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July 25, 2006, 8:20 PM CT

Screen New mothers for postpartum depression

Screen New mothers for postpartum depression
Physicians should screen mothers for postpartum depression regularly for at least a year following childbirth to better identify women who develop symptoms throughout the year and those whose depression persists, University of Rochester Medical Center scientists say.

"If you only screen early or if you only screen once, you will miss some," said Linda Chaudron, M.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry, pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology at the Medical Center who is leading a series of studies focusing on postpartum depression.

In a recent analysis of records from a pediatric clinic that uses a common postpartum questionnaire to screen mothers, Chaudron and the research group observed that of women who scored high on a depression screening scale sometime in the postpartum year, 26 percent did not develop high symptom levels of postpartum depression until after three months and that 33 percent had high levels throughout the year. The results of the study are reported in the July/recent issue of the journal Ambulatory Pediatrics.

"I was surprised at the high percentage of women who continued to be depressed throughout the year," Chaudron said.

Earlier this year, New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine signed legislation requiring health care professionals providing postnatal care to screen new mothers for postpartum depression, and requiring health care professionals to educate women and their families about the disorder. Health care providers in several other states have adopted similar screening programs.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


July 25, 2006, 8:17 PM CT

Identical Twins Be Genetically Different

Identical Twins Be Genetically Different
They sleep together, eat together, and most people find it impossible to tell them apart. Identical twins who grow up together share just about everything, including their genes. But sometimes only one twin will have health problems when genetics predicts both of them should.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School are just beginning to understand how two people who are so similar biologically can be so different when it comes to the development of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

U-M scientists have discovered three genes that are over-expressed in rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, that were not known to be linked to the disease before. They also observed that non-genetic factors influenced the expression of these genes and that the expression patterns varied between identical twins where only one twin had RA. Results of the U-M study were reported in the recent issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism.

RA is a chronic inflammatory disease that damages joints. RA causes pain, loss of movement, and bone deformities. It affects 2.1 million Americans. There are a number of genetic factors that put people at a high-risk for developing RA, yet only 15 percent of identical twins will both develop it.

Researchers compared gene expression patterns of 11 pairs of monozygotic twins, who shared the same egg and were genetically identical, but only one of them had RA. They found three new genes that were significantly over-expressed in the twin with RA in comparison to the one without the disease. This is the first report for RA that examines gene expression patterns in monozygotic twins.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 25, 2006, 8:13 PM CT

Nerve-stimulation Epilepsy Treatment

Nerve-stimulation Epilepsy Treatment
A unique nerve-stimulation therapy for epilepsy developed at UCLA offers a potential new alternative for tens of thousands of individuals unable to control their seizures with medicine and ineligible for surgery.

Developed by neuroresearchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Valencia, Calif.-based Advanced Bionics Corp., trigeminal nerve stimulation (TNS) uses a "brain pacemaker" to stimulate a nerve involved in inhibiting seizures.

The trigeminal nerve extends into the brain from the face and forehead, and is known to play a role in seizure inhibition. The stimulator and electrodes used to transmit an electrical current to the nerve can be worn externally or implanted.

A study reported in the July edition of the peer-evaluated journal Epilepsia reports that four of seven subjects who used an external stimulator for at least three months in a pilot human clinical trial enjoyed a 50 percent or better reduction in seizure frequency.

"Most people with chronic epilepsy who have continuing seizures are drug-resistant," said Dr. Christopher DeGiorgio, vice chair and professor in residence of neurology at UCLA, and co-developer of TNS and lead author of the study. "In addition, anti-seizure drugs can have significant side effects on behavior, thinking and alertness. Women taking anti-seizure drugs and their unborn children are at special risk because of the effect of these drugs on fetal growth and development.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


July 25, 2006, 6:48 PM CT

Inflammation Disease Link

Inflammation Disease Link Chemistry of inflammation
New research at MIT may help researchers better understand the chemical associations between chronic inflammation and diseases such as cancer and atherosclerosis. The work could lead to drugs that break the link between the two.

