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September 6, 2006, 9:49 PM CT

How safe is drinking water?

How safe is drinking water?
Are disinfection by-products (DBPs) in drinking water harmful to an unborn fetus? As per a research studyin the recent issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology (available online September 5), a team of scientists at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health headed by David A. Savitz, Ph.D., Director of the Center of Excellence in Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Disease Prevention at MSSM, and formerly Chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, have determined that drinking water DBPs -- in the range usually encountered in the US -- do not affect fetal survival. This finding is especially important because prior research has suggested that exposure to elevated levels of drinking water DBPs might cause pregnancy loss.

The interaction of chlorine with organic material in raw water supplies produces chemical DBPs of health concern, including trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs). Several epidemiological studies have addressed potential reproductive toxicity of DBPs. The strongest support in ealier studies was noted for pregnancy loss, including stillbirth.

Scientists looked at three locations with varying DBP levels and reviewed 2,409 women in early pregnancy to assess tap water DBP concentrations, water use, other risk factors and pregnancy outcome. Tap water concentrations were measured in the distribution system on a weekly or biweekly basis. DBP concentration and ingested amount, bathing/showering and integrated exposure that included ingestion and bathing/showering were considered. Based on 258 pregnancy losses, the finding did not show an increased risk of pregnancy loss in relation to ingested amounts of DBPs.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


September 5, 2006, 10:21 PM CT

Hormone-replacement therapy hurts hearing

Hormone-replacement therapy hurts hearing
The largest study ever to analyze the hearing of women on hormone-replacement treatment has observed that women who take the most common form of HRT have a hearing loss of 10 to 30 percent more in comparison to similar women who have not had the treatment. The results are being published on-line this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

It's as if the usual age-related hearing loss in women whose HRT included progestin, a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone, was accelerated in comparison to women taking estrogen alone or women not taking HRT. On average, women who received progestin had the hearing of women five to 10 years older.

The results of the study involving 124 women confirm results from a smaller study that the same group reported in 2004 at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology. The new results also identify progestin as the component of HRT doing possible damage.

"Whether a woman goes on HRT is certainly her decision, and she should discuss the options with her doctor," says senior author Robert D. Frisina, Ph.D. "In light of these findings, we feel that hearing loss should be added to the list of negative things to keep in mind when talking about HRT. Women particularly who already have a hearing problem should weigh this decision carefully. Women on HRT should consider having a thorough hearing check-up done every six months".........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


September 5, 2006, 7:52 PM CT

Epilepsy Breakthrough In Progress

Epilepsy Breakthrough In Progress
Scientists at MIT are in the process of developing a device that could detect and prevent epileptic seizures before they become debilitating.

Epilepsy affects about 50 million people worldwide, and while anticonvulsant medications can reduce the frequency of seizures, the drugs are ineffective for as a number of as one in three patients.

The new therapy builds on an existing therapy for epilepsy, the Cyberonics Inc. vagus nerve stimulator (VNS), which is often used in patients who do not respond to drugs. A defibrillator typically implanted under the patient's collar bone stimulates the left vagus nerve about every five minutes, which has been shown to help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in a number of patients.

The MIT scientists and his colleagues at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) seek to improve the therapy by combining it with a detector that measures brain activity to predict when a seizure is about to occur. The new device would sense the oncoming seizure and then activate the VNS, in principle halting the seizure before it becomes manifest.

"Our contribution is the software that decides when to turn the stimulator on," said John Guttag, MIT's Dugald C. Jackson Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Guttag developed the system along with Ali Shoeb, a graduate student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


September 5, 2006, 5:01 AM CT

Drinking During Pregnancy And Alcoholism Later

Drinking During Pregnancy And Alcoholism Later
Individuals whose mothers drink three or more glasses of alcohol at any one occasion in early pregnancy have an increased risk of developing alcohol disorders by 21 years of age, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Exposure to maternal drinking during early childhood has been linked to difficulties in thinking, learning and memory, as well as mental and behavioral problems. However, few studies have examined the link between drinking during pregnancy and a child's later risk for alcohol dependence and other disorders, as per background information in the article. Animal studies have provided extensive evidence of a link between exposure to alcohol before birth and early acceptance of alcohol. "Similar results replicated in human studies would carry considerable implications for public health intervention," the authors write. "First, such studies would suggest that even small quantities of alcohol exposure, if consumed in a single session, may cause in utero neurodevelopmental changes that in turn may lead to the early onset of alcohol disorder in youth. Second, they would provide support for the role of a biological origin of alcohol disorders".

