Primary texting bans associated with lower traffic fatalities, study finds

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health examined the impact texting-while-driving laws have had on roadway crash-related fatalities, and the findings are published in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health.Of drivers in the United States ages 18-64 years, 31 percent reported they had read or sent text or email messages while driving at least once in the 30 days prior, according to 2011 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That same year, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, and an additional 387,000 people were injured.While completing her doctoral work in the Department of Health Care Organization and Policy, Alva O. Ferdinand, Dr.P.H., J.D., conducted a longitudinal panel study to examine within-state changes in roadway fatalities after the enactment of state texting-while-driving bans using roadway fatality data captured in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System between 2000 and 2010.”Very little is known about whether laws banning texting while driving have actually improved roadway safety,” Ferdinand said. “Further, given the considerable variation in the types of laws that states have passed and whom they ban from what, it was necessary to determine which types of laws are most beneficial in improving roadway safety.”Some states have banned all drivers from texting while driving, while others have banned only young drivers from this activity, Ferdinand says. Additionally, some states’ texting bans entail secondary enforcement, meaning an officer must have another reason to stop a vehicle, like speeding or running a red light, before citing a driver for texting while driving. Other states’ texting bans entail primary enforcement, meaning an officer does not have to have another reason for stopping a vehicle.”Our results indicated that primary texting bans were significantly associated with a 3 percent reduction in traffic fatalities among all age groups, which equates to an average of 19 deaths prevented per year in states with such bans,” Ferdinand said. “Primarily enforced texting laws that banned only young drivers from texting were the most effective at reducing deaths among the 15- to 21-year-old cohort, with an associated 11 percent reduction in traffic fatalities among this age group in states with such bans.”States with secondarily enforced restrictions did not see any significant reductions in traffic fatalities.”We were a little surprised to see that primarily enforced texting bans were not associated with significant reductions in fatalities among those ages 21 to 64, who are not considered to be young drivers,” Ferdinand said. “However, states with bans prohibiting the use of cellphones without hands-free technology altogether on all drivers saw significant reductions in fatalities among this particular age group. Thus, although texting-while-driving bans were most effective for reducing traffic-related fatalities among young individuals, handheld bans appear to be most effective for adults.”Ferdinand says these results could aid policymakers interested in improving roadway safety in that they indicate the types of laws that are most effective in reducing deaths among various age groups, as well as those in states with secondarily enforced texting bans advocating for stricter, primarily enforced texting bans.Ferdinand’s mentor, Nir Menachemi, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Health Care Organization and Policy, says it is a key responsibility of health policy researchers to generate high-quality evidence on the health impact of societal policies and laws.”Clearly, distracted driving is a growing problem affecting everyone on the roadways,” Menachemi said. “It is my hope that policymakers act upon our findings so that motor-vehicle deaths can be prevented.”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alabama at Birmingham. …

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Obesity prevention programs can lower kids’ blood pressure, even if they don’t reduce body fat

One of the serious health consequences of obesity is elevated blood pressure (BP), a particular problem in children because research has found that high BP in children usually follows them into adulthood, carrying with it a wide range of possible negative consequences.Even modest elevations in the BP of adolescents, according to recent research, can pose cardiovascular problems later in life.A systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies of the effect of child obesity intervention programs on blood pressure has found that whether such programs prevented obesity or not, many of them reduced BP in children. It also found that the most effective programs in this regard promoted both healthy eating and physical activity.The study, one of the first of its kind, “Effect of Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs on BP: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” was led by epidemiologist Youfa Wang, MD, PhD, of the University at Buffalo and conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University, UB and other institutions.It was published online in the journal Circulation on Feb. 19, 2014 in advance of print publication.Wang said, “Of the 28 obesity interventions with complete data that we analyzed, 13 (46 percent) had a favorable effect on both adiposity and BP and 11 interventions (39 percent) had a significant effect on the reduction of BP, even if they did not affect adiposity. “It is important to identify obesity intervention programs that can help children develop healthy lifestyles and keep BP at an optimal level,” he says, “because these programs help them avoid many long-term health consequences.”Wang’s research team, now based at UB, is working on projects in the U.S. and abroad funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that aim to assess the additional benefits of obesity prevention programs for children and to develop the most effective programs possible.The team also is using transnational comparison studies to analyze factors suspected of contributing to the global obesity epidemic.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University at Buffalo. The original article was written by Pat Donovan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Secret to cutting sugary drink use by teens found by new study

