Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Success comes to he who is willing to work hard, fight a good fight and sacrifice everything when necessary. (Brenda A. Ysaguirre)

As we near the end of another year we are faced with many new challenges. The economical situation at home and abroad dims the festive moment. If what the analysts are saying is true, we can look forward to a new year filled with more hardship as more people lose there jobs and many others graduate into a world that offers very little for them. Only the strong will survive. Only those who know the true meaning of sacrifice will succeed. Only the fearless will attain the satifaction of a hard day's work for a well earned pay. I do not mean to dampen the eve of New Year's Eve. I only want to make sure we all understand that there will be a lot of hardship but that we can win the battle in the new year if we use stamina and sacrifice. Good Luck to everyone and do have a Happy New Year. Go out or just stay at home and eat some grapes (12 actually to follow the Spanish tradition of one for each month of the year. You eat them just before midnight and our ancestors believed it would give you a good year.)Have a Blessed New Year. Remember, we can make 2009 all it was meant to be if we work hard and sacrifice when necessary.Brenda A. Ysaguirre

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Brenda's PrehiSPAnico, Corozal gets on the way by building the first every Temazcal in the garden in the northern part of Belize. Presently, the Spa offers massage theraphy with an indoor temazcal for one person at a time. This structure will offer temazcals ( a Mayan herbal sauna) for more than 20 persons at a time. Reserve the use of this sauna when it is finish and have a SPA party you will want to repeat again and again! It is good for weight loss, asthma, sinus, headaches, flu's, backache and other bodily pains, cholesterol, and blood pressure to name just a few of the illnesses you can heal with this wonderful procedure.
We are located at 139 Fourth Avenue and 1st Street South in Corozal Town, Belize. Telephone us at 422 0259, 422 0346, 607 8315 or 607 8759 to set up your appointment. Each session is approximately 2 hours long.

As the owner of this Spa I welcome you all. Come in and see for yourselves. No one leaves dissatisfied. In the next post I will give you pictures of what the inside of our spa looks like.
Have a wonderful day and a prosperous New Year.

Brenda Aurora Ysaguirre

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Thursday, December 25, 2008



Let us take this day off to reflect on the past year. On all we have done and could have done and will still have a chance to do. Remmber, it is never too late to do something positive and if we do something wrong we still have time to do better or to make up for the wrong we have done. That is life. We are in control of our actions. We can do good.

Have a wonderful holiday.

Merry Christmas. Happy Hannakah.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


It is Christmas Eve and it is 6am in the morning. I have not gone to bed last night as I try to get all my blogs in order for the following days will be short. Not much success there because I am doing three things at the same time so I have off schedule. I will need to work today again and time is so short now. I will be cooking Christmas dinner early this afternoon in Corozal, and then I will travel across the border to spend the rest of the day and Christmas Day with the love of my life, his daughter and the rest of the family. As we look around us today, I guess there will be a lot of hustling and bustling around as we rush to do our last minute shopping here and there.

Christmas is so special. It is a time we go all out to do the things we could easily have done any other day BUT it is special and so we go all the way.

To all my blooger friends and readers, I send peace, joy and happiness at this time and everyday. Merry Christmas to everyone. May you have a Blessed Holiday.

Love Always,


Tuesday, December 23, 2008


A lot has changed since I last wrote. I became a student at the University UNID en Chetumal, Q.Roo, Mexico in the day sessions, I still am Director of CCC ACE and CJC ACE, I have opened a Health SPA in Corozal Town, Belize and my once calm world now is filled with work, friends, problems, sleepless nights, in all A NEW LIFE. While much has changed, much has remained the same and for that I am gratedul. I thank all those who give meaning to my life: my daughter, Carolyn, my granddaughter, Ciarra, Miya, my son-in-law, Triccia, my stepdaughter and Abel, the light in my world and the brain behind many of the wonderful things that I now experience. As this year comes to an end, I give love to all my readers, friends and family for being a part of my life. Thank you for being there and for being energy to my sometimes tired bones. Life is a miracle of people, places and things. How we live it makes it worth living or worth dying for.

The Man who walks this world alone has nothing while the Man who struggles down the path with the help of family and friends lives a life of many splendours. (Brenda A. Ysaguirre aka Brenda Izaguirre Gill)

Thursday, October 30, 2008


For the time being the rains have stopped and now we have a cold front over Belize. However, all is not over. Now is the time of recovery. The people in the areas that had the flooding ae still suffering. Many are still not in their homes and many have lost most of their personal properties.


In an effort to assist our brothers and sisters who have suffered so much in the past weeks, the YO PUEDO GROUP OF COROZAL and CCC ACE and CJC ACE have initiated a drive to collect non-persishable goods and clothing. THIS IS THE TIME WHEN WE NEED TO COME TOGETHER. LET US GIVE FROM THE HEART.

Thank you and God Bless.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Air pollution raises blood pressure
COLUMBUS, Ohio (UPI) -- Ohio State University Medical Center researchers say there is a direct link between air pollution and its impact on high blood pressure, or hypertension. The researchers exposed rats to levels of airborne pollutants humans breathe everyday, noting the levels were still considerably below those found in developing countries such as China and India, and in some parts of the United States. The researchers found that exposure to air pollution, over a 10-week period, elevates blood pressure in those already predisposed to the condition. "We now have even more compelling evidence of the strong relationship between air pollution and cardiovascular disease," or co-author Sanjay Rajagopalan said in a statement. "Recent observational studies in humans suggest that within hours to days following exposure, blood pressure increases." The results are published online ahead of print in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.
Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Breast cancer patients still face risk
HOUSTON (UPI) -- Breast cancer survivors may still have a substantial risk of disease recurrence five years after treatment, Houston researchers warn. The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, said among breast cancer patients who were cancer-free five years after initiating systemic therapy, 89 percent remained recurrence-free at five years -- about 10 years after a woman's initial diagnosis -- and 80 percent remained recurrence free at 10 years -- about 15 years after diagnosis. Dr. Abenaa Brewster of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and colleagues examined the recurrence rate in 2,838 breast cancer patients treated between 1985 and 2001. To determine the magnitude of residual risk following adjuvant therapy, which might include five years of hormone therapy, the researchers looked at what happened to the women five years after the start of treatment. After a median follow-up period of 28 months, 216 women had their cancer return. The five-year risk of relapse for women with Stage I disease was 7 percent, 11 percent for women with Stage II disease, and 13 percent for women with Stage III disease. Tumor grade, hormone receptor status and endocrine therapy were all statistically significantly associated with risk of recurrence.
Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Dementia may be greatly underestimated
LONDON (UPI) -- A British researcher says dementia may be greatly underestimated in the developing countries of the world. Martin Prince of the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, says it is likely that cultural differences may be partly responsible for researchers missing cases of dementia. "Our evidence suggests that relatives in developing world countries are less likely to perceive or report that their elders are experiencing difficulties, even in the presence of clear evidence of disability and memory impairment," Prince says in a statement. Unacknowledged dementia, he suggests, places a high burden on the caregiver. "Our data suggest that even if it is not recognized as dementia, the illness places a heavy burden on both the elderly patient and their relatives," Price says." Being able to estimate accurately the true population of people living with burden is the first important step towards putting into place appropriate health and social care systems." Prince is part of an international collaboration that recently published a study in Lancet assessing almost 15,000 elderly people in 11 countries. They found the prevalence of dementia in urban settings in Latin America is comparable with rates in Europe and the United States though the prevalence in China and India is lower.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Monday, October 13, 2008


