Source:http://www.frontiersin.org/ Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 11 2019In a trial of one of the main class of prescription sleeping pills, half the participants slept through a fire alarm as loud as someone vacuuming next to their bed. But a newer alternative preserves the ability to wake in response to danger signals, according to a new research.Published this week in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, the study showed that mice given the experimental hypnotic drug DORA-22 wake as quickly when threatened as drug-free sleepers – and then fall back asleep as quickly as ones given standard sleeping pills, once the threat is gone.Common sleeping pills muffle your sleeping brain’s ‘intruder alert’Even during sleep the brain continuously processes sensory information, waking us if it detects a threat. But the most widely prescribed class of sleeping pills, known as benzodiazepines, makes us less likely to rouse in response to sensory input.”Benzodiazepines stimulate the widespread brain receptor GABA-A, which makes us sleepy but also suppresses off-target brain areas – including the ‘gatekeeper’ that decides which sensory inputs to process,” explains study senior author Professor Tomoyuki Kuwaki of Kagoshima University, Japan.Over the last decade, researchers have been developing a new class of hypnotic drugs called dual orexin receptor antagonists (DORAs). DORAs more selectively target the brain’s sleep/wake pathways, which gives them safety advantages over benzodiazepines. These include a reduced ‘hangover effect’, with DORAs less likely to affect driving ability the day after use.Kuwaki and colleagues hypothesized that the selectivity of DORAs could make them a safer alternative during sleep as well – by allowing the brain’s sensory gatekeeper to stay vigilant to threats.DORA-22 allows mice to wake to a threat, but still helps them sleepThe group tested their theory in mice.The mice were dosed and tested after dark, when they are normally most active. One group was administered DORA-22, another a benzodiazepine called triazolam – and a third group was given placebo as a control.”DORA-22 and triazolam had similar sleep promoting effects, extending the duration of deep sleep by 30-40% compared to placebo,” reports Kuwaki.Related StoriesSleep disorders in patients with low back pain linked to increased healthcare visits, costsSleep makes synapses ready for new learningSleep quality could be indicator for later Alzheimer’s disease finds studyOne to four hours after dosing, the deep-sleeping mice were presented with a threatening stimulus: the smell of a fox, a high-pitched noise like a dog whistle, or trembling of their cage. The trembling frequency was designed to match that of an earthquake – a serious threat in Kuwaki’s native Japan and many other parts of the word.”As expected, arousal in response to these threatening stimuli was delayed significantly in the triazolam treatment, but not in the DORA-22 treatment, compared to placebo.Even more promising, the sleep-promoting effect of DORA-22 remained after the rude awakening.”Even though the DORA-22-treated mice were quickly woken by a threat, they subsequently fell back asleep as quickly as with triazolam, and significantly faster than with placebo.”To help demonstrate that the delay in waking to a threat during triazolam treatment was due specifically to inhibition of sensory gating in the brain, the researchers also tested the sleeping mice with a non-sensory stimulus.”The three groups woke equally quickly when we suddenly reduced the amount of oxygen in their cage. This suggests that the delay in rousing to threatening stimuli caused by triazolam was not caused by a general inhibition of waking systems in the brain.”Human studies are needed to confirm DORA safety and efficacy”Although it remains to be seen whether DORAs have the same properties when used in humans, our study provides important and promising insight into the safety of these hypnotics.”Since 2014, another DORA called surovexant has gained regulatory approval in Japan, the USA and Australia. So far, the high cost and limited clinical testing of surovexant have limited its use, amid concerns that doses high enough to significantly improve sleep lead to drowsiness the following day. New DORAs currently in development could overcome this hangover effect if they are cleared more quickly from the body than suvorexant, so that their effects are less likely to last beyond bedtime. Keep your eyes peeled.
