…Babies, with their delicate skin, can be a lot like teenagers when it comes to skin afflictions. Common conditions such as neonatal and infantile acne, milia and cradle cap can ignite worries, and even cause some parents embarrassment (though they might be ashamed to admit it). In that first year of a baby’s life, who doesn’t want to capture that darling baby on film and in pixels, looking, well, darling?
But infant eczema, with its unpredictable outbreaks and vicious cycle of itch and scratch, has been raising discomfort for babies and anxiety in parents to a new level….
“It used to be, 20 years ago, one baby in 20 was affected by it,” said Dr. Anthony Mancini, a pediatric dermatologist in Chicago and head of dermatology at the NORTHWESTERN University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Now, that number is roughly one in five or six.”…
Turning your clock back one hour for the end of daylight saving time could do your own ticker some good.-Researchers have found a 5% drop in heart attack deaths and hospitalizations the day after clocks are reset each year to standard time, according to a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
But Dr. Martha L. Daviglus, a professor of preventive medicine at NORTHWESTERN University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, cautioned that it was frivolous to worry much about daylight saving time when so many people still fail to address the basics, such as smoking and overeating.
“Ninety-nine percent of the people that die of myocardial infarctions, they have risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” she said. “Changing the clock, in my opinion, is nothing compared to the major risk factors.”…Maintaining Health During Tough Finanical Times
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal notes a surprising and sudden cutback in the health care spending as a consequence of the current financial turmoil. Prescription sales are down, there is early evidence of cancellation of insurance policies and deferment of elective diagnostics such as mammograms and procedures such as hip replacements. Prospects for the prevention of disease dim as well as the likelihood that many people who have chronic diseases will be at greater risk for a health care catastrophe, both of which forebode even greater expenditures.-While there are no easy answers to dealing with decreased income, there are some ways to manage in the breach that may forestall some of the more consequences and hold one’s health and the health of family members together until economic conditions improve…
Dr. Russell Robertson is chair and professor of family medicine at NORTHWESTERN University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.Diabetes is a Risk in Pregnancy That Carries Risks Beyond
New York Times October 27, 2008
Elise Bloustein, always slender and healthy, was 38 when she became pregnant with her first child in 1990. Her joy wastempered by the results of tests that revealed two problems: anemia and gestational diabetes, which Ms. Bloustein believes may have been caused by stress associated with the deaths of her parents…
In the years since Ms. Bloustein’s first pregnancy, the incidence of gestational diabetes has nearly doubled, a result of the rise in prepregnancy weight among American women, Dr. Boyd E. Metzger, an endocrinologist at NORTHWESTERN University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said in an interview. At the same time, much has been learned about the disorder and its possible effects on newborns and their mothers.
It is now known, for example, that even small blood-sugar abnormalities can cause trouble.-A seven-year international study directed by Dr. Metzger, which was released last year at the American Diabetes Association’s annual meeting and published in May in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed clear links between blood sugar levels and pregnancy outcomes, even when the mother’s sugar levels are not high enough to be called diabetes…
…Though Alzheimer’s disease incidence is higher among African Americans—ranging widely from 14% to 100% higher than among whites—much fewer blacks are involved in research studies than whites…
Mistrust of the health care system plays a role in why historically fewer blacks than whites get involved in medical research, says Scott Turner, director of the Memory Disorders Program at Georgetown University Medical Center. “The specter of the Tuskegee experiment still lingers,” he says, referring to the unethical study conducted more than 40 years starting in 1932. In it, hundreds of African-American male participants were not told they had syphilis and were not given antibiotics.
“In Tuskegee, they were really used in a very brutal way,” says Sandra Weintraub, director of the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at NORTHWESTERN University. She says part of her center’s work on the South Side of Chicago is reversing the misconceptions blacks have about research—that much of her research on aging has nothing to do with needles and medications, but simply listening to people’s stories…
Nearly a fourth of widely used new-generation biological drugs for several common diseases produce serious side effects that lead to safety warnings soon after they go on the market, the first major study of its kind found…
It’s that same mechanism that can result in side effects often not seen with traditional chemical-based medicines, said Dr. Charles Bennett, a NORTHWESTERN University drug safety expert. These can include brain and fungal infections and cancer.
Many are genetically engineered and Bennett said that because they typically resemble naturally occurring proteins, many doctors have assumed they were safer than traditional chemical-based medicines. But he said the study shows that’s not necessarily true.
