Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hosiery for Health

A pantyhose has been known to enhance the legs and overall appearance of a woman. However, a pantyhose can also be of use for women who are not after the improved look and feel of leg wear, but for the health benefits they can get from wearing a pantyhose. Control top pantyhose and bodyshapers are made to enhance a woman’s silhouette. There are also stockings made of a blend of nylon and spandex to make the legs seem more toned. A medical support pantyhose operates on the same principle, for reasons that are much more than just aesthetics.

Using a medical support pantyhose for varicose veins
Varicose veins have been a long-standing problem for women across all body types. Though an opaque pantyhose can hide this leg problem, varicose veins are much more than just unsightly blemishes.

Varicose veins may occur in people who have vascular or circulatory problems that are either genetic or congenital in nature. Varicose veins may also appear in people who have acquired vascular problems through time and even through pregnancy. People in jobs that require them to stand up for long periods of time are often the most susceptible to develop varicose veins. Varicose veins develop when blood flow towards the heart has been impeded by blockages and gravity. Blood is being pulled downward, towards the ankles. Often, varicose veins may just be unsightly problems, but in extreme cases may cause pain, discomfort, and even skin ulcers around the areas of the swollen veins.

Benefits of wearing a medical support pantyhose
Doctors prescribe supports stocking and hosiery to people afflicted with varicose veins caused by congenital vascular diseases such as thrombophlebitis to help lessen the pain and improve circulation.
A medical support pantyhose works through compression that improves blood circulation in the legs. Most medical support pantyhose are tight around the ankle areas, same with areas that blood pools down to. By ensuring that there is a tight fit in the ankle area, blood is stimulated to flow upwards in the right direction. Blood flow is further regulated as the fit or compression decreases as it goes up to the whole leg of the hose.

Wearing medical support pantyhose is not only beneficial for older women who have developed varicose veins and circulatory problems, but also for pregnant women. Due to the added weight of the baby, most pregnant women develop swollen lower limbs as blood also pools downwards. A medical support pantyhose not only aids in regulating the blood circulation in the legs. The added control top found in most maternity pantyhose also help lift up the tummy portion.

Shop National
Medline Plus

Brief shocks may deliver AIDS vaccines better

By Tan Ee Lyn

PARIS (Reuters) - Brief electric shocks may help the body better respond to certain kinds of experimental AIDS vaccines, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

They used a device that looks like a handgun to inject vaccine along with three brief electrical pulses to open up cell membranes so that the vaccine can get inside.

Sandhya Vasan of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in New York said the technique, called electroporation, may be particularly useful in delivering DNA vaccines, which use an infectious agent's own genetic material to elicit an immune response.

"With a brief pulse of electricity, our cell membrane temporarily opens up and allows a lot more of the DNA to get inside. The reason why DNA vaccines by themselves don't trigger A powerful immune response is because most of it (DNA) does not get inside our cells," Vasan told Reuters in an interview.

In their study, Vasan and her colleagues used a relatively weak experimental DNA vaccine designed in 2001 using four genes from an AIDS virus circulating in China.

When the vaccine was given by injection alone, only 25 percent of participants developed any immune response. But in its latest trial in 2007-2009 when the same vaccine was delivered using electroporation, the immune response appeared far stronger, Vasan told a meeting of AIDS vaccine researchers in Paris.

"We improved the response rate, improved the duration of the response and it also improved the breadth of the response. There were four different genes of the virus, for the highest dose, people were responding to 3 or even 4 of the genes," Vasan said.

The study involved 40 people divided into five groups of eight. Three groups were given the vaccine in varying doses with the electric pulse. The fourth group was given placebos with electricity while the fifth was given the highest dose with a conventional injection.

Results later showed that those who got conventional injections had no immune response, while three out of the eight people given the lowest dose plus electrical pulse formed a response and everyone given the highest dose electroporally had immune response.

"This is the first clinical trial of electroporation in healthy volunteers for a preventative vaccine. It can be applied to many diseases, many vaccines, not just for HIV," Vasan said.

Her group plans to go into Phase 2 trial delivering another, stronger DNA vaccine through electroporation.

Researchers are struggling to develop an AIDS vaccine that can protect people from being infected with the fatal and incurable virus. While dozens are in the works, only one vaccine has shown any efficacy at all and researchers are not sure how strong the effect actually is.

People often develop some kind of immune response to HIV vaccines but this does not correlate into being protected, and scientists do not fully understand why not.

(Editing by Maggie Fox)

Gene therapy experiment restores sight in a few

By Phil Furey

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Nine-year-old Corey Haas can ride his bike alone now, thanks to an experimental gene therapy that has boosted his fading vision with a single treatment.

The gene therapy helped improve worsening eyesight caused by a rare inherited disease called Leber congenital amaurosis, or LCA, which makes most patients blind by age 40.

Twelve treated patients, including Corey, now have better vision, their doctors told a joint meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology in San Francisco on Saturday.

"All 12 patients given gene therapy in one eye showed improvement in retinal function," Dr Katherine High of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and colleagues wrote in a report to be released at the same time by the Lancet medical journal.

LCA causes the retina to degenerate and the researchers found that the younger the patient treated with the therapy, the better the effects.

"Before, I used to ride my bike just in front of the house and now I just ride around the neighborhood with no one watching," Corey told a news conference.

While the experiment was meant mostly to show the treatment was safe, it showed remarkably strong effects, High and Dr Jean Bennett of the University of Pennsylvania found.

"This study reports dramatic results in restoring vision to patients who previously had no options for treatment," said High. "These findings may expedite development of gene therapy for more common retinal diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration."


They could also help restore the tarnished image of gene therapy, battered by the death of an 18-year-old volunteer in a clinical trial in 1999 and cases of leukemia in a few young children treated in France.

"The study by Bennett and co-workers will further boost gene therapy trials and provide hope for patients with inherited blindness and other genetic disorders," Dr Frans Cremers and Dr Rob Collin of Nijmegen Medical Center in the Netherlands wrote in a commentary.

A faulty gene means patients with LCA start to lose their vision in childhood. There is no treatment.

High, Bennett and colleagues worked with 12 volunteers, aged 8 to 44. They reported on three of the adult patients in April of 2008.

They designed a harmless virus, called an adeno-associated virus, to carry corrective DNA directly into the eyes. The gene they used, called RPE65, is mutated in up to about 16 percent of LCA patients and the normal gene restored light-sensitive pigments in the retina at the back of the eye.

The treatment did not restore normal eyesight to any of the patients but half are no longer legally blind. "The clinical benefits have persisted for nearly two years since the first subjects were treated with injections of therapeutic genes into their retinas," Bennett said.

Four children aged 8, 9, 10, and 11 can now walk unaided.

Corey's father, Ethan Haas, from Hadley, New York, said they embraced the experiment.

"You start to think of what could happen -- he could go completely blind. And then it's like, well, he may go blind in the future anyway because it's degenerative, so I decided to try it now and see if we could stop it and correct it," Haas said.

Corey's mother, Nancy Haas, said it was worth the risk.

"It's hard to see a child not be able to play like he should with his other friends, and then to have shortly after surgery, he's out there with his friends, playing, being able to see things coming from his peripheral vision, noticing other kids," she said, beginning to cry.

"It's all worth it."

(Writing and reporting by Maggie Fox in Washington; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

Swine Flu Declared a National Emergency

Saturday President Obama declared the H1N1 flu, also known as the swine flu, a national emergency. The move allows Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary to quicken the regulatory process for health providers if they are besieged with cases of the swine flu, by waiving certain regulations.

