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January 23, 2006, 9:30 PM CT

A Robot That Follows Patients As They Move

A Robot That Follows Patients As They Move
The MRI and Computerized axial tomography scan may one day have a robotic cousin capable of following and peering into patients as they move around.

A University of Florida engineer has designed a robot to shadow and shoot X-ray video of sufferers of orthopedic injuries as they walk, climb stairs, stand up from a seated position or pursue other normal activities - and maybe even athletic ones like swinging a bat.

UF mechanical and aerospace engineer Scott Banks' goal is to augment static images of patients' bones, muscles and joints with an interior view of these and other parts in action during normal physical activity. By merging such full-motion X-rays with computerized representations, orthopedic surgeons will make better diagnoses, suggest more appropriate therapys and get a clearer idea of post-operative successes and failures, he said.

"Our goal is come up with a way to observe and measure how joints are moving when people are actually using them," Banks said. "We think this will be tremendously powerful, not only for research but also in the clinical setting as well".

Complaints about orthopedic injuries are among the most common reasons people visit the doctor, as per the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. More than 8 million people were hospitalized in 2003 for musculoskeletal conditions or injuries, which are estimated to cost the United States at least $215 billion annually.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink

January 18, 2006, 8:26 PM CT

Genetic Link Between Asthma And Obesity

Genetic Link Between Asthma And Obesity
A study about the relationship between asthma and obesity, which uses a community-based twin registry from the University of Washington in Seattle, has found a strong genetic link between the two disorders, as per findings reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

While this study replicates prior findings that have shown asthma to be more common in obese individuals, it goes on to show that the largest portion of the association between the two disorders could be explained by a common set of genetic factors.

Dr. Teal Hallstrand, assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, led the study, which compared the frequency of asthma and obesity in both identical and fraternal, or non-identical, twins. The scientists analyzed 1001 identical and 383 fraternal same-sex twin pairs within the University of Washington Twin Registry. They found that the largest portion of the association between asthma and obesity could be attributed to a common set of genetic factors, referred to as genetic pleiotropy, which implies that the same genetic factors may have a causal influence on both asthma and obesity.

Asthma and obesity are increasingly common disorders, particularly in Westernized societies. A fundamental question about the relationship between obesity and asthma is whether the association between these two disorders is predominantly genetic or environmental.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

January 18, 2006, 8:08 PM CT

Parent Deployment And Teen's Emotions

Parent Deployment And Teen's Emotions
Understanding how a parent's deployment affects the emotional and behavioral development of their teenage children is the focal point of research conducted by Angela Huebner, associate professor of human development at Virginia Tech, National Capital Region, and Jay A. Mancini, professor of human development, Blacksburg campus.

Through a grant funded by the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University, and supported by the Department of Defense, the research team, based in Virginia Tech's College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, conducted focus groups comprised of 107 youth attending summer camps in Hawaii, Washington, Georgia, Texas, and Virginia, all sponsored by the National Military Family Association.

The war in Iraq and the global war on terrorism have changed the course of military service for Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve members. Today, the context of military service includes a higher operation tempo, increased deployments, relocations and family separations. In short, military families are facing more stressors than ever before. About 39 percent (over 469,999) of the children of deployed parents are age one and under), 33 percent (over 400,000) are between the ages of six and 11 and about 25 percent (over 300,000) are youth between the ages of 12 and 18.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

January 18, 2006, 0:33 AM CT

Losing Weight By Controlling Flavor

Losing Weight By Controlling Flavor
A major cause of overeating is eating too a number of flavors all at once, triggering the hypothalamus in the brain to ask for more food, according to David Katz, M.D., Associate Professor Adjunct in Public Health Practice at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale.

This is the premise of his new book, "The Flavor Point Diet" (Rodale Press), based on a phenomenon he said is well studied, but is well known only to appetite researchers-sensory specific satiety.

"We stay hungry longer the more diverse the flavors in a meal or snack," said Katz, of the Prevention Research Center at Griffin Hospital. "If flavors are thoughtfully distributed, we fill up on fewer calories. This explains why, for instance, people can eat a holiday meal to the point of feeling unpleasantly full, yet still have room for dessert. No, that's not because you have a 'hollow leg!' It's because of sensory specific satiety; the hypothalamus is hard-wired to respond to flavors".

