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February 26, 2007, 8:04 PM CT

Circadian Rhythm In Swim Performance

Circadian Rhythm In Swim Performance
A new study investigating the potential of a circadian rhythm in athletic performance adds further confirmation that it exists. The finding is being reported in the Journal of Applied Physiology, one of 11 peer evaluated scientific publications issued monthly by the American Physiological Society (APS) ( The authors of "Circadian Variation in Swim Performance," are Christopher E. Kline, J. Larry Durstine, J. Mark Davis, Teresa A. Moore, Tina M. Devlin, Mark R. Zielinski, and Shawn D. Youngstedt, all from the Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.



Circadian rhythms are generated within the body, and are "re-set" almost every 24 hours. Human circadian rhythms originate from the tiny hypothalamus residing in the back of the brain. The hypothalamus, working with the endocrine system, drives a number of of our behavioral and physiological rhythms.

Scientists have speculated that there may be a circadian rhythm inherent in athletic performance and point to research showing that athletic performance varies based on time-of-day. Other studies have shown that peak performance occurs in early evening, at approximately the peak of the body temperature rhythm. Additional studies have observed that morning is the worst time for athletic performance.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source

February 26, 2007, 8:00 PM CT

Antidepressants to decrease alcohol consumption

Antidepressants to decrease alcohol consumption
CIHR-funded study explored the relationship between use of antidepressants and level of alcohol consumption, examining whether using antidepressants affected the link between depression and level of alcohol consumption. The research conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) concluded that women suffering from depression consumed more alcohol than women who did not experience depression, regardless of antidepressant use. This finding differs significantly from rates found in male counterparts. While men suffering from depression generally consume more alcohol than non-depressed men, those who use antidepressants consume alcohol at about the same level as non-depressed men.

Dr. Kathryn Graham, Senior Scientist with CAMH and Agnes Massak, Ph.D student in the Department of Psychology at the University of Western Ontario, published the study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) on February 27, 2007.

"Our results agree with prior clinical research that suggests that the use of antidepressants is linked to lower alcohol consumption among men suffering from depression," said Dr. Graham. "But this does not appear to be true for women".

Overall, participants in the survey experiencing depression (both men and women) drank more alcohol than did non-depressed respondents. However, men taking antidepressants consumed significantly less alcohol than depressed men who did not use antidepressants. Non-depressed men consumed 436 drinks per year, in comparison to 579 drinks for depressed men not using antidepressants, and 414 drinks for depressed men who used antidepressants.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

February 24, 2007, 8:53 PM CT

Kids allowed to join groups for complex reasons

Kids allowed to join groups for complex reasons
New research at the University of Maryland looks at why kids decide to include - and exclude - other kids from their group of friends. It turns out the decision making process is much more complex than previously believed, and could even provide insights into how to intervene when children are rejected by their peers.

Human Development Professor Melanie Killen (College of Education) led the 4-year project, which was recently reported in the February, 2007 edition of Current Directions in Psychological Science (Association for Psychological Science).

Killen, who is the associate director of the Center for Children, Relationships, and Culture at Maryland says the decision making process includes many factors. "They take into account group information, ranging from cliques and networks, when deciding what makes a group work well. Sometimes kids are excluded because they lack social skills, but a lot of time it has nothing to do with that. Instead it has to do with what we refer to as 'group membership' such as gender, race, ethnicity, and culture."

Whatever the reason, earlier research has shown that individuals who experience pervasive long-term exclusion suffer from depression, anxiety and loneliness.

Killen's research looked at two models when trying to define how children make decisions about including - or excluding - other children from their group. One model - called the "individual social deficit model" says that rejection occurs due to a child's social deficits - including being shy, wary or fearful. In contrast, the "intergroup social cognition model" says that rejection happens due to things like group dynamics, bias, prejudice and inclusion/exclusion.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

February 23, 2007, 5:02 AM CT

Aspirin For Conception And Healthy Pregnancy

Aspirin For Conception And Healthy Pregnancy
Scientists at the University at Buffalo and the University of Utah are beginning a clinical trial to test whether aspirin can improve a woman's chances of becoming pregnant and of maintaining a pregnancy to term.

UB's portion of the study is funded by a $2.8 million grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Development.

The trial is aimed at women who have miscarried a pregnancy in the past year.

"In women who have had their first miscarriage, the reasons for losing that pregnancy are in a number of instances unknown," said Jean Wactawski-Wende, Ph.D., UB associate professor of social and preventive medicine and principal investigator of the UB clinical center.

"These women generally are advised to try to get pregnant again, but health-care providers can offer limited assistance on any specific actions to take to improve their next pregnancy outcome," she noted. "If aspirin can help some women become pregnant or maintain a health pregnancy, it will be a critically important finding.

"Aspirin is available, inexpensive and has very few side effects," she added. "We're hopeful that this trial could produce an important finding".

Statistics show that in the United States, 10-15 percent of couples trying to become pregnant are not able to conceive, 15-31 percent of pregnancies that do occur end in miscarriage, and 8-15 percent of pregnancies that continue beyond 20 weeks end in premature birth, putting these infants at risk for increased health problems.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source

February 23, 2007, 4:57 AM CT

Caffeine may prevent heart disease death

Caffeine may prevent heart disease death
Habitual intake of caffeinated beverages provides protection against heart disease mortality in the elderly, say scientists at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Brooklyn College.

Using data from the first federal National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Follow-up Study, the scientists observed that survey participants 65 or more years old with higher caffeinated beverage intake exhibited lower relative risk of coronary vascular disease and heart mortality than did participants with lower caffeinated beverage intake.

John Kassotis, MD, associate professor of medicine at SUNY Downstate, said, "The protection against death from heart disease in the elderly afforded by caffeine is likely due to caffeine's enhancement of blood pressure." .

The protective effect also was found to be dose-responsive: the higher the caffeine intake the stronger the protection. The protective effect was found only in participants who were not severely hypertensive. No significant protective effect was in patients below the age of 65.

No protective effect was found against cerebrovascular disease mortality death from stroke regardless of age.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

February 23, 2007, 4:53 AM CT

Why they are having trouble communicating

Why they are having trouble communicating
Especially among close associates, sharing even a little new information can slow down communication.

Some of peoples biggest problems with communication come in sharing new information with people they know well, newly published research at the University of Chicago shows.

Because they already share quite a bit of common knowledge, people often use short, ambiguous messages in talking with co-workers and spouses, and accordingly unintentionally create misunderstandings, said Boaz Keysar, Professor in Psychology at the University of Chicago.

"People are so used to talking with those with whom they already share a great deal of information, that when they have something really new to share, they often present it in away that assumes the person already knows it," said Keysar, who with graduate student Shali Wu tested Keysars communication theories and presented the results in an article, "The Effect of Information Overlap on Communication Effectiveness," reported in the current issue of Cognitive Science.

"Sharing additional information reduces communication effectiveness precisely when there is an opportunity to informwhen people communicate information only they themselves know," the scientists said.

In order to test the theory, the two created a communications game in which parties had unequal amounts of information. They prepared line drawings of unusual shapes and gave them made-up names and then trained University of Chicago students to recognize different numbers of the shapes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

February 21, 2007, 9:32 PM CT

Vitamin D May Reduce Falls in Elderly

Vitamin D May Reduce Falls in Elderly Diet rich in vitamin-D
New research suggests that reducing the number of falls suffered by seniors in nursing homes may be helped by taking a vitamin, along with other measures known to decrease falls. As per a research studyin Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, seniors taking a high daily dose of vitamin D experienced 72 percent fewer falls in comparison to those taking a placebo.

Approximately 50 percent of nursing home residents fall every year, and those who are injured become even more prone to future falls. As per study authors Kerry Broe and Douglas Kiel, "lowering the risk of falls with a simple vitamin D supplement could improve the quality of life for nursing home residents by reducing the occurence rate of falls".