Alzheimer's biomarkers found
LOS ANGELES (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say measurable molecular indicators, or biomarkers, may predict Alzheimer's disease before symptoms appear. The University of California, Los Angeles, researchers found the amounts of certain proteins change as this brain disease -- marked by memory loss, confusion, mood swings and other problems -- progresses. The researchers looked at Familial Alzheimer's -- a form of the disease marked by certain gene mutations that affects less than 2 percent of Alzheimer's patients. "Since we knew that 50 percent of first-degree relatives will inherit the same rare mutations, we were able to study the biochemical changes occurring in the cerebrospinal fluid and blood as long as 30 years before the subjects were likely to develop the disease themselves," study leader John Ringman says in a statement. Specifically, the study, published in the journal Neurology, found a fibrous beta-amyloid protein called AB42 elevated in the plasma of Familial Alzheimer's mutation carriers -- long before the development of obvious dementia. The level then seems to drop as the disease progresses.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Drug may halt Alzheimer's disease progress
CHICAGO (UPI) -- Researchers at Scotland's University of Aberdeen say a new drug they've developed holds great promise in slowing the progression of Alzheimer's disease. The test patients who took the medication had an 81 percent reduction in cognitive decline in one year, the researchers' Phase 2 clinical trial found. The university's Claude Wischik, working with TauRx Therapeutics of Singapore, developed the novel treatment based on a new approach that targets the tangles -- aggregates of abnormal fibers of tau protein forming inside nerve cells in the brain. They also found the drug had its biggest effect in the memory-critical parts of the brain where the tangle density is highest. "This is an unprecedented result in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease," Wischik said in a statement. "We have demonstrated for the first time that it may possible to arrest the progression of this disease by targeting the tangles which are highly correlated with the disease. This is the most significant development in the treatment of the tangles since Alois Alzheimer discovered them in 1907." Having completed the Phase 2 clinical trial, TauRx plans to begin a Phase 3 trial next year. If that trial confirms the Phase 2 findings, the drug could be available by 2012, the researchers told the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Chicago.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Vaginal microbicide gels help prevent HIV
NEW ORLEANS (UPI) -- The use of vaginal microbicide gels may help protect women against sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, U.S. researchers said. Ronald S. Veazey of Tulane National Primate Research Center in New Orleans successfully used vaginal gels containing the fusion inhibitory peptide T-1249 to protect rhesus macaque monkeys against vaginal transmission of multiple strains of simian/human HIV, or SHIV. The study, published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that vaginal microbicide containing fusion inhibitors remain a potential method for protecting women against infection by HIV type 1 during sexual intercourse. "Here we have shown that the vaginal application of gel-formulated T-1249 can protect rhesus macaques from infection by three different SHIV challenge viruses," the researchers said in a statement. "The protection we observed was dose-dependent and at the higher concentration, robust, in that all the test animals resisted infection." Fusion inhibitors such as T-1249 operate to inhibit infection by preventing glycoprotein molecules on HIV particles from binding to their receptors on the surface of the immune cell. The T-1249 peptide is a fusion inhibitor that targets one of the main cellular receptors that HIV uses to infect cells in the mucosal surface.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I am dedicating this day to Belize and all Belizeans.

It is Independence Day in Belize and all Belize must look at today with pride and joy that we have gotten this far and that we are moving on. Belize has still a lomng way to go but we will get there and we will have a great life and a great country.

God Bless Belize and all Belizeans

To my Belizean brothers and sisters, I send my love and my wish for a better Belize. God Bless and keep you all safe and free.



Love always,

brenda A. Ysaguirre

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Breast self exams don't reduce deaths
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (UPI) -- A review of studies found no evidence that breast self-exams reduce breast cancer deaths and may result in more negative biopsies, Danish researchers said. Jan Peter Kosters and Peter Gotzsche of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen said that the practice may be doing more harm than good, since it led to almost twice as many biopsies that turned up no cancer in women who performed the self-exams, compared to women who didn't do the exams. The review, published in The Cochrane Library, said two large studies of 388,535 women in Russia and China included in the review, women who used self-breast exams had 3,406 biopsies, compared with 1,856 biopsies in the group that didn't do the exams -- while there was no significant difference in breast cancer deaths between the two groups. The review is an updated version of a 2003 review of studies, which came to a similar conclusion. The study authors recognize that some women will want to continue with breast self-exams and women should always "seek medical advice if they detect any change in their breasts that might be breast cancer," Kosters said.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


More Fatal Domestic Medication Errors
SAN DIEGO (UPI) -- Asking patients to monitor their own medications can be fatal, as exemplified by the death of "The Dark Knight" actor Heath Ledger, U.S. researchers said. Sociologists at the University of California, San Diego, examined nearly 50 million U.S. death certificates from 1983 to 2004, focusing on a subset of 200,000 deaths from medication errors. The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found a 3,196 percent increase in fatal domestic medication errors involving alcohol and/or street drugs. "The decades-long shift in the location of medication consumption from clinical to domestic settings is linked to a dramatic increase in fatal medication errors," principal author David P. Phillips said in a statement. "Increasingly, people take their medications at home, away from hospitals and clinics. But most studies of fatal medication errors have focused on those clinical settings." The study found non-domestic fatal errors not involving alcohol or street drugs showed the smallest increase, 5 percent, while domestic medication fatalities not involving alcohol or street drugs increased by 564 percent and non-domestic medication fatalities involving alcohol and/or street drugs increased by 555 percent.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Monday, September 1, 2008


