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July 18, 2006, 6:06 PM CT

Embracing e-records

Embracing e-records Computer monitors are replacing X-ray film and paper files in the doctor's office.
Surgeons and staff no longer play the "where's-the-chart?" game in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine.

That activity recently became obsolete when the division switched from using paper files to a fully electronic medical record system.

"In our division, there might be six people vying for a patient's chart during the week," says Laura Ochoa, advance practice nurse in thoracic surgery. "The surgeon's assistant might have the chart so she can include dictation from the surgeon, I might want it to organize some tests, our research group might want it to see if the patient is eligible for clinical studies, and so on - so we used to end up playing 'Where's the chart?' a lot. With the electronic system, we can all look at one chart simultaneously from our own offices - on the medical campus or at other clinical locations."

By one estimate, only about 14 percent of all medical group practices nationwide use electronic health records. Professional organizations and federal agencies have been encouraging their use, and the federal government has set a goal for widespread adoption in medical practices within the next 10 years. Electronic records are thought to improve the quality of care, reduce errors and improve efficiency.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


July 18, 2006, 6:04 AM CT

Communication Signal For Tissue Development

Communication Signal For Tissue Development Photo by Rensselaer/Glasheen
Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have discovered a communication signal between cells that plays an important role in cell adhesion and detachment. The finding provides new information about how cells and tissues determine when to let go from surfaces during new growth, as per the researchers.

Our discovery of this new signaling pathway adds to fundamental information about how cells work together during the remodeling of tissues and organs," said Andrea Page-McCaw, assistant professor of biology at Rensselaer. "This finding also may provide clues about the basic mechanisms of inflammation and wound healing in vertebrates".

Page-McCaw's laboratory studies the fruit fly as a model system to better understand a group of genetic enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Fruit flies have two distinct MMPs, in comparison to 22 such enzymes found in humans and mice. In prior work, Page-McCaw observed that both MMPs present in fruit flies are critical to their survival.

"Eventhough MMP enzymes have been associated with disease progression, their normal function is to help in tissue growth and wound healing," Page-McCaw said. "MMP research eventually could lead to therapeutics for a range of illnesses, including cancer and arthritis".........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


July 17, 2006, 9:38 PM CT

Helping Obese Adolescents Lose Weight

Helping Obese Adolescents Lose Weight
The weight loss medicine sibutramine, when combined with behavior treatment, allowed hundreds of very obese adolescents to lose an average of 14 pounds over a year, as per a multicenter study in the July 18 Annals of Internal Medicine. Adolescents in the study who received placebo (a sugar pill) gained four pounds over the year.

In addition to reductions in body mass index and weight, the treated adolescents had improvements in disease risk factors linked to obesity. They had lower levels of triglycerides and higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which are correlation to heart disease, and lower levels of insulin, a risk factor for diabetes. The only significant side effect was tachycardia, or rapid heart beat.

Eventhough sibutramine, sold under the brand name Meridia, is currently used in adults with obesity, "this is the first large multicenter trial of sibutramine for obese adolescents," said study leader Robert I. Berkowitz, M.D., chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "In fact, there have been few trials evaluating any obesity drugs in adolescents."

Behavior treatment alone, said Dr. Berkowitz, commonly provides only modest weight loss in adolescents, and thus medicine may provide an additional therapy option for this age group.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 17, 2006, 9:34 PM CT

You Argue When You Care

You Argue When You Care
We are emotionally attached to the products we use regularly, so much so that we become defensive and tense when they are criticized, says a new study from the recent issue of the Journal of Consumer Research. Interestingly, the more committed we are to a product - and thus the more incensed we are by any critique - the more counterarguments we are able to come up with.

"Less loyal individuals more readily agree with the unfavorable information and change their attitudes to be consistent with the new information," write Sekar Raju (University of Buffalo) and H. Rao Unnava (Ohio State University). "More loyal consumers question and argue against the information".

