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September 6, 2007, 9:55 PM CT

Parenting help for bipolar mums and dads

Parenting help for bipolar mums and dads
Parents with bipolar disorder are taking part in a study that will give them the chance to follow a highly successful parenting skills programme.

Dr Steven Jones and Dr Rachel Calam at the University of Manchesters School of Psychological Sciences assess the volunteers current mood and experiences of parenting with an online questionnaire before offering some of them help via an online version of the Triple P Positive Parenting Programme that featured on the ITV1 television series called Driving Mum and Dad Mad.

The Triple P system, developed by Australian clinical psychology expert Professor Matt Sanders, is known to be effective in modifying and improving childrens behaviour by rebuilding positive relationships, tackling discipline and setting rules and limits.

The first series of Driving Mum and Dad Mad in spring 2005 followed the experiences of five families attending a Triple P group. An average of 4.23 million viewers watched the show, with 500 families taking part in a parallel study by Dr Calam, The Great Parenting Experiment. All the parents who followed the TV series and used the strategies shown reported improved behaviour in their child and greater confidence in managing it. The group receiving additional web-based information and email support experienced an even greater improvement, and six months after the series most of the families reported long term benefits and continued improvements to their childrens behaviour.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

September 6, 2007, 9:48 PM CT

Soy isoflavone may inhibit rotavirus illness in infants

Soy isoflavone may inhibit rotavirus illness in infants
The soy isoflavone genistin--at concentrations present in soy infant formula-- may reduce a babys susceptibility to rotavirus infections by as much as 74 percent, as per a University of Illinois study published in Septembers Journal of Nutrition.

Rotavirus is the primary cause of diarrhea in infants, affecting virtually all children before age five. In the United States, it mainly leads to dehydration, doctors visits, and parents missing work to care for sick children. In developing countries, though, rotavirus causes approximately 611,000 deaths each year, said Sharon Donovan, the Melissa M. Noel Professor of Nutrition at the U of I.

Eventhough rotavirus vaccines have recently become available, they are expensive and cannot be given to some infants, she said.

Its exciting to believe that the isoflavones in soy formula could be a cost-effective nutritional approach to decreasing the incidence and severity of rotavirus infections, particularly among children in developing countries who are most at risk, said the scientist of her work with doctoral candidate Aline Andres, who conducted the experiments.

In the study, cells in culture were exposed to rotavirus in the absence or presence of soy isoflavones, biologically active compounds in soy that are thought to have health benefits. Soy contains many different forms of isoflavones, and all were tested individually and as the complete mixture present in infant formula.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

September 6, 2007, 5:12 AM CT

Mobiles should be kept away from hospital beds

Mobiles should be kept away from hospital beds
Mobile phones should come no closer than one meter to hospital beds and equipment, according Dutch research reported in the online open access journal, Critical Care. Researchers demonstrated that incidents of electromagnetic interference (EMI) from second and third generation mobile phones occurred at a mere three-centimeter distance.

In this particular study, the research team examined the effects of General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) signals on critical care equipment such as ventilators and pacemakers. Almost 50 EMI incidents were recorded; 75% were significant or hazardous. Hazardous incidents varied from a total switch off and restart of mechanical ventilator and complete stops without alarms in syringe pumps to incorrect pulsing by an external pacemaker.

The second generation (2.5G) GPRS signal caused the highest number of EMI incidents at over 60% whereas the third generation (3G) UMTS signal was responsible for just 13%. EMI incidents also occurred a greater distance with GPRS with a hazardous incident even at three meters.

While first generation mobile phones are used mainly for voice transmission, 2.5G and 3G phones enable internet access, sending and receiving data. They entered the market, however, with little proof regarding their safe use in the medical environment.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

September 4, 2007, 8:09 PM CT

Better communicators make better doctors

Better communicators make better doctors
Physicians who score poorly on patient-doctor communication skills exams are far more likely to generate patient complaints to regulatory authorities, says a new study led by McGill University's Robyn Tamblyn and reported in the September 5 issue of JAMA.

