March 30, 2011

Happiness Is ... Uh, I Forget

1 Being in a Good Mood May Increase Forgetfulness

The ability to remember things may be tied to your mood, finds a new study by Elizabeth Martin, U of Missouri who says that hers is the first research “to show that a positive mood can negatively impact working memory storage capacity.” Participants were shown either a comedic or instructional video before completing memory tests. Those who watched the comedy routine were in better moods and performed significantly worse on the memory tests than their counterparts whose moods were not affected by the instructional video they had watched. While being in a good mood might decrease memory capacity, for the short term at least, it’s not all bad. "Being in a good mood has been shown to increase creative problem-solving skills and other aspects of thinking," says Martin.

More at ScienceDaily.com | Posted 7 years ago by Melody Lesser

Previously: Brain Has Three Layers of Short Term Memory

Tags: Creativity, Memory, University of Missouri, Memory Capacity, Elizabeth Martin, Forgetfulness Short Term Memory

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (47%) / No! (53%)

Placebo Effect

2 “Fake” Acupuncture As Effective As Real Thing

Simulated acupuncture, with blunt needles applied to pressure points, is as effective as the real thing for treating nausea in cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy, finds a Swedish study. "The beneficial effects seem not to come from the traditional acupuncture method, but probably from the patients' positive expectations and the extra care that the treatment entails," says researcher Anna Enblom. The study included three groups of cancer patients. Some received traditional acupuncture; others received simulated acupuncture and a third group received standard care with meds for nausea, but no acupuncture. Only 37% of those receiving either genuine or simulated acupuncture felt nauseous after radiotherapy compared with 63% of the standard care group.

More at Eurekalert.org | Posted 7 years ago by Melody Lesser

Previously: Acupuncture Helps Chronically Ill Patients

Tags: Acupressure, Acupuncture, Acupuncture Benefits, Cancer, Nausea, Anna Emblom

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (51%) / No! (49%)

See What the Cobra Is Up To

3 Missing Bronx Zoo Cobra Speaks on Twitter

The Egyptian cobra missing from the Bronx Zoo now has its own Twitter account: @BronxZoosCobra. The Twitter bio reads, "I'm not at the Bronx Zoo. I'm an Egyptian cobra out on the town." A recent Tweet reads: "City may not sleep, but I'm ready to. Ooh a chimney! I bet you bragged to your friends about having a working fireplace in NYC. Hi roomie." As of early Wednesday, the cobra in hiding had more than 115,000 followers. Since the Twitter account isn't yet verified, it's unclear whether the missing Bronx Zoo cobra is being impersonated. The real missing cobra is believed to be hiding out somewhere inside the Bronx Zoo reptile house, which is closed to the public.

More at Twitter | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: Bronx Zoo Loses Egyptian Cobra

Tags: Bronx Zoo, Missing Cobra, Egyptian Cobra, Bronx Zoo Cobra Twitter, BronxZoosCobra

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (48%) / No! (52%)

Safer Birds!

4 Organically Raised Chickens Have Less Salmonella

Organically raised chickens carry smaller amounts of antimicrobial salmonella and fecal salmonella than conventionally reared chickens, find researchers. The study, which involved collecting fecal, feed and drinking water samples from 700 chickens, was reported in Foodborne Pathogens. Findings reveal that organically raised chickens had a salmonella prevalence of 5.6 percent in fecal samples and 5 percent in feed samples. The conventionally raised chickens had a 38.8 percent salmonella prevalence in fecal samples and 27.5 percent in feed samples. All of the water tested negative. The About.com Guide for Organic Business points out that the testing involved just one company in North Carolina, yet one house per farm was sampled, equaling three organic and four conventional farms total.

More at About.com Organic Business | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: Is Food in BPA-Lined Cans Considered Organic?

Tags: Food Safety, Organic Food Safer, Foodborne Pathogens, About.com Guide for Organic Business, Organically Raised Chickens, Antimicrobial Salmonella, Fecal Salmonella

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (50%) / No! (50%)

Check Up on Your County

5 New County Health Rankings Released

New health rankings, which provide a detailed look at most of the country's 3,000-plus counties, were released today by County Health Rankings. To find your county's health information, visit countyhealthranksings.org and enter your county or state. The report compares health outcomes (premature death, low birthweight, etc.) and factors (smoking, obesity, teen birth rate, etc.) at county, state and national levels. For example, Memphis, Tenn., has an adult obesity rate of 34 percent, compared with the state level of 31 percent and the national benchmark of 25 percent. The rankings are a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

More at County Health Rankings | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: 20 Fittest Cities in America

Tags: Low Birth Weight, County Health Rankings, Health Outcomes, Obesity Rates by County, Smoking Rates by County, University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (57%) / No! (43%)

It Takes Two

6 Combo of Diet, Exercise Best for Obese Seniors

Combining both diet and exercise offers better results than either alone for obese seniors who want to improve physical performance and reduce frailty. Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis published their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study involved 100 obese seniors placed into four groups: dieting group, exercise group, diet and exercise group and a group with no changes. Findings reveal that gait and balance improved most consistently in the group of seniors who practiced both diet and exercise. Researchers believe that it's important to find ways to fight obesity in seniors since it can exacerbate declines in physical performance, leading to increases in nursing home admissions, as well as impaired quality of life and frailty.

More at Eurekalert | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Tags: Washington University School of Medicine, Diets Seniors, Exercises Seniors, Obese Seniors, Reasons Seniors Should Lose Weight, Reduce Frailty

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (57%) / No! (43%)

Smokey May Make Guinness

7 Tabby Has Potentially Record-Setting Purr

A tabby cat known as Smokey is now famous for purring at 73 decibels, which is louder than normal conversation. Smokey and owner Ruth Adams appeared on Today recently. Smokey was content to purr loudly throughout the entire interview. At its peak, the cat's purr is believed to be 16 times louder than that produced by the average kitty. Northamptom College in England provided specialized sound equipment for recording Smokey's purrs to submit to Guinness World Records. MSNBC reports that Guinness World Records spokeswoman Amarilis Whitty is "eagerly awaiting the recording."

More at MSNBC | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: Scientists Identify Cat Allergy Trigger

Tags: Loudest Cat Purr, Guinness Cat Purr, Guinness World Records Loudest Cat Purr, Smokey Tabby Loud Purr, Northamptom College

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (52%) / No! (48%)

Price Jump Prompted Second Look

8 Cheaper Version of Makena Still Available

Makena, synthetic progesterone that prevents women from going into premature labor, can continue to be made by other pharmacies who sell it for $10-$20 compared to KV Pharmaceutical Co.’s price of $1500. For years many pharmacies compounded the drug that is given as a weekly injection but KV got permission to exclusively sell it in February and drastically increased its price. While many OB/GYNs were happy that they could get the drug from one source and believed it would ensure quality, they were blindsided by the increase in cost. Treatment for one pregnancy may result in a cost of $30,000. KV sent letters to other pharmacies telling them they had to stop making the drug but concern over the jump in cost, especially for programs like Medicaid, prompted the FDA to take this step.

More at Yahoo! AP | Posted 7 years ago by Kristie Hayes

Previously: Drug for Preventing Preemies Costs More Next Week

Tags: FDA, Medicaid, Preterm Birth, Progesterone, Makena, KV Pharmaceutical Co., Pharmacy Compounding

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (53%) / No! (47%)

Two Old Drugs and One New Drug

9 Triple Cocktail Shows Promise Against Hepatitis C

A human clinical trial involving 1,000 people with hepatitis C, a virus that attacks the liver, showed that the current treatment of interferon and ribavirin plus boceprevir works better than the two alone. All of them got the two standard drugs for four weeks and then split into three different treatment groups. One group got it for an additional 44 weeks while a second group had boceprevir added to their regimen for 32 weeks. The third group received all three for 44 weeks. The second and third groups that got boceprevir had response rates of 59 and 66 percent, respectively. Some people had undetectable viral levels in the blood. The new drug attacks the virus and prevents it from replicating. Boceprevir was developed by Merck and is currently being reviewed by the FDA for approval.

More at Yahoo! AFP | Posted 7 years ago by Kristie Hayes

Previously: New Drug Plus Standard Treatment Improves Outcome

Tags: Hepatitis C Treatment, Hepatitis C Virus, Hepatits C, Boceprevir, Drug Cocktails, Ribavirin, Interferon

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (48%) / No! (52%)

Reasonable and Necessary

10 Medicare Will Cover Pricey Prostate Cancer Therapy

Medicare will pick up the $93,000 price tag for Provenge, a unique therapy to treat prostate cancer that was approved by the FDA last year. Dendreon Co. says the high price is justified because of all the time it takes to produce the therapy which involves taking cells of the immune system and incubating them with a protein found in prostate cancer cells plus a compound to stimulate the immune system so attack the cancer once placed back in the patient. Patients who receive Provenge have a median survival time that is twice as long as those who receive chemotherapy. It is against the law for Medicare to consider expense when deciding whether or not to pay for a new treatment. Officials believe the new treatment is “a ‘reasonable and necessary’ medicine.”

More at Yahoo! AP | Posted 7 years ago by Kristie Hayes

Previously: Blood Tests May Predict Prostate Cancer Risk

Tags: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicare, Prostate Cancer, Provenge, Dendreon Co.

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (49%) / No! (51%)

Radiation Exposure Very Low

11 Aiport Body Scanners Declared Extremely Safe

According to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, airport body scanners emit very low amounts of radiation and are extremely safe for travelers. The amount of radiation a person would be exposed to at airport body scanners is about the same as one would be exposed to in three to nine minutes of everyday living. A person would have to go through an a scanner 1,000 times to experience the same amount of radiation emitted by an X-Ray machine at a hospital. The study also revealed that passengers were exposed to much more radiation while on the actual plane. A six hour flight exposes a traveler to over twice the yearly amount of radiation they would normally encounter and 150 times more radiation than they would receive while going through an airport body scanner.

More at Main Street | Posted 7 years ago by Brian Randles

Previously: National Opt-Out Day November 24

Tags: Airport Body Scanners, Radiation, Airport Body Scanner, Amount of Radiation

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (61%) / No! (39%)

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