23 June 2018

Negative vs. Positive Social Media Experiences and Depressive Symptoms

Saturday, June 23, 2018 0
Negative experiences on social media carry more weight than positive interactions when it comes to the likelihood of young adults reporting depressive symptoms, according to a new University of Pittsburgh analysis.

The finding, reported today in the journal Depression and Anxiety, may be useful for designing interventions and clinical recommendations to reduce the risk of depression.

"We found that positive experiences on social media were not related or only very slightly linked to lower depressive symptoms. However, negative experiences were strongly and consistently associated with higher depressive symptoms," said lead author Brian Primack, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the Honors College and director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health at Pitt. "Our findings may encourage people to pay closer attention to their online exchanges. Moving forward, these results could assist scientists in developing ways to intervene and counter the negative effects while strengthening the positive ones."

In August 2016, Primack and his team surveyed 1,179 full-time students ages 18 to 30 at the University of West Virginia about their social media use and experiences. The participants also completed a questionnaire to assess their depressive symptoms.

Each 10 percent increase in positive experiences on social media was associated with a 4 percent decrease in odds of depressive symptoms, but those results were not statistically significant, meaning that the finding could be due to random chance. However, each 10 percent increase in negative experiences was associated with a 20 percent increase in the odds of depressive symptoms, a statistically significant finding.

"It is valuable to know that positive and negative experiences are very differently related to depression," said Primack. "But we don't know from our study whether the negative social media interactions actually caused the depressive symptoms or whether depressed individuals are more likely to seek out negative online interactions. As with many things in social science, the answer is probably some combination of the two, but more research will be needed to disentangle cause and effect."

Other characteristics also were linked to the participants having depressive symptoms. For example, compared with men, women had 50 percent higher odds of having depressive symptoms. Identifying as non-white and having only completed "some college," rather than completing a degree, also were associated with higher odds of depressive symptoms. All of these characteristics have previously been shown to increase a person's likelihood of depression.


While the findings still need to be replicated, Primack said public health practitioners could start using them to educate the public of the risks of negative social media interactions. He also points out that cyberbullying occurs not only among adolescents, but also among adults. Universities, workplaces and community spaces could use the findings to increase awareness around positive and negative social media experiences.

Primack noted that health care professionals working with depressed patients could suggest strategies to improve the quality of online experiences, such as restricting time spent on social media to reduce the number of negative interactions and "unfriending" people or groups that tend to enable negative experiences.

Although the finding was not statistically significant, Primack said that increasing the opportunities for positive experiences on social media is still likely to be worthwhile.

"In other studies, engaging in certain forms of social media use has been shown to enhance communication and social connection," he said. "Certainly, there are many situations in which connecting with others in this way might actually lower depressive symptoms. That just wasn't the primary finding in this particular study."

Story Source:
Materials provided by University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
Brian A. Primack, Meghan A. Bisbey, Ariel Shensa, Nicholas D. Bowman, Sabrina A. Karim, Jennifer M. Knight, Jaime E. Sidani. The association between valence of social media experiences and depressive symptoms. Depression and Anxiety, 2018; DOI: 10.1002/da.22779

Cite This Page:
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Negative vs. positive social media experiences and depressive symptoms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 June 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180607082603.htm>.

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22 June 2018

Accurate Measurements of Sodium Intake Confirm Relationship with Mortality

Friday, June 22, 2018 0
New study suggests recent paradoxical results may be due to imprecise evaluation
Eating foods high in salt is known to contribute to high blood pressure, but does that linear relationship extend to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death? Recent cohort studies have contested that relationship, but a new study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital and their colleagues using multiple measurements confirms it. The study suggests that an inaccurate way of estimating sodium intake may help account for the paradoxical findings of others.

"Sodium is notoriously hard to measure," said Nancy Cook, ScD, a biostatistician in the Department of Medicine at BWH. "Sodium is hidden -- you often don't know how much of it you're eating, which makes it hard to estimate how much a person has consumed from a dietary questionnaire. Sodium excretions are the best measure, but there are many ways of collecting those. In our work, we used multiple measures to get a more accurate picture."

Sodium intake can be measured using a spot test to determine how much salt has been excreted in a person's urine sample. However, sodium levels in urine can fluctuate throughout the day so an accurate measure of a person's sodium intake on a given day requires a full 24-hour sample. In addition, sodium consumption may change from day to day, meaning that the best way to get a full picture of sodium intake is to take samples on multiple days.



While previous studies have used spot samples and the Kawasaki formula, the team assessed sodium intake in multiple ways, including estimates based on that formula as well as ones based on the gold-standard method, which uses the average of multiple, non-consecutive urine samples. They assessed results for participants in the Trials of Hypertension Prevention, which included nearly 3,000 individuals with pre-hypertension.

The gold-standard method showed a direct linear relationship between increased sodium intake and increased risk of death. The team found that the Kawasaki formula suggested a J-shaped curve, which would imply that both low levels and high levels of sodium consumption were associated with increased mortality.


