Maintaining Healthy Romantic Relationships: University of Waterloo Studies Identify a Promising Way

Newswise — Thinking about the future helps overcome relationship conflicts, according to a University of Waterloo study just published online in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

“When romantic partners argue over things like finances, jealousy, or other interpersonal issues, they tend to employ their current feelings as fuel for a heated argument. By envisioning their relationship in the future, people can shift the focus away from their current feelings and mitigate conflicts,” said Alex Huynh, a doctoral candidate in psychology and lead author of the study, which he published with Igor Grossmann from the University of Waterloo, and Daniel Yang from Yale University.

Previous research has shown that taking a step back, and adopting a distanced fly-on-the-wall-type of perspective can be a positive strategy for reconciliation of interpersonal struggles. For example, prior research by Grossmann and colleagues suggests that people are able to reason more wisely over issues of infidelity when they are asked to do so from a third-person perspective. Huynh and his collaborators investigated whether similar benefits in reasoning and relationship well-being can be induced by simply stepping back and thinking about the future.

Study participants were instructed to reflect on a recent conflict with a romantic partner or a close friend. One group of participants were then asked to describe how they would feel about the conflict one year in the future, while another group was asked to describe how they feel in the present.

The team examined participants’ written responses through a text-analysis program for their use of pronouns – such as I, me, she, he. These choices of pronouns were used to capture participants’ focus on the feelings and behaviour of those involved in the conflict. Written responses were also examined for beneficial reasoning strategies – for example, forgiveness and reinterpreting the conflict more positively.

The researchers found that thinking about the future affected both participants’ focus on their feelings, and their reasoning strategies. As a result, participants reported more positivity about their relationship altogether. In particular, when study participants extended their thinking about the relationship a year into the future, they were able to show more forgiveness and reinterpret the event in a more reasoned and positive light.

The way people respond to conflict is an essential component for relationship maintenance, say the researchers.

“Our study demonstrates that adopting a future-oriented perspective in the context of a relationship conflict – reflecting on how one might feel a year from now – may be a valuable coping tool for one’s psychological happiness and relationship well-being,” said Huynh.

The research also has potential implications for understanding how prospection, or future-thinking, can be a beneficial strategy for a variety of conflicts people experience in their everyday lives.

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Memory is greater threat to romantic relationships than Facebook

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Lack of exercise costs world $67.5 billion and 5 million lives a year

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Burning more calories linked with reduced Alzheimer’s risk: University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

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Lack of Physical Fitness in Youth Associated With Threefold Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes in Adulthood

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Menopause: Effect of Aerobic Exercise and Nutrition Education on Quality of Life and Early Symptoms

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Effects of Pilates and trunk strengthening exercises on health-related quality of life in women with chronic low back pain.

J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2016 Feb 16. [Epub ahead of print] Effects of Pilates and trunk strengthening exercises on health-related quality of life in women with chronic low back pain. Kofotolis N1, Kellis E1, Vlachopoulos SP2, Gouitas I1, Theodorakis Y3. … Continue reading

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Doctor, patient expectations differ on fitness and lifestyle tracking

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Chronic conditions rise in older people

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4 Things to Know About Tau Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease

You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking the game might be over for tau therapy, a cutting-edge Alzheimer’s disease treatment.

The bad news this week about a new Alzheimer’s drug designed to reduce toxic tau proteins in the brain hit the medical world with a resounding thud. Researchers reported at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Toronto that TauRx’s once-promising experimental drug showed no benefit in the vast majority of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

RELATED: TauRx Alzheimer’s Drug LMTX Fails in Large Study Although Some Benefit Seen

However, experts on the front lines say there is still hope for drugs that target tau proteins.

“Tau therapy still is a very interesting approach to Alzheimer’s disease,” Dr. Ronald Peterson, director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, told NBC News.

While Alzheimer’s experts acknowledge that this particular drug trial was not a success, he says, that study in no way diminishes the enthusiasm for targeting tau proteins as a way to treat patients.

So what exactly is a “tau protein,” and why are doctors so excited about drugs to treat its toxic state? Here are four things to know.

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Additional recent stories about Alzheimer’s

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Early TBI Tied to Parkinson’s But Not Alzheimer’s

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Alzheimer’s so-called one-two punch has been demystified

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New links found between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, and it’s not bad news

Drugs used to treat diabetes could also be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, and vice versa, according to new research from the University of Aberdeen. This is also the first study of its kind to show that Alzheimer’s disease can … Continue reading

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Regular exercise at any age might stave off Alzheimer’s

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 17, 2016) — Recent research suggests that exercise might provide some measure of protection from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. A group of researchers led by Nathan Johnson PT, DPT, PhD of the University of Kentucky College … Continue reading

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Problems Getting Lost May Be Early Alzheimer’s

Newswise — Long before Alzheimer’s disease can be diagnosed clinically, increasing difficulties building cognitive maps of new surroundings may herald the eventual clinical onset of the disorder, finds new research from Washington University in St. Louis. “These findings suggest that … Continue reading

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Strategies and milestones for Alzheimer’s patient and caregiver support outlined

INDIANAPOLIS — The National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) was signed into law in 2011. Over the past five years milestones have been identified to meet the plan’s biomedical research goal. However, similar milestones have not been created for the goals … Continue reading

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Why Do People with Alzheimer’s Stop Recognizing Their Loved Ones?

Newswise — Montreal, April 11, 2016 – Alzheimer’s not only steals people’s memories but also their ability to recognize faces, which widens the gulf between people with this disease and their loved ones. A recent study has demonstrated that, beyond … Continue reading

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Imitating movements could help Alzheimer’s patients

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Alzheimer’s Association. There is no cure and no way to slow or prevent the illness. But, patients can still benefit from both physical and cognitive … Continue reading

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Early Links To Alzheimer’s Can Appear In Your 40s

For the first time a study has found that people as young as their 40s can show signs of arterial stiffening linked to subtle brain damage, a condition that leads to cognitive decline and eventually Alzheimer’s disease. The study involved approximately 1,900 … Continue reading

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Beyond Alzheimer’s: Study reveals how mix of brain ailments drives dementia

A new analysis based on two long-term aging studies–one of Roman Catholic nuns, the other of Japanese American men–provides what may be the most compelling evidence yet that dementia commonly results from a blend of brain ailments, rather than from … Continue reading

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Alzheimer’s risk factors, some of them at least, are in your hands

The biggest risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease are aging and genetic predisposition. That is, all of our risks go up as we get older, and those with certain genetic variations, like APOE e4, are also at heightened risk. But aside … Continue reading

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In Early Alzheimer’s Stages, Women May Keep Verbal Memory Skills Longer than Men

Newswise — MINNEAPOLIS – Women may have a better memory for words than men despite evidence of similar levels of shrinkage in areas of the brain that show the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published in … Continue reading

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Is Alzheimer’s transmissible?

A controversial study has suggested that the neurodegenerative disease might be transferred from one person to another. Now scientists are racing to find out whether that is true. In the 25 years that John Collinge has studied neurology, he has … Continue reading

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Burning more calories linked with reduced Alzheimer’s risk: University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

PITTSBURGH, March 11, 2016 – Whether they jog, swim, garden or dance, physically active older persons have larger gray matter volume in key brain areas responsible for memory and cognition, according to a new study by researchers at the University … Continue reading

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Alzheimer’s: Daily nutritional drink could help conserve memory: University Saarland

Topline results from the European LipiDiDiet clinical trial were presented today as part of a late-breaking presentation at the Advances in Alzheimer’s Therapy (AAT) congress. They showed that in people with prodromal AD (the pre-dementia stage of AD), a once-daily … Continue reading

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When a Loved One Has Alzheimer’s Disease, Practical Tips Can Help Patient, Caregiver

Newswise — ROCHESTER, Minn. — Anyone caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease likely can relate to former first lady Nancy Reagan, who called the illness suffered by former President Ronald Reagan “a truly long, long goodbye.” Mrs. Reagan, … Continue reading

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A ‘Western Diet’ Increases Alzheimer’s Risk

Newswise — Recent research has established associations between certain environmental factors, including eating a western diet and being sedentary, with an increased susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, it is estimated that a combination of diet and inactivity contributes to … Continue reading

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Alzheimer’s often preceded by antidepressant consumption

Antidepressants are frequently initiated in persons with Alzheimer’s disease already before the diagnosis, shows a recent study from the University of Eastern Finland. Among persons with Alzheimer’s disease, the initiation of antidepressant use was most common during the six months … Continue reading

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Blocking inflammation improves memory in Alzheimer’s disease

Irvine, Calif., Feb. 29, 2016 — Using a drug compound created to treat cancer, University of California, Irvine neurobiologists have disarmed the brain’s response to the distinctive beta-amyloid plaques that are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Kim Green and colleagues … Continue reading

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Researchers Find ‘Ground Zero’ of Alzheimer’s Disease

Newswise — A critical but vulnerable region in the brain appears to be the first place affected by late onset Alzheimer’s disease and may be more important for maintaining cognitive function in later life than previously appreciated, according to a … Continue reading

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Lipid-based diets effectively combat Alzheimer’s disease in mouse model

Alzheimer´s disease (AD) is the most common disease underlying memory problems and dementia in the elderly. One of the invariable pathologies in AD is degeneration of cholinergic synapses in brain cortex and hippocampus. Despite enormous effort to find out an … Continue reading

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Seafood could reduce Alzheimer’s risk

New research published Feb. 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that older adults with a major risk gene for Alzheimer’s disease known as APOE?4 who ate at least one seafood serving per week showed fewer signs … Continue reading

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Alzheimer’s may be transmissible, not to be confused with contagious

For the second time in four months, researchers have reported autopsy results that suggest Alzheimer’s disease might occasionally be transmitted to people during certain medical treatments — although scientists say that neither set of findings is conclusive. The latest autopsies, … Continue reading

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The natural environmental toxin that may increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative illnesses

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo., Jan. 20, 2016 – A new study published today in the science journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B indicates that chronic exposure to an environmental toxin may increase risk of neurodegenerative illness. Conducted by scientists at … Continue reading

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Dietary Omega-3s Linked to Lowered Colon Cancer Mortality

A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids found in foods such as salmon, walnuts, soybeans, and tofu has been associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer (CRC).

