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April 17, 2006, 10:24 PM CT

Big-brand Name Influence Diet

Big-brand Name Influence Diet
Mega-brands, those popular food products that dominate the supermarket shelves and dinner plates of mainstream America, are often under siege by consumer groups because of their ingredients, labeling, and marketing practices. Yet, mega-brands continue to rack up billions of dollars in sales each year. What is the secret to their success? As per James Tillotson, PhD, MBA, professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, "mega-brands maintain their strong grip on our diet because consumers, food companies, and supermarkets are intertwined in a symbiotic relationship that yields great benefits for all three."

In a two-part series in his Business and Nutrition column in Nutrition Today, Tillotson refers to mega-brands as "fortress brands" because of their durability in defending their market share against rivals. He explains how these products maintain their strong foothold in the market despite often being at odds with the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans with respect to sugars, fats, salt, calories, and lack of fiber. "In spite of a deluge of popular press coverage in recent years about pros and cons of following the Dietary Guideline recommendations, consumer surveys continue to report that taste still trumps all other rationales in motivating food purchases by catering to our strong liking for sweets, fats and oils, and salt," Tillotson writes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 17, 2006, 10:20 PM CT

A Gene For Excessive Drinking

A Gene For Excessive Drinking
Scientists supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have identified new genes that may contribute to excessive alcohol consumption. The new study, conducted with strains of animals that have either a high or low innate preference for alcohol, provides clues about the molecular mechanisms that underlie the tendency to drink heavily. A report of the findings appears in the April 18, 2006 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"These findings provide a wealth of new insights into the molecular determinants of excessive drinking, which could lead to a better understanding of alcoholism," notes NIAAA Director Ting-Kai Li, M.D. "They also underscore the value that animal models bring to the investigation of complex human disorders such as alcohol dependence."

Mice that have been selectively bred to have either a high or low preference for alcohol have been a mainstay of alcohol research for a number of years, allowing researchers to study diverse behavioral and physiological characteristics of alcohol dependence. In the current study, NIAAA grantee Susan E. Bergeson, Ph.D., of the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, and a multi-site team of researchers participating in NIAAA's Integrative Neuroscience Initiative on Alcoholism (INIA) used microarray techniques to study gene expression in the brains of these animals. Microarrays are powerful tools that researchers use for comprehensive analyses of gene activity.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 17, 2006, 12:33 AM CT

Alcohol Use During Pregnancy Affects Newborns

Alcohol Use During Pregnancy Affects Newborns
Babies born to women hospitalized for alcohol-related reasons during pregnancy are smaller, have lower Apgar scores and are more likely to be admitted to a special care unit, a large Australian study finds.

These women have a higher number of prior pregnancies, smoke more heavily and are less likely to be privately insured, as per the study in the recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

"To reduce alcohol consumption by pregnant women, there needs to be a government-society approach to the issue, rather than simply regarding it as a health problem," said lead researcher Lucy Burns, Ph.D., of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre in Sydney.

Burns' team studied 416,834 admissions of pregnant women from 1998 through 2002 and found that 342 women had at least one alcohol-related diagnosis at admission. Their babies had lower Apgar scores - which rate appearance, pulse, responsiveness, muscle activity and breathing - than the other newborns at five minutes after birth.

In addition, 30 percent of the babies in the alcohol group had low birth weight compared with 10 percent in the non-alcohol group. Sixteen percent were born prematurely, compared with 6 percent in the non-alcohol group.

Deliveries in the alcohol group were more likely to be induced due to intrauterine growth retardation and premature rupture of membranes. Of babies in the alcohol group, 29 percent were delivered by Caesarean section for fetal distress compared with 14 percent for the other babies, and they were 1.6 times more likely to be transferred to the special care unit.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


April 13, 2006, 0:20 AM CT

Night Shift May Lead To Family Nightmares

Night Shift May Lead To Family Nightmares
In the current issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family, scientists examine our 24-hour economy and the effect of its need for workers 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. They find that unsociable work times (hours during evenings, weekends, or nights) are associated with poorer mental health in parents and more social and emotional difficulties in children.

