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July 26, 2006, 5:42 PM CT

Regular Multivitamin Use Near Time Of Conception

Regular Multivitamin Use Near Time Of Conception
Pittsburgh, July 26 Women who are considering becoming pregnant may significantly reduce their risk of developing a common life-threatening complication called preeclampsia by taking a multivitamin supplement regularly three months before conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy. This finding is being reported in a University of Pittsburgh study available online now through an "advance access" feature of the American Journal of Epidemiology. The paper is scheduled for publication in the Sept. 1 print issue of the journal.

Overall, women who used multivitamins regularly showed a 45 percent reduction in preeclampsia risk, as per the study. However, results were even more remarkable for women who were not overweight previous to pregnancy.

"Our data show that women who are not overweight before pregnancy and who used multivitamins at least once a week before conception and in the first three months of pregnancy reduced their risk of preeclampsia by a striking 72 percent in comparison to those who didn't take a multivitamin during this time period," said Lisa Bodnar, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH). "At this time, multivitamin use makes little apparent difference in preeclampsia rates for women who are overweight before pregnancy. Even so, the results suggest that regular multivitamin use in the pre-pregnancy period may help to prevent preeclampsia".........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


July 26, 2006, 5:28 PM CT

Human Behavior Changes Infectious Diseases

Human Behavior Changes Infectious Diseases
Simple models predict that only one strain of an infectious disease can exist at one time, but observation suggests otherwise. In a study in the recent issue of The American Naturalist, Ken Eames and Matt Keeling (University of Warwick) use a mathematical model to help explain multiple strains, showing that the way humans interact is all-important. The scientists observed that the coexistence of multiple infectious disease strains result from monogamous populations.

"When people are serially monogamous (that is, interactions take place one at a time), groups with different behavior favor strains with different properties," explain the authors. "When new interactions occur frequently, rapidly transmitted strains are most successful, but when new interactions take place infrequently there is extra pressure on strains to have a long infectious period".

Eames and Keeling focused their study on sexually transmitted infections, where the assumption of monogamy is most applicable, but stress that their conclusions may have wider relevance.

"There are implications for all sorts of other infections too," Eames continues. "Just think of the behavioral differences between village and city life: one with quiet streets and few new faces, and the other with thousands of hurrying people and crowded public transport. That's two very different environments for a pathogen. There are always going to be plenty of factors that determine which strains emerge, but human mixing behavior has a big part to play".........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


July 26, 2006, 5:20 PM CT

Identifying Medical Proxy

Identifying Medical Proxy
One-third of married individuals choose someone other than their spouse as a surrogate for medical decision-making. And more often than not, when adult patients chose a parent, sibling or child, they prefer their mothers, sisters and daughters to serve as medical proxies over their fathers, brothers and sons.

These are among the results of a study on advance care planning conducted by Northwestern University researcher K. Michael Lipkin, M.D., available in the online early edition of the Journal of General Internal Medicine (http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/jgi/0/0). Lipkin is assistant professor of clinical preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The finding that 33 percent of the married patients in the study did not choose their spouse as surrogate is noteworthy, because physicians regularly look to spouses as informal surrogates.

Additionally, over a quarter of survey participants chose someone other than the person identified as an emergency contact to act as proxy in medical decision-making.

"When patients choose a surrogate who is not the person doctors would commonly consult or who would not become empowered as a substitute decision-maker under state laws, physicians are alerted to engage these patients in an advance care planning process that ensures the formal appointment of their desired health care agent," Lipkin said.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


July 26, 2006, 5:09 PM CT

New Genetic Findings To Understanding Of OCD

New Genetic Findings  To Understanding Of OCD
Obsessive-compulsive disorder tends to run in families, causing members of several generations to experience severe anxiety and disturbing thoughts that they ease by repeating certain behaviors. In fact, close relatives of people with OCD are up to nine times more likely to develop OCD themselves.

