TV linked to poor snacking habits, cardiovascular risk in middle schoolers

Middle school kids who park themselves in front of the TV for two hours or more each day are more likely to consume junk food and have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, even compared to those who spend an equal amount of time on the computer or playing video games, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session.”While too much of both types of screen time encourages sedentary behavior, our study suggests high TV time in particular is associated with poorer food choices and increased cardiovascular risk,” said Elizabeth Jackson, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Michigan Systems, Ann Arbor, Mich., and the senior author of the study.In fact, sixth-graders who reported watching between two and six hours of TV a day were more likely to have higher body mass index, elevated systolic and diastolic blood pressure and slower recovery heart rate compared with those reporting low screen time or kids who had comparable computer/video game use. This is the first time researchers have looked at the impact of different kinds of screen time kids get in relation to snacking habits and physiological measures associated with heart health, according to the authors.The study included 1,003 sixth-graders from 24 middle schools participating in Project Healthy Schools across five diverse communities in Southeast Michigan. Researchers used standardized questionnaires to collect information about health behaviors including the type and frequency of screen time, snacking habits, and food and beverage choices in the last 24 hours. Physiological measurements were also assessed, including blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate recovery after exercise (a marker of fitness), height and weight. Students were divided into three groups: low screen time (less than one-half hour a day), high TV time (two to six hours a day) and high computer/video games (two to six hours a day). Self-reported snack behavior and physiologic markers were then compared.The research found that kids who spent more time in front of a screen — regardless of the type — snack more frequently and are more likely to choose less healthy snacks. High TV viewers and computer/video game users both reported eating roughly 3.5 snacks a day — one full snack more than kids who had minimal exposure to these technologies. But children who watched two to six hours a day of TV were more likely than the high computer/video game group to eat high-fat foods such as French fries and chips.Jackson said this is likely because these kids are bombarded by TV commercials that tend to reinforce less healthy foods — often higher in sugar, salt and fats. In addition, kids tend to have free hands while watching TV as opposed to when they are on the computer or playing video games, which provides more opportunity for mindless snacking. Earlier studies have also shown that children tend to eat more when they watch TV.”Snacks are important, and choosing a piece of fruit rather than a bag of chips can make a really big difference for one’s health,” Jackson said. …

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Honey offers new approach to fighting antibiotic resistance

Honey, that delectable condiment for breads and fruits, could be one sweet solution to the serious, ever-growing problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, researchers said in Dallas* today. Medical professionals sometimes use honey successfully as a topical dressing, but it could play a larger role in fighting infections, the researchers predicted.”The unique property of honey lies in its ability to fight infection on multiple levels, making it more difficult for bacteria to develop resistance,” said study leader Susan M. Meschwitz, Ph.D. That is, it uses a combination of weapons, including hydrogen peroxide, acidity, osmotic effect, high sugar concentration and polyphenols — all of which actively kill bacterial cells, she explained. The osmotic effect, which is the result of the high sugar concentration in honey, draws water from the bacterial cells, dehydrating and killing them.In addition, several studies have shown that honey inhibits the formation of biofilms, or communities of slimy disease-causing bacteria, she said. “Honey may also disrupt quorum sensing, which weakens bacterial virulence, rendering the bacteria more susceptible to conventional antibiotics,” Meschwitz said. Quorum sensing is the way bacteria communicate with one another, and may be involved in the formation of biofilms. In certain bacteria, this communication system also controls the release of toxins, which affects the bacteria’s pathogenicity, or their ability to cause disease.Meschwitz, who is with Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I., said another advantage of honey is that unlike conventional antibiotics, it doesn’t target the essential growth processes of bacteria. The problem with this type of targeting, which is the basis of conventional antibiotics, is that it results in the bacteria building up resistance to the drugs.Honey is effective because it is filled with healthful polyphenols, or antioxidants, she said. These include the phenolic acids, caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid and ellagic acid, as well as many flavonoids. …

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New approach makes cancer cells explode

