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May 2, 2008, 8:17 AM CT

Blood pressure killing the world's workers

Blood pressure killing the world's workers
In a todays issue of The Lancet, international health experts call for urgent action from international development banks and pharmaceutical companies to stem the epidemic of blood pressure-related diseases affecting developing countries worldwide.

New findings reveal that each year 8 million people die from heart disease and stroke, the two leading blood pressure-related diseases. The majority of these deaths occur in the developing world where victims are often workers, whose deaths directly result in poverty for families and other dependents. As per the authors these deaths are largely avoidable, but no substantive effort to address this issue has been made by the international development banks or the major drug companies.

Author and Principal Director of The George Institute for International Health in Sydney, Professor Stephen MacMahon said today, Ten years ago, The Global Burden of Disease Project predicted this epidemic, yet none of the key players who determine priorities for international health investment have made any real effort to address the problem. As a consequence in the last decade, blood pressure related diseases have killed more than 50 million people, disabled a number of more and taken billions of dollars from the already fragile economies of the developing world.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 30, 2008, 5:55 PM CT

Salk study links diabetes and Alzheimer's disease

Salk study links diabetes and Alzheimer's disease
Diabetic individuals have a significantly higher risk of developing Alzheimers disease but the molecular correlation between the two remains unexplained. Now, scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies identified the probable molecular basis for the diabetes Alzheimers interaction.

As per a research findings reported in the current online issue of Neurobiology of Aging, researchers led by David R. Schubert, Ph.D., professor in the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, report that the blood vessels in the brain of young diabetic mice are damaged by the interaction of elevated blood glucose levels characteristic of diabetes and low levels of beta amyloid, a peptide that clumps to form the senile plaques that riddle the brains of Alzheimers patients.

Eventhough the damage took place long before the first plaques appeared, the mice suffered from significant memory loss and an increase in inflammation in the brain. Eventhough the toxic beta amyloid peptide was first isolated from the brain blood vessels of Alzheimers patients, the contribution of pathological changes in brain vascular tissue to the disease has not been well studied, says Dave R. Schubert, Ph.D., professor and head of the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory. Our data clearly describe a biochemical mechanism to explain the epidemiology, and identify targets for drug development.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 30, 2008, 5:26 PM CT

Elderly heart patients with ICD devices live longer

Elderly heart patients with ICD devices live longer
Elderly patients diagnosed with congestive heart failure who receive implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) for primary prevention of sudden cardiac death live longer than those that do not, as per scientists at the University of Pennsylvanias School of Medicine. Further, the health care costs linked to ICDs, while substantial at the time of implantation, do not greatly increase downstream health care costs in this population. The study is among the first to analyze the health outcomes and costs linked to primary prevention ICDs for patients outside of a clinical trial setting.

Scientists examined health care data from a nationally representative sample of 14,250 Medicare beneficiaries over age 66 who were treated for congestive heart failure at over 2,000 academic and community hospitals nationwide. Peter Groeneveld, M.D., M.S., Assistant Professor of General Internal Medicine, and his co-authors reported their findings in the May 2008 issue of the journal Heart Rhythm.

Scientists observed that, on average, patients receiving ICDselectric monitoring devices that deliver a lifesaving shock to the heartfor primary prevention had a 38 percent lower mortality rate than patients who did not. Thirteen percent of patients who received ICDs died in the first year after implantation, compared with 23 percent of patients who did not receive ICDs. During the second year, the gap widened, as 17 percent of ICD recipients died, compared with 29 percent who did not receive the device.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 28, 2008, 9:53 PM CT

Will you be misdiagnosed?

Will you be misdiagnosed?
New York, April 28, 2008 How frequently do doctors misdiagnose patients? While research has demonstrated that the great majority of medical diagnoses are correct, the answer is probably higher than patients expect and certainly higher than doctors realize. In a Supplement to the recent issue of The American Journal of Medicine, a collection of articles and commentaries sheds light on the causes underlying misdiagnoses and demonstrates a nontrivial rate of diagnostic error that ranges from <5% in the perceptual specialties (pathology, radiology, dermatology) up to 10% to 15% in a number of other fields.

