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October 14, 2009, 7:16 AM CT

Transcendental meditation reduces stress

Transcendental meditation reduces stress
Women with breast cancer reduced stress and improved their mental health and emotional well being through the Transcendental Meditation technique, as per a newly released study reported in the current issue of the peer-evaluated Integrative Cancer Therapies (Vol. 8, No. 3: September 2009).

"A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of Transcendental Meditation on Quality of Life in Older Breast Cancer Patients" was a collaboration between the Center for Healthy Aging at Saint Joseph Hospital; the Institute for Health Services, Research and Policy Studies at Northwestern University; the Department of Psychology at Indiana State University; and the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management.

"It is wonderful that physicians now have a range of interventions to use, including Transcendental Meditation, to benefit their patients with cancer," said Rhoda Pomerantz, M.D., co-author of study and chief of gerontology, Saint Joseph Hospital. "I believe this approach should be appreciated and utilized more widely".

One hundred thirty women with breast cancer, 55 years and older, participated in the two-year study at Saint Joseph Hospital. The women were randomly assigned to either the Transcendental Meditation technique or to a usual care control group. Patients were administered quality of life measures, including the Functional Evaluation of Cancer Therapy-Breast (FACT-B), every six months for two years. The average intervention period was 18 months.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 14, 2009, 7:05 AM CT

Information in hospital prescription records

Information in hospital prescription records
A recent study led by Dr. Khaled El Emam, the Canada Research Chair in Electronic Health Information at the CHEO Research Institute, observed that the information in hospital prescription records can quite easily re-identify patients.

Information on drug prescriptions are a highly sought after commodity. Pharmaceutical companies like to access this data to fine tune their marketing and sales efforts. A number of retail pharmacies in Canada sell their prescription records to commercial data aggregators who perform analyses for pharmaceutical companies; the potential privacy risk with such a practice is if the patients can be re-identified from this data. There is now more demand for this data from hospital pharmacies as well.

Dr. El Emam's study, titled "Evaluating the Risk of Re-identification of Patients from Hospital Prescription Records", demonstrates the importance of ensuring the proper de-identification of patient records. The study demonstrates a methodology for deciding which data to keep and which to de-identify, since hospital prescription data contains details such as where patients live and when they were admitted to the hospital.

"A meaningful risk analysis requires an understanding of the nature of plausible re-identification scenarios" explained Dr. El Emam "and is typically performed with a hospital's privacy officer to ensure that the risk to patient re-identification remains as low as possible."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 13, 2009, 8:22 AM CT

Teen smoking-cessation trial

Teen smoking-cessation trial
For the first time, scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have demonstrated that it is possible to successfully recruit and retain a large number of adolescent smokers from the general population into a smoking intervention study and, through personalized, proactive telephone counseling, significantly impact rates of six-month continuous quitting. These findings, by Arthur V. Peterson Jr., Ph.D., Kathleen A. Kealey and his colleagues, are reported in a pair of papers in the Oct. 12 "Advance Access" online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute

"When this study started, despite decades of research and dozens of intervention trials, there was no proven way to reach teens from the general population and recruit them into smoking cessation programs, and there was no proven way to help these teens quit," said Peterson, a member of the Hutchinson Center's Public Health Sciences Division and main author of the paper that reported the results of the Hutchinson Study of High School Smoking, the largest randomized trial of teen smoking cessation ever conducted.

The trial, funded by the National Institutes of Health, involved 2,151 teenage smokers from 50 high schools in Washington. Half of the schools were randomly assigned to the experimental intervention; teens in these schools were invited to take part in confidential, personalized telephone counseling designed to help motivate them to quit. The remaining 25 schools served as a comparison group; teen smokers from these schools did not participate in the telephone intervention. The study also included 745 nonsmokers to ensure that contacting students for participation in the trial would not reveal a participant's smoking status.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 13, 2009, 8:15 AM CT

Alzheimer's disease: Declines in thinking and learning skills

Alzheimer's disease: Declines in thinking and learning skills
Cognitive abilities other than memory, including visuospatial skills needed to perceive relationships between objects, may decline years previous to a clinical diagnosis in patients with Alzheimer's disease, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"Recent studies have focused on identifying the beginning of the transition from healthy aging to dementia," the authors write as background information in the article. "As new interventions become available, it will become important to identify the disease as early as possible." Loss of episodic memoryremembering events in one's life that can be explicitly statedis usually associated with Alzheimer's disease, but it is not the only aspect of cognition (thinking, learning and memory) that is affected.

David K. Johnson, Ph.D., of the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and his colleagues assessed 444 individuals who did not have dementia when they were enrolled in the study, between 1979 and 2006. Upon enrolling, each participant underwent a clinical assessment and a psychometric evaluation including tests of four cognitive factors: global cognition, verbal memory, visuospatial skill and working memory. Participants were then reviewed at least one additional time before November 2007.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 13, 2009, 8:12 AM CT

Visual impairment and risk of death

Visual impairment and risk of death
Visual problems that cannot be corrected are linked to increased risk of death among individuals between the ages of 49 and 74, and all visual impairments appears to be linked to the risk of death in elderly adults, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Visual impairment has been linked to a higher risk of death as well as factors that may lead to increased death such as unintentional injury, depression, lower body mass index (BMI), reduced walking speeds, increased risk of falls, self-reported difficulty in physical activity, cardiovascular disease, dementia and cancer, as per background information in the article. "Correction for these 'confounders' has been found to attenuate the association between visual impairment and mortality, but the mechanisms behind the association between visual impairment and mortality remain to be determined".

