Minggu, 29 April 2012

There is one thing we should all be wearing this springsummer season – a hat

Fashion Statement with Suzannah Roach

Fashion Statement with Suzannah Roach

There is one thing we should all be wearing this springsummer season – a hat. Yes you read it correctly and before you recoil in

horror it is true and even more shockingly there is most certainly a hat out
there that suits each and every one of us.

Hats are
the accessory of the moment and it actually doesn't matter too much what style
of hat it is as long as you enjoy wearing it.

As someone who sells hats for a living, I often see
people look at a hat, murmur approvingly and then force themselves to walk away.
Many love the look of hats, they love
the feel, and love the way a hat makes them appear but many, having
smiled at the effect then put it back on the hat stand.

So many love hats but until recently so few have
purchased. But not any more, right now the hats have got the edge!

There is something about trying a hat on; it transports
you into a different world. Some relate hats only to weddings or days at the
races but behold the new breed of hat wearers - people of all ages have
decided to throw out the old rules with their grandparents' traditions and wear
their hat of choice inside a building, outside, day or night, big or small.

It makes
no difference to them as they love a good hat and have found the hat style that
suits them and they appreciate it suits them.

Blame the
Kate Middleton effect if you like but there has certainly been an increased
excitement surrounding hats over the last year. Be it Tara
Palmer-Tomkinson's attempt to cover her nose job or Princess Bea's fashion
disaster at the happy couple's wedding, the hat has gone from being last year's
big debate and progressed to this year's accessory of the moment.

And with so many grand events taking place this year, there is so much more room for hat growth
over the coming months.

The great thing about this season's fashion look is that
any hat will be just right, whether it's the fedora, the cap, the floppy hat,
beanies or turbans, there is a hat for all types. You only had to look at the
catwalks over the last couple of months to see that the hat was the statement
piece. Marc Jacobs loved his big floppy, velvet hats.

Dolce and
Gabbana went for the feminine option with pretty little hats or if you really
struggle with the full hat concept Armani offered the ladylike glittery hair
clips that adorn the head. There was the ladylike prim option, the
sports-luxe cap and tribal colourful printed turban, you name it the hat style
was there on the catwalk and is now working its way through to the stores for
you to purchase.

If you are one of those who look at a hat, comment on how
lovely it is and then say you never have the right opportunity to wear a hat,
the time is now!Don't forget to visit my site at http://www.imayimightimust.comSuzannah
Roach 
Source: http://womentalking.co.uk/new//topics/fashion/fashion-statement-suzannah-roach-16/

TOP 10 WAYS NOT TO NAME A BABY

TOP 10 WAYS NOT TO NAME A BABY By Wendy Harmer April 27, 2012
Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa Geldof has given birth to a son named Astala Dylan Willow Cohen-Geldof.

The father's name? Tom. From the band S.C.U.M.

Congrats to the proud parents.

Naming your child is one of the greatest privileges you'll ever have in life. Sometimes it seems parents just can't handle the responsibility and their brains implode.

Take my mother (please), who tells me that she became so overwhelmed with the possibilities that eventually she took my name from a knitting pattern book.

"I was knitting this lovely little three-piece layette named 'Wendy' when I was pregnant with you and I thought, that'll do,” she tells me.

I've always disliked my name. Pity my father didn't win out with the name he wanted which was Claire. It would have been wonderful to have been named after my beloved Great Aunt.

As the author of the Pearlie in the Park series of fairy books for little girls I'm often graced with a queue of tots adorned with pink sparkly wings and tiaras all clutching my books and waiting for a signature.

This is a wonderful thing, so why do my palms get sweaty?

Because I know I'm in for a giant helping of alphabetti- spaghetti.

There was the gorgeous girlie with a mop of angelic curls who lisped, “My name's cashmere".

OK, I thought… soft, cuddly, warm. Like the goat. Noice.

"Ka-sh-im-ere", spelled her mother. My brain went to mush as I asked her to kindly repeat that.

I've seen littlies howl with indignation when I've had a stab at "Ashley", only to be told it's Ashleigh, Ashlee, Ashly, Ashli, Ashlea, Ash-Lea, Ash-Leigh, Ashe-Lee…or… Arrrrgh-leee!

I feel bad when I get it wrong – even as one uncivilised part of my brain is saying: "This is only the first of a life-long string of disappointments, kiddo. Get used it."

By the time I get to Kaitlynne, Aidin, Matheau, Maddisen, Shawn, Kaylib, Raychul or Alissia I'm starting to gibber.

After an afternoon of Mikkayalas, Kayleighs, Katlynns, Kmyberleighs, Jorjahs, Jemmers and Cassidees, I'm a blubbering mess.

With six billion people on the planet, it's hard to find a way to make your offspring stand out from the pack.

But may I kindly suggest that giving your kid a weird name isn't one of them.

There's a test every parent should take. How's it going to sound when they become Prime Minister?

(Although, with "Mitt" a heartbeat away from becoming Leader of the Free World, this is probably useless advice.)

Here's my list of things you shouldn't do when you name a child (ditto for getting tattoos).

No child should go through life suffering Post Traumatic Naming Disorder.

Source: http://thehoopla.com.au/top-10-ways-baby//

Jumat, 27 April 2012

WHERE'S THE COMPASSION

WHERE'S THE COMPASSION?By Tracey Spicer April 27, 2012

Each has traded in human misery.

But that’s about the only similarity between  drug smuggler Schapelle Corby in an Indonesian jail, and the people smugglers in Australian jails.



Indonesia’s Justice Minister is trying to link their fates.

“So if it’s clear that we are paying attention to the plight of Corby, in reciprocity we hope there will be the same kind of attention there (in Australia),” Amir Syamsuddin said. “These are poor fishermen involved in people smuggling,” he continued.

Obviously, the Indonesian government is playing politics. But it highlights a compelling contrast.

Why does a wealthy Westerner who chose to bring drugs into a country with the death penalty (she received a 20-year sentence) deserve more compassion than an illiterate fisherman who was unaware of the consequences of his actions?

Not all people smugglers are innocents. But neither are they the bogeymen portrayed by politicians and a compliant commercial media.

Talkback and the tabloids make their money by appealing to our baser instincts. In order to do this, they generate fear. Emotions – not facts – are what move us.

This is why we hear the ringing of the bell each time a boat enters our waters; the incorrect use of the term ‘illegals’; and the race to the bottom to ‘get tough’ on asylum seekers.

Part of this was the Rudd government’s legislation for mandatory five-year jail terms for people smugglers.

It hasn’t worked. The boats keep coming.

Take the case of *Budi*, an uneducated 19-year-old offered 10 million Rupiah (about $A1000) to crew a boat to an unknown island. Now, he’s one of almost 500 Indonesians languishing in Australian jails, under laws that fail to differentiate between criminal masterminds and accidental players.

According to a report in The Age newspaper, judges describe the mandatory term as unnecessarily “harsh”, “severe”, and out of line with sentencing requirements in all jurisdictions.

A senate committee has recommended a review of the law, after evidence  it’s not acting as a deterrent. Yet it’s still supported by both major parties.

In a bitter irony, it may well be compounding the problem.
Source: http://thehoopla.com.au/compassion//

Kamis, 26 April 2012

Americans Support Medicare Reform, But Not on Their Dime: Poll (4/26/2012)

Americans Support Medicare Reform, But Not on Their Dime: Poll (4/26/2012)

Americans Support Medicare Reform, But Not on Their Dime: Poll (4/26/2012)

Americans Support Medicare Reform, But Not on Their Dime: Poll

Respondents to Harris Interactive/HealthDay survey want drug companies, higher-income beneficiaries to pay more.

By Karen PallaritoHealthDay Reporter
THURSDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Medicare, the federal health insurance program for older and disabled Americans, may be hurtling toward the critical list, but most people don't want to pay for needed reforms from their own wallets, a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll finds.

Eighty-three percent of those polled believe changes are needed to keep Medicare affordable and sustainable, and 51 percent think that "a great deal of change" is necessary. But they'd rather not make any personal sacrifices, according to the poll.