Tamblyns team followed 3,424 physicians licensed to practice in Ontario and Quebec who took the Medical Council of Canada clinical skills examination between 1993 and 1996. They discovered a very strong relationship between those who scored poorly and later complaints by patients.

"Low scores on the exam were quite predictive," said Tamblyn, scientific director of McGill University's Clinical and Health Informatics research unit. "It was really like a dose-response relationship. The higher your score, the less likely you would get complaints. And this was whether you were a man, a woman, a foreign medical graduate or whether you were in Ontario or Quebec. It was amazingly robust".

The Medical Council of Canada became the first accreditation body in the world to introduce patient-doctor communication skills testing as part of the medical credentialing process in the 1990's. Despite generating considerable controversy at the time, the study's results prove their value, said Tamblyn. "This is a bit of a good news story for Canada. We led the world in this." The United States instituted similar testing in 2005, and Tamblyn expects to see similar results there.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

September 4, 2007, 7:44 PM CT

Primary Care Depression Treatment

Primary Care Depression Treatment
Most patients with depression who are treated by primary care physicians do not receive care consistent with quality standards, as per a new RAND Corporation study.

Physicians had high rates of adherence to just one third of the 20 measures of quality that scientists examined and had low rates of adherence to nearly half of the therapy recommendations studied, as per the report in the September 4 edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"These findings are important for patients since most cases of depression are diagnosed and treated in primary care settings," said senior author Dr. Lisa V. Rubenstein, the study's senior author, and a senior scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization, and a doctor at the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. "This shows that additional efforts are needed to improve the therapy of depression".

The study also observed that patients who received better-quality care reported fewer symptoms of depression up to two years after the start of therapy. The findings are among the first linking quality guidelines for depression therapy with improved patient outcomes in community settings.

"These are initial findings, but they suggest that programs that encourage doctors to follow therapy guidelines can help improve the long-term outlook for people with depression," said Rubenstein, who also is affiliated with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

September 4, 2007, 7:26 PM CT

UI professor identifies new eating disorder

UI professor identifies new eating disorder
A University of Iowa professor is making a case for a new eating disorder she calls purging disorder.

The disorder is similar to bulimia nervosa in that both syndromes involve eating, then trying to compensate for the calories. What sets the disorders apart is the amount of food consumed and the way people compensate for what they eat. Women with purging disorder eat normal or even small amounts of food and then purge, often by vomiting. Women with bulimia have large, out-of-control binge eating episodes followed by purging, fasting or excessive exercise.

"Purging disorder is new in the sense that it has not been officially recognized as a unique condition in the classification of eating disorders," said Pamela Keel, associate professor of psychology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, "But it's not a new problem. Women were struggling with purging disorder long before we began studying it".

In a paper published this week in the Archives of General Psychiatry, Keel shares the results of a study indicating that purging disorder is a significant problem in women that is distinct from bulimia.

Keel recruited participants for three groups: women without eating disorders; women who purge to compensate for binge episodes; and women with purging disorder who purge to control their weight or shape but do not have binge episodes. Participants came from the Boston and Iowa City/Cedar Rapids areas and were within a healthy weight range. The women completed self-report questionnaires and clinical interviews. They also had blood drawn before and after consuming a liquid test meal and reported their feelings throughout the meal, including feelings of fullness, hunger, sadness or tension.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

September 3, 2007, 1:01 PM CT

Work time and a person's sleep

Work time and a person's sleep
Work time is the primary lifestyle factor with the largest reciprocal relationship to a persons sleep time the more hours a person works, the less sleep that he or she gets, as per a research studyreported in the September 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

The study, authored by Mathias Basner, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania, focused on a total of 47,731 respondents to the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) conducted in 2003, 2004 and 2005. The telephone survey was 15-20 minutes in length, and asked people how they spent their time between 4 a.m. the prior day and 4 a.m. the interview day, including where they were and whom they were with.