The declaring of a federal emergency, according to White House officials, was not because there has been a major increase in the number of H1N1 cases, even though the numbers have been increasing gradually. The move was to help health care facilities when they become inundated with cases of H1N1. This will allow them the ability to make quick moves to contain H1N1 flu cases, including moving patients diagnosed with the virus to a designated area of their facility or moving them to another treatment facility, such as a nearby armory. Declaring a national emergency can also allow some of the restrictions placed on Medicare and Medicaid patients to be removed.

According to the president’s declaration of a national emergency, cases of the swine flu do continue to grow across the country, and “the potential exists for the pandemic to overburden health care resources in some localities.” The waiver could remove the chances of a hospital being overwhelmed by cases of the swine flu and allow hospitals to set up off-site locations where anyone with symptoms of the swine flu would go for treatment. Public health experts said the move by the president is a relief, even though health services are not strained yet, the cases have continued to increase significantly during the month of October.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention between August 30th and October 17th there have been 2,416 deaths attributed to the swine flu, and the virus has already led to at least 21,823 Americans being hospitalized. Prior to that time, from April through August, there were 593 deaths and 9,079 hospitalizations. The virus is now considered active and spreading in 46 states,

While the more seasonal flu virus mostly affects the elderly, the swine flu tends to affect children. The number of children the U.S. has already lost to the swine flu is more than usually die during the entire flu season. Pregnant women, young adults and children seem to be more at risk.

Officials initially had hoped to have at least 120 million doses of swine flu vaccines available by mid-October, but there have been some production problems and only 16 million doses have been made available.

The government is taking some rather large measures to help when treating H1N1, including the now-established emergency. Do not panic, because the declaration was not because of a huge surge in cases of the flu. The move was a proactive step to help hospitals if they are inundated with a large number of flu cases due the virus continuing to grow across the U.S. While the number of H1N1 flu vaccines available is less than what had been expected, there are some available and more are due for arrival. Call your doctor or health department to schedule a vaccine today.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pregnancy Weight Harder to Lose for Obese Women

We all know how important it is to be healthy while you are pregnant, but even more so for women who are obese. Given the high rate of obesity, new guidelines have been issued recommending that the heavier a woman is, the less weight she should gain during pregnancy.

In research that was made public today, Kaiser Permanente confirmed that women who are obese and gain more weight than they should during pregnancy are much more likely to keep the weight on after giving birth. Nearly three out of four women that participated in the study gained more than 15 pounds during pregnancy and, on average, these women retained 40 percent of the extra weight a full year after they gave birth.

Dr. Kimberly K. Vesco, M.D., said, “Younger women and first-time mothers were the most likely to gain too much weight. The extra weight increased the risk for complications like hypertension, diabetes, preeclampsia, C-sections, and birth injuries.”

Approximately half of the pregnant women in the United States today are either overweight or obese, which is up from about 25 percent four decades ago. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) that is 30 or more, and for most women that means carrying at least 30 extra pounds for their size. Normal weight is considered to be a BMI of 18.5-24.9, and overweight is considered to be 25-29.9. For example, a woman that is 5-foot, 2-inches tall who weighs approximately 135 pounds would be considered at the upper limit of the normal range (BMI = 25), and at 165 pounds she would be considered overweight (BMI = 30). A woman that is 5-foot 7-inches tall would be considered normal weight up to 160 pounds (BMI = 25) and considered obese at 195 (BMI = 30).

A total of 1,656 women that had a BMI of 30 or over at the beginning of their pregnancies were enrolled in this newly published study. The women were then followed for up to 18 months after their delivery.

Some previous studies suggest that infants that are born to obese women, who don’t gain much weight during their pregnancy, will have fewer delivery complications and better outcomes than the infants that were born to women who gained more weight than is recommended. The Kaiser research team began recruitment for a study to examine whether very obese women and their infants fare better when they gain no weight at all during pregnancy.

Victor Stevens, Ph.D. and the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research senior investigator, said that the “Healthy Moms” study, which was funded by a $2.2 million dollar grant from the federal government, will include women that are between 50 to 100 pounds above their normal weight at the start of their pregnancy. He stated, “These are not women with just a few pounds to lose. These are women who are carrying so much extra weight that it is a risk to themselves and their baby.”

Half of the women who were recruited for the study will receive standard care, which includes a single counseling session that will discuss nutrition and diet. The other half of the women will receive more intensive counseling to help teach them strategies for healthy eating and they will be able to attend weekly support sessions designed to reinforce positive behaviors. Those women will also be give personalized eating plans that will restrict their calorie intake to about 2,000 a day. The main goal is for these women to be within 30 percent of their pre-pregnancy weight after they deliver.

Stevens said, “The new IOM guidelines call for gaining no more than 20 pounds, but for women who are very obese this may not be the best advice. We want to see if outcomes are better if these women gain no weight or even lose some weight.”

Friday, October 23, 2009

Male Immunization with Gardasil Not Deemed Cost Effective

Although Gardasil has been proven to protect against two strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause cervical cancer, as well as two additional strains that cause genital warts, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has voted against its use as a routine immunization for boys and men. However, the committee did vote, almost unanimously, to allow doctors to recommend the vaccine be given to males to reduce their likelihood of acquiring genital warts.

HPV is a sexually transmitted pathogen that is believed to cause approximately 70 percent of all cervical cancers. In addition, HPV has been associated with more rare forms of cancer of the throat, genitals and anus, as well as genital warts. Studies have found Gardasil not only to be safe, but also to be nearly 100 percent effective in preventing pre-cancerous cervical lesions from the four HPV strains that it targets. In addition, findings have shown that Gardasil is far more effective in females when given before they become sexually active.

Since first being approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006 for use in females, the issue of whether or not to use Gardasil for males has been strongly debated. Advocates for use of Gardasil as a routine immunization among males believe that widespread use of the vaccine may reduce cervical cancer rates, since males commonly transmit HPV to females.

Although in early October the FDA approved the Gardasil vaccine for use among males aged 9 through 26, results of a study conducted in the same month revealed that immunization among males was not cost effective, as costs would outweigh the health benefit of the vaccine. Now, the results of the final vote by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has apparently put this issue to rest. The vaccine will not be approved for boys as part of the childhood immunization schedule.

The pivotal study published in the British Medical Journal made a comparison between a female-only vaccination program and a co-ed vaccination program. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health performed the analysis. According to lead researcher Jane Kim, an assistant professor of health decision science, “This study found that while vaccine coverage and efficacy are high in girls, including boys in an HPV vaccination program generally exceeds what the U.S. typically considers good value for money.”

The basis of a good value was deemed as having cost-effectiveness ratios ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 per quality-adjusted life year, or the cost of the vaccine versus the number of added years someone would gain by getting the vaccine. By assuming lifelong protection among 75 percent coverage, the routine vaccination of girls who were 12 years of age was found to be a good value at less than $50,000 per quality adjusted life year. However, by adding boys of the same age, the cost-effectiveness ratio was increased to over $100,000 per quality adjusted life year.

Currently, the CDC recommends Gardasil for girls ages 11 and 12, and for women ages 13 to 26, who have not been vaccinated for the prevention cervical cancer. The disease claims 4,000 female lives annually in the United State alone.

Declining Money Management Skills May Be Sign of Impending Alzheimer’s

If you’re 30 years old and having trouble managing your finances, it could be a sign you need to rethink your budget and perhaps seek professional guidance to get back on track and strengthen your financial skills. On the other hand, if you’re 65 and suffer from mild memory problems, a decline in your money management skills could signal progression toward Alzheimer’s disease, a new study suggests.

