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January 30, 2007, 4:47 AM CT

Vaginal Birth Increases Risk Of Brain Hemorrhage

Vaginal Birth Increases Risk Of Brain Hemorrhage
The first scientists to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the brains of a large group of babies soon after birth found a small amount of bleeding in and around the brains of one in four babies who were delivered vaginally. The study appears in the recent issue of Radiology.

"Small bleeds in and around the brain are very common in infants who are born vaginally," said John H. Gilmore, M.D., professor of psychiatry and Vice-Chair for Research and Scientific Affairs at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. "It seems that a normal vaginal birth can cause these small bleeds".

For the study, 88 asymptomatic infants, equally divided between male and female, underwent MRI between the ages of one and five weeks. Sixty-five had been delivered vaginally and 23 had been delivered by cesarean section. MR images showed that 17 (26 percent) of the babies who had been delivered vaginally had intracranial hemorrhages (ICH), or small bleeds in and around the brain. Seven infants had two or more types of ICH. Previous studies have shown a smaller incidence-approximately 10 percent-of intracranial hemorrhage linked to vaginal birth.

While ICH was significantly linked to vaginal birth, it was not dependent on prolonged duration of labor or on traumatic or assisted vaginal birth.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 29, 2007, 5:17 AM CT

Top Hospitals Have 28 Percent Lower Mortality Rate

Top Hospitals Have 28 Percent Lower Mortality Rate Johns Hopkins medical school
Patients treated at top-rated hospitals nationwide have nearly a one-third better chance of surviving, on average, than those admitted to all other hospitals, according to a study released recently by HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings company. Patients who undergo surgery at these high-performing hospitals also have an average five percent lower risk of complications during their stay, researchers found.

The annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality and Clinical Excellence study, now in its fifth year, identifies hospitals in the top five percent nationally in terms of mortality and complication rates for 26 procedures and diagnoses, from bypass surgery to stroke. Hospitals achieving this level of care quality are designated Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence by HealthGrades and are identified on the organization's consumer Web site, HealthGrades.com.

Disparities in the level of care patients receive, based simply on where they choose to seek treatment, highlight a troubling phenomenon in the U.S. healthcare system: a preventable, but growing gap between high-quality hospitals and the rest of the field.

The 2007 study found that 158,264 lives may have been saved and 12,409 major complications avoided, had the quality of care at all hospitals matched the level of those in the top five percent.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 28, 2007, 8:56 PM CT

100 Percent Juices Beneficial To Health

100 Percent Juices Beneficial To Health
When it comes to some of today's health issues, 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices do help reduce risk factors correlation to certain diseases.

This conclusion is the result of a European study designed to question traditional thinking that 100 percent juices play a less significant role in reducing risk for both cancer and cardiovascular disease than whole fruits and vegetables.

Juices are comparable in their ability to reduce risk in comparison to their whole fruit/vegetable counterparts say several scientists in the United Kingdom who conducted the literature review. The scientists analyzed a variety of studies that looked at risk reduction attributed to the effects of both fiber and antioxidants. As a result, they determined that the positive impact fruits and vegetables offer come not from just the fiber but also from antioxidants which are present in both juice and the whole fruit and vegetables.

This 2006 review of the literature states, "When considering cancer and coronary heart disease prevention, there is no evidence that pure fruit and vegetable juices are less beneficial than whole fruit and vegetables." The scientists add that the positioning of juices as being nutritionally inferior to whole fruits and vegetables in relationship to chronic disease development is "unjustified" and that policies which suggest otherwise about fruit and vegetable juices should be re-examined.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 26, 2007, 4:51 AM CT

Mri Contrast Agent Linked To Rare Disease

Mri Contrast Agent Linked To Rare Disease
New research has shown a possible association between a popular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent and the occurence rate of a rare disease called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) in patients with kidney disease, as per an editorial appearing in the recent issue of Radiology.

