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October 31, 2008, 5:12 AM CT

Gaining too much weight during pregnancy

Gaining too much weight during pregnancy
A study by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research of more than 40,000 women and their babies observed that women who gained more than 40 pounds during their pregnancies were nearly twice as likely to have a heavy baby. Reported in the recent issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the study observed that more than one in five women gains excessive weight during pregnancy, doubling her chances of having a baby that weighs 9 pounds or more.

"Too a number of women gain too much weight during pregnancy. This extra weight puts them at higher risk for having heavy babies, and these babies are programmed to become overweight or obese during the later part of life," said study lead author Teresa Hillier, MD, MS, an endocrinologist and senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Oregon and Hawaii. "A big baby also poses serious risks for both mom and baby at birth--for mothers, vaginal tearing, bleeding, and often C-sections, and for the babies, stuck shoulders and broken collar bones. ".

While scientists have known for some time about the link between diabetes during pregnancy and heavier birth weights, and recently have learned how maternal weight gain affects the birth weight, this is the first study to determine that women who gain excessive weight are even more likely to have heavy babies than women who are treated for gestational diabetes.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


October 31, 2008, 5:08 AM CT

Can your doctor correctly read a critical heart test?

Can your doctor correctly read a critical heart test?
You have a burning chest pain and a doctor looks at a squiggly-lined graph to determine the cause. That graph, an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), can help the doctor decide whether you're having a heart attack or an acid attack from last night's spaghetti. Correct interpretation may prompt life-saving, emergency measures; incorrect interpretation may delay care with life-threatening consequences. Currently, there is no uniform way to teach doctors in training how to interpret an ECG or assess their competence in the interpretation.

To address the lack of uniformity, a team of physicians from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the American College of Cardiology has developed the first Web-based training and examination program for reading ECGs. It is an interactive computer program to teach and assess the competence of doctors in training. Details of the new tool will be revealed on October 31, 2008, during the annual meeting of the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine, in Orlando.

"We hope this tool helps increase expertise among general practitioners in the interpretation of a very usually used screening test that's part of nearly every adult.

examination," says team leader R. Michael Benitez, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and director of the Cardiovascular Fellowship Training Program. "There is no mechanism now for establishing competency among internists or family physicians or for an interim analysis of how a trainee is performing," says Dr. Benitez, who is also a heart specialist at the University of Maryland Medical Center.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 29, 2008, 10:16 PM CT

Workplace obesity program shows modest effects

Workplace obesity program shows modest effects
Environmental changes implemented at 12 Dow Chemical Company worksites helped employees' there achieve modest improvements in health risks, including weight management, decreasing tobacco use and blood pressure, says Emory University public health researcher Ron Goetzel, PhD.

Goetzel and his team will present the findings from their study Oct. 29, 2008, at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in San Diego.

"These are early findings from a longer and larger multi-site study that examine the effects of introducing relatively low-cost environmental and ecological interventions at the workplace aimed at curbing the growth of overweight and obesity among workers," says Goetzel, research professor of health policy and management, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. Goetzel is also director of Emory's Institute for Health and Productivity Studies and vice president of consulting and applied research for Thomson Reuters.

"Several research centers across the country are testing this idea with different types of workers and in various industries," adds Goetzel.

The study, the first large-scale study of its kind, examined the effectiveness of environmental interventions that support individual change efforts through creation of more supportive worksite health promotion environments.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 29, 2008, 10:14 PM CT

Grapes may aid a bunch of heart risk factors

Grapes may aid a bunch of heart risk factors
Could eating grapes help fight hypertension correlation to a salty diet? And could grapes calm other factors that are also correlation to heart diseases such as heart failure? A new University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study suggests so.

The new study, reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences, gives tantalizing clues to the potential of grapes in reducing cardiovascular risk. The effect is believed to be due to the high level of phytochemicals naturally occurring antioxidants that grapes contain.

The study waccording toformed in laboratory rats. The scientists noted that while these study results are extremely encouraging, more research needs to be done.

The scientists studied the effect of regular table grapes (a blend of green, red, and black grapes) that were mixed into the rat diet in a powdered form, as part of either a high- or low-salt diet. They performed a number of comparisons between the rats consuming the test diet and the control rats receiving no grape powder including some that received a mild dose of a common blood-pressure drug. All the rats were from a research breed that develops hypertension when fed a salty diet.

