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You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > Pregnancy


Largest review of Loeys-Dietz syndrome to date

PregnancyAug 31 06

At least three severe, potentially fatal genetic diseases leave patients with aortas so flimsy that they can rupture in pregnancy and labor or even lesser activities, often without warning.

Beta blockers, curbing exercise, proactive blood vessel surgery and other approaches can be helpful, but their usefulness varies according to which disease and when they’re offered.

Now a large follow-up study of more than 50 families by a multi-institutional team led by Johns Hopkins scientists should bring better guidelines for treating the disorders. The work, published August 24 in The New England Journal of Medicine, closely compares patients having one of two types of the lesser known Loeys-Dietz syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome with better-understood Marfan syndrome. It stresses the importance of comprehensive clinical evaluations when diagnosing the diseases.

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Mothers at low risk, infant mortality rates are higher among infants delivered by cesarean section

PregnancyAug 31 06

For mothers at low risk, infant and neonatal mortality rates are higher among infants delivered by cesarean section than for those delivered vaginally in the United States, according to recent research published in the latest issue of Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed over 5.7 million live births and nearly 12,000 infant deaths over a four-year period. In general, neonatal (<28 days of age) deaths were rare for infants of low-risk women (about 1 death per 1,000 live births). However, neonatal mortality rates among infants delivered by cesarean section were more than twice those for vaginal deliveries, even after adjustment for socio-demographic and medical risk factors.

The overall rate of babies delivered by cesarean increased by 41% between 1996 and 2004, while the rate among women with no indicated risk for cesarean delivery (term births with no indicated medical risk factors or complications of labor and delivery) nearly doubled.

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Some arthritis drugs may protect the heart

HeartAug 31 06

In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, use of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, or DMARDs, seems to lower the increased risk of cardiovascular disease associated with rheumatoid arthritis, research suggests.

In a nested case-control analysis within a cohort of RA patients, the rate of acute heart attack was significantly lower in current users of any DMARD, including methotrexate, leflunomide (Arava), and other traditional DMARDs, but not with current use of newer “biologic” DMARDs.

“Our study,” Dr. Samy Suissa told Reuters Health, “suggests that the benefits of these medications (DMARDs) may extend beyond their arthritis-remitting effects to cardiovascular effects.”

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Sexual orientation seen linked to bulimia risk

Psychiatry / PsychologyAug 30 06

Sexual orientation may predict future bulimic symptoms, according to new research that hints that non-heterosexual adolescents are at increased risk of bulimia.

The findings also imply that “although popular explanations, such as thin ideal, body dissatisfaction, and poor self-concept, are associated with both sexual orientation and bulimic symptoms, they do not act as mediators,” the author of the study writes in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Several studies have found people with gay, lesbian, or bisexual sexual orientation to be at heightened risk of numerous psychiatric disorders and symptoms, including suicide attempts, drug use, anxiety, and depression,

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13,000 plus wild birds in Alaska tested, no bird flu found

FluAug 30 06

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has announced that their departments and the State of Alaska have tested more than 13,000 wild migratory birds for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 in Alaska.

No HPAI H5N1-a virus that has killed wild birds, commercial poultry and more than 140 people in Asia, Europe and Africa-has been detected in any of the Alaska samples.

“Guided by the national wild bird surveillance and early detection plan, our collaborative efforts have comprehensively sampled and tested high-priority species throughout Alaska,” said Secretary Kempthorne, who this week is visiting a sampling camp near Barrow, Alaska.

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Finger workout may help scleroderma sufferers

ArthritisAug 30 06

Finger-stretching exercises can improve range of motion in the joints of individuals who suffer from scleroderma (also known as systemic sclerosis)—a chronic disease that causes skin thickening and tightening and the formation of scar tissue.

“Our results indicate that rehabilitation by stretching of the fingers may be effective for improving and maintaining hand function,” the study team concludes in the Journal of Rheumatology.

Dr. Minoru Hasegawa, of Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science, Ishikawa, Japan, and colleagues assessed the efficacy of self-administered stretching of each finger in 32 patients with diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis and 13 with limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis.

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Obesity might lead to more aggressive ovarian cancer

ObesityAug 30 06

Obesity might cause an increase in deaths related to ovarian cancer, according to a study published in the Aug. 28 edition of the journal Cancer, the New York Times reports.

Andrew Li, assistant ob-gyn professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California-Los Angeles, and colleagues reviewed the medical records—which included information about the women’s age, height, weight and chronic conditions—of 216 women who underwent surgery for epithelial ovarian cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles to determine whether excess fat had a direct effect on tumor growth (Bakalar, New York Times, 8/29). Thirty-five of the women were considered obese, which was defined as having a body mass index of 30 and greater, and half of the women had an ideal BMI (BBC News, 8/28). Women with BMIs of between 18.5 and 25.0 were defined as having an ideal BMI, according to the study (Pavelka et al., Cancer, 8/28).

