Thursday, August 16, 2012

Problem Gambling And Its Effects

The Grand National (horserace) spurs over a third of the adult population of the United Kingdom into having a flutter making it the country's single biggest gambling event. However, even with the recent boom in internet gambling, problems with gambling are often overlooked.

Problem gambling is the subject of a new research venture funded by Economic and Social Research Council in partnership with the Responsibility in Gambling Trust (RIGT). Funding worth around �920,000 over a three year period has been awarded to six projects researching the impacts of gambling on those involved as well as the broader implications for society.

Robin Burgess, Director of RIGT, states "Problem Gambling has a profound effect on not only those involved but the wider community around them. This funding, as well as building the research capacity in this field, will help us to understand why people become involved in gambling, how people learn to control their addiction, and how we can prevent people from becoming Problem Gamblers."

Projects, which are just beginning, will look at a range of issues including social contexts for problem gambling; how the distinction between problem and non-problem gambling is made; internet gambling; gambling-related brain responses in social and problem gamblers; impacts of gambling on family life as well as how young and vulnerable gamblers can be deterred. The research being funded has been chosen for its direct applicability to policy and practice in a neglected area. These studies will inform the way services are commissioned and how policy is formed.

"The ESRC is very pleased to be collaborating with the RIGT on this initiative. The studies proposed are of high quality and relevance, offering great potential for our understanding of harm related to gambling and how society can respond through regulation and the development of services," says ESRC Chief Executive, Professor Ian Diamond.

The six projects funded through this venture include:

-- Dr Gerda Reith and colleagues at the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Centre for Social Research, for a sociological study of routes in and out of problem gambling. Dr Reith has written extensively on the social, cultural and historical aspects of gambling, as well as the impacts of problem gambling

-- A team at Goldsmiths, University of London, for an anthropological study of betting in bookmakers and a study of Chinese community betting. The main author, Dr Rebecca Cassidy, has previously published widely on horseracing.

-- University Of Cambridge, for an MRI scanning study to identify brain responses to gambling tasks, especially near misses. Professor Trevor Robbins and Dr Luke Clark, who are leading this study, are world leaders in MRI scanning for compulsive behaviours.

-- At University of Cardiff, Dr Stephanie Van Goozen and Dr Simon Moore will lead a multi-disciplinary study of the associations between deviant youth and impulsivity and lack of control to gamble

-- Led by Dr Robert Rogers, a team at Oxford University will study internet gambling including personality traits and risk of on-line gamblers

-- Professor Gill Valentine and colleagues at Leeds University for a study of patterns of play and harm in families about internet gambling.

1. The ESRC is the UK's largest funding agency for research and postgraduate training relating to social and economic issues. It provides independent, high quality, relevant research to business, the public sector and Government. The ESRC total expenditure in 2005/6 is �135million. At any time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and research policy institutes. More at

2. ESRC Society Today offers free access to a broad range of social science research and presents it in a way that makes it easy to navigate and saves users valuable time. As well as bringing together all ESRC-funded research (formerly accessible via the Regard website) and key online resources such as the Social Science Information Gateway and the UK Data Archive, non-ESRC resources are included, for example the Office for National Statistics. The portal provides access to early findings and research summaries, as well as full texts and original datasets through integrated search facilities. More at

3. RIGT - the Responsibility in Gambling Trust, exists to fund research, treatment and educational work about problem gambling. Our aim is to reduce the impact of problem gambling on society. Funded mainly by the UK gambling industry, but completely independent of it, RIGT seeks to ensure that people at risk of gambling problems are educated about problem gambling and that people affected by problem gambling get access to help and advice. Our main role is to commission treatment for problem gamblers through organisations like GamCare and Gordon house. RIGT also commissions education programmes and sponsors independent academic research into all facets of gambling behaviour to aid the development of policy and services. In May 2006, RIGt will be launching a new searchable on-line database of leading research into problem gambling. For details of this, and RIGT's other programmes, including other research funds, see
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Low PSA Score After Radiation Can Predict Prostate Cancer Return

A consortium of prostate cancer experts have discovered, through a clinical investigation, that prostate cancer patients who have a lower prostate specific antigen (PSA) score after radiation therapy to treat their cancer are less likely to have their prostate cancer return or spread to other parts of their body than patients with a higher PSA score. The study was published in the March 15, 2006, issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of ASTRO, the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

The study was conducted on nearly 5,000 patients treated with radiation therapy in nine prestigious academic radiation oncology departments across the United States. The participating institutions included the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.; the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston; Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia; Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland; William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich.; Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology in St. Louis; Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn.; Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

After receiving radiation, most patients experience a decline in their PSA blood test score. Doctors measure the PSA level after radiation to monitor treatment response. If the PSA decreases and then stays relatively level, the treatment is considered a success, but if the PSA then rises, doctors may consider additional treatments for cancer recurrence.

In this study, researchers set out to examine whether or not a lower PSA score is a good indicator in predicting the likelihood that a patient's prostate cancer will return or spread. In the current standard of care, doctors are less interested in the actual PSA score, but whether the PSA rises after treatment. A rise is used to gauge whether the cancer will likely return.

The doctors found that a lower PSA level was associated with a dramatic decrease in both prostate cancer recurrence and the spread of cancer among patients across all risk categories. The patients were separated into different categories, based on their PSA score after radiation. The patients with the lowest PSA scores experienced an eight year disease-free survival rate of 75 percent, compared with only 18 percent for those with the highest PSA scores. Patients who had the lower PSA scores also had a 97 percent distant metastasis-free survival rate, compared with 73 percent for those with the highest PSA scores. In addition, the researchers found that patients treated with a higher dose of radiation had a better chance of achieving a lower PSA score and were less likely to see their prostate cancer return.

