Tag Archive connecticut

Patients treated with radiation therapy who have tumors in left breast have comparable overall survival to those with tumors in right breast –…

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Studies have shown that breast cancer patients treated with radiation therapy have improved local-regional recurrence, and breast cancer-specific survival after breast-conserving surgery and overall survival (OS) after mastectomy. Long-term follow-up of historic radiation therapy trials for breast cancer has demonstrated a potential increase in cardiac mortality. However, these studies used earlier modes of radiation therapy including Cobalt and orthovoltage radiotherapy, and did not employ CT-based planning, which allows for greater cardiac avoidance. Three recent studies suggest that cardiac mortality has not been greater for patients treated for left-sided breast cancer since the 1980s, when techniques allowing for greater cardiac avoidance became more commonplace[1-3]. …

Healthy humans make nice homes for viruses

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On average, healthy individuals carry about five types of viruses on their bodies, the researchers report online in BioMed Central Biology. …

Continued use of low-dose aspirin may lower pancreatic cancer risk

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“We found that the use of low-dose aspirin was associated with cutting the risk of pancreatic cancer in half, with some evidence that the longer low-dose aspirin was used, the lower the risk,” said Harvey A. Risch, MD, PhD, professor of epidemiology in the Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut…

Head impact detectors tested at New York high school

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MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – & Students at a New York high school are helping to test new technology that could someday alert football coaches that an athlete might have suffered a concussion. The Times Herald-Record, of Middletown, reports that students at Middletown High School wore impact-sensing mouth guards during three days of intramural practices over the past week. The devices are being developed by a Connecticut company, i1 Biometrics. They contain a gyroscope and feed wireless data about jarring head movements to a laptop. The idea is to give coaches a way of detecting dangerous hits while a game is still in progress. The company hopes to use data collected in the Middletown sessions to refine its software. More testing is planned next fall at Purdue University and the University of South Carolina.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/08/head-impact-detectors-tested-at-new-york-high-school/

Obama hosts event to reduce mental health stigma

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Actors Bradley Cooper and Glenn Close are among those gathering Monday at the White House for a conference on mental health, organized as part of President Barack Obama's response to last year's shooting massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. Although the one-day conference was a response to gun violence, its agenda is much broader and includes discussion of insurance coverage for mental health care and substance abuse, recognizing the signs of mental illness in young people and improved access to services for veterans. The overall goal is reducing the stigma of mental health problems and encouraging those who are struggling to get help. Obama plans to deliver opening remarks in the East Room and Vice President Joe Biden, the president's point man on gun violence, is scheduled to close it from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Around 150 invited attendees include mental health advocates and patients, educators, health care providers, faith leaders, lawmakers and local government officials from across the country. Cooper and Close bring their advocacy and a celebrity buzz to the event. Cooper has been promoting mental health awareness since his Oscar-nominated leading role as a man with bipolar disorder in last year's “Silver Linings Playbook,” and plans to help Biden and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki close the conference. Close's experience has been more personal. Her sister, Jessie, has bipolar disorder and Jessie's son, Calen, has schizoaffective disorder. In 2009, Close's family battles led her to help start a non-profit called Bring Change 2 Mind, which produces public service announcements to fight the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness. She is listed on a panel discussion on how to address negative attitudes about mental illness. The conference comes after Obama's defeat on gun control legislation. Unable to get Congress to approve background checks, an assault weapons ban and other limits on firearms, the president has vowed to do what he can through executive action. Among 23 executive orders Obama signed in response to the shooting at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 26 was a directive that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Education Secretary Arne Duncan launch a national dialogue on mental health. The conference is part of that, with Sebelius hosting the panel on addressing negative attitudes and Duncan moderating a session on successful mental health outreach efforts. There's been little publicly revealed about the mental health of Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza, although it's been documented that other gunmen involved in mass shootings suffered from mental illness. Federal law bans certain mentally ill people from purchasing firearms, but the background check system is woefully incomplete and Obama is trying to get more mental health records included. In announcing the conference, the White House stressed that the vast majority of people with mental health conditions are not violent and are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of crimes. But the need to improve the country's mental health care system is something all sides of the gun debate have advocated, including the National Rifle Association. “That is something substantive that Congress and the president could do right now that would actually help prevent future tragedies, unlike the gun control proposals that the president unsuccessfully tried to push through Congress,” said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam The White House said Obama plans to announce that the Department of Veterans Affairs will conduct mental health summits nationwide to increase awareness of VA programs and link veterans and their families with community resources to support their needs. The conference also plans to tout improvements in mental health coverage under Obama's health care law, including a ban beginning next year against denying coverage to those who are mentally ill. The White House also plans to focus on commitments being made in the private sector to increase understanding and awareness, including a campaign by the National Association of Broadcasters through television and radio ads and social media. Several organizations that work with young people also are planning to make new commitments, including high school principals holding mental health assemblies, to YMCA instructing staff and camp counselors to recognize the signs of mental health issues in kids, to religious leaders launching conversations on the issue.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/03/obama-hosts-event-to-reduce-mental-health-stigma/