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have discovered that a substance called Vacquinol-1 makes cells from glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain tumour, literally explode. When mice were given the substance, which can be given in tablet form, tumour growth was reversed and survival was prolonged. The findings are published in the journal Cell.The established treatments that are available for glioblastoma include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. But even if this treatment is given the average survival is just 15 months. It is therefore critical to find better treatments for malignant brain tumours.Researchers at Karolinska Institutet and colleagues at Uppsala University have discovered an entirely new mechanism to kill tumour cells in glioblastoma. Researchers in an initial stage have exposed tumour cells to a wide range of molecules. If the cancer cells died, the molecule was considered of interest for further studies, which initially applied to over 200 kinds of molecules. Following extensive studies, a single molecule has been identified as being of particular interest. The researchers wanted to find out why it caused cancer cell death.It was found that the molecule gave the cancer cells an uncontrolled vacuolization, a process in which the cell carries substances from outside the cell into its interior. This carrying process is made via the vacuoles, which can roughly be described as blisters or bags consisting of cell membranes. …

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Mental health on the go: Reducing anxiety with smartphone app

Playing a science-based mobile gaming app for 25 minutes can reduce anxiety in stressed individuals, according to research published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.The study suggests that “gamifying” a scientifically-supported intervention could offer measurable mental health and behavioral benefits for people with relatively high levels of anxiety.”Millions of people suffering from psychological distress fail to seek or receive mental health services. A key factor here is that many evidence-based treatments are burdensome — time consuming, expensive, difficult to access, and perceived as stigmatizing,” says lead researcher Tracy Dennis of Hunter College.”Given this concerning disparity between need and accessibility of services, it is crucial for psychological researchers to develop alternative treatment delivery systems that are more affordable, accessible, and engaging.”That’s where the mobile app comes in.The game is based on an emerging cognitive treatment for anxiety called attention-bias modification training (ABMT). Essentially, this treatment involves training patients to ignore a threatening stimulus (such as an angry face) and to focus instead on a non-threatening stimulus (such as a neutral or happy face). This type of training has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress among people suffering from high anxiety.In the study, about 75 participants — who all scored relatively high on an anxiety survey — were required to follow two characters around on the screen, tracing their paths as quickly and accurately as possible.After playing the game for either 25 or 45 minutes, the participants were asked to give a short speech to the researchers while being recorded on video — an especially stressful situation for these participants.The videos revealed that participants who played the ABMT-based version of the game showed less nervous behavior and speech during their talk and reported less negative feelings afterward than those in the placebo group.”Even the ‘short dosage’ of the app — about 25 minutes — had potent effects on anxiety and stress measured in the lab,” explains Dennis, who co-authored the study with Laura O’Toole of The City University of New York. “This is good news in terms of the potential to translate these technologies into mobile app format because use of apps tends to be brief and ‘on the go.'”The researchers are currently investigating whether even shorter stints of play — similar to how we normally play other smartphone games — would have the same anxiety-reducing effect.”We’re examining whether use of the app in brief 10-minute sessions over the course of a month successfully reduces stress and promotes positive birth outcomes in moderately anxious pregnant women,” Dennis says.While it’s unclear whether this app would produce mental health benefits in those with clinically-diagnosed anxiety, it does present a compelling case for gamified ABMT acting as a “cognitive vaccine” against anxiety and stress. The researchers believe that apps could eventually be developed to assist in the treatment for other mental health disorders, such as depression or addiction.”Gamifying psychological interventions successfully could revolutionize how we treat mental illness and how we view our own mental health. Our hope is to develop highly accessible and engaging evidence-based mobile intervention strategies that can be used in conjunction with traditional therapy or that can be ‘self-curated’ by the individual as personal tools to promote mental wellness,” Dennis concludes.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Don’t throw out old, sprouting garlic — it has heart-healthy antioxidants

“Sprouted” garlic — old garlic bulbs with bright green shoots emerging from the cloves — is considered to be past its prime and usually ends up in the garbage can. But scientists are reporting in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that this type of garlic has even more heart-healthy antioxidant activity than its fresher counterparts.Jong-Sang Kim and colleagues note that people have used garlic for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Today, people still celebrate its healthful benefits. Eating garlic or taking garlic supplements is touted as a natural way to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure and heart disease risk. It even may boost the immune system and help fight cancer. But those benefits are for fresh, raw garlic. Sprouted garlic has received much less attention. When seedlings grow into green plants, they make many new compounds, including those that protect the young plant against pathogens. Kim’s group reasoned that the same thing might be happening when green shoots grow from old heads of garlic. Other studies have shown that sprouted beans and grains have increased antioxidant activity, so the team set out to see if the same is true for garlic.They found that garlic sprouted for five days had higher antioxidant activity than fresher, younger bulbs, and it had different metabolites, suggesting that it also makes different substances. …

