Thursday, September 20, 2012

Neurodevelopment In Babies Affected By Passive Smoking

A new study shows that newborns that have been exposed to nicotine from both active and passive smoking mothers show poor physiological, sensory, motor and attention responses.

Smoking during pregnancy has been linked to many different problems in infants like learning difficulties, attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity and even obesity.

However, although the paediatric and obstetric disorders linked to tobacco during this stage are well defined, the effects on neonatal behaviour have not yet been studied in depth.

A new study headed by experts at the Behaviour Evaluation and Measurement Research Centre (CRAMC) of the Rovira i Virgili University and published in the Early Human Development journal goes further and analyses the effects of passive smoking during pregnancy on the newborn.

The scientists evaluated the behaviour of 282 healthy newborns using the Neonatal Behavioural Evaluation Scale. This allows for interaction with the newborn in order to evaluate its behaviour and responses between 48 and 72 hours after birth.

From those mothers studied, 22% smoked during pregnancy and hardly 6% were exposed to passive smoking. Out of the smoking mothers, 12.4% had between 1 and 5 cigarettes a day; 6.7% had between 6 and 10 a day; and 2.8% had between 10 and 15 a day. None of them smoked more than 15 cigarettes a day.

"Newborns who have had intrauterine exposure to nicotine, whether in an active or passive way, show signs of being more affected in terms of their neurobehavioural development.

This could be an indicator of pathologies, independently of sociodemographic, obstetric and paediatric factors," as explained to SINC by Josefa Canals and Carmen Hernández, the lead authors of the study.

The results reveal that those born to smoking and passive smoking mothers score low in their ability to inhibit stimuli that could alter the central nervous system - buy Zyban.

Furthermore, children of passive smoking mothers have poor motor development and those of smoking mothers have less ability to regulate behaviour and response in physiological, sensor, motor and attention terms.

"Health professionals should encourage future mothers and their families to eliminate or reduce tobacco consumption," states Canals, who outlines the importance of informing mothers on the effects of involuntary exposure to cigarette smoke in order to prevent direct damage to the foetus and infant development.

Smoking during pregnancy

Smoking during pregnancy is one of the biggest yet changeable causes of illness and death for both mother and infant. Nonetheless, epidemiological studies show that between 11% and 30% of pregnant women smoke or are passively exposed to tobacco smoke.

When a pregnant woman smokes, nicotine concentrations in the foetus reach more than 15% of that of the mother. In Spain, 43.5% of women between 25 and 44 years of age smoke but this percentage during pregnancy falls to approximately 26.6%.

"However, although women tend to reduce their normal tobacco consumption when falling pregnant, the key is to study the effects of exposure to small amounts of smoke on foetal development," conclude Canals and Hernández.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Deep vein thrombosis among patients with mental disorders

The use of anti-embolism stockings commonly used among the passengers and general hospitals to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Wearing anti-embolism stockings was evaluated as the number one intervention for safer health care practices, however, we should emphasize that drug therapy as a treatment option and certain medical conditions may preclude their use.  

Anecdotal evidence suggests that this condition is not adequately assessed mental health, despite recent initiatives to promote physical well-being among users of mental health services. Unfortunately, there is clear documented evidence that the risks associated with the disease among the general population's mental health is quite real and should be seriously considered by mental health care at the earliest opportunity.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a potentially life-threatening disease is the formation of a blood clot or thrombus inside a deep vein usually leg muscles. According to an article in the European Journal of Psychiatry incidence greater than 1 in 1,000 deaths and more than 15% in the first 3 months after diagnosis were recorded. In the UK Royal Marsden Hospital Manual of Clinical Nursing Practice states that all patients admitted to hospital should have taken the risk assessment for DVT, and the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued clinical guidelines on this issue have not yet mentioned the risks of psychiatric care (NICE, 2010 rule number 92).
For mental health patient population identified additional risks apply in excess of other groups of patients. During the hospitalization, some patients may need to be restrained, and this may, in accordance with Zaragoza (2009) increase the risk of blood clots. Severe depression is a risk factor as the use of buy Zyban for the treatment of other psychiatric disorders with increased risk in patients who have been prescribed atypical antipsychotics (Parker, C. Coupland, C. Hippisley-Cox, J 2010).  

