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Archive for April, 2009

Hi, To share with All of You who visit my site,

First, I was dying to finish my high school and start college.
And then I was dying to finish college and start working.
Then I was dying to marry and have children.
And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough
so I could go back to work.
But then I was dying to retire.

And now I’m dying.
Suddenly I realized that I forgot to live.

Don’t let this happen to you.
Appreciate your present situation.
Enjoy each day.

(Source: Asian Women, 23 April 2009)

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Three- to six-year-old children who snore have more symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as attention and language problems, than their age-matched counterparts who do not snore, Finnish Researchers report.

“Our study brings out snoring as a possible risk factor for mood problems and cognitive impairment in preschool-aged children,” said Dr. Eeva T. Aronen, of Helsinki University Central Hospital.

Among 43 preschoolers who snored at least once or twice a week, according to their parents, and 46 preschoolers who did not snore, Aronen’s team found a higher rate of mood problems, especially symptoms of anxiety and depression, among the snorers.

Overall, 22 percent of snoring children had mood disorder symptoms severe enough to warrant clinical evaluation, compared to 11 percent of the children who did not snore.

“Surprisingly and against our expectations, behavioral types of problems, such as aggressive and hyperactive behavior, were no more frequent among preschool-aged children who snored in this study,” Aronen added.

According to a report of the study published in the in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, the snoring children were also more likely to have other sleep problems, such as nightmares, talking in their sleep, or difficulties going to bed.

Brain function tests also showed some significant differences between the snorers and non-snorers, including decreased attention and language skills among children who snored.

Snoring is a common symptom of sleep-disordered breathing, which is caused by obstruction of the upper airway during sleep. Knowing the mental health and developmental impact of sleep-disordered breathing in preschool-aged children will help Pediatricians and other health care professionals recognize the underlying sleep problem. This makes intervening possible before underachieving at school or before more difficult emotional and/or behavioral symptoms develop.

(Source: Reuters, 15 April 2009)

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Three milligrams of melatonin at bedtime can effectively treat sleep problems in children with autistic spectrum disorder, fragile X syndrome, or both, according to a study reported in the current issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

“Melatonin can be considered a safe and effective pharmacologic treatment in addition to behavior therapies and sleep hygiene practices for the management of sleep problems in children with autistic spectrum disorder and fragile X syndrome,” the study team concludes.

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone, derived from the amino acid tryptophan. The hormone is important in regulating circadian rhythms, or the “sleep wake” cycle, and the reproduction cycle in mammals.

Fragile X syndrome is an inherited form of mental impairment resulting from a “fragile,” or broken site, on the X chromosome. The syndrome affects 2 to 5 percent of those with autism spectrum disorder, and symptoms of autism are common in children with fragile X.

Sleep problems are reported in up to 89 percent of children with autism and 77 percent of children with fragile X syndrome, Dr. Beth L. Goodlin-Jones, of the Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (M.I.N.D.) Institute at the University of California Davis Health System in Sacramento, and colleagues noted in their report.

In a 4-week study, 18 children, ranging in age from 2 to 15 years, with autistic spectrum disorder and/or fragile X syndrome received either melatonin (3 milligrams) or placebo each night for 2 weeks. The children then “crossed over” to the other treatment group for 2 weeks.

Data from 12 children who completed the study showed that treatment with melatonin was associated with significant improvements in total night sleep durations, sleep latency times and sleep-onset times.

Specifically the average night sleep duration was 21 minutes longer with melatonin than with placebo, the sleep-onset latency was 28 minutes shorter, and the sleep-onset time was 42 minutes earlier.

“Sleep onset problems at the beginning of the night are very troublesome for children and their families,” Goodlin-Jones noted in a prepared statement accompanying the study. “Sometimes children may take one to two hours to fall asleep and often they disrupt the household during this time.”

The results of this study suggest that melatonin is an effective treatment for sleep problems in children with autistic spectrum disorder and fragile X syndrome, a finding that is consistent with previous studies of children with autistic spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities.

(Source: Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, April 15, 2009)

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Researchers have found an unexpected genetic mutation that causes a rare type of early childhood cancer, and it represents a whole new mechanism for the development of cancer, reported on 19 April 2009.

They found that children with a rare, aggressive form of lung cancer called pleuropulmonary blastoma, or PPB, are born with a mutation in DICER1, itself a master controller gene that helps regulate other genes.

In addition, they found children with PPB have normal-looking cells in their lungs that appear to cause neighboring cells to turn cancerous.

“This mutation tells us how embryos and fetuses and young children maldevelop – how something goes wrong,” said Dr. Jack Priest, Research Director of the International PPB Registry in Minnesota

It’s a bigger story than PPB. It suggests a completely novel cancer induction.

PPB is so rare that it is only diagnosed in 10 to 20 children every year in the United States and 50 to 60 globally. Identified and treated early, it has a 90 percent cure rate but doctors rarely expect to find lung cancer in newborns or young children.

If not treated correctly, children only have about a 40 percent chance of survival.

The researchers told a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Denver that the finding may or may not shed light on adult cancers, but it provides insight into the mechanisms underlying some early childhood cancers.

Some of these children were born with PPB and one child in the study had evidence before birth of tell-tale cysts in the lungs in an ultrasound done before birth.

Researchers from the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington analyzed DNA samples from 49 people in four families. About 40 percent of cases of PPB are found in children whose families have a history of some kind of cancer, suggesting an inherited genetic cause.

They were surprised to find the mutation in DICER1, which is named for its function chopping up large molecules into smaller molecules called microRNAs that help regulate other genes.

