Men at Higher Risk for Mild Memory Loss Than Women

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Men may be at higher risk of experiencing mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or the stage of mild memory loss that occurs between normal aging and dementia, than women, according to a study published in the January 25, 2012, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“These results are surprising, given that women generally have higher rates of dementia than men,” said study author R.O. (Rosebud) Roberts, MB ChB, MS, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “The risk of MCI in men and women combined was high in this age group of elderly persons. This is disturbing given that people are living longer, and MCI may have a large impact on health care costs if increased efforts at prevention are not used to reduce the risk.”

For the study, a group of 1,450 people from Olmsted County, Minn., between the ages of 70 and 89 and free of dementia at enrollment underwent memory testing every 15 months for an average of three years. Participants were also interviewed about their memory by medical professionals. By the end of the study period, 296 people had developed MCI.

The study found that the number of new cases of MCI per year was higher in men, at 72 per 1,000 people compared to 57 per 1,000 people in women and 64 per 1,000 people in men and women combined. MCI with memory loss present was more common at 38 per 1,000 people than MCI where memory loss was not present, which affected 15 per 1,000 people. Those who had less education or were not married also had higher rates of MCI.

“Our study suggests that risk factors for mild cognitive impairment should be studied separately in men and women,” said Roberts.

Another finding of interest in the study showed that among people who were newly diagnosed with MCI, 12 percent per year were later diagnosed at least once with no MCI, or reverted back to what was considered “cognitively normal.” Roberts said the majority of people with MCI, about 88 percent per year, continue to have MCI or progress to dementia.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Robert H. and Clarice Smith and Abigail van Buren Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program and was made possible by the Rochester Epidemiology Project.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of 24,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

Released: 1/17/2012

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/study-men-at-higher-risk-for-mild-memory-loss-than-women

Study of One Million Americans Shows Obesity and Pain Linked

Newswise — STONY BROOK, N.Y., January 26, 2012 – A clear association between obesity and pain – with higher rates of pain identified in the heaviest individuals – was found in a study of more than one million Americans published January 19 in the online edition of Obesity. In “Obesity and Pain Are Associated in the United States,” Stony Brook University researchers Arthur A. Stone, PhD., and Joan E. Broderick, Ph.D. report this finding based on their analysis of 1,010,762 respondents surveyed via telephone interview by the Gallop Organization between 2008 and 2010.

Previous small-scale studies have shown links between obesity and pain. The Stony Brook study took a very large sample of American men and women who answered health survey questions. The researchers calculated respondents’ body mass index (BMI) based on questions regarding height and weight. Respondents answered questions about pain, including if they “experienced pain yesterday.”

“Our findings confirm and extend earlier studies about the link between obesity and pain. These findings hold true after we accounted for several common pain conditions and across gender and age,” says Dr. Stone, Distinguished Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and an expert on patient reported measures of health, pain, and well-being.

Sixty three percent of the 1,010,762 people who responded to the survey were classified as overweight (38 percent) or obese (25 percent). Obese respondents were further classified into one of three obesity levels as defined by the World Health Organization. In comparison to individuals with low to normal weight, the overweight group reported 20 percent higher rates of pain. The percent increase of reported pain in comparison to the normal weight group grew rapidly in the obese groups: 68 percent higher for Obese 1 group, 136 percent higher for Obese 2 group, and 254 percent higher for Obese 3 group.

“We wanted to explore this relationship further by checking to see if it was due to painful diseases that cause reduced activity, which in turn causes increased weight,” says Joan E. Broderick, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science and School of Public Health at Stony Brook University, and lead investigator of a National Institutes of Health-funded study on how arthritis patients manage their own pain.

“We found that ‘pain yesterday’ was definitely more common among people with diseases that cause bodily pain. Even so, when we controlled for these specific diseases, the weight-pain relationship held up. This finding suggests that obesity alone may cause pain, aside from the presence of painful diseases,” Dr. Broderick explains.

Interestingly, the pain that obese individuals reported was not driven exclusively by musculoskeletal pain, a type of pain that individuals carrying excess weight might typically experience.

Drs. Broderick and Stone also suggest that there could be several plausible explanations for the close obesity/pain relationship. These include the possibility that having excess fat in the body triggers complex physiological processes that result in inflammation and pain; depression, often experienced by obese individuals, is also linked to pain; and medical conditions that cause pain, such as arthritis, might result in reduced levels of exercise thereby resulting in weight gain. The researchers also indicated that the study showed as people get older, excess weight is associated with even more pain, which suggests a developmental process.

Drs. Broderick and Stone believe that the study findings support the importance of metabolic investigations into the causes of pain, as well as the need for further investigation of the obesity—pain link in U.S. populations.

Released: 1/26/2012

Source:  Stony Brook University Medical Center

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/study-of-one-million-americans-shows-obesity-and-pain-linked

CT Scans for Dizziness in the ER: Worth the Cost?

Newswise — DETROIT – Performing CT scans in the emergency department for patients experiencing dizziness may not be worth the expense – an important finding from Henry Ford Hospital researchers as hospitals across the country look for ways to cut costs without sacrificing patient care.

According to the Henry Ford study, less than 1 percent of the CT scans performed in the emergency department revealed a more serious underlying cause for dizziness – intracranial bleeding or stroke – that required intervention.

The findings suggest that it may be more cost effective for hospitals to instead implement stricter guidelines for ordering in-emergency department CT scans of the brain and head for patients experiencing dizziness.

“When a patient comes into the emergency department experiencing dizziness, a physician’s first line of defense is often to order a CT scan to rule out more serious medical conditions. But in our experience it is extremely rare that brain and head imagining yields significant results,” says study author Syed F. Ahsan, M.D., a neuro-otologist in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Henry Ford.

“It is our hope that our investigation into our own practices will shed light on avenues to run leaner practices within our institution, as well as serve as a model for other health systems.”

The study will be presented Jan. 26 in Miami Beach at the annual Triological Society’s Combined Sections Meeting.

The Henry Ford study was a retrospective review of 1,681 patients with dizziness or vertigo who came into a Detroit metropolitan emergency department between January 2008 and January 2011.

Of those patients, nearly half (810 patients) received a CT scan of the brain and head, but only 0.74 percent of those scans yielded clinically significant results that required intervention. In all, the total cost for the CT scans during the three-year period was $988,200.

The analysis also revealed that older patients and those with a lower income were more likely to receive a CT scan for dizziness when they came into the emergency department.

While dizziness may signal intracranial bleeding or stroke, it is more likely that the cause is due to dehydration, anemia, a drop in blood pressure with standing (orthostatic hypotension), problems or inflammation in the inner ear such as benign paroxysmal postional vertigo, labyrinthitis or meniere’s disease, or vestibular neuritis.

And, Dr. Ahsan notes, in previous studies it has been well documented that CT scans are not very effective in detecting stroke or intracranial bleeding in the acute (emergency room) setting.

Ultimately, the study shows that there is potential for cost savings by creating and implementing stronger guidelines to determine when it is medically necessary for patients with dizziness to undergo CT imaging in the emergency department.

Funding: Henry Ford Hospital

Along with Dr. Ahsan, Henry Ford study co-authors are Mausumi N. Syamal, M.D., and Kathleen Yaremchuk, M.D.

Released:  1/26/2012

Source: Henry Ford Health System

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/ct-scans-for-dizziness-in-the-er-worth-the-cost

Some Like it Hot: Popular Yoga Style Cranks up the Heat

What You Need to Know to Prevent Injuries

Photo Credit, Hospital for Special Surgery. People practicing hot yoga should take certain precautions, said certified yoga instructor Diana Zotos of Hospital for Special Surgery.

Newswise — Yoga is one of the hottest fitness trends and a style known as “hot yoga” is gaining in popularity.

Hot yoga refers to yoga practiced in a heated environment, with the room temperature generally reaching 90 to 105 degrees. The theory behind it is that hot yoga helps the body to sweat out toxins while allowing the practitioner to safely achieve deeper poses. Bikram is a common form of hot yoga.

Almost 16 million Americans practice some form of yoga, according to a 2008 study in the Yoga Journal.

While the practice can offer health benefits and a sense of well-being, people practicing hot yoga, especially beginners, should take certain precautions, according to Diana Zotos, a certified yoga instructor and physical therapist in the Rehabilitation Department at Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

“Yoga of any type is physically challenging, and the heated environment of hot yoga makes the practice especially demanding,” Zotos says. “The heat makes people feel as if they can stretch deeper into poses and can give them a false sense of flexibility. This can lead to muscle strains or damage to the joint, including ligaments and cartilage.”

Zotos says people over 40 who have never done Bikram yoga may be at greater risk of injury, and she recommends they familiarize themselves with it prior to trying a class. “There are many books and videos that describe this style and can demonstrate the poses and techniques,” she says. “Since classes are constructed of the same 26 poses, people can become familiar with them beforehand.”

Beginners should keep in mind that poses will require a certain level of leg, core and upper body strength, as well as balance, according to Zotos. People should also have a tolerance for stretching and moderate flexibility in their legs and spine.

“The heat factor also puts more strain on the heart and challenges endurance. That being said, people should be of good cardiovascular health; have healthy hip, knee, spine and shoulder joints; shouldn’t have balance or neurological issues; and should have a general tolerance for excessive heat,” she advises.

Zotos has these additional tips:

• Be well-prepared. Bring a mat and towel, and
wear shorts and a tank top. If possible, bring a buddy. It can be more fun and less intimidating if you take your first class with a friend.
• Make sure you drink plenty of fluids well before class (but not coffee or soda). Don’t eat anything too heavy (more than 200 calories) two to three hours prior to class.
• Make sure the studio and teachers have a good reputation. Ask about their experience and credentials. The teacher should be certified in Bikram or another form of yoga.
• Try to arrive early. This way you can introduce yourself and speak with the instructor, pick a good spot in the studio to set up your mat and get comfortable with your surroundings and the heat.
• Start slowly and learn the basics. Never push yourself to the point of pain while stretching or assuming a position.
• Listen to your body. Stop at the first sign of discomfort. If you are extremely fatigued, take a break. Do not try yoga poses beyond your experience or comfort level.
• Don’t get discouraged if you can’t reach a pose. It’s not a competition.
• Ask questions if you’re not sure how to perform a pose.
• If you get dizzy, lightheaded, overheated or experience chest pain, STOP immediately. Seek medical assistance if necessary.

Anyone who questions whether hot yoga is safe for them should consult their physician, Zotos says. “If you have sensitivity to heat, if you’ve ever had heat stroke or tend to get fatigued, dizzy or dehydrated quickly, you should ask your doctor before starting hot yoga. Anyone with osteoarthritis, any rheumatologic arthritis, pain in muscles or a joint, or any kind of previous injury should check with their doctor.”

Zotos says it’s especially important that anyone who has hypertension, low blood pressure or heart disease check with their cardiologist before trying hot yoga.

For more tips concerning other forms of exercise and wellness advice, visit www.hss.edu/wellness.

Released: 1/16/2012

Source: Hospital for Special Surgery

Related Link:

http://newswise.com/articles/some-like-it-hot-popular-yoga-style-cranks-up-the-heat

Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Depression

DALLAS – Jan. 5, 2012 – Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to depression, according to UT Southwestern Medical Center psychiatrists working with the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study. It is believed to be the largest such investigation ever undertaken.

Low levels of vitamin D already are associated with a cavalcade of health woes from cardiovascular diseases to neurological ailments. This new study – published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings – helps clarify a debate that erupted after smaller studies produced conflicting results about the relationship between vitamin D and depression. Major depressive disorder affects nearly one in 10 adults in the U.S.

“Our findings suggest that screening for vitamin D levels in depressed patients – and perhaps screening for depression in people with low vitamin D levels – might be useful,” said Dr. E. Sherwood Brown, professor of psychiatry and senior author of the study, done in conjunction with The Cooper Institute in Dallas. “But we don’t have enough information yet to recommend going out and taking supplements.”

UT Southwestern researchers examined the results of almost 12,600 participants from late 2006 to late 2010. Dr. Brown and colleagues from The Cooper Institute found that higher vitamin D levels were associated with a significantly decreased risk of current depression, particularly among people with a prior history of depression. Low vitamin D levels were associated with depressive symptoms, particularly those with a history of depression, so primary care patients with a history of depression may be an important target for assessing vitamin D levels. The study did not address whether increasing vitamin D levels reduced depressive symptoms.

The scientists have not determined the exact relationship – whether low vitamin D contributes to symptoms of depression, whether depression itself contributes to lower vitamin D levels, or chemically how that happens. But vitamin D may affect neurotransmitters, inflammatory markers and other factors, which could help explain the relationship with depression, said Dr. Brown, who leads the psychoneuroendocrine research program at UT Southwestern.

Vitamin D levels are now commonly tested during routine physical exams, and they already are accepted as risk factors for a number of other medical problems: autoimmune diseases; heart and vascular disease; infectious diseases; osteoporosis; obesity; diabetes; certain cancers; and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, multiple sclerosis, and general cognitive decline.

Investigators used information gathered by the institute, which has 40 years of data on runners and other fit volunteers. UT Southwestern has a partnership with the institute, a preventive medicine research and educational nonprofit located at the Cooper Aerobics Center, to develop a joint scientific medical research program aimed at improving health and preventing a wide range of chronic diseases. The institute maintains one of the world’s most extensive databases – known as the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study – that includes detailed information from more than 250,000 clinic visits that has been collected since Dr. Kenneth Cooper founded the institute and clinic in 1970.

Other researchers involved in the study were Dr. Myron F. Weiner, professor of psychiatry and neurology and neurotherapeutics; Dr. David S. Leonard, assistant professor of clinical sciences; lead author MinhTu T. Hoang, student research fellow; Dr. Laura F. DeFina, medical director of research at The Cooper Institute; and Benjamin L. Willis, epidemiologist at the institute.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/mentalhealth to learn more about clinical services in psychiatry at UT Southwestern.

Released: 1/5/2012

Source: UT Southwestern Medical Center

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/low-vitamin-d-levels-linked-to-depression-ut-southwestern-psychiatrists-report

Health News….Breakthrough in Treatment to Prevent Blindness

Photo Credit: UCSF, Bruce Gaynor, MD, performs an ocular examination on a patient in Ethiopia, where there is a high prevalence of trachoma, the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness.

Newswise — A UCSF study shows a popular treatment for a potentially blinding eye infection is just as effective if given every six months versus annually. This randomized study on trachoma, the leading cause of infection-caused blindness in the world, could potentially treat twice the number of patients using the same amount of medication.

“The idea is we can do more with less,” said Bruce Gaynor, MD, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Francis I. Proctor Foundation for Research in Ophthalmology. “We are trying to get as much out of the medicine as we can because of the cost and the repercussions of mass treatments.”

In a paper published this month in The Lancet(http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2811%2961515-8/fulltext), researchers conducted a cluster-randomized trial, using an antibiotic called azithromycin to treat trachoma in Ethiopia, which has among the highest prevalence in the world. They picked 24 communities and randomized the two treatment options: 12 villages were given azithromycin every six months and the other 12 were treated every 12 months.

“What we found was the prevalence of trachoma is very high at baseline. Forty to 50 percent of the children in these communities have this condition,” Gaynor said. “They are the most susceptible and it can quickly spread from person to person by direct or even indirect contact.”

Researchers tracked both groups and found the prevalence of infection decreased dramatically.

“We found that from as high as 40 percent, the prevalence of trachoma went way down, even eliminated in some villages regardless of whether it was treated in an annual way or a biannual way,” Gaynor said. “You can genuinely get same with less.”

