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Tuesday, 05 February 2013 15:32

Young adults often reconcile with old love

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Forty-four percent of young adults in a romantic relationship in the past two years experienced a breakup followed by a reunion, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Wendy Manning, co-director of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, and colleagues Dr. Peggy Giordano, distinguished research professor emeritus of sociology; Dr. Monica Longmore, a professor of sociology; and former postdoctoral fellow Sarah Halpern-Meekin used data from The Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study.

The random sample of nearly 800 students ages 17-24 was drawn from Lucas County, Ohio.

The study, scheduled to be published in the March edition of the Journal of Adolescent Research, found approximately 44 percent of emerging adults who have been in a romantic relationship in the past two years experienced at least one reconciliation -- a breakup followed by a reunion.

Fifty-three percent of those who experienced reconciliations also reported having had sex with this ex.

Overall, more than a quarter of the respondents had sex with an ex, with similar proportions of men and women responding positively. Those who had sex with an ex were more likely to be older and in a cohabiting relationship, the study said.

Taken together, 48 percent of the total sample experienced some form of relationship "churning," while 24 percent experienced both forms, the researchers said.
Tuesday, 05 February 2013 16:44

Previous generation to boomers healthier

MORGANTOWN, W.Va., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- The overall health status of baby boomers appears lower than the previous generation, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Dana E. King of the West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown and colleagues said U.S. baby boomers have higher rates of chronic disease, more disability and lower self-rated health than members of the previous generation at the same age.

King and colleagues studied the overall reported health status of aging baby boomers compared with the previous generation by analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.

The study, published in the journal Internal Medicine, found the overall health status was lower among baby boomers with 13.2 percent reporting "excellent" health compared with 32 percent of individuals in the previous generation.

Thirty-seven percent of baby boomers were obese compared with 29.4 percent of the previous generation, and more than half of the baby boomers -- 52.2 percent -- reported no regular physical activity compared with 17.4 percent of the previous generation.

The average age of the participants in the groups studied was about age 54, King said.

"Despite their longer life expectancy over previous generations, U.S. baby boomers have higher rates of chronic disease, more disability and lower self-rated health than members of the previous generation at the same age," King said in a statement. "On a positive note, baby boomers are less likely to smoke cigarettes and experience lower rates of emphysema and myocardial infarction than the previous generation."
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 06:34

Purdue U reports typhoid fever case

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Indiana state health officials are urging caution after a food handler at Purdue University tested positive for typhoid fever.

Anyone who ate at the Boiler Bistro, the John Purdue Room or Marriott Hall's Lavazza coffee shop on the West Lafayette, Ind., campus Jan. 23-25 may be at risk of the life-threatening illness caused by a type of salmonella bacteria, the State Department of Health said Tuesday.

"Symptoms of typhoid fever can resemble other illnesses, so for those individuals who have been exposed, it's critical to see a health provider right away if you experience symptoms. Be sure to tell your physician you may have been exposed to typhoid fever," Health Commissioner William Van Ness II said.

The symptoms include a high fever, stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and, in some cases, rose-colored spots on the skin, state and university health officials said.

"We are trying to reach out to anyone who was a patron at Marriott Hall and let them know," school spokeswoman Jeanne Norberg said, adding the person with the illness contracted it while traveling outside the United States.

The unnamed person in question will not return to work until cleared by the state Health Department, the Lafayette Journal & Courier reported Wednesday.

The infected food handler wore gloves during food preparation and had minimal contact with the food, said Richard Ghiselli, head of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, housed in Marriott Hall.
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 12:01

Excessive deaths probed at UK hospitals

LONDON, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Thousands more patients have been found to have died needlessly at British hospitals in recent years, a report released Wednesday revealed.

The report found a total of 3,063 deaths between July 2010 and June 2012 over and above the number that would have been expected at hospitals run by five trusts, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals had the highest number of excessive deaths, 879, the Telegraph said. East Lancashire Hospitals National Health System Trust, which has facilities in Blackburn and Burnley, had 618; Colchester Hospital University Trust in Essex had 599; Basildon and Thurrock, also in Essex, had 508; and Tameside, near Manchester, had 459.

The report followed an earlier one that exposed the needless deaths of up to 1,200 patients at the Mid Staffordshire trust, which includes Stafford Hospital.

Bruce Keogh, medical director of the NHS Commissioning Board, will be in charge of the follow-up investigation into the deaths.

The newspaper said the latest report ratcheted up the pressure on NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson, already under fire for failing to know about the problems at Mid Staffs.
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 12:51

Smoking more prevalent among mentally ill

ATLANTA, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- People with mental illness are far more likely to smoke than those with no mental illness, U.S. researchers say.

A Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found U.S. adults with some form of mental illness have a smoking rate 70 percent higher than adults with no mental illness.

The report also found 36 percent of adults with a mental illness were cigarette smokers, compared with 21 percent of adults who do not have a mental illness.

Earlier research showed nearly 1-in-5 U.S. adults -- about 45.7 million Americans -- have some type of mental illness.

Smoking prevalence was especially high among younger adults with mental illness, those living below the poverty line and those with lower levels of education, the report said.

Smoking varied widely among the states, ranging from 18.2 percent in Utah to 48.7 percent in West Virginia, the report said.
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 14:13

Fathers obesity may affect child

DURHAM, N.C., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- A pregnant woman's diet can impact her child even before birth, but so can a father's, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Adelheid Soubry and Dr. Cathrine Hoyoof, both of the Newborn Epigenetics Study at Duke University Hospital, said data were collected about parental weight and compared with their newborn's epigenetic -- gene -- data.

DNA contains the genetic information children inherit from their parents, but epigenetic imprinting, such as DNA methylation, controls how active these genes are, the researchers explained.

DNA methylation is a biochemical process that alters the expression of genes in cells as they divide and differentiate from embryonic stem cells into specific tissues. The resulting change is normally permanent and unidirectional, preventing one organism from reverting back to a stem cell or converting into another type of tissue.

IGF2 (gene) codes for a growth factor that is important mainly during fetal development, but aberrant control of this gene, including DNA hypomethylation, has been implicated in cancer.

The study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, found the gene IGF2 was found in newborns with obese fathers, but not obese mothers.

"During spermatogenesis some regions in the DNA may be sensitive to environmental damage; these effects can be transmitted to the next generation," Soubry, the study leader, said in a statement. "It is possible that (mal)nutrition or hormone levels in obese fathers, leads to incomplete DNA methylation, or to unstable genomic imprinting of sperm cells. Further research is necessary to confirm our findings."
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 15:20

Family Leave Act used 100M times in 20 yrs

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The Family and Medical Leave Act has been used more than 100 million times since enacted 20 years ago, says a U.S. non-profit group that worked on the bill.

Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families, said her organization -- 20 years ago known as the Women's Legal Defense Fund -- helped draft the original bill and assemble the coalition that supported the only national law that enables workers to care for themselves and their loved ones without jeopardizing their jobs.

Boston consulting firm Abt Associates prepared a report on the federal legislation for the U.S. Department of Labor that estimated the law in the last two decades was used more than 100 million times -- mostly for an employee's own illness.

Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for FMLA to care for a serious illness to self, spouse, parent or child; new child via birth, adoption or foster care; and military deployment.

Fifty-seven percent of the leave was taken for an employee's own illness, 22 percent took leave for pregnancy or a new child and 19 percent took leave for the illness of a qualifying relative -- spouse, child or parent. Leave for other qualifying reasons, including military reasons, was quite rare at 2 percent, the report said.

Most leave was short with 42 percent of all leave lasting 10 days or less, while 17 percent took leave of fewer than 60 days.

"Many Americans take for granted that working people have access to job-protected, unpaid leave when serious medical needs arise," Ness said in a statement. "However, 40 percent of the workforce is not covered by the FMLA's protections."

Fewer than 10 percent of work sites reported any negative effects on productivity, morale, absenteeism, turnover or profitability, but larger work sites reported more difficulty complying, the report said.
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 16:27

ACE inhibitor may ease painful walking

MELBOURNE, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- An ACE inhibitor, a drug used mainly for high blood pressure, may improve walking in people with narrowed arteries in the limbs, Australian researchers say.

Anna A. Ahimastos of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne and colleagues conducted a study to examine the association of ACE inhibitor therapy on walking distance and health-related quality of life as compared with placebo in people with pain in the calf that comes and goes due to narrowing of the arteries and poor circulation.

The randomized, placebo-controlled trial included 212 patients with peripheral artery disease -- average age 65.5 -- initiated in May 2008 and completed in August 2011.

Patients were randomized to receive 10 milligrams of the drug or matching placebo for 24 weeks. The primary outcome measures for the study were maximum and pain-free walking times, as recorded during a standard treadmill test.

The researchers found that relative to placebo, the drug was associated with a 75-second increase in average pain-free walking time and a 255-second increase in maximum walking time. Compared to placebo, the drug was also associated in patient-perceived ability to perform normal daily activities.

"The drug therapy was also associated with moderate improvement in the physical health component. Importantly, this association was in additional to those achieved with standard clinical management by a general practitioner or vascular specialist," the study authors said.

The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 16:42

Older women Mammogram every two years

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Among women ages 66-74, getting a mammogram every two years was just as beneficial as getting a mammogram annually, U.S. researchers said.

Lead author Dejana Braithwaite, an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, said from 1999 to 2006, data was collected on 2,993 older women with breast cancer and 137,949 women without breast cancer.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found no difference in rates of late-stage breast cancer between women screened annually and women screened biennially.

However, the study found 48 percent of women between the ages of 66 and 74 who were screened every year had false positive results -- a result indicating a given condition is present when it is not -- while 29 percent of women in the same age range who were screened every two years had false positives.

"Women ages 66-74 who choose to undergo screening mammography should be screened every two years," senior author Dr. Karla Kerlikowske, a professor of medicine at UCSF and a physician at the UCSF-affiliated San Francisco VA Medical Center, said in a statement.

"They get no added benefit from annual screening, and face almost twice the false positives and biopsy recommendations, which may cause anxiety and inconvenience."

Braithwaite concluded: "These results point to a need to consider life expectancy and co-existing illnesses in informing future recommendations about cancer screening in the elderly."
Thursday, 07 February 2013 11:41

Louisianas hospice reprieve temporary

BATON ROUGE, La., Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The last-minute reprieve of Louisiana's hospice care for the state's poor who are dying will only last a few months, a state senator said.

State Sen. Fred Mills Jr., a Republican, told United Press International the restored funding of $1.1 million to provide end-of-life care for those in a hospice facility or provided hospice care in the home, allowed the state five months to work for alternative solutions because the same budget cut is scheduled for the next fiscal year.

On Dec. 14, 2012, state officials said a lack of anticipated state revenue from income taxes, corporate taxes and sales taxes coupled with a several tax cuts including a $1.1 billion tax cut over five years resulted in notification that the state faced a budget deficit of more than $130 million in July.

As a result, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals said the state decided to eliminate Medicaid hospice care on Feb. 1 of this year to help avoid the shortfall in July.

The state has already made many budget cuts, but there are few optional programs under Medicaid and hospice is considered an optional program so hospice was included in the cuts, Mills said.

However, out of all of the proposed cuts by Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, the cut to hospice drew the most notice and angered many.

At the time, Jindal said eliminating Medicaid hospice care would save the state money and non-profits and faith-based organizations could be called upon to help pick up the slack, but Mills said there were several presentations pointing out eliminating indigent hospice care was neither a wise fiscal move nor a humane one.

Mills, a licensed pharmacist, said dying patients with cancer who would have to moved from hospice care to another facility might have a harder time because prescribing pain medication for the dying or frail is a skill developed over time and physicians in the other facilities might not be attuned to the dying patient's needs compared to those who have worked in hospice for a long time.

The Louisiana-Mississippi Hospice and Palliative Care Organization said when hospice is not an option, people will go in and out of emergency rooms and ICUs, costing the state at least four times more than hospice care.

For example, when Arizona eliminated hospice care for the poorest of the poor, they were sent to more expensive hospitals and nursing facilities and the cost increased by approximately 4.4 percent to provide the same services, the state of Arizona said in a letter in 2010.

However, at the end of January during a candlelight vigil protesting the move, Bruce D. Greenstein, secretary of Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals announced plans to reform the Medicaid Hospice Program, with a focus on providing services in the community.

He said his department secured bridge funding from existing grants to continue the current hospice program until July.

"I'm certain from the discussions we're had with doctors, nurses, patients, hospice administrations that hospice is the most cost effective way to provide end-of-life care, prevent unnecessary hospital emergency room visits and ICU stays and provide patients with choices," Mills told UPI.

"I have always said we are all one tragedy away from needing hospice -- if it doesn't affect us directly, it affects someone we know."

(C) 2013 Copyrights Theodore Myles