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December 28, 2007, 8:08 AM CT

Treating of ignored non-cancer health issues

Treating of ignored non-cancer health issues
Receiving therapy for non-cancer health issues while being treated by specialists for cancer improves cancer survival rates as per a research studyreported in the December 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The study, by scientists from the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Regenstrief Institute and the Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center, is the first to look at the effect of primary care on health outcomes in cancer patients.

Receiving care from a primary care doctor (a general internist or family practice doctor) during cancer therapy from an oncologist appears to improve cancer survival rates, likely due to the comprehensiveness of care that is received in primary care, as per study authors Caroline Carney Doebbeling, M.D., M.Sc. and Laura Jones, Ph.D. The scientists focused on lung cancer because of the low one-year lung cancer survival rate in these patients.

We cannot afford to ignore the chronic medical conditions that most cancer patients have because treating these conditions may bring increased longevity as well as improved quality of life. Patients with lung cancer are often faced with a number of additional health issues, such as high blood pressure, emphysema and other respiratory conditions, all of which can and should be treated, said Dr. Carney Doebbeling, associate professor of medicine and of psychiatry at the Indiana University School of Medicine and a Regenstrief Institute research scientist.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 25, 2007, 11:15 PM CT

Genetic clues identified in alcohol addiction

Genetic clues identified in alcohol addiction
People with clinical addictions know first-hand the ravages the disease can take on almost every aspect of their lives. So why do they continue addictive behaviors, even after a period of peaceable abstinence".

Some answers appear rooted in regions of the brain active during decision making.

"It's perhaps not just that people are slaves to pleasure, but that they have trouble thinking through a decision," said Charlotte Boettiger, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and lead author of a study in the recent issue of the Journal of Neuroscience that took a novel tack in addiction imaging research.

"Our data suggest there may be a cognitive difference in people with addictions," Boettiger said. "Their brains may not fully process the long-term consequences of their choices. They may compute information less efficiently".

The study also observed that a variant of the COMT gene, which controls the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the cortex, was linked to a tendency to make impulsive decisions and with high activity in certain brain areas during decision making.

Current medications for addictions are not universally effective; a number of either mimic the addictive substance to help people get through withdrawal periods or block the substance to prevent its effects. For stimulants, such as methamphetamines, there are no therapies yet, Boettiger said.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


December 25, 2007, 11:12 PM CT

Health coverage reduces major heart complications

Health coverage reduces major heart complications
As presidential candidates ramp up their primary campaigns, health care reform looms prominently among voters main concerns.

A new study in the December 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, provides the most comprehensive evidence to date that expanding coverage to people without it leads to demonstrable improvements in health.

This study provides good evidence about how health improves when people gain insurance coverage, says Dr. John Ayanian, senior author and Professor of Health Care Policy and Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Womens Hospital. For every 100 uninsured people with heart disease or diabetes before age 65, we observed that with Medicare coverage they had 10 fewer major cardiac complications, such as heart attacks or heart failure, than expected by age 72, he adds.

The study was funded by The Commonwealth Fund.

In order to provide a macro-view on the health effects of gaining insurance coverage, Ayanian, lead author Dr. J. Michael McWilliams, a research associate in Harvard Medical Schools Department of Health Care Policy and Brigham and Womens Hospital, and Harvard colleagues assessed data from the Health and Retirement Study, an ongoing longitudinal survey of aging Americans sponsored by the National Institute on Aging.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


December 20, 2007, 9:40 PM CT

Making hospitals safer from infection

Making hospitals safer from infection
One small water line feeding one hospital faucet alone can house millions of bacteria, said international Legionella expert Janet Stout, Ph.D., urging public health and infection control officers to be proactive against Legionella and other waterborne microbes that contribute to soaring hospital infection rates. Communities of waterborne pathogens, known as biofilm, can line every pipe in every water distribution system of every hospital, making their way into faucets, ice machines and showers, where the water may infect patients. In the December 2007 issue of Managing Infection Control, Dr. Stout, Director of the Special Pathogens Laboratory and Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, offers a prescription for prevention and remediation.

