Health Tips

Health Food Tips, Weight Loss Tips, Health and Safety Tips, Good Health Tips and more Tips...

Weight Loss Tips

Quick weight loss tips, Easy weight loss tips, Summer health tips, Natural health tips, Health care tips

Monday, June 29, 2009

Healthy Weight Loss Tips

Friday, June 26, 2009

Today Tips to healthy eating and physical activity for you.

1. Get fit with friends or family.

Being active is much more fun with friends or family. Encourage others to join you and plan one special physical activity event, like a bike ride or hiking, with a group each week.

2. Eat more grains, fruits and vegetables.

These foods give you carbohydrates for energy, plus vitamins, minerals and fiber. Besides, they taste good! Try breads such as whole-wheat, bagels and pita. Spaghetti and oatmeal are also in the grain group.
Bananas, strawberries and melons are some great tasting fruits. Try vegetables raw, on a sandwich or salad.

3. Join in physical activities at school.

Whether you take a physical education class or do other physical activities at school, such as intramural sports, structures activities are a sure way to feel good, look good and stay physically fit.

4. Foods aren't good or bad.

A healthy eating style is like a puzzle with many parts. Each part -- or food -- is different. Some foods may have more fat, sugar or salt while others may have more vitamins or fiber. There is a place for all these foods. What makes a diet good or bad is how foods fit together. Balancing your choices is important. Fit in a higher-fat food, like pepperoni pizza, at dinner by choosing lower-fat foods at other meals. And don't forget about moderation. If two pieces of pizza fill you up, you don't need a third.

5. Make healthy eating and physical activities fun!

Take advantage of physical activities you and your friends enjoy doing together and eat the foods you like. Be adventurous - try new sports, games and other activities as well as new foods. You'll grow stronger, play longer, and look and feel better! Set realistic goals - don't try changing too much at once.

Health Tips for Cold Weather Safety

Winter temperatures are dropping rapidly, so staying warm and dry can be a challenge. Extremely cold weather is expected for the days ahead and the Indiana State Department of Health recommends Hoosiers take steps to plan for the cold.



Serious health problems can result from prolonged exposure to the cold. The most common cold-related problems are hypothermia and frostbite.

Hypothermia occurs when people are exposed to cold temperatures. A person’s body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced and prolonged exposure to the cold will ultimately use up a body’s stored energy. This results in hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature. Body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia particularly dangerous because a person may be unaware it is happening and won’t be able to take protective measures.

Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and severe cases can lead to amputation. The risk of frostbite is increased in people with reduced blood circulation and among people who are not dressed properly for extremely cold temperatures.

If you detect symptoms of frostbite, such as numbness, waxy-feeling skin, or a white or gray colored area of skin, do not rub the area. Instead, get into a warm room as soon as possible. Gently warm the affected area with comfortably warm (not hot) water, or place the affected area next to a warm part of your body, for example your armpit. Never use a heating pad or other source of heat to warm frostbitten body parts as these areas are numb and can be easily burned. Seek care from a health care professional immediately.

Exposure to the cold can cause life-threatening health conditions. Avoid serious conditions such as frostbite and hypothermia by keeping warm. Wear the following items when outdoors:

* A hat or hood as most heat is lost through the head;
* A scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth;
* Sleeves that are snug at the wrist;
* Mittens (they are warmer than gloves);
* Water-resistant coat and boots; and
* Several layers of loose-fitting clothing.

Ensure the outer layer of your clothing is tightly woven, preferably wind resistant, to reduce body-heat loss caused by wind. Wool, silk, or polypropylene inner layers of clothing will hold more body heat than cotton. Most important, stay dry as wet clothing chills the body rapidly. Excess perspiration will increase heat loss, so remove extra layers of clothing whenever you feel too warm. Do not ignore shivering as it is an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors.

Follow these tips for staying warm and safe while at home:

* Use fireplace, wood stoves, or other combustion heaters only if they are properly vented to the outside;
* Never use a charcoal or gas grill indoors—the fumes are deadly;
* Never leave lit candles unattended;
* Keep as much heat as possible inside your home;
* Check the temperature in your home often during severely cold weather; and
* Eat well-balanced meals to help you stay warmer.

Misuse of portable heating equipment can lead to fire or dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Take precautions to ensure you are heating your home safely and that you have a working carbon monoxide detector.

Summer Fruits And Veggies



Improve Your Health While Enjoying the Season's Colorful Produce


Summer is a great time to enjoy everything the season has to offer, including an abundance of fresh, tasty produce at its peak!



As part of a nutritious, seasonal dinner, try cutting up and grilling fresh peppers, sweet onions, zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and more. For dessert, follow up with a fresh fruit salad of melon, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, cherries, and other fruits. The vibrant colors will liven up your meal, and the appealing flavors and aromas will tantalize your taste buds!

Why Fruits and Vegetables?

Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other nutrients that are important for good health.

• Compared to people who eat only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts — as part of a healthy diet — are likely to have a reduced risk of chronic diseases. These diseases include stroke, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and perhaps heart disease and high blood pressure.

• Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories, so substituting them for high-calorie foods can be a calorie-reducing strategy. To learn more about the value of fruits and vegetables in weight management, visit how to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Help Manage Your Weight.

Find out how many fruits and vegetables you need, visit Healthtipsnews.blogspot.com
Color your plate!



A plate that includes colorful vegetables is not just appealing to the eye. A wide variety of produce also provides your body with a number of health promoting benefits, such as vitamins, minerals and fiber. It's important to eat a wide variety of colorful vegetables and fruits every day.



The following table gives examples of some of the seasonal vegetables and fruits you are likely to find in local markets during the summer months.












Fresh, in-season vegetables include:

Fresh, in-season fruits include:

Green beans

Tomatoes

Radishes

Zucchini

Peppers

Corn

Cucumbers

Spinach

Sweet potatoes
Onions

Potatoes

Eggplant

Garlic

Okra

Squash

Black-eyed peas

Lettuce

Rhubarb
Blueberries

Strawberries

Cherries

Melons

Nectarines

Peaches

Pears

Plums

Pineapple
Red grapes

Raspberries

Valencia oranges

Apples

Watermelon

Papaya

Kiwi

Mango

Figs

For suggestions on ways to prepare many vegetables and fruits, visit Healthtipsnews.blogspot.com: Fruit and Vegetable of the Month and Healthtipsnews.blogspot.com: Recipes.


Go ahead; enjoy summer meals by including delicious produce at every opportunity! You can start healthy eating habits to follow year-round!

5 Tips to healthy eating and physical activity for you.

1. Start your day with breakfast.
Breakfast fills your "empty tank" to get you going after a long night without food. And it can help you do better in school. Easy to prepare breakfasts include cold cereal with fruit and low-fat milk, whole-wheat toast with peanut butter, yogurt with fruit, whole-grain waffles or even last night's pizza!

2. Get Moving!
It's easy to fit physical activities into your daily routine. Walk, bike or jog to see friends. Take a 10-minute activity break every hour while you read, do homework or watch TV. Climb stairs instead of taking an escalator or elevator. Try to do these things for a total of 30 minutes every day.

3. Snack smart.
Snacks are a great way to refuel. Choose snacks from different food groups - a glass of low-fat milk and a few graham crackers, an apple or celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins, or some dry cereal. If you eat smart at other meals, cookies, chips and candy are OK for occasional snacking.

4. Work up a sweat.
Vigorous work-outs - when you're breathing hard and sweating - help your heart pump better, give you more energy and help you look and feel best. Start with a warm-up that stretches your muscles. Include 20 minutes of aerobic activity, such as running, jogging, or dancing. Follow-up with activities that help make you stronger such as push-ups or lifting weights. Then cool-down with more stretching and deep breathing.

5. Balance your food choices - don't eat too much of any one thing.
You don't have to give up foods like hamburgers, french fries and ice cream to eat healthy. You just have to be smart about how often and how much of them you eat. Your body needs nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, fat and many different vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C and A, iron and calcium from a variety of foods. Balancing food choices from the Food Guide Pyramid and checking out the Nutrition Facts Panel on food labels will help you get all these nutrients.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vinegar Might Help Keep Off Pounds

Researchers find fat-fighting properties in the lab and in mice.

Not only is vinegar low in calories, but it might actually help avoid weight gain, a new study suggests.



In a study in mice, Japanese researchers fed one group a high-fat diet along with acetic acid, a main component of vinegar, for six weeks. The others were fed a high-fat diet and given water.

Mice in both groups gained weight, but the mice who consumed acetic acid gained up to 10 percent less than those given water, the study found. The results are in the July 8 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

In the lab, researchers found the acetic acid inhibited the accumulation of body fat and hepatic lipids, which include cholesterol and triglycerides, by increasing the expression of genes involved in fatty acid oxidation.

The genes produce proteins that help break down fats, preventing the fat from being stored by the body.

Vinegar, used throughout the world as a condiment and a preservative, has been used as a folk medicine for thousands of years, including to treat scurvy during the U.S. Civil War and to treat wounds during World War I, according to the Vinegar Institute.

Recent research has shown that vinegar might help control blood pressure, blood sugar levels and fat accumulation.

So does this mean you should douse your fish and chips with malt vinegar to make it healthier? The study didn't address vinegar's potential to help humans stay slim, but you can dream.

Global Efforts to Lower 'Bad' Cholesterol Working

Survey of nine countries finds improvements over 10-year period.

People in the United States and around the world who are trying to lower their "bad" cholesterol have been succeeding more often in the past decade, new research suggests.

The look at almost 10,000 patients from nine countries found that, overall, 73 percent had reached their target level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) -- nearly double the number since the survey was first conducted in 1996-1997. Three-quarters of those surveyed were on a statin drug to lower cholesterol (for an average duration of about two years), while others either used different medications or made only lifestyle changes, such as improved exercise and nutrition regimens, to try to bring down their LDL levels, the researchers found.



In the United States, patients of all levels of risk for coronary heart disease showed improvement from their initial 38 percent success rate in 1996-1997. Of those considered at low risk, 86 percent met their target LDL level; 74 percent of moderate-risk patients reached their goal; and 67 percent in the high-risk category hit their mark, according to the findings, published in the current issue of Circulation.

LDL is known as "bad" cholesterol because it is associated with increased cardiovascular risk. A person's risk category was based on factors such as having existing coronary artery disease, being obese, diabetic, a smoker and having other known links to heart disease. LDL targets were based on these risk categories, ranging from less than 160 milligrams per deciliter for those at low risk to less than 70 milligrams per deciliter for those considered very high risk, according to a news release from the American Heart Association.

The only real disappointment internationally was in the category of those considered at very high risk, where only 30 percent met their target, the study authors noted.

"Although there is room for improvement, particularly in very high-risk patients, these results indicate that lipid-lowering therapy is being applied much more successfully than it was a decade ago," study author Dr. David D. Waters, a professor emeritus of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said in the news release.

The rates of achieving the LDL goals ranged from 47 percent in Spain to 84 percent in South Korea, a variation the researchers were at a loss to explain. The other countries in the study, besides the United States, were Brazil, Canada, France, Mexico, the Netherlands and Taiwan.

The study was funded by Pfizer, Inc., maker of the statin drug, Lipitor.

HIV 'Atlas' Shows Virus Targeting Minorities

80% of U.S. cases occur in just 20% of counties, report finds.



Your chances of getting infected with HIV may largely depend on where in America you live, a new report finds.

The HIV/AIDS Atlas found that 80 percent of U.S. cases are clustered in 20 percent of counties -- typically comprised heavily of gay, black, Latino and other minority populations.

The new data doesn't mean that anyone should relax their guard in protecting themselves against the AIDS-causing virus, experts said, but it may alert people and policymakers to the level of danger closest to home.

"If we think of the AIDS pandemic as a global wildfire, the way that you fight wildfires is to identify the hot spots," said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "The reality right now is that we have not focused on geographies in this country and we know that you can't fight the disease if you don't know who has it. And we know that in every disease early detection is the key."

The report, put together by the National Minority Quality Forum with support from drug company Gilead Sciences, is the first ground-level look at the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States.

"We wanted to make sure that organizations had the information they needed to organize interventions in their communities, as well as talk intelligently to legislators," Gary Puckrein, president and chief executive officer of the forum, said at a Monday teleconference.

"We also think a lot about policymaking. We're trying to create a more mature conversation in the 21st century of, 'Where are the communities that have the burden?' The question is, do communities have the resources they need? We want to improve the quality of care that patients get but we can also manage health-care resources a lot better" with these facts, he added.

The release of the Atlas also helps sets the stage for National HIV Testing day on June 27.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1.1 million people in the United States now live with HIV, with 56,000 more infected each year -- a number about 40 percent higher than previously estimated. Some 20 percent of people with HIV -- 220,000 individuals -- do not know they are infected and are thought to be responsible for up to 70 percent of new infections.

In a way, the new level of reporting on HIV incidence is simply catching up with monitoring routinely done for other diseases.

"We have been mapping chronic disease now for about three to four years. We've mapped diabetes to the zip code level, cardiovascular disease and end-stage renal [kidney] disease," Puckrein noted. "After the CDC announced that everyone should know their HIV status in their guidelines, we thought that communities also needed to know their status."

TheAtlas draws on 2005-07 data from health departments in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and New York City. It found that, of 3,027 counties that provided data for the report, 556 counties bear the lion's share of the nation's HIV/AIDS burden.

Furthermore, the epidemic has hit hardest in the two-thirds of the 556 counties that are predominantly minority populations, including blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Pacific Islanders.

A random sampling of the 20 percent of counties with the highest HIV rates include: Marin and San Francisco counties, Calif; Miami-Dade county, Fla; Bronx, Queens and New York (Manhattan) counties, New York City; Richland (Columbia), S.C.; Orleans (New Orleans), La; Butts, Clayton and Dekalb counties (Atlanta), Ga; New Haven and Hartford counties, Conn; Multnomah (Portland) Ore; and Denver (Denver) Colo.

In New York City, data on HIV prevalence has now been pinpointed to the zip-code level, although other locales were "more comfortable" providing data at the wider, county level, Puckrein said.

Puckrein emphasized that the Atlas does not count the actual number of people in the community living with HIV/AIDS. Instead, it looks at a ratio of what percent of the population in those communities are living with the disease.

The map is also broken down by age, gender and race/ethnicity, as well as by congressional and state legislative districts.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Painkillers May Be Good for the Prostate

Yet medical experts stress that men shouldn't take them with just this in mind.



Taking over-the-counter painkillers such as aspirin and ibuprofen might help men avoid prostate problems.

But even so, medical experts are quick to caution men not to self-dose or to take more than the recommended amounts of these medications, because harmful side effects can result.

"Our data suggest if men are taking these [medications] for another problem, it might prevent urological problems as well," said Jennifer St. Sauver, an epidemiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota who led a study that found that men who took nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) daily had a reduction of about 50 percent in enlargement of the prostate gland. The condition, called benign prostatic hyperplasia, affects many men after age 40.

The gland, about the size of a walnut, is below the bladder and surrounds the urine-carrying canal or urethra. The gland often enlarges in older men, making urination difficult.

But men in St. Sauver's study who took painkillers daily had more than a third fewer moderate to severe urinary problems than men who did not take daily painkillers.

Lower levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) also seem to be a benefit experienced by men who take NSAIDs regularly. PSA is a biomarker in the bloodstream that is used to assess the risk of getting prostate cancer.

Dr. Eric A. Singer, chief resident in urology at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, led a team of researchers who found that regular use of NSAIDs yielded PSA levels 10 percent lower than in men who didn't use them. St. Sauver's study found lower PSA levels among NSAID users in her study as well.

Men taking acetaminophen also were included in Singer's study, and they had about the same reduction in PSA levels. But, because the number of men who took acetaminophen was low, the result was not great enough to be statistically significant, he explained.

Exactly how the medications seemingly prevent enlargement of the prostate and other problems isn't certain, St. Sauver and Singer agreed. But they speculated that the medication's anti-inflammatory action plays a major role.

However, men who take NSAIDs need to keep in mind that, if taken in excess, the drugs can cause kidney ailments and other problems, Singer warned. And too much acetaminophen has been associated with liver toxicity.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that extended use of NSAIDs can increase the chances of a fatal heart attack or stroke and also can cause ulcers or excessive bleeding in the stomach and intestines.

Because of such possibilities, "we are certainly not telling men to take NSAIDs to reduce PSA or prostate cancer risk," Singer said, despite the "good news" from the studies.

''Talk to your health-care provider about prostate health and prostate cancer screening," he advised, adding a reminder to "make sure your doctor knows what medications you are taking."

No one knows exactly why some men develop prostate cancer, and others don't. In the United States, though, almost 190,000 men are expected to be diagnosed with the disease this year, and about one in six will develop it at some point in their life, according to the American Cancer Society.

Age is the main risk factor for prostate cancer. U.S. government statistics show that the disease rarely occurs in men younger than 40 and most often strikes men older than 65.

To treat prostate cancer that has not spread beyond the gland, according to the Cancer Society, doctors most often recommend:

* Prostatectomy, surgery to remove all or part of the prostate gland
* Radiation, either via an external beam or implanted radioactive seeds
* Watchful waiting, the term used to describe deferring treatment until there are signs that the cancer is progressing

And, as treatment and detection methods have improved, the survival rate for prostate cancer has been improving in the United States in recent decades, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Heart Attacks Less Often Fatal Today

Improved care and overall better health are credited with improved survival odds.



People having a heart attack for the first time are more likely to survive these days than they would have decades ago, researchers have confirmed.

But now doctors are trying to puzzle out why heart attacks have become more survivable -- what doctors, hospitals and individuals are doing right, and how to keep that trend headed in the right direction.

"There are several possible reasons why heart attacks are not killing as many people," said Dr. Merle Myerson, director of the cardiovascular disease prevention program at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. "We need to look at those and determine how we should train the next generation of health-care providers to continue this progress."

Myerson co-authored a study, published this year in Circulation, that reviewed more than 10,000 first heart attacks in four widely separated areas of the United States. Her team found only a marginal decrease in the heart attack death rate, from 5.3 percent in 1987 down to 3.8 percent in 2002.

But when they looked at 20 indicators of severity, they found that heart attacks today are not as damaging and deadly as in years past.

Part of the reason for that, Myerson figures, lies in the quality of care people are receiving at the hospital. There are better medications available, including anti-platelet and anti-coagulant drugs to help clear blockages. There also are better medical procedures available, with more doctors becoming skilled at performing angioplasty and bypass surgeries and implanting stents to open blocked arteries.

But Myerson thinks people also might be having less-severe heart attacks because of treatment they've been getting.

"People are getting better preventive care before they have a heart attack," she said. Doctors are doing a better job diagnosing and treating high blood pressure or high cholesterol, she said, and people are getting better at improving their diet, taking aspirin and exercising.

Yet despite the improvements, there are still ways to make heart attacks even less deadly. For example, Myerson's study found that people were taking as long as or longer to get to the hospital during a heart attack than they did 15 years ago, and the researchers ruled that out as something that might be contributing to the increased survivability.

Dr. Alice Jacobs, director of interventional cardiology at Boston Medical Center, said it was "disappointing" that so many people having heart attack symptoms still take two hours or more to get to a hospital.

"This represents an opportunity to focus on strategies that will reduce pre-hospital delay for patients who experience signs and symptoms of a heart attack," Jacobs said.

Myerson and Jacobs agree that public education is the best way to reduce that delay. "When someone has chest pain or chest discomfort, they need to activate the emergency response system as quickly as possible," Myerson said. "We need to educate people on the impending signs of heart attack.

"It might not be the classic crushing chest pain," she continued. "Sometimes it's acute shortness of breath, it's a left arm or jaw pain. It could be a feeling of indigestion. It's always better to go have it checked out."

Jacobs said that primary care physicians could take a leading role in this. "Patients, particularly those at high risk for an event, and their physicians should discuss the warning signs of a heart attack and a plan for how, when and where to seek medical attention," she said.

Another way to improve heart attack survivability would be to place even more of an emphasis on prevention. Myerson said that could be accomplished by having health insurers step up to cover the cost of preventive measures such as nutritional counseling and gym memberships.

"I think the key to better reimbursement for these is to put them on a par with getting a prescription for medication," she said. "We should be able to write a prescription for nutritional counseling and it would be treated the same as any other prescription."

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hysterectomies Could Be Source of Stem Cells

Researchers eye tissues that are normally discarded after surgery.



Fallopian tubes removed from fertile women of child-bearing age during hysterectomies or other procedures might prove to be a new source of highly sought-after stem cells.

Researchers from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil found that human fallopian tubes are rich in mesenchymal stem cells. The team isolated and grew these cells in a laboratory and differentiated them into muscle, fat, cartilage and bone cell lines without producing problems in the cell chromosomes, according to a report in the Journal of Translational Medicine.

"In addition to providing an additional potential source for regenerative medicine, these findings might contribute to reproductive science as a whole," study leader Tatiana Jazedje, of the university's Human Genome Research Center, said in a news release from the journal's publisher.

Past studies have also shown success with isolating and differentiating mesenchymal stem cells harvested from umbilical cords, dental pulp and body fat.

Together, these findings are of great interest, the researchers said. "Moreover, the use of human tissue fragments that are usually discarded in surgical procedures does not pose ethical problems," Jazedje said.

Surging Internet Use Cutting Into Family Time

Rise of Facebook, Twitter coincides with 30% drop in hours spent together, report finds.



American kids
and their parents are now spending more hours huddled alone around computer screens and cell phone displays, seriously eroding the amount of time families spend together.

That's according to a new report that found the time per week that families interact as group has fallen by nearly a third between 2005 and 2008.

"Family face-to-face time has decreased in a substantial way. There's been a fairly abrupt drop in family time, a process which is usually glacial," said Michael Gilbert, a senior fellow at the Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication. "Families are the social building blocks of virtually every society, and this can't be a good thing."

In a new survey from the center, researchers found that in 2008, 28 percent of people said that being wired has resulted in them spending less time with family members, a threefold increase from the 11 percent reported just two years ago, in 2006.

"We wanted to put a little alert out about this," Gilbert said. "Technology isn't all good."

This is certainly not the first time researchers have sounded an alarm about Internet use and even "Internet addiction." Other studies have suggested that online usage has significantly disrupted the lives of millions of Americans.

"In the last two decades, there has been an erosion in family dinners together that take place without gadgets," Gilbert said. "There's reduced cohesion, reduced communication."

And the Internet is vastly different from television, which drew (and still draws) people together -- watching, say, Johnny Carson, the 1969 moon landing, or American Idol.

In contrast, "the Internet is one-to-one and so demanding. The key distinction of the Internet is interactivity," Gilbert said. "You have to sit and respond."

The annual survey, part of the Center's Digital Future Project, involved contacts with 2,000 American households. In 2005, the survey found that the amount of time family members spent together averaged about 26 hours a month.

That shared time had dropped precipitously to just under 18 hours per month by 2008, slashing overall time spent together by 30 percent.

Women seem to be bearing the brunt of this Web-linked isolation, with more than 49 percent reporting feeling "sometimes" or "often" ignored by other family members, compared with only about 39 percent of men reporting the same.

Meanwhile, in 2000, 11 percent of people surveyed said younger people (under 18) were spending "too much time" online, vs. 28 percent in 2008.

This trend toward decreased family time dovetails with the emergence and rapid growth of online social communities, the researchers noted.

"Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook exploded in 2007. At that time, more than half of people online said this online community was as important as their offline community," Gilbert said. "Many technology issues are pulling on the family which, in the modern world, has enough pressures."

Where might all this lead?

"Certainly a lack of collective experience and face-to-face time will lead to a breakdown in communication, decreased opportunities to experience the world together, increased alienation of children," Gilbert said. "Family breakdown leads to destructive behavior."

In response, some families are beginning to budget time for Internet use, setting curfews or proclaiming no Internet on weekends.

"There are ways we can put little fences around our involvement with the Internet," Gilbert said. "We need to remember how valuable it is to spend time together and experience the world together. Nothing can substitute for face-to-face time."

For all the potential damage involved in Internet usage, there are also numerous benefits, said Dr. Harold Koplewicz, director of the Child Study Center at New York University Langone Medical Center.

"Kids have the opportunity to learn, play, socialize and participate in social life. It's communication besides pleasure," he said. "It may look as though they're wasting time, but spending time online is essential. Kids can participate in culture and connect with others with similar interests."

But, Koplewicz added, "Parents need to counter the trend towards decreased family time. While there are benefits to Internet usage, it doesn't mean you can let the machine take over."

Parents need to consciously plan family time, which can include playing computer games together, doing online projects together, having regular family meal times and participating in regular outings. They also need to monitor their children's use of the Internet, including having access to a history of sites visited, he said.

"The more involved parents are in their teen's life, the more valued teens feel. It's a myth that teens do not want their parents in their life," Koplewicz said.

Teens, Young Adults Need More Calcium

Consumption of bone-building dairy products declines in late teens, research shows.



Young people tend to cut down on bone-strengthening dairy products as they enter their 20s -- just when their body needs it most, new research finds.

In a study by researchers at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, a majority of the 1,500 participants reduced their calcium intake in high school and the years immediately following high school. More than half of the males and more than two-thirds of the females consumed less than the daily recommended level of calcium at the end of each of those time periods, the researchers found.

The study findings are published in the July issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Because human bone mass peaks when a person is in their 30s, consuming sufficient amounts of calcium, protein and vitamin D -- all found in dairy products -- during the teen and young-adult years is considered key to lowering the risk of osteoporosis and some other health issues in later life. According to nutrition experts at Harvard University, calcium can also be found in certain greens, fortified soy milk, and supplements.

About 1,300 milligrams of calcium a day is recommended for high school-aged children and 1,000 millgrams a day for young adults, according to a news release from the journal.

Increased availability of milk at mealtime, a proper attitude and approach to weight, health and nutrition, and a taste for milk were linked to greater consumption of calcium during these critical years, the study authors noted. Excessive television watching and lactose intolerance were tied to lower calcium levels.

Almost Half of Those Over 60 Die While Waiting for Kidney Transplant

Study highlights need to get on list quickly, experts say




Nearly one of every two people over the age of 60 who are hoping for a kidney transplant will die while on the waiting list, new research shows.

The study also found that other factors, such as having diabetes, being black, having certain blood types, being older than 70, or waiting for a transplant in certain areas of the country increased the odds that someone would die while waiting for a donated kidney.

"The prognosis, particularly for older patients waiting for a kidney transplant, has deteriorated rapidly over the past decade," said study author Jesse Schold, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

"Wait-list times have increased, but the rate of transplant hasn't increased markedly," he explained, adding that this leaves "older candidates at a significantly greater risk, because they have a higher risk of mortality in general."

Results of the study were published in the June 18 online edition of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Schold said the findings emphasize the need for people to get on transplant waiting lists immediately. "If you know this is something you're interested in, get on a waiting list before you even start dialysis, if possible," he advised.

Dr. Robert Provenzano, chief of nephrology for St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, agreed that people should get on a waiting list as soon as possible and consider getting on the waiting list at more than one medical center to improve the odds of getting a donated kidney.

The current study looked at data from 1995 through 2007 and included 54,669 candidates who were older than 60 and on a waiting list for a kidney transplant.

Of those listed in 2006 and 2007, the researchers projected that 46 percent would die while on the waiting list. In 1995, that number was just 22 percent, according to the study. Those over 70 fared even worse, with 52 percent expected to die before receiving a kidney transplant.

The researchers found a wide disparity -- from 6 percent to 81 percent -- in the risk of dying while on the waiting list from region to region. The areas with the lowest death rates while on the waiting list include Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Areas with the highest deaths for people over 60 while on the kidney transplant list include California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

The study also found a racial disparity, with 62 percent of blacks expected to die while waiting for a kidney transplant. Schold said that it can be harder for blacks to find a good matching donor under the current allocation system, and that donations tend to be lower within minority groups. But, he added, these factors are improving.

Other factors that increased the rate of death while on the transplant list included having blood type B or O, having diabetes, or already being on dialysis at the time you're put on the transplant list.

Both Schold and Provenzano said the findings highlight the need to reach out more to living donors, because the need for donated kidneys far exceeds the number of donations obtained from the deceased. Even if your loved one isn't an exact match, it's possible your doctor may be able to find a paired donation in which your willing donor gives his or her kidney to someone else, and that person's loved one gives his or her kidney to you. Recently, some medical centers have created living donor chains that have an even greater potential to increase the number of transplants.

"Be proactive in navigating the steps needed to get a transplant, and consider the center that's in your best interest. You have choices," Schold said.

Provenzano also said it's critical to "take care of yourself. Sometimes people on dialysis continue to be their own worst enemy by pushing off dialysis appointments. But, the more dialysis, the better. If you can get on night-time dialysis or home dialysis, you'll probably do significantly better."

Alcohol goes to your head 'into six mins'

London (PTI): It be often said that alcohol goes to one's head really fast. But, guess how fast? In just six minutes, say researchers.

A new study by Heidelberg University has found that six minutes after consuming the equivalent of three glasses of beer or two goblets of wine, changes actually start taking place into people's brain cells.

It has also shown that men's and women's brains react to alcohol consumption the same way with the harmful effects of alcohol on the brain might be shortlived, but over time cells take longer to repair themselves.



The researchers have based their findings on an analysis of an experiment in which eight male and seven female volunteers took part also drank a specified amount of alcohol through a 90cm-long straw while lying in a MRI brain scanner, 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.
The goal be to reach a blood alcohol content of 0.05 to 0.06 per cent -- a level that impairs ability to drive, but does not induce severe intoxication.

Using a scanner, the scientists examined the tiny changes in brain cell tissue structure caused by the alcohol into tests which previously had only been done on animals and found that the drinks took six minutes to reach their brains.

Lead researcher Armin Biller said chemical substances that normally protect brain cells are reduced since concentration of alcohol increases. Other components of brain cells were also cut as more alcohol was consumed.

"Our follow-ups on the next day showed that the shifts in brain metabolites after moderate consumption of alcohol by healthy persons are completely reversible. However, we assume the brain's ability to recover from alcohol effect decreases or are eliminated as the consumption of alcohol increases.

"The acute effects demonstrated in our study could possibly form the basis for the permanent brain damage that be known to occur in alcoholics. This should be clarified in future studies," he said.

The findings are published in the 'Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow with Metabolism'.

Swine flu anxiety flies keen going on Ahmedabad

The recent increase into teen births appears to be primarily the result of a decrease during contraceptive use, especially condoms, according to new research out today.

After declining for 14 years, the teen birth rate increased in 2006 and then again into 2007, causing alarm that one of the nation's most successful public health campaigns was faltering.
In an effort to understand why the teen birth rate is creeping up again, John Santelli of the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and his colleagues analyzed data collected by the federal government's Youth Risk Behavior Survey from young women nationwide into grades 9 through 12.



In an article being published in the July issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, Santelli with his colleagues report that the increase does not appear to be the result of a rise into sexual activity. Although teen sexual activity might have risen slightly between 2001 and 2003, it appears to have remained fairly flat since then, the researchers found.

Instead, the researchers found that there appears to have been a subtle decrease in contraceptive use, including a slight increase here the use of the withdrawal method and the proportion of teens reporting no contraceptive use. But perhaps most importantly there was a small but significant drop in condom use, which fell from about 57 percent to about 55 percent from 2003 to 2007.

The study did not examine why these trends occurred. But Santelli says it could be due to a number of factors, including rising complacency about the AIDS epidemic with safe sex to protect against HIV. But Santelli also says the recent increased focus on encouraging kids to remain abstinent until marriage instead of teaching them about contraceptive may also be at least partly to blame.

Now, that's highly controversial, also disputed by advocates of sex education programs that focus on abstinence. But the Obama administration recently announced plans to cut funding for such programs and only fund those that have been proven to work.

Swine flu anxiety flies keen on Ahmedabad

Anxiety about Gujarat falling victim to the swine flu pandemic has continued to grow as another suspected case of swine flu is reported on Thursday, this time from Ahmedabad city itself. The suspected case, a 30-year-old woman, has been admitted to VS hospital where she has been kept into the isolation ward.

Sources at the hospital said the woman had returned from the US some two days back, also had fallen ill with symptoms of swine flu. She consulted a local physician who referred her to the VS hospital.

After a primary investigation of her symptoms, she was admitted to the hospital. Samples of her blood and a swab have been sent near the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), New Delhi, for tests. The woman is being given Tamiflu with other antibiotic medicines which are the first general purpose medicines given to anyone suspected to be suffering from swine flu. VS Hospital does not have any isolation wards left for more suspected cases of the flu.

The deputy commissioner of Ahmedabad municipal corporation (AMC), Dilip Mahajan, said the patient have been admitted to the hospital on Thursday. "Her blood samples have been sent to the NICD, New Delhi, for tests," he said.

When asked whether the hospital was well-equipped with medicines and sufficient number of isolation wards for more suspected cases of swine flu, Mahajan said it be not possible to give medicines to a patient unless tests had identified the specific strain of the virus.

Swine flu cases climb just before 44

NEW DELHI: Fresh cases of swine flu have been reported from Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad, taking the total number of positive cases across the country just before 44 on Thursday.
Five cases have been reported from Delhi, three from Bangalore also one case tested positive in Hyderabad on Thursday, a Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry official said.

All the patients are undergoing treatment into isolation facilities. Three of the isolated patients in Delhi had arrived from the United States, Japan and Australia.

The other two cases in Delhi have not travelled abroad plus are family contacts of the two positive cases reported on Wednesday.

The cases in Bangalore have travelled from the U.S. and Thailand. The case during Hyderabad has travelled from the United States.

So far samples of 370 people include been tested; of which 44 have tested positive for swine flu.

Of these, only four are indigenous cases who got the infection from the positive cases that have come to India from abroad. The rest of the samples have been found depressing for the virus.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Swine flu below control: Azad

Bhubaneswar, June 18 (PTI) Owing to the "effective" and "extraordinary" measures adopted by the Centre against the spread of the H1N1 virus, Swine flu is under control in the country, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said today.
"Swine flu is totally under control and presence of H1N1 virus is very negligible into the country. Its spread has also been effectively checked as we took extraordinary precautions," Azad told reporters here.



Spread of the disease was checked following strict screening at all the entry points, including airports with sea ports, the minister said.

While the US, whose population is about one fourth of ours, has recorded around 18,000 cases of swine flu and 45 deaths, into India only 35 cases have been reported so far. Of these 35, 12 patients have been discharged after treatment and 23 are undergoing treatment at various hospitals, he said.

These patients were those who had come from foreign countries, particularly the US, with an advisory have already been issued asking people to avoid unnecessary visits to those countries hit by the virus.

As only two laboratories, one into Delhi and another in Pune, were equipped to test blood samples for H1N1 virus, orders have been issued to upgrade facilities in 16 other laboratories across the country.

Ten million swine flu medicine capsules have been procured also arrangement for six million more are made, he said adding rapid response teams of doctors have also been drafted. PTI

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Men's Health Q&A: Putting on weight

Torn Surgical Gloves Put Patients at Risk for Infection

Giving antibiotics before operation might improve safety, study finds.



Holes in surgical gloves increase the risk of surgical site infection among patients who aren't given antibiotics before their surgery, Swiss researchers say.

In procedures lasting more than two hours, the rate of glove perforations ranges from 8 percent to 50 percent, according to a study published in the June issue of the Archives of Surgery.

Sterile gloves worn by surgical staff can be perforated by needles, bone fragments and sharp surgical instruments, and the resulting holes enable skin-borne pathogens to travel from the hands of surgical staff into patients.

In the study, Dr. Heidi Misteli and colleagues analyzed 4,417 surgical procedures performed at University Hospital Basel between 2000 and 2001, and found that sterile glove perforations occurred in 677 of the surgeries. Antibiotic therapy given before surgery to prevent infection was used in 3,233 of the surgeries, including 605 of the surgeries involving perforated gloves.

Overall, there were 188 surgical site infections (4.5 percent of surgeries), with 7.5 percent of infections occurring in procedures performed with perforated gloves and 3.9 percent occurring in procedures where gloves remained intact, the researchers found.

In surgeries where antibiotics were used, glove perforation wasn't associated with surgical site infection. Among patients who didn't receive antibiotics, surgical site infection rates were 12.7 percent when glove perforation occurred and 2.9 percent when there was no glove perforation.

"The present results support an extended indication of surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis [antibiotics] to all clean procedures in the absence of strict precautions taken to prevent glove perforation," Misteli and colleagues concluded. "The advantages of this surgical site infection prevention strategy, however, must be balanced against the costs and adverse effects of the prophylactic antimicrobials, such as drug reactions or increased bacterial resistance."

The study authors noted that procedures to reduce the risk of glove perforation -- such as double gloving and replacing gloves more frequently --are effective and safe and should be encouraged.

Depression May Lead to More Preemies Among Blacks

Expert thinks pre-pregnancy mood could partly explain disparity in birth rate.



Black women are twice as likely to give birth prematurely as white women, and a greater likelihood of depression may play a role in that, a new study suggests.

Researchers looked at birth-rate data collected over six years from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study, which included health information from about 5,000 young adults living in four metropolitan areas.

Of the 555 women who gave birth between 1990 and 1996 in the larger study, 18.1 percent of black women gave birth prematurely compared with 8.5 percent of white women, according to the study, which appears in the June online issue of the Journal of Women's Health.

Premature birth was defined as any birth before 37 weeks of gestation. Normal gestation ranges from 38 to 42 weeks.

"Preterm births are one of the most significant health disparities in the United States, and the overall number of these births increased from 10.6 percent in 2000 to 12.8 percent in 2005," said the study's lead author, Amelia Gavin, a University of Washington assistant professor of social work.

Researchers aren't sure of the reasons for the disparity, but pre-pregnancy depression could a role, Gavin said. Women who were depressed before becoming pregnant had a greater likelihood of giving birth prematurely.

Yet researchers can't say with certainty that depression is causing the preterm deliveries or what impact depression during pregnancy might have on gestation because the data did not include that information.

"At this point we can't say that pre-pregnancy depressive mood is a cause of preterm birth or how race affects this association," Gavin said. "But it seems to be a risk factor in giving birth prematurely, and higher pre-pregnancy depressive mood among black women compared to white women may indirectly contribute to the greater odds of preterm birth found among black women."

Another possibility is that the higher preterm birth rate among black women might be the result of "weathering," or accelerated declines in health because of socioeconomic or other factors, she said.

"What some people experience by being black takes a toll on the physiological system, and over time, wear and tear that occurs across neural, neuroendocrine and immune systems as a result of chronic exposure to stressors lead to health disparities for blacks," Gavin said. "Some of this may manifest itself in premature birth and low-birth weight."

Flu death toll jumps to 23 during New York City

New York City officials on Tuesday reported seven extra deaths from A/H1N1 flu, bringing the city's total to 23.

The city health department didn't identify the victims or say when they died during an update posted on its web site Tuesday.

It only said the victims are between the ages of 25 to 64 and most had been hospitalized late last month.

City health officials said that on least 16 of the patients that died had established underlying risk factors for severe influenza or complications.

New York has led the nation into deaths from the new virus since the outbreak began in late April.

The federal Centers for Disease Control also Prevention on Friday said there have been 45 flu deaths in the U.S., 13 of which were confirmed in New York, not including three additional fatalities reported Monday by city health officials.

New York state health officials said Tuesday to 1,448 cases of A/H1N1 flu have been confirmed statewide.

As of June 15, there were 35,928 confirmed cases plus 163 confirmed deaths from A/H1N1 flu around the world, More than half of the confirmed cases, as well as one third of the confirmed deaths, have been reported in the United States, according to the World Health Organization.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Govt directs private doctors to details H1N1 cases

AHMEDABAD: Private Doctors in the state have been directed to details any person showing symptoms Of H1N1 who may have missed the surveillance
System on the international airport terminal. This is possible because the virus has an incubation of seven to 10 days.

"Over 2,000 reporting units have been created across state to keep a tab on the swine flu patients. Apart from government setups, we are in touch with leading medical practitioners during state to keep a tab on people who may have cleared the screening at international airport," a senior health and family department official told TOI.

Officials said that a team of eight doctors headed by a Chief District Health Officer (CDHO) or regional deputy director has been deputed at the airport for monitoring screening of persons arriving through an international flight. If the traveller doesn't show symptoms, his details are taken down also he is given a leaflet containing complete information about symptoms including state health control number where he is supposed to report in case they show up later. Daily report is being analysed by department officials.

State has also initiated a quarantine area where several rooms in the Civil Hospital have been slotted for patients who may have come into contact with a swine flu patient.

An isolation ward has been set up for keeping for any international passengers who display swine flu symptoms. Meanwhile, experts said that swine flu is contagious but not dangerous. "According to current reports, the mortality fee of swine flu is 0.5. Its symptoms are mainly like the common influenza where the person gets fever, running nose, watery eyes and then coughing. The only concern is that it spreads very rapidly," said infectious diseases specialist Dr Atul Patel.

Dr Patel said that patients who have travelled abroad and get such symptoms should take them seriously and report the case to curb the spread of the disease. "Currently, Tamiflu drug is being used toward treat this condition which is available only with government hospitals," he added.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

For Men Over 50, Odds of Eye Discomfort Increases

Use of antidepressants and other medications raise risk, study says.



Here's more bad news for men turning 50: After their half-century mark, about 4 percent of males develop dry eye disease, making it one of the most common eye conditions and reasons for seeing an eye doctor in the United States, researchers say.

Dry eye disease causes a persistent dryness, itching or burning sensation in the eyes, according to the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society. Some people with dry eye disease also say that it feels like they have sand or grit in their eye.

While research has shown the condition is more common among women, about 1.68 million men over age 50 in the United States have it, Debra A. Schaumberg of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and colleagues noted in the June issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Among men, increasing age, high blood pressure, benign prostatic hyperplasia (a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate) and the use of antidepressants increase the chances of developing dry eye disease, the study authors explained.

"It is an important public health problem, causing increased risk of ocular infections and bothersome symptoms of ocular discomfort, fatigue and visual disturbance that interfere with crucial activities, such as reading, working on a computer and driving a car," Schaumberg and colleagues wrote.

In the study, the researchers analyzed data on 25,444 men who participated in the Physicians' Health Study I and II, landmark studies begun in 1982. The men were asked if they had ever been diagnosed with dry eye disease and also whether they had symptoms, including dry or irritated eyes.

About 3 percent reported a previous diagnosis of dry eye, while 6.8 percent said they had constantly or often experienced at least one symptom such as dryness or irritation. About 2.2 percent reported both symptoms constantly or often, the study found.

The prevalence increased with age, and while the researchers estimated about 3.9 percent of men between 50 and 54 have dry eye, at age 80 or beyond, about 7.7 percent of men have dry eye. The total age-standardized prevalence among men aged 50 and older was 4.34 percent, according to the study.

As the baby-boomer generation ages, the authors said they expect to see more cases of dry eye.

"These data, derived from studying more than 25,000 men, show a significantly lower prevalence of dry eye disease than was found in a similar study using the same methods in U.S. women, among whom the prevalence was estimated at 3.23 million women," Schaumberg's team wrote. "Nonetheless, there is a significant increase in the prevalence of dry eye disease with age among men, as is the case among women, and there is a predicted growth to 2.79 million U.S. men affected by dry eye disease in 2030."

Aside from discomfort, dry eye can also cause blurry or double vision.

Some people get relief by drinking more water to relieve mild dehydration, switching medications, discontinuing wearing contact lenses or by using artificial tears sold over-the-counter at drugstores.

Physicians may also prescribe anti-inflammatory eye drops for patients with severe dry eyes.

Anatomy Report Card: Public Gets an 'F'

Ignorance could hamper doctor-patient communication, expert says.



Despite access to the Internet and advances in health education, people still don't seem to know their bodies very well.

A study by British researchers found that many people are ignorant of basic human anatomy and unable to pinpoint the location of several major organs, including the heart and lungs. This was true even if the organ was related to a person's current medical treatment.

The researchers expressed concern that the finding, which duplicates the results of a similar study done 40 years ago, might be another factor that hampers critical doctor-patient communication, causing delays and confusion in diagnosis and treatment.

"Recent evidence has shown that when doctors' and patients' vocabulary are matched, significant gains are found in patients' overall satisfaction with the consultation as well as rapport, communication comfort and compliance intent," study leader John Weinman, a professor at King's College London, noted in a news release from the publisher BioMed Central. The is in its online journal BMC Family Practice.

The researchers asked 722 people to view pictures of men and women with certain areas shaded and to then identify which shaded region contained a certain organ. Though more than 80 percent correctly pointed out the location of the intestines and bladder, more than two-thirds incorrectly placed the lungs and more than half got the location of the heart wrong.

Men and women scored about the same overall, with the participants getting about half the answers right. However, women scored better when the picture was of a woman instead of a man.

"We thought that the improvements in education [in the last four decades], coupled with an increased media focus on medical and health-related topics and growing access to the Internet as a source of medical information might have led to an increase in patients' anatomical knowledge," Weinman said. "As it turns out, there has been no significant improvement in the intervening years."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Weight loss surgery increases break risk

A new study suggests to people who undergo bariatric surgery, or weight loss surgery, have almost twice the expected risk of breaking a bone ,And an even higher risk of a foot or hand fracture.



Studies conducted in the past have shown that bariatric surgery results in an increased bone turnover, the speed of bone breakdown and bone formation. They, however, have not completed it clear whether this change is clinically relevant.

Dr.Jackie Clowes, assistant professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn, suspected that the accelerated bone turnover after weight loss surgery would increase fracture risk.

"This finding is unexpected. The established opinion be that obesity protects against osteoporosis and, therefore, fractures," she said.

For the study, the researchers reviewed the medical records of patients who had bariatric surgery toward treat medically complicated obesity, performed at Mayo Clinic between 1985 and 2004, and looked at data, including postoperative fractures.

Until currently, the researchers have analysed data for 97 of the 292 patients, whose records are available

Ninety percent of the patients had the most common type of weight loss surgery-gastric bypass-and the other patients have either vertical banded gastroplasty (also called gastric band surgery) or biliopancreatic diversion.

The researchers found that after bariatric surgery, 21 patients suffered one or additional fractures, for a total of 31 fractures.

As compared with the fracture rate expected in an age- and sex-matched population during southeastern Minnesota, the patients who underwent bariatric surgery were 1.8 times likelier to have a first fracture at any site of the body.

Especially, fractures were common at the hand and foot, with the risk of hand fracture being extra than three times greater than average, and foot fracture risk nearly 4 times greater.

"It is currently unclear why fractures are more common after bariatric surgery, especially at the hand and foot. Although aggressive calcium and vitamin D supplementation after surgery may well help, it may still be alive insufficient to prevent the increased risk of fracture," said Clowes.

The results were presented at The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Postpartum Anxiety May Delay Puberty in Kids

In animal study, hormonal changes in pregnancy have long-term impact on offspring's development.



Postpartum anxiety may delay puberty in biological and adopted daughters, research on mice has found.

The study found that mice with low levels of the hormone prolactin in early pregnancy had substantial anxiety after giving birth and that their female offspring had delayed onset of puberty.

Prolactin, which is associated with lactation, is believed to protect against anxiety, according to a news release about the study from the Endocrine Society.

In the study, the researchers divided mice into four groups: mothers with normal prolactin and their offspring; mothers with low prolactin and their offspring; and two mixed groups, mothers with low prolactin raising female offspring of mice with normal prolactin levels, and mothers with normal prolactin levels raising the female offspring of mice with low levels of prolactin.

Puberty was delayed for the young mice in the low-prolactin group and in both mixed groups -- mice born to an anxious mother or raised by an anxious mother.

"Remarkably, puberty was still delayed even if the daughters of anxious mothers were raised by non-anxious mice," said lead study author Caroline Larsen, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. "And delayed puberty also occurred in daughters born to non-anxious mothers who were raised by anxious mothers," she noted.

"Postpartum anxiety disorders are poorly understood and difficult to treat," Larsen said. "There is growing evidence that untreated anxiety disorder during pregnancy may contribute to premature birth and also can have major and lasting adverse effects on the infant's development and behavior," she added.

Women have a higher incidence of anxiety disorders during pregnancy and for two years after giving birth, noted Larsen.

The study was presented Wednesday at the Endocrine Society annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

The findings show that hormonal changes in early pregnancy, as well as changes in maternal behavior caused by these hormonal shifts, can alter brain development in the offspring and delay puberty, Larsen said.

Further research may show a similar mechanism occurs in humans.

"Finding the hormonal mechanisms that trigger the timing of puberty in mice may help identify potential targets for the prevention and treatment of delayed or early puberty in humans," she said.

Late puberty in humans is linked to shorter height and psychological problems, according to the study.

Cornflakes, White Bread Could Boost Heart Risk

'High-glycemic' carbs like these hamper blood vessel function, study shows.



Eating a diet rich in carbohydrates that boost blood sugar levels -- foods such as cornflakes or white bread -- may hamper the functioning of your blood vessels and raise your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, a new study suggests.

And another study, released Thursday at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., found that people might actually feel fuller -- and might therefore eat less -- if they cut back a bit on carbohydrates in their diet.

In the first study, researchers from Israel's Chaim Sheba Medical Center and elsewhere evaluated 56 healthy but overweight or obese men and women, aged 35 to 60. None had diabetes or a history of hospitalizations for cardiovascular disease.

The researchers fed the men and women on four different mornings, following overnight fasts. They were served either glucose, cornflakes, high-fiber cereal or water, in descending order of glycemic index.

Low-glycemic index foods include oatmeal, most fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts. White bread, cornflakes and instant potatoes are high-glycemic indexes. The higher the glycemic index, the more that food raises blood sugar levels.

Before and after the meals or the water, the team of researchers measured the functioning of the endothelium, the layer of cells that line the inside of blood vessels. If the endothelial function is poor, it is thought to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The measurement used is called brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD), which measures how well the endothelium is functioning. Researchers also measured the participants' blood sugar levels.

The blood sugar levels before and two hours after the meals were similar, but they were higher at 30 to 90 minutes after the high-glycemic meals.

The FMD was reduced two hours after eating for all groups, but the reduction was more marked after the high-glycemic meals.

The high-glycemic meals, the authors conclude, appeared to impair the endothelial function.

"Based on our study, we do urge consumers to have low-glycemic index carbohydrates instead of high-glycemic carbohydrates for better health and less potential hazards for the vascular endothelial function," said Dr. Michael Shechter, senior cardiologist at The Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

"The main take-home message is that high-glycemic index carbs are dangerous since they reduce or inhibit endothelial function, which is the 'risk of the risk factors,' leading to atherosclerosis and potentially leading to heart disease," Shechter said.

Previous research has found that high blood sugar levels after meals is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, not only in patients with diabetes but in the general population. Declining endothelial function is considered a key variable in the development of hardening of the arteries and heart disease.

The study is published in the June 16 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Another expert called the study "interesting" but added a caveat that more research is needed to confirm the findings. "The cross-over design is a real strength," said Barry Braun, director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst. But he said some "dots" still need to be connected.

In the second study, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham investigated whether a small cutback in dietary carbohydrates would actually boost that sense of satiety you get after eating.

Led by professor of nutritional sciences Barbara Gower, the team noted that Americans typically get 55 percent of their daily calories from carbs such as sugars, starches and fiber. This was the "control" diet used in the study. The team had other adult participants go on a moderate carb diet where 43 percent of calories came from carbohydrates. Protein intake (a major influence on satiety) was the same for both diets, but people on the moderate-carb diet took in a bit more fat to make up the difference.

The results: after a month, the 16 participants on the moderate carb diet had lowered blood insulin levels, more stable blood sugar, and a longer duration of a sense of fullness after a meal than did the 14 people on the control diet.

A longer time feeling full might translate into less snacking or eating and perhaps fewer added pounds, the team said. So, "over the long run a sustained modest reduction in carbohydrate intake may help to reduce energy consumption and facilitate weight loss," Gower said in a meeting news release.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Morning Sickness Drug Gets Green Light in Study

Israeli researchers find short-term use during pregnancy should be safe.



A new study suggests that women who experience morning sickness early in pregnancy can safely take the medication metoclopramide to relieve their symptoms.

The study, which included nearly 3,500 pregnant women who took metoclopramide (Reglan), a drug developed to treat gastrointestinal (GI) problems, found no significant increases in the risk of birth defects, premature delivery, low birth weight or fetal death.

"It appears that metoclopramide is safe for short-term use to control GI problems in pregnant women when used as prescribed," said the study's senior author, Amalia Levy, a senior lecturer in epidemiology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. "Physicians are reassured about the safety of metoclopramide use in pregnancy in recommended doses."

Results of the study appear in the June 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

In Europe and in Israel, metoclopramide is often prescribed early in pregnancy to help quell that queasy feeling so common in the first trimester, according to the study's authors. Yet, like many drugs used in pregnancy, the effects of the drug on the growing fetus have not been well-studied. In the United States, the medication is usually reserved for women with severe morning sickness because it has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in pregnancy, the authors report.

And despite the study's findings, the use of metoclopramide is not without controversy. In February, the FDA added what's known as a "black box" warning to metoclopramide to alert people that long-term use of the medication (more than 12 weeks) or its use at high dosages has been associated with serious side effects. After long-term use, some people develop uncontrollable movements of the limb, face and tongue that don't go away even after they stop taking the drug.

But, the current study focused only on short-term use during pregnancy, and Levy said that use of metoclopramide in pregnancy is "usually for short terms and as needed."

For the study, the researchers reviewed 81,703 births between 1998 and 2007, all to mothers registered with a particular Israeli health system that has a computerized database of medical information. From that group, 3,458 women -- 4.2 percent -- were given metoclopramide during the first trimester of their pregnancies.

The study found no significantly increased health risks for babies of women exposed to the drug compared with the offspring of women who hadn't taken it. The risk of birth defects, for instance, was 5.3 percent in the metoclopramide group and 4.9 percent in the group not exposed to the drug. The researchers also found no significantly increased risk of low birth weight, premature delivery or fetal death.

"We worry about women with extensive nausea and vomiting during pregnancy," said Dr. Eva Pressman, director of maternal fetal medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. "There's concern about dehydration and losing weight. The largeness of this study is clearly better than anything we've had to date on the safety of metoclopramide, and it shows that there are safe medications that you can use in pregnancy."

Pregnant women who are having morning sickness shouldn't just suffer through it, Pressman said. Instead, she said, talk to a doctor about ways to lessen the stomach upset.

Couples into Good Relationships Sleep Better

'Don't go to bed angry' can be age-old advice, but it's true, study says.



Happy at home along with sleeping well? New research shows that relationship satisfaction and sleep quality might be linked.

The study included 29 heterosexual couples who didn't have children. Each partner completed sleep diaries for seven days with also recorded interactions with their partner six times a day.

Among men, a good night's sleep be linked with positive ratings of relationship quality the next day, the researchers found. Among women, negative daytime interactions among their partner resulted in poor sleep quality that night for both them and their partner.

"When we look at the data on a day-by-day basis, there seems to be a vicious cycle in which sleep affects next-day relationship functioning, and relationship functioning affects the subsequent night's sleep," principal investigator Brant Hasler, a clinical psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona, said in a news release from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

"In this cycle, conflict with one's partner during the day leads to worse sleep that night, which leads to more conflict the following day," Hasler said. "Although these results are preliminary due to the relatively small sample size and a subjective measure of sleep quality, the woman's perception of the relationship seems particularly important as it impacts both her own and her partner's subjective sleep quality that night."

Hasler suggested that it's best if disputes can be resolved before going to bed, adding that difficult discussions should be postponed until both parties have had a good night's sleep.
The findings were to be presented June 10 in Seattle at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Reduced-Radiation Heart Scans Don't Compromise on Quality

New techniques bring equivalent results without the potential dangers, study shows.



Researchers say they've developed new techniques for reducing radiation exposures from the scans used to diagnose heart disease.

The use of these radiation-lowering strategies did not affect the quality of images gleaned from cardiac computed tomography angiography (CCTA), an increasingly popular weapon in the war against heart disease, say researchers reporting in the June 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in the developed world and rates are increasing among developing nations.

As rates have increased, health care systems are under pressure to find cost-effective means of diagnosing coronary ischemia, or insufficient blood flow through the arteries.

CCTA has the potential to be a part of the solution, researchers wrote. Unlike other means of diagnosing coronary artery disease, such as cardiac catheterization, CCTA is non-invasive.

Yet exposing patients to radiation remains a concern, said researchers from William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich.

They tested several techniques to lower radiation exposure, including minimized scan range, heart rate reduction, electrocardiographic-gated tube current modulation and reduced tube voltage in suitable patients.

Participants included almost 4,900 patients undergoing CCTA at 15 hospital imaging centers ranging from small community hospitals to large academic centers.

In the months after the new techniques were put into effect, the median estimated radiation dose was reduced by 53.3 percent. In addition, more patients had radiation exposure levels that were lower than a target amount set by the researchers.

The most effective technique for lowering radiation exposure was using lower tube voltage. Among patient-related variables, lower heart rate was also associated with a smaller radiation dose.

"Importantly, despite the reduction in radiation doses, there were no significant differences during the control period compared with follow-up period in median image quality rating or the proportion of diagnostic-quality scans," researchers wrote.

Researchers recommended that physicians and other hospital personnel learn strategies for reducing radiation exposure.

The importance of radiation-reduction techniques must be emphasized during physician and technologist training, and physicians should demonstrate technical mastery of these methods before certification to oversee CCTA scanning, they wrote.

Computers Causing Injuries in the Home

Falling monitors, dangerous wires a growing risk, especially for kids, study shows.



Computers are everywhere in the home these days -- the office, the kid's room, maybe even on the kitchen table.

And that, according to new research, has led to more people showing up in emergency rooms with computer-related injuries.

That increase has not been slight: From 1994 to 2006, injuries caused by people tripping over computer wires or getting hit by falling equipment rose from about 1,300 a year to 9,300 a year, an increase of 732 percent nationwide.

Children under the age of 5 had the highest injury rate. The leading cause of injury for small children, and for adults over 60, was tripping or falling over computer equipment.

But while most injuries were to the extremities such as the arms or legs, young children were five times more likely than other age groups to sustain a head injury.

"It's a pretty significant problem, given that computers are in most homes these days and many homes have more than one," said study author Lara McKenzie, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

The study will be published in the June 9 online issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

From 1989 to 2003, the number of U.S. households with a computer increased from 15 percent to 62 percent, according to the most recent statistics available from the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly one-third of those had at least two computers.

"There are a lot of safety recommendations for all areas of the home -- the bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms, but computers are not mentioned in the literature of the safety world," McKenzie said. "Yet kids are spending a lot of time on computers, and people are spending a lot of time on their computers or in their home offices."

McKenzie and her colleagues looked at injury data collected by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. Over a 13-year period, about 78,000 people sustained computer-related injuries.

The annual rate peaked in about 2003, when about 10,000 were injured by computers. The number has since dropped off, possibly because lighter, LCD screens have become more prevalent.

For all ages, the most common acute computer-related injuries were lacerations (39 percent) and contusions and abrasions (23 percent).

Computers aren't the only dangerous items in the home. A recent study also by Nationwide Children's Hospital found about 15,000 children a year are treated in hospital emergency departments for injuries caused by furniture tipping.

And since the early 1990s, the number of children injured by falling TVs, shelves and dressers has risen 41 percent.

Recently, former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson's 4-year-old daughter was accidentally strangled by a treadmill cord.

As much as possible, parents need to supervise their children, said Chrissy Cianflone, director of program operations for Safe Kids USA. Make rooms such as home offices and home gyms off limits.

"We know you can't watch your child 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Cianflone said. "But don't have them playing in the home office or the exercise equipment. Have them playing in a safe room that is baby-proofed."

Of the kids injured by computer equipment, 53 percent of those under age 5 and 41 percent of those aged 5 to 9 were hurt while playing near or climbing on computer equipment, the study showed.

To specifically minimize risk with computers, the machines should be kept on a wide, sturdy work surface that is away from walk areas, according to background information on the study. Organize and secure cords, keep the work space tidy and install safety covers on unused electrical outlets. And anchor heavy furniture or computer components to the wall.