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Madoff being treated for hypertension: official

HeartDec 25 09

Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff is being treated for high blood pressure and dizziness, and was not hurt by another prisoner, a U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman said on Thursday.

“Bernie Madoff was not assaulted. He’s being treated at the (Butner) federal medical center for dizziness and hypertension,” said Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Traci Billingsley.

A Raleigh, North Carolina television station reported on its website that Madoff was hospitalized late last week and treated for facial fractures, broken ribs and a collapsed lung. Citing unidentified sources, the station reported that Madoff’s injuries were consistent with an assault.

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American Diabetes Association Statement Regarding Senate Passing Of Health Care Bill

Diabetes • • Public HealthDec 25 09

The American Diabetes Association issues the following statement about the passing of HR 3590 The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“The passing of health reform in the Senate is a historic moment for our nation and for all people affected by diabetes,” commented George J. Huntley, Chair of the Board, American Diabetes Association. “People with diabetes have earned an important victory today because the Senate bill eliminates pre-existing condition exclusions, guarantees issue of insurance, prevents insurance companies from dropping someone because of illness, eliminates lifetime caps on benefits, limits out-of-pocket expenses, and provides subsidies to those who otherwise could not afford insurance.

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Omega-3s help stave off age-related vision loss

Eye / Vision Problems • • Food & NutritionDec 24 09

Want to keep your eyesight sharp as you age? Eating lots of fish packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids could help, new research suggests.

Among 1,837 people who had early signs of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), those with the highest consumption of omega-3 fatty acids were 30 percent less likely to progress to the advanced form of the disease over a 12-year period than those with the lowest omega-3 intake, researchers found.

Dr. John Paul SanGiovanni of the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and his colleagues report their findings in the December issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Texting driver six times more likely to crash

Public HealthDec 22 09

Text-messaging drivers are six times more likely to get into an accident than drivers who do not text, researchers said in a study released on Monday.

The researchers say the study, using simulator vehicles and identical traffic scenarios, also found the risk of texting behind the wheel appeared to be significantly higher than talking on a cell phone while driving, another dangerous distraction.

“When people talk on the phone while driving they are four times more likely to get into an accident. Here we find another ... increase in this risk,” said researcher Frank Drews of the University of Utah, citing previous research.

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Obama seeks drug imports outside of US health bill

Public HealthDec 21 09

The White House pledged on Sunday to move forward on allowing imports of safe prescription drugs from nations like Canada where they are less expensive, but not in the healthcare reform legislation now before Congress.

The pharmaceutical industry’s powerful Washington lobbying group backs the healthcare reform legislation that is President Barack Obama’s top legislative priority, but its important support for that effort could evaporate if drug imports are included.

White House adviser David Axelrod said the administration will pursue the issue, but not in the healthcare reform bill.

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High-dose vitamin C may boost women’s cataract risk

Eye / Vision Problems • • Food & NutritionDec 17 09

Women who take high-dose vitamin C supplements may be increasing their risk of age-related cataracts, hint findings of a Swedish study.

Among nearly 24,600 adult women followed for more than 8 years, those who reported regular or occasional vitamin C supplementation of about 1000 milligrams per serving were about 25 percent more likely than those who did not take supplements to have age-related cataracts removed.

Women who took extra vitamin C for 10 years or longer; or in combination with being 65 years and older, or taking hormone replacement or corticosteroid medications had even greater risk, researchers found.

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Arizona State and Mayo Clinic Partner to Combat Metabolic Syndrome

Diabetes • • Obesity • • Public HealthDec 17 09

Arizona State University and Mayo Clinic in Arizona are joining forces in a partnership to investigate metabolic syndrome – a cluster of high-risk medical factors that include increased blood pressure, elevated insulin levels, excess body fat and abnormal cholesterol levels, which can lead to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Physicians, scientists and clinicians at the new ASU/Mayo Center for Metabolic and Vascular Biology will work together on solutions for this medical disorder. Research to better understand how insulin resistance affects the body’s blood vessels and metabolism will be an important part of the work at the new center, with facilities at the ASU Tempe campus and Mayo Clinic in Arizona, on the Scottsdale campus.

Lawrence Mandarino, Ph.D., a professor and founding director of the Center for Metabolic Biology at ASU, will direct the new joint venture.

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Alzheimer’s protein may be early risk factor

Brain • • NeurologyDec 16 09

Imaging tests may be able to detect the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease long before it begins to affect memory, a finding that may lead to earlier, more effective treatments, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

They said healthy people who have an abnormal buildup of a protein in the brain linked with Alzheimer’s disease have a higher risk of developing the disease.

