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December 28, 2008, 10:58 PM CT

Young People and Alcohol

Young People and Alcohol
As the party season approaches, a timely reminder of the issues surrounding the binge drinking culture are again highlighted by research into 'young people and alcohol' a team lead by Professor Christine Griffin, at the University of Bath. The research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) suggests several considerations for future policy.

Focusing on the role of marketing practices in shaping young people's attitudes to alcohol consumption, the research included analysis of 216 alcohol adverts, both in print and broadcast. While extreme drinking and determined drunkenness appears to be perceived as the norm amongst young people, there is some positive news from the research. Evidence suggests that increases in young people's alcohol consumption is levelling off.

Previously, representations of binge drinking as a source of entertainment, coupled with pervasive coverage of drunken celebrities has increased the social acceptance of binge drinking. Advertising representing the 'coolness' of excessive drinking, along with the increasing use of internet based social networking sites that are used to share images of drunken nights out,, also enable the linkage between alcohol and 'having fun'.

Looking at what steps society may need to take to tackle the scourge of binge drinking, Professor Griffin says, "Top of my list would have to be to stop demonizing and making generalisations about young people and their drinking. We also need to listen and incorporate their views and perspectives." .........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 24, 2008, 5:16 AM CT

Making the contraceptive pills available without prescription

Making the contraceptive pills available without prescription
Making the contraceptive pill available without prescription will not reduce unwanted pregnancies, says an expert in an article published on bmj.com today.

Sarah Jarvis from the Royal College of Physicians argues that it is a lack of daily compliance with taking oral contraceptives which is partly responsible for the high rates of unintended teenage pregnancies in the UK.

Studies have shown that nearly half of all women taking the oral contraceptive pill miss one or more pills in each cycle, and nearly a quarter missed two or more. These women are three times more likely to get pregnant unintentionally than those who take the pill consistently.

She points out that the availability of emergency contraception without prescription has done little to change the rate of teenage pregnancies.

Jarvis believes that the solution lies in long acting reversible contraceptives such as the coil, or those which can be placed under the skin or injected. They last between three months and three years, and because they are not dependent on patients taking them correctly, are much more reliable than oral contraceptives, she adds.

"Increased uptake of reliable, non user-dependent methods, rather than making a potentially unreliable method of contraception more easily available, has to be the key ", she concludes.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


December 23, 2008, 10:25 PM CT

Family Depression May Have Lasting Effects On Teens

Family Depression May Have Lasting Effects On Teens
The country's economic crisis could have lasting effects on children from families that fall into poverty, as per a new paper by scientists from Iowa State University's Institute for Social and Behavioral Research.

Their study of 485 Iowa adolescents over a 10-year period (1991-2001) observed that early socioeconomic adversity experienced by children contributes to poor mental health by the time they become teens -- disrupting their successful transition into adulthood by endangering their social, academic and occupational attainment as young adults.

"The main finding shows the continuity of family adversity over generations -- from family-of-origin to a young adult's family. In other words, it's the transmission of poverty," said K.A.S. Wickrama, an ISU professor of human development and family studies and the study's lead researcher.

"Other articles have shown intergenerational transmission of adversity, but our study also shows the mechanisms that this influence operates through," he said. "We had the luxury of data to investigate that because we have been following 500 Iowa families since 1989".

Wickrama collaborated with Fred Lorenz, ISU University Professor of psychology; Tony Jung, an ISU graduate student in human development and family studies; and Rand D. Conger, a Distinguished Professor of human and community development at the University of California-Davis, on the study. They authored the paper "Family Antecedents and Consequences of Trajectories of Depressive Symptoms from Adolescence to Young Adulthood: A Life Course Investigation," which was reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, a professional journal.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 22, 2008, 9:45 PM CT

Genes may influence popularity

Genes may influence popularity
S. Alexandra Burt, assistant professor of psychology and behavioral geneticist
A groundbreaking study of popularity by a Michigan State University scientist has observed that genes elicit not only specific behaviors but also the social consequences of those behaviors.

