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June 15, 2007, 11:24 AM CT

Breast Feeding Protects From Rheumatoid Arthritis

Breast Feeding Protects From Rheumatoid Arthritis
Breast feeding for a period of thirteen months or more has been shown to reduce the mothers the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), as per new data presented today at EULAR 2007, the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology in Barcelona, Spain. In the study, the longer the breast feeding period, the lower the mothers risk of developing RA in later life. Comparable use of oral contraceptives (OCs) or hormone replacement treatment (HRT) did not show a significant effect on the risk of developing RA.

Lead researcher Dr Mitra Keshavarz, of Malm Hospital University, Sweden, said of the study, Whilst other studies suggest that hormonal factors play a part in the development of RA, and we know that pregnancy can result in an improvement in RA symptoms, we wanted to investigate the long term effect of breast-feeding. This study specifically highlights the potential of naturally-induced hormones in protecting individuals from developing RA in the future. Furthermore, it adds to the growing body of evidence in favour of breast feeding and its positive health implications this time demonstrating its protective benefits for the mother.

The study observed that breast feeding for 13 or more months was linked to a reduced risk of developing RA (odds ratio 0.46; confidence interval 95% 0.24-0.91). For women with between 1 and 12 months history of breast feeding, the odds ratio was 0.74, with a 95% confidence interval (0.45-1.20) compared directly to those who had never breast fed.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source

June 15, 2007, 11:10 AM CT

Childhood Lead Poisonings Continue Downward Trend

Childhood Lead Poisonings Continue Downward Trend
Eventhough childhood lead poisoning remains a serious problem, the number of new cases identified in 2006 marks the lowest level in more than a decade. The number of new cases identified in 2006 - 2,310 among children ages 6 months to 6 years - marks a 13% decline from 2005 and an 88% decline since 1995, when nearly 20,000 children were newly identified with lead poisoning. Lead poisoning is defined as a blood-lead level greater than or equal to 10 )g/dL (micrograms per deciliter).

The number of cases is falling even as health care providers expand testing of one- and two-yearold children, as mandatory by State law. In 2006, an estimated 76% of one-year-olds and 65% of twoyear- olds were tested for lead poisoning, as in comparison to 72% and 60%, respectively, in 2005. The Health Department actively promotes blood lead testing among healthcare providers, particularly in high-risk neighborhoods.

"We want to make lead poisoning a thing of the past in New York City," said Nancy Clark, Assistant Commissioner for Environmental Disease Prevention. "Peeling lead paint, especially on doors and windows, is the primary cause of lead poisoning and young children are the most at risk group for lead poisoning. Lead poisoning can cause learning and behavioral problems so it's critical to have your doctor test them at their first and second birthdays".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

June 13, 2007, 12:12 AM CT

Problem-based learning in pharmacology

Problem-based learning in pharmacology
Irrational use of medicines is a major problem all over the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) and a number of other bodies are concentrating on improving the use of medicines. Problem-based teaching of Pharmacology and Therapeutics to undergraduate medical students has been recognized as a key intervention to improve the use of medicines.

Personal or P-drugs are important for medical students, doctors in training and prescribers. P-drugs are drugs with which a person has become familiar and has chosen to prescribe regularly. The P-drug concept is not just the name of a pharmacological substance but also includes the dosage form, dosage schedule and duration of therapy.

Personal drugs are drugs with which a doctor has chosen to become familiar and which he/she intends to use regularly in therapy. The department of Pharmacology at the Manipal College of Medical Sciences (MCOMS), Pokhara, Nepal concentrates on teaching rational use of medicines to medical students.

The department has been teaching the P-drug concept to the third and fourth semester medical students for over two years in our institution. Students select a drug for a disease on the basis of efficacy, safety, cost and convenience. The method described in the WHO books, The Guide to Good Prescribing and the teachers Guide to Good Prescribing is basically followed. We use the numerical method developed by Joshi and Jayawickramarajah at the Institute of Medicine, Kathmandu, Nepal.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 13, 2007, 8:13 AM CT

Easing out of work

Easing out of work
When Bob Willis thought about retiring, he knew just how he wanted to do it. Slowly. Or maybe never.