When an infection occurs, immune cells flock to the area and secrete large amounts of highly reactive chemicals to combat the invader. But, these inflammatory chemicals also attack normal tissue surrounding the infection and damage critical components of cells, including DNA. During chronic inflammation, that damage may lead to mutations or cell death and even to cancer and other diseases.

MIT researchers, led by toxicology graduate student Yelena Margolin of the Biological Engineering Division, have discovered that the DNA damage produced by one of these inflammatory chemicals, nitrosoperoxycarbonate, occurs at unexpected locations along the DNA helix. The finding counters the prevailing theory about where the DNA damage occurs and may shed light on new ways to diagnose and combat inflammation.

"We need to understand the mechanisms of inflammation in order to make new drugs that will break the link between inflammation and disease and to develop predictive biomarkers," said Dr. Peter Dedon, professor of toxicology and biological engineering and associate director of the Biological Engineering Division at MIT. "One of our goals is to develop biomarkers that can tell if you have inflammation and to define its extent, severity and location".........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


July 25, 2006, 6:30 AM CT

Take a deep breath

Take a deep breath Image courtesy of stottpilates.com
Ventilation treatment burst into the public consciousness more than 60 years ago with the "iron lung" and the polio epidemic. Mechanical ventilation has come a long way since then and is used today with patients who cannot breathe on their own because of trauma, lung injuries and chronic lung disease.

But ventilation demands a delicate balance between over inflating and under inflating the lungs, either of which can lead to further injury. Scientists have observed that pumping too much air overdistends the lung, leading to ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI).

Doctors currently use small amounts of air (low tidal volume) to protect against VILI. But low tidal volumes can lead to progressive closure of the lungs' air cells, called alveoli, reducing the lung's ability to exchange gases. One way to reverse closure of the alveoli is to periodically give a more robust puff of air, known as deep inflation.

A new study in the online edition of the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology shows that low tidal volume combined with periodic deep inflation provides the best balance between keeping the lung open and preventing VILI in mice. And, using mice, these scientists have demonstrated for the first time that eventhough deep inflation is necessary, it can be overdone.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


July 25, 2006, 6:21 AM CT

Family history of breast cancer may be missed

Family history of breast cancer may be missed
Using survey data from April 2003 to March 2005 for Women's Health Clinic patients without breast cancer, scientists observed that while 16% of the participants reported a maternal relative with breast cancer, only 10% reported a paternal relative. Because mothers are much more likely to develop breast cancer than fathers, participants who reported a mother with breast cancer were excluded from the study.

There may be multiple explanations for this unexpected discrepancy. For this particular study, the family histories might be accurate. This would lead to a conflict with current thinking about the inheritance of breast cancer risk. Alternatively, excessive reporting of maternal cancers could have affected the data, but earlier studies of family history indicate that breast cancer reporting tends to be accurate. Finally, men may not be aware of familial breast cancer risk and may not communicate this information to their relatives. This factor could be important where fathers are not present in the home or are unknown to the child. This would contribute to inaccuracy of family history, eventhough misinformation (as opposed to lack of information) about paternity should not affect the maternal paternal ratio.

Writing in the article, John M. Quillin, PhD, suggests, "The most likely explanation for these findings may be under-reporting of breast cancer on the paternal side. Future studies are needed to look for modifiable explanations (e.g., genetics education, family communication specifically for maternal and paternal relatives, or medical documentation) of the discrepancy in the reporting of family history of breast cancer to improve the sensitivity of the family history screen".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


July 25, 2006, 6:16 AM CT

Obesity an increasing obstacle

Obesity an increasing obstacle
The increase of obesity in the United States doubled the number of inconclusive diagnostic imaging exams over a 15-year period, as per a research studyfeatured in the recent issue of Radiology.

Scientists assessed all radiology exams performed at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) between 1989 and 2003 to determine the effects of obesity on imaging quality and diagnosis.

In an effort to quantify how obesity affects diagnostic imaging quality, Dr. Uppot and his colleagues analyzed radiology records from a 15-year span at MGH. They searched for incomplete exams that carried the label "limited by body habitus," meaning limited in quality due to patient size.

"While 0.10 percent of inconclusive exams were due to patient size in 1989, by 2003 the number had jumped to 0.19 percent, despite advances in imaging technology," said Raul N. Uppot, M.D., lead author and staff radiologist at MGH. "Americans need to know that obesity can hinder their medical care when they enter a hospital".

An estimated 66 percent of adults in the United States are overweight, obese or morbidly obese, as per the Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, more than 12.5 million American children and adolescents are overweight. Hospitals are feeling the strain--they now require larger wheelchairs and beds. Additionally, standard operating tables and imaging equipment are not suited for obese patients.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 25, 2006, 0:20 AM CT

Risk Of Estrogen Plus Testosterone Therapy

Risk Of Estrogen Plus Testosterone Therapy
Women who take a combination of estrogen and testosterone to treat the symptoms of menopause may have an increased risk of breast cancer, as per an article in the July 24 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

As women age, their natural levels of the hormone testosterone tend to decrease, as per background information in the article. Some evidence suggests that a number of of the symptoms of menopause--including decreased sex drive, worse moods and poorer quality of life--are correlation to this decline in testosterone. Clinical trials have shown that taking testosterone in combination with estrogen may reduce these symptoms and also promote bone health. Only one estrogen plus testosterone treatment is currently available to U.S. women, but the number and prevalence of such therapys are expected to increase in coming years, the authors write.

Rulla M. Tamimi, Sc.D., Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and his colleagues studied the long-term effects of estrogen plus testosterone treatment in 121,700 women who were part of the Nurses' Health Study. The study enrolled female nurses between the ages of 30 and 55 years beginning in 1976. The women completed an initial questionnaire and follow-up surveys every two years that included questions about menopausal status, medical conditions and the use of postmenopausal hormone treatment. For those who reported a diagnosis of breast cancer, medical records were evaluated for verification.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


July 24, 2006, 6:58 AM CT

People Unconsciously Use Verbal Gestures

People Unconsciously Use Verbal Gestures
University of Chicago researchers have determined that people spontaneously use a system of communicating when they speak that either reinforces their message or provides additional information that is not conveyed by words alone. Dubbed "analog acoustic expression," this previously uninvestigated form of communication is described as a sort of verbal gesturing.

Like gestures, analog acoustic expression expands people's capacity to communicate and typically happens with little intention on the part of the speaker, eventhough it is possible to use this expression explicitly to dramatize an utterance.

Eventhough scientists have been aware that people modulate their speech, they assumed that some of this modulation was intentional and was merely meant to emphasize points or communicate emotion. The new discovery is the first experimental evidence showing that people unconsciously modulate their voices in ways that provide an additional channel of expression understood by listeners, the scientists said.

"I think we've all noticed this form of communication, but have not paid too much attention to it," said co-author Howard Nusbaum, Chairman of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago "Someone will raise his voice slightly at the end of the sentence when saying, 'the stock market is going up' or lower it when saying 'the stock market is going down'." The modulations also make telephone conversations and words spoken on the radio more comprehensible, he added.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 24, 2006, 6:39 AM CT

Tamoxifen does not prevent breast cancer most women

Tamoxifen does not prevent breast cancer  most women
"We observed that for women at the lower end of the high-risk range for developing breast cancer, there is a very small likelihood that taking tamoxifen will reduce mortality," said Joy Melnikow, professor of family and community medicine at UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center and lead author of the study. "This would support revising the current recommended risk threshold for physicians to counsel women about tamoxifen".

Tamoxifen was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1998 for breast cancer prevention in women who have at least a 1.67-percent chance of developing the disease over the next five years. Such women are considered at high risk for breast cancer. Groups such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care recommend that physicians counsel women above this threshold about the benefits and risks of tamoxifen as a means of preventing the disease.

Tamoxifen is a selective estrogen receptor-modulating drug used to treat estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers. In addition, it has been shown to reduce the occurence rate of invasive breast cancer among high-risk women by up to 49 percent.

However, tamoxifen is linked to significant adverse effects, including cataracts requiring surgery, deep vein thromboses, endometrial cancer and stroke. Women taking tamoxifen, if they do develop breast cancer, are also more likely to develop an estrogen receptor-negative tumor, which has a worse prognosis. (Cancers prevented by tamoxifen are mostly estrogen receptor-positive).........

Posted by: Janet      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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