A new study shows that teenagers can be persuaded to cut back on sugary soft drinks — especially with a little help from their friends.A 30-day challenge encouraging teens to reduce sugar-sweetened drink use lowered their overall consumption substantially and increased by two-thirds the percentage of high-school students who shunned sugary drinks altogether.The “Sodabriety” challenge, piloted by Ohio State University researchers, was an effort to confront the largest source of added sugar in the U.S. diet: sugar-sweetened soft drinks, sports and energy drinks, and flavored milk and coffee.Students were tapped to establish teen advisory councils, whose members led the interventions at two rural Appalachian high schools. They designed marketing campaigns, planned school assemblies and shared a fact per day about sugar-sweetened drinks over the morning announcements.The primary message to their peers: Try to cut back on sugar-sweetened beverages for 30 days. Students opted not to promote eliminating these drinks entirely during the challenge.Overall, participating teens did lower their intake of sugary drinks, and the percentage of youths who abstained from drinking sugar-sweetened beverages increased from 7.2 percent to 11.8 percent of the participants. That percentage was sustained for 30 days after the intervention ended.In an unexpected result, water consumption among participants increased significantly by 60 days after the start of the program, even without any promotion of water as a substitute for sugar-sweetened drinks.”The students’ water consumption before the intervention was lousy. I don’t know how else to say it. But we saw a big improvement in that,” said Laureen Smith, associate professor of nursing at Ohio State and lead author of the study. “And there was a huge reduction in sugar-sweetened beverage consumption. The kids were consuming them fewer days per week and when they were consuming these drinks, they had fewer servings.”Smith co-authored the study with Christopher Holloman, associate professor of statistics at Ohio State. The research is published in a recent issue of the Journal of School Health.Smith originally set out to conduct a community-based study concerning the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in Appalachian Ohio. …

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Ruling with an iron fist could make your child pack on pounds

If you’re rigid with rules and skimpy on affection and dialogue with your kids, they have a greater chance of being obese, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology & Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity & Metabolism Scientific Sessions 2014.Researchers followed a nationally representative group of 37,577 Canadian children aged 0 to 11. They compared kids whose parents are generally affectionate, have reasonable discussions about behavior with their child and set healthy boundaries (authoritative) with those whose parents were strict about limits without much dialogue or affection (authoritarian).The latter group had a 30 percent higher chance of being obese among kids 2 to 5 years old and a 37 percent higher chance among kids 6 to 11 years.”Parents should at least be aware of their parenting style,” said Lisa Kakinami, Ph.D., a post-doctoral epidemiologist at McGill University in Montreal. “If you’re treating your child with a balance of affection and limits — these are the kids who are least likely to be obese.”Researchers compared parents’ answers to a cross-sectional survey. They then categorized parenting styles and analyzed them with respect to children’s body mass index (BMI) percentile.Researchers also found that poverty was associated with childhood obesity. But parenting style affected obesity regardless of income level.More than one-third of American children are overweight or obese according to the American Heart Association. Exploring factors at home that may be fueling this public health concern could lead to better prevention and interventions, Kakinami said.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Program taught in American Sign Language helps deaf achieve healthier weight

