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Posts Tagged ‘depression’

WebMD – Why Some Smokers Have a Harder Time Quitting

Posted by 4love2love on June 25, 2011

Study Shows Variation in Brain May Give Some Smokers More Pleasure From Nicotine
By Denise Mann
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

smoker and double helix overlay

May 16, 2011 — Quitting smoking is never easy, but some smokers have an even harder time kicking the habit, and now new research suggests that they may derive more pleasure form nicotine.

The new study, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may also help foster the development of more effective quitting strategies for certain smokers.

Researchers used PET scans to capture images of the number of “mu-opioid receptors” in the brains of smokers. Smokers with greater numbers of these receptors seem to derive more pleasure from nicotine, and as a result may have a harder time quitting.

“The brain’s opioid system plays a role in smoking rewards, and quitting smoking and some of the variability in our ability to quit among smokers is attributable to genetic factors,” says study researcher Caryn Lerman, PhD, director of Tobacco Use Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

“The ability to quit smoking is influenced by a number of psychological, social, and environmental factors, but also genetic factors,” she says. “For some people, genetic variations may make it more difficult to quit than for someone else who smokes the same amount for same amount of time,” Lerman says.

The study findings are more applicable to quitting smoking than becoming addicted in the first place, she says.

New Quitting Strategies/Tools Needed

There may be a role for personalized medicine when it comes to smoking cessation, Lerman says.  Personalized medicine takes the trial and error out of matching treatments by making decisions based on genetic profiles.

“Based on a person’s genetic background, we can select the optimal treatment,” she says. “It is a two-pronged approach of developing new medications and being able to make the best choice for a particular person based on existing options.”

Importantly, even diehard smokers should not take these findings to mean they can’t quit, she says.

“Don’t become fatalistic,” she says. “You may need particular approaches tailored to you,” she says. Going forward, “we hope to study this pathway in more detail to understand whether examining genetic background and the numbers of brain receptors can help us choose the right treatments for the right individual.”

Raymond S. Niaura, PhD, an associate director for science at the Schroeder Institute of the American Legacy Foundation, an antismoking group based in Washington, D.C., says that “there are genetic influences involved in becoming addicted to nicotine and tobacco and on how hard it is to quit smoking.”

The new findings provide “a peek into the genetic and underlying brain processes responsible for nicotine addiction,” he says.

Daniel Seidman, PhD, assistant clinical professor of medical psychology and the director of Smoking Cessation Services at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, agrees.“There are a lot of smokers and everybody gets lumped together, but there are a lot of patterns like with other types of addiction.”

This paper “points to a biological or genetic substrate which predisposes some people to have a hard time,” he says. Quitting smoking can be emotionally charged, he says. Symptoms typically include irritability, anger, and sad mood. “Some people are able to rally more and some may not bounce back as well because they have a harder time finding alternative sources of pleasure,” he says.

Agreeing with Niaura, Seidman says that some smokers seem to need nicotine replacement for longer periods of time. “When they come off nicotine patches or gum, it doesn’t feel right and it may be related to this subtype,” he says. “This is not a problem because nicotine replacement doesn’t cause cancer or go into yourlungs.”

People with this particular genetic variation may benefit from extended treatment, he says. “They may have a certain kind of sensitivity to nicotine, which could explain why they became addicted in the first place and why they may need to use nicotine replacement for a longer time than others.”

 

© 2011 WebMD, LLC.

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Reuters – Heart risks lower in men who get enough vitamin D

Posted by 4love2love on June 24, 2011

Amy Norton Reuters3:22 p.m. EDT, June 24, 2011

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Men who consume the recommended amount of vitamin D are somewhat less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than those who get little of the vitamin in their diets, a large U.S. study suggests.

Following nearly 119,000 adults for two decades, researchers found that men who got at least 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D each day — the current recommended amount — were 16 percent less likely to develop heart problems or a stroke, versus men who got less than 100 IU per day.

There was no such pattern among women, however, the researchers report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The authors say the findings do not prove that vitamin D, itself, deserves the credit for the lower risks seen in men. So they should not start downing supplements for the sake of their hearts.

“The evidence is not strong enough yet to make solid recommendations,” said lead researcher Dr. Qi Sun, a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health.

On the other hand, the apparent benefits were linked to vitamin D intakes near what’s already recommended: Last year, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a scientific advisory panel to the U.S. government, bumped up the recommended dose to 600 IU for most people. Adults older than 70 were told to get 800 IU.

So these latest findings may encourage more people to meet those guidelines, Sun said.

But as far as whether vitamin D cuts heart disease and stroke risk, the jury is still out.

Sun said that more answers should come from an ongoing clinical trial that is looking at whether a high dose of vitamin D (2,000 IU per day) can cut the risk of heart disease, stroke and other chronic diseases.

Clinical trials, wherein people are randomly assigned to a treatment or a placebo, are considered the “gold standard” of medical evidence.

