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Sunday
Jan302011

Aging Can Be Reversed in Mice, But What About Us?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Scientists have found that by tweaking the genes of mice, they are able to slow, or even reverse the process of aging. With just a few changes, the animals were able to regenerate brain cells, and their fertility was able to be restored. Alternatively, mice aged prematurely when those changes were made in reverse order.

A report, published in the weekly online science journal Nature, shows that scientists hope similar results may be possible for humans down the road. The scientists who published the report, working out of the Dana Farber Cancer Center in Boston, worked with the chromosomes that are found inside the nuclei of all cells. By transforming the protective part of the chromosome, which guards the cell from diminishing, scientists could either accelerate, or reverse the aging process.

Some scientists say the study can be beneficial if the process eventually leads to cures for things like heart disease and diabetes, which become more debilitating with age.

So far the study has been restricted to mice.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan292011

Experts Worry 'Serial Parenting' Could Cause Emotional Pain for Kids

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Forty-two percent of adult Americans have some sort of "step" relationship with either a sibling, parent or child -- that's nearly 100 million Americans, not including children. Nearly 17 million men are stepdads, and 14 million women are stepmoms.

This data, from a recently released report from the Pew Research Center, has some worried that such "serial parenting" could become a source of long-term emotional pain for affected children.

"Though not all kids are negatively affected by serial step parenting, we do know it can carry an emotional residue that can impact them both now and in the future," said Ron L. Deal, co-author of The Remarriage Checkup and a family therapist in Amarillo, Texas. "Studies show that kids who've had multiple parents tend to have a harder time emotionally, psychologically and academically."

Bobbi McDonald, a family therapist in Newport Beach, Calif., who has worked with celebrity families, said that dealing with multiple parental personalities can sometimes create a lack of consistency and skew children's expectations of unconditional love.

"They can respond by either becoming accommodators or closing themselves off," said McDonald. "Either way, this has implications for how they approach all of their relationships as they move forward in life."

Serial parenting, however, isn't always a bad thing for children. Mariesa Stokes, an account executive in Alabama, had two stepmothers and two stepfathers growing up, and said that though she was confused at first, she came to view it as an advantage.

"They always put my needs first in the relationships and were first and foremost always there for me. I could go to different ones for different things, which gave me a lot more options than kids who had just two parents."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan292011

Nebraska Eyes 'Power Hour,' Excessive Drinking Ban

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LINCOLN, Neb.) -- Nebraska lawmakers are aiming to kill the buzz for excessive drinkers across the state.

Legislators are considering a bill that would ban so-called power-hour drinking on 21st birthdays. At the same time, the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission has proposed a ban on high-risk drinking games and promotions.

LB294 in the Nebraska Legislature, introduced by Sen. Russ Karpisek, would prohibit alcohol sales immediately after midnight to people on their 21st birthday. The other measure being considered would ban games and promotions such as beer pong and “bladder busters” that encourage intoxication in bars.
 
The target of both measures is binge drinking, which the United Health Foundation defines as five drinks for a male and four for a female in one sitting. According to the nonprofit agency, the Cornhusker state has the sixth-worst drinking record in the country, with 18.5 percent of the state population age 18 and older regularly binge drinking. The national average is 15.7 percent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan282011

Frontal Lobe Injury Therapy May Benefit Psychopathic Patients

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(HAIFA, Israel) -- New research has revealed similarities in emotional deficiencies between people who have suffered frontal brain injuries and people diagnosed as psychopathic, according to HealthDay News

Researchers at the University of Haifa in Israel suggest that therapy used to treat frontal brain injuries could also benefit psychopathic patients.

"Seeing as psychopathic behavior is similar to that of a person with brain damage, it could be that it could benefit from similar forms of treatment," study author Dr. Simone Shamay-Tsoory said in a news release.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Friday
Jan282011

Can Researchers Prevent Cancer from Spreading?

Photo Courtesy - ABC News (LONDON) -- A study, published in Oncogene, reports that stopping the gene, called WWP2, which encourages cancer to move around the body could prevent the disease from spreading.  Researchers at the University of East Anglia are hoping the discovery of this gene could lead to the development of new cancer drugs within the next decade.

Although physicians can often treat primary cancers, it is the spread of tumors and cancerous cells known as metastasis that are notoriously difficult to treat.

Although the study is still in laboratory stages, Dr. Andrew Chantry, the study's leader, says they are "really onto something important if we can put a wall around a cancer and lock it into place."

The team is currently assembling a group of chemists to help them design a drug that will have the ability to block gene activity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan282011

Can't Sleep? Make the Bed, Study Says

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A new survey authorized by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) suggests that comfortable, clean bedrooms are more conducive to getting a good night's sleep.   In fact, between two-thirds and three-fourths of those polled said that a cool room temperature, fresh air and a dark, quiet and clean room were important for sound sleeping.

