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February 7, 2007, 5:04 AM CT

Double Whammy When It Comes To Body Fat

Double Whammy When It Comes To Body Fat
When it comes to body fat, today's elderly adults face a double whammy, as per new research from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and his colleagues. Up until age 80, elderly adults not only gain fat as they age -- but because of the obesity epidemic -- they actually begin their older years fatter.

The result is an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and disability, as per Jingzhong Ding, M.D., Ph.D., lead author and a researcher on aging at Wake Forest Baptist.

The study, published in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, focuses on changes in body composition correlation to aging and in the population over time. It is significant because the scientists used DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) to measure actual body fat to determine the proportion of fat versus lean mass (muscle and organs).

The measurements were made on 1,786 well-functioning elderly adults from Pittsburgh, Pa., and Memphis, Tenn., from 1997 to 2003. Participants were 70-79 at the time of enrollment, a critical period for the development of disability. Body composition -- particularly the combination of too much body fat and a decrease in muscle -- is believed to contribute to disability.

"This study provides a better picture of age-related changes in body composition and it's not a good picture," said Ding, an assistant professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine. "It demonstrates that up until age 80, both older men and women gained fat but lost lean mass each year. These age-related changes were compounded by the obesity epidemic".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

February 5, 2007, 7:42 PM CT

Secret Of 1918 Influenza Virus

Secret Of 1918 Influenza Virus
In a study of non-human primates infected with the influenza virus that killed 50 million people in 1918, an international team of researchers has found a critical clue to how the virus killed so quickly and efficiently. The group was led by University of Wisconsin-Madison virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka, and includes Michael Katze, professor of microbiology at the University of Washington, and colleagues here.

Writing in the Jan. 18 issue of the journal Nature, the team reports how the virus -- modern history's most savage influenza strain -- unleashes an immune response that destroys the lungs in a matter of days leading to death.

The finding is important because it provides insight into how the virus that swept the world in the closing days of World War I was so efficiently deadly, claiming as a number of of its victims people in the prime of life. The work suggests that it may be possible in future outbreaks of highly pathogenic flu to stem the tide of death through early intervention, and it proves that the virus was different from all of the other flu viruses currently studied.

The new study, conducted at the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba, utilized the 1918 flu virus, which has been reconstructed by scientists using genes obtained from the tissues of victims of the great pandemic in a reverse genetics process that enables researchers to make fully functioning viruses. The research gives clues into the longstanding mystery of why the 1918 flu was so deadly, and it will help researchers better understand all influenza viruses and their ability to cause pandemics.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

February 5, 2007, 6:13 PM CT

Getting Rid Of Lead Hazards

Getting Rid Of Lead Hazards
The length of time it can take to rid homes of lead hazards is "unacceptable" as per scientists from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and his colleagues in this month's American Journal of Public Health.

"This is the first study that looks at the time that it takes from a child's first blood lead level (BLL) test to the time when their home is made lead safe," said Kristina M. Zierold, Ph.D., lead author. "We knew there were a lot of kids with elevated BLLs, but nobody really knew how long it was taking to remove the exposure".

The study was conducted in Wisconsin while Zierold was an epidemic intelligence service officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"While our results apply only to Wisconsin, the fact that this was the first time anyone had studied this issue suggests that the problem may apply to other states," Zierold said.

An estimated 24 million housing units nationwide contain this poisonous material. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported in 1995 that 86 percent of all public housing and 83 percent of private homes had some lead-based paint.

The research reviewed 382 Wisconsin children aged 6 months to 6 years during a four-year period (1996 - 1999), with BLLs of 20 micrograms per deciliter (g/dL) or greater. In Wisconsin, these levels mandatory a lead hazard investigation of children's residences. The median length of time it took to eliminate the lead exposure was 465 days. Overall, only 18 percent of homes were completed within six months, and 46 percent mandatory more than 18 months to be considered lead safe.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

February 2, 2007, 4:23 AM CT

Based On Race, Gender And Insurance

Based On Race, Gender And Insurance
The study, conducted by Liliana E. Pezzin, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at the Medical College, along with co-researchers Gary B. Green, M.D., MPH, and Penelope Keyl, Ph.D., at Johns Hopkins, appears in the February 2007 issue of Academic Emergency Medicine.