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Abdominal fat accumulation prevented by unsaturated fat

New research from Uppsala University shows that saturated fat builds more fat and less muscle than polyunsaturated fat. This is the first study on humans to show that the fat composition of food not only influences cholesterol levels in the blood and the risk of cardiovascular disease but also determines where the fat will be stored in the body. The findings have recently been published in the American journal Diabetes.The study involved 39 young adult men and women of normal weight, who ate 750 extra calories per day for seven weeks. The goal was for them to gain three per cent of their starting weight. The project received considerable attention when it started in 2011, partly because the extra calories were ingested in the form of muffins with high fat content, baked in the lab by Fredrik Rosqvist, a doctoral candidate and first author of the study.One half of the subjects were random to eat surplus calories from polyunsaturated fat (sunflower oil), while the other half got their surplus calories from saturated fat (palm oil). Both diets contained the same amount of sugar, carbohydrates, fat, and protein; the only difference between muffins was the type of fat.The increase in body fat and the distribution of fat in the body was measured using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scans) before and after the weight gain, as was the muscle mass in the body. Gene activity was measured in the abdominal visceral fat before and after the weight gain with the help of a gene chip that studies several thousand genes at a time.Despite comparable weight gains between the two diet groups, the surplus consumption of saturated fat caused a markedly greater increase in the amount of fat in the liver and abdomen (especially the fat surrounding the internal organs, visceral fat) in comparison with the surplus consumption of polyunsaturated fat. Moreover the total amount of body fat was greater in the saturated fat group, while, on the other hand, the increase in muscle mass was three times less for those who ate saturated fat compared with those who ate polyunsaturated fat. Thus, gaining weight on excess calories from polyunsaturated fat caused more gain in muscle mass, and less body fat than overeating a similar amount of saturated fat. Since most of us are in positive energy balance, and consequently gain weight slowly but gradually over time, the present results are highly relevant for most Western populations.”Liver fat and visceral fat seems to contribute to a number of disturbances in metabolism. …

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Molecular ‘cocktail’ transforms skin cells into beating heart cells

The power of regenerative medicine appears to have turned science fiction into scientific reality — by allowing scientists to transform skin cells into cells that closely resemble beating heart cells. However, the methods required are complex, and the transformation is often incomplete. But now, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have devised a new method that allows for the more efficient — and, importantly, more complete — reprogramming of skin cells into cells that are virtually indistinguishable from heart muscle cells. These findings, based on animal models and described in the latest issue of Cell Reports, offer new-found optimism in the hunt for a way to regenerate muscle lost in a heart attack.Heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death, but recent advances in science and medicine have improved the chances of surviving a heart attack. In the United States alone, nearly 1 million people have survived an attack, but are living with heart failure — a chronic condition in which the heart, having lost muscle during the attack, does not beat at full capacity. So, scientists have begun to look toward cellular reprogramming as a way to regenerate this damaged heart muscle.The reprogramming of skin cells into heart cells, an approach pioneered by Gladstone Investigator, Deepak Srivastava, MD, has required the insertion of several genetic factors to spur the reprogramming process. However, scientists have recognized potential problems with scaling this gene-based method into successful therapies. So some experts, including Gladstone Senior Investigator Sheng Ding, PhD, have taken a somewhat different approach.”Scientists have previously shown that the insertion of between four and seven genetic factors can result in a skin cell being directly reprogrammed into a beating heart cell,” explained Dr. Ding, the paper’s senior author and a professor of pharmaceutical chemistry at UCSF, with which Gladstone is affiliated. “But in my lab, we set out to see if we could perform a similar transformation by eliminating — or at least reducing — the reliance on this type of genetic manipulation.”To that effect, the research team used skin cells extracted from adult mice to screen for chemical compounds, so-called ‘small molecules,’ that could replace the genetic factors. …

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Abolition of fixed retirement age called for by new UK report

