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March 25, 2006, 10:40 AM CT

Sleep too much?

Sleep too much?
Men who sleep too much or too little are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, as per a research studyby the New England Research Institutes in collaboration with Yale School of Medicine researchers.

The data reported in the recent issue of Diabetes Care were obtained from 1,709 men, 40 to 70 years old. The men were enrolled in the Massachusetts Male Aging Study and were followed for 15 years with home visits, a health questionnaire and blood samples.

Six to eight hours of sleep was found to be most healthy. In contrast, men who reported they slept between five and six hours per night were twice as likely to develop diabetes and men who slept more than eight hours per night were three times as likely to develop diabetes, as per the lead author, H. Klar Yaggi, M.D., professor in Yale's Department of Internal Medicine, pulmonary section. Prior data from the Nurses Health Study have shown similar results in women.

"These elevated risks remained after adjustment for age, hypertension, smoking status, self-rated health status and education," Yaggi said.

He said scientists are just beginning to recognize the hormonal and metabolic implications of too little sleep. Among the documented effects, Yaggi said, are striking alterations in metabolic and endocrine function including decreased carbohydrate tolerance, insulin resistance, and lower levels of the hormone leptin leading to obesity. The mechanisms by which long sleep duration increase diabetes risk requires further investigation.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

March 25, 2006, 10:04 AM CT

Myths About Low Nicotine Cigarettes

Myths About Low Nicotine Cigarettes
A study by scientists at the Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that a number of smokers make false inferences about the safety of new low nicotine Quest® cigarettes. This research appears in the recent issue of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

"This study is the first to evaluate how regular smokers responded to a print ad for Quest cigarettes, a newly developed cigarette marketed as a way to gradually reduce nicotine exposure via smoking cigarettes that are lower in nicotine," said author Caryn Lerman, PhD, Associate Director for Cancer Control and Population Science at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, and Professor in Penn's School of Medicine and the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Quest® cigarettes are a brand of low-nicotine cigarettes manufactured by Vector Tobacco, Inc., and currently marketed in eight US states. Quest® cigarettes, both regular and menthol, are manufactured with three progressively lower nicotine levels and marketed as allowing smokers to "step-down" nicotine levels to enjoy "nicotine-free smoking." Anti-smoking advocates highlight the long-term health effects - like cancer and emphysema - that result from a lifetime of smoking or chewing tobacco. These maladies, however, are the result of chemicals in cigarettes other than nicotine. While Quest® cigarettes do offer reduced nicotine levels, they do not have progressively less tar and thus, still pose significant health risks. Given evidence that a number of smokers misinterpret the information contained in marketing campaigns for such "light" cigarettes it is important to understand how smokers perceive this newly marketed low nicotine cigarette.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

March 24, 2006, 0:17 AM CT

Why Older People Quit Smoking?

Why Older People Quit Smoking?
Research reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that elderly women are more likely to quit smoking than elderly men, while results are just the opposite for studies among younger populations.

"Smoking cessation was also observed more frequently among elders who had recently been diagnosed with cancer. In addition, the rate of recidivism (resuming smoking) was only 16 percent among the elderly smokers who quit, whereas prior studies report relapse rates of 35-45 percent, says head researcher Dr. Heather E. Whitson of Duke University Center for Aging." These findings indicate that older smokers may quit smoking for different reasons than younger smokers.

The study did not directly assess the smokers' reasons for quitting, but the authors postulate that factors such as lack of transportation, poor financial situation and dementia might contribute to smoking cessation in older smokers. Regardless of reason, the cessation of smoking may lower the risk of death, even when it occurs at an advanced age. The seven-year death rate among non-quitters in the study was 51.6% compared to only 44% among the quitters (eventhough the difference was not statistically significant).

The Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons (AARP) conducted a survey of its members to find that only 39 percent of smokers had been advised by their physicians in the past year to stop smoking. Physicians may assume that older smokers are unlikely to give up one their few remaining pleasures. However, the Duke data suggests that further research is needed to understand the unique motivations and potential benefits of smoking cessation in the elderly.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

March 22, 2006, 11:30 PM CT

"Executive" Monkeys Influenced by Other Executives

When high-ranking monkeys are shown images of other monkeys glancing one way or the other, they more readily follow the gaze of other high-ranking monkeys, Duke University Medical Center neurobiologists have discovered. By contrast, they tend to ignore glance cues from low-status monkeys; while low-status monkeys assiduously follow the gaze of all other monkeys.

