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Thursday
Nov042010

Toddlers Gain 'Very Little' From Educational Videos

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- Toddlers who are exposed to "educational" videos show the same improvement in their vocabulary skills as toddlers who are not shown the videos, according to a report published in Psychological Science.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University, tested 72 infants aged 12 to 18 months.

The toddlers who were shown a learning DVD regularly over a one month learned "very little" from the exposure and learned no more words that were featured on the DVD than children who had not see it.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov042010

Better Dietary Guidelines for Gov. Food Program

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A new report has called for improved nutritional standards in a key government food program.

An Institute of Medicine report has asked that the Child and Adult Care Food Program be brought into line with federal and dietary guidelines. Among the recommendations were increased requirements for the amount of whole grains, fruits and vegetables in meals as well as limitations on the amount of salt, saturated fat, trans fat, and added sugars.

The program, administered through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), serves some three million children and 114,000 adults in child care centers, after school programs, emergency shelters, and adult day cares around the country.

The report noted that day care centers will need extra money and assistance to meet the new nutritional guidelines.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov042010

CT Scans Reduce Lung Cancer Deaths

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BETHESDA, Md.) -- A new study suggests that CT screening can reduce lung cancer deaths by 20 percent thanks to early detection. 

The study released Thursday by the National Cancer Institute could have significant implications in how doctors screen for the disease.

"This is the first time that we have seen clear evidence of a significant reduction in lung cancer mortality with a screening test in a randomized controlled trial," said Christine Berg, M.D., project officer for the Lung Screening Study at NCI. 

Results of the study showed that there were 20 percent fewer lung cancer deaths among trial participants screened with a low-dose helical CT compared to a chest X-ray. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov042010

Brain Stimulation Might Improve Day-to-Day Math Skills

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(OXFORD, England) -- Math: people either love it or hate it. For all the haters out there, what if a little zap to the brain could put you on the road to math whizdom?

A new study from the University of Oxford found that applying electrical currents to certain parts of the brain improved a person's mathematical performance for up to six months.

"We are very excited to see these results," said Dr. Roi Cohen Kadosh of the University of Oxford and lead author of the study. "We actually aimed to get to this stage in a few years, but we got here sooner than expected."

The researchers used a kind of stimulation known as transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS. It is a non-invasive technique where a weak electrical current is applied to the parietal lobe, an area of the brain responsible for numerical understanding, spatial sense and navigation.

The study was small and still in the early stages of research, which caused some doctors to voice skepticism about whether practical applications would ever arise in the findings. Still, the developments are exciting in the realm of brain research.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov042010

Repeat Miscarriage Occurs in 2-to-5 Percent of Pregnancies, Needs Attention and Support

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(GOLDEN, Colo.) -- Sandy Robertson had six miscarriages in three years before she eventually gave birth to her now 7-year-old daughter.

As the trauma repeated itself -- three miscarriages after in vitro fertilization, including losing a set of twins, and three more after conceiving on her own -- she was nearly defeated by the emotional turmoil.

"Once you are pregnant, you go through what the baby will look like and how you will do up the nursery, and then, boom, it's gone," said Robertson, now a 52-year-old college professor from Golden, Colo.

"The first time, usually everyone knows about it and sends flowers," said Robertson. "But what do you do after the third or fourth?"

Just this week, 25-year-old British pop singer Lily Allen had her second miscarriage in three years after suffering a viral infection six months into her pregnancy. Her first miscarriage was at four months in 2008.

Allen and her boyfriend, decorator Sam Cooper, were expecting a boy. Friends said the couple was grief-stricken by their loss.

Of the nearly six million pregnancies each year in the United States, approximately 15 percent end in miscarriage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In about half the cases, a cause cannot be determined. Among the conditions usually linked to miscarriage are a woman's age, chromosomal abnormalities, structural problems, infections, autoimmune disorders or a condition that causes the blood to clot in the placenta, known as thrombophilia.

"I never got an explanation," said Robertson, who turned to natural methods for getting pregnant and later wrote about it in the book, Get Pregnant Over 40, Naturally.

She also started a website by the same name which gives advice to those who don't understand the pain of miscarriage. Robertson said, "The best thing to do is just say, "I am sorry and not try to fix it. We get a lot of unwanted advice."

Only about two-to-five percent of all pregnant women will experience a second miscarriage, according to Dr. Wendy Chang, director of research and patient education at Southern California Reproductive Center and an assistant professor at UCLA Geffen School of Medicine.

"It's still very rare," said Chang, but that risk increases as the number of miscarriages increases.

