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January 9, 2007, 8:53 PM CT

Caffeine Cuts Post-workout Pain

Caffeine Cuts Post-workout Pain
Eventhough it's too soon to recommend dropping by Starbucks before hitting the gym, a new study suggests that caffeine can help reduce the post-workout soreness that discourages some people from exercising.

In a study would be reported in the recent issue of The Journal of Pain, a team of University of Georgia scientists finds that moderate doses of caffeine, roughly equivalent to two cups of coffee, cut post-workout muscle pain by up to 48 percent in a small sample of volunteers.

Lead author Victor Maridakis, a researcher in the department of kinesiology at the UGA College of Education, said the findings may be especially relevant to people new to exercise, since they tend to experience the most soreness.

"If you can use caffeine to reduce the pain, it may make it easier to transition from that first week into a much longer exercise program," he said.

Maridakis and colleagues studied nine female college students who were not regular caffeine users and did not engage in regular resistance training. One and two days after an exercise session that caused moderate muscle soreness, the volunteers took either caffeine or a placebo and performed two different quadriceps (thigh) exercises, one designed to produce a maximal force, the other designed to generate a sub-maximal force. Those that consumed caffeine one-hour before the maximum force test had a 48 percent reduction in pain in comparison to the placebo group, while those that took caffeine before the sub-maximal test reported a 26 percent reduction in pain.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 8, 2007, 9:19 PM CT

Hopeful Nurses Are More Comfortable

Hopeful Nurses Are More Comfortable
Nurses with higher levels of hopefulness are more likely to report feeling confident and competent in their ability to care for dying children and their families. Scientists at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, reporting on a survey of hundreds of pediatric nurses, said that nurses who were more confident about their skills also were more likely to have received education in palliative care--the practice of providing high-quality, responsive care to patients with a life-threatening illness.

The study appears in the recent issue of Pediatrics.

"Very few scientists have analyzed whether healthcare providers' underlying beliefs and feelings are linked to their ability to care for dying children and their families," said study authors Chris Feudtner, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.; and Gina Santucci, M.S.N., of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "This study may help educators develop programs to help nurses and other healthcare providers to address difficult situations."

A pediatrician and a nurse, respectively, Dr. Feudtner and Ms. Santucci are experts on pediatric palliative care and members of the Hospital's Pediatric Advanced Care Team, which provides palliative, end-of-life and bereavement services.

The study team analyzed responses from 410 pediatric nurses at Children's Hospital in spring 2005 with a web-based, written survey. The survey asked the nurses whether they were comfortable working with dying children and their families and inquired about their knowledge, attitudes, practices and experiences regarding aspects of palliative and end-of-life care. The team also used questions from a standardized measuring tool called the Adult Dispositional Hope Scale.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 26, 2006, 8:03 PM CT

Stem Cells As Cancer Therapy

Stem Cells As Cancer Therapy
It is widely hoped that neural stem cells will eventually be useful for replacing nerves damaged by degenerative diseases like Alzheimer disease and multiple sclerosis. But there may also be another use for such stem cells--delivering anti-cancer drugs to cancer cells.

A Perspective article in PLoS Medic ine, by Professor Riccardo Fodde (Erasmus Medical Center, The Netherlands), discusses a new study in mice, reported in the launch issue of PLoS ONE (www.plosone.org), that showed that neural stem cells could be used to help deliver anti-cancer drugs to metastatic cancer cells.

One of the characteristics of neural stem cells is their tendency to move towards diseased areas (researchers call this phenomenon "pathotropism"). This characteristic, says Professor Fodde, "makes them especially attractive candidates not only to replace damaged tissue in degenerative pathologies, but also to deliver therapeutic molecules in patients with disseminated metastatic cancer".

In the study published in PLoS ONE, Karen Aboody and his colleagues report on the eradication of disseminated metastases in a mouse model of a cancer called neuroblastoma. The scientists took advantage of the tumor-tropic (selective migration towards cance r cells) properties of neural stem cells engineered to express an enzyme that activates an anti-cancer drug.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 26, 2006, 7:50 PM CT

Acid Suppression Medications And Hip Fracture

Acid Suppression Medications And Hip Fracture
Use of the drugs proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for the therapy of acid-related diseases such as gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is linked to a greater risk of hip fracture, as per a research studyin the December 27 issue of JAMA.

