November 1, 2006, 4:57 AM CT
Poor Readers Have Higher Risk Of Suicide
Teenagers with reading problems are at significantly higher risk for suicide and for dropping out of school than typical readers, as per a research studyby Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center researchers.
"In our study, poor readers were three times more likely than typical readers to consider or attempt suicide and six times more likely to drop out of school," said lead author Stephanie Sergent Daniel, Ph.D. "Educators and parents should be aware of the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior among adolescents with reading problems."
The results, reported today in the recent issue of the Journal of Learning Disabilities, are from a study of 188 students recruited from six public high schools at age 15. They were followed for a mean of 3.3 years.
Scientists initially screened 1,074 students and identified a sub-group willing to participate in the long-term study. From this group, they recruited a group of poor readers and a group of typical readers that were matched for gender and race.
Standard educational tests were used to measure single-word reading ability, one of several skills involved in reading. Students scoring in the lowest 18 percent were considered poor readers - a cutoff usually used to diagnose dyslexia. In addition, each student and his primary caretaker were interviewed by master's level trained research clinicians to assess psychiatric disorders and suicidal behaviors. The median length between interviews for students and parents was twelve months.........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink Source
November 1, 2006, 4:51 AM CT
HPV Test Is A Better Long-term Predictor
The best initial cervical cancer screening tool for younger women is still the traditional Pap smear. However, a large Danish study has observed that for older women (age 40 and older), a test for human papillomavirus (HPV) is a much more effective way to screen for potential cancer.
The reason, report scientists in the November 1 issue of Cancer Research, is that HPV infection is both frequent and transient in younger women, and they would often test positive for HPV when no actual risk of cervical cancer existed. But, in older women, HPV infection is rarer and more persistent, putting a woman at substantial risk for the disease before changes in cervical cells, detected by Pap smears, are obvious.
"We have documented that a single HPV test can actually predict older women at risk for cervical cancer better than a single Pap smear can," said the study's senior author, Susanne Krüger Kjaer, M.D., professor and head of the Department of Virus, Hormones and Cancer at the Danish Cancer Society.
The scientists specifically observed that the absolute risk of developing cervical cancer in an older woman who tests positive for HPV is greater than 20 percent within a 10-year period. They also note that most women who test positive for HPV also test negative on a Pap smear given at the same time.........
Posted by: Emily Permalink Source
November 1, 2006, 4:40 AM CT
Rock Climbing Does Not Increase Risk Of Osteoarthritis
A study in the US has found there is no greater risk of osteoarthritis in rock climbers in comparison to non climbers, contrary to prior theory.
The study, reported in the recent issue of Journal of Anatomy, examined osteological changes in the hands and fingers of rock climbers that result from intense, long-term mechanical stress placed on these bones. Specifically, whether rock climbing leads to increased cortical bone thickness and joint changes linked to osteoarthritis. Scientists also wanted to identify whether climbing intensity and frequency of different styles of climbing influence changes.
Adam Sylvester of the University of Tennessee explains: "Radiographs of both hands were taken for each participant and were scored for radiographic signs of osteoarthritis using an atlas method. We compared 27 recreational rock climbers and 35 non-climbers for four measures of bone strength and dimensions and osteoarthritis. The results suggest that climbers are not at an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis compared with non-climbers.
Climber's finger and hand bones are, however, greater in cross-sectional area and total width, indicating that additional bone is being deposited on the external surface, not commonly seen in adults. The strength of the finger and hand bones are correlated with styles of climbing that emphasize athletic difficulty. Significant predictors include the highest levels achieved in bouldering and sport climbing".........
Posted by: Mark Permalink Source
November 1, 2006, 4:34 AM CT
Estrogen Receptor Metastatic Breast Cancer Link
Breast cancer awareness month may have passed, but scientists remain focused on the disease with a new study showing that a unique estrogen receptor found in breast cancer tumors is a predictor of tumor size and metastases. The study, led by scientists at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown Medical School, is reported in the November 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.
"We observed that a novel estrogen receptor, termed GPR30, is associated with breast tumor progression and increased tumor size,"says lead author Edward J. Filardo, PhD, research associate at Rhode Island Hospital and assistant professor at Brown Medical School. "Furthermore, the results support previous research suggesting that GPR30 acts independently from the two known estrogen receptors, ERƒÑ and ERƒÒ."
