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July 15, 2008, 9:40 PM CT

Regular walking nearly halves elderly disability risk

Regular walking nearly halves elderly disability risk
Elderly adults can decrease their risk of disability and increase their likelihood of maintaining independence by 41 percent by participating in a walking exercise program, as per a new University of Georgia study.

The study, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy, also observed that walking program participants increased their peak aerobic capacity by 19 percent when in comparison to a control group and increased their physical function by 25 percent.

"In the past decade, scientists have focused on the benefits of strength training in maintaining independence, but until now we didn't have strong evidence using an objective performance measure that a walking program would improve physical functioning," said co-author of study M. Elaine Cress, professor of kinesiology and researcher in the UGA Institute of Gerontology. "Our study observed that walking offers tremendous health benefits that can help elderly adults stay independent."

The scientists randomly assigned 26 low-income adults aged 60 and older to either a walking exercise group, which met three times a week for four months, or a nutrition education control group. Initially, the group would walk for 10 minutes continually. As the weeks progressed, they increased their walking time to 40 continuous minutes. Each session began with a 10-minute warm-up and ended with a 10-minute cool-down that included balance and flexibility exercises.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 14, 2008, 9:50 PM CT

Exercise may prevent brain shrinkage in early

Exercise may prevent brain shrinkage in early
Mild Alzheimer's disease patients with higher physical fitness had larger brains in comparison to mild Alzheimer's patients with lower physical fitness, as per a research studyreported in the July 15, 2008, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

For the study, 121 people age 60 and older underwent fitness tests using a treadmill as well as brain scans to measure the white matter, gray matter and total volume of their brains. Of the group, 57 were in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease while the rest of the group did not have dementia.

"People with early Alzheimer's disease who were less physically fit had four times more brain shrinkage when in comparison to normal elderly adults than those who were more physically fit, suggesting less brain shrinkage correlation to the Alzheimer's disease process in those with higher fitness levels," said study author Jeffrey M. Burns, MD, of the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City and member of the American Academy of Neurology.

The results remained the same regardless of age, gender, severity of dementia, physical activity and frailty. There was no relationship between higher fitness levels and brain changes in the group of people without dementia.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 14, 2008, 4:21 PM CT

Asians who immigrated to US before age 25

Asians who immigrated to US before age 25
Asian-American immigrants who came to the United States before they were 25 years old have poorer mental health than their compatriots who came to this country when they were 25 or older, as per data from the first national mental health survey of Asian-Americans.

The study is noteworthy because it shows that using traditional measures of socio-economic status number of years of school and household income to predict health outcomes is not accurate for individuals who immigrate when they are children or young adults, as per Janxin Leu, a University of Washington assistant professor of psychology and lead author of the study.

Immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before they were 25 attained higher levels of education and income than did older immigrants. However, 13 percent of the younger immigrants reported symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder in the prior 12 months in comparison to 9 percent of the over-25 group.

Leu and the other scientists observed that what is called subjective social status was more accurate in predicting mental health outcomes than income or education. To calculate this, they told the people surveyed to imagine a ladder with 10 rungs containing individuals who had achieved the most on the top rung and those who were least successful on the bottom. Then they were asked to place themselves on the ladder in comparison with other people.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 14, 2008, 4:14 PM CT

Rx for time-crunched physicians

Rx for time-crunched physicians
With their waiting rooms crowded and exam rooms full, a number of physicians say they are too busy to be good communicators. Those who study doctor time-management think otherwise. Certain communication skills can foster efficiency and effectiveness during an office visit without sacrificing rapport with patients, as per scientists at the University of Washington (UW) and the University of Rochester.

Their guide to a smoother flow of communication between doctors and patients appears in the July 14 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine Their model is based on the authors' observation: "Effective communication in primary care must include skills that enhance the quality of care while helping patients and physicians use time wisely Making the best use of available time is important for visits of any duration."