A study conducted by Dr. Gwen Zornberg at the school of medicine in Boston found that patients prescribed antipsychotic drugs are seven times more likely to develop DVT than patients who were given placebo, the risk of blood during the first three months of treatment.
When it was decided to recommend the use of anti-embolism stockings, the patient must be measured and are in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. As mentioned earlier there are a number of health conditions that contraindicate their use, and patients are warned about all possible alternatives, including use, where appropriate, pharmacotherapy.
Mental health, especially nurses must continue to adequately assess and analyze the physical aspects of their patients / service users, as well as their emotional and buy Zyban online. Time and increasing stress, unfortunately one of the main obstacles imposed by health care workers, but that should never encroach on the character and quality of care for those entrusted to us.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How Good Bacteria Naturally Fight Infection

Scientists have discovered how good bacteria in the body behave to boost the immune system and fight infection. Bacteria that flourish in the human body have long been known to help boost immunity, and now researchers know how it naturally happens.
Bacteria can cause harm while others help human health and fight against infection. The skin, respiratory tract and digestive system contain bacteria known as commensal bacteria that perform a variety of functions including boosting immunity. Bacteria in the digestive system, of which there are 500 to 1000 different species, are an example of good bacteria that naturally help fight infection.
A study from researchers at Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine, led by Katherine L. Knight, PhD, studied spores from a type of bacteria found in the digestive tract from the Bacillus species. When bacteria make spores from their own DNA it is in response to stress – such as infection from bacteria and virus. When the researchers exposed an immune fighting blood cell, called a B-lymphocyte to the spores they found the lymphocytes increased in numbers to defend the body against infection.
They also found out that the spores and lymphocytes bind together to fight infection. The binding of spores to molecules on the immune fighting cells triggers division and reproduction of B-lymphocytes to help conquer infection.
The researchers suggest the discovery about how good bacteria fight infection could lead to novel ways to treat individuals with weakened immune systems. Dr. Knight warns research would take years, but now scientists know more about how good bacteria naturally fight infection.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Anesthesia Can Increase Post-Surgical Pain

The general anesthesia that puts patients into unconscious sleep so they do not feel surgical pain can increase the discomfort they feel once they wake up, say researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center. They say their findings, the first to scientifically explain what has been anecdotally observed in the clinic, may lead to wider use of the few anesthetics that don’t have this side effect, or to the development of new ones.
In the June 23rd issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the scientists report that “noxious” anesthesia drugs – which most of these general anesthetics are – activate and then sensitize specific receptors on neurons in the peripheral nervous system. These are the sensory nerves in the inflammation and pain pathway that are not affected by general anesthesia drugs that target the central nervous system – the brain and the spinal cord.
“The choice of anesthetic appears to be an important determinant of post-operative pain,” says the study’s lead investigator, Gerard Ahern, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology at Georgetown University Medical Center. “We hope these findings are ultimately helpful in providing more comfort to patients.”
It has long been known that general anesthetics cause irritation at the infusion site or in the airways when inhaled, Ahern says. And investigators have also known that while they suppress the central nervous system, they can activate so called “pain-sensing” or nociceptive nerve cells on the peripheral nervous system – in fact, anesthesiologists often first use a drug to suppress inflammation and pain before delivering the anesthesia to put the patient to sleep.
But what has not been understood is the specific mechanism by which anesthetics affect sensory neurons, or that they can continue to cause pain and inflammation even as they are being used during surgery, he says.
The researchers tested the hypothesis that two specific receptor on the nerves cells (TRPV1 and TRPA1) which are often expressed together and which also react to other irritants, such as garlic and wasabi, were the ones activated by the noxious drugs.
“Plants produce chemicals such as capsaicin, mustard and garlic that were meant to stop animals from eating them. When they are eaten, the two main receptors that react to them are TRPV1 and TRPA1,” he says. In fact, TRPA1 is more commonly known as the mustard-oil receptor, and is a principal receptor in the pain pathway, Ahern says.
Experiments showed that general anesthetics appear to regulate TRPA1 in a direct fashion, and are thus responsible for the acute noxious effects of the drugs. Perhaps the strongest evidence is that mice bred without TRPA1 genes demonstrate no pain when the drugs are administered and used, Ahern says. “Most general anesthetics activate the mustard oil receptor, and animals that don’t have the receptor don’t have irritation,” he says.
The research team also found that nerve-mediated inflammation was greater when pungent (chemical irritants) versus non-pungent inhaled general anesthetics were used.
What both findings suggest is that sensory nerve stimulation throughout the body just before and during surgery adds to the pain that is felt after the patient is awake, Ahern says. “This is a provocative finding in terms of the clinical setting, because it was not really recognized that use of these drugs results in release of lots of chemicals that recruit immune cells to the nerves, which causes more pain or inflammation.”
Some general anesthetics do not activate the mustard-oil receptor, but they may not be as effective in other ways, Ahern says. “This tells us that there is room for improvement in these drugs.”

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sign Language Via Cell Phone, You Heard Right

Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may soon have access to a cell phone capable of transmitting American sign language. University of Washington engineers are working on a device that can optimize compressed video signals for sign language.
Cell phone usage is ubiquitous: according to, 89 percent of Americans used a cell phone in 2009. But there are many people who are not included in this statistic because they have a medical challenge that does not allow them to use a traditional mobile phone.

Mobile Video Phones Make Sign Language Possible

The MobileASL (American Sign Language) team has been working to change that. They have improved the quality of the image around the hands and face on video phone transmissions, and they also use motion detection to identify when a person is signing, which can extend the phone’s battery life when the video is being used.
The University of Washington engineers recently completed its first field test of the video phone device along with 11 volunteers in a summer program for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Eve Riskin, a UW professor of electrical engineering, explained that although they knew the cell phones worked in a lab, they wanted to test them in real life.
“This is the first study of how deaf people in the United States use mobile video phones,” she said. “The field study is an important step toward putting this technology into practice,” because it allowed the participants to test the phones in their daily lives for three weeks.
In this study, the average call duration was 90 seconds, and the volunteers made about 200 calls during the first two and a half weeks of the study. Although most of the study participants said they currently preferred to use texting or e-mail for distance communication, they rated their experience with the MobileASL phone as a positive one.
One of the volunteers noted that while texting is good for short messages, use of the video mobile phone is similar to “making a real phone call.” Texting can be confusing, while the MobileASL phone can eliminate that problem. Tong Song, a Chinese national who is studying at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, pointed out that “with the MobileASL phone people can see each other eye to eye, face to face, and really have better understanding.”
New high-end cell phones, such as the iPhone 4 and the HTC Evo, offer video conferencing, but broadband companies have blocked video conferencing from their networks and will be offering expensive plans for heavy users. The UW engineers estimate that iPhone’s FaceTime video conferencing service uses nearly 10 times the bandwidth of MobileASL.
Riskin noted that “We want to deliver affordable, reliable ASL on as many devices as possible.” The UW engineers say the MobileASL system could be integrated with any of the new, high-tech devices that have a video camera on the same side as the screen. Hopefully it won’t be long before deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals have a cell phone they can use to communicate via sign language.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Medical Professionals Endorse WHO Checklist For Safer Surgery