The Flavor Point Diet

A pilot study of Katz's eating plan was conducted with 20 men and women, and their families, for 12 weeks. Katz said the mean weight loss over that time was 16 pounds with persons losing from 10 to 31 pounds. The study participants also lost body fat and saw their cholesterol, blood sugar, insulin, and blood pressure decline.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

January 16, 2006, 11:55 PM CT

Physical Activity And Parkinson's Disease

Physical Activity And Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease can be more effectively managed by a regular exercise program, say experts at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

"There's no doubt that people who have a positive attitude and exercise generally cope with the disease much better than those who don't," said Dr. Joseph Jankovic, professor of neurology and director of BCM's Parkinson's Disease Center and Movement Disorders Clinic. "Exercise is clearly a positive force in dealing with Parkinson's".

Living proof of the "use it or lose it" adage can be found in one of Jankovic's patients, former Beaumont, Texas, Mayor Maury Meyers, who not only stays physically active, he also embodies advancements in patient care and research.

For over 10 years, Meyers has organized the Dr. Sol and Miriam Rogers Memorial Golf Tournament, which supports a research endowment at the clinic. In spite of the devastation wrought to the Beaumont area by Hurricane Rita, Meyers' charity tournament raised the most money in its history.

"Parkinson's disease keeps on going, hurricanes or not," said Jankovic.

Meyers, who also played in the recent tournament for the first time, currently shoots in the mid-80s for 18 holes in a sport where a number of people with no physical disabilities at all struggle to avoid the three-digit range. It took Meyers five years to overhaul the mechanics of his swing after first being diagnosed with the debilitating disease.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink

January 16, 2006, 11:40 PM CT

Working Under Influence of Alcohol

Working Under Influence of Alcohol
Workplace alcohol use and impairment directly affects an estimated 15 percent of the U.S. workforce, or 19.2 million workers, according to a recent study conducted at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) and reported in the current issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol.

Information about workplace alcohol use and impairment during the prior 12 months was obtained by telephone interviews from 2,805 employed adults residing in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. The sample of participants was designed to reflect the demographic composition of the adult civilian U.S. workforce from ages 18-65.

Interviews were conducted from January 2002 to June 2003. Those interviewed were asked how often during the prior year they drank alcohol within two hours of reporting to work, drank during the workday, worked under the influence or worked with a hangover.

This is the first study of workplace alcohol use to utilize a representative probability sample of the U.S. workforce.

Based on those responses, Michael R. Frone, Ph.D., principal investigator on the study, estimates that 2.3 million workers (1.8 percent of the workforce) have consumed alcohol at least once before coming to work and 8.9 million workers (7.1 percent of the workforce) have drank alcohol at least once during the workday. Most workers who drink during the workday do so during lunch breaks, though some drink while working or during other breaks.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink

January 15, 2006, 5:34 PM CT

Low-fat Diets And Weight Change

Low-fat Diets And Weight Change
In and accompanying editorial, Michael L. Dansinger, M.D., M.S., of the Tufts-New England Medical Center, and Michael L. Dansinger, M.D., M.S., of the Jean Mayer U.S.D.A. Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, comment on the study by Howard et al.

"Unfortunately, the public has become so entrenched in current obesity prevalence and therapy trends that a number of have come to view lifestyle modification as a mediocre means of preventing and reversing obesity, but this could not be further from the truth. A number of have accepted the belief that living in today's society is incompatible with what is mandatory to apply changes in lifestyle, or even worse-that they barely work. Inadequate lifestyle counseling by physicians might contribute to this perception. However, most able-bodied persons who can find a way to overcome the monumental logistical and psychological barriers that prevent the full application of lifestyle change can reverse obesity within months. It seems simplistic, but a potential solution for the obesity crisis depends directly on finding a means of properly dosing lifestyle change recommendations. The medical profession and society in general have underdosed this potent cure by a long shot."

"Even though the WHI Dietary Modification Trial was not a weight-loss study, the modest weight-loss findings somehow still seem dissatisfying. Much more work needs to be done on the obesity front, including a concerted collective effort focused on developing reliable methods of facilitating high long-term adherence levels to substantial lifestyle efforts-specifically calorie-reduced eating patterns and much more exercise. That is something on which health advocates and popular diet proponents can agree," the authors conclude.

