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June 25, 2008, 10:23 PM CT

Feeling powerless leads to expensive purchases

Feeling powerless leads to expensive purchases
Feeling powerless can trigger strong desires to purchase products that convey high status, as per new research in the Journal of Consumer Research

In a study that may explain why so a number of Americans who are deeply in debt still spend beyond their means, authors Derek D. Rucker and Adam D. Galinsky (both Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University) observed that research subjects who were asked to recall times when someone else had power over them were willing to pay higher prices for status-symbol items.

"This increased willingness to pay for status-related objects stems from the belief that obtaining such objects will indeed restore a lost sense of power," write the authors.

In three experiments, the authors asked participants to either describe a situation where they had power over another person or one in which someone had power over them. Then the scientists showed them items and asked how much they would be willing to pay.

After recalling situations where they were powerless, participants were willing to pay more for items that signal status, like silk ties and fur coats, but not products like minivans and dryers. They also agreed to pay more for a framed picture of their university if it was portrayed as rare and exclusive.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 25, 2008, 10:19 PM CT

Risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer's disease

Risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer's disease
Scientists have discovered the second, strong genetic risk factor for developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease, as per a new report in the June 27th issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication.

The newly discovered gene, which previously had no known function, is predominantly active in a region of the brain that is hit early in the disease, where it acts as a channel for calcium, they show. Called calcium homeostasis modulator 1 (CALHM1), their evidence shows that different variants of the gene also influence the levels of amyloid- peptides. Those peptides make up the plaques that form in the brains of those with Alzheimer's.

" We are very excited about the idea that CALHM1 could be an important target for anti-amyloid treatment in Alzheimer's disease," said Philippe Marambaud of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. CALHM1's presence at the cell surface should ease the process of drug design, he explained. And because its activity is restricted to the brain, drugs aimed at CALHM1 are less likely to have peripheral side effects.

The possibility for side effects is a "big question mark" for other drugs now under clinical study, Marambaud said. Those drugs primarily target enzymes responsible for producing amyloid- peptides, he noted, but those enzymes are also found in other parts of the body.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


June 25, 2008, 10:12 PM CT

Hurried doctor visits may leave patients feeling forgetful

Hurried doctor visits may leave patients feeling forgetful
Have you ever been whisked through a doctor's visit, and afterward were unable to remember what the doctor said? A University of Rochester Medical Center study disclosed that doctors don't often take the steps necessary to help patients recall medical instructions.

The study, published online in this month's Journal of General Internal Medicine, investigated how frequently physicians repeat themselves, write down information, summarize instructions or take other steps to help patients remember the doctor's advice. The results suggest that doctors do not use these tools effectively or consistently. In fact, not one of the 49 doctors who participated in the study summarized their therapy recommendations.

"It's common for patients to forget half of what they're told in a medical visit," said the study's lead author, Jordan Silberman, a second-year University of Rochester medical student. "Obviously, this is cause for concern. As noted by the British researcher Philip Ley, 'if the patient cannot remember what he is supposed to do, he is extremely unlikely to do it.' No matter how effective a therapy is, it can be rendered useless by poor recall".

Scientists sent unannounced standardized patients (actors trained for this study) into primary care doctor practices across Rochester, N.Y., with hidden recording devices. The actors complained of typical heartburn symptoms. Scientists then coded the recordings to determine how often doctors reinforced their instructions in some way.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 25, 2008, 10:09 PM CT

Stepfamilies make caring more complex

Stepfamilies make caring more complex
"I felt so insulted and so hurt. It was like [their father] had met some gal at a bar and married her the next day, and she wanted all his money. I felt they didn't give me any credit, or any respect, appreciation or anything. It still hurts."-Remarried wife of 12 years, caring for husband with Alzheimer's disease, about her adult stepchildren.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.-Late-life remarriage complicates caring for an ailing spouse, as per a University of Michigan researcher who is conducting one of the first known studies to focus on the challenges facing older remarried caregivers-a growing segment of the older U.S. population.

"Caring for an aging spouse is extremely difficult under the best of circumstances," said researcher Carey Wexler Sherman. "When stepfamily tensions and conflicts are added to the mix, the stress can become overwhelming".

With funding from the national Alzheimer's Association, Sherman plans to interview about 125 men and women with the goal of documenting the type, level and quality of social support received from step-children and other social network members, and assessing how late-life remarriage affects the experience of caregiving.

