infrequent users of hypnotics and/or tranquilizers
  • Frequent users of hypnotics and/or tranquilizers


As per the results, significantly increased risk of mortality was observed both for short sleep in men (+26 percent) and in women (+ 21 percent), and for long sleep (+24 percent and +17 percent respectively), and also frequent use of hypnotics/tranquilizers (+31 percent in men and +39 percent in women). The effect of sleep on mortality varied between age groups, with strongest effects in young men.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 1, 2007, 5:31 AM CT

Women with severe PMS have poor sleep quality

Women with severe PMS have poor sleep quality
Women with severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS) perceive their sleep quality to be poorer in association with their symptoms in the late luteal (premenstrual) phase, despite there being no specific alterations in sleep structure linked to premenstrual symptoms, as per a research studyreported in the October 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

The study, authored by Fiona C. Baker, PhD, of the Human Sleep Research Program at SRI International in Menlo Park, Calif., and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, focused on nine women with PMS or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and 12 controls. The subjects, all 18-40 years of age, had laboratory-based polysomnographic recordings at two phases of the menstrual cycle: follicular phase and late luteal phase.

As per the results, women with severe PMS reported a significantly poorer subjective sleep quality during the late luteal phase, but there was no evidence of disturbed sleep based on the polysomnogram specific to premenstrual symptom expression. Both groups of women had increased wakefulness after sleep onset and increased sigma power in the late luteal phase compared with the follicular phase.

There were, however, some group differences in electroencephalographic measures regardless of menstrual phase, including decreased delta incidence and increase theta incidence and amplitude in women with PMS, suggesting the possibility of sleep electroencephalogram trait markers in women with PMS.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


October 1, 2007, 5:29 AM CT

Best weight-loss plans for heart health

Best weight-loss plans for heart health
Image courtesy of anti-aging-medicine-rx.com
Over the past three decades, the rising obesity epidemic has been accompanied by a proliferation of weight-loss plans. However, as a new study by scientists from the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) reveals, these weight-loss plans vary significantly in their ability to positively affect heart health.

In A Dietary Quality Comparison of Popular Weight-Loss Plans, reported in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, several weight-loss plans significantly outperformed others in their ability to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Specifically, the researchers observed that the Ornish, Weight Watchers High Carbohydrate and New Glucose Revolution plans scored highest when measured by the Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI). Proven to be a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease, the AHEI is a measure that isolates dietary components that are most strongly associated with cardiovascular disease risk reduction.

Obviously, obesity is linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, said UMMS Assistant Professor of Medicine Yunsheng Ma, PhD, MPH, one of the studys primary authors. Optimal weight-loss plans should facilitate both weight loss and chronic disease prevention, specifically cardiovascular risk reduction.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 27, 2007, 9:51 PM CT

Study links asthma to allergies

Study links asthma to allergies
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have observed that more than 50 percent of the current asthma cases in the country can be attributed to allergies, with approximately 30 percent of those cases attributed to cat allergy.

It has long been debated whether people who develop asthma have a genetic propensity to develop allergies, or atopy, said Darryl C. Zeldin, M.D., a senior investigator at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). This new research shows that 56.3 percent of asthma cases are attributed to atopy. Atopy is a condition that results from gene-environment interactions and can be measured by a positive skin test to allergens (or allergy causing substances in the environment).

The study, available online today in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, was conducted by scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, both parts of the NIH. The data come from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), a nationally representative sample of the population of the United States.

Sensitization to cat appears to be a strong risk factor for asthma in this study, said Zeldin. Zeldin and his co-authors, however, point out that some research shows that exposure to cats, especially early in life, may be a protective factor. We are not advocating parents get rid of pets, but if you suspect that you or your child might have cat allergies or get asthmatic-like symptoms, you should consult with a doctor about the best course of action for your family, added Zeldin.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 26, 2007, 8:53 PM CT

Alcohol and cancer: is drinking the new smoking?

Alcohol and cancer: is drinking the new smoking?
September 26, 2007 (Toronto) - Scientists at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have clarified the link between alcohol consumption and the risk of head and neck cancers, showing that people who stop drinking can significantly reduce their cancer risk.

As per CAMH Principal Investigator Dr. Jrgen Rehm, existing research consistently shows a relationship between alcohol consumption and an increased risk for cancer of the esophagus, larynx and oral cavity. Dr. Rehm and his team analyzed epidemiological literature from 1966 to 2006 to further investigate this association and their results, reported in the recent issue of the International Journal of Cancer, showed that:
  • The risk of esophageal cancer nearly doubled in the first two years following alcohol cessation, a sharp increase that may be due to the fact that some people only stop drinking when they are already experiencing disease symptoms. However, risk then decreased rapidly and significantly after longer periods of abstention.
.
  • Risk of head and neck cancer only reduced significantly after 10 years of cessation.
  • After more than 20 years of alcohol cessation, the risks for both cancers were similar to those seen in people who never drank alcohol.


These results have important implications for tailoring alcohol policies and prevention strategies, particularly for people with a family risk of cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 26, 2007, 8:41 PM CT

Autism symptoms can improve into adulthood

Autism symptoms can improve into adulthood
Hallmarks of autism are characteristic behaviors - repetitive motions, problems interacting with others, impaired communication abilities - that occur in widely different combinations and degrees of severity among those who have the condition.

But how those behaviors change as individuals progress through adolescence and adulthood has, until now, never been fully scientifically documented. In a new study, reported in the September Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, scientists have observed that symptoms can improve with age.

"On average, people are getting better," says Paul T. Shattuck, an assistant professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis who worked on the study as a graduate student and post-doctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Waisman Center and is the first author of the paper. "It is a hopeful finding, but the fact remains that those with severe autism will depend on others for their everyday needs and care for the rest of their lives".

