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January 22, 2008, 10:58 PM CT

A good fight may keep you and your marriage healthy

A good fight may keep you and your marriage healthy
A good fight with your spouse may be good for your health, research suggests.

Couples in which both the husband and wife suppress their anger when one attacks the other die earlier than members of couples where one or both partners express their anger and resolve the conflict, as per preliminary results of a University of Michigan study.

Scientists looked at 192 couples over 17 years and placed the couples into one of four categories: both partners communicate their anger; in the second and third groups one spouse expresses while the other suppresses; and both the husband and wife suppress their anger and brood, said Ernest Harburg, professor emeritus with the U-M School of Public Health and the Psychology Department, and lead author. The study is a longitudinal analysis of couples in Tecumseh, Mich.

"Comparison between couples in which both people suppress their anger, and the three other types of couples, are very intriguing," Harburg said.

When both spouses suppress their anger at the other when unfairly attacked, earlier death was twice as likely than in all other types.

"When couples get together, one of their main jobs is reconciliation about conflict," Harburg said. "Commonly nobody is trained to do this. If they have good parents, they can imitate, that's fine, but commonly the couple is ignorant about the process of resolving conflict. The key matter is, when the conflict happens, how do you resolve it?".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 21, 2008, 9:20 PM CT

New technology sharpens X-ray vision

New technology sharpens X-ray vision
Traditional absorption image of chicken wing.

Credit: Franz Pfeiffer, EPFL/PSI
Scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and the EPFL in Switzerland have developed a novel method for producing dark-field x-ray images at wavelengths used in typical medical and industrial imaging equipment.

Dark-field images provide more detail than ordinary x-ray radiographs and could be used to diagnose the onset of osteoporosis, breast cancer or Alzheimers disease, to identify explosives in hand luggage, or to pinpoint hairline cracks or corrosion in functional structures.

Up until this point, dark-field x-ray imaging mandatory sophisticated optics and could only be produced at facilities like the PSIs 300m-diameter, $200 million synchrotron. With the new nanostructured gratings described in this research, published online January 20 in Nature Materials, dark-field images could soon be produced using ordinary x-ray equipment already in place in hospitals and airports around the world.

Unlike traditional x-ray images, which show a simple absorption contrast, dark-field images capture the scattering of the radiation within the material itself, exposing subtle inner changes in bone, soft tissue, or alloys. The overall clarity of the images is striking. The improved sensitivity in measuring bone density and hairline fractures could help diagnose the onset of osteoporosis. Because cancer or plaque cells scatter radiation slightly differently than normal cells, dark-field x-ray images can also be used to explore soft tissue, providing safer early diagnosis of breast cancer or the plaques linked to Alzheimers disease.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 21, 2008, 8:48 PM CT

Caffeine's link to miscarriage

Caffeine's link to miscarriage
High doses of daily caffeine during pregnancy whether from coffee, tea, caffeinated soda or hot chocolate -- cause an increased risk of miscarriage, according a new study by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research. The study controlled, for the first time, pregnancy-related symptoms of nausea, vomiting and caffeine aversion that tended to interfere with the determination of caffeines true effect on miscarriage risk. The research appears in the current online issue of American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

While prior research showed a link between caffeine consumption and miscarriage, this is the first study to thoroughly control for morning sickness, which typically causes a number of women to avoid caffeine, explained De-Kun Li, MD, Ph.D., an investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research and lead investigator of the study. This study strengthens the association between caffeine and miscarriage risk because it removes speculation that the association was due to reduced caffeine intake by healthy pregnant women, Li said.

