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Health

Study identifies key player in the body's immune response to chronic stress

Osteopontin (OPN), a protein molecule involved in many different cellular processes, plays a significant role in immune deficiency and organ atrophy following chronic physiological stress, resulting in increased susceptibility to illness. These findings appear in the September 4th issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study is supported by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), the Busch Biomedical Research Grant, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and Rutgers Technology Commercialization Fund. Authors on the paper include Dr. Yufang Shi, investigator on NSBRI's Radiation Effects Team and professor of molecular genetics, microbiology and immunology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Dr. David T. Denhardt, one of the discoverers of OPN, professor of cell biology and neuroscience at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and Kathryn X. Wang, graduate student in the Rutgers Graduate Program in Cell and Developmental Biology.

Attention

Study documents rapid increase in youth bipolar disorder diagnoses

The estimated number of youth with office visits with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder substantially increased between 1994 and 2003, while adult visits with a bipolar disorder diagnoses appeared to almost double, according to a report in the September issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric illness that typically involves periods of mania (an abnormally elevated mood) and depression. "Although bipolar disorder may have its onset during childhood, little is known about national trends in the diagnosis and management of bipolar disorder in young people," the authors write as background information in the article.

Carmen Moreno, M.D., of the Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Maranon, Servicio de Psiquiatria, Madrid, Spain, and colleagues analyzed data from a national survey of office-based physicians designed to represent all such clinicians in the United States. The physicians provided information about demographic, clinical and treatment aspects of each patient visit for a one-week time period. The researchers compared the rate of growth in bipolar disorder diagnoses among individuals age 19 and under to that of individuals age 20 and older from 1994 to 1995 through 2002 to 2003. They also compared demographic information and prescribed treatments between the two groups during the years 1999 to 2003.

Comment: Due to massive and unfounded prescription of mood stabilizers, antipsychotics and antidepressants, we tend to conclude that this increase is a result of deliberate overdiagnosis.


Coffee

UI professor identifies new eating disorder, seeks study participants

A University of Iowa professor is making a case for a new eating disorder she calls purging disorder.

The disorder is similar to bulimia nervosa in that both syndromes involve eating, then trying to compensate for the calories. What sets the disorders apart is the amount of food consumed and the way people compensate for what they eat. Women with purging disorder eat normal or even small amounts of food and then purge, often by vomiting. Women with bulimia have large, out-of-control binge eating episodes followed by purging, fasting or excessive exercise.

"Purging disorder is new in the sense that it has not been officially recognized as a unique condition in the classification of eating disorders," said Pamela Keel, associate professor of psychology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, "But it's not a new problem. Women were struggling with purging disorder long before we began studying it."

In a paper published this week in the Archives of General Psychiatry, Keel shares the results of a study indicating that purging disorder is a significant problem in women that is distinct from bulimia.

Health

Warnings over food additive E numbers that make children misbehave

Parents will be alerted this week to ensure children avoid artificial additives in drinks, sweets and processed foods because of explosive evidence about the effects on behaviour.

A plausible connection to tantrums, poor concentration and slow progress at school is understood to have been found in a study to be published by the Government's Food Standards Agency.

Food industry leaders have been summoned to a meeting with the FSA today for a briefing on the research and its implications.

©Daily Mail

Health

Popcorn supplier to drop toxic chemical

ConAgra, the world's largest supplier of the 3 billion bags of microwave popcorn sold each year, said Tuesday that it will eliminate the use of a controversial chemical butter flavoring linked to severe lung disease in workers from its Act II and Orville Redenbacher products.

The announcement comes a week after Pop Weaver, the nation's second-largest popcorn producer, said it already had pulled the synthetic flavoring -- diacetyl -- from its microwave product delivered to stores last month.

Bulb

Avian Flu Spread by Poultry, Not Wild Birds

The search for answers to the spread of the deadly bird flu virus is calling into question a long-held practice in science where recognition is given to positive test results, say experts meeting in the Thai capital.

It stems from lack of clear evidence to link wild birds to the cases of avian influenza (AI) that have infected poultry populations across countries and continents, they add. Yet this view has not taken flight because of "a bias in science" against "negative test results".

Health

World facing 'arsenic timebomb'

About 140 million people, mainly in developing countries, are being poisoned by arsenic in their drinking water, researchers believe.

Speaking at the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) annual meeting in London, scientists said this will lead to higher rates of cancer in the future.

South and East Asia account for more than half of the known cases globally.

Eating large amounts of rice grown in affected areas could also be a health risk, scientists said.

Nuke

U.S. nuclear program afflicted at least 36,500 Americans

The U.S. nuclear weapons program has sickened 36,500 Americans and killed more than 4,000, the Rocky Mountain News has determined from government figures.

Those numbers reflect only people who have been approved for government compensation. They include people who mined uranium, built bombs and breathed dust from bomb tests.

Many of the bomb-builders, such as those at the Rocky Flats plant near Denver, have never applied for compensation or were rejected because they could not prove their work caused their illnesses. Congressional hearings are in the works to review allegations of unfairness and delays in the program for weapons workers.

People

Study: Humans' DNA Not Quite So Similar

People are less alike than scientists had thought when it comes to the billions of building blocks that make up each individual's DNA, according to a new analysis.

Attention

Study links attention problems to early TV viewing

Watching television more than two hours a day early in life can lead to attention problems later in adolescence, according to a study released on Tuesday.

The roughly 40 percent increase in attention problems among heavy TV viewers was observed in both boys and girls, and was independent of whether a diagnosis of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder was made prior to adolescence.


The link was established by a long-term study of the habits and behaviors of more than 1,000 children born in Dunedin, New Zealand, between April 1972 and March 1973.

The children aged 5 to 11 watched an average of 2.05 hours of weekday television. From age 13 to 15, time spent in front of the tube rose to an average of 3.1 hours a day.

Comment: Our children are having attention problems? No problem! We can give them Ritaline, and they can continue watching TV. Nothing like a nice dosage of amphetamine and TV to turn children's brain into jelly.