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October 8, 2007, 8:47 AM CT

Medicare modernization act and chemotherapy

Medicare modernization act and chemotherapy
Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy have not noticed a restriction in their access to therapy following the enactment of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA), despite the act's significant reduction in government reimbursement to oncologists, as per a new study led by scientists in the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI).

Critics of the MMA often said that it would reduce patients access to chemotherapy services, because doctors would receive 30 to 40 percent less reimbursement from the government for administering therapy, said Kevin Schulman, M.D., director of the DCRIs Center for Clinical and Genetic Economics, and senior investigator on the study. Our study showed that patients actually do not perceive barriers to their access to chemotherapy and perceptions about access are really the same among patients who received therapy before the legislation went into effect, and those who received it afterwards.

The team's findings would be reported in the November 15, 2007 print edition of the journal Cancer, but also will appear earlier in the journals October 8, 2007 online edition. The study was funded by a grant from the National Patient Advocate Foundations Global Access Project, which brings together 42 national healthcare stakeholder groups -- such as pharmaceutical companies and advocacy groups -- to fund health research projects. The Project has focused on examining the MMAs consequences for patients, providers and healthcare systems.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 8, 2007, 8:30 AM CT

Hip size of mothers linked to breast cancer in daughters

Hip size of mothers linked to breast cancer in daughters
Image courtesy of Wayne State College
Ore. In a study of the maternity records of more than 6,000 women, David J.P. Barker, M.D., Ph.D., and Kent Thornburg, Ph.D., of Oregon Health & Science University discovered a strong connection between the size and shape of a womans hips and her daughters risk of breast cancer. Wide, round hips, the scientists postulated, represent markers of high sex hormone concentrations in the mother, which increase her daughters vulnerability to breast cancer.

A womans hips are shaped at puberty when the growth of the hip bones is controlled by sex hormones but is also influenced by the level of nutrition. Every woman has a unique sex hormone profile which is established at puberty and persists through her reproductive life. The studys findings show for the first time that the pubertal growth spurt of girls is strongly linked to the risk of breast cancer in their daughters.

The study, carried out with colleagues in Finland and the United Kingdom., is described in an article just published online by the peer-evaluated American Journal of Human Biology. The authors followed up on 6,370 women born in Helsinki from 1934 to 1944 whose mothers pelvic bones were measured during routine prenatal care. The study observed that breast cancer rates were more than three times higher among the women in the cohort, born at or after term, whose mothers had wide hips. They were more than seven times higher if those mothers had already given birth to one or more children.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 4, 2007, 9:38 PM CT

Kids still not drinking enough milk

Kids still not drinking enough milk
American children are drinking too little milk and what they are consuming is too high in fat, as per a Penn State study.

"There is a strong connection between dairy consumption and calcium," says Sibylle Kranz, assistant professor of nutritional sciences. "While there is calcium in fortified orange juice, for example, it is not as bioavailable as that found in milk." She notes that people need to take calcium with vitamin D and some protein for optimal use in the body.

Kranz, working with Po-Ju Lin, doctoral student and David A. Wagstaff, statistician, looked at children's average daily dairy intake and compared it with that recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's My Pyramid dairy recommendations and Adequate Intake of calcium for various ages from 2 through 18. Their findings, reported online in press in the Journal of Pediatrics, are that only 2 to 3 year olds meet the MyPyramid dairy recommendations.

They also noticed that most children choose to consume more of the highest fat varieties of cheese, yogurt, ice cream and dairy-based toppings.

The various recommendations for dairy intake in children established by a variety of organizations suggest two cups for 1 to 3 year olds, two to three cups for 4 to 8 year olds, and three to four cups for 9 to 18 year olds depending on the recommending agency.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 4, 2007, 5:11 AM CT

Fu vaccination for health-care workers

Fu vaccination for health-care workers
The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends that an annual influenza vaccine should be mandatory for every health care worker with direct patient care activities.

Only 36 percent of all health care workers are immunized against influenza each year. Transmission of influenza from health care workers to patients has been documented in nearly every health care setting, and multiple studies show that 70 percent or more of health care workers continue to work despite being ill with influenza, increasing exposure of patients and co-workers.