Autism is a widespread condition in the United States, affecting an estimated one in 150 children and an unknown number of adults.

The new publication is part of a groundbreaking longitudinal study of more than 400 adolescents and adults with autism and their families led by Marsha Mailick Seltzer, a Wisconsin professor of social work and the director of the UW-Madison Waisman Center. "This project is one of the largest long-term studies of autism and it represents the collaborations of a team of scientists who together are investigating how autism changes across the life course," Seltzer explains.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 25, 2007, 9:37 PM CT

More Babies Are Born From Monday To Friday

More Babies Are Born From Monday To Friday
Practical and financial constraints on public sector hospitals could be dictating how and when babies are born. Two new studies (1,2) show that as the number of elective, planned caesarean sections rises, more and more babies are born during the week and fewer come into the world at weekends. It appears that hospitals schedule births during the week when they are fully resourced and staff is working 'normal' hours at no extra cost. These findings by Alexander Lerchl, from the Jacobs University Bremen in Gera number of, will be published online this week in Springer's journal Naturwissenschaften.

In one study (1), Lerchl shows a direct link between the increase in the number of elective caesarean sections and the fall in weekend births in Switzerland. By analyzing birth data from almost 3 million babies born between 1969 and 2005, Lerchl and his colleague Sarah Reinhard show that up to 18 percent fewer births than expected occur at weekends. Over the study period, nearly 100,000 fewer babies were born at the weekend than expected, as a consequence of the increasing numbers of caesarean sections and elective labor induction, which reached 29 percent and 20 percent respectively in Switzerland in 2004.

The second study (2) paints a similar picture in Gera number of, across all 16 states. Weekend births were consistently less frequent, with an average of 15 percent fewer births at weekends than expected.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


September 25, 2007, 4:55 AM CT

Weight gain between first and second pregnancie

Weight gain between first and second pregnancie
A slightly greater number of males than females are born worldwide every year. In recent decades, eventhough there are still more baby boys born than girls, there has been an apparent decline in the ratio of male to female newborns in several industrialized countries, including Canada, Denmark, England, Gera number of, Japan and the United States. That has led scientists to ask: Are there any factors that can influence the probability of giving birth to a baby boy or girl? A new study from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, observed that mothers who experienced an increase in weight from the beginning of the first pregnancy to the beginning of the second pregnancy may be slightly more likely to give birth to a baby boy during their second pregnancy. The study appears online September 24, 2007 in the journal Fertility & Sterility.

The results are provocative because few biological factors are known in humans to influence the chances of either conceiving or carrying to term a baby boy or girl. Our study suggests that maternal nutritional factors might play a role, said Eduardo Villamor, assistant professor of international nutrition at HSPH and lead author of the study.

Some previous studies had looked at what factors might influence the sex ratio, but evidence of causality has been weak. Parental smoking, for example, has been linked to both lower and higher sex ratios. Maternal nutritional status had been studied, but there was little evidence to support a causal relationship with the sex ratio. One of the hypotheses that the authors of this study wanted to test was whether the increase in maternal obesity in several industrialized countries could play a role in the declining sex ratio. Their study found the opposite--maternal weight gain seemed to favor the birth of boys.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


September 21, 2007, 5:15 AM CT

Decision-making by residents on-call

Decision-making by residents on-call
The study consisted of the review of approximately 12,000 emergency diagnostic imaging exams that were interpreted after hours by residents. In the midst of our research, a vigorous national debate began concerning the appropriate stage of radiology resident training previous to independent call, said Richard B. Ruchman, MD, lead author of the study. Specifically, the ACGME proposed and subsequently approved a new requirement that would mandate one year of residency training previous to independent call, said Dr. Ruchman. Our study examined the discrepancy rate by year of training, and attempted to answer the question whether it was safe for first year residents to take independent call with faculty back up, he said.

The study showed that the major discrepancy rate (the rate which the interpretation by residents after hours disagreed with the attending physicians final interpretation and the difference in diagnosis had some negative affect on patient care) was 2.6 percent. A significant negative clinical effect of a discrepancy was only found in 0.3 percent. This discrepancy rate is comparable to the discrepancy rates of the attending radiologists in our program, Dr. Ruchman noted.

Most major discrepancies involved abdominal or chest examinations, with the most frequently missed or corrected diagnosis being acute appendicitis, Dr. Ruchman said. The second most usually missed diagnosis was pulmonary embolism.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 20, 2007, 11:59 PM CT

Improving standard of cows' milk allergy care

Improving standard of cows' milk allergy care
New guidelines on the diagnosis and management of cows milk allergy (CMA), published recently in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, are set to improve the standard of care of infants with CMA, the most common food allergy in children.1 The Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Cows Milk Protein Allergy recommend only extensively hydrolysed (eHF) and amino acid-based formulas (AAF), and the Taskforces recommendations warn against the risks of soy and other mammalian milks, such as sheep and goat, in CMA management.

Drawn up by the independent international Taskforce of allergy experts Act Against Allergy, and supported by an educational grant from SHS International, a leader in the field of specialised clinical nutrition, the guidelines offer clear recommendations on how to diagnose and manage CMA as well as two algorithms one for breast-fed infants and one for formula-fed infants addressing all levels of disease severity.

These are the first practical guidelines on CMA diagnosis and management and are specifically aimed at primary care physicians and general paediatricians, says Professor Yvan Vandenplas, Paediatric Gastroenterologist at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium and Chair of the Act Against Allergy Taskforce. Our recommendations will assist in establishing CMA diagnosis and level of severity, offering clear guidance on the recommended management at each stage, whilst debunking some of the misconceptions over the value of soy and other alternative milk sources in CMA.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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