Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Emotional intelligence peaks as we enter our 60s, research suggests

Emotional intelligence peaks as we enter our 60s, research suggests
Older people may have a harder time keeping a lid on their feeings, but they’re better at seeing the positive side of a stressful situation

From a December 16, 2010 Eureka news alert

Older people have a hard time keeping a lid on their feelings, especially when viewing heartbreaking or disgusting scenes in movies and reality shows, psychologists have found. But they’re better than their younger counterparts at seeing the positive side of a stressful situation and empathizing with the less fortunate, according to research from the University of California, Berkeley.

A team of researchers led by UC Berkeley psychologist Robert Levenson is tracking how our emotional strategies and responses change as we age. Their findings – published over the past year in peer-review journals – support the theory that emotional intelligence and cognitive skills can actually sharpen as we enter our 60s, giving older people an advantage in the workplace and in personal relationships.

“Increasingly, it appears that the meaning of late life centers on social relationships and caring for and being cared for by others,” Levenson said. “Evolution seems to have tuned our nervous systems in ways that are optimal for these kinds of interpersonal and compassionate activities as we age.”

In the first study, researchers looked at how 144 healthy adults in their 20s, 40s and 60s reacted to neutral, sad and disgusting film clips. In particular, they examined how participants used techniques known as “detached appraisal,” “positive reappraisal” and “behavior suppression.” Heading up that study was Michelle Shiota, now an assistant professor of psychology at Arizona State University. The findings were published in the journal, Psychology and Aging.


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December 17, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

UCSF team finds new source of immune cells during pregnancy

Joseph M. McCune, MD, Ph.D. is a researcher at University of California – San Francisco.

From a December 16, 2010 Eureka news alert

UCSF researchers have shown for the first time that the human fetal immune system arises from an entirely different source than the adult immune system, and is more likely to tolerate than fight foreign substances in its environment.

The finding could lead to a better understanding of how newborns respond to both infections and vaccines, and may explain such conundrums as why many infants of HIV-positive mothers are not infected with the disease before birth, the researchers said.

It also could help scientists better understand how childhood allergies develop, as well as how to manage adult organ transplants, the researchers said. The findings are described in the Dec. 17 issue of Science and at www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6011/1695.full.html.

(Accompanying scientific commentary: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6011/1635.full.html)

Until now, the fetal and infant immune system had been thought to be simply an immature form of the adult system, one that responds differently because of a lack of exposure to immune threats from the environment. The new research has unveiled an entirely different immune system in the fetus at mid-term that is derived from a completely different set of stem cells than the adult system.

“In the fetus, we found that there is an immune system whose job it is to teach the fetus to be tolerant of everything it sees, including its mother and its own organs,” said Joseph M. McCune, MD, PhD, a professor in the UCSF Division of Experimental Medicine who is a co-senior author on the paper. “After birth, a new immune system arises from a different stem cell that instead has the job of fighting everything foreign.”

The team previously had discovered that fetal immune systems are highly tolerant of cells foreign to their own bodies and hypothesized that this prevented fetuses from rejecting their mothers’ cells during pregnancy and from rejecting their own organs as they develop….

December 17, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New superbug genes sure to spread, U.S. expert says

New superbug genes sure to spread, U.S. expert says

From a December 15 Reuters Health News item by Maggie Fox

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A little loop of genes that give bacteria the power to resist virtually all known antibiotics is spreading quickly and likely to cause doctors headaches for years to come, an expert predicted on Wednesday.

They come on the equivalent of a genetic memory stick — a string of genes called a transmissible genetic element. Bacteria, unlike higher forms of life, can swap these gene strings with other species and often do so with wild abandon.

This one is called New Delhi metallobeta-lactamase 1 or NDM-1 for short and Dr. Robert Moellering of Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston predicts it will cause more trouble in the coming years.

“What makes this enzyme so frightening is not only its intrinsic ability to destroy most known beta-lactam antibiotics but also the company it keeps,’ Moellering wrote in a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine.….

….

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are nothing new — virtually all strains of the common Staphylococcus bacteria are now resistant to penicillin. Almost as soon as penicillin was introduced in the 1940s, bacteria began to develop resistance to its effects, prompting researchers to develop many new generations of antibiotics.

But their overuse and misuse have helped fuel the rise of drug-resistant “superbugs.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says most infections that people get while in the hospital resist at least one antibiotic.

[Click here for the CDC Web page on Antibiotic Resistance
It contains detailed information under topics as About Antimicrobial Resistance and Diseases/Pathogens Associated with Antimicrobial Resistance.
References and Resources includes information on campaigns and surveillance systems as well as links to related podcasts, e-cards, and videos.  There are also links to government and organizational Web sites.

KILLER MRSA

For example, half of all Staphylococcus aureus infections in the United States are resistant to penicillin, methicillin, tetracycline and erythromycin. Methicillin-resistant staph aureus or MRSA killed an estimated 19,000 people in the United States alone in 2005.

NDM-1 resists many different types of antibiotic. In at least one case, the only drug that affected it was colistin, a toxic older antibiotic.

“Thus far, the majority of isolates in countries throughout the world can be traced to subjects who have traveled to India to visit family or have received medical care there,” Moellering wrote.

“However, the ability of this genetic element to spread rapidly among Enterobacteriaceae means that there will almost certainly be numerous secondary cases throughout the world that are unrelated to travel to the Indian subcontinent.”

Experts have been warning for years that poor hospital practices and the overuse of antibiotics spread dangerous bacteria, but practices are changing only slowly.

“The fact that there is widespread nonprescription use of antibiotics in India, a country in which some areas have less than ideal sanitation and a high prevalence of diarrheal disease and crowding, sets the ideal stage for the development of such resistance,” Moellering wrote….

 

 

December 17, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items, Public Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism

Ready or Not 2010

Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism

[Flahiff’s note: Here in Northwest Ohio, one area of concern is Lake Erie water sampling for organisms as E. coli and toxic algae. For years a private college was doing the testing with their own funds. The funds have dried up and the state is still trying to come up with reliable funding.]

A December 16 item from the listserv DISASTR-OUTREACH-LIB, by the Disaster Information Management Research Center***, U.S. National Library of Medicine.

The findings of this report by the Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are that budget cuts have imperiled a decade of progress in how the nation prevents, identifies, and contains new disease outbreaks and bioterrorism threats and responds to the aftermath of natural disasters.
Section 1 of the report provides a state by state evaluation on 10 key preparedness indicators in areas as funding, communication, planning, and staffing.
Section 2 of the report examines current federal policy issues and gives recommendations for improving disaster preparedness.
Gaps in preparedness are outlined (as workforce gaps) and examples of major emergency public health threats are identified. Hallmarks of all-hazards preparedness are also identified and National Health Security Strategy is outlined.
The report also includes expert perspectives national strategies and over 70 scientific/medical references in the endnotes section.

Key Findings of this Report (from page 5 of the report)

  • 33 states and D.C. cut funding for public health from FY 2008-09 to FY 2009-10.
  • Only 7 states can not currently share data electronically with health care providers.
  • 10 states do not have an electronic syndromic surveillance system that can report and exchange information.
  • Only six states reported that pre-identified staff were not able to acknowledge notification of emergency exercises or incidents within the target time of 60 minutes at least twice during 2007-08.
  • Six states did not activate their emergency operations center (EOC) a minimum of two times in 2007-08.
  • Only two states did not develop at least two After-Action Report/Improvement Plans (AAR/IPs) after exercises or real incidents in 2007-08.
  • 25 states do not mandate all licensed child care facilities to have a multi-hazard written evacuation and relocation plan.
  • 21 states were not able to rapidly identify disease-causing E.coli O157:H7 and submit the lab results in 90 percent of cases within four days during 2007-08.
  • Only three states and D.C. report not having enough staffing capacity to work five, 12-hour days for six to eight weeks in response to an infectious disease outbreak, such as novel influenza A H1N1.
  • Only one state decreased their Laboratory Response Network for Chemical Threats (LRN-C) chemical capability from August 10, 2009 to August 9, 2010.

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***Disaster Information Management Research Center

Disaster Information Management Research Center

The Disaster Information Management Research Center  (DIMRC) helpswith national emergency preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. As part of NLM’s Specialized Information Services (SIS) division, DIMRC collects, organizes, and disseminates health information resources and informatics research related to disasters of natural, accidental, or deliberate origin.

It focuses on maintaining access to health information during disasters and developing services and projects for emergency providers and managers . (From the DMIRC about page).

A sampling of DMIRC resources

  • Librarians and Disasters has links to resources and tools as a bibliography on the librarian’s role in disasters and links to related listservs. The Emergency Access Initiative provides temporary free access to full text articles from major biomedicine titles to healthcare professionals, librarians, and the public affected by disasters.


    December 17, 2010 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Public Health | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

       

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