Researchers from the University of Alabama in Birmingham arrived at the conclusion after comparing the money management skills of 87 people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to 76 people with no memory problems. They measured the participant’s skills at the beginning of the study and again a year later using a tool called the Financial Capacity Instrument (FCI), which looks at preparing and paying bills, understanding a bank statement and balancing a checkbook, identifying fraud situations, counting coins and currency, and buying groceries.

During the study period, 25 participants progressed to Alzheimer’s disease. Their FCI scores showed a 6 percent decline from the start of the study, and their skills in managing a checkbook dropped by 9 percent. The 62 people with MCI who did not progress to Alzheimer’s and the control group maintained their FCI scores throughout the year. “Our findings show that declining financial skills are detectable in patients with mild cognitive impairment in the year before their conversion to Alzheimer’s disease,” said lead study author Professor Daniel Marson, of the neurology department and the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the University. “Doctors should proactively monitor people with MCI for declining financial skills and advise them and their caregivers about steps they can take to watch for signs of poor money management.”

Marson also had advice for caregivers to avoid negative financial events. “Caregivers should consider overseeing a person’s checking transactions, contacting the person’s bank to find money issues, such as bills being paid twice, or become co-signers on the checking account so that both signatures are required for checks written above a certain amount,” he said. “Online Banking and bill payment services are also good options,” he added.

Dr. Susanne Sorenson, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, agreed that this could be a useful indicator for doctors supporting people with memory problems. “Everyone struggles now and then to divide a restaurant bill or total up a checkbook,” she said. “However, this study suggests that if you already experience significant memory problems and start to notice a decline in your financial skills it could be a sign of developing dementia.”

Every 70 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s. There are 10 classic warning signs of the disease: memory loss, difficulty performing familiar tasks, problems with language, disorientation to time and place, poor or decreased judgment, problems with abstract thinking, misplacing things, changes in mood or behavior, changes in personality, and loss of initiative. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are treatments that can slow the development of symptoms. These treatments work best when started early on in the course of the disease, and have less of an effect later on.

The study appears in the September 22 issue of Neurology.

Learning to Surf the Internet Gives Brain a Boost

In recent years, new technologies have allowed scientists to gain a greater understanding of how the human brain ages and why, to pinpoint the parts of the brain that function or fail as a person ages, to predict when an older person is in the early stages of cognitive decline, and to find effective ways to prevent this decline. Previous studies have shown that mental exercise, especially learning new things or pursuing intellectually stimulating activities can increase the efficiency of cognitive processing and preserve mental functions. And scientists say learning to surf the Internet may be the latest way to exercise the mind and keep it strong.

A new study shows older adults who learn to search for information online experience a surge of activity in key decision-making and reasoning centers of the brain. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles compared brain activity in different regions of the brain in 24 healthy adults aged 55 to 78. Prior to the study, half the participants used the Internet daily, while the other half had very little experience.

An initial brain scan of those with little Internet experience showed brain activity in the regions controlling language, reading, memory and visual abilities. After the first scan, participants went home where they conducted Internet searches for one hour a day for a total of seven days over a two-week period. These searches involved using the web to answer questions about various topics by visiting different websites and obtaining information.

A second brain scan conducted on participants with minimal online experience after the home Internet searches demonstrated activity of the same regions of the brain as the first scan, but there was also activity in the middle frontal gyrus and inferior frontal gyrus, areas of the brain known to be important in working memory and decision making—activity patterns very similar to those seen in the group of experienced Internet users.

The results suggest Internet training and searching online could potentially enhance brain function and cognition in older adults. “We found that for older people with minimal experience, performing Internet searches for even a relatively short period of time can change brain activity patterns and enhance function,” Dr. Gary Small, a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, said in a news release. Previous research by the UCLA team found that searching online resulted in a more than twofold increase in brain activation in older adults with prior experience, compared with those with little Internet experience.

Most experts now embrace the “use-it-or-lose-it” approach to brain functioning. “We found a number of years ago that people who engaged in cognitive activities had better functioning and perspective than those who did not,” said Dr. Richard Lipton, a professor of neurology and epidemiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and director of the Einstein Aging Study. “Our study is often referenced as the crossword-puzzle study —that doing puzzles, writing for pleasure, playing chess and engaging in a broader array of cognitive activities seem to protect against age-related decline in cognitive function and also dementia.”

The UCLA team says additional studies are needed to help identify aspects of online searching that generate the greatest levels of brain activation, as well as the impact of the Internet on younger individuals.

The findings were presented October 19 at the meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago, Illinois.

Carmen Electra Diet Secrets - Learn Hollywood Weight Loss Tips!

Carmen Electra uses cardio strip tease to stay in amazing shape. "I have been dancing since I was five-years-old so I wanted to incorporate things that I have learned over the years through my experience and Pussycat Dolls being one of them, which is kinda fun because it's the type of workout that isn't boring, you learn dance moves, how to strip-tease and how to give a lap dance. So you never get bored doing it", says Carmen. She also says, "I try to workout whenever I can but sometimes I can't so I have to try to eat healthy just to balance it out."

Carmen has some advice for girls who break their resolutions. Carmen says, "Don't ever be too hard on yourself. Even if you have slipped and haven't really gotten on schedule just take it easy but slowly get yourself back into the pace, get yourself used to working out start and eat healthy."

Although Carmen tries to stay on top of her workouts and diet plan, she also admits to sometime hating her body and claims she can't make her stomach flat enough. The former 'Baywatch' babe says, although she eats healthily and exercises three times a week, she sometimes feels so disgusted with her body she won't let her husband touch her.

The sexy model - who is renowned for her curves - said: "When anything bad happens, my insecurities come flooding out. "I look in the mirror and pick at my flaws. I hate my stomach. It's impossible to get it flat, and the area around my belly button drives me crazy. I hate it if my husband touches my stomach when I'm in that sort of mood."
from http://www.shapefit.com

Health Insurance: Understanding What It Covers

What are "covered services"?

Your health insurance policy is an agreement between you and your insurance company. The policy lists a package of medical benefits such as tests, drugs and treatment services. The insurance company agrees to cover the cost of certain benefits listed in your policy. These are called "covered services."

Your policy also lists the kinds of services that are not covered by your insurance company. You have to pay for any uncovered medical care that you receive.

What is a medical necessity? Is that different from a covered service?

Keep in mind that a medical necessity is not the same as a medical benefit. A medical necessity is something that your doctor has decided is necessary. A medical benefit is something that your insurance plan has agreed to cover. In some cases, your doctor might decide that you need medical care that is not covered by your insurance policy.

Insurance companies determine what tests, drugs and services they will cover. These choices are based on their understanding of the kinds of medical care that most patients need. Your insurance company's choices may mean that the test, drug or service you need isn't covered by your policy.

What should I do?

Your doctor will try to be familiar with your insurance coverage so he or she can provide you with covered care. However, there are so many different insurance plans that it's not possible for your doctor to know the specific details of each plan. By understanding your insurance coverage, you can help your doctor recommend medical care that is covered in your plan.
Take the time to read your insurance policy. It's better to know what your insurance company will pay for before you receive a service, get tested or fill a prescription. Some kinds of care may have to be approved by your insurance company before your doctor can provide them.
If you still have questions about your coverage, call your insurance company and ask a representative to explain it.
Remember that your insurance company, not your doctor, makes decisions about what will be paid for and what will not.

What happens if my doctor recommends care that isn't covered by my insurance?