"While there is no magic number for the PSA that guarantees that prostate cancer has been cured in an individual patient, in general, the lower the PSA number, the better chances that the cancer will not return or spread," said Michael E. Ray, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and a radiation oncologist at the University of Michigan Medical Center. "These findings may help us to identify high risk patients early. This may allow their doctors to consider other adjuvant or salvage therapies to hopefully increase their chances for survival."

ASTRO is the largest radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 8,500 members who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, biology and physics, the Society is dedicated to the advancement of the practice of radiation oncology by promoting excellence in patient care, providing opportunities for educational and professional development, promoting research and disseminating research results and representing radiation oncology in a rapidly evolving healthcare environment.
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Benefit Of Grape Seeds

Grape seeds, peel and pedicles contain phytoestrogens, which can efficiently protect women above 45 from atherosclerosis. This has been experimentally proved by specialists of the Research Institute of Physicochemical Medicine (Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation), Research Institute of General Pathology and Pathophysiology (Russian Academy of Medical Sciences), Institute of Experimental Cardiology (Russian Cardiological Scientific Production Complex, Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation), Institute of Atherosclerosis (Russian Academy of Natural Sciences).

Women of the childbearing age suffer less from atherosclerosis than the men of the same age. However, as years pass, the risk of women's cardiovascular diseases increases, which is due to the drop of estrogens' level in the organism. According to the latest data, hormone replacement therapy does not prevent aterosclerotic affects, besides, it is dangerous in terms of vein thrombosis and cancerous growth risk. Therefore, the researchers turned to investigation of phytoestrogens. These are phytogenic compounds, analogue to estrogens in structure and possessing similar properties but deprived of side effects.

Phytoestrogens are part of many grain-crops and legumes, vegetables, fruit and medicinal plants. Physicians already apply the "Phytosoy" commercial drug standardized in terms of phytoestrogen content ("Arkopharma", "Laboratories Pharmaceutiques"). However, the Moscow scientists' attention was attracted by red grapes. Major grape phytoestrogens belong to the flavonoid class. They are catechin, epicatechin, quercetin, campferol, lutein and some other. These substances' antioxidant and antiphlogistic properties, as well as their ability to resolve thrombi are very high. Besides, red wine's beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system is well-known.

The researchers used grape components obtained from products of technological processing in the course of red wine production: dry aqueous alcoholic extract from grape seeds, ground grape seeds, ground fermented grape pedicles and ground dried husks of grapes. These particular parts of the grape contain the lion's share of flavonoids, but the pulp's share accounts for less than 10 percent. The experiments involved six volunteer women at the age of 47 through 61. The women's serum was added to monocyte blood cells culture, and the researchers observed how the intracellular cholesterol content changed in monocytes after the growth on the medium with the serum. The experiment participants' serum caused cholesterol accumulation in the monocyte cells. Nevertheless, within 2 to 6 hours after the women took grape preparations the same serum acquired opposite properties - cholesterol content decreased in the cells. The highest effect was produced by dry ethanolic extract from grape seeds. It should be noted that only 100 milligrams of the extract reduced cholesterol content in the cells by 67 to 70 percent already within two hours. Slightly less evident was the effect of dried husks of grapes and fermented grape pedicles. Ground grape seeds alone do not possess medicinal effect, so there is no sense in eating grapes together with seeds. The medicinal effect of all grape preparations has significantly exceeded the results obtained with the "Phytosoy" drug taking.

Thus, the experiment is carried out at the cellular level and is as close to real conditions as possible. The researchers have proved that grape phytoestrogens prevent cells from accumulating cholesterol. Therefore, grape seed extract, husks of grapes and fermented grape pedicles are promising components of natural atherosclerosis prophylaxis drugs for women in the second half of life.

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Chiropractic For Arthritis - Benefits, Concerns, Side Effects, And Effectiveness

The word ARTHRITIS means inflammation of the joint. Arthritis can affect a person at any age. Sometimes the symptoms of arthritis are called rheumatism. Eight classes of arthritis and related conditions have been identified. These are:

Inflammatory - the membrane of the joint becomes irritated

Attachment Arthritis - frequently in the heels and lower back, the ligament or tendon fastened to the bone becomes irritated

Crystal Arthritis - the big toe has deposits of microscopic crystals of sodium urate

Joint Infection - bacteria contaminate the fluid inside the joint, usually found in the hip, shoulder and knee

Cartilage Degeneration - usually found in the knees, neck, lower back, hips and fingers, this type of arthritis arises when the cartilage of the joint breaks down

Muscle Inflammation - muscle tissue becomes inflamed

Local Conditions - a local injury causes pain, such as tennis elbow

General Conditions - a condition characterized by generalized muscle pain and sleep disturbance.

Chiropractic is a remedial system that centers on the structure of the body. Daniel David Palmer gave the first chiropractic treatment in 1895. He derived the name chiropractic from the Greek CHEIR meaning hand, and PRAKTIKOS meaning practice or perform. Treatment is adapted to suit the age, build, pain levels and general health of the individual. Treatment schedules depend on whether your problem is acute or chronic, and on your age and general health.

The chiropractic treatment for arthritis depends on whether the practitioner is a straight or mixed chiropractor. The body is permitted to cure itself by straight chiropractors, who treat arthritis by working with the spine to correct subluxation and other imbalances. The mixed chiropractor will probably treat arthritis and other remedies such as acpupressure mixed with manipulation.

X-rays of many people in their 20's show that arthritis is not just an old age thing. Chiropractor Dr. Lynn Kelly has identified the number one cause of arthritis as being joints that aren't moving properly because of misalignments of the bones that form them. Your spine is a group of cylinder-shaped bones with knobs on the backs and side of each bone that fit into grooves in the neighboring vertebra, and a chiropractor can evaluate these joints for you.

