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U.S. Preschools Not Reaching Potential

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Oct. 23 (UPI) — U.S. preschool varies widely from state to state and within states and, as a result, narrows the achievement gap much less than it could, researchers say.

Robert C. Pianta of the University of Virginia, W. Steven Barnett of Rutgers University in New Jersey, Margaret Burchinal of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Kathy R. Thornburg of the University of Missouri reviewed publicly funded preschool, which include child-care centers, Head Start and state-funded pre-kindergarten.

The study, published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, found there is such a wide variety of basic aims, funding, program models and staff qualifications, it seems as if no two preschool programs are alike.

For example, one 3-year-old child enrolled in a publicly funded preschool could attend for 8 hours a day and be taught by a teacher with a bachelor’s degree, while another 3-year-old may go for a few hours a day and have a teacher with a two-year degree.

Numerous studies show preschool can result in less grade repetition, higher rates of high-school graduation and improved social behavior. However, the prevalence of low-quality U.S. preschool programs closes the achievement gap by perhaps 5 percent rather than the 30 percent to 50 percent possible if all preschool programs were of higher quality, the researchers concluded.

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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Cataract Surgery May Reduce Auto Crashes

CHICAGO, Oct. 23 (UPI) — Cataract surgery improves vision for older people with a corresponding reduction in car crashes, researchers in Australia say.

Dr. Jonathon Ng at the Curtin University in Bentley, Australia, and the Eye & Vision Epidemiology Research Group and colleagues studied accident rates for Western Australian residents before and after cataract surgery on the first eye.

The study involved 27,827 patients — age 60 and older — who had a cataract removed from one eye from 1997 to 2006. Patient records were linked to the Western Australian Road Injury Database to identify those involved in a motor vehicle crash 12 months prior to and 12 months following cataract surgery dates.

The majority involved in crashes were men ages 70-79 who lived in metropolitan areas.

“We found cataract surgery reduced the frequency of all crashes by 12.6 percent after accounting for other potential confounders and the cost savings from this reduction amounted to about $4.3 million,” Ng, the study leader, said. “Each operation saved about $150 in crash costs. By including all crashes rather than just fatal and hospitalization crashes, all possible benefits of cataract surgery were taken into account.”

The findings were presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology — Middle East-Africa Council of Ophthalmology Joint Meeting.

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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Intervention Helps Cancer Patients' Moms

HOUSTON, Oct. 23 (UPI) — Researchers in Texas and California say an intervention can help mothers cope with their child’s cancer.

Mothers of newly diagnosed patients at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, as well as at Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center of Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach in California, decreased their stress level sooner and sustained that level longer with the intervention known as Problem-Solving Skills Training.

The multi-institutional randomized trial, conducted through the Psychosocial Adaptation to Childhood Cancer Research Consortium, found three months after their child’s initial diagnosis, the stress levels of mothers who received the intervention had decreased twice as much as mothers who had no intervention.

The study also showed mothers who spoke Spanish had the most significant response to the training compared with English-speaking and Arabic-speaking mothers.

“The new certified intervention has proven to be more effective long term compared to other psychological methods,” the study authors say in a statement.

The findings were reported at the 42nd Congress of the International Society of Pediatric Oncology.

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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Intervention Helps Cancer Patients's Moms

HOUSTON, Oct. 23 (UPI) — Researchers in Texas and California say an intervention can help mothers cope with their child’s cancer.

Mothers of newly diagnosed patients at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, as well as at Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center of Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach in California, decreased their stress level sooner and sustained that level longer with the intervention known as Problem-Solving Skills Training.

The multi-institutional randomized trial, conducted through the Psychosocial Adaptation to Childhood Cancer Research Consortium, found three months after their child’s initial diagnosis, the stress levels of mothers who received the intervention had decreased twice as much as mothers who had no intervention.

The study also showed mothers who spoke Spanish had the most significant response to the training compared with English-speaking and Arabic-speaking mothers.

“The new certified intervention has proven to be more effective long term compared to other psychological methods,” the study authors say in a statement.

The findings were reported at the 42nd Congress of the International Society of Pediatric Oncology.

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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Men with Prostate Cancer, Get Colon Exam

BUFFALO, N.Y., Oct. 23 (UPI) — Men who have prostate cancer should not miss having routine colonoscopies because they have significantly more abnormal colon polyps, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Ognian Pomakov of the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and a gastroenterologist at the Buffalo VA Medical Center and first author Madhusudhan Sunkavalli, a University at Buffalo medical resident, say the study involved 2,011 men who had colonoscopies at the Buffalo VAMC.

The researchers reviewed patient records, colonoscopy reports and pathology reports, as well as data on the prevalence of abnormal colon polyps, or adenomas, advanced adenomas, cancerous adenomas and their location within the colon.

The study compared the colonoscopy findings of 188 patients diagnosed with prostate cancer with the rest of the patients, who served as controls.

The study found the prostate cancer patients had a significantly higher prevalence of abnormal polyps and advanced adenomas, compared with the control group.

The findings were presented at the American College of Gastroenterology meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

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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Cataract Surgery May Reduce Auto Crashes

CHICAGO, Oct. 23 (UPI) — Cataract surgery improves vision for older people with a corresponding reduction in car crashes, researchers in Australia say.

Dr. Jonathon Ng at the Curtin University in Bentley, Australia, and the Eye & Vision Epidemiology Research Group and colleagues studied accident rates for Western Australian residents before and after cataract surgery on the first eye.

