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March 16, 2006, 11:29 PM CT

Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Patients Chose Needle

Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Patients Chose Needle
Rest and relaxation seem like impossible feats to most Americans trying to balance the demands of family and career. This balancing act could account for the continued growth in minimally-invasive cosmetic plastic surgery procedures with 8.4 million performed in 2005. As per the statistics released recently by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), minimally-invasive procedures increased 13 percent from the prior year and 53 percent since 2000.

Minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures are mostly performed in an outpatient setting, do not call for general anesthesia, require little to no downtime and commonly cost less than the more invasive cosmetic surgeries. The top five minimally-invasive procedures this year and since 2000 are Botox- (3.8 million), chemical peel (1 million), microdermabrasion (840,000), laser hair removal (780,000), and sclerotherapy - elimination of spider veins (590,000).

"For facial rejuvenation especially, we have seen a shift from surgical therapys to a more subtle approach," said ASPS President Bruce Cunningham, MD. "As patients choose to address signs of aging with less invasive procedures, plastic surgeons also have more tools at their disposal to care for these patients. For instance, plastic surgeons may use more than one type of product or procedure to treat different areas of a patient's face."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


March 16, 2006, 11:18 PM CT

Don't Stop That Plavix

Don't Stop That Plavix
Recent media reports regarding the results of the CHARISMA Trial may be misinterpreted by patients with coronary stents and other conditions, causing these patients to inappropriately stop taking the anti-clotting drug clopidogrel (Plavix). Patients taking Plavix- for any reason should consult with their cardiologist or other health care provider before stopping this medication.

The CHARISMA Trial was presented at the Annual Scientific Sessions of the American College of Cardiology on Sunday, March 12 in Atlanta and simultaneously reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. Eventhough the CHARISMA trial showed no benefit to combining Plavix and aspirin and for certain patients, this study does not invalidate use of the drug for approved indications, such as stenting. Certain other patients are given Plavix after hospitalization for heart attack or stroke. Patients with these conditions must discuss the benefits and risks of anti-clotting medicine with their health care provider and should not stop Plavix- on their own. Discontinuation of Plavix in patients with recently-placed stents can cause clot formation within the stent, resulting in serious harm or death.

As per the 2006 ACC/AHA/SCAI Guideline Update for Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), Class I recommendations indicate the use of aspirin and clopidigrel in patients undergoing angioplasty with stent implantation (contraindications include aspirin resistance, allergy or risk of bleeding).........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


March 16, 2006, 10:51 PM CT

MIT Researchers Restore Vision In Rodents

MIT Researchers Restore Vision In Rodents Research scientist Rutledge Ellis-Behnke, left, and Professor Gerald E. Schneider, both of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, worked with others to create a technique that helps rodents recover from traumatic brain injuries.
Rodents blinded by a severed tract in their brains' visual system had their sight partially restored within weeks, thanks to a tiny biodegradable scaffold invented by MIT bioengineers and neuroscientists.

This technique, which involves giving brain cells an internal matrix on which to regrow, just as ivy grows on a trellis, may one day help patients with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and stroke.

The study, which will appear in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) the week of March 13-17, is the first that uses nanotechnology to repair and heal the brain and restore function of a damaged brain region.

"If we can reconnect parts of the brain that were disconnected by a stroke, then we may be able to restore speech to an individual who is able to understand what is said but has lost the ability to speak," said co-author Rutledge G. Ellis-Behnke, research scientist in the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. "This is not about restoring 100 percent of damaged brain cells, but 20 percent or even less may be enough to restore function, and that is our goal".

Spinal cord injuries, serious stroke and severe traumatic brain injuries affect more than 5 million Americans at a total cost of $65 billion a year in therapy.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


March 16, 2006, 10:48 PM CT

Unexpected Activity In Visual Cortex

Unexpected Activity In Visual Cortex
For years, neural activity in the brain's visual cortex was thought to have only one job: to create visual perceptions. A new study by scientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory shows that visual cortical activity can serve another purpose -- connecting visual experience with non-visual events.

