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May 18, 2006, 11:47 PM CT

Blood Test Predicts Success Of Quitting Smoking

Blood Test Predicts Success Of Quitting Smoking
A blood test may enable doctors to predict which smokers using the nicotine patch are likely to experience the least amount of cravings and have the highest probability of success in quitting cigarettes, as per the results of a study in the recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

The blood test, which is a measure of the rate at which nicotine is metabolized, may eventually be performed non-invasively using saliva or urine samples. "The ultimate aim here is to distinguish smokers who are likely to benefit from a standard dose of nicotine patch from those who may need a higher dose patch or an alternative treatment in order to succeed in quitting," said lead researcher for the study, Caryn Lerman, PhD, Associate Director for Cancer Control and Population Science at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, and Director of the University of Pennsylvania Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center.

When nicotine is metabolized - or broken down in the body - it turns to cotinine. Cotinine is then metabolized to 3-hydroxycotinine (3-HC) by an enzyme in the liver. This study measured the ratio of these two breakdown products of nicotine among 480 smokers. A high ratio meant rapid metabolism of nicotine, which was associated with higher amounts of craving and greater difficulty in quitting cigarettes using the nicotine patch.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 18, 2006, 11:11 PM CT

Gossip Creates Friendships

Gossip Creates Friendships
An article reported in the current issue of Personal Relationships finds the good in bad gossip. Research shows that sharing negative attitudes about others may have positive consequences; it promotes closeness and friendship. In their study, the authors find that negative attitudes are frequently shared among friends and can even promote friendships among strangers. Gossip is alluring because it establishes in-group/out-group boundaries, boosts self-esteem, and conveys highly informative information about the attitude holder. "We certainly do not deny that gossip behavior has it drawbacks," the authors state. "Still, if there is a positive side of gossip, we believe it is that shared, mild, negative attitudes toward others can create and/or amplify interpersonal intimacy."

In the first two parts of the study, two groups of participants were instructed to list the positive and negative attitudes they shared at the early and later stages of close relationships. Both groups recalled more negative than positive attitudes about other people. In the third section, participants listened to a conversation between two fictional characters and explained what they liked or did not like about one speaker (a third person). They were then told that they shared or did not share the same thoughts as another participant whom they would be partnered with. The authors found that those whose partner had a mutual dislike of the person felt closer to this stranger than people who learned that they shared a liking.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 17, 2006, 11:42 PM CT

Summer Activities Can Increase Hearing Loss

Summer Activities Can Increase Hearing Loss
People tend to spend more time outdoors in the summer, and their exposure to loud noise increases. Whether the noise is from powerboats, firecrackers, lawnmowers or motorcycles, a University of Cincinnati (UC) otolaryngologist encourages people to take precautions to protect their ears.

Tinnitus (perception of sound in the ears) affects most people at some point in their lives and is often due to hearing loss or the result of exposure to loud noises. Other causes include stress, ear-damaging drugs, ear infections, jaw misalignment, brain or head injury and, in rare cases, a tumor on the auditory nerve.

"It's important for people to realize they can help minimize tinnitus caused by loud noises," says Ravi Samy, MD, assistant professor of otolaryngology. "The cochlear hair cells in your ears can be damaged when listening to loud music or working around loud equipment (such as lawnmowers) for prolonged periods of time, which can lead to hearing loss.

"Protecting your hearing can be as simple as turning the music down and wearing ear plugs when mowing, attending concerts, working with machinery or engaged in other loud activities." .

The American Tinnitus Association estimates that 50 million Americans suffer from the condition. For most it's temporary, but for 12 million people it can disrupt their lives.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink

May 17, 2006, 11:38 PM CT

Tobacco Smoke Linked to Allergic Rhinitis in Infants

Tobacco Smoke Linked to Allergic Rhinitis in Infants
University of Cincinnati (UC) epidemiologists say it's environmental tobacco smoke-not the suspected visible mold-that drastically increases an infant's risk for developing allergic rhinitis by age 1.

Usually known as hay fever, allergic rhinitis occurs when a person's immune system mistakenly reacts to allergens (aggravating particles) in the air. The body then releases substances to protect itself, causing the allergy sufferer to experience persistent sneezing and a runny, blocked nose.