"We recommend avoiding the use of gadodiamide in patients with any degree of renal disease," said Phillip H. Kuo, M.D., Ph.D., assistant clinical professor of diagnostic radiology at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn. "At this point, the data clearly show the vast majority of NSF cases are linked to the use of gadodiamide".

NSF, an emerging systemic disorder characterized by widespread tissue fibrosis, has been diagnosed in patients who were previously administered gadodiamide (Omniscan) and other gadolinium-based MRI contrast agents. While the precise cause of NSF is unknown, the disorder has only been observed in patients with kidney disease, particularly those requiring dialysis.

"So far, NSF has only been reported in patients with renal failure," Dr. Kuo said. "Gadolinium contrast agents do not appear to cause NSF in patients with normal kidney function."

Patients with NSF experience an increase of collagen in the tissues, causing thickening and hardening of the skin of the extremities and often resulting in immobility and tightening or deformity of the joints. NSF can develop rapidly and may result in patients becoming wheelchair-bound within just a few weeks. In some cases, there is involvement of other tissues, including the lungs, heart, diaphragm, esophagus and skeletal muscle. No consistently effective treatment exists.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 25, 2007, 9:35 PM CT

When Smokers 'Forget' To Smoke

When Smokers 'Forget' To Smoke
Preliminary research supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health, has observed that some smokers with damage to a part of the brain called the insula may have their addiction to nicotine practically eliminated. The study is reported in the January 26, 2007 issue of the journal Science.

"The scientists observed that smokers with insula lesions were 136 times more likely to have their addiction to nicotine erased than smokers with other brain injuries," says NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow. "Research that identifies a way to alter the function of this area could have major implications for smokers and addiction therapy in general".

Dr. Antoine Bechara of the University of Southern California and colleagues identified 19 smokers who had experienced some degree of brain damage, resulting in lesions on the insula. Of these, 13 quit smoking. The researchers also identified 50 smokers whose brain injuries did not include damage to the insula. Of these, 19 quit smoking.

The researchers recognized that individuals from both groups-those with damage to the insula or damage to other brain regions-were able to quit smoking. However, some smokers experienced a greater ease in quitting. The researchers developed four behavioral criteria for determining who fell into this group; those who reported: (1) quitting smoking less than one day after the brain injury; (2) their difficulty of quitting was less than three on a scale of one to seven; (3) that they did not smoke again after quitting; and (4) no urge to smoke since quitting.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 24, 2007, 6:01 PM CT

Getting Sad Is More Than Having The Blues

Getting Sad Is More Than Having The Blues
While a number of people think that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) amounts to feeling gloomy in the winter, a University of Rochester research review emphasizes that SAD is actually a subtype of major depression and should be treated as such.

Lead author Stephen Lurie, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of Family Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, also noted that SAD is sometimes missed in the typical doctor's office setting.

"Like major depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder probably is under-diagnosed in primary care offices," Lurie said. "But with personalized and detailed attention to symptoms, most patients can be helped a great deal".

New, preliminary studies link SAD to alcoholism or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, not all people with SAD will have ADHD, as per the review article for the American Academy of Family Physicians.

"The important message here is that if you are a patient who has been diagnosed with a mental illness of any kind, don't just assume that any new mental or emotional problem is due to that illness," Lurie said. "Specifically, if you have ADHD and you feel worse in the winter, don't just assume it's your ADHD getting worse. It could actually be SAD - and you should see your doctor because ADHD and SAD are treated entirely differently".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 24, 2007, 5:49 PM CT

If Mom Smoked During Pregnancy

If Mom Smoked During Pregnancy
Quitting smoking may be more difficult for individuals whose mothers smoked during pregnancy, as per animal research conducted by Duke University Medical Center researchers.

Prenatal exposure to nicotine is known to alter areas of the brain critical to learning, memory and reward. Researchers at the Duke Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research have discovered that these alterations may program the brain for relapse to nicotine addiction. Rodents exposed to nicotine before birth self administer more of the drug after periods of abstinence than those that had not been exposed.

The study suggests that pregnant women should quit smoking to avoid exposing their unborn children to nicotine, and that they should do so without the use of nicotine products such as patches or gums that also present a risk to the baby, the scientists said.

"Smoking during pregnancy can harm the baby in ways that extend far beyond preterm delivery or low birth weight," said lead study investigator Edward Levin, Ph.D., a professor of biological psychiatry. "It causes changes in the brain development of the baby that can last a lifetime."

Results of the study appear this week in the online issue of the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. The work was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Philip Morris USA.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 16, 2007, 8:12 PM CT

Antivirals Fights Influenza Virus

Antivirals Fights Influenza Virus
Two antiviral drugs, oseltamivir and zanamivir, are highly effective when given as a preventive measure to reduce the spread of the influenza virus, as per an analysis of household-based studies by scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Michigan and University of Virginia, reported in the current print edition of the American Journal of Epidemiology. The analysis also suggests that therapy with oseltamivir may reduce the infectiousness of influenza patients, eventhough further studies are needed to provide a definitive conclusion.

"Preventing the spread of influenza within families is an essential part of influenza management, regardless of the strain. This study shows that there is a clear benefit to be gained by giving antivirals to people who have been exposed to the virus to prevent the onset of symptomatic illness," said lead author M. Elizabeth (Betz) Halloran, M.D., D.Sc., a Hutchinson Center-based biostatistician.

"While the efficacy of antivirals to protect against influenza is critical, the effect of these drugs on infectiousness also has important public-health consequences. Further studies to determine antiviral efficacy for reducing infectiousness would therefore be of great value," said Halloran, a member of the Hutchinson Center's Public Health Sciences Division and a professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


January 16, 2007, 5:03 AM CT

Growth Hormone Is Not The Anti-aging Bullet

Growth Hormone Is Not The Anti-aging Bullet Pituitary gland is the source of growth hormone
A review of published data on use of human growth hormone (GH) by healthy elderly people observed that the synthetic hormone was linked to small changes in body composition but not in body weight or other clinically important outcomes.

Further, people who took GH had increased rates of unhealthy side effects such as soft tissue swelling, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and, in men, abnormal breast development. They were also somewhat more likely to develop diabetes.

The review, "The Safety and Efficacy of Growth Hormone in the Healthy Elderly," was reported in the Jan. 16, 2007, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine and is available on the Web at www.annals.org on that day.

"Growth hormone has been widely promoted as an anti-aging treatment," said Hau Liu, MD, a research fellow in endocrinology and health policy at Stanford University and an author of the review.

"But the scant clinical experience of GH in the healthy elderly suggests that eventhough GH may minimally alter body composition, it does not improve other clinically relevant outcomes such as bone density, cholesterol levels, stamina, and longevity in this population.

"And it's linked to high rates of adverse events.

"So, on the basis of available evidence, we cannot recommend growth hormone use for anti-aging in the healthy elderly."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 15, 2007, 9:42 PM CT

Smoking Increases Risk Of Tuberculosis

Smoking Increases Risk Of Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that causes an estimated 2 million deaths each year. The majority of those deaths occur in developing countries, home to more than 900 million of the world's 1.1 billion smokers. In addition, about half of the world's people cook and heat their homes with coal and biomass fuels such as wood, animal dung and charcoal, which generate indoor air pollution. In a new study, scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiologic data to quantitatively assess the association between smoking, passive smoking and indoor air pollution and TB. They found consistent evidence that smoking is linked to an increased risk of TB; they also observed that passive smoking (secondhand smoke) and the burning of biomass fuels was linked to an increased TB risk.

The study appears online on January 16, 2007, in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine.

"The evidence suggests that, when in comparison to non-smokers, smokers have about double the risk of tuberculosis. The implication for global health is critical," said Megan Murray, associate professor of epidemiology at HSPH. "Since tobacco smoking has increased in developing countries where TB is prevalent, a considerable portion of the global burden of TB may be attributed to tobacco. Importantly, this also implies that smoking cessation might provide benefits for global TB control in addition to those for chronic diseases."........

Posted by: Mark      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.

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