Source:https://www.aacr.org/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 21 2019An analysis of cervical precancers over a period of seven years showed that two strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) that have been targeted by vaccination since 2006 have declined, accounting for a smaller proportion of cervical disease. The study offers evidence that HPV vaccination reduced the incidence of infections that can lead to cervical cancerJournal in Which the Study was Published: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.Author: Nancy McClung, PhD, RN, epidemic intelligence service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.Background: “Almost all sexually active individuals will get HPV at some point in their lifetime, but most HPV infections go away on their own without any treatment,” McClung explained. “If an HPV infection does not go away, it can cause cell changes that, over time, develop into a lesion on the cervix called a cervical precancer. Cervical precancers allow us to observe the impact of HPV vaccination earlier than cervical cancer, which can take decades to develop.”Previous research has suggested that the incidence of cervical precancer has been decreasing. In this study, researchers sought to determine whether HPV types 16 and 18, which are responsible for approximately 70 percent of cervical cancers worldwide, are also decreasing. These two types have been targeted by the quadrivalent HPV vaccine, which was most typically administered in the United States between 2006 and 2015, and by the 9-valent vaccine that is the only vaccine currently administered in the United States.How the Study Was Conducted: As part of the CDC’s Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine Impact Monitoring Project (HPV-IMPACT), McClung and colleagues analyzed more than 10,000 archived specimens collected between 2008 and 2014 from women aged 18-39 who had been diagnosed with grade 2 or 3 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia or adenocarcinoma in situ (CIN2+). Both are precancerous conditions that can arise from persistent HPV infection and can lead to cervical cancer. Researchers tested the samples for 37 HPV types, then analyzed the proportion and estimated number of cases by HPV types over time.Results: The researchers found that the number of cases of CIN2+ reported to HPV-IMPACT declined 21 percent, from 2,344 in 2008 to 1,857 in 2014. The estimated number of cases attributed to HPV16/18 declined from 1,235 in 2008 to 819 cases in 2014.Among women who were vaccinated, the proportion of CIN2+ cases that were HPV 16/18-positive declined from 55.2 percent to 33.3 percent. Among unvaccinated women, the proportion of CIN2+ cases that were HPV 16/18-positive declined from 51.0 percent to 47.3 percent, and among those with unknown vaccination status, from 53.7 percent to 45.8 percent.Related StoriesLiving with advanced breast cancerBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerNovel vaccine against bee sting allergy successfully testedAuthor’s Comments: McClung explained that some vaccinated women were most likely HPV 16/18-positive because they were infected with these HPV types before they were vaccinated. The majority of vaccinated women in this study received the vaccine in their early 20s, after the age most women initiate sexual activity.McClung said the decline in unvaccinated women may be due to “herd protection,” which occurs when a significant proportion of a population has developed immunity to an infectious disease, making its spread less likely. Herd protection can be conferred through vaccination or immunity built up from prior infection, she explained.Researchers noted that every age group saw significant declines in the proportion of CIN2+ cases that were HPV 16/18-positive, with the exception of the oldest group, those aged 35-39. McClung said this finding reflects the fact that most of these women were not eligible for vaccination because of their age.Furthermore, while non-Hispanic whites and blacks saw declines in the proportion of HPV 16/18-positive precancers, Hispanic and Asian women did not. McClung said that the Hispanic and Asian women included in this study may have been less likely to be vaccinated. However, as of 2016, HPV vaccine uptake was robust in Hispanic and Asian teens; therefore, racial and ethnic disparities are expected to diminish, McClung said.The CDC’s most recent statistics show that 49.5 of girls and 37.5 percent of boys aged 13-17 are up-to-date on all recommended doses of the HPV vaccine. McClung said clinicians should continue to strongly recommend the HPV vaccine for all preteens at age 11 or 12, and effectively answer parents’ common questions about the vaccine.Overall, McClung said, the study indicated that efforts to encourage families to get the HPV vaccination for their teens are paying off and should be continued.”This is clear evidence that the HPV vaccine is working to prevent cervical disease in young women in the United States,” McClung said. “In the coming years, we should see even greater impact as more women are vaccinated during early adolescence and before exposure to HPV.”
