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August 8, 2006, 0:11 AM CT

more effective smoking cessation

more effective smoking cessation
Results of a new imaging study, supported in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, show that the nicotine received in just a few puffs of a cigarette can exert a force powerful enough to drive an individual to continue smoking. Scientists observed that the amount of nicotine contained in just one puff of a cigarette can occupy about 30 percent of the brain's most common type of nicotine receptors, while three puffs of a cigarette can occupy about 70 percent of these receptors. When nearly all of the receptors are occupied (as a result of smoking at least 2 and one-half cigarettes), the smoker becomes satiated, or satisfied, for a time. Soon, however, this level of satiation wears off, driving the smoker to continue smoking throughout the day to satisfy cigarette cravings.

"Imaging studies such as this can add immensely to our understanding of addiction and drug abuse," says Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health. "These findings suggest that drug therapies or vaccines for smoking cessation need to be extremely potent to compete with nicotine, which binds so readily to these receptors."

The study is reported in the August 2006 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

"This study illustrates the powerfully addictive impact of even small amounts of nicotine. Every time a smoker draws a puff from a cigarette, they inhale numerous toxic chemicals that promote the formation of lung cancer, and contribute in a significant way to death and disability worldwide," says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "Eventhough a number of smokers endorse a desire to quit, very few are able to do so on their own, and fewer than half are able to quit long-term even with comprehensive therapy. This study helps explain why".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 7, 2006, 3:38 PM CT

Classification of Diets

Classification of Diets
People have come to identify some essential factors which influence the general state of health and quality of life. These factors include eating, working, exercising, resting and spiritual activity closely associated with one's mental state.

Eating crucially influences the state of health. It provides the body with essential vital substances which are subsequently converted into the necessary forms of energy for life. For this reason, special attention has always been given to eating. A wide range of diets emerged from various traditions and philosophies.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


August 6, 2006, 11:26 AM CT

Simple Reassurance: Does It Work?

Simple Reassurance: Does It Work?
The humanistic principles of the medical profession are nicely condensed in Oliver Wendell Holmes's old maxim stating that the key role of the physician is “to comfort always.” Thus, beyond the specificity of diagnoses and the effectiveness of treatments, the traditional practice of medicine gave high importance to bedside manner and interpersonal issues.

In contrast, 21st century medicine, with its reliance on technology and the changes in practice patterns (e.g., managed care), leaves little time for face-to-face interactions, gradually eroding the doctor–patient relationship. In this transition towards technological medicine, it would appear that we have switched from “comforting” our patients (where “to comfort” means “to give strength and hope; to ease the grief or trouble; to cheer” [1]) to simply “reassuring” them (where “to reassure” means “to assure anew; or restore to confidence” [1]). In this modern context, “reassurance” simply means to let patients know that their symptoms do not appear to be caused by physical disease.

In primary care, the de facto mental health system [2], large numbers of patients with common mental disorders such as depression or anxiety present with medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS). These somatic presentations have been well documented throughout the years, have always baffled the medical establishment, and metamorphose with cultural evolution and the changing perspectives of medical paradigms [3]. In all their forms, patients presenting with MUPS are the bane of modern medicine. Not fitting anywhere, they land in the vortex of the centuries-old mind–body debate.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 6, 2006, 0:29 AM CT

Reversing Malnutrition

Reversing Malnutrition Patricia Wolff, M.D., examines a young patient in her pediatric clinic in Cap Haitien, Haiti
Swollen bellies, orange hair, listlessness and dull eyes - these are the traits of child malnutrition in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and where roughly one of every three children is chronically malnourished.

To try to change that statistic, Patricia A. Wolff, M.D., associate clinical professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, founded Meds & Food for Kids (MFK) in 2004, after she saw that medications and small amounts of the local staples rice, beans and corn weren't enough to nourish children back to health.

