Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesay's News 11 18 2008

Scientists scratch heads over why we itch

"Why we can't stop scratching remains a big puzzle for researchers," said Zhou-Feng Chen, a neuroscientist at Washington University, St. Louis.

"Itch can be devastating to patients and lead to extensive loss of quality of life," said Matthias Ringkamp, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. "Unfortunately, the treatment of itch is often unsatisfactory."

The recent discovery of an "itchy gene," however, may offer hope for better treatments, Chen said. A drug to block that gene might relieve the distress of itching.

Specialists on pruritus - the scientific term for itching - described their work Monday at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington.

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Does growth hormone drug slow Alzheimer's disease?

A new study shows that a drug that increases the release of growth hormone failed to slow the rate of progression of Alzheimer's disease in humans. The new research is published in the November 18, 2008, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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Healthiest U.S. City: Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln, Neb. is the healthiest city in the U.S., and Huntington, W.V. is the least healthy, 2007 CDC data reveal.

The CDC's city-by-city report is based on annual health surveys. Residents were asked to rate their health as excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor.

Topping the list was Lincoln, Neb., where 92.8% of residents say their health is good or better and only 7.2% report fair or poor health.

At the bottom of the list is Huntington, W.V., where only 68.8% of residents say they enjoy good or better health, and a whopping 31.2% report only fair or poor health.

Some news reports have put Burlington, Vt., at the top spot. Those reports are based on 2006 CDC data. In the most recent available data, from 2007, Burlington ranks fourth behind Lincoln, Fargo, N.D., and Boulder Colo., according to the CDC's Selected Metropolitan/Micropolitan Area Risk Trends (SMART) database.

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Kidney Disease Takes a Growing Toll

In February 2005, Rita Miller, a party organizer in Chesapeake, Va., felt exhausted from what she thought was the flu. She was stunned to learn that persistent high blood pressure had caused such severe kidney damage that her body could no longer filter waste products from her blood.

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Protect the Preemies - November 18th Is Premature Baby Awareness Day

My mother always tells the story that my brother and I didn’t want to be Fall babies as predicted and were stubborn enough to be born in the Summer months. Although my older brother and I are three years apart, we were both born three months early, the preemie-preemies. Hospitals have come a long way since the 1980s but premature birth is still a huge risk for babies and for those that survive, just the fact that the babies weren’t fully developed in the womb before birth can cause health and mental problems down the line.

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Half of primary-care doctors in survey would leave medicine

Nearly half the respondents in a survey of U.S. primary care physicians said that they would seriously consider getting out of the medical business within the next three years if they had an alternative.

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More American kids went hungry last year
USDA: Number jumped 50 percent in 2007 — that's nearly 700,000 children

Some 691,000 children went hungry in America sometime in 2007, while close to one in eight Americans struggled to feed themselves adequately even before this year’s sharp economic downturn, the Agriculture Department reported Monday.

The department’s annual report on food security showed that during 2007 the number of children who suffered a substantial disruption in the amount of food they typically eat was more than double the 430,000 in 2006 and the largest figure since 716,000 in 1998.

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