These are my links for May 20th from 12:03 to 12:31:
- Bell’s Palsy Linked to Stroke Risk – Bell's palsy (BP) may be associated with an increased risk for stroke, a new study suggests.
The relationship may relate to exposure to herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or varicella-zoster viruses (VZVs), they speculate.
Ya-Ning Chiu, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, and colleagues, used data from a national database to compare the risk for stroke between a group of patients with a diagnostic code of BP and found an increase in risk for stroke in these patients vs controls.
Both HSV-1 and VZVs have been linked to risk for stroke, the study authors point out. These pathogens are thought to cause inflammation, promoting atherosclerosis and vasculopathy in the cerebral vasculature. Both viruses have also been linked to BP.
"Therefore, we speculated that the increased risk of stroke after BP may be due, at least in part, to the etiological link between viral reactivation and BP and the connection between viral infection and stroke," the study authors write.
The study was published online May 6 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry.
- Gambling Problems to Increase Worldwide, Experts Warn – With the burgeoning availability of gambling opportunities, the prevalence of gambling disorders, including pathological gambling and problem gambling, is likely to increase, new research suggests.
"Gambling disorders cause significant impairment," first study author David Hodgins, PhD, psychology professor at University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, told Medscape Medical News. It's important to note that treatment for gambling disorders "works and is available in many jurisdictions. Many countries have gambling helplines that provide treatment options for individuals."
He also noted that because gambling problems are often accompanied by other problems and disorders, "numerous professionals, including physicians, mental health therapists, substance abuse counselors, and financial counselors, are well positioned to screen and refer. We also have validated, easy to use, screening questions."
The seminar is published online May 19 in The Lancet.
In the article, Dr. Hodgins and 2 coauthors review prevalence of gambling disorders, as well as causes and associated features, screening and diagnosis, and treatment approaches.
For most people, they point out, gambling is a merely an enjoyable social activity. It's only a "small group of people [who] become too seriously involved in terms of time invested and money wagered, and they continue to gamble despite substantial and negative personal, social, family, and financial effects," the study authors note.
Gambling disorders have garnered increased attention from clinicians and researchers during the past 3 decades as gambling opportunities have expanded. Internet gambling, for example, now provides around-the-clock home access to several types of gambling activities to an increasing number of people around the world.
The prevalence of gambling disorders varies widely across the globe. For example, rates of problem gambling range from 0.2% in Norway to 5.3% in Hong Kong. In the United States, rates of pathological gambling range from 0.4% to 1.1% of adults, with an additional 1% to 2% identified as problem gamblers.
Increasing evidence implicates multiple neurotransmitter systems, including dopaminergic, serotonergic, and noradrenergic, in the pathophysiology of gambling disorders. Genetic factors are also thought to play a part, with evidence from twin studies suggesting some level of shared risk between identical twins. Environmental factors are also clearly involved, including accessibility to gambling and growing up with a parent with a gambling a gambling addiction.
Read it all then shuffle up and deal….
- Heavy Smoking Accompanies Postpartum Depression – Cigarette smoking should be a tip-off for the possibility of postpartum depression, according to a survey from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System. Results of a study suggesting this were presented here at American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 59th Annual Clinical Meeting.
The large survey showed that nearly 1 of every 3 mothers who reported smoking more than 10 cigarettes per day also had symptoms of clinical depression. Depression was more likely among heavier smokers who were younger, who were non-Hispanic black, and who had low levels of education.
"Our study suggests that screening and treatment of depression should be considered in all smoking-cessation programs that target new mothers," lead author Diana Cheng, MD, from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in Baltimore, told meeting attendees. The findings also suggest that healthcare workers should be alert to the possibility of postpartum depression in new mothers who are heavy smokers, and prescribe treatment accordingly, she added.
The study was based on a survey of a random sample of 8074 new mothers in Maryland who delivered babies between 2004 and 2008. Participants completed the survey between 2 and 9 months after delivery.
- Eating Disorder Guidelines Released – The Academy of Eating Disorders (AED) has published guidelines for detecting and managing eating disorders in primary care practice.
"Eating disorders are generally first picked up in primary care physicians' offices, but there is very little training in recognition, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of eating disorders in either medical school or residency," Mark Warren, MD, cochair of the task force that wrote the guidelines, noted in an interview with Medscape Medical News.
Eating Disorders: Critical Points for Early Recognition and Medical Risk Management in the Care of Individuals with Eating Disorders can be downloaded from the academy's Web site. There is also a brochure that can be downloaded for printing and distribution.
Designed to be user-friendly, the document provides a list of signs and symptoms and strategies to help general practitioners make an early diagnosis, medically stabilize patients, and initiate evidence-based care for patients with eating disorders.
Sections include what the physical examination should include; what laboratory and imaging studies to obtain; risk factors and prevention strategies for the refeeding syndrome, a potentially fatal shift of fluid and electrolytes that can occur when refeeding (orally, enterally, or parenterally) a malnourished patient; timely interventions; goals of treatment; and ongoing management.
Eating disorders can have life-threatening physical and psychological consequences, the task force notes, and they affect not only girls and women but also boys and men, people from all ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds, and people with a variety of body shapes, weights, and sizes.
"It is important to remember that eating disorders do not only affect females at low weight," the authors note, and that weight is not the only clinical marker of an eating disorder; people who are at normal weight can have an eating disorder.
- Social Media Proves a Powerful Measure of Voter Sentiment and Accurate Predictor of California Gubernatorial Race – My company, Activate Direct, teamed up with Tulchin Research and PWSMC Social Media consulting, to release a detailed study of social media content related to the 2010 California governor's race between candidates Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown. The study demonstrates how campaigns can use techniques of "social listening" as both a real-time poll and an ongoing focus group, augmenting traditional public opinion research methods and identifying potential crises early.
The analysis unlocked several key findings:
Social and polling data were closely correlated.
The ratio of positive to negative social sentiment was very much in line with the ratio of favorable to unfavorable ratings shown by traditional polling.
Social chatter was driven by key campaign events.
By analyzing the daily volume of social media chatter over the campaign timeline, it is clearly evident that peaks in social conversation volume coincided with major campaign events. There were three major peaks the team observed:
Brown's announcement that he would run for Governor
The primary election
The largest peak of all, the Nannygate scandal
The impact of Nannygate was significant. While Brown also had a negative spike during this time because of a related scandal ("Whoregate"), the overall gap between his positives and negatives is not nearly as far apart as Whitman's during this time, nor did Brown's negatives spike nearly to the same degree as Whitman's did over the same period.
Read it all
Will campaigns now hire news curator and social media consultants?
- Arsenic in Drinking Water Ups Risk of Heart Disease – Exposure to even moderate amounts of arsenic in drinking water increases the risk of heart disease, new research from Bangladesh shows, and this risk is further exacerbated in anyone who has ever smoked .
This is one of the first studies to quantify the risks of moderate exposure to arsenic in terms of cardiovascular disease and also the first time that a synergistic effect of smoking and arsenic exposure on CVD has been demonstrated, lead author of the new prospective cohort study, Dr Yu Chen (New York University School of Medicine, NY), told heartwire.
She explained that arsenic is a natural element that can enter drinking water supplies in areas where water is primarily sourced from groundwater, and previous studies have shown that high levels of arsenic (>500 µg/L) are associated with an increased risk of many cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension and ischemic heart disease, as well as cancer. "But it is not well established whether there is an association between low (<100 µg/L) or moderate levels (<300 µg/L) of arsenic exposure and cardiovascular mortality and subtypes of mortality, so we aimed to investigate this, and we also wanted to see whether the risks due to arsenic exposure were higher among smokers than nonsmokers," she commented. Chen and colleagues report their findings online May 5, 2011 in BMJ
- Cervical Cancer Screening Every 3 Years for Most Women – A single test for the human papillomavirus (HPV) was found to be superior in predicting cervical cancer or high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia than a single Pap test, according to a new study.
The results, which were highlighted at a press briefing held in advance of the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), confirmed that for women with a negative HPV test and normal cytology, a 3-year follow-up appears to be safe and appropriate.
Women who tested negative for HPV had a 5-year cancer risk that was similar to those who tested negative for HPV and had normal cytology (3.8 vs 3.2 per 100,000 women per year; P = .8). This was half the cancer risk of women who had a negative result on Pap testing only (3.8 vs 7.5 per 100,000 women per year; P = .3).
Concurrent HPV testing and cervical cytology (cotesting) is an approved and promising alternative to cytology alone in women 30 years and older. Screening guidelines from organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Cancer Society have endorsed the use of cotesting in this age group as a safe alternative to Pap testing alone.