A report led by a professor at the University of Southampton recommends the worldwide removal of the fixed or default retirement age (DRA). Professor Yehuda Baruch from the Southampton Management School, in collaboration with Dr Susan Sayce from the University of East Anglia and Professor Andros Gregoriou from the University of Hull, has found that, on a global scale, current pension systems are unsustainable.Professor Baruch comments: “We have a global problem with funding pensions, which assume people will retire around their mid-60s. Young people are tending to start work later and in-turn start paying tax and pension contributions later. Older people are living longer, often in to their 90s, creating, in some cases, up to 30 years of retirement to provide for with their cover. This creates a funding gap.”Our study advocates the abolition of the default retirement age worldwide by governments and private companies — allowing people to consider a range of options on how and when to stop work, as well as greater flexibility over their pension plans. This would help ease funding problems.”The UK abolished the default retirement age in 2011, although a small number of organizations can fix their own DRA if they can justify reasons for doing so. However, other countries still have fixed retirement ages. The report authors have used the UK as a case study to examine the benefits and pitfalls of a more flexible approach to retirement.The researchers conducted financial analysis based on Monte Carlo simulation methodology to interrogate pension and other financial data. Their results suggest that where DRA is in place the pensions system is not sustainable in the long-run and recommend ending its use in other countries, in line with the UK approach.Professor Baruch says: “We would like to see a situation where people globally can be much more in control of when they retire. For example, they may want to work into their 70s or even 80s, but perhaps want to change the type or volume of work they take on.”Our study suggests that old age can be seen as holding the prospect of long-term stable contributions to society, rather than a decline or preparation for giving up work altogether — which can lead to pressure on the public purse.”The researchers conclude that if the default retirement age is to be successfully abolished worldwide, there needs to be a shift in cultural attitudes towards older workers and the perception of their value and productivity — as well as a change in the labour market to help older workers step into jobs, as well as out of jobs. …

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Obese children more likely to have complex elbow fractures, further complications

Pediatric obesity is currently an epidemic, with the prevalence having quadruped over the last 25 years. Children diagnosed with obesity can be at risk for various long-term health issues and may be putting their musculoskeletal system at risk. According to new research in the February issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery(JBJS), obese children who sustain a supracondylar humeral (above the elbow) fracture can be expected to have more complex fractures and experience more postoperative complications than children of a normal weight.”These findings show that children diagnosed with obesity are more likely to sustain these complex fractures from something as simple as falling onto an outstretched hand while standing, and these types of falls are quite common,” said author Michelle S. Caird, MD, assistant professor in the department of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Michigan. “Our research aims to remind parents that there are many serious risks to childhood obesity, including fractures and surgical complications. It’s important to ensure that children get the proper amount of exercise and to build their bone banks early in life to a strong and healthy frame.”Specific Study DetailsMore than 350 patients ranging in age from 2 to 11 years old who had undergone operative treatment for supracondylar humeral fractures were included in the study. Patient records were reviewed for demographic data, body mass index (BMI) percentile, and injury data. Forty-one children were underweight (BMI <5<sup>th percentile), 182 were normal weight (BMI in the 5th to 85th percentile), 63 were overweight (BMI in the >85th percentile), and 68 were obese (BMI in the >95th percentile). The study included 149 patients with type-2 fractures (a break through part of the bone at the growth plate and crack through the bone shaft), 11 of whom were diagnosed with obesity; and 205 patients with type-3 fractures, 57 of whom were diagnosed with obesity. Complex fractures were defined as Type-3 fractures (completely displaced), fractures with multiple fracture lines, open fractures where the bone is exposed through the skin, and multiple fractures in the same arm. …

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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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Detection of Down Syndrome during pregnancy improves for younger women

New figures from the National Down Syndrome Cytogenetic Register (NDSCR) based at Queen Mary University of London, England, reveal the proportion of Down syndrome cases diagnosed antenatally has increased in younger women. Furthermore, Down syndrome diagnoses are occurring earlier in pregnancy for women of all ages.The NDSCR is the only national source of data on pre and postnatal diagnoses of Down, Patau and Edwards syndrome cases in England and Wales. The latest figures are captured in the new NDSCR Annual Report 2012.Key findings from the report (all figures from 2012):There were 1,982 diagnoses of Down syndrome, 64% of which were made during pregnancy. There were an estimated 775 babies born with Down syndrome (an increase from 739 in 2011 and 734 in 2010). The proportion of women under 35 receiving a diagnosis of Down syndrome during pregnancy has increased from 54% in 2008 to 66% in 2012. The proportion for women 35 and over remained constant at 71% from 2008 to 2012. The proportion of women receiving a diagnoses of Down syndrome during pregnancy after screening in the first three months of pregnancy (first trimester) increased from 45% in 2008 to 77% in 2012 for women under 35 and from 68% in 2008 to 80% of 2012 for women 35 and over. The proportion of women having a termination after a diagnosis of Down syndrome during pregnancy has decreased from 92% in 1989-2010 to 90% in 2011-12. The data also shows there were regional differences in the type of screening women were offered. In all the English regions the majority of women were diagnosed after first trimester screening (81%), compared to less than a third of women (31%) in Wales. …

