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Some Supplements May Help Treat Anxiety

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 8 (UPI) — A systematic review by U.S. researchers finds some nutritional and herbal supplements can be effective to treat anxiety without serious side effects.

Shaheen Lakhan and Karen Vieira of the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation — a non-profit organization in Los Angeles that advocates for advancement of neurological and mental health patient welfare, education and research — says the research indicates strong evidence that extracts of passionflower, or kava, and combinations of L-lysine and L-arginine can help alleviate anxiety.

The researchers pooled the results of 24 studies involving more than 2,000 participants. Included in the review were 21 randomized-controlled trials, and of these 15 showed positive effects from either a nutritional or herbal remedy. Any reported side effects were mild to moderate, the researchers say.

“Our review and summary of the literature on herbal remedies and dietary supplements for anxiety should aid mental health practitioners in advising their patients and provide insight for future research in this field,” the researchers say in a statement. “We found mixed results — while passionflower or kava and L-lysine and L-arginine appeared to be effective, St. John’s Wort and magnesium supplements were not.”

However, for the kava, L-lysine and L-arginine supplements, more research needs to be done to establish the most effective dosage and to determine whether this varies between different types of anxiety or anxiety-related disorders, the researchers add.

The findings are published in the Nutrition Journal.

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High Fish Oil Link to Colon Cancer in Mice

EAST LANSING, Mich., Oct. 6 (UPI) — In a study of mice, U.S. researchers found high doses of fish oil induced severe colitis and colon cancer — a finding researchers described as “surprising.”

Study leader Jenifer Fenton, a food science and human nutrition researcher at Michigan State University, said the researchers hypothesized feeding fish oil enriched with docosahexaenoic acid to mice prone to inflammatory-like bowel disease would decrease their cancer risk.

“We actually found the opposite,” Fenton said in a statement. “We found that mice developed deadly, late-stage colon cancer when given high doses of fish oil — more importantly, with the increased inflammation, it only took four weeks for the tumors to develop.”

The study, published in the journal Cancer Research, found an increase in the severity of the cancer and an aggressive progression of the cancer in not only the mice receiving the highest doses of DHA but those receiving lower doses as well.

However, Fenton cautioned people may not need to avoid fish oil — with any nutrient, there is a “bell curve” effect, with those on the left deficient in a nutrient and those on the right in excess.

“Currently, there is a call by academics and the food industry to establish dietary guidelines for omega-3 consumption,” Fenton said. “Most Americans are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, and there is substantial evidence supporting the beneficial effects of the consumption.”

The findings support a growing body of literature implicating the harmful effects of high doses of fish oil in relation to certain diseases, Fenton added.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Medical Pot a Dilemma for Nurses, Staff

BRIGHTON, England, Sept. 3 (UPI) — Any drug use, including medical marijuana, should be put into patients’ medical records but British researchers say there is a lot of reluctance to do so.

Dr. Anita Green, a nurse consultant for the Sussex Partnership National Health Service Foundation Trust and the University of Brighton, and colleagues say medical marijuana is often obtained illegally and that can have consequences for those who use it — and create dilemmas for nurses and other healthcare professionals who care for them.

For the review, published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, the researchers studied more than 50 published papers, including professional and government guidance documents, reports and media coverage from 1996 to 2009.

“The literature on the medicinal use of cannabis (marijuana) repeatedly refers to changes that could improve people’s quality of life, like improved sleep, a better appetite and reduced depression and these perceived benefits have led to greater usage. However, it also states that far more research is needed and it is very important that patients are fully aware of the legal consequences of taking cannabis, together with the physical and psychological effects it may have on them,” Green says in a statement.

“It is also vital that the patient’s cannabis use is accurately documented in their records and that other professionals, such as pharmacists, doctors and substance misuse teams are brought in to provide advice, with their permission.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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British Scientist in Inuit Language Quest

CAMBRIDGE, England, Aug. 12 (UPI) — A British researcher says he is preparing for a yearlong expedition to Greenland, home of the Inuits, the world’s northernmost settled people.

Dr. Stephen Pax Leonard of Cambridge University will spend a year living with the northernmost Inuits, known as the Inughuits, in Qaanaaq in the far north of the country, the BBC reported Thursday.

Pax plans to learn their dialect, Inuktun, and record and archive the literature, songs and myths of the culture.

For centuries, the Inughuits have lived as hunter-gatherers in the remote region Leonard describes as the “cultural center of Greenland,” but their culture and language are threatened, he says.

“The reason for this is global warming,” Leonard says. “Their lifestyle is almost entirely based on hunting sea mammals … They insist on using the traditional methods of hunting — dog sleds and kayaks.

“And because the ice is thinning it’s becoming much more dangerous to travel and hunt that way,” he says.

At first Leonard will talk to Inughuits in Danish. He said he hopes to become fluent in the language quickly.

Only about 1,000 people speak Inuktun. Leonard said he hopes to record and describe it and then “give it back to the communities themselves in a form that future generations can use and understand.”

“If their language dies, their heritage and identity will die with it.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Requiring Masks Motivates Getting Flu Shot

OTTAWA, July 27 (UPI) — Campaigns can help persuade healthcare workers to get seasonal flu shots but requiring the unvaccinated to wear masks also works, Canadian researchers say.

Dr. Larry Chambers of the Elisabeth Bruyere Research Institute in Ottawa and colleagues says seasonal influenza immunization rates among healthcare workers in Canada remain less than 50 percent, but it is recommended that at least 90 percent of those in healthcare who deal with patients be immunized to protect against the seasonal flu virus.

