Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Cognitive Training Helps Seniors Keep Mental Snap and Crackle - CME Teaching Brief
Use it or lose it applies to the brain, according to a study of more than 2,000 persons of Medicare-age living independently in the community.
Mental exercise for high-functioning seniors slowed the expected decline in their thinking ability even five years after a brief intervention, researchers here reported.
However, the effect of cognitive training on functional skills -- the ability to handle everyday tasks -- was less clear and less compelling, according to a report in the Dec. 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Compared with an untreated control group, cognitive training resulted in improved cognitive abilities specific to the abilities trained that continued five years after the initiation, said Sherry Willis, Ph.D., of Pennsylvania State University here, and colleagues.
But when it came to the failure of cognitive training to transfer to activities of daily living, it is possible, Dr. Willis said, that the full extent of cognitive training on everyday activities would take longer than five years in a population that was highly functioning at enrollment.
The interventions over five to six weeks comprised 10 training sessions (60 to 75 minutes each) for memory (verbal episodic memory), reasoning (inductive reasoning), or speed of processing (visual search and identification). This was followed by four-sessions of booster training at 11 and 35 months in a random sample of those who completed training.
For example, the reasoning group learned ways to remember word lists and sequences of items ideas. The reasoning group practiced pattern recognition, while the processing-speed group learned way to identify an object on a computer screen at increasingly brief exposures.
Immediately after the initial training, 87% of the speed-training group, 74% of the reasoning group, and 26% of the memory group showed improvement in their skills. After five years, the groups performed better on their tests than did those in the control group. The reasoning-training and speed-training groups given booster training benefited the most, the researchers found.MORE
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
PharmaLive: Somaxon's Silenor Demonstrates Positive Results in Long-Term Phase 3 Clinical Trial in Elderly Patients with Insomnia
Dec 18, 2006 - Somaxon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:SOMX) today announced positive results from the company's Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating SILENOR(TM) (doxepin HCl) in elderly patients with chronic primary insomnia. SILENOR(TM) demonstrated a statistically significant improvement compared to placebo in the primary endpoint of this trial, Wake After Sleep Onset (WASO) as measured at night one, for both doses studied (1mg: p=0.0053, 3mg: p less than 0.0001). Statistical significance for this endpoint was also achieved at the end of the twelve week treatment period for both doses studied (1mg: p=0.0330, 3mg: p less than 0.0001).
With the conclusion of this clinical trial, Somaxon has completed six well-controlled clinical trials with SILENOR(TM) for the treatment of insomnia, including four Phase 3 clinical trials. In each of these clinical trials, SILENOR(TM) demonstrated statistically significant results in the trial's designated primary endpoint. These endpoints included measures of both sleep maintenance and sleep onset. The company anticipates filing an NDA with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the third quarter of 2007, assuming that the company's preclinical studies for SILENOR(TM) are successful and proceed as currently scheduled.MORE
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Moderate Exercise Wards Off Colds in Older Women - CME Teaching Brief - MedPage Today
Fit older women are less likely to come down with a cold, researchers here concluded.
When talking with interested postmenopausal patients, inform them that 30 or 45 minutes of moderate daily exercise, such as brisk walking, may help prevent colds, in addition to providing other fitness benefits.
They said that postmenopausal women who want to reduce their risk of sneezes and sniffles might do well to rise up from the couch and start walking.
Over a year, women who took part in a moderate-intensity exercise program, such as brisk walking, had a reduced risk of colds, compared with those who did not work out regularly, Cornelia Ulrich, Ph.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center here, and colleagues, reported online in the November issue of the American Journal of Medicine.
The ability to ward off colds increased over time, with the non-exercisers having almost three times as many colds as the exercisers in the last three months of the year-long study, said.
This suggests the importance of sticking with an exercise program, Dr. Ulrich said. The cold study was part of an investigation into the effect of physical activity on markers of breast-cancer risk.....more
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Moderate Drinking Lowers Death Risk - MedPage Today:
In a meta-analysis of 34 prospective studies, a few drinks a day -- one to two for women and two to four for men -- led to lengthier lives, found Augusto Di Castelnuovo, Sc.D., of the Catholic University here, and colleagues.
"Our data show that consumption of little amounts of alcohol leads to a reduction of mortality up to 18%," Dr. Di Castelnuovo said. But, he cautioned, "after a certain number of glasses things radically change" and the risk of death rises again.
The finding was based on an analysis of studies involving 1,015,835 persons and 94,533 deaths, Dr. Di Castelnuovo reported in the Dec. 11 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Previous studies have shown an inverse relationship between moderate alcohol consumption and coronary heart disease, Dr. Di Castelnuovo and colleagues said, but this is the first to show a similar effect for all-cause mortality."Moderate drinking has a protective effect on all-cause mortality, not only coronary heart disease...."
Heightened Height Loss Increases Mortality in Men - CME Teaching Brief
Excess shrinking as men age accelerates the risk of an earlier death, found investigators here
A longitudinal study carried out here showed that men who lose three centimeters or more of height (about 1.18 inches) as they age are at an increased risk of death, compared to men who lose less than a centimeter, according to S. Goya Wannamethee, Ph.D., of the Royal Free and University College Medical School here.
The excess mortality was largely attributable to cardiovascular and respiratory conditions and other causes, but not to cancer, Dr. Wannamethee and colleagues reported in the Dec. 11 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
Height declines with age, but the impact of the lost stature on health hasn't been studied, the researchers said, so they evaluated data taken from the British Regional Heart Study, a prospective study of cardiovascular disease....