The scientists are Larry Mauksch, a UW behavioral scientist in family medicine who studies and teaches doctor/patient communications; David C. Dugdale, an internal medicine doctor and director of the UW Hall Health Primary Care Center; Sherry Dodson, UW clinical medical librarian; and Ronald Epstein, professor of family medicine, psychiatry, and oncology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and its Center to Improve Communication and Health Care.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 10, 2008, 9:48 PM CT

GNicotine addiction may be in your genes

GNicotine addiction may be  in your genes
Common genetic variations affecting nicotine receptors in the nervous system can significantly increase the chance that European Americans who begin smoking by age 17 will struggle with life-long nicotine addiction. Published July 11 in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics, this research led by researchers at the University of Utah together with colleagues from the University of Wisconsin highlights the importance of preventing early exposure to tobacco through public health policies.

These common genetic variations, or single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), are changes in a single unit of DNA. A haplotype is a set of SNPs that are statistically linked. The scientists observed that one haplotype for the nicotine receptor put European American smokers at a greater risk of heavy nicotine dependence as adults, but only if they began daily smoking before the age of 17. A second haplotype actually reduced the risk of adult heavy nicotine dependence for people who began smoking in their youth.

The scientists studied 2,827 long-term European American smokers, recruited in Utah and Wisconsin, and to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Lung Health Study. They assessed the level of nicotine dependence for all smokers, recording the age they began smoking daily, the number of years they smoked, and the average number of cigarettes smoked per day. DNA samples were taken from all smokers, and the scientists recorded the occurrence of common SNPs, grouped into four haplotypes, which had been identified earlier in a subset of participants.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 9, 2008, 9:08 PM CT

The Internet, alcohol and sleep

The Internet, alcohol and sleep
Girls moving through adolescence may experience unhealthy levels of weight gain, but the reasons for this are not always clear. In fact, a number of potential causes of weight gain are easily overlooked. A new study soon would be published in The Journal of Pediatrics analyzes the effect of Internet usage, sleep, and alcohol and coffee consumption on weight gain in adolescent girls.

Dr. Catherine Berkey and his colleagues from Harvard Medical School, Brigham & Women's Hospital, and Washington University led the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS), which surveyed more than 5000 girls between the ages of 14 and 21 years from all 50 states. They asked the girls to reflect on their weekly habits over the past year and report the following: 1) hours of sleep per night; 2) time spent on the Internet (excluding time for work or school); 3) number of alcoholic beverages consumed; and 4) number of coffee beverages consumed. The girls also reported their height and weight at the beginning and end of the one-year study.

The scientists observed that more Internet time, more alcohol consumption, and less sleep resulted in extra weight gain during the study year. Girls aged 18 years or older who consumed 2 or more alcoholic beverages a week or slept less than 6 hours a night gained more weight than other study participants. In fact, when combined with Internet use, girls in this group have the potential to gain four extra pounds a year. The scientists did not find a link between coffee consumption and weight gain, eventhough they point out that this information was collected before high calorie coffee drinks became popular.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 8, 2008, 9:02 PM CT

The association with stress and depression

The association with stress and depression
The brain is the key organ in the response to stress. Brain reactions determine what in the world is threatening and might be stressful for us, and regulate the stress responses that can be either adaptive or maladaptive. Chronic stress can affect the brain and lead into depression: Environmental stressors correlation to job or family situation are important triggers of depressive episodes and major life events such as trauma or abuse amongst the most potent factors inducing depression.

The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that major depression will soon be the worlds greatest public health burden. Thus optimising antidepressive treatment with regard to delayed or insufficient therapy response and unwanted side effects is urgent. Since the development of novel antidepressants is based upon an improved neurobiological understanding of this condition, new information about the cellular changes that take place in the brain is required.

