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January 15, 2009, 7:08 PM CT

Eye injuries caused by paintballs

Eye injuries caused by paintballs
Paintballs can cause severe and 'visually devastating' eye injuries, particularly when used in unsupervised settings without proper eye protection, reports a study in the recent issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology (www.AJO.com), published by Elsevier.

"Eye injuries secondary to high-velocity paintballs can cause tremendous damage to vital ocular structures often requiring extensive surgical intervention," comments Dr. Kyle J. Alliman of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "Unfortunately, visual loss is often permanent".

Dr. Alliman and his colleagues analyzed the characteristics and outcomes of 36 patients treated for paintball injuries to the eye at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute between 1998 and 2005. The patients were mainly young men, average age 21 years.

The injuries were often quite severe, including rupture of the eyeball in 28 percent of patients and detached retina in 19 percent. Surgery was mandatory in 81 percent of patientsincluding eventual removal of the eye (enucleation) in 22 percent. Even when the eye was saved, a number of patients had permanent visual loss. Overall, near-normal vision (20/40 or better) was restored in only 36 percent of eyes.

All of the patients were injured when using paintballs in a "non-recreational, uncontrolled setting," as per Dr. Alliman. None of the injuries occurred in formal, sponsored event. In all but one of the 36 cases, the patient was not wearing any type of eye protection when the injury occurred.........

Posted by: Mike      Read more         Source


January 15, 2009, 7:01 PM CT

How aging undermines bone healing

How aging undermines bone healing
Scientists have unraveled crucial details of how aging causes broken bones to heal slowly, or not at all, as per study results published recently in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research The research team also successfully conducted preclinical tests on a potential new class of therapys designed to "rescue" healing capability lost to aging.

In the worst cases, an age-related delay in healing keeps the two sides of a fractured bone from ever rejoining (non-union), leaving a number of confined to wheelchairs, unable to walk or to live independently. Of the estimated 5.6 million fractures in the United States each year, between five and ten percent (up to 560,000) will heal slowly or incompletely. Scientists have known for 30 years that aging interferes with fracture healing, and have been filling in the details since on the complex web of biochemicals, stem cells and genes that bring about healing. The field is now reaching the point where precision designed drugs are in different stages of animal and human trials.

The current study is focused on cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2), an enzyme known from past studies to drive stem cells to differentiate into cartilage, which then matures into bone. Scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center 20 years ago discovered the gene in humans that is responsible for producing the COX-2 enzyme and revealed the enzyme's role in causing inflammation, the reason drugs like the painkiller Vioxx were developed to shut down its action. Then about seven years ago another research team here determined that COX-2 also plays an essential role in bone formation during skeletal repair.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 15, 2009, 6:55 PM CT

Exercise in post-menopausal women reduces breast cancer risk

Exercise in post-menopausal women reduces breast cancer risk
Several studies had previously suggested that regular physical exercise reduces the breast cancer risk of women. However, it had been unknowned just how much exercise women should take in which period in life in order to benefit from this protective effect. Moreover, little was known about which particular type of breast cancer is influenced by physical activity.

Answers to these questions are now provided by the results of the MARIE study, in which 3,464 patients with breast cancer and 6,657 healthy women between the ages of 50 and 74 years were questioned in order to explore the connections between life style and breast cancer risk. Participants of the study, which was headed by Professor Dr. Jenny Chang-Claude and conducted at the German Cancer Research Center and the University Hospitals of Hamburg-Eppendorf, were questioned about their physical activity during two periods in life: from 30 to 49 years of age and after 50.

A comparison between control subjects and patients with breast cancer showed that women in the control group had been physically more active than patients. The researchers calculated the relative breast cancer risks taking account of the effect of other risk factors. Results show that the risk of developing breast cancer after menopause was lower by about one third in the physically most active MARIE participants in comparison to women who had generally taken little physical exercise.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 15, 2009, 6:52 PM CT

Does increasing taxes on alcohol slow down drinking?