"Past studies have shown that vitamin D could help prevent falls in seniors, and may be due to a possible strengthening effect the vitamin has on the musculoskeletal system. Until now, we didn't know what dosage amount would be effective," say Broe and Kiel. The dose that was most effective, 800 International Units per day, is higher than the dose typically prescribed to seniors. Taking this dose of vitamin D should be done only through the approval of a patient's doctor and certain conditions, such as high blood calcium levels, need to be considered by a physician.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

February 21, 2007, 9:02 PM CT

Reduced Brain Growth In Alcoholics

Reduced Brain Growth In Alcoholics
The brains of alcohol-dependent individuals are affected not only by their own heavy drinking, but also by genetic or environmental factors linked to their parents drinking, as per a new study by scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Scientists found reduced brain growth among alcohol-dependent individuals with a family history of alcoholism or heavy drinking in comparison to those with no such family history. Their report has been published online in Biological Psychiatry at as an article in press.

"This is interesting new information about how biological and environmental factors might interact to affect children of alcoholics," notes George Kunos M.D., Ph.D., Scientific Director, Division of Intramural Clinical and Biological Research, NIAAA.

A number of studies have shown that alcohol-dependent men and women have smaller brain volumes than non-alcohol-dependent individuals. It is widely believed that this is due to the toxic effects of ethanol, which causes the alcoholics brain to shrink with aging to a greater extent than the non-alcoholics.

"Our study is the first to demonstrate that brain size among alcohol-dependent individuals with a family history of alcoholism is reduced even before the onset of alcohol dependence," explains first author Jodi Gilman, B.S., a NIAAA research fellow and Ph.D. candidate at Brown University working with senior author Daniel Hommer, M.D., of the NIAAA Laboratory of Clinical and Translational Studies (LCTS) and co-author James Bjork, Ph.D., also of the NIAAA/LCTS.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

February 20, 2007, 8:04 PM CT

Tracking Personality Traits to Learn More About Alcoholism

Tracking Personality Traits to Learn More About Alcoholism
A long-term research project at the University of Missouri-Columbia is producing valuable information about alcoholism and individuals who are affected by a family history of the disease. MU psychology researchers, now several years into a multi-year study, have discovered that individuals from alcoholic homes maintain personality traits that could eventually lead to alcohol dependency.

Kenneth J. Sher, professor of clinical psychology in the College of Arts and Science's Department of Psychological Sciences, and psychology graduate student Jenny Larkins, have compared personality differences of individuals from alcoholic homes to those from non-alcoholic environments. They are monitoring the neuroticism and psychoticism levels of individuals from both groups. The neuroticism scale measures characteristics such as anxiety, depression, guilt, shyness, moodiness and emotionality. The psychoticism scale measures traits correlation to aggression, egocentrism, impulsivity and anti-social behavior. When the study began in 1987, individuals with family histories of alcoholism scored higher than their counterparts.

Over time and as participants in both groups aged, the scientists found an overall decrease in neuroticism and psychoticism levels. However, Sher said those from alcoholic homes maintained relatively higher levels of deviant behavioral and emotional traits during adult maturation.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

February 19, 2007, 8:33 PM CT

Sometimes People Can Be Trusted

Sometimes People Can Be Trusted Multitier Framework for Analyzing Sustainable Social-Ecological Systems.
Government ownership is not always the best way to protect natural resources, said Elinor Ostrom, director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University.

In a presentation given on Saturday (Feb. 17) at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, she described a diagnostic framework to help policymakers develop sustainability plans for each unique resource. Contradicting the standard approach to environmental protection, the Multi-tier Framework for Analyzing Sustainable Social-Ecological Systems relies on her conviction that "most people can be trusted if the institutions enhance trust."

The framework, pictured in this release, demonstrates how different characteristics of a social-ecological system influence one another. Each of these broad categories contains several variables, which can in turn be further broken down.

During the past several years, Ostrom's research has focused on testing the framework by mapping different social-ecological situations using these universal components. She is now working to identify the crucial characteristics that can determine which type of solution is indicated for the particular resource system. Solutions might range from grassroots governance in certain circumstances to government regulation or a private property system in others, she said.........

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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