Now, it may also boost survival after a diagnosis of the disease.

A study of CRC-specific and overall mortality in a cohort of 1,659 patients showed that higher intake of marine ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs) after CRC diagnosis was associated with lower risk of CRC-specific mortality, Andrew T. Chan, MD, MPH, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and colleagues reported online in Gut.

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Also see these other stories about omega-3

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Lower Breast Cancer Risk in Postmenopausal Obese Women

Newswise — Omega-3 fatty acids may lower the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal obese women, according to researchers. The protection likely comes from the fatty acids’ anti-inflammatory effects, said Dr. Andrea Manni, professor and division chief of endocrinology, diabetes … Continue reading

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Cancer risk may be reduced via omega-3s, according to new study

DAVIS–Researchers at the University of California, Davis have discovered a key mechanism by which dietary omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils) could reduce the tumor growth and spread of cancer, a disease that kills some 580,000 Americans a year.   Dietary … Continue reading

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Taking omega-3 supplements may help prevent skin cancer, new University of Manchester study finds

Taking omega-3 fish oils could help to protect against skin cancer, according to researchers at The University of Manchester. The team has just carried out the first clinical trial to examine the impact of the fish oils on the skin … Continue reading

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Lifelong omega-3s inhibit breast cancer tumor growth: Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry

A lifelong diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can inhibit growth of breast cancer tumours by 30 per cent, according to new research from the University of Guelph. The study, published recently in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, is believed … Continue reading

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AND these stories about colon cancer

Colon cancer research: Plant compounds give ‘1-2’ punch

ST. LOUIS — The combination of two plant compounds that have medicinal properties – curcumin and silymarin – holds promise in treating colon cancer, according Saint Louis University research published in the June 23 issue of the Journal of Cancer. … Continue reading

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Common Type of Colon Cancer Tumor in Mice Blocked

Newswise — A new scientific study has identified why colorectal cancer cells depend on a specific nutrient, and a way to starve them of it. Over one million men and women are living with colorectal cancer in the United States. … Continue reading

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The pill that may increase survival after colon cancer

It is well known that the drug ASA, also known internationally as Aspirin, has analgesic and fever-reducing properties. However, this drug may also increase the likelihood of surviving colon cancer. Kjetil Taskén, professor at the Faculty of Medicine, is one … Continue reading

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Colon Cancer Diagnosed at Earlier Ages

Newswise — Even though the possibilities of colorectal cancer increases with age, a new study found that certain ethnicities are starting to be diagnosed with the condition at younger ages than ever before. Researchers from the University of Missouri School … Continue reading

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Biomarker Predicts Which Stage II Colon Cancer Patients May Benefit From Chemotherapy

Newswise — NEW YORK, NY (January 20, 2016)—A multicenter research team has identified a biomarker that predicts which stage II colon cancer patients may benefit from chemotherapy after surgery to prevent a recurrence of their disease. The study was published … Continue reading

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Family history of colon cancer? Research calls for stricter screening recommendations

Bethesda, MD (Oct. 6, 2015) — All relatives of individuals with colorectal cancer are at increased risk for this cancer, regardless of the age of diagnosis of the index patient in the family, according to a study published online in … Continue reading

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Prunes, aka dried plums, reduce colon cancer risk: Texas A&M AgriLife Research

COLLEGE STATION — Researchers from Texas A&M University and the University of North Carolina have shown a diet containing dried plums can positively affect microbiota, also referred to as gut bacteria, throughout the colon, helping reduce the risk of colon … Continue reading

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An aspirin a day, for years, may keep colon cancer away

(Reuters Health) – Taking one or two baby aspirins a day for at least five years was tied to a lower risk of colorectal cancer in a study from Denmark. Earlier studies had suggested that aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs … Continue reading

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New colon cancer blood test improves colonoscopy screening results

WASHINGTON — Canadian researchers have found a way to screen blood samples for molecular traces that indicate the presence of precancerous polyps in the colon, a key warning sign for colon cancer. Their results, published this week in the journal … Continue reading

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Powdered Cranberry Combats Colon Cancer in Mice

NEWSWISE — BOSTON, Aug. 18, 2015 — Cranberries are often touted as a way to protect against urinary tract infections, but that may be just the beginning. Researchers fed cranberry extracts to mice with colon cancer and found that the … Continue reading

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Colon cancer survivors may benefit from coffee: Dana Farber Cancer Institute

Newswise — BOSTON – Regular consumption of caffeinated coffee may help prevent the return of colon cancer after treatment and improve the chances of a cure, according to a new, large study from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that reported this striking … Continue reading

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More precise colon cancer screening?

A clinical scoring system for colon cancer risk could help physicians identify which average-risk patients could potentially skip a colonoscopy and instead be screened with a less-invasive method. The researchers suggest that this approach could increase the uptake and efficiency … Continue reading

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Researchers investigate possible colon cancer risk for new generation of weight-loss drugs

Gastric bypass and similar stomach-shrinking surgeries are a popular option for obese patients looking to lose weight or treat type 2 diabetes. While the surgeries have been linked to a decreased risk in many types of cancers, the single outlier … Continue reading

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For endometrial, colon cancers, a new strategy

Newswise — Scientists love acronyms. In the quest to solve cancer’s mysteries, they come in handy when describing tongue-twisting processes and pathways that somehow allow tumors to form and thrive. Two examples are ERK (extracellular-signal-related kinase) and JNK (c-June N-Terminal … Continue reading

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‘Low-carbohydrate diet can prevent colon cancer’

Researchers used a low-carb, high-protein diet for their study (photo by dollen via Flickr) Researchers at the University of Toronto have found that gut bacteria drive a common form of colon cancer, and that a low-carbohydrate diet can prevent the … Continue reading

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Processed meat, colon cancer linked in new gene study

A common genetic variant that affects one in three people appears to significantly increase the risk of colorectal cancer from the consumption of processed meat, according to study published today in PLOS Genetics. The study of over 18,000 people from … Continue reading

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Colon cancer web info too complex, fails to address key concerns: researcher

DALLAS – April 14, 2014 – Popular web information on colorectal cancer is too difficult for most lay people to read and doesn’t address the appropriate risks to and concerns of patients, a study by UT Southwestern Medical Center gastroenterologists … Continue reading

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Colon cancer screening guidelines may miss 10 percent of colon cancers

SALT LAKE CITY—For people with a family history of adenomas (colon polyps that lead to colon cancer), up to 10 percent of colorectal cancers could be missed when current national screening guidelines are followed. Colorectal cancer is the third most … Continue reading

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Minimally invasive operation helps elderly patients after colon cancer treatment

WASHINGTON, DC—The chance of ending up in a nursing facility appears to be significantly lower for older patients who undergo a laparoscopic procedure than for those who have open surgical resection for colon cancer, according to a study presented during … Continue reading

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Improved survival in colon cancer patients may come about when aspirin acts on blood platelets

Researchers believe they have discovered how aspirin improves survival in patients diagnosed with colon cancer, the 2013 European Cancer Congress (ECC2013) [1] heard today (Monday). Although previous research has shown that taking low dose aspirin after being diagnosed with colon … Continue reading

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Diabetic patients not only have an increased risk of developing breast and colon cancer but an even higher risk of dying from them

Diabetes is linked to an increased risk of developing cancer, and now researchers have performed a unique meta-analysis that excludes all other causes of death and found that diabetic patients not only have an increased risk of developing breast and … Continue reading

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New method for early detection of colon cancer

PHILADELPHIA — A new, highly sensitive method to detect genetic variations that initiate colon cancer could be readily used for noninvasive colon cancer screening, according to a study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for … Continue reading

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How soy foods protect against colon cancer

University of Illinois scientists have evidence that lifelong exposure to genistein, a bioactive component in soy foods, protects against colon cancer by repressing a signal that leads to accelerated growth of cells, polyps, and eventually malignant tumors. “In our study, … Continue reading

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Pregnancy: Low Iron Linked to Thyroid Dysfunction?

Over one-third of pregnant women had iron deficiencies in their first trimester, which were likely to be associated with increased risk of thyroid-related conditions, a small Belgian study found.

In both univariate and multivariable analyses, iron deficiency in pregnancy was linked with a significantly increased risk of thyroid autoimmunity and dysfunction, reported Flora Veltri, MD, of Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, and colleagues.

The link was also associated with an increased risk of subclinical hypothyroidism in multivariate analyses, the team wrote in the European Journal of Endocrinology.

Iron deficiency was associated with a 57% increased risk in thyroid autoimmunity (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.11-2.11) in univariate analyses. Low levels of iron were also linked with a 52% higher risk of thyroid autoimmunity (adjusted OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.52-2.15) and a more than twofold increased risk (OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.59-3.40) associated with subclinical hypothyroidism in a multivariate model.

Another of the co-authors, Kris Poppe, MD, also of Université Libre, noted that there was very little existing literature on the association between iron deficiency and altered thyroid function, although it was something he has noticed routinely in his practice.

“In my daily practice as an endocrinologist, pregnant women are often referred by gynecologists for an altered thyroid function, and I often notice that the women also have low iron levels,” he told MedPage Today via email.

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Divorce Risk Linked to Couples’ Division of Paid and Unpaid Labor

Newswise — WASHINGTON, DC, July 25, 2016 — A new study suggests that financial factors, including couples’ overall resources and wives’ ability to support themselves in the event of a divorce, are not predictive of whether marriages last. Rather, it is couples’ division of labor — paid and unpaid — that is associated with the risk of divorce.

“My results suggest that, in general, financial factors do not determine whether couples stay together or separate,” said study author Alexandra Killewald, a professor of sociology at Harvard University. “Instead, couples’ paid and unpaid work matters for the risk of divorce, even after adjusting for how work is related to financial resources.”

Titled, “Money, Work, and Marital Stability: Assessing Change in the Gendered Determinants of Divorce,” the study uses nationally representative data on more than 6,300 different-sex couples, both spouses age 18 to 55, from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to examine what effect, if any, couples’ division of labor, their overall financial resources, and wives’ economic prospects following divorce have on marital stability.

As part of her study, which appears in the August issue of the American Sociological Review, Killewald compared couples married in 1974 or earlier with couples married in 1975 or later to explore whether the effects, or lack thereof, of these factors changed over time. Killewald found that, in both the old and new cohorts, financial factors did not play a role in divorce. On the other hand, while the division of labor did affect marital outcomes in both cohorts, there was some variation in terms of what division of labor was better for marriage stability.

For couples married before 1975, the higher the percentage of housework a woman did, the less likely her marriage was to end in divorce. For the more recent cohort, however, that was no longer the case. “For couples married more recently, expectations for the division of housework between spouses appear to have changed, so that men are expected to contribute at least somewhat to household labor,” said Killewald, who noted that, even in the more recent marriage cohort, wives do more than 70 percent of the housework, on average. “In general, men seem to be contributing a little more than they used to, and these contributions may now be expected and appreciated by wives.”

Killewald found that, for couples married after 1974, neither wives’ full-time employment nor sharing the housework more evenly was associated with the risk of divorce. In this cohort, husbands’ full-time employment was an important factor in marital stability, with the risk of divorce higher for men who were not employed full-time.

“For contemporary couples, wives can combine paid and unpaid labor in various ways without threatening the stability of their marriage,” according to Killewald, who said that while the gender revolution and the feminist movement have allowed women to take on traditionally male-dominated roles and responsibilities, men’s roles and responsibilities have not expanded or diversified proportionately.

“While contemporary wives need not embrace the traditional female homemaker role to stay married, contemporary husbands face higher risk of divorce when they do not fulfill the stereotypical breadwinner role, by being employed full-time,” Killewald said.

Regarding financial factors, by finding that couples’ overall resources and wives’ economic prospects following divorce did not determine whether marriages lasted, Killewald’s study dispels the theory that attributes the spike in divorce rates to women’s increased financial independence. “The fact that divorce rates rose during the second half of the 20th century at the same time when women were moving into the labor force has prompted some speculation that marital stability has declined because women no longer ‘need’ to be married for financial security,” Killewald said. “For some, this implies that women’s entry into the work force has come at the expense of stable marriages. My results do not suggest any tradeoff of that kind.”

Though changing gender roles have afforded women greater flexibility in terms of labor without jeopardizing their marriages, the study indicates that men have not been granted similar freedom. “Often when scholars or the media talk about work-family policies or work-family balance, they focus mostly on the experiences of women,” Killewald said. “Although much of the responsibility for negotiating that balance falls to women, my results suggest one way that expectations about gender and family roles and responsibilities affect men’s lives, too: men who aren’t able to sustain full-time work face heightened risk of divorce.”

In terms of the study’s policy implications, Killewald said her research may help guide policymakers who are considering the societal impact of policies that provide financial support to unmarried women. “Because I do not find that couples are more likely to divorce when women are better able to sustain themselves financially in the event of a divorce, public financial support — to divorced women and other groups — such as the earned income tax credit (EITC) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is unlikely to heighten divorce rates,” Killewald said.

This research was supported by a grant from the William F. Milton Fund, Harvard University. The collection of data used in this study (the PSID) was partly supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

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Treating Psoriasis May Improve Related Cardiovascular Symptoms

Newswise — BOSTON (July 28, 2016) — Approximately 7.5 million people in the United States have psoriasis, and the impact of this disease goes far beyond its visible effects on the skin.

“People with psoriasis, particularly those with more severe disease, have an increased risk for a variety of other health problems, including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and heart attack,” says board-certified dermatologist Jashin J. Wu, MD, FAAD, director of dermatology research at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. “Psoriasis patients, even those with mild disease, need to be aware of how this condition affects their overall health.”

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized in most patients by red, raised patches of skin, or plaques, covered with silvery-white scales. According to Dr. Wu, the inflammatory effects of this skin disease can impact the entire body, which may lead to cardiovascular problems.

Treating psoriasis may help improve cardiovascular symptoms by reducing skin inflammation, which in turn leads to less inflammation elsewhere in the body, Dr. Wu says. Treatment options for moderate to severe psoriasis include phototherapy; systemic medications such as acitretin, cyclosporine and methotrexate; and biologics, which block the immune system responses that fuel inflammation.

Recent studies have indicated that biologic medications may improve cardiovascular symptoms in some psoriasis patients, Dr. Wu says, but the exact reason for this improvement remains unclear. He says more research is required to determine whether a direct connection exists between biologic treatment and the improvement of cardiovascular symptoms, and to evaluate how biologics compare to other psoriasis treatments in reducing cardiovascular diseases. In the meantime, he advises all psoriasis patients to seek treatment, maintain a healthy weight and talk to their doctor about screening for cardiovascular conditions.

“Psoriasis is a serious medical condition that can have a detrimental effect on your overall health,” Dr. Wu says. “If you have this disease, talk to a board-certified dermatologist to determine the best treatment option for you. Managing your psoriasis is not just about improving your skin — it’s about caring for your entire well-being.”

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More Information
S008–Psoriasis
Psoriasis
Psoriasis video library

About the AAD
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 18,000 physicians worldwide, the AAD is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the AAD at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or aad.org. Follow the AAD on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin) or YouTube (AcademyofDermatology).

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Eczema Can Have Many Effects on Patients’ Health

Newswise — BOSTON (July 28, 2016) — When a patient is diagnosed with eczema, the diagnosis of another medical condition may not be far behind.

“Although it affects the skin, eczema is not just skin-deep. This disease can have a serious impact on patients’ quality of life and overall health, both physically and mentally,” says board-certified dermatologist Jonathan Silverberg, MD, PhD, MPH, FAAD, an assistant professor in dermatology, medical social sciences and preventive medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is characterized by dry, red patches of skin accompanied by intense itchiness. Although this disease is most often diagnosed in infancy and early childhood, it may continue or first emerge later in life for some patients. Recent estimates indicate that atopic dermatitis affects one in four children in the United States, as well as up to 7 million adults.

According to Dr. Silverberg, this disease can increase patients’ risk of developing allergic disorders like asthma, hay fever and food allergy, as well as other health conditions like obesity and cardiovascular disease. Although the exact reasons for these connections are unclear, he says, they may be the result of eczema-related inflammation affecting the entire body, or atopic dermatitis symptoms negatively impacting patients’ sleep and health habits.

Eczema patients also have an increased risk for multiple types of infection, Dr. Silverberg says. Because the disease compromises the skin barrier, he says, patients can develop bacterial skin infections like impetigo, which causes red sores on the face, and cellulitis, a potentially serious condition characterized by redness, swelling, warmth, and pain or tenderness. Atopic dermatitis also affects the immune system, he says, which puts patients at risk for internal infections, including those of the upper respiratory tract and urinary tract.

Even more common in atopic dermatitis patients are conditions affecting their mental health, including anxiety and depression arising in response to eczema symptoms, Dr. Silverberg says. Moreover, he says, these conditions may be aggravated by sleep disturbance, which is a problem for most people with atopic dermatitis.

Patients’ itching may get worse at night, or they simply may be more aware of it, Dr. Silverberg says, so they often find themselves unable to fall asleep or waking up several times during the night. Further, he says, a lack of sleep can aggravate eczema symptoms, which can further impact sleep, creating an unpleasant cycle for patients.

According to Dr. Silverberg, controlling flares of atopic dermatitis can help to improve some related conditions, like sleep disturbance. In patients with long-lasting eczema, however, other comorbidities, like cardiovascular problems, may develop as a result of the disease’s cumulative effects on the body over the years, he says. For this reason, he says, treatment should focus on not only improving symptoms in the short term but also managing the condition in the long term.

“Atopic dermatitis can be extremely frustrating for patients, but there are effective treatments available, as well as several new treatment options in development that look very promising,” Dr. Silverberg says. “If you’re struggling with eczema, a board-certified dermatologist can devise an appropriate treatment plan that can help improve your symptoms and your overall quality of life.”