In all, after 18 weeks, the rats that received the grape-enriched diet powder had lower blood pressure, better heart function, reduced inflammation throughout their bodies, and fewer signs of heart muscle damage than the rats that ate the same salty diet but didn't receive grapes. The rats that received the blood-pressure medicine, hydrazine, along with a salty diet also had lower blood pressure, but their hearts were not protected from damage as they were in the grape-fed group.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 29, 2008, 10:12 PM CT

Metal hazard from table wines

Metal hazard from table wines
Potentially hazardous levels of metal ions are present in a number of commercially available wines. An analysis of reported levels of metals in wines from sixteen different countries, reported in the open access Chemistry Central Journal, observed that only those from Argentina, Brazil and Italy did not pose a potential health risk owing to metals.

Professor Declan Naughton and Doctor Andrea Petrczi from Kingston University, South West London, carried out the study, using a formula developed by the United States' Environmental Protection Agency for the estimation of potential health risks linked to long-term exposure to environmental pollutants. This Target Hazard Quotient (THQ) gives an indication of risk based on published upper safe limits for various chemicals. A THQ below 1.0 is considered to be non-hazardous. As per Professor Naughton, "The THQ is a risk assessment designed to avoid underestimation. It therefore incorporates several assumptions, such as maximum absorption of ingested metal ions and lifetime exposures. In contrast, bolus dosing (e.g. binge drinking) and cross effects with other potential toxins (e.g. alcohol) are not accounted for, nor are the effects on the elderly, the young or those with a clinical condition".

The authors observed that THQ values for most wines were well above the value of 1.0 and thus are of concern. Typical potential maximum THQ values ranged from 50 to 200, with Hungarian and Slovakian wines reaching 300. THQ values for both red and white wines studied were high, having values ranging from 30 to 80 based on a 250mL glass per day. Naughton said, "These values are concerning, in that they are mainly above the THQ value of 1.0. Excess intake of metal ions is credited with pathological events such as Parkinson's disease. In addition to neurological problems, these ions are also believed to enhance oxidative damage, a key component of chronic inflammatory disease which is a suggested initiator of cancer".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 28, 2008, 5:15 AM CT

Study Reveals That Red Enhances Men

Study Reveals That Red Enhances Men
A groundbreaking study by two University of Rochester psychology experts would be published online Oct. 28 by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology adds color-literally and figuratively-to the age-old question of what attracts men to women.

Through five psychological experiments, Andrew Elliot, professor of psychology, and Daniela Niesta, post-doctoral researcher, demonstrate that the color red makes men feel more amorous toward women. And men are unaware of the role the color plays in their attraction.

The research provides the first empirical support for society's enduring love affair with red. From the red ochre used in ancient rituals to today's red-light districts and red hearts on Valentine's Day, the rosy hue has been tied to carnal passions and romantic love across cultures and millennia. But this study, said Elliot, is the only work to scientifically document the effects of color on behavior in the context of relationships.

"It's only recently that psychology experts and scientists in other disciplines have been looking closely and systematically at the relationship between color and behavior. Much is known about color physics and color physiology, but very little about color psychology," said Elliot. "It's fascinating to find that something as ubiquitous as color can be having an effect on our behavior without our awareness".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 28, 2008, 5:08 AM CT

Green neighborhoods may reduce childhood obesity

Green neighborhoods may reduce childhood obesity
Childhood obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes, asthma, hypertension, sleep apnea and emotional distress. Obese children and youth are likely to be obese as adults, experience more cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke and incur higher healthcare costs. In an article reported in the December 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, scientists report that children living in inner city neighborhoods with higher "greenness" experienced lower weight gains in comparison to those in areas with less green space.

Scientists from the University of Washington, Indiana University-Purdue University and Indiana University School of Medicine followed more than 3800 children, predominantly African-American and poor, aged 3-16 over a two-year period. Using satellite imaging data to measure vegetation coverage, the researchers observed that higher greenness was significantly linked to lower body mass index (BMI) changes in those children. In prior studies of adults, residential density tended to predict physical activity levels, with highly urban environments leading to more walking, less driving and lower BMI. The current study did not find this correlation for children.