Potent acid suppressive medications such as PPIs have revolutionized the management of acid-related diseases. Millions of individuals have been using these medications on a continuous or long-term basis, as per background information in the article. Some research has shown that PPI treatment may decrease insoluble calcium absorption or bone density in certain patients. These factors could increase the risk for hip fracture, which has a death rate during the first year after the fracture of 20 percent. Among those who survive this period, 1 in 5 require nursing home care and often an emergency department visit, hospitalization, surgery, and rehabilitation, with huge health care costs.

Yu-Xiao Yang, M.D., M.S.C.E., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, conducted a study to determine what effects PPI treatment has on bone metabolism and hip fracture risk in a large group representative of the general population. The scientists analyzed data from the General Practice Research Database (1987-2003), which contains information on patients in the United Kingdom. The study group consisted of users of PPI treatment and nonusers of acid suppression drugs who were older than 50 years.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


December 26, 2006, 7:45 PM CT

Osteoporosis Drug Can Discontinued

Osteoporosis Drug Can Discontinued
A long-term study of the most widely used osteoporosis drug has observed that a number of women can discontinue the drug after five years without increasing their fracture risk for as long as five more years.

The study on alendronate was led by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, and findings appear in the December 27, 2006 issue of the "Journal of the American Medical Association." The research also showed that women at very high risk of painful spine fractures might be better-off continuing therapy.

"This has important implications as it has not been known whether therapy of osteoporosis should be continued indefinitely," said lead author Dennis Black, PhD, professor in the UCSF Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. "Because women with osteoporosis, especially older post-menopausal women, often need to take multiple drugs, this would be welcome news for this group".

As per Black, shorter term studies of up to five years duration have shown reductions in fracture risk with alendronate therapy. This was the first study to examine the effects on fracture using the drug longer than five years, he said.

"We observed that women who discontinued the drug had the same rate of non-spine fractures as women who continued using the drug," he said. "However, for clinically-recognized spine fractures, commonly discovered due to back pain, continuing alendronate was better than discontinuing. And, if women choose to continue, we showed that 10 years of therapy is safe".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 26, 2006, 6:23 PM CT

Why Video Games Are So Addicting?

Why Video Games Are So Addicting?
Ever wondered why those video games are so addictive? Now scientists have some answers for you.

Kids and adults will stay glued to video games this holiday season because the fun of playing actually is rooted in fulfilling their basic psychological needs.

Psychology experts at the University of Rochester, in collaboration with Immersyve, Inc., a virtual environment think tank, asked 1,000 gamers what motivates them to keep playing. The results reported in the journal Motivation and Emotion this month suggest that people enjoy video games because they find them intrinsically satisfying.

"We think there's a deeper theory than the fun of playing," says Richard M. Ryan, a motivational psychology expert at the University and lead investigator in the four new studies about gaming. Players reported feeling best when the games produced positive experiences and challenges that connected to what they know in the real world.

The research observed that games can provide opportunities for achievement, freedom, and even a connection to other players. Those benefits trumped a shallow sense of fun, which doesn't keep players as interested.

"It's our contention that the psychological 'pull' of games is largely due to their capacity to engender feelings of autonomy, competence, and relatedness," says Ryan. The scientists think that some video games not only motivate further play but "also can be experienced as enhancing psychological wellness, at least short-term," he says.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 23, 2006, 11:03 AM CT

Two Different Crystalline Forms Of Aspirin

Two Different Crystalline Forms Of Aspirin
I am sure that you don’t think of the crystalline structure of aspirin, when you have a headache and reach out for the aspirin bottle. At least that’s what I do. This aspirin pill might relieve your headache, but the same aspirin is causing lots of headaches for some researchers.

The question that is causing problem for researchers is: is there another form on top of the long-known one? A team of researchers from Denmark, Gera number of, and India seems to have solved this controversial puzzle: yes, there is a second structure-but it does not exist as a pure form. "The two crystalline forms of aspirin are so closely related," explains the research team of Andrew D. Bond, Roland Boese and Gautam R. Desiraju in Angewandte Chemie, "that they form structures containing domains of both crystal types".