“Our paper shows for the time that people who during life are known to have amyloid plaques in the brain - the plaques of Alzheimer’s disease - have a very high risk of developing dementia in just a few years,” said John Morris, director of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, whose study appears in the journal Archives of Neurology.

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Plasticizer may be tied to boys’ breast enlargement

Cancer • • Breast CancerDec 14 09

A report out today points to yet another possible harmful effect of exposure to phthalates—a controversial plastics chemical used widely in the manufacture of consumer products.

Researchers from Turkey found higher blood levels of the most commonly used plasticizer, DEHP, in a group of boys with abnormal enlargement of the breasts—a common condition seen in up to 65 percent of adolescent boys called pubertal gynecomastia. The condition usually resolves on its own after boys get through puberty.

“Unfortunately,” Dr. Elif N. Ozmert from Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey noted in an email to Reuters Health, “we are exposed to this (chemical) in many ways via direct contact,” breathing, and eating.

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Possible cure for HIV patients?

AIDS/HIVDec 14 09

On December 7th, an article was published in PLoS One that explained that researchers from UCLA AIDS Institute have found a way to use human stem cells to fight HIV-infected cells. The human stem cells can be engineered into cells that can target and kill the infected cells.

The researchers explained that they took the CD8 cytotoxic T lymphocytes, which are the cells that help fight infections in the body, from an infected individual and identified the T-cell receptors. The T-cell receptors are the cells that recognize and kill the HIV-infected cells. The receptors do not generate enough to completely destroy the virus but the researchers have found a way to engineer these cells and produce large quantities of the HIV-specific CD8 cells.

The researchers determined that the HIV-specific T cells have to match the individual in order to properly work and destroy the infected cells.

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Ask yourself, who really needs help in your family?

Public HealthDec 14 09

In spite of his mom’s death from breast cancer two years ago, 14-year-old Damian appeared to be doing well. He was experiencing typical adolescent issues with independence and responsibility, but seemed to be working those out with his dad. Damian was starting to think about college, motivated by a desire to “always make my mom proud of me.”

I was a bit taken aback when I shared my impressions with his dad. He became very quiet and simply said “our family is not right. We need help.”

I finally realized that I was focusing on the wrong client. I stopped talking about Damian and instead questioned dad about how he was doing.

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Osteoporosis meds may cut breast cancer risk

Cancer • • Breast CancerDec 11 09

Women who took a commonly used class of osteoporosis drugs called bisphosphonates had significantly fewer invasive breast cancers than women not using the bone-strengthening pills, according to a new analysis of data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI).

The analysis from a segment of the more than 150,000 generally healthy post-menopausal women in the WHI study found that those taking Merck & Co’s Fosamax, or other bisphosphonates, had 32 percent fewer cases of invasive breast cancer than women who did not use the osteoporosis medicines, researchers found.

Fosamax is now available in generic form as alendronate. Other commonly used medicines from the class include Roche’s Boniva and Actonel, which is sold by Procter & Gamble Co.

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US teens ignore laws against texting while driving

Public HealthDec 11 09

Karen Cordova, a 17-year-old high school student and part-time supermarket cashier, admits she sometimes texts friends while driving home from work late at night, lonely and bored.

The Arizona teenager knows it’s illegal in Phoenix and dangerous. She once almost drifted into oncoming traffic while looking at her phone.

But would a nationwide ban stop Cordova and her friends from texting in their cars? No way, she said.

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Stress makes for more sleepless in Taiwan

Sleep Aid • • StressDec 10 09

More than one in five people in Taiwan suffers from insomnia likely caused by stress due to the economic woes, a figure higher than the global average, researchers said on Wednesday.

The survey of 4,005 people found that 21.8 percent of the population has chronic trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, said Lee Hsin-chien, psychiatry chairman at government-run Shuang-Ho Hospital in Taipei.

Overseas, averages of 10 to 15 percent of the population reports insomnia, he said, while Taiwan’s rate was about 10 percent in 2000.

Stress due to recession on the export-reliant island earlier this year might have contributed to the increase, Lee said.

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Child cancer survivors have higher heart risk

Cancer • • HeartDec 10 09

Children and young people who survive cancer have a significantly higher risk of developing heart disease as young adults because of the cancer treatment they received, researchers said Wednesday.

A study by doctors from the United States found that young adult survivors of childhood cancer are at risk of a range of cardiac problems such as heart failure, heart attacks, or heart disease and the risks continued up to 30 years after treatment.

“Young adults who survive childhood or adolescent cancer are clearly at risk for early cardiac morbidity and mortality not typically recognized within this age group,” said Daniel Mulrooney from the University of Minnesota, who led the study.

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