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November 13, 2007, 9:30 PM CT

Cranberry sauce: good for what ails you

Cranberry sauce: good for what ails you
Cranberry sauce is not the star of the traditional Thanksgiving Day meal, but when it comes to health benefits, the lowly condiment takes center stage. In fact, scientists at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have observed that compounds in cranberries are able to alter E. coli bacteria, which are responsible for a host of human illnesses (from kidney infections to gastroenteritis to tooth decay), in ways that render them unable to initiate an infection.

The findings are the result of research by Terri Camesano, associate professor of chemical engineering at WPI, and a team that includes graduate students Yatao Liu and Paola Pinzon-Arango. Funded, in part, by the National Science Foundation and the Cranberry Institute and Wisconsin Cranberry Board, the work has been reported in many publications and presentations, including FAV Health 2007 (The 2nd Annual Symposium on Human Health Effects of Fruits and Vegetables), the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in September 2006, and the January/February 2007 issue of the Italian publication AgroFOOD industry hi-tech.

For the first time, the research has begun to reveal the biochemical and biophysical mechanisms that appear to underlie many beneficial health effects that have long been ascribed to cranberries and cranberry juicein particular, the ability of cranberry juice to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). The mechanism by which cranberry juice prevents such infections has not been clear, though researchers have suspected that compounds in the juice somehow prevent bacteria from adhering to the lining of the urinary tract.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


November 13, 2007, 9:09 PM CT

Model explains how abused moms decide to leave

Model explains how abused moms decide to leave
Two University of Illinois researchers have found a way to help health-care providers, social workers, and abused womens families understand the stages that these women go through when deciding to leave their partners.

The process of leaving an abusive relationship can take years, and there may be a number of attempts before a woman finally leaves permanently. It can be a frustrating experience for the people who are trying to help her, particularly if they dont understand the stages that women go through before they are able to leave, said Jennifer Hardesty, a U of I assistant professor of human and community development.

Hardesty and graduate student Lyndal Khaw, who adapted Prochaska and DiClementes Stages of Change model for the study, said there are clear markers that help identify where an abused woman is in the process of leaving. However, not all women leave in the same way, they said.

Some women get hung up moving from the thinking stages to the action stages, Khaw said. Particularly in the later stages, there can be a lot of back-and-forthing. If a woman is driven to react in a dramatic way, she may even leapfrog over a stage.

Khaw worked with 19 mothers who were divorcing or seeking to modify their custody or child support arrangements. The participants indicated that their former husbands had committed at least one of seven acts of physical abuse more than once.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 12, 2007, 10:11 PM CT

Early academic skills, best predict school success

Early academic skills, best predict school success
An educational study unprecedented in scope finds that children who enter kindergarten with elementary mathematics and reading skills are the most likely to experience later academic success -- whether or not they have social or emotional problems.

We find the single most important factor in predicting later academic achievement is that children begin school with a mastery of early math and literacy concepts, said Northwestern University researcher Greg Duncan and the study's primary author. Attention-related skills, though more modestly, also consistently predict achievement.

But it is the seeming lack of association between social and emotional behaviors and later academic learning that most surprised the scientists -- a lack of association as true for boys as for girls and as true for children from affluent families as for those from less affluent families.

Children who engage in aggressive or disruptive behavior or who have difficulty making friends wind up learning just as much as their better behaved or more socially adjusted classmates provided that they come to school with academic skills, said Northwestern's Duncan. We do not know if their behavior affects the achievement of other children.

Appearing in the recent issue of Developmental Psychology, the study findings are based on an analysis of existing data from more than 35,000 preschoolers in the United States, Canada and England.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 12, 2007, 9:41 PM CT

Anti-smoking strategy targets fourth-graders

Anti-smoking strategy targets fourth-graders
A smoking-prevention strategy that targets black fourth-graders and their parents is under study in urban and rural Georgia.

Scientists want to know if they can keep these children from smoking and help smoking parents quit, as per Dr. Martha S. Tingen, nurse researcher at the Medical College of Georgia's Georgia Prevention Institute, and Interim Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Control, MCG Cancer Center.

