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October 6, 2006, 4:41 AM CT

Cola Might Increase Osteoporosis Risk

Cola Might Increase Osteoporosis Risk
As per the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately 55 percent of Americans, mostly women, are at risk of developing osteoporosis, a disease of porous and brittle bones that causes higher susceptibility to bone fractures. Now, Katherine Tucker, PhD, director of the Epidemiology and Dietary Assessment Program at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and his colleagues have reported findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that cola, a popular beverage for a number of Americans, may contribute to lower bone mineral density in older women, a condition which increases risk for osteoporosis.

Tucker, also a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts, and his colleagues analyzed dietary questionnaires and bone mineral density measurements at the spine and three different hip sites of more than 2,500 people in the Framingham Osteoporosis Study whose average age was just below 60. In women, cola consumption was linked to lower bone mineral density at all three hip sites, regardless of factors such as age, menopausal status, total calcium and vitamin D intake, or use of cigarettes or alcohol.

However, cola consumption was not linked to lower bone mineral density for men at the hip sites, or the spine for either men or women. The results were similar for diet cola and, eventhough weaker, for decaffeinated cola as well.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


October 5, 2006, 10:14 PM CT

Child custody with abusive ex-spouse?

Child custody with abusive ex-spouse?
What influences women when they are making child custody decisions that will bring them into future contact with a violent or controlling ex-husband? Fear, pragmatism, and the belief--sometimes reinforced in mandated divorce education classes--that their children will suffer if both parents are not in their lives, as per a University of Illinois study in the August Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

"Will the mother and father be able to co-parent without a recurrence of violence or controlling behaviors? That's the most important consideration in making child custody decisions," said Jennifer Hardesty, a U of I assistant professor of human and community development.

Unfortunately, other factors, including fear, practical considerations about money, and guilt over breaking up the family, influence such women heavily when they are making custody decisions, the researcher said.

Hardesty conducted extensive interviews with 19 abused women of varying backgrounds and in varying stages of the divorce process to develop a theoretical model for future research. The study was conducted in two Missouri counties that mandatory divorcing couples with minor children to attend a class on post-divorce parenting.

"Fear was very important in the women's decisions to leave, but guilt over breaking up the family was more influential in making custody decisions," she said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 4, 2006, 10:38 PM CT

Chocolate Chip Cookies Lower Cholesterol

Chocolate Chip Cookies Lower Cholesterol
Right Direction Chocolate Chip CookiesTM lower cholesterol and improve lipid subfraction profile, lowering the risk of heart disease, as per a published study in The Journal of Nutrition (October). The chocolate chip cookies, made with a combination of psyllium and plant sterols, are a tasty all-natural approach to reducing cardiovascular risk linked to cholesterol.

The American Heart Association estimates at least 50 percent of the American adult population has high cholesterol. The study revealed eating two Right Direction Cookies daily showed a ten percent decrease in LDL cholesterol as well as shifting the LDL particles toward a less atherogenic pattern.

Normal cholesterol levels are commonly linked to a lower risk for cardiovascular disease, but not always. Recent studies reveal small, dense LDL particles have been associated with increased formation of fatty substances and cholesterol buildup in the arteries, even for individuals with total cholesterol levels under 200 mg/dl.

The randomized, double blind study researched 33 healthy adults with moderately high cholesterol between the ages 3565 at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. Participants were randomly assigned to the Right Direction Cookie group or the placebo cookie group. Two cookies per day were consumed for four weeks. After a three week washout period, subjects received the other cookies for an additional four weeks. At the end of each therapy period, two blood samples were drawn on different days (to control for day-to-day variability) and collected.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


October 4, 2006, 10:23 PM CT

Parent's Conversational Style

Parent's Conversational Style
Parents who use a particular conversational style with their children--drawing them out to elicit detailed memories about past shared events and to talk about emotions--contribute to the child's secure attachment, sense of self-worth, and eventual social competence, says a new University of Illinois study published in a September special edition of Attachment and Human Development.

"As soon as children start talking, parents develop conversational patterns with their kids, and different parents have very different patterns," said Kelly K. Bost, a U of I associate professor of human development.

In the study, Bost and her colleagues compared the conversational styles of 90 mothers and their three-year-old children with assessments the researchers had made in the home of the children's attachment security. The research confirmed that mothers of securely attached children use a more elaborative conversational style than those of insecure children.

"In elaborative conversations, parents provide rich detail and lots of background information and try to get their child to provide new information from his memory as the conversation goes on," Bost said.

Experts believe elaborative conversations aid in memory development, foster the ability to organize and tell personal stories, and promote a sense of shared history with the parent, she said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 3, 2006, 10:22 PM CT

New Fodder For The Next Clean Air Fight

New Fodder For The Next Clean Air Fight
New research from researchers at Harvard University measured secondhand tobacco smoke in cars and found pollution levels that are likely hazardous to children.

"The levels were above the threshold for what's considered unhealthy for sensitive groups -- people like children and the elderly -- as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency," said lead study author Vaughan Rees, Ph.D., a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health.

During 45 driving trials, the scientists strapped a pollution monitor into a child-safety seat, and then asked a smoker-volunteer to light up at different times along the near hour-long route. The road tests were conducted under two different ventilation conditions: all car windows rolled down, then with just the driver's side window cracked about two inches.

"Common sense tells you if you smoke in a pretty confined space, such as a car, without ventilation, there's going to be a lot of secondhand smoke which is potentially dangerous," said Rees.

He added, "Before this study we had no idea what sorts of levels of secondhand smoke were generated. And we had no way of comparing that with other studies that have looked at secondhand smoke levels in other indoor environments like bars and restaurants".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


October 3, 2006, 10:19 PM CT

Chemical Found In Curry May Help Immune System

Chemical Found In Curry May Help Immune System
Scientists observed that curcumin -- a chemical found in curry and turmeric -- may help the immune system clear the brain of amyloid beta, which form the plaques found in Alzheimer's disease.

Reported in the Oct. 9 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, the early laboratory findings may lead to a new approach in treating Alzheimer's disease by enhancing the natural function of the immune system using curcumin, known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

Using blood samples from six Alzheimer's disease patients and three healthy control patients, the scientists isolated cells called macrophages, which are the immune system's PacMen that travel through the brain and body, gobbling up waste products, including amyloid beta.

The team treated the macrophages with a drug derived from curcumin for 24 hours in a cell culture and then introduced amyloid beta. Treated macrophages from three out of six Alzheimer's disease patients showed improved uptake or ingestion of the waste product in comparison to the patients' macrophages not treated with curcumin. Macrophages from the healthy controls, which were already effectively clearing amyloid beta, showed no change when curcumin was added.

"Curcumin improved ingestion of amyloid beta by immune cells in 50 percent of patients with Alzheimer's disease. These initial findings demonstrate that curcumin may help boost the immune system of specific Alzheimer's disease patients," said Dr. Milan Fiala, study author and a researcher with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care System. "We are hopeful that these positive results in a test tube may translate to clinical use, but more studies need to be done before curcumin can be recommended."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


October 3, 2006, 10:04 PM CT

Food Sources Of Disease

Food Sources Of Disease
As the recent U.S. outbreak of E. coli infections caused by contaminated spinach demonstrates, the safety of the food we eat cannot be taken for granted. Two studies in the Nov. 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online, further illustrate the point, one adding a new bacterial culprit to the mix and the other showing that use of antibiotics as growth promoters in livestock increases the risk of antibiotic resistance in humans.

In one study, scientists led by Katri Jalava, DVM, of the Finnish National Public Health Institute, and J. Pekka Nuorti, MD, DSc, of the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traced an outbreak of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis infection among children in a Finnish town to carrots grown on a single farm. An epidemiologic investigation linked illness to eating raw carrots. Laboratory tests confirmed that the bacteria in infected children's stool samples were indistinguishable from the bacteria isolated from the farm.

The authors noted that this marked the first time that the bacterium had been recovered from an epidemiologically implicated source of food-borne illness. They pointed out that it is well known as a pathogen in wild mammals, and that the farm stored the carrots in a barn in open containers for months. "A combination of direct contact with wildlife feces during storage and cross-contamination during washing and peeling," they concluded, "are the most likely contributing factors." To prevent such outbreaks, "regulations addressing the production, storage and shipping conditions for fresh produce are needed".........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


October 2, 2006, 10:02 PM CT

Foodborne Pathogens Hard To Remove From Produce

Foodborne Pathogens Hard To Remove From Produce Fruits and spinach
Will you ever feel comfortable eating fresh spinach again? All raw agricultural products carry a minimal risk of contamination, said a University of Illinois scientist whose research focuses on keeping foodborne pathogens, including the strain of E. coli found recently on spinach, out of the food supply.

