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November 14, 2006, 4:54 AM CT

Sibling relationships reflect family dynamics

Sibling relationships reflect family dynamics
Most children in the United States grow up with sisters and brothers. Connections that commonly last a lifetime, these relationships can be strained at times, particularly during childhood. New research concludes that sibling ties are best understood in the context of their families, and that efforts to improve relationships should take into account not just the siblings, but the family as a whole.

This research also observed that, overall, sisters feel closer to their siblings than do brothers, and that relationships between sisters and brothers become closer in later adolescence. Further, for all siblings, discord is highest when the first-born child is about 13 and the second-born is about 10.

As published in the November/December 2006 issue of the journal Child Development, scientists at Pennsylvania State University interviewed mothers, fathers, and first- and second-born children in 200 white, working- and middle-class, two-parent families. During the course of the study, first-born children ranged from 10 to 19 years of age, with an average age of 12 at the start of the study and 17 at the end. Second-born children ranged from 7 to 17 years of age during the study, with an average age of 9 at the start and 15 at the end.

Among the study's key findings are:........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 14, 2006, 4:31 AM CT

Young Children Don't Believe Everything They Hear

Young Children Don't Believe Everything They Hear
Childhood is a time when young minds receive a vast amount of new information. Until now, it's been thought that children believe most of what they hear. New research sheds light on children's abilities to distinguish between fantasy and reality.

Through conversation, books, and the media, young children are continually exposed to information that is new to them. Much of the information they receive is factual (e.g., the names of the planets in the solar system), but some information is not based in truth and represents nonexistent entities (e.g., the Easter bunny). Children need to figure out which information is real and which is not. By age 4, children consistently use the context in which the new information is presented to determine whether or not it is real.

That's one of the major findings in new studies conducted by scientists at the Universities of Texas and Virginia and reported in the November/December 2006 issue of the journal Child Development.

In three studies, about 400 children ages 3 to 6 heard about something new and had to say whether they thought it was real or not. Some children heard the information defined in scientific terms ("Doctors use surnits to make medicine"), while others heard it defined in fantastical terms ("Fairies use hercs to make fairy dust"). The scientists observed that children's ability to use contextual cues to determine whether the information is true develops significantly between the ages of 3 and 5.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 13, 2006, 9:06 PM CT

Where Chimp And Human Brains Diverge

Where Chimp And Human Brains Diverge
Six million years ago, chimpanzees and humans diverged from a common ancestor and evolved into unique species. Now UCLA researchers have identified a new way to pinpoint the genes that separate us from our closest living relative and make us uniquely human. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports the study in its Nov. 13 online edition.

"We share more than 95 percent of our genetic blueprint with chimps," explained Dr. Daniel Geschwind, principal investigator and Gordon and Virginia MacDonald Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine. "What sets us apart from chimps are our brains: homo sapiens means 'the knowing man.'

"During evolution, changes in some genes altered how the human brain functions," he added. "Our research has identified an entirely new way to identify those genes in the small portion of our DNA that differs from the chimpanzee's." .

By evaluating the correlated activity of thousands of genes, the UCLA team identified not just individual genes, but entire networks of interconnected genes whose expression patterns within the brains of humans varied from those in the chimpanzee.

"Genes don't operate in isolation each functions within a system of related genes," said first author Michael Oldham, UCLA genetics researcher. "If we examined each gene individually, it would be similar to reading every fifth word in a paragraph you don't get to see how each word relates to the other. So instead we used a systems biology approach to study each gene within its context." .........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


November 13, 2006, 8:10 AM CT

Cardiocerebral Resuscitation better than CPR Outside

Cardiocerebral Resuscitation better than CPR Outside
Survival rates following cardiac arrest went up 300 percent when emergency responders used Cardiocerebral Resuscitation, a new resuscitation approach for cardiac arrest pioneered at The University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center. Because the new technique does away with mouth-to-mouth breathing, it enhances the willingness to perform resuscitation in lay individuals.

"In out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, the brain and the heart need resuscitation, not the lungs," said Gordon A. Ewy, director of UA Sarver Heart Center, where the new approach was developed. Ewy is one of few people in the world named a "CPR Giant" by the American Heart Association.

