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June 12, 2006, 11:50 PM CT

Why That Cold Sore Keep Coming Back?

Why That Cold Sore Keep Coming Back?
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered part of the reason why cold sores, caused by a herpes virus, come back again and again. The new study, published online last month in Nature, points to a small RNA molecule, called a microRNA (miRNA) as the culprit that keeps the latent virus-infected cell alive. These findings could one day lead to a new way to fight the virus and offers the first target for intervention in the latent infection.

A research team led by Nigel W. Fraser, PhD, Professor of Microbiology, has found that herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), the virus that causes cold sores and ocular keratitis, produces an miRNA molecule. This miRNA is encoded by the Latency-Associated Transcript gene (LAT) in the viral genome and works through a process called RNA interference to prevent normal cell death or apoptosis. Thus, the latent viral infection is maintained for the lifetime of the individual because the latently infected cell does not die.

"Eventhough miRNAs encoded by cellular genes are known to be an important mechanism for controlling gene expression, this is one of the first miRNA found to be encoded by a viral genome," says Fraser. "Our study helps show how HSV-1 can maintain a latent infection for the lifetime of an infected individual."........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source

June 12, 2006, 11:42 PM CT

Are You Happier At Younger Age?

Are You Happier At Younger Age?
Back when he was 20 years old in 1965, rock star Pete Townshend wrote the line "I hope I die before I get old" into a song, "My Generation" that launched his band, the Who, onto the rock 'n' roll scene.

But a unique new study suggests that Townshend may have fallen victim to a common, and mistaken, belief: That the happiest days of people's lives occur when they're young.

In fact, the study finds, both young people and older people believe that young people are happier than older people -- when in fact research has shown the opposite. And while both older and younger adults tend to equate old age with unhappiness for other people, individuals tend to think they'll be happier than most in their old age.

In other words, the young Pete Townshend may have thought others of his generation would be miserable in old age. And now that he's 61, he might look back and think he himself was happier back then. But the opposite is likely to be true: Older people "mis-remember" how happy they were as youths, just as youths "mis-predict" how happy (or unhappy) they will be as they age.

The study, performed by VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System and University of Michigan researchers, involved more than 540 adults who were either between the ages of 21 and 40, or over age 60. All were asked to rate or predict their own individual happiness at their current age, at age 30 and at age 70, and also to judge how happy most people are at those ages. The results are reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Happiness Studies, a major research journal in the field of positive psychology.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

June 11, 2006, 8:03 AM CT

Before Prohibition

Before Prohibition
A number of of the substances prohibited today were legally available in the past. This small exposition contains samples of the a number of psychoactive medicines widely available during the late-19th century through the mid-20th century. Some of the pictures are oversized to improve legibility. Additional photographs are available for some products in the author's private collection. For a quick comparison with current drug regulations, see Drug Schedules.

The prohibition of psychoactive substances has evolved gradually in the United States and in Europe. The opium-containing preparation laudanum had been widely available since the 18th century. Morphine, cocaine, and even heroin were seen as miracle cures when they were first discovered. During the mid to late 19th century, a number of manufacturers proudly proclaimed that their products contained cocaine or opium. A few, like Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup for infants which contained morphine, were more guarded in divulging their principal ingredients. By the beginning of the 20th century, problems with habitual use of cocaine and opiates was becoming increasingly apparent. This led to the removal of these substances from some products (e.g., Coca Cola) and to the introduction of the Pure Food and Drug Act (1906) in the United States which mandatory the listing of ingredients on product labels. Nonetheless, standard narcotic remedies like paregoric remained readily available into the early 20th century, and Benzedrine inhalers were marketed without prescription until the early 1950s. Codeine wasn't removed from most over-the-counter cough suppressants until the early part of 1980s.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

June 10, 2006, 7:12 PM CT

Women's Skin Tone Influences Perception Of Beauty

Women's Skin Tone Influences Perception Of Beauty
Using a revolutionary imaging process, a new study is revealing that wrinkles aren't the only cue the human eye looks for to evaluate age. Researchers at the Ludwig-Boltzmann-Institute for Urban Ethology (Austria) and the Department for Sociobiology/Anthropology at the University of Goettingen (Gera number of), have shown that facial skin color distribution, or tone, can add, or subtract, as much as 20 years to a woman's age. The study is to be presented at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society (HBES) annual meeting, June 7-11, 2006, in Philadelphia, PA. The study used 3-D imaging and morphing software technologies to remove wrinkles and bone structure from the equation to determine the true impact of facial skin color distribution on the perception of a woman's age, health and attractiveness and is currently in the edit acceptance process with the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.