Most of the things your doctor recommends will be covered by your plan, but some may not. When you have a test or treatment that isn't covered, or you get a prescription filled for a drug that isn't covered, your insurance company won't pay the bill. This is often called "denying the claim." You can still obtain the treatment your doctor recommended, but you will have to pay for it yourself.

If your insurance company denies your claim, you have the right to appeal (challenge) the decision. Before you decide to appeal, know your insurance company's appeal process. This should be discussed in your plan handbook. Also, ask your doctor for his or her opinion. If your doctor thinks it's right to make an appeal, he or she may be able to help you through the process.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff.
American Academy of Family Physicians
Reviewed/Updated: 12/06
Created: 09/00

Smoking During Pregnancy Linked to Psychotic Symptoms in Children

As if women need yet another reason to avoid smoking during pregnancy, it has been found that mothers who do so put their children at a greater risk of developing psychotic symptoms when they become teenagers. This link was 84 percent more pronounced if the mother smoked more than 20 cigarettes per day on a regular basis.

Researchers from four British universities studied approximately 6,356 twelve year olds and interviewed them for any psychotic-like symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations. Approximately 19 percent of the children had mothers who smoked during their pregnancy. Just over 11 percent of the children, or 734 of the study group, had suspected or definite symptoms of psychosis.

Many of the previous studies have shown that cigarettes can harm the fetuses of mothers who smoke during their pregnancy. The risks include causing infants to be born with lower birth weight or heart defects, and expire due to sudden infant death syndrome.

Stanley Zammit, who is a psychiatrist at Cardiff University’s School of Medicine and also led the study, said that the more the mothers smoked, the more likely their children were to have psychotic symptoms. “We can estimate that about 20 percent of adolescents in this cohort would not have developed psychotic symptoms if their mothers had not smoked,” he stated.

Despite the countless number or studies that flag the risks to infants, it is estimated that between 15 and 20 percent of women in Britain still smoke during their pregnancy. The researchers also found that drinking while pregnant was associated with increased psychotic symptoms, but only in children whose mothers consumed more than 21 units of alcohol weekly during early pregnancy.

The reasons for the link between smoking during pregnancy and psychotic symptoms are not clear, but Zammit and his colleagues suggested that the exposure to tobacco in the womb could affect a child’s impulsivity, cognition, or attention. They said that more research would be needed to investigate how the exposure to tobacco in the womb affected children’s brains.

Only a few mothers in the new study, which was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, said they had smoked cannabis during their pregnancy, and this was not found to have any significant link with the psychotic symptoms in children.

Trying to quit smoking is one of the hardest things to do, but quitting has never been more important when you are pregnant. Even if you have tried before and failed, you can do it this time. Approximately 40 percent of all pregnant smokers manage to quit, which is a success rate that is far better than that of other smokers. This can lead to a healthier lifestyle for you and a healthier life for your baby.

Flu Virus Can Raise Risk of Heart Attack Among Heart Patients

The common flu virus may raise the risk of dying from heart disease by increasing the likelihood for heart patients to suffer a heart attack. Those who have diabetes or other risk factors may also be at greater risk.

Results of an analysis conducted by a group of British researchers of 39 previous studies of heart patients conducted between 1932 and 2008 showed an increase in the number of deaths from heart disease, as well as the occurrence of more heart attacks during flu season. In fact, the increased death rate averaged from 35 percent to 50 percent. The report was recently published in the journal Lancet.

Although currently only about one-third of Americans who suffer from heart disease receive flu vaccines, experts are urging all heart patients to get vaccinated against regular flu as well as swine flu. With more flu virus expected to be circulating this flu season, the possibility of experiencing flu-related medical issues is greater among those having heart-related problems. Dr. Ralph Brindis, vice president of the American College of Cardiology, says, “If we can convince cardiac patients to get a flu vaccine, that could ultimately save lives.”

Because flu viruses cause inflammation in the body, and most commonly in the lungs, heart patients who contract the flu become more vulnerable to complications including pneumonia and other types of infection. In addition, flu viruses can cause swelling in the heart or coronary arteries, potentially triggering the breaking off of dangerous clots that lead to a heart attack.

According to study author Andrew Hayward, a senior lecturer in infectious disease epidemiology at the University College London Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology, “We know influenza vaccine is effective in preventing influenza and therefore in theory, ought to be effective in preventing the complications of influenza.” Hayward pointed out that two of the studies in the analysis indicated that heart patients who received a flu vaccine suffered fewer heart attacks than those who did not. He also acknowledged that “Influenza may be bringing forward an event that might have happened anyway,” and further explained that some evidence suggests that heart attacks peak when the flu virus does.

It remains unclear as to whether the new study results can be applied to people who are otherwise healthy, with no history of heart disease. However, the researchers noted that flu viruses could potentially trigger heart attacks among people having risk factors such as high blood pressure or those who are overweight. Diabetes is another condition that may put individuals at greater risk.

The researchers concluded, “We believe influenza vaccination should be encouraged wherever indicated, especially in those people with existing cardiovascular disease. Further evidence is needed on the effectiveness of influenza vaccines to reduce the risk of cardiac events in people without established vascular disease.”

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), selected by the Secretary of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, recommends annual flu vaccines for all people who are at high risk of having serious seasonal flu-related complications or people who live with or care for those at high risk for serious seasonal flu-related complications. According to the American Heart Association, about 36,000 people die each year from flu, while over 200,000 are hospitalized due to complications arising from it including bacterial pneumonia, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes.

Smoking Bans Cut Heart Attack Risk

Every year, more than 400,000 Americans die of illnesses related to their smoking, and so do thousands of non-smokers who have been exposed to secondhand smoke—a combination of smoke that comes from the burning end of a cigarette, cigar or pipe and the smoke exhaled by the smoker. Non-smokers who breathe in secondhand smoke take in the same toxic chemicals that smokers do, including more than 50 substances that are known to cause cancer in humans or animals. The more secondhand smoke a person is exposed to, the higher the level of these harmful chemicals in their body. For adults, the health effects of exposure to secondhand smoke include respiratory tract infections, lung cancer, nasal sinus cancer and heart disease.

In 1971, the Surgeon General proposed a federal smoking ban in public places and released a report the next year declaring secondhand smoke a health risk. In 1973, Arizona became the first state to restrict smoking in public places and today, 24 states have enacted statewide bans on smoking in all enclosed public places, including bars and restaurants. And experts say these bans are really paying off.

After analyzing a number of recent studies on the effects of smoking bans, investigators at the U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that smoke-free policies can reduce the risk of heart attack by up to 47 percent and significantly reduce the likelihood of other heart problems. They also found evidence that even a brief exposure to secondhand smoke can trigger a heart attack. “We did conclude a cause-and-effect relationship exists between heart disease and secondhand smoke exposure,” said Dr. Lynn R. Goldman, a professor of environmental health sciences at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and chairwoman of the IOM committee. She noted that sufficient evidence also exists to support a cause-and-effect relationship “between exposure to secondhand smoke and heart attacks or acute coronary events.”

The committee’s findings echo those of the Surgeon General in 2006. His report also concluded that secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and nonsmoking adults and declared that the only way to fully protect non-smokers from exposure to secondhand smoke indoors is to prevent all smoking in that indoor space or building. Separating smokers from non-smokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot keep non-smokers from being exposed to secondhand smoke. Unfortunately, as of June 2009, 27 states still did not have comprehensive smoking bans in place; meaning that one in four U.S. indoor workers is still not protected by a complete smoke-free workplace policy and nearly three in five Americans do not live under comprehensive state or local laws that make workplaces, restaurants, and bars smoke-free, according to the CDC.