Since 1995 Willis, 66, a University of Michigan economist, has directed the enormous Health and Retirement Study conducted by the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR) and funded by the National Institute on Aging. One of the largest and most ambitious social science research projects in the world, the study surveys a nationally representative sample of more than 20,000 Americans over the age of 50 every other year to track how they are doing as they age.

"I was really interested in divesting myself of the administrative duties connected with the study so I could spend more time on a new line of research I've been pursuing," Willis said. "But I also wanted to stay actively involved with the Health and Retirement Study. This study, and the people who work on it, are an important part of my life".

Willis had always consulted closely with the study's founding director, U-M economist F. Thomas Juster, 80, who embodies the process of retiring so gradually you don't really retire at all in any conventional sense. For years after Juster formally retired, he showed up in his ISR office on a daily basis. "Isn't he retired?" puzzled staffers asked each other.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 13, 2007, 8:08 AM CT

Going to bed late may affect the health

Going to bed late may affect the health
College students who go to bed late are more likely to have poor quality sleep, which may affect their mental health and academic performance, as per a research abstract that will be presented Wednesday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

The study, conducted by Jung Kim, PhD, of Pohang University of Science in Technology in South Korea, was based on a survey of 399 college students in Korea.

"The present study shows that the greater one stayed up at night, the more maladjusted in college life, in terms of global mental health, sleep quality and academic performance," said Kim. "It seems important to give relevant information and helpful guidance on good sleep habits to students from the beginning of college life".

The amount of sleep a person gets affects his or her physical health, emotional well-being, mental abilities, productivity and performance. Recent studies associate lack of sleep with serious health problems such as an increased risk of depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Experts recommend that adults get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night to maintain good health and optimum performance.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 12, 2007, 5:08 AM CT

Distress-prone people and memory problems

Distress-prone people and memory problems
People who are easily distressed and have more negative emotions are more likely to develop memory problems than more easygoing people, as per a research studyreported in the June 12, 2007, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

In the study, those who most often experience negative emotions such as depression and anxiety were 40 percent more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those who were least prone to negative emotions. Mild cognitive impairment is a transitional stage between normal aging and dementia. People with mild cognitive impairment have mild memory or cognitive problems, but have no significant disability.

Scientists analyzed the results from two larger studies, the Religious Orders Study and the Memory and Aging Project, which involved 1,256 people with no cognitive impairment. During up to 12 years of follow-up, 482 people developed mild cognitive impairment. Participants were reviewed on their level of proneness to distress and negative emotions by rating their level of agreement with statements such as I am not a worrier, I often feel tense and jittery, and I often get angry at the way people treat me.

People differ in how they tend to experience and deal with negative emotions and psychological distress, and the way people respond tends to stay the same throughout their adult lives, said study author Robert S. Wilson, PhD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL. These findings suggest that, over a lifetime, chronic experience of stress affects the area of the brain that governs stress response. Unfortunately, that part of the brain also regulates memory.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

June 12, 2007, 4:55 AM CT

Sleep disorders highly prevalent among police officers

Sleep disorders highly prevalent among police officers
Sleep disorders are common, costly and treatable, but often remain undiagnosed and untreated. Unrecognized sleep disorders adversely affect personal health and may lead to chronic sleep loss, which, in turn, increases the risk of accidents and injuries. These problems are exacerbated in shift workers such as police officers, who may experience chronic sleep loss due to their schedules. A sampling of police officers shows a high occurence rate of sleep disorders among the members of this profession, as per a research abstract that will be presented Tuesday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

The study, authored by Shantha M.W. Rajaratnam, PhD, of Harvard Medical School, was based on the responses of 4,471 police officers to a self-report survey that included screening for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) alone or for OSA and insomnia, restless legs syndrome (RLS), shift work sleep disorder and narcolepsy with cataplexy.