The study, slated to appear in the March 17 issue of Science, implies that sensory parts of the brain may be able to accomplish more complex tasks than previously imagined, as per co-authors Marshall G. Shuler, MIT research affiliate, and Mark F. Bear, professor of brain and cognitive sciences. The findings have implications for understanding how our brains imbue sensory experience with behavioral meaning.

Electrodes were implanted in the visual cortex of adult rats. Initially, as expected, their neurons responded only to light. However, as the animal repeatedly experienced a light stimulus with the delivery of a drop of water, the neuronal activity changed. And in a number of cases, the neuron continued to be active after the light was extinguished until the water reward was delivered.

The neuron's activity, the scientists said, was correlation to the anticipation of the reward. What's more, neurons continued to predict reward times associated with the light cues even in different situations. "This is a strong indication that learning was actually occurring in the visual cortex," Shuler said.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


March 15, 2006, 11:45 PM CT

Abnormal Gambling Habits Run In Families

Abnormal Gambling Habits Run In Families
Problem gambling runs in families as per a University of Iowa study published online Feb. 24 in the journal Psychiatry Research. The study also found an excess of alcoholism, drug disorders and antisocial personality disorder in families with pathological gamblers.

This is the first study of its kind to include detailed family interviews of relatives of persons with pathological gambling, said Donald W. Black, M.D., professor of psychiatry in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

"Something is being passed along in these families that increases the persons' likelihood of engaging in impulsive and ultimately self-destructive behavior. In some persons, it manifests as substance abuse, in others as antisocial behavior, and in others gambling, and often the three are combined," said Black, who has studied pathological gambling for the past eight years.

The study consisted of interviews of 31 pathological gamblers and 31 controls, and their respective first-degree relatives (parents, siblings and children).

"We looked at first-degree relatives because they theoretically share 50 percent of their genes with the pathological gambler or the control subject. If this disorder runs in families, it is most likely to cluster in those that you share more of your genes with," Black said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


March 15, 2006, 11:41 PM CT

Vaccination Saves Lives

Vaccination Saves Lives
Adults hospitalized for pneumonia who have received the pneumococcal vaccine are at a lower risk of dying from the disease than those who haven't been vaccinated, as per an article in the April 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online. Previous vaccination also reduces patients' risk of developing medical complications and decreases their length of stay in the hospital.

Pneumococci, or Streptococcus pneumoniae, are bacteria that colonize the nose and throat, often without causing harm. When they do cause infection, however, it can be serious, sometimes resulting in pneumonia that could be fatal to people who are elderly or vulnerable due to other illnesses.

Scientists from Pennsylvania, Texas, and New Jersey analyzed data from nearly 63,000 patients hospitalized for pneumonia between 1999 and 2003. Twelve percent of the patients were known to have received pneumococcal vaccination previous to being hospitalized, 23 percent were unvaccinated, and the rest had unknown vaccine status.

Vaccinated patients were 40 to 70 percent less likely to die during hospitalization than either unvaccinated patients or patients with unknown status. Vaccinated patients also had a lower risk of developing respiratory failure, kidney failure, heart attack, or other ailments. In addition, vaccinated patients' average hospital stay was two days shorter than that of unvaccinated patients.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


March 15, 2006, 9:43 PM CT

Braces Boost Self-esteem

Braces Boost Self-esteem
Orthodontics are often necessary to help improve the stability, function, and health of an individual's teeth; otherwise, a number of people would be at higher risk for gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss because of improper teeth positioning in their mouth, as per an article in the January 2006 issue of AGD Impact, the newsmagazine of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD).

"Orthodontics can make people feel better about themselves," says James G. Richeson, Jr., DDS, FAGD, AGD spokesperson. "A number of patients, previous to orthodontics, smile with their mouth closed, because they are self-conscious about their teeth, but after orthodontics, they commonly smile naturally, showing off their new look."

General dentists can assess a child's need for orthodontics or alternative therapys. A dentist commonly recommends braces to improve the patient's physical facial appearance. Through orthodontic therapy, problems like crooked or crowded teeth, overbites or underbites, incorrect jaw position, and disorders of the jaw joint can be corrected.