In 2004, computer calculations had indicated that while the long-known crystal structure of aspirin (form I) is definitely one of the most stable forms, another version might exist that is just as stable, though it had still not been discovered-a clear challenge to scientists in the field. The difference between the proposed structures is slight: both have identical layers containing molecules grouped into pairs, but these layers are arranged differently in the two different structures. In 2005, scientists in the USA announced the discovery of the predicted structure (form II). But was this merely an artifact?........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


December 23, 2006, 9:26 AM CT

Is Trans Fat Ban Enough?

Is Trans Fat Ban Enough?
You might have read in the news that recently New York City passed a law to phase out the use of trans fat in restaurants. It is rumored that other cities, including Boston and Chicago, might follow the lead. The question is it enough? Experts say that it is one step in the right direction, but insist that lot more to be done. I tend to agree with them.

Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, Gershoff is a professor of nutrition science and policy at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science. She says that ban is a step in the right direction, but restaurateurs need to replace partially hydrogenated fat with unsaturated fat. If they choose saturated fat it would diminish the health benefits of this new initiative. Another new regulation that requires some restaurants to provide calorie information as prominently as price might be even more important, notes Lichtenstein.

"There is no biological need for trans fat and intake is linked to adverse health outcomes. However, the media attention on the trans fat announcement to the exclusion of the calorie labeling is unfortunate. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has proposed that the calorie content of food items be displayed as prominently as the price, at the point of purchase," says Lichtenstein, also director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts.........

Posted by: Evelyn      Read more         Source


December 20, 2006, 9:41 PM CT

Should Older Men Stop Fathering Babies?

Should Older Men Stop Fathering Babies?
Should Older Men Stop Fathering Babies? "A study reported in the September, 2006 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry may give older prospective fathers pause before plunging into biological parenthood. The authors found a significant increase in the risk of autism and similar disorders as fathers got older." Dr. Michael Craig Miller, Editor In Chief of the Harvard Mental Health Letter wrote: "It's true that medical technology and general improvements in health have made life much more enjoyable for people in middle to late life. Maybe 50 is the new 30 when it comes to some aspects of aging. But a healthy and active lifestyle does not make 50-year-old sperm the new 30-year-old sperm."

"The increased risk of passing on any genetic vulnerability to a child is significant when you are older. When it comes to autism, however, the numbers are sobering. A man younger than 30 has no more than a 1 in 1,000 chance of fathering a child with autism. But the risk bumps up to approximately 3 in 1,000 for a man in his 40s and 5 in 1,000 above age 50. If a father in his fifties has a son, the risk of autism may approach 1 in 100." "Until recently, health care professionals have focused almost exclusively on the mother's age as a risk factor for health problems in the child. But we now know that the father's age also adds to the risk of potentially devastating diseases. And there is no practical way to detect these illnesses during pregnancy. For those weighing the risks, the decision can be wrenching. Adoption and in some instances a sperm donation may be acceptable alternatives to older fathers wanting to build a healthy family." Michael Craig Miller, M.D. is Editor in Chief of the Harvard Mental Health Letter. He is also associate doctor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. He has been practicing psychiatry for more than 25 years and teaches in the Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Residency Program.........

Posted by: Dorje      Permalink         Source


December 20, 2006, 7:22 PM CT

Botox Can Ease Writer's Cramp

Botox Can Ease Writer's Cramp
"Botox"' the popular anti- wrinkle therapy, can also ease writer's cramp, suggests a small study published ahead of print in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

Writer's cramp describes the painful involuntary, spasmodic muscle contractions of the fingers, hand, or arm during writing. But it can also occur during other manual tasks.

Some people learn to write with their other hand, but in one in four cases, the condition affects both hands, and the condition is difficult to treat. It affects around three to seven in every 100,000 people.

Relaxation techniques, hypnosis, biofeedback, acupuncture, and 'writing re-education exercises' have all been used, but none of these brings sustained relief. And there is as yet no effective drug therapy.

Forty people with writer's cramp were randomly assigned to a course of injections containing either botulinum toxin (botox) or a dummy substitute in two doses, commonly into two muscles, over a period of 12 weeks.

Of the 20 people given botox therapy, 14 (70%) said that their condition had significantly improved, and that they wished to continue therapy. Their improvement was confirmed using validated disability and pain scales.

Only six of the 19 people in the dummy group felt that their condition had improved. One person dropped out of the trial.........

Posted by: Daniel      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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