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You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > DietingFood & Nutrition

 

Laughter And Chocolate Can Boost Heart Health

Dieting • • Food & NutritionAug 31 11

Maybe laughter really is the best medicine—especially if it’s taken with a dose of chocolate.

Two practically-too-good-to-be-true studies presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s conference in Paris have found that chocolate and laughter are both good for the heart.

While previous studies have found that stress can cause blood vessels to constrict, the first team of researchers, from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, wanted to find out if positive emotions had the opposite effect, lead researcher Dr. Michael Miller said in a release.

When they aired the opening clip of the drama “Saving Private Ryan,” volunteers responded with a constriction of the blood vessel linings, causing a reduction in blood flow. But when those same people watched clips of the comedy, “There’s Something About Mary,” the linings actually expanded.

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Gender differences in clinical presentation and outcome of transcatheter aortic valve implantation

HeartAug 30 11

Severe aortic stenosis (AS) is increasing in frequency as the population ages. For a subset of patients in whom surgical conventional aortic valve replacement is excluded due to severe co-morbidities, an alternative to surgical aortic valve replacement – transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVI)- has emerged with a first-in-man case performed in France in 2002 by Pr. Alain Cribier. Since 2002, TAVI has undergone many modifications from first generation devices, and the technique is now performed routinely in selected centres to treat patients with symptomatic severe aortic stenosis who are ineligible or at high-risk for conventional surgical aortic valve replacement. Two transcatheter heart valves, the “Edwards Sapien valve” and the Medtronic Corevalve” are available in Europe. More than 30,000 procedures have been performed worldwide in the last decade.

Although gender differences in cardiovascular disease (CVD) have been explored for a long time, only a limited number of studies have been conducted to clarify differences between male and female patients with aortic stenosis (AS), in terms of clinical presentation and outcome, after surgical aortic valve replacement (AVR). Certain studies have shown an increased short-term mortality rate among women and the female gender has been identified as one of the predictors of peri-operative mortality after cardiac surgery by EuroSCORE.

The Institut Cardiovasculaire Paris-Sud (ICPS) started a TAVI program in September 2006. In order to address the issue of gender differences in clinical presentation and outcome of TAVI for severe aortic stenosis, clinical characteristics and outcome of 131 women and 129 men treated in ICPS from 2006 to december 2010, were compared. Data were collected prospectively and entered in a dedicated database.

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A question of gene silencing

GeneticsAug 24 11

When investigating cancer cells, researchers discovered numerous peculiarities: Particular RNA molecules are present in large numbers, particular genes are overactive. Do these characteristics have a relation to cancer? Do they promote cell growth? Do they inactivate growth brakes or are they just a whim of nature? To find clues for answering these questions scientists perform what are called loss-of-function analyses. They knock out (silence) the gene of interest in living cells or whole organisms and subsequently look for any changes in the cells’ metabolism, physiology or behavior in order to find out whether specific cellular functions are lost.

“However, what was still missing was a method for selectively silencing those genes that do not code for proteins,” said Dr. Sven Diederichs, who is head of a Junior Research Group at DKFZ and at the Institute of Pathology of Heidelberg University. With his team, the molecular biologist has now developed a new method for selectively silencing such non-protein-coding genes and, thus, determining their function. “In many cancers we find that specific non- coding genes are particularly active. Therefore, we want to understand what the RNA molecules transcribed from these genes bring about in the tumor cells.”

Diederichs and his team have based their method on the use of zinc finger nucleases. These are engineered protein molecules that cut DNA at precisely defined sites and thus facilitate specific targeting and cutting of genes. Although the cell’s repair machinery will re-connect the two ends after the cutting process, silencing works well for protein-coding genes. The repair enzymes usually do not repair the site precisely and insert small defects. This destroys the protein information so that the proteins can no longer be formed.

