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November 28, 2006, 4:58 AM CT

Big Bias In Who Gets Screened For Breast Cancer

Big Bias In Who Gets Screened For Breast Cancer
Certain women may miss out on routine tests that screen for early signs of breast cancer.

Elderly women, women with publicly funded health insurance and women who don't go to an obstetrician and gynecologist for routine exams are all less likely than others to get a clinical breast exam and a recommendation for a mammogram.

"A physician's recommendation is why a number of women undergo screening in the first place," said Rajesh Balkrishnan, the Merrell Dow professor of pharmacy at Ohio State University. "Foregoing these exams can increase a woman's risk of developing an advanced stage of breast cancer. There are several reasons why a doctor may not give a patient a clinical breast exam or recommend a mammogram".

Balkrishnan led a study that uncovered some of these possible reasons. The findings currently appear online at the website of the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

The scientists gathered data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS), a database run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The NAMCS contains information on a nationally representative sample of practicing physicians and patient visits throughout the United States. The scientists restricted their data set to doctor office visits by women 40 and older from 1996 through 2004.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 28, 2006, 4:41 AM CT

Flu Can Bide Time In Icy Limbo Before Re-emerging

Flu Can Bide Time In Icy Limbo Before Re-emerging
It sounds like a campy '50s horror movie ("It Came from the Ice!"), but a Bowling Green State University biologist believes it's a very real possibility. Dr. Scott Rogers is talking about the potential for long-dormant strains of influenza, packed in ice in remote global outposts, to be unleashed by melting and migratory birds.

"We've found viral RNA in the ice in Siberia, and it's along the major flight paths of migrating waterfowl," whose pathways take them to North America, Asia and Australia, and interconnect with other migratory paths to Europe and Africa, explains Rogers.

Viruses, he says, can be preserved in ice over long periods of time, then released decades later when humans may no longer be immune to them. For instance, survivors of the worldwide flu pandemic of 1918 had immunity to the responsible strain-called H1N1-but that immunity has died with them, meaning a recurrence "could take hold as an epidemic".

H1, the first of 16 versions of the protein heamagglutinin, is what Rogers and his Russian and Israeli colleagues sought in their research, which is being reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Virology. The BGSU professor and biological sciences department chair believes it to be the first time anyone has found--and maybe even looked for--the viral RNA in ice.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


November 27, 2006, 5:08 AM CT

Recovering alcoholics with poor sleep perceptions

Recovering alcoholics with poor sleep perceptions
Alcohol can initially have sleep-inducing effects among non-alcoholics, but once drinking becomes chronic, alcohol's effects on sleep become much more negative in nature. New findings indicate that individuals in early recovery from alcoholism who have inaccurate sleep perceptions are more likely to return to drinking.

Results are reported in the recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research

"The usual perception of alcohol's effects on sleep in nonalcoholics is that it helps sleep," explained Deirdre A. Conroy, the corresponding author who conducted the research while a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan. "In truth, alcohol may help people fall asleep but it commonly leads to poor quality sleep in the second half of the night and overall less deep sleep. As people drink more regularly across nights to fall asleep, they become tolerant to the sedating effects of alcohol and subsequently use more alcohol each night to help fall asleep. This escalation in drinking can lead to alcoholism."

Conroy and her colleagues examined 18 individuals with insomnia (9 males, 9 females) who were also in early recovery from alcohol dependence. Each participant underwent polysomnography (PSG) for two nights, three weeks apart. Participants also provided morning estimates of sleep onset latency (SOL) or the time it takes to fall asleep, wake time after sleep onset (WASO), total sleep time (TST), and sleep efficiency (SE), a measure of sleep continuity. After complete PSG results were recorded, participants were asked to give information about their drinking habits during two consecutive six-week follow-up periods.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 23, 2006, 5:26 AM CT

The 'Freakonomics of food'

The 'Freakonomics of food'
Do you hate Brussels sprouts because your mother did" Does the size of your plate determine how hungry you feel" Why do you actually overeat at healthy restaurants".

"You can ask your smartest friend why he or she just ate what they ate, and you wont get an answer any deeper than, 'It sounded good,'" says Brian Wansink, Ph.D.), author of "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think," and Professor and Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.