Estrogen receptors act like ears on a breast cancer cell ¡V estrogen attaches to the receptor and transmits signals that tells the cell to grow and multiply. Physicians test for receptors to help determine the most appropriate therapy for patients with breast cancer. Typically, the more estrogen receptors present, the more likely the patient will respond to hormone treatment, such as tamoxifen.
However, approximately one in four patients that test positive for estrogen receptors, do not respond to hormone treatment prompting researchers to propose that there may be additional types of estrogen receptors that play a role tumor growth. Filardo and co-author Jeffrey Quinn, PhD, first identified GPR30 as a potential alternate estrogen receptor capable of triggering breast cancer cell growth in 2000.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
November 1, 2006, 4:30 AM CT
Antidepressants Linked To Lower Child Suicide Rates
Scientists report an inverse relationship between antidepressant prescriptions and the rates of suicide in children and adolescents -- a finding that contradicts the Food and Drug Administration's "black box" warning for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications, also known as SSRI drugs.
The University of Illinois at Chicago epidemiologic study appears in the recent issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
The scientists examined suicide rates of children ages 5-14 in each county of the United States from 1996 to 1998 and county-level data on SSRI prescriptions. The results were adjusted for sex, race, income, access to quality mental health care and variations in county-to-county suicide rates.
"We observed that counties with the highest prescription rates for SSRI drugs had the lowest suicide rates in children and adolescents," said the lead author Robert Gibbons, director of the Center for Health Statistics and professor of biostatistics and psychiatry at UIC. "This is just the opposite of what you would predict if SSRI's were producing suicide".
There were 933 suicides among children ages 5-14 from 1996 to 1998, or an overall annual rate of 0.8 per 100,000. The scientists observed that in counties with low antidepressant prescription rates, the suicide rate was as high as 1.7 per 100,000. In counties with high antidepressant prescription rates, the suicide rate was as low as 0.7 per 100,000.........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink Source
November 1, 2006, 4:08 AM CT
Amniocentesis Safe For Pregnant Women
Amniocentesis is the most usually prescribed invasive test performed during pregnancies in the United States. Most women fear them while doctors recommend them based on guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. These guidelines stem from past research studies and recommendations by the CDC that were based only on maternal age. Studies that are decades old have suggested that amniocentesis increases the rate of miscarriage by 0.5% or 1 in 200 pregnancies. However, scientists at Mount School of Medicine in conjunction with other institutions involved in the First and Second Trimester Evaluation of Risk for Aneuploidy trial (FASTER trial) have just published in the recent issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, that pregnancy miscarriage rates after routine midtrimester amniocentesis are significantly lower than rates previously published years ago in the 1970s and 1980s. This study reports that the amniocentesis procedure- related loss risk is approximately 1 in 1,600 pregnancies.
Lead author of the study, "Pregnancy Loss Rates After Midtrimester Amniocentis", Dr. Keith E. Eddleman, MD, Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Mount Sinai School of Medicine has observed that this new study now refutes the typically quoted 0.5% pregnancy loss rate and suggests it may be even lower than 0.1%."Women should be counseled that this older loss rate is archaic and their decision about whether or not to have an amniocentesis should be based on contemporary information about miscarriage rates with newer screening techniques, rather than just relying on general age based risks," said Eddleman. "This new research breakthrough will have a significant effect on how women are counseled about amniocentesis by their doctors and the information they have when deciding about screening for their unborn child."........
Posted by: Emily Permalink Source
October 31, 2006, 4:07 AM CT
Microwaving Your French Fries Before You Fry Them
Microwaving your French fries before you fry them reduces the levels of a cancer-causing substance, reveals findings published recently in the SCI's Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.
The discovery of acrylamide - a possible carcinogenic in humans - has led to much research being done to investigate the benefits of alternative cooking methods. Acrylamide forms during processes such as frying, baking and roasting where high-temperature and low-moisture conditions exist.
Eventhough numerous studies have been conducted to explore the possibilities of reducing acrylamide levels in French fries, a team of scientists from Turkey has shown that by reducing the frying time and hence the acrylamide formation by microwave pre-cooking of potato strips previous to frying.
