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Treating sleep apnea good for the heart

Heart • • Sleep AidSep 30 07

Treatment of the nighttime breathing disorder, obstructive sleep apnea, with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) seems to have a beneficial impact on early signs of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), Brazilian researchers report.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the soft tissues at the back of the throat repeatedly collapse during sleep, temporarily cutting off breathing. It has been linked to heart attack and stroke, and both associations appear to be fueled through effects on atherosclerosis. Whether effective treatment of OSA would reduce the plaque burden, however, was unclear.

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Ultrasound plus mammography finds more cancers, but increases false positives

Breast CancerSep 28 07

Adding ultrasound to mammography finds more cancers than mammography alone, but also substantially increases the number of false positives, according to first-year results from a three-year study of the two tests.

“At this point, it’s not clear whether the benefit provided by ultrasound outweighs the additional expense, stress and inconvenience caused by the false positives,” said study co-author Etta Pisano, M.D., vice dean for academic affairs in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Kenan professor of radiology and biomedical engineering and director of the UNC Biomedical Research Imaging Center.

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For Some Diabetics, Burden of Care Rivals Complications of Disease

DiabetesSep 27 07

Many patients with diabetes say that the inconvenience and discomfort of constant therapeutic vigilance, particularly multiple daily insulin injections, has as much impact on their quality of life as the burden of intermediate complications, researchers from the University of Chicago report in the October 2007 issue of Diabetes Care.

A typical diabetes patient takes many medications each day, including two or three different pills to control blood sugar levels, one or two to lower cholesterol, two or more to reduce blood pressure, a daily aspirin to prevent blood clots, plus diet and exercise. As the disease progresses, the drugs increase, often including insulin shots.

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Incisionless surgery revises stomach bypass

Surgery • • Weight LossSep 26 07

When weight loss stalls or other problems arise years after gastric bypass, the surgery can be successfully revised with an incisionless, from-the-inside approach, researchers from Ohio State University in Columbus report.

The technique, involves the use of a device called StomaphyX, which has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The device is inserted with an endoscope via the mouth into the stomach, where suction pulls the stomach walls against the device. Staple-like fasteners are then deployed to create pleats in the walls, effectively reducing the size of the stomach.

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Physical fitness low in kids with arthritis

ArthritisSep 26 07

Aerobic and anaerobic exercise capacity is decreased in children and adolescents with so-called juvenile idiopathic arthritis or JIA, according to the results of two studies by Dutch investigators.

The findings of a third study suggest that although the exercise capacity of these children is diminished, adherence to an exercise program can improve their functional level. All three studies are reported in the medical journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.

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“Eating competence” may lead to healthier hearts

Dieting • • HeartSep 26 07

People who are confident, comfortable, and flexible eaters may be less prone to develop cardiovascular disease than those who are not, new research suggests.

According to the Satter Eating Competence Model, developed by registered dietitian Ellyn Satter, competent eaters are aware of hunger and appetite, regularly eat a variety of enjoyable and nourishing food, and eat in harmony with the body’s biological tendency to maintain a preferred and stable weight.

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AstraZeneca drug extends prostate cancer survival

Drug News • • Prostate CancerSep 26 07

Patients with advanced prostate cancer given AstraZeneca’s experimental pill ZD4054 live around seven months longer than those on placebo, according to results of a clinical trial presented on Tuesday.

But the drug - which some analysts think could be a blockbuster - failed to show an improvement in progression-free survival, a measure of how long patients survive before their condition worsens.

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Walking to work may cut diabetes risk

DiabetesSep 26 07

Lowering your diabetes risk may be as easy as walking to work, Japanese researchers have found.

Regular exercise, such as brisk walking, is one way to cut the risk of type 2 diabetes, a disease closely associated with obesity. But it has been unclear whether light exercise—like a leisurely paced walk to work—has the same benefit, according to the authors of the new study.

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Common heart arrhythmia linked to dementia risk

Heart • • Psychiatry / PsychologySep 25 07

Atrial fibrillation, the rapid and uncoordinated beating of the upper chambers of the heart, is a fairly common disorder that has been linked to an increased risk of blood clots and strokes. Now, researchers have found that dementia occurs quite frequently in the years following a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation.

Dr. Teresa S. M. Tsang at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and colleagues identified 2837 patients first diagnosed with atrial fibrillation between 1986 and 2000, and who were followed until 2004.

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Nicotine replacement helps expectant women quit

Tobacco & MarijuanaSep 25 07

Nicotine replacement therapy in the form of patches or gum or lozenges can help pregnant women quit smoking, a new study shows.

Among 181 pregnant smokers, those given the option of using some form of nicotine replacement along with counseling were three times more likely than their peers who received counseling alone to have quit seven weeks later.

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Depression outreach can benefit workers, employers

Depression • • Psychiatry / PsychologySep 25 07

A work-based outreach and care program to help company employees with depression improves not only clinical well-being but also workplace productivity, a study shows.

As reported in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association, employees seeking treatment for depression who participated in the program had fewer depressive symptoms, logged more hours on the job, and had greater job retention than similar employees receiving usual care.

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Anger, chronic stress tied to heart disease

Heart • • StressSep 25 07

For men with borderline-high blood pressure, an angry disposition may worsen the problem and raise the risk of eventual heart disease, a study published Monday suggests.

What’s more, researchers found, long-term stress may do the same in both men and women.

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U.S. breast cancer death rate drops more: report

Breast CancerSep 25 07

The death rate from breast cancer continues to drop steadily by about 2 percent a year, but black women are not seeing the same benefits as whites, the American Cancer Society said on Tuesday.

The group found that during 2001 through 2004, breast cancer diagnoses fell by an average of 3.7 percent a year—in part because women stopped taking hormone replacement therapy and in part because fewer got mammograms and therefore were not diagnosed.

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New Treatment Effective for Patients with Shoulder Pain

PainSep 25 07

Inflammation of a tendon triggered by calcium deposits, or calcific tendinitis, can effectively be treated with a simple and cost effective percutaneous method according to a recent study conducted by researchers from the Hospital de Basurto in Bilbao, Spain.

“We started treating calcific tendinitis as the result of the request of several members of our hospital staff that were suffering from this condition,” said Jose Luis del Cura, MD, lead author of the study. “The results we obtained in these few cases encouraged us to offer this treatment to our patients. Later, in collaboration with the rheumatology department of our hospital, we conducted a study to evaluate the efficacy of the procedure,” said Dr. del Cura.

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Overweight kids show heart risks as teens

Children's Health • • Heart • • ObesitySep 24 07

Overweight children may show a collection of risk factors for heart disease by the time they are teenagers, a new study shows.

Researchers found that overweight and obese 8-year-olds were seven-times more likely than their thinner peers to have multiple heart disease risk factors at the age of 15. These risks included high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels and elevations in blood sugar and insulin, a blood-sugar-regulating hormone.

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