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November 2, 2006, 5:02 AM CT

Serotonin Child Abuse Link

Serotonin Child Abuse Link
A research team observed that when baby rhesus monkeys endured high rates of maternal rejection and mild abuse in their first month of life, their brains often produced less serotonin, a chemical that transmits impulses in the brain. Low levels of serotonin are linked to anxiety and depression and impulsive aggression in both humans and monkeys.

Abused females who became abusive mothers in adulthood had lower serotonin in their brains than abused females who did not become abusive parents, the research showed.

Because the biological make up of humans and monkeys is quite similar, the findings from the monkey research could be valuable in understanding human child abuse, said Dario Maestripieri, Associate Professor in Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago.

"This research could have important implications for humans because we do not fully understand why some abused children become abusive parents and others don't," Maestripieri said. The research suggests that therapys with drugs that increase brain serotonin early in an abused child's life could reduce the likelihood that the child will grow up to become abusive, Maestripieri said.

Maestripieri is lead author of a paper reporting the research, "Early Maternal Rejection Affects the Development of Monoaminergic Systems and Adult Abusive Parenting in Rhesus Macaques" reported in the current issue of Behavioral Neuroscience.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 1, 2006, 3:57 PM CT

Nap A Day Makes Doctors OK

Nap A Day Makes Doctors OK
Give emergency room doctors a nap, and not only will they do a better job, they'll also be nicer to you, as per a new study from Stanford University School of Medicine.

The findings, would be reported in the recent issue of Annals of Emergency Medicine, showed improved mood, a higher alertness level and the ability to complete a simulated I.V. insertion more quickly among doctors and nurses who were allowed a short nap while working the night shift in an emergency room.

"Napping is a very powerful, very inexpensive way of improving our work," said one of the study's authors, Steven Howard, MD, associate professor of anesthesia and expert on sleep deprivation and fatigue.

Howard has taken the results of the study one step further and begun implementing an official napping program at the hospital at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System. "This is the first time a napping program has been instituted to try to get at the problem of fatigue in the workplace for health-care workers," he said.

As per statistics on America's need for sleep, plenty of people could use a nap. More than 50 percent of Americans are sleep-deprived.

Scientific research has documented the need for naps to mitigate drowsiness and improve performance and alertness in pilots and truckers, but no prior study has looked specifically at the possible benefits for health-care workers, said the first author of the study, Rebecca Smith-Coggins, MD, associate professor of surgery (emergency medicine).........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 1, 2006, 4:57 AM CT

Poor Readers Have Higher Risk Of Suicide

Poor Readers Have Higher Risk Of Suicide
Teenagers with reading problems are at significantly higher risk for suicide and for dropping out of school than typical readers, as per a research studyby Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center researchers.

"In our study, poor readers were three times more likely than typical readers to consider or attempt suicide and six times more likely to drop out of school," said lead author Stephanie Sergent Daniel, Ph.D. "Educators and parents should be aware of the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior among adolescents with reading problems."

The results, reported today in the recent issue of the Journal of Learning Disabilities, are from a study of 188 students recruited from six public high schools at age 15. They were followed for a mean of 3.3 years.

Scientists initially screened 1,074 students and identified a sub-group willing to participate in the long-term study. From this group, they recruited a group of poor readers and a group of typical readers that were matched for gender and race.

Standard educational tests were used to measure single-word reading ability, one of several skills involved in reading. Students scoring in the lowest 18 percent were considered poor readers - a cutoff usually used to diagnose dyslexia. In addition, each student and his primary caretaker were interviewed by master's level trained research clinicians to assess psychiatric disorders and suicidal behaviors. The median length between interviews for students and parents was twelve months.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 1, 2006, 4:40 AM CT

Rock Climbing Does Not Increase Risk Of Osteoarthritis

Rock Climbing Does Not Increase Risk Of Osteoarthritis
A study in the US has found there is no greater risk of osteoarthritis in rock climbers in comparison to non climbers, contrary to prior theory.