As per the results, most waking activities were inversely correlation to sleep time. The largest reciprocal relationship to sleep on both weekdays and weekends was found for work time. Respondents who slept four-and-a-half hours or less worked an average of 93 minutes more on weekdays and 118 minutes more on weekends than the average sleeper, while those who slept 11-and-a-half hours or more worked an average of 143 minutes less on weekdays and 71 minutes less on weekends than the average sleeper.

These cross-sectional results in a nationally representative sample suggest that compensated work time is the most potent determinant of sleep time, in which case work time should be considered an important factor when evaluating the relationship between sleep time and morbidity and mortality, said Dr. Basner.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

September 3, 2007, 12:05 AM CT

Lettuce, leafy greens and E. coli

Lettuce, leafy greens and E. coli
The rise in year-round consumption of fresh leafy greens such as lettuce and baby spinach is increasing the difficulty of keeping produce free from contamination by food poisoning bacteria, as per US researchers speaking today (Monday 3 September 2007) at the Society for General Microbiologys 161st Meeting at the University of Edinburgh, UK, which runs from 3-6 September 2007.

The only land suitable for supplying this abundance of year-round, high quality, fresh leafy vegetables, which are eaten raw by large populations in Europe and the United States, is in special geographic regions, with ideal soil and climate conditions, says Robert Mandrell from the US Department of Agricultures Research Service in Albany, California.

This move to the year-round supply of leafy vegetables has mandatory new methods to clean, package and deliver rapidly these fragile food items across large distances to consumers in a number of parts of the world. These include harvesting mowers for some leafy greens, processing in water flumes and triple washing, and modified atmosphere packaging for extended shelf-life.

Recent food scares and food poisoning outbreaks have led to intensive investigations of farms and ranches. These have shown that at least some food poisoning bacteria outbreaks have been due to field contamination before the greens are even harvested.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

September 3, 2007, 11:32 AM CT

First Common Height Gene Identified

First Common Height Gene Identified
Whilst we all know that tall parents are more likely to have tall children, researchers have been unable to identify any common genes that make people taller than others. Now, however, researchers have identified the first gene, known as HMGA2, a common variant of which directly influences height.

The difference in height between a person carrying two copies of the variant and a person carrying no copies is just under 1cm in height, so does not on its own explain the range of heights across the population. However, the scientists believe the findings may prove important.

Prior studies have suggested that, unlike conditions such as obesity, which is caused by a mix of genetic and environmental factors so called "nature and nurture" 90% of normal variation in human height is due to genetic factors rather than, for example, diet. However, other than very rare gene variants that affect height in only a small number of people, no common gene variants have until now been identified.

The research was led by Dr Tim Frayling from the Peninsula Medical School, Exeter, Professor Mark McCarthy from the University of Oxford and Dr Joel Hirschhorn from the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT in Cambridge, US. Dr Frayling and Professor McCarthy were also part of a Wellcome Trust-funded study team that discovered the first common gene associated with obesity in April this year.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source

September 3, 2007, 10:49 AM CT

Psychiatrists are the least religious of all physicians

Psychiatrists are the least religious of all physicians
A nationwide survey of the religious beliefs and practices of American physicians has observed that the least religious of all medical specialties is psychiatry. Among psychiatry experts who have a religion, more than twice as a number of are Jewish and far fewer are Protestant or Catholic, the two most common religions among physicians overall.

The study, reported in the September 2007 issue of Psychiatric Services, also observed that religious physicians, particularly Protestants, are less likely to refer patients to psychiatry experts, and more likely to send them to members of the clergy or to a religious counselor.

"Something about psychiatry, perhaps its historical ties to psychoanalysis and the anti-religious views of the early analysts such as Sigmund Freud, seems to dissuade religious medical students from choosing to specialize in this field," said study author Farr Curlin, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. "It also seems to discourage religious physicians from referring their patients to psychiatry experts".

"Prior surveys have documented the unusual religious profile of psychiatry," he said, "but this is the first study to suggest that that profile leads a number of physicians to look away from psychiatry experts for help in responding to patients psychological and spiritual suffering".........

Posted by: Janet      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. Archives of society medical news blog

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