The people with the DICER1 mutations had the defect in every cell of the body, but Researchers found something else unusual. Seemingly normal lung cells, which carried an even more severe form of the mutation, were apparently causing neighboring cells to go haywire and form tumors.

The cell, because it is screwed up, is inducing cancer in neighboring cells. That has never been seen before.

Researchers said the next step is to try to develop a test for the DICER1 mutation that can be used to see if children born to high-risk families carry it, and thus are at high risk themselves.

(Source: Reuters, 19 April 2009)

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Taking aspirin or similar blood-thinning medication may cause minute bleeding in the brains of older adults, according to a new study.

The report released Monday in the Archives of Neurology found that older patients taking aspirin appeared more likely to have barely-perceptible bouts of cerebral “micro-bleeding,” detected by researchers with the aid of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology.

Compared with patients who did not use anti-clotting drugs, those who took aspirin or another anticoagulant drug, carbasalate calcium, were more likely to have cerebral microbleeds.

The study found that the link between the drugs and microbleeding was particularly pronounced among individuals taking aspirin at higher doses. The drug often is taken as a blood thinner by elderly people to treat or prevent heart disease.

Cerebral micro-bleeds – sometimes a sign of small-vessel disease and common in the elderly -occur when the walls of blood vessels in the brain become weakened.

The authors said the findings raise questions as to whether patients with cerebral micro-bleeds who also take aspirin or similar drugs are at increased risk for even more severe symptomatic brain hemorrhaging.

While for many heart attack and stroke patients, the beneficial effects of anti-clotting drugs for individuals at risk for heart attack and stroke typically outweigh any risks of bleeding, the authors of the study concluded that for some patients “this risk-benefit ratio may differ for certain drugs … thus influencing treatment decisions.”

The report, which was posted online, April 21st, is to be published in the June edition of the publication, one of several put out by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study was conducted by doctors at Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands and involved 1,062 patients whose average age was about 70 years old.

(Source: AFP, 14 April 2009)

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Anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as Ibupofren (Advil, Motril) and naproxen (Aleve) may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s but do not prevent it, according to a new medical study.

Earlier studies indicated that such nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include aspirin, could protect against Alzheimer’s, a degenerative disease linked to inflammation in the brain.

The new research, published in the April 22 online issue of Neurology, the Jurnal of the American Academy of Neurology, has shown the opposite effect, with NSAIDs increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s by 66 percent.

The study involved 2,736 subjects with an average age of 75 who did not suffer dementia when enrolled. Followed over a period of 12 years, the group included 351 heavy users of ibuprofen or naproxen prior to enrollment, and 107 who became heavy users during the study.

At the end of the research, 476 patients had developed Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia.

Researchers determined that heavy NSAIDs users had 66 percent greater chance of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia than those with little or no NSAID use.

“A key difference between this study and most of those done earlier is that our participants were older,” said study author John Breitner, of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the University of Washington in Seattle.

“It has been argued for some time that NSAID use delays the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. It would follow that studies looking at younger people who use NSAIDs would show fewer cases of Alzheimer’s, while in groups of older people there might be more cases, including those that would have occurred earlier if they had not been delayed,” he added.

“This is one interpretation of the results, but other explanations are possible,” Breitner cautioned, adding that further research was needed to understand why NSAIDs increased the risk of dementia.

Characterized by forgetfulness, agitation and dementia, Alzheimer’s is caused by a massive loss of cells in several regions of the brain, driven by a buildup of plaques of amyloid protein. The disease occurs most frequently in old age.

An estimated 37 million people worldwide, including 5.3 million in the United States, live with dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease causing the majority of cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

With the aging of populations, this figure is projected to increase rapidly over the next 20 years.

(Source: AFP, 22 April 2009)

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What we know for sure about diet and what protects the heart is a relatively short list.

That’s the conclusion of new research based on an analysis of nearly 200 studies involving millions of people.

Vegetables, nuts and the Mediterranean diet made the grocery list of “good” heart foods. On the “bad” list: starchy carbs like white bread and the trans fats in many cookies and french fries.

The “question mark” list includes meat, eggs and milk and many other foods where there’s not yet strong evidence about whether they’re good or bad for the heart.

“I do research. I also buy groceries for my family every week,” said study co-author Dr. Sonia Anand of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, who hopes the findings “decrease the confusion around what we should eat and what we shouldn’t eat.”

The study, appearing in Monday’s Archives of Internal Medicine, doesn’t actually read like a shopping list. It’s a complicated explanation of how the researchers rated 189 prior studies on the topic.

In short, they used criteria developed by Sir Austin Bradford Hill, the late British scientist who helped establish a link between smoking and lung cancer. When multiple studies on a certain food or diet showed a strong link with better heart health, that put the food or diet at the top of the list.

Dr. JoAnn Manson, chief of preventive medicine at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said the analysis underlines that there’s a big gray area and a shorter list of foods with strong links to heart health.

Linda Van Horn, professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said the analysis is more about the strengths and limits of previous studies than advice for consumers.

But she said the analysis reaffirms the benefits of a Mediterranean diet — rich in vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and olive oil — compared to a Western diet, heavy on processed meats, red meat, refined grains and high-fat dairy.

Beyond that, she found no reason to tear up your grocery list based on the findings.

“It’s really about the totality of the usual eating pattern, rather than whether you ate a hot dog on opening day of baseball season,” Van Horn said.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health supported the research.

(Source: AP, 13 April 2009)

My comment:

Generally, I believe a healthy lifestyle constitutes a daily balanced exercise, sleep and diets with plenty of vegetables, fish and fruits will do good to our health.

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