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July 3, 2006, 9:45 AM CT

Duke To Test Flu Vaccine

Duke To Test Flu Vaccine
A clinical trial to test an influenza vaccine manufactured in Australia begins this month at Duke University Medical Center.

The Duke study is part of a multi-center trial that will test the immune response and reactions of people given the vaccine. CSL Limited, the company manufacturing the vaccine, has been making flu vaccines for nearly 40 years. The trial is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.

In 2004, nearly half of the normal supply of seasonal influenza vaccine in the United States was unavailable when one of two manufacturers of FDA-licensed flu vaccine had to withdraw its product due to safety concerns. This event highlighted the need for a greater number of manufacturers to make their influenza vaccine available in the United States.

"We need to ensure more secure supplies of influenza vaccine," said Emmanuel Walter, M.D., associate director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute's Primary Care Research Consortium and leader of the Duke study.

Trial participants will receive varying strengths of the vaccine. Volunteers will be randomly assigned to different groups, either receiving one of four formulations of the vaccine or a placebo. As with current flu vaccines given yearly in the U.S., the Australian vaccine causes the body's immune system to make antibodies to fight infection, Walter said.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


July 3, 2006, 9:39 AM CT

Grammar School Improves Grandma's Health

Grammar School Improves Grandma's Health
Confining activities to the rocking chair, the beach and the TV couch may be some retirees' idea of good living, but as per new research by experts at Johns Hopkins, published this month on the Journal of Urban Health's Web site, spending some time with young children in the classroom might give them a lot more time to enjoy life.

"Volunteering in a grade school may not seem immediately appealing to older Americans," said Erwin Tan, Ph.D., assistant professor of geriatrics at Johns Hopkins University and lead author of the study. "But honestly, our volunteers say it's an enriching experience, and, it turns out, it may be good for you".

In a study of 113 men and women 60 and older, Hopkins scientists investigated the subjects' physical health as it correlation to their activity levels. Fifty-nine were involved in the Experience Corps Baltimore, a volunteer program designed at Johns Hopkins' Center for Aging, which places elderly volunteers in kindergarten and grammar school classrooms to be mentors and tutors for 15 hours a week. The other 54 individuals were not enrolled in any activity-based volunteer work and served as a comparison group.

The Hopkins scientists concluded that elderly adults who failed suggested U.S. standards for physical activity when they started volunteering in public grammar schools doubled the amount of calories they burned after volunteering for just one school year. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that all Americans be physically active or exercise for half an hour a day, five days a week.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


July 3, 2006, 9:33 AM CT

Tips To Reduce Your Cancer Risk While Grilling

Tips To Reduce Your Cancer Risk While Grilling
Summer is officially here and it's time to fire up the grill. But there's something you should know about some of your summertime favorites. All that barbecuing could be cooking up chemicals that may increase your risk of cancer. As per the American Institute for Cancer Research, these chemicals may be linked to breast, stomach, prostate, and colon cancer.

But Dana-Farber Cancer Institute nutritionist Stephanie Vangsness, RD, LDN, CNSD, says that doesn't mean you have to give up those summertime favorites like burgers, steaks, and ribs. "It's really about being careful and making wise choices."

There are two risk factors to keep in mind. The high heat of grilling reacts with proteins in red meat, poultry, and fish to create heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Studies have linked these chemicals to cancer.

Another form of cancer-causing agents, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), are found in the smoke. They form when fat and juices from meat products drip on to the heat source. As the smoke rises, it can stick to the surface of the meat.

What can you do to lower your risk? Here are some tips to make sure your summer grilling is safe.

Prep the meat.

Choose lean cuts of meat instead of high-fat varieties, such as ribs and sausage. Trim all excess fat and remove the skin.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


June 30, 2006, 0:12 AM CT

Light Cigarette Smokers Less Likely To Quit

Light Cigarette Smokers Less Likely To Quit
People who smoke low-tar and low-nicotine, or "light" cigarettes thinking they will reduce their health risks may actually be less likely to kick the habit, as per research conducted by University of Pittsburgh and Harvard University. As such, light cigarette smokers increase their lifetime risk of a variety of smoking-related diseases suggests the study published online by the American Journal of Public Health.

The analysis, conducted by Hilary Tindle, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, while she was based at Harvard Medical School, found that of 12,285 self-reported smokers, those who used light cigarettes were about 50 percent less likely to quit smoking than those who smoked non-light cigarettes. Smoking light cigarettes was associated with reduced odds of quitting for all age groups, but this effect increased with progressing age, peaking in adults age 65 and older, who were 76 percent less likely to quit than their counterparts who smoked non-light cigarettes.