Professor Fuchs from the Clinical Neurobiology Laboratory, German Primate Center in Goettingen, will present the latest findings on how brain cells can be adversely affected by stress and depression. He will explain how the adult brain is generating new cells and which impact these findings will have on the development of novel antidepressant drugs.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 7, 2008, 9:37 PM CT

Combination drug taken early relieves migraine symptoms

Combination drug taken early relieves migraine symptoms
A combination drug taken within an hour after the start of a migraine is effective in relieving symptoms, as per research reported in the July 8, 2008, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The drug combines sumatriptan, a migraine-specific drug that affects the constriction of blood vessels, with naproxen sodium, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that works on the inflammatory aspect of migraine and relieves non-traditional migraine symptoms such as sinus pain and pressure and neck pain.

"Unfortunately, a number of migraine sufferers put off therapy," said study author Stephen Silberstein, MD, of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. "This study provides more evidence that treating a migraine at the first sign of pain increases the likelihood of relief".

The research involved two studies with a total of 1,111 people with migraine who had experienced two to six attacks per month in the three months before the study started. Half of the people were given the sumatriptan/naproxen drug within an hour after migraine pain started and while the pain was still mild; the other half were given a placebo.

Two hours after the dose was given, about 50 percent of those who received the drug were free of any pain, in comparison to about 16 percent of those who got the placebo. The people who took the placebo were also two to three times more likely to progress to moderate or severe pain over four hours than those who took the drug.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 7, 2008, 9:34 PM CT

Pregnancy and risk of heart attack

Pregnancy and risk of heart attack
Eventhough acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is rare in women of child-bearing age, pregnancy can increase a woman's risk of heart attack 3- to 4-fold, as per a research studyreported in the July 15, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology Since women today may delay having children until during the later part of life, and advances in reproductive medicine enable older women to conceive, the occurrence of AMI linked to pregnancy is expected to increase.

The study, authored by Arie Roth, M.D., Tel Aviv University in Israel, and Uri Elkayam, M.D., University of Southern California (USC), is a follow up to their initial report released in 1995. The report is based on a review of 103 women with pregnancy-related AMI in the last decade and outlines key recommendations for the diagnosis and therapy of this condition in pregnant women that also considers the health and safety of the developing baby.

"It's extremely important that physicians who take care of women during pregnancy and after delivery be aware of the occasional occurrence of AMI in pregnancy and not overlook symptoms in these young patients," said Dr. Elkayam, who is a professor of Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology at USC. "Eventhough a number of of the standard principles for diagnosing and treating AMI in non-pregnant patients also apply to pregnant women, two patients need to be treatedthe mother and her babyand the health status of both should play a major role in the selection of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


July 3, 2008, 9:11 PM CT

Red wine ingredient wards off effects of age on heart

Red wine ingredient wards off effects of age on heart
Large doses of a red wine ingredient can ward off a number of of the vagaries of aging in mice who begin taking it at midlife, as per a new report published online on July 3rd in Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication. Those health improvements of the chemical known as resveratrolincluding cardiovascular benefits, greater motor coordination, reduced cataracts and better bone densitycome without necessarily extending the animals' lifespan.

Sinclair and de Cabo's team further show evidence that resveratrol mimics the beneficial effects of eating fewer calories. In mice, they observed that resveratrol induces gene activity patterns in multiple tissues that parallel those induced by dietary restriction and every-other-day feeding.

" From a health point of view, the quality of life of these mice at the end of their days is much better," said Rafael de Cabo of the National Institute on Aging. It suggests that resveratrol may "extend productive independent life, rather than just extending life span".

" I was most surprised by how broad the effects were in the mice," added David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School. "Usually, you focus on slowing down or ameliorating one disease at a time. In this case, resveratrol influences a whole series of seemingly unrelated diseases linked to aging." Sinclair said he expects some of the effect seen in the mice would have even greater impact if they hold in humans. That's because, unlike people, mice commonly don't die as a result of heart disease, or suffer from weakening bones.........

Posted by: Daniel      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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