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Youth’s social problems contribute to anxiety and depression

Children's Health • • Psychiatry / PsychologyMar 25 08

Socially successful children tend to have fewer symptoms of anxiety or depression, while children with problems such as anxiety and depression tend to have difficulties forming relationships and being accepted by friends. However, it is difficult to determine whether the anxiety and depression lead to the social problems, or vice versa. New research suggests that social problems are more likely to contribute to anxiety and depression than the reverse. The research also shows that this is particularly likely during the transition from adolescence into young adulthood.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Vermont and the University of Minnesota, appears in the March/April 2008 issue of the journal Child Development.

Using data from Project Competence, which has followed a group of 205 individuals from middle childhood (ages 8 to 12) over 20 years into young adulthood, the researchers used detailed interviews with participants and reports from their parents, teachers, and classmates to create measures of so-called internalizing problems (anxiety, depressed mood, being withdrawn) and social competence (how well one functions in relation to other people, particularly with respect to getting along with others and forming close relationships).

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Metformin may delay diabetes onset in those at risk

DiabetesMar 24 08

In people who are at risk of developing diabetes, treatment with metformin leads to modest improvements in weight, lipid (fat) profiles and fasting blood sugar. In addition, substantial reductions in insulin resistance, a condition that usually precedes diabetes, are seen, as well as the actual development of diabetes, according to a large review of published studies on this topic.

Dr. Shelley R. Salpeter from Stanford University School of Medicine, California and colleagues combined data from 31 trials that compared metformin with placebo or no treatment in a total of 4570 adults at risk for diabetes. Metformin comes in a long-acting tablet form and is sold under several trade names, such as Glucophage and Fortamet.

Metformin, compared with the other two groups, reduced body mass index by 5.3 percent, fasting blood sugar by 4.5 percent, fasting insulin by 14.4 percent, and calculated insulin resistance by 22.6 percent, according to the report in the American Journal of Medicine.

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Obese women less likely to have cancer screenings

Cancer • • Breast Cancer • • ObesityMar 24 08

Obese women, particularly white obese women, are less likely than their thinner peers to be screened for breast and cervical cancers, researchers reported Monday.

In a review of 32 previously published studies, researchers found that obesity was consistently linked to lower rates of breast and cervical cancer screening among white women. Fourteen studies focused on cervical cancer, 10 on breast cancer and 8 looked at colorectal cancer.

Sarah S. Cohen and colleagues at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, report the findings in the online edition of the journal Cancer.

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Comprehensive sex ed may cut teen pregnancies

Pregnancy • • Sexual HealthMar 24 08

Comprehensive sex education that includes discussion of birth control may help reduce teen pregnancies, while abstinence-only programs seem to fall short, the results of a U.S. survey suggest.

Using data from a 2002 national survey, researchers found that among more than 1,700 unmarried, heterosexual teens between 15 and 19 years old, those who’d received comprehensive sex ed in school were 60 percent less likely to have been pregnant or gotten someone pregnant than teens who’d had no formal sex education.

Meanwhile, there was no clear benefit from abstinence-only education in preventing pregnancy or delaying sexual intercourse, the researchers report in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

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Brain trauma doesn’t predict post-concussion syndrome

Menopause • • Psychiatry / PsychologyMar 21 08

Mild traumatic brain injury is often followed by “post-concussion syndrome” but does not predict the condition, according to Australian researchers.

For unknown reasons, 5 to 10 percent of people who experience a concussion have symptoms that persist beyond six weeks. These people are diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome.

“Post-concussion syndrome has been a controversial diagnosis in both civilian and military populations,” Dr. E. Arthur Shores of Macquarie University in Sydney told Reuters Health

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Strontium may relieve spinal osteoarthritis pain

Arthritis • • PainMar 21 08

A compound called strontium ranelate may reduce back pain in women with osteoporosis and osteoarthritis (OA) of the spine, according to new study. The compound may also delay progression of spinal OA.

Strontium ranelate has been shown to stimulate bone formation while inhibiting bone resorption.

Dr. Olivier Bruyere from University of Liege, Belgium and colleagues say their findings suggest that “strontium ranelate may have symptom- and structure-modifying effects in women with osteoporosis and OA.”

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Birth weight may influence lifespan: study

Children's Health • • PregnancyMar 21 08

Low birth weight confers an increased risk of dying early as an adult, but people born extra-heavy are at greater risk too, according to the largest study to date to look at birth weight and mortality from any cause.

“More infants than ever before are being born with these high birth weights,” Dr. Jennifer Baker of the Centre for Health and Society in Copenhagen, who led the study, told Reuters Health. “Further research is really needed to determine what may happen to these children when they grow up.”

Past research has linked small size at birth to heart disease and diabetes risk, while people who were very large babies seem to have a heightened risk of obesity and cancer. But studies of birth rate and mortality risk have had mixed results, and no one study has looked at more than 29 birth years in a row.