Cataracts leading cause of blindness
CHICAGO (UPI) -- More than 22 million U.S. adults age 40 and older have a cataract -- the most common age-related eye disease, researchers say. A study by Prevent Blindness America and the National Eye Institute reveals that eye disease diagnoses, including cataract, continue to rise. More than half of all Americans have cataracts by the time they are 80 years old and it is the leading cause of blindness. "Cataract is something that most of us will develop at some point in our lives," Hugh R. Parry, president and chief executive officer of Prevent Blindness America, said in a statement. Cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens. Generally, a cataract does not cause pain, redness or tears. Symptoms may include blurred or double vision, lights seeming to be too dim or sensitivity to strong light. A milky or yellow spot may also be noticeable in the eye, Parry said. Surgery to remove cataracts has a 95 percent success rate resulting with patients having 20/20 to 20/40 vision, Parry said. Every year, on average, 3 million Americans undergo cataract surgery -- the most frequently performed surgery in the United States.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Frankincense Reduces Knee Arthritis Pain
DAVIS, Calif. (UPI) -- An enriched extract of "Indian Frankincense," or the herb Boswellia serrata, has been shown to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthrits, U.S. researchers said. B. serrata has been used for thousands of years in the Indian system of traditional medicine. The study, published in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy, found patients taking the herbal remedy showed significant improvement in as little as seven days. Dr. Siba Raychaudhuri of the University of California, Davis, said the high incidence of adverse affects associated with available medications for osteoarthritis -- the most common form of arthritis -- has created great interest in the search for an effective and safe alternative treatment. The 90-day, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study was conducted on 90 people to evaluate the efficacy and safety of 5-Loxin -- an enriched extract of B. serrata in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. At the end of the study, both doses of 5-Loxin conferred clinically and statistically significant improvements in pain scores and physical function scores in the patients.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Chlorine-resistant Bug Threatens Swimmers
ATLANTA (UPI) -- The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta is focusing on ways to fight a chlorine-resistant parasite in U.S. pools and water parks. Called Cryptosporidium, or crypto for short, the parasite is found in human and animal feces and is easily transmitted through water, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. When ingested, crypto can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headaches and low-grade fever for as long as two weeks. Outbreaks have been increasing over the past two decades prompting the CDC to work with industry representatives and public health officials to develop a new set of water-safety guidelines. Jonathan Yoder of the CDC says the fact that chlorine doesn't kill crypto requires both swimmers and pool officials to shift their thinking. "It's important for them to understand they can transmit illness when they swim when they're ill," Yoder said. Some water parks, like Seven Peaks in Provo, Utah, have installed ultraviolet systems that can kill crypto and other parasites.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Friday, August 29, 2008


Patient Dumping Outlawed in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES (UPI) -- A new Los Angeles ordinance requires hospitals to obtain patients' written permission before moving them anywhere other than their homes, officials said. Los Angeles medical centers have come under fire for allegations of hospital workers transporting homeless patients to shelters before they are healthy enough to be without medical treatment, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday. Hospital officials say they are worried that if they are convicted of violating the law, their facilities could be left out of vital federal health programs. They have also voiced concerns about whether or not hospitals can afford to hold homeless patients who do not have homes. "The most important thing is to get culture change in the way that hospitals discharge patients," said a spokesman for Rockard J. Delgadillo, a Los Angeles city attorney whose office is conducting probes of about 50 dumping allegations that occurred before June 30, when the ordinance was put in place.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Surgeon Wants Clarity of Donor Law
LONDON (UPI) -- The man who will soon head organ transplantation in Britain says the law that surgeons should consider a donor's best interests needs to be broadened. Dr. Chris Rudge, a former transplant surgeon, says the definition of a patient's best interest should include honoring a wish that his or her organs be used to help others, The Times of London reported Monday. As an example, Rudge said broadening the definition would permit a critical care doctor to keep a patient alive an hour or two longer to enable organs to be collected.

"Doctors are ethically obliged to behave in a way that is in the patient's best interests. But the law does not define clearly what that means," he told The Times. "I would like to see a recognition that a patient's best interests can encompass aspects beyond the purely medical."

Rudge will assume the newly created post of national clinical director for transplantation next month. He is charged with increasing organ donation by 50 percent in five years, The Times said.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


'Office of the future' = weight loss
MINNEAPOLIS (UPI) -- A study of a real-life U.S. office re-engineered to increase daily physical activity resulted in employee weight loss and more profits, researchers said. The six-month study of non-exercise activity thermogenesis, known as NEAT, at SALO LLC, a financial staffing firm based in Minneapolis, involved 45 employee volunteers -- 18 were studied for weight loss and other changes. The re-engineering included removing chairs and traditional desk seating, introducing walking tracks, encouraging staff to conduct meetings while walking, replacing traditional phones with mobile sets, adding desks attached to treadmills, introducing games in the workplace, providing high-tech activity monitors and advising staff about nutrition. Mayo Clinic endocrinologist Dr. James Levine said the 18 participants lost a total of 156 pounds, 143 of that in body fat. Individuals lost an average of 8.8 pounds -- 90 percent was fat. Triglycerides decreased by an average of 37 percent and the nine participants who had expressed a desire to lose weight lost an average of 15.4 pounds. Another key finding was that no productivity was lost. In fact, company officials said revenue rose nearly 10 percent during the first three months of the study, and the company recorded its highest-ever monthly revenue in January 2008 -- the study's midpoint.
Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Family meals linked to less girl drug use
MINNEAPOLIS (UPI) -- Parents regularly sharing meals with their teenage girls may help lessen the risk the girls will smoke or drink, U.S. researchers say. The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Medicine, found no significant difference in substance use between boys who had regular family meals and those who did not. The researchers surveyed 806 Minnesota adolescents -- 45.4 percent boys and 54.6 percent girls -- about meals and use of marijuana, cigarettes and alcohol in 1998 to 1999 at about age 13. They followed up with a mailed survey five years later. In the second survey, girls reporting five or more family meals per week had significantly less substance use than did the females who did not have regular family meals. The girls who had regular meals had about half the odds of substance use.

"Unfortunately we don't really know why we see this benefit for girls and not boys," study lead author Marla Eisenberg of the University of Minnesota said in a statement. "There is some evidence that girls and boys communicate and interact differently with their families, so it's possible that the conversations about behavioral expectations or the subtle 'checking in' that can happen during shared meals might be understood differently by girls and boys."

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Monday, August 25, 2008


Hour of exercise needed to keep weight off
PITTSBURGH (UPI) -- Overweight or obese women may need 55 minutes of exercise a day five days weekly to sustain a weight loss of 10 percent over two years, U.S. researchers say. John M. Jakicic of the University of Pittsburgh and colleagues enrolled 201 overweight and obese women in a weight-loss intervention from 1999-2003. All the women were told to eat 1,200-1,500 calories per day. They were then assigned to one of four groups based on physical activity amount -- burning 1,000 calories versus 2,000 calories per week and intensity -- moderate versus vigorous. After six months, women in all four groups had lost an average of 8 percent to 10 percent of their initial body weight. However, most weren't able to sustain this weight loss. The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found 25 percent of individuals who did maintain a loss of 10 percent or more over two years reported performing more physical activity -- an average of 1,835 calories per week or 275 minutes per week over the baseline level of activity -- than those who lost less weight.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Your Health: Opioid Abuse and Addiction Among Americans on the Rise
Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H.
Abuse of narcotic painkillers is a rapidly growing problem in the United States. According to the National Institutes of Health, inappropriate use of these medications has more than doubled since the early '90s.

Amber, a 33-year-old native of Stanford, Ky., is recovering from her addiction to prescription painkillers. After abusing OxyContin and other opioid drugs for more than six years, she lost everything she cared about.

"I lost my husband and my job because I stayed high all the time," she said. "Then I lost my house and my car because I spent every dime on drugs."