In CPR as per current AHA guidelines, 30 chest compressions are delivered, followed by two mouth-to-mouth breaths. While the responder presses on the chest, oxygenated blood is moved through the body and delivered to the organs.

"But when you stop chest compressions to give mouth-to-mouth ventilations, no blood is moved and the organs essentially are starved," Ewy says. "In fact, during CPR, blood flow to the brain and the organs is so poor that stopping chest compression for any reason including so called 'rescue breathing' is not helpful".

At the American Heart Association's 2006 Scientific Sessions in Chicago, Ewy presented data from Emergency Medical Services in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area showing that 9 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims survived after the implementation of Cardiocerebral Resuscitation. This equals a 300-percent increase in comparison to the time when first responders used guideline CPR, resulting in a mere 3 percent survival rate.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 13, 2006, 7:56 AM CT

Peer And Family Support For Cancer Survivors

Peer And Family Support For Cancer Survivors
Adolescent and young adult cancer patients rank support from family, friends and other cancer survivors as high priority healthcare needs, as per a new University of Southern California study. Reported in the recent issue of CANCER, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society, the study reveals this traditionally underserved population of 15-29 year-old cancer survivors feels that socially connecting with other cancer-afflicted peers of the same age may in some cases be more beneficial than receiving support from family and friends, contrary to what their physicians believe.

Led by Brad Zebrack, Ph.D., M.S.W. of the University of Southern California School of Social Work in Los Angeles, scientists conducted a comprehensive survey with oncologists, psychology experts, nurses, social workers and young adult cancer survivors to better characterize the needs of this patient population and rank them in terms of importance.

As per Dr. Zebrack, "health professionals and survivors value highly the support of family and friends. However, meeting other young people who share a common experience becomes an opportunity for young adult cancer patients and survivors to address common concerns, such as coping with uncertainty about one's health and future, feelings of being alone and isolated, body changes, sexuality and intimacy, dating and relationships, and employment issues".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 13, 2006, 7:45 AM CT

Psychological Needs Of Breast Cancer Patients

Psychological Needs Of Breast Cancer Patients
Almost half of newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer are found to have clinically significant emotional distress or symptoms of psychiatric disorders before therapy is begun, as per a new study reported in the recent issue of CANCER, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society. The study reveals that while virtually all of the women admitted to,experiencing some level of emotional distress, 47 percent met clinically significant screening criteria for emotional distress or a psychiatric disorder, including major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Studies have shown that significant emotional distress, including mood disorders and related functional impairments, afflict up to one-third of breast cancer survivors for up to 20 years after therapy. However, little was previously known about the baseline psychological status of newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer.

To help characterize pre-treatment psychological status, Mark T. Hegel, Ph.D. of the Department of Psychiatry and the Norris Cotton Cancer Center of Dartmouth Medical School and his colleagues conducted psychiatric and functional screening of 236 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

Their findings indicate that almost one in two women met clinically significant criteria for emotional distress or a psychiatric disorder. The most common problem was moderate to severe emotional distress (41 percent). The most usually reported source of distress was correlation to the cancer diagnosis (100 percent), followed by uncertainty about therapy (96 percent) and concern about physical problems (81 percent). Twenty-one percent of women met criteria for psychiatric disorders, including major depression (11 percent) and PTSD (10 percent). These women also demonstrated significant declines in daily functioning that were due to the emotional disorders. Treatment for their cancer had still not begun.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 13, 2006, 7:39 AM CT

Bariatric Surgery Complications

Bariatric Surgery Complications
In-hospital bariatric surgery complication rates vary dramatically among the nation's hospitals, as per a research studyreleased recently by HealthGrades, the leading healthcare ratings company. The study of 86,520 bariatric-surgery procedures performed over the years 2002 through 2004 finds that a typical patient receiving the procedure in a five-star rated hospital would have, on average, a 66 percent lower chance of developing one or more major inhospital complications compared with a one-star rated hospital.