As per the investigation by behavioral geneticist S. Alexandra Burt, male college students who had a gene linked to rule-breaking behavior were rated most popular by a group of previously unacquainted peers.

It's not unusual for adolescent rule-breakers to be well-liked - prior research has made that link - but Burt is the first to provide meaningful evidence for the role of a specific gene in this process. The study will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, which is published by the American Psychological Association.

"The idea is that your genes predispose you to certain behaviors and those behaviors elicit different kinds of social reactions from others," said Burt, assistant professor of psychology. "And so what's happening is, your genes are to some extent driving your social experiences".

The concept - which scientists call "evocative gene-environment correlation" - had been discussed in scientific literature but only in theory. This study is the first to really flesh out the process, establishing clear connections between a specific gene, particular behaviors and actual social situations, she said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 22, 2008, 9:38 PM CT

Weight issues in children starting school

Weight issues in children starting school
Immigrant children have a greater risk of suffering from overweight and obesity. This is the result of a study from Augsburg with 2306 children examined on starting school. Elisabeth Weber and her coauthors present the results in the current issue of Deutsches rzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztbl Int 2008; 105 [51-52]: 883-9). The doctors recorded not only the age, sex, weight, and height of the children, but also their mother tongue. Their parents had to answer a questionnaire covering sporting activity, amount of television watched, and eating behavior.

German was the mother tongue of 1398 of the children examined. Turkish was the most frequent foreign language (395 children), followed by Russian (183 children). Other languages were subsumed under "other" (419 children). In all, 302 children (13.1%) suffered from overweight and 133 children (4.9%) were obese. The results showed that half of all the children engaged in no sporting activity. In particular, 65% of Turkish speaking children and 59% of Russian speaking children were not in any sporting group. There were also ethnic differences in the amount of television watched. Almost two thirds of Turkish and Russian speaking children watched one to three hours of television per dayabout twice as a number of as Germans. The eating habits of the Turkish children were especially striking. Only 12.4% had five meals a daythe lowest of any group.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 22, 2008, 9:27 PM CT

Nutritious fast-food kids' meals are scarce

Nutritious fast-food kids' meals are scarce
Only 3 percent of kids' meals served at fast-food restaurants met federal dietary guidelines in the first study to examine the nutrient quality of such meals in a major U.S. metropolitan market.

Michigan State University's Sharon Hoerr, a food science and human nutrition researcher with the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station, teamed up with economist Sharon O'Donnell and pediatrician Jason Mendoza from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to assess the nutritional status of kids' meals in the Houston market.

The small percentage of meals that did meet dietary guidelines included fruit as a side dish and milk, and nearly all were deli-sandwich meals. They also had about one-third the fat, one-sixth the added sugars, twice the iron and three times the amount of vitamin A and calcium as did meals not meeting the criteria.

"This report is the first to characterize and compare the nutrient quality of all combinations of fast-food kids' meals in a major metropolitan market," Hoerr said. "Because 25 percent of children aged 4 to 8 years consume fast food on a typical day, the diet quality of kids' meals offered by fast-food companies contributes significantly to their overall health and well-being.

"Two trends motivate the need for an evaluation of the nutrient quality of fast-food kids' meals: the increased prevalence of childhood obesity and the amount of food consumed away from home".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 22, 2008, 9:24 PM CT

Law Enforcement to Deter Drinking and Driving

Law Enforcement to Deter Drinking and Driving
Recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that an estimated 2 million drunk drivers with three or more convictions will be on the roads this holiday season. In 2007, approximately 1,500 people nationwide were killed in crashes that involved a drunk driver from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day. Scientists from the University of Missouri and the University of Georgia observed that the most important deterrence factors for high-risk drivers are their perceptions of the likelihood of being stopped or arrested and their support for deterrence laws.

All U.S. states have laws designed to deter impaired driving, but there is little evidence on what works to deter drivers who have a high risk of drinking and driving. The scientists observed that the existence of laws, such as the.08 blood alcohol content and open container restrictions, affect only those less likely to drink and drive, and the actual number of impaired driving arrests in a state has no significant effect on drivers' likelihood of drinking and driving.