So far, there have been few such randomized clinical trials testing vitamin D’s health effects.

A flurry of studies in recent years has linked higher vitamin D intake to lower risks of everything from diabetes, to severe asthma, heart disease, certain cancers and depression.

The problem with those studies is that were “observational” — researchers looked at people’s vitamin D intake, or their blood levels of the vitamin, and whether they developed a given health condition. Those kinds of studies cannot prove cause-and-effect.

The current study was also observational, based on data from two long-term projects that have followed two large groups of U.S. health professionals since the 1980s.

Out of 45,000 men, there were about 5,000 new cases of cardiovascular disease over the study period. These were defined by an incident of heart attack, stroke, or death attributed to cardiovascular disease.

After accounting for a range of factors — like age, weight, exercise levels and other diet habits, such as fat intake – Sun’s team found that men who got at least 600 IU of vitamin D from food and supplements had a 16 percent lower risk of heart attack and stroke compared to men who got less than 100 IU of vitamin D per day.

For women, though, there was no correlation between vitamin D intake and cardiovascular health.

It’s not clear why that is, Sun said. One possibility is that women may have less active vitamin D circulating in the blood; vitamin D is stored in fat, and women typically have a higher percentage of body fat than men do.

But more research is needed, Sun said, to know whether real biological differences underlie the current findings.

In theory, vitamin D could help ward off heart disease and stroke; lab research suggests that it may help maintain healthy blood vessel function and blood pressure levels, reduce inflammation in the blood vessels, and aid blood sugar control.

But until clinical trials help show whether vitamin D works, Sun advised people to stick with the tried-and-true ways of protecting their hearts: maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet and not smoking.

“There are many established ways to lower your cardiovascular disease risk,” Sun said. “People can focus on those measures.”

As for vitamin D, the sun is the major natural source, since sunlight triggers vitamin D synthesis in the body. Food sources are relatively few and include fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, and fortified dairy products and cereals.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/irO9Xe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online June 8, 2011.

Copyright © 2011, Reuters

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ABC News – Missing Ohio Mom Sara Apple and 4-Year-Old Son Max Disappeared Four Days Ago

Posted by 4love2love on June 13, 2011

If you would like to view this article and the related videos and other articles, please go to ABC News
PHOTO: Missing Ohio mom Sara Apple and her 4-year-old son Max.

Missing Ohio mom Sara Apple and her 4-year-old son Max. (courtesy Patricia and Mark Yohman)
June 13, 2011

Patricia Yohman broke down crying today as she described her daughter and grandson, who both disappeared from Newark, Ohio, four days ago reportedly en route to Yohman’s house.

“I just want her to let someone know that she’s out there and that she’s safe,” Yohman said, referring to her daughter Sara Apple.

Apple, 24, works as a bank teller. When she got off of work on Thursday, she picked up her son Max, 4, from a babysitter and told her husband and babysitter that she was going to spend the night at her mother’s home.

Ohio police with the help of the FBI are searching for the missing duo.

Yohman said that she never talked to her daughter on the day she and Max disappeared and they had not planned for the two to spend the night at her house.

“The last time I talked to her was Wednesday,” said Yohman. “She was over for a family cookout and she was happy and seemed like everything was fine.”

Yohman began crying when she described her petite daughter with long brown hair.

“She has a huge heart and she would do anything for anyone. She’s a good mother,” Yohman said through tears. “Max is a very outgoing little boy and he would talk to anyone. He looks just like his mom”

Newark police told ABC News that they haven’t ruled out the possibility of foul play.

Search for Mom and Young Son Missing for Four Days in Ohio

They are using the help of the FBI in their search efforts and have alerted authorities in North and South Carolina to be on the lookout for Apple’s 1994 White Saturn Ion. Apple has family on her father’s side that lives in that region. She recently reconnected with them, but has never met them, police said.

Apple’s husband and Max’s father, Chris Apple, is not a person of interest in the disappearance of his wife and son, police said.

“He’s been very cooperative. We’ve searched the residence a couple of times. There’s no evidence of any kind. We’ve taken steps to verify his statements to us and his veracity,” Newark Police Sgt. Scott Snow said.

Snow said that there is no history of domestic violence between the couple, but that they were having “domestic disquietude.”

Police said that Apple recently stopped taking prescription medication. The medication was to reportedly treat depression, the Newark Advocate reported.

Apple’s family was not aware of any marital problems or medication.

Family, friends and volunteers have been handing out flyers and started aFacebook group to help in their search.

Max is 3 feet tall with brown hair and brown eyes. Apple is 5 feet tall and about 140 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. The White Saturn Ion has a license plate of FCQ-5079.

Anyone with any information is encouraged to call the Newark Division of Police at (740) 670-7201 or (740) 670-7934.

Copyright © 2011 ABC News

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