"There's a clear majority who think there is a problem that needs to be addressed, but (people also believe) if the changes are going to cost me money in terms of higher co-pays, higher deductibles or higher taxes, no thank you," said Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll.

When people were presented with nine proposals for slowing the rate of Medicare spending, the poll revealed strong approval (72 percent) for cutting the price Medicare pays for prescription drugs to pharmaceutical companies, and modest support for trimming fees to hospitals (47 percent favor, 28 percent oppose) and doctors (41 percent to 35 percent).

Few favor higher taxes and out-of-pocket contributions, such as increased co-pays and deductibles. Fifty-three percent and 60 percent, respectively, oppose those options. But a majority said people with higher incomes should pay more for Medicare benefits than lower-income individuals (57 percent favor, 21 percent oppose).

Medicare, which serves 49 million older and disabled Americans, is under severe financial strain. More than 15 percent of the federal budget goes toward Medicare, and that's projected to increase to 17.5 percent by 2020 -- the third largest government expenditure after Social Security and defense, government statistics show.

Experts say rising prices, new technologies, beneficiaries' increasing use of services and the aging of the population are fueling the growth in Medicare spending.

"You've got a situation now where health care is somewhere around 18 percent of GDP (gross domestic product), and it's going to go to 20 percent in a few years," said Nathan Goldstein, chief executive officer of Gorman Health Group, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm. "It's like a dragon eating the economy from the inside."

The situation will only worsen in the coming years as more and more baby boomers become eligible for the program, swelling Medicare enrollment to more than 80 million people by 2030.

Because of these trends, the board of trustees that oversees Medicare's financial operations predicts that the hospital insurance trust fund, known as Medicare Part A and a key component of the program, will be depleted by 2024.

To put the program back on stable footing, policymakers are considering a variety of cost-cutting and revenue-raising strategies.

One proposal being advanced by House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) would give seniors a voucher to shop for their own private health insurance. Under their so-called "premium support" plan, Medicare would no longer provide a "defined benefit." Instead, beneficiaries would receive a "defined contribution" toward the cost of health insurance.

But support for such a plan depends on political affiliation, the poll found.

When described as "one proposal to change the Medicare program," a small plurality (32 percent to 27 percent) of those polled said they favor a voucher plan. When described as a House Republican plan, Republican support increases to 47 percent from 35 percent while Democratic opposition rises to 48 percent from 31 percent.

At a press briefing on Friday to unveil recommendations for Medicare reform, the American College of Physicians (ACP) said it could not endorse such a "premium support" plan without pilot testing and strong protections for beneficiaries. However, the college said it does support policies to improve the delivery of care, reduce the government's cost of prescription drugs and pay providers based on the value of services provided.

"Difficult choices must be made to ensure (Medicare's) solvency, but not at the expense of patient health," Robert Doherty, ACP's senior vice president of governmental affairs and public policy, said during the briefing.

A majority of adults (54 percent to 18 percent) polled agree that doctors and hospitals should be paid based on quality and results, rather than the volume of care provided. Even in Washington, D.C., Taylor noted, "there is an acceptance . . . that the traditional fee-for-service way of paying for things is a kind of toxic incentive and needs to be changed."

The poll also found that people like having a choice between traditional fee-for-service Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans. Only small percentages would like to see the program run exclusively by the federal government (12 percent) or by private health plans (13 percent).

The online survey of 2,229 adults aged 18 and older was conducted April 5 to 9. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, geographic region and household income were weighted, where necessary, to make them representative of actual proportions in the population. Weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' likelihood to be online.

Source: http://www.womenshealt.gov/new/news/headlines/664001.cfm/

Selasa, 24 April 2012

Botox Offers Little Relief for Migraine, Study Finds (4/24/2012)

Botox Offers Little Relief for Migraine, Study Finds (4/24/2012)

Botox Offers Little Relief for Migraine, Study Finds (4/24/2012)

Botox Offers Little Relief for Migraine, Study Finds

Evidence review sees only modest benefit for chronic headaches.

By Serena GordonHealthDay Reporter
TUESDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Botox is considered a preventive medication for debilitating migraine headaches, but a new review finds that it may only help people with chronic migraines or chronic daily headaches. And, even then, the effect appears to only be "small to modest."

The review found that Botox (botulinum toxin A) was no help for people with episodic migraines (fewer than 15 a month) or chronic tension-type headaches.

"Our analyses suggest that botulinum toxin A may be associated with improvement in the frequency of chronic migraine and chronic daily headaches, but not with improvement in the frequency of episodic migraine, chronic tension-type headaches or episodic tension-type headaches. However, the association of botulinum toxin A with clinical benefit was small," wrote the authors of the review.


Still, the review's lead author, Dr. Jeffrey Jackson, said, "If I was having more than 15 migraines a month, I'd give Botox a try. It has few side effects. And, if it helps, you can go 90 days without as many headaches and without daily side effects." Jackson is a professor of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Results of the review are published in the April 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

More than 40 percent of adults experience tension-type headaches at some point in their lives, according to background information in the article. Between 8 and 18 percent of adults have had migraines.

Treatment for these serious headaches fall into two general classes: abortive or preventive. The abortive medications are faster-acting, and can help stop a migraine or its symptoms while it's occurring. Preventive medications are taken to stop the headaches from occurring in the first place.

Botox's effect on migraines was discovered coincidentally when people who were having Botox injections to lessen lines and wrinkles in their foreheads noticed that their headaches were improved.

The current review examined 31 clinical trials. Twenty-seven were comparisons of Botox to placebo, including 5,313 patients. The remaining four studies were randomized clinical trials comparing Botox to medications commonly used to treat serious headaches. The drugs included amitriptyline (Elavil), prednisone, topiramate (Topamax) and valproate (Depakote).

When the researchers looked at the placebo-controlled trials, they found that Botox was associated with about two fewer headaches a month for people with chronic migraines and those with chronic daily headache. There was no statistically significant difference in people with episodic migraines or chronic tension-type headaches who were treated with Botox vs. placebo.

Botox wasn't associated with a reduction in the frequency of chronic migraines compared to topiramate or amitriptyline, or in the reduction of frequency of chronic or episodic migraines compared to valproate, according to the review. Botox did reduce headache severity more than methylprednisone, according to one study included in the review.

Side effects from Botox included a drooping eyelid, muscle weakness, neck pain, neck stiffness, skin tightness and a tingling, burning or numb sensation on the skin.

"If done properly, there really aren't substantial (side) effects from the use of Botox," explained Dr. Ezriel Kornel, a neurosurgeon at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco, N.Y. "But, over time the effect may wear off. Some people can develop an immunity to Botox."

Both Jackson and Kornel noted that there was a large placebo effect seen in many of the studies. "It's hard to know if most of the benefit was from the drug or from the placebo effect," said Jackson, who added, "but, patients don't care if it's a placebo effect."

Kornel said that the review showed that there is definitely some benefit from Botox for those with chronic migraine and chronic daily headache. "Chronic migraines are the hardest headaches to treat, and this gives us one more treatment in our armamentarium. It's a reasonable alternative to the use of long-term daily medications that can have side effects," Kornel said.

He said there are also other treatments that can help these types of headaches, and what's most important for someone who has debilitating headaches is to see a doctor who specializes in treating headaches. "A headache specialist has the whole array of treatments at their disposal," he said.

Source: http://www.womenshealt.gov/new/news/headlines/664043.cfm/

ARE WE ON A SLIPPERY SLOPE

ARE WE ON A SLIPPERY SLOPE?By Tracey Spicer
April 23, 2012
We haven't come a long way from the days when wrongdoers were pelted with tomatoes in the Town Square.

Whatever happened between Speaker Peter Slipper and his adviser James Ashby should be a matter for the Federal Court; instead these men are being dragged through the mud by the major political parties and the judge, jury and executioners of the media.