A group of deaf adults using American Sign Language in a healthy lifestyle program successfully lost weight, according to a study presented Wednesday.In the first randomized trial of lifestyle modification or weight reduction with deaf people using American Sign Language, participants had moderate improvements in their weight and level of physical activity after a 16-week program.”Existing mainstream programs focused on weight and weight-related behaviors are often inaccessible to the deaf community,” said Steven Barnett, M.D., lead author of the study and associate professor of family medicine and public health sciences at the University of Rochester in New York. “Collaboration with deaf ASL users is essential to develop accessible and culturally appropriate programs.”In partnership with the deaf community in Rochester, the researchers adapted a healthy lifestyle program shown to be effective in hearing people.A previous study, using accessible public health surveillance in Rochester, found that obesity (body mass index or BMI > 30) is more prevalent in the local deaf community than in the general population — slightly more than 34 percent of the deaf people were obese, compared to nearly 27 percent in the general population.In the Deaf Weight Wise trial, 104 overweight or obese participants were either enrolled in the healthy lifestyle program, with weekly 2-hour group sessions, or assigned to a delayed group who would receive the intervention later.For the group sessions, counselors used motivational interviewing techniques to encourage lifestyle change and help participants develop strategies to maintain healthy eating, such as in social situations and during stress. They were encouraged to exercise at least 150 minutes per week.After six months, participants in the intervention group had lost 7.4 pounds more and reduced their BMI 1.35 points more than the delayed group. Most of the intervention group’s participants (58.3 percent) lost at least 5 percent of their baseline weight, compared with 14.3 percent of the delayed group.Researchers will continue to follow participants for 24 months.”During program development and during the trial, deaf community members emphasized the importance of having deaf counselors,” said Barnett, who directs the Rochester Prevention Research Center: National Center for Deaf Health Research. “I realize this is not possible to implement everywhere at present. We are working on program adaptations to address access to counselors who are deaf ASL users.”Lori DeWindt, M.A., a member of the Deaf Weight Wise Study Group and a Deaf Weight Wise counselor, said, “Participants were comfortable in the culturally affirming environment in which everyone signs. This setting, along with accessible information and peer support, contributed to the positive experience of participants.”Co-authors are Erika Sutter, M.P.H., Thomas Pearson, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., and members of the Deaf Weight Wise Study Group. Disclosures are listed on the abstract.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Research Centers Program funded the study. It was presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology & Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity & Metabolism Scientific Sessions 2014.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Know the Risks of Medical Tourism: Is It Worth It?

Know the Risks of Medical Tourism: Is It Worth It?Posted onMarch 10, 2014byRichard ReichEnglish-speaking patients are increasingly traveling to such places as Malaysia, Brazil and Mexico to save anywhere from 30 to 90 percent on medical procedures. The medical tourism market reached $10.9 billion in 2012, and according to projections by Transparency Market Research, it will grow to $32.5 billion annually by 2019.Some experts warn of the risks of traveling for medical procedures, however. Boston plastic surgeon Samuel Lin recalls a woman who had traveled abroad for breast augmentation. She came into his office complaining of discomfort, thinking her silicone implant had ruptured—only to learn a large cloth had been left in her chest.Such cases have some consumers wondering whether the risks of medical tourism are worth it. …

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Preventing suicide should start in general medical setting

The mental health conditions of most people who commit suicide remain undiagnosed, even though most visit a primary care provider or medical specialist in the year before they die. To help prevent suicides, health care providers should therefore become more attuned to their patients’ mental health state and possible suicide ideation. These are the findings of Brian Ahmedani from the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan, in a new study documenting the type and timing of health services sought by Americans who commit suicide. The study is the largest geographically diverse study of its kind to date, and appears in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, published by Springer.Ahmedani and colleagues in the Mental Health Research Network studied the medical records of 5,894 health-plan members from eight states who committed suicide between 2000 and 2010. This methodology provided data on the health care that people who commit suicide receive prior to their deaths.Eighty-three percent of people received health care treatment in the year prior to dying, and used medical and primary care services more frequently than any other health service. However, a mental health diagnosis was made in less than half (45 percent) of these cases. Only about one quarter of individuals were diagnosed with a mental health condition in the four weeks before they died, and one in every five people who committed suicide made a health care visit in the week prior to their death.In comparison, only five percent of people who committed suicide received psychiatric hospitalization, with only 15 percent receiving such treatment in the year before committing suicide.The frequency of visits differed markedly according to sex and age. Women, people older than 65 years old, those living in neighborhoods with incomes over $40,000 per year and people who died by non-violent means made the most visits. One in every four patients was a college graduate, and mental health diagnoses were less common among disadvantaged groups with lower levels of education and income.This study and others point to the importance of outreach efforts at regular doctor visits, especially to men and younger- or middle-age groups.These findings can help target future suicide prevention efforts, and help meet the targets of the 2012 national strategy report by the United States Surgeon General and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.”These findings indicate that mental health and suicide risk may need to be assessed more thoroughly, especially in general medical settings,” writes Ahmedani. “By detecting mental health problems more effectively, we may be able to begin treatment earlier and prevent many suicides.”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Springer. …