Dubbed the "Freakonomics of food" by the Canadian Broadcasting Commission, Mindless Eating, uses hidden cameras, two-way mirrors, and hundreds of studies to show why we eat what and how much we eat. "The unique thing about his work is that it cleverly answers everyday questions about food and shows translates them into Good News how we can improve it," said Seth Roberts, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

Take how much we eat. Wansink claims we typically dont overeat because we are hungry or because the food tastes good. Instead we overeat because of the cues around us family and friends, packages and plates, shapes and smells, distractions and distances, cupboards and containers.

Consider your holiday ice cream bowl. If you spoon 3 ounces of ice cream onto a small bowl, it will look like a lot more than if you had spooned it into a large bowl. Even if you intended to carefully follow your diet, the larger bowl would likely influence you to serve more. This tricks even the pros.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 22, 2006, 4:21 AM CT

New Year Without Putting On Pounds

New Year Without Putting On Pounds
Your leftover Halloween candy is almost gone from your cupboards, and the holiday season with all its sweet temptations has begun.

However, all those holiday parties and office gatherings laden with scrumptious food and drink don't have to mean the end of your weight loss plan. It's still possible to enjoy the bounty and not feel deprived of your favorite holiday dishes, says Connie Diekman, director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis.

"The first rule of thumb for eating at holiday gatherings," Diekman says, "is never go to the party hungry. Have a little something healthy before you go - a piece of fruit, half a sandwich or a glass of milk. Be sure when you arrive you aren't overly hungry."

Then when you arrive at the party, Diekman suggests doing a survey of the situation and figure out how you want to approach the buffet table, if there is one.

"Plan on getting your food off the buffet table and then moving away from the table to eat," she says. "Use a plate, and don't stand at the table and pick at the food. Seeing what is on the plate begins the process of realizing how much food is enough for you."

When you do fill your plate, keep in mind that two thirds of the food on it should come from whole grains, fruits and vegetables, Diekman points out. The remaining third can be meats, sauces, and high-fat and high-calorie foods. "Try to concentrate on loading up on those things that are going to fill you up as opposed to the high-calorie, empty foods."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 21, 2006, 8:46 PM CT

Watching TV can improve parenting and child behavior

Watching TV can improve parenting and child behavior
Watching television parenting programmes like ITV's Driving Mum and Dad Mad really can help improve parenting skills and modify children's behavioural problems, as per a research studyat The University of Manchester.

The six-part series followed the progress of five families whose children showed clear behavioural problems through Professor Matt Sanders' 'Triple P-Positive Parenting Programme,' which provides guidance on parenting skills which promote good behavioural and emotional adjustment.

In 'The Great Parenting Experiment: The role of the mass media in preventing anti-social behaviour in children,' clinical psychology experts Dr Rachel Calam and Professor Sanders himself studied a sample of the 4.2 million parents tuning into the first series in Spring 2005. Funded by the Home Office's Respect Task Force, the team assessed how much watching the programmes actually helped parents at home.

Dr Calam said: "This is the first national experiment to monitor parents working alongside a 'TV info-tainment' series and trying out the techniques shown. We wanted to assess whether, by adopting the ideas suggested, mums and dads were able to improve their children's behaviour and reduce their own stress levels.

"465 parents completed an assessment of their children's behaviour, parenting practices, confidence as a parent, stress levels and family circumstances before the series, which was repeated 12 weeks after the series started and again six months later. Parents who just watched the series and those given additional 'enhanced support' reported significantly fewer problems with both their children's conduct and their parenting practices after 12 weeks.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 21, 2006, 5:22 AM CT

Holiday Gluttony Can Spell Disaster For Undiagnosed Diabetics

Holiday Gluttony Can Spell Disaster For Undiagnosed Diabetics
Hearty feasts and couch-potato marathons are holiday traditions, but UT Southwestern Medical Center experts warn that packing on pounds and not exercising could be deadly for the 6 million Americans who have diabetes and don't even know it.

Diabetes, a metabolic disorder linked with obesity, can be a silent killer because its symptoms aren't sudden, but build up over time and lead to heart disease or other maladies.

