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March 10, 2009, 11:02 PM CT

Folic acid may increase prostate cancer risk

Folic acid may increase prostate cancer risk
A study led by scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) observed that men who took a daily folic acid supplement of 1 mg daily had more than twice the risk of prostate cancer compared with men who took a placebo.

The finding came from a secondary analysis of the Aspirin/Folate Polyp Prevention Study (AFPP), a placebo-controlled randomized trial to determine the impact of aspirin and folic acid on colon polyps in men and women who were at high risk for the disease. The results appear in the March 10 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Folic acid (folate) is a B vitamin found in a number of vegetables, beans, fruits and whole grains. While evidence of its ability to reduce neural tube defects in infants while taken by the mother before or during pregnancy has been well documented, its effects on other conditions are unclear.

"We know that adequate folate levels are important in the prevention of several cancer types, cardiovascular and neurological diseases," says main author Jane Figueiredo, Ph.D., assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. "However, little has been known about its role in prostate cancer. Our objective was to investigate the relationship between folic acid supplements and dietary folate and risk of prostate cancer".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


March 10, 2009, 10:59 PM CT

Impact of nurse practitioners prescriptions

Impact of nurse practitioners prescriptions
Family nurse practitioners need to be more aware of the commercial pressures they face as a result of their increased involvement in prescribing, as per a survey reported in the recent issue of the UK-based Journal of Advanced Nursing

"Our detailed study of 84 family nurse practitioners (FNPs) showed low awareness of how marketing by pharmaceutical companies affects clinical decisions and creates conflicts of interest" says Dr Nancy Crigger, from William Jewell College, Missouri, USA.

"However they were clear that some marketing activities, promotional items and gifts.

were less ethical and acceptable than others. For example, gifts that benefited patients and conferences were more acceptable than resort seminars and office equipment".

Dr Crigger, herself a qualified FNP, adds: "The influence of marketing on doctor prescribing has been widely researched and this indicates that the more involved physicians are in marketing, the less likely they are to recognise when their clinical judgement has been compromised.

"Our study suggests that the same is now happening to FNPs who have been given greater responsibility for prescribing some types of medication." .

Key findings from the survey included:.
  • 5% admitted that pharmaceutical reps influenced their prescribing and 26% said they did not, with the vast majority answering sometimes. However they said that other FNP colleagues (18%) and physicians (25%) were more likely to be influenced than them.........

    Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 10, 2009, 10:56 PM CT

Migraines, pregnancy and risk of stroke

Migraines, pregnancy and risk of stroke
Women who suffer migraines are at an increased risk of stroke during pregnancy as well as other vascular conditions such as heart disease, hypertension and blood clots, concludes a study published on bmj.com today.

Migraine headache occurs in up to 26% of women of childbearing age and around one third of women aged between 35 and 39. Eventhough it is very common in this age group, little is known about the prevalence of migraine during pregnancy.

So in the largest study of its kind, scientists in the United States set out to test the association between migraine and vascular diseases during pregnancy.

Using a national database of over 18 million hospital discharge records, they identified 33,956 pregnancy related discharges with a diagnosis of migraine from 2000 to 2003.

Older women (40 years of age or more) were 2.4 times more likely to have a diagnosis of migraines than women under 20 years of age, and white women were more likely to have a diagnosis of migraines than any other race or ethnicity.

Migraines during pregnancy were associated with a 15-fold increased risk of stroke. Migraines also tripled the risk of blood clots in the veins and doubled the risk of heart disease. Vascular risk factors were also strongly linked to migraines. These included diabetes, hypertension and cigarette smoking.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 6, 2009, 9:42 PM CT

When older adult takes couple of drinks

When older adult takes couple of drinks
Elderly adults appears to be more affected by a couple of glasses of wine than their younger counterparts are -- yet they are less likely to be aware of it, a newly released study suggests.

The findings, reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, suggest that elderly adults should be especially careful about driving after social drinking.

"How a number of times have you asked someone, 'Are you OK to drive?'" said senior researcher Sara Jo Nixon, Ph.D., of the University of Florida Gainesville. The problem, as per Nixon, is that there is a "disassociation" between people's perceptions of their abilities after a few drinks and their actual capabilities.