Chest pain is the most common initial symptom in patients diagnosed with coronary artery disease. Tests such as electrocardiography, chest radiography as well as oxygen saturation monitoring and cardiac monitoring are non-invasive and useful in diagnosing the disease. The study observed that these tests are applied differently based on patients' race, gender and insurance.

Scientists drew on data compiled by the National Hospital Ambulatory Health Care Survey of Emergency Departments (NHAMCS-ED), from 1995 to 2000, for patients 30 years old or older presenting with chest pain. The retrospective study used a sample of 7,068 patients which corresponded to 32 million visits nationally throughout the six-year period.

They observed that the rate of visits to emergency departments by patients presenting with chest pain increased in the six-year period, and that race, gender and insurance differences were factors in the type of care patients received at emergency departments.

Overall, African American males were 25 to 30 percent less likely to receive any of the tests than non-African American males.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

January 31, 2007, 8:52 PM CT

Space Technology And Medical Community

Space Technology And Medical Community The Ambulatory Raynaud's Monitor
A small group of APL researchers, in collaboration with physicians from the Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center in Baltimore, developed and recently completed initial trials for a miniature device to help physicians characterize Raynaud's disease and measure therapy effectiveness.

"The Ambulatory Raynaud's Monitor is a tiny, Band-Aid-like device that enables physicians to objectively characterize a patient's condition, determine its severity and measure symptoms in real time," says Dr. Frederick Wigley, director of the Hopkins Scleroderma Center and one of the country's leading scleroderma experts, who asked the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, Md., to develop the device after reading about APL's work developing miniature devices for spacecraft. "Until now, Raynaud's research has been crippled without such a device".

The small, low-cost monitor wraps around a patient's finger and is secured with a bandage or medical tape. It contains two sensors that alternately record skin and ambient temperatures - indicators of surface blood flow - every 36 seconds. Interactive controls permit a patient to record the date and time of a suspected Raynaud's attack. A week's data is held by the monitor's electronics and is retained even if the device's power is unexpectedly interrupted.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source

January 31, 2007, 8:12 PM CT

MRI Better Than CT For Diagnosis Of Stroke

MRI Better Than CT For Diagnosis Of Stroke
Results from the most comprehensive study to compare two imaging techniques for the emergency diagnosis of suspected acute stroke show that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can provide a more sensitive diagnosis than computed tomography (CT) for acute ischemic stroke. The difference between MRI and CT was attributable to MRI's superiority for detection of acute ischemic stroke - the most common form of stroke, caused by a blood clot. The study was conducted by physicians at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Findings are reported in the January 27, 2007 edition of The Lancet[1].

"These NIH research findings on acute stroke imaging are directly applicable to real-world clinical practice," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. "The patients involved in this study were the typical cross-section of suspected stroke patients that come into emergency rooms on a daily basis".

Furthermore, the study has good news for patients, as per Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., NINDS Deputy Director. "This study shows that approximately 25 percent of stroke patients who come to the hospital within three hours of onset, the time frame for approved clot-busting treatment, have no detectable signs of damage. In other words, brain injury may be completely avoided in some stroke victims by quick re-opening of the blocked blood vessel," said Dr. Koroshetz.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

January 30, 2007, 7:17 PM CT

Media Coverage Of Autism Differs

Media Coverage Of Autism Differs
Sifting through the pages of newspapers, most people reading stories about autism would think researchers are primarily grappling with understanding how environmental factors, such as childhood vaccines, might contribute to the condition. But the truth is quite different. The efforts of the scientific community to explore autism lie predominantly in brain and behavior research.

This disconnect between the scientific community and the popular media is starkly laid out as per a research findings reported in the recent issue of Nature Reviews Neuroscience by scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The scientists observed that while 41 percent of research funding and published scientific papers on autism dealt with brain and behavior research, only 11 percent of newspaper stories in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada dealt with those issues. Instead, 48 percent of the media coverage dealt with environmental causes of autism, especially the childhood MMR vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella that was once linked with autism in a widely refuted study. Only 13 percent of published research was about environmental triggers of autism.