"Past research and current public policy relies heavily on the assumption that most older people who develop dementia are in long-term, intact marriages where the spouses - most often the wife-and adult children will provide most of their care," said Sherman, a research investigator at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR). "It's not clear exactly how late-life remarriage and stepfamily relationships affect the spouse's ability to get meaningful help in providing that care.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 25, 2008, 10:04 PM CT

Pediatrics review of underage drinking

Pediatrics review of underage drinking
Richard Spoth, director of the Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute (PPSI) at Iowa State, received a letter of commendation from the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for his work in the institute's underage drinking initiative. Photo by Bob Elbert

Underage drinking is a national concern that led the U.S. surgeon general to issue a "Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking" last year. Now, a new report by an Iowa State University researcher assesses the effectiveness of underage drinking prevention programs and provides a better idea of how to achieve key goals outlined by the surgeon general.

Lead author Richard Spoth, director of the Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute (PPSI) at Iowa State, along with co-authors Mark Greenberg and Robert Turrisi of Penn State, published "Preventive Interventions Addressing Underage Drinking: State of the Evidence and Steps Toward Public Health Impact" in the recent issue of Pediatrics -- the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The article can be found online here.

"The Pediatrics supplement underscores the scope of the underage drinking problem, reporting that over 4 million youths ages 12-17 drink monthly, and more than half of them have a drinking pattern that puts them at high risk for negative health and social consequences," Spoth said.

Out of the 400 interventions that the scientists identified and screened, 12 were defined as "most promising" because they met these six criteria:

"Essentially, interventions meeting criteria were those that had been tested through rigorous, well-designed studies consistent with accepted standards for intervention research, had demonstrated practically significant results, and had detailed summaries of intervention procedures," said Spoth.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 25, 2008, 10:01 PM CT

Watch out for the wrong kind of sugar

Watch out for the wrong kind of sugar
WE KNOW about good and bad fats. Now suspicion is growing that not all sugars are created equal either. Overweight adults who consume large amounts of fructose have been found to experience alarming changes in body fat and insulin sensitivity that do not occur after eating glucose.

Pure fructose is found in fresh fruit, fruit juice and preserves. But much of it sneaks into our diets though high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in soft drinks - which gets broken down into 55 per cent fructose and 45 per cent glucose in the body - or via sucrose (ordinary sugar), which is broken down into the same two sugars.

Fears that fructose and HFCS are fuelling the obesity epidemic and triggering insulin resistance and diabetes have been circulating for years (New Scientist, 1 September 2001, p 26), but there have been few direct investigations in humans.

So Peter Havel at the University of California, Davis, persuaded 33 overweight and obese adults to go on a diet that was 30 per cent fat, 55 per cent complex carbohydrates and 15 per cent protein for two weeks. For a further 10 weeks, they switched to a diet in which 25 per cent of their energy came from either fructose or glucose.

In those given fructose there was an increase in the amount of intra-abdominal fat, which wraps around internal organs, causes a pot belly and has been associated with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This did not happen with the group who consumed glucose instead, even though both gained an average 1.5 kilograms in weight.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 25, 2008, 9:58 PM CT

Morbid thoughts whet the appetite

Morbid thoughts whet the appetite
Can watching TV news or crime shows trigger overeating? As per new research in the Journal of Consumer Research, people who are thinking about their own deaths want to consume more.

Authors Naomi Mandel (Arizona State University) and Dirk Smeesters (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands) conducted several experiments in Europe and the United States where participants wrote essays on their feelings about their own deaths. They then checked off items on a grocery list or ate cookies. Consumers who wrote about their own deaths wanted to buy more and ate more than those who wrote about a painful medical procedure (the control group).

"People want to consumer more of all kinds of foods, both healthy and unhealthy, when thinking about the idea that they will die some day," write the authors.

The scientists found people with low self-esteem, in particular, tend to over-consume after death-related thoughts. Mandel and Smeesters explain the effect using a theory called "escape from self-awareness." "When people are reminded of their inevitable mortality, they may start to feel uncomfortable about what they have done with their lives and whether they have made a significant mark on the universe. This is a state called 'heightened self-awareness.' One way to deal with such an uncomfortable state is to escape from it, by either overeating or overspending," they write.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 24, 2008, 10:37 PM CT

Alzheimer's disease as a case of brake failure?