This is the first study to show a relationship between environmental tobacco smoke exposure and allergic rhinitis in year-old infants, the UC team reports in the recent issue of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology and an early online edition May 17.

"Prior studies have addressed risk factors for allergic rhinitis, but they failed to examine multiple environmental exposures, and some yielded contradictory results," says Jocelyn Biagini, lead author and an epidemiologist in UC's environmental health department.

The study evaluated the effects of numerous indoor exposures to such things as environmental tobacco smoke, visible mold, pets, siblings and the day-care environment on 633 infants under age one.

"We found that infants who were exposed to 20 or more cigarettes a day were three times more likely to develop allergic rhinitis by their first birthday than those who were not exposed," says Biagini.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

May 17, 2006, 11:34 PM CT

Substance Abuse Screening May Help Teenagers

Substance Abuse Screening May Help Teenagers
Teenagers are known for testing their limits - coming home after curfew, swearing and skipping school. But some teens will go even further and engage in risk-taking behavior like reckless driving that, when combined with alcohol or drugs, can result in serious injury or even death.

Scientists at the University of Michigan Health System believe one way to help curb such risky behavior is to do drug screening for all hospitalized pediatric trauma patients, and offer brief alcohol and substance abuse intervention programs to those who test positive.

Their study revealed that nearly 40 percent of the pediatric trauma patients ages 14 to 17 screened for substance abuse tested positive. Of those patients, 29 percent of positive tests were for opiates like opium or heroin, 11.2 percent for alcohol, and 20 percent for cannabis, or marijuana.

These findings, reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Pediatric Surgery, support the value of routine substance abuse screening for all injured teenage hospital patients regardless of age, gender or type of injury, says study lead author Peter F. Ehrlich, M.D., MHS, clinical associate professor, Department of Pediatric Surgery at the U-M Medical School.

"The two major preventable health issues facing adolescents are injuries that result in death or disability, and lifestyle choices that have long-term, adverse health consequences," says Ehrlich. "To help alter this risk-taking behavior, it is essential that drug testing and brief substance abuse intervention programs be included in the therapy of all injured adolescents."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink

May 17, 2006, 10:31 PM CT

About Summer Sun Safety

About Summer Sun Safety
Fifty years of medical studies show that sun exposure is a primary component in the development of melanoma, the most serious and deadly type of skin cancer, report leading dermatologists in the April 2006 issue of Dermatology Surgery.

"Though genetics may play a role in the development of some melanomas, there's overwhelming evidence that shows sun exposure adversely affects patients both with and without genetic predisposition to melanoma," said Elisabeth K. Shim, M.D., an Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Keck USC Medical School of Medicine in Los Angeles, CA.

It's not clear what pattern of sun exposure causes melanoma or whether it's short, intense intermittent or cumulative. Further more, it's not clear if ultraviolet B (UVB), ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, or both are responsible for causing melanoma. "Regardless, the sun acts as an initiating and promoting agent in causing melanoma, and causes immunosuppression," noted Dr. Shim.

With summer quickly approaching, it's necessary to protect yourself by using sunscreen and sun protective measures to prevent melanoma, and other skin cancers, despite current controversy.........

Posted by: George      Permalink         Source

May 17, 2006, 8:52 PM CT

A Father's Hand Guides A Child To Success

A Father's Hand Guides A Child To Success Paquette believes that there is a link between a poor father-child relationship and such problems as dropping out of school, difficulty entering the job market, gangs and homelessness.
"Does a child need a father?" Daniel Paquette asks this question when he speaks at libraries and cultural centres in Quebec. The answer is yes. Paquette, a professor in the Department of Psychology, explains: "A good relationship with the father gives a child confidence in her own abilities and teaches her how to handle danger and new physical and social situations".

Paquette, a researcher at the Institut de recherche pour le developpement social des jeunes, has been investigating various aspects of attachment for eleven years. His studies on the development of children in distress have convinced him that a child's social skills must be learned through close relationships with one or more adults in the child's circle. The father is an essential role model.