More Information
U008–Comorbidities of Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis video library

About the AAD
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 18,000 physicians worldwide, the AAD is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the AAD at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or aad.org. Follow the AAD on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin) or YouTube (AcademyofDermatology).

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Indicators of Parkinson’s Disease Risk Found in Unexpected Places

Newswise — GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (July 27, 2016)—Clues that point toward new risk mechanisms for developing Parkinson’s disease are hiding in some unusual spots, according to a study published today in Scientific Reports.

Tiny changes in DNA that have been linked to Parkinson’s, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s, were found not only in brain cells, where they were expected, but also in liver, fat, immune and developmental cells. These findings may one day contribute to the development of preventative interventions before the disease’s effects become pronounced.

“When we looked at the data, we were quite surprised to see the variation in tissue types,” said Gerry Coetzee, Ph.D., a professor at Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) and the study’s corresponding author. “Ultimately, if we can more precisely define risk factors for Parkinson’s, we can develop ways to mitigate them early on. We still have a long way to go but these findings are some of the first steps down that path.”

A cumulative effect
Although these changes, called single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), are very small, an accumulation of enough SNPs can significantly heighten a person’s risk for developing Parkinson’s. It can be likened to dropping sand onto a scale—a single grain will have little effect, but if enough grains are added, the balance will tip.

The human genome contains about 80 million SNPs, many of them located in regions of the DNA that were once thought to be junk. Scientists now know that these areas, located outside of genes on the DNA, play critical roles in regulating gene expression and are a useful tool for matching a particular gene with its function or role in disease.

As such, investigating SNPs linked to Parkinson’s offers a unique opportunity to answer one of the major questions in Parkinson’s research—what causes or contributes to the disease? While scientists know that five to 10 percent of Parkinson’s cases are passed down genetically through families, they’re still determining what’s behind the majority of cases. The prevailing theory is a mix of genetic and environmental factors create a perfect storm, leading to the hallmark clumping of abnormal proteins that spread through the brain, killing cells that produce a chemical called dopamine that is vital for voluntary movement.

Different tissues, common link
Using information from the federally funded Roadmap Epigenomics Mapping Consortium as a guide, Coetzee, the team at VARI and collaborators at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles analyzed 21 of these risk areas, called loci, in 77 cell types. Of these, the team found 12 loci across several tissue types that were particularly enriched—or full of SNPS—indicating an increase in risk.

Intriguingly, only one locus was identified in the substantia nigra, the part of the brain where dopamine-producing neurons die. Other loci were found in liver, fat, immune and developmental cells. It is the first time this type of genome-wide analysis has been used to investigate Parkinson’s disease.

Although much more work must be done to unravel exactly how these loci affect risk, there are interesting parallels between the team’s findings and recent work done by others investigating Parkinson’s. For example, three of the risk loci were found in immune cells, a promising finding as evidence suggests that Parkinson’s may be linked to inflammation, the immune system’s reaction to help fight off potential threats.

“Only a small percentage of Parkinson’s cases are familial and have a clear and well-defined genetic inheritance. The remaining cases develop the disease seemingly at random,” said Patrik Brundin, M.D., Ph.D., director of VARI’s Center for Neurodegenerative Science and one of the study’s authors. “The emerging view is that Parkinson’s is more of a syndrome—a defined set of clinical symptoms and some shared features of brain pathology—with a diverse set of underlying causes. One surprising finding in our study is that only one gene locus was clearly linked to the brain while others were associated with tissues throughout the body. This supports the emerging theory that Parkinson’s is a disorder that can be caused by disruptions in cellular processes in many locations, not just one. Furthermore, for the disease to develop in one person there has to be an unfortunate combination of a genetic predisposition and, as yet undefined, environmental insults.”

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80-plus percent don’t know mushrooms’ health benefits

Newswise — GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Relatively few people are aware of the health benefits of mushrooms, according to a new national survey by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers.

Only 18.5 percent of survey respondents said they knew the health benefits of mushrooms, according to the online survey of 674 consumers.

“Potentially, increasing knowledge about health benefits would be useful to the mushroom industry,” said Lisa House, a UF/IFAS professor of food and resource economics and an investigator for the study.

Sue Percival, a UF/IFAS professor and chair of the department of food science and human nutrition and principal investigator for the study, published a study last year that documented how shiitake mushrooms can boost immunity. They’re also low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low in sodium, and they’re the leading source of the antioxidant selenium in the produce aisle, according to the National Mushroom Council.

The study, to be presented at a national conference next week, revealed many other clues about consumers’ mushroom-buying habits.

For instance, consumers prefer fresh mushrooms over processed ones, but their choice to buy and eat mushrooms may also be a matter of taste, texture, price and nutritive values, said Yuan Jiang, a food and resource economics doctoral student who conducted the survey.

Jiang and her colleagues found about 20 percent of respondents said they had never bought fresh mushrooms, while 32 percent had never purchased processed mushrooms.

Among the non-consumers of mushrooms, 62.7 percent cited taste as one of the most important reasons, while 55.8 percent said they didn’t buy mushrooms because of its texture, and 40 percent said price deterred them.

“They thought the mushrooms were tough and chewy,” said Jiang, who will present the paper at the 2016 Agricultural & Applied Economics Association Annual Meeting in Boston.

For fresh mushroom consumers, the difference-makers were taste, convenience and health benefits. Those buying processed mushrooms eat them mostly because they’re less expensive and they taste good. The study also showed that income level is related to fresh mushroom consumption.

With 16 percent of world output, the United States is second only to China in global mushroom production, according to the study. In 2014-2015, the United States produced 862 million pounds of fresh mushrooms and 90 million pounds of processed mushrooms. The U.S. exported 105 million pounds of fresh mushrooms and 263 pounds of processed mushrooms that year.

In fact, mushroom consumption has quadrupled in the U.S. since 1965, while consumption of processed – or canned – mushrooms, has steadily declined, the study says.

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Posted in Nutrition: Food: Mushrooms | Leave a comment

Apollo Astronauts Experiencing Higher Rates of Cardiovascular-Related Deaths

Newswise — TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Members of the successful Apollo space program are experiencing higher rates of cardiovascular problems that are thought to be caused by their exposure to deep space radiation, according to a Florida State University researcher.

In a new paper in Scientific Reports, FSU Dean of the College of Human Sciences and Professor Michael Delp explains that the men who traveled into deep space as part of the lunar missions were exposed to levels of galactic cosmic radiation that have not been experienced by any other astronauts or cosmonauts. That exposure is now manifesting itself as cardiovascular problems.

“We know very little about the effects of deep space radiation on human health, particularly on the cardiovascular system,” Delp said. “This gives us the first glimpse into its adverse effects on humans.”

This is the first study looking at the mortality of Apollo astronauts. The Apollo program ran from 1961 to 1972, with 11 manned flights into space between 1968 and 1972. Nine of those flew beyond Earth’s orbit into deep space. The program is most notable for landing men on the moon as well as the failed mission of Apollo 13 that inspired the popular 1995 Ron Howard film.

Delp’s research is of special interest now as the United States and other nations, plus private organizations, make plans for deep space travel. NASA has unveiled plans for U.S. orbital missions around the moon from 2020 to 2030 in preparation for a manned flight to Mars. Russia, China and the European Space Agency are all looking at lunar missions. And SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, has proposed landing humans on Mars by 2026.

As a group, astronauts are highly educated and have access to top medical care, meaning their healthcare outcomes are generally better than the general population. But the group of men in the Apollo program experienced different environmental conditions than anyone else in the world when they traveled into deep space.

Delp found that 43 percent of deceased Apollo astronauts died from a cardiovascular problem. That is four to five times higher than non-flight astronauts and astronauts who have traveled in low Earth orbit.

Of the 24 men who flew into deep space on the Apollo lunar missions, eight have died and seven were included in the study. The eighth — Edgar Mitchell — died after the data analysis had been completed.

Delp and his colleagues also exposed mice to the type of radiation that Apollo astronauts would have experienced. After six months — the equivalent of 20 human years — the mice demonstrated an impairment of arteries that is known to lead to the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in humans.

“What the mouse data show is that deep space radiation is harmful to vascular health,” Delp said.

Delp is working with NASA to conduct additional studies on the Apollo astronauts regarding their cardiovascular health.

This research was funded by National Space and Biomedical Research Institute and the NASA Space Biology Program. Other authors on the paper include Jacqueline Charvat from Johnson Space Center, Charles Limoli from University of California Irvine, Ruth Globus from the NASA Ames Research Center and FSU postdoctoral researcher Payal Ghosh.
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Posted in Space Travel | Leave a comment

8 ways retail clinics are shaping healthcare today

Here are eight ways retail clinics are shaping healthcare today, according to a Healthcare IT News report.

1. Retail clinics have been able to adopt information technology and data sharing efficiently to communicate with the healthcare provider’s electronic health record system.

 

2. They are growing beyond urgent care toward chronic disease management and having a larger impact on population health. Retail clinics can help reduce unnecessary emergency department visits for health delivery systems wanting to further manage the total cost of care.

 

3. Retail clinics are forming relationships with medical schools and teaching hospitals, including Cleveland Clinic and the University of Chicago Medical Center’s relationships with CVS Health’s MinuteClinics.

 

4. Walgreens’ in-store clinics are coordinating care for patients and invested in the Epic EHR for a communications and IT infrastructure.

 

5. The Little Clinic in Kroger stores is going even further to work with preventative services on healthy food choices, dieticians and managing consumer issues such as diabetes or allergies.

More

Posted in Health Care: Retail Clinics | Leave a comment

“Why even have kids if you’re just going to stick them with somebody else?”

10 Things Not to Say to a Mom Who Puts Her Kids in Day Care

I was about seven months pregnant when I chose my sons’ day care provider. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was looking for, but I knew after we interviewed her that she was the one: She was organized and positive, and she emphasized her background as a teacher. It felt like not only would my baby be in good hands, but my husband and I would be too. The lessons and love she bestowed upon our first child made such an impact on us that we sent our second son to her day care as well, despite the fact that we had moved farther away, despite the fact that I quit my day job to work from home. Some people, however, think of day cares as an inferior option to a child staying home with a family member or nanny, and voice these opinions both in explicit or subtle, undermining ways. Whether a new mom is confident in her decision or uncertain about putting her baby in day care, here are 10 things she doesn’t need to hear.

 1. “Are they licensed?” This seemingly innocuous question is accusatory on two levels.
Posted in Parenting, Pediatric Health: Day Care | Leave a comment

Early Detection of Leukemia Patients’ Resistance to Therapy

Newswise — Australian researchers have made a world-first breakthrough in the early detection of patients’ resistance to a common treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia.

The discovery offers some hope that the patients’ treatment could be changed sooner to improve their chances of survival.

The researchers – based in the Cancer Theme at the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and the University of Adelaide’s School of Medicine – have developed a new test that they believe could be adopted by doctors worldwide.

The results of this research are now published online ahead of print in the international journal Leukemia.

Lead author and postdoctoral researcher Dr Laura Eadie says one-in-five chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients are resistant to the leading treatment of their condition.

“The development of the targeted drug Glivec for chronic myeloid leukemia has been one of the most remarkable success stories in cancer treatment over the past two decades. This is because the drug targets the mutant protein that causes their leukemia,” Dr Eadie says.

“However, about 20% of patients have a poor response to Glivec, and until now we haven’t fully understood why. Unfortunately, this means that one-in-five patients could be receiving treatment that ultimately is not benefitting them, losing response to therapy and reducing their chances of survival.”

The study looked at the role of P-glycoprotein, a protein that pumps many drugs – including Glivec – out of leukemia cells.

“Some patients were found to have higher levels of P-glycoprotein in their leukemic cells after just a few weeks of starting therapy. These patients were much more likely to develop resistance to Glivec later on,” Dr Eadie says.

“We’ve found the greater the increase in P-glycoprotein in patients, the greater their risk is of becoming resistant and not responding to their drug any more, or even succumbing to their disease.”

The research team’s work shows, for the first time, that assessing a patient’s levels of the P-glycoprotein soon after they start receiving Glivec therapy will help to predict that patient’s long-term response to the drug.

“This new test, developed in our laboratory, may provide an opportunity for doctors around the world to change treatment strategies for those patients most at risk of doing poorly on Glivec before they actually lose response to the therapy,” Dr Eadie says.

Dr Eadie is also the recipient of a 2016 Fulbright South Australia Postdoctoral Scholarship. Next month, she will travel to the United States to continue research into leukemia, based at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee.

This work will continue her focus on the effectiveness of leukemia treatments and the mechanisms of resistance in patients.

“I hope that by better understanding the key drivers of response and resistance in patients, these research findings will help to inform clinical practice and ensure the best possible chance of patient survival,” she says.

SAHMRI’s Cancer Theme is supported with funding from the Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project. Leukaemia Research at SAHMRI is also supported by the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia (LFA) – Dr Laura Eadie was a LFA PhD Scholar.

Posted in Cancer: Leukemia, Health Care: Medical Errors | Leave a comment

NIH funds precision medicine research with a focus on health disparities

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), part of the National Institutes of Health, has committed approximately $31 million over five years, pending available funding, to launch a new program for Transdisciplinary Collaborative Centers (TCCs) for health disparities research exploring the potential for precision medicine to promote health equity and advance the science of minority health and health disparities.

“Ultimately, the TCCs will generate new knowledge about precision medicine that resonates from the community level to the national population level.”

Dr. Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, Director, NIMHD

Priority research areas for NIMHD’s precision medicine initiative include:

  • Development of new tools and analytic methods for integrating patient data with information about contextual factors acting at the community or population level to influence health outcomes
  • Development of pharmacogenomic and other precision medicine tools to identify critical biomarkers for disease progression and drug responses in diverse populations
  • Translation of pharmacogenomic discoveries into clinical practice including effective treatments
  • Investigation of facilitators and barriers to implementing precision medicine approaches in disparity populations
  • Understanding mechanisms that lead to differential health outcomes in common diseases in minorities and disparity populations

Although scientific and technological advances have improved the health of the U.S. population overall, racial/ethnic minority populations, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations and rural populations continue to experience a disproportionate share of many diseases and adverse health conditions. As the Nation’s steward of biomedical and behavioral research, NIH has devoted considerable resources to characterize the root causes of health disparities, uncovering complex webs of interconnected factors (e.g., biological, behavioral, social and environmental factors) acting at multiple levels across the life course. As an important next step, research is needed that capitalizes on this knowledge to develop interventions that reduce or eliminate health disparities.

Designed for broad impact, TCCs comprise regional coalitions of research institutions and partners working together to develop and disseminate effective health interventions that can be implemented in real-world settings. TCCs supported through this initiative are expected to focus on at least one priority research area, each combining expertise in precision medicine, population health disparities, and the science of translation, implementation and dissemination to address one or more documented health disparities. The proposed work must focus on one or more health disparities populations, which include Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations and rural populations. Each center will support 2-3 multidisciplinary research projects examining complementary aspects of precision medicine, focusing on interactions between biological, behavioral and contextual predictors of disease vulnerability, resilience and response to therapies in patients from disadvantaged communities.

Benefits of medical advances are not always distributed equitably, often because structural or systemic factors limit the effectiveness of new diagnostic or therapeutic approaches in disadvantaged populations. Precision medicine is an emerging approach for disease prevention, early detection and treatment that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, demographic factors, social determinants and lifestyle. While it holds great promise for improving patient care, its potential for reducing health disparities hinges on better understanding of the dynamic interplay between biological, behavioral, social and environmental health risk and protective factors experienced across the life course, coupled with greater inclusion of health disparity populations in research aimed at developing precision medicine interventions.

The approach of this new program, which focuses on health disparity populations, including racial and ethnic minorities, rural populations and low socioeconomic populations, shares the transformative vision represented by President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), which supports the NIH’s recently implemented PMI Cohort Program, a nationwide effort which seeks to build a longitudinal research cohort of 1 million or more U.S. volunteers, to produce new knowledge with the goal of developing more effective ways to prolong health and treat disease.

“The core values of the President’s PMI challenge the scientific community to advance population health in ways that create true benefits to all populations,” said NIMHD Director Dr. Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable. “Precision medicine research endeavors must go beyond biologic and clinical markers and include social determinants of health, such as the economic, social and political conditions that influence health status. Ultimately, the TCCs  will generate new knowledge about precision medicine that resonates from the community level to the national population level.”

The first precision medicine TCC cooperative agreement awards, each providing up to $1.5 million in direct costs annually over five years (plus applicable indirect costs), have been made to the following academic institutions:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
Project Title: Center of Excellence in Precision Medicine and Population Health
Principal Investigator: Consuelo Hopkins Wilkins
Grant: 1 U54MD010722-01 MP1

Dr. Wilkins and colleagues will establish a Center of Excellence in Precision Medicine and Population Health in order to identify genetic and phenotype markers representative of lifetime risks and outcomes for asthma, pre-term birth, cancer and Body Mass Index in African American and Hispanics/Latino populations.

Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
Project Title: Stanford Precision Health for Ethnic and Racial Equity (SPHERE) Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center
Principal Investigator: Mark Richard Cullen
Grant: 1 U54MD010724-01 MPI

Dr. Cullen and his team will establish the SPHERE Transdisciplinary Collaboration Center to address multiple health outcomes such as type 2 diabetes and breast cancer in American Indian, Hispanic/Latino and Chinese populations.

Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston
Project Title: Medical University of South Carolina Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center in Precision Medicine and Minority Men’s Health
Principal Investigator: Chanita A. Hughes-Halbert
Grant: 1U54MD010706-01

Dr. Hughes-Halbert and colleagues will establish a center focused on minority men’s health to determine the most effective ways to integrate, interpret and apply biological, social, psychological and clinical determinants of disease risks and outcomes into more precise medical strategies to prevent, diagnose and treat chronic health conditions and diseases.

About NIMHD: NIMHD, an NIH Institute, leads scientific efforts to improve minority health and eliminate health disparities by conducting and funding research; coordinating all minority health and health disparities research at NIH; funding the training of a diverse research workforce; disseminating research information; and fostering collaborations and partnerships.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®

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Posted in Health Care: Disparities, Precision Medicine | Leave a comment

“We need to start integrating physical activity into every policy”

Newswise — HOUSTON – (July 28, 2016) – In a paper published today in a special physical activity series of The Lancet, the Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) program developed by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) was identified as an excellent example of an evidence-based physical activity intervention that has been successfully scaled up to affect population health.

The school-based physical activity and nutrition education program was included in a paper co-written by Deborah Salvo, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow at the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin. Salvo’s paper was one of four published in the series, which convened worldwide experts in the field to present the latest science in physical activity and public health. Salvo’s paper focused on scaling up physical activity promotion strategies worldwide.

Salvo defined a successfully scaled-up physical activity intervention as one that not only reaches a large number of people, but also becomes embedded in a system and continues to operate, grow and have an impact on people’s health even after the research funding for translation and dissemination has ended.

CATCH is designed to promote a healthy school environment through five modules: physical education, child nutrition services, classroom health promotion, families and communities and, most recently, sun protection. Over 10,000 sites across the world have adopted CATCH, mostly in the United States. In Texas, researchers led dissemination efforts by engaging health and education authorities and subsidizing the training of teachers and distribution of materials for schools. A substantial body of evidence shows that CATCH is effective at increasing physical activity in school-age children, according to the paper.

“This article highlights the importance of taking research findings and putting them into practice in real life applications, using our CATCH program as an example. The successful dissemination of CATCH has been due to outstanding investigators and staff, community partners, and ongoing investments from many philanthropic groups, as well as a continued relationship with UTHealth School of Public Health,” said Deanna Hoelscher, Ph.D., R.D., John P. McGovern Professor in Health Promotion and director of the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin.

In addition to successfully scaled-up, evidence-based interventions such as CATCH, which are more common in developed countries like the United States, Salvo and the team of researchers identified examples of practice-based, scaled-up physical activity interventions in low- and middle-income countries. These included examples such as bus rapid transit systems and sports-for-development programs. While these interventions were not built on evidence-based practices, they were efficient at scaling up quickly and at becoming embedded in a system, according to Salvo.

Bus rapid transit systems are typically found in middle-income countries and involve high-speed, mass public transport using buses running on separate lanes from cars and stopping at modern, elevated stations spaced farther apart than traditional stops. While the main goal of these transit systems is not to increase physical activity, they have been shown to effectively promote active transit, making them a good example of practice-based evidence.

“The majority of the things that influence physical activity do not have to do with health. They come from social interactions, education, transportation systems, environmental sustainability, urban design or equity promotion. Physical activity becomes a co-benefit,” said Salvo, who is also an adjunct researcher and faculty member at the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico.

Researchers at the School of Public Health have been examining the impact on physical activity of scaling up public transit systems through the Houston TRAIN Study. Bill Kohl, Ph.D., and Casey Durand, Ph.D., are studying how the expansion of Houston’s light rail system will affect the physical activity levels of the city’s residents. Salvo is also part of the investigative team of the Houston TRAIN Study.

In the paper, Salvo concluded that researchers should shift their focus from conducting small-scale, controlled behavior change studies, which are not always scalable, to understanding the processes and steps needed to successfully scale up physical activity interventions. She says researchers could learn from the interventions of low- and middle-income countries, where physical activity promotion strategies have scaled up quickly, often without substantial evidence on their effectiveness for health.

“This is a call to action to the research community, funding agencies, government organizations, civil society, public health agencies, and multiple sectors including health, education, transportation, urban planning, recreation, culture and environment to start integrating physical activity into every policy,” said Salvo.

The first author of the paper was Rodrigo S. Reis, Ph.D., from Washington University in St. Louis and the Federal University of Parana, Brazil. Ross C. Brownson, Ph.D., from Washington University School of Medicine, was the senior author. Researchers from the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, the University of Cape Town, the Indian Institute of Public Health, and the Public Health Foundation of India were also co-authors on the paper.

Posted in Exercise: Benefits, Public Health | Leave a comment

Rejection Free: How to Choose Yourself First and Take Charge of Your Life by Confidently Asking For What You Want

Is the fear of rejection holding you back from taking massive action? Do you refrain from asking for what you want because of getting a NO? Do you depend on the opinions of others to define your self-worth

I know rejection hurts. We take it personally when people fail to give us what we desire the most. But getting rejected is a state of mind. It has power over you if you let it in by believing the worst. You can learn to free yourself from the feeling of shame and the fear of loss. By taking action in the face of fear, you release yourself from an emotional rollercoaster and learn to live your life with confidence.

In Rejection Free, you will learn how to …

  • choose yourself first no matter what people think of you.
  • ask for what you want without the fear of hearing NO.
  • break free of rejection in any situation that calls for you to be brave and confront your fears.
  • stop trying to please the wrong people and pay attention to the right ones.
  • realize that rejection isn’t all about you (and how inspiring this is!).
  • put an end to the trap of predictability and the ways it hurts your chances for success.
  • overcome your self-doubt and become great at asking for what you want the most.
  • supercharge your confidence and take charge of your life.
  • desensitize yourself to rejection so  you can handle anything that comes your way!

Debunking the Lies

Rejection is full of lies we believe about ourselves. One of the first steps to recovery and creating a rejection-free lifestyle is breaking away from these lies by becoming totally honest with ourselves. Aligning our thoughts and ideals with the reality of the situation makes less resistance for ourselves. The lies are what keep you trapped and continue the pattern of living in rejection hell.

A Roadmap to Freedom

When you avoid being rejected, you eliminate all possibilities of losing, looking bad, or failing completely. You play it safe. You look for the non-fail, safe methods that are guaranteed to reduce your failure rate. By not risking, you risk more. By hiding, you stay afraid. This book offers a way out of your pain by working through the stages of rejection.

Learn to Ask For Anything

There is a price to pay for not asking. By trading in your pride and fear of embarrassment, you could be giving up large sums of money (asking for a raise), your freedom (asking for time off), and the opportunity to thrive instead of survive.

  • if you don’t ask that person out on a date, someone else will;
  • if you don’t ask for more money in your work, you’ll have less money;
  • if you don’t ask for support, you end up doing it alone;
  • if you don’t ask how it’s done, you’ll end up doing it the wrong way

Desensitize Your Fear

Doing the things that scares you numbs your fear of rejection. By taking action and breaking out of your fearful comfort zone, you condition your mind and senses to move forward and break all mental obstacles holding you back. What could you do with your life if nothing was in your way? The answer: You could do anything and everything!

Choose your life and live to the max, ask for everything you want and overcome your greatest fears holding you back!

Posted in Human Behavior: Optimism, Human Behavior: Rejection, Human Behavior: Self Esteem, Human Behavior: Self Talk, Human Behavior: Self-Consciousness, Human Behavior: Shame | Leave a comment

Study Shows Poor Skin Cancer Survival in Patients with Skin of Color

Newswise — SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (July 28, 2016) — Because Caucasians have a higher skin cancer risk than the general population, people with skin of color may believe that they don’t need to be concerned about this disease — but new research reveals this to be a dangerous misconception.

According to a study published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology on July 28, although melanoma incidence is higher in Caucasians, patients with skin of color are less likely to survive the disease.

“Everyone is at risk for skin cancer, regardless of race,” says board-certified dermatologist Jeremy S. Bordeaux, MD, MPH, FAAD, one of the study authors. “Patients with skin of color may believe they aren’t at risk, but that is not the case — and when they do get skin cancer, it may be especially deadly.”

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland utilized the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results database to study nearly 97,000 patients diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, from 1992 to 2009. Although Caucasian patients had the highest melanoma incidence rate, they also had the best overall survival rate, followed by Hispanic patients and patients in the Asian American/Native American/Pacific Islander group.

African-American patients had the worst overall survival rate, and they were also the group most likely to be diagnosed with melanoma in its later stages, when the disease is more difficult to treat. According to the study, however, the timing of the diagnosis is not the only factor that affects this group’s survival rates, as African-American patients had the worst prognosis for every stage of melanoma.

Dr. Bordeaux says these differences in survival rates may be due to disparities in the timeliness of melanoma detection and treatment among different races; for example, patients with skin of color may not seek medical attention for irregular spots on their skin because they don’t believe these lesions pose a risk. Additionally, he says, there may be biologic differences in melanoma among patients with skin of color, resulting in more aggressive disease in these patients. More research is necessary to determine why survival rates differ among different ethnic groups, he says, but in the meantime, patients of with skin of color should be aware of their skin cancer risk.

“Because skin cancer can affect anyone, everyone should be proactive about skin cancer prevention and detection,” Dr. Bordeaux says. “Don’t let this potentially deadly disease sneak up on you because you don’t think it can happen to you.”

Ultraviolet radiation exposure is the most preventable skin cancer risk factor, Dr. Bordeaux says, so everyone, regardless of skin color, should takes steps to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Although sun protection is important for everyone, Dr. Bordeaux says, people with skin of color are prone to skin cancer in areas that aren’t commonly exposed to the sun, including the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. He says these individuals should be especially careful to examine hard-to-see areas when monitoring their skin for signs of skin cancer, asking a partner to help if necessary.

“Skin cancer is most treatable when detected early, so everyone should regularly examine their skin for new or suspicious spots,” Dr. Bordeaux says. “If you notice any spots that are different from the others, or anything changing, itching or bleeding on your skin, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.”

Posted in Cancer: Skin, Health Care: Disparities | Leave a comment

Witnesses confuse innocent and guilty suspects with ‘unfair’ lineups

Police lineups in which distinctive individual marks or features are not altered can impair witnesses’ ability to distinguish between innocent and guilty suspects, according to new research in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The research, conducted by a team of psychology researchers from the University of Warwick in the UK, builds on existing eyewitness identification studies suggesting that so-called “unfair lineups,” in which the police suspect stands out, make witnesses more willing to identify that suspect.