For his part, Ashby (left) made headlines in Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph yesterday with “Ashby's Abuse Conviction”. In a clear case of blaming the (alleged) victim, the story detailed how Ashby, a former radio DJ, once made threatening phone calls to a rival announcer – hardly a hanging offence.

Meanwhile, the man dubbed Slippery Slipper was chased from LA to Australia after salacious text messages were printed in the papers.

Immediately, conspiracy theories began circulating: that the Libs leaked the story to the Murdoch media to bring down the government; that James Ashby is a Coalition stooge; that he's engaged the same lawyers as the Health Services Union national secretary Kathy Jackson.

These rumours may well be true. Politics is a dark art.

Late yesterday, Slipper (left) did the right thing and stepped aside. But there's an elephant in the room – and this time, it's not Kevin Rudd. It's the actual allegations.

If what James Ashby says is true, someone within the office of the highest Minister of the Crown tried to cover up a case of sexual harassment.

According to court documents, in 2003 the Howard government was made aware of an "intimate" video featuring Mr Slipper in bed with another young male staffer. But John Howard's adviser Tony Nutt is alleged to have swept it under the carpet.

If there are no proper processes within the Federal Government to protect staff members from harassment, it's a sad indictment indeed.

According to one government charter, "Protection of human rights means that we can live free from fear, harassment or discrimination".

Let's look at the other side, now.

If what Peter Slipper says is true – the allegations are incorrect and he looks forward to returning to the speakership – his reputation has been besmirched beyond repair. This is on top of his daily denigration, as a rat or a rorter.

Then there's the fug of homophobia surrounding the whole affair.

Crikey's Richard Farmer goes further: "In my reading there is a clear attempt to enlist some old-fashioned homophobia as a weapon to get rid of the Speaker and thus weaken Labor's hold on power.”

There could be serious political and constitutional ramifications, depending on how the dominoes fall.

But the human story is lost in all this. Remember Kristy Fraser-Kirk?




Source: http://thehoopla.com.au/mask-civilisation-slipped//

Botox Offers Little Relief for Migraine, Study Finds (4/24/2012)

Botox Offers Little Relief for Migraine, Study Finds (4/24/2012)

Botox Offers Little Relief for Migraine, Study Finds (4/24/2012)

Botox Offers Little Relief for Migraine, Study Finds

Evidence review sees only modest benefit for chronic headaches.

By Serena GordonHealthDay Reporter
TUESDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Botox is considered a preventive medication for debilitating migraine headaches, but a new review finds that it may only help people with chronic migraines or chronic daily headaches. And, even then, the effect appears to only be "small to modest."

The review found that Botox (botulinum toxin A) was no help for people with episodic migraines (fewer than 15 a month) or chronic tension-type headaches.

"Our analyses suggest that botulinum toxin A may be associated with improvement in the frequency of chronic migraine and chronic daily headaches, but not with improvement in the frequency of episodic migraine, chronic tension-type headaches or episodic tension-type headaches. However, the association of botulinum toxin A with clinical benefit was small," wrote the authors of the review.


Still, the review's lead author, Dr. Jeffrey Jackson, said, "If I was having more than 15 migraines a month, I'd give Botox a try. It has few side effects. And, if it helps, you can go 90 days without as many headaches and without daily side effects." Jackson is a professor of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Results of the review are published in the April 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

More than 40 percent of adults experience tension-type headaches at some point in their lives, according to background information in the article. Between 8 and 18 percent of adults have had migraines.

Treatment for these serious headaches fall into two general classes: abortive or preventive. The abortive medications are faster-acting, and can help stop a migraine or its symptoms while it's occurring. Preventive medications are taken to stop the headaches from occurring in the first place.

Botox's effect on migraines was discovered coincidentally when people who were having Botox injections to lessen lines and wrinkles in their foreheads noticed that their headaches were improved.

The current review examined 31 clinical trials. Twenty-seven were comparisons of Botox to placebo, including 5,313 patients. The remaining four studies were randomized clinical trials comparing Botox to medications commonly used to treat serious headaches. The drugs included amitriptyline (Elavil), prednisone, topiramate (Topamax) and valproate (Depakote).

When the researchers looked at the placebo-controlled trials, they found that Botox was associated with about two fewer headaches a month for people with chronic migraines and those with chronic daily headache. There was no statistically significant difference in people with episodic migraines or chronic tension-type headaches who were treated with Botox vs. placebo.

Botox wasn't associated with a reduction in the frequency of chronic migraines compared to topiramate or amitriptyline, or in the reduction of frequency of chronic or episodic migraines compared to valproate, according to the review. Botox did reduce headache severity more than methylprednisone, according to one study included in the review.

Side effects from Botox included a drooping eyelid, muscle weakness, neck pain, neck stiffness, skin tightness and a tingling, burning or numb sensation on the skin.

"If done properly, there really aren't substantial (side) effects from the use of Botox," explained Dr. Ezriel Kornel, a neurosurgeon at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco, N.Y. "But, over time the effect may wear off. Some people can develop an immunity to Botox."

Both Jackson and Kornel noted that there was a large placebo effect seen in many of the studies. "It's hard to know if most of the benefit was from the drug or from the placebo effect," said Jackson, who added, "but, patients don't care if it's a placebo effect."

Kornel said that the review showed that there is definitely some benefit from Botox for those with chronic migraine and chronic daily headache. "Chronic migraines are the hardest headaches to treat, and this gives us one more treatment in our armamentarium. It's a reasonable alternative to the use of long-term daily medications that can have side effects," Kornel said.

He said there are also other treatments that can help these types of headaches, and what's most important for someone who has debilitating headaches is to see a doctor who specializes in treating headaches. "A headache specialist has the whole array of treatments at their disposal," he said.

Source: http://www.womenshealt.gov/new/news/headlines/664043.cfm/

Senin, 23 April 2012

Cast Out of Hospital in the Middle of the Night

Cast Out of Hospital in the Middle of the Night

Cast Out of Hospital in the Middle of the Night

We have all had
relatives, young or old and certainly vulnerable, being treated in NHS hospitals.

Despite the negative stories that arise from time to time, my
experience has been mostly very good. Nurses have been
helpful, doctors informative but the day that patients are discharged has
almost always been the most stressful of the entire experience.

First, you have to wait to see the doctor, no, nobody knows when
said doctor will be coming.  Hours pass. Then
there are the drugs you need from the pharmacy once the doctor turns up and
prescribes them. And all the while the hospital car park machine is gobbling up
pound coins at an alarming rate.

My finest experience
came when, after waiting hours for a doctor who never turned up, my small
daughter was sent home with no post operative advice and then we discovered, as
rain pelted down, that the car had actually broken down in the car park.

Now we hear from The Times via their Freedom of Information requests to all of England's 170 NHS hospital trusts that thousands upon
thousands of recovering and anxious patients are being discharged from hospital
between the hours of 11pm and 6am.

The Times reckons that 239,233 patients have been sent home in the
middle of the night or in the early hours of the morning from answers arriving from 100 trusts. Add another 70 trusts and the
figures would doubtless escalate alarmingly.

The newspaper investigation
found that a number of trusts discharge more than 7% of their patients between
11pm and 6am.

This is truly
dreadful. There may be pressure on beds and NHS resources but when did the milk of human kindness run
dry?

It's bad enough
flinging patients out at midnight if they have a family to look after them but imagine an elderly patient sent back to a
cold, empty home with no food in the fridge.

In the midst of all the talk of
NHS reform, you can't help wondering
exactly who is responsible for this practice of chucking patients out and
casting them adrift at an hour when most of us are tucked up in bed.

Do
you think this is acceptable?  Tel us at Women Talking…

Patricia
McLoughlin  
Source: http://womentalking.co.uk/new//topics/lifestyle/cast-out-hospital-middle-night/

HEARD ABOUT THE DADDY WARS?

HEARD ABOUT THE DADDY WARS?
 By Tracey Spicer April 20, 2012

Two men walk into a bar.(I promise there are no horses, Irishmen or priests in this anecdote.)



Illustration via Jezebel.