When Amber was arrested for illegal possession of narcotics two years ago, she lost custody of her two young children. That, she said, was the wake-up call that prompted her to get the help she needed.

Amber's situation is far more common than most of us would like to think. Drug addiction affects millions of Americans in all walks of life.

"Opioid addiction is on the rise, and it's causing huge problems in this country," said Bryan Wood, M.D., president and founder of SelfRefind, a drug treatment program with clinics throughout the United States. "Addiction causes people to lie and steal from the people they love, and it costs them their jobs, their friendships and their families. If left untreated, it ultimately costs them their lives."

After suffering so much heartache and misery, most people who are addicted to narcotics eventually reach the point that they're desperate to stop using the drugs. Unfortunately, quitting isn't a simple matter.

"Opioid addiction isn't a personality flaw or a moral deficiency, it's a disease," explained Wood. "Recovering from addiction takes more than just willpower; it requires medical treatment by trained professionals."

Opioid dependence is characterized as a brain disease by many medical experts and organizations, including the World Health Organization. The condition has been shown to cause changes to the structure and function of the brain that persist long after drug use has ceased. Overcoming dependence isn't as simple as eliminating the drug of abuse from the patient's body. The structural and functional changes in the brain can trigger drug cravings even years after an individual's last use.

"Once you're hooked on the drugs," Amber explained, "you're not using them to get high anymore. You have to use the drugs just to be able to function, because they keep you from going into withdrawal."

In most cases, withdrawal is an agonizing process that can last for days. Symptoms include sweating, extreme anxiety, severe chills and painful muscle cramps, as well as violent episodes of vomiting and diarrhea. Long after the physical symptoms of withdrawal have resolved, most individuals continue to experience an overwhelming yearning for the drugs they once abused. Because these cravings are so intense, many patients in recovery quickly relapse and return to drug abuse. Proper medical care helps many patients avoid the painful symptoms of withdrawal and dramatically reduces their drug cravings. For more than 30 years, the drug methadone has been prescribed for the treatment of narcotic addiction.

"Unfortunately, methadone treatment is fraught with failure," said Wood. "Because it has a high potential for abuse and a poor compliance rate, it's generally held in low regard by patients and the community."

Earlier this year, Wood and other physicians at SelfRefind Clinics began prescribing Suboxone, a relatively new medication indicated for the treatment of opioid dependence. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2002, the drug has been used by more than 400,000 patients around the world.
"In the U.S., Suboxone is available only from specially trained physicians," said Wood. "This drug is drastically changing the way we treat addiction in the U.S."
Patients suffering from addiction get almost immediate relief from withdrawal symptoms. In the weeks that follow, they enjoy freedom from cravings, allowing them to fully focus on resolving the issues that led to their addiction in the first place. One of the most attractive features of the new drug is its low potential for abuse. The drug is properly administered under the tongue. If it is intentionally misused by crushing it for injection or inhalation, it precipitates signs and symptoms of withdrawal. A number of clinical trials have shown the drug to be safe and effective in helping people overcome their addiction to prescription painkillers and other opioids, including heroin. Amber, who started treatment with Suboxone five months ago, is well on her way to recovery.
"It's easier than I ever thought it could be," she said. "I feel like I've finally got my life back." ======== Rallie McAllister is a board-certified family physician, speaker and the author of several books, including "Healthy Lunchbox: The Working Mom's Guide to Keeping You and Your Kids Trim." Her website is To find out more about Rallie McAllister, M.D., and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at
Copyright 2008 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Study: Golf Can Add Five Years To Life
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (UPI) -- Golf could add an extra five years to the life spans of regular players, Swedish researchers say. The study, performed by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, contends that a close look at 500,000 golfers showed that there were many health benefits to playing the game, including a longer and healthier life, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday. The golf study was published in the latest issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and defined a round of golf as lasting four or five hours while walking at a fast pace. "People play golf into old age, and there are also positive social and psychological aspects to the game that can be of help," Anders Ahlbom, leader of the Swedish study, told the Telegraph, adding that the longest lifespan increases came among golfers with blue collar economic backgrounds as opposed to those with professional jobs. Also, the newspaper said, those golfers with the lowest handicaps also had the lower death rates, and that overall golfers at any age were 47 percent less likely to die than their non-golfing, same-age counterparts.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Friday, August 22, 2008