“Worse still, it could impair their ability to distinguish between guilty and innocent suspects and distort their ability to judge the trustworthiness of their identification decision,” says Melissa Colloff, lead author on the study.

In contrast to film and TV depictions in which a witness views a police lineup via a one-way mirror, lineups today typically involve the witness looking at and evaluating digital photos. Using digital images gives the police the ability to disguise distinguishing features.

Colloff and colleagues examined the three methods currently used by English police forces to manipulate digital images in order to counteract the effect of any distinguishing marks such as black eyes, eyeglasses, and beards. In an online experiment with almost 9,000 participants, the researchers compared the three techniques – pixelating part of the face, hiding part of the face, or manipulating the photos so they contain the same feature (e.g., adding a beard) – with digital lineups that were not manipulated.

Participants watched a brief video of a crime and were told to pay attention as they would be asked questions about it later. Afterward, they completed several distractor tasks that were unrelated to the study. They were then presented with a lineup composed of two rows of three photos and were told that the culprit may or may not be present in the lineup.

The participants were asked to select one of the photos in the lineup as the culprit or choose the option labelled “not present.” Finally, they rated how confident they were in making their identification (1 = completely uncertain, 100 = completely certain).

The results showed that participants were more willing to identify the suspect when they viewed a lineup in which the suspect alone had a distinguishing feature compared with the altered lineups.

More importantly, they were less able to distinguish between actual guilty suspects and innocent suspects (i.e., those who shared the culprit’s distinctive feature) when they viewed lineups that had not been altered compared with altered lineups.

“When the suspect was the only person with the distinctive feature, this actually made people more likely to confuse who was guilty and who was innocent,” Colloff explains. “That’s because they weren’t really using their memory of the culprit’s face, they were just picking the only plausible option – the only one with the scar that they remembered from the crime video – and this made it difficult for people to tell the difference between the real culprit and an innocent suspect who had a similar feature.”

The results indicated that the three fair lineup techniques currently used by police were equally effective.

“This research has crucial implications for the police–it suggests there are multiple ways in which police officers can fairly accommodate distinctive suspects in lineups,” concludes study co-author Kimberley Wade.

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All data have been made publicly available via the Open Science Framework (the complete Open Practices Disclosure is included in the Supplemental Data). This article has received the badge for Open Data. More information about the Open Practices badges can be found at OSF and Psychological Science.

The article abstract can be found online: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/07/21/0956797616655789.abstract

For a copy of the article “Unfair Lineups Make Witnesses More Likely to Confuse Innocent and Guilty Suspects” and access to other Psychological Science research findings, please contact Anna Mikulak at 202-293-9300 or amikulak@psychologicalscience.org.

Source

Posted in The Law | Leave a comment

Exercise ability in middle age may be one key to longer life

(Reuters Health) – Middle-aged men who have more endurance in exercise tests may end up living longer than their peers who struggle with physical activity, a Swedish study suggests.

Researchers gave about 650 men an exercise test in 1967 when they were 50 years old. They asked participants to push themselves to the limit and ranked results into three groups based on low, medium or high endurance.

Each bump up in the endurance rankings was associated with a 21 percent lower risk of death during 45 years of follow-up, after adjusting for factors like smoking, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

“Low fitness in middle age was associated with increased risk for all-cause mortality for several decades,” lead study author Dr. Per Ladenvall of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden said by email.

To assess physical fitness in middle age, researchers used exercise tests and examined data on the maximum amount of oxygen participants’ bodies could use. Generally, people with higher fitness levels can use more oxygen than individuals who are out of shape.

Researchers started the study by looking at data on 792 men from a larger study designed to investigate risk factors for cardiovascular disease and mortality. Of those, only 656 were able to complete a maximum exercise test pushing themselves to the limit; the rest had a health condition that made this type of test unsafe.

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Posted in Exercise: Benefits, Longevity | Leave a comment

Smocked Threads by Cecil & Lou Recalls Children’s Nightgowns Due to Violation of Federal Flammability Standard (Recall Alert)

Recall Summary

Name of product: Children’s nightgowns

Hazard:

The nightgowns fail to meet federal flammability standards for children’s sleepwear, posing a risk of burn injuries to children.

Consumer Contact: Smocked Threads by Cecil & Lou collect at 903-372-4414 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, email at cecilandlou@yahoo.com or online at www.cecilandlou.com and click on the “Product Recall” link at the bottom of the page for more information.

Report an Incident Involving this Product

Recall Details

Units

About 65

Description

This recall involves girl’s Smocked Threads by Cecil & Lou 100% cotton tunic nightgowns. They were sold in a pink and white checkered pattern with white piping trim in sizes 12 months to 8. The nightgowns have buttons on the center front and on each cuff at the wrist and a pocket on the left side of the chest. “C&L Smocked Threads by Cecil and Lou” is printed on a neck label.

Incidents/Injuries

None reported

Remedy

Consumers should immediately take the recalled nightgowns away from children and return them to the firm for a full refund, including shipping, or a merchandise credit of $23. Cecil & Lou is contacting all known purchasers directly.

Sold exclusively at

Online at www.cecilandlou.com from January 2016 through June 2016 for about $23.

Importer(s)

Smocked Threads by Cecil & Lou, of Tyler, Texas

Manufactured in

Vietnam

Posted in Pediatric Health: Injuries | Leave a comment

New Treatment for Low Back Pain: Minimally Invasive Procedure Receives FDA Clearance

Newswise — It’s the most common reason people go to their doctors – back pain. According to the National Institutes of Health, 80 percent of adults will experience low back pain some time in their lives. In fact, chronic low back pain, lasting 12 weeks or longer, affects nearly one-third of the nation’s population.

Laura Donlon, 48, of Monroe had been dealing with low back pain for five years before she found out about a back pain study at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. The flight attendant says her pain was unbearable at times, especially when sitting. Seeking relief from her pain, caused by a degenerative disc, she contacted the orthopedic research team at Beaumont for details.

Treatments for low back pain range from noninvasive to invasive: physical therapy, pain medications to major surgery, such as spinal fusion. Now a minimally invasive, nerve ablating procedure, recently cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, may give some people with chronic low back pain a new treatment option.

“In 25 years of practicing orthopedics, this is the most important clinical study I’ve ever done,” said Jeffrey Fischgrund, chairman, Orthopedics, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak and principal investigator of the FDA-approved Relievant SMART trial. “The system is proven to be safe and effective in clinical trials. It is much less invasive than typical surgical procedures to treat low back pain.”

A spine expert and orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Fischgrund helped design the research study. Research teams in the United States and Germany recruited 225 participants, with 150 receiving the minimally invasive, ablation treatment and 75 receiving the placebo.

Donlon was told she met the trial criteria and enrolled in the study. In December 2014, she had an outpatient spine procedure by Beaumont physicians. Because she did not know if she received the minimally invasive trial procedure or a placebo, she had to guess based upon results.

“After the procedure, I went home and within 24 hours I could touch my toes,” said Donlon, a running enthusiast and marathon competitor. “That’s when I figured I had the study procedure. Within 48 hours, I was back to work.” One year later, the research team confirmed what she suspected; she had undergone the nerve ablation treatment.

The treatment uses radio frequency energy to disable the targeted-nerve responsible for low back pain. Under local anesthesia with mild sedation, through a small opening in the patient’s back, an access tube is inserted into a specific bony structure of the spine, called a vertebral body. Radio frequency energy is transmitted through the device, creating heat, which disables the nerve. The access tube is then removed. The minimally invasive, implant-free procedure takes less than one hour.

“This is a new way to treat back pain. This type of treatment has never been done before,” said Dr. Fischgrund. “It’s revolutionary, compared to more traditional therapies; the odds of success are much greater.”

Patients eligible for this new procedure typically are candidates for more invasive back surgery or take strong pain medications, like opioids. Those research participants that had the radio frequency ablation procedure noticed significant improvement in their back pain within two weeks of surgery.

The nerve ablation procedure and technology was developed by Relievant Medsystems Inc., a California-based medical device company.

Nineteen months after Donlon’s minimally invasive nerve ablation treatment, she said, “Today, I have no back issues. I’m pain free. In fact, since my procedure, the pain has not recurred. I’m extremely grateful for the care and treatment I’ve received through my participation in the lower back pain study.”

For more information on this procedure and to be notified when it is available at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, visit: http://www.beaumont.org/health-wellness/news/new-back-pain-treatment-receives-fda-approval

Posted in Back Pain | Leave a comment

Mercury Poisoning Linked to Skin Products: FDA

Whatever your complexion, it’s important to use products that will help your skin and not damage it. But as you wade through the beauty aisles, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautions that you should avoid skin creams, beauty and antiseptic soaps, and lotions that contain mercury.

How will you know if mercury’s in the cosmetic, especially one that’s marketed as “anti-aging” or “skin lightening”? Check the label. If the words “mercurous chloride,” “calomel,” “mercuric,” “mercurio,” or “mercury” are listed on the label, mercury’s in it—and you should stop using the product immediately.

The products are usually marketed as skin lighteners and anti-aging treatments that remove age spots, freckles, blemishes, and wrinkles. Adolescents may use these products as acne treatments.

Jason Humbert of FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs says these products usually are manufactured abroad and sold illegally in the United States, often in shops catering to the Latino, Asian, African, or Middle Eastern communities. They are promoted online on social media sites and sold through mobile apps. Consumers may also have bought them in another country and brought them back to the U.S. for personal use, he adds.

If the ingredients aren’t listed and there is no product label, don’t assume it’s fine. Federal law requires that ingredients be listed on the label of any cosmetic or nonprescription drug, so do not use a product that doesn’t have a label. In addition, don’t use drugs or cosmetics labeled in languages other than English unless English labeling is also provided. That’s also a sign that the product may be marketed illegally.

“Even though these products are often promoted as cosmetics, they also may be unapproved new drugs under the law,” says Linda Katz, M.D., director of FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors. FDA does not allow mercury in drugs or in cosmetics, except under very specific conditions where there are no other safe and effective preservatives available – conditions that these products do not meet.

Sellers and distributors who market mercury-containing skin whitening or lightening creams in the U.S. may be subject to enforcement action, including seizure of products, injunctions, and, in some situations, criminal prosecution.

Dangers of Mercury

Exposure to mercury can have serious health consequences. The danger isn’t just to people who use mercury-containing products but also to their families, says Arthur Simone, M.D., a senior medical advisor at FDA.

“Your family might breathe mercury vapors released from these products. Your children might touch washcloths or towels that are contaminated with mercury. It could be as simple as touching someone’s cheek or face,” Simone says.

Some people – including pregnant women, nursing babies and young children – are especially vulnerable to mercury toxicity, he adds. Babies may be particularly sensitive to the harm mercury can cause to their developing brains and nervous systems. Newborns who nurse are vulnerable because mercury is passed into breast milk.

Tracking Skin Products Containing Mercury

In the past few years, FDA and state health officials have discovered numerous products that contain mercury, and there have been cases in which people exposed to such products have had mercury poisoning or elevated levels of mercury in their bodies. FDA has an import alert in place that lets our field staff know that the agency has enough evidence or other information to refuse admission of shipments of mercury-containing skin products.

But this is only a partial solution, Humbert says.

“Many of these products are coming into the country through illegal channels,” he says. “That’s why it’s so important for consumers and sellers to know about the dangers of possible mercury poisoning associated with the use of these skin products.”

How to Protect Yourself

Thoroughly wash your hands and other parts of your body that have come in contact with products that contain mercury.

Contact your health care professional or a medical care clinic for advice. If you have questions, call your health care professional or the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222; it is open 24 hours a day.

Before throwing out a product that may contain mercury, seal it in a plastic bag or leak-proof container. Check with your local environmental, health, or solid waste agency for disposal instructions. Some communities have special collections or other options for disposing of hazardous household waste.

This article appears on FDA’s Consumer Update page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.

Published: March 6, 2012

Updated: July 26, 2016

Posted in Environmental Health: Mercury | Leave a comment

A 30-Minute ‘Me’ Break Can Make You a Better Worker, Study Shows

Newswise — If there are crumbs on your desk from countless lunches spent responding to emails and attending to other job-related responsibilities, it may be time to clean up and take a step back.

New research suggests that detaching from work during a lunch break can boost energy and help you to better respond to the demands of the day.

That’s the message behind a new study that finds early-career doctors — and the rest of us — can be better at our jobs if we simply set aside as little as 30 minutes a day for some “me” time.

The alternative, the study finds, is a scenario in which the patient may suffer.

The study, conducted by University of Florida and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga researchers and published in Psychology, Health & Medicine Journal’s third issue in 2016, found that active recovery activities like exercising and volunteering can help employees recover quickly and respond better to their jobs’ demands.

Researchers focused on the work and rest patterns of 38 early-career physicians from a teaching hospital in the Southeast. Of the participants, 63.2 percent were male and the median age was 29. The typical physician can average an 80-hour work week, leaving little opportunity for leisure and sleep.

“Residents are a very unique population, the stressors that they engage with throughout the day are a lot more significant than those of the average American. Therefore, these moments of replenishment are that much more important,” said Nicole Cranley, the study’s lead researcher. Cranley did the research while a doctoral candidate in UF’s department of behavioral science and community health and is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The study assessed the time early-career physicians spend at work versus the time they spent on sleep and leisure, their ability to detach from work during non-work hours and whether they engaged in active or passive recovery activities.

Physicians ranked activities they engaged in at home and at work for how draining or energy boosting they were.

The results showed that the time early-career physicians spent on work exceeded the time they spent on sleep and leisure activities combined — and although eating was the most highly ranked at-work activity, even lunch breaks were consumed by work.

“They grab things and go, or they are eating while they are in conference or listening to a lecture. There really isn’t that time when they are not doing something related to work,” Cranley said.

Researchers also found that the participants had trouble psychologically detaching from work and that they engaged in more passive forms of recovery in their non-work time. While passive recovery, like watching television, is not necessarily harmful, it also does not help to boost energy levels beyond the baseline like active recovery activities can.

These patterns of working without taking time to recover fully can lead to burnout.

“Burnout is a serious issue,” said Cranley, “It’s usually related to the fact that you’re not taking enough time for self-care or engaging in activities that help you gain back some of those resources.”

Higher levels of burnout, she said, lead to higher rates of poor-quality patient care.

“You can only effectively care for someone if you are in a good state of mind. You have to be in a good place to be able to give your all to someone else,” she said.

One way to replenish resources is engaging in active recovery activities outside of work, no matter how little time is available to engage in those activities.

“It doesn’t matter if you only have 45 minutes to go to the gym — you take those 45 minutes for yourself,” Cranley said.

She said the study’s findings provide the groundwork to improve physician self-care and medical education.

“It’s a very unique situation that residents are in because they are expected to have all of the answers, when oftentimes they don’t,” she said.

She said the goal of the research is to help medical schools and hospitals recognize the nature of the stressors that the early career physician population faces and equip them with skills to deal with stress and recognize signs of burnout in themselves.

“I think where we are missing the mark is in medical education — it is a culture issue and we need to reassure our health professionals that it’s okay to need self-care,” Cranley said. “Everybody’s valuable, everybody needs to take care of themselves sometimes. We can’t all be 100 percent all the time.”

Posted in Human Behavior: Productivity, Workplace Issues | Leave a comment

Cord Blood Outperforms Matched, Unrelated Donor in Bone Marrow Transplant

Newswise — A University of Colorado Cancer Center study compared outcomes of leukemia patients receiving bone marrow transplants from 2009-2014, finding that three years post transplant, the incidence of severe chronic graft-versus-host disease was 44 percent in patients who had received transplants from matched, unrelated donors (MUD) and 8 percent in patients who had received umbilical cord blood transplants (CBT). Patients who received CBT were also more likely to no longer need immunosuppression and less likely to experience late infections and hospitalizations. There was no difference in overall survival between these two techniques. Results are published in the journal Bone Marrow Transplant.

“When you do an allogeneic transplant – when someone else is the donor – the new blood system has the potential to attack the patient. This is graft-versus-host disease, which can be debilitating and even fatal. Our results show that, long term, receiving a cord blood transplant is less likely than receiving a transplant from an unrelated, matched donor to result in graft-versus-host disease,” says Jonathan Gutman, MD, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and Clinical Director of Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation at University of Colorado Hospital.

A common treatment for blood cancers is to erase a patient’s leukemic blood system and then regrow a new blood system using donor blood stem cells. There are four possible sources of donor cells: a matched, related donor (commonly a close family member), a matched, unrelated donor (from a database of 25 million people who have agreed to donate), umbilical cord blood (from a bank of stored samples), and haploidentical transplant (a promising technique requiring only a half match with a related donor). The closer the match between donor cells and a patient’s blood system, the less chance the new blood system will attack the patient’s tissues, i.e. the less chance of graft-versus-host disease.

A matched, related donor is the accepted first choice. Genetics dictate that siblings have a 25 percent chance of matching. Those without a matched, related donor have 70 percent chance for Caucasians or only 10 percent chance for other or mixed ethnicities of finding a matched, unrelated donor in databases of people who have agreed to give if needed. Cord blood is immature and thus does not need to be as closely matched to be acceptable as a donor source. (Haploidenical transplant is beyond the scope of this article.)

“Historically, doctors have reserved cord blood for patients without a match,” Gutman says.

However, this flow of preference is increasingly questioned as data including the current study demonstrate that cord blood may be equal to or better than transplant from a matched, unrelated donor.

“A lot of centers reserved cord blood transplants for their worst cases, and so it got an early reputation for being less successful. It also costs a bit more – it takes cord blood cells a little longer to get going and so patients need to be supported a little longer. However, when you look past the first 100 days – a point at which many centers stop collecting data – there is clear evidence that cord blood outperforms cells from matched, unrelated donors,” Gutman says.

Gutman also points out that bone marrow transplants require art as well as science. Centers like University of Colorado Hospital that are especially experienced with cord blood transplant have evolved systems to best support patients and optimize all transplant related issues, potentially leading to better outcomes than less experienced centers using similar treatment.

The current study, specifically, compared 51 consecutive patients receiving CBT with 57 consecutive patients receiving MUD. At 3 years post transplant, in addition to he above difference in severe chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD), overall rates of cGVHD were 68 percent following MUD and 32 percent following CBT. Again at 3 years, patients receiving CBT had been off immunosuppression since a median 268 days from transplant; patients receiving MUD had not ceased immunosuppression to a degree that allowed researchers to determine the median.

“As a result, we have chosen to use cord blood as our first choice in cases where a matched, related donor is unavailable,” Gutman says.

Posted in Bone Marrow Transplants, Nephrology: Kidney Transplants, Transplantation | Leave a comment