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October 2, 2008, 4:59 AM CT

Culture's role on alcohol and violence

Culture's role on alcohol and violence
Countries with strict social rules and behavioral etiquette such as the United Kingdom may foster drinking cultures characterized by unruly or bad behavior, as per a new report on alcohol and violence released recently by International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP). The report lists 11 cultural features that may predict levels of violence such as homicide and spousal abuse.

The report, "Alcohol and Violence: Exploring Patterns and Responses," examines the association between alcohol and violence through the disciplines of anthropology, clinical psychology, human rights law, gender, and public health.

"We need to look more closely at the meaning attached to both drinking and violence in different.

cultures, without assuming that the one causes the other," writes Anne Fox, PhD, a contributor to the report and founding director of Galahad SMS Ltd. in England.

Dr. Fox writes that the presence of certain cultural features can largely predict levels of homicide, spousal abuse and other forms of violence. Violence-reinforcing cultures tend to share the following features:
  • Cultural support (in media, norms, icons, myths, and so on) for aggression and aggressive.

    solutions;.
  • Militaristic readiness and participation in warssocieties that are frequently at war have.........

    Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 1, 2008, 8:40 AM CT

Genes influence effectiveness of weight-loss drug

Genes influence effectiveness of weight-loss drug
Obese patients with a specific genetic make-up lose more weight when taking the weight loss drug sibutramine and undergoing behavioral treatment in comparison to those without this genetic make-up, reports a new study in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute.

The obesity epidemic continues to be an increasingly global problem: an estimated 1.6 billion adults worldwide are overweight (body mass index [BMI]>25) and 400 million are obese (BMI>30). In addition, the incidences of diabetes and other debilitating diseases attributable to obesity continue to rise.

While there are numerous options for the therapy of obesity, this study examined sibutramine, a medicine approved for the long-term therapy of obesity. The drug creates a feeling of fullness, prevents decline in metabolic rate linked to low calorie diets and causes weight loss, particularly when combined with behavioral treatment. However, weight loss with the drug is highly variable. Therefore, a research team at the Mayo Clinic assessed the influence of specific markers of candidate genes controlling serotonergic and adrenergic mechanisms (α2A-receptor, 5-HTTLPR and GNβ3) on weight loss/body composition in response to sibutramine or placebo.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 29, 2008, 10:31 PM CT

Second-hand smoke may trigger nicotine dependence

Second-hand smoke may trigger nicotine dependence
Montreal, September 29, 2008 Parents who smoke cigarettes around their kids in cars and homes beware second-hand smoke may trigger symptoms of nicotine dependence in children. The findings appear in the September edition of the journal Addictive Behaviors in a joint study from nine Canadian institutions.

"Increased exposure to second-hand smoke, both in cars and homes, was linked to an increased likelihood of children reporting nicotine dependence symptoms, even though these children had never smoked," says Dr. Jennifer O'Loughlin, senior author of the study, a professor at the Universit de Montral's Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and a researcher at the Centre Hospitalier de l'Universit de Montral.

"These findings support the need for public health interventions that promote non-smoking in the presence of children, and uphold policies to restrict smoking in vehicles when children are present," adds Dr. O'Loughlin, who collaborated with scientists from the Universit de Sherbrooke, the Universit de Moncton, the University of British Columbia, McGill University, Concordia University and the Institut national de sant publique du Qubec.

Study participants were recruited from 29 Quebec schools as part of AdoQuest, a cohort investigation that measures tobacco use and other health-compromising behaviours. Some 1,800 children aged 10 to 12 years old, from all socioeconomic levels, were asked to complete questionnaires on their health and behaviours. Scientists also asked questions about symptoms of nicotine dependence and exposure to second-hand smoke.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 25, 2008, 11:04 PM CT

English health care system failing to encourage breastfeeding

English health care system failing to encourage breastfeeding
The English healthcare system is failing to encourage breast feeding and a national strategy to promote breast feeding is urgently needed, say experts on bmj.com today.