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Smartphone app aids college-age women in abusive relationships, study shows

Women between the ages of 18 and 24 are at the highest risk for dating violence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, these women are less likely than older adults to seek formal safety resources and instead look to peers or technology for help and advice. In an effort to connect more young women with safety information, University of Missouri researchers collaborated with Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and the One Love Foundation to develop the “One Love My Plan” smartphone application, an interactive tool that helps college-age women in abusive relationships clarify their priorities and customize personal safety plans.”At some point, almost everyone knows someone in an unhealthy relationship,” said Tina Bloom, an assistant professor at the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. “The purpose of the My Plan app is to quickly and confidentially provide women and concerned friends with information and available resources. Our goal is not to replace existing services, but to better connect students with them.”To ensure that young women would find the app helpful and comprehensive, Bloom and her colleagues conducted focus groups with college-age women who identified themselves as survivors of abusive relationships.”Students said that phones feel private, and they always have their phones with them,” Bloom said. “One student told us that she really liked the app because it provided strategies she could use immediately to help herself or a friend. In abusive situations, there are many factors to consider. The My Plan app gives students tools to examine their relationships, set their priorities and privately access resources when they are ready.”Previous research shows that, across all socioeconomic backgrounds, millennials comprise the age group most likely to own smartphones, and many smartphone users access health information using their mobile devices. Bloom says the free app is filled with helpful features, including:Information on healthy relationship dynamics, common relationship violence myths and potential behavioral red flags. Sample scripts for approaching friends who are possibly in dangerous relationships. …

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Increase in obesity may be slowing, but not by much, study shows

In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama referred to an August 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that showed a decline in the obesity rate among low-income pre-school children, saying, “Michelle’s Let’s Move! partnership with schools, businesses and local leaders has helped bring down childhood obesity rates for the first time in 30 years, and that’s an achievement that will improve lives and reduce health care costs for decades to come.”While the CDC report’s data is encouraging, a new study published by University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An shows the notion that the American obesity epidemic has begun to reverse may be premature.The study appears in the journal ISRN Obesity.An said that when the CDC released the report showing declines in obesity among low-income preschool children in 19 of 43 states, it “immediately received a tremendous amount of media attention.””Because people have been fighting the obesity epidemic since the 1980s, this data really looked like a promising sign,” An said. “This triggered my research because I was curious as to whether a similar trend is happening in the adult population.”An turned to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to gather his data. The CDC conducts this nationally representative survey of 5,000 people 20 years of age and older each year, visiting residential areas in a mobile test center. Researchers and physicians examine the participants, collecting objective data such as their height and weight, as well as other health-related statistics.When An examined the Body Mass Index measurements (or BMI, calculated by dividing a person’s weight by his or her height), he found that 71.1 percent of men and 65.6 percent of women in the 2011-2012 NHANES study sample had BMIs greater than or equal to 25, meaning they were overweight or obese. When he compared these levels to those from 2000, he noticed something interesting.”Starting from 2000, the increase in the rate of the prevalence of adult obesity is slowing, but the prevalence is still increasing, especially in those with a BMI higher than 35,” An said. “If you look at those with a BMI greater than 25 — the cutoff point for being overweight — this prevalence only increases slightly over the last 12 years. But those with a BMI greater than 40 — those who are morbidly obese — had the greatest increase in rate compared to the baseline in 2000.”From this data, An believes it is too early to conclude that the prevalence of obesity has begun to level off or even decrease in the United States.”We can’t be naive and underestimate the severity of the obesity epidemic in the U.S. Although there is some preliminary evidence about the decline of obesity prevalence among low income preschoolers, that population is unique; we haven’t gotten good measures for the entire child or adolescent population,” An said. “For the adult population, there are minor declines in the overweight and obesity rate if we compare data from 2012 to that in 2010, but the declines are very small and statistically insignificant. …

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Study shows yogurt consumption reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes

New research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) shows that higher consumption of yoghurt, compared with no consumption, can reduce the risk of new-onset type 2 diabetes by 28%. Scientists at the University of Cambridge found that in fact higher consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products, which include all yoghurt varieties and some low-fat cheeses, also reduced the relative risk of diabetes by 24% overall.Lead scientist Dr Nita Forouhi, from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, commented “this research highlights that specific foods may have an important role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes and are relevant for public health messages.”Dairy products are an important source of high quality protein, vitamins and minerals. However, they are also a source of saturated fat, which dietary guidelines currently advise people not to consume in high quantities, instead recommending they replace these with lower fat options.Previous studies on links between dairy product consumption (high fat or low fat) and diabetes had inconclusive findings. Thus, the nature of the association between dairy product intake and type 2 diabetes remains unclear, prompting the authors to carry out this new investigation, using much more detailed assessment of dairy product consumption than was done in past research.The research was based on the large EPIC-Norfolk study which includes more than 25,000 men and women living in Norfolk, UK. It compared a detailed daily record of all the food and drink consumed over a week at the time of study entry among 753 people who developed new-onset type 2 diabetes over 11 years of follow-up with 3,502 randomly selected study participants. This allowed the researchers to examine the risk of diabetes in relation to the consumption of total dairy products and also types of individual dairy products.The consumption of total dairy, total high-fat dairy or total low-fat dairy was not associated with new-onset diabetes once important factors like healthier lifestyles, education, obesity levels, other eating habits and total calorie intake were taken into account. Total milk and cheese intakes were also not associated with diabetes risk. In contrast, those with the highest consumption of low-fat fermented dairy products (such as yoghurt, fromage frais and low-fat cottage cheese) were 24% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes over the 11 years, compared with non-consumers.When examined separately from the other low-fat fermented dairy products, yoghurt, which makes up more than 85% of these products, was associated with a 28% reduced risk of developing diabetes. This risk reduction was observed among individuals who consumed an average of four and a half standard 125g pots of yoghurt per week. The same applies to other low-fat fermented dairy products such as low-fat unripened cheeses including fromage frais and low-fat cottage cheese. …

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Source of chlamydia reinfections may be GI tract

The current standard of care treatment for chlamydia sometimes fails to eradicate the disease, according to a review published ahead of print in Infection and Immunity, and the culprit may be in the gut.Chlamydia trachomatis not only infects the reproductive tract, but abides persistently — though benignly — in the gastrointestinal tract. There it remains even after eradication from the genitals by the antibiotic, azithromycin, says first author Roger Rank, of the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, Little Rock. And that reservoir is likely a source of the all-too-common reinfections that follow treatment.The source of the reinfections has long been a conundrum. Some are blamed on continued intercourse with an infected partner. This is not surprising since chlamydia is usually asymptomatic in men.Chlamydiae have long been assumed often to persist within the genital tract in a non-replicating form, but Rank says there is no evidence for this. “While all agree that chlamydiae may persist in a patient for long periods of time, and that recurrent infections do develop, there has been no agreement on how and where and in what form chlamydiae persist,” says Rank.In a recent study, coauthor and Arkansas colleague Laxmi Yeruva showed in mice that azithormycin eradicated the genital infection, but not the GI infection.Rank showed further — also in mice — that chlamydial infection of the GI does not elicit an inflammatory response, and never resolves, unlike in the genital tract.”However, we found that GI infection does produce a strong immune response that can actually be effective against a genital infection, but that is unable to cure the GI infection,” says Rank.While chlamydial persistence in the GI tract has largely escaped notice of late, it was documented in the veterinary literature in numerous animals as early as the 1950s, says Rank. His reading of that early literature was a major factor motivating his and Yeruva’s studies, and this review, Rank says.Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common cause of sexually transmitted disease in the world. In the US, approximately 1.4 million cases occur annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adolescents are most affected, and 6.8 percent of sexually active females ages 14-19 become infected annually.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Simple, at-home test will detect most colorectal cancers