Early Drinking Predicts Alcohol Dependence
ST. LOUIS (UPI) -- An early-age onset of drinking is a strong predictor of later alcohol dependence, Washington University School of Medicine researchers in St. Louis said. "Previous work had found that about one in three individuals who reported having started drinking at ages 17 or younger also reported having been alcohol dependent, either currently or previously," explained Richard A. Grucza of Washington University School of Medicine said in a statement. "For people who reported that they started drinking at age 21 or older, that number is one in 10. In other words, individuals who begin drinking at 17 or younger are more than three times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin at age 21 or older." The researchers analyzed two large, national surveys -- the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey conducted in 1991 and 1992 and the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions conducted in 2001 and 2002. The findings, published in the August issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and available online, found women born during 1944 to1983 began drinking earlier than their predecessors, and that this earlier drinking might explain the higher rates of alcohol dependence.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Doctor contact while losing weight helpful
INDIANAPOLIS (UPI) -- Current recommendations to have doctors meet twice with patients in weight-management programs may not be intensive enough for some, a U.S. researcher says. NiCole Keith of Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis conducted a study in an urban community health center in Indianapolis that primarily serves low-income and disadvantaged populations. The weight-management program, Take Charge Lite, was free to patients, funded by the Fairbanks Foundation and available to all patients 18 or older with a body mass index equal to or above 25. At the end of the program's first year, the relationship between weight loss and number of contacts with physicians was evaluated. The study found patients with two or fewer contacts per month gained about 1 pound. Patients with three or four contacts per month lost about 2 pounds of weight and patients who had five contacts per month lost just over 2 pounds. Those with six or more contacts lost about 5 pounds and patients with more than 11 contacts per month lost about 6 pounds. The findings were presented at the American College of Sports Medicine's annual meeting in Indianapolis.
Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Treatment helps pregnant alcohol abusers
OAKLAND, Calif. (UPI) -- Pregnant women who abuse alcohol or drugs can achieve a healthy outcome if they receive treatment early in their pregnancy, U.S. researchers said. Researchers examined 49,985 women in Kaiser Permanente's prenatal care program and found that integrating substance abuse screening and treatment into routine prenatal care helped pregnant women achieve similar health outcomes as women who were not using cigarettes, alcohol or other drugs. The study compared 2,073 pregnant women who were screened, assessed and received ongoing intervention during pregnancy through the Early Start program at 21 Kaiser Permanente Northern California outpatient obstetric clinics from 1999 to 2003, to women in three other groups: 156 women who were screened but did not accept assessment or treatment; 1,203 women were screened, assessed and received brief intervention only; and a control group of 46,553 women who showed no evidence of substance abuse. The study, published online in the Journal of Perinatology, found the risk of stillborn, placental abruption -- in which the placental lining separates from the mother's uterus -- pre-term delivery, low birth weight and neonatal ventilation were dramatically higher for the 156 untreated substance abusers than for the 2,073 women in the Early Start program.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Your Health: Migraine Sufferers Face Higher Risk of Serious Disease
Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H.
Migraines are more than just occasional, minor headaches. Not only do they produce significant pain and suffering in susceptible individuals, they’re also linked to a higher risk of stroke. Studies show that among all migraine sufferers, including men and women, the risk of experiencing a stroke is more than double that of people without the condition. Recent research suggests that the risk of stroke among female migraineurs is especially high. The latest findings from the Women’s Health Study demonstrated that compared to women without the condition, those who had migraines at least once a week were three times more likely to have a stroke. The study followed nearly 28,000 women age 45 and older for more than 12 years. Although the exact cause of migraine headaches remains a topic of intense scientific debate, most experts agree that the condition is related to a disordered function of nerves, blood vessels and neurotransmitters in the brain. Regardless of the cause, migraines are considered to be a lifelong condition of recurring headaches that can strike as often as several times a week or as infrequently as once a year. Migraine headaches can affect anyone, but they’re roughly three times more common in women than in men. More than two-thirds of cases occur in women between the ages of 15 and 55. Approximately 30 percent of migraineurs experience a phenomenon called an “aura” before or during the headache. The most common form of aura is a visual illusion of bright flashes of light that appear as stars or sparks, or as complex geometric patterns that shimmer across the visual field. The associated headaches are often so intense that they send their victims scurrying to the nearest dark, quiet place. In addition to pain, migraine sufferers typically experience overwhelming nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and noise. In most cases, the onset of symptoms is associated with specific substances or situations called triggers. Common triggers for migraines include stress, fatigue and hunger. Cheese, chocolate, alcohol and the food additive monosodium glutamate (MSG) may also be to blame. Among women, hormonal fluctuation -- especially around the time of menstruation -- is an important trigger. The results of a study conducted by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University’s Headache Center in Philadelphia suggest that women are twice as likely to experience migraines with aura during the first two days of their menstrual cycles compared to the remainder of the month. The researchers also noted that women have a significantly lower risk of having migraines during the time of ovulation, which typically occurs around the 14th day of the menstrual cycle. Although migraines are relatively common, drugs designed specifically for the treatment of the condition are few in number. Many medications prescribed for the treatment of migraines, including painkillers and anti-nausea medications, are extremely sedating. For some individuals, the treatment of migraines can be just as incapacitating as the condition itself. Fortunately, the frequency and severity of migraine headaches can be reduced by implementing a few preventive strategies. Avoiding known migraine triggers is an excellent place to start, and taking a few key nutritional supplements may help even more. A number of studies suggest that because migraineurs have low magnesium levels, taking supplemental magnesium can be an important part of an effective migraine-prevention program. Magnesium is known to help regulate serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in the onset of migraine symptoms. Many foods are rich in magnesium, including dark green vegetables, whole grains, beans, bananas and seafood. For individuals with a magnesium deficiency, however, eating a well-balanced diet isn’t sufficient. Taking a nutritional supplement containing the mineral may be most beneficial. In recommended doses of 400 to 600 milligrams daily, magnesium supplements are generally safe and well tolerated by healthy individuals, with the most common side effect being diarrhea. In addition to magnesium, vitamin B2 and an herb known as feverfew have long been used in the prevention and treatment of migraine headaches. The recommended dose of vitamin B2, or riboflavin, is typically 400 mg a day. In clinical trials, migraine sufferers who took feverfew extract on a regular basis enjoyed a significant reduction in the frequency of migraine attacks. When they did experience headaches, they reported less severe pain, nausea and vomiting. Nutritional supplements won’t necessarily cure migraines, but for migraineurs in search of relief, they could make the condition far more bearable. ======== Rallie McAllister is a board-certified family physician, speaker and the author of several books, including “Healthy Lunchbox: The Working Mom’s Guide to Keeping You and Your Kids Trim.” Her website is To find out more about Rallie McAllister and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at
Copyright 2008 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Desk jobs linked to overweight, obesity
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (UPI) -- U.S. researchers said 80 percent of desk-bound employees in their study were overweight or obese, which is higher percentage than in the general population. Study leader Whitney E. Hornsby, a graduate student in Indiana University Bloomington's School of Health Physical Education and Recreation, examined weight and activity levels of 56 people ages 23 to 61 who worked desk jobs and found the employees also reported a lower quality of life than the general population. "Obesity rates have increased while leisure time has stayed the same or increased," study co-author Jeanne Johnston, an assistant professor, said in the statement. "We're becoming more sedentary in our jobs. As technology improves, it makes it easier or requires us to be closer to our desks." The findings were presented at the American College of Sports Medicine annual conference in Indianapolis.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Older Americans have sense of peace, calm
AUSTIN, Texas (UPI) -- Knees may creak and climbing stairs may be harder, but aging brings a sense of peace and calm, U.S. researchers say. A study by the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin says starting at about age 60, participants reported more feelings of ease and contentment than their younger counterparts. Catherine Ross and John Mirowsky say previous research on emotions associated with aging focused on negative emotions, such as depression. However, the findings reveal aging is associated with more positive than negative emotions, and more passive than active emotions, Ross says. The researchers examined 1,450 responses from the 1996 U.S. General Social Survey of English-speaking U.S. adults who were 56 percent female, 44 percent male, 81 percent white, 14 percent African-American and 5 percent other races. "The passive/positive combination reveals that contentment, calm and ease are some of the most common emotions people feel as they age," Ross said in a statement. "Emotions that are both active and negative, such as anxiety and anger, are especially unlikely among the elderly." The findings are published in the Social Science and Medicine.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Coffee before breakfast boosts blood sugar
GUELPH, Ontario (UPI) -- Having a cup a caffeinated coffee before a breakfast of low-sugar cereal could put some at higher risk of type 2 diabetes, a Canadian researcher says. Terry Graham of the University of Guelph says caffeine in the coffee can alter the body's sugar response. Graham and graduate students Lesley Moisey and Stia Kacker used two types of cereal -- one with low-levels of sugar and one with moderate levels -- and examined the difference in response when healthy male subjects who drank caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee one hour before eating breakfast. The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed blood sugar levels in subjects who ate the low-sugar cereal jumped 250 percent higher when they drank caffeinated coffee than when they drank decaffeinated. "Caffeine interferes with our body's response to insulin,"Graham says. "It makes us resistant to insulin which in turn makes our blood-sugar levels go higher." Several spikes in blood sugar a day can have adverse health effects and those at risk for type 2 diabetes should be careful and consider drinking decaffeinated coffee, Graham says.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Friday, August 15, 2008