To address that speculation, the study, which looked at 1,063 pregnant Kaiser Permanente members in San Francisco from October 1996 through October 1998, examined the caffeine effect among women who never changed their pattern of caffeine consumption during their pregnancy. Kaiser Permanente is the nations largest health plan with 8.7 million members, 416 medical offices and 32 hospitals in nine states and the District of Columbia.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 21, 2008, 8:24 PM CT

Change in trauma level designation and survival

Change in trauma level designation and survival
Death rates among patients admitted to a Colorado trauma center appeared to decrease after the centers designation was upgraded, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Trauma centers are accredited through the American College of Surgeons, as per background information in the article. Level designations are based on factors such as surgeon and nurse availability, protocols and research. Level 1 is the highest level of trauma center and most studies report improvements in survival and outcomes for patients admitted to these centers as compared with lower-level centers and non-trauma centers, eventhough some have found no difference between level 1 and level 2 centers.

The trauma center at Swedish Medical Centera community hospital in Englewood, Colo.was upgraded from level 2 to level 1 in 2002. Kristin Scarborough, B.S., and his colleagues at the hospital studied all 17,413 trauma patients consecutively admitted to the trauma center between 1998 and 2007. The scientists compared death rates of the 9,511 patients admitted when the center was designated level 2 (Jan. 1, 1998, to Dec. 31, 2002) to those of the 7,902 patients admitted after the upgrade to level 1 (Jan. 1, 2003, to March 31, 2007).

After adjusting for several other factorsincluding age, sex, injury severity, low blood pressure on hospital admission, breathing rate and co-occurring illnesses3.48 percent of patients admitted during level 2 designation died, compared with 2.5 percent of those admitted during level 1 designation. Among severely injured patients, 14.11 percent of those admitted during the level 2 designation died, compared with 8.99 percent of those admitted during level 1 designation.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 17, 2008, 10:22 PM CT

Value of drugs for pre-osteoporosis exaggerated

Value of drugs for pre-osteoporosis exaggerated
A series of recent scientific publications have exaggerated the benefits and underplayed the harms of drugs to treat pre-osteoporosis or osteopenia potentially encouraging therapy in millions of low risk women, warn experts in this weeks BMJ.

The authors think that this represents a classic case of disease-mongering: a risk factor being transformed into a medical disease in order to sell tests and drugs to relatively healthy people.

Osteopenia or pre-osteoporosis is said to affect around half of all older women and, in at least one country, drug companies have already begun to market their drugs to women with osteopenia, based on re-analyses of four osteoporosis drug trials.

But the authors of this weeks BMJ paper argue that this move raises serious questions about the benefit-risk ratio for low risk individuals, and about the costs of medicalising and potentially treating an enormous group of healthy people.

These reanalyses tend to exaggerate the benefits of drug treatment, they say. For example, the authors of one reanalysis cite a 75% relative risk reduction, though this translates into only a 0.9% reduction in absolute risk.

In other words, up to 270 women with pre-osteoporosis might need to be treated with drugs for three years so that one of them could avoid a single vertebral fracture.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 17, 2008, 9:54 PM CT

Do Today's Young People Really Think They Are So Extraordinary?

Do Today's Young People Really Think They Are So Extraordinary?
When asked about the state of today's youth, former president Jimmy Carter recently mused "I've been a professor at Emory University for the past twenty years and I interrelate with a wide range of students.I don't detect that this generation is any more committed to personal gain to the exclusion of benevolent causes than others have been in the past".

Now research is beginning to support this notion. An article appearing in the recent issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, found no evidence that today's young people have inflated impressions of themselves in comparison to the youth of prior generations.

Psychology expert Kali Trzesniewski of the University of Western Ontario and her colleagues Brent Donnellan and Richard Robins measured narcissism --a personality trait encompassing characteristics like arrogance, exhibitionism, and a sense of entitlement -- in over 25,000 college students from 1996 to 2007. The scientists then compared their data to similar studies conducted in the late 1970's to mid 1980's and found no evidence that levels of narcissism had increased.

Levels of "self-enhancement" -- the tendency to hold unrealistically positive beliefs about the self -- were also assessed in a sample of high school seniors. As with college students, the high school seniors showed no prominent increase on this component of narcissism.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 14, 2008, 5:27 PM CT

Got carrots?

Got carrots?
A specially developed carrot has been produced to help people absorb more calcium.