Nearly all US states see hefty drop in teen births

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NEW YORK – & The nation's record-low teen birth rate stems from robust declines in nearly every state, but most dramatically in several Mountain States and among Hispanics, according to a new government report. All states but West Virginia and North Dakota showed significant drops over five years. But the Mountain States of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah saw rates fall by 30 percent or more. In 22 states, teen Hispanic birth rates plunged at least 40 percent, which was described as “just amazing,” by the report's lead author, Brady Hamilton of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What's driving the declines? No one can say for sure. Experts believe the explanation is complicated and probably varies a bit from state to state. The national figure has been falling since 1991, aside from a brief interruption in 2006 and 2007. The CDC report released Thursday is based on birth certificates for 2007 through 2011. Last year, the CDC announced the overall improvement in teen births: a record low of 31 births per 1,000 teens ages 15 to 19. That compares to 42 births per 1,000 five years earlier. The new report focuses on state figures in 2011: -- Lowest rates are in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont, each with rates under 17 per 1,000. -- Highest rates overall continue to be in the South, led by Arkansas and Mississippi, each with rates of about 50 per 1,000. In Arkansas, the majority of teen births are to white moms. In Mississippi, the majority are black. -- White teens continue to have the lowest birth rate nationally -- about 22 births per 1,000. Black teens saw a larger improvement, but their rate was still more than twice the white rate, at 47 per 1,000. -- Overall, the Hispanic rate plummeted from 75 to 49 per 1,000, now virtually a tie with the black rate. The teen drop in the last five years coincided with an overall decline in births, which experts attribute to a weak economy that dampened enthusiasm for having children. Hispanic women have been part of that trend, possibly due to the economy and to illegal immigration crackdowns in some states that reduce the number of young Hispanic females entering the country from Mexico and other nations, said John Santelli, a Columbia University professor of population and family health. That means new immigrants are having less impact on birth statistics, and second- and third-generation families are having more influence. As time goes on, Hispanics -- like other immigrant groups before them -- tend to adopt American customs and practices. “There is more attention on education, career, and the future,” said Dr. Janet Realini, head of Healthy Futures of Texas, a San Antonio-based organization focused on preventing teen and unplanned pregnancies. Hispanic rates, though, continue to be much higher than those for blacks and whites in most of the states with the largest Hispanic populations, including California, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Georgia. Texas has the highest number of teen births in the nation, with nearly 43,000 in 2011. Nearly two-thirds were to Hispanic moms. The overall improvement, though, is something to celebrate, said Bill Albert, chief program officer of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “Geography, politics, or policy alone simply cannot explain the widespread declines,” Albert said in an email. “Credit goes to teens themselves who are clearly making better decisions about sex, contraception, and their future.”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/23/nearly-all-us-states-see-hefty-drop-in-teen-births/