Raju and Unnava explain that we are negatively aroused by criticism of products to which we feel committed. However, this negative arousal can also be induced by an external stimuli, such as an irritating noise. Thus, those who are in a state of agitation and those who are loyal to a brand come up with more counterarguments in response to criticism in an attempt to reduce cognitive discomfort. In contrast, those who are not especially committed to the brand or who are not externally agitated are more likely to change their opinions.

"This difference in the level of tension seems to motivate the more loyal customers to take a much more defensive stand against the unfavorable information," write the authors. "It is our contention in this research that counterarguementation is one way by which highly committed consumers reduce their arousal, and thus the aversiveness that accompanies it".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 17, 2006, 9:01 PM CT

Protein-coated Dental Implants

Protein-coated Dental Implants
Titanium dental implants coated with proteins that induce bone formation may be a key advancement in treating tooth loss due to gum disease, scientists say.

In laboratory tests, MCG scientists applied a protein onto implants that directs endogenous stem cells to become bone-forming cells. The result was a nearly complete regeneration of lost tissue, says Dr. Ulf Wikesjo, a professor of periodontics in MCG's School of Dentistry.

Loss of teeth and bone is a common and devastating result of gum disease.

Dr. Wikesjo, who came to MCG this year from Temple University in Philadelphia, is researching wound-healing and tissue regeneration with a $1.4 million grant from Nobel Biocare, a leading manufacturer of dental implants and equipment.

Finding the key to improved regeneration is like piecing together a puzzle, Dr. Wikesjo says.

"For the past 20 years, there has been a quest to regenerate tissues around teeth that are lost due to periodontal disease," he says. "I've looked at multiple approaches to achieve regeneration, including bone grafts, root conditioning and membrane devices for directed tissue growth, all resulting in some regeneration. Where we had to look was at the commonalities among these therapys".

Dr. Wikesjo and colleagues observed that any regeneration requires two characteristics: a stable wound and space for the regenerated tissue to grow during the initial stages of healing.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


July 17, 2006, 8:56 PM CT

Computer Detects Cognitive Changes

Computer Detects Cognitive Changes
A popular, computer-based card game is helping Oregon Health & Science University scientists monitor cognitive changes in the elderly, a new study shows.

Researchers with the OHSU Oregon Center for Aging & Technology, or ORCATECH, observed that a Solitaire-like game called FreeCell, when adapted with cognitive performance assessment algorithms, may be able to distinguish between persons with memory problems and cognitively healthy seniors.

People with mild cognitive impairment are at high risk of developing dementia, which is most usually caused by Alzheimer's disease. The discovery could help doctors plan early therapy strategies by detecting subtle cognitive changes over time in the natural setting of an elder's home.

"We discovered that we can take an existing computer game that people already have found enjoyable and extract cognitive assessment measures from it," said ORCATECH investigator Holly Jimison, Ph.D., associate professor of medical informatics and clinical epidemiology, OHSU School of Medicine, and the study's lead author.

The study results are being presented today during a poster session at the 10th International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders in Madrid.

In FreeCell, players are dealt 52 cards face up in eight columns, with four columns having seven cards and the others having six. The object is to move all the cards into four single-card free "cells" in four suit piles stacked from lowest to highest rank.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 17, 2006, 8:43 PM CT

New Way To Fix Painful Broken Ribs

New Way To Fix Painful Broken Ribs
Surgeons in the Oregon Health & Science University Trauma/Critical Care Program are challenging the decades-old practice of 'not 'fixing' rib fractures. In a first-of-its kind pilot study, the surgeons hope to identify people most at risk of prolonged pain and disability from broken ribs. They also hope to expedite pain relief and healing using a surgical technique, and a new device, called a U-plate. Neither the technique nor the device are used anywhere else.

"Historically, physicians have been taught that nothing can be done to fix a rib fracture," said John Mayberry, M.D., principal investigator of the study and associate professor of surgery in the OHSU School of Medicine. "My colleagues and I have long thought that wasn't true, but we have yet to prove it. With this study, we hope to identify subsets of people who respond better to surgical repair than nonsurgical treatment, then develop a standard criteria for therapy".

Traditionally, people with rib fractures, some 300,000 a year, are discharged from the hospital with large doses of oral narcotics and anti-inflammatory painkillers, explained Mayberry. They are advised to use a liberal amount of these agents to control pain; to cough and breathe deeply to prevent pneumonia; and to expect several weeks to pass before the ribs heal and become pain-free.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


July 17, 2006, 8:34 PM CT

Perpetrators Of Abuse As Well As Victims

Perpetrators Of Abuse As Well As Victims
Women are more likely than men to stalk, attack and psychologically abuse their partners, as per a University of Florida study that finds college women have a new view of the dating scene.

"We're seeing women in relationships acting differently nowadays than we have in the past," said Angela Gover, a UF criminologist who led the research. "The nature of criminality has been changing for females, and this change is reflected in intimate relationships as well".

In a survey of 2,500 students at UF and the University of South Carolina between August and December 2005, more than a quarter (29 percent) reported physically assaulting their dates and 22 percent reported being the victims of attacks during the past year. Thirty-two percent of women reported being the perpetrators of this violence, compared with 24 percent of men. The students took selected liberal arts and sciences courses. Forty percent were men and 60 percent were women, reflecting the gender composition of these classes.

In a separate survey of 1,490 UF students, one quarter (25 percent) said they had been stalked during the past year and 7 percent reported engaging in stalking, of whom a majority (58 percent) were female.

Eventhough women were the predominant abusers, they still made up the largest number of victims in both surveys, accounting for 70 percent of those being stalked, for example.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 17, 2006, 7:59 PM CT

Help Child Anxiety Disorders

Help Child Anxiety Disorders
Special skills workshops for parents of anxious young children could offer a breakthrough in addressing this difficult problem, as per psychology experts at The University of Manchester.

Providing psychological therapys for children under ten with anxiety disorders is problematic for health professionals, as the approaches that are most successful with teenagers and adults are difficult to apply to the very young.

As per researcher Dr Samantha Cartwright-Hatton: "A therapy like cognitive behaviour treatment (CBT) relies on the patient having highly-developed verbal skills, and needs them to understand and reflect on the causes of their symptoms. This is very difficult for younger children, and there is not much evidence that it works with them".

The team is therefore investigating a new approach, which allows parents to be much more involved. "Parents raising an anxious child need a very special set of skills which nobody ever teaches you," Dr Cartwright-Hatton explains, "so we're trying out a course which helps them develop the skills to give their child the best chance of becoming a confident, mature adult".

The team is eager to hear from parents of children under ten who display symptoms of anxiety, such as extreme fears, phobias, frequent worry or distress at separating from their parents. If they participate in the study they will either undertake a weekly two-hour session for ten weeks (starting September) at the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility on Grafton Street in Manchester, or receive a thorough assessment and detailed advice on how to get the right help for their child.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 17, 2006, 7:53 PM CT

Telepathy To The Test

Telepathy To The Test
Researchers at The University of Manchester have created a virtual computer world designed to test telepathic ability.

The system, which immerses an individual in what looks like a life-size computer game, has been created as part of a joint project between The University's School of Computer Science and School of Psychological Sciences.

Approximately 100 participants will take part in the experiment which aims to test whether telepathy exists between individuals using the system. The project will also look at how telepathic abilities may vary depending on the relationships which exist between participants.

The test is carried out using two volunteers who could be friends, work colleagues or family. They are placed in separate rooms on different floors of the same building to eliminate any possibility of communication.

Participants enter the virtual environment by donning a head-mounted 3D display and an electronic glove which they use to navigate their way through the computer generated world.

Once inside participants view a random selection of computer-generated objects. These include a telephone, a football and an umbrella. The person in the first room sees one object at a time, which they are asked to concentrate on and interact with.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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