Scientist: Cell phone study misinterpreted
LOS ANGELES (UPI) -- U.S. and Danish researchers say their study on behavioral problems in children linked to pregnant women using cell phones may raise unnecessary alarm. Study co-author Dr. Jorn Olsen, chairman of epidemiology at University of California, Los Angeles, told ABC News that media coverage of the research -- scheduled to be published in the July issue of the journal Epidemiology -- has been off target. Researchers at UCLA and Aarhus, Denmark, analyzed a survey of mothers of 13,159 children in Denmark that asked about cell phone use during pregnancy and after, as well as their child's behavior. (We) "only briefly mentioned the possibility that maternal cell phone use, especially postnatal use, could have adverse effects on child behavior in ways having nothing at all to do with radio frequency fields," Olsen told ABC. "I don't think anyone has suggested that there is a causal mechanism." The findings suggest pregnant women who use cell phones may increase their babies' risk of behavioral problems, but the findings are inconclusive -- for example, mothers who use their cell phones may pay less attention to their children, Olsen said. The study also said that other confounding variables could explain behavioral changes in these children, including diet, exposure to lead paint and exposure to pollution.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Erectile dysfunction sign of heart trouble
HONG KONG (UPI) -- For men with type 2 diabetes, erectile dysfunction is a powerful early warning sign for serious heart disease, Chinese researchers say. Peter Chun-Yip Tong of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, in Hong Kong says diabetes, erectile dysfunction and heart disease share an ominous link: damage to the blood vessels by high blood sugar levels. The same process that hinders the extra blood flow needed to maintain an erection can have even more serious consequences in the heart, the researchers say. "The development of erectile dysfunction should alert both patients and healthcare providers to the future risk of coronary heart disease," Tong says in a statement. "Other risk factors such as poor blood glucose control, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking and obesity should be reviewed and addressed aggressively." Researchers recruited 2,306 men with type 2 diabetes and tracked them for about four years. One-quarter had erectile dysfunction at the beginning of the study but none had signs of heart disease. The study, scheduled to be published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found erectile dysfunction signaled a 58 percent increase in the risk of coronary heart disease.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


High insulin could indicate ovary syndrome
HERSHEY, Pa. (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say high levels of insulin could be an early sign that girls whose mothers suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome might also be susceptible. Researchers at the Penn State University College of Medicine say their finding could help determine whether daughters of women suffering from PCOS are at a higher risk of developing the disease, compared with girls whose mothers do not have the disease. "Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age, and sometimes causes inability to become pregnant," the researchers said, noting symptoms include hairiness due to excessive amounts of male hormones, irregular periods and insulin resistance. "We found insulin resistance in children who had entered puberty, and whose mothers had PCOS," said Dr. Richard Legro, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the study's lead author. "We did not find it in the youngest children, which suggests that the disease is triggered by puberty." The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was reported in a recent issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Breast feeding moms have less arthritis
MALMO, Sweden (UPI) -- Swedish researchers found women who breast feed more than 13 months were half as likely to get rheumatoid arthritis. Those who had breast fed for one to 12 months were 25 percent less likely to get the disease. The study, published online ahead of print in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, also found taking oral contraceptives -- suspected to protect against the disease because they contain hormones that are raised in pregnancy -- did not have the same effect. Similarly, being pregnant -- but not breast feeding -- did not seem to have a protective effect either. The authors said that it was difficult to say whether there was a connection between higher rates of breast feeding and a corresponding fall in the number of women affected by rheumatoid arthritis, but that the results of the study provided yet another reason why women should breast feed. Study leader Dr. M. Pikwer of The Malmo University Hospital, in Sweden compared 136 women with rheumatoid arthritis with 544 women of a similar age without the disease.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Monday, August 11, 2008


COLLEGE STATION, Texas (UPI) -- Watermelon has ingredients that deliver Viagra-like effects to the body's blood vessels and may even increase libido, U.S. scientists say. Dr. Bhimu Patil of Texas A&M in College Station said beneficial ingredients in watermelon and other produce are known as phyto-nutrients -- naturally occurring compounds that are able to react with the human body to trigger healthy reactions. "The more we study watermelons, the more we realize just how amazing a fruit it is in providing natural enhancers to the human body," Patil said in a statement. When watermelon is consumed, the phyto-nutrient citrulline is converted to arginine through certain enzymes. Arginine is an amino acid that works wonders on the heart and circulation system, and maintains a good immune system, Patil said. "The citrulline-arginine relationship helps heart health, the immune system and may prove to be very helpful for those who suffer from obesity and type 2 diabetes," Patil said. "Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it." Deep red varieties of watermelon are also loaded with lycopene, an anti-oxidant that protects the human heart, prostate and skin health, Patil added.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Lifelong Health: Ads For New Drugs Are End Run Around Physicians
Dr. David Lipschitz

In recent years, the relationship between the health-care industry and physicians has been questioned. In years past, industry representatives courted physicians with gifts, meals and trips to exotic destinations -- all in the name of educating us on a new therapy, treatment or piece of equipment. Not surprisingly, many health-care professionals are concerned that such a courtship creates a conflict of interest. It begs the question, "How much influence can the pharmaceutical industry have on a physician's practice?" As a consequence, most medical schools and community hospitals now closely regulate any contact with industry representatives. No more gifts and no more free lunches. Any services provided must have meticulous justification. For now, it is strictly education. As the restrictions on physician education grew increasingly strict, the pharmaceutical industry shifted the attention directly to the public, using direct-to-consumer advertising in newspapers, magazines, radio and television. Through savvy marketing campaigns, Sally Field is now forever linked with Boniva, Dr. Jarvik with Lipitor and a yellow bumblebee with Nasonex. What is the real impact of direct-to-consumer advertising? On the upside, this marketing has increased the public’s awareness about new medications, as well as many diseases. An advertisement may prompt a visit to the physician that otherwise may not have occurred. In the best-case scenario, this provides an opportunity for a comprehensive work-up to screen for medical problems such as cancer, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and other factors that may increase the risk of disease. It may also provide opportunities to counsel patients about the importance of smoking cessation, diet and exercise. However, there is an obvious downside to the ads. First, patients are more likely to seek specific medications. They ask their doctor about the "new and improved medication," and frequently the physician gladly prescribes it. Patients with osteoporosis are happy to take a once-a-month Boniva rather than the weekly generic that provides the same effect. Often a new drug advertised to the general public is inappropriately prescribed as a first-line treatment, rather than using tried and true older medications as the initial therapy. One of the biggest problems with requesting new drugs is simple: increased cost. Generic medications will never be marketed to the public, only the brand-name equivalent. Again, consider the case of heavily advertised, brand-name Boniva over the generic counterpart. A three-month supply of Alendronate (Fosamax) is now available for $10 at discount pharmacies. The cost savings of taking Alendronate once weekly far outweigh the convenience of taking Boniva once monthly. In addition to concerns about cost, some pharmaceutical advertisements may not provide all the necessary information to educate consumers about the potential benefits and side effects. A recent editorial published in the New England Journal of Medicine raised serious concerns about advertising a drug-coated stent used to open up a blocked coronary artery in patients with chest pain. In an advertisement titled "Life Wide Open," the advertisement shows a suffering man sitting with obvious chest pain, and then contrasts him with healthy-looking people exercising and having fun. The ad implies that opening up the artery by angioplasty and using this specific stent is the best way to treat chest pain. However, angioplasty for chest pain is no better than conservative treatment with medications. Furthermore, the television advertisement downplays the side effects, indicating the angioplasty has only four side effects (allergy to blood thinners, heart attack, the need to repeat the procedure and blood clot in the stent), and the drug coating has none. The consumer Web site identifies 10 side effects from the procedure and four from the drug coating. The patient-education brochure identifies 24 side effects that the procedure may cause, including death, strokes, and the need for open-heart surgery, and 13 from the drug coating, including lymphoma and other cancers, severe lung disease, and bone marrow problems that can lead to infection and bleeding. If you ever see an advertisement for a specific treatment that may seem appropriate for your condition, make sure you have all the facts before insisting that it be prescribed. Talk to your physician and insist on being told why one therapy may be better than another. It is critical that you be a truly educated consumer of health care.