That's bad news for those with undiagnosed diabetes.

"The obesity epidemic is surging and people don't realize they're setting themselves up to develop diabetes. They're like ticking time bombs," said Dr. Manisha Chandalia, an endocrinologist at UT Southwestern. "Without therapy, high levels of blood sugars in the body can damage blood vessels and nerves over time, leading to high cholesterol, hypertension, stroke, kidney disease and amputations".

If you are age 40 or older, obese, lack physical activity or have a family history of diabetes, Dr. Chandalia recommends making time during the holidays to visit a doctor for a diabetes test. Symptoms include excessive thirst or hunger, dramatic weight loss, fatigue, frequent urination or blurry vision.

The holidays also are a perfect time to start getting healthy, she said, offering these tips:........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 21, 2006, 5:16 AM CT

Does student achievement spur national economic growth?

Does student achievement spur national economic growth?
Educational policy discourse supports the idea that increases in science and mathematics achievement correlate to nation-wide economic gains. However, a thought-provoking new study from the American Journal of Education challenges the perceived causal links between educational achievement and economic growth. Francisco O. Ramirez (Stanford University) and his co-authors find that without the so-called "Asian Tigers," the correlation diminishes and all but disappears.

"This is a striking finding that calls into question the disproportionate attention (and envy) focused on those few countries with the very highest achievement scores," write the authors. "It is clear that education and its reforms are everywhere seen in light of their supposed economic effects. It is also clear that the areas of education given the most attention as relevant to economic goals have been science and mathematics, the new keys to economic growth".

Comparing national GDP data with international standardized test scores over two twenty-year periods (1970-1990 and 1980-2000), the scientists observed that countries with high science and math scores do tend to grow somewhat more rapidly than other countries - but not when Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan are removed from the analysis, or in an analysis of the last two decades. Additionally, "Moving from the 'middle of the pack' to the top provides less of an economic boost," the authors write.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 20, 2006, 5:08 AM CT

Yeast Model Shows Promise As Alzheimer's Test

Yeast Model Shows Promise As Alzheimer's Test
A century ago this month, German psychiatry expert Alois Alzheimer formally described characteristics of the neurodegenerative disease which ultimately came to bear his name. While international efforts to learn about Alzheimer's disease and develop therapys have progressed significantly in recent years, a cure remains an elusive goal.

A new research tool developed by Susan Liebman, distinguished university professor of biological sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, may ultimately provide a means for treating the earliest stage of Alzheimer's, thereby stemming its progression.

Typically alzheimer's disease is characterized by the formation of plaques in the brain largely composed of fibers made from a peptide called beta-amyloid, or A-beta, for short. There is abundant evidence to support the hypothesis that accumulation of A-beta peptide triggers the appearance of Alzheimer's. But while earlier research suggested the A-beta fiber caused Alzheimer's, recent research points at much smaller aggregates of the peptide as the culprit.

"We've developed a yeast model system in which A-beta small aggregate formation can be detected," said Liebman. "The system employs a fusion of the human A-beta peptide to a functional yeast protein, called a reporter protein, which is only active in allowing cells to grow on test media if the fusion does not form aggregates".........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


November 20, 2006, 5:05 AM CT

Adolescent Girls More Active if Neighborhoods Have Parks

Adolescent Girls More Active if Neighborhoods Have Parks
Adolescent girls who live within half a mile of a public park are significantly more physically active than other girls, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill scientists have found.

The study observed that physical activity was higher for girls who lived within a mile of parks and showed highest levels among girls who lived less than one-half mile from a park, said Dr. Diane Catellier, a study investigator and research associate professor of biostatistics in the UNC School of Public Health. The scientists observed that girls only got about 114 minutes a week of intense physical activity outside of school hours, or about 16 minutes a day.

Dr. Deborah Cohen, a senior natural scientist at RAND Corporation and lead author of the study, said the U.S. surgeon general recommends that all children and adolescents get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day. "We still have a long way to go in encouraging girls to be active".

The results appear in the November 2006 issue of Pediatrics. The study was led by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization. Scientists from UNC-Chapel Hill, the University of Arizona, the University of South Carolina and San Diego State University participated. Funding was provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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