Compared with families where both parents work standard daytime hours, families where fathers work nonstandard hours show worse family functioning and more hostile and ineffective parenting. When it is mothers who work these hours, there is also worse family functioning, more hostile and ineffective parenting, and more parent distress. The most problematic family environments occur when both parents work nonstandard hours.

The study compared more than 4,000 dual-earner households with children between 2 and 11 years old. The authors measured child difficulties (e.g. the inability to concentrate or hostility to their peers), family functioning (e.g. emotional involvement and problem solving), parent depressive symptoms, and ineffective parenting. The effects were similar whether the mother or father worked non-standard hours.

But these associations were stronger in households with preschool-aged children compared to those homes with school-aged children. In the past, nonstandard work schedules had been viewed as part of job flexibility that was potentially family friendly. The findings from this research pose a challenge to that assumption. "Work in the evenings, nights, and weekends can make it harder to maintain family rituals, routines, and social activities that are important for closeness," the authors explain.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 11, 2006, 11:32 PM CT

New Data On Risks And Consequences Of Seatbelt Non-use

New Data On Risks And Consequences Of Seatbelt Non-use
In the nation's first statewide study of its kind, the Injury Research Center of the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee has revealed new data on an old problem. people who don't use seatbelts. The researchers found that unbelted crash occupants who make it to an emergency department alive are more than three times as likely as belt users to die.

The team used data from the 2002 Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (CODES)* for Wisconsin. They studied 23,920 crash occupants, ages 16 and over, who were treated in hospital-based emergency departments (ED)'s, statewide in 2002, and compared ED outcomes and characteristics of seatbelt users with non users. Their study appears in the March 10, online issue of Academic Emergency Medicine.

"Unbelted crash occupants represented 68 percent of the patients dying in the ED's," says lead author Shane Allen, a third year medical student. "Among motor vehicle crash patients who survived, only 20 percent of surviving unbelted occupants were successfully treated in an ED and discharged. The remainder required hospital admission".

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Americans ages two through 33 years. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, crash fatalities in Wisconsin rose from 763 in 2001, to 803 in 2002; while reported seatbelt use in the state dropped from 69 percent in 2001 to 66 percent in 2002.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 11, 2006, 11:10 PM CT

Absence Of Wedding Ring Linked To Parental Neglect

Absence Of Wedding Ring Linked To Parental Neglect
A social psychology expert at the University of Alberta claims that people who do not wear wedding rings are more neglectful of children compared to people who wear them. Further, Dr. Andrew Harrell states that young attractive people who do not wear wedding rings are the most neglectful child caretakers of all.

The director of the U of A Population Research Lab, Harrell made his conclusions after leading an experiment in which 862 caretaker-children combinations were furtively observed in 14 supermarkets in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Caretaker neglect was measured as per how often the caretakers or their charges, estimated to be between one and seven years-old, wandered out of sight or were more than 10 feet away from each other--too far to prevent most accidents.

Harrell found that an average of 14 per cent of the caretakers, with or without wedding rings, lost sight of their charges at least once. However, young attractive female caretakers without rings lost sight of children 19 per cent of the time, and young attractive males lost sight 25 per cent of the time, a "statistically significant" jump, Harrell said.

"Past research suggests that the absence of a wedding ring in North American culture is indicative of a lack of emotional commitment to marriage," said Harrell. "Our research shows that it may also be an indicator of a lack of a commitment to one's family, including care of the children."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 11, 2006, 11:07 PM CT

Teen Dieters Are More Likely To Be Overweight

Teen Dieters Are More Likely To Be Overweight
Adolescents who diet and use unhealthy weight-control behaviors are more likely to be overweight and put themselves at risk for eating disorders in the future, as per new research done at the University of Minnesota.

A study reported in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that adolescents with unhealthy weight-control behaviors were three times more likely to be overweight five years later. In addition, adolescents using unhealthy weight-control behaviors were at an increased risk for out-of-control binge eating, self-induced vomiting, and the use of diet pills, laxatives, and diuretics.