In the UK, the women most likely to use formula milk are young, white and from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and this has created a major public health and inequalities challenge, write Professor Mary Renfrew from the University of York and Professor David Hall from the University of Sheffield.

It is well known that breast feeding improves infant health, and it has been shown to be the single most important preventive approach to saving children's lives.

In spite of national and international policy initiatives, 40% of women in the UK who start to breast feed discontinue by the time their baby is 6 weeks old, and only 20% of infants are exclusively breast fed at six weeks.

Yet evidence has shown that the main reasons cited for discontinuing breastfeeding could be easily remedied. For example, problems getting the baby to feed, or women reporting that breast feeding is painful.

In addition, recent data show that health professionals, particularly doctors, are not adequately trained in giving advice on breast feeding, and often do not know how to position the baby so that feeding is effective and pain free.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


September 25, 2008, 11:03 PM CT

Are we spending too much on health?

Are we spending too much on health?
In this poor economic climate and period of lower growth is it time to consider limiting spending on healthcare budgets? Two experts debate the issue on bmj.com today.

The key challenge is to get more value for money from the already vast sums of money spent on health services rather than increasing spending, argues Professor Nick Bosanquet from Imperial College, London.

In the UK, health care spending is growing 2% points faster than GDP and this is unsustainable in an era of lower growth when the government says it has reached the limits of taxable capacity, he writes.

"There will be no incentive to invest in a new kind of health service while the easy option of continued growth in high spending in the old one remains", he warns.

Bosanquet suggests that capping spending to current percentages of GDP (8𔃇%) would encourage more efficiency and better financial management by creating pressure to redesign more effective health systems.

Decisions on health spending should be made on the basis of value, and priority must be given to raising value from the pound or Euro, he writes. From 1990𔃆 the return on health expenditure was 148% in the UKfor every pound spent, we got 2.48 worth of health gain back, and the USA has had similar gains.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 24, 2008, 9:37 PM CT

Call for warning labels for energy drinks

Call for warning labels for energy drinks
Johns Hopkins researchers who have spent decades researching the effects of caffeine report that a slew of caffeinated energy drinks now on the market should carry prominent labels that note caffeine doses and warn of potential health risks for consumers.

"The caffeine content of energy drinks varies over a 10-fold range, with some containing the equivalent of 14 cans of Coca-Cola, yet the caffeine amounts are often unlabeled and few include warnings about the potential health risks of caffeine intoxication," says Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., one of the authors of the article that appears in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence this month.

The market for these drinks stands at an estimated $5.4 billion in the United States and is expanding at a rate of 55 percent annually. Advertising campaigns, which principally target teens and young adults, promote the performance-enhancing and stimulant effects of energy drinks and appear to glorify drug use.

Without adequate, prominent labeling; consumers most likely won't realize whether they are getting a little or a lot of caffeine. "It's like drinking a serving of an alcoholic beverage and not knowing if its beer or scotch," says Griffiths.

Caffeine intoxication, a recognized clinical syndrome included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases, is marked by nervousness, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, gastrointestinal upset, tremors, rapid heartbeats (tachycardia), psychomotor agitation (restlessness and pacing) and in rare cases, death.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 24, 2008, 6:56 PM CT

American kids most medicated

American kids most medicated
American children are approximately three times more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medicine than children in Europe. A new study published recently in BioMed Central's open access journal Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health claims that the differences may be accounted for by regulatory practices and cultural beliefs about the role of medicine in emotional and behavioural problems.

Julie Zito led a team of scientists from the USA, Gera number of and the Netherlands who investigated prescription levels in the three countries. She said, "Antidepressant and stimulant prevalence were three or more times greater in the US than in the Netherlands and Gera number of, while antipsychotic prevalence was 1.5 to 2.2 times greater".

The use of antidepressants, like Prozac, and stimulants, like Ritalin, in children has been the subject of a great deal of controversy and this study quantifies the differences in practice between the US and Western Europe. The authors claim that the differences may be partly due to different diagnostic classification systems, "The US trend of increasing bipolar diagnosis in children and adolescents does not reflect European practice". The authors also mention government cost restrictions in Europe, the larger number of child psychiatry experts per capita in the US and the use of two or more different psychotropic drugs in a single year in US children as possible explanations.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 22, 2008, 10:29 PM CT

Acupuncture reduces side effects of breast cancer treatment

Acupuncture reduces side effects of breast cancer treatment
Boston Acupuncture is as effective and longer-lasting in managing the common debilitating side effects of hot flashes, night sweats, and excessive sweating (vasomotor symptoms) linked to breast cancer therapy and has no therapy side effects in comparison to conventional drug treatment, as per a first-of-its-kind study presented September 24, 2008, at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's 50th Annual Meeting in Boston.

Findings also show there were additional benefits to acupuncture therapy for patients with breast cancer, such as an increased sense of well being, more energy, and in some cases, a higher sex drive, that were not experienced in those patients who underwent drug therapy for their hot flashes.

"Our study shows that physicians and patients have an additional treatment for something that affects the majority of breast cancer survivors and actually has benefits, as opposed to more side effects. The effect is more durable than a drug usually used to treat these vasomotor symptoms and, ultimately, is more cost-effective for insurance companies," Eleanor Walker, M.D., lead author of the study and a radiation oncologist at the Henry Ford Hospital Department of Radiation Oncology in Detroit, said.

The reduction in hot flashes lasted longer for those patients with breast cancer after completing their acupuncture therapy, in comparison to patients after stopping their drug treatment plan.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 22, 2008, 10:26 PM CT

Women and South Asians with angina

Women and South Asians with angina
Women and South Asian people with typical pain were more likely than those with atypical pain to receive a diagnosis of angina pectoris and to have increased mortality rates or acute coronary complications, a study by UK scientists found. Despite this, in women and South Asians, both those with typical and atypical pain had lower rates of angiography and coronary interventions compared with men and white people respectively.

In this study of 7784 South Asian and white people in the United Kingdom, it was also observed that more women than men and more South Asians compared with white people reported atypical chest pain and were less likely to receive a diagnosis of angina.

"Women and South Asian people with typical chest pain were at increased risk of adverse coronary outcomes compared with those who presented with atypical pain," state Dr. Justin Zaman of University College London and UK-based colleagues.

Differences in the description of symptoms did not account for the lower rates of intervention. "Further study should examine why South Asians and white women with potentially the same adverse prognosis as men received poorer care," state the researchers.

In a related commentary, Dr. Deborah Diercks from the University of California and coauthor Dr. Chadwick Miller of Wake Forest University ask whether misdiagnoses occur because of the way patients report symptoms or physician misinterpretation or bias. They point out that "patients with atypical chest pain are still at significant risk for cardiac disease.and patients with typical symptoms, regardless of ethnic background or sex, should receive further cardiac evaluation to minimize the impact of cardiac disease".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 22, 2008, 10:20 PM CT

Physicians may miss opportunities to respond with empathy

Physicians may miss opportunities to respond with empathy
In a small study of 20 audiorecorded interactions, physicians seldom responded empathetically to concerns raised by lung cancer patients, as per a report in the September 22 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"Empathy is an important element of effective communication between patients and physicians and is linked to improved patient satisfaction and compliance with recommended therapy," the authors write as background information in the article. "Patients who are more satisfied with the communication in their medical encounters have improved understanding of their condition, with less anxiety and improved mental functioning." However, responding to patients' emotional needs can be challenging for physicians; they may begin medical school with empathy for their patients but gradually learn detachment, perhaps in order to cope with time constraints or sadness.

Diane S. Morse, M.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y, and his colleagues conducted an analysis of 20 recorded and transcribed consultations between patients with lung cancer (average age 65, all male) and nine physicians (three oncologists and six thoracic surgeons). Each visit contained an average of 326 statements, and those made by patients were coded into three themes: statements about the impact of lung cancer, statements about diagnosis or therapy and statements about health system issues affecting care.........

Posted by: Scott      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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