One turns to the other and says: "I heard Dave's gone back to work. Can you believe it? His kid's only three months old!"

"Yep. Shocking. What's more important: your kid or your job? That's why I decided to stay at home. A child needs his father."

Of course, this conversation never happened.

Because men don't have 'daddy wars' in the same way women have 'mummy wars'. 

Part of this is due to critical mass: In Australia, only one percent of fathers stay at home. Traditionally, men have earned more from selling their labour. But with women making up 64 percent of university graduates, the times they are a-changin'.

Let's hope this new debate doesn't devolve into mano a mano. In parenting pugilism, there are no winners.

The most recent example is the battle between Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen and the wife of Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Ms Rosen said Ann Romney had no right to advise her husband on economic issues because she'd "never worked a day in her life".

In response, Ms Romney tweeted, "I made a choice to stay at home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work".

Mitt Romney's subsequent comment, "All moms are working moms", opened up a class war. In January, he said women on welfare needed to get jobs even if they had young children.

It seems the only mothers who are allowed to stay at home are rich ones.

The fallout from all of this is disappointingly predictable. The stay-at-home mums are fighting for their turf; the working mums, theirs. It feeds into the cliché of women always ready to tear each other down. Each side is presenting its own statistics, showing kids are better/worse off at home/in care.

But many families don't have a choice about whether both parents work. They need to pay the bills.

For those who do have a choice, it's simple. If going to work makes you feel fulfilled, do it. If you're more content staying at home, do that. And don't feel guilty.

Kids are happy if they are loved – regardless of whether their caregivers work outside the home.

Which brings me to dads.

Source: http://thehoopla.com.au/heard-daddy-wars//

'Ice Cream Headaches' Might Offer Clues to Migraines (4/23/2012)

'Ice Cream Headaches' Might Offer Clues to Migraines (4/23/2012)

'Ice Cream Headaches' Might Offer Clues to Migraines (4/23/2012)

'Ice Cream Headaches' Might Offer Clues to Migraines

Cold-induced 'brain freeze' seems linked to expansion of a key brain artery, small study finds.

SUNDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- That "brain freeze" headache you experience when eating ice cream or other cold foods may be caused by a sudden change in brain blood flow, researchers report.

What's more, the new research might point to targets to treat other, more troubling forms of headache such as migraine, the U.S. team said.

In the study, the scientists monitored brain blood flow in 13 healthy adults as they sipped ice water through a straw pressed against the upper palate so as to trigger "brain freeze."

The results suggest that these transient headaches are triggered by a sudden increase in blood flow in the brain's anterior cerebral artery. Brain freeze disappears again when this artery constricts, the study found.

The findings, to be presented Sunday at the Experimental Biology meeting in San Francisco, may help lead to new treatments for other types of headaches, the researchers said. Experimental Biology brings together researchers from six scientific societies.

The rapid dilation and then quick constriction of the anterior cerebral artery may be a type of self-defense for the brain, explained study leader Jorge Serrador of Harvard Medical School and the War Related Illness and Injury Study Center of the Veterans Affairs New Jersey Health Care System.

"The brain is one of the relatively important organs in the body, and it needs to be working all the time. It's fairly sensitive to temperature, so vasodilation [expansion of blood vessels] might be moving warm blood inside tissue to make sure the brain stays warm," Serrador noted in an American Physiological Society news release.

He explained that the skull is a closed structure and the sudden rush of blood could therefore boost pressure and cause pain. The subsequent constriction of the artery may also be a way to reduce pressure in the brain before it reaches dangerous levels.

Brain blood flow changes similar to those seen in brain freeze could be associated with migraines and other types of headaches, Serrador said. If further research confirms that this is the case, then finding ways to control brain blood flow could offer new treatments for headaches, he said.

Data and conclusions presented at scientific meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
Source: http://www.womenshealt.gov/new/news/headlines/663976.cfm/

Senin, 16 April 2012

Certain Genetic Regions May Be Tied to Osteoporosis (4/16/2012)

Certain Genetic Regions May Be Tied to Osteoporosis (4/16/2012)

Certain Genetic Regions May Be Tied to Osteoporosis (4/16/2012)

Certain Genetic Regions May Be Tied to Osteoporosis

But it's too early to use data to predict who will or will not develop weaker bones.

SUNDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- A large international group of researchers has identified 32 new genetic regions linked to fractures and osteoporosis.

Variations in these regions could offer protection from, or greater risk for, bone-weakening disease, the investigators reported in a new study published in the April 15 online edition of Nature Genetics.

The study authors added that their findings could lead to the development of new osteoporosis drugs.

"We're learning that the genetic architecture of disease is very complex," one of the study's authors and the methodological leader of the consortium, Dr. John Ioannidis, chief of the Stanford Prevention Research Center, said in a university news release.

The research, which involved 17 studies that compared common genetic variants in more than 100,000 people, pinpointed six regions linked to risk of fractures of the femur (thigh bone) or lower back.

The study authors pointed out, however, that it would still be difficult to predict who is at greater risk for bone disease. People with the highest number of variants associated with decreased bone mineral density were only about one and a half times more likely than people with an average number of variants to have osteoporosis. The risk for fractures was only slightly higher.

Meanwhile, compared to those with the fewest variants, people with the most variants were still just three to four times more likely to have had fractures and lower bone mineral density, the study revealed.

"As a result, the next step of incorporating this information into basic patient care is not clear," Ioannidis concluded. "Each variant conveys a small quantum of risk or benefit. We can't predict exactly who will or won't get a fracture."

The authors noted, however, that by identifying some previously unsuspected pathways involved in bone health, their research could lead to the development of new anti-osteoporosis drugs. But even larger studies are needed to identify all of the genes critical to fighting bone disease, they added.

"We saw many of these regions and genes clustering within specific types of pathways, which suggests certain disease mechanisms. It certainly wouldn't be unexpected to eventually identify many more genetic regions involved in the regulation of osteoporosis and fracture risk," Ioannidis said.

"In reality, there may be 500 or more gene variants regulating osteoporosis. To find all of them, we'll need to study millions of patients. Is this unrealistic? I don't think so. Sooner or later this will be feasible," he added.

Source: http://www.womenshealt.gov/new/news/headlines/663640.cfm/

Jumat, 13 April 2012

Alternative Therapies Aren't Used as Substitutes for Asthma Meds: Study (4/13/2012)

Alternative Therapies Aren't Used as Substitutes for Asthma Meds: Study (4/13/2012)

Alternative Therapies Aren't Used as Substitutes for Asthma Meds: Study (4/13/2012)

Alternative Therapies Aren't Used as Substitutes for Asthma Meds: Study

Parents still give kids traditional treatments in addition to less orthodox ones.

By Serena GordonHealthDay Reporter
FRIDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Almost one in five parents has turned to an alternative or complementary medicine or treatment for their child's asthma, but new research has found that parents are not abandoning traditional treatments in the process.

"We found that there were really no differences between the groups that used complementary and alternative medicine and those that didn't [in terms of adherence]. It seems that parents are using these therapies as complementary medicine alongside prescribed asthma treatments," said study author Dr. Julie Philp, a pediatrician and a dermatology resident at the University of California, San Francisco.

Results of the study were released online and published in the May issue of Pediatrics.

Complementary and alternative medicine includes health care practices that aren't usually included in more conventional medicine. Such treatment may include herbal remedies, acupuncture and homeopathy. The use of complementary and alternative medicine is on the rise among children, according to background information in the article. Other research has found that children with respiratory problems may be even more likely to be given an alternative medicine treatment.

Health care providers have been concerned that parents who turn to complementary and alternative medicine therapies might cut back on the use of standard medications (for example, the daily use of controller medications such as inhaled corticosteroids). Daily controller medications typically have low adherence rates, even without the addition of other medications or therapies, according to the study.

To assess whether or not the use of complementary and alternative medicines might further lower adherence rates to those medications, Philp and her colleagues used data from a larger study that was designed to assess the impact of physician education on the management of asthma.