Chiropractic adjustments are painless for most patients. Tiny pockets of gas are relieved from the joints when your vertebrae are adjusted, making a "popping" noise. Dozens of research studies have recognized the safety and helpfulness of chiropractic care. Chiropractors are also taught to identify when damage is outside of their scope of practice and will refer patients to the proper medical specialist if needed.

The small joints of the body can be damaged by rheumatoid arthritis, as with any joint in the body. One in five to one in three patients with RA have spinal involvement. If you're an RA patient with spinal involvement, you should not have chiropractic manipulation done, as it can cause your spinal instability to worsen.
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Hunting Down The Causes Of Huntington Disease

Huntington disease (HD) is a degenerative brain disease in which brain cells called neurons die as a result of aggregations of the polyQ-huntingtin protein. Symptoms include involuntary movements, personality changes, and dementia, and unfortunately, there is no effective treatment to delay or prevent HD.

In a study appearing April 6 in advance of print publication in the May issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researcher Sandrine Humbert and colleagues at the Institut Curie in France, report that a promising candidate HD drug, cystamine, is able to reduce neuron death and HD symptoms in animals by increasing levels of a protective protein called HSJ1b. The authors found that brains from patients with HD have significantly lower levels of HSJ1b, and that overexpressing HSJ1b in neurons grown in a laboratory dish protects them from polyQ-huntingtin-induced death. Next the researchers created worms that had neuron dysfunction due to the presence of polyQ-huntingtin, and found that the dysfunction could be reduced by HSJ1b.

To identify the mechanism by which cystamine and HSJ1b were protective, the researchers gave cystamine to mice and found that cystamine increased not only levels of HSJ1b, but also levels of BDNF, an important neuron survival factor. These results were confirmed when the authors gave a related, FDA-approved drug, cysteamine, to mice and monkeys with HD. Together these studies reveal that cystamine and cysteamine raise BDNF in an HSJ1b-dependent manner and may be useful as potential treatments for HD.


TITLE: Cystamine and cysteamine increase brain levels of BDNF in Huntington disease via HSJ1b and transglutaminase
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The British Are Much Healthier Than The Americans

A large study, which looked at the health of middle class, middle-aged, white residents in both the USA and Britain found that the British enjoy much better health than their American counterparts. Even though the USA has a much higher income per capita than the UK, about 25% higher, the British are far ahead when it comes to the health of its residents.

Americans also spend a great deal more on health care than the British do. The average expenditure per head per year on health in the UK is $2,164, while in the USA it stands at $5,274.

You can read about this study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), May 3 Issue.

Even when obesity, drinking, smoking and social levels are taken into account, the difference between the two nations is significant.

Here are some figures showing the incidence of some diseases:

USA - 12.5%
UK - 6.1%

High Blood Pressure
USA - 42.4%
UK - 33.8%

Heart Disease
USA - 15.1%
UK - 9.6%

USA - 9.5%
UK - 5.5%

Lung Disease
USA - 8.1%
UK - 6.3%

USA - 3.8%
UK - 2.3%

Heart Attack
USA - 5.5%
UK - 4%

The study looked at the health of 6,400 Americans and 9,300 British people aged 40-70.

The researchers also found that in many aspects of health the UK people at the lower end of the social scale enjoyed better health than the Americans at the top end. Heart disease in Britain's lowest group stood at 11.6%, while for the highest American group it was 12%.

The researchers are not sure what the reason(s) for this disparity may be. There are many factors which could be responsible. Here is a list:

-- Britain has a universal health care system which is free for everyone. The USA has a patchwork of public and private healthcare. However, this study looked at well-off white residents - in both countries, all the people studied had good access to health care.

-- The USA has a bigger obesity/overweight problem than the UK does. The obesity/overweight problem has been present in the USA for longer than in the UK.

-- The British are more physically active than the Americans. People walk and cycle more in Britain than in America. The British also use public transport more.

-- Americans eat more junk food than the British do.

-- American food portions are much bigger than British ones. American portions are three times the size of a portion in the 1970s.

-- Americans are not addressing the underlying problems of obesity as much as the British are. Americans are treating the symptoms of obesity, rather than the reasons for it. However, it must be pointed out that the British are getting fatter and people complain not enough is being done to address the reasons for rising obesity levels in Britain.

-- Americans suffer from higher levels of stress than the British do.

If all the British have access to free health care, which is not the case in America, one wonders what the health disparities would be if all sectors of society in both countries were studied and compared.

Britain does not enjoy better levels of health when compared to many of its European neighbours.
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Brain Images Show Individual Dyslexic Children Respond To Spelling Treatment

Brain images of children with dyslexia taken before they received spelling instruction show that they have different patterns of neural activity than do good spellers when doing language tasks related to spelling. But after specialized treatment emphasizing the letters in words, they showed similar patterns of brain activity. These findings are important because they show the human brain can change and normalize in response to spelling instruction, even in dyslexia, the most common learning disability.

The research is unique in that it looks at images of individual brains rather than the composite group images, or maps, that are typically produced to show which areas of the brain are activated when people are engaged in specific tasks. Being able to study how individual brains differ between good and poor spellers and how they normalize after receiving one of two treatments is an important advance, according to University of Washington neuroimaging scientist Todd Richards and neuropsychologist Virginia Berninger, who headed the research team.

The new findings were published in the January issue of the journal Neurolinguistics.

"Most people think dyslexia is a reading disorder, but it is also a spelling and writing problem," said Berninger, who directs the UW's Learning Disabilities Center. "Our results show that all dyslexics in the 9- to 12-year-old range have spelling problems and children who cannot spell cannot express their ideas in writing."