Based on the study, HealthGrades, for the first time, today posted quality ratings for hospitals in 17 states that perform bariatric surgery on its consumer Web site, HealthGrades.com. Hospitals received a five-, three- or one-star rating that reflected their complication rates for bariatric surgery, also known as weight-loss surgery, obesity surgery and gastric-bypass surgery.

The HealthGrades study comes on the heels of a study published in July by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which observed that four of every ten patients undergoing bariatric surgery develop complications within six months.

The percentage of U.S. adults who are obese has doubled in the last thirty years, reaching 30 percent as per the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. The number of bariatric surgeries in America are increasing dramatically as well, with the volume growing 34 percent from 2002 to 2004 in the 17 states studied. Experts attribute a growing proportion of the nation's healthcare bill to overweight and obesity, reaching 9.1 percent of U.S. medical costs, or $78 billion, in the most recent study.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 10, 2006, 5:13 AM CT

Memories: It's All In The Packaging

Memories: It's All In The Packaging
Scientists at UC Irvine have observed that how much detail one remembers of an event depends on whether a certain portion of the brain is activated to "package" the memory.

The research may help to explain why sometimes people only recall parts of an experience such as a car accident, and yet vividly recall all of the details of a similar experience.

In experiments using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the researchers were able to view what happened in the brains of subjects when they experienced an event made up of multiple contextual details. They observed that participants who later remembered all aspects of the experience, including the details, used a particular part of the brain that bound the different details together as a package at the time the event occurred. When this brain region wasn't activated to bind together the details, only some aspects of an event were recalled. The findings are reported in the current issue of Neuron.

"This study provides a neurological basis for what psychology experts have been telling us for years," said Michael Rugg, director of UCI's Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory and senior author of the paper. "You can't get out of memory what you didn't put into it. It is not possible to remember things later if you didn't pay attention to them in the first place".........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


November 10, 2006, 5:03 AM CT

To slow AIDS in Russia, treat HIV-positive addicts

To slow AIDS in Russia, treat HIV-positive addicts
The key to combating AIDS in Russia may be to treat HIV-infected drug users. A new model estimating the spread of HIV in Russia suggests that treating injection drug users with antiretroviral medicine will slow transmission of the virus among the general population.

The study, which will appear in the recent issue of the journal AIDS, was led by Douglas Owens, MD, a researcher at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System and professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and Margaret Brandeau, PhD, professor of engineering at Stanford.

Estimates vary, but around 1 million Russians - slightly more than 1 percent of the adult population - are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Injection drug users account for three-quarters of all HIV cases in Russia, and the epidemic is spreading rapidly to non-drug users. As per the United Nations, Russia's HIV infection rate is among the fastest-growing in the world. By 2020, HIV could afflict 14.5 million Russians, as per a research studyfrom the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

Advances in antiretroviral therapies have the potential to stem the spread of the virus in Russia, but in 2005 less than 1 percent of HIV-infected Russians - 5,000 people - received the life-extending drugs.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


November 10, 2006, 4:42 AM CT

Researchers Deciphering Flu Virus

Researchers Deciphering Flu Virus
As the Northern Hemisphere braces for another flu season, scientists at Florida State University's National High Magnetic Field Laboratory are making strides toward better understanding the mechanics of the virus that causes it -- a virus that kills between one-quarter and one-half million people each year.

Tim Cross, director of the lab's Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) program, and collaborators from Brigham Young University are trying to understand the minute parts of the highly virulent Influenza Type A virus. To do that, they are using all of the magnet lab's NMR resources, including its 15-ton, 900-megahertz magnet, to produce a detailed picture of the virus's skin.

"Using the magnet helps us build a blueprint for a virus's mechanics of survival," said Cross, who also is a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at FSU. "The more detailed the blueprint, the better our chances of developing drugs capable of destroying it".

The only magnet of its kind in the world, the "900" is critical to the project's process. Otherwise, an image this complicated would be impossible to obtain.

Cross and David Busath, a biophysicist at Brigham Young University, recently discovered key components of the protein holes, or "channels," in the influenza viral skin. These components lead to unique chemical reactions that are believed to be important clues for understanding how the channels regulate whether the virus can distribute its genes into host cells and reproduce or not. The researchers' findings were published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.........

Posted by: Mark      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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