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January 10, 2006, 6:24 PM CT

Treating Glaucoma Early

Treating Glaucoma Early
Treatments that delay the progression of glaucoma may significantly reduce the economic health burden on people with the disease and on the U.S. health system, according to a new study by scientists at Duke University Eye Center and elsewhere. Their findings appear in the January 9, 2006, issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.

The team determined that patients with early-stage or suspected glaucoma use approximately $623 per year in health care resources, while patients with end-stage disease consume approximately $2,511. The cost of medicine was responsible for one-third to half of the total direct cost to consumers.

"It is imperative that patients with glaucoma be well-monitored for changes in their disease," said Paul Lee, M.D., a glaucoma specialist at Duke University Eye Center and lead author on the study. "Our results prove what we've thought for a long time - that the disease gets more expensive as it worsens. With effective therapys at earlier stages, the progression of disease can be slowed or halted - saving both the patient and society from greater economic burden."

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the U.S., affecting an estimated 2.2 million adults, the scientists said. Experts anticipate the overall number of people living with glaucoma to rise as the number of elderly Americans increases. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the cells and fibers of the optic nerve, interrupting the transmission of visual signals from the eye to the brain. The disease is believed to be caused by a level of intraocular pressure (IOP) that is too high, eventhough other mechanisms are likely to be involved since people can develop the disease and have a normal IOP. A number of people go undiagnosed during early stages of the disease because symptoms are virtually undetectable without an eye exam.........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink

January 10, 2006, 6:14 PM CT

Adolescents Females and Alcohol

Adolescents' Females' and Alcohol
Studies with rats have revealed that adolescents and female adults show less sensitivity to the sedative effects of alcohol than do adult males, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center. They said the animals are similar enough to humans that their findings offer significant insight into how the human brain may react to alcohol. For example, they said, their findings may help to explain why adolescents under the influence of alcohol may be more likely to engage in risky behavior -- they are less sedated. Also, said the researchers, their findings may help explain why women are less likely to become addicted to alcohol.

Especially interesting, the scientists said, is that the sex differences appear to extend to the cellular level - a finding not previously reported. The team's findings appear in the January 2006 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

According to the team, research in humans shows that while women typically consume less alcohol than men, they are more susceptible to negative health consequences such as cognitive impairment, heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver due to its effects. A greater understanding of such a sex difference could improve efforts to educate people about the dangers of alcohol and perhaps eventually to a better understanding of the mechanisms of addiction, said the researchers.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

January 9, 2006, 10:25 PM CT

Age And Success Of Assisted Reproductive Technology

Age And Success Of Assisted Reproductive Technology
More than 48,000 babies were born in the United States as a result of assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures carried out in 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today. This is up from the 45,751 babies born as a result of ART in 2002. ART includes infertility therapy procedures in which both egg and sperm are handled in the laboratory. The most common ART procedure is in vitro fertilization.

CDC's ninth annual ART report summarizes national trends and provides information on success rates for 399 fertility clinics around the country. Overall, 28 percent of ART procedures resulted in the birth of a baby for women who used their own fresh eggs.

The 2003 report offers more evidence that a woman's age is one of the most important factors in determining whether she will have a live birth by using her own eggs. "Women in their 20s and early 30s had relatively high rates of success for pregnancies, live births, and single live births," said Victoria Wright, a public health analyst in CDC's Division of Reproductive Health. "But success rates declined steadily once a woman reached her mid-30s."

Overall, 37 percent of the fresh non-donor procedures started in 2003 among women younger than 35 resulted in live births. This percentage of live births decreased to 30 percent among women aged 35-37, 20 percent among women aged 38-40, 11 percent among women aged 41-42 and 4 percent among women older than 42.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink

January 9, 2006, 10:08 PM CT

Why Blacks have lower lung cancer surgery rates?

Why Blacks have lower  lung cancer surgery rates? Christopher Lathan, MD
Even when they have equal access to specialized care, blacks with potentially curable lung cancer are about half as likely as whites to undergo surgery that could save their lives, as per a studyby Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers.

Designed to identify the causes of racial discrepancies in lung cancer therapy in the United States, the research ruled out unequal access to medical care as the sole explanation. It did show that blacks were somewhat less likely to be offered lung cancer surgery, and were slightly more likely to refuse it than were whites. Overall, the study found that blacks who had equal access to care were 45 percent less likely than whites to have lung cancer surgery.

These findings point to a subtle and complex "communications problem" underlying the inequality, said Christopher Lathan, MD, of Dana-Farber and lead author of the report that is published online by the Journal of Clinical Oncology and will be in the journal's Jan. 20 print issue. "Something's not happening. There was no specific reason that could be found, but there needs to be more attention paid to the doctor-patient interaction."