======== Dr. David Lipschitz is the author of the book "Breaking the Rules of Aging." To find out more about Dr. David Lipschitz and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at More information is available at
Copyright 2008 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Pycnogenol may reduce menstrual pain
KANAZAWA, Japan (UPI) -- Pycnogenol, bark extract from a French maritime pine tree, helped alleviate extremely painful menstrual periods, Japanese researchers said. The study showed women with dysmenorrhea -- extremely painful menstrual periods -- who took Pycnogenol experienced less pain and required less pain medications during menstruation. "Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, like aspirin or ibuprofen provide temporary help against menstrual pain," lead researcher Dr. Nobutaka Suzuki said in a statement. "Unfortunately, they are generally ineffective for resolving spasmodic events and commonly cause side effects, particularly gastric problems." The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted at four Japanese hospitals and involved 116 women, ages 18 to 48, suffering from menstrual pain. Patients were monitored for five menstrual cycles.The first two menstrual cycles were utilized for establishing base-line values for pain and NSAID analgesics. The results, published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, showed treatment with Pycnogenol lowered pain during menstruation, which was reflected by a significant reduction of NSAID used. The number of painful days due to dysmenorrhea decreased from an average of 2.1 days prior to treatment to 1.3 at both the third and fourth cycle. Discontinuation of Pycnogenol didn't cause an immediate relapse and pain medication use didn't increase, the researchers said.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Friday, August 8, 2008


Abortions more common in Arab countries
BEIRUT, Lebanon (UPI) -- Abortion is becoming more common in Arab countries as young people marry later and engage in premarital sex, family planning officials say. While Islam bans abortion except when a pregnancy is the result of forcible rape or continuing the pregnancy would put the mother's life or health at risk, the public is becoming more tolerant, the Los Angeles Times reported. "There's definitely an increase compared to 10 to 15 years ago," said Mohammed Graigaa, head of the Moroccan Association for Family Planning. "Abortion is much less of a taboo. It's much more visible. Doctors talk about it. Women talk about it. The moral values of people have changed." One recent poll by found that more than half of Egyptians, Iranians and Palestinians say abortion should be legal. The United Nations estimates one in 10 pregnancies in North Africa and the Middle East ends in abortion, half the U.S. rate. Because abortions are illegal in most circumstances, many are performed by midwives or so-called back-alley practitioners.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Thursday, August 7, 2008


PCB-exposed Women May Have Fewer Boys
DAVIS, Calif. (UPI) -- Women exposed to high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, are less likely to give birth to male children, U.S. researchers said. Lead author Irva Hertz-Picciotto of the University of California, Davis, said PCBs, widely used in industry as cooling and insulating fluids for electrical equipment, as well as in construction and domestic products such as varnishes and caulks, are persistent organic pollutants identified worldwide as human blood and breast milk contaminants. The study, published in the journal Environmental Health, found that among women from the San Francisco Bay Area, those exposed to higher levels of PCBs during the 1950s and 1960s, were 33 percent less likely to give birth to male children than the women least exposed. The researchers measured the levels of PCBs in blood taken from pregnant women during a Bay Area study during the 1960s. When they compared the blood levels to the children's sex, they found that for every one microgram of PCBs per liter of serum, the chance of having a male child fell by 7 percent, the study said. PCBs were banned in the 1970s, but the flame-retardants polybrominated diphenyl ethers currently used in plastic casings and foam products share many of the biochemical and toxicologic properties of PCBs, the researchers said.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Researcher: 'Sex and the City' helps women
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (UPI) -- A Denmark graduate student wrote in her doctoral thesis that women are attracted to "Sex and the City" because they see the characters as role models. University of Copenhagen post-grad Mette Kramer said the attraction of the TV series, which ran from 1998-2004, and this summer's movie version of the show extends beyond mere entertainment and leads many women to use situations from the program as models for real life, the Copenhagen Post reported Thursday. Kramer said that by living vicariously through the show's central characters -- Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha -- they can view how the women deal with the issues in their fictional lives and translate it to the real world. "They can later try out the tactics as simulated versions of Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha," Kramer said.
Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Monday, August 4, 2008


Patients often hide sexual orientation
NEW YORK (UPI) -- Thirty-nine percent of men in New York City who have sex with other men do not disclose their sexual orientation to their doctors, health officials said. Healthcare providers, who know about their patients' sexual behavior, can help prevent HIV infection through testing, counseling and other services, officials said. The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, examined data from the 2004 to 2005 Centers for Disease Control National HIV Behavioral Survey. For the survey, men at gay bars and clubs were interviewed anonymously, tested for HIV and offered medical and social services as needed. The New York City Health Department analyzed data for the 452 survey participants who lived in New York City. The study showed that men who disclose having sex with men were twice as likely as those who did not to have been tested for HIV -- 63 percent versus 36 percent. The current national guidelines, adopted in 2006 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, call on healthcare providers to offer HIV tests to all patients between the ages of 13 and 64, officials said.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Mint Cookie Blizzard has 1,000 calories
WASHINGTON (UPI) -- The Thin Mint Cookie Blizzard at Dairy Queen provides a blizzard of calories, officials of a U.S. non-profit group said. Officials at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit health advocacy group in Washington, said the new ice cream dessert weighs more than a pound, has more than 1,000 calories, 31 teaspoons of sugars, and provides more than a day's saturated fat. Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said the Thin Mint Cookie Blizzard is like drinking two Big Macs. "If you were designing a product with the intent of promoting obesity and type-2 diabetes in girls, it would look exactly like the Thin Mint Blizzard," Jacobson said in a statement. "A Thin Mint Cookie Blizzard is soft-serve mint and vanilla ice cream combined with Thin Mint cookies and topped with a creme-de-menthe flavored syrup made out of high-fructose corn syrup and containing artificial food dyes Yellow 5 and Green 3. Even a small size has the calories -- 540 -- and a little more saturated fat -- 12 grams -- than a Big Mac."