Tests that require patients to collect a single stool sample at home and then send it to a lab for analysis will detect about 79 percent of colorectal cancers, according to a new evidence review published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The review of 19 studies examining eight different fecal immunochemical tests, know as “FITs,” also finds that the tests will correctly identify about 94 percent of patients who do not have cancers of the rectum or colon.”We know the FIT is easy to use, and now we also know that it is a great tool for assessing which patients have cancer and which patients don’t,” said Beth Liles, MD, review co-author and clinical investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore.Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet one in three adults is not adequately screened.”FIT is simple, can be done at home, and can save lives,” said Jeffrey Lee, MD, MAS, the study’s lead author and post-doctoral researcher at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif. and University of California, San Francisco. “The American Cancer Society and other professional organizations have recommended FIT as a screening tool for colorectal cancer since 2008, but there are still many people who don’t know about it.”The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that people with normal risk for colorectal cancer should begin screening at age 50 and end at age 75. Unlike older stool tests, FIT does not require people to restrict their diets or to stop taking medications. Conducted annually, the test detects small amounts of blood in the stool, and people who test positive are much more likely to have colorectal cancer. People who have a positive FIT need a follow-up colonoscopy to look for cancer or pre-cancerous polyps.Other screening options for colorectal cancer include sigmoidoscopy, which involves physical examination of the lower colon, recommended every five years; or colonoscopy, which examines the entire colon, every 10 years.Review Details:The evidence review, funded by the National Institutes of Health, found that the FITs were fairly sensitive. On average, the tests detected 79 percent, or about 4 of 5 cancers with only one round of testing. …

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New links found between sleep duration, depression

A genetic study of adult twins and a community-based study of adolescents both report novel links between sleep duration and depression. The studies are published in the Feb. 1 issue of the journal Sleep.”Healthy sleep is a necessity for physical, mental and emotional well-being,” said American Academy of Sleep Medicine President Dr. M. Safwan Badr. “This new research emphasizes that we can make an investment in our health by prioritizing sleep.”A study of 1,788 adult twins is the first to demonstrate a gene by environment interaction between self-reported habitual sleep duration and depressive symptoms. Results suggest that sleep durations outside the normal range increase the genetic risk for depressive symptoms. Among twins with a normal sleep duration of seven to 8.9 hours per night, the total heritability of depressive symptoms was 27 percent. However, the genetic influence on depressive symptoms increased to 53 percent among twins with a short sleep duration of five hours per night and 49 percent among those who reported sleeping 10 hours per night.”We were surprised that the heritability of depressive symptoms in twins with very short sleep was nearly twice the heritability in twins sleeping normal amounts of time,” said principal investigator Dr. Nathaniel Watson, associate professor of neurology and co-director of the University of Washington Medicine Sleep Center in Seattle, Wash. …

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Increase seen in donor eggs for in vitro fertilization, improved outcomes

Oct. 17, 2013 — Between 2000 and 2010 in the United States the number of donor eggs used for in vitro fertilization increased, and outcomes for births from those donor eggs improved, according to a study published by JAMA. The study is being released early online to coincide with its presentation at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the International Federation of Fertility Societies joint annual meeting.During the past several decades, the number of live births to women in their early 40s in the United States has increased steadily. The prevalence of oocyte (egg) donation for in vitro fertilization (IVF) has increased in the United States, but little information is available regarding maternal or infant outcomes to improve counseling and clinical decision making, according to background information in the article.Jennifer F. Kawwass, M.D., of the Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, and colleagues examined trends in use of donor oocytes in the United States and assessed perinatal outcomes. The study used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Surveillance System (NASS); fertility centers are mandated to report their data to the system, which includes data on more than 95 percent of all IVF cycles performed in the United States. Good perinatal outcome was defined as a single live-born infant delivered at 37 weeks or later weighing 5.5 lbs. or more.The researchers found that at 443 clinics (93 percent of all U.S. fertility centers) the annual number of donor oocyte cycles performed in the United States increased from 10,801 in 2000 to 18,306 in 2010, as did the percentage of such cycles that involved frozen oocytes or embryos (vs. fresh) (26.7 percent to 40.3 percent) and that involved elective single-embryo transfer (vs. …

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New Harm Reduction Measure: Medication to Fight HIV Transmission in IDUs

New Harm Reduction Measure: Medication to Fight HIV Transmission in IDUsOctober 2nd 2013 | By: Staff | Posted In: Drugs and Alcohol, Recent NewsA treatment called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has proven to be a significant assistance in protecting those individuals who use needles to inject drugs, also known as intravenous drug users, or IDUs. Addicts who utilize needles are at continual risk for a myriad of diseases, including HIV.A study conducted with 2,400 drug users in Bangkok, Thailand concluded that those individuals who ingested tenofovir pills or the PrEP treatment on a daily basis decreased their chance of acquiring the HIV virus by 74 percent. The exciting findings from this study will likely lead to other studies on the safety and validity of the PrEP treatment in acting …

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Blood transfusion – a week in my life!