"Immunizing health care workers safely and effectively prevents a significant number of influenza infections, hospitalizations, and deaths among the patients they care for, as well as preventing workplace disruption and medical errors by workers absent from work due to illness, or present at work but ill," said Vincenza Snow, MD, FACP, Director, Clinical Programs and Quality of Care at ACP.

Every year, flu infects up to 20 percent of the population, causes the hospitalization of about 200,000 people, and kills 36,000.

Major professional medical societies have endorsed and published recommendations requiring health care workers with direct patient care to be immunized, unless they sign an informed declination. ACP encourages organizations to establish an annual influenza vaccination program, educate staff and physicians about flu vaccination, evaluate vaccination rates and reasons for nonparticipation in the immunization program at the unit level, and implement enhancements to the program to increase participation.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 4, 2007, 5:03 AM CT

Combination vaccines okay for infants

Combination vaccines okay for infants
A University of Rochester study brings relief to new parents who, while navigating a jam-packed childhood vaccine schedule, can expect to soothe their newborn through as a number of as 15 pokes by his or her six-month checkup.

The study, recently published in The Journal of Pediatrics, shows that no efficacy or safety is compromised when clinicians administer a new combination vaccine that streamlines the process in effect, tripling up three of the recommended shots to reduce the poke total from five to three, at each of three bimonthly, well-child checkups.

Only more immunizations will enter the schedule, said Michael Pichichero, M.D., professor of Microbiology/Immunology, Pediatrics and Medicine at the University of Rochester and the studys lead author. Coupling or tripling of these vaccines is increasingly important, as this streamlining helps to promote parent compliance, timely vaccination and fewer administration errors.

The study overturns findings (and fears) from a prior study that suggested problems when two specific vaccines were given at the same time Pediarix, a combination of vaccines that guard against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and poliovirus, and Prevnar, which protects against 76 strains of Streptococcus pneumonia. The earlier studies observed that when the vaccines were co-administered, a suboptimal immune response was produced against whooping cough, and more uncomfortable reactions, such as swelling at the injection site, could be expected.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 2, 2007, 10:08 PM CT

Female Academic Performance Lies In The (gender) Balance

Female Academic Performance Lies In The (gender) Balance
Have you ever felt outnumbered? Like there are just not that a number of people like you around? We've all felt outnumbered in one situation or another and walking into a situation in which you sense the possibility of being ostracized or isolated can be quite threatening.

One group that may experience this kind of threat is women who participate in math, science, and engineering (MSE) settings- settings in which the gender ratio is approximately 3 men to every 1 woman. Recently, in the wake of comments made by former Harvard University President, Larry Summers, suggesting that women may not possess the same "innate ability" or "natural ability" in these fields as do men, several leading scientific institutions and university presidents publicly lamented the underrepresentation of women in Math, Science and Engineering fields and put out a call to study the reasons for the numbers gap in these areas.

While prior research offers biological and socialization explanations for differences in the performance and representation of men and women in these fields, Stanford psychology experts, Mary Murphy and Claude Steele argue that the organization of Math, Science and Engineering environments themselves plays a significant role in contributing to this gap. Murphy contends that situational cues (i.e. being outnumbered) may contribute to a decrease in women's performance expectations, as well as their actual performance.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 2, 2007, 8:41 PM CT

Creatine plus exercise enhances strength

Creatine plus exercise enhances strength
Lower muscle mass and an increase in body fat are common consequences of growing older.

While exercise is a proven way to prevent the loss of muscle mass, a new study led by McMaster researcher Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky shows that taking a combination of creatine monohydrate (CrM) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in addition to resistance exercise training provides even greater benefits.

The study would be published on Oct. 3 in PLoS One, an international, peer-evaluated online journal of the Public Library of Science, involved 19 men and 20 women who were 65 years or older and took part in a six-month program of regular resistance exercise training.

In the randomized double blind trial, some of the participants were given a daily supplement of creatine (a naturally produced compound that supplies energy to muscles) and linoleic acid (a naturally occurring fatty acid), while others were given a placebo. All participants took part in the same exercise program.