Additionally, Dr. Tindle and her collaborators, who included Saul Shiffman, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, found that more than a third (37 percent) of the self-reported smokers said they used light cigarettes to reduce their health risks. The majority of these light cigarette smokers were female, Caucasian and highly educated. The responses were obtained as part of the 2000 National Health Interview Survey, an ongoing household survey of the U.S. population conducted by the United States Census Bureau for the National Center for Health Statistics.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 29, 2006, 9:35 PM CT

With Cochlear Implants

With Cochlear Implants
"Bye-bye, bye-bye," said one 3 and a half-year old child, born deaf but with a cochlear implant that partially restored hearing nine months earlier. That's the most complex speech the child uttered during a testing session that involved play with a toy train set.

In contrast, a child of the same age who had a cochlear implant 31 months earlier made more sophisticated statements: "OK, now the people goes to stand there with that noise and now -- Woo! Woo!" and "OK, the train's coming to get the animals and people."

The testing session was part of research that indicates the earlier a deaf infant or toddler receives a cochlear implant, the better his or her spoken language skills at age 3 and a half. The research was conducted by Johanna Grant Nicholas, Ph.D., research associate professor of otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and colleague Ann E. Geers, Ph.D., from the Southwestern Medical School at the University of Texas at Dallas.

"Ninety percent of children born deaf are born to hearing parents, and these parents know very little about deafness," Nicholas says. "They don't know how to have a conversation in sign language or teach it to their children. A number of of these parents would like their children to learn spoken language."........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


June 28, 2006, 11:59 PM CT

No Need To Avoid Chocolate, Wine, Or Spicy Foods

No Need To Avoid Chocolate, Wine, Or Spicy Foods
Patients have been known to hug Lauren Gerson, MD, so overjoyed are they at hearing her words. What does she say to them? Go ahead and eat chocolate. Indulge your passion for spicy cuisine. Drink red wine. Enjoy coffee when you want it, have that orange juice with breakfast and, what the heck, eat a grapefruit, too. Gerson says that for most heartburn patients, there's insufficient evidence to support the notion that eating these foods will make heartburn worse - or that cutting them out will make it go away.

A number of of Gerson's patients walk into her clinic upset, having been advised elsewhere to severely limit their diets to help reduce their heartburn symptoms. But recent research by Gerson, assistant professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, indicates there's no evidence to support a need for dietary deprivation, except for the unlucky few whose heartburn is clearly triggered by a particular food.

Gerson's advice runs counter to the long-standing recommendations of virtually every professional organization of gastroenterologists, including the American College of Gastroenterology, as well as the National Institutes of Health. For the past 15 to 20 years, the standard therapy for heartburn has been to cut out the aforementioned culinary joys - along with fried and fatty foods, all alcoholic and carbonated beverages, tobacco and mint - and to stop eating three hours before lying down. In addition, you're advised to keep your weight under control. Those changes in lifestyle coupled with antacids and various over-the-counter and prescription medications have been the accepted first line of therapy.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


June 28, 2006, 11:56 PM CT

Taij Benefit Older Adults

Taij Benefit Older Adults Image courtesy of achinatravel.com
New work by scientists at the University of Illinois lends strength to prior research documenting the health benefits of Qigong and Taiji among elderly adults who practice these ancient Chinese martial-arts forms.

Qigong (chee-kung) and Taiji (tye-chee) - or Tai Chi, as it is more usually known in the U.S. - combine simple, graceful movements and meditation. Qigong, which dates to the middle of the first millennium B.C., is a series of integrated exercises believed to have positive, relaxing effects on a person's mind, body and spirit. Tai Chi is a holistic form of exercise, and a type of Qigong that melds Chinese philosophy with martial and healing arts.

"Traditional Tai Chi training includes Qigong, but most contemporary Tai Chi scientists have omitted Qigong from their research," said visiting kinesiology professor Yang Yang. "As a result, prior scientists may not have documented all of the health benefits possible from traditional Tai Chi training".

Yang, a Tai Chi master with three decades of experience, said Tai Chi and Qigong are relatively simple, safe and inexpensive, and require no props or special equipment, making them easily adaptable for practice by healthy senior citizens.

In two studies - one quantitative, one qualitative - presented recently at the North American Research Conference on Complementary & Integrative Medicine, lead researcher Yang found that healthy seniors who practiced a combination of Qigong and Tai Chi three times a week for six months experienced significant physical benefits after only two months.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 28, 2006, 11:49 PM CT

First Human Trial Of Antibacterial Contact Lens

First Human Trial Of Antibacterial Contact Lens
Biotechnology company Biosignal Ltd and the Institute for Eye Research have received ethics approval for the first human clinical trial of an antibacterial extended-wear contact lens.

The ASX-listed company commercialises a novel anti-bacterial technology identified by UNSW scientists at the Centre for Marine Biofouling and Bioinnovation.

The trial beginning on June 29 will compare the safety performance of an antibacterial contact lens to that of a standard contact lens.

The comparison involving ten people will evaluate eye health, lens performance on the eye and wearers' subjective responses. Biosignal will announce the trial's results to the market in July.

"Adverse events caused by microbial contamination of contact lenses are a major impediment to more convenient, extended wear of contact lenses," says UNSW Professor Mark Willcox, who will supervise the trial. "This trial is the first significant step towards overcoming this significant problem".

Acute red eye occurs in 20 percent per year of the estimated 100 million wearers of contact lenses worldwide. Microbial keratitis, a serous eye disease that can cause blindness, occurs in one in 500 contact lens wearers per year if they sleep in lenses. There is currently no antibacterial contact lens in the market.........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink         Source


June 27, 2006, 11:51 PM CT

Smoking, Obesity And Erectile Dysfunction

Smoking, Obesity And Erectile Dysfunction
What's the link between smoking, obesity and erectile dysfunction? That's exactly what researchers from the Harvard University School of Public Health is trying to answer. These researchers have found that obesity and smoking are strongly associated with a greater risk of erectile dysfunction (ED). Meanwhile, regular physical activity appeared to have a significant impact on lowering the risk of ED. This is the first large-scale prospective study to examine the links between ED and smoking, obesity, alcohol and a sedentary lifestyle. The study will appear in the July 2006 issue of The Journal of Urology.

The researchers, led by Constance Bacon, a former post-doctoral fellow at HSPH, and Eric Rimm , associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at HSPH, surveyed 22,086 healthy subjects between the ages of 40 and 75 from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who reported good or very good erectile function and no major chronic disease before 1986. Among the participants, 17.7 percent (3,905) reported new onset of ED between 1986 and 2000. The scientists adjusted the results to take into account those with and without prostate cancer during the follow-up period, since prostate cancer therapys, such as radiation or surgery, may lead to ED.

The results showed that both smoking and obesity were associated with a higher risk of the development of ED among previously healthy men with good erectile function. The scientists also found that regular physical activity showed a strong inverse association with ED risk. "We found a 2.5-fold difference in risk of ED when we compared obese men who did little exercise with men who were not overweight and averaged 30 minutes of vigorous exercise a day. (Obesity was defined as a body mass index of more than 30 kilograms in weight divided by the square of height in meters.) For men younger than 55 there was a 4-fold difference in risk for the same comparison," said Rimm. Alcohol consumption did not increase the risk of ED. In general, men without prostate cancer showed stronger associations with these lifestyle factors than those with prostate cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 26, 2006, 10:55 PM CT

Cell Phone Emissions Excite The Brain Cortex

Cell Phone Emissions Excite The Brain Cortex
Electromagnetic fields from cell phones excite the brain cortex adjacent to it, with potential implications for individuals with epilepsy, or other neurological conditions. This finding is published in Annals of Neurology, a journal by John Wiley & Sons. The article is also available online via Wiley Interscience (www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/ana).

More than 500 million people in the world use cell phones which emit electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Though many studies have looked at the effects of EMFs on the body, few have focused on their effects on the brain. Such effects could be harmful, neutral, or beneficial and might be particularly important for individuals with conditions involving cortical excitability, such as epilepsy.

Researchers in Italy, led by Paolo M. Rossini, M.D., Ph.D. of Fatebenefratelli, used Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to investigate brain function under exposure to electromagnetic fields from a common type of cell phone. Their study reports the effects of EMF exposure on brain physiology for the first time.

The researchers developed a double-blind study in which 15 young male volunteers were exposed to EMF signals from a GSM 900 cell phone for 45 minutes. They measured Motor Evoked Potentials (MEPs) during motor cortex TMS before, and immediately after EMF exposure, and also one hour later.........

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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