"Fathers help the child explore her world," says Paquette. "The child needs stimulation and encouragement as much as she needs the security and stability that she gets from her mother. Fathers are more likely than mothers to play physical games with young children." These games teach the child to take initiative, face challenges and claim her place in a competitive world.

Paquette believes that there is a link between a poor father-child relationship and such problems as dropping out of school, difficulty entering the job market, gangs and homelessness.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 16, 2006, 11:53 PM CT

Women's Career Choices Influenced More By Culture

Women's Career Choices Influenced More By Culture
The diversity of today's American workforce challenges information-technology organizations that have "one-size-fits-all" policies, and nowhere is that more evident than with women employees, says a Penn State researcher.

"Policy makers, educators, managers need to recognize that you can't generalize to all women," said Dr. Eileen Trauth, professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST). "There is far too much variation in the paths that women take for anyone to assume that women's career motivations are the same, their methods of balancing work and family are the same, or their responses to motherhood are the same."

Trauth conducted interviews with 167 women who were working in IT in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the United States. Besides their place of residence, the women also represented a range of racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Those interviews suggested women's career choices were influenced by a wide range of factors including gender stereotypes, societal messages and family dynamics, Trauth said. But she also recorded a wide range of responses to the motherhood, career and educational choices and gender stereotypes, reinforcing her belief that recognizing such diversity may yield more opportunities for women.

"What would be inappropriate is to look at a young woman and presume that she will get married, or that she will have children or that she will leave the workforce if she does have children," said Trauth, paraphrasing one interviewee's experience. "Organizations shouldn't have HR policies based on gender stereotypes because people are motivated by different things-salary, job security, flexible work schedules."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 16, 2006, 11:05 PM CT

Cultural Approach To Tackling Obesity

Cultural Approach To Tackling Obesity
Culture plays a significant role in how women perceive obesity in terms of both appearance and health, as per a research studyby Yale School of Nursing scientists in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Maryanne Davidson, Yale University School of Nursing, and Kathleen Knafl, Oregon Health and Sciences University, reviewed 20 papers published over 10 years on descriptions of the concept of obesity by health professionals, Black Americans, Latino Americans and Caucasian Americans. Davidson and Knafl found women in general base their ideal weight on cultural criteria.

"Black American study participants defined obesity in positive terms, relating it to attractiveness, sexual desirability, body image, strength or goodness, self esteem and social acceptability," said Davidson. "They didn't view obesity as cause for concern when it came to their health."

White women, conversely, defined obesity in negative terms, describing it as unattractive and socially undesirable and associated obesity with negative body image and decreased self-esteem. Davidson said some of these women saw weight as a health issue, while others did not.

"Key health issues correlation to obesity include diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol, asthma and some cancers," Davidson said. "That's why it's imperative that scientists and healthcare providers understand how people from different cultures view obesity. This will help them to promote key messages about the health risks associated with excess weight in a culturally sensitive way."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 16, 2006, 10:42 PM CT

Helping Hands: Are Two More Trouble than One?

Helping Hands: Are Two More Trouble than One? Author Kyle Reed demonstrates his apparatus for investigating haptic communication when two people try to complete a simple physical task together.
Having another person help you with a simple physical task often seems to be more trouble than it's worth. However, scientists at Northwestern University have found that in some cases, pairs perform better than individuals even when each individual thinks the other is a hindrance.

Authors of the study included psychology experts, neuroscientists, and robotics scientists who were interested in the possibility of haptic communication. Haptics, from the Greek haptiko, relates to the sense of touch and motion. A number of other kinds of pair interactions have been heavily studied, including facial expression, gesture, spoken language, and visually observing each other's actions. The scientists wished to determine if pairs could coordinate effectively through a haptic channel of communication, which has been little studied.

Their experiment, described in the May 2006 issue of Psychological Science, was designed to be as simple as possible, yet to isolate haptic interactions from other kinds of interactions. In the experiment two individuals grasped opposite ends of a rigid two-handled crank. A marker was attached to the crank. The participants were asked to move the marker toward a target as quickly as possible whenever a target appeared. Each participant had to deal with the other's actions, as experienced solely through the shared forces and motions of the crank. A curtain kept them from seeing each other and they were asked not to talk.........

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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