The exercise training resulted in improvements of functional ability and strength in all participants, but those taking the CrM and CLA showed even greater gains in muscle endurance, an increase in fat-free mass and a decrease in the percentage of body fat.

This data confirms that supervised resistance exercise training is safe and effective for increasing strength and function in elderly adults and that a combination of CrM and CLA can enhance some of the beneficial effects of training over a six month period, said Tarnopolsky, a professor of pediatrics and medicine.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 1, 2007, 10:15 PM CT

Avoid surprise headaches from chocolate, wine

Avoid surprise headaches from chocolate, wine
Scientists in California are reporting development of a fast, inexpensive test suitable for home use that could help millions of people avoid those out of the blue headaches that may follow consumption of certain red wines, cheese, chocolate, and other aged or fermented foods.

The test is designed to detect the presence of so-called biogenic amines, naturally occurring toxins that can trigger a wide range of symptoms in sensitive individuals from nasty headaches to life-threatening episodes of high-blood pressure.

Existing tests for biogenic amines can take several hours, are cumbersome and require large, expensive instruments found only in laboratories, the scientists say. The new test, based on lab-on-a-chip technology, could produce results within five minutes, they state. It will be described in the Nov. 1 issue of ACS Analytical Chemistry, a semi-monthly journal.

These toxins can be a serious health problem and are more common than people think, says study leader Richard A. Mathies, Ph.D., a chemist with the University of California, Berkeley. They are hidden in a wide variety of foods. Having a quick, convenient way to identify them will help consumers avoid them or at least limit their intake.

Biogenic amines include tyramine, histamine, and phenylethylamine, which have been known to cause nausea, headaches, and respiratory disorders. These toxins can be especially dangerous in people with reduced monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity or those taking MAO inhibitors, an older class of antidepressant medications, because they can potentially interact and cause dangerously high blood pressure. Having a quick testing kit could ultimately save lives in these individuals, Mathies suggests.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 1, 2007, 8:57 PM CT

Light on human aging

Light on human aging
Microscopic worms used for scientific research are living longer despite cellular defects, a discovery that is shedding light on how the human body ages and how doctors could one day limit or reverse genetic mutations that cause inherited diseases, as per a new University of Colorado at Boulder study.

In the first formal study of its kind, scientists manipulated the metabolic state of genetically engineered lab worms called C. elegans and discovered a window of high-efficiency cellular processing that enabled the worms to slow their rate of aging. The findings could one day contribute to the creation of gene therapies to reverse or lessen the effects of mitochondrial diseases, the largest family of human genetic diseases, said lead study author Shane Rea of CU-Boulder's Institute for Behavioral Genetics.

Diseases labeled as mitochondrial are those that affect the mitochondria, the membrane-enclosed power sources present in all cells, Rea said. Scientists believe their insights might find application in treating diseases associated with mitochondrial dysfunction such as Huntington's, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

"We appear to have found a window where life is able to preserve itself even better than when operating in the absence of any cellular defects," said Rea. "It's a metabolic state where cells are probably getting close to the best they can be for long life and good health".........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


October 1, 2007, 5:42 AM CT

Childhood TV viewing a risk for behavior problems

Childhood TV viewing a risk for behavior problems
Daily television viewing for two or more hours in early childhood can lead to behavioral problems and poor social skills, as per a research studyof children 2.5 to 5.5 years of age conducted by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The Hopkins scientists observed that the impact of TV viewing on a childs behavior and social skills varied by the age at which the viewing occurred. More importantly, heavy television viewing that decreased over time was not linked to behavior or social problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under age 2 watch no television while children age 2 and older are limited to no more than two hours of daily viewing. The study is reported in the October 2007 issue of Pediatrics.

Many studies have demonstrated negative effects of heavy television viewing. However, timing of exposure is an important consideration as reducing viewing to acceptable levels can reduce the risk of behavioral and social problems, said Kamila Mistry, MPH, lead author of the study and a doctoral candidate in the Bloomberg Schools Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health.

For the study, the research team analyzed data for 2,707 children collected from the Healthy Steps for Young Children national evaluation. Parents were surveyed about their childs television viewing habits and behavior at 2.5 and at 5.5 years of age.........

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.

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