The researchers conducted a systematic review of 12 studies on healthcare seasonal flu vaccinations, but they did not look at pandemic influenza programs.

The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, says in one hospital campaign in which staff completed a mandatory electronic form to decline vaccination, immunization coverage increased to 55 percent compared to the previous nine years which had rates of 21 percent to 38 percent.

However, when unvaccinated personnel were required to wear masks, seasonal flu vaccination rates increased from 33 percent to 52 percent.

“This review revealed gaps in the literature about the appropriate components to use to increase influenza immunization among health care personnel,” Chambers says in a statement.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Invasive Organism Found in Oregon Waters

COOS BAY, Ore., May 14 (UPI) — An invasive organism native to Japan has been discovered in two Oregon bays and could cause serious economic and environmental damage, scientists said.

The aggressive organism “colonial tunicate” — Didemnum vexillum — recently was found in Winchester Bay and Coos Bay after being named to a list of “100 Worst Invasive Species to Keep out of Oregon,” researchers at Oregon State University said in a release Thursday.

The organism smothers shellfish beds and fouls fishing nets, water intakes and docks.

“This is not a welcome addition to our bays and now the clock is ticking,” said Sam Chan, an invasive species specialist from Oregon State.

The state of Washington has spent more than $850,000 managing the tunicate invasion since the organism was discovered in Puget Sound several years ago.

“We’re reviewing the literature for successful eradication projects on rocky outcrops or jetties, but we’re not finding a lot,” researcher Rick Boatner said. “This is new ground for Oregon, and we’ll have to be creative with our solutions.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Study: 'Pre-born' Most Adoptable

PASADENA, Calif., April 26 (UPI) — British and U.S. researchers said the chances of adoption dramatically decrease after a baby is born.

Researchers at the London School of Economics and the California Institute of Technology and New York University said parents appear to favor babies who are close to being born as compared to babies already been born or early in gestation.

The researchers found non-African-American babies are seven times more likely to be chosen than African-American babies, and girls had slightly more than one-third higher chance than boys of attracting the attention of those seeking to adopt.

The study data came from a Web site run by an adoption intermediary who matched parents and birth mothers between 2004 to 2009.

“With biological children, the literature shows that there’s a slight but significant preference for boys over girls,” co-author Leeat Yariv of California Institute of Technology said in statement. “But, in adoption, there’s a very strong preference for girls over boys.”

The study is at hss.caltech.edu/~lyariv/Papers/Adoption.pdf.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Nicotine 'candy' Could Poison Children

BOSTON, April 19 (UPI) — Nicotine pellets — flavored with cinnamon or mint — resemble candy and may result in accidental nicotine poisoning in children, U.S. researchers said.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. produces dissolvable Camel Orbs, which promotional literature says contains 1 milligram of nicotine per pellet as well as Camel Strips, which contain 0.6 mg of nicotine per strip and Sticks, which contain 3.1 mg of nicotine per strip.

The products, sold as tobacco products, serve as a vehicle for nicotine for smokers in places where smoking is banned.

Lead author Gregory N. Connolly of the Harvard School of Public Health said in 2007, 6,724 tobacco-related poisoning cases were reported among U.S. children age 5 and under.

Connolly said 1 mg of nicotine can cause nausea and vomiting in small children, but a 4-year-old child ingesting 14 Strips or four Sticks and could suffer severe toxicity, while ingesting 16-27 Orbs could cause death.

“This product is called a ‘tobacco’ product, but in the eyes of a 4-year-old, the pellets look more like candy than a regular cigarette,” Connolly said in a statement.

“Nicotine is a highly addictive drug and to make it look like a piece of candy is recklessly playing with the health of children.”

The findings are published online in the journal Pediatrics.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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New Web Site Helps Forest Land Managers

WASHINGTON, March 24 (UPI) — The U.S. Forest Service says it has created an online database to help land managers understand the interactions of climate change, pathogens and forests.

The service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said changing climate alters patterns of forest disturbance. The searchable database is designed to explain how forest diseases will respond.

Officials said the U.S. forested area now annually infected by insects and pathogens is approximately 45 times the area affected by fire, with an economic impact nearly five times as great. The literature review shows climate change generally will lead to reductions in tree health and will improve conditions for some highly damaging pathogens.

The Forest Service said citations and summaries for more than 1,000 records of journal articles and working papers on forest pathogens and climate are retrievable at the Web site by author, topic, species or geographic area.

“This collaborative effort is the first of its kind to synthesize the information known about the interactions of climate change, pathogens and forests in a systematic and useful way for land managers addressing climate change,” officials said in a statement.

The database is available at http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/topics/insect_disease/.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Global Warming is Real, Despite Snowfall

DURHAM, N.C., March 2 (UPI) — A U.S. professor says one of the nation’s snowiest winters in recent history has led some people to erroneously question whether global warming is a fact.

Duke University Professor William Chameides — dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment and a member of the National Academy of Sciences — says global warming is a fact, no matter what the current temperature might be.

“There is a reason we call it global warming,” Chameides said. “Global temperatures can be warming, even if temperatures in the United States are not.”

He notes that while some areas have been experiencing wintry extremes, other regions of the world have had to contend with extreme heat waves, including Australia, Brazil and South Africa.

Even in the United States, January was the fourth-warmest January on record, he noted.

“This pattern of (higher) temperatures and stronger storms is consistent with climate models that show global warming will bring more extreme weather, specifically more severe storms with greater amounts of precipitation,” Chameides said. “A careful, objective, complete reading of the scientific literature reveals the scientific evidence that the globe is warming — and that this warming is connected to human activities.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in History, Literature, Snowpack & Ice0 Comments

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