Shrinks, critics face off over psychiatric manual

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In the new psychiatric manual of mental disorders, grief soon after a loved one's death can be considered major depression. Extreme childhood temper tantrums get a fancy name. And certain “senior moments” are called “mild neurocognitive disorder.” Those changes are just some of the reasons prominent critics say the American Psychiatric Association is out of control, turning common human problems into mental illnesses in a trend they say will just make the “pop-a-pill” culture worse. Says a former leader of the group: “Normal needs to be saved from powerful forces trying to convince us that we are all sick.” At issue is the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, widely known as the DSM-5. The DSM has long been considered the authoritative source for diagnosing mental problems. The psychiatric association formally introduces the nearly 1,000-page revised version this weekend in San Francisco. It's the manual's first major update in nearly 20 years, and a backlash has taken shape in recent weeks: - Two new books by mental health experts, “Saving Normal” and “The Book of Woe,” say the world's most widely used psychiatric guide has lost credibility. - A British psychologists' group is criticizing the DSM-5, calling for a “paradigm shift” away from viewing mental problems as a disease. An organization of German therapists also attacked the new guide. - Even the head of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health complained that the book lacks scientific validity. This week, the NIMH director, Dr. Thomas Insel, tried to patch things up as he and the psychiatrists group issued a joint statement saying they have similar goals for improving the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. The manual's release comes at a time of increased scrutiny of health care costs and concern about drug company influence over doctors. Critics point to a landscape in which TV ads describe symptoms for mental disorders and promote certain drugs to treat them. “Way too much treatment is given to the normal `worried well' who are harmed by it; far too little help is available for those who are really ill and desperately need it,” Dr. Allen Frances writes in “Saving Normal.” He is a retired Duke University professor who headed the psychiatry group's task force that worked on the previous handbook. He says the new version adds new diagnoses “that would turn everyday anxiety, eccentricity, forgetting and bad eating habits into mental disorders.” Previous revisions were also loudly criticized, but the latest one comes at a time of soaring diagnoses of illnesses listed in the manual - including autism, attention deficit disorder and bipolar disorder - and billions of dollars spent each year on psychiatric drugs. The group's 34,000 members are psychiatrists - medical doctors who specialize in treating mental illness. Unlike psychologists and other therapists without medical degrees, they can prescribe medication. While there has long been rivalry between the two groups, the DSM-5 revisions have stoked the tensions. The most contentious changes include: - Diagnosing as major depression the extreme sadness, weight loss, fatigue and trouble sleeping some people experience after a loved one's death. Major depression is typically treated with antidepressants. - Calling frequent, extreme temper tantrums “disruptive mood dysregulation disorder,” a new diagnosis. The psychiatric association says the label is meant to apply to youngsters who in the past might have been misdiagnosed as having bipolar disorder. Critics say it turns normal tantrums into mental illness. - Diagnosing mental decline that goes a bit beyond normal aging as “mild neurocognitive disorder.” Affected people may find it takes more effort to pay bills or manage their medications. Critics of the term say it will stigmatize “senior moments.” - Calling excessive thoughts or feelings about pain or other discomfort “somatic symptom disorder,” something that could affect the healthy as well as cancer patients. Critics say the term turns normal reactions to a disease into mental illness. - Adding binge eating as a new category for overeating that occurs at least once a week for at least three months. It could apply to people who sometimes gulp down a pint of ice cream when they're alone and then feel guilty about it. - Removing Asperger's syndrome as a separate diagnosis and putting it under the umbrella term “autism spectrum disorder.” Dr. David Kupfer, chairman of the task force that oversaw the DSM-5, said the changes are based on solid research and will help make sure people get accurate diagnoses and treatment. Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, the psychiatry association's incoming president, said challenging the handbook's credibility “is completely unwarranted.” The book establishes diagnoses “so patients can receive the best care,” he said, adding that it takes into account the most up-to-date scientific knowledge. But Insel, the government mental health agency chief, wrote in a recent blog posting that the guidebook is no better than a dictionary-like list of labels and definitions. He said he favors a very different approach to diagnosis that is based more on biological information, similar to how doctors diagnose heart disease or problems with other organs. Yet there's scant hard evidence pinpointing what goes wrong in the brain when someone develops mental illness. Insel's agency two years ago began a research project to create a new way to diagnose mental illness, using brain imaging, genetics and other evolving scientific evidence. That project will take years. The revisions in the new guide were suggested by work groups the psychiatric association assigned to evaluate different mental illnesses and recent research advances. The association's board of trustees decided in December which recommendations to include. Advocacy groups have threatened Occupy-style protests and boycotts at this week's meeting. “The psychiatric industry, allied with Big Pharma, have massively misled the public,” the Occupy Psychiatry group contends. Organizers include Alaska lawyer Jim Gottstein, who has long fought against overuse of psychiatric drugs. The new manual “will drastically expand psychiatric diagnosis, mislabel millions of people as mentally ill, and cause unnecessary treatment with medication,” says the website for the Committee to Boycott the DSM-5, organized by New York social worker Jack Carney. Committee member Courtney Fitzpatrick, whose 9-year-old son died seven years ago while hospitalized for a blood vessel disease, said she has joined support groups for grieving parents “and by no means are we mentally ill because we are sad about our kids that have died.” Gary Greenberg, a Connecticut psychotherapist and author of “The Book of Woe,” says pharmaceutical industry influence in psychiatry has contributed to turning normal conditions into diseases so that drugs can be prescribed to treat them. Many of the 31 task force members involved in developing the revised guidebook have had financial ties to makers of psychiatric drugs, including consulting fees, research grants or stock. Group leaders dismiss that criticism and emphasize they agreed not to collect more than $10,000 in industry money in the calendar year preceding publication of the manual.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/16/shrinks-critics-face-off-over-psychiatric-manual/