And this appears to be especially true of elderly adults, Nixon and her colleagues found.

For their study, the scientists recruited 42 adults between the ages of 50 and 74, and 26 adults ages 25 to 35. Participants were randomly assigned to drink either a moderate amount of alcohol or a nonalcoholic "placebo" beverage. Each person in the alcohol group was given enough to achieve the same blood alcohol level.

Next, all participants completed the so-called Trail Making Test, which requires takers to connect numbered and lettered dots, in order, as quickly as possibly. It gauges visual-motor coordination, planning and the ability to move from one thought to the next.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 6, 2009, 9:37 PM CT

New breakthrough therapy for brain cancer

New breakthrough therapy for brain cancer
The combination of two drugs produces a critical improvement in the therapy of certain brain tumours. This has been demonstrated by scientists at Bonn University working in co-operation with German and Swiss colleagues in a current study. They treated 39 patients who had been diagnosed with a so-called gliablastoma. The patients survived on average 23 months; with the standard treatment the mean would have been 14.6 months. Glioblastomas are the most aggressive and the commonest brain tumours. Left untreated, they prove fatal within just a few weeks. The study has been reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (doi: 10.1200/JCO.2008.19.2195).

Even today, glioblastomas are untreatable something which even the new combination treatment cannot change. Nevertheless, Professor Dr. Ulrich Herrlinger of Bonn Universitys Schwerpunkt Klinische Neuroonkologie speaks of an outstanding success: "This uncommonly manifest extension of the survival time has surprised even us. Our results offer the opportunity to improve our grip on this aggressive form of cancer. Now, further investigations involving a larger number of patients are needed to optimise this treatment. Planning for this is already in hand in Bonn".

Up to now, doctors have treated glioblastomas using radiotherapy with concomitant chemotherapy. The "gold standard" for this for the last few years has been the active agent temozolomide. This is still celebrated as the most important breakthrough in the therapy of glioblastomas. The scientists combined this preparation with the drug lomustine. At the same time, the patients were given radiotherapy. The 39 patients thus treated survived the tumour for an average of 23.1 months. With the standard treatment, this time is over one third shorter. Seven patients even survived for over four years.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 6, 2009, 9:33 PM CT

How a parent's depression affects children

How a parent's depression affects children
Life is hard for the children of a parent suffering from depression. Children take on an enormous amount of responsibility for the ill parent and for other family members. It is therefore important for the health services to be aware of this and have support functions in place for the whole family, and not just for the person who is ill. This is the conclusion of a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Registered Nurse Britt Hedman Ahlstrm has examined the way in which family life is affected when a parent is suffering from depression. Nine families, including ten children and young adults between the ages of 5 and 26, and eleven parents were included in the study.

The results show how the family's daily life changes and becomes more complicated when a parent is suffering from depression. Uncertainty about what is happening has an effect on the daily life of the entire family. Depression also means that the parent becomes tired and exhausted, which then affects and weighs heavily on the children's daily life. Depression changes the relationship between a parent and his/her children, since they no longer communicate with each other as they used to. Family interplay and reciprocity decrease. The depressed parent withdraws from the family, and the children feel that they have been left to themselves.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 6, 2009, 9:30 PM CT

To get the full picture

To get the full picture
During the course of a hospitalization, patients are seen by a variety of specialists in addition to the doctor who has primary responsibility for their care. However, faulty communication, inappropriate timing, inadequate details, illegibility, lost paperwork or other problems may keep the specialists' recommendations from being reviewed and implemented.

An award-winning study by Martin Were, M.D., of the Regenstrief Institute and his colleagues reports on the success of a doctor decision-support tool they developed to overcome these barriers and to complement physician-to-doctor communication processes already in place. The computer tool facilitated convenient flow of information, providing both the specialists and the patient's primary-care doctor with detailed information on the patient and the advice sought at the right time and place. They observed that when using the new computer tool, medical recommendations from geriatrics consultants were implemented 30 percent more frequently than when it was not used.