The study involved 27,827 patients — age 60 and older — who had a cataract removed from one eye from 1997 to 2006. Patient records were linked to the Western Australian Road Injury Database to identify those involved in a motor vehicle crash 12 months prior to and 12 months following cataract surgery dates.

The majority involved in crashes were men ages 70-79 who lived in metropolitan areas.

“We found cataract surgery reduced the frequency of all crashes by 12.6 percent after accounting for other potential confounders and the cost savings from this reduction amounted to about $4.3 million,” Ng, the study leader, said. “Each operation saved about $150 in crash costs. By including all crashes rather than just fatal and hospitalization crashes, all possible benefits of cataract surgery were taken into account.”

The findings were presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology — Middle East-Africa Council of Ophthalmology Joint Meeting

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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Bad Neighborhood Can Lead to Bad Health

INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 23 (UPI) — Living in a deprived urban neighborhood puts diabetics at a significantly higher risk of losing mobility, a study of African-Americans with the disease found.

Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis said residing in a neighborhood with low air quality, loud traffic/industrial noise or poorly maintained streets and yards makes it more likely African-Americans with diabetes will develop problems walking.

While the researchers had expected these diabetic patients would be more prone to lower-body functional limitations, they say they were surprised to find a double jeopardy situation.

“Having diabetes is bad, living under adverse neighborhood conditions is bad, but people with diabetes who live in adverse neighborhood conditions quite remarkably were up to 80 times more likely to develop lower body functional limitations than those having the disease or living under these neighborhood conditions alone,” Dr. Douglas Miller, the study’s senior author, said in a statement.

“In fact, in our study about 8 out of 10 people who developed lower body functional limitations were diabetics who lived in adverse neighborhood conditions.”

The study, published online in BMC Public Health, had adjusted for exercise so Miller said lack of exercise was not a factor accounting for the diminished abilities. He suggested adverse living conditions may have caused higher oxidative stress, which exacerbated lower body function problems.

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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U.S. Preschools Not Reaching Potential

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Oct. 23 (UPI) — U.S. preschool varies widely from state to state and within states and, as a result, narrows the achievement gap much less than it could, researchers say.

Robert C. Pianta of the University of Virginia, W. Steven Barnett of Rutgers University in New Jersey, Margaret Burchinal of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Kathy R. Thornburg of the University of Missouri reviewed publicly funded preschool, which include child-care centers, Head Start and state-funded pre-kindergarten.

The study, published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, found there is such a wide variety of basic aims, funding, program models and staff qualifications, it seems as if no two preschool programs are alike.

For example, one 3-year-old child enrolled in a publicly funded preschool could attend for 8 hours a day and be taught by a teacher with a bachelor’s degree, while another 3-year-old may go for a few hours a day and have a teacher with a two-year degree.

Numerous studies show preschool can result in less grade repetition, higher rates of high-school graduation and improved social behavior. However, the prevalence low-quality U.S. preschool programs closes the achievement gap by perhaps 5 percent rather than the 30 percent to 50 percent possible if all preschool programs were of higher quality, the researchers concluded.

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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Marathoners Can Avoid 'hitting the Wall'

BOSTON, Oct. 22 (UPI) — A Boston medical student says his model helps marathon runners avoid “hitting the wall,” a physical limit caused by a lack of carbohydrates.

Benjamin Rapoport, a medical student and doctoral student at Harvard and the Massachusetts of Technology, says several miles before he ended the New York marathon, his legs just didn’t want to keep up the pace — essentially, the body runs out of fuel, forcing the runner to slow down dramatically.

“You feel like you’re not going anywhere,” Rapoport says in a statement. “It’s a big psychological letdown, because you feel powerless. You can’t will yourself to run any faster.”

Hitting the wall occurs when the body’s carbohydrates — stored in the liver, leg muscles and blood — are completely depleted, forcing the body to start burning fat. The by-products of fat metabolism start building up, causing pain and fatigue.

The model allows runners to calculate their aerobic capacity and how much carbohydrates they need to eat during the race.

For example, a runner who wants to achieve the 3-hour, 10-minute Boston Marathon qualifying time would need to consume about 700 calories — for a 154-pound runner — assuming his legs make up at least 15 percent of his body mass, Rapoport says.

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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Effects of Breast Cancer May Last Long

COLUMBIA, Mo., Oct. 22 (UPI) — A U.S. researcher says for some women the impacts of breast cancer can be longer-lasting and do not end when they leave the hospital.

Stephanie Reid-Arndt of the University of Missouri School of Health in Columbia conducted a study that revealed those women reluctant to seek out post-chemotherapy social support — including therapy and informal support networks — report a lower quality of life and higher incidences of depression.

“A lot of times people get mentally and emotionally ready to deal with chemotherapy and they receive a lot of support during that time,” Reid-Arndt says in a statement. “Then they go home and everyone feels like it’s over, but the patients still have worries and fears about the changes they’ve been through and what it means for the future.”

Reid-Arndt says women in rural areas report close family and community relationships but many still have breast cancer-related symptoms such as body-image issues and fatigue.

“There tends to be strong community support for patients in rural areas that will accommodate varying levels of function,” Reid-Arndt said. “Unfortunately, while this informal support system provides great comfort to patients, it lacks formal mental health and health issues knowledge available from health care professionals.”

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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