The study, reported in the recent issue of Journal of Anatomy, examined osteological changes in the hands and fingers of rock climbers that result from intense, long-term mechanical stress placed on these bones. Specifically, whether rock climbing leads to increased cortical bone thickness and joint changes linked to osteoarthritis. Scientists also wanted to identify whether climbing intensity and frequency of different styles of climbing influence changes.

Adam Sylvester of the University of Tennessee explains: "Radiographs of both hands were taken for each participant and were scored for radiographic signs of osteoarthritis using an atlas method. We compared 27 recreational rock climbers and 35 non-climbers for four measures of bone strength and dimensions and osteoarthritis. The results suggest that climbers are not at an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis compared with non-climbers.

Climber's finger and hand bones are, however, greater in cross-sectional area and total width, indicating that additional bone is being deposited on the external surface, not commonly seen in adults. The strength of the finger and hand bones are correlated with styles of climbing that emphasize athletic difficulty. Significant predictors include the highest levels achieved in bouldering and sport climbing".........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


November 1, 2006, 4:30 AM CT

Antidepressants Linked To Lower Child Suicide Rates

Antidepressants Linked To Lower Child Suicide Rates
Scientists report an inverse relationship between antidepressant prescriptions and the rates of suicide in children and adolescents -- a finding that contradicts the Food and Drug Administration's "black box" warning for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications, also known as SSRI drugs.

The University of Illinois at Chicago epidemiologic study appears in the recent issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The scientists examined suicide rates of children ages 5-14 in each county of the United States from 1996 to 1998 and county-level data on SSRI prescriptions. The results were adjusted for sex, race, income, access to quality mental health care and variations in county-to-county suicide rates.

"We observed that counties with the highest prescription rates for SSRI drugs had the lowest suicide rates in children and adolescents," said the lead author Robert Gibbons, director of the Center for Health Statistics and professor of biostatistics and psychiatry at UIC. "This is just the opposite of what you would predict if SSRI's were producing suicide".

There were 933 suicides among children ages 5-14 from 1996 to 1998, or an overall annual rate of 0.8 per 100,000. The scientists observed that in counties with low antidepressant prescription rates, the suicide rate was as high as 1.7 per 100,000. In counties with high antidepressant prescription rates, the suicide rate was as low as 0.7 per 100,000.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 31, 2006, 4:07 AM CT

Microwaving Your French Fries Before You Fry Them

Microwaving Your French Fries Before You Fry Them
Microwaving your French fries before you fry them reduces the levels of a cancer-causing substance, reveals findings published recently in the SCI's Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

The discovery of acrylamide - a possible carcinogenic in humans - has led to much research being done to investigate the benefits of alternative cooking methods. Acrylamide forms during processes such as frying, baking and roasting where high-temperature and low-moisture conditions exist.

Eventhough numerous studies have been conducted to explore the possibilities of reducing acrylamide levels in French fries, a team of scientists from Turkey has shown that by reducing the frying time and hence the acrylamide formation by microwave pre-cooking of potato strips previous to frying.

Publishing their work in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, the researches showed that microwave application previous to frying resulted in a marked reduction of the acrylamide level in the surface region. When the potato strips were subjected to frying after a microwave pre-cooking step, acrylamide content in the whole potato strip was reduced by 36%, 41% and 60% for frying at 150, 170 and 190oC respectively.

"Microwaving French fries before cooking takes little time and in fact, microwave pre-cooked samples fried to the same degree of cooking appeared to have a more acceptable colour, probably due to the more gentle heat therapy they experienced during frying," says lead author Koray Palazoglu, of the University of Mersin, Turkey.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


October 31, 2006, 4:01 AM CT

Topiramates Increases Risk Of Kidney Stones

Topiramates Increases Risk Of Kidney Stones Drs. Khashayar Sakhaee (left), chief of mineral metabolism, and Dion Graybeal.
Credit: UT Southwestern Medical Cente
Topiramate (Topamax), a drug usually prescribed to treat seizures and migraine headaches, can increase the propensity of calcium phosphate kidney stones, scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

A study - the largest cross-sectional examination of how the long-term use of topiramate affects kidney-stone formation - appears in the recent issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

Several case reports have described an association between topiramate and the development of kidney stones, but this complication had not been well recognized and physicians have not informed patients about the risk, the UT Southwestern scientists said. More important, the mechanism of stone formation was largely unknown previously.