For the first time ever, the foundation polled 1,500 U.S. adults ages 25-55, some who were poor sleepers and some who were sound sleepers, about their sleeping environments.

"We've looked a lot at how medical and behavioral issues affect sleep, but we really hadn't looked at the sleep environment in such depth," David Cloud, NSF chief operating officer told WebMD.  "Frankly, we were surprised to see that senses like touch, feel and smell were so important."

Shelby Harris, a sleep psychologist who directs the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at Montefiore Sleep-Wake Disorder Center in New York, suggests that people make their bedrooms a "sanctuary for sleep."  Harris also recommends nightly rituals such as turning down the lights about an hour before bed, staying away from the computer or other digital devices that might stimulate the mind and eating meals at least three hours before bedtime.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Friday
Jan282011

US Trails Behind Other Countries in Life Expectancy

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Life expectancy in the U.S. trails behind other high-income countries -- despite spending more on healthcare -- and is currently ranked by the United Nations at number 28 according to a National Academy of Sciences report.

Eileen M. Crimmins, PhD of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, reports that in 2006 life expectancy at birth was 75.1 years for men and 80.2 years for women in the U.S.  However, life expectancy for men and women in Japan in 2007 was 79.2 and 86 years, respectively. 

In trying to determine the factors causing the differences in the mortality rates of different countries, researchers found that smoking, particularly for women, had some impact. 

"The damage caused by smoking was estimated to account for 78 percent of the gap in life expectancy for women and 41 percent of the gap for men between the U.S. and other high-income countries in 2003," the report stated.

Other factors that appear to contribute to the lagging life expectancy in the U.S. are obesity and lack of exercise, researchers said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan282011

Mastectomy Patients Fear Another Cancer Diagnosis after Implants

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday that saline and silicone implants may be linked to anaplastic large cell lymphoma -- a rare but aggressive form of lymphoma -- plastic surgeons nationwide have been bombarded with calls and e-mails from worried patients.

"In some ways, I think this can be seen as positive when these reports come out because it heightens awareness of all cancers, period. And that's a good thing," said Dr. David Song, vice chair of surgery and chief of plastic surgery at the University of Chicago, who has spoken to many of his patients about the report. "But patients should not panic. We're talking about a very, very rare form of cancer."

Although most women get breast implants for cosmetic reasons, about 57,000 women in the U.S. have had reconstructive breast implantation according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

"I think if you look at the positives of reconstructive breast implantation compared to the possible negative of this extremely rare cancer, the positives are overwhelmingly striking," Song said. "It can restore a sense of self, a sense of femininity, a sense of normalcy that many women feel breast cancer robbed them of."

Song added that 34 to 60 patients in 10 million women with implants got this form of lymphoma. "I think right now it's in the forefront of people's minds because of the media coverage, but we need to make sure people understand the reality of the stats," he said.

Song said the American Society of Plastic Surgeons is working closely with the FDA to investigate the link.

"It is such an exceptionally rare occurrence. But at the same time, it gives us pause to make sure we're doing the right thing for all our patients," Song said. "It's important to get the word out for all surgeons to be on the lookout for this. And I think patients should discuss this with their physicians, who should maintain the current vigilance for detecting cancer."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan282011

More Americans Opt for Hospice for End-of-Life Care

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ALEXANDRIA, Va.) -- More Americans are choosing hospice care over hospitals for end-of-life care, reports Health Day News. In 2008, two in every five people who died in the U.S. were under hospice care, according to the national hospice group.

People facing fatal illnesses often feel a lack of control with medical staff in and out the room treating and testing at all times.  Hospice, on the other hand, offers patients more control and compassionate care and treatment. 

"I don't know about you, but when I'm sick and not feeling good, I'd much rather be at home," J. Donald Schumacher, who is president of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, told Health Day News.  "I think dying is the same way.  If you're going to die, it's better to be in your own environment and away from the high-technology setting of the hospital."

Kathleen Pacurar, president of San Diego Hospice and the Institute for Palliative Medicine that because of the acute nature of terminal illnesses, patients are often making multiple trips to emergency rooms and hospitals.  Consequently, hospice care can often be the more cost effective way of caring for the terminally ill.

"With hospice, because we are managing their symptoms and pain and we're available 27/7, patients call us rather than the medics when they are in pain or distress.  That means fewer trips to the hospital and a lot few medical procedures," Pacurar said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan282011

Report: Millions of Baby Boomers Will Face Alzheimer's

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As more than 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 each day this year, one in eight of them are expected to develop Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new report by the Alzheimer's Association.

The report, titled "Generation Alzheimer’s," predicts an estimated 10 million baby boomers will either die with or from Alzheimer’s.  The disease, which is among the top 10 causes of death in America, is the only one that isn't preventable or curable.

The National Institutes of Health spends only $480 million a year on research for Alzheimer’s, compared to the more than $6 billion, $4 billion and $3 billion it spends on research for cancer, heart disease and HIV/AIDS, respectively.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio