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Economic advantage to pediatric ondansetron administration in emergency departments

2010-10-13
In research published this week in PLoS Medicine, Stephen Freedman (University of Toronto) and colleagues performed a cost analysis of the emergency department administration of oral ondansetron to children with dehydration and vomiting secondary to gastroenteritis and found that this treatment could provide substantial economic, as well as clinical, benefit. The researchers analyzed the costs of the administration of oral ondansetron in both the US and Canada, if routinely given to children with gastroenteritis-induced vomiting and dehydration in the emergency department ...

Study of planarian hormones may aid in understanding parasitic flatworms

Study of planarian hormones may aid in understanding parasitic flatworms
2010-10-13
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A study of peptide hormones in the brain of a seemingly primitive flatworm reveals the surprising complexity of its nervous system and opens up a new approach for combating a major parasitic disease, researchers report. The study appears in the open-access journal PLoS Biology. The planarian flatworm, Schmidtea mediterranea, is perhaps best known for its prodigious powers of regeneration. Cut it in half (lengthwise or crosswise) and each fragment will regrow its missing parts, including its brain. The planarian is of interest to those studying reproduction ...

Implanting medication to treat opioid dependence appears beneficial in decreasing opioid usage

2010-10-13
Helping to address the issue of medication adherence, persons with opioid dependence who had the medication buprenorphine implanted had less opioid use over 16 weeks, according to a study in the October 13 issue of JAMA. Dependence on opioids, in the form of heroin or prescription pain medications, is a significant health concern. A treatment that has been increasing in usage is the medication buprenorphine, with numerous studies supporting the efficacy of sublingually (beneath the tongue) administered buprenorphine. However, poor treatment adherence, resulting in craving ...

Restrictive use of blood transfusions during cardiac surgery shows comparable outcomes

2010-10-13
Use of stricter guidelines for the use of red blood cell transfusions for patients undergoing cardiac surgery was associated similar rates of death and severe illness compared to patients who received more transfusions, according to a study in the October 13 issue of JAMA. Another study in this issue of JAMA examines the variation in the use of blood transfusions for patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Cardiac surgery is associated with a high rate of blood transfusion. The rationale for red blood cell (RBC) transfusion is based on the observation that anemia is an independent ...

Rates of blood transfusions for CABG surgery varies widely among US hospitals

2010-10-13
A study that includes data on more than 100,000 patients who underwent coronary artery bypass graft surgery finds that there is wide variability among hospitals in the U.S. on the use of blood transfusions, without a large difference in the rate of death, suggesting that many transfusions may be unnecessary, according to a study in the October 13 issue of JAMA. Another study in this issue of JAMA examines the effect of a restrictive transfusion strategy on outcomes after cardiac surgery. "Patients who undergo cardiac surgery receive a significant proportion of the 14 ...

Considerable proportion of patients with advanced cancer continue to undergo common cancer screening

2010-10-13
A sizeable proportion of patients with advanced cancer and a life expectancy of only a few years continue to undergo common cancer screening tests that are unlikely to provide meaningful benefit, according to a study in the October 13 issue of JAMA. Cancer screening programs, such as mammography, Papanicolaou test, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and colonoscopy, evaluate asymptomatic patients for the detection of early forms of cancer and have contributed substantially to the decline in deaths from cancer. "Although the benefits of cancer screening are compelling for ...

Transfusion rates vary extremely in cardiac bypass surgery

2010-10-13
DURHAM, NC – Transfusion rates for blood products used in a common heart surgery range from no patients to nearly all patients, and vary by hospital, according to findings from a group of researchers from Duke University Medical Center. The study, which looked at data from 102,470 patients in 798 hospitals, examined the variation in transfusion rates for red blood cells (RBCs), plasma and platelets, but the team didn't reach conclusions about how well patients fared if they did or didn't get a transfusion. "We don't know whether the variability is potentially harming ...

IOF campaign puts spotlight on vastly under-diagnosed and under-treated spinal fractures

2010-10-13
At a press conference held in Brussels today, the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), the Belgian Bone Club and the European Parliament Osteoporosis Interest Group called on health care professionals and health policy officials in Europe to take action to prevent spinal fractures. The call to action was made at the launch of a unique photographic essay, 'snap! the breaking spine', leading up to World Osteoporosis Day on October 20, 2010. Taking viewers across the globe to Brazil, Canada, India, Jordan and Switzerland, the photographic essay captures a typical ...