"Until now, skin's overall homogeneity and color saturation received little attention among behavioral scientists. This study helps us better understand that wrinkles are not the only age cue. Skin tone and luminosity may be a major signal for mate selection and attractiveness, as well according toceived age," says lead researcher Dr. Karl Grammer, Founder and Scientific Director of the Ludwig-Boltzmann-Institute for Urban Ethology, University of Vienna, Austria.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

June 10, 2006, 7:00 PM CT

Migraine Headaches And Sexual Desire

Migraine Headaches And Sexual Desire
Contrary to the popular cliche, "Not tonight, I have a headache," new research suggests that not all headache sufferers avoid sexual activity. In fact, migraine sufferers reported higher levels of sexual desire than those with other types of headaches, as per scientists from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and his colleagues.

"Our study suggests that sexual desire and migraine headaches may be influenced by the same brain chemical," said Timothy Houle, Ph.D., lead author and research assistant professor of anesthesiology. "The results support the idea that migraine, as a syndrome, is associated with other common phenomena. Understanding of this link will help us to better understand the nature of migraine and perhaps lead to improved therapy."

The research, involving 68 young adults from Chicago, will appear in an upcoming issue of Headache, published by the American Headache Society, and already is available on line.

The objective of the study was to examine the relationship between migraine headache and self-reported sexual desire. There is evidence of a complex relationship between sexual activity and headache. Both sexual desire and migraine headache have been linked to levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that also plays a role in depression. An excess of serotonin may be associated with decreased libido, and migraine sufferers are reported to have low system levels of the brain chemical. Serotonin has also been found to play a role in migraine attacks.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

June 10, 2006, 6:08 PM CT

Vaccine Against Nicotine Addiction

Vaccine Against Nicotine Addiction
UCSF's Habit Abatement Clinic is testing a vaccine that enlists help from the immune system to keep nicotine away from the brain. The vaccine is designed to help smokers quit and to limit the urge to start smoking again.

Called NicVax, the investigational vaccine is being developed by Nabi Biopharmaceuticals to prevent and treat nicotine addiction and to help people quit smoking. Normally when a smoker inhales, nicotine is carried by the bloodstream to the brain, where it triggers neuro-receptors to generate positive sensations that can lead to addiction. The vaccine stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies that recognize the small nicotine molecule. Bound to these antibodies, nicotine molecules no longer can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain.

"With little or no nicotine reaching the brain, smoking is less rewarding. That gives the smoker a chance to change the behavioral and social factors that also influence smoking," said Victor Reus, MD, principal investigator for the study at UCSF.

Because immune antibodies remain in the body for some time, Reus said it is hoped that the vaccine also will prevent relapse. When a vaccinated smoker lights up months after quitting, the person should not experience the nicotine-triggered reward that tempts most people back into the habit.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

June 9, 2006, 7:06 AM CT

Avoid Short-cut Methods To Lose Weight

Avoid Short-cut Methods To Lose Weight
When athletes, especially wrestlers, use short-cut methods to lose weight fast, they both endanger their health and hurt their performance.

Severely restricting the intake of food and fluids can cause dehydration and the loss of minerals essential for metabolism, notes the recent issue of the Penn State Sports Medicine Newsletter.

High school and college wrestlers, as well as other athletes, usually use a practice called "weight cutting" for rapid weight loss so they can meet requirements for competing in a particular weight class.

An American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) report says that a number of athletes not only decrease their consumption of foods and fluids but use diuretics, laxatives and saunas to shed pounds quickly. These methods can leave the athlete "ill prepared to compete," the report adds.