Alzheimer's disease as a case of brake failure?
In a human brain tissue sample with Alzheimer's disease, the brown Cdk5 is in the nucleus of the five cells in the upper center. In the three cells (arrows) with red nuclei, the brown Cdk5 is just outside the nucleus. The red means that the neuron is trying to divide and is hence on its way to die.

Credit: Karl Herrup, Rutgers University

Rutgers researcher Karl Herrup and his colleagues at Case Western Reserve University have discovered that a protein that suppresses cell division in brain cells effectively "puts the brakes" on the dementia that comes with Alzheimer's disease (AD). When the brakes fail, dementia results.

This discovery could open the door to new ways of treating Alzheimer's disease, which affects up to half the population over the age of 85.

Determining the proteins previously unsuspected role in AD is an important piece of the puzzle and it brings a new perspective to the basis of AD. It changes the logic from a search for a trigger that kicks off the dementia to the failure of a safety that has suppressed it, said Herrup, chair of the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

The scientists reported their findings in the in the June 24 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The paper was previously available online in the PNAS Early Edition.

Herrup has spent a good part of his career seeking to unravel the mystery behind unrestrained cell cycling. Looking at AD through the lens of cancer, Herrup sees the rampant cell division linked to cancer mirrored in AD-related dementia.

In cancer, the seemingly uncontrollable cell division enables the disease to overwhelm normal body cells. Adult neurons, or nerve cells, don't normally divide. (Malignant brain tumors do not grow from neurons but from glial cells.) Instead of producing new neurons in the brain, the cycling leads to cell death, which causes progressive dementia.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


June 24, 2008, 10:22 PM CT

Cheek Fat Compartments That Are Key To Youthful Appearance

Cheek Fat Compartments That Are Key To Youthful Appearance
Dr. Joel Pessa
Rejuvenating newly identified fat compartments in the facial cheeks can help reduce the hollowed look of the face as it ages, as per new research by plastic surgeons at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Scientists used special dyes to identify and map four cheek-fat compartments hidden deep beneath the skin. When these compartments are restored using fat, tissue fillers or artificial implants, the result is a more youthful and less hollow look to the overall face, as per Dr. Joel Pessa, assistant professor of plastic surgery.

Restoring these compartments also improves volume loss under the eyes, helps eliminate lines around the nose and mouth and gives more curve to the upper lip, all of which restore a more youthful appearance to the face, Dr. Pessa said.

"This research breaks new ground by identifying the boundaries of specific fat compartments that are key to facial rejuvenation involving the cheeks, and as a consequence, the overall look of the face," said Dr. Pessa, a co-author of the study, which appears in the recent issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. "Cheeks are vital to what we consider beautiful - from chubby-cheeked infants to Hollywood stars like Angelina Jolie".

Plastic surgeons performed nearly 8,000 cheek implants in 2007, as per the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. In addition, nearly 47,000 fat injections and 1.1 million injections with hyaluronic acid fillers were performed last year.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 24, 2008, 10:15 PM CT

Savings help the medicine go down

Savings help the medicine go down
A new study of state-subsidized pharmacy assistance programs showed that providing prescription drug coverage for low-income seniors reduces Medicaid and Medicare costs. Moreover, needy seniors enrolled in the programs were able to cut their dose skimping and nursing home admissions in half, as per the Brandeis University research.

In 2002, Illinois and Wisconsin implemented state pharmacy assistance programs with joint federal funding. Senior citizens with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, but not eligible for Medicaid, could join. The Brandeis study reviewed whether these "SeniorCare" programs increased access to prescription drugs and reduced Medicaid enrollment, said lead author Donald Shepard, a health economist at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis.

The study matched 7,699 Illinois and 1,798 Wisconsin so called "buy-in" beneficiaries to similar Ohio controls because the states share a number of similarities. Since Illinois already had a different prescription program in place its SeniorCare program did not reduce the number of seniors enrolling in Medicaid, but it did reduce how a number of were admitted to nursing homes and how much enrollees spent on drugs.

For example, in the first year of the Illinois program, nursing home entry was 2.4 percent, in comparison to 4.4 percent for the Ohio controls. Likewise, Medicaid spending averaged $631 over Illinois SeniorCare members, versus $1,605 for Ohio controls, a savings of 61 percent. The study showed that these savings fell slightly short of the state's first-year program costs of $1,394 per enrollee.........

Posted by: Janet      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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