"What was very interesting is that media frequently reported being very skeptical of the MMR evidence, as was scientific literature," said Judy Illes, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics and senior author of the paper. The media stories accurately reflected scientific thinking, but didn't reflect the breadth of scientific research including the genetics, therapy and epidemiology of autism.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

January 30, 2007, 7:04 PM CT

Osteoporosis Isn't Just A Woman's Problem

Osteoporosis Isn't Just A Woman's Problem
A McMaster University researcher is alerting men and their doctors that osteoporosis isn't just a woman's problem but that the bone-wasting disease can severely afflict them, too.

To overcome this common perception, Dr. Aliya A. Khan, a professor of clinical medicine, led a group of five Canadian experts in the development of guidelines for the diagnosis, therapy and management of osteoporosis in men. Their paper appears in the January 30 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

Dr. Khan said the CMAJ paper is intended to make physicians aware of the fact that they can no longer overlook diagnosing osteoporosis in their male patients. "That's the bottom line. We want to bring all the research we have to the forefront and we want to bring it to the desk of Canadian physicians".

The CMAJ paper supplements clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis published by Osteoporosis Canada in 2002. It provides a review and synthesis of the current literature on the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis in men.

Up until now, Dr. Khan said, doctors have underestimated even how common the condition is in men. One in eight men over 50 years of age has osteoporosis, in comparison to one in four women after menopause.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

January 30, 2007, 6:12 PM CT

Safety Impacts Of Nanotechnology

Safety Impacts Of Nanotechnology
University of Florida engineering student Maria Palazuelos is working on nanotechnology, but she's not seeking a better sunscreen, tougher golf club or other product - the focus of a number of engineers in the field.

Instead, Palazuelos, a doctoral student in chemical engineering, is probing the potentially harmful effects of nanotechnology by testing how ultra-small particles may adversely affect living cells, organisms and the environment. But this is no scene from a Michael Crichton's novel "Prey" about nanotechnology run amok. Rather, this is a real-world endeavor grounded in solid science.

"We don't want to look back in 50 years if something bad has happened and say, 'why didn't we ask these questions?'" Palazuelos said.

Palazuelos is a member of a small interdisciplinary group of UF faculty members and students, the UF Nanotoxicology Group, whose work is rapidly becoming more timely as manufacturers increasingly turn to the super-small tubes, cylinders and other nanoparticles at the heart of nanotechnology.

There are already more than 400 companies worldwide that tap nanoparticles and other forms of nanotechnology, and regulatory agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration are closely examining whether new regulations are needed to guard against potentially harmful but currently unknown effects, said Kevin Powers, associate director of UF's National Science Foundation Particle Engineering Research Center. These agencies are turning to university scientists for help in making those kinds of determinations, he said.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source

January 30, 2007, 5:07 AM CT

Romantic Relationships From Your Genes

Romantic Relationships From Your Genes
New research suggests that choosing a mate may be partially determined by your genes. A study published in Psychological Science has found a link between a set of genes involved with immune function and partner selection in humans.

Vertebrate species and humans are inclined to prefer mates who have dissimilar MHC (major histocompatibility complex) genotypes, rather than similar ones. This preference may help avoid inbreeding between partners, as well as strengthen the immune systems of their offspring through exposure to a wider variety of pathogens.

The study investigated whether MHC similarity among romantically involved couples predicted aspects of their sexual relationship. "As the proportion of the couple's shared genotypes increased, womens' sexual responsivity to their partners decreased, their number of extra-pair sexual partners increased and their attraction to men other than their primary partners increased, especially during the fertile phase of their cycles," says Christine Garver-Apgar, author of the study.

This study offers some understanding of the basis for romantic chemistry, and is the first to show that compatible genes can influence the sexual relationships of romantic couples.........

Posted by: Janet      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. Archives of society medical news blog

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