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June 8, 2006, 0:10 AM CT

Where You Live Affect Weight

Where You Live Affect Weight
For years, scientists have been trying to document a correlation between obesity among the poor and the limited selection of healthy foods in their local grocery stores. Now, a new study suggests the relationship might be even more complicated than previously thought.

Where people live may influence their food choices as much or more than where they themselves shop, said study lead author Sanae Inagami, M.D., a researcher with the Rand Corporation in Los Angeles.

"My feeling is that your neighbors do influence your health," Inagami said. "Who you know and where you go shopping is correlation to your level of obesity".

Inagami and her colleagues examined census figures from 2000 and linked them to 2,144 Los Angeles County residents who were surveyed about their eating and health habits from 2000 to 2002. The scientists report their findings in the recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

As per the study, residents who lived in poor neighborhoods and shopped in even poorer neighborhoods were more overweight than those who shopped in grocery stores in wealthier areas.

The shopping habits of neighbors were also an important factor. A 5-foot-5-inch person who lived in a poor neighborhood whose neighbors shopped in a wealthier area would weigh an average 9.2 pounds less than if he or she lived in a poor neighborhood whose residents shopped in a poorer area.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

June 8, 2006, 0:07 AM CT

Laws Don't Stop Kids From Smoking

Laws Don't Stop Kids From Smoking
Laws criminalizing the sale of tobacco to kids might be good PR for politicians, but they have little or no effect of the use of tobacco by minors, a Swiss researcher concludes in a new review article.

The author, Jean-Fran├žois Etter, Ph.D, of the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Geneva, reviewed all published studies on the subject, most of which were done in the United States, where, since 1992, legislation requires all states to enact and enforce laws prohibiting the sale for tobacco to persons under the age of 18.

"The review showed that laws prohibiting tobacco sales to minors are widespread, but that there is little evidence that they have any impact on smoking rates among youth," said Etter.

States do not enforce the laws, and the federal government does not require states to penalize lawbreakers, as per the review would be reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Even when laws are followed, the analysis found "no effect of sales prohibitions on tobacco use by minors, at any level of compliance by retailers".

Minors easily find "social" sources - family and friends - to get tobacco products and circumvent the laws, the review found, and the weight of criminalization is being shifted from retailers to underage users of tobacco.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

June 6, 2006, 11:50 PM CT

Green Tea And The 'Asian Paradox'

Green Tea And The 'Asian Paradox'
There is a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer in Asia where people smoke heavily, which may be accounted for by high consumption of tea, especially green tea, as per a review article published by a Yale School of Medicine researcher.

"We do still not have a full explanation for the 'Asian paradox,' which refers to the very low incidence of both heart disease and cancer in Asia, even though consumption of cigarettes is greater than in most other countries," said Bauer Sumpio, M.D., professor and Chief of Vascular Surgery in the Department of Surgery. "But we now have some theories."

Sumpio, the lead author of the review in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, said he and colleagues reviewed more than 100 experimental and clinical studies about green tea in writing the article.

He said one theory is that the average 1.2 liters of green tea consumed daily by a number of people in Asia offers the anti-oxidant protective effects of the polyphenolic EGCG. EGCG may prevent LDL oxidation, which has been shown to play a key role in the pathophysiology of arteriosclerosis. EGCG also reduces the amount of platelet aggregation, regulates lipids, and promotes proliferation and migration of smooth muscle cells, which are all factors in reducing cardiovascular disease, he said.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source

June 5, 2006, 11:48 PM CT

Self-injury is prevalent among college students

Self-injury is prevalent among college students Janis Whitlock, right, director of the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behaviors in the Family Life Development Center, and John Eckenrode, Cornell professor of human development
About 17 percent of college students -- 20 percent of women and 14 percent of men -- report that they have cut, burned, carved or harmed themselves in other ways, reports a new survey by Cornell and Princeton University researchers, the largest study on self-injurious behavior (SIB) in the United States to date.

However, fewer than 7 percent of the students studied had ever sought medical help for their self-inflicted physical injuries.