The new study included 187 parents of children on daily controller medication for their asthma. The study population was predominantly white and 61 percent had a college education or higher. Eighteen percent of the parents said they had turned to some form of complementary or alternative medicine for their children.

The researchers specifically asked about the use of herbs, teas, dietary changes, breathing exercises, meditation, prayer, massage, biofeedback or homeopathy.

Each week, the children in the study missed an average of 7.7 percent of their daily controller medication doses. The researchers found that the use of complementary or alternative medications didn't seem to affect that rate.

"The data from this study suggest that complementary and alternative medicine use is not necessarily 'competitive' with conventional asthma therapies; families may incorporate different health belief systems simultaneously in their asthma management," the study authors concluded.

Experts still urge parents to be wary when considering alternative medicines or treatments for their child's asthma.

"I would urge parents to proceed with caution any time they use an alternative treatment. They're not magical, and if something works to improve symptoms, then it has the potential to hurt you, too," said Dr. Raoul Wolfe, medical director of asthma medicine at La Rabida Children's Hospital in Chicago.

He added that people should talk with their child's doctor to make sure whatever alternative therapy they might want to try doesn't have the potential to interact with standard medications.

Philp said that one of the study's aims is to get pediatricians to open up a dialogue with patients and their parents. For parents, she recommends, "Share with your child's health care provider what your beliefs are and work with the doctor to find complementary and alternative therapies that are safe. The doctor, parent and child should be a team working together."

Jonathan Feldman, an assistant clinical professor of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, agreed that parents and providers need to talk about alternative medicine. "The number-one message is the need for open communication," he said. "What we, and others have found, is that if doctors don't ask, families won't tell. Families don't bring up alternative medicine use with providers. It's sort of taboo. But, parents should be more open about what they're giving the kids."

And, Feldman added that providers need to be sure they're familiar with the types of alternative treatments that their patient populations might be using. For example, he said that in his area, which has a large black and Puerto Rican population, one of the most common alternative treatments that people use is a menthol chest rub. But, he said, patients often don't think of this as an alternative treatment; it's just something that their families have always used. So it's important for health care providers to be specific when they ask about alternative treatments, he explained.

Source: http://www.womenshealt.gov/new/news/headlines/663686.cfm/

Kamis, 12 April 2012

DRUGS: HOW GILLARD BLEW IT

DRUGS: HOW GILLARD BLEW IT
By Alan Kennedy
April 11, 2012

On the afternoon of the release of the report which detailed how the war on drugs had failed, 12 police officers with sniffer dogs were working the escalators at Bondi Junction railway station in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.


It was 3pm and the only people they might get were a few students or a backpacker with a joint in his pocket.


The dogs have a fail rate of one-in-four, which means one-in-four people are needlessly stopped, surrounded by cops in full view of everyone else and given the shakedown.

Occasionally they find a joint and a fine is issued.


The war on drugs… it’s not working. Photograph via Sydney Morning Herald.


Is this what the war on drugs is all about? Sadly, the answer seems to be "yes".


But these kids are not criminals. They are more like villagers in Afghanistan who have seen their houses destroyed by a drone. They are collateral damage.


My son was stopped by the dogs on his way home from work. The police found nothing; he was one of those negatives. But there he was in his work clothes, surrounded by coppers. The top of the railway station is a funnel through which many of his mates passed and so it is likely he was spotted, possibly even by a colleague.


If you live in Sydney's east, the irony of sniffer dogs on the station targeting rail commuters will not be lost on you.


We know that a few kilometres away the rich and famous, who wouldn’t travel by train if their life depended on it, have easy access to cocaine and designer drugs.


If you live in Sydney's east, you know that if the war on drugs were serious, the sniffer dogs would be on the red carpet at the A(?) List events the beautiful people attend. And after they had finished on the carpet, the dogs would be let loose in the dunnies. Now that would turn up a few interesting people.


The Australia 21 report presented our PM with a political opportunity. She blew it.


As with most things in Australia at the moment, whenever anything momentous happens, we need to talk about Julia.


As the Prime Minster and her senior colleagues closed ranks and rejected the report out of hand, I once again wondered what sort of political instincts she has.


In the post-Queensland wipe-out, Labor pundits and critics are saying the party has to stand for something, yet when a report compiled by serious people addresses the central question of what it is we really want out of a drug policy, it is dismissed out of hand.


Here was an opportunity to stand for something, a chance for the PM to say: "Look, I respect the people who put this report together. Let's look at it, tease out its findings and see where it takes us."


Here was a chance to engage in a serious debate with the public.


Public opinion is way ahead of the narrow "drugs are bad, OK?" approach of our parliaments.


Any of us who think about substance abuse, and in this I include alcohol, and think about the damage it causes and whether current policy settings are really doing anything worthwhile, are looking for a debate. The aim surely is harm minimisation – finding ways to get people off drugs, keep them out of jail and break the criminal gangs who prosper because of the draconian war on drugs. It pushes up the price of the product and generates corruption throughout the system.


Source: http://thehoopla.com.au/drugs-gillard-blew//

Rabu, 11 April 2012

Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects May Last for Years (4/11/2012)

Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects May Last for Years (4/11/2012)

Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects May Last for Years (4/11/2012)

Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects May Last for Years

Study finds lingering pain, swelling, fatigue, mobility problems in many women.

WEDNESDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment-related complications are common in breast cancer patients long after their therapy has been completed, a new study says.

Researchers looked at 287 Australian breast cancer patients and found that more than 60 percent of them had at least one treatment-related complication up to six years after their diagnosis, and 30 percent had at least two complications.

Complications included skin reactions to radiation therapy, weight gain, fatigue, surgery-related issues, upper body symptoms and physical limitations, and lymphedema -- a painful limb-swelling condition.

"Our work provides the first accounting of the true magnitude of the post-treatment problems suffered by breast cancer patients, and serves as a call to action for proper monitoring and rehabilitation services to care for them," study leader Kathryn Schmitz, associate professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, said in a university news release.

"We can no longer pretend that the side effects of breast cancer treatment end after patients finish active treatment. The scope of these complications is shocking and upsetting, but a ready solution for many of them already exists in rehabilitative exercise," said Schmitz, who is a member of the university's Abramson Cancer Center and serves as a senior scientist on a committee overseeing creation of a surveillance model for breast cancer survivors.

The study was published online April 6 in a special issue of the journal Cancer that focuses on the physical late effects of breast cancer treatment and ways to prevent, monitor and treat these conditions.

There are 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, the authors noted in the news release.

Many factors can prevent proper monitoring of breast cancer survivors for the types of complications identified in the study, Schmitz and her colleagues said.

Patients may have fragmented care and receive different types of treatment at different hospitals; both patients and doctors may believe that certain complications are "expected" and "normal" and don't warrant treatment; and many breast cancer patients aren't aware of or referred to physical therapy professionals.

Source: http://www.womenshealt.gov/new/news/headlines/663624.cfm/

Selasa, 10 April 2012

Think Italy – San Gimignano

Think Italy – San Gimignano

Think Italy – San Gimignano

Italy is a nation rich in history, boasting a culture brimming with culinary

pleasures and a coastline that is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in
the Mediterranean. This country grew in the shadow of diversity and age-old
rivalries persist even today between the cities. A resident of Rome considers themselves a Roman and a Florentine a
product of Tuscany before ever making the admission of being Italian. For
the traveller, this can present a very rewarding, endless field of interest.

The region of Tuscany stretches to almost 23,000 square meters and
houses a population of close to 4 million residents. Histrionically it has
been credited as the true birthplace of the Renaissance and some of the most
influential artists and scientist of that era called this region home.

We came to San Gimignano following a recommendation from a friend and flew
into Pisa airport on the first leg
of our trip. Flights to this part of Italy are well catered for, whatever your
budget and whether you want cheap and cheerful or something a little more
luxurious, most carriers and major airports in the UK cover it as a destination.
It's a two hour flight so we went with the rationale that price was certainly a
factor.