"The wide-spread and escalating use of topiramate emphasizes the importance of considering the long-term impact of this drug on kidney-stone formation," said Dr. Khashayar Sakhaee, senior author of the study and chief of mineral metabolism at UT Southwestern.

More than 29 million Americans suffer from migraines, with women being affected three times more often than men, as per the National Headache Foundation.

"Topiramate is probably one of the most usually prescribed and most effective neurological medications right now," said Dr. Dion Graybeal, assistant professor of neurology and an author of the study.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


October 30, 2006, 8:22 PM CT

Speaking In Tongues

Speaking In Tongues
Glossolalia, otherwise referred to as "speaking in tongues," has been around for thousands of years, and references to it can be found in the Old and New Testament. Speaking in tongues is an unusual mental state linked to specific religious traditions. The individual appears to be speaking in an incomprehensible language, yet perceives it to have great personal meaning. Now, in a first of its kind study, researchers are shining the light on this mysterious practice -- attempting to explain what actually happens physiologically to the brain of someone while speaking in tongues.

Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered decreased activity in the frontal lobes, an area of the brain linked to being in control of one's self. This pioneering study, involving functional imaging of the brain while subjects were speaking in tongues, is in the recent issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, the official publication of the International Society for Neuroimaging in Psychiatry.

Radiology researchers observed increased or decreased brain activity - by measuring regional cerebral blood flow with SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) imaging - while the subjects were speaking in tongues. They then compared the imaging to what happened to the brain while the subjects sang gospel music.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 30, 2006, 8:15 PM CT

Dad Or Mom?

Dad Or Mom?
In families with two working parents, fathers had greater impact than mothers on their children's language development between ages 2 and 3, as per a research studyby the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute and UNC's School of Education.

Scientists videotaped pairs of parents and their 2-year-old children in their homes during playtime. The children whose fathers used more diverse vocabularies had greater language development when they were tested one year later. However, the mothers' vocabulary did not significantly affect a child's language skills.

"Most prior studies on early language development focused on mothers," said Nadya Panscofar, a graduate research assistant and an author of the study. "These findings underscore that for two-parent, dual earner families, fathers should be included in all efforts to improve language development and school readiness".

Panscofar and Dr. Lynne Vernon-Feagans, the William C. Friday distinguished professor of Child and Family Studies in the School of Education and a faculty fellow at FPG, conducted the study in Pennsylvania as part of the Penn State Health and Development Project when both were affiliated with that university.

The study appears in the online version of the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. It will appear in the November print issue of that publication.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


October 30, 2006, 5:48 PM CT

Oral Contraceptives Increase Risk For Breast Cancer

Oral Contraceptives Increase Risk For Breast Cancer
A meta-analysis reported in the recent issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings indicts oral contraceptives as putting premenopausal women at significantly increased risk for breast cancer, particularly women who use them previous to having a child.

The meta-analysis builds on a number of studies with similar findings. But even as the findings stack up, a number of women are unaware of the risks posed by oral contraceptive use previous to pregnancy, says lead study author Chris Kahlenborn, M.D., of Altoona Hospital in Altoona, Pa.

Dr. Kahlenborn says the discrepancy between risk and patient awareness prompted the meta-analysis, which involved extracting data from 34 studies on whether oral contraceptive (OC) use is linked to premenopausal breast cancer. Included in the studies were women who were premenopausal or younger than 50 and who had been, in most cases, diagnosed with breast cancer during or after 1980.

"As I studied the medical literature, I noticed that a trend appeared," says Dr. Kahlenborn. "Namely, OC use previous to first-term pregnancy seemed to consistently increase the risk of premenopausal breast cancer. Eventhough the trend was apparent, premenopausal women have continued to hear that OCs are basically safe".

Rather, patients should know that sustained oral contraceptive use previous to pregnancy increases a premenopausal woman's risk of developing breast cancer, saysDr. Kahlenborn. He says physicians should better inform their patients of the risks linked to oral contraceptives and calls it a "clear-cut informed consent issue".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink



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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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