MFK works to combat childhood malnutrition and related diseases in northern coastal Cap Haitien, Haiti's second-largest city, by giving Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) to malnourished children between 6 months and 5 years old. The mixture, known to Haitians as "Medika Mamba," or peanut-butter medicine, is a nutrient-rich mixture of peanuts, sugar, oil, vitamins, minerals and powdered milk. It is distributed in plastic containers for families to feed their children at home and can be stored for several months.

Children start to show visible signs of improvement about 1-2 weeks after receiving the peanut-butter mixture, becoming more active and growing new black hair. One course of the six-week therapy, which can be enough to renourish the child, costs under US$100.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 4, 2006, 0:24 AM CT

Miscarriage Associated With Age

Miscarriage Associated With Age
In a study conducted at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the New York Psychiatric Institute scientists observed that increasing paternal age is significantly linked to increased rates of spontaneous abortion, a pregnancy loss occurring before twenty weeks of gestation. Results indicate that as the male partner ages there is a steady increase in rate of miscarriage. Women with partners aged 35 or older had nearly three times as a number of miscarriages as compared with women conceiving with men younger than 25 years of age. This finding is independent of the woman's age and not explained by other factors such as diabetes, smoking, or prior spontaneous abortions, and adds to the growing realization of the importance of paternal characteristics for successful reproductive outcome.

"There has been a tremendous amount of research on women, and how their characteristics affect pregnancy outcomes. Of course, women's importance and centrality to pregnancy cannot be overstated. However, researchers seem to have forgotten that men are equal partners in reproduction, and their influence should be studied to the same degree. Our group has focused on men's influence on the health of their offspring, and we have made some fascinating discoveries," said Karine Kleinhaus, MD, MPH currently in Columbia's Department of Psychiatry and first author of the study. "This study shows how a man's age affects the likelihood of miscarriage." .........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


August 3, 2006, 11:58 PM CT

Race Affects Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

Race Affects Type 2 Diabetes Treatment Rajesh Balkrishnan
African Americans may be less likely than whites to take their medicine for Type 2 diabetes as it is prescribed, a new study suggests.

The scientists observed that adherence rates were as much as 12 percent lower among black people when in comparison to whites.

"That's an unacceptable difference, especially because African Americans tend to have higher rates of diabetes and disease-related complications," said Rajesh Balkrishnan, a co-author of study and the Merrell Dow professor of pharmacy at Ohio State University.

Each of the nearly 2,700 study participants were covered by Medicaid, which provided prescription medicine coverage to all enrollees. Still, more than a third of the African Americans and whites in this study failed to take their anti-diabetic medications properly.

"Adherence rates for these types of medications should be better than 90 percent, regardless of who takes them," Balkrishnan said. "Such low rates of adherence may be correlation to lower socioeconomic status and to lower levels of education.

"A number of commercial insurers pay for educators to teach patients the importance of taking their medications as prescribed," he continued. "Medicaid needs to do the same thing. While it invests a lot of money in providing services, it does little to educate its recipients about those services and how to use them. People need to understand the importance of taking their medications".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


August 2, 2006, 11:29 PM CT

First Treatment For Drug-resistant HIV

First Treatment For Drug-resistant  HIV
Doctors have their first FDA-approved tool to treat drug-resistant HIV thanks to a new molecule created by a Purdue University researcher.

"There are a number of therapys for AIDS on the market, but none are able to combat drug resistance," said Arun Ghosh (pronounced A-rune GO-sh), a professor with a dual appointment in the departments of chemistry and medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology. "This is the first therapy that is effective against the growing number of drug-resistant strains of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The problem is widespread".

The FDA recently approved the pill-based treatment of Ghosh's molecule, TMC-114, for medical use. The molecule, also known as Darunavir (pronounced DA-rune-a-veer), is the forerunner in a series of molecules under development by Ghosh.