The generally poorer health of blacks and other racial minorities is often blamed on social and financial obstacles to obtaining medical care. The new study, however, documents that the lower rate of surgery for black lung cancer patients "is not just about access to care or not being physically able to undergo therapy," said Craig Earle, MD, of Dana-Farber and the paper's senior author. "There still seems to be a racial disparity."........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink

January 9, 2006, 9:06 PM CT

Obese People Do Not Care About Health Risks

Obese People Do Not Care About Health Risks
MORE THAN a quarter of obese and overweight people do not want to lose weight and a number of more are unaware of the benefits brought by a healthy lifestyle, a new survey by Cancer Research UK reveals.

More than half of the 4000 men and women surveyed were overweight or obese. But 87 per cent of obese people and 32 per cent of overweight people failed to identify their correct weight category.

Being obese or overweight increases cancer risk. But 71 per cent of those at risk because of their weight did not know of the cancer connection.

Cancer Research UK has joined forces with the charity Weight Concern to develop Ten Top Tips - a set of weight management guidelines that can be incorporated into everyday routines without radical lifestyle change. The scientifically-based programme involves adopting ten simple steps and using a weekly checklist over eight weeks to monitor progress and help reinforce the new habits.

Nearly 50 per cent of obese and overweight people did not think that eating healthily could help reduce cancer risk; almost two thirds (64 per cent) were unaware that regular exercise could reduce risk; more than 80 per cent did not know the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight and almost 80 per cent failed to recognise the importance of moderation when drinking alcohol to reduce cancer risk.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink

January 4, 2006

Adolescent Trauma Survivors' Emotional Distress

Adolescent Trauma Survivors' Emotional Distress
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.

"Primary Care Utilization and Detection of Emotional Distress After Adolescent Traumatic Injury: Identifying an Unmet Need" is published in the January 2006 issue of Pediatrics. The research involved injured adolescents, aged 12 to 18, who were hospitalized at a level I regional trauma center. They were screened for post-traumatic stress symptoms, depressive symptoms and alcohol use on the surgical ward, and again 4 to 6 months after hospitalization.

The scientists also conducted interviews with the adolescents' primary care providers 4 to 6 months after the injury. Of the 99 adolescents who agreed to participate in the study, 39.4 percent reported that they had no usual source of primary medical care. The follow-up interviews indicated that 30 percent demonstrated a high level of post-traumatic stress symptoms, 11 percent reported depressive symptoms, and 16.6 percent reported problem alcohol use.

Of the adolescents who did receive follow-up care from their primary care providers, 45.2 percent had at least one symptom of psychological distress, yet these symptoms were not detected during the follow-up appointments. Prior studies have shown that screening for emotional distress is not a routine part of adolescent primary care.........

JoAnn      Permalink

January 3, 2006

Night eating syndrome among psychiatric patients

Night eating syndrome among psychiatric patients
As per a studythat appears in the January 1 issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the University of Minnesota found that night eating syndrome is a common disorder among psychiatric outpatients and is associated with substance use and obesity.

Typically typically typically night eating syndrome is a condition that is characterized by two main features: excessive eating in the evening (hyperphagia) and nocturnal awakening with ingestion of food. Its prevalence has been estimated to be 1.5% in the general population and 8.9% in an obesity clinic.

"This is the first study that looks at the connection between psychiatric conditions and night eating syndrome," said Jennifer D. Lundgren, PhD, lead author of the paper and postdoctoral research associate in Penn's Department of Psychiatry, Division of Weight and Eating Disorders. "Night eating syndrome is often associated with life stress and depression, so we were especially interested in looking at the prevalence of the condition in this population," said Lundgren.

The research was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease.

Study Protocol.

The study consisted of 399 participants from psychiatric outpatient clinics. Participants were screened using a questionnaire to assess hunger and craving patterns, percentage of calories consumed following the evening meal, insomnia and awakenings, nocturnal food cravings and ingestions, and mood. Those who scored above cutoff on the questionnaire were then interviewed by phone and diagnosed with night eating syndrome if one or both of the following criteria were met: 1) evening hyperphagia and/or 2) nocturnal awakenings with ingestions of food occurring three or more times per week.........

JoAnn      Permalink

January 3, 2006

Black Baby Girls Better At Surviving Premature Birth

Black Baby Girls Better At Surviving Premature Birth
Black baby girls born weighing 2.2 pounds or less are more than twice as likely to survive as white baby boys born at the same weight, when a number of preemies are still too tiny to make it on their own, University of Florida scientists have found.