The discovery represents more than a confirmation of what most people believe about their bosses, said the researchers. The findings reveal that gaze-following is more than a reflex action; that it also involves lightning-fast social perception.

Such a discovery in monkeys gives the scientists an invaluable animal model that enables them to tease apart the reflexive-versus-social mechanisms that govern behavior, they said.

In particular, they can begin to understand the physiology and neural machinery of status, they said. Further animal studies will enable them to use drugs and genetic analysis to figure out what hormonal and/or genetic influences determine who becomes the monkey or human equivalent of Donald Trump, and who becomes a Woody Allen.

The scientists -- graduate student Stephen Shepherd, postdoctoral fellow Robert Deaner and Assistant Professor of Neurobiology Michael Platt -- published their findings in the Feb. 21, 2006, issue of Current Biology. The research was supported by the Cure Autism Now Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

March 22, 2006, 11:26 PM CT

Emotional Benefits From Online Support Groups

Emotional Benefits From Online Support Groups
Women with breast cancer who participate in computer support groups can obtain emotional benefits when they openly express themselves in ways that help them make sense of their cancer experience, as per a new study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center of Excellence in Cancer Communications Research (CECCR).

"Even though there are a number of women with breast cancer participating in online support groups, this is among the first research studies to demonstrate measurable benefits from participation in such groups," says Bret Shaw, lead author of the study, funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The analysis was conducted on message transcripts from 66 breast cancer patients participating in an online support group member that was integrated with the "Living with Breast Cancer" program, a computer-based health education and support system. The patients were recruited from Madison, Chicago and Indianapolis.

Text messages within the computer-mediated support groups were analyzed using a text analysis program, which measured the percentage of words that were suggestive of learning or understanding (e.g., aware, feels, know, realize, see, think and understand). A higher percentage of these insightful words were associated with improved emotional well-being and reduced negative mood in follow-up surveys.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

March 22, 2006, 11:11 PM CT

When It Comes To Obesity Age Matters

When It Comes To Obesity Age Matters
For the approximately 30 million morbidly obese people in the United States considering weight reduction surgery, age should be a prime consideration, as per a new study led by Oregon Health & Science University bariatric surgeon Robert O' Rourke, M.D. The research is reported in the recent issue of the Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

In a retrospective study of patients who underwent weight reduction surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, in the OHSU Digestive Health Center from April 14, 2000, to December 23, 2003, O' Rourke and his colleagues found that increased age is a predictor for complications.

"With the demand for obesity surgery markedly increasing, the ability to predict patients" outcomes has become increasingly important," said O' Rourke, also an assistant professor of surgery (general surgery) in the OHSU School of Medicine. "Bariatric procedures are technically challenging operations performed on high-risk patients. In addition to the traditional risk factors - BMI, other illnesses - surgeons should counsel patients about the higher risks associated with increased age and about the higher risks of some procedures".

The scientists examined several risk factors, including age, BMI (body mass index), gender, surgeon experience, other illnesses, type of procedure and whether the procedure was open or performed laparoscopically, that is performed through several tiny quarter-sized incisions with fiberoptic instruments. They found that bariatric surgery patients aged 60 and older had longer hospital stays, regardless of the type of bariatric procedure, and more major and minor complications.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

March 22, 2006, 10:56 PM CT

The Purple Pill Reduces Gastric Ulcers

The Purple Pill Reduces Gastric Ulcers Image courtesy of Duke University
Results from two clinical trials, would be reported in the April 2006 edition of the American Journal of Gastroenterology, indicate that NEXIUM (esomeprazole magnesium) can reduce the incidence of gastric (stomach) ulcers in patients at risk of developing gastric ulcers and who regularly take either non-selective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or COX-2-selective NSAIDs.1

NSAIDs are a class of pain relief medications that include traditional, non-selective drugs, such as ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin, and newer COX-2-selective agents. Non-selective NSAIDs are known for increasing the risk of gastric ulcers, especially among older patients who take them regularly or who have a history of gastric ulcers.