Danny McGoldrick, vice president for research at Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, hopes this new report will help get more states and localities to pass smoke-free legislation. “If policy makers are paying attention to the science, and this is one more piece of evidence that says ‘you can actually save people’s lives, save health-care costs,’ then those states that have yet to act should do so,” he said. “How many dramatic findings do you need before you are finally going to act to protect everybody’s right to breathe clean air?”

Until the time everyone is protected against secondhand smoke, there are important steps you can take to lower your risk and protect your family from exposure. The CDC suggests the following:

Don’t smoke or allow smoking indoors or in a vehicle, at anytime.
Visit only those restaurants and businesses that are 100 percent smoke-free. Separate “no smoking” sections DO NOT completely protect you from secondhand smoke. Neither does filtering the air or opening a window.
Take special precautions to ensure that family members who have heart disease or risk factors for heart disease avoid secondhand smoke exposure.
Encourage your community leaders to implement policies that make all indoor workplaces and public places, including restaurants, bars, and casinos, smoke-free.

High Protein Diet May Increase Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

High protein diets have been popular off and on since the 1960s, and are once again grabbing the attention of millions of people desperate to lose weight. But before you jump on the bandwagon, there are some things you might want to consider. High protein diets can produce a rapid initial weight loss, but most of this loss can be water rather than fat. Additionally, many high protein diets are high in saturated fat and low in fiber, a combination that can increase cholesterol levels and raise the risk of heart disease and stroke. High protein diets have also been shown to cause higher than normal calcium excretion through the urine, which over a prolonged period of time can increase the risk of osteoporosis and kidney stones. And a recent study suggests that a high protein diet may actually cause brain shrinkage and an increased “susceptibility to or progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”

The discovery was an unexpected one, found while studying the effects of different diets on mice bred to develop Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The mice were fed either a regular diet, high fat/low carb custom diet, high protein/low carb version or a high carb/low fat option. When the researchers looked at the brain and body weight of the mice, as well as plaque build-up and differences in the structure of several brain regions involved in the memory defect underlying AD, they were surprised to find that the brains of the mice fed a high protein/low carb diet were 5 percent lighter than all the others and the regions of their hippocampus were less developed.

The researchers theorize that the high protein diet may leave neurons more vulnerable to AD plaque. “High protein diets are used for weight control, and those diets sometimes combine high fat and high protein, which may be doubly damaging, if the high fat increases the accumulation of plaques and the high protein sensitizes nerve cells to the poison released by plaques,” said lead author Sam Gandy, a professor at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a neurologist at the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York. “Given the previously reported association of high-protein diet with aging-related neurotoxicity, one wonders whether particular diets, if ingested at particular ages, might increase susceptibility to incidence or progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Gandy believes the only way to know for sure if these findings have implications for the human brain is to perform prospective randomized double blind clinical diet trials. “This would be a challenging undertaking but potentially worthwhile. If there is a real chance that the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease might be slowed or avoided through healthy eating,” he said. “Such trials will be required if scientists are ever to make specific recommendations about dietary risks for Alzheimer’s disease.” Previous research has shown a Mediterranean-style low-calorie, low-fat diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and fish might delay the onset or slow the progression of AD.

AD is the most common type of dementia, affecting as many as 5.3 million Americans. Brain lesions, called amyloid plaques and tangles, accumulate, destroying brain cells, causing memory loss and problems with thinking and behavior severe enough to affect work, social life and even the ability to cope with everyday life. Over time, AD gets worse and is fatal. Currently, there is no cure for AD, but researchers around the world continue to search for better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, or prevent it from developing.

The study is published in the journal Molecular Neurodegeneration.

Second Wave of H1N1 Flu Underway

It’s a subject you’ve already heard a great deal about, and one that won’t be going away anytime soon—the H1N1 flu virus. Widespread flu activity is already being reported in 37 states, virtually all due to H1N1. Across the nation, flu-related doctor visits, hospitalizations and deaths are increasing and are higher than expected for this time of year. From August 30 to October 3, there were 3,874 laboratory-confirmed influenza associated hospitalizations, 240 laboratory-confirmed influenza associated deaths, 12,384 pneumonia and influenza syndrome-based hospitalizations and 1,544 pneumonia and influenza syndrome deaths reported to the CDC. The agency is also reporting 19 influenza-associated pediatric deaths in the past week; 16 of which were associated with H1N1 virus infection and three with influenza A virus for which subtype was undetermined.

As the number of H1N1 flu cases continues to rise, government health officials continue to urge the public to consider getting vaccinated against both swine flu and seasonal flu. “Unfortunately we are seeing more illness, more hospitalizations, and more deaths,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a recent H1N1 briefing. “We are now up to 76 children having died” from swine flu this year; many more already, she said, than the typical toll from influenza in years past.

At the briefing, Schuchat also addressed concerns she knows exist about the new vaccine. “Some people have reservations, they aren’t really sure about this vaccine,” she said. But a recent Associated Press-GfK poll suggests that a large majority of Americans have concerns about the vaccine. The AP poll, conducted October 1-5, found 72 percent of those surveyed are worried about side effects, although more than half say that wouldn’t stop them from getting the vaccine to protect their kids from the new flu. And 38 percent of parents said they were unlikely to give permission for their kids to be vaccinated at school.

“I would say there is moderate concern about the safety of it (H1N1 vaccine),” says Wally Ghurabi, DO, chief of emergency services at Santa Monica-UCLA and Orthopedic Hospital in California and a member of the H1N1 Steering Committee for the University of California Los Angeles. He says “someone always brings up Guillain-Barre,” a neurological condition that was linked with a previous swine flu vaccine manufactured in 1976. However, experts argue that the link was not clear and point out that vaccine production has greatly improved since then, as has testing for contaminants, which may have explained the link. Ghurabi’s advice is for patients to weigh the pros and cons, taking their risk into account. For instance, “if you are caring for a two-month old baby or are pregnant, you are in a high risk group,” he says.

But federal officials say the H1N1 vaccine is made the same way as seasonal flu vaccines that have been used for years. “This isn’t a new vaccine,” Schuchat said. “The vaccine is being manufactured exactly the same way as the seasonal flu vaccine. It is basically a vaccine made against the H1N1 instead of the seasonal viruses (expected to circulate in the upcoming season). Based on everything we know now, we are expecting a good safety record for H1N1.”

The federal government has purchased 250 million doses of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine at a cost of $2 billion, and as of Friday 3.7 million doses have been ordered by states and the District of Columbia, according to Schuchat. She says in all, 6.8 million doses are now available and production is continuing, but exactly when the H1N1 vaccine will be available in a given community is hard to predict. The CDC has recommended that certain at-risk populations, including pregnant women, health care providers and individuals with underlying chronic medical conditions such as asthma, receive the new H1N1 vaccine as a priority before the general population.
from http://www.healthnews.com

Angelina Jolie Diet Secrets - Learn Hollywood Weight Loss Tips!

To get ready for her new movie Tomb Raider, Angelina Jolie had spent a few months on a special diet. Jolie's been forced to swap cigarettes and coffee for steamed meat, vegetables and soya milk. 'It's an interesting test because I used to smoke and drink and I used to not eat breakfast but have a cigarette and coffee", Jolie said.