The sensitive issue of diagnostic error is rarely discussed and has been understudied. The papers in this volume confirm the extent of diagnostic errors and suggest improvement will best come by developing systems to provide physicians with better feedback on their own errors.

Guest Editors Mark L. Graber, MD, FACP (Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Northport, NY and Department of Medicine, SUNY Stony Book) and Eta S. Berner, EdD (School of Health Professions, University of Alabama at Birmingham) oversaw the development and compilation of these papers. Drs. Berner and Graber conducted an extensive literature review concerning teaching, learning, reasoning and decision making as they relate to diagnostic error and overconfidence and developed a framework for strategies to address the problem.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 28, 2008, 8:48 PM CT

Language skills develop at 6

Language skills develop at 6
Psychology experts at the University of Liverpool have discovered that children as young as six are as adept at recognising possible verbs and their past tenses as adults.

In a study conducted by the Universitys Child Language Study Centre, children aged between six and nine were given sentences containing made-up verbs such as the duck likes to spling and were asked to judge the acceptability of possible past tense forms. The study focused on the process the children used to come to their conclusions rather than whether their answers were right or wrong.

They observed that the childrens judgements followed a virtually identical pattern to those of linguistics students who took part in a similar study at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the US.

University of Liverpool psychology expert, Ben Ambridge, said: Prior studies have concentrated on getting children to produce past tense forms for made-up words. This study is unique in that the children were asked to judge the acceptability of different forms that we gave them.

One of the main questions raised when looking at childrens ability to pick up their native language is whether abstract symbolic rules or the use of memory and comparison affect how a child attributes past tenses to words.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 24, 2008, 10:26 PM CT

Racial disparities in smoking cessation treatment

Racial disparities in smoking cessation treatment
A new study from the American Cancer Society finds black and Hispanic smokers are less likely than whites to receive and use smoking cessation advice and aids. The study, published in the recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, also finds men and those without a usual source of medical care were less likely to be screened for tobacco use and receive advice to quit.

Members of several racial and ethnic minority populations bear a disproportionate share of the adverse health consequences of tobacco use. There is strong evidence that interventions, ranging from a health care workers brief advice to quit to extensive counseling and the use of pharmaceutical and behavioral adjuncts, can considerably improve cessation rates in smokers. Smoking is associated with socioeconomic disadvantage and is an important contributor to inequalities in health.

For their study, American Cancer Society researchers led by Vilma Cokkinides, Ph.D., analyzed survey results from 4756 smokers (aged 18 and older) who visited a healthcare provider within the past year. All were participants in the 2005 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The analysis found that compared to white smokers, black and Hispanic smokers were less likely to have been asked about tobacco use (85 percent in whites versus 77 percent in blacks and 72 percent in Hispanics); less likely to have been advised to quit (63 percent in whites versus 55 percent in blacks and 48 percent in Hispanics); and less likely to have used tobacco-cessation aids during the past year in a quit attempt (38 percent in whites versus 24 percent in blacks and 21 percent in Hispanics).These racial/ethnic differences in the use of smoking cessation remained significant even after controlling for various other factors (for example, health insurance coverage, or socio-economics status of smokers).........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 24, 2008, 10:21 PM CT

Docs need better bedside manners

Docs need better bedside manners
As the 2008 national presidential election heats up, one topic remains a voter hot button and a constant debate issue the health care crisis in America. Political affiliations aside, there is one aspect everyone can agree on the importance of access to quality health care. But what defines quality health care today" As per a new survey conducted by Kelton Research for the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, a vast majority of Americans wish their doctors demonstrated the care in the term heath care. The survey unveiled that nearly eight out of ten polled (78 percent) complain that todays doctors need better bedside manners and less than half of survey respondents could describe their doctors recent conduct as attentive (49 percent), communicative (44 percent) or compassionate (32 percent) at their last medical visit.

A number of past studies have shown a strong connection between patient and doctor satisfaction and better overall patient outcomes when doctors develop a relationship with their patients, said Arnold P. Gold, MD, founder of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. What this survey shows us is that patients are still craving for their doctor to see the person behind the prognosis and really want a connectedness with their doctor.