Pooled data from the double-blind, randomized, six-month trials showed that significantly fewer patients taking either NEXIUM 20 mg or NEXIUM 40 mg, in addition to their regular non-selective NSAID/COX-2-selective treatment, developed an ulcer at six months, compared to those taking a placebo (5.2 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively, vs. 17 percent, p<0.001).1 These differences were seen as early as the first month of therapy and maintained throughout the study duration.1

"Paradoxically, NSAID use is common among patients at high risk for gastric ulcers or other complications associated with these medications. Eventhough COX-2-selective drugs generally cause fewer gastric ulcers than non-selective NSAIDs, these events aren't completely eliminated, and the residual side-effect rate still may be high," said James M. Scheiman, MD, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan. "Data from the two trials showed that NEXIUM was effective in reducing stomach ulcers in at-risk patients who require chronic NSAID therapy.".........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source

March 21, 2006, 9:09 PM CT

Kids With Cavities And Overweight

Kids With Cavities And Overweight
New evidence from pediatric dentists at the University at Buffalo has shown that, contrary to prior findings, most young children with decayed "baby" teeth are not underweight, and actually may be overweight or at risk of being overweight.

A study of children ages 2-5 who underwent aggressive dental therapy under general anesthesia in the operating room by UB's pediatric dentists at the Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo found that at least a quarter of the patients were over the recommended weight for their age or close to it, unlike their peers who had good teeth. Results of the research were presented at the International Association of Dental Research meeting held March 9-12 in Orlando, Fla.

"Previous studies in the 1990s found that children with rampant tooth decay appeared to be underweight, and this was attributed to a failure to thrive," said Hiran Perinpanayagam, D.D.S., Ph.D., an endodontist and assistant professor in UB's School of Dental Medicine and senior author on the study.

"In contrast, a more recent study found that the children with tooth decay did not have reduced bodyweight. Given these conflicting results, we thought a more definitive study was needed".

Sandra McDougal, D.D.S., pediatric dental resident was first author on the study.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

March 21, 2006, 9:03 PM CT

Extreme Personality Poses Risk Of ADHD

Extreme Personality Poses Risk Of ADHD
Children with personalities marked by aggressiveness, mood swings, a sense of alienation and a need for excitement may be at greater risk for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or conduct disorder, as per a new Florida State University study.

FSU psychology professors Jeanette Taylor and Chris Schatschneider, FSU doctoral student Kelly Cukrowicz and University of Minnesota Professor William Iacono found that children with ADHD or conduct disorder had more negative emotions - aggressiveness, tension and feelings of being exploited, unlucky or poorly treated - and lower constraints - a tendency to break rules and engage in thrill-seeking behavior - than children with neither of the disorders. Not surprisingly, those children who have both ADHD and conduct disorder had the most extreme personality profiles.

"This helps us to understand that personality is part of the bigger picture of these disorders," Taylor said. "That could help with initial assessments or lead to unexpected discoveries or potential interventions. We're saying to scientists and clinicians, 'Think about personality when you look at these issues.' ".

The study, reported in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, is the first to investigate personality trait patterns among children who have ADHD, conduct disorder or a combination of both. It is important to learn more about the co-occurrence of ADHD and conduct disorder because the consequences are so severe, Taylor said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

March 21, 2006, 8:55 PM CT

Warming May Increase Malaria Risk

Warming May Increase Malaria Risk
Could global warming be contributing to the resurgence of malaria in the East African Highlands?.

A widely-cited study published a few years ago said no, but new research by an international team that includes University of Michigan theoretical ecologist Mercedes Pascual finds that, while other factors such as drug and pesticide resistance, changing land use patterns and human migration also may play roles, climate change cannot be ruled out.

"Our results do not mean that temperature is the only or the main factor driving the increase in malaria, but that it is one of a number of factors that should be considered," Pascual said. The new study is slated would be published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

After being nearly or completely eradicated in a number of parts of the world, malaria still affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide and has been on the rise in some highland regions and desert fringes. Because the life cycle of the mosquito that transmits malaria and the microorganism that causes the disease are extremely sensitive to changes in temperature, some researchers have speculated that rising average temperatures may be making conditions more favorable for mosquitoes and pathogen development, leading in turn to the surge in malaria cases.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink

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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. Archives of society medical news blog

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