Peer-based outreach services for sex workers assist entry into detox and drug treatment

2010-10-13
A mobile outreach program staffed by current and former sex workers is associated with increased entry to detoxification and residential drug treatment among women in street-based sex work, according to an evaluation led by the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) and the University of British Columbia (UBC). The study, recently published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, examined the link between accessing Vancouver's Mobile Access Project, or "the MAP van," and uptake of addiction treatment services by women engaged in street-based ...

No quick fix for peripheral artery disease -- repeat hospitalizations

2010-10-13
Even after initial procedures to clear blockages in leg arteries, hospitalizations and associated costs in patients with peripheral artery disease increase as the condition progresses, according to research reported in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal. "We are dealing with clinically and economically severe consequences of PAD, a disease which is truly preventable," said Elizabeth Mahoney, Sc.D., the study's lead author. "Our prior research estimated that vascular-related hospitalizations for PAD patients cost the ...

Titan Pharma announces JAMA publication highlighting phase 3 opioid dependence data

2010-10-13
South San Francisco, CA – October 12, 2010 – Titan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (TTNP.OB) today announced that data from its previously completed and announced Phase 3 randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of Probuphine were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The article highlights data from the 163-patient trial, which showed that patients receiving Titan's Probuphine implant had significantly less illicit opioid use, experienced fewer symptoms of withdrawal and craving, stayed in treatment longer and had greater overall improvement ...

Despite brain damage, working memory functions -- within limits

2010-10-13
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, led by Larry R. Squire, PhD, professor of psychiatry, psychology and neurosciences at UC San Diego and a scientist at the VA San Diego Healthcare System, report that working memory of relational information – where an object is located, for example – remains intact even if key brain structures like the hippocampus are damaged. The findings, published in the October 13, 2010 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, run contrary to previous research that suggested spatial information, especially if ...

Diagnosing autism with MRI is 1 step closer

2010-10-13
SALT LAKE CITY—University of Utah (U of U) medical researchers have made an important step in diagnosing autism through using MRI, an advance that eventually could help health care providers indentify the problem much earlier in children and lead to improved treatment and outcomes for those with the disorder. In a study published on October 15, 2010 in Cerebral Cortex online, researchers led by neuroradiologist Jeffery S. Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., U of U assistant professor of radiology, used MRI to identify areas where the left and right hemispheres of the brains of people ...

Forget the Coppertone: Water fleas in mountain ponds can handle UV rays

Forget the Coppertone: Water fleas in mountain ponds can handle UV rays
2010-10-13
Some tiny crustaceans living in clear-water alpine ponds high in Washington state's Olympic Mountains have learned how to cope with the sun's damaging ultraviolet rays without sunblock – and with very little natural pigmentation to protect them. In fact, in laboratory tests these water fleas, about the size of fruit flies, withstood UV rays much better than the same species of flea taken from a pond less than a mile away, where the water was murkier and thus offered protection. "The ponds pretty much look the same to us, but the environments are very different for ...

Fox Chase researchers uncover Achilles' heel in aggressive breast tumors

2010-10-13
PHILADELPHIA (October 12, 2010)—In an unexpected twist, Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers find that the loss of a single protein, Nedd9, initially slows cancer formation but then makes the tumors that do arise more aggressive. The good news, though, is that the lack of Nedd9 also makes the aggressive tumors more sensitive to a class of drugs that are already used in the clinic. "If a tumor is able to overcome the loss of this protein, this clearly makes it undergo complicated changes that ultimately select for a more aggressive tumor," says Erica A. Golemis, Ph.D., ...

Promising drug candidate reverses age-related memory loss in mice

2010-10-13
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh today report a new experimental compound that can improve memory and cognitive function in ageing mice. The compound is being investigated with a view to developing a drug that could slow the natural decline in memory associated with ageing. With support from a Wellcome Trust Seeding Drug Discovery award, the team has identified a preclinical candidate that they hope to take into human trials within a year. Many people find they become more forgetful as they get older and we generally accept it as a natural part of the ageing ...

Patients and doctors are being misled by published data on medicines

2010-10-13
The drug reboxetine is, overall, an ineffective and potentially harmful antidepressant, according to a comprehensive study of the evidence published on bmj.com today. The study also shows that nearly three quarters of the data on patients who took part in trials of reboxetine were not published until now, and that the published data on the drug overestimate the benefits and underestimate the harms of treatment - all underlining the urgent need for mandatory publication of all clinical trial results. Reboxetine has been approved for the treatment of major depressive ...