Does increasing taxes on alcohol slow down drinking?
With a number of local and national governments presently considering proposals to hike alcohol taxes, a newly released study published online in the February edition of Addiction journal finds that the higher the alcohol prices less likely people will drink. And when they do drink, they drink less. After analyzing 112 studies spanning nearly four decades, scientists documented a concrete association between the amount of alcohol people drink and its cost.

"Results from over 100 separate studies reporting over 1000 distinct statistical estimates are remarkably consistent, and show without doubt that alcohol taxes and prices affect drinking," said Alexander C. Wagenaar, Ph.D., a professor of epidemiology and health policy research at the University of Florida College of Medicine, and the senior author of the study. "When prices go down, people drink more, and when prices go up, people drink less".

The consistency of the association between cost and consumption indicates that using taxes to raise prices on alcohol could be among the most effective deterrents to drinking that scientists have discovered, beating things like law enforcement, media campaigns or school programmes, said Wagenaar.

The study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, also determined that tax or price increases affect the large population of drinkers, including heavy drinkers also as light drinkers, including teens as well as adults.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 15, 2009, 6:45 PM CT

Dementia in the environment of universal health care

Dementia in the environment of universal health care
A newly released study has observed that in spite of their universal health care system which facilitates access to free dementia care, elderly adults in the United Kingdom are less willing to undergo dementia screening than their counterparts in the U.S. because the Britons perceive greater societal stigma from diagnosis of the disease than do Americans.

Scientists surveyed 125 elderly adults in Indianapolis and 120 elderly adults in Kent, England, on their opinions on the perceived harms and benefits of dementia screening. None of those surveyed had been diagnosed with dementia, however significantly more of the U.K. participants (48 percent) had close friends or relatives who have or had Alzheimer's disease in comparison to U.S. participants (27 percent).

The study of public attitudes toward early detection of dementia across different health-care systems was conducted by scientists from Indiana University in the United States and the universities of Kent and London in the United Kingdom. The research was funded in part by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, and appears in an advance online publication of the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

"From my prospective, it was a genuine surprise that having a universal health care system, which provides services and support to all those who need it, didn't protect from perceived stigma and negativity," said the study's corresponding author, Malaz Boustani, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the IU School of Medicine and a Regenstrief Institute research scientist.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 15, 2009, 6:41 PM CT

Old compound, new use

Old compound, new use
The compound, α-difluoromethylornithine or DFMO, targets the activity of a specific enzyme and, even in very limited doses, is effective in protecting against the malignancy in animal models.

The study was reported in the January 15, 2009 issue of the journal, Cancer Research (Volume 69, Issue 2).

"The drug, which was developed as a cancer treatment and later shelved because of toxicity concerns, has been around since the 1970s," said John Cleveland, Ph.D., chair of the Scripps Florida Department of Cancer Biology whose laboratory conducted the study. "But over the past five years, it has undergone a rebirth as a chemoprevention agent, first showing efficacy in animal models of human cancer and more recently in human prostate and colon cancer. Our study shows that it likely works in a large cast of tumors, even those having poor prognosis, like high-risk neuroblastoma".

Neuroblastoma is a childhood malignancy of the sympathetic nervous system (part of the nervous system that serves to accelerate the heart rate, constrict blood vessels, and raise blood pressure) that accounts for nearly eight percent of all childhood cancers and 15 percent of pediatric cancer-related deaths. Its solid tumors arise from developing nerve cells, most usually in the adrenal gland, but also in the abdomen, neck, and chest. Neuroblastoma commonly occurs in infants and young children, appearing twice as frequently during the first year of life than in the second.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 15, 2009, 6:26 PM CT

New class of antibiotics

New class of antibiotics
As bacteria resistant to usually used antibiotics continue to increase in number, researchers keep searching for new sources of drugs. In this week's JBC, one potential new bactericide has been found in the tiny freshwater animal Hydra.

The protein identified by Joachim Grtzinger, Thomas Bosch and his colleagues at the University of Kiel, hydramacin-1, is unusual (and also clinically valuable) as it shares virtually no similarity with any other known antibacterial proteins except for two antimicrobials found in another ancient animal, the leech.