Infections acquired in healthcare settings are not confined to hospitals. Nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and other long-term care facilities are equally vulnerable. In the article, Understanding and Controlling Waterborne Pathogens: Applying Lessons Learned from Legionella, Dr. Stout notes: Those most at risk from these unseen microbes are the people who are owed a higher level of care premature infants and newborns, the elderly, people undergoing cancer therapy or with compromised immune systems, transplant recipients and patients in Intensive Care Units (ICUs).........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 20, 2007, 5:35 AM CT

Walking and moderate exercise help prevent dementia

Walking and moderate exercise help prevent dementia
People age 65 and older who regularly walk and get other forms of moderate exercise appear to significantly lower their risk of developing vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimers disease, as per a research studyreported in the December 19, 2007, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The four-year study involved 749 men and women in Italy who were over age 65 and did not have memory problems at the beginning of the study. Scientists measured the amount of energy exerted in the participants weekly physical activities, including walking, climbing stairs, and moderate activities, such as house and yard work, gardening, and light carpentry. By the end of the study, 54 people developed Alzheimers disease and 27 developed vascular dementia.

The study found the top one-third of participants who exerted the most energy walking were 27 percent less likely to develop vascular dementia than those people in the bottom one-third of the group.

Participants who scored in the top one-third for the most energy exerted in moderate activities lowered their risk of vascular dementia by 29 percent and people who scored in the top one-third for total physical activity lowered their risk by 24 percent in comparison to those in the bottom one-third.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


December 20, 2007, 5:32 AM CT

Premenstrual symptoms getting on your nerves?

Premenstrual symptoms getting on your nerves?
For some women premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a minor monthly annoyance, but for others, more severe symptoms seriously disrupt their lives. However despite the number of women affected, science has yet to offer a full explanation or universal therapy. Now intriguing new findings reported in the online open access journal BioPsychoSocial Medicine suggest not only that PMS is tied to decreased nerve activity each month, but also that those with extreme symptoms may have a permanently depressed nervous system.

A team of Japanese scientists led by Tamaki Matsumoto from the International Buddhist University in Osaka investigated whether the activity of the autonomic nervous system, which plays a vital role in equilibrium within the human body, changed during the menstrual cycle. The team measured heart rate variability and hormone levels and used questionnaires to evaluate physical, emotional and behavioural symptoms accompanying 62 womens menstrual cycles.

For the parameters Matsumotos team was testing, the control group with little or no menstrual symptoms did not vary during the month. However women suffering from PMS saw results reflecting autonomic and parasympathetic nerve activity decrease significantly in the late luteal phase, which precedes menstruation. Those with the most marked symptoms (known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder) had lower rates of nerve activity than the other groups during the entire menstrual cycle.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


December 20, 2007, 5:25 AM CT

Domestic violence as stressor associated with smoking

Domestic violence as stressor associated with smoking
Using a large population survey in India, a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) scientists has found an association between domestic violence and adult smoking. The study appears in the December 11, 2007 issue of the journal Tobacco Control.

Smoking and chewing tobacco contribute to some 800,000 deaths in India every year. The smoking rate for Indian men is around 29%, for women, approximately 3%. The rate of tobacco chewing is around 29% for men, 12% for women. Eventhough rates of tobacco use are low among women, early indications are that these levels are on the rise. While the harmful effects of tobacco use are well-documented, there has been little research looking at the stressors linked to tobacco use among Indians.

One of those stressors, or risk factors, is domestic violence, a serious problem in India. Some 40% of Indian women report being slapped, kicked, hit or beaten during their marriages. Smaller studies in the U.S. have also found an association between domestic violence and smoking. Scientists hypothesize that smoking may act as a stress reliever in households that experience domestic violence. In fact, Indians who smoke or chew tobacco cite stress relief as one of the reasons they begin using and continue to use tobacco.