Their finding is significant because of how easily the disease spreads. Trachoma can be transmitted through touching one’s eyes or nose after being in close contact with someone who is infected. It can also be spread through a towel or an article of clothing from a person who has trachoma. Even flies can transmit the disease.

Approximately 41 million people are infected with trachoma globally, and 8 million go blind because of lack of access to treatment. More than 150 million doses of azithromycin have been given out worldwide to treat this disease. Unlike other antibiotics, resistance to azithromycin has not been found in Chlamydia trachomatis, the bacteria that causes trachoma.

This and the paper’s major finding give hope to Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and parts of Latin America and Australia, where trachoma is still a major problem.

“We will now be able to reach more people and make the treatment go twice as far as before,” Gaynor said. “This will make a huge impact in slowing down trachoma-related blindness globally.”

Gaynor is the corresponding author of the paper; the lead author is Teshome Gebre, PhD, of the Carter Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Atlanta, GA; co-authors are Berhan Ayele, MSc, and Mulat Zerihun, MPH, and Paul M. Emerson, PhD, of the Carter Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Atlanta, GA; Asrat Genet, MD, of Amhara Regional Health Bureau, Ethiopia; Thomas Lietman, MD, of the Francis I. Proctor Foundation, UCSF Dept. of Ophthalmology, UCSF Dept. of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and UCSF Institute for Global Health; Travis C. Porco, PhD, of the Francis I. Proctor Foundation, UCSF Dept. of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and UCSF Institute for Global Health; Nicole E. Stoller, MPH, Zhaoxia Zhou, BA, Jenafir I. House, MPH, Sun N. Yu, MPH, and Kathryn J. Ray, MS, of the Francis I. Proctor Foundation; Jeremy D. Keenan, MD, of the Francis I. Proctor Foundation and UCSF Department of Ophthalmology.

The study was supported by funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Released: 12/21/2011

Source: University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/breakthrough-in-treatment-to-prevent-blindness

Top 5 Winter Activities that Land You In The Emergency Room

Newswise — The first day of winter is Wednesday, December 21, and many states are bracing for a season of snow and ice. Broken bones from snowboarding and sledding top the list of common visits to the Emergency Department (ED) during the winter months. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-quarter of all emergency hospital visits are attributed to snowboarding accidents, and half of all cases were for broken bones and sprains.

“Chicagoans embrace winter with gusto largely because of the great love for hockey, sledding and ice skating,” said Gottlieb Memorial Hospital orthopaedic surgeon Daryl O’Connor, who formerly cared for U.S. Olympic ski and winter sports athletes in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dr. O’Connor is board certified in orthopaedic surgery and now specializes in sports medicine in the Orthopaedic Department at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of Loyola University Health System.

Here are Dr. O’Connor’s evaluations of the top five winter sports:

1. Sledding – “More than 700,000 injuries are reported each year in the United States due to sledding. More than 30 percent are head injuries, caused by collisions,” O’Connor said.

2. Hockey – “Lacerations, as well as neck, shoulder and knee injuries are common in hockey. Many injuries are caused through contact with another player, the ice, a puck or actual skate blade,” he said.

3. Ice skating – “Injuries to the wrist as well as head and neck are most common and most injuries are caused by falls,” he said.

4. Snowboarding – “Wrist and elbow injuries are caused by falls on outstretched hands,” he said.

5. Skiing – “Knees really take a pounding and injury is often caused by extreme twisting force-propelled by the skis,” he said.

Snitching on Skitching

“This is not even a sport; it’s just being foolish,” said Dr. O’Connor of the practice in neighborhoods of daredevil teens grabbing a car’s rear bumper and sliding on their feet, or being pulled by ropes on inner tubes or sleds through icy streets. “In addition to broken bones, neck and shoulder injuries, young people can suffer fatal head trauma. Please, resist the skitch at all costs.”

Released: 12/21/2011

Source: Loyola University Health System

Related Link:

http://www.newswise.com/articles/top-5-winter-activities-that-land-you-in-the-er

Previous Older Entries