Now, new research is shedding new light on one of the genetic factors that may contribute to that pattern. And while no one gene "causes" OCD, the research is helping researchers confirm the importance of a particular gene that has been suspected to play a major role in OCD's development.

In two papers published simultaneously in the Archives of General Psychiatry, scientists from the University of Michigan, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Chicago and the University of Toronto report finding an association between OCD patients and a glutamate transporter gene called SLC1A1.

The gene encodes a protein called EAAC1 that regulates the flow of a substance called glutamate in and out of brain cells. So, variations in the gene might lead to alterations in that flow, perhaps putting a person at increased risk of developing OCD.

The new findings are particularly important not only because of the simultaneous discoveries published in the papers, but also because of prior studies that show a functional link between glutamate and OCD. Brain imaging and spinal fluid studies have shown differences in the glutamate system between OCD patients and healthy volunteers, including in areas of the brain where the EAAC1 protein is most common.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 26, 2006, 4:59 PM CT

New MRI Technique And 3-d Images Of Knees

New MRI Technique And 3-d Images Of Knees
A faster magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data-acquisition technique will cut the time a number of patients spend in a cramped magnetic resonance scanner, yet deliver more precise 3-D images of their bodies.

Developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the faster technique will enable clinics to image more patients - especially the burgeoning group of elderly adults with osteoarthritis-related knee problems - and can help scientists more rapidly assess new therapys for such conditions.

Magnetic resonance has long been touted as the ideal method for capturing 3-D images of the human body. "But unfortunately, it is kind of a slow technique," says Walter Block, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and medical physics. "You can only sample a few pieces of information needed to build the image at a time".

Consequently, most magnetic resonance technicians acquire images as a series of 2-D slices, which yield high resolution in a single plane and poor resolution in the remaining direction, he says.

To capture an image, a magnetic resonance scanner usually conducts hundreds to thousands of little "experiments," or encodings, that help to make up the big picture. Block's data-acquisition technique capitalizes on recent magnetic resonance hardware advances that, coupled with a novel way of maintaining a high-level magnetic resonance signal throughout the scan, will speed an MRI session. "But to maintain the high-level signal," he says," you need to be able to complete each of these smaller encodings within a couple of milliseconds."........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


July 26, 2006, 4:54 PM CT

how much the eye tells the brain

how much the eye tells the brain
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine estimate that the human retina can transmit visual input at about the same rate as an Ethernet connection, one of the most common local area network systems used today. They present their findings in the recent issue of Current Biology. This line of scientific questioning points to ways in which neural systems compare to artificial ones, and can ultimately inform the design of artificial visual systems.

Much research on the basic science of vision asks what types of information the brain receives; this study instead asked how much. Using an intact retina from a guinea pig, the scientists recorded spikes of electrical impulses from ganglion cells using a miniature multi-electrode array. The researchers calculate that the human retina can transmit data at roughly 10 million bits per second. By comparison, an Ethernet can transmit information between computers at speeds of 10 to 100 million bits per second.

The retina is actually a piece of the brain that has grown into the eye and processes neural signals when it detects light. Ganglion cells carry information from the retina to the higher brain centers; other nerve cells within the retina perform the first stages of analysis of the visual world. The axons of the retinal ganglion cells, with the support of other types of cells, form the optic nerve and carry these signals to the brain.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


July 26, 2006, 4:49 PM CT

Keeping Babies From Deadly Infections

Keeping Babies From Deadly Infections
The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved a new test studied at the University of Florida that could lead to better screening for the most common cause of infection in newborn babies.

Passed from mother to child during birth, group B streptococcus can cause sepsis, pneumonia, meningitis, neurological damage and, in a small percentage of newborns, even death.

Eventhough all women are tested for group B streptococcus during pregnancy, current screening methods can leave some babies at risk for contracting an infection from the bacterium. But the new test, which UF scientists studied for several months as part of a clinical trial, allows health-care workers to quickly screen mothers during labor, improving the odds that babies will receive preventive care so they will not be infected during delivery.