Analyzing data from more than 5,000 premature births, UF scientists pinpointed a link between gender and race and the survival rates of babies born at extremely low weights, according to findings released recently (Jan. 3) in the journal Pediatrics. It's the first scientific evidence of a phenomenon doctors have observed for years, said Dr. Steven B. Morse, a UF assistant professor of pediatrics and the article's lead author.

Baby girls of both races had the strongest advantage when born weighing less than 1,000 grams, about 2 pounds or as much as a quart of milk, Morse said. Girls had nearly twice the odds of surviving as baby boys did, and black infants also had a slight survival advantage over whites, the research shows. Overall, black baby girls were twice as likely to survive compared with white baby boys, 1.8 times more likely to survive than black boys and 1.3 times more likely to live than white baby girls.

"When you're talking about survival, that's very significant," Morse said. "We have known in general that females tend to have better survival rates than males and blacks better than whites. But quantifying that and finding if there was a statistical significance had yet to be done".

Morse and other scientists from the UF Maternal Child Health Education and Research and Data Center also analyzed the infants' developmental ages and weights at birth, combining these data with race and gender to specify the odds of survival for babies born in each demographic.

Nationwide, nearly a half million babies are born prematurely each year, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Only about 1 percent of all babies born weigh less than 2 pounds, and one of the first questions parents of these infants ask is if their child will live, said Morse, who as a neonatologist works with families every day. Having accurate data can help families and doctors make better decisions at a time when choices can be hard to make, he said.........

JoAnn      Permalink

January 2, 2006, 10:16 PM CT

Research Effort Will Help Troops And Veterans

Research Effort Will Help Troops And Veterans
The San Francisco VA Medical Center, the Department of Defense, and the Northern California Institute for Research and Education have joined together to establish a new SFVAMC Neuroscience Center of Excellence.

The goal of the Center is to investigate new approaches to diagnosing and treating neurological injuries and illnesses suffered by US military personnel - especially fighters stationed in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters of war - as well as veterans and the general public.

Research will be a collaborative effort involving a range of scientific disciplines.

"This is the only joint VA-DOD program with a neuroscience focus in the United States," observed Michael Weiner, MD, director of the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Disease at SFVAMC and the principal investigator of the overall research program. "We expect that the results of our research will lead to improvements in the neurological and mental health of active duty war fighters, post-active duty veterans, and the general population." Weiner is also professor of radiology, medicine, psychiatry, and neurology at UCSF.

The 19 principal researchers at the Center, whose research grants are administered by NCIRE, will conduct research on topics including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Gulf War Illness, brain and spinal cord injury, wound healing, bladder dysfunction, and other combat-related neurological injuries and syndromes. Projects represent a spectrum of investigation ranging from basic laboratory science to clinical diagnosis and therapy (see list below).

"The Neuroscience Center of Excellence is clearly on a trajectory to provide national leadership in neurological health and therapy," predicted Col. Karl Friedl, PhD, commander of the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, which is funding the work of the Center. "This research program is beautifully focused on issues of great importance to soldiers returning from current deployments and veterans of all eras".........

Scott      Permalink

January 2, 2006, 9:42 PM CT

Meditation Course Works to Reduce Anxiety

Meditation Course Works to Reduce Anxiety
Mindfulness Meditation, the popular course that helps participants learn to relieve pain, reduce stress and enhance wellness, is once again being offered by the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

"Mindfulness meditation is a process that quiets the mind and releases physical distress. Through mindfulness, you can experience greater vitality and well-being," explains Diane Reibel, Ph.D., research associate professor of Physiology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and director of the Stress Reduction Program. "Participants learn how to quiet the mind and relax the body. They learn to identify early signs of stress and how to respond in healthier ways to stressful situations.

"The only requirements for the program are that an individual has a strong commitment to making a healthy change," Dr. Reibel, who is also a research associate professor of Emergency Medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, explains.

The Mindfulness Meditation program has been particularly helpful for individuals facing the challenges of illness such as chronic pain, headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, heart disease, cancer, HIV or other chronic conditions.

The next eight-week course schedule is as follows:

Tuesday evenings from 6:30 - 9:00 p.m., running from January 31 - March 21. Classes will be held at Thomas Jefferson University in Room 101 of the Bluemle Building, located on 10th and Locust Streets, Philadelphia.

Wednesday mornings from 9:30 a.m. - noon, running from February 1 - March 22. Classes will be held at Thomas Jefferson University in Room 218 of the Curtis Building, located at 1015 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.........

JoAnn      Permalink

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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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