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‘Traffic-light’ labeling increases attention to nutritional quality of food choices

Oct. 17, 2013 — A simple, color-coded system for labeling food items in a hospital cafeteria appears to have increased customer’s attention to the healthiness of their food choices, along with encouraging purchases of the most healthy items. In their report in the October issue of Preventive Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators describe customer responses to surveys taken before and after the 2010 implementation of a system using green, yellow or red “traffic light” labels to reflect the nutritional quality of items.”Several small, experimental studies have suggested that ‘traffic light’ labels can be an effective method of promoting healthier choices, but there have been few real-world studies of customers’ perceptions and purchasing behaviors in response to this type of labeling,” explains Lillian Sonnenberg, DSc, RD, LDN, MGH Nutrition and Food Service, the corresponding author of the current report. “Our results suggest that these labels are an effective method for conveying information about healthy and unhealthy choices and for prompting changes in purchasing behavior.”While many restaurants and other food service locations are now posting the calorie content of their standard items and make detailed information — such as fat, cholesterol and sodium content — available on request, the researchers note that interpreting this information requires knowledge and skills that many do not possess. To find a simpler way to encourage more healthful purchases at the hospital’s food service locations, MGH Nutrition and Food Service put together a plan that started with color-coding each item sold in the main cafeteria — green for the healthiest items, such as fruits, vegetables and lean meats; yellow for less healthy items, and red for those with little or no nutritional value. Signage encouraged frequent purchase of green items, less frequent for yellow and discouraged purchase of red items. Cafeteria cash registers were programmed to record each purchased item as green, yellow or red, starting three months before the labeling intervention began.Previous reports from the MGH team have described how the program — a second phase of which included rearranging items in refrigerators to bring healthy choices to eye level — increased sales of green items while decreasing purchase of red items. The current paper reports results of a survey taken during the month before and the two months after the labeling intervention began in March 2010. Research coordinators approached customers who had just made purchases and asked them to participate in the brief survey. Participants were asked whether they had noticed any nutritional information in the cafeteria or on food labels, which factors most influenced their purchases, how often they consider nutrition information before making food choices, and how often they “choose food that is healthy.” After introduction of the color-coded labels, respondents were also asked whether they had noticed the labels and if the labels had influenced their purchases.During the baseline period before the labeling intervention, 204 individuals completed the survey, and 243 did so in the weeks following. …

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Mesothelioma Surgery- What Are Your Options?

There are three main types of surgeries used in the treatment of mesothelioma.A-Diagnostic surgery: This is used to confirm the diagnosis and locate the tumor. It is usually non invasive {it does not require cutting up the patient surgically}B-Curative surgery: This involves the removal of as much tumor as possible with the hope of curing the patient. Radiotherapy and or chemotherapy is often used in combination with this type of surgery.C-Palliative surgery: This form of surgery offers only symptomatic relief. It involves removal of cancer tissue but it does not offer a cure.These are the different types of surgical procedures available for treatment:1-BiopsyThis is a diagnostic form of surgery in which the suspected cancer tissue is partially removed and sent …

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Diagnosed with Mesothelioma?

Most people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma have gone to the doctor because of troubling or persistant symptoms. If the doctor suspects that a patient has mesothelioma, he or she will use certain tests to determine with certainty whether mesothelioma is actually present.Symptoms of mesothelioma can easily be mistaken for symptoms of other illnesses, especially early on. As a result, many people are not diagnosed until symptoms have persisted for several months or have gotten noticeably worse. Symptoms of mesothelioma depend on the type of mesothelioma and vary from individual to individual. According to current medical knowledge, peritoneal mesothelioma, which takes place in the lining of the abdominal cavity, may include swelling and or pain in the abdomen, weight loss, vomiting and nausea. Pleural mesothelioma, which …

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How Far Has Your Mesothelioma Cancer Spread?