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Concussions from sports often unrecognized
ST. LOUIS (UPI) -- Sports-related concussions in athletes often go unrecognized and often don't receive proper respect for their potential seriousness, U.S. researchers said. Dr. Mark Halstead of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said an explosion in research about concussions in the past five years has increased understanding of how serious concussions may be. "There is a common misconception that an athlete only has a concussion if he or she loses consciousness," Halstead said in a statement. "In fact, most athletes may only suffer from a mild headache or feeling confused or foggy. Concussions may even occur without impact, from the head being shaken." It is important for coaches, parents and athletes to recognize the symptoms of a concussion because athletes may only have one symptom, Halstead said. No athlete should be returned to play while still experiencing symptoms of a concussion. Common symptoms of a concussion include: headache, dizziness, changes to the vision such as blurry vision or double vision, upset stomach or vomiting, feeling tired, moodiness, confusion and loss of memory of events before and after the concussion.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Friday, August 1, 2008


Middle-aged more active than young adults
LONDON (UPI) -- A 10-year study in Britain finds the comfortably off, white and middle aged are the most likely to participate in sporting activities, researchers said. The findings are based on data from several of the annual Health Surveys for England from 1997 to 2006 involving 61,000 adults -- 27,217 men. In 2006, men were around 10 percent more likely, and women around 20 percent more likely to participate regularly in sports compared to 1997. This suggests that the perception that there is a decline in sporting activities may be "oversimplistic," however, the study authors at the University College London conclude that the decline in sporting activity among younger people is a cause for concern. The increase is mainly attributable to gym and fitness activities, with both sexes about 20 percent more likely to participate in them than they were in 1997. The proportion of regular female runners also doubled to 4 percent over the decade. The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found the increases in sports participation was largely restricted to middle-aged and older people, with clear increasing trends seen among both sexes over the age of 45 and older and among 30- to 44-year-old women.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Ten Ways To Reduce Cancer Risk
SEATTLE (UPI) -- Taking anti-cancer medication is one of 10 ways a U.S. health group says people can lessen cancer risks. Experts at the American Cancer Society suggest several medications such as tamoxifen or raloxifene reduce the risk for cancer and those at risk should talk to a doctor about the pros and cons of these medications. The American Cancer Society also suggests avoiding cancer-causing chemicals and radiation exposures. "Make sure that any physician who orders an X-ray for you, especially high-dose ones like CT scans, knows how many previous X-rays you have had. If it is not an emergency medical situation, ask whether there is an alternative examination that for you, such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging, which do not have radiation," a American Cancer Society spokesman said in a statement. "Limiting X-ray exposure is especially important for children and teens." Four more ways to lessen cancer risk are keeping alcohol consumption low, protecting the skin from sun, limiting the use of menopausal hormone replacement therapy and not using tobacco. Four pro-active ways to lessen risk are getting tested regularly, eating an anti-cancer diet, maintaining a healthy weight and keeping physically active. Moderate exercise reduces the risk of several cancers by 30 percent to 50 percent.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Spring Cleaning For The Nose
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (UPI) -- April may mean allergies for many in the United States and a sinus expert offers help via nasal irrigation. Dr. Melissa Pynnonen of the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor finds "patients who used nasal irrigation, experienced as much improvement as some patients with chronic sinusitis get with sinus surgery." Likening nasal irrigation to "a power washer for your nose," Pynnonen finds it "does a great job of treating symptoms that otherwise aren't well treated with medicine." The solution, can be as simple -- and cheap -- as a quarter-teaspoon of kosher salt, 8 ounces of warm tap water and one-quarter-teaspoon of baking soda, Pynnonen said. Patients new to nasal irrigation often use an 8-ounce squeeze bottle. Another method is a device resembling a miniature teapot -- called a neti-pot -- that pours, instead of squeezes, the solution. Some use turkey basters or syringes like those used to suction a baby's nose. Four ounces of the solution is squirted or poured into each nostril. The solution exits through the opposite nostril. To prevent the solution from coming out of the mouth, Pynnonen recommends opening the mouth and making a "K" sound, which closes off the mouth and throat.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Less sleep, more TV, ups toddler weight
BOSTON (UPI) -- Infants and toddlers who sleep less than 12 hours a day are twice as likely to become overweight by age 3 than children who sleep longer, a U.S. study found. The study, published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, found children who sleep less than 12 hours and who view two or more hours of television per day have a 16 percent chance of becoming overweight by age 3. "Mounting research suggests that decreased sleep time may be more hazardous to our health than we imagined," lead author Dr. Elsie Taveras of the Harvard Medical School's Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention says in a statement. "We are now learning that those hazardous effects are true even for young infants." The study involved 915 mother-infant pairs from Project Viva, a long-term study of the effects of diet and other lifestyle factors on maternal and child health over time. Infant weight and measurements were taken at several in-person visits up to age 3. Mothers reported how many hours their child slept per day on average at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years. Parents were also asked to report the average number of hours their children watched television on weekdays and weekends.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Monday, July 28, 2008


Girls' clothing tied to mental health
LONDON (UPI) -- The type of clothing worn by young girls could influence their likelihood of suffering mental problems later, British researchers say. Researchers reached the conclusion in a study of British and Bangladeshi adolescents published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Bangladeshi pupils who wore traditional clothing were significantly less likely to have mental health problems than those whose style of dress was a mix of traditional and British/North American tastes, but only for girls. White British pupils who chose to wear a mix of clothes from their own and other cultures enjoyed relatively good mental health, the study showed. The findings were based on almost 1,000 Bangladeshi and Caucasian British students, ages 11 to 14, who attended East London schools with diverse populations. The youths were questioned on social life, culture and health in 2001. They were surveyed on mental health two years later.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Teens unaware driving behavior is risky
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (UPI) -- Car fatalities are the top killer of Alabama teens, often because of risky behaviors teens don't define as risky, researchers said. Dr. Nancy Rhodes of the University of Alabama said her studies show teens experiment with different types of risky behavior, but risk-taking is especially dangerous behind the wheel of a car, and is prominent with high-school age young adults. Rhodes' studies show that risky behaviors can include taking a curve too fast, being distracted by passengers or talking on a cell phone -- behaviors that teens often don't define as risky. "Teens can look around them and see everyone else, including their parents, doing things they shouldn't while driving, such as using a cell phone, speeding or playing with the radio," Nita Hestevold of the University of Alabama Institute for Social Science Research. "They don't understand that, while this behavior is unsafe for all drivers, younger drivers are less experienced and have not yet automated their driving skills, so the same behaviors put teen drivers at higher risk of crashing," he said. Teenage drinking and driving only accounts for 10 percent of teens' crashes. "For teens, bad choices are more likely to be made because of teens' inexperience and social pressures," Hestevold said.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International