"Consulted specialists might not have the full clinical or most current picture of the patient. For example, they might not know all medications the patient is taking, the patient's allergies, or the most current results of tests ordered by others. The decision-support system provided by our computer tool eliminated these problems. We alerted the specialist when a drug he was contemplating prescribing conflicted with another medicine the patient was taking. Automatic electronic notification of the exact specialist recommendations eliminated the need for the patient's primary doctor to leaf through a thick medical file to see the specialist's recommendations and the details of these recommendations. The tool also lets the specialists know if their recommendations have been implemented by the patient's primary doctor. All these benefits can be very important for patient safety," said Dr. Were, who is an internist.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 6, 2009, 9:19 PM CT

All in praise of turmeric

All in praise of turmeric
Revered in India as "holy powder," the marigold-colored spice known as turmeric has been used for centuries to treat wounds, infections and other health problems. In recent years, research into the healing powers of turmeric's main ingredient, curcumin, has burgeoned, as its astonishing array of antioxidant, anti-cancer, antibiotic, antiviral and other properties has been revealed.

Yet little has been known about exactly how curcumin works inside the body.

Now, University of Michigan scientists led by Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy have discovered that curcumin acts as a disciplinarian, inserting itself into cell membranes and making them more orderly, a move that improves cells' resistance to infection and malignancy.

"The membrane goes from being crazy and floppy to being more disciplined and ordered, so that information flow through it can be controlled," said Ramamoorthy, a professor of chemistry and biophysics. The findings were published online March 3 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society

The research project melds Ramamoorthy's past with his current scientific interests. As a child in India, he was given turmeric-laced milk to drink when he had a cold, and he breathed steam infused with turmeric to relieve congestion. Now as researcher he is fascinated with proteins that are linked to biological membranes, and he uses a technique called solid-state NMR spectroscopy to reveal atom-level details of these important molecules and the membranous milieu in which they operate.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


March 5, 2009, 6:26 AM CT

Injectable birth control causes weight gain

Injectable birth control causes weight gain
Women using depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), usually known as the birth control shot, gained an average of 11 pounds and increased their body fat by 3.4 percent over three years, as per scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB).

However, women who switched to nonhormonal contraception began to slowly lose the weight and fat mass they gained nearly four pounds over two years, while those who used oral contraception after the shots gained an average of four additional pounds in the same time span. The amount of weight gain was dependent on the length of time DMPA was used, as the rate of weight gain slowed over time.

The study, which appears in the March 4 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind.

DMPA is an injected contraceptive administered to patients every three months. More than two million American women use DMPA, including approximately 400,000 teens. DMPA is relatively inexpensive in comparison to some other forms of birth control, has a low failure rate and doesn't need to be administered daily, which contributes to the contraceptive's popularity.

"Women and their doctors should factor in this new data when choosing the most appropriate birth control method," said main author Abbey Berenson, M.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health at UTMB.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 5, 2009, 6:24 AM CT

Depression increases risk for heart disease

Depression increases risk for heart disease
A history of major depression increases the risk of heart disease over and above any genetic risks common to depression and heart disease, as per scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the VA. The findings are reported this week at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society this week in Chicago.

The scientists analyzed data gathered from more than 1,200 male twins who served in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. The men were surveyed on a variety of health issues in 1992, including depression, and were assessed again in 2005.

In the study, researchers looked at the onset of heart disease in depressed study participants between 1993 and 2005. Men with depression in 1992 were twice as likely to develop heart disease in the ensuing years, in comparison to men with no history of depression.

"Based on our findings, we can say that after adjusting for other risk factors, depression remains a significant predictor of heart disease," says first author Jeffrey F. Scherrer, Ph.D., research assistant professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine and the St. Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center. "In this study, we have demonstrated that exposure to depression is contributing to heart disease only in twins who have high genetic risk and who actually develop clinical depression. In twins with high genetic risk common to depression and heart disease, but who never develop depression itself, there was no increased risk for heart disease. The findings strongly suggest that depression itself independently contributes to risk for heart disease."........

Posted by: Daniel      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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