Earlier research by the UW team and others has shown that dyslexic children exhibit a different pattern of brain activity while reading compared to youngsters who are good readers, but that the brain is malleable and this pattern can normalize with specialized instruction. However, even after receiving reading instruction, many dyslexic children still have persistent spelling problems, according to Berninger. Even so, she said, parents report that their children with dyslexia are typically dismissed from special education once they learn to read but before their spelling and writing problems are adequately treated.

Researchers have found that humans code words in three forms while learning how to read and spell. These codes draw on common and unique brain circuits. The brain codes words by their sound (or phonology), by the parts of words that signal meaning and grammar (morphology), and by their visual or written form (orthography).

In the new study, researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, to examine the brain activity of 18 dyslexic children (5 girls and 13 boys) who had problems with spelling and 21 children (8 girls and 13 boys) who were good readers and spellers. All of the children were of normal intelligence and were in the fourth through sixth grades.

Both groups of children had their brains scanned twice while doing a series of language tasks. The good spellers were scanned to provide a picture of normal brain activity while doing the tasks. The brains of the dyslexic children were imaged both before and after receiving 14 hours of one of two kinds of specialized spelling instruction over a three-week period. The dyslexic children were randomly assigned to either of two spelling treatments. One emphasized the letters in the written forms of words while the other focused on the parts of words that signal meaning and grammar.

Earlier research has shown that spelling development progresses through three stages - phonological, orthographic and morphological. The treatment that was developmentally appropriate for children in grades four through six - orthographic - was the one associated with normalization of brain activation. After receiving the orthographic instruction that emphasized strategies for focusing on and remembering the letters in written words, the brain activity of the dyslexic children changed to more closely resemble that of the good spellers. The children's spelling on a standardized test also improved. Dyslexic children who received the other treatment, a morphological one that was more developmentally advanced, did not show normalized brain activation.

Prior to receiving either kind of instruction, the dyslexic children exhibited different patterns of brain activity than did the good spellers when performing each of the language tasks related to spelling. The dyslexics showed both absence of activity in a number of brain regions exhibited by the good spellers as well as activity in other brain areas that were not activated in the good spellers.

Richards said that significant differences between the dyslexics and good spellers occurred in a small number of regions, suggesting that a few brain regions may have abnormal function during spelling development.

Berninger noted that three word codes involved in spelling during middle childhood - phonology, morphology and orthography - activate common and unique brain regions, but the specific activated brain regions associated with each word code may change during the course of a child's development in learning how to spell. For example, beginning readers create orthographic codes from the relationship of letters and phonology. Morphology plays a greater role in the longer, more complex words in middle school and high school curriculum.

"Our research is telling us good spellers are taught, not born, as is often assumed," she said. "Unfortunately, what happens in most schools is dyslexic children learn how to read and then get dismissed from special education classes even though they still need specialized instruction until they learn to spell. Moreover, spelling is not systematically and explicitly taught in many classrooms in the United States.


The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development funded the research. Co-authors of the paper are Elizabeth Aylward, a UW neuroimaging scientist; William Nagy, a Seattle Pacific University educational linguist; and former UW graduate students Katherine Field, Amie Grimme and Anne Richards.

For more information about dyslexia, contact Berninger at (206) 616-6372 or For more information about the imaging used in this study, contact Richards at (206) 221-6894 or
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Two Premature Babies Die Of Drug Overdose

Two premature babies, one at 25 and the other at 26 weeks' gestation, have died after being given adult doses of Heparin, a blood-thinning drug. A spokesperson for the Newborn Intensive Care unit, Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis, said the overdoses were due to human error. It has been reported that four more babies also received overdoses of Heparin at the same hospital. One of these four babies may have to undergo surgery as a result.

Heparin, which is commonly administered to premature babies to prevent blood clots, may trigger severe internal bleeding if the dose is too high.

An investigation is underway to find out how the errors could have happened. A hospital spokesperson said some steps have already been taken to make sure this does not happen again.

It seems that adult doses (in vials) were placed in the drawer for premature babies. Nurses would have taken the vials out of the drawer not knowing they were for adults. So far, the investigation has not shown up any cases of adults receiving premature baby doses.

Sam Odle, president & CEO of Methodist and Indiana University hospitals said "We are investigating this incident to ensure that we can work to eliminate error as part of care delivery. Our mission is to deliver high quality care and to deliver perfect care in terms of safety and this is a priority for all patients and families."

Odle added that he is confident that all children in the Methodist Hospital are safe and receiving the very best baby care. The hospital administers thousands of Heparin doses each day and 100s of 1000s each year. He stressed this incident is extremely rare.

Odle said "This is a tragic event and our thoughts and prayers are extended to the families."

Indiana University Hospitals web site
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Recommended Treatments For Fistulas In Crohn's Disease

Fistulas are common in Crohn's disease and occur in the perianal region or are internal, between intestinal structures or between the intestine and other organs such as the bladder or the abdominal wall. This article, published in the journal "Digestion", presents treatments and their outcome.

Medical therapy is the main option for perianal fistulas once abscesses, if present, have been drained. Antibiotics such as metronidazole and ciprofloxacin are efficacious treatments, though they do not introduce complete healing. Withdrawal of these agents tends to lead to re-exacerbation of the disease. Immunomodulators such as azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine, or methotrexate should be given early in the disease. They are an effective agent both in closing and in maintaining closure of fistulas, though the onset of response can be delayed. In case of resistance to immunomodulators, infliximab, a chimeric monoclonal antibody, should be given. Cyclosoporin A can be used as a treatment in the acute phase, but patients should receive concomitant immunomodulators (azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine) for maintenance treatment. Internal fistulas are usually associated with a more aggressive disease and often require surgery, such as fistulotomy or proctectomy.