Dr. Tingen is principal investigator on a $2.5 million National Cancer Institute grant to determine if this novel strategy of concurrent intervention in the classroom and at home reduces smoking and related disability and death in blacks. Blacks tend to have higher rates of second-hand smoke exposure and more adverse health effects than whites.

"Every day in Georgia, 84 kids between 10 to 13 years of age start smoking cigarettes," says Dr. Tingen.

"Ninety percent of all smokers start before they are out of high school. If we can help keep kids from smoking before they get out of high school, they probably won't ever start. I am hoping the fourth graders haven't started smoking, but I am thinking a lot of them still are exposed to tobacco use and second-hand smoke in the home".

Scientists are enrolling 350 students and their parents or guardians in 16 elementary schools in Augusta, Ga., and rural Jefferson County, Ga., about 60 miles away. During the fourth and fifth grades, half the children will get two intense learning sessions per week over four weeks of Life Skills Training, developed by Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, director of the Institute for Prevention Research at Cornell University Medical College.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 12, 2007, 8:52 PM CT

Laser Can Predict Decompression Sickness

Laser Can Predict Decompression Sickness
It may not rank among the top 10 causes of death, but decompression sickness can be fatal. Instead of waiting for symptoms to appear, a University of Houston professor is developing a laser-based system that can diagnose the sickness in a matter of seconds.

Kirill Larin, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering, is using a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Navy to develop the first optical non-invasive tool to test those most likely to suffer from decompression sickness, such as scuba divers, submariners and airplane pilots. Decompression sickness affects those who experience sudden, drastic changes in the air or water pressure surrounding their bodies. It can cause anything from joint pain - known as the bends - to seizure, stroke, coma and, in the most extreme cases, death.

"Most of the time, decompression sickness isn't addressed until the person starts showing clinical symptoms," Larin said. "It would be better, of course, to treat the problem before the symptoms appear. That would allow individuals to take the appropriate medical actions to reduce the side effects of decompression sickness."

Larin's optical device can locate the presence of nitrogen gas - or microbubbles - in blood and tissues, which can restrict the flow of blood throughout the body and cause damage. Larin is developing the tool, which works much like an ultrasound machine, with Dr. Bruce Butler of the UT Health Science Center in Houston. Instead of getting readings using sound waves, however, Larin's system uses light waves in the form of lasers that bounce back when they encounter resistance, thereby providing a high-resolution image.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


November 12, 2007, 8:37 PM CT

Hospital-based program to keep youth out of prison

Hospital-based program to keep youth out of prison
With violence plaguing inner-city youth at epidemic rates, the report of a new study in the recent issue of The Journal of the American College of Surgeons illustrated a research-based approach to confronting this national problem. The study showed that Caught in the Crossfire, a hospital-based peer intervention program, reduced involvement in the criminal justice system among youth aged 12 to 20. Additionally, this program proved to be cost efficient in comparison with the cost of a stay in a juvenile detention center.

In 2001, the US Surgeon General warned of an epidemic in youth violence, calling for a research-based approach to systematically confronting the problem. Despite the attention, this issue continues to be a major public health concern in the US, where intentional violent trauma is the second leading cause of death among youth between the ages of 15 and 24. Violence among youth is notably worse in some inner-city areas, including Oakland, CA, where this study took place.

This study demonstrates that investing dollars in preventive intervention programs is not only a good public health practice, but it is a good economic practice as well, said Daniel Shibru, MD, University of California, San Francisco. The findings are especially significant because it proves that peer intervention programs like Caught in the Crossfire can reduce retaliatory youth violence as well as their involvement in the criminal justice system, particularly as they return to the same violent environments where their injuries occurred.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 8, 2007, 9:42 PM CT

Which is the most talkative gender?

Which is the most talkative gender?
Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, and Singapore (November 6, 2007) A Gallup poll recently confirmed that men and women both think that it is women who are most likely to possess the gift of gab. Some even think that women are biologically built for conversation. This widespread belief is challenged in research published by SAGE in the recent issue of Personality and Social Psychology Review.

