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S. Africa youth AIDS programme faces cash crunch

Public HealthJan 04 06

South Africa’s national youth HIV/AIDS programme faces a funding crunch following a move by the global AIDS funding organisation to stop financing it, which the programme head blamed in part on U.S. interference.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced last month it was scrapping a planned $56 million grant to South Africa’s loveLife, citing concerns over governance and implementation.

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South African women become more weight conscious

Weight LossJan 04 06

Like many South African women, Bongi Tsuene is worried about her weight.

The difference is that Tsuene, featured in a television advertisement promoting a dieting formula, is black.

Experts say more black women like Tsuene are shunning the traditional African reverence for the fuller figure as they adapt to the pressures of post-apartheid South Africa, raising fears they could become vulnerable to eating disorders.

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A little exercise may prevent arthritis disability

ArthritisJan 04 06

Even a quite modest amount of exercise might be better than none at all when it comes to preventing disability from arthritis, new research suggests.

In a study that followed more than 3,500 U.S. adults with arthritis, researchers found that those who were getting some regular physical activity at the study’s start were less likely than their sedentary peers to develop worsening problems with walking, climbing stairs and other daily activities.

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Free booze makes homeless healthier: study

Tobacco & MarijuanaJan 04 06

Giving homeless alcoholics a regular supply of booze may improve their health and their behavior, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on Tuesday.

Seventeen homeless adults, all with long and chronic histories of alcohol abuse, were allowed up to 15 glasses of wine or sherry a day—a glass an hour from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.—in the Ottawa-based program, which started in 2002 and is continuing.

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One Day Radiation may become an Option for Breast Cancer Patients

Breast CancerJan 03 06

Doctors in Canada are studying the effectiveness of permanent radiation seed implants following lumpectomy as an alternative to whole or partial breast irradiation for early-stage breast cancer patients, according to a study published in the January 1, 2006, issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology * Biology * Physics, the official journal of ASTRO, the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology. This type of radiation would cut treatment time for certain patients from several weeks to one day.

For early stage breast cancer, women often undergo a lumpectomy to remove the tumor followed by radiation therapy to kill any cancer cells that may remain. Most women undergo external beam radiation, which is given every day, Monday through Friday, for six to eight weeks. Doctors have been experimenting with ways to shorten this treatment. One technique used by a growing number of radiation oncologists involves the use of temporary radiation implants. These radiation sources are delivered through a catheter into the breast, usually twice a day for one week.

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Child injury risk similar in SUVs, cars: study

TraumaJan 03 06

Sports utility vehicles do not offer child passengers added protection in a crash compared to cars because SUVs are more likely to roll over in an accident, researchers said on Tuesday.

Though the added weight of SUVs conferred some protection in non-rollover accidents, the vehicles were twice as likely as cars to roll over during a wreck, the report published in the journal Pediatrics said.

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Cheerleading injuries double among U.S. kids

Children's HealthJan 03 06

The number of injuries related to cheerleading among U.S. children has more than doubled since 1990, likely owing to increasingly risky gymnastic moves and stunts, researchers reported Tuesday.

Their study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that between 1990 and 2002, there was a 110 percent increase in the number of cheerleading injuries requiring a hospital visit—from 10,900 in 1990 to 22,900 in 2002.

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Identification of regulatory mechanism could lead to new treatments of osteoporosis

Gender: FemaleJan 03 06

Medical researchers at the University of Bonn, working in collaboration with scientists from Israel, the USA and Britain, have identified a previously unknown regulatory mechanism in the process of bone loss. Their findings could open up new approaches to the treatment of osteoporosis. More than four million people, predominantly women, are estimated to suffer from this distressing illness in Germany alone. In recognition of the importance of her results, Dr. Meliha Karsak from the Bonn-based Life & Brain Center has recently been awarded the Osteology Prize of the German Society for Endocrinology, which entails a cash award of 8,000 euros. Her study will now be published in the renowned “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS).

Working together with colleagues from the University of Jeruslam, Dr. Meliha Karsak found that mice with a particular gene defect have a lower bone density. This breakthrough is making “cannabinoidreceptors” a key focus of osteoporosis research.

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Common Syndrome Multiples Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke

HeartJan 03 06

The old saying “three out of five ain’t bad” might be true in sports. But when it comes to your heart, three out of five can definitely be bad, says a University of Michigan expert.

More and more doctors agree that there are five basic factors that can lead to heart disease and diabetes – and that anyone with at least three of these characteristics is at especially high risk. Many Americans, even those who think they’re perfectly healthy, have at least three, says Melvyn Rubenfire, M.D., director of Preventive Cardiology at the U-M Cardiovascular Center.

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Turning Down the Heat to Save Money Could Cost Your Health

Public HealthJan 03 06

With home heating costs expected to soar this winter, millions of Americans will be dialing down their heat to save money.

For most people, dialing-down just means a slightly chilly home, but for the elderly, it could bring serious health implications, including hypothermia, and could even lead to additional health risk for otherwise healthy people, says Lee A. Green, M.D., MPH, associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.

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It may take time for antidepressants to work

DepressionJan 03 06

In a large, “real world” study of the antidepressant Celexa (citalopram), approximately half of depressed patients responded to treatment, investigators report. In many cases, however, at least 8 weeks of treatment was required for a response, even with periodic increases in the dose of the drug.

“These results highlight the need for longer treatment duration and more vigorous medication dosing than is current practice in order to achieve optimal remission rates,” lead investigator Dr. A. John Rush from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and colleagues conclude in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Reduced Brain Volume May Predict Dementia in Healthy Elderly People

DepressionJan 03 06

Reduced volume, or atrophy, in parts of the brain known as the amygdala and hippocampus may predict which cognitively healthy elderly people will develop dementia over a six-year period, according to a study in the January issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

New strategies may be able to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common cause of dementia among older adults, according to background information in the article. Accurate methods of identifying which people are at high risk for dementia in old age would help physicians determine who could benefit from these interventions. There is evidence that adults with AD and mild cognitive impairment, a less severe condition that is considered a risk factor for AD, have reduced hippocampal and amygdalar volumes. However, previous research has not addressed whether measuring atrophy using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can predict the onset of AD at an earlier stage, before cognitive symptoms appear.

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