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 Friday, January 31, 2003

Using costumes to supplement a book helps children better remember story, research shows
Young children love to dress up in costume and "play pretend." They also love story time and being transported to magical and mythical places, or hearing a tale that comforts, inspires or amuses. Two Kansas State University researchers wondered if combining these two interests (and their own two research interests) would not only be fun for children, but also would help enhance literacy and promote language. A summary and discussion of the study's results are available.

(Posted at 04:46:02 PM EST.) Discuss this...

Little evidence for effectiveness of scientific peer review
Despite its widespread use and costs, little hard evidence exists that peer review improves the quality of published biomedical research, concludes a systematic review from the international Cochrane Collaboration. Yet the system, which has been used for at least 200 years, has only recently come under scrutiny, with its assumptions about fairness and objectivity rarely tested, say the review authors. With few exceptions, journal editorsand cliniciansaround the world continue to see it as the hallmark of serious scientific endeavour.

This should make anyone who believes that peer review in itself is beyond reproach, as though it were some sort of magical guarantee of objectivity and quality assurance. It clearly leaves much to be desired.

(Posted at 04:41:31 PM EST.) Discuss this...

Expressing anger may protect against stroke and heart disease
Men who outwardly express anger at least some of the time may be doing their health a favor. A new study suggests that occasional anger expression is associated with decreased risk of stroke and coronary heart disease.

(Posted at 04:35:56 PM EST.) Discuss this...

Sifting Through the Online Medical Jumble
The New York Times (free reg. required) published a recent article about health services online that help a person investigate medical information. "Now there are a few services that, for a fee, promise to take over that work, to weed through the deluge of information, selecting effective treatments and trashing fakes. The conundrum is no longer evaluating health advice, but evaluating the evaluators. In other words, how trustworthy are the paid-for-hire truth seekers?" Well worth the read.

(Posted at 08:50:46 AM EST.) Discuss this...

 Monday, January 20, 2003

New Study Finds Women in Philadelphia Region Still Face Significant Inequality at Work and at Home
The women's movement has shattered some glass ceilings, but full-time working women in Philadelphia still earn 25 percent less than men, with the wage disparity for women in "pink collar jobs" even greater. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Solutions for Progress joined leaders from Women's Way in releasing the Women's Way report, A Change of Pace: Accelerating Women's Progress.

(Posted at 03:27:54 PM EST.) Discuss this...

The Selling of Neurontin
"Drug companies spend billons of dollars each year trying to persuade doctors to prescribe their drugs. There are strict rules about what form that promotion can take. The rules are meant to ensure that drug companies give doctors trustworthy information, so that medications are prescribed appropriately. But drugmakers can get around the rules. In a series of stories, NPR's Snigdha Prakash reports on how one company tried to do that with the antiepilepsy drug Neurontin." This is a great piece of journalism and a telling sign of the lengths pharmaceutical companies will sometimes go to in order to sell a drug. The obvious question is, "If a drug company wants doctors to know about other safe and effective uses for a drug they manufacture, why don't they simply obtain FDA approval for that new use?" Are lawsuits really less expensive than FDA approval? Or would the FDA drug trials show what many doctors suspect -- these drugs aren't as effective as the pharmco would have them believe.

(Posted at 01:18:01 PM EST.) Discuss this...

 Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Teen drug use associated with psychiatric disorders later in life
Children who start to use alcohol, marijuana or other illicit drugs in their early teen years are more likely to experience psychiatric disorders, especially depression, in their late 20's. Initiating tobacco use in late adolescence also was associated with depression and other psychiatric disorders in the late 20s. Read more about the study...

(Posted at 11:44:03 AM EST.) Discuss this...

New Parkinson's drug found effective
A study conducted on 404 patients at several U.S. sites has determined that a new drug called Rasagiline effectively treats early-stage Parkinson's disease. The study was reported in the December Archives of Neurology. Rasagiline is now in the last stage of the approval process with a decision expected later this year. These findings are especially important since hopes for treating Parkinson's with fetal cells were recently dashed, said the drug's developer.

(Posted at 11:42:55 AM EST.) Discuss this...

Communication technique may improve health outcomes
Diabetes management may improve when physicians use an interactive communication technique with patients. Unfortunately, physicians underuse this simple strategy, according to a new study, which appears in the January 13, 2003 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine. "Some physicians asked patients to respond to newly delivered information, while other physicians asked patients to restate the instructions or 'teach back' the information. Patients whose physicians explicitly assess recall or comprehension in these ways were more likely to have good diabetes control, said Schillinger, the study's author.

(Posted at 11:39:42 AM EST.) Discuss this...

Our emotional brains: Both sides process the language of feelings
Both sides of the brain play a role in processing emotional communication, with the right side stepping in when we focus not on the "what" of an emotional message but rather on how it feels. By studying blood flow velocity to each side of the brain, Belgian psychologists have opened a window onto the richness and complexity of human emotional communication. Their research appears in the January 2003 issue of Neuropsychology.

(Posted at 11:26:06 AM EST.) Discuss this...

When self-image takes a blow, many turn to television as a distraction
Whether you fancy yourself a jet-setting sophisticate or a down-to-earth outdoorsy type, a fast-track corporate star or an all-around nice guy, new research indicates that you probably tune out information that challenges your self-image by tuning in to television. The findings, by Sophia Moskalenko of the University of Pennsylvania and Steven Heine of the University of British Columbia, are presented in a paper published in the January issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

(Posted at 11:13:11 AM EST.) Discuss this...

Frequency of light-to-moderate drinking reduces heart disease risk in men
Many epidemiologic studies have reported that moderate drinking--for men two drinks a day--is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. This study looked at the relationship between quantity and frequency and found that it was the frequency of drinking--not the amount, the type of alcohol, or whether or not it was consumed with a meal--that was the key factor in lowered heart disease risk. Compared with men who drank less than once a week, men who consumed alcohol three or four days a week had approximately 2/3 (68 percent) the risk of heart attack, and men who consumed alcohol five to seven days per week had slightly less (63 percent) the risk. Study data suggested no additional cardiac benefit to drinking more than 2 drinks a day.

(Posted at 11:01:00 AM EST.) Discuss this...

Rising numbers of patients seeing non-physician clinicians, study finds
In the decade between 1987 and 1997, the proportion of patients in the United States who visited non-physician clinicians rose from 30 percent to 36 percent, says a new study by an Emory University health policy professor and colleagues. This increase in treatment by health care providers such as nurses, chiropractors, podiatrists and optometrists reflected a growing number of patients receiving care from both physicians and non-physicians, rather than an increase in independent treatment by non-physicians, which declined during the study period.

The relevance of these findings? If more non-physicians are treating folks, there'd better be good communication between the non-physician and the doc, or else the quality of your care is likely to suffer. Unfortunately, communication amongst medical team members is not always as good as it should or could be.

(Posted at 10:51:03 AM EST.) Discuss this...

Study finds frequent consumption of alcohol linked to lower risk of heart attack in men
Daily or near-daily servings of beer, wine or spirits may help protect men from heart attacks, according to the results of a large, long-term study by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). The findings, which appear in the Jan. 9 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, show that men who drank moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages three or more times a week had a risk of myocardial infarction 30 to 35 percent lower than nondrinkers. The observational study, which tracked the drinking habits of nearly 40,000 men over a 12-year period, provides an important clue as to how alcohol helps guard against coronary heart disease, and for the first time, strongly suggests that routine consumption of alcoholic beverages is key.

(Posted at 10:48:15 AM EST.) Discuss this...


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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