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February 10, 2008, 10:00 PM CT

High School to the First Year of College

High School to the First Year of College
Increases in young women's drinking during the transition from high school through the first year of college can have dangerous physical, sexual and psychological implications, as per a report out of the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions.

The good news is that during the first year of college, when a number of young women increase their drinking, the majority (78 percent) of the 870 incoming freshmen women who took part in the study did not experience any victimization. The bad news, however, is that among the 22 percent of women who were victimized, 13 percent experienced severe physical victimization and 38 percent experienced severe sexual victimization.

The research results were reported in the January 2008 issue of the prestigious Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

"This is the first study that we know of that has compared risk for physical and sexual assault among college women based on changes in drinking during this transition period," said Kathleen A. Parks, Ph.D., principal investigator on the study. "Clearly, abstaining from drinking is a protective measure. However, young college women should be aware that becoming a new drinker or increasing one's drinking during this transition increases the likelihood of victimization."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 10, 2008, 9:55 PM CT

Smart pillbox could be a lifesaver

Smart pillbox could be a lifesaver
An MIT student and collaborators have designed the uBox, a 'smart' pillbox that dispenses pills, alerts the patient that it's time to take the medication, records the time the pill was taken and prevents double-dosing. Image courtesy / Manish Bhardwaj
In The World is a new column that explores the ways people from MIT are using technology--from the appropriately simple to the cutting edge--to help meet the needs of local people in places around the planet. If you know of a good example and would like the News Office to write about it, please e-mail dlc1@mit.edu.

Tuberculosis has long been eradicated from the world's industrialized nations but continues to take a terrible toll in a few poor, rural regions of Asia and Africa. Every year, 10 million new cases are diagnosed and two million people die of the disease.

It's not that new therapys are needed--medical science long ago figured out how to cure tuberculosis using a cocktail of antibiotics. The problem is getting the medicine to the people who need it and, most difficult, making sure they follow the six-month regimen of daily doses.

Failure to follow the regimen not only leads to likely death of that patient, but fosters the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of the disease. "The problem is, how do you get people to take this complex regimen," says Manish Bhardwaj, a doctoral student in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science who works in the Microsystems Technology Laboratories.

After a year of hard work and about eight revisions, Bhardwaj and a team of collaborators think they may have found the answer. It's a high-tech solution in a simple, inexpensive and easy-to-use -package.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 6, 2008, 8:33 PM CT

Dairy Products For Healthy Gums

Dairy Products For Healthy Gums
Consumers have long known that including dairy in their diets can help maintain healthy bones and even help promote weight loss. However, a recent study reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Periodontology, the official publication of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), demonstrated that routine intake of dairy products may also help promote periodontal health. The study analyzed the periodontal health of 942 subjects and determined that those who regularly consumed dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt had a lower instance of gum disease.

"Research has suggested that periodontal disease may affect overall systemic health," said study author Dr. Yoshihiro Shimazaki of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan. "This study reinforces what much of the public already knows - the importance of dairy in helping achieve a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy mouth".

Study participants aged 40 through 79 were examined on two periodontal parameters that can indicate gum disease, periodontal pocket depth (PD) and clinical attachment loss (CAL) of gum tissue. Scientists found that subjects that consumed 55 or more grams of products containing lactic acid each day had a significantly lower prevalence of deep PD and severe CAL, therefore demonstrating a lower instance of periodontal disease.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 6, 2008, 5:24 AM CT

Novel Molecules Can Boost Vaccine Potency

Novel Molecules Can Boost Vaccine Potency
Two novel proteins studied by a University at Buffalo professor of microbiology and immunology appear to have the potential to enhance the production of antibodies against a multitude of infectious agents.

Terry D. Connell, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology in the Witebsky Center for Microbial Pathogenesis in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, developed and patented the LT-IIa and LT-IIb enterotoxins and their respective mutant proteins as new mucosal adjuvants, or "boosters," that can enhance the potency of existing and future vaccines.

Connell and his colleagues published five papers in 2007 describing their advances. They are the only research group in the scientific community investigating the immunology of these adjuvants.

The scientists currently are working to develop a safe and effective method to deliver the immune-enhancing molecules to the body's mucous membranes -- the first line of defense against most pathogens -- to elicit protective immune responses on those membranes.

"Almost every bacterium and virus that attacks us doesn't bore through the skin," said Connell. "These infectious agents enter by colonizing the mucosal surfaces on the eye, sinuses, mouth, gut lining, lungs and genital tract."........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


February 6, 2008, 5:20 AM CT

Inadequate diagnostic criteria for eating disorders

Inadequate diagnostic criteria for eating disorders
Providence, RI A new study by Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University suggests that the DSM-IV criteria for eating disorders have limited clinical utility. Scientists recommend a broadening of the criteria for bulimia, anorexia and binge eating disorder.

In the DSM-IV manual, bulimia and anorexia nervosa are the only officially recognized and formally defined eating disorders. A third, binge eating disorder, is listed in the Appendix as a disorder requiring further study for possible inclusion in the next edition.

Scientists noted that in therapy center programs for eating disorders more than half of the patients are diagnosed with an eating disorder not otherwise specified (NOS). The scientists anticipated that in a general psychiatric setting, patients conditions would be less severe than in a specialized center.

The Rhode Island Hospital study looked at 330 patients who were diagnosed with a lifetime history of an eating disorder. Of those, 307 received 1 diagnosis and 23 were diagnosed with 2 disorders. The majority of the patients (85 percent) were female with a mean age of 34.3 years. Of the 330 patients, almost half (164) had a current eating disorder, 60 had an eating disorder in partial remission and slightly more than one-third (129) had a past diagnosis.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 6, 2008, 5:18 AM CT

Button mushrooms contain much anti-oxidants

Button mushrooms contain much anti-oxidants
Image courtesy of mushrooms.ca
The humble white button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) has as much, and in some cases, more anti-oxidant properties than more expensive varieties.