"This study shows that a shift from dieting and drastic weight-control behaviors to long-term healthy eating and physical activity is necessary among adolescents," said Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., study author and professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota. "A change in lifestyle is needed to prevent obesity and eating disorders in this population."

Scientists conducted a longitudinal study of over 2,000 adolescents to determine risk for gains in BMI, overweight status, binge eating, extreme weight-control behaviors, and eating disorders after five years. Subjects completed two Project E.A.T. surveys in 1999 and 2004 to determine if those who reported dieting and different weight-control behaviors are at an increased risk for obesity and eating disorders.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 11, 2006, 11:00 PM CT

Older Children Not Smarter Than Their Younger Sibs

Older Children Not Smarter Than Their Younger Sibs
A recent study provides some of the best evidence to date that birth order really doesn't have an effect on intelligence.

The findings contradict a number of studies over the years that had reported that older children are generally smarter than their younger siblings.

This new study, based on a large, nationwide sample, suggests a critical flaw in that prior research, said Aaron Wichman, lead author of the new study and a teaching fellow in psychology at Ohio State University.

Most prior studies compared children from different families, so what they were finding were differences between large and small families, not differences between siblings, as per Wichman.

"Third- and fourth-born children all come from larger families, and larger families have disadvantages that will impact children's intelligence," he said.

"In reality, if you look at these larger families, the fourth-born child is just as intelligent as the first-born. But they all don't do as well as children from a smaller family."

Wichman conducted the study with Joseph Lee Rodgers of the University of Oklahoma and Robert MacCallum of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and professor emeritus of psychology at Ohio State. Their findings were published in a recent issue of the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 11, 2006, 10:56 PM CT

Paramedics Save More Lives When They Don't Follow The Rules

Paramedics Save More Lives When They Don't Follow The Rules
Survival rates following the most common form of cardiac arrest increased three-fold when emergency medical personnel used a new form of CPR developed at The University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center. The new approach, called Cardiocerebral Resuscitation, is dramatically different from guideline-directed CPR procedures.

Because of its importance, the editors of the American Journal of Medicine chose to publish the report online in advance of the journal's April print issue.

"Cardiocerebral Resuscitation eliminates certain previously recommended procedures and reprioritizes the order of actions the emergency medical services deliver," said Michael J. Kellum, MD, leading author of the study report.

Under the new approach, first responders skipped the first steps of the standard protocol: intubating the patient for ventilation and delivering a shock using a defibrillator. While still attaching the victim to a defibrillator, they did not wait for the device to analyze the patient's heart rhythm, but started fast, forceful chest compressions.

"Intubating the patient and waiting for the defibrillator to do its analysis takes time - time a cardiac arrest victim doesn't have," said Gordon A. Ewy, MD, director of the Sarver Heart Center and co-author of the study. "I am convinced that Cardiocerebral Resuscitation will have a world-wide impact."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 11, 2006, 10:45 PM CT

Why Do We Lie?

Why Do We Lie?
Though explicit talk of money may be considered gauche, we are frequently confronted with the dreaded query "How much did you pay for that?" Our response to being put on the spot? Lies. But a new study in the recent issue of the Journal of Consumer Research found that we are more likely to muddle the truth with our coworkers than with perfect strangers. Interestingly, the scientists also found that people are most likely to lie and claim they got a bargain than to inflate the price they actually paid.

"We found that consumer's willingness to lie is correlation to not only a desire to protect their public selves, or the impressions they convey to others, but also [their] private selves, or their sense of self worth," explain Jennifer J. Argo (University of Alberta), Katherine White (University of Calgary), and Darren W. Dahl (University of British Columbia).

The first study to use social comparison theory to explain why and when we lie, the scientists argue that our willingness to lie is directly correlation to perceived threats to our self-esteem and self-image. People feel threatened by the possibility of being suckers and lie more readily when they overpaid for an item. However, people are less likely to lie if they know that a better deal is attainable, say, with a short-term gym membership.........

Posted by: Janet      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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