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Men, boomers fuel growth in spa industry

Public Health • • Skin CareAug 24 11

The spa industry is booming, particularly in China and India, as more men and aging boomers seek pain relief as well as relaxing and luxury treatments, including $1,250 facials.

Massage is still the most popular request, but people with deep pockets can opt for pricier treatments such as the ultra-expensive facial from New York skincare expert Dangene, who is booked months in advance.

Treatments ranging from plasma therapy, in which a patient’s platelet-rich plasma is extracted from their blood and injected into wrinkles, and infrared saunas to oxygen therapy and salt rooms are also giving a boost to the $250 billion industry.

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Aid poised to flow as fog of war lifts in Tripoli

Public HealthAug 24 11

Humanitarian aid workers said on Tuesday a rapid resolution to the Libyan conflict would help them bring urgent help to the residents of Tripoli, where medicine and fuel supplies have run low and many foreigners have fled.

Any prolongation of the conflict in Tripoli could be disastrous, since the civilian population faces much greater risks from continued fighting than they have during the past six months of a slowly tightening siege.

Gaddafi’s four decades of absolute power appeared over on Tuesday as rebels burst into his compound in Tripoli after a fierce battle with a loyalist rearguard.

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Conference Explores Gender’s Role in Cardiovascular Disease

HeartAug 19 11

Heart disease has sometimes been considered a men’s health issue, but the statistics prove otherwise. In the US alone, more than 42 million women live with the problem. Heart disease is responsible for more than one-third of deaths among American women each year, making it the number one killer of females older than 20. What’s more, the signs of heart attack in women differ from those in men, tending toward vomiting, throat discomfort, anxiety and a feeling of pressure in the chest as opposed to the crushing, right-side chest pain more often reported in men. Indeed, the physiology of heart disease differs between men and women in ways that scientists have only begun to understand.

Experts will present the latest research about these differences at the Physiology of Cardiovascular Disease: Gender Disparities conference, October 12–14, 2011 at the University of Mississippi in Jackson. The conference, sponsored by the American Physiological Society with additional support from the American Heart Association, will coincide with the grand opening of the Women’s Health Research Center at the university’s medical center. Presentations will cover gender differences in heart disease, vascular function, kidney disease and metabolism as well as provide insight on how perimenopause and menopause affect women’s heart health.

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New process that may save lives of cancer patients is effective and significantly less costly

Cancer • • Colorectal cancerAug 16 11

People who are at risk for a certain form of colon and other types of cancer may soon have a better chance at surviving or even avoiding the diseases, thanks to a new study done by the Intermountain Clinical Genetics Institute at LDS Hospital.

The Intermountain Heathcare group of scientists used sophisticated computer modeling to develop a reliable and cost-effective way to identify patients who may have Lynch syndrome, an inherited cancer syndrome that occurs in people who carry a genetic mutation in one of the DNA mismatch repair genes. The mismatch repair (MMR) genes usually help to repair DNA damage that happens to all of us as a part of daily life. But patients who have genetic mutations in these genes have a substantially increased risk of developing colon, uterine, pancreatic and urologic cancers. For some patients, the lifetime risk approaches 80 percent.

“Being able to identify people who carry a gene change is profoundly important because earlier and more frequent screening - not just for colon cancer, but also for other cancers — could save their lives. It could also save the lives of relatives who have no idea that they may share the increased risk for cancer,” says Marc S. Williams, MD, director of the Clinical Genetics Institute at LDS Hospital, and a member of the team that conducted the study, which is published in the August edition of the American Journal of Managed Care.

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Risk of autism among younger siblings of a child with autism much greater than previously reported

Psychiatry / PsychologyAug 15 11

Autism Speaks, the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, joined in announcing significant findings from the largest known study of younger siblings of children who had a verified diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study, based on data from the Autism Speaks High Risk Baby Siblings Research Consortium (BSRC) and led by investigators from the UC Davis MIND Institute, was published online today in the journal Pediatrics and will appear in the September issue.

