September 18, 2007, 7:46 PM CT
Muscle patterns in women and ACL tears
Research suggests that training programs for females to restore balance between hamstring and quadriceps muscles to better support knee joints could help reduce the disproportionately high number of ACL tears in female athletes.
A new study shows that the amount of preparatory muscle action in the muscles spanning the knee joint previous to landings is linked to knee positions that are considered at risk for ACL rupture, said Riann Palmieri-Smith, lead author and assistant professor at the University of Michigan Division of Kinesiology.
The ACL is one of the four major ligaments of the knee, and women are 2-8 times more likely to tear this ligament than men are while playing the same sport, said Palmieri-Smith.
The U-M research suggests that training programs which promote balanced activity of the inner (medial) and outer (lateral) thigh muscles might help protect the ACL.
This preparatory muscle action helps to control the relationship of the shank relative to the thigh. When the shin bone is positioned outward in comparison to the thigh bone, it results in a knock-kneed posture, Palmieri-Smith said. This position is referred to as knee valgus, and increased knee valgus (more knock kneed) has been shown to be associated with ACL injury risk, said Palmieri-Smith, who is also affiliated with U-M's new Sport Injury Prevention Center.........
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September 18, 2007, 5:30 AM CT
New way to diagnose Alzheimer's disease
Physicians may be able to detect and treat Alzheimers Disease (AD) in its earliest stages, when patients are experiencing only mild degrees of cognitive impairment, thanks to new diagnostic criteria proposed by an international group of researchers.
Published in Lancet Neurology, the development of new guidelines was co-led by Dr. Howard Feldman, head of the Div. of Neurology in the University of British Columbias Faculty of Medicine.
Feldman, who directs the Clinic for Alzheimers Disease and Related Disorders at Vancouver Coastal Health, co-authored the paper with French researcher Dr. Bruno Dubois and researchers from countries that include Japan, the U.S. and England. Feldman is a member of Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI).
The proposed criteria are based on examining the structure and function of the brain using advanced brain imaging techniques as well as looking at spinal fluid for the imprint of the disease. Early detection will allow scientists to test vaccines that might be used preventively or to treat fully affected individuals, or other drug therapys that are directed at the earliest stages of the disease the best time to reduce symptoms.
Existing criteria, established in 1984, involve a two-step approach of evaluating functional disability and then looking for a cause, meaning diagnosis and therapy is delayed until patients have significant dementia symptoms.........
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September 18, 2007, 5:24 AM CT
Rating your pain from 0 to 10 might not help your doctor
The most commonly used measure for pain screening may only be modestly accurate, according to researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine and the University of North Carolina. In a study that appears in the October issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, they evaluate the usefulness of a scale that asks patients in primary care to rate their current pain from 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain).
Universal pain screening is an increasingly common practice, largely because of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations requirement that accredited hospitals and clinics routinely assess all patients for pain. JCAHO is the nations predominant standards-setting and accrediting body in health care.
Our study is the first to evaluate the accuracy of the widely-used numeric rating scale [NRS] as a screening test to identify primary care patients with clinically important pain. Accurate screening is important because pain symptoms, both serious and not so serious, are among the most common complaints in primary care, said Erin E. Krebs, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine at the IU School of Medicine and a Regenstrief Institute research scientist. To be helpful, a screening test needs to provide accurate information that doctors can use to improve care. If a test isnt very accurate or useful, doctors learn to tune out the numbers.........
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September 18, 2007, 5:23 AM CT
Women, birth defects and use of birth control
Birth defects of thalidomide
Eventhough prescription medications that may increase the risk of birth defects are usually used by women in their childbearing years, only about half receive contraceptive counseling from their health care providers, as per a large-scale study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine published in the Sept. 18 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
We observed that over the course of a year, one in six women of reproductive age filled a prescription for a medicine labeled by the Food and Drug Administration as increasing the risk of fetal abnormalities, said Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, M.D., assistant professor in the departments of medicine and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and first study author. Unfortunately, a number of women filling prescriptions that can increase risk of birth defects remain at risk of pregnancy.
Half of pregnancies in the United States are unintended, as per national estimates. While regular use of contraception can prevent unplanned pregnancies, women filling prescriptions that can increase the risk of birth defects are no more likely to use contraception than other women, the study authors note.
For this investigation, Dr. Schwarz and his colleagues studied patient data correlation to all prescriptions filled by 488,175 reproductive-aged women enrolled with a large managed health care plan during 2001. Prescriptions involved drugs considered safe for use in pregnancy and those labeled as posing a fetal risk.........
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September 18, 2007, 5:20 AM CT
Can't take my eyes off you: the power of attraction
Whether we are seeking a mate or sizing up a potential rival, good-looking people capture our attention nearly instantaneously and render us temporarily helpless to turn our eyes away from them, as per a new Florida State University study.
Its like magnetism at the level of visual attention, said Jon Maner, an assistant professor of psychology at FSU, who studied the role mating-related motives can play in a psychological phenomenon called attentional adhesion. His findings appear in the recent issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
The paper, Cant Take My Eyes Off You: Attentional Adhesion to Mates and Rivals, is one of the first to show how strongly, quickly and automatically we are attuned to attractive people, he said. FSU graduate students Matthew Gailliot, D. Aaron Rouby and Saul Miller co-authored the study.
In a series of three experiments, Maner and colleagues observed that the study participants, all heterosexual men and women, fixated on highly attractive people within the first half of a second of seeing them. Single folks ogled the opposite sex, of course, but those in committed relationships also checked people out, with one major difference: They were more interested in beautiful people of the same sex.
If were interested in finding a mate, our attention gets quickly and automatically stuck on attractive members of the opposite sex, Maner said. If were jealous and worried about our partner cheating on us, attention gets quickly and automatically stuck on attractive people of our own sex because they are our competitors.........
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September 18, 2007, 5:18 AM CT
Personalized Treatment For Nicotine Addiction
Whether a smoking-cessation drug will enable you to quit smoking may depend on your genes, as per new genotyping research from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The study, reported in the recent issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry, observed that the enzyme known to metabolize both the smoking cessation drug bupropion and nicotine is highly genetically variable in all ethnicities and influences smoking cessation. This finding is a step toward being able to tailor smoking cessation therapy to individuals based on their unique genetic make-up.
This first study identifies a very common genetic variant (present in anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of world populations) that appears to affect the outcome of smoking cessation therapy, said Rachel Tyndale, Section Head of Pharmacogenetics at CAMH and lead researcher on the study, adding that the results would have to be replicated.
Tyndale and his colleagues performed genotyping on smokers for CYP2B6, a gene known to be highly variable and whose enzyme metabolizes bupropion, nicotine and serotonin. Participants were then provided with either placebo or bupropion therapy for ten weeks and followed up for 6 months.
The research project, supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the National Institute of Health, observed that 45% of individuals with a specific variant of the gene benefited from bupropion therapy and maintained abstinence longer while doing poorly on placebo, with a 32.5% abstinent rate vs. 14.3%, respectively. In contrast, the 55% with a different variant of the gene (wild type variant) had good abstinences rates on placebo and gained no additional benefit from Bupropion, suggesting no benefit from treating these individuals with Bupropion. Of note, this group was able to quit smoking very well in the absence of an active drug (on placebo).........
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September 18, 2007, 5:04 AM CT
lternate-day fasting: How good is it for your health?
Scientists report that fasting or eating half as much as usual every other day may shrink your fat cells and boost mechanisms that break down fats.
Consuming less calories and increasing physical activity is commonly what people do to lose weight and stay healthy. But some people prefer to adopt a diet which consists of eating as much as they want one day while fasting the next. On each fasting day, these people consume energy-free beverages, tea, coffee, and sugar-free gum and they drink as much water as they need. Eventhough a number of people claim that this diet, called alternate-day fasting (ADF), help them lose weight and improved their health, the effects on health and disease risk of ADF are not clear.
Krista Varady and his colleagues studied the effects of alternate-day fasting on 24 male mice for four weeks. To assess the impact of ADF on the health of the mice, the researchers not only tested mice that followed and didnt follow an ADF diet, but they also studied mice that followed the diet only partially: a group of mice consumed 50 percent of their regular diet every other day (ADF-50%) and another consumed 75 percent of their regular diet every other day (ADF-25%).
The researchers noticed that the mice that followed the complete ADF diet.........
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September 17, 2007, 10:38 PM CT
ER episode impacts viewers' health knowledge and behavior
A new study by scientists at the University of Southern California suggests that some TV may be good for you.
Scientists observed that a storyline on the primetime NBC network drama ER that dealt with teen obesity, high blood pressure and healthy eating habits had a positive impact on the attitudes and behaviors of viewers, especially among men.
The study, reported in the Sept. 14 Journal of Health Communication and now available online, offered scientists a rare opportunity to evaluate the impact of health messages in entertainment, says Thomas W. Valente, Ph.D., associate professor of preventive medicine and member of the Institute for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Research (IPR) at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
This study demonstrates the importance of interventions and programs targeted at a population level, says Valente. We have so a number of public heath issues to deal with, we cant restrict ourselves to any one strategy. We have to do everything and anything we can to help people improve their health.
The storyline depicted an African-American teen who is diagnosed with high blood pressure during a visit to the emergency room and is advised to eat more fruits and vegetables and to get more exercise. The story aired over three episodes from April 29 to May 13, 2004.........
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September 17, 2007, 10:35 PM CT
Does black men have more aggressive prostate cancer?
A University of Minnesota study of prostate cancer tumors from Caucasian and African-American men has shown no evidence that the cancer is more aggressive in black men. Lead investigator Akhouri Sinha, a professor of genetics, cell biology, and development and research scientist at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, said the belief that black mens tumors are more aggressive is based on studies that failed to match patients properly and used only indirect means to measure tumor aggressiveness. The work will be published in Anticancer Research Sept. 21 (vol. 27, issue 5A, pp. 3135-3142).
In prior studies of prostate tumors, those in black patients tended to be larger and at a more advanced stage, and black men had higher blood levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a substance produced by the prostate that, at high levels, points to the possibility of prostate cancer. But all these criteria are interrelated and could be the result of delayed diagnosis or medical care, Sinha said.
Prior studies showing differences in prostate cancers among races require re-evaluation because inconsistent criteria were used in selection of patients, he said. Our data shows that for patients receiving similar therapy, African-American patients are not following up with their doctors as opposed to Caucasians, and this difference is highly significant. Also, Caucasian patients are four times as likely to receive additional therapy after prostatectomy. Cancer does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, or caste system, like people do. Invasiveness of prostate cancer is not race-dependent.........
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September 17, 2007, 5:13 AM CT
Divorce foretells child's future care for elderly parent
For better or worse, baby boomers approach retirement with more complex marital histories than prior generations. Temple University researcher Adam Davey, Ph.D. has found the impact of these events -- divorces, widowhood, and remarriage can predict if a child will provide more involved care in the future.
A divorce may have happened over 30 years ago, but the changes it caused can have a long lasting effect for the child into adulthood, Davey said. The findings are reported in the recent issue of Advances in Life Course Research.
More specifically, divorce predicted an adult child would be less of involved with day-to-day assistance during the later part of life for the aging parent. These activities include the child helping the parent maintain chores in the home.
Its not the divorce itself that affects the quality of the parent-child relationship, but its what happens afterwards such as geographical separation, said Davey, a gerontologist who studies trends in the baby boomer generation and other aging issues.
Davey analyzed data from 2,087 parents, aged 50 and older, who reported on their 7,019 adult children in the National Survey of Family and Households. Information was collected between 1987 and 1994.
Marital transitions affect families in many ways, Davey said. They can interrupt the relationship of support between a parent and child, and the evidence suggests that the continuity of support by parents and to parents matters.........
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