Doctors often rely on knowing the different stages of mesothelioma to be able to effectively treat this type of cancer. Like most other cancers, this type of cancer passes through different stages as the disease advances, these different stages have significant bearing on the type of treatment that will be prescribed and on the most likely outcome of the disease.The various mesothelioma stages generally indicate how far the disease has progressed beyond its original point of origin. Localized mesothelioma is diagnosed when the cancer has not spread beyond the membrane (most often the lining of the lungs) in which it originated. If the cancer cells have spread beyond this lining to invade the lungs, chest wall cavity or other body organs it is considered an advanced …

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Mesothelioma Settlements – Some FAQ’s

Considering a legal battle regarding mesothelioma and asbestos exposure can be a scary prospect. However, with the right mesothelioma legal professionals, the process can flow much smoother and most often with better results; including mesothelioma settlements. There are number of questions that many people may have regarding mesothelioma settlements. Below are just a few of the concerns we have heard in recent years.Are mesothelioma settlements typically subject to income tax fees and requirements?Generally speaking, settlement money earned from a personal injury is not taxable by most states. This same principle applies to a mesothelioma settlement. However, taxes are charged to the representing Attorney who earns profits from a mesothelioma settlement’s contingency fee. If mesothelioma settlement monies are invested, then taxes will be applied to interest …

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What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?

In a lot of cases where someone is involved in a car accident or suffers from some kind of injury, you might hear your attorney talk about “pain and suffering damages.” For a lot of people who don’t have a lot of knowledge about the law, this term can sound a little confusing. While it’s always best to talk to your attorney about any legal question you have, here is what you need to know about pain and suffering damages.DamagesIn the legal world, the word “damages” is just another way of saying money. More specifically, it’s money other people owe you because they caused you harm. For example, if you are involved in a car accident because someone else drove recklessly, that person may have to pay you money. Depending on how badly your car was damaged and whether you suffered an injury, the other driver may have to pay to both repair your car and compensate you for the injuries you received. The driver might also have to pay you because the accident left you in pain or prevented you from going to work and earning an income. All of these types of payments are referred to as damages.Pain and SufferingIn any case where someone is hurt, it’s often very easy to determine the price of property damage, medical costs, and lost wages. These types of damages are known as economic damages.Yet the courts also allow for non-economic damages, or as they are more commonly referred to, pain and suffering. These types of damages are not so easily calculated because there is no fixed dollar amount associated with them.Any time you’re hurt in an accident you might be entitled to recover pain and suffering damages because you’ve suffered pain, gone through emotional or psychological distress, have been disfigured, or have sustained injuries that have affected your ability to do things you like to do. If any of these situations occurred as a result of the accident or injury you sustained, and someone else is at fault, you can receive pain and suffering damages.Calculating the Cost of PainWhenever you sue for pain and suffering damages, the question of how much you are entitled to always arises. …

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Turning to parasites as potential disease fighters

Sep. 9, 2013 — There is a new weapon in the fight against autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and lupus, the common trait of which is an immune system that attacks its own organs and tissues.William Gause, an immunologist at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, is among those leading the charge against these diseases by studying how the human body reacts to worms. The worms Gause studies, or helminths as biologists call them, are small parasites that live in human intestines, especially in the developing world.According to an article in Nature Reviews Immunology by Gause and colleagues from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Edinburgh, the worms’ presence through millennia of human evolution likely has led to an immune response called type 2 immunity. This includes immune regulatory pathways that help control the inflammation that can contribute to autoimmune diseases.The immune reaction, the researchers say, appears to have developed as a way to rapidly repair wounds caused by these invaders as they move through the body. In fact, components of the type 2 immune response may someday be used to enhance the wound healing process. Additionally, this response triggers regulatory networks that block harmful immune responses, or inflammation, that otherwise would exacerbate the tissue injury.”What we would like to do now is harness components of the type 2 immune response to target the control of harmful inflammation that can lead to autoimmune diseases like diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease,” Gause says. He adds that inflammatory responses also have been linked to other diseases, including cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders, and even to allergic reactions and fibrosis that may result when titanium shavings that flake away from artificial joints settle in the body. “Finding new ways to stimulate these regulatory components of the type 2 immune response may provide us with a new set of tools to target the control of harmful inflammatory responses now associated with this wide array of different diseases.”For now, live helminths or helminth byproducts may be introduced into the body on a short-term basis to train compromised immune systems. A 2012 study by a Gause-led team found that the introduction of helminths for two weeks caused the immune systems of mice to produce cytokines, or signaling molecules, which gave them lasting protection against Type 1 diabetes.That finding mirrors human experience in the developing world where helminth infection is endemic, but the incidence of autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes is extremely low.”There is a growing body of evidence to support the hygiene hypothesis, which suggests that decreased exposure to microbes and helminths in industrialized countries may impair the development of immune regulatory networks that would otherwise control harmful inflammatory responses,” Gause says.The end result of that process, according to Gause, is increased incidence of a variety of diseases linked to harmful inflammation. “If we find a controlled way to apply the benefit that helminths appear to provide to the workings of the immune system, it is conceivable that we as a society would no longer need to endure the apparent tradeoff between clean living conditions and inflammatory diseases.”