Last Thursday I made the train/tram/tram journey to Melbourne and visited my daughter and little grandkids and most important with this visit – my little one day old grandson Oliver! I had a very special cuddle and took photos on my new little smart phone … only to delete them by accident when I got home! Whoops!! By the time I boarded my last train to come home I was totally exhausted and it took the next 2 days to get my strength back.Yesterday Tuesday we fronted up at the day chemo/hospital for my weekly PICC dressing, bloods taken and across to see my oncologist for the okay to have chemo. No luck as I was anemic and my white blood cells way down so NO …

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Overweight, obese children face high risk of hypertension

Oct. 10, 2013 — High body weight in children and adolescents is strongly associated with the likelihood of hypertension, according to a Kaiser Permanente Southern California study published today in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension.Researchers found that young people who are overweight are twice as likely as their normal-weight peers to have hypertension; moderately obese youths have four times higher risk; and extremely obese children and adolescents are 10 times more likely to have hypertension. The study also found 10 percent of youths who are extremely obese have hypertension and nearly half have occasional blood pressure measurements in the hypertensive range. Earlier studies showed that between 1 to 5 percent of youth have hypertension.”This study’s findings suggest that pediatricians need to be particularly vigilant about screening overweight and obese children for hypertension because high blood pressure can be asymptomatic for many years,” said Corinna Koebnick, PhD, lead author and researcher at Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s Department of Research & Evaluation.Researchers examined the electronic health records of nearly 250,000 children aged 6 to 17 years who were enrolled in Kaiser Permanente in Southern California between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2009. The study used the first four consecutive blood pressures measured routinely as a part of clinical care during the 36-month time period.”High blood pressure in children is a serious health condition that can lead to heart and kidney disease,” said researcher David Cuan, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Kaiser Permanente Riverside Medical Center. “While it is generally recommended that pediatricians measure blood pressure in children three years and older at every health care visit, this study shows the importance of screening overweight and obese young people in particular as they have an increased likelihood of hypertension.”The present results also suggest that the currently used classifications for overweight and obesity in children may be an effective tool for identifying children at high risk for hypertension. For this study, researchers used sex-specific BMI-for-age growth charts developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention combined with the World Health Organization definitions for overweight and obesity in adults. Being above the threshold for overweight was an indicator for prehypertension, while being above the threshold for obesity was an indicator for hypertension.”This study highlights a great use of existing high-quality data for addressing important scientific questions, in this case, the challenge of screening asymptomatic children for hypertension,” said Matthew F. Daley, MD, a pediatrician and a researcher at the Institute for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Colorado. “The findings of this study suggest that we should focus our limited resources on the children who need the most timely follow up.”Kaiser Permanente can conduct transformational health research like this in part because it has the largest private patient-centered electronic health record system in the world. …

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A silent epidemic: Minor traumatic brain injury

Oct. 10, 2013 — In the United States, approximately 1.4 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. Of those injuries, three out of four are minor TBI (mTBI) — a head injury that causes a temporary change in mental status including confusion, an altered level of consciousness, or perceptual or behavioral impairments.According to a literature review appearing in the October 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS), falls and motor vehicle accidents are responsible for most cases of mTBI and also are a common cause of bone and joint injuries. “Musculoskeletal injuries are often seen concurrently with some studies estimating that 50 percent of patients with orthopaedic injuries also sustain a mTBI,” says lead study author Richard L. Uhl, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y.Approximately 80 percent of patients who sustain a mTBI can be safely discharged from the emergency department and will fully recover and return to their baseline mental status. However, mTBI often goes undiagnosed initially because symptoms do not appear until the patient resumes everyday life. Advanced imaging of the head such as CT scans is often of little use as the majority of patients with a mTBI will initially have a normal examination.A Silent Epidemic: mTBI by the NumbersThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control declared mTBI a major public health issue and a silent epidemic. Patients with multisystem trauma and mTBI are almost twice as likely as those with multisystem trauma alone to have persistent cognitive impairment and to report symptoms of depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Patients with mTBI and lower extremity injuries are three times more likely to experience cognitive and behavioral difficulties at one year post-injury than those who sustain only lower extremity trauma. When symptoms last for more than three months, a patient is said to have post-concussion syndrome (PCS), a disorder that can be associated with substantial financial, social, and emotional challenges. …