Scientists at Texas A&M AgriLifes Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center studied the calcium intake of humans who ate the carrot and found a net increase in calcium absorption. The research, which was done in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine, means adding this carrot to the diet can help prevent such diseases as osteoporosis.

If you eat a serving of the modified carrot, youd absorb 41 percent more calcium than from a regular carrot, said Dr. Jay Morris, lead author on the paper, a post doctorate researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

The finding will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online edition Jan. 14.

The primary goal was to increase the calcium in fruit and vegetables to benefit human health and nutrition, Morris said. Fruit and vegetables are good for you for a number of reasons, but they have not been a good source of calcium in the past.

Morris, who worked on the study while earning a doctorate at Texas A&M University, said fruits and vegetables play a role in good bone health for other reasons.

We think that if this technology is applied to a large number of different fruits and vegetables, that would have an even greater impact on preventing osteoporosis, he said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 14, 2008, 5:13 PM CT

Decision-making deficits in older adults

Decision-making deficits in older adults
We often read or hear stories about elderly adults being conned out of their life savings, but are older individuals really more susceptible to fraud than younger adults? And, if so, how exactly does aging affect judgment and decision-making abilities?

Recent work led by University of Iowa neuroscientist Natalie Denburg, Ph.D., suggests that for a significant number of elderly adults, measurable neuropsychological deficits do seem to lead to poor decision-making and an increased vulnerability to fraud. The findings also suggest that these individuals may experience disproportionate aging of a brain region critical for decision-making.

"Our research suggests that elders who fall prey to fraudulent advertising are not simply gullible, depressed, lonely or less intelligent. Rather, it is truly more of a medical or neurological problem," said Denburg, who is an assistant professor of neurology in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. "Our work sheds new light on this problem and perhaps may lead to a way to identify people who are at risk of being deceived".

Being able to identify how aging affects judgment and decision-making abilities could have broad societal implications. How to combat deceptive advertising targeted at older individuals -- some of whom appear to be especially vulnerable to fraud -- is one important area of concern. In addition, older age is a time when individuals often are faced with a number of critical life decisions, including health care and housing choices, investment of retirement income, and allocation of personal wealth.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 14, 2008, 4:55 PM CT

Anyone can save a life

Anyone can save a life
Anyone can save a life. Thats the message from physicians at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Benjamin S. Abella, MD, MPhil, Clinical Research Director of Penns Center for Resuscitation Science and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, says bystanders can play a critical role in saving lives by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation during the 150,000 cardiac arrests that occur each year outside of hospitals in the United States. Abella served as lead author of a statement released recently by the American Heart Association in the journal Circulation that outlines the ways in which communities can encourage better bystander CPR.

Too often, even people whove been trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation are afraid to perform it because they worry theyll harm the patient by not following the right steps. Others say theyre concerned about legal liability, despite Good Samaritan laws that protect bystanders who step in to help.

Studies show that only 15 to 30 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR before emergency personnel arrive, Abella says. But chances for survival plummet as minutes tick by without any blood circulating through the body. Early bystander CPR, however, doubles to triples survival rates.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 10, 2008, 11:00 PM CT

"Pay-for-performance" Improves Patient Care

A new study examines whether patients seeing physicians participating in a "pay-for-performance" incentive program receive better care than those who saw non-participating physicians. The health plan that was examined reimburses physicians based on the quality of care they provide.

This study finds a strong connection between quality of patient care and doctor participation in a quality-based incentive program. This association grew even stronger over time, with patients who saw program-member doctors exclusively during the trial period experiencing significantly better quality of care than those that did not.

Looking at eleven evidence-based quality indicators, such as screening for many different cancers, the study provides a comparison between traditional and quality-based payment assessments over a six-year period.

"The concept of reimbursing providers based-at least in part-on the quality of care is not only a novel approach that is gaining popularity within the health care sector, but an innovation that may have the potential to improve the quality of care," says Dr. Antonio P. Legorreta, lead author of the study.........

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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