Black Women More Likely To Have Vitamin D Deficiency, Bacterial Vaginosis, Study Finds

May 29, 2009

Black women are nearly three times as likely as white women to have a vitamin D deficiency, which is linked with an increased risk of the vaginal infection bacterial vaginosis, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Nutrition, the New York Times reports. Black women likely have lower levels of vitamin D because the higher amount of pigment in their skin prevents the body from absorbing the vitamin.

For the study, researchers led by Lisa Bodnar, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, examined 209 white pregnant women and 260 black pregnant women at a Pittsburgh clinic. More than half of the women had low levels of vitamin D, the study found. Women whose vitamin D levels were 50 nanomoles or less had a 26% increased risk of BV, while women whose vitamin levels were less than 20 nanomoles had a 65% increased risk of the infection. About 52% of black women had the infection, compared with 27% of white women, the study found (Bakalar, New York Times, 5/26). The study found that 93% of women with BV had low vitamin D levels and that BV prevalence decreased as vitamin levels increased.
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Modifiable Hip Fracture Complications Contribute To Mortality, Institute For Aging Research Finds

May 26, 2009

Potentially modifiable post-fracture complications, including pneumonia and pressure ulcers, are associated with an increased risk of death among nursing home residents who have suffered a hip fracture, according to a new study conducted by scientists at the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife.

“Prevention strategies to reduce pressure ulcers and pneumonia may help reduce mortality in this frail population,” says lead author Sarah D. Berry, M.D., M.P.H., a research fellow at the Institute and a staff geriatrician at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center.
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HIV Transmission In Europe Occurs Primarily In Vacation Destinations, Study Finds

May 23, 2009

HIV in Europe is transmitted primarily in vacation destinations, according to a study published recently in the journal Retrovirology, the PA/Google.com reports. For the study, researchers led by Dimitrios Paraskevis of the University of Athens analyzed samples of HIV-1 subtype B virus, the most prevalent form of HIV in Europe, from 16 European countries and Israel (PA/Google.com, 5/20). The researchers created a family tree of the virus and examined its genetic characteristics to determine how it has evolved.
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Comparison Of Medical Imaging Choices Finds Ultrasound To Be The Most Cost Efficient

May 23, 2009

In comparing ultrasound with other medical imaging methods such as MRI and CT scans, a literature review of published studies in the May/June issue of Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JDMS) describes the use of ultrasound to provide an accurate diagnosis more cost effectively than the alternatives.

Since its first uses in the 1950s, ultrasound has been utilized mostly in hospital settings. But with the development of less costly, portable equipment, its use has expanded to doctor’s offices, trauma settings, and even to outer space. The article compares the use of ultrasound to magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, computed tomography (CT), contrast angiography (CA), and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT).
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Those With Darker Skin Might Be More Susceptible To Nicotine Addiction, Study Finds

May 21, 2009

Blacks and others with darker skin might be at greater risk for tobacco addiction than whites and those with lighter skin because the greater the amount of melanin, the coloring pigment in skin, the more nicotine appears to be stored, according to preliminary findings published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, the New York Times reports. For the study, lead researcher Gary King, a professor of biobehavioral health at Pennsylvania State University, looked at 150 black smokers and measured their levels of melanin and cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine. They also surveyed the participants to determine the level of their smoking habit.
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Study Finds ICDs Extend The Lives Of Heart Attack Survivors By An Entire Year

May 16, 2009

A landmark follow-up study found that heart attack survivors who receive implanted cardioverter defribillators (ICDs) live longer the longer they have them, according to the results of late-breaking clinical trail presented at the annual Scientific Sessions of the Heart Rhythm Society.

ICDs are devices designed to correct arrhythmias, electrical malfunctions that throw the heart out of rhythm and cause many of the sudden cardiac deaths each year in the United States. Most fatal arrhythmias in the aging are caused by scar tissue left behind by heart attacks that interferes with the heart’s electrical system.
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Report Finds Racial Disparities In Prescription Drug Access, Use, Regimen Adherence

May 16, 2009

“Origins and Strategies for Addressing Ethnic and Racial Disparities in Pharmaceutical Therapy: The Health-Care System, the Provider, and the Patient,” National Minority Quality Forum: The report — by Richard Levy, a health care consultant and former vice president of the National Pharmaceutical Council; Robert Like, professor and director of the Center for Healthy Families and Cultural Diversity of the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; and Harry Shabsin, a private-practice psychologist — looks at how appropriate medications for a variety of diseases often are under-prescribed, over-prescribed, or mis-prescribed among minorities. The report looks at disparities in treatment of minority patients with cardiovascular disease, asthma, psychiatric illness, pain and other conditions and finds disparities in access to medications through insurance programs, in the prescribing of medications and in adherence to medication regimens. The report offers ways to improve prescribing and use of medications among diverse communities (National Minority Quality Forum release, 5/12).
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