Alternative orthodontic therapys have long been available, but may not always be as comprehensive as orthodontics. Space maintainers help maintain space for adult teeth and can prevent complications and the need for more orthodontic treatment. Removable computer-generated appliances can treat selective cases where orthodontics would otherwise be needed, but these appliances also may cost more. Removable appliances that use wires also are available but their use depends on the complexity of the case and what needs to be achieved in the movement of the patient's teeth. A palatal expander is often used in cases where the upper arch isn't spreading as wide as it needs to, says Dr. Richeson, and such an appliance is utilized to expand that arch. The palatal expander is best used while a child is still growing, commonly between ages 8 and 10.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


March 15, 2006, 9:33 PM CT

Treating Hypertension Early

Treating Hypertension Early
Treating pre-high blood pressure with medicine and lifestyle modifications reduces the risk of patients progressing to hypertension, a new study involving scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center has concluded.

The findings, appearing in an upcoming issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, are the result of a four-year study of more than 800 patients who had a condition known as pre-hypertension. A blood pressure between 120 and 139 mm Hg systolic and 80 to 89 mm Hg diastolic indicates pre-hypertension.

"The recommended guidelines currently list lifestyle modifications for therapy of pre-hypertension," said Dr. Shawna Nesbitt, associate professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and an author on the study. "But the long-term maintenance of a lifestyle change is dismal. Patients typically don't stick to it."

Present guidelines recommend that pre-high blood pressure be managed with changes in the patient's lifestyle through weight loss, salt restriction, exercise and dietary modification. Despite intense efforts to keep patients from developing hypertension, an increasing number of people are diagnosed each year. High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of other cardiovascular ailments, including heart disease and stroke.

Dr. Nesbitt collaborated with scientists at several institutions to find out if therapy with angiotensin-receptor blockers, or ARBs, could prevent the development of hypertension. This is the first human study involving therapy of prehigh blood pressure with an ARB.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


March 15, 2006, 8:51 PM CT

Gene May Dictate Antidepressant Response

Gene May Dictate Antidepressant Response
Whether depressed patients will respond to an antidepressant depends, in part, on which version of a gene they inherit, a study led by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has discovered. Having two copies of one version of a gene that codes for a component of the brain's mood-regulating system increased the odds of a favorable response to an antidepressant by up to 18 percent, compared to having two copies of the other, more common version.

Since the less common version was over 6 times more prevalent in white than in black patients - and fewer blacks responded - the scientists suggest that the gene may help to explain racial differences in the outcome of antidepressant therapy. The findings also add to evidence that the component, a receptor for the chemical messenger serotonin, plays a pivotal role in the mechanism of antidepressant action. The study, authored by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) scientists Francis J. McMahon, M.D., Silvia Buervenich, Ph.D., and Husseini Manji, M.D., along with collaborators at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and other institutions, was posted online March 8 and will appear in the May, 2006 American Journal of Human Genetics.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


March 15, 2006, 6:58 AM CT

New way to quit smoking

New way to quit smoking
Smokers trying to kick the habit might stand a better chance of staying smoke-free if they begin using replacement nicotine patches or gum in the weeks before they quit cigarettes.

That's a theory a team led by the Clinical Trials Research Unit (CTRU) at The University of Auckland's School of Population Health is testing in a study funded by the Health Research Council and National Heart Foundation.

Principal investigator Dr Chris Bullen says the conventional wisdom is that people trying to quit throw away their cigarettes and immediately replace them with a nicotine substitute, such as nicotine patches or chewing gum.

But some recent small-scale studies have suggested that the earlier use of a nicotine substitute might improve the chances of a person staying smokefree.

"It's been suggested that if a smoker starts using nicotine substitutes about a fortnight before quitting cigarettes, they are significantly more likely to remain smokefree six months later.

"We want to test this idea in a properly controlled, randomised trial".

Scientists from The University of Auckland together with colleagues in The Quit Group and the University of Otago will work with 1100 people, enlisted through the national Quitline. Half the participants will be offered nicotine patches or gum two weeks before they attempt to quit; the other half will begin using the patches or gum on the day that they quit.........

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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