We sourced our flights via BravoFly, using their "best-price"
tracking facility, a simple process allowing us to see every flight out and
back on our selected dates. Booking was
simple and made in seconds on the Internet and we eventually went with Ryanair.


In recent times the budget
airline industry has received a lot of "flack" for its additional charges but
in fairness, additional costs are clearly outlined and though I approached the
experience with a degree of trepidation I was pleasantly surprised. Boarding was quick, both the outbound and
return journeys arrived on time and with just hand luggage, getting from the
plane to the terminal was fast and uncomplicated.

It is also worth noting that
Florence may be a better alternative for some travellers but we went with Pisa
because the flights proved better value. Wherever you decide to stay in Tuscany,
a car is essential. Towns and cities
are spread across a vast area and although train and bus services are very
reliable – and also cheaper than here in the UK – not everywhere can be
accessed by public transport.

Where possible, book your car online before you leave as
the prices are much more competitive and over half of what you will expect to
pay at the airport desk. Additionally, even if you book and pay for your
car online with a debit card, you will
need a credit card to collect the vehicle since a holding deposit is required
– something that varies between companies and is also affected by the length of
your rental. Without one, you will not
be able to take away your car, even if you have paid for it fully in
advance.

Again, BravoFly offered us the opportunity to book our car travel with the
flights, saving us the hassle of hunting around separately for a vehicle.

As a guideline, travelling to San Gimignano by train will
take you around 2 hours but this only gets you to the small town of Poggibonsi,
which is still around 13 kilometres away. From here you need to get a bus. They
come fairly regularly during peak hours but are less frequent in the evenings.
The entire trip costs about 13 Euros
each way.

A cab from Poggibonsi will set you back in the region of 10-15 Euros and to
get from the airport you are looking at anything up to 100 Euros.

If you are intending to stay in San Gimignano itself, there are hotels
and apartments available, but some can be expensive and the more popular are
booked up quickly.

In the last few decades, Tuscany has proven a popular destination for
British and American investors looking to purchase a holiday home and the
redevelopment that has taken place has rejuvenated the area. Tourists now
have a host of options, from small but well equipped apartments and converted
farmhouses to huge castles and estates capable of housing several families
under one roof.

Specialist holiday company Tuscany Now, who have decades of
experience in the rental property market are well worth considering in this
regard. Their portfolio of privately owned villas are tailored to suit all
budgets so whether you want something functional and accessible or luxurious
and expansive, you'll discover everything you could wish for.

They found us a beautiful villa
about 6 kilometres from the town, called Rosso
Fiorentino, a name it no doubt acquired thanks to its red washed front
walls that make it stand out from a distance.

This tastefully converted house was lovingly restored by its owners,
Marco and Deborah and features everything you could expect from a luxury villa
to make your Tuscan stay as enjoyable as possible.

With four bedrooms, ample living
space, a swimming pool, gym, hot tub and even your very own pizza oven on the
patio (owner Marco made us some traditional pizzas on the evening we arrived
which were divine) there's everything you need to unwind in the sun.

There's even a chef-for-hire if
you don't fancy the cooking one evening who can prepare you a traditional
Tuscan meal.

We attempted to walk into San Gimignano from Rosso Fiorentino and
it was a pleasant if slightly precarious experience since some of the journey
is on the side of narrow and winding roads that are barely able to take a
single car. In total it took us 45 minutes.

San Gimignano itself is a spectacle to behold, perched on a hill
and visible from a distance. It features several restaurants of varying
standards, most of which are there to cater for the many tourists who visit
every year. Although you can find one or two good restaurants I would suggest
looking a little out of town in some of the smaller villages where you can
traditional food made for the locals.

One thing it does without equal
is make the best ice cream you are ever likely to taste. The Gelateria di Piazza San Gimignano is a must for anyone that appreciates
fine ice cream and they have won the World Championships for ice cream several
years in a row.

The town also boasts not one but
two museums of torture and the theme is very much in keeping with the narrow
winding alleys and streets that make up the walled town and can be quite spooky
in at night. Around every turn there is another
eatery or store and some of the higher points provide excellent views of the
Tuscan landscape below.

Shows and plays are regularly performed in the summer on the various
squares and even late at night, locals and visitors mingle till the early hours.
There's a sense of being locked away in world all of your own when you pass
through the open gates into this walled paradise, with its iconic towers and
ancient churches.

There's also a sense of
contentment and safety as you walk leisurely through the markets and piazzas, something
that cannot often be said for many places these days.

Even in such modern times, San Gimignano presents a simpler, more
natural way of life and after just a few hours in the company of this visually
impressive town, you too begin to feel it.

Away from the madness of the city and the fast pace of 21st
Century living, this is one Tuscan gem that is sure to ease away all thoughts of
the real world and transport you to a place and time you won't want to leave.

If you would like more
information on any of the services or companies mentioned in this feature then
please click on the links below:

Tuscany Now

BravoFly

Rosso FiorentinoGeorge R Vaughan

Source: http://womentalking.co.uk/new//topics/travel/think-italy-%E2%80%93-san-gimignano/

WARRIOR WOOG TAMES THE INNER BEAST

An incident, which occurred last week, took me straight back to the time that Linda Marsh's mum pulled my mate Penny up in the primary school playground and gave her the biggest dressing down I had ever seen in my whole 11 years on the planet.

To make matters worse, Mrs Marsh ( not her, left, but close) had a very thick Scottish accent and a comical appearance along with a habit of spitting when she talked.


Penny was getting tongue lashed by someone else's mum for all to see. (And if you thought Penny was unhappy, Penny's mum was steamily livid when she found out about it later that afternoon.)


The verbal assault set in train a series of unpleasant events and exchanges between the two women and soon became the talk of the town.


I would NEVER reprimand someone else's child unless they were about to light someone's hair on fire.


But it seems that there are some parents out there who feel it is their business.


My darling son, who is eight, apparently has an arch nemesis in the year above him. A girl who enjoys some argy bargy. Now do not get me wrong here, I know that my son can give it back as much as he gets it, but after a particularly unpleasant exchange, this girl told her father. And he took the matter into his own hands.


Mr Woog and I had fronted up to the school to attend an event. There we found our son in tears.


He had been accosted by the father of his nemesis who proceeded to have a bit of a yell and holler at him in front of his classmates. Our son was totally freaked out and started to calm down just as I started to fire up.


"Who was it?" I asked. "Point him out to me."

Source: http://thehoopla.com.au/warrior-woog-tames-beast//

Dental X-Rays May Be Linked to Benign Brain Tumors (4/10/2012)

Dental X-Rays May Be Linked to Benign Brain Tumors (4/10/2012)

Dental X-Rays May Be Linked to Benign Brain Tumors (4/10/2012)

Dental X-Rays May Be Linked to Benign Brain Tumors

Study found increased risk, but connection was not conclusive.

By Randy DotingaHealthDay Reporter
TUESDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- People who underwent frequent dental X-rays in the past, before radiation doses were lowered, may be at greater risk of a usually benign form of tumor in the lining of the brain, a new study suggests.

The research doesn't definitely link dental X-rays to the tumors, which affect about 1 percent of people. It's also possible that dental X-rays, which are now given at a lower radiation dose, have nothing to do with the tumors.

Still, the study suggests that dental X-rays could be a risk factor for the tumors, called meningiomas, said study author Dr. Elizabeth Claus, a neurosurgeon at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston and a professor of epidemiology at Yale University School of Medicine. The findings suggest that patients should talk to their dentists about the possible dangers of X-rays and be aware of national recommendations regarding their use, she said.

"I do not get the feeling that people are aware of those guidelines," she said. "Many people are having them every six months or every year when the American Dental Association is saying once every two to three years." (That's the recommendation for the patient who's never had a cavity or only a small number of fillings and isn't at increased risk for a cavity.)

Meningiomas affect the lining of the brain and the spinal cord. More than 90 percent are classified as benign, not malignant. But in some cases they can grow to the size of a baseball and disrupt the brain's functioning, leading to vision problems, headaches, hearing and memory loss, and seizures.