“They have an important role,” Bennett said. “They’re really the next generation of pharmaceuticals.”…
Chicago Sun-Times October 21, 2008
Blacks and Hispanics who receive treatment for head injuries and other trauma are more likely to die afterward than whites with similar injuries, and, regardless of race, trauma victims who lacked insurance died much more often than those who were insured, new research shows.
The study, published in this week’s Archives of Surgery, offers the latest evidence of how race and insurance status affect patient outcomes—whether the condition in question is cancer, heart disease or diabetes…
In theory, trauma centers, which treat victims of car accidents, falls, gunshot wounds and stabbings, are “both colorblind and insurance-blind,” said Dr. Marie Crandall, one of the study’s authors and a surgery professor at NORTHWESTERN University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “Everyone who has an injury is treated the same based on injury severity…as opposed to who they are, where they live or whether they have insurance. It would be a violation of federal law not to treat trauma that way.”
Yet, based on data from more than 376,000 patients at 700 hospitals, the researchers found that trauma victims who were white and had health insurance fared better than blacks, Hispanics and the uninsured, even when the severity of the injury was the same….
Monkeys taught to play a computer game were able to overcome wrist paralysis with an experimental device that might lead to new treatments for patients with stroke and spinal cord injury.
Remarkably, the monkeys regained use of paralyzed muscles by learning to control the activity of just a single brain cell…
Lee Miller, a researcher at NORTHWESTERN University who has done similar work, said any demonstration of a device using brain signals to make paralyzed limbs move is “an important new development.”…
Chicago Tribune October 12, 2008
“Phone therapy can be the best option for people who don’t have the time or transportation to get to and from the therapist’s office, who can’t get a baby-sitter, who can’t get time off work or who are physically unable to leave home,” David Mohr, professor of preventive medicine at Feinberg and lead researcher of the study, which was published in the September issue of the journal Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice. “Others live in rural areas and aren’t near any mental health professionals.”…
Child Cancer Survivors Face Health Issues
UPI October 9, 2008
Dr. Aarati Didwania, who directs the program, said that 1 in about 300 children between birth and age 20 will be diagnosed with cancer. The cure rate for children with cancer has climbed to 85 percent and, for some cancers, it may soon reach 90 percent.
However, when these children grow up, recent research shows two-thirds of them will experience at least one late health consequence as a result of their childhood treatment….
A genetic analysis of a biopsy sample recently discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has led researchers to conclude that the virus that causes AIDS has existed in human populations for more than a century, according to a study released Wednesday.
The study, led by evolutionary biologist Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona in Tucson, puts the date of origin at around 1900, which is 30 years earlier than previous analyses….
The researchers surmised that the creation of colonial cities around the turn of the century was the catalyst that allowed the virus to take hold.
Dr. Steven M. Wolinsky, a co-author of the study, said that colonial cities meant not just more potential hosts for viruses living in closer quarters, but also prostitution and other high-risk behaviors for transmitting the virus.
“Urbanization was probably the main trigger,” said Wolinsky, an infectious diseases specialist at the Feinberg School of Medicine at NORTHWESTERN University in Chicago….
Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
WLS-TV (Chicago) September 25, 2008
Arthritis is not just an older person’s disease. In fact, inflammatory arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis in particular, tends to begin in the 30’s and 40’s, says Dr. Eric Ruderman, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, NORTHWESTERN University Feinberg School of Medicine.
There is a big difference between degenerative arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, where the main issue is wear and tear on the joints, and inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), where the main issue is an inflammatory process in the tissue lining the joint, leading to damage and destruction of bone and cartilage, Dr. Ruderman adds.
Rheumatoid arthritis, like many types of arthritis, more commonly affects women—about 75-80%, according to the doctor…
Making or Breaking Our Habits
Pioneer Press September 25, 2008
How many of us have been involved in a fender bender and then afterwards compulsively reviewed the chain of events only to identify one moment where if we had only done something else—the collision would have been avoided?
Absent moments like that, we often live insensitive to the passage of time. When these occasions happen upon us, there is some realization that past is truly inaccessible and beyond modification. Life changes in an instant.
So, you may ask, what does this have to do with your health? Well—life for most of us is a series of accumulated choices and as a consequence, accumulated benefits and/or detriments. Our lives and our health are the by-products of those choices, and we will live and eventually die largely as a consequence of the decisions that we make….
Dr. Russell Robertson is chair and professor of family medicine at NORTHWESTERN University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
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