Are patient surveys a reliable way to assess the performance of doctors and practices?

2010-10-13
To assess the performance of general practices, it is better to ask patients about their actual experiences of care rather than ask for satisfaction ratings, according to new research published on bmj.com today. The findings call into question the reliability of using surveys to evaluate practice performance. Patient surveys are used to assess the performance of doctors and practices, and they increasingly enquire about specific patient experiences (e.g. waiting time for an appointment) as well as overall satisfaction. In the UK, general practices receive some of ...

Long-lasting mechanical heart implanted for the first time in Canada in heart-failure patient

2010-10-13
In a Canadian first, the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre used a new kind of left ventricular assist device (LVAD) to treat a patient with advanced heart failure. The new device is longer lasting than older generation LVADs and may eliminate the need for a second LVAD – a major drawback with the old technology. The patient, 61-year-old Marva Lorde of Mississauga, suffered a heart attack in 2007 and underwent several treatments for heart failure – including a 10-day intensive care unit stay, angioplasty and pacemaker implantation –culminating in a cardiac arrest in June 2008. "I ...

Georgia Tech mobile phone game trains players to make healthier diet selections

Georgia Tech mobile phone game trains players to make healthier diet selections
2010-10-13
With Halloween and the holiday season fast approaching, many people will be watching their waistlines as they're tempted by a cornucopia of sugary and savory foods. Meanwhile a Georgia Tech College of Computing Ph.D. candidate has shown that playing health-related video games on a mobile device can help adults learn to live more healthfully by making smart diet choices. The finding is published in the paper, "Let's Play! Mobile Health Games for Adults," recently presented at Ubicomp 2010 in Copenhagen, Denmark. OrderUP! is a different take on the recent trend of health-related ...

Rotten experiments help to create picture of our early ancestors

Rotten experiments help to create picture of our early ancestors
2010-10-13
An innovative experiment at the University of Leicester that involved studying rotting fish has helped to create a clearer picture of what our early ancestors would have looked like. The scientists wanted to examine the decaying process in order to understand the decomposition of soft-body parts in fish. This in turn will help them reconstruct an image of creatures that existed 500 million years ago. Their findings have been published today, Wednesday 13th October, in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The work was funded by the Natural Environment Research ...

Traditional health practices popular among older people who choose not to have flu vaccine

2010-10-13
Eating steamed pears, having a soothing massage or bathing in a herbal mixture are just some of indigenous health practices used by older people to ward off or treat influenza, according to research published in the October issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing. Other traditional measures discovered by nurse researchers at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University included being rubbed with a coin, eating cheese, yoghurt and honey and having warm drinks made with ginger or lemon. The team surveyed nine countries to find out why so many of them were failing to meet the ...

Benefits of planting winter canola examined

2010-10-13
Winter canola might soon be the crop of choice for Pacific Northwest farmers, thanks to research by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists and their partners. The multitasking annual plant can be used to control weeds, supplement animal feed, produce biodiesel--and spark a new revenue stream for the Colville Confederated Tribes. Frank Young, an agronomist with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), was part of a team that evaluated production protocols for winter canola in the Pacific Northwest. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency. ...

Ancient animal urine provides insight into climate change

Ancient animal urine provides insight into climate change
2010-10-13
Scientists at the University of Leicester are using an unusual resource to investigate ancient climates– prehistoric animal urine. The animal in question is the rock hyrax, a common species in countries such as Namibia and Botswana. They look like large guinea pigs but are actually related to the elephant. Hyraxes use specific locations as communal toilets, some of which have been used by generations of animals for thousands of years. The urine crystallises and builds up in stratified accumulations known as 'middens', providing a previously untapped resource for studying ...

Measurement scientists set a new standard in 3-D ears

Measurement scientists set a new standard in 3-D ears
2010-10-13
Scientists at the UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have developed a means of representing a 3D model ear, to help redefine the standard for a pinna simulator (the pinna is the outer part of the ear) – used to measure sound in the way we perceive it. The nature of human hearing is heavily dependent on the shape of the head and torso, and their interaction with sound reaching the ears allows for the perception of location within a 3D sound field. Head and Torso Simulators (HATS) are designed to model this behaviour, enabling measurements and recordings to be made ...
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