Eventhough the button mushroom is the foremost cultivated edible mushroom in the world with thousands of tonnes being eaten every year, it is often thought of as a poor relation to its more exotic and expensive cousins and to have lesser value nutritionally.

But as per new research in SCIs Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, the white button mushroom has as much anti-oxidant properties as its more expensive rivals, the maitake and the matsutake mushrooms - both of which are highly prized in Japanese cuisine for their reputed health properties including lowering blood pressure and their alleged ability to fight cancer.

Anti-oxidants are believed to help ward off illness and boost the bodys immune system by acting as free radical scavengers, helping to mop up cell damage caused by free radicals.

Dr Jean-Michel Savoie and his team from the Institut National de la Recherche Agrinomique, a Governmental research institute in France, observed that anti-radical activity was equivalent to, if not more, than the better known mushrooms when they measured the respective mushrooms free radical scavenging ability.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 4, 2008, 9:40 PM CT

Women prefer contraceptive ring over patch

Women prefer contraceptive ring over patch
In the first study to directly compare a contraceptive vaginal ring and skin patch, more women indicated overall satisfaction with the vaginal ring, scientists report in the current issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a publication of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Using the same combination of hormones included in prescription birth control pills, these products became available in 2002 as an alternative to taking a pill every day. Ring and patch are left in place for three weeks at a time.

The study reviewed the experiences of 500 women who were randomly assigned to use the ring or patch for four consecutive menstrual cycles in 2005 and 2006. Of these, 249 used the ring and 251 used the patch. In addition to regular study visits for physical evaluation, participants completed a questionnaire and talked to researchers by phone following the study period.

What we found is that more women are happier with the ring than the patch, said Mitchell Creinin, M.D., professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the studys first author. On the whole, they report fewer complications, and a significant majority preferred the ring to their pill. The University of Pittsburgh served as sponsoring institution for the trial, which was conducted at 10 centers nationwide.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 31, 2008, 10:13 PM CT

Sugary soft drinks linked to increased risk of gout

Sugary soft drinks linked to increased risk of gout
Consumption of sugar sweetened soft drinks and fructose is strongly linked to an increased risk of gout in men, finds a study published on bmj.com today.

Gout is a joint disease which causes extreme pain and swelling. It is most common in men aged 40 and older. It is caused by excess uric acid in the blood (hyperuricaemia) which leads to uric acid crystals collecting around the joints.

In the United States, levels of gout have doubled over the last few decades, which coincided with a substantial increase in the consumption of soft drinks and fructose (a simple sugar and the only carbohydrate known to increase uric acid levels).

Conventional dietary recommendations for gout have focused on the restriction of purines (found in high levels in meat and meat products, particularly liver and kidney) and alcohol but with no restriction of sugar sweetened soft drinks.

So scientists in the US and Canada examined the relation between intake of sugar sweetened soft drinks and fructose and the risk of gout.

They followed over 46,000 men aged 40 years and over with no history of gout. The men completed regular questionnaires on their intake of more than 130 foods and beverages, including sugar sweetened soft drinks and diet soft drinks, over a period of 12 years. Different types of fruits and fruit juices (high in natural fructose) were also assessed.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 31, 2008, 9:53 PM CT

Is the obesity epidemic exaggerated?

Is the obesity epidemic exaggerated?
Last week, the UK health secretary declared that we are in a grip of an obesity epidemic, but does the evidence stack up? Scientists in this weeks BMJ debate the issue.

Claims about an obesity epidemic often exceed the scientific evidence and mistakenly suggest an unjustified degree of certainty, argue Patrick Basham and John Luik.

For example, the average population weight gain in the United States in the past 42 years is 10.9kg or 0.26kg a year. Yet, between 1999-2000 and 2001-2002, there were no significant changes in the prevalence of overweight or obesity among US adults or in the prevalence of overweight among children.

Furthermore, they say, the categories of normal, overweight, and obese is entirely arbitrary and at odds with the underlying evidence about the association between body mass index and mortality.

For example, the study on which the bands for overweight and obesity in the US are based observed that the death risks for men with a body mass index of 19-21 were the same as those for men who were overweight and obese (29-31). Other studies have shown negligible differences between body mass index and death rates.

The association of overweight and obesity with higher risks of disease is equally unclear, they write. And, despite supposedly abnormal levels of overweight and obesity, life expectancy continues to increase.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 31, 2008, 8:57 PM CT

African-Americans less likely to choose epidurals

African-Americans less likely to choose epidurals
Minority and low-income patients are less likely than those who are white or more well off to agree to post-surgery epidural pain relief, as per new research from physicians at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. The study, published recently in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia, examined how race, economic and educational status may influence health care choices when access to care isnt a factor. In the overall analysis, education and income were not as important as race in determining epidural acceptance, but the scientists say the costs of improper pain therapy after surgery are large for any patient group.

Epidurals are more effective for relieving postoperative pain, and higher levels of pain have been associated with the development of chronic pain, says E. Andrew Ochroch, MD, an associate professor and director of clinical research in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care. Consequently, if African Americans are either denied or denying themselves epidural for pain relief, then they may be at greater risk for postoperative complications.

Patients who receive perioperative epidural analgesia during major upper abdominal or chest surgery, for instance, have improved lung function, which reduces their risk of pneumonia. And since theyre able to get out of bed to move around sooner, theyre primed to go home sooner than those who have severe pain. Research also shows that patients who have high levels of perioperative pain are more apt to suffer from chronic pain later on.........

Posted by: Emily      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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