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December 13, 2006, 5:41 PM CT

Moderate Drinking May Help Older Women Live Longer

Moderate Drinking May Help Older Women Live Longer
A study published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society finds that moderate alcohol intake (1-2 drinks/day for 3-6 days/week, depending on alcoholic content) may lead to increased quality of life and survival in older women. The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health followed nearly 12,000 women in their 70's over a 6 year period. The group was comprised of non-drinkers, occasional drinkers and moderate drinkers.

The study observed that non-drinkers and women who rarely drank had a significantly higher risk of dying during the survey period than did women who drank moderately. Of those who survived, the women who drank the least reported the lowest health-related quality of life. Prior studies have shown that women who have at least one drink per day stand at a lower risk for cardiovascular disease and ischemic stroke than non-drinkers.

"The results of this study indicate that moderate alcohol intake in keeping with current guidelines may carry some health benefits for older women," says Dr. Julie Ellen Byles, author of the study. This contrasts prior studies which have suggested that moderate alcohol intake can be detrimental to older women and may lead to accidents, cancers, even dementia.

The potential causes of increased health and survival may be ingredients found in wine or ethanol, the social and pleasurable benefits of drinking or the improved appetite and nutrition that often accompanies modest alcohol intake. The author notes that the study does not advocate non-drinkers to begin drinking. Changes in diet need to be determined through consultation with a doctor due to the potential complications of mixing alcohol and medication.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


December 13, 2006, 5:08 AM CT

Acid Reflux Disease Linked To Obesity

Acid Reflux Disease Linked To Obesity
As per a new article in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GRD), more usually known as, acid reflux, is associated with obesity. Since (GRD) is strongly linked to more serious conditions, such as esophageal ulcers and cancer, weight reduction treatment may be useful in therapy and prevention of these conditions.

"The condition is very common, but prior studies have not been successful at pinpointing risk factors for the condition," says Douglas Corley, author of the study. "Because we evaluated the results of 20 studies on the subject, we were able to better identify and understand the association between obesity and acid reflux."

In a nation becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of obesity, this new finding provides yet another reason to discuss weight management with a physician. "We know that an increase in body weight increases the chance of having heartburn and acid reflux, which can increase the risk of esophageal ulcers and cancer," says Corley. "While we can't say at this time that weight loss treatment is definitely the solution to this condition, it certainly warrants further research as a therapy".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


December 12, 2006, 5:00 AM CT

Daily Weighing and Quick Action Keeps Pounds Off

Daily Weighing and Quick Action Keeps Pounds Off
Stepping on the scale every day, then cutting calories and boosting exercise if the numbers run too high, can significantly help dieters maintain weight loss, as per results of the first program designed specifically for weight loss maintenance. Study results are reported in the New England Journal (NEJM).

Unlike other obesity studies, which focus on how to lose weight, the "STOP Regain" trial tested a method that taught participants how to keep those pounds from coming back - regardless of the method they used to lose the weight in the first place.

Led by Rena Wing, professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown Medical School and director of the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center at The Miriam Hospital, the study taught successful dieters a technique called "self-regulation." With the goal of maintaining their weight within five pounds, participants were taught to weigh themselves daily and use the information from the scale to determine if they needed to adjust their diet or exercise routine.

The intervention worked: Significantly fewer participants regained five or more pounds during the 18-month-long program. The program was most successful when delivered in face-to-face meetings, eventhough the Internet also proved a viable way to help participants maintain their weight loss.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


December 11, 2006, 9:17 PM CT

Cutting Back On Cigarettes May Not Work

Cutting Back On Cigarettes May Not Work
Heavy smokers who have reduced their number of daily cigarettes still experience significantly greater exposure to toxins per cigarette than light smokers, as per a new study by scientists at the University of Minnesota.