Although Jolie admits that Croft is the role closest to herself, playing her was one of the hardest things she has ever done. "It was such a challenge physically,” tells Angelina, who prepared for the role by following a training regime that included kickboxing, canoeing, street fighting and yoga. “A special diet also helped me shape my body. I ate steamed sea bass or steamed beef and vegetables, and I had no sugar and only drank soy milk.” Angelina had lost weight from overwork and was glad the training and healthy diet helped her put back on a few pounds of curves.

"I’m all for curves on a woman, and feeling sexy," she says, "and I never felt healthier or stronger than during the filming of this movie." Jolie performed almost all of her own stunts in “Tomb Raider,” which include sword fighting, spear throwing, dog sledding and bungee jumping. For the bungee-jumping sequence, she went through three months’ training. “The most difficult thing was learning how to do bungee ballet,” she recalls. “It took a while to learn how to work with the harness.”

When Angelina Jolie was married to husband Billy Bob Thornton, they were really focused on cleaning up their acts. Angelina said, "No more smoking or drinking, and a sugar-free diet. They want to be really healthy before they embark on having children".
from http://www.shapefit.com

Monday, October 19, 2009

Link Uncovered Between Cell Phone Use and Brain Tumors

Since the introduction of cell phones in the 1980s, there has been speculation that the radiation from these electronic marvels might pose an increased risk of cancer. There have been a number of studies, but none provided conclusive evidence one way or the other. Even a recent review of previously published findings on the subject turned up no overall link. But when the researchers reanalyzed the most scientific of the studies, they found “there is reason for concern.”

For the study, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and a consortium of Korean institutions examined 465 articles published in major journals, focusing on 23 case-controlled studies involving a total of 37,916 patients for their final analysis. Some of the patients (controls) had no history of brain tumors, while the others had been diagnosed with brain tumors.

Considered as a group, the studies showed no link between cell phone use and brain tumors. But separated into subgroups and reanalyzed, eight of the “higher quality” studies, most conducted by the same research team in Sweden, found cell phone users to have a 10 to 30 percent increased risk for developing a brain tumor, compared with people who rarely or never use them. The risk was highest among those who had used cell phones for a decade or longer.

The other subgroup of 15 studies that were not as high-quality and which were supported with mobile phone industry funding, found either no association, a negative association, or a protective effect.

“Clearly, there is a risk,” said study coauthor Joel M. Moskowitz, director of the UC Berkeley Center for Family and Community Health, noting that more research is needed to arrive at a more definitive conclusion. “It seems fairly derelict of us as a society or as a planet to just disseminate this technology to the extent that we have without doing a whole lot more research of the potential harms and how to protect against those harms,” he said. “The stakes are really high and there seems to be suggestive evidence that you better be careful about this, especially in children, who have developing tissue and smaller brain and skull sizes.” Moskowitz also believes there is a potential for harm to other areas of the body; the genitals, for instance, when the phone is carried in the pocket.

Other experts share Moskowitz’s concern. In March 2008, Dr. Vini Khurana http://www.healthnews.com/family-health/new-study-finds-mobile-phone-usa..., a neurosurgeon who has published more than 30 scientific papers and reviewed more than 100 studies on the effects of cell phones, expressed little doubt of the risk saying “there is a significant and increasing body of evidence for a link between mobile phone usage and certain brain tumors.” He warned that “mobile phones could have health consequences far greater than asbestos and smoking,” pointing out that three billion people around the world now use a cell phone, which is three times the number of people who smoke—and smoking amounts to five million deaths worldwide each year.

But the mobile communications industry argues that cell phones have been shown to be safe, and should be considered so until they are shown conclusively to be unsafe. “The peer-reviewed scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices do not pose a public health risk,” said John Walls, vice president of public affairs for CTIA-The Wireless Association. “In addition, there is no known mechanism for microwave energy within the limits established by the (U.S. Federal Communications Commission) to cause any adverse health effects,” he said. “That is why the leading global health organizations such as the American Cancer Society, (U.S.) National Cancer Institute, World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration all have concurred that wireless devices are not a public health risk.”

However, last month at a U.S. Senate committee hearing on the potential cancer risks of cellular phones, National Health Institutes of Health associate director, John Bucher, told the Senators the nation faces a “potentially significant health problem” but said that so far, studies have been inconclusive. Bucher suggests that, as a precautionary measure, regular cell phone users might want to use a headset instead of holding the phone next to their head.

Superfoods Fight Swine Flu

As fall approaches and the weather gets colder flu season is expected to be at an all-time high and swine flu is still a danger, although not quite the pandemic as it was originally introduced as at the beginning of the summer. Swine flu—like the regular form of the flu which kills thousands of people per year if left untreated—needs to latch on to a body with a lowered immune system, so stay on top of it with these foods:

Yogurt – You have long heard that probioticsl help assemble the good bacteria in your stomach to keep diseases away and the flu is no different. Full of “live active cultures,” yogurt helps keep your internal systems running on track and make sure the stomach and intestines are free of germs that cause harmful bacteria to grow. A recent study from Europe showed that consuming just 7 ounces of yogurt a day contains just as much nutrition as swallowing the daily amount of probiotic supplements. The recommended dosage is two 6 ounce servings. Yogurt that contains the strain Lactobacillus reuteri, has proved to be most effective, and is currently only found in Stonyfield Farms yogurt sold in the United States.

Garlic – These delightful little power cloves are the perfect compliment to almost any type of food and can be enjoyed raw, baked, sautéed, or thrown into any combination of plates. Garlic has also been known for ages to cure many ailments but is now mostly used to fight bad bacteria as well as infection. Notorious for giving you bad breath, professionals still encourage eating two cloves a day or slice up a few in your meals a couple times a week in order to get their full effect.

Oats and Barley – A farmer’s delight, oats and barley contain a fiber that holds a lot of antimicrobial and antioxidant properties more akin to taking Echinacea. Animals that consume a lot of barley or oats in their diet are less likely to get diseases like the flu and the same goes for humans but these super grains also help speed up the healing process and boost immunity which is needed to prevent a virus like the flu from spreading. Eat one serving per day of oats or barley to attain the daily recommended dosage to keep bugs out of your system.

Chicken Soup – Mom always made chicken soup for you when you were sick…or at least you know television moms did for your two-dimensional companions. Chicken soup is not only chock full of delicious veggies, broth, and tender slow-cooked chicken that makes you feel instantly better, you may think that the “healing” is mainly psychological. In a study of 12 nationwide brands of pre-packaged chicken soups, researchers at the University of Nebraska found that all held the amino acids necessary for blocking the inflamed immunity cells that travel your body and build up in your trachea causing cold and flu symptoms associated with the throat. Salt from the broth helps to thin any mucus membranes that may have accumulated throughout the season and besides being whole meal when you add oyster or saltine crackers, chicken soup is a hearty and scrumptious way to celebrate cold weather. Eat chicken soup whenever you want.

Sweet Potatoes – The sweet and colorful cousin to the popular potato is often overlooked with the exception of adding to the rainbow that is a festive Thanksgiving table. Many people either love or hate sweet potatoes making it harder to incorporate these into more family dinners. Sweet potatoes are the mascots of vitamin A helping to keep your skin soft and healthy, keeping your connective tissue thick and useful. Foods containing beta-carotene help your body turn them into vitamin A which helps protect your body overall. If you detest the sweet potato, other sources of beta-carotene that carry vitamin A are found in other orange tinted foods like carrots and squash.

In order to keep both types of flu at bay, you should be nourishing your body with as much immune support as necessary to keep you healthy throughout the season. Follow these simple food tips to keep your insides in tip top fighting shape.