The cumulative risk for fistulas in patients with Crohn's disease is 33% after 10 years and 50% after 20 years. Perianal fistulas are the most common (54%). The management of fistulizing Crohn's disease necessitates a close collaboration between gastroenterologists and surgeons.

About the S. KARGER AG

With over a century of experience in connecting the world of biomedical science, Karger publishes nearly 80 scientific, peer-reviewed journals and 150 serial and non-serial books and supplement issues annually for a global scientific readership.

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Video Games Fun But Pose Social, Health Risks

Move over Tickle Me Elmo. The recently released Nintendo Wii and Playstation 3 video game systems are rivaling the giggling red monster as the gifts children beg their parents for most this holiday season.

As coveted as these new video game systems and other models are, some parents may want to think twice before buying them for their children and teens, a University of Florida child psychologist says.

With more educational games hitting store shelves and one system, the Nintendo Wii, actually requiring players to peel themselves off the couch to use it, video game makers seem to be addressing concerns about how playing affects children. But too much gaming still puts children more at-risk for behavioral and health problems, which is why parents should consider how they will control children's playing before they buy a system, said Eric Storch, Ph.D., a UF assistant professor of pediatrics and psychiatry.

"If you're concerned it is going to be difficult to control how much your child is playing, then one recommendation would be not to tempt them," Storch said. "Don't purchase one of these systems."

Video games can be a good outlet for children who like them, but they shouldn't consume their lives, Storch added. Setting limits on playing time may help prevent casual gaming from spiraling into hours spent in front of a television screen with a controller.

Children and teens who play excessively often do so at the expense of homework, and playing solo can isolate children from their peers, potentially causing problems for them later in life, Storch said.

"Social interactions teach you how to deal with other people as well as what's appropriate and what's not," he said. "You learn how to handle situations. Social interaction is also one way of coping with stress and receiving emotional support."

Serious gamers who spend hours sitting in front of a TV also risk becoming obese and developing associated health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, Storch said. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to limit children's total TV, video game and computer time to two hours each day.

Unlike typical gaming systems, the new Nintendo Wii uses a wandlike controller that requires players to physically perform the action they want to see on-screen. The system gets users off the couch, but it's still not like playing soccer or jogging, Storch said.

On the other hand, research has shown that Dance Dance Revolution, a game that requires players to dance on a mat to mimic moves they see on their TV, elicits the same level of motion in children as other forms of exercise. But the game is a solo activity, Storch said. Dancing with friends or playing sports would get kids moving and give them a chance to spend time with peers, he said.

Although gamers lose time to participate in sports and other physical activities, video games aren't the sole reason many aren't more active, said Elizabeth Vandewater, Ph.D., an assistant professor of human development and family sciences and director of the Center for Research on Interactive Technology, Television and Children at the University of Texas. If the video games weren't there, many children would simply find something else to do inside, in part because crime and traffic increasingly hamper their ability to play outside, she said.

"Children in America are definitely less active," Vandewater said. "The question is whether (TV, computers and video games) are to blame."

Most parents know to watch out for violent and graphic video games, but even educational games may not be as beneficial as they seem in commercials. Many games that claim to be educational aren't evaluated to find out if children are actually learning from them, Vandewater said.

"Parents need to know they are being marketed to," she said.

Each family is different, so deciding whether to game is best left up to parents, Storch said. The key: Parents who do allow video games should establish limits and rules and stick with them. Those concerned about their children abiding by the limits can remove controllers or install a new swipe-card system that only allows them to play for a programmed amount of time, automatically shutting off the system when it lapses.

Another good strategy - have children do homework and play outside first, Storch said.

"There are certainly some positives to (video game playing)," Storch said. "For many kids it's really enjoyable. But moderation is the key."

University of Florida Health Science Center
1600 S.W. Archer Rd., Rm. C3-025
Gainesville, FL 32610
United States
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Breast Augmentation Surgery Or Natural Breast Enhancements?

Many of us would like to change something about our physical appearance. For some it is a nose that seems too large, for others, it's lips that are too thin, and for many women, it's small breasts. Countless surveys have shown that women see their breasts as one part of their body they would like to change. They feel that larger breasts would help them to feel more confident and physically appealing. To achieve a larger chest size, there is the option of breast augmentation surgery, or natural breast enhancements. The decision to have breast enhancement surgery is a life-changing one. Before taking any permanent steps, it is wise to do some careful thinking and consider all options.

Before committing yourself to cosmetic breast surgery, ask yourself why? This may sound like a ridiculous question, but many women make the decision to have breast augmentation surgery for the wrong reasons. Undergoing surgery to appeal to someone else or satisfy someone else's idea of what is sexy is harmful to your well-being and should not be the reason for your decision.

Once you have reflected on your reasons for pursuing surgical breast enhancement, it is now time to think about the permanency of your decision. Although implants can be reversed or altered, the costs associated with changing your mind are very high. And, should you ever want to have your implants removed, there may be tell-tale scars left behind. If you suspect that some years down the line you might become uncomfortable with having implants, you may want to consider a non-surgical breast enhancement option.

There are a few practicalities related to with breast augmentation surgery that you should consider before making your decision. The first being: can you afford this operation? You should never opt for cosmetic surgery over the necessities of life such as buying food or paying bills. The second practical issue is: can you afford the time after surgery to adequately heal? Your body will need some time to recover and the first few days may be slightly painful and uncomfortable. Be sure that you do not have to return to work immediately following your procedure. The last practical issue to consider is: have you done adequate research on your doctor? Before any surgery, you should take the time to gather information on your surgeon; you may want to know how many breast augmentation surgeries he/she has done and if patients were satisfied with the results.