The percentage of those who screened positive for any sleep disorder was 38.4 percent, including 35.1 percent for OSA, 6.8 percent for insomnia, 0.7 percent for RLS, two percent for shift work sleep disorder and 0.5 percent for narcolepsy. These individuals were referred to a sleep clinic for a formal evaluation.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 11, 2007, 3:49 PM CT

When Medical Residents Work Fewer Hours

When Medical Residents Work Fewer Hours
When medical residents work shorter hours, fewer patients are transferred to intensive care and there are not as a number of interventions by pharmacists to avoid errors in medication, as per a Yale School of Medicine study in Annals of Internal Medicine.

In addition, when residents work schedules are limited to 80 hours per week more patients are discharged to their homes or rehabilitation centers instead of facilities such as nursing homes, the scientists found.

What might have helped is reduced fatigue and clinical involvement by more senior physicians to compensate for frequent turnover of house staff, said Leora Horwitz, M.D., postdoctoral fellow in internal medicine and lead author of the study. We found no evidence of adverse unintended consequences after the institution of work-hour regulation.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) implemented work-hour regulations in July 2003 in hospitals across the country. Following the institution of these regulations, residents were no longer allowed to work more than 80 hours a week. The rules were intended to reduce errors caused by fatigue. However, one concern was that patient care would be transferred more often, increasing the possibility of mistakes.

Horwitz and her colleagues compared outcomes for patients under the care of house staff, or a teaching service, and patients cared for by a non-teaching service. They looked at data for patients discharged from July 1, 2002, to June 30, 2004. This included one year before and one year after the work-hour regulations were instituted.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

June 10, 2007, 7:33 PM CT

Early identification of at-risk readers

Early identification of at-risk readers
Taken together, functional brain scans and tests of reading skills strongly predict which children will have ongoing reading problems. Whats more, the two methods work better together than either one alone, as per new research in the recent issue of Behavioral Neuroscience, which is published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Neuroresearchers at Stanford and Carnegie Mellon universities think this double-barreled diagnostic can help identify at-risk readers as early as possible. That way, schools can step in before those children fail to learn to read or develop poor reading habits that might interfere with remediation, such as relying on memory for words rather than sounding out new ones. Early identification and systematic intervention can very often turn likely non-readers into readers, as per the study authors.

This study of 73 Pittsburgh-area children of ages 8 to 12, all identified as struggling readers, ran for a school year. At the start of the year, the scientists administered standard tests of early literacy skills, including word identification, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, efficiency, and phonological processing this last a critical measure of how well children process the sounds of letters and letter combinations. The scientists also used functional MRIs (fMRIs) to depict how the childrens brains worked when they had to read two words and say whether they rhymed, a test of phonological awareness. To make the fMRI results more sensitive to differences among children, the authors further analyzed the images using a method called voxel-based morphometry that uses the density of the brains white and grey matter to zero in on activation patterns in specific parts of key brain regions.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

June 10, 2007, 7:25 PM CT

Simple test predicts 6-year risk of dementia

Simple test predicts 6-year risk of dementia
A simple test that can be given by any doctor predicts a persons risk for developing dementia within six years with 87 percent accuracy, as per a research studyled by scientists at San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC).

The test, developed in the study by the researchers, is a 14-point index combining medical history, cognitive testing, and physical examination. It requires no special equipment and can be given in a clinical setting such as a doctors office or at a patients bedside.

The new index is the bedside version of a longer, more technically comprehensive best test, also developed during the study, that is 88 percent accurate.

These are the first tools to accurately predict dementia, as per lead author Deborah E. Barnes, PhD, a mental health researcher at SFVAMC. Barnes described the tests in a presentation at the 2007 International Conference on Prevention of Dementia, in Washington, DC, sponsored by the Alzheimers Association.

There are tests that accurately predict an individuals chances of developing cardiovascular disease and other maladies, but, until now, no one has developed similar scales for dementia, says Barnes, who also is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

As measured by the bedside index, the risk factors for developing dementia are an age of 70 or older, poor scores on two simple cognitive tests, slow physical functioning on everyday tasks such as buttoning a shirt or walking 15 feet, a history of coronary artery bypass surgery, a body mass index of less than 18, and current non-consumption of alcohol.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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. Archives of society medical news blog

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