Mind Over Matter: How Placebo Treatments Can Reduce Real Pain

Placebos, the ubiquitous sugar pills of old, are usually employed in drug trials to determine the effectiveness of a medication. Comparing the responses of both the medication and a placebo allows for the measurement of the efficacy of the treatment. However, in some cases, the placebo actually can have an effect, as is the case in a recent trial where the placebo actually reduced pain signaling in their spinal cord.

Past studies have shown that, inexplicabley, placebos can actually have a positive effect. This new study goes further and suggests that the pain-related placebo effect could work by tapping into the pain-suppressing system that is already in place in the body, one that starts in the brain and then relays down to the spinal cord. Scientists know that when people experience a decrease in their pain from a placebo treatment, certain compounds, called endorphins, are released into their brains. However, they still don’t know exactly how the release of these compounds leads to pain reduction.

One idea is that the endorphins will allow certain parts of the brain to “communicate with an evolutionarily preserved system in the brain stem,” one that will control the pain by inhibiting neural activity in the spinal cord, stated Falk Eippert, who is a researcher from the Department of Systems Neuroscience at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Hamburg, Germany.

Eippert and his research team tested this hypothesis on a group of 15 volunteers. The study subjects were told they would receive painful heat stimulation on their forearm, and during this simulation, their arms would be treated with one of two creams, one which was an active, pain-reliving cream (lidocaine cream), and the other which was the placebo cream used as the inactive control. In truth, neither one of the creams was active and was not designed in any way to reduce pain.

Firs, the team applied the full heat stimulation to the forearms of the subjects that had been treated with the control cream. Next, they tested the so-called “lidocaine” cream. In reality, the research team reduced the heat temperature so the subjects would feel less pain. This was a trick designed to make the volunteers think that the “lidocaine” cream actually had an effect on the pain. Eippert said, “We wanted to induce a belief in the effectiveness of this treatment, the cream, although it doesn’t have an effectiveness, per se.”

Then, the team ran the heat-stimulation again, but this time, they did not reduce the temperature during the “lidocaine” treatment. During this heat stimulation experiment, the team also studied the volunteers with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to observe their spinal cord response. The fMRI images show the amount of oxygen in the blood, which is considered an indirect measure of the spinal cord’s neural activity.

When the volunteers were given the control cream, they reported they had a lot of pain, and showed strong activity in their pain cord. However, when the volunteers received the so-called “lidocaine” cream, which they thought was the real treatment but was in fact a placebo, they reported to have less pain and showed less activity in their spinal cord. This suggests that “there must be some inhibition [coming] from the brain,” Eippert stated.

The research team believes that the placebo effect works by recruiting the ancient pain-suppressing system. Eippert said, “What we can now show is that, in humans, this system is brought into play by psychological factors such as expectation of pain relief under placebo. It’s not just altered reporting behavior, it’s a very deeply rooted effect.” This could in fact be something very profound.

With only 15 volunteers, this study might seem a little small, but it is in fact a good size for an imaging study, which often utilizes 10 to 20 subjects, stated Eippert. He also noted that the placebo is very robust, so you really do not need too many people to study it. A study that looks at a smaller behavioral effect might need more subjects.

The data from the study was also analyzed in a way that accounted for the small size of the study. Eippert said,” The kind of statistics that we’re using are explicitly taking into account how many subjects we had.” Their results showed that the reduction of the activity in the spinal cord in response to the placebo treatment was statistically significant.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pregnancies & Sexually Transmitted Diseases on the Rise Among Teens

More teenagers and young adults are having sex, sparking an increase in teen births in both 2006 and 2007, and putting an end to more than a decade of significant decline. In fact, nearly three quarters of a million pregnancies occurred among American females under the age of 20 in 2004 that reversed the downward trend from 1991 to 2004.

To make matters work, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among young Americans are also on the rise. The annual rate of AIDS cases among boys ages 15 to 19 has almost doubled over the past decade, while the number of syphilis diagnoses are up among both teens and young adults. In addition, almost a quarter of teen girls aged 15 to 19 were infected with a human papilomavirus (HPV) from 2003 to 2004, as were almost half of young women between the ages of 20 and 25.

The troubling news comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report was based on data compiled during the years 2002 through 2007 that was gathered from the National Vital Statistics System, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the National Survey of Family Growth and studies of hundreds of thousands children and young adults ranging in age from 10 to 25.

According to the report, the numbers indicate that the American youth is in need of better sex education that includes emphasis on STD and pregnancy prevention. In the report, the CDC writes, “The data presented in this report indicate that many young persons in the United States engage in sexual risk behavior and experience negative reproductive health outcomes.”

The report found that although more than 80 percent of boys and girls reported having received formal instruction before age 18 on how to say no to sex, among those 18 to 19 years of age, only 49.8 percent of girls and just 35 percent of boys had discussed methods of birth control with a parent. In general, nearly 70 percent of teen girls as well as 66 percent of boys reported receiving instruction on methods of birth control.

Other discoveries included that for boys ages 15 to 17, about 32 percent had engaged in sex compared to thirty percent of girls in the same age range. However, among those ages 18 to 19, almost 65 percent of boys and 71 percent of girls had experienced sex. Disturbingly, nearly 10 percent of young women ranging from 18 to 24 years reported that their first intercourse had been involuntary. About 100,000 females among the age range of 10 to 24 were treated in hospital emergency departments for non-fatal sexual assault injuries during the period between 2004 and 2006.

Among those sexually active teens, infections with the human immune deficiency virus that causes AIDS rose from 1.3 cases per 100,000 in 1997 to 2.5 cases in 2006 among boys aged 15 to 19. The syphilis rates among females aged 15 to 19 increased from 1.5 cases per 100,000 in 2004 to 2.2 cases per 100,000 in 2006 after having significantly declined between 1997 and 2005. Gonorrhea infections rates have leveled off after decreasing for more than two decades. Approximately 1 million American teens and young adults ages 10 to 24 reported contracting chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis in 2006, accounting for nearly half of all incident sexually transmitted diseases and 25 percent of the sexually active population.

The researchers concluded from their findings, “The sexual and reproductive health of America's young persons remains an important public health concern,” and also noted, “Earlier progress appears to be slowing and perhaps reversing."

Breast Cancer Prevention for Young Women: EARLY Act and HALO Test

On the heels of October’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, legislators are often looking for ways to beat the cancer before it has a chance to take over the patient’s body…with awareness. Capitol Hill was recently the host of a congressional reception as a move to garner attention for the EARLY Act, an attempt to spread breast cancer information and prevention to young women.

Although breast cancer affects men and women alike—with 35,000 cases affecting women under the age of 50—most people think they do not have to worry about breast cancer until well into middle age, which is why testing for breast cancer among young adults has never been a priority, until now. NeoMatrix and its Chair of the Clinical Advisory Panel is taking the forefront on the campaign to get the EARLY Act into effect and is dedicated to providing information and resources about the HALO Breast Pap Test.

Kathryn Tunstall, NeoMatrix’s Chair, has battled cancer twice and took a leadership role in this cause by creating the EARLY Act website and explaining why early detection is crucial to living cancer-free: “I was able to survive and thrive after breast cancer, thanks to excellent care and advances in detection and treatment.” Tunstall continued by saying that both of these websites offer resources needed to keep young women out of the danger zone, “If young women know their breast cancer risk and demand proper screening, this will ultimately change the equation of breast cancer. We can reduce the terrible toll this disease takes on women and families.”

The EARLY Act strives to fund education ($9 million over 5 years) for women under the age of 45 on the importance of testing, breast cancer risks, and regular screenings. This act would also help young women in need who are already diagnosed. National breast cancer organizations like the Susan G. Komen Foundation as well as a huge following in the House of Representatives and the Senate has helped the EARLY Act become reality.