As the leading Foundation dedicated to keeping the care in healthcare, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation sponsored the online survey of 1,000 Americans over the age of 18 to garner patient perceptions about their physicians commitment to providing compassionate care. Survey respondents indicate that along with the need for better beside manner, less than half (47 percent) of the doctors visited have displayed an interest in their overall well-being as a person rather than the specific ailment at hand. In addition, a number of Americans report that their dissatisfaction with doctors is due to an experience of disconnection, such as the doctor making them feel rushed (40 percent), not providing enough opportunity to discuss their concerns and questions (36 percent), or even being outright rude or condescending (23 percent).........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 22, 2008, 9:27 PM CT

Low grades, bad behavior? Siblings may be to blame

Low grades, bad behavior? Siblings may be to blame
We all know the story of a man named Brady and the group that somehow formed a family. But if the iconic 70s sitcom about a blended family reflected reality, the Brady Bunch likely would have been dealing with much more than silly sibling squabbles.

Heres the real story: On average, adolescents living with half- or stepsiblings have lower grades and more school-related behavior problems, and these problems may not improve over time, as per Florida State University Assistant Professor of Sociology Kathryn Harker Tillman.

These findings imply that family formation patterns that bring together children who have different sets of biological parents may not be in the best interests of the children involved, Tillman said. Yet one-half of all American stepfamilies include children from prior relationships of both partners, and the majority of parents in stepfamilies go on to have additional children together.

A number of studies have focused on the structure of parent-child relations in connection to academic achievement, but Tillmans study is unique in that it focuses on the composition of the entire family unit. Tillman studied data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative study of more than 11,000 adolescents in grades 7 through 12 in the United States. Her study is reported in the journal Social Science Research.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 22, 2008, 9:18 PM CT

Ozone Air Pollution and Premature Death

Ozone Air Pollution and Premature Death
Ozone hole
Short-term exposure to current levels of ozone in a number of areas is likely to contribute to premature deaths, says a new National Research Council report, which adds that the evidence is strong enough that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should include ozone-related mortality in health-benefit analyses correlation to future ozone standards. The committee that wrote the report was not asked to consider how evidence has been used by EPA to set ozone standards, including the new public health standard set by the agency last month.

Ozone, a key component of smog, can cause respiratory problems and other health effects. In addition, evidence of a relationship between short-term -- less than 24 hours -- exposure to ozone and mortality has been mounting, but interpretations of the evidence have differed, prompting EPA to request the Research Council report. In particular, the agency asked the committee to analyze the ozone-mortality link and assess methods for assigning a monetary value to lives saved for the health-benefits assessments.

Based on a review of recent research, the committee observed that deaths correlation to ozone exposure are more likely among individuals with pre-existing diseases and other factors that could increase their susceptibility. However, premature deaths are not limited to people who are already within a few days of dying.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 17, 2008, 7:45 PM CT

Parents stricter with older kids to set example

Parents stricter with older kids to set example
Parents are more likely to punish their teen's risky behavior when there are younger kids in the family, driven by a desire to set a strict example for these siblings, says new game theory research from the University of Maryland, Duke University and The Johns Hopkins University.

The research team used economic game theory to predict levels of parental discipline. Parental concern for their reputation as a disciplinarian with the younger children would be a powerful motivator, they predicted.

Their study, reported in the April edition of the Economic Journal, concludes that the exercise of parental control is effective in modifying the risky adolescent behavior.

This is particularly true in the case of the older children, who expect stronger penalties because their parents are making an example of them.

But as the younger siblings grow up and the games get played out a second or third time, the parents resolve tends to dwindle, the scientists say.

Tender-hearted parents find it harder and harder to engage in tough love as they have fewer young children in the house, since they have less incentive to uphold reputations as disciplinarians, says University of Maryland economist, Ginger Gin, one of three co-authors of the study, and herself an older sister and a parent of two. As a result, the theory predicts that last-born and only children, knowing that they can get away with much more than their older brothers and sisters, are, on average, more likely to engage in risky behaviors.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         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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