Hydramacin showed to be very effective though; in a series of laboratory laboratory tests, this protein could destroy a wide range of both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, including clinically-isolated drug-resistant breeds like Klebsiella oxytoca (a common cause of nosocomial infections). Hydramacin works by adhering to the bacterial surface, promoting the clumping of nearby bacteria, then disrupting the bacterial membrane.

Grtzinger and his team also determined the 3-D shape of hydramacin-1, which revealed that it most closely resembled a superfamily of proteins found in scorpion venom; within this large group, they propose that hydramacin and the two leech proteins are members of a newly designated family called the macins.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


January 14, 2009, 11:43 PM CT

Breakthrough in Treating Premature Babies

Breakthrough in Treating Premature Babies
Copyright © 2008 The University of Adelaide
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Adelaide scientists have made a world breakthrough in treating premature babies at risk of developmental disorders.

A six-year study led by Dr Maria Makrides from the Women's & Children's Health Research Institute and Professor Bob Gibson from the University of Adelaide has demonstrated that high doses of fatty acids administered to pre-term infants via their mother's breast milk or infant formula can help their mental development.

The findings were published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Scientists observed that a major lipid in the brain - the omega-3 fatty acid known as Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) - is not developed sufficiently in babies born before 33 weeks' gestation, leading to possible impaired mental development.

To counter this, increased doses of DHA (1000mg per day) were administered to lactating mothers with pre-term infants, in the form of tuna oil capsules. If required, infants were given supplementary formula with matching DHA levels.

Of 657 premature babies tested in a trial involving five Australian hospitals, about 50% fewer infants on high-DHA diets had significantly delayed mental development compared with low DHA diets.

Premature girls in particular who were exposed to DHA-rich diets showed much better mental development than girls fed the low DHA diet.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 14, 2009, 11:40 PM CT

Telephone support after traffic accidents

Telephone support after traffic accidents
People who were injured in road accidents had fewer problems and a much higher quality of life if they received a simple follow-up call from a nurse three weeks after being discharged from hospital, as per research in the recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing

During the two-year study, scientists from Umea University in Sweden followed up 568 car occupants, cyclists and pedestrians who had attended the same emergency department after an accident.

They observed that patients in the telephone support group were 35% less likely to complain of pain and discomfort than patients in the control group and that this rose to 40% when it came to car occupants. Patients who received support also reported fewer problems with anxiety, depression, everyday tasks and mobility.

The patients, who were between 18 and 70, were randomly assigned to the intervention group (288 people) or the control group (280). People with mental health problems or dementia were specifically excluded. 510 people completed the six-month study 147 were car drivers, 178 were cyclists and 185 were pedestrians.

All the patients were asked to fill in the same quality of life questionnaire two weeks and six months after their accident.

Patients in the intervention group also received a follow-up call after three weeks.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 14, 2009, 11:38 PM CT

Can coffee drinking increase risk of dementia?

Can coffee drinking increase risk of dementia?
Stockholm, Sweden -- Midlife coffee drinking can decrease the risk of dementia/Alzheimer's disease (AD) during the later part of life. This conclusion is made in a Finnish Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia (CAIDE) Study reported in the January 2009 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (Volume 16:1).

This study has been conducted at the University of Kuopio, Finland in collaboration with Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, and the National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland. The study included participants from the survivors of population-based cohorts previously surveyed within the North Karelia Project and the FINMONICA study in 1972, 1977, 1982 or 1987 (midlife visit). After an average follow-up of 21 years, 1409 individuals (71%) aged 65 to 79 completed the re-examination in 1998. A total of 61 cases were identified as demented (48 with AD).

"We aimed to study the association between coffee and tea consumption at midlife and dementia/AD risk in late-life, because the long-term impact of caffeine on the central nervous system was still unknown, and as the pathologic processes leading to Alzheimer's disease may start decades before the clinical manifestation of the disease," says lead researcher, associate professor Miia Kivipelto, from the University of Kuopio, Finland and Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.........

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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