To see if there was a link between domestic violence and tobacco use in India, the researchers, led by lead author Leland Ackerson, a research fellow, and senior author S. V. Subramanian, associate professor in the Department of Society, Human Development and Health, used data from the National Family Health Survey, a representative cross-sectional survey administered in India during 1998-1999. The samples included 89,092 women and 278,977 family members aged 15 and older.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 20, 2007, 5:17 AM CT

Insurance status linked to cancer outcomes

Insurance status linked to cancer outcomes
A new report from the American Cancer Society finds substantial evidence that lack of adequate health insurance coverage is linked to less access to care and poorer outcomes for cancer patients. The report finds the uninsured are less likely to receive recommended cancer screening tests, are more likely to be diagnosed with later stage disease, and have lower survival rates than those with private insurance for several cancers. The new findings on stage at diagnosis and survival by insurance status use data from the National Cancer Database (NCDB), a hospital-based registry sponsored by the American College of Surgeons and the American Cancer Society, the only national registry that collects information on patient insurance status. The report appears in the January/recent issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society.In 2007, the American Cancer Society launched a nationwide campaign to highlight the role of access to quality care for all Americans. While advances in the prevention, early detection, and therapy of cancer have resulted in an almost 14 percent drop in the death rates from all cancers combined from 1991 to 2004 in the U.S., with remarkable declines in mortality for the top three causes of cancer death in men (lung, colorectal, and prostate cancer) and two of the top three cancers in women, (breast and colorectal cancer), not all segments of the population have benefited equally from this progress. Evidence suggests that some of these differences are correlation to lack of access to health care. In particular, the lack of health insurance, or inadequate health insurance, appears to be a critical barrier to receipt of appropriate health care services. The report provides an overview of systems of health insurance in the United States and presents data on the association between health insurance status and screening, stage at diagnosis, and survival for breast and colorectal cancer based on analyses of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the NCDB. Among the reports findings:

December 18, 2007, 10:14 PM CT

Providing chronic fatigue syndrome answers

Providing chronic fatigue syndrome answers
One of the most difficult things for people suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is that a number of believe the condition to be a psychological, not physical affliction.

New research by the Faculty of Kinesiology hopes to measure one of the syndromes most obvious symptoms information that could help doctors in the diagnosis CFS.

Diagnosis of the syndrome, generally follows eliminating every other possible cause, which leads some to speculate that the condition isnt real, says Dr. Brian MacIntosh. One thing we know is that CFS sufferers feel profound fatigue and worsening of other symptoms following even moderate physical activity. Using our expertise in the field of exercise physiology we believe we can measure this post exertion malaise and say with certainty if an individual has recovered from exercise or if that activity is making them even more fatigued.

MacIntosh, who is the Faculty of Kinesiologys Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, is an expert in the area of muscle fatigue. Much of his research has centered on high-performance athletes in peak physical condition, however he says that this research fits in well with his overall area of interest.

The tools we have developed in high performance sport are perfectly suited to track muscle fatigue in this application so without question we will be able to get some concrete answers, he says.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 18, 2007, 9:52 PM CT

Maternal grandparents are more involved

Maternal grandparents are more involved
As families gather round for the winter holidays, some faces may be more familiar than others.

A recent study shows that the amount of social interaction between extended family members depends on whether people are related through their mother or father.

Thomas Pollet and his colleagues at Newcastle University and the University of Antwerp, Belgium, investigated how far maternal grandparents and paternal grandparents will go to maintain face-to-face contact with their grandchildren. They observed that maternal grandparents were willing to travel further in order to sustain frequent (daily or a few times a week) contact with their grandchildren than paternal grandparents.

Mr Pollet says, As the festive period approaches, we can still see that family get-togethers are integral to the celebrations. A number of people will be going the extra mile to ensure they meet up and weve observed thats especially important if family members are related through mothers.

Even in families where there has been divorce, we found consistent differences grandparents on your mother's side make the extra effort. We believe there are psychological mechanisms at play because throughout history, women are always related by maternity whereas men can never be wholly certain they are the biological father to their children.........

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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