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Daily Rounds: Alzheimer's Genes; Autism Treatments; Reflux Warnings; Mom Botoxes 8-Year-Old

Alzheimer’s Studies Find New Genetic Links - NYTimes.com
For years, there have been unproven but persistent hints that cholesterol and inflammation are part of the disease process. People with high cholesterol are more likely to get the disease. Strokes and head injuries, which make Alzheimer’s more likely, also cause brain inflammation. Now, some of the newly discovered genes appear to bolster this line of thought, because some are involved with cholesterol and others are linked to inflammation or the transport of molecules inside cells. (nytimes.com)

Autism Treatments Scrutinized in Study - WSJ.com
Their findings were more positive when it came to two other types of popular treatments: intensive behavioral intervention and medication. Early intensive behavioral treatments can involve multiple hours of practicing skills with a therapist each week for years. Experts have long advocated their use for improving cognitive and social symptoms, but research to assess their value has been difficult to conduct. Monday's report included 34 studies of these treatments, 23 of which the reviewers rated as poor quality. Still, there was enough evidence to suggest that these therapies improved IQ, language skills and day-to-day skills in some children with autism-spectrum disorders, the researchers said. Overall, however, more and better-quality research was needed, Dr. Warren said. "Our ability to say this one specific approach should be utilized for the child in front of me—we're not quite there yet," he said. (Wall Street Journal)

FDA advisory causes doctors to take another look at proton pump inhibitors - The Boston Globe
Known as proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, they include Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, and Zegerid. The Food and Drug Administration’s advisory said patients who take the medications for a long time, generally more than one year, may end up with low magnesium levels, which can put them at risk for seizures, irregular heartbeats, and muscle spasms. It was the second warning about the medications from the agency in less than a year.  (boston.com)

(Note: This British tabloid story came out last month, but continues to reverberate around the Internet, most recently in this San Francisco Examiner pick-up.)
I give my girl, 8, Botox for pageant | The Sun |Woman Once every three months, Britney climbs on a beautician's table and watches as mum Kerry prepares needles of Botox and fillers to be injected into her face. Beautician Kerry, 34, from Birmingham, buys the substances online and injects them into her daughter's forehead, lips and around her eyes. The beauty-pageant obsessed single mum also takes her to have her body waxed, in a bizarre bid to stop her growing hair when she eventually hits puberty. Kerry says these shocking and potentially dangerous treatments will guarantee Britney becomes famous as a teenager. She says: "What I am doing for Britney now will help her become a star. (The Sun)

Medical News: ACC: Yoga Stretches Afib Attack Frequency - in Meeting Coverage, ACC from MedPage Today
NEW ORLEANS — Yoga may cut down on episodes of atrial fibrillation for paroxysmal patients, researchers found in a prospective, single center study. Regular guided yoga sessions with relaxation and breathing exercises reduced the number of atrial fibrillation episodes by nearly 45%, to an average of 2.1 over three months compared with 3.8 doing other types of exercise for three months (P<0.001), Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, MD, of the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, and colleagues reported. (medpagetoday.com)

This program aired on April 4, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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