In many cases, women are so excited about the prospect of having larger breasts that they forget to research other ways of increasing bust size. Natural breast enhancements can be achieved with the help of supplements, specialty bras and subtle bra insertions. All-natural supplements are a reliable way of achieving fuller and firmer breasts over time. In addition, special bras and bra insertions are available to give you the appearance of having larger breasts.

You can have the chest size that you have always wanted. There are surgical and non-surgical options that will surely give you the effect you are looking for. However, before making any big decisions regarding breast augmentation, carefully consider every aspect of your conclusion. Know that whatever decision you make, your goal is to have results that are satisfying to you!
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or Daily Sodium Intake There Is No One-Size-Fits-All

One side says everyone needs to cut back on salt to reduce heart disease risk. The other side says universal salt reduction would be a needless deprivation for many people. Which is correct? There isn't a simple answer.

In the most general terms, getting less sodium (the problematic component of salt) in the diet lowers blood pressure. But how sodium reduction affects an individual depends on his or her genes, age, and medical conditions, reports the November 2006 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter.

In an effort to improve the health of everyone in the United States, organizations like the American Heart Association urge us all to cut back on salt. But there really isn't a one-size-fits-all recommendation for daily sodium intake. If you are under age 50, your blood pressure is in a healthy range, and your health is good, you probably have little reason to worry about salt intake. A lower-sodium diet is good for people who are older, who are of African American descent, or who have high blood pressure or diabetes. These folks should limit their sodium intake to no more than 2,300-2,400 mg a day. People with heart failure or kidney disease are advised to keep their sodium intake under 2,000 mg a day.

Most people get three-quarters of their daily salt from prepared or processed food. The Harvard Heart Letter offers some basic tips to help you cut back on salt:

-- Read food labels and choose low-sodium foods.
-- Limit use of canned, processed, and frozen foods.
-- Ask about salt usage when eating out.
-- Cook with herbs and spices instead of salt.
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Crocodile Hunter's Death Still Under Investigation

Only after police have finished interviewing key witnesses of Steve Irwin's (Crocodile Hunter's) tragic death will the Cairns Coroner decide whether or not to hold an inquest. According to local Queensland police, this could take several days.

Mike Keating, Police Superintendent, Cairns, said "This is an investigation that will continue and we will report to the Coroner when it is completed. I don't think anything will be solved in two or three days - there is a series of interviews being done. There is probably more to do."

A team member who was with Irwin when he died, has already given the police a formal statement - as have most of the rest of the film crew.

Safety officials have already inspected Irwin's boat, 'Croc One'.

Steve Irwin was fatally wounded when a stingray's barbed tail stabbed his heart on Monday. He was filming a documentary on the dangerous marine see creatures of the Great Barrier Reef. It is a sad irony that the 'Crocodile Hunter', a man who had faced some of the world's most dangerous animals, was killed by a generally passive animal. Stingrays usually swim off when divers approach and only attack in self defence - even then, injuries are generally to the legs. Only three people in Australia's history have been killed by a stingray.

Video footage of Steve Irwin's final moments were handed over to the police, who say his death was not suspicious. Most people believe there will not be an inquest as his death was not suspicious.

Stingray venom

The stingray's venom contains:

Causes inexorable pain in the region of the injury.

5-nucleotidase and Phosphodiesterase
These two are responsible for the necrosis and tissue breakdown common with stingray envenomations.

Steve was struck in the chest - his heart was perforated. There was absolutely nothing anyone could have done to save his life.
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New Study Shows Cinnamon Extract Lowers Blood Sugar Levels In People With Type 2 Diabetes

A water-soluble, cinnamon extract has been shown to reduce fasting blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a new study from the University of Hannover in Hannover, Germany published in a recent issue of the European Journal of Clinical Investigation. This was the first study evaluating the effect of a water-soluble cinnamon extract on glycemic control and the lipid profile of Western patients with type 2 diabetes. The results further add to a growing body of clinical evidence demonstrating supplementation with a water-soluble cinnamon extract may play an important role in managing blood sugar levels and improving insulin function.

The placebo-controlled, double-blind study was designed to determine the effect of a water-soluble cinnamon extract on glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes. A total of 79 patients with type 2 diabetes not on insulin therapy but treated with oral medication or diet therapy were randomly assigned to take either a cinnamon extract or placebo capsule three times daily for four months. The cinnamon capsule contained 112 mg of water-soluble extract, an equivalent of one gram of cinnamon powder. The cinnamon extract group experienced a significant reduction in fasting plasma glucose levels (10.3%) versus the placebo group (3.4%). Changes in HbA1c and lipid profiles were not statistically significant.

In the U.S., Cinnulin PF is the only water-soluble cinnamon extract ingredient standardized for the recognized active component in cinnamon, double-linked Type-A Polymers. Despite USDA studies showing the health benefits of cinnamon, researchers note that when consumed consistently or in high doses, whole cinnamon and fat-soluble extracts may be toxic. Cinnulin PF retains the active components without the potentially harmful compounds, making it completely safe for everyday use.

"This study, together with a recent clinical trial utilizing Cinnulin PF, provides compelling evidence for the beneficial effects of a water-soluble cinnamon extract on blood sugar levels," stated Tim Romero, executive vice president, Integrity Nutraceuticals International, marketer of Cinnulin PF. "We are excited to see in the coming months results of studies underway that further substantiate the efficacy and safety of Cinnulin PF."

Integrity Nutraceuticals International, founded in 1999, is a global raw material supplier of bulk nutraceuticals. They import only the finest materials from China and India and specialize in custom formulations. Integrity's focus is to introduce innovative ingredients into the market based on science and research. Their inventory consists of a wide variety of products including: amino acids, creatine, sports enhancing supplements, joint and heath care items, specialty items and herbs. Integrity's products are verified analytically in their state-of-the-art in-house laboratory equipped with HPLC, FT-NIR, GC and microbial testing.