Rosa Alati, Ph.D., from The University of Queensland, Herston, Australia, and his colleagues explored whether maternal exposure to alcohol during pregnancy increased a child's risk of developing alcohol disorders in 2,138 participants who were followed from birth to age 21. A group of 7,223 mothers was originally interviewed at their first prenatal doctor visit, between 1981 and 1984 in Brisbane, Australia. The mothers and children were assessed at birth and again 6 months and 5, 14, and 21 years later. Before pregnancy, in early (first 18 weeks) and late (last three months) pregnancy, and when their children were age 5 and 14, the mothers were asked how often they drank alcohol and the number of drinks consumed on any one occasion. Children were reviewed for alcohol disorders at age 21.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


September 5, 2006, 4:56 AM CT

Televised Movie Trailers And Tobacco Use

Televised Movie Trailers And Tobacco Use
Despite a ban on tobacco advertising on television, nearly all U.S. children age 12 to 17 years may have been exposed to tobacco use through movie advertisements televised in 2001 to 2002, as per an article in the recent issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Tobacco advertising was banned from television in 1971, but tobacco use is still portrayed in a variety of forms on television, including movie advertisements or trailers. "Trailers pair tobacco use with popular movie stars and edgy action shots," the authors write. "These images translate into positive images of tobacco that are conveyed to a broad audience, including a large population younger than 18 years." Studies have shown that most movies released in the United States contain images of smoking, including about half of those with PG or G ratings, as per background information in the article. Surveys of children and adolescents indicate that they are more likely to smoke if their favorite movie stars do, and that watching movies in which characters smoke can have an immediate effect on their attitudes toward smoking.

Cheryl G. Healton, Dr.P.H., American Legacy Foundation, Washington, D.C., and his colleagues studied all 216 movie trailers that aired in the United States from August 2001 through July 2002. They first analyzed the full-length versions of all the trailers to determine whether they included images of tobacco use. They then obtained viewer information from Nielson Media Research, the primary source of U.S. television ratings, to determine the population exposed to each trailer.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 4, 2006, 10:20 PM CT

Prevention Of Methamphetamine Abuse

Prevention Of Methamphetamine Abuse
New research supported in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, shows that prevention programs conducted in middle school can reduce methamphetamine abuse among rural adolescents years later. Because methamphetamine addiction leads to problems with social interactions and a wide range of medical conditions, research into early interventions such as this is critical to protecting the Nation's youth. The paper is reported in the recent issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

"We now have evidence that prevention programs can be important tools to protect adolescents from the devastating effects of methamphetamine use, and we will continue to explore the effectiveness of other drug abuse prevention programs," says Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, director of the National Institutes of Health. "These findings are part of our ongoing effort to support scientific research that can have practical applications in community settings".

"Prior preventive interventions have shown effects in reducing adolescents' abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana, but this is the first study to examine the effects of a preventive intervention on methamphetamine abuse among youth," says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "The results of this research indicate the effectiveness of prevention programs on lifetime or annual methamphetamine abuse."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 4, 2006, 9:51 PM CT

Trust Your Intuition

Trust Your Intuition
Risk and uncertainty are part of modern life, but why does the possibility of terrorist bombs on aeroplanes, a new generation of nuclear power stations and a flu pandemic trigger public distrust in the powers-that-be? What can the government do to re-build trust in politicians and scientists?

Risk scientists say the answer lies in emotions, not reason, particularly when the perceived risk is correlation to health, the environment, new technologies and energy. "There is a lot of evidence that concern about risk is directly correlation to lack of knowledge and the extent to which the event is dreaded," says Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby, Director of the Economic and Social Research Council Social Context and Responses to Risk Network (SCARR) at the University of Kent. "And trust always involves emotion as well as reason".