The “Recurrence Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Baby Siblings Research Consortium Study” found that 19 percent of younger siblings of children with ASD developed autism, a rate significantly higher than the general population. If there were two children with ASD in the family, the risk of the third sibling developing ASD increased to more than 32 percent. The study found that the risk of an ASD diagnosis for male infants who had an older sibling with ASD was almost three times greater than the risk for female infants (26 percent compared to 9 percent). The study did not find any increase in risk associated with the gender of the older sibling, severity of the older sibling’s symptoms, or other parent characteristics such as parental age, socio-economic status or race/ethnicity.

“By pulling together data from many investigators who are studying infant siblings of children with autism, these results offer a more accurate estimate of the recurrence rate for autism in siblings,” says Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D. “Surprisingly, the rate is much higher than previous estimates. This points to the important need for closely monitoring and screening siblings so that they can be offered intervention as early as possible to ensure the best possible outcome.”

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Slowing the allergic march

AllergiesAug 15 11

A pandemic of ailments called the “allergic march”—the gradual acquisition of overlapping allergic diseases that commonly begins in early childhood—has frustrated both parents and physicians. For the last three decades, an explosion of eczema, food allergies, hay fever, and asthma have afflicted children in the United States, the European Union, and many other countries.

What causes the march and how to derail it has remained elusive. Now, in this week’s Nature, David Artis, PhD, an associate professor of Microbiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and a team of collaborating international scientists, identified that expression of the protein TSLP may influence susceptibility to multiple allergic diseases by regulating the maturation of basophils, an uncommon type of white blood cell. Specifically, TSLP elicits the maturation of a population of distinct basophils that promotes allergic inflammation.

“A fundamental question regarding the allergic march is if a child has eczema, for example, which is associated with TSLP production in skin cells, why would some of those children subsequently be more susceptible to other allergic diseases at different sites of the body such as the gut or the lung?” asks Artis. “Although we have known that TSLP is associated with allergic diseases for many years, how this biological messenger might influence multiple allergic diseases has been a puzzle.”

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Stick-on tattoos go electric

Skin CareAug 11 11

Through a combination of careful theoretical modeling and precise micro-manufacturing, a team of engineers and scientists has developed a new type of ultra-thin, self-adhesive electronics device that can effectively measure data about the human heart, brain waves and muscle activity – all without the use of bulky equipment, conductive fluids, or glues.

The researchers have created a new class of micro-electronics with a technology that they call an epidermal electronic system (EES). They have incorporated miniature sensors, light-emitting diodes, tiny transmitters and receivers, and networks of carefully crafted wire filaments into their initial designs.

The technology is presented - along with initial measurements that researchers captured using the EES - in a paper by lead author Dae-Hyeong Kim of the University of Illinois and colleagues in the August 12, 2011, issue of Science.

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Poorly controlled asthma costly

Asthma • • Public HealthAug 05 11

Poorly controlled asthma more than doubles healthcare costs associated with the disease and threatens educational achievement through a dramatic increase in school absence, according to researchers at National Jewish Health. The research team reported in the August 2011 issue of The Archives of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology that children with “very poorly controlled” asthma missed an average of 18 days of school each year, compared to 2 or less for other asthma patients.

“This study looks for the first time at how effective and ineffective management of severe asthma impacts cost ,” said Stanley Szefler, MD, lead author and Professor of Pediatrics at National Jewish Health. “It highlights the toll that poorly controlled asthma takes on children. It also points to an opportunity – with proper attention and education, many, if not most, of those children could gain control over their asthma, thus reducing healthcare costs, improving their lives and their chances for success.”

The researchers studied 628 children ages 6 to 12 with severe or difficult-to-treat asthma. They evaluated direct medical costs – medications, unscheduled office and emergency visits, and hospital admissions – and indirect costs as measured by school/work days lost. Costs were evaluated at baseline, 12 months and 24 months. Patients were divided into three groups - very poorly controlled, not well controlled and well controlled asthma, according to NIH guidelines.

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