"Without any intervention, (group B strep) is the most common cause of early-onset infection in newborns," said Rodney Edwards, M.D., a UF assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the College of Medicine who led the clinical trial at UF, one of six sites to study the test. "It can cause sepsis, meningitis and pneumonia. The likelihood of dying if you are a newborn is 5 percent. (With meningitis) even if the baby makes it through the infection there is a chance of cerebral palsy and cognitive delay".........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


July 25, 2006, 8:56 PM CT

Save Money And Reduce Crime

Save Money And Reduce Crime
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, today released a landmark scientific report showing that effective therapy of drug abuse and addiction can save communities money and reduce crime. Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations outlines some of the proven components for successful therapy of drug abusers who have entered the criminal justice system, leading to lower rates of drug abuse and criminal activity.

"This report is part of our ongoing commitment to using scientific research to provide solutions to some of the most complex public health and safety issues of our time," said Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, NIH Director. "Not only does it offer research-based therapy solutions to judges and communities, it also provides information on how the criminal justice system can help reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases among drug abusing offenders--all critically important issues in today's society".

Untreated substance abuse adds significant costs to communities, including violent and property crimes, prison expenses, court and criminal costs, emergency room visits, child abuse and neglect, lost child support, foster care and welfare costs, reduced productivity, unemployment, and victimization. The cost to society of drug abuse in the year 2002 was $181 billion--$107 billion linked to drug-related crime.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 25, 2006, 8:52 PM CT

Overweight Teens Reduce Risk Of Diabetes

Overweight Teens Reduce Risk Of Diabetes
Teens at risk of developing diabetes can prevent or delay its onset through strength training exercise, a University of Southern California study has observed.

Research led by Michael Goran, PhD, professor of preventive medicine in the Keck School of Medicine of USC, showed that overweight Latino teenage boys who lifted weights twice per week for 16 weeks significantly reduced their insulin resistance, a condition in which their bodies don't respond to insulin and can't process sugars properly. Insulin resistance is common in obese children and is a precursor of diabetes. The findings were reported in the recent issue of Medicine and Science of Sports Exercise.

Prior research has demonstrated that aerobic and resistance exercise is effective in improving insulin sensitivity in adults, but no controlled studies of resistance exercise had been done on overweight youth. Goran and his colleagues hypothesized that overweight teens would be more likely to stick with a resistance training regimen in comparison to aerobic exercise because it is less physically taxing and gives visible results quicker.

The scientists chose to focus on Latino teens because they are at particular risk for diabetes. As per the Centers for Disease Control, about half of all Latino children born in 2000 are expected to develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 25, 2006, 8:25 PM CT

Unlocking the Deadliest Malaria Parasite

Unlocking the Deadliest Malaria Parasite
Scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have leveraged the results of their research into tuberculosis to craft a tool for unlocking the secrets of another of the world's leading infectious killers-malaria.

These findings, reported in the recent issue of Nature Methods, "should substantially speed up research efforts to bring malaria under control," says Dr. David Fidock, senior author of the paper and an associate professor of microbiology & immunology at Einstein.

Malaria is caused by a single-celled parasite, Plasmodium, which is transmitted through the bite of the Anopheles mosquito. The disease kills an estimated 1.2 million people every year.

The Einstein researchers focused on the most deadly Plasmodium strain-P. falciparum-which is proving increasingly resistant to therapy. Their research has led to the first efficient technique for inserting any gene of interest into the P. falciparum genome to gain biological information that could lead to more effective therapys.

"This opens up a whole new window into the genetic manipulation of this lethal parasite," says Dr. William Jacobs, Jr., who is a Howard Hughes investigator and professor of molecular genetics and microbiology & immunology at Einstein and a major author of the Nature Methods paper. "Malaria scientists finally have an efficient way to shuffle genes into P. falciparum, which should lead to valuable information about the parasite's virulence, how it's transmitted from mosquito to humans and how it develops resistance to antimalarial drugs".........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         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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