Follow five easy tips for a healthier you:1. See your doctor.It happens to everyone. Some health challenges come on with age. Family history plays a big part in what a physician will focus on, but there are key issues and screenings that are age-related. “Seeing your doctor regularly means that you have a baseline for important screenings,” says Heckman. “This includes everything from cholesterol to cancer screenings and osteoporosis.”Related StoriesMore than 936 million people have sleep apnea, ResMed-led analysis revealsDiet and nutrition influence microbiome in colonic mucosaUnpleasant experiences could be countered with a good night’s REM sleep2. Eat a healthy diet.You’ve heard this before. A diet that’s low in fat and full of fruits and vegetables can help lower the risk of certain cancers, such as prostate cancer. “For good prostate health, eat your fruits and veggies,” says Aria Olumi, MD, Chief of Urologic Surgery at BIDMC.3. Quit smoking.Smoking and bladder cancer? Yes. We know that smoking is harmful to your heart and lungs-;but it’s also linked to about half of all bladder cancer cases. “Bladder cancer risk factors like age, gender, race and family history can’t be controlled,” Olumi says. “But quitting smoking can definitely lower your risk.”4. Get enough sleep.A good night’s rest can do wonders. Overstimulation of the brain, stress and a lack of sleep can cause overall fatigue and libido issues. “Lower testosterone levels may contribute to these issues, but more often than not, it’s because the patient isn’t getting enough sleep,” Olumi says. “At least seven hours of sleep a night will help your mind and body reset.”5. Take care of your mental health.Did you know mental and physical health are connected? Mental illness affects both men and women, but men may be less likely to talk about their feelings and seek help. “Mental health symptoms often appear to be physical issues-;like a racing heart, tightening chest, ongoing headaches or digestive issues,” Heckman says. “Talking to a professional or a loved one about stress or other challenges can be very helpful.” Source:Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jun 18 2019According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, men are far more likely to skip routine health screens than women. It’s common for men to avoid going to the doctor until there’s a serious health concern. Staying healthy may just be a matter of changing habits.”Primary care physician James Heckman, MD, Assistant Medical Director of Healthcare Associates at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC)
We don’t yet know why some people who struggle with their weight internalize society’s stigma and others do not. These findings represent a first step toward helping us identify, among people trying to manage their weight, who may be most likely to self-stigmatize. People who are trying to lose weight may be among the most vulnerable to weight self-stigma, but this issue is rarely discussed in treatment settings.”Study’s lead author Rebecca Pearl, PhD, an assistant professor of Psychology in Psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 15 2019Weight bias is a common form of prejudice against people who are viewed as having excess weight. Some individuals who struggle with weight may internalize the stigma directed toward them, blaming and devaluing themselves because of their weight. While it’s known that weight “self-stigma” is associated with poor mental and physical health, it isn’t clear who is most prone to this internalization.In a new study published today in Obesity Science and Practice, researchers at Penn Medicine and the University of Connecticut Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity surveyed more than 18,000 adults enrolled in the commercial weight management program WW International (formerly Weight Watchers Inc.), and found that participants who internalized weight bias the most tended to be younger, female, have a higher body mass index (BMI), and have an earlier onset of their weight struggle. Participants who were black or had a romantic partner had lower levels of internalization. Research has found that, beyond the effects of BMI and depression, self-directed weight stigma is associated with increased risk for cardiovascular and metabolic disease. In this study–the largest investigation of weight self-stigma in the world–researchers surveyed adults to identify key characteristics and experiences of people who internalize weight bias.Participants recalled when in their life they experienced weight stigma from other people, how frequent and how upsetting the experiences were, and who it was that called them names, rejected them, or denied them an opportunity simply because of their weight. Results showed that almost two-thirds of the participants reported experiencing weight stigma at least once in their life, and almost half reported experiencing these events when they were children or teens. The researchers examined the relationships between these experiences and levels of self-directed stigma.Related StoriesResearch team receives federal grant to study obesity in children with spina bifidaMetabolic enzyme tied to obesity and fatty liver disease’Traffic light’ food labels associated with reduction in calories purchased by hospital employeesParticipants who reported experiencing weight stigma from others had higher levels of internalized weight bias than those who reported no experiences of weight stigma. Researchers say this was particularly true for participants who had weight-stigmatizing experiences early in life and continued to have these upsetting experiences as adults. People who experienced weight stigma from family members or friends, or from those in their workplace, community, or health care setting, also had greater evidence of weight self-stigma compared to participants who did not encounter weight stigma from those sources.”Our findings can inform ways to support people who are experiencing or internalizing weight stigma, including opportunities to address weight stigma as part of weight management and healthy lifestyle programs,” said the study’s principal investigator Rebecca Puhl, PhD, a professor of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Connecticut.The study sample, although the largest to date, represented only a small percentage of WW members, so the findings may not generalize to all members or to adults trying to lose weight in other ways. Some prior research has suggested that people who internalize weight bias may have worse long-term weight loss outcomes, but more research on this topic is needed.In addition, Pearl’s team is developing a psychological intervention for weight self-stigma that can be incorporated into weight management. Source:University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine