£6.7 Million Compensation for NHS Medical Mistakes

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 7 » £6.7 Million Compensation for NHS Medical Mistakes£6.7 Million Compensation for NHS Medical MistakesA 12-year-old boy is to receive medical negligence compensation after errors by hospital staff left him with serious brain injuries.On a morning in September 2006, the child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was taken to St Mary’s Hospital in Portsmouth with stomach pains.Staff at the hospital failed to spot that the child, who was aged four at the time, was displaying signs of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia.As a result, he did not get the required treatment on time and he suffered a cardiac arrest, which led to him experiencing significant brain damage and serious disabilities.The boy’s family therefore took legal action against Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, the organisation that runs St Mary’s Hospital.A medical negligence compensation settlement in the amount of £6.7 million has now been agreed. This compensation will be used to fund the child’s extensive and long-term care needs, such as round-the-clock assistance and specialist technology to enable him to communicate.The boy will receive £3.2 million compensation in a lump sum up front, while he will be paid £265,000 compensation every year until he is 18. The compensation payments will then rise to £305,000 per annum for the rest of his life.Hospital Trust ApologisesPortsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has issued a formal apology to the boy and his family for the medical mistakes that were made at St Mary’s Hospital eight years ago. A spokesperson for the hospital confirmed that since liability was resolved in 2012, each party has been working together to agree a suitable compensation package.This was designed with the intention of both compensating the boy and his parents and providing them with adequate financial security for the future.The spokesperson said, “The Trust can confirm that a medical negligence compensation settlement has been reached in this case and that this has been approved by the Court. The Trust wishes them well.”Doctors ‘Should Have Listened’Speaking after the compensation settlement was agreed, the boy’s parents said that doctors should have listened to the concerns they had raised about the condition of their son.In a statement, they insisted that if this had been done, this “tragic” event “would have been easily avoided”. The parents have therefore urged other mothers and fathers to trust their instincts if their child is not well.”If you believe that something is wrong, then insist that action is taken by the doctors,” they commented. “Nothing will ever make up for the life that has been taken away from him.”The boy’s parents said their son’s life has been “completely ruined”, as his condition means he will miss out on a whole host of experiences. For instance, they stated that he will never be able to play on a beach, kick a football around with his friends, or attend his school prom.The parents went on to note that their son and his “enormous daily battle” have proved to be a source of inspiration to everybody that knows or has met him.”This is an absolute tragedy caused by medical mistakes that should never have happened,” they added.By Francesca WitneyOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Positive outcomes for hepatitis C transplant patients

New research announced at the International Liver CongressTM 2014 today provides new hope for the notoriously difficult-to-treat population of liver transplant patients with recurring hepatitis C (HCV).As part of a compassionate use program, 104 post-liver transplant patients with recurring HCV who had exhausted all treatment options and had poor clinical prognoses, received sofosbuvir (SOF) and ribavirin (RBV) with pegylated interferon (PEG) included at the physicians’ discretion for up to 48 weeks. Among patients whose clinical outcomes have been reported, 62% achieved SVR12. Additionally, 62% of patients had improvements in clinical conditions associated with hepatic decompensation (e.g., ascites and encephalopathy) and/or improvement in liver function tests. SOF+RBVPEG was well-tolerated and led to high rates of virologic suppression.EASL’s European Policy Councillor Professor Patrizia Burra of the Multivisceral Transplant Unit, Padova University Hospital, Padua, Italy said: “There are currently no effective treatment options for this patient group. However, this new trial involving the nucleotide polymerase inhibitor sofosbuvir (SOF) has demonstrated promising results, providing further evidence of its clinical potential.””For patients with advanced hepatitis C liver disease, liver transplants offer a second chance,” continued Professor Burra, “and for those who continue to suffer post-surgery, it’s important for us to keep following up all avenues possible to improve their quality of life.”Other research revealed at the International Liver CongressTM 2014 showed that most patients with mild hepatitis C recurrence diagnosed one year after liver transplant have excellent long-term outcomes.In the second study, 172 patients who were diagnosed with mild hepatitis C recurrence one year after undergoing liver transplant surgery between 1999 and 2012 were followed for six and a half years with all relevant transplant-related, donor and recipient variables recorded. The cumulative probability of HCV-related graft loss five and 10 years after liver transplant were 3% and 10%, respectively.However one third of these patients are still at risk of going on to develop cirrhosis, further demonstrating the need for antiviral therapy pre or post-transplant.Hepatitis C infection is a common cause of liver transplantation, with virus-related diseases comprising 40% of primary indications for liver transplantation in Europe among patients with cirrhosis.More than 5,500 liver transplantations are currently performed in Europe per year.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by European Association for the Study of the Liver. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Ban asbestos! It kills! 5 more sleeps until I fly to Washington for ADAO’s 10th annual Asbestos Conference!

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is proud to announce that Janelle Bedel, Heather Von St James, and Lou Williams will be recognized with the 2014 Alan Reinstein award on April 5, 2014 in Washington, D.C. ADAO is deeply grateful to each of these women for their dedication and commitment to education, advocacy, and support to patients and families around the world.The above picture is of Heather and myself who will be both attending this conference.Sadly our brave and young warrior Janelle lost her battle with mesothelioma. She was a true fighter to the end and dearly loved by all. Her father will attending the conference to receive her well deserved award. Janelle was an inspiration to all – her courage and determination to make a difference will…

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Drug Abuse Among Unsuspecting Professionals

Addiction does not discriminate and our drug and alcohol programs here at Harmony reflect this fact well – with programs for young adults, men and women in all stages of life.The need for more addiction rehabs to focus on professionals in their programs has been highlighted in the news recently with professionals under fire for drug abuse. Last week, a high school IT teacher in England was sentenced to over 3 years in jail and permanently banned from teaching after being caught with more than 100 grams of cocaine in a narcotics lab in his home.His sentencing came after an investigation found that he was involved in high-level supply of cocaine leading to his arrest in 2012. At first the teacher denied being a distributor and said …

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Ban Asbestos in Unity – a very powerful message in the sands of Greens Beach Tasmania

A few days ago while I was walking along the beautiful and peaceful beach at a little cove/seaside town in Tasmania called Greens Beach, as there was no one else on the beach I decided spur of the moment to draw this heart in the sand with this powerful message as I felt it reaches out worldwide with a very important message.I stood back and went to take a photograph when all of a sudden a couple appeared from ‘no where’ and asked if they could ‘take a look at my artwork’! I showed them, they looked at each other and went a pale shade of grey and said ”a friend of ours was recently diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma and he lives in Launceston’! (Launceston …

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Future generations could inherit drug and alcohol use

Parents who use alcohol, marijuana, and drugs have higher frequencies of children who pick up their habits, according to a study from Sam Houston State University.The study, “Intergenerational Continuity of Substance Use,” found that when compared to parents who did not use substances, parents who used alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drugs were significantly more likely to have children who used those same drugs. Specifically, the odds of children’s alcohol use were five times higher if their parents used alcohol; the odds of children’s marijuana use were two times higher if their parents used marijuana; and the odds of children’s other drug use were two times higher if their parent used other drugs. Age and other demographic factors also were important predictors of substance use.”The study is rare in that it assesses the extent to which parent’s substance use predicts use by their children within age-equivalent and developmentally-specific stages of the life course,” said Dr. Kelly Knight of the College Criminal Justice’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. “If a parent uses drugs, will their children grow up and use drugs? When did the parent use and when did their children use? There appears to be an intergenerational relationship. The effect is not as strong as one might believe from popular discourse, but when you measure it by developmental stage, it can provide important information on its impact in adolescence and early adulthood, specifically.”The study examined the patterns of substance use by families over a 27-year period. It documents substance use over time, giving a more complete understanding of when substance use occurs, when it declines, and the influence of parents in the process.According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2011, about 22.6 million Americans age 12 years and older said they used illicit drugs in the last month. Other studies show that drug use is associated with reduced academic achievement, lower employment rates, poorer health, dependency on public assistance, neighborhood disorganization, and an increase in the likelihood of involvement in crime, criminal victimization and incarceration. …

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Climate change: Improving heat tolerance in trees

Is it possible to improve tolerance of trees to high temperatures and other types of stress derived of climate change? A research group of the Universidad Politcnica de Madrid (UPM), led by Luis Gmez, a professor of the Forestry School and the Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Genomics (CBGP), is studying the tolerance of trees using molecular and biotechnological tools. The research work was published in the last issue of the journal Plant Physiology.The obtained poplars in this project, with the collaboration of the Universidad de Mlaga, are significantly more tolerant to high temperatures than the control trees. These trees are also more tolerant to drought, to the presence of weed-killer, to in vitro and ex vitro crops, to contamination and other ways of abiotic stress that have an applied interest for forestry. This work is a continuation of a project started by of a research team of the UPM a decade ago. This study focuses on mechanisms that plant cells use to protect themselves from stress factors.Due to the human pressure on forests, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is promoting intensive plantations as an alternative to meet the global demand of wood and other products. Besides, plantations have social and economic benefits (job creation, wealth and rural development). This model change has significant ecological consequences.The role of forests is essential for climate change mitigation and biodiversity preservation, amongst others. A documentary “El Bosque Protector,” co-produced by the UPM and available on “A la Carta” of RTVE shows the result of this study. Tree farming plantations as a realistic alternative will be possible if the current yield significantly increases. …

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Yoga regulates stress hormones, improves quality of life for women with breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy

For women with breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy, yoga offers unique benefits beyond fighting fatigue, according to research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.The preliminary findings were first reported in 2011 by Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., professor and director of the Integrative Medicine Program at MD Anderson, and are now published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. This research is part of an ongoing effort to scientifically validate mind-body interventions in cancer patients and was conducted in collaboration with India’s largest yoga research institution, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana in Bangalore, India.Researchers found that while simple stretching exercises counteracted fatigue, patients who participated in yoga exercises that incorporated controlled breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques into their treatment plan experienced improved ability to engage in their daily activities, better general health and better regulation of cortisol (stress hormone). Women in the yoga group were also better equipped to find meaning in the illness experience, which declined over time for the women in the other two groups.The study also assessed, for the first time, yoga benefits in cancer patients by comparing their experience with patients in an active control group who integrated simple, generic stretching exercises into their lives.”Combining mind and body practices that are part of yoga clearly have tremendous potential to help patients manage the psychosocial and physical difficulties associated with treatment and life after cancer, beyond the benefits of simple stretching,” said Cohen.To conduct the study, 191 women with breast cancer (stage 0-3) were randomized to one of three groups: 1) yoga; 2) simple stretching; or 3) no instruction in yoga or stretching. Participants in the yoga and stretching groups attended sessions specifically tailored to breast cancer patients for one-hour, three days a week throughout their six weeks of radiation treatment.Participants were asked to report on their quality of life, including levels of fatigue and depression, their daily functioning and a measure assessing ability to find meaning in the illness experience. Saliva samples were collected and electrocardiogram tests were administered at baseline, end of treatment, and at one, three and six months post-treatment.Women who practiced yoga had the steepest decline in their cortisol levels across the day, indicating that yoga had the ability to help regulate this stress hormone. This is particularly important because higher stress hormone levels throughout the day, known as a blunted circadian cortisol rhythm, have been linked to worse outcomes in breast cancer.Additionally, after completing radiation treatment, only the women in the yoga and stretching groups reported a reduction in fatigue. At one, three and six months after radiation therapy, women who practiced yoga during the treatment period reported greater benefits to physical functioning and general health. They were more likely to find life meaning from their cancer experience than the other groups.According to Cohen, research shows that developing a yoga practice also helps patients after completing cancer treatment.”The transition from active therapy back to everyday life can be very stressful as patients no longer receive the same level of medical care and attention. Teaching patients a mind-body technique like yoga as a coping skill can make the transition less difficult.”Through a grant from the National Cancer Institute, Cohen and his team are now conducting a Phase III clinical trial in women with breast cancer to further determine the mechanisms of yoga that lead to improvement in physical functioning, quality of life and biological outcomes during and after radiation treatment. A secondary aim of the trial, but one of great importance, stressed Cohen, is assessing cost efficiency analysis for the hospital, health care usage costs in general and examining work productivity of patients.

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Pinwheel ‘living’ crystals and the origin of life

Simply making nanoparticles spin coaxes them to arrange themselves into what University of Michigan researchers call ‘living rotating crystals’ that could serve as a nanopump. They may also, incidentally, shed light on the origin of life itself.The researchers refer to the crystals as ‘living’ because they, in a sense, take on a life of their own from very simple rules.Sharon Glotzer, the Stuart W. Churchill Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering, and her team found that when they spun individual nanoparticles in a simulation — some clockwise and some counterclockwise — the particles self-assembled into an intricate architecture.The team discovered the behavior while investigating methods to make particles self-assemble — one of the major challenges in nanotechnology — without complicated procedures. When the pieces are a thousand times smaller than a grain of sand, normal techniques for building structures are no longer effective.For this reason, researchers like Glotzer are exploring ways to make order develop naturally from disorder, much like what may have occurred at the very beginnings of life.”If we can understand that, not only can we begin to imagine new ways to make materials and devices, but also we may begin to understand how the first living structures emerged from a soup of chemicals,” said Glotzer, who is also a professor of materials science and engineering, macromolecular science and engineering, physics, and applied physics.”One way biology approaches the challenge of assembly is by constantly feeding building blocks with energy. So, that’s what we did with nanoparticles.”Recently, researchers in the field have found that if particles are given energy for some basic motion, such as moving in one direction, they can begin to influence one another, forming groups. Glotzer’s team looked at what would happen if the particles all were made to rotate.”They organize themselves,” said Daphne Klotsa, a research fellow in Glotzer’s lab. “They developed collective dynamics that we couldn’t have foreseen.”The team’s computer simulation can be imagined as two sets of pinwheels on an air hockey table. The air pushing up from the table drives some of the pinwheels clockwise, and others counterclockwise. When the pinwheels are tightly packed enough that their blades catch on one another, the team found that they begin to divide themselves into clockwise and counter-clockwise spinners — a self-organizing behavior known among researchers as phase separation.”The important finding here is that we get phase separation without real attraction,” Klotsa said.She calls the self-sorting counterintuitive because no direct forces push the same — spin pinwheels together or push opposite-spinners apart.The separation occurs because of the way the pinwheel blades collide. While a pair of pinwheels may be spinning in the same direction, where their blades might meet, they’re actually moving in opposite directions. …

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Loneliness is a major health risk for older adults

Feeling extreme loneliness can increase an older person’s chances of premature death by 14 percent, according to research by John Cacioppo, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago.Cacioppo and his colleagues’ work shows that the impact of loneliness on premature death is nearly as strong as the impact of disadvantaged socioeconomic status, which they found increases the chances of dying early by 19 percent. A 2010 meta-analysis showed that loneliness has twice the impact on early death as does obesity, he said.Cacioppo, the Tiffany & Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology at the University, joined other scholars at a seminar on “The Science of Resilient Aging” Feb. 16 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual meeting in Chicago.The researchers looked at dramatic differences in the rate of decline in physical and mental health as people age. Cacioppo and colleagues have examined the role of satisfying relationships on older people to develop their resilience, the ability to bounce back after adversity and grow from stresses in life.The consequences to health are dramatic, as feeling isolated from others can disrupt sleep, elevate blood pressure, increase morning rises in the stress hormone cortisol, alter gene expression in immune cells, and increase depression and lower overall subjective well-being, Cacioppo pointed out in a talk, “Rewarding Social Connections Promote Successful Aging.”Cacioppo, one of the nation’s leading experts on loneliness, said older people can avoid the consequences of loneliness by staying in touch with former co-workers, taking part in family traditions, and sharing good times with family and friends — all of which gives older adults a chance to connect others about whom they care and who care about them.”Retiring to Florida to live in a warmer climate among strangers isn’t necessarily a good idea if it means you are disconnected from the people who mean the most to you,” said Cacioppo. Population changes make understanding the role of loneliness and health all the more important, he explained.”We are experiencing a silver tsunami demographically. The baby boomers are reaching retirement age. Each day between 2011 and 2030, an average of 10,000 people will turn 65,” he said. “People have to think about how to protect themselves from depression, low subjective well-being and early mortality.”Although some people are happy to be alone, most people thrive from social situations in which they provide mutual support and develop strong rapport. Evolution encouraged people to work together to survive and accordingly most people enjoy companionship over being alone.Research by Cacioppo and his colleagues has identified three core dimensions to healthy relationships — intimate connectedness, which comes from having someone in your life you feel affirms who you are; relational connectedness, which comes from having face-to-face contacts that are mutually rewarding; and collective connectedness, which comes from feeling that you’re part of a group or collective beyond individual existence.It is not solitude or physical isolation itself, but rather the subjective sense of isolation that Cacioppo’s work shows to be so profoundly disruptive. Older people living alone are not necessary lonely if they remain socially engaged and enjoy the company of those around them. …

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‘Neighbor-plants’ determine insects’ feeding choices

Insects are choosier than you might think: whether or not they end up feeding on a particular plant depends on much more than just the species to which that plant belongs. The quality of the individual plant is an important factor as well. As is the variety of other plants growing around it. But what, ultimately, makes an insect choose one plant over another?It’s a question ecologists have struggled with for decades, and the answer could have a major impact on attempts to use insects for controlling crops or attacking outbreak species such as ragwort. Ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris) is native to the Netherlands but its abundance in areas such as ex-arable fields can make it a pest, as it is toxic to horses and farmers can’t use fields where it grows for hay.In her PhD thesis, Olga Kostenko uses ragwort as an example to show that the ‘neighborhood’ in which a plant grows is more important for insects in the end than how the plant tastes. If, for instance, ragwort plants grow in a plant community with many tall neighbors, insects will not even notice them. Consequently, the effectiveness of using insects to control such plants is limited.Field experimentsBut before she could weigh the importance of these factors, Kostenko first had to do some pioneering research into plant quality in particular. Most knowledge about the role of plant quality so far had been based on controlled laboratory experiments. Whether it would still be as important a factor under natural conditions was unknown.Kostenko took up the challenge, planting no fewer than 1750 plants on ex-arable fields at Mossel (Ede, the Netherlands), with remarkable results. Not only did she find that plant quality wasn’t the most important factor, she also discovered that the way the plants tasted to insects was actually affected by the neighborhood in which they grew.And not just the present neighborhood: even plants and insects that inhabited the same spot in the past had an effect on the chemical composition of the next generation of plants. …

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Silicone ear is ‘indistinguishable’ from real thing for man who lost ear to cancer

To look at Henry Fiorentini’s artificial right ear, you could never tell he lost his real ear to cancer.Loyola University Medical Center ear surgeon Sam Marzo, MD, fitted Fiorentini with a prosthetic ear that looks just like the real thing. Marzo implanted three small metal posts in the side of Fiorentini’s head. Each post is fitted with a magnet. The silicone prosthetic ear also is magnetized, so it sticks to the metal posts.But even more remarkable to Fiorentini is the delicate surgery Marzo performed to successfully remove the cancer, without harming the facial nerve. Other doctors had told Fiorentini it couldn’t be done.”Dr. Marzo saved my life,” said Fiorentini, 56. “I now have a long life ahead of me, free of significant disfiguration and recurrent cancer.”Fiorentini had basal cell skin cancer, the most common type of cancer in the United States. It’s slow-growing and usually easily treated. But in Fiorentini’s case, the cancer would become life-threatening.The cancer started behind his right ear. And despite multiple surgeries at other centers, the cancer persisted. …

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Keep romance alive with double dates

Going on a double date may be more effective at reigniting passion in your own relationship than the classic candlelit dinner for two. According to new research, striking up a friendship with another couple in which you discuss personal details of your life will bring you closer to your own partner.”Passionate love is one of the first dimensions of love to decrease in couples over time as the newness of a relationship begins to wane,” says Keith Welker, a doctoral student at Wayne State University. “Relationships have widely been thought to flourish and develop in a broader network of social relationships, while emerging research has suggested that novel, arousing experiences can increase feelings of passionate love.”The new research fuses together the two research areas, showing that novel, high-self-disclosure interactions with other couples can increase feelings of passionate love. Such interactions, the researchers say, may cause us to perceive our partners and the relationship in a new light.Indeed, perception is vital in a relationship, according to a range of new studies to be presented this week at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) annual conference in Austin. Whether we perceive a long-term commitment as marriage versus merely cohabitating can change how we respond to stress, according to one study, while our perceptions of how much our partner truly wants the best for us predicts psychological health over 10 years in another study.Double dates to reignite passionate loveWelker, with his adviser Rich Slatcher, had previously studied how self-disclosure increased closeness within couples. They wanted to extend the research to investigate how self-disclosure between couples affects closeness and feelings of passionate love.”We were expecting that the formation of a friendship between two couples in the lab would increase closeness and relationship satisfaction,” Welker says. “However, we found the robustness of the effects on passionate love surprising.”In two studies with about 150 couples, the researchers used the “Fast Friends” activity, originally developed by Arthur Aron of Stony Brook University, a co-author on the new study. Over 45 minutes, couples answered basic “get-to-know-you” questions, such as “What is your idea of a perfect day?” or “Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?” The questions progressed to much deeper, personal topics such as “What was the most embarrassing moment in your life?” or asking for advice on personal problems. “This task has been repeatedly shown to make both strangers and friends closer to each other,” Welker says.In one of the studies, couples who met each other through the high-disclosure Fast Friends activity reported higher feelings of passionate love than those assigned to a low-disclosure task, which involved non-emotional, small-talk questions. In a second study, the researchers found that how responsive another couple was to personal disclosure predicted the increase in passionate love following the Fast Friends task.”The more that the other couple responds to your self-disclosures in a validating and caring way when on a double date, the more passionate you feel about your own relationship,” Welker explains. …

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Women fare worse than men following stroke

The good news: More people survive stroke now than 10 years ago due to improved treatment and prevention. The bad news: Women who survive stroke have a worse quality of life than men, according to a study published in the Feb. 7 online issue of the journal Neurology.Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center compared the quality of life in men and women who had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). A total of 1,370 patients ages 56 to 77 from the AVAIL registry – a national, multicenter, longitudinal registry of ischemic stroke and TIA patients – were included in the study.The patients’ quality of life was measured at three months and one year after a stroke or TIA using a formula that assesses mobility, self-care, everyday activities, depression/anxiety and pain.“We found that women had a worse quality of life than men up to 12 months following a stroke, even after considering differences in important sociodemographic variables, stroke severity and disability,” said Cheryl Bushnell, M.D., associate professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist and senior author of the study.“As more people survive strokes, physicians and other healthcare providers should pay attention to quality of life issues and work to develop better interventions, even gender-specific screening tools, to improve these patients’ lives.”The study findings showed that at three months, women were more likely than men to report problems with mobility, pain/discomfort and anxiety and depression, but the difference was greatest in those over age 75. At one year, women still had lower quality of life scores overall than men but the magnitude of those differences had diminished, Bushnell said.“The reason we do these types of studies is to be able to add different variables sequentially to determine what accounts for these gender differences,” Bushnell said. “We found that age, race and marital status accounted for the biggest differences between men and women at three months, with marital status being the most important. Even though the women in the study were older than the men, our study showed that age really had very little effect on quality of life.”The results suggest that further research on mobility, pain or discomfort and anxiety/depression may provide a clearer understanding for how to improve the lives of women after stroke, Bushnell added.The next step for the Wake Forest Baptist team will be to look at the trajectory of cognitive decline in men and women before and after stroke, she said.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Scientists reprogram skin cells into insulin-producing pancreas cells

A cure for type 1 diabetes has long eluded even the top experts. Not because they do not know what must be done — but because the tools did not exist to do it. But now scientists at the Gladstone Institutes, harnessing the power of regenerative medicine, have developed a technique in animal models that could replenish the very cells destroyed by the disease. The team’s findings, published online today in the journal Cell Stem Cell, are an important step towards freeing an entire generation of patients from the life-long injections that characterize this devastating disease.Type 1 diabetes, which usually manifests during childhood, is caused by the destruction of -cells, a type of cell that normally resides in the pancreas and produces a hormone called insulin. Without insulin, the body’s organs have difficulty absorbing sugars, such as glucose, from the blood. Once a death sentence, the disease can now be managed with regular glucose monitoring and insulin injections. A more permanent solution, however, would be to replace the missing -cells. But these cells are hard to come by, so researchers have looked towards stem cell technology as a way to make them.”The power of regenerative medicine is that it can potentially provide an unlimited source of functional, insulin-producing -cells that can then be transplanted into the patient,” said Dr. Ding, who is also a professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), with which Gladstone is affiliated. “But previous attempts to produce large quantities of healthy -cells — and to develop a workable delivery system — have not been entirely successful. …

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Nutritional supplement improves cognitive performance in older adults, study finds

Declines in the underlying brain skills needed to think, remember and learn are normal in aging. In fact, this cognitive decline is a fact of life for most older Americans.Therapies to improve the cognitive health of older adults are critically important for lessening declines in mental performance as people age. While physical activity and cognitive training are among the efforts aimed at preventing or delaying cognitive decline, dietary modifications and supplements have recently generated considerable interest.Now a University of South Florida (USF) study reports that a formula of nutrients high in antioxidants and other natural components helped boost the speed at which the brains of older adults processed information.The USF-developed nutritional supplement, containing extracts from blueberries and green tea combined with vitamin D3 and amino acids, including carnosine, was tested by the USF researchers in a clinical trial enrolling 105 healthy adults, ages 65 to 85.The two-month study evaluated the effects of the formula, called NT-020, on the cognitive performance of these older adults, who had no diagnosed memory disorders.Those randomized to the group of 52 volunteers receiving NT-020 demonstrated improvements in cognitive processing speed, while the 53 volunteers randomized to receive a placebo did not. Reduced cognitive processing speed, which can slow thinking and learning, has been associated with advancing age, the researchers said.The study, conducted at the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute, appears in the current issue of Rejuvenation Research (Vol. 17 No. 1, 2014). Participants from both groups took a battery of memory tests before and after the interventions.”After two months, test results showed modest improvements in two measures of cognitive processing speed for those taking NT-020 compared to those taking placebo,” said Brent Small, PhD, a professor in USF’s School of Aging Studies. “Processing speed is most often affected early on in the course of cognitive aging. Successful performance in processing tasks often underlies more complex cognitive outcomes, such as memory and verbal ability.”Blueberries, a major ingredient in the NT-020 formula, are rich in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant containing a polyphenolic, or natural phenol substructure.”The basis for the use of polyphenol-rich nutritional supplements as a moderator of age-related cognitive decline is the age-related increase in oxidative stress and inflammation,” said study co-principal investigator Paula C. Bickford, PhD, a professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, and senior research career scientist at the James A. …

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How do you recharge for the day ahead?

Before I go to bed at night I have to have a plan of attack for the next day. I have NEVER been a morning person and having children was quite the awakening We’re up between 6-7am and they don’t know what a weekend is. And I don’t know how they do it, but they are UP and RUNNING as soon as their feet hit the floor. “Mom, I’m hungry! Let’s play a game! Mom, you forgot my drink! I need a napkin! I have to go potty!” Or from the 1-year-old: “Poooooop!” Yea. Mornings are rough. I definitely need a way to recharge for the day ahead. Along with Team Kellogg’s, here’s my Tip #28 for a Great Start: Recharge for the Day …

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Biostatistics approach to genetics yields new clues to roots of autism

A study is only as good as the tools used to analyze it. One of those tools is statistics, and while biologists and chemists set up and run the experiments, statisticians are at work tinkering with the math that makes sense of all the data. Researchers at The Rockefeller University have recently developed a novel statistical method for genetic screens, which takes advantage of recent increases in computing power. Applying it to autism, they have uncovered genes that had not been suggested in previous analyses.By crunching data from the genomes of hundreds of individuals with various degrees of autism, the researchers identified several functionally related genetic variations that they say are likely to be linked to autism or to the underlying pathology of neuronal development that may cause it.The work suggests that beginning treatment in infants at the first symptoms, around the age of 12 months, could change the course of the disease. Catching the disorder early, the researchers say, could prevent the permanent “pruning” of neurons, which occurs during the first two years of life, from cementing autistic symptoms in place. The researchers also say that their data-scouring methodology may be used to help identify previously unknown genetic causes of other diseases, even in cases where data has already been exhaustively analyzed.The research, led by Knut Wittkowski, biostatistician in the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at The Rockefeller University Hospital, is a twist on a traditional data-mining technique known as a genome-wide association study. By comparing DNA from groups of people with a certain illness to those without it, the technique identifies genetic variations that are associated with the disease. Conventional analyses look for individual mutations called SNPs — single-nucleotide polymorphisms. But looking for individual blips in the genetic code did not prove a reliable way to identify risk factors for early-onset diseases like autism. Wittkowski’s method looks not just at individual SNPs, but at combinations of several SNPs — the equivalent of looking at whole words rather than just the single letters that form them.Wittkowski applied this “multivariate” approach to data from studies of autism as well as studies of childhood absence epilepsy, a condition that turns out to have a similar genetic profile.First, looking at a study of 185 cases of childhood epilepsy, Wittkowski’s team found that mutations in genes that control axonal guidance and calcium signaling — both of which are important early in the developing brain when neurons are forming the appropriate connections — led to increased chances of having the disorder. …

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Curious Critters Volume Two by David FitzSimmons

Product was received to facilitate this review of Curious Critters. All opinions are my own.A couple of years ago we received the book Curious Critters by David FitzSimmons. Ryan was young and we were still reading basic board books, but this book quickly became a favorite. It was a must-read every day—or, really, like 12 times a day, haha. He was fascinated by the large and bright photographs, the interesting animals, and learning all of their names.Curious Critters by David FitzSimmonsI was thrilled to hear that a second edition was coming out: Curious Critters Volume Two! Of course we HAD to have it! Check out their website to see the books and sample pages. It also has lots of fun stuff: coloring pages and word …

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Testosterone not as helpful as expected for some women going through menopause early

With plummeting hormone levels, natural menopause before age 40 can put a damper on women’s mental well being and quality of life. But bringing testosterone back up to normal may not bring them the boost some hoped for, found a new study published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).Before age 40, ovaries stop functioning in about 1% of women without some obvious genetic abnormality to blame, bringing on an early menopause. Called “primary ovarian insufficiency” or POI, the condition can spell not only infertility and other physical problems but also depression and decreased quality of life. Adding back lost estrogen and progesterone helps. But ovaries normally produce testosterone, too, which has mental and physical effects. Adding it back, some thought, could be helpful.But studies looking at adding testosterone for women who lose ovarian function for other reasons, such as after natural menopause or hysterectomy, haven’t yielded consistent results. So these investigators looked at the mood and quality of life data from women with POI in a study done at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD, where women underwent a year of hormone therapy that included testosterone. In the randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study, 61 women used placebo patches and 67 women used patches that delivered 150 micrograms of testosterone a day, similar to the Intrinsa patch that was rejected by FDA as a treatment for low sexual desire in women.After 12 months, testosterone levels were back up to normal for the women who got the treatment. The investigators saw no detrimental effects of testosterone, but they found no significant improvement either in measurements of quality of life, self esteem and mood compared with placebo.Bringing testosterone back to normal doesn’t help these aspects of life, suggesting that it’s something other than testosterone that plays a role in mood problems for women with POI, concluded the researchers.But there are still unknowns. The study didn’t measure depression and sexual function specifically, so the investigators couldn’t draw conclusions about the effects of normalizing testosterone on those problems. …

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