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Likelihood of Heart Attack Increases for Men After Prostate Cancer Diagnoses

Cancer • • Prostate Cancer • • HeartMar 21 08

Emotional stress is associated with CV morbidity and mortality, such as reported during earthquakes, loss of a child and during world cup soccer matches. Emotional triggers result in physiological responses on the vascular, inflammatory and immune systems. These severe physiologic changes can then exacerbate existing comorbidities or initiate new ones.

Several Swedish registries were used for this analysis. A cohort study was designed for men older than 30 years. Four million men were identified. For the first year after CaP diagnosis, fatal CV events among men diagnosed with CaP was 15% higher than those without a CaP diagnosis and non-fatal CV events were 13% higher.

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Men Seeking Vasectomy Reversals Can Expect High Rates of Success

Gender: Male • • Surgery • • Urine ProblemsMar 20 08

This retrospective study compared postoperative semen analysis parameters and patency rates of vasovasostomy performed in the convoluted versus straight portion of the vas deferens. This study was undertaken to assess whether or not the perceived increased technical difficulty that may be encountered resulted in a change in success rates.

Patient age, partner age, obstructive interval, gross and microscopic appearance of the intraoperative fluid aspirated from the testicular portion of the vas deferens, and postoperative semen analysis results were examined. Patency was defined as any sperm in the postoperative ejaculate and was compared for the 2 groups.

There were no significant differences in the postoperative semen analysis parameters of volume, total count, sperm density, motility or total motile count between the 2 groups. The patency rate was 98.1% and 97.3% for convoluted vasovasostomy and straight vasovasostomy, respectively, and was not statistically different.

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Ovarian cancer risk lower with longer time on Pill

Cancer • • Ovarian cancerMar 20 08

For each year that a woman takes an oral contraceptive, her risk of ovarian cancer is reduced by about 5 percent on average, report investigators from the University of Hawaii.

The reduction in ovarian cancer risk becomes apparent after a short time since first use (five years or less) and a short duration of use (one year), note Dr. Galina Lurie and colleagues.

Lurie, with the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, and her colleagues identified these protective effects after studying data on 813 women with epithelial ovarian cancer and 992 women without ovarian cancer.

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Survey gauges side effects of prostate treatments

Cancer • • Prostate CancerMar 20 08

Age, race and obesity affect how satisfied men are with their treatment for prostate cancer, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.

And the effects of short-term hormone therapy can linger for years, the survey of 1,201 men treated at nine university hospitals and 625 of their partners found.

The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, are designed to give doctors and patients a better idea of what to expect from three types of prostate cancer treatment.

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Few options for stroke victims; research continues

Drug News • • StrokeMar 20 08

More than a decade after the launch of clot-buster Activase, the Genentech Inc drug remains the only option for stroke victims despite high-profile research aimed at improving the odds of recovery from the No. 3 cause of death in the United States.

Since most stroke patients are unable to quickly recognize their symptoms, just a small percentage end up being treated with Activase, an intravenous drug approved for use only within three hours of the onset of a stroke.

Drug companies have sought to widen that treatment window and develop medicines that would protect the brain from damage caused by a stroke, but the field is littered with failures.

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Angina more common in women than men

FluMar 20 08

Although men have higher rates of fatal heart attacks than women, women are about 20 percent more likely than men to suffer from chronic heart-related chest pain—angina—a new analysis shows.

“The female excess is remarkably consistent across countries with widely differing (heart attack) mortality rates, spanning four decades of study period and four decades of participant age,” investigators report in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

Dr. Harry Hemingway, at University College London Medical School, and his associates conducted a systematic review of population studies that reported the prevalence of angina diagnosed using a standardized questionnaire.

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Treatment promising for alcohol dependence

Psychiatry / PsychologyMar 20 08

An extended-release version of the anti-addiction medicine naltrexone reduces drinking in alcohol-dependent patients within two days of being injected, according to a new study.

Naltrexone blocks opioid receptors and is approved for use in alcohol-dependent patients. To improve adherence, “an intramuscular, injectable, extended-release formulation of naltrexone has been developed,” Dr. Domenic A. Ciraulo, of Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues explain in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The researchers tested injectable naltrexone XR in some 600 actively drinking, alcohol-dependent men and women who were given one of two doses of the drug or an inactive placebo every 4 weeks for 24 weeks. The participants also received 12 sessions of standardized, low-intensity psychosocial therapy.

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Acid-blockers in pregnancy up kids’ asthma risk

Asthma • • PregnancyMar 19 08

Children whose mothers took stomach acid-blocking medication during pregnancy have increased odds of developing asthma, a Boston team announced here at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

The findings were presented by Dr. Elizabeth H. Yen of Children’s Hospital, Boston. Her group analyzed data from three national Swedish healthcare registries to examine acid-blocker use by pregnant women in relation to rates of asthma in their children.

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