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Sleep apnea in middle age raises heart disease risk

HeartAug 30 06

Obstructive sleep apnea in middle-aged adults may increase the risk of coronary artery disease by up to five-fold, research in Sweden suggests. However, successful treatment of the sleep apnea significantly cuts that risk.

Although evidence supports ties between sleep apnea—that is, brief but frequent episodes during the night when breathing becomes blocked—and coronary artery disease, a causal relationship has not been established, Dr. Yuksel Peker and his colleagues at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Goteborg note. The concomitant presence of other illnesses further complicates the ability to delineate cause and effect.

For their study, Peker’s team identified 308 middle-age individuals (ages 30 to 69 years) who had been evaluated for obstructive sleep apnea in 1991 and were free of any heart disease at baseline. Nearly one-third (n=105) patients had documented obstructive sleep apnea.

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More tests confirm low-risk bird flu in Michigan

FluAug 30 06

A second round of tests on swans in Michigan confirmed the birds have a low-pathogenic strain of H5N1 and not the deadly avian influenza virus that has killed more than 141 people in Asia, Europe and Africa, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Monday.

Routine tests conducted in a Michigan gaming area earlier this month found two of about 20 swans had what was believed to be a low-pathogenic strain of H5N1.

“Genetic testing confirms that these swans were not carrying the highly pathogenic strain of H5N1 avian influenza that is circulating overseas,” USDA said in a statement.

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German insurers review Plavix after negative study

Drug AbuseAug 30 06

German health insurers, under pressure to cut costs amid reforms, are considering whether to restrict prescription guidelines for Sanofi-Aventis’s blood thinner Plavix in a move that could harm the drug’s sales.

A spokeswoman for the Joint Committee (B-GA), the self-regulating body of German health insurers, said on Tuesday it was reviewing a report it had commissioned from an independent research institute which questions the benefits of Plavix for certain patients.

The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Healthcare (IQWiG) said clopidogrel, marketed by Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb as Plavix or Iscover, offered no benefits over aspirin when used alone as a preventative treatment for conditions resulting from arterial diseases.

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Mental illness up among Katrina survivors: study

Psychiatry / PsychologyAug 30 06

Hurricane Katrina doubled the rate of serious mental illness in areas ravaged by the storm but the urge to commit suicide fell, partly because survivors bonded with each other, a Harvard-led study said on Monday.

Billed as the biggest mental health study yet after Katrina killed about 1,500 people along the Gulf Coast, the survey showed that 15 percent of 1,043 survivors were diagnosed with a serious mental illness five to eight months after the storm.

That figure suggests about 200,000 people from Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi face serious mental illness because of Katrina, with about a third suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome and the remainder depression, said Ronald Kessler, the study’s lead researcher.

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Hypnosis may help improve type of hair loss

Skin CareAug 28 06

People with a patchy form of hair loss called alopecia areata might be helped with hypnosis, a preliminary study suggests.

“Hypnotherapy may enhance the mental well-being of patients with alopecia areata and it may improve clinical outcome,” Dr. Ria Willemsen, of Free University in Brussels, and colleagues write in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease characterized by sudden, recurrent hair loss in round spots from the scalp or any part of the body that has hair. Psychological factors, such as stressful events and psychotrauma have also been reported to play a role in the onset of the condition, but few studies have looked at the efficacy of psychological treatments.

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Nutritional Needs Differ Between the Sexes

Food & NutritionAug 28 06

When it comes to optimal nutrition, men and women have different considerations. The distinctions are subtle, but they may affect a man’s health, reports the September issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. Here are some of the differences:

Fat. Monounsaturated fats are healthful for both men and women; olive oil is a good source. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are also good for both sexes. But a vegetable-based omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), found in canola and flaxseed oils, may be a problem for men. ALA is good for the heart, but some studies suggest it may increase the risk of prostate cancer. For men with heart risks, ALA may be a good choice - but men with more reason to worry about prostate cancer should get their omega-3s from fish and their vegetable fats from olive oil.

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England facing obesity crisis

ObesityAug 28 06

Nearly a third of men in England will be obese by 2010 if no measures are taken to tackle the problem, a government report warned on Friday.

A quarter of adults are already obese with the level nearly doubling among men since 1993 as the consumption of “energy dense” junk food rises and levels of physical activity fall.

Among children, the report added, the number of obese girls will overtake boys over the next four years if current trends continue.

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Taller people are smarter: study

Psychiatry / PsychologyAug 28 06

While researchers have long shown that tall people earn more than their shorter counterparts, it’s not only social discrimination that accounts for this inequality—tall people are just smarter than their height-challenged peers, a new study finds.

“As early as age three—before schooling has had a chance to play a role—and throughout childhood, taller children perform significantly better on cognitive tests,” wrote Anne Case and Christina Paxson of Princeton University in a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The findings were based primarily on two British studies that followed children born in 1958 and 1970, respectively, through adulthood and a U.S. study on height and occupational choice.

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