"Self-injurious behavior is defined as inflicting harm to one's body without the obvious intent of committing suicide," said Janis Whitlock, director of the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behaviors in the Family Life Development Center (FLDC) at Cornell and lead author of the study, reported in the recent issue of Pediatrics. SIB also may include such behaviors as ripping or pulling skin or hair, biting, bruising and breaking bones, she said.

The findings, the scientists contend, may reflect broader national trends: "Our findings are entirely consistent with nationally representative research in the United Kingdom and with smaller studies in the United States and Canada, which show self-injury to be a widespread phenomenon among adolescents and young adults," said Whitlock, adding, "There is virtually universal consensus among college and secondary-school mental health providers that a number of psychological disorders, including SIB, have increased significantly in the past five years."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

June 5, 2006, 11:40 PM CT

Smoking And Osteoporosis

Smoking And Osteoporosis
Young or old, man or woman, smoker or non-smoker - no matter what category you fit into, cigarette smoke can weaken your bones and increase your risk for fractures, as per new research presented this week at the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis in Toronto.

Smoking has long been known to increase the risk for osteoporosis in women, but the new studies, two conducted in Sweden and one in China, find that smoking also hastens the erosion of men's bones. In addition, the Chinese study demonstrates, for the first time, that even second-hand smoke can significantly increase the risk for osteoporosis and fractures in both men and women.

Bad News from GOOD Study

The deleterious effects of smoking can readily be detected in young bones. That's one conclusion from the Gothenburg Osteoporosis and Obesity Determinants (GOOD) study, which has been following the health of young Swedish men (see conference Abstract No. OC31).

"Though smoking has previously been linked to low bone density in the elderly population, its effects on adolescents has remained controversial. Now, we clearly demonstrate that young smokers also have significant losses in bone density," said Mattias Lorentzon, lead author on the study.

Lorentzon, working with Prof. Claes Ohlsson and his colleagues at the Center for Bone Research at the Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg University, measured bone mineral density--a measure of bone strength--in over 1,000 Swedish men between 18 and 20 years old. They found that in smokers, bone density in the spine, hip, and body as a whole, was lower than in their non-smoking peers. The most significant effects were in the hip, where the mineral density was over 5% lower than in non-smokers--typically, a 10% loss of bone mineral density doubles the risk of fracture.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

June 5, 2006, 11:30 PM CT

High School Teacher Helps Discover New Cancer Drug

High School Teacher Helps Discover New Cancer Drug
Sixteen years ago, when Stuart Shifrin, then a chemistry teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, volunteered to be one of the first teachers in a new research internship program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), all he expected from the experience was to see how scientific research is conducted. Instead, his summer research project has developed into a promising new chemotherapy drug.

The Student and Teacher Internship Program, sponsored by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and run by the Montgomery County Public Schools, places high school students and teachers in NIH labs to experience science in action. Shifrin, whose father died of colon cancer, asked to work at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He was placed in the lab of Leonard M. Neckers, then a principal investigator in NCI's Medicine Branch. Neckers and his postdoctoral fellow, Luke Whitesell, were examining a group of drugs that appeared to turn malignant cells into normal cells.

"We asked Stuart to put some drugs called benzoquinone ansamycins on cancer cells and tell us what happened," said Neckers. "The literature said these drugs worked by interfering with the cancer cells' tyrosine kinase metabolism, and we wanted to see if that was true." Tyrosine kinases are enzymes that have been implicated in cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

June 4, 2006, 8:42 AM CT

Overweight And Obesity Enlarges Teenagers' Hearts

Overweight And Obesity Enlarges Teenagers' Hearts
The effects of excess weight on heart health can be seen even in adolescents, with abnormal enlargement and impaired pumping function evident in subjects by age 20, as per a new study in the June 6, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"Heart damage starts very early in the natural history of obesity. We need to work on our young people, to prevent catastrophic effects later on," said Giovanni de Simone, M.D., F.A.C.C. from the New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York, New York and the Federico II University Hospital School of Medicine in Naples, Italy.