Publishing their work in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, the researches showed that microwave application previous to frying resulted in a marked reduction of the acrylamide level in the surface region. When the potato strips were subjected to frying after a microwave pre-cooking step, acrylamide content in the whole potato strip was reduced by 36%, 41% and 60% for frying at 150, 170 and 190oC respectively.
"Microwaving French fries before cooking takes little time and in fact, microwave pre-cooked samples fried to the same degree of cooking appeared to have a more acceptable colour, probably due to the more gentle heat therapy they experienced during frying," says lead author Koray Palazoglu, of the University of Mersin, Turkey.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
October 31, 2006, 4:01 AM CT
Topiramates Increases Risk Of Kidney Stones
Drs. Khashayar Sakhaee (left), chief of mineral metabolism, and Dion Graybeal.
Credit: UT Southwestern Medical Cente
Topiramate (Topamax), a drug usually prescribed to treat seizures and migraine headaches, can increase the propensity of calcium phosphate kidney stones, scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.
A study - the largest cross-sectional examination of how the long-term use of topiramate affects kidney-stone formation - appears in the recent issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.
Several case reports have described an association between topiramate and the development of kidney stones, but this complication had not been well recognized and physicians have not informed patients about the risk, the UT Southwestern scientists said. More important, the mechanism of stone formation was largely unknown previously.
"The wide-spread and escalating use of topiramate emphasizes the importance of considering the long-term impact of this drug on kidney-stone formation," said Dr. Khashayar Sakhaee, senior author of the study and chief of mineral metabolism at UT Southwestern.
More than 29 million Americans suffer from migraines, with women being affected three times more often than men, as per the National Headache Foundation.
"Topiramate is probably one of the most usually prescribed and most effective neurological medications right now," said Dr. Dion Graybeal, assistant professor of neurology and an author of the study.........
Posted by: Daniel Permalink Source
October 30, 2006, 8:42 PM CT
How Blood Clots Are Formed?
A model of platelets in action
Good science requires great patience. In a number of fields, ideas and theories surge ahead while the tools to test them can take decades to catch up. When Peter Richardson began talking with colleagues who were modeling blood flow through the vessels on the heart's surface, he hardly suspected that the collaboration would lead to a test of ideas he had proposed more than 30 years before.
The resulting model, described in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences appearing the week of Oct. 30 to Nov. 3, could help evaluate candidate drugs aimed at preventing blood clots - a major cause of strokes, heart attacks and organ transplant rejection.
In 1970, Richardson, who had been working on the clotting problems linked to artificial organs, saw a paper describing the time course of clot formation in uninjured blood vessels. Gustav Born and his co-author, Nicola Begent, had found an odd relationship - shaped like a playground slide - between the rate of blood flow and the rate of blood clot, or thrombus, formation. As blood flow increased, the rate at which the clot grew increased rapidly, up to a point. After that point, the rate of growth declined suddenly and then gradually flattened out.
Richardson recognized that there must be two groups of processes at work - probably one chemical and one physical. The increase in clotting with flow made sense. Faster blood flow meant more platelets encountered the clot each second, so more had a chance to be captured by it. But the decrease was puzzling.........
Posted by: Scott Permalink Source
October 30, 2006, 8:34 PM CT
Staph Vaccine Shows Promise
By combining four proteins of Staphylococcus aureus that individually generated the strongest immune response in mice, researchers have created a vaccine that significantly protects the animals from diverse strains of the bacterium that cause disease in humans. A report describing the University of Chicago study, funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health, appears online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"This finding represents a promising step toward identifying potential components to combine into a vaccine designed for people at high risk of invasive S. aureus infection," notes Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., NIAID director.
S. aureus, the most common agent of hospital-acquired infection, is the leading cause of bloodstream, lower respiratory tract and skin infections. These infections can result in a variety of illnesses, including endocarditis (inflammation of the heart), toxic-shock syndrome and food poisoning.
Research in S. aureus has taken on new urgency: In the past few decades, the bacterium has developed resistance to traditional antibiotics, thus allowing infections to spread throughout the body of the infected individual despite therapy. More recently, healthy people with no apparent risk factors have been infected by novel and extremely virulent strains of S. aureus acquired from community rather than hospital sources.........
Posted by: Mark Permalink Source