September 2011

The maligned prune…..good for your bones

No bones about it:  eating prunes helps prevent fractures and osteoporosis.   When it comes to improving bone health in postmenopausal women — and people of all ages, actually — a Florida State University researcher has found a simple, proactive solution to help prevent fractures and osteoporosis: eating dried plums.

Men and women experience pain differently

Women and men experience pain, particularly chronic pain, very differently. The ability of some opioids (painkillers that work similar to opium/morphine) to relieve pain also differs between sexes. While it has been recognized since the mid-nineties that some narcotic analgesics are more effective in women than men, the reason for this difference was largely unknown.

New tool being studied to customize diet and exercise regimens to lose weight

A new simulation model predicts weight changes with varying diets and exercise plans.  Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have created a mathematical model — and an accompanying online weight simulation tool — of what happens when people of varying weights, diets and exercise habits try to change their weight. The findings challenge the commonly held belief that eating 3,500 fewer calories — or burning them off exercising — will always result in a pound of weight loss.

Soy not so ‘hot’ for menopause symptoms

Soy supplements do not help women in menopause, according to the findings of a two-year, $3 million study conducted at the Miller School of Medicine’s Osteoporosis Center. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health to determine if the widely popular product could preserve bone health and ease symptoms in the first years of menopause. The results show that, contrary to popular belief, soy isoflavone supplements neither prevent bone loss nor reduce menopausal symptoms.

Understanding genetic and environmental causes of human disease

Over the years, we hear about “cancer clusters” or a growing rise in behavioral conditions like autism and advocates and families want answers.  Is it our genes or something in the environment?   This concern often leads to an epidemiological study that tracks these diseases over time.   But sometimes, despite the time, effort and expense, no definitive causation is established.  This  can be frustrating to families facing these conditions and the scientists who are looking for answers.  This is the conundrum of  nature vs. nurture.

Smoking implicated in half of bladder cancers in women

Current cigarette smokers have a higher risk of bladder cancer than previously reported, and the risk in women is now comparable to that in men, according to a study by scientists from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) . This latest study uses data from over 450,000 participants in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, a questionnaire-based study that was initiated in 1995, with follow-up through the end of 2006.