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May 7, 2007, 10:58 PM CT

Many older Americans not treated for glaucoma

Many older Americans not treated for glaucoma
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. -- Almost one-third of older Americans diagnosed with primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) are not treated medically or surgically for the condition as per a research studyto be presented at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The presentation will be held on Monday, May 7, 2007, at 11:45 a.m. in the Grand Floridian H of the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.

The study is the first investigation of glaucoma-therapy use in the U.S. to utilize longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of Medicare patients. The scientists examined trends in glaucoma medicine use and surgeries among adults aged 65 and older by analyzing data collected from 1992 through 2002 as part of the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS). A total of 3,020 MCBS participants were identified as having diagnosed POAG.

A major finding of this study is that, on average, 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries with POAG did not use any glaucoma medicine and did not undergo any type of glaucoma-related surgery in a given study year. Among those patients who did use glaucoma-related medications, the classes of prescription eye drops used changed over the study period, with a substantial increase in the use of prostaglandin analogues.........

Posted by: Mike      Read more         Source


May 7, 2007, 10:39 PM CT

More Than 4 Percent Of Us Adults Have Bipolar Disorder

More Than 4 Percent Of Us Adults Have Bipolar Disorder
Approximately 4.4 percent of U.S. adults may have some form of bipolar disorder during some point in their lifetime, including about 2.4 percent with a "sub-threshold" condition, as per an article in the recent issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Individuals with bipolar disorder tend to fluctuate between periods of maniaan inappropriately elevated mood, characterized by impulsive behavior and an increased activity leveland periods of depression. They are at increased risk of suicide and other medical problems, such as cardiovascular disease, as per background information in the article. Previously, scientists estimated that about 1 percent of adults had bipolar disorder. But evidence indicates that current diagnostic criteria may be too narrow to effectively detect bipolar disorder in the general population, and that a broader definition of bipolar spectrum disorder would identify a number of more individuals with bipolar symptoms, the authors note.

Kathleen R. Merikangas, Ph.D., National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md., and his colleagues estimated the national prevalence of bipolar disorder using data from 9,282 individuals chosen to represent the general population. The scientists conducted interviews between February 2001 and April 2003 to assess the presence of bipolar disorder and other psychiatric conditions. Participants were classified as having bipolar disorder I, characterized by at least one episode of mania and one of depression; bipolar disorder II, requiring an episode of depression plus hypomania, a milder form of mania that does not require hospitalization; and a milder, sub-threshold bipolar disorder that involves hypomania with or without depression, otherwise classified as bipolar disorder "not otherwise specified" in the current diagnostic nomenclature of the American Psychiatric Association.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 7, 2007, 10:37 PM CT

Adult Drug Abuse Rate 10 Percent

Adult Drug Abuse Rate 10 Percent
Approximately 10.3 percent of U.S. adults appear to have problems with drug use or abuse during their lives, including 2.6 percent who become drug dependent at some point, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Drug abuse refers to the intense desire to take drugs at the exclusion of other activities, and dependence occurs when the body becomes physically dependent on an illicit substance. Both are widespread and linked to substantial costs to society and individuals, as per background information in the article. "Eventhough extensive data on drug use in the U.S. population have been available on an ongoing basis for adults and adolescents, epidemiologic data on the prevalence, correlates, disability, therapy and comorbidity of drug use disorders among adults are seldom collected," the authors write. "In fact, it has been more than 16 years since such detailed information on drug use disorders in the United States has been published".

Wilson M. Compton, M.D., M.P.E., of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Bethesda, Md., and his colleagues at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism used data from in-person interviews conducted in 2001 and 2002 with 43,093 adults representative of the entire U.S. population to determine the prevalence of abuse or dependence on nicotine, alcohol or one of 10 classes of other drugs: sedatives, tranquilizers, opiates [other than heroin], stimulants, hallucinogens, cannabis, cocaine, inhalants/solvents, heroin and other drugs. Participants were also assessed for other psychiatric disorders, including mood (such as depression), anxiety (such as panic disorder) and personality disorders (including obsessive-compulsive disorder). For those with drug use disorders, level of disabilityhow much the disorder affected their daily lifewere ranked on a scale of zero to 100, with lower scores indicating more disability.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 6, 2007, 5:37 PM CT

Financial Loss And Brain's Processing Of Pain

Financial Loss And Brain's Processing Of Pain
People process information about financial loss through mechanisms in the brain similar to those used for processing physical pain, as per a new imaging study. The results could provide a new understanding of excessive gambling.

The new study detected activity in the striatum, a region that processes signals in the brain's system of reward and defensiveness. Prior studies had shown activity in the striatum increasing when subjects were awarded money, but falling silent when subjects lost money. The new study's lead author, Ben Seymour, MD, and his colleagues at the Wellcome Trust Center for Neuroimaging in London suggest that the negative value people associate with losing money stems from an evolutionarily old system involved in fear and pain. This could provide some biological justification for the popular concept of "financial pain." Their study was reported in the May 2 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience

"This work extends our understanding of how the striatum processes both gains and losses and why other experiments have had difficulty eliciting the striatum's involvement in losses," says Read Montague, PhD, at the Baylor College of Medicine, who did not participate in the research.

In the study, 24 subjects13 male and 11 femalelearned to associate abstract image cues with a specific amount of money: 50 pence (equivalent to $1) or ₤1 ($2). The scientists recorded their brain activity over 200 trials as they showed subjects first the original image then an outcome screen indicating whether they had won the associated amount of money, lost it, or received nothing.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 6, 2007, 5:13 PM CT

Nearly 28,000 US infants died in 2004

Nearly 28,000 US infants died in 2004
Preterm birth contributes to more than one-third of all infant deaths, as per the National Vital Statistics report released recently.

Eventhough the national infant mortality rate is the lowest it's been since the U.S. started collecting data a century ago, there's been little change recently 6.78 deaths for every 1,000 live births in 2004 in comparison to 6.89 in 2000, the National Center for Health Statistics report found.

The report, "Infant Mortality Statistics from the 2004 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set" includes a new analysis tracking preterm birth-related infant deaths. The analysis, first reported in the October 2006 edition of Pediatrics, found preterm birth contributes to nearly twice as a number of infant deaths within the first year of life than previously estimated.

"We have long known babies born too soon face a number of developmental challenges even death," said Joann Petrini, Ph.D., director of the March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center. "This closer look at preterm birth gives us a better understanding of the impact of prematurity on infant survival and provides insights into the factors that have contributed to the lack of improvement in the U.S. infant mortality rate".

Preterm related deaths accounted for more than 10,000 of the nearly 28,000 infant deaths in 2004, as per the NCHS. Birth defects remain the leading cause of infant death, followed by prematurity, as per official reporting systems. But, using this new classification, premature birth would be the most frequent cause of infant death. The traditional methods cannot accurately gauge the true impact of preterm birth on the infant mortality rate, the NCHS said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 6, 2007, 5:12 PM CT

New technology for soft-tissue imaging

New technology for soft-tissue imaging
Soft-tissue cross-sectional imaging acquired on a flat panel C-arm fluoroscopic unit located in the interventional radiology area is feasible and useful for interventional radiology procedures, avoiding the necessity of sending patients out to a Computerized axial tomography scanner, as per a new study by scientists from the Baptist Cardiac & Vascular Institute in Miami, FL.

For the study, 35 patient examinations were conducted, covering a diverse range of both vascular and non-vascular clinical application scenarios. The on-location imaging technique was used to evaluate arterial vessel characteristics such as thrombus, calcification, and size. Additionally, the technique was utilized in the evaluation of collections before and after drainage procedures. The scientists observed that in 80% of the patients, additional clinical information was obtained that directly affected interventional treatment.

"This new imaging option allows for CT-like imaging from the acquisition of a rotational X-ray data set," said Constantino Pena, MD, lead author of the study. As per the researchers, the new technology has the possibility of making patient visits more efficient for both the doctor and the patient.

"Our report demonstrates that in selected cases the technique may be helpful in the care of patients. It gives the interventional radiologist the ability to acquire CT-like volumetric soft tissue images in the interventional suite without having to transport the patient to a Computerized axial tomography scanner," said Dr. Pena.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


May 6, 2007, 5:10 PM CT

CTA useful in detecting ruptured cerebral aneurysms

CTA useful in detecting ruptured cerebral aneurysms
CT angiography (CTA) has a nearly 100% detection rate in acute ruptured, cerebral aneurysms, as per a recent study conducted at the Health Sciences Center in Winnipeg, Canada.

The study consisted of 171 patients with acute subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) who underwent preoperative 3D CTA.

CTA correctly detected the ruptured aneurysm in 170 cases when in comparison to intraoperative findings, Bijal Patel, MD, lead author of the study. Of the 22 cases where there was more than one aneurysm, CTA correctly identified the ones that were ruptured every time. As per the study, the sensitivity of CTA was 99.4% in detecting the ruptured aneurysm in the setting of acute SAH. "In the one case where CTA initially did not demonstrate the ruptured aneurysm, the study was severely degraded with motion artifact," said Dr. Patel.