Neurosurgeons often try to remove them in the most severe cases.

"They cause problems as soon as they achieve a certain size, because there is no room in the skull to accommodate growth. Any growth that is more than a couple centimeters can result in symptoms," explained Dr. Isabelle Germano, director of the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

Radiation is linked to various types of tumors, including meningiomas. In the new study, researchers sought to determine whether dental X-rays are connected to meningiomas that affect the lining of the brain specifically.

The researchers examined a group of more than 1,400 patients aged 20 to 79 who were treated for the tumors between 2006 and 2011, and compared them to 1,350 similar people who did not develop the tumors. The average age in both groups was about 57.

Those with tumors were more than twice as likely as the others to report having more frequent bitewing X-rays (at any time) and panorex X-rays (especially at a young age).

Bitewing X-rays allow views of the back teeth; patients bite onto a tab during the X-rays. Panorex X-rays show the whole area in and around the mouth from below the nose to the chin.

The design of the study didn't allow the researchers to specify the level of increased risk of a tumor that a person who's had dental X-rays would conceivably face. It does appear, however, that the raised risk would remain low, Claus said.

Overall, more than 92 percent of people in the study reported having had at least one bitewing X-ray.

Dr. Matthew Messina, a Cleveland dentist and spokesman for the American Dental Association, said one weakness of the study is that people's memories about their X-rays are fuzzy. "It's difficult to pin this down," he said, especially without dental records.

Messina added that the amount of radiation in dental X-rays has gone down significantly over the years, thanks to factors such as the improved speed of X-ray film and the advent of digital X-rays.

The study was also observational in nature, meaning it can show an association but not cause-and-effect.

So what should patients do?

Adult patients and parents of child patients should talk to their dentists about X-rays, Germano said. "It's always important to discuss what the X-ray is for and what the advantage is. It's not a good idea to assume that X-rays are a benign procedure," she said.

Messina agreed. "It's always good for patients to talk to their dentists about why they're getting X-rays and what is being done to shield the patient."

Overall, dentists are trying to balance the possible dangers of radiation and the usefulness of X-rays, he said. "We take dental X-rays because we're trying to make sure the person is healthy or trying to diagnose what's wrong with them."

The study appears in the April issue of the journal Cancer.

Source: http://www.womenshealt.gov/new/news/headlines/663600.cfm/

Senin, 09 April 2012

Children Born to Obese Moms May Face Higher Autism Risk: Study (4/9/2012)

Children Born to Obese Moms May Face Higher Autism Risk: Study (4/9/2012)

Children Born to Obese Moms May Face Higher Autism Risk: Study (4/9/2012)

Children Born to Obese Moms May Face Higher Autism Risk: Study

Maternal obesity, overweight also linked to other developmental delays.

By Jenifer GoodwinHealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- Children born to obese or very overweight mothers are at higher risk of having autism or developmental delays, new research suggests.

The study of more than 1,000 children found that the offspring of obese mothers had a 67 percent higher risk of autism than the children of normal-weight moms, and more than double the risk of having developmental delays, such as language impairment.

"The odds of autism and other developmental delays were significantly higher in the children of moms who were obese versus those who weren't," said lead study author Paula Krakowiak, a biostatistician and doctoral candidate at the University of California, Davis.

The research included more than 500 children aged 2 to 5 with mild to severe autism, about 170 children with another type of developmental disability, and 315 typically developing children, all taking part in the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment, conducted between 2003 and 2010.

Children were assessed by experts from the university's MIND Institute to confirm their autism diagnosis, while mothers were interviewed about various aspects of their health before and during pregnancy. Information about weight came from either medical records or mothers' recollections of their weight before and during pregnancy.

Obesity is defined as a body mass index of 30 and up. Body mass index, or BMI, is a measure of body size based on height and weight.

While diabetes was also associated with increased odds of developmental delays in offspring, there wasn't a statistically significant association between diabetes and autism.

The research is in the May issue of Pediatics, published online April 9.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder in which children have difficulties with social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication such as reading facial expressions and understanding other social cues, and restricted interests and behaviors.

About one in 88 U.S. children has a so-called autism spectrum disorder, which includes milder forms of the disorder, such as Asperger syndrome, according to updated figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in six U.S. children has a developmental delay, such as a speech or language impairment or other intellectual disabilities, the CDC says.

Considering that about one-third of the women of child-bearing age in the United States are obese and almost 9 percent have diabetes, the findings could have serious public-health implications, said Krakowiak.

Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, said the findings "should not be ignored." However, he noted that other genetic or environmental factors are likely contributing to autism. Many parents of autistic children are of normal weight, while many obese parents don't have autistic kids.

"Although the results of this study suggest obesity is a risk factor for developmental problems in offspring, one cannot assume that developmental problems in the offspring are due to obesity, and many other factors may be involved or responsible," Adesman said.

Indeed, other research published last week identified several spontaneous genetic mutations as the cause of a fraction of autism cases. Parents' ages, especially fathers older than 35, were also associated with autism in those recent studies, published online in the journal Nature.

The reasons for the link between obesity and autism/developmental delays are unknown, though some research suggests that obesity unleashes inflammatory proteins, some of which may be able to cross the placenta into the fetus. It's possible the inflammatory proteins, known as cytokines, may harm a fetus's developing brain, Krakowiak said.

She also noted that while the research found an association between obesity and autism/developmental delays, it did not prove that being obese causes autism or other brain problems in the fetus. The link may be indirect.

"It may not be the obesity itself, but other things that lead to obesity, such as genetics, or lifestyle, or diet," Krakowiak said.

About 24 percent of moms who had a child with a developmental delay were obese; 21.5 percent of moms who had a child with autism were obese; and 14 percent of moms with a typically developing child were obese.

Researchers noted that overweight mothers whose weight approached obese -- a BMI of 28 or 29 -- had risk levels similar to obese moms.

Mothers with a child with autism or a developmental delay were also more likely to have hypertension during pregnancy, but the association wasn't considered statistically significant. Researchers noted the number of women with high blood pressure in the study was small.

Source: http://www.womenshealt.gov/new/news/headlines/663392.cfm/

Rabu, 04 April 2012

Better Safeguards Needed for Imported Food, Drugs: Report (4/4/2012)

Better Safeguards Needed for Imported Food, Drugs: Report (4/4/2012)

Better Safeguards Needed for Imported Food, Drugs: Report (4/4/2012)

Better Safeguards Needed for Imported Food, Drugs: Report

U.S. needs to bolster safety systems in developing countries, prevent fraud, Institute of Medicine says.

By Steven ReinbergHealthDay Reporter
WEDNESDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- A new report urges the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other government agencies to play a stronger part in poor countries to ensure the safety of food and medications coming into the United States.

The report, prepared by an independent panel at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and released Wednesday, said efforts to bolster safety systems should take three to five years.

"The recommendations in this report represent the committee's consensus on how to best bridge the gaps in food and medical product regulatory systems in low- and middle-income countries," report committee chair Jim Riviere said in an IOM statement.

A consumer advocacy group spokesman commented on the recommendations.

"Many parts of the report make good sense," said Jaydee Hanson, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety. "But having a good inspection system requires money."

And, according to Hanson, who was not involved in the report, the FDA doesn't have enough funds to institute more overseas inspections, much less expand its efforts in the United States.

"You don't have money going into the food safety system nationally or internationally," he said. "Basically, the FDA is supposed to accomplish more with the same or less money."

The need for these measures appears pressing as the United States imports more of its food and medicines than ever before and was highlighted earlier this year when a counterfeit version of the cancer drug Avastin was brought into the country.

On Wednesday, the FDA confirmed that another counterfeit version of Avastin -- containing no active ingredients -- has turned up in U.S. medical practices.

Counterfeit vials of Avastin were probably not harmful, but did not contain the active ingredient in the real drug, according to Roche, the Swiss drug maker.

Regulators in Europe said traces of salt, starch and acetone, a solvent found in paint thinner, were found in an analysis of the fake drug's contents, the Associated Press reported in February.