Michael J. Karpa, M.B.B.S., B.Sc., of Westmead Millennium Institute, Sydney, Australia, and his colleagues used data from the Blue Mountains Eye Study, which examined visual impairment in 3,654 participants age 49 and older between 1992 and 1994 and after five and ten years, to evaluate the relationship between visual impairment and death risk among older individuals.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 13, 2009, 8:07 AM CT

Pre-term births and higher rates of eye problems

Pre-term births and higher rates of eye problems
As more extremely pre-term infants survive in Sweden, an increasing number of babies are experiencing vision problems caused by abnormalities involving the retina, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"Retinopathy of prematurity [abnormal development of blood vessels in the retina] remains an important cause of childhood blindness and visual impairment throughout the world," the authors write as background information in the article. "During the last decade, neonatal care has changed with an increase in centralization, implementation of new therapies and provision of intensive care for infants of extremely low gestational age. These changes have contributed to an increasing population of survivors in neonatal intensive care units today. The occurence rate of retinopathy of prematurity in these extremely preterm infants is, therefore, unknown".

Dordi Austeng, M.D., of University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden, and Trondheim University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway, and his colleagues studied Swedish infants born before 27 weeks' gestation between 2004 and 2007. Infants were screened for retinopathy of prematurity beginning at five weeks after birth and were treated for the condition as per established guidelines.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 13, 2009, 7:56 AM CT

Tenderness in the breast during HRT

Tenderness in the breast during HRT
Women who developed new-onset breast tenderness after starting estrogen plus progestin hormone replacement treatment were at significantly higher risk for developing breast cancer than women on the combination treatment who didn't experience such tenderness, as per a new UCLA study.

The research, reported in the Oct. 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, is based on data from more than 16,000 participants in the Women's Health Initiative estrogen-plus- progestin clinical trial. This trial was abruptly halted in July 2002 when scientists observed that healthy menopausal women on the combination treatment had an elevated risk for invasive breast cancer.

Scientists do not know why breast tenderness indicates increased cancer risk among women on the combination treatment, said the newly released study's lead researcher, Dr. Carolyn J. Crandall, a clinical professor of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

"Is it because the hormone treatment is causing breast-tissue cells to multiply more rapidly, which causes breast tenderness and at the same time indicates increased cancer risk? We need to figure out what makes certain women more susceptible to developing breast tenderness during hormone treatment than other women," Crandall said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 13, 2009, 7:48 AM CT

Parkinsonism and urate level

Parkinsonism and urate level
Parkinson disease progresses more slowly in patients who have higher levels of urate, a chemical that at very high level is linked to gout, researchers have found. While it's unknown whether the high levels actually somehow protect patients or simply serve as a marker of protection, the finding supports the idea that patients and doctors may one day be able to better predict the course of the illness.

The study, led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health and including physicians at the University of Rochester Medical Center, was published online in the Archives of Neurology

The new findings are based on biological samples, primarily blood and cerebrospinal fluid, collected from people with Parkinson disease who participated in a landmark study known as DATATOP, which was conducted two decades ago.

DATATOP, conceived and led by Rochester neurologist Ira Shoulson, M.D., is best known for shifting the landscape of neurology clinical research. Shoulson convinced dozens of researchers around the world to work together, pooling their resources to ask questions about potential new therapys for the disease big questions that could be answered only with participation by hundreds of people with the disease.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 13, 2009, 7:46 AM CT

Wide gap in quality between hospitals

Wide gap in quality between hospitals
The largest annual study of patient outcomes at each of the nation's 5,000 nonfederal hospitals found a wide gap in quality between the nation's best hospitals and all others. As per the study, issued today by HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings organization, patients at highly rated hospitals have a 52 percent lower chance of dying compared with the U.S. hospital average, a quality chasm that haccording tosisted for the last decade even as mortality rates, in general, have declined.

The study also observed that hospitals that have received the Stroke Certification from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) had an eight percent lower risk-adjusted mortality rate than hospitals that have not received this certification.

The twelfth annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study examined nearly 40 million Medicare hospitalization records from the years 2006, 2007 and 2008. The study looks at trends in mortality and complication rates and also provides the foundation for HealthGrades' quality ratings of procedures and diagnoses at each individual hospital.

The new 2010 ratings for individual hospitals are available today at www.healthgrades.com, HealthGrades' public Web site designed to help patients compare the quality of care at their local hospitals for 28 different procedures and therapys, from hip replacement to bypass surgery.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 13, 2009, 7:44 AM CT

How do people choose a name for their child?

How do people choose a name for their child?
How do people choose a name for their child? Scientists have long noted that the overall popularity of a name exerts a strong influence on people's preferencesmore popular names, such as Robert or Susan, are more frequent and, by their sheer ubiquity, drive more parents to adopt a similar choice. However, new research by psychology experts at New York University and Indiana University, Bloomington suggests that the change in popularity of a name over time increasingly influences naming decisions in the United States. Like momentum traders in the stock market, parents today appear to favor names that have recently risen in popularity relative to names that are on the decline.

The research, which is relevant to understanding how people's everyday decisions are influenced by aggregate cultural processes, was conducted by Todd Gureckis, an assistant professor of psychology at NYU, and Robert Goldstone, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University. It appears in the journal Topics in Cognitive Science (Wiley-Blackwell).

"Our results give support to the idea that individual naming choices are in a large part determined by the social environment that expecting parents experience," the authors wrote. "Like the stock market, cycles of boom and bust appear arise out of the interactions of a large set of agents who are continually influencing one another".........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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