"The way that information about a particular risk is transmitted and interpreted by various audiences is also important in determining how people respond," Peter Taylor-Gooby explains. "Government should be certainly thinking about building trust, but it is very difficult to do. People need to feel they are being taken seriously and it would help if there was more reporting back after public consultations. Transparency is the key, especially when mistakes have been made".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 1, 2006, 4:40 AM CT

Detailed Nutritional Value Of Salad

Detailed Nutritional Value Of Salad
Go ahead and indulge at the salad bar. "Rabbit food" is nutritious for people too.

A new UCLA/Louisiana State University study of dietary data on more than 17,500 men and women finds consumption of salad and raw vegetables correlates with higher concentrations of folic acid, vitamins C and E, lycopene and alpha and beta carotene in the bloodstream.

Reported in the September edition of the peer-evaluated Journal of the American Dietetic Association, the study also suggests that each serving of salad consumed correlates with a 165 percent higher likelihood of meeting recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for vitamin C in women and 119 percent greater likelihood in men.

The study is the first to examine the relationship between normal salad consumption and nutrient levels in the bloodstream, and also the first to examine the dietary adequacy of salad consumption using the latest nutritional guidelines of the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings blunt concerns about the human body's ability to absorb nutrients from raw vegetables, as well as concern that the structure and characteristics of some plants undercut nutritional value.

"The consistently higher levels of certain nutrients in the bloodstream of salad-eaters suggest these important components of a healthy diet are being well-absorbed from salad," said Lenore Arab, visiting professor of epidemiology at the UCLA School of Public Health and co-author of the study with L. Joseph Su, assistant professor at the LSU School of Public Health.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 31, 2006, 4:57 AM CT

Juices Reduces Alzheimer's Risk

Juices Reduces Alzheimer's  Risk
In a large epidemiological study, scientists observed that people who drank three or more servings of fruit and vegetable juices per week had a 76 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimers disease than those who drank juice less than once per week.

The study by Qi Dai, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Medicine, and his colleagues appears in the recent issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

The scientists followed a subset of subjects from a large cross-cultural study of dementia, called the Ni-Hon-Sea Project, which investigated Alzheimers disease and vascular dementia in older Japanese populations living in Japan, Hawaii and Seattle, Wash.

For the current study, called the Kame Project, the scientists identified 1,836 dementia-free subjects in the Seattle population and collected information on their dietary consumption of fruit and vegetable juices. They then assessed cognitive function every two years for up to 10 years.

After controlling for possible confounding factors like smoking, education, physical activity and fat intake, the scientists observed that those who reported drinking juices three or more times per week were 76 percent less likely to develop signs of Alzheimers disease than those who drank less than one serving per week.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


August 31, 2006, 4:38 AM CT

Drink Orange Juice To Keep Kidney Stones Away

Drink Orange Juice  To Keep Kidney Stones Away
A daily glass of orange juice can help prevent the recurrence of kidney stones better than other citrus fruit juices such as lemonade, scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have discovered.

The findings indicate that eventhough a number of people assume that all citrus fruit juices help prevent the formation of kidney stones, not all have the same effect. The study is available online and is scheduled would be reported in the Oct. 26 issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Medically managing recurrent kidney stones requires dietary and changes in lifestyle as well as therapy such as the addition of potassium citrate, which has been shown to lower the rate of new stone formation in patients with kidney stones.

But some patients can't tolerate potassium citrate because of gastrointestinal side effects, said Dr. Clarita Odvina, assistant professor of internal medicine at the Charles and Jane Pak Center for Mineral Metabolism and Clinical Research and the study's lead author. In those cases, dietary sources of citrate such as orange juice may be considered as an alternative to pharmacological drugs.

"Orange juice could potentially play an important role in the management of kidney stone disease and may be considered an option for patients who are intolerant of potassium citrate," Dr. Odvina said.........

Posted by: Mark      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.

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