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Eating whole fruits linked to lower risk of Type 2 diabetes

Aug. 29, 2013 — Eating more whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples, was significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. Greater consumption of fruit juices was associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. The study is the first to look at the effects of individual fruits on diabetes risk.”While fruits are recommended as a measure for diabetes prevention, previous studies have found mixed results for total fruit consumption. Our findings provide novel evidence suggesting that certain fruits may be especially beneficial for lowering diabetes risk,” said senior author Qi Sun, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH and assistant professor at the Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital.The study appears online August 29, 2013 in BMJ (British Medical Journal).The researchers examined data gathered between 1984 and 2008 from 187,382 participants in three long-running studies (Nurses’ Health Study, Nurses’ Health Study II, and Health Professionals Follow-up Study). Participants who reported a diagnosis of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer at enrollment were excluded. Results showed that 12,198 participants (6.5%) developed diabetes during the study period.The researchers looked at overall fruit consumption, as well as consumption of individual fruits: grapes or raisins; peaches, plums, or apricots; prunes; bananas; cantaloupe; apples or pears; oranges; grapefruit; strawberries; and blueberries. They also looked at consumption of apple, orange, grapefruit, and “other” fruit juices.People who ate at least two servings each week of certain whole fruits — particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples — reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes by as much as 23% in comparison to those who ate less than one serving per month. Conversely, those who consumed one or more servings of fruit juice each day increased their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 21%. The researchers found that swapping three servings of juice per week for whole fruits would result in a 7% reduction in diabetes risk.The fruits’ glycemic index (a measure of how rapidly carbohydrates in a food boost blood sugar) did not prove to be a significant factor in determining a fruit’s association with type 2 diabetes risk. …

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New implanted defibrillator works well without touching heart

Aug. 26, 2013 — A new type of defibrillator implanted under the skin can detect dangerously abnormal heart rhythms and deliver shocks to restore a normal heartbeat without wires touching the heart, according to research in the American Heart Association journal, Circulation.The subcutaneous implantable cardiac defibrillator (S-ICD®) includes a lead placed under the skin along the left side of the breast bone. Traditional implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs) include electrical conducting wires inserted into blood vessels that touch the heart.ICDs can greatly reduce the risk of death in patients at high risk for sudden cardiac arrest.Physicians insert the new device without X-ray guidance, and have reduced concerns about broken lead wires, vessel damage, vessel infection and scarring that make traditional device removal difficult.”Defibrillation has repeatedly proven to be a great asset in prolonging the lives of cardiac patients, but there are still some risks to address,” said Martin C. Burke, D.O., senior author of the study and a professor of medicine and director of the Heart Rhythm Center at the University of Chicago. “This new system was developed over a dozen years to combine some of the best aspects of traditional implanted ICDs and external defibrillators.”In the 33-site study, 314 of 330 patients (average age 52) evaluated had the S-ICD® implanted. During an average 11-month follow-up, 21 patients spontaneously developed 38 episodes of ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia. All were successfully restored to a normal heart rhythm. In addition, 41 patients (13.1 percent) received shocks that were inappropriate because they weren’t preceded by a dangerous heart rhythm.The study surpassed goals set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the new device:Ninety-nine percent of the S-ICD® patients remained free of complications 180 days following implantation, compared with a 79 percent goal. When tested by a purposely-induced abnormal rhythm following implantation, the S-ICD® was 100 percent effective at consistently detecting and reversing ventricular fibrillation. …

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