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April 22, 2009, 5:26 AM CT

Sleep pattern and risk of diabetes

Sleep pattern and risk of diabetes
Scientists at Universit Laval's Faculty of Medicine have observed that people who sleep too much or not enough are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance. The risk is 2 times higher for people who sleep less than 7 hours or more than 8 hours a night. The findings were published recently on the website of the journal Sleep Medicine

The scientists arrived at this conclusion after analyzing the life habits of 276 subjects over a 6-year period. They determined that over this timespan, approximately 20% of those with long and short sleep duration developed type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance versus only 7% among subjects who were average duration sleepers. Even after taking into account the effect attributable to differences in body mass among the subjects, the risk of diabetes and insulin resistance was still twice as high among those with longer and shorter sleep duration than average sleepers.

The scientists also point out that diabetes is not the only risk linked to sleep duration. A growing number of studies have shed light on a similar relationship between sleep and obesity, cardiovascular disease, and overall mortality. The authors observe that among adults, between 7 and 8 hours of nighttime sleep may be the optimum duration to protect against common diseases and premature death.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 22, 2009, 5:21 AM CT

Breast cancer patients, emotional quality and exercise

Breast cancer patients, emotional quality and exercise
Charles Emery
The first study to monitor physical activity in patients with breast cancer for five years suggests that patients with greater depressive symptoms and a lower emotional quality of life are less likely to exercise as part of their recovery than are patients reporting less distress.

While the findings may seem intuitive, they also add weight to a growing pool of data supporting the need to concentrate on patients with breast cancer' emotional health soon after they are diagnosed, scientists say.

Overall, the women as a group increased their physical activity during the first 18 months after diagnosis and therapy, but then their physical activity gradually declined over the remaining 3 1/2 years.

Poor physical health also was linked to less physical activity over all five years. Conversely, family support appeared to slow the decline in physical activity over the last 42 months of the study.

Depressive symptoms can include low mood, low energy, sleep difficulty and a lack of interest in, or withdrawal from, normal activities. Emotional quality of health is a broad composite measure of social and psychological factors, including mood, tension and the presence or lack of social support.

"This suggests that stress in the form of depressive symptoms is correlation to actual health behavior over a sustained period of time," said Charles Emery, professor of psychology at Ohio State University and main author of the study.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 22, 2009, 5:16 AM CT

Think memory worsens with age?

Think memory worsens with age?
Thinking your memory will get worse as you get older may actually be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Scientists at North Carolina State University have observed that senior citizens who think older people should perform poorly on tests of memory actually score much worse than seniors who do not buy in to negative stereotypes about aging and memory loss.

As per a research findings published earlier this month, psychology professor Dr. Tom Hess and a team of scientists from NC State show that elderly adults' ability to remember suffers when negative stereotypes are "activated" in a given situation. "For example, elderly adults will perform more poorly on a memory test if they are told that older folks do poorly on that particular type of memory test," Hess says. Memory also suffers if senior citizens believe they are being "stigmatized," meaning that others are looking down on them because of their age.

"Such situations appears to be a part of elderly adults' everyday experience," Hess says, "such as being concerned about what others think of them at work having a negative effect on their performance and thus potentially reinforcing the negative stereotypes." However, Hess adds, "The positive flip side of this is that those who do not feel stigmatized, or those in situations where more positive views of aging are activated, exhibit significantly higher levels of memory performance." In other words, if you are confident that aging will not ravage your memory, you are more likely to perform well on memory-related tasks.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 22, 2009, 5:14 AM CT

When healthy menus backfire

When healthy menus backfire
Just seeing a salad on the menu seems to push some consumers to make a less healthy meal choice, according a Duke University researcher.

It's an effect called "vicarious goal fulfillment," in which a person can feel a goal has been met if they have taken some small action, like considering the salad without ordering it, said Gavan Fitzsimons, professor of marketing and psychology at Duke's Fuqua School of Business, who led the research.

In a lab experiment, participants possessing high levels of self-control correlation to food choices (as assessed by a pre-test) avoided french fries, the least healthy item on a menu, when presented with only unhealthy choices. But when a side salad was added to this menu, they became much more likely to take the fries.

The team's findings are available in the online version of the Journal of Consumer Research, and will appear in its October 2009 print edition.

Eventhough fast-food restaurants and vending machine operators have increased their healthy offerings in recent years, "analysts have pointed out that sales growth in the fast-food industry is not coming from healthy menu items, but from increased sales of burgers and fries," Fitzsimons said. "There is clearly public demand for healthy options, so we wanted to know why people aren't following through and purchasing those items".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 22, 2009, 5:11 AM CT

New chemo combination against recurrent gynecologic cancers

New chemo combination against recurrent gynecologic cancers
Recurrent and metastatic endometrial and ovary cancers can be notoriously difficult to treat: They have spread to other organs and typically have developed resistance to chemotherapy; and patients already heavily treated with chemotherapy may not be able to endure more chemo. Now, physicians at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have shown that a combination of two chemotherapy drugs not only produced clinical benefit for such patients but were also well tolerated. The findings are published online in the journal Gynecologic Oncology

"Women with recurrent gynecologic cancers have often had multiple rounds of chemotherapy, which can cause tumor cells to develop resistance to these drugs," says Mark H. Einstein, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics & gynecology and women's health at Einstein, who headed the study. "This resistance can make it difficult for doctors to devise a therapy protocol that will impact the cancers while avoiding the often-severe side effects that certain chemotherapy drugs can cause, especially when patients have already been heavily pretreated with other anti-cancer drugs".

In prior clinical studies, the chemotherapy drugs topotecan and docetaxel showed effectiveness when used separately against recurrent gynecologic cancers. The phase 2 trial conducted by Dr. Einstein and colleagues─the first to evaluate the combination of the drugs for this purpose─involved 24 women with recurrent uterine, ovarian, fallopian or peritoneal cancers. The women were given the topotecan-docetaxel combination on Day 1 of the trial and then weekly for three weeks; after a one-week rest, the women received another three-week therapy cycle, ultimately undergoing six such therapy cycles.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


April 22, 2009, 5:08 AM CT

Eating salmon once a week

Eating salmon once a week
Eating salmon or other fatty fish just once a week helped reduce men's risk of heart failure, adding to growing evidence that omega-3 fatty acids are of benefit to cardiac health. Led by scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and reported in today's on-line issue of the European Heart Journal, the findings represent one of the largest studies to investigate the association.

"Prior research has demonstrated that fatty fish and omega-3 fatty acids help to combat risk factors for a range of heart-related conditions, such as lowering triglycerides [fats in the blood] reducing blood pressure, heart rate and heart rate variability," explains first author Emily Levitan, PhD, a research fellow in the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Center at BIDMC. "Collectively, this may explain the association with the reduced risk of heart failure found in our study".

A life-threatening condition that develops when the heart can no longer pump enough blood to meet the body's needs, heart failure (also known as congestive heart failure) is commonly caused by existing cardiac conditions, including hypertension and coronary artery disease. Typically heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization among patients 65 and older, and is characterized by such symptoms as fatigue and weakness, difficulty walking, rapid or irregular heartbeat, and persistent cough or wheezing.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 21, 2009, 5:28 AM CT

We're all pot heads deep inside

We're all pot heads deep inside
U.S. and Brazilian researchers have just proven that one of Bob Dylan's most famous lines"everybody must get stoned" is correct. That's because they've discovered that the brain manufactures proteins that act like marijuana at specific receptors in the brain itself. This discovery, published online in The FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org), may lead to new marijuana-like drugs for managing pain, stimulating appetite, and preventing marijuana abuse.

"Ideally, this development will lead to drugs that bind to and activate the THC receptor, but are devoid of the side effects that limit the usefulness of marijuana," said Lakshmi A. Devi of the Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and one of the senior scientists involved in the study. "It would be helpful to have a drug that activated or blocked the THC receptor, and our findings raise the possibility that this will lead to effective drugs with fewer side effects".

Researchers made their discovery by first extracting several small proteins, called peptides, from the brains of mice and determining their amino acid sequence. The extracted proteins were then compared with another peptide previously known to bind to, but not activate, the receptor (THC) affected by marijuana. Out of the extracted proteins, several not only bound to the brain's THC receptors, but activated them as well.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 21, 2009, 5:24 AM CT

Choice of food can lead to unhealthy choices

Choice of food can lead to unhealthy choices
More restaurants and vending machines offer healthy choices these days, so why do Americans' waistlines continue to expand? A newly released study in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that some efforts to control eating may backfire.

Consumers may feel they have fulfilled a healthy eating goal even if they choose an unhealthy food, and the presence of a healthy option among food choices may draw their attention to the least-healthy choice available, as per authors Keith Wilcox (City University of New York), Beth Vallen (Loyola College), Lauren Block (City University of New York), and Gavan J. Fitzsimons (Duke University).

"Just because we consumers want to see healthier items available does not mean that we are going to choose them," write the authors. "We present evidence that for a number of consumers, the addition of healthy alternatives to food choice sets can, ironically, increase the consumption of very indulgent food items".

In a series of four studies, the scientists examined how consumers' food choices differed when a healthy item was included in a set in comparison to when it was not available. The study results showed that the mere presence of a healthy item vicariously fulfills health-related eating goals, drives attention to the least-healthy choice, and provides people with license to indulge in tempting foods. They also demonstrated that these effects were more pronounced in people with relatively high levels of self-control.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 21, 2009, 5:17 AM CT

How does lithium work in bipolar disease?

How does lithium work in bipolar disease?
Lithium has been established for more than 50 years as one of the most effective therapys for bipolar mood disorder.

However, researchers have never been entirely sure exactly how it operates in the human brain.

Now, new research from Cardiff University researchers suggests a mechanism for how Lithium works, opening the door for potentially more effective therapys.

Laboratory tests on cells have shown that Lithium affects a molecule called PIP3 that is important in controlling brain cell signalling. Lithium suppresses the production of inositol, a simple sugar from which PIP3 is made.

Lithium inhibits inositol monophosphatase (IMPase) an enzyme mandatory for making inositol. Importantly, this research shows that increasing the amount of IMPase causes higher levels of PIP3. This can then be reduced by lithium therapy.

High levels of IMPA2, a gene for a variant of IMPase, has previously been associated with bipolar mood disorder. This new result suggests that Lithium could counteract the changes in IMPA2.

Professor Adrian Harwood of Cardiff School of Biosciences, who led the research, said: "We still cannot say definitively how Lithium can help stabilise bipolar disorder. However, our research does suggest a possible pathway for its operation. By better understanding Lithium, we can learn about the genetics of bipolar disorder and develop more potent and selective drugs.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 21, 2009, 5:14 AM CT

Breastfeed your children to prevent heart attack

Breastfeed your children to prevent heart attack
The longer women breastfeed, the lower their risk of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular disease, report University of Pittsburgh scientists as per a research findings reported in the recent issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology

"Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women, so it's vitally important for us to know what we can do to protect ourselves," said Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of medicine, epidemiology, and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. "We have known for years that breastfeeding is important for babies' health; we now know that it is important for mothers' health as well".

As per the study, postmenopausal women who breastfed for at least one month had lower rates of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, all known to cause heart disease. Women who had breastfed their babies for more than a year were 10 percent less likely to have had a heart attack, stroke, or developed heart disease than women who had never breastfed.

Dr. Schwarz and his colleagues observed that the benefits from breastfeeding were long-term ― an average of 35 years had passed since women enrolled in the study had last breastfed an infant.

"The longer a mother nurses her baby, the better for both of them," Dr. Schwarz pointed out. "Our study provides another good reason for workplace policies to encourage women to breastfeed their infants." .........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Studies in monkeys and women suggest that unlike traditional estrogen therapy, a diet high in the natural plant estrogens found in soy does not increase the risk of uterine cancer in postmenopausal women, according to Mark Cline, D.V.M., Ph.D., an associate professor of comparative medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

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