President of the American Society of Breast Disease, Dr. Gail Lebovic, sees the high volume of support as a good sign, “During my time as a breast surgeon, we have seen advances in breast cancer risk assessment such as HALO, in detection through digital mammography, and in the development of much better surgical treatments and breast reconstruction. The EARLY Act would make many more women aware of these advances and how they can benefit from them….I can’t imagine why anyone would be against this legislation.”

The HALO Breast Pap Test, is an alternative form of testing breast cancer risk, has a low-cost and is a lot less uncomfortable than a standard mammogram—even though they are still recommended by doctors. With 70 percent of women being diagnosed with breast cancer after having no identifiable risk factors and one out of every 8 women contracting breast cancer in their lifetime, now is the time for better, safer, and more accurate tests for earlier detection. At five minutes total test time, this noninvasive test determines a patient’s risk for developing the disease over time by using heated massaging breast cups to collect nipple fluid. HALO is safe and can be repeated over and over again with no side effects. By helping to find smaller, low-stage tumors, HALO could be the angel to breast cancer’s devil. As the first completely automated testing device, HALO may revolutionize the way doctors, patients, and families look at breast cancer detection and how women look at their breasts.

Check out the information on the EARLY Act and HALO for yourself and be hopeful that early detection and new, exciting technology could be the stepping stones to a cure keeping breast cancer off our chests for good.

Second Wave of H1N1 Flu Underway

It’s a subject you’ve already heard a great deal about, and one that won’t be going away anytime soon—the H1N1 flu virus. Widespread flu activity is already being reported in 37 states, virtually all due to H1N1. Across the nation, flu-related doctor visits, hospitalizations and deaths are increasing and are higher than expected for this time of year. From August 30 to October 3, there were 3,874 laboratory-confirmed influenza associated hospitalizations, 240 laboratory-confirmed influenza associated deaths, 12,384 pneumonia and influenza syndrome-based hospitalizations and 1,544 pneumonia and influenza syndrome deaths reported to the CDC. The agency is also reporting 19 influenza-associated pediatric deaths in the past week; 16 of which were associated with H1N1 virus infection and three with influenza A virus for which subtype was undetermined.

As the number of H1N1 flu cases continues to rise, government health officials continue to urge the public to consider getting vaccinated against both swine flu and seasonal flu. “Unfortunately we are seeing more illness, more hospitalizations, and more deaths,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a recent H1N1 briefing. “We are now up to 76 children having died” from swine flu this year; many more already, she said, than the typical toll from influenza in years past.

At the briefing, Schuchat also addressed concerns she knows exist about the new vaccine. “Some people have reservations, they aren’t really sure about this vaccine,” she said. But a recent Associated Press-GfK poll suggests that a large majority of Americans have concerns about the vaccine. The AP poll, conducted October 1-5, found 72 percent of those surveyed are worried about side effects, although more than half say that wouldn’t stop them from getting the vaccine to protect their kids from the new flu. And 38 percent of parents said they were unlikely to give permission for their kids to be vaccinated at school.

“I would say there is moderate concern about the safety of it (H1N1 vaccine),” says Wally Ghurabi, DO, chief of emergency services at Santa Monica-UCLA and Orthopedic Hospital in California and a member of the H1N1 Steering Committee for the University of California Los Angeles. He says “someone always brings up Guillain-Barre,” a neurological condition that was linked with a previous swine flu vaccine manufactured in 1976. However, experts argue that the link was not clear and point out that vaccine production has greatly improved since then, as has testing for contaminants, which may have explained the link. Ghurabi’s advice is for patients to weigh the pros and cons, taking their risk into account. For instance, “if you are caring for a two-month old baby or are pregnant, you are in a high risk group,” he says.

But federal officials say the H1N1 vaccine is made the same way as seasonal flu vaccines that have been used for years. “This isn’t a new vaccine,” Schuchat said. “The vaccine is being manufactured exactly the same way as the seasonal flu vaccine. It is basically a vaccine made against the H1N1 instead of the seasonal viruses (expected to circulate in the upcoming season). Based on everything we know now, we are expecting a good safety record for H1N1.”

The federal government has purchased 250 million doses of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine at a cost of $2 billion, and as of Friday 3.7 million doses have been ordered by states and the District of Columbia, according to Schuchat. She says in all, 6.8 million doses are now available and production is continuing, but exactly when the H1N1 vaccine will be available in a given community is hard to predict. The CDC has recommended that certain at-risk populations, including pregnant women, health care providers and individuals with underlying chronic medical conditions such as asthma, receive the new H1N1 vaccine as a priority before the general population.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What are the health reasons for wearing pantyhose?

Many people say they wear pantyhose for health reasons. I wear hose several days a week. Hose does make my legs feel better and feel less tired and less sore at the end of the day but why? Why are pantyhose "healthy"?

Pantyhose are tight around the legs and helps to apply pressure to assist the veins in pushing blood up the legs. Thus improving blood circulation in the legs. Hence legs feel less tired, achy. For better effect, wear support pantyhose. Important thing is to get the right size ... too small would mean it is too tight and may not help in the blood circulation.

I wear support pantyhose with control top everyday ... my legs feels great, not only look great (smooth with even tan).



Adding on to what has already been written here, lymphatic flow is also improved to a degree, not as much as a massage, but a good replication. Good lymphatic flow is essential to healthy legs.


There good for tired aching legs caused from alot of standing up,they also help prevent and provide relief from vericous veins,they also promote better blood circulation,(recomended for diabetics)they also recomend you wear them when flying for circulatory reasons.


Pantyhose ( the ones with a little extra support ) help support the blood vessels in the legs to prevent their breakdown causing varicose veins .


Pantyhose are indeed medicinal items. You can find more about this item specified here: http://www.myhealth-forum.com/


Most of them have been covered already but I have a male friend who gets relief from RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) when he wears support type pantyhose.


I should not wear mine: guys are always hurting their necks.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Easy Orgasm for Women with Positive Body Image

Women who feel more positively about their genitals find it easier to orgasm and are more likely to engage in sexual health promoting behaviours, finds a new study.

They are more likely to undergo regular gynecological exams or perform vulvar self-examinations.

"These are important findings about body image," said Debby Herbenick, associate director of the Centre for Sexual Health Promotion in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

"Our culture often portrays women's genitals as dirty and in need of cleaning and grooming. Some women may have had greater exposure to such negative messages or may be more susceptible to their impact," she added.

During the study, Herbenick and colleagues created a scale for measuring men's and women's attitudes toward women's genitals.

Such a scale, she wrote in the study, could be useful in sex therapy, in medical settings to help better understand decision-making that goes into gynecological care and treatment, and in health education settings involving women and their sexual health.

The study found that men had more positive attitudes about women's genitals than women.

"Women are often more critical about their own bodies-and other women's bodies-than men are," said Herbenick.

"What we found in this study is that men generally feel positive about a variety of aspects of women's genitals including how they look, smell, taste and feel," she added.

Herbenick said that parents might consider how they can help their daughters to feel more positively about their bodies, such as by teaching them accurate names for their body parts, including their genitals (e.g., "vulva" rather than "down there") and responding in supportive ways to their self-exploration.

"Rather than saying, 'don't touch down there-it's dirty,' parents might let their children know that it's OK for them to touch their genitals, but in private spaces such as their own bedroom or the bathroom," Herbenick added.

The study appears in International Journal of Sexual Health.