A new safety checklist for surgical procedures developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) won the endorsements of nearly 250 health organizations from over 40 countries at a launching event yesterday at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Washington, D.C.
The endorsements include “70 professional associations, ministries of health and hospitals from 29 countries in the Americas,” said PAHO Director Mirta Roses. “Our participation in ‘Safe Surgery Saves Lives’ is an important step to bring forward the patient safety agenda in the Americas.”
The new Surgical Safety Checklist, from WHO’s World Alliance for Patient Safety, offers simple step-by-step guidelines that surgical teams should follow before and after any operation to ensure patient safety. The guidelines range from making sure the right patient is being operated on at the right body site to estimating the amount of blood loss that can be expected. WHO estimates that adherence to the checklist could prevent some 3.5 million deaths and major disabilities annually.
“There are 7 million deaths and disabilities due to complications of surgery every year around the world,” said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan in a special message for the event. “Half of these could be avoided by following basic standards of care.”
About 234 million major surgical procedures are performed worldwide each year, or 1 for every 25 human beings, according to a WHO-sponsored study published this week in the medical journal The Lancet. This is more than twice the number of childbirths, and “there are 10 to 100 times more complications due to surgery than to childbirth,” said Dr. Atul Gawande, coauthor of the study and team leader for the development of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist. Gawande’s study estimates that 1 million people die during or immediately after surgery each year, and that half of these deaths could be prevented through safer practices.
Gawande said his team borrowed the checklist concept from the aviation industry, which has used pre-flight checklists effectively to reduce accidents resulting from human error. He said the team’s short-term goal is to have the checklist used in 2,500 hospitals by the end of next year.
The Surgical Safety Checklist divides surgery into three phases: “Sign in,” before anesthesia is administered; “Time Out,” before skin incision; and “Sign Out,” before the patient leaves the operating room. WHO recommends that a single “checklist coordinator” take responsibility for confirming that each member of the surgical team has completed his or her required tasks before the operation can begin. Among the issues covered in the checklist are:
(Before the operation)
* The patient’s identity and the exact surgical site
* The procedure to be performed
* Known patient allergies
* Antibiotics have been administered within 60 minutes of the operation
(After the operation)
* All instruments, sponges and needles are accounted for
* Labeling of specimens
* Plans for postoperative care
WHO has begun testing the checklist’s effectiveness through pilot projects in eight countries: Canada, India, Jordan, New Zealand, Philippines, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Based on preliminary data from 1,000 operations, “We have already seen significant reductions in deaths and disabilities,” said Gawande.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Adults Not Getting Recommended Vaccinations

Have you received all of your recommended vaccinations? If you are older than 18, chances are you have not gotten your recommended vaccination for tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (Td/Tdap), nor the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV). If you are older than 65, you may be among the one-third of your peers who did not get vaccinated against pneumonia.
It seems that adults are much better at making sure their children get their recommended vaccinations than they are at lining up for their own. According to a new report issued by the Trust for America’s Health, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 33.1 percent of adults ages 65 and older did not get vaccinated against pneumonia in 2008, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all seniors receive the vaccination. The area with the worst pneumonia vaccination record was Washington, D.C., with 45.6 percent of seniors not immunized. Oregon seniors had the best record, with 26.8 percent avoiding the vaccine.
The new report, entitled Adult Immunization: Shots to Save Lives, notes that an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 adults in the United States die each year from illnesses that could have been prevented if they had gotten their routine and recommended vaccinations. Compared with the pneumonia vaccine figures, the report shows that 90 percent of eligible adult women have not had their HPV vaccine, and 97.9 percent of eligible adults had shunned their tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough vaccine in the previous two years. Adults also avoided their seasonal flu vaccine in 2008, with 63.9 percent not being vaccinated.
The report addressed the reasons why so many adults fail to get their recommended vaccinations. Some of them include: failure of insurance to cover the cost of vaccines, most adults do not work in places that require vaccinations, many adults do not believe vaccines are safe or effective, and many adults who do not have health insurance cannot afford vaccines.
To overcome these obstacles, the authors of the report recommend that health insurance, including Medicare, cover the cost of vaccines; that doctors offer vaccines during regular exams and screenings; that the public be educated about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines; and that vaccines be covered for adults who do not have health insurance.
The public can access the report on adult vaccinations on the Trust for America’s Health website. A complete schedule of recommended vaccinations for adults can be seen on the CDC website.