Even when smokers in the two groups smoked as few as five cigarettes a day, heavy smokers who reduced their cigarette intake experienced two to three times the amount of total toxin exposure per cigarette when compared with light smokers, scientists report in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

In addition, scientists found that the more that heavy smokers reduced their smoking, the more likely they were to increase their exposure to toxicants per cigarette presumably because they took more frequent puffs or inhaled deeper or longer on each cigarette, a process referred to as "compensatory smoking." As a result, smokers who decreased their smoking to as little as one to three cigarettes per day experienced a four- to eight-fold increased exposure to toxins per cigarette as compared with light smokers.

Compensatory smoking occurs because smokers are trying to maintain a specific level of nicotine in their bodies, says Dorothy K. Hatsukami, Ph.D., lead author of the study and director of the University's Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center in Minneapolis. Other factors, such as the sensory aspects of smoking, also may play a role in compensatory smoking, Hatsukami says.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


December 10, 2006, 9:13 PM CT

Reduced Body Temperature Extends Lifespan

Reduced Body Temperature Extends Lifespan
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have found that reducing the core body temperature of mice extends their median lifespan by up to 20 percent. This is the first time that changes in body temperature have been shown to affect lifespan in warm-blooded animals.

The findings appear in a paper in the journal Science on November 3.

"Our study shows it is possible to increase lifespan in mice by modest but prolonged lowering of core body temperature," said Bruno Conti, an associate professor at Scripps Research who led the study. "This longer lifespan was attained independent of calorie restriction".

Prior to this study, researchers had known that core body temperature and aging were related in cold-blooded animals. Scientists had also known that lifespan could be extended in warm-blooded animals by reducing the number of calories they consumed, which also lowered core body temperature. But the degree of calorie restriction needed to extend lifespan is not easy to achieve, even in mice.

Prior to the current study, critical questions about the relation between calorie restriction, core body temperature, and lifespan remained unanswered. Was calorie restriction itself responsible for longer lifespan, with reduced body temperature simply a consequence? Or was the reduction of core body temperature a key contributor to the beneficial effects of calorie restriction? Conti and colleagues wanted to find out.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


December 8, 2006, 5:12 AM CT

Electronic Medical Record Triples Rate Of Osteoporosis Screenings

Electronic Medical Record Triples Rate Of Osteoporosis Screenings
Use of the Electronic Health Record tripled the rate of osteoporosis screenings in women who are at risk for the disease, as per a research studyconducted recently by a team of Geisinger Health System researchers.

About half of those who were screened were considered high-risk for the disease, the study found.

An estimated 10 million Americans suffer from the disease and the nation collectively spends about $18 billion per year on bone fractures correlation to osteoporosis.

EHR-screening programs can help improve those numbers, make patients' everyday lives less painful and save doctors time and resources, said Dr. Eric Newman, Geisinger's Director of Rheumatology.

The EHR was used to identify women who had not had bone density screens for osteoporosis in the last two years. Those women were sent letters and received telephone calls if their records were flagged.

"This is pretty significant," said Dr. William Ayoub of Geisinger Medical Group-Scenery Park, State College, one of the study's authors. "The EHR is streamlining the screening process and letting people know about a potential health concern before it becomes a major problem."

The EHR screening program was started in two Geisinger family practice clinics near State College, Pa. It was so successful that there are now plans to implement the program at other sites throughout the Geisinger system, Newman said.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


December 8, 2006, 5:07 AM CT

Viagra Against Cancer?

Viagra Against Cancer?
Sildenafil and other "impotence drugs" that boost the production of a gassy chemical messenger to dilate blood vessels and produce an erection now also show promise in unmasking cancer cells so that the immune system can recognize and attack them, say researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

Tests at Hopkins on mice with implanted colon and breast tumors showed that tumor size decreased two- and threefold in sildenafil-treated animals, in comparison to mice that did not get the drug. In mice engineered to lack an immune system, tumors were unaffected, proof of principle, the researchers say, that the drug is abetting the immune system's own cellular response to cancer.

In a report reported in the Nov. 27 issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, the Hopkins team says boosted levels of the chemical messenger nitric oxide appear to dampen the effects of a specialized cell that diverts the immune system away from tumors, allowing swarms of cancer-attacking T-cells to migrate to tumor sites in the rodents.