"Essentially, law enforcement needs to focus on perceptions; it is important that drivers perceive that they will be caught if they drive impaired," said Lilliard Richardson, professor in the MU Truman School of Public Affairs. "We observed that high-risk drivers are less likely to drink and drive if they perceive they are likely to be stopped or arrested by police. However, the mere existence of laws designed to discourage people from drinking and driving does not impact high-risk drivers. The results provide support for the value of high-visibility enforcement campaigns. Public safety education and media efforts are important components of the overall strategy for reducing impaired driving".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 22, 2008, 5:19 AM CT

How you see yourself while pregnant

How you see yourself while pregnant
Body image is a tricky thing for a number of women. Like looking into a funhouse mirror, the way they perceive their bodies can make them think they're thinner or more obese than they actually are. Scientists led by Temple University's Sharon Herring, MD, MPH, have observed that this misperception is linked to excess weight gain during pregnancy which can cause complications for both mother and baby.

As per a research findings published on December 19 in the journal BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, Herring and a team of scientists from the department of ambulatory care and prevention at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care observed that overweight and obese women who thought they weighed less than they actually did at the start of pregnancy had seven times the odds of gaining excessive weight during their pregnancy. In contrast, normal weight women who thought they weighed more than they actually did had twice to the odds of gaining excessive weight during their pregnancy.

The reasons for misperceived body weight aren't clear, but Herring and her team speculate that the high prevalence of obesity in the US might account for a skewed body image among the overweight or obese group so that they believe they are at a normal weight, and may be less likely to follow pregnancy weight gain guidelines as a result.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 19, 2008, 5:21 AM CT

Medical acupuncture gaining acceptance by the US Air Force

Medical acupuncture gaining acceptance by the US Air Force
New Rochelle, NY, December 18, 2008Medical acupuncture, which is acupuncture performed by a licensed doctor trained at a conventional medical school, is being used increasingly for pain control. Richard Niemtzow, MD, PhD, MPH, Editor-in-Chief of Medical Acupuncture, a peer-evaluated journal (www.liebertpub.com/acu) and the official journal of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, is at the forefront of these efforts in the military.

The technique developed by Dr. Niemtzow has been so successful that the Air Force will begin teaching "Battlefield Acupuncture" to physicians deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan in early 2009. "Battlefield Acupuncture" can relieve severe pain lasting several days.

Based on modern neurophysiological concepts, Niemtzow developed a variation of acupuncture that involves inserting very tiny semi-permanent needles into very specific acupoints in the skin on the ear to block pain signals from reaching the brain. This method can lessen the need for pain medications that may cause adverse or allergic reactions or addiction.

"This is one of the fastest pain attenuators in existence," said Dr. Niemtzow, who is the Consultant for complementary and alternative medicine for the Surgeon General of the Air Force, and is affiliated with Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda. "The pain can be gone in five minutes".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 18, 2008, 10:38 PM CT

Men, Women Give To Charity Differently

Men, Women Give To Charity Differently
To whom would you rather give money: a needy person in your neighborhood or a needy person in a foreign country? As per new research by Texas A&M University marketing professor Karen Winterich and his colleagues, if you're a man, you're more likely to give to the person closest to you ? that is, the one in your neighborhood ? if you give at all.

If you're a woman, you're more likely to give ? and to give equal amounts to both groups.

Winterich, who teaches marketing at Texas A&M's Mays Business School, says she can predict charitable behavior to different groups by an individual based on just two factors: gender and moral identity. (Moral identity does not measure how moral a person actually is, but rather how important it is to that person to be caring, kind, fair, honest, etc.).

The research is forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Research. Co-authors on the paper are Vikas Mittal at Rice University and William T. Ross at Penn State University.

The results of Winterich's studies involving American participants have implications for those in the fund-raising arena.

The study examined how people responded to a need within an "ingroup" and an "outgroup." An ingroup has an obvious connection to the potential donor, such as physical proximity or ethnicity, while the outgroup might have nothing more than humanity to relate it to the donor.........

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.

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