"More than 80 percent of active pharmaceutical ingredients and 40 percent of finished drugs come from abroad, as does 85 percent of the seafood Americans eat, according to federal estimates," the IOM statement noted.

Last year, the FDA did only 600 inspections internationally, so it is likely that things fall through the cracks, Hanson said. "If you're talking doubling that each year, with the volume of foods and drugs we import, that's not much."

The FDA-sponsored report calls for a number of changes to improve inspection of food and drugs abroad, including working with other developed countries around the world that also inspect food and drugs so efforts are not duplicated.

"These are multi-sectoral recommendations that involve action from a variety of stakeholders. We believe that the changes we suggest could greatly improve the safety of food and medical products around the world," said committee chair Riviere, director of the Center for Chemical Toxicology Research and Pharmacokinetics at the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

The report also recommends developing low-cost technologies to prevent fraud and looking into whether the FDA pilot program, Secure Supply Chain, can be expanded. It rewards drug firms that track their products from manufacture to market by speeding entry of their products into the U.S. market.

The report also called for investing in safe food and drug programs in developing countries. Various U.S. agencies could provide technical expertise, training and tools to improve the surveillance systems in these countries, the report said, and provide this assistance directly or through international organizations such as the World Health Organization.

But, it's not as if food safety in the United States is all that good, Hanson said. "There is a need for better food safety inspection all along the way. We have folks who have not been able to get salmonella out of turkeys in the U.S.," he said.

The report said the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture should provide incentives to businesses and academics to develop inexpensive technologies that can be used in developing nations to prevent and detect fraud and provide tracking and verification of products.

But, Hanson said, the government needs to be able to prosecute importers of bad food and drugs and cut off imports from countries where these problems are endemic. "One of the things that got cut from the Food Safety Modernization Act was real criminal penalties," he added.

Moreover, the FDA needs to be more transparent and post violations on the Internet, something the report doesn't call for, Hanson said.

Source: http://www.womenshealt.gov/new/news/headlines/663429.cfm/

Selasa, 03 April 2012

Antibiotics Linked to Retinal Detachment Risk (4/3/2012)

Antibiotics Linked to Retinal Detachment Risk (4/3/2012)

Antibiotics Linked to Retinal Detachment Risk (4/3/2012)

Antibiotics Linked to Retinal Detachment Risk

The risk is very small and the reasons aren't known, researchers say.

By Steven ReinbergHealthDay Reporter
TUESDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- People taking antibiotics called fluoroquinolones may be at a small risk of an eye condition called retinal detachment, a new study suggests.

These commonly prescribed antibiotics, used to fight a variety of bacterial infections, have been linked to other eye problems, including corneal perforations, optic neuropathy and retinal hemorrhages. But this is the first study that has linked them to retinal detachment, a serious medical emergency that may lead to blindness, the Canadian researchers said.

"These are powerful antibiotics, so they should only be used in patients who really need them, as many studies show they are inappropriately prescribed," said lead researcher Dr. Mahyar Etminan, an assistant professor of medicine at the Child and Family Research Institute of British Columbia in Vancouver.

"Patients who experience floaters or flashes of light in their visual field while taking these drugs should see an ophthalmologist to prevent possible retinal detachment," he added.

"Since this condition is serious and may lead to severe loss of visual acuity or even blindness, patients taking these drugs should be familiar with these signs," he said.

The report was published in the April 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

For the study, Etminan's team analyzed records of almost 1 million patients who saw an ophthalmologist between January 2000 and December 2007.

Among these patients, more than 4,300 had a retinal detachment. The researchers paired each of these patients with 10 individuals who did not have the condition.

The investigators found that those suffering a retinal detachment were more likely to be near-sighted, have diabetes or have had cataract surgery.

In addition, 3.3 percent of those with a retinal detachment were taking fluoroquinolones, compared with 0.6 percent of those without the condition, the study authors noted.

However, there was no risk of retinal detachment among people who had taken the antibiotics recently or those who had taken them in the past, the study found.

And while current users of fluoroquinolones had a nearly five times higher risk of retinal detachment, the absolute risk was very small -- only 1 in 2,500, for any use of fluoroquinolones, they noted.

"This magnitude of risk seems small, but given that there are about 40,000,000 prescriptions written for these drugs in the U.S., it translates to around 4,000 new cases per year," Etminan said.

The study does not establish a cause-and-effect relationship between antibiotics and retinal detachment, only a weak association.

Commenting on the study, Dr. William Smiddy, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Miami Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, said, "I don't believe it."

If the risk were real, you would expect to find people who had taken the antibiotics to have had the condition, but the study didn't find that, he said.

"It's not something we can discount, but it's hard to believe," Smiddy added. "It's not something I've even heard described, before this paper."

In addition, Smiddy noted that the study only suggests there may be a connection.

"Even if there is a risk, it's a low risk, so if you need a fluoroquinolone you should be on a fluoroquinolone," Smiddy said. "We don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater."

Source: http://www.womenshealt.gov/new/news/headlines/663420.cfm/

CDC: Americans' Levels of Vitamins, Nutrients Basically OK (4/2/2012)

CDC: Americans' Levels of Vitamins, Nutrients Basically OK (4/2/2012)

CDC: Americans' Levels of Vitamins, Nutrients Basically OK (4/2/2012)

CDC: Americans' Levels of Vitamins, Nutrients Basically OK

Intake of vitamins A, D and folate satisfactory for most, but some need more vitamin D and iron.
MONDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- Most Americans have good levels of vitamins A and D and folate -- a B vitamin -- but some groups of people need to increase their levels of vitamin D and iron, according to a federal report released Monday.

The study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also found that rates of vitamin and nutrient deficiencies vary by age, gender and race/ethnicity, and can be as high as 31 percent for vitamin D deficiency among blacks.

The study results were based on measurements of vitamins and nutrients in blood and urine samples collected between 1999 and 2006 from participants in the CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

"These findings are a snapshot of our nation's overall nutrition status," Christopher Portier, director of CDC's National Center for Environmental Health, said in an agency news release. "Measurements of blood and urine levels of these nutrients are critical because they show us whether the sum of nutrient intakes from foods and vitamin supplements is too low, too high, or sufficient."

Lead researcher Christine Pfeiffer said in the release: "Research shows that good nutrition can help lower people's risk for many chronic diseases. For most nutrients, the low deficiency rates, less than 1 to 10 percent, are encouraging, but higher deficiency rates in certain age and race/ethnic groups are a concern and need additional attention."

Pfeiffer and her colleagues found that since the fortification of cereal-grain products with folic acid began in 1998, there has been a sustained increase in folate levels.

Folate deficiency has dropped to less than 1 percent, and blood folate levels in all racial/ethnic groups have increased 50 percent.

Folate is a B vitamin found in foods such as leafy green vegetables, fruits and dried beans and peas. Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate found in supplements and used to fortify foods, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Folate is especially important for women prior to and during pregnancy and for children during infancy. It can help prevent major birth defects of the brain and spine, such as spina bifida.

The CDC study found that rates of vitamin D deficiency were 31 percent among blacks, 12 percent among Mexican Americans and 3 percent among whites. Vitamin D is essential for good bone health and may also improve muscle strength and protect against cancer and type 2 diabetes, the researchers said.

Even though blacks had the highest rate of vitamin D deficiency, they had greater bone density and fewer fractures than the other groups. Further research is needed to explain these findings, the researchers said.

Among the other findings in the study:

Women aged 20 to 39 had the lowest iodine levels among any age group of women and their levels were just above iodine insufficiency. Iodine is an essential component of thyroid hormones that regulate human growth and development.

Compared to other racial or ethnic groups, iron deficiency was more common among Mexican American children aged 1 to 5 (11 percent), and among black and Mexican American women of childbearing age, 16 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

Blood levels of heart-healthy polyunsaturated fatty acid differ by race/ethnicity.

Source: http://www.womenshealt.gov/new/news/headlines/663372.cfm/