As per the ACSM, one-third of high school wrestlers go through a weight-cutting process more than 10 times in a season. College and high school wrestlers lose an average of 4.5 pounds during the week to "make weight." In 20 percent of the wrestlers, the weekly weight loss may exceed 5.9 pounds.

"From my experience as a high school and college wrestling coach, the average number of pounds lost is considerably more than 4.5 to 5.9 pounds," says William J. Kraemer, Ph.D., a member of the Penn State Sports Medicine Newsletter editorial board. "I would estimate that more than half of college wrestlers lose probably 8 to 10 pounds during the week before a match. I've seen some wrestlers lose as a number of as 15 pounds".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

June 9, 2006, 0:24 AM CT

Are Antibiotics Being Used For Too Long?

Are Antibiotics Being Used For Too Long?
Taking antibiotics for three days is just as effective for community acquired pneumonia as continuing therapy for the recommended 7-10 days, finds a study in this week's BMJ. Shorter therapy can also help contain growing resistance rates.

The study raises questions about the optimal duration of antibiotic treatment for common infections.

Community acquired pneumonia is one of the most important indications for antibiotic prescriptions in hospitals. But a lack of evidence to support short course treatment means it has become accepted practice to continue therapy for days after symptoms have improved.

Scientists in the Netherlands compared the effectiveness of discontinuing therapy with amoxicillin after three days or eight days in adults admitted to hospital with mild to moderate-severe community acquired pneumonia.

119 patients who substantially improved after the conventional three days' therapy with intravenous amoxicillin were randomly assigned to oral amoxicillin (63 patients) or placebo (56 patients) three times daily for five days. Patients were assessed at days 7, 10 (two days after therapy ended), 14, and 28.

In the three day and eight day therapy groups, the clinical success rate at day 10 was 93% for both, and at day 28 was 90% compared with 88%. Both groups had similar resolution of symptoms, x-ray results, and length of hospital stay.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source

June 9, 2006, 0:16 AM CT

The Mystery Behind Love-hate Relationships

The Mystery Behind Love-hate Relationships
People who see their relationships as either all good or all bad tend to have low self-esteem, as per a series of seven studies by Yale scientists reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

In two of the studies participants were asked to indicate as quickly as possible whether each of 10 adjectives applied to their relationship partner, adjectives such as caring and warm or greedy and dishonest. Partners in this study included college roommates and mothers.

Individuals low in self-esteem were considerably slower to respond when negative and positive adjectives were alternated than when similar adjectives appeared in blocks. Those high in self-esteem were equally quick to respond to the adjectives no matter how they were presented.

"This suggests it was hard for them to think of their partners as a mix of positive and negative characteristics at a given point in time," said Margaret Clark, a professor in the Department of Psychology and senior faculty author of the study. "We do not think these results are limited to any one type of relationship. We think they apply to any close relationship."

Clark said the effects were obtained only when people judged relationship partners. There was no delayed response when judging an object, in this case, their computer.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

June 8, 2006, 0:14 AM CT

Blacks With Diabetes Are Under-Diagnosed for Obesity

Blacks With Diabetes Are Under-Diagnosed for Obesity
Obesity is under-diagnosed in people with diabetes overall and particularly in African-Americans, even though both conditions are more prevalent in African-Americans than whites, a new study finds.

The data were gleaned from a community health study conducted in Charleston, S.C., part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Healthy People 2010, a large-scale initiative to track and improve the health of people in the United States.

The authors, led by Diane Neal, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, analyzed the records of 265 people with diabetes and a body mass index of 30 or greater, which is classified as obese. Three times as a number of obese whites had been given a diagnosis of obesity as had obese African-Americans.

The authors concluded that "there is under-diagnosis of obesity among people with diabetes mellitus" in their study population. "Further, we think that there exists racial disparity in both the prevalence of obesity and its diagnosis," they wrote in the CDC's REACH 2010 supplement to the current issue of the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.

Obesity places people who are at risk for a variety of diseases and disorders, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, sleep and respiratory problems and certain cancers. People with diabetes who are obese are at even greater risk than the general population of obese people. Diagnosing obesity is important because it leads physicians to encourage and assist patients with weight-loss strategies.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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. Archives of society medical news blog

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