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Just quit - you’re more likely to succeed

Tobacco & MarijuanaJan 30 06

According to British scientists smokers who suddenly decide to quit immediately, without making plans about how or when, are far more likely to succeed.

Robert West, a professor of psychology at University College London says though this appears contrary to what many experts and others believe, that in order to succeed a smoker must plan and prepare for the quitting, it is not necessarily true.

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New inhaled drug for diabetics an alternative treatment option for some

DiabetesJan 30 06

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. has given it’s approval for the sale of a new drug to treat diabetes.

The drug is the first inhaled version of insulin to hit the market and is expected to offer, for some diabetics, an alternative to injecting insulin on a daily basis.

Exubera should be available by mid-year.

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Asthmatic boys hospitalized more often than girls

AsthmaJan 28 06

Boys under the age of 15 years are more likely than girls of this age to be hospitalized for asthma, but this is largely because more boys than girls have asthma, new research suggests.

Age-related differences in sex prevalence have been “consistently reported” in hospitalized asthma patients, note California-based investigators in the journal Chest. Up to twice as many inpatients younger than 15 years are male, while up to three times as many hospitalized patients older than 15 are female.

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Stroke risk reduced by eating fruits and vegetables

StrokeJan 28 06

Eating more than five servings of fruits and vegetables each day can cut the risk of stroke by 26 percent, according to the results of a review of several studies published this week in The Lancet.

Several reports have suggested an anti-stroke effect with diets high in fruits and vegetables, but the extent of this association was unclear, lead author Dr. Feng J. He, from St. George’s University in London, and colleagues note.

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Calif. classifies second-hand smoke a toxic risk

Tobacco & MarijuanaJan 28 06

A California environmental agency voted on Thursday to classify tobacco smoke as a “toxic air contaminant,” a first-in-the-nation move that could toughen state regulations on cigarette smoke.

The designation by California’s Air Resources Board starts a process that could lead to further smoking bans in a state that has often led the nation in health and ecological regulation.

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CT scan risks in cystic fibrosis likely to rise

CancerJan 28 06

The increased cancer risk from annual CT scanning of patients with cystic fibrosis is currently modest, but will become more substantial as patients with the disease live longer, an international team of researchers reports.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects the glands that produce sweat and mucus, with the most significant damage occurring in the lungs and digestive system. Mucus in cystic fibrosis patients becomes thick and accumulates in the lungs and intestines, resulting in breathing problems, frequent respiratory infections and poor nutrition. Because most patients die of lung disease, the primary goal of cystic fibrosis therapy is to help keep the airways clear and avoid respiratory infections.

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Migraine with aura related to seizures in children

NeurologyJan 28 06

Children who have migraine with aura are at substantially increased risk of developing epilepsy, researchers from the United States and Iceland report. However, they found no apparent relationship between seizures and migraine without aura.

Senior investigator Dr. W. Allen Hauser told Reuters Health, “a possible association between migraine and epilepsy has long been recognized, but the exact relationship is not clear.”

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Patients may see scary lights during eye surgery

Eye / Vision ProblemsJan 28 06

Patients who are awake while undergoing surgery on the gel-like vitreous inside the eye often report seeing frightening lights, similar to what is experienced by cataract surgery patients, a new study shows. As a result, many patients say they would opt for general anesthesia the next time around, despite the greater risk.

About three fourths of patients perceived light during the surgery, Dr. Colin S. H. Tan of the Eye Institute at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore and colleagues report, and a significant minority reported being frightened by their visual experiences.

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The Effect of Vacations, Retirement on Your Health

StressJan 28 06

Long hours and high stress on the job pump out stress hormones, raise blood pressure, and increase the risk for atherosclerosis and other heart problems. To counteract these factors, men need to work balance and relaxation into their lives. The February issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch discusses whether vacations really have health value, and how men can make the most of retirement.

In one study, men who took the most vacations were 29% less likely to be diagnosed with heart disease and 17% less likely to die over the nine-year study period than those who did not take regular vacations. However, vacations are not equally good for all men. Psychologists in the Netherlands have identified a group of men with “leisure sickness,” a set of psychosomatic symptoms that are triggered by time away from work. Still, this condition is rare; for nearly every man, vacations are healthy, says the Harvard Men’s Health Watch.

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Most U.S. healthcare workers don’t get flu vaccine

Public HealthJan 28 06

Just 38 percent of healthcare workers in the United States received an influenza vaccine in 2000, despite strong evidence showing that vaccination can reduce the rate of hospital-acquired infections in patients and employee absenteeism, according to a new report.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends influenza vaccination for healthcare workers who have direct patient contact. By contrast, the findings from the present study suggest that it is the workers with direct patient contact, such as health aides and medical assistants (but not physicians, who have the highest vaccination rates) who are least likely to be vaccinated.

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Women at greater risk of subsequent stroke than men

StrokeJan 28 06

Among patients who have suffered a single stroke, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, along with colleagues at other institutions, have found that severe stenosis, or narrowing, of the arteries in the head represents a major risk factor for the development of a subsequent stroke.

Patients with recent symptoms were also at high risk. Further, women faced a greater risk of subsequent stroke than men. Their work, to be published in the January 31 issue of Circulation, lays the foundation for further studies into effective therapies to prevent secondary strokes.

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Tobacco Industry Promoted “Ineffective” Ventilation Systems

Tobacco & MarijuanaJan 28 06

Newly released documents reveal that, despite knowing that ventilation and air filtration are ineffective at removing environmental tobacco smoke, British American Tobacco (BAT) promoted these technologies to the hospitality industry as viable options to smoking bans.

Writing in this week’s BMJ, researchers argue that a total ban on smoking in public places is the only way to protect all employees from environmental tobacco smoke.

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Role of the Nervous System in Regulating Stem Cells Discovered

NeurologyJan 26 06

Study led by Mount Sinai School of Medicine may Provide New Hope for Cancer Patients and Others with Compromised Immune Systems

New study by Mount Sinai researchers may lead to improved stem cell therapies for patients with compromised immune systems due to intensive cancer therapy or autoimmune disease. The study is published in this week’s issue of Cell.

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Caffeine curbs heart’s blood flow during exercise

HeartJan 26 06

Drinking two cups of caffeinated coffee decreases blood flow to the heart during exercise, researchers report, and the reduction may be most pronounced at high altitudes. While healthy people may tolerate the reduced blood flow fairly easily, it may be harmful to people with coronary artery disease.

Dr. Philipp A. Kaufmann and colleagues from University Hospital Zurich, examined the immediate effects of caffeine on blood flow to the heart at rest and after exercise in healthy young adult volunteers exercising at normal oxygen levels or simulated low-oxygen levels that occurs at high altitudes.

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Phonics teaching: a child’s passport to literacy

Children's HealthJan 26 06

Systematic phonics should feature in every child’s reading instruction and it should be part of every literacy teacher’s repertoire, according to a Government-funded review of research by academics at the Universities of York and Sheffield.

The review, commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), found that systematic phonics - letters and sounds taught in sequence from early childhood—resulted in better progress in reading accuracy among children of all abilities. But evidence for corresponding improvements in reading comprehension and spelling was inconclusive.

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