"The odds are greater," she said. "After one miscarriage, the chances of a live birth are 90 percent. At two, the chances are still low -- a 35 percent chance of another miscarriage. But it does go up linearly."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov042010

Medication Shrinks Brain Tumors; Could Keep Thousands Out of OR

Photo Courtesy- Getty Images(CINCINNATI) -- A new experimental drug proven to shrink the size of brain tumors could save patients a trip to the operating room, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine

Everolimus, an immune-suppressing drug, was tested at a clinical trial at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.  The study of 28 patients found that tumors shrank by at least 30 percent in 21 of the patients and by at least 50 percent in nine patients.

The most marked and fastest shrinkage occurred in the first three months of treatment, but the effects were sustained.  Dr. David Neal Franz, senior author of the study and professor of pediatrics and neurology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, said 75 percent of patients saw their tumors reduced by at least 30 percent in volume, and all participants had some response to the drug.

Such striking results from the study, funded by the drug manufacturer Novartis, led the FDA Saturday to grant fast-track approval to everolimus, which will be marketed as Afinitor, as an alternative to surgery for patients with tuberous sclerosis, a genetic disease that causes tumors to grow.  It's the first-ever approved treatment for the disorder.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov032010

Pregnancy and Peanuts: Tricky Allergy Truths 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Prenatal advice has been particularly tricky with respect to peanut allergy, a potentially fatal condition that affects an estimated 1 percent to 2 percent of children. The incidence has gone up in the last decade, although scientists can't say why.

From 1998 to 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the British Committee on Toxicology recommended that in families where parents or siblings have allergies, women avoid peanuts during pregnancy and breast-feeding. However, the data for these recommendations was scant and scientific studies yielded conflicting findings: Some said early exposure might be protective, others, harmful.

In 2008, the AAP reversed its position. Similarly, the European panel reversed its recommendation to stay away from peanuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

It now appears that in families with lots of allergies, it makes some sense for mothers-to-be to go easy on the peanuts, because of new research suggesting heavy consumption, particularly late in pregnancy, might set the stage for peanut allergies.

But for most families, doctors say there's no evidence that pregnant moms' peanut eating will produce an allergic baby -- or that avoiding peanuts will guarantee a healthier one.

To help clarify the issues, the Consortium of Food Allergy Research studied the relationship between maternal diet and childhood allergies. The researchers, led by Dr. Scott H. Sicherer of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, followed 512 infants with food allergies to see if they became allergic to peanuts over time.

The investigators from Mount Sinai, Duke University in Durham, N.C., Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, National Jewish Health in Denver, and Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, also asked the mothers about their prenatal eating.

In results published online Oct. 29 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, which will appear in the December print issue, they reported that the more that a mom consumed peanuts in the third trimester of her pregnancy, the greater the chances her infant would test positive for sensitivity to peanuts.

However, sensitivity doesn't equate to peanut allergy, "just an increased risk," Sicherer said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov032010

Day Care Could Hurt Parent-Child Relationship

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(IOWA CITY, Iowa) -- A new study suggests that day care may have a negative effect on the parent-child relationship, reported LiveScience.

Children who are fussy and irritable may be less likely to establish a healthy and secure attachment to their mothers the more time the spend in day care, according to a study by researchers at the University of Iowa.

The study suggests that some caregivers are unable to give irritable children the attention they need, and those children should spend more time at home than they do under the care of others.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov032010

Study: 'Social Stimulation' Effects Sleep 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- New research suggests that people who have outgoing personalities suffer worse effects due to lack of sleep than introverts, reports BBC.

Researchers at the Walter Reed Army Institute in Maryland kept 48 volunteers awake for 36 hours and only allowed some to mix with others.

Those who were defined as introverts did a better job staying awake then extroverts who were given human contact.

Extroverts who were denied human contact, however, also did well in reaction tests, which suggests that it is social stimulation that tires out the brain.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov032010

Report Calls FDA Monitoring 'Problematic'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A new report suggests that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not doing an adequate job of monitoring the safety of medical devices, according to HealthDay.

"The agency often misses problematic devices," said lead author Shannon Brownlee, an instructor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

Brownlee joined New York-based investigative journalist Jeanne Lenzer in an article that focused on the FDA's approval and follow-up monitoring of a device that prevents or reduces seizures in patients with epilepsy.

The article claimed that the FDA did not require the manufacturer of the Vague Nerve Stimulator (VNS) to report the cause of death in patients using the device.

According to the report, over 900 deaths have been reported by the FDA in patients who had the device implanted in the 13 years it has been on the market. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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