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April 10, 2006, 8:21 PM CT

Infant snoring linked to parental snoring

Infant snoring linked to parental snoring
Young children born to parents who snore have an increased risk of snoring. New research reported in the recent issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), shows that infants, who had at least one parent who snored frequently, were three times more likely to snore frequently than children with no parental history of snoring. In addition, children who tested positive for atopy, an early indicator for the development of asthma and allergies, were twice as likely to be frequent snorers as compared to nonatopic children.

"Our study shows that children with a parent who frequently snores have a three-fold risk of habitual snoring, supporting the role of hereditary factors in the development of snoring ," said the study's lead author Maninder Kalra, MD, MS, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH. "Snoring is the primary symptom of sleep-disordered breathing, which, in children, is associated with learning disabilities and metabolic and cardiovascular disorders. Early detection and therapy can potentially reduce the incidence of morbidity due to sleep-disordered breathing in children."

Dr. Kalra and his colleagues from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati evaluated 681 children (median age 12.6 months) and their atopic parents to determine the prevalence of habitual snoring in infants born to atopic parents and to assess the relationship between habitual snoring, atopic status, and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Parents also completed a questionnaire pertaining both to their snoring and snoring in their child.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 10, 2006, 8:13 PM CT

Hormone Therapy May Increase Risk Of Blood Clots

Hormone Therapy May Increase Risk Of Blood Clots
Estrogen treatment may increase the risk of venous thrombosis, the formation of blood clots in the veins, among postmenopausal women who have had their uterus removed, as per a research studyin the April 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Venous thromboembolism (VT), which includes the conditions deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in a deep vein) and pulmonary embolism (a blood clot that travels to the lungs), affects about one adult per 1,000 years of life, as per background information in the article. Scientists suspect that hormone treatment may increase a woman's risk of developing VT. The largest study analyzing the relationship between hormone treatment and VT is the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), which included two large clinical trials. One WHI trial examined the effects of estrogen plus progestin and found that this combination of hormones appeared to increase the risk of VT.

J. David Curb, M.D., University of Hawaii and Pacific Health Research Institute, Honolulu, and his colleagues analyzed data from the other WHI trial, in which the effect of estrogen alone was studied in 10,739 women aged 50 to 79 years. The participants were randomly assigned to take either combined equine estrogens (a mix of several estrogens) or placebo. They were followed for an average of 7.1 years, during which 197 women developed VT, including 144 with deep vein thrombosis, 91 with pulmonary embolism and 38 with both.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 10, 2006, 7:57 PM CT

Macular Degeneration May Lead To Cognitive Impairment

Macular Degeneration May Lead To Cognitive Impairment
Older patients with advanced age-related macular degeneration and reduced vision may be more likely to also have cognitive impairment, or problems with thinking, learning and memory, as per a research studyin the recent issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) develops when the macula, the portion of the eye that allows people to see in detail, deteriorates. AMD is a leading cause of irreversible vision loss in elderly Americans, as per background information in the article. Cognitive impairment also affects a number of elderly adults, reducing their ability to function independently.

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) Research Group examined the relationship between vision problems and cognitive impairment in 2,946 patients enrolled in AREDS, an 11-center study of AMD and age-related cataracts. Between July 2000 and March 2004, the patients took a series of six tests to gauge their cognitive function. Participants' visual acuity (sharpness) was measured every year, and the progression of AMD was assessed and categorized at regular intervals throughout the study using photographs of the retina. Category 1 indicates no AMD and Category 4 is the most advanced stage.

At the time they took the test, 23 percent of the participants were classified as AMD Category 1, 29 percent Category 2, 26 percent Category 3 and 22 percent Category 4. In addition, 72 percent had 20/40 vision or better, 18 percent had worse than 20/40 vision in one eye and 10 percent had an overall visual acuity of less than 20/40. Those who had more severe AMD had poorer average scores on the cognitive tests, an association that remained even after scientists considered other factors, including age, sex, race, education, smoking, diabetes, use of cholesterol-lowering medications and high blood pressure. Average scores also decreased as vision decreased.........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink         Source


April 10, 2006, 7:48 PM CT

Drinking May Cause Higher Death Rates Among Men

Drinking May Cause Higher Death Rates Among Men
Older men who drink as few as two drinks twice a week and also have diseases that could be worsened by alcohol or cause problems with medications taken while drinking alcohol have higher death rates, as compared to men who either drink less or may drink more but don't have such comorbidities.

Examining data from a 1971-74 health survey and a follow-up survey in 1992, the scientists found that older men who drank moderately or heavily and had accompanying comorbidities that could be worsened by alcohol use such as gout or ulcer disease, or who took medications that could interact negatively with alcohol use, such as sedatives or pain medications, had 20 percent higher mortality rates than other drinkers.

The longitudinal study -- the first to examine in a large population the mortality risks inherent in alcohol use and comorbidity -- would be reported in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. It is available now online at http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/jgs/0/0.

Prior studies have observed that moderate drinking can reduce risks for vascular disease and death, said Dr. Alison Moore, associate professor of geriatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and the study's lead researcher.

"None of these studies have specifically looked at the interaction of alcohol use and conditions or medications that may be unsafe with even moderate amounts of alcohol use," she said. "This study shows that while moderate alcohol use may be fine for people who don't have other conditions that could be worsened by the use of alcohol, such alcohol use may not be fine if you take common medications for sleep, or for arthritis pain, or have depression, or have some gastrointestinal condition."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 10, 2006, 7:37 PM CT

New Approach For Curbing Obesity

New Approach For Curbing Obesity
Hot fudge sundaes and french fries aside, new research suggests obesity is due at least in part to an attraction between leptin, the hormone that signals the brain when to stop eating, and a protein more recently associated with heart disease. Reporting in Nature Medicine, University of Pittsburgh scientists provide evidence that C-reactive protein (CRP) not only binds to leptin but its hold impairs leptin's role in controlling appetite. The results may help explain why obese people have so much trouble losing weight as well as point to a different target for the pharmaceutical therapy of obesity.

"There's been a lot of interest in leptin as a means to curb appetite and reduce weight but clinical trials have had disappointing results. Our studies suggest an approach that should be further studied is one that disrupts the interaction between leptin and CRP, thereby restoring leptin's ability for signaling. We need to better understand how this interaction works and investigate the underlying mechanisms involved," said Allan Z. Zhao, Ph.D., assistant professor of cell biology and physiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and the study's senior author.

Leptin is secreted by fat - the more fat, the more leptin - yet it is named for the Greek word leptos, which means "thin." In a region of the brain called the hypothalamus, leptin binds to receptors residing on the surface of neurons, setting off signals that tell the brain to stop eating and the body to expend energy by burning calories. While obese people produce much higher levels of leptin than thin and normal-weight individuals, they are somehow resistant to its effects. Dr. Zhao and his co-authors believe the binding of CRP to leptin may be the reason this is so. Their argument seems all the more plausible since CRP also is elevated in obese people. CRP, which is produced by the liver and typically rises as part of the immune system's inflammatory response, is gaining favor as a marker for high blood pressure and heart disease risk, known complications of obesity.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 10, 2006, 7:13 PM CT

Obesity: Is It Genetic?

Obesity: Is It Genetic?
Do you have big hips or a "beer" belly? Are you "apple-shaped" or "pear-shaped"? It makes a difference, since we know that abdominal obesity is linked to diabetes and a number of other metabolic conditions, i.e., the metabolic syndrome. What's new is that, as per a new study led by scientists at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, both obesity and body shape seem to be controlled by important genes that are part of the mechanisms regulating normal development.

"By looking at your genes, we can tell how fat you are and how your body fat will be distributed," said lead researcher C. Ronald Kahn, M.D., President of Joslin and the Mary K. Iacocca Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. In lower animals, he added, it's long been known that genes play an important role in the body's development. "Genes tell the body where the head goes and where the tail goes, what goes on the front and what goes on the back. In insects, genes determine if the wings go on the front or back and whether they will be large or small. So it's not surprising that in humans, genes may determine how a number of fat cells we have and where they are located," he said.

Together with Joslin post-doctoral fellow Stephane Gesta, Ph.D., and his colleagues at the University of Leipzig in Gera number of, the scientists for the first time used gene chips as a tool to understand what genes might control the development of fat inside the abdomen versus fat under the skin. The resulting study will be published online today, April 10, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 10, 2006, 7:05 PM CT

Genetic Linkage In Drug Addiction

Genetic Linkage In Drug Addiction
Based on data obtained from one of the largest family sets of its kind, Yale School of Medicine scientists have identified a genetic linkage for dependence on drugs such as heroin, morphine and oxycontin.

The lead author, Joel Gelernter, M.D., professor in the Department of Psychiatry, said the scientists recruited a sample of 393 small families, most with at least two individuals with opioid dependence. They then searched genetic signposts throughout the entire genome in an effort to identify markers that, within the same family, would show that individuals who share the illness also share marker alleles, or gene variants.

This information allowed the team to identify where genes influencing opioid dependence are located. Gelernter said the scientists found evidence of gene linkage for opioid dependence. They also found good evidence of linkage in the family groups for the symptom cluster traits characterized by dependence on substances other than opioids, specifically, alcohol, cocaine and tobacco.

"These results provide a first basis to identify genes for opioid dependence from a genome-wide investigation," Gelernter said. "Research in the laboratory now is focused on finding specific genes that modify risk for opioid dependence."

He said that eventhough environment plays a significant role, it is well established that substance dependence risk is also genetically influenced. Understanding the genetic factors that influence opioid dependence risk would represent major progress toward understanding the basic biology of the disorder.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 9, 2006, 8:38 PM CT

Glasses That Hear

Glasses That Hear
Today a new hearing aid in the form of a pair of glasses was unveiled. These hearing-glasses are called 'Varibel' and offer older people the chance to stay active longer - free from the aesthetically unpleasing and technologically limited traditional hearing aids. Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands originally developed the hearing-glasses. Varibel developed these glasses into a consumer product in partnership with Philips, Frame Holland, the design agencies MMID and Verhoeven, and others.

Approximately 1,265,000 people in the Netherlands over the age of 60 are hearing impaired. Of these, half 22% (or around 275,000 people) use a hearing aid, but it is not always possible to hear others well if there is surrounding noise. A number of hearing aids intensify sounds from all directions. The result is that people hear noise, but not the people they are speaking to. Because people have such difficulty understanding what others are saying, a number of people - in spite of their hearing aid - have less social contact with others or must retire from their jobs earlier than desired. The hearing-glasses can provide a solution to this problem, say the experts and users who have tried and tested the Varibel.

The Varibel cannot be compared to traditional hearing aids. In each leg of the glass' frame there is a row of four tiny, interconnected microphones, which selectively intensify the sounds that come from the front, while dampening the surrounding noise. The result is a directional sensitivity of +8.2 dB. In comparison, regular hearing aids have a maximum sensitivity of +4 dB. With this solution, the user can separate the desired sounds from the undesired background noise. Dr. Cor Stengs, ENT specialist involved in the clinical tests, said of the Varibel: "Practical experience with the hearing-glasses supports the theoretical claims that the ability to understand speech is much better. There is a significant improvement in the sound quality."........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


April 9, 2006, 8:05 PM CT

Who knows their children best, teachers or parents?

Who knows their children best, teachers or parents?
Scientists have generally believed that teachers are better than parents at evaluating the behavior of school children, because teachers have a bigger group of children for comparison. A University of Virginia study, however, shows that parents are better at assessing their child's emotional states, while teachers are better at rating bad behaviors. The results emphasize the importance of teachers and parents working together in the child's best interest.

Associate professor Timothy Konold, coordinator of research, statistics and evaluation at U.Va.'s Curry School of Education, will report his findings on April 8 at the annual American Educational Research Association (AERA) meeting in San Francisco.

"Our results indicate that both parents and teachers are important considerations when assessing a child's overall behavioral disposition," Konold said.

"The results have important implications for the manner in which we collect information on child behavior problems that are used to inform instruction and counseling decisions," he said.

Konold based his research on ratings given by mothers, fathers and teachers of a representative sample of 562 first-graders in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care. U.Va. is one of 10 sites of this national, 15-year research project, led by Robert Pianta, an authority on early childhood education, who is also a Curry School education professor.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 9, 2006, 7:48 PM CT

Targeting Fat With Laser

Targeting Fat With Laser Rox Anderson, right, and Free-Electron Laser Scientist Steve Benson, left, discuss laser beam parameters while conducting the experiment on pig fat. Image courtesy: Greg Adams, Jefferson Lab
Fat may have finally met its match: laser light. Scientists at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) have shown, for the first time, that a laser can preferentially heat lipid-rich tissues, or fat, in the body without harming the overlying skin. Laser therapies based on the new research could treat a variety of health conditions, including severe acne, atherosclerotic plaque, and unwanted cellulite. The result will be presented at the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS) 26th Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass.

In the first part of the study, the scientists used human fat obtained from surgically discarded normal tissue. Based on a fat absorption spectrum, tissue was exposed to a range of wavelengths of infrared laser light (800-2600 nanometers) using the Free-Electron Laser facility at Jefferson Lab. The scientists measured how selected wavelengths heated the fat and compared the result to a similar experiment conducted with pure water. At most infrared wavelengths, water is more efficiently heated by infrared light; however, the scientists found three wavelengths â€" 915, 1210 and 1720 nm â€" where fat was more efficiently heated than water.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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