Integrity Nutraceuticals International
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Regular Dietary Cocoa Flavanol Intake May Slow Memory Decline In Seniors

According to a new study published online in the journal Hypertension, researchers from the University of L'Aquila, Italy, have found convincing new evidence that cognitive function in elderly people with early memory decline can be improved by regular consumption of dietary cocoa flavanols.

The study shines new light on the benefits of flavanols, particularly with regard to regular cocoa flavanol consumption on cognitive function in people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).

Even though earlier research had indicated that the benefits of cocoa flavanols could also apply to the brain, it either consisted of short-term research or was unable to demonstrate a consistent cognitive benefit. The new study has done both, and the findings allow researchers to better understand the possibility of slowing or even reversing cognitive declines linked to aging by consuming these natural compounds.

Flavanols are natural compounds that are particularly abundant in cocoa; substantial evidence has shown that consuming cocoa flavanols helps support healthy circulation and cardiovascular health.

Study-author, Dr. Giovambattista Desideri, Director of the Geriatric Division of the University of L'Aquila, said:

"For the first time, regular cocoa flavanol consumption has been shown to positively affect cognitive function in older adults with early memory decline.

Importantly, the improvements in cognitive function were seen over a relatively short period of time; and, while further research is required to confirm and expand on these findings, this provides encouraging evidence that regular consumption of cocoa flavanols might be effective in improving cognitive function in elderly subjects with Mild Cognitive Impairment.

The findings provide promising indications that the development of novel dietary approaches for improving health as we age - especially cognitive health - is a real possibility."
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Cancer-Protective Effect Of Daily Aspirin Smaller Than Previously Thought

A new study adds support to the idea that daily aspirin use results in fewer cancer deaths, but the effect may not be as large as previous research might suggest. The researchers say although the collected evidence seems encouraging, it is still too early to recommend routine taking of aspirin just to prevent cancer, because even at low doses, it can increase the risk of serious bleeding in the gut.

The study, by a team of epidemiologists from the American Cancer Society, appeared early online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on 10 August.

In March 2012, researchers from Oxford University in the UK, published an analysis of data pooled from 51 randomized trials and calculated that daily aspirin use reduced the risk of cancer death by 15%, and this reduction increased with prolonged use. For instance, taking aspirin every day for 5 years or more, appeared to reduce risk of death from cancer by 37%.

But in the current study, lead author Eric J. Jacobs and colleagues, write:

"However, the magnitude of the effect of daily aspirin use, particularly long-term use, on cancer mortality is uncertain."

For their study, Jacobs and colleagues analyzed data on over 100,000 mostly elderly people who took part in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort where they had filled in questionnaires that included questions on use of aspirin. None of the participants had cancer at the start of the study, which followed them for up to 11 years.

When they analyzed the data, the researchers found daily aspirin use was linked to an estimated 16% lower risk of cancer death, both among participants who reported taking aspirin every day for at least five years, and also among those who reported using it for less than that.

The biggest effect (40% lower mortality) on lowering cancer deaths came from lower deaths from cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, including esophageal, stomach, and colorectal cancer, and to a much lesser extent (about 12% lower mortality) from cancers elsewhere in the body.

A 16% reduction in overall cancer mortality is considerably lower than the 37% from the earlier pooled analysis of randomized trials, and the authors do concede that their study was observational and not randomized, so there is a possibility they could have under or over estimated effects from different underlying risk factors among aspirin users and non-users.

However, to counter that potential limitation, they also point out their study has strength because of the very large number of participants.

In conclusion, they write:

"These results are consistent with an association between recent daily aspirin use and modestly lower cancer mortality but suggest that any reduction in cancer mortality may be smaller than that observed with long-term aspirin use in the pooled trial analysis."

Nevertheless, in a press statement, Jacobs cautions:

"Although recent evidence about aspirin use and cancer is encouraging, it is still premature to recommend people start taking aspirin specifically to prevent cancer."

"Even low-dose aspirin can substantially increase the risk of serious gastrointestinal bleeding," he adds.

Expert panels that issue clinical guidelines will look at all the accumulated evidence on the risks and benefits of routine aspirin use, and update the guidelines, says Jacobs.

In the meantime, he suggests decisions about whether or not to take aspirin routinely should be made on an individual basis, taking into account the patient's medical history, and in consultation with a health care professional.

In an accompanying editorial, John A Baron, professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, agrees: people should not start taking aspiring routinely just to reduce their risk of cancer.

We still don't know how aspirin might prevent cancer, what the underlying biological mechanisms might be, despite the fact the drug has been around for over 100 years and is a well-known occupant of medicine cabinets around the world.

Baron also points out that the effect on cancer takes time to appear, for instance with colon cancer it could take ten years or more. And in the meantime, people could develop serious gastrointestinal or even brain bleeding from routine aspirin use.

The risks have to be balanced against the benefits, he notes, "particularly when the benefits are delayed whereas the risks are not".
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Heart Attack Test Gives Diagnosis In 1 Hour

A more sensitive test for heart attack may cut the diagnosis time to one hour, removing the need for prolonged monitoring in 3 out of 4 patients who present to the Emergency Department (ED) with chest pains, according to a new US study published this week.

Writing about their work in a paper published online on 13 August in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the researchers suggest the test, which screens more sensitively for changes in a standard biochemical marker for myocardial infarction (heart attack), may help move patients more quickly through the ED, thus reducing congestion and saving time and money.

Around 10% of all emergency department consultation in the US are people with symptoms that might suggest acute myocardial infarction (AMI).