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

January 15, 2006, 5:25 PM CT

Low-fat, High-carbohydrate Diet Does Not Cause Weight Gain

Low-fat, High-carbohydrate Diet Does Not Cause Weight Gain
In a clinical trial of over 48,000 post-menopausal women, a low-fat diet that includes increased consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is not associated with weight gain over an average of 7.5 years, according to a study in the January 4 issue of JAMA.

The prevalence of obesity in the United States has increased dramatically during the past several decades, according to background information in the article. A number of popular diet books have suggested that increasing obesity may be attributed to the diets recommended for chronic disease prevention by various national health organizations, specifically, diets that are lower in total and saturated fat and high in carbohydrates from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains or fiber-rich foods. Proponents of the popular alternative diets have claimed that the higher proportion of carbohydrates in the standard diets may promote weight gain.

Barbara V. Howard, Ph.D., of the MedStar Research Institute, Washington, D.C., and colleagues examined long-term data on the relationships between weight changes and specific changes in dietary components and macronutrient composition. The data were from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Dietary Modification Trial, which was designed to examine the long-term benefits and risks of a dietary pattern low in fat, with increased vegetable, fruit, and grain intake, on breast and colorectal cancers and cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women. Between 1993 and 1998, 48,835 postmenopausal women were randomly assigned to either a low-fat dietary intervention or self-selected dietary control group. The data included body measurements and nutrient data through August 31, 2004, with an average follow-up of 7.5 years. Forty percent (19,541) of the participants were randomized to the intervention and 60 percent (29,294) to a control group. The intervention included group and individual sessions to promote a decrease in fat intake and increases in vegetable, fruit, and grain consumption and did not include weight loss or caloric restriction goals. The control group received diet-related education materials.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

January 15, 2006, 3:05 PM CT

Hope For Children Facing Immune System Disorders

Children Facing Immune System Disorder
For 11 of Lacey Conners's 12 years of life, she's had to visit a hospital every three weeks for an antibody replacement treatment to treat her primary immunodeficiency (PI). On top of being diagnosed with Crohn's disease and heart disease, Lacey's immune system is unable to adequately produce the specific antibodies needed to fight off infection. With the establishment of the Jeffrey Modell Diagnostic Center for Primary Immunodeficiencies, the Emory Children's Center joins children like Lacey on the front line of the fight against PI disorder.

The new Jeffrey Modell Diagnostic Center for Primary Immunodeficiencies at the Emory Children's Center was made possible by a donation from the Jeffrey Modell Foundation (JMF). The center is the only of its kind in Georgia dedicated to the diagnosis and therapy of patients with PI. Emory was designated as a location for one of 23 Jeffrey Modell Diagnostic Centers worldwide because of its excellence in patient care and research into the complex disorders of PI. To date, physicians at Emory have diagnosed and treated over 250 children living with the disorder.

PI includes more than 120 genetic defects that cause a reduced or absent ability for the immune system to produce specific antibodies to fight off infection. It is often misdiagnosed as common chronic childhood illnesses such as sinus and ear infections, pneumonia, fever, and bronchitis. PI illnesses can range from chronic sinusitis to "bubble boy disease," the common term used to describe severe combined immune deficiency.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

January 15, 2006, 2:55 PM CT

Addressing Expecting Moms Concerns

Addresses Expecting Moms Concerns
Is there an Emory doctor in the house? You can find one each month in the pages of Pregnancy Magazine. Gynecologist Stephen Weiss, MD has been appointed as the publication's resident physician, and uses his expertise to educate readers in a monthly QandA column in the magazine geared toward expecting moms.

Dr. Weiss's first column helped readers sort through questions about breast-feeding, toddler tantrums, and fatigue. His upcoming columns will address issues such as incontinence, labor stages, and exercise.

"This is an ideal opportunity for both Emory and 'Pregnancy Magazine'," says Dr. Weiss, an assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology, Emory University School of Medicine. "I'm honored to be able to help answer the unaddressed questions that women have about pregnancy and the transition into motherhood. I may never see most of the women who read my column in my office, but they'll be aware of the commitment and expertise in women's health the Emory team has to offer."

Below are two examples of questions Dr. Weiss answered from the Pregnancy Magazine (January 2006) readers:.

Q: I have been feeling extreme fatigue as a result to giving birth. Sometime it's hard for me to even hold my baby for long periods of time. How can I get my strength back?.........

Posted by: Emily      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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