That won't keep Scott Martin, a U of I food science and human nutrition professor, from eating bagged greens or other produce eventhough he can see why it gives consumers pause.

"I definitely wouldn't eat spinach from the three California counties implicated in this latest outbreak of E. coli H0157:H7, but there have been no problems with spinach grown in other parts of the country," Martin said.

Martin said that food companies have recalled the particular products implicated in the outbreak, and that the contaminated spinach had a sell-by date of September 20, so none should remain on the shelves at this time.

If his reassuring tone makes the scientist sound less than aggressive toward E. coli 0157:H7 and other foodborne pathogens, you're mistaken. Martin and fellow U of I professor Hao Feng are dedicated to discovering ways to keep these microorganisms out of the food supply.

Martin's research is focused on finding ways to eliminate the biofilms that attach to produce and cause illness. "Once the pathogenic organism gets on the product, no amount of washing will remove it. The microbes attach to the surface of produce in a sticky biofilm, and washing just isn't very effective," he said.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


October 2, 2006, 9:52 PM CT

Parents In The Dark About Substance Abuse

Parents In The Dark About Substance Abuse
A team of scientists led by School of Medicine researchers has observed that parents often don't know when their children are using alcohol, nicotine or other drugs.

"We observed that parents knew their kids were using alcohol, cigarettes or marijuana only about half the time," said Laura Jean Bierut, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry and principal investigator of the study.

In addition, the study, reported in the recent issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, observed that for cocaine or other illicit drugs, the number of parents who know is even lower, with only 28 percent reporting that their adolescent children used these drugs.

"For example, among 12- to 17-year olds, 8.5 percent of the children said that they had tried a drug other than marijuana, but only 3.1 percent of parents reported that their child had used one of these drugs," said Sherri L. Fisher, the study's first author and the project coordinator for the St. Louis site of the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA).

The scientists surveyed 591 children ages 12 to 17, asking them questions about alcohol, tobacco and drug use. They also surveyed one parent per child to ask about whether their child ever had used alcohol or other drugs. A total of 438 parent-child pairs came from families participating in the COGA study, meaning that at least one member of their family had sought therapy for alcoholism. Another 153 pairs were from families recruited from the community. The scientists observed that parents who had experienced drug or alcohol problems themselves were no more likely to know that their children were using alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 2, 2006, 9:24 PM CT

Strategies To Combat Flu Vaccine Shortage

Strategies To Combat Flu Vaccine Shortage
We all know about the flu-vaccine shortage that occurred during the last flu season. Scientifics are formulating strategies to combat flu vaccine shortage in case of shortage during the peak flu season. Public health officials are now making mathematical model at The University of Texas at Austin to determine the best way to distribute the vaccine.

The researchers used contact network epidemiology to model various vaccine distribution strategies, including the United States Centers for Disease Control strategy of targeting high-risk groups, like infants, the elderly and people with health complications. They also tested the idea of targeting school children, who are critical vectors in moving diseases through communities.

They observed that the best vaccine distribution strategy depends on the contagiousness of the flu strain.

"If we only have a limited flu vaccine supply, the best distribution strategy depends on the contagiousness of the strain," says Dr. Lauren Ancel Meyers, assistant professor of integrative biology. "We can more effectively control mildly contagious strains by vaccinating school children, while we can more effectively control moderately and highly contagious strains by vaccinating high-risk groups".

If there is no information available about the contagiousness of a flu strain or if the vaccines are only available after the outbreak is underway, the study recommends prioritizing vaccines for those people in high-risk groups who can experience the greatest complications due to the disease.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source



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Did you know?
Adolescents who suffer physical injuries are vulnerable to emotional distress in the months following their hospitalization, yet almost 40 percent of hospitalized adolescents interviewed for a new study had no source for the follow-up medical care that could diagnose and treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress. These young trauma survivors are at risk for high levels of post-traumatic stress and depressive symptoms, as well as high levels of alcohol use, according to research by researchers at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.

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