Earlier research shows that almost half of patients with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) who initially respond to therapy develop drug-resistant strains and stop responding to therapy within eight to 10 months, he said. An additional 20 percent to 40 percent of patients have drug-resistant strains when they are first diagnosed, suggesting these strains can be transmitted from one person to the next.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the first reported U.S. cases of AIDS, a disease that claims the lives of more than 15,000 Americans each year, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. World Health Organization figures estimate more than 40 million people worldwide are infected with HIV.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


August 2, 2006, 9:27 PM CT

Basis For Perceptual Learning

Basis For Perceptual Learning
The artist's trained eye can detect distinctions others can't; musicians pick up subtle changes in tone lost on the nonmusical. Brain scientists call these abilities perceptual learning.

Following up on an accidental finding, MIT scientists at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and his colleagues have uncovered a mechanism for this phenomenon. The study will appear in the Aug. 3 issue of Neuron.

The original idea was to look at how visual deprivation affects the brain. But before mice in the experiment were deprived of vision, scientists recorded baseline measurements by showing them a striped pattern on a video screen.

Unexpectedly, the scientists observed that eventhough no change showed up during the viewing session, as few as 12 hours later the mice were more visually "tuned" to the pattern they had seen. Over several sessions, the mice's brain responses to the stripes increased, with the biggest responses occurring to stripes the mice saw more often. The scientists dubbed this change "stimulus selective response potentiation" or SRP.

"The properties of SRP are strikingly similar to those described for some forms of human perceptual learning," said Mark Bear, Picower Professor of Neuroscience and co-author of the study. As a result, "understanding this type of perceptual learning is important because it can reveal mechanisms of implicit memory formation and might be exploited to promote rehabilitation after brain damage. Detailed knowledge of how practice changes brain chemistry is likely to suggest new pharmacological and behavioral therapies to facilitate these changes.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


August 1, 2006, 11:26 PM CT

Confusion, Not Stress

Confusion, Not Stress
Even though they are trained in CPR, people hesitate to take action when an emergency unfolds in front of them. But the cause, a study has observed, is more likely to be confusion than stress.

A study conducted by several scientists surveyed 1,243 lay people trained in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) who took part in a clinical trial. Most of them said they experienced low stress levels when faced with responding to a person in medical distress. "Most lay responders did not view the experience as onerous, but there are people who had negative experiences," said Dr. David Feeny, a professor of Public Health Sciences at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, and one of the co-authors on the study. Also contributing to the study were scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, University of Washington, as well as medical workers and health centres.

The study was published recently in the journal Resuscitation.

Random cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in North America and lay responder CPR rates remain low.

Respondents did indicate that practical issues such as crowd control and skill performance concerned them more than their emotions. Concerns included barriers to responding such as communication with confused and combative patients; skills such as accessing airways or taking accurate pulse checks; accessing the victim in awkward, dark or cramped areas; harnessing their own feelings of panic; and dealing with the characteristics of the victim, such as bleeding, jerking, vomiting, age and size.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 1, 2006, 7:06 AM CT

Study Frames Depression Treatment Puzzle

Study Frames Depression Treatment Puzzle
Reported in the August 2006 edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry, the study used electroencephalogram (EEG) measurements to demonstrate an association between eventual clinical outcome and regional changes in brain activity during a placebo lead-in phase previous to antidepressant therapy.

The findings suggest that factors such as patient beliefs and expectations, doctor-patient relationships, or therapy history help complete the therapy picture.

In this study, all subjects received blinded therapy with placebo for one week previous to receiving antidepressant medication. A "placebo lead-in" phase is usually used to familiarize patients with study procedures and to minimize the effect of any pre-existing therapy for depression. The placebo lead-in includes patient care, participation and therapy with placebo; the clinical impact is largely unknown.

This study is the first to assess the relationship between brain changes during the placebo lead-in phase and later clinical outcome of antidepressant therapy.

"Treatment results appear to be predicted, in part, by changes in brain activity found during placebo lead-in--previous to the actual use of antidepressant medication," said lead author Aimee M. Hunter, a research associate at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human.........

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.

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