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Changing part of central line could reduce hospital infections

Sep. 10, 2013 — Simply replacing the connector in the IV system in patients with central lines could help reduce deadly bloodstream infections, researchers at Georgia Regents University have found.A central line or central catheter is a tube placed in a patient’s arm or chest to help deliver fluids, blood, or medications through the large veins near the heart. A connector sits at the top of the catheter and serves as the entry point for the fluid pathway inside — any fluid that goes in or comes out of the body, goes through the connector.Most connectors use positive or negative pressure — either pushing fluid out or drawing blood in — when catheters are disconnected for flushing and cleaning. Ironically, it’s during that process — designed to clean the catheter and ultimately reduce the chance of infection — that germs find their way into the bloodstream causing an often dangerous blood infection. Nearly 250,000 central line-associated bloodstream infections happen in hospitals each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mortality rates on CLABSIs range from 12 to 25 percent.Treating them also costs health care systems billions of dollars each year. “We know that both positive and negative needleless connectors have been associated with higher CLABSI rates, so we decided to see what role a zero fluid displacement connector would play in infection control,” said Dr. Cynthia C. Chernecky, a Professor of Nursing at GRU and corresponding author on the study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.As their name indicates, zero fluid displacement connectors cause no reflux of fluids — out or in — during disconnection and connection.Researchers analyzed data in six acute care settings in five states and found that the number of infections decreased by 60 percent when positive connectors were replaced with zero fluid displacement connectors and by 94 percent when negative connectors were replaced with the zero connectors for central line IV therapy.”We estimate that replacing the connector devices saved about 13 lives in the acute care settings in this study,” Chernecky said. In addition to saving lives, more than $3 million was saved on health care costs. …

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Moderate physical activity does not increase risk of knee osteoarthritis

Aug. 29, 2013 — Adults age 45 and older who engaged in moderate physical activity up to two and a half hours a week did not increase their risk of developing knee osteoarthritis over a 6-year follow-up period, a new study finds.Study participants who engaged in the highest levels of physical activity — up to 5 hours a week — did have a slightly higher risk of knee osteoarthritis, but the difference was not statistically significant.Those findings taken together are good news, said Joanne Jordan, MD, MPH, senior study author and director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center in the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.”This study shows that engaging in physical activity at these levels is not going to put you at a greater risk of knee osteoarthritis,” she said. “Furthermore, we found this held true no matter what a person’s race, sex or body weight is. There was absolutely no association between these factors and a person’s risk.”The corresponding author of the study, published online August 27 by the journal Arthritis Care & Research, is Kamil Barbour, PhD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.”Moderate physical activities are those that produce some increase in heart rate or breathing, like rapid walking,” Barbour said. “Meeting physical activity recommendations through these simple activities are a great way to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other diseases.”The results are based on an analysis of data collected from 1999 to 2010 as part of UNC’s long-running Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project, a prospective, population-based study of knee, hip, hand and spine osteoarthritis and disability in African Americans and Caucasians, aged 45 years and older. This project is funded by the CDC and the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).This new analysis included data from 1,522 study participants and tested whether or not there was an association between meeting Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) guidelines for 150 minutes of physical activity per week and the development of knee osteoarthritis, as confirmed both by X-rays and the presence of knee pain or other symptoms.The study’s findings support HHS recommendations and concludes that activities such as walking, conditioning exercises and household activities such as gardening or yard work that amount to moderate weekly levels of physical activity should continue to be encouraged.

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