The Need for a Rapid Test

In an accompanying commentary, L. Kristin Newby, professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, explains there is a demand for new tools that can help rapid triage of patients with suspected heart attack, especially as EDs are getting more and more crowded.

When a patient presents to the ED with chest pains, the first thing doctors do is rule in or rule out for heart attack. The cornerstone for diagnosing the condition relies on clinical assessment, electrocardiography and measurement of a biochemical marker called cardiac troponin (or cTn). Without a rapid test for the marker, it can take 3 hours or more to check for increases in levels.

In their introduction, first author Tobias Reichlin, of University Hospital Basel, Switzerland, and colleagues, explain while there is evidence that high-sensitivity cardiac troponin (hs-cTn) assays appear to improve the early diagnosis of AMI, it is not clear how doctors should use them in practice, especially as there is a suggestion they may also increase positive results for other conditions.

So they developed and validated an algorithm designed to help doctors rapidly rule in and rule out AMI.

The Study

For their multicenter study Reichlin and colleagues recruited 872 patients who presented to the ED with acute chest pain. AMI was the final diagnosis in 147 (17%) of them.

They developed the algorithm in half of the patients and validated it in the remaining half. The algorithm used baseline hs-cTnT and absolute changes in levels of the biochemical marker within the first hour.

When they validated the test in the second group of patients, within one hour it classed 60% (259 patients) of them as rule-out, 17% (76) as rule-in, and 23% (101) as being in the observational zone.

They found the cumulative 30-day survival was nearly 100%, 98.6% and 95.3% for patients classed as rule-out, observational zone, and rule-in respectively. Reichlin and colleagues conclude:

"Using a simple algorithm incorporating hs-cTnT baseline values and absolute changes within the first hour allowed a safe rule-out as well as an accurate rule-in of AMI within 1 hour in 77% of unselected patients with acute chest pain."

"This novel strategy may obviate the need for prolonged monitoring and serial blood sampling in 3 of 4 patients," they add.

Comment on the Study

Newby writes that the study is an important step forward in the use of hsTn (high-sensitivity troponin) as a triage tool for ED patients with a possible heart attack, but there is still a lot of work to be done before there is sufficient evidence that hsTn and the algorithms Reichlin and colleagues have developed can be used in clinical practice.

She also points to a practical problem which is far from "simple" as the authors describe. And that is in practice, doctors would need different groups of algorithms for different groups of patients (for instance depending on age and other characteristics).

This added consideration will "challenge application by busy clinicians unlikely to remember or accurately process the proposed algorithm", says Newby.

Because of this, she suggests if the hsTn algorithms are validated, then they should form part of electronic health records so doctors have all the information, with interpretation and explanation of the algorithm to hand when conducting triage and treatment.

Research grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Swiss Heart Foundation, Abbott, Roche, Siemens and the Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Basel, financed the study. Roche also donated the blood assay the researchers used.
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Child's Allergy Risk Higher If Parent Of Same Sex Has It

Researchers have discovered an interesting fact about the genetic basis of childhood allergic diseases: a child is more likely to have a particular allergy if his or her same-sex parent has it.

So for example, a girl's chance of having asthma is higher if her mother has it, and a boy's is higher if his father has it.

And the same appears to be true of eczema and other childhood allergies.

This is the conclusion of a study by Professor Hasan Arshad, a consultant in allergy and immunology at Southampton General Hospital, and colleagues, that is published in the August issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

What The Researchers Did

For the study, the researchers used data from the Isle of Wight (IOW) Birth Cohort Study, which collected information on just under 1,500 children that were followed up to the age of 18. During that time, the children were examined at age 1, 2, 4, 10 and 18.

The Isle of Wight, which lies off the South coast of England, is ideal for carrying out long-term prospective epidemiological studies because it has a stable resident population, so most of the participants did not move away during the course of the study, and were thus available for follow-up.

Arshad was one of the initiators of the The IOW cohort study, which was set up with the aim of prospectively studying a whole population (about 130,000 people live on the IOW) for the development of asthma and allergic diseases and identify any relevant genetic and environmental risk factors.

The data on the cohort contains detailed information on heredity and environmental exposures, collected from birth and updated at each follow-up, where detailed questionnaires were completed with the parents for each child, about asthma and any other allergies, for example eczema and rhinitis.

At ages 4, 10, and 18, the children also underwent skin prick tests to 14 common food and airborne allergens.

Other examinations included spirometry and bronchial provocation tests, and collected blood samples to measure Immunoglobulin E (IgE) at ages 10 and 18. IgE is an antibody that is often screened for in testing for allergies.

The parents also underwent assessments. For example, shortly after the children in the cohort were born, the researchers found out whether his or her parents had allergies, and the mother's IgE level was also measured.

What They Found

When they analyzed the results the researchers found that maternal asthma was tied to asthma in girls but not to boys, and paternal asthma was linked to asthma in boys but not to girls.

They found the same pattern for eczema: if a child's mother had eczema, then the chances of the child having it was higher if it was a girl but not a boy, and if the father had it, the chance was higher for his son but not his daughter.

Similar patterns were found for other allergies, as the authors explain:

"Similar trends were observed when the effect of maternal and paternal allergic disease was assessed for childhood atopy and when maternal total IgE levels were related to total IgE levels in children at ages 10 and 18 years."

Possible Implications

The authors suggest the findings may change the way childhood allergies are assessed and prevented. For instance, in diagnosis, it may be useful to find out the allergy history of the mother in girl patients and of the father in boy patients.

The study may also open new avenues for studying sex-dependent effects in hereditary diseases, with the prospect one day of finding ways to prevent them.

The National Institutes of Health in the US funded the study.
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