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CPAP improves sleep in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, sleep-related breathing disorder

Neurology • • Respiratory Problems • • Sleep AidJun 11 07

Patients with both Alzheimer disease and a sleep-related breathing disorder (SRBD) experience disrupted sleep, resulting in increased nocturnal awakenings and a decreased percentage of REM sleep. However, in another example of the effectiveness of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), CPAP has been found to reduce the amount of time spent awake during the night, increase the time spent in deeper levels of sleep, and improve oxygenation, according to a research abstract that will be presented Monday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

The study, conducted by Jana R. Cooke, MD, of the University of California at San Diego, was focused on 48 adults, with an average age of 77.8 years, with Alzheimer disease and an SRBD. It was discovered that treating the sleep-related breathing disorder with CPAP resulted in these patients spending less time awake during the night as well as sleeping deeper.

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Healthy children of a lower socioeconomic class sleep worse than those of middle class

Sleep AidJun 11 07

Children from a lower socioeconomic environment have worse sleeping patterns than children from middle class status. Excessive daytime sleepiness due to poor sleep the night before may have a negative impact on a child’s academic performance and also put them at risk for developing health problems, according to a research abstract that will be presented Monday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

The study, authored by Sanjeev V. Kothare, MD, of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, was focused on a total of 64 children, who were brought in by their parents for either an acute illness or well child visit. The parents were asked to fill out a standardized 35-item Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire, which examines various sleeping behaviors including bedtime resistance, sleep onset delay, sleep duration, sleep anxiety, night awakenings, parasomnias, sleep disordered breathing and daytime sleepiness. Each category is scored, with higher scores indicating poorer sleeping patterns.

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Sleep deprivation affects airport baggage screeners’ ability to detect rare targets

Sleep AidJun 11 07

A lack of sleep may affect the performance of airport employees, which can, in turn, compromise the safety of airline passengers. Sleep deprivation can impair the ability of airport baggage screeners to visually search for and detect infrequently occurring or low prevalence targets that may ultimately pose a threat to an airline and its passengers, according to a research abstract that will be presented Monday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

Nayantara Santhi, MD, of Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, surveyed 31 healthy subjects, who participated in a 36-hour constant routine. A visual search task was administered every two hours. The subjects reported whether a target was present in a set of simultaneously presented distractors. According to the results, sleep deprivation induced a speed/accuracy trade-off, in that the search rate sped up with time awake, but errors increased, indicating decision stage impairments.

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Merck migraine drug shows promise in clinical trial

Drug News • • MigraineJun 08 07

An experimental migraine drug being developed by Merck & Co. significantly relieved pain two hours after dosing compared to a placebo in a mid-stage clinical trial, the company said on Thursday.

The drug, MK-0974, also demonstrated sustained pain relief through 24 hours, according to data presented at the American Headache Society annual meeting in Chicago.

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Sugary drinks tied to extra pounds in preschoolers

Dieting • • ObesityJun 08 07

Preschool children who are regularly given sugary drinks between meals are more likely to be overweight than their peers, new study findings suggest.

The “empty” calories from sugar-sweetened sodas and fruit drinks have been blamed for contributing to childhood obesity, but not all studies have found evidence to support that claim.

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Ecstasy harms memory in novice users

Psychiatry / PsychologyJun 08 07

People taking the illicit recreational drug Ecstasy show subtle but significant impairment in verbal memory after trying the drug for the first few times, Dutch researchers report.

While novice users in the study had taken a relatively low cumulative dose of about three tablets of Ecstasy, on average, they scored lower on tests that required them to memorize a series of words and then recall them later.

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Diabetes group urges patient caution on Avandia

Diabetes • • Drug AbuseJun 08 07

The latest studies on Avandia, GlaxoSmithKline’s blockbuster diabetes drug, have raised enough questions about the drug’s safety to worry the American Diabetes Association.

Several studies now suggest the drug, which lowers blood sugar levels, may raise the risk of heart attack. Glaxo researchers rushed out an interim analysis of an ongoing study on Tuesday the company said showed no increased risk, but independent experts disagreed.

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Parent’s pain may affect child’s migraine severity

Children's Health • • Headaches • • MigraineJun 08 07

The degree of disability and pain suffered by adolescents with migraines may have a lot to do with how their parents experience pain, a new study shows.

Dr. Ann Pakalnis and colleagues found that, as the number of chronic pain-related conditions reported by a parent increased, so did the child’s number of days with migraine, hours of disability due to headache, and use of anti-migraine triptan medications.

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Weight loss TV show draws obese viewers in India

Obesity • • Weight LossJun 08 07

An Indian version of the weight loss reality TV show “Biggest Loser” is attracting a large following in a country increasingly grappling with obesity.

“Biggest Loser Jeetega”, or biggest loser wins, features 16 obese contestants closeted in a house near the western city of Mumbai for nearly four months with only trainers and fitness equipment for company.

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Lack of sun does not explain low vitamin D in elderly who are overweight

Obesity • • Weight LossJun 08 07

It’s not yet clear why overweight elderly adults have low levels of vitamin D in their blood. However, researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University (USDA HNRCA) have found that lack of sun exposure may not account for low levels of vitamin D in elders who are overweight.

“People aged 65 and over with high percent body fat have lower levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the storage form of vitamin D, compared to those who have lower percent body fat,” says corresponding author Susan Harris, DSc, epidemiologist in the Bone Metabolism Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA.

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It’s Safe for Obese Moms-to-Be to Lose Weight During Pregnancy

Fertility and pregnancy • • Obesity • • Pregnancy • • Weight LossJun 06 07

Most women who are obese can safely exercise and diet to lose weight during pregnancy, according to a small pilot study conducted by Saint Louis University researchers.

“Doctors hadn’t encouraged pregnant women who were obese to limit their weight gain or have them lose weight because they were afraid it would hurt the baby,” says Raul Artal, M.D., principal investigator and chair of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and women’s health at Saint Louis University.

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Treatment for Early Prostate Cancer Associated with Type of Specialist Seen

Prostate CancerJun 04 07

A new study analyzing men with localized prostate cancer shows that the specialty of the physician they see can influence the type of therapy they ultimately receive. The study, co-led by a urologist and a radiation oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, found that patients aged 65 to 69 years old who consult a urologist are more likely to undergo surgery to remove the prostate, while those who consult a radiation oncologist and a urologist, regardless of age, usually receive radiation therapy.

“These practice patterns are no surprise but are notable because specialists who treat prostate cancer tend to favor the treatment they themselves deliver, despite the fact that no one has shown one treatment for early stage prostate cancer to be better than another,” said Thomas L. Jang, MD, MPH, a physician in the Department of Urology, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and co-lead author of the study. “It is very important for patients to receive an unbiased, balanced perspective on the full range of treatments.”

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Tumor cell activity may provide clues for treating breast cancer in young women

Breast CancerJun 04 07

When women under 50 develop breast cancer the disease tends to be more aggressive and less responsive to treatment than when it occurs in older women. Researchers at the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy and the Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center may have discovered a part of the reason why, and their findings may lead to targeted therapies that can help treat patients more effectively.

The researchers discovered that the tumors found in women under the age of 45 have certain patterns of cellular activity that confer a poorer prognosis in younger women, while the same tumor cell activity in older women confers a better prognosis, demonstrating the need for age-appropriate targeted therapies, said Carey Anders, M.D., a fellow in hematology-oncology at Duke and lead investigator on the study. For this study, researchers focused on women under the age of 45 because they were seeking to gather information specific to premenopausal women.

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