The Strong Heart study (SHS) is a longitudinal study of cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular disease that enrolled 4,549 people in American Indian communities in Arizona, Oklahoma, and North and South Dakota. This analysis included data from examinations of 460 participants age 14 to 20 years (245 girls and 215 boys). The scientists used ultrasound and other methods to measure the size, shape and pumping function of the teenagers' hearts.

The left ventricles of the hearts of both overweight and obese teenagers were larger and heavier than those of normal weight participants; but the obese teenagers also showed signs of impaired heart function. The changes were not entirely explained by changes by high blood pressure.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

June 1, 2006, 11:31 PM CT

A Father's Hand Guides A Child To Success

A Father's Hand Guides A Child To Success Paquette believes that there is a link between a poor father-child relationship and such problems as dropping out of school, difficulty entering the job market, gangs and homelessness.
"Does a child need a father?" Daniel Paquette asks this question when he speaks at libraries and cultural centres in Quebec. The answer is yes. Paquette, a professor in the Department of Psychology, explains: "A good relationship with the father gives a child confidence in her own abilities and teaches her how to handle danger and new physical and social situations".

Paquette, a researcher at the Institut de recherche pour le developpement social des jeunes, has been investigating various aspects of attachment for eleven years. His studies on the development of children in distress have convinced him that a child's social skills must be learned through close relationships with one or more adults in the child's circle. The father is an essential role model.

"Fathers help the child explore her world," says Paquette. "The child needs stimulation and encouragement as much as she needs the security and stability that she gets from her mother. Fathers are more likely than mothers to play physical games with young children." These games teach the child to take initiative, face challenges and claim her place in a competitive world.

Paquette believes that there is a link between a poor father-child relationship and such problems as dropping out of school, difficulty entering the job market, gangs and homelessness.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 31, 2006, 9:13 PM CT

Guidance In Treatment Of Alcohol Dependence

Guidance In Treatment Of Alcohol Dependence
A large-scale study of different therapy approaches for alcohol dependence underlines that medicine can play a key role in therapy.

While a number of therapy approaches were found helpful, the authors report that the patients who were most successful in abstaining from alcohol 16 weeks after therapy were those prescribed naltrexone under medical management and those participating in a multi-session program of alcohol counseling delivered by a behavioral specialist.

The paper appears in the May 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association and reports on the largest clinical trial ever conducted of pharmacologic and behavioral therapys for alcohol dependence.

"The most robust finding in the study is that those receiving any medicine did much better than those who received no pills at all," says The Scripps Research Institute's Professor Barbara Mason, an author of the paper. "This should be a wakeup call. With less than one percent of those seeking help for alcohol dependence receiving a prescription, medicine is underutilized. Medication for alcoholism can offer patients an advantage for their recovery, particularly in a real-world setting."

Another important aspect of the study, says Mason, is that it offers new safety data on the prescription drugs used in the trial, naltrexone and acamprosate, which were administered at higher-than-standard doses. "We had no serious drug-related events during the course of the research," she says. "That fact should offer prescribing physicians a high degree of comfort".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 30, 2006, 11:31 PM CT

Hypnotherapy For Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Hypnotherapy For Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) who took part in hypnotherapy sessions reported reduced symptoms and improved quality of life, as per research reported in the recent issue of Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Dr Graeme D Smith from University of Edinburgh studied 75 patients with IBS - which affects up to one in seven adults - before and after they took part in four to five therapy sessions over three months.

He discovered that before the sessions, women were most concerned with quality of life issues such as diet and energy and that men had the highest levels of anxiety and depression and worried about their physical role.

The 20 men and 55 women who participated in the study reported that hypnotherapy brought about significant improvements in the physical and emotional symptoms correlation to IBS.

These included a 30 per cent improvement in their emotional quality of life and a 25 per cent improvement in energy levels.

Mental health improved by 21 per cent, sleep by 18 per cent, physical health by 16 per cent and diet by 14 per cent.

The participants also reported that their social role had improved by 20 per cent and their physical role by 18 per cent.

Average anxiety levels fell by 12 per cent and depression fell by four per cent. Men showed higher levels of both problems before the hypnotherapy sessions, but also reported greater improvements than women.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         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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