"While CTA provides detailed information on the features of the aneurysm, its true accuracy in the clinical setting could only be determined when in comparison to surgical findings," said Dr. Patel "As in our institution and undoubtedly a number of others, it is the standard of practice to follow a confirmed SAH with a CTA. We felt it was important to perform a study that would evaluate the utility of CTA as the primary diagnostic investigation in detecting acute ruptured cerebral aneurysms using correlation with intraoperative findings," said Dr. Patel.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


May 2, 2007, 9:51 PM CT

risk of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke

risk of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke
Tens of thousands of Americans die each year from secondhand tobacco smoke, as per a 2006 report by the U.S. Surgeon General. While the health risks linked to indoor secondhand smoke are well documented, little research has been done on exposure to toxic tobacco fumes outdoors.

Now, Stanford University scientists have conducted the first in-depth study on how smoking affects air quality at sidewalk cafs, park benches and other outdoor locations. Writing in the recent issue of the Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association (JAWMA), the Stanford team concluded that a non-smoker sitting a few feet downwind from a smoldering cigarette is likely to be exposed to substantial levels of contaminated air for brief periods of time.

"Some folks have expressed the opinion that exposure to outdoor tobacco smoke is insignificant, because it dissipates quickly into the air," said Neil Klepeis, assistant professor (consulting) of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford and lead author of the study. "But our findings show that a person sitting or standing next to a smoker outdoors can breathe in wisps of smoke that are a number of times more concentrated than normal background air pollution levels".

Klepeis pointed to the 2006 Surgeon General's report, which observed that even brief exposures to secondhand smoke may have adverse effects on the heart and respiratory systems and increase the severity of asthma attacks, particularly in children.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 30, 2007, 8:28 PM CT

Protecting Infants Against Future Allergies

Protecting Infants Against Future Allergies
Maybe being a fussy housekeeper isn't such a good thing after all.

Environmental health researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) say they have confirmed what other researchers have only suspected: early-life exposure to certain indoor fungal components (molecules) can help build stronger immune systems, and may protect against future allergies.

The UC team observed that infants who were exposed to high levels of indoor fungal components-known as fungal glucans-were nearly three times less likely to wheeze compared with infants exposed to low levels.

Fungal glucans are tiny molecules that researchers believe cause respiratory symptoms in adults. Crawling infants are often exposed to these molecules when they disturb dust on carpet or floors in their homes.

Study lead author and environmental health scientist Yulia Iossifova says exposure to high levels of these molecules may also protect against allergy development in high-risk infants.

"The immune system's protective effects only appear to occur when there are high levels of microbial exposure," she explains. "Cleaner environments do not have enough microbial components to trigger the immune system response."

The UC team reports their findings in the May 2007 edition of the scientific journal Allergy. This epidemiological study is the first to suggest that early-life exposure to high levels of indoor fungal glucans can have a positive impact on the human immune system.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 30, 2007, 7:07 PM CT

In Case of a Smallpox Outbreak

In Case of a Smallpox Outbreak
In the event of a smallpox outbreak in the United States, how long would it take for a vaccine to start protecting Americans by stimulating an immune response? A new national study led by Saint Louis University School of Medicine will attempt to answer this question.

General routine vaccinations for smallpox were stopped in the United States in 1971, and the world was declared free of smallpox in 1980. But because of the recent concern about biowarfare and bioterrorism throughout the world, the U.S. government is making efforts to improve its ability to protect its citizens in the event of a bioterrorist attack involving the smallpox virus (Variola major virus).

This study at Saint Louis University will look at the ability of an investigational vaccine made by Bavarian Nordic to stimulate the immune system against smallpox.

"Vaccines prevent disease by giving the body a jump-start at recognizing the infecting virus or bacteria," said Sharon Frey, M.D., the principal investigator for the study at Saint Louis University. "After successful vaccination, the body experiences a quicker fighting response to the infection, which lessens or completely avoids the symptoms of illness."

Unlike some other diseases, getting vaccinated following exposure to smallpox could provide protective effects. For example, for the flu vaccine to work, people need to get vaccinated before being exposed to influenza. The currently licensed smallpox vaccine, however, provides benefits post-exposure, and may be useful in further preventing the spread of the disease.........

Posted by: Mark      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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