Lab-grown cancer cells treated with sildenafil showed similar results, as did tissue samples taken from 14 head and neck cancer and multiple myeloma patients.

Sildenafil, marketed under the trade name Viagra, is one of a class of drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction in millions of men, and in recent years, its ability to stimulate the production of NO has been investigated by experts in diseases associated with the activity of blood vessels and blood components.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


December 6, 2006, 8:17 PM CT

Sleep Problems In Overweight Children

Sleep Problems In Overweight Children
One-fourth of overweight children may have sleep problems that regular physical activity can largely resolve, scientists say.

Research reported in the recent issue of Obesity shows a surprising 25 out of 100 overweight, inactive children tested positive for sleep-disordered breathing, including telltale snoring.

After about three months of vigorous after-school physical activity such as jumping rope, basketball and tag games, the number of children who tested positive for a sleep disorder was cut in half, as per lead researcher, Dr. Catherine L. Davis. In children who exercised the longest, the number was reduced by 80 percent.

The children were among 100 black and white boys and girls ages 7 to 11 enrolled in a study looking at the effect of exercise on metabolism. For the purposes of that study, the children were divided into three groups: a control group as well as those who exercised 20 or 40 minutes daily.

In fact scientists found the average score for all children who exercised - even those who did not test positive for sleep disorders - improved on the Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire.

"Existing data suggests about two percent of children have sleep problems but with 37 percent of children now considered overweight, the percentage may be much higher," says Dr. Davis, clinical health psychology expert at the Medical College of Georgia and the study's first author.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


December 6, 2006, 8:08 PM CT

Asian Immigrants Have Fewer Mental Health Problems

Asian Immigrants Have Fewer Mental Health Problems
Immigrants from Asia have lower rates of psychiatric disorders than American-born Asians and other native-born Americans, as per the first national epidemiological survey of Asian Americans in the United States.

The study showed different mental health patterns among women and men, with birthplace the key factor for women and English-language proficiency the main variable among men. Asian-American immigrant women were far less likely to suffer from a depressive, anxiety, substance abuse or psychiatric disorder in their lifetime than were U.S.-born women. Immigrant men who reported good or excellent English skills were less likely to have mental health problems than were those who had poorer English proficiency or American-born men.

"In comparison to all Americans, Asian Americans had lower lifetime rates of any disorder," said David Takeuchi, a sociologist and University of Washington social work professor and lead author of the study. "Roughly 48 percent of Americans will have some kind of a lifetime disorder. In our study, less than one in four Asian-American immigrants will have a disorder. However, that won't necessarily be the case for their children and grandchildren. If trends continue, rates for them will go up and that suggests that more investment is needed for prevention programs."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


December 5, 2006, 9:26 PM CT

Virtual Reality Can Improve Memory

Virtual Reality Can Improve Memory
Conventional wisdom tells us that experience is the best teacher. But a new study of virtual marketing strategies finds that this isn't always true. Ann E. Schlosser (University of Washington) tested how well people used a camera after learning about its functions two different ways: either through an interactive virtual rendition or through text and static pictures. She observed that though virtual experiences improved people's memories of the camera's functions, it also increased false positives that is, more people believed it could do things that it couldn't do.

"Eventhough object interactivity may improve memory of associations in comparison to static pictures and text, it may lead to the creation of vivid internally-generated recollections that pose as memories," Schlosser writes in the recent issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

In addition, though the virtual experience was better for retaining information, it didn't help test subjects recognize the actual items when presented in real life: "The benefits of learning via virtual experience may come with costs: the ease of generating mental images may create later confusion regarding whether a retrieved mental image waccording toceived or imagined," she writes.

Schlosser also warns that while it might seem advantageous if consumers think a product has features it doesn't actually have, this can actually lead to customer dissatisfaction. She explains, "Consumers who discover that the product does not have these attributes will likely feel misled by the company".........

Posted by: Daniel      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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