Children and youth in urban environments may be active in a wider variety of open spaces (e.g., yards, parks, vacant lots) and less likely to constrain activity to streets and sidewalks. Greenness might indicate proximity to parks, playfields or other open spaces that promote either physical activity or increased time spent outdoors in active play.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 27, 2008, 10:35 PM CT

Caregiving may be associated with poorer health

Caregiving may be associated with poorer health
Older white caregivers (those who provide regular care or assistance for a child or a disabled or sick adult) appear to have poorer health outcomes than black female caregivers, as per a report in the October 27 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Eventhough past studies have observed that caregivers have poorer immune status than non-caregivers, there has not been any consistent evidence stating that caregiving increases disease occurrence or death, as per background information in the article. "These inconsistent results suggest the need to examine factors that may influence the association between caregiving and health decline in elderly adults, especially race, sex and overall level of physical activity of caregivers and non-caregivers," the authors write. Since physical activity is linked to lower stress and depressive symptoms, and protects against heart disease, death and mobility disability, including it in studies of caregiving "may provide a more accurate description of how caregiving affects physical health".

Lisa Fredman, Ph.D., of the Boston University School of Public Health, and his colleagues assessed the physical activity (including daily routine, exercise and caregiving activity) and health of 3,075 healthy adults (ages 70 to 79) from 1997 to 1998. Of these, 680 (about 22 percent) were caregivers. Demographic information such as race and sex were also noted. Participants were clinically examined or interviewed every year for eight years and short telephone interviews were conducted six months between each annual interview.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 27, 2008, 10:31 PM CT

Methamphetamine abuse linked to underage sex

Methamphetamine abuse linked to underage sex
Children and adolescents who abuse alcohol or are sexually active are more likely to take methamphetamines (MA), also known as 'meth' or 'speed'. Research published recently in the open access journal BMC Pediatrics reveals the risk factors linked to MA use, in both low-risk children (those who don't take drugs) and high-risk children (those who have taken other drugs or who have ever attended juvenile detention centres).

MA is a stimulant, commonly smoked, snorted or injected. It produces sensations of euphoria, lowered inhibitions, feelings of invincibility, increased wakefulness, heightened sexual experiences, and hyperactivity resulting from increased energy for extended periods of time. As per the lead author of this study, Terry P. Klassen of the University of Alberta, Canada, "MA is produced, or 'cooked', quickly, reasonably simply, and cheaply by using legal and readily available ingredients with recipes that can be found on the internet".

Because of the low cost, ready availability and legal status of the drug, long-term use can be a serious problem. In order to assess the risk factors that are linked to people using MA, Klassen and his team carried out an analysis of twelve different medical studies, combining their results to get a bigger picture of the MA problem. They said, "Within the low-risk group, there were some clear patterns of risk factors linked to MA use. A history of engaging in behaviors such as sexual activity, alcohol consumption and smoking was significantly linked to MA use among low-risk youth. Engaging in these kinds of behaviors may be a gateway for MA use or vice versa. A homosexual or bisexual lifestyle is also a risk factor".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 27, 2008, 5:35 AM CT

Credit crunch threatens new medicines

Credit crunch threatens new medicines
The global financial crisis could seriously delay the discovery and production of a number of new life-saving medicines, warns a major international conference today (Monday).

Investment into research for new drugs - which globally runs into the billions is now seriously at threat as former investors in the drug companies shy away as a result of the economic meltdown.

Professor David Wield, Director of the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) Edinburgh-based Innogen Centre, and chair of the 'Genomics and Society: Reinventing Life?' conference, delivered a stark warning previous to the gathering of over 200 experts at conference in London.

Professor Wield said: "Investing in biotech companies is now seen as risk taking, and will not be for the timid. What will happen to investment in biotech research if finance cannot even be found for relatively everyday expenses which are increasingly becoming more of a struggle?

"Drug discovery depends on long-term finance with high risk of failure and lots of it. Financing of biotechnology companies hit $50bn in 2007. And overall, these biotechs only made profits for the very first time last year, amounting to $1bn on revenues of $59bn".

As per Professor Wield, in addition to the impact on the basic research performed at biotechnology companies, development of medicines by pharmaceutical companies has also been hit by the credit crunch. "Like a number of other sectors, the pharmaceutical industry has had tough times recently there is seemingly no way to speed up and improve the drug discovery pipeline, and heavily increased R&D has not increased the number of new drugs".........

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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