The article describes a recent set of meta-analyses conducted by Campbell Leaper and Melanie Ayres. These analyses collect all of the available evidence from decades of scientific study and systematically combine the findings into an overall picture of the differences between men and women regarding talkativeness. The authors found a small but statistically reliable tendency for men to be more talkative than women overall particularly in certain contexts, such as when they were conversing with their wives or with strangers. Women talked more to their children and to their college classmates.

The type of speech was also explored in the analyses, which looked at verbal behavior in a wide variety of contexts. The scientists discovered that, with strangers, women were generally more talkative when it came to using speech to affirm her connection to the listener, while mens speech focused more on an attempt to influence the listener. With close friends and family, however, there was very little difference between genders in the amount of speech.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 7, 2007, 8:26 PM CT

America may over-vaccinate

America may over-vaccinate
A new study reported in the New England Journal (NEJM) this week by Oregon Health & Science University scientists suggests that timelines for vaccinating and revaccinating Americans against disease should possibly be rereviewed and adjusted. The study shows that in a number of cases, the established duration of protective immunity for a number of vaccines is greatly underestimated. This means that people are getting booster shots when their immunity levels most likely do not require it. The results are reported in the November 8 edition of the journal.

The goal of this study was to determine how long immunity could be maintained after infection or vaccination. We expected to see long-lived immunity following a viral infection and relatively short-lived immunity after vaccination, particularly since this is the reasoning for requiring booster vaccinations. Surprisingly, we observed that immunity following vaccination with tetanus and diphtheria was much more long-lived than anyone realized and that antibody responses following viral infections were essentially maintained for life, explained Mark Slifka, Ph.D. Slifka serves as an associate scientist at the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute with joint appointments at the Oregon National Primate Research Center and the department of molecular microbiology and immunology in the OHSU School of Medicine.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 7, 2007, 7:00 PM CT

When to have a child?

When to have a child?
Women seeking to balance career, social life and family life in making the decision on when to have a child may benefit from applying formal decision-making science to this complex emotional choice.

This decision is too complex to logically consider all the relevant aspects intuitively in ones head, write Professor Ralph Keeney and doctoral student Dinah Vernik of Dukes Fuqua School of Business. Yet, for a number of, it is too important and consequential to simply go with ones feelings.

The pair have demonstrated that using a formalized approach to this very personal decision may help a woman evaluate her options regarding the optimal time for her to attempt to conceive a first child. Their analysis, which was reported in the current issue of the journal Decision Analysis, also reveals that women may have more options than they realize.

Keeney and Vernik developed a sophisticated logical decision model to help women weigh their options. Variables are plugged into the model which then attempts to balance the benefits of motherhood against its effects on career and social interests and the age-related concerns of diminishing fertility or an increased likelihood of conceiving a child with a genetic abnormality.

In their analyses, Keeney and Vernik illustrate their model by considering the situations of a 25-year-old doctoral student who desires an academic career and a 20-year-old college student who plans to pursue a professional career.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


November 7, 2007, 5:04 AM CT

Does fear of weight gain keep you away from quitting smoking?

Does fear of weight gain keep you away from quitting smoking?
Is a fear of getting fatter partly to blame for the fact that nearly one in five American women still smokes, and a number of dont try to quit".

Eventhough there are a number of possible reasons for the stubborn persistence of smoking, fear of weight gain is high on the list for a number of women, says a University of Michigan Health System researcher who has devoted much of her career to studying this issue.

Several years ago, she and her team reported that 75 percent of all women smokers say they would be unwilling to gain more than five pounds if they were to quit smoking, and nearly half said they would not tolerate any weight gain. In fact, a number of women started smoking in the first place because they thought it might help them stay slim.

Now, new U-M research findings reported in the recent issue of Addictive Behaviors show that women who smoke tend to be further from their ideal body image, and more prone to dieting and bingeing, than those who dont smoke.

Cigarettes are well known to suppress appetite and weight, says Cindy Pomerleau, Ph.D., director of the U-M Nicotine Research Laboratory. So its hardly surprising that women who have trouble managing their weight or are dissatisfied with their bodies are drawn to smoking, she says.........

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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