"Our findings indicate that inaccurate measurement of sodium intake could be an important contributor to the paradoxical J-shaped findings reported in some cohort studies. Epidemiological studies should not associate health outcomes with unreliable estimates of sodium intake," the authors wrote.

Story Source:
Materials provided by Brigham and Women's Hospital. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
Feng J He, Norm R C Campbell, Yuan Ma, Graham A MacGregor, Mary E Cogswell, Nancy R Cook. Errors in estimating usual sodium intake by the Kawasaki formula alter its relationship with mortality: implications for public health†. International Journal of Epidemiology, 2018; DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyy114

Cite This Page:
Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Accurate measurements of sodium intake confirm relationship with mortality: New study suggests recent paradoxical results may be due to imprecise evaluation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 June 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180622012101.htm>.

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21 June 2018

Possible Link Found Between Diabetes and Common White Pigment

Thursday, June 21, 2018 0
www.trendsnowdays.com
In a pilot study by a team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, crystalline particles of titanium dioxide -- the most common white pigment in everyday products ranging from paint to candies -- were found in pancreas specimens with Type 2 diabetes, suggesting that exposure to the white pigment is associated with the disease.

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is not a known constituent of any normal human tissue. Our body normally has plenty of salts and compounds of metallic elements such as sodium, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium, as well as lesser amounts of other metallic elements like cobalt or molybdenum but not of titanium.

The team examined 11 pancreas specimens, eight of which were from donors who had Type 2 diabetes (T2D) and three from donors who did not. Whereas the three non-diabetic pancreatic tissue specimens contained no detectable TiO2 crystals, the crystals were detected in all of the eight T2D pancreatic tissue specimens. The UT Austin researchers found more than 200 million TiO2 crystallites per gram of TiO2 particles in the specimens from T2D donors but not in the three specimens from non-diabetic donors. They published their findings last month in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.



The UT study was led by Adam Heller, professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering, a 2007 recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation and a lifelong champion for diabetes research. Heller was a leading member of the teams that designed FreeStyle, the first painless blood-glucose-monitoring system used by millions of people with diabetes worldwide; and the glucose-sensing technology of the FreeStyle Libre system, developed by Abbott Diabetes Care.

"Our initial findings raise the possibility that Type 2 diabetes could be a chronic crystal-associated inflammatory disease of the pancreas, similar to chronic crystal-caused inflammatory diseases of the lung such as silicosis and asbestosis," Heller said.



In the mid-20th century, titanium dioxide pigment replaced highly toxic lead-based pigments. It became the most commonly used white pigment in paints and in foods, medications, toothpaste, cosmetics, plastics and paper. As a result, annual production of titanium dioxide has increased by 4 million tons since the 1960s.

According to the World Health Organization, the number of people with diabetes has quadrupled during the past four decades, affecting approximately 425 million people, with T2D comprising the majority of recorded cases. Although obesity and an aging population are still considered major factors leading to a rise in T2D cases worldwide, Heller's study suggests that increased use of titanium dioxide may also be linked to the rapid rise in the number of people suffering from the disease.

"The increased use of titanium dioxide over the last five decades could be a factor in the Type 2 diabetes epidemic," Heller said. "The dominant T2D-associated pancreatic particles consist of TiO2crystals, which are used as a colorant in foods, medications and indoor wall paint, and they are transported to the pancreas in the bloodstream. The study raises the possibility that humanity's increasing use of TiO2 pigment accounts for part of the global increase in the incidence of T2D."

Given the wide-reaching implications of his findings, Heller is keen to repeat the study, but this time using a larger sample. "We have already begun a broader study," he said. "Our work isn't over yet."

Heller collaborated with researchers Karalee Jarvis of the Cockrell School's Texas Materials Institute and Sheryl Coffman of the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering. The pancreatic specimens enabling the study were provided by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation nPOD at the University of Florida at Gainesville.

The study was supported in part by the Welch Foundation.


Story Source:
Materials provided by University of Texas at Austin. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
Adam Heller, Karalee Jarvis, Sheryl S. Coffman. Association of Type 2 Diabetes with Submicron Titanium Dioxide Crystals in the Pancreas. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 2018; 31 (6): 506 DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.8b00047

Cite This Page:
University of Texas at Austin. "Possible link found between diabetes and common white pigment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 June 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180620125907.htm>.

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20 June 2018

Treg Cells Protect Babies from getting HIV Infection from their Mothers

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 0
Scientists now report that Treg cells, a type of regulatory lymphocyte, may be protecting babies in the womb from getting infected with the HIV virus when the mother is infected. The research, from the Emory Vaccine Center, is presented at ASM Microbe, the American Society for Microbiology's annual meeting, held from June 7th through 11th in Atlanta, Georgia.



"Finding out what protects the majority of babies is important, as it can lead to ways to boost natural immune responses and make individuals resistant to HIV infection, said Peter Kessler, laboratory intern with the Emory University School of Medicine. Scientists had been puzzled for years by the fact that only a minority of babies born to mothers with HIV infection get the infection from their mothers. Currently, HIV infection can be successfully managed with antiretroviral drugs, but these drugs have to be given for life. Preventing the infection is very important, but there is no vaccine available yet.

Kessler and his colleagues from the Emory Vaccine Center found that levels of Treg lymphocytes were higher in the blood of newborn babies born to mothers with HIV infection who had escaped the infection themselves, compared with babies who were born with HIV infection.



Lymphocytes are cells of the immune system that protect the body by fighting bacteria and viruses. Treg cells, or regulatory T cells, are an important "self-check" in the immune system to prevent excessive immune reactions that could lead to tissue damage.

The researchers examined the blood of 64 babies who were born HIV-uninfected and 28 babies born HIV-infected and found that Treg cell levels were higher in uninfected babies at the time of birth. In contrast, other lymphocyte types were activated and higher in HIV-infected infants. The HIV virus can only infect cells that are activated, so Treg may protect from HIV infection by suppressing activation of other lymphocytes.

They analyzed the stored blood by flow cytometry, a technique that can differentiate between the different types of cells based on what markers they express on their surface. Regulatory T cells come in many forms with the most well-understood being those that express the markers CD4, CD25, and FOXP3.

"Even though the number of babies studied is relatively small, these findings indicate that Treg, by controlling immune activation, may lower the vulnerability of the babies to HIV or other chronic infections even before they are born," said Kessler. These results could pave the way for the development of vaccines or other immune-based therapies that could be used together with medications to prevent the spread of HIV or other infections from mothers to their babies.

A poster highlighting their work will be presented by Peter Kessler at the ASM Microbe 2018 meeting in Atlanta, GA, on June 10, 2018, 12:45-2:45 pm. The mothers and babies in this study were part of a CDC-funded clinical study in Malawi that looked at ways to prevent the spread of HIV from mothers to their babies during childbirth and breastfeeding.

Additional authors on this study are Surinder Kaur and Chris Ibegbu from the Emory Vaccine Center


Story Source:
Materials provided by American Society for Microbiology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Cite This Page:
American Society for Microbiology. "Treg cells protect babies from getting HIV infection from their mothers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180611133409.htm>.
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Smoking and Diabetes Linked to Brain Calcifications

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 0
People who smoke or have diabetes may be at increased risk of calcifications in a region of the brain crucial to memory, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology.

Dementia is a major public health problem that affects tens of millions of people worldwide. One focus of dementia research has been the hippocampus, a brain structure important for both short- and long-term memory storage. Alzheimer's disease, the most common type of dementia, is associated with atrophy of the hippocampus.



Researchers have hypothesized that abnormal buildups of calcium, or calcifications, in the hippocampus may be related to vascular problems that could contribute to hippocampal atrophy and subsequent cognitive deterioration. However, published research on the association between hippocampal calcification and cognitive impairment is limited.

"We know that calcifications in the hippocampus are common, especially with increasing age," said the study's lead author, Esther J.M. de Brouwer, M.D., a geriatrician at the University Medical Center in Utrecht, the Netherlands. "However, we did not know if calcifications in the hippocampus related to cognitive function."

Advances in imaging have provided opportunities to explore the role of hippocampal calcifications in dementia. The development of multiplanar brain CT scans has enabled better distinction between hippocampal calcifications and calcifications in nearby brain structures like the choroid plexus.

"A multiplanar CT scan makes it possible to see the hippocampus in different anatomical planes; for example, from top to bottom, right to left and front to back," Dr. de Brouwer said. "Before multiplanar CT scans, hippocampal calcifications were often mistaken for choroid plexus calcifications. So with multiplanar CT scans, hippocampal calcifications are better distinguished from calcifications in other areas."

Dr. de Brouwer and colleagues studied the association between vascular risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking, and hippocampal calcifications. They also assessed the effects of calcifications on cognitive function.


The study group included 1,991 patients, average age 78 years, who had visited a memory clinic at a Dutch hospital between 2009 and 2015. The patients had a standard diagnostic workup including cognitive tests and brain CT scans. The researchers analyzed the CT scans for the presence and severity of hippocampal calcifications.

Of the 1,991 patients, 380, or 19.1 percent, had hippocampal calcifications. Older age, diabetes and smoking were associated with an increased risk of hippocampal calcifications on CT scans.

While the study was not designed to conclusively determine if smoking and diabetes increase the risk of hippocampal calcifications, the results strongly suggest a link.

"We do think that smoking and diabetes are risk factors," Dr. de Brouwer said. "In a recent histopathology study, hippocampal calcifications were found to be a manifestation of vascular disease. It is well known that smoking and diabetes are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. It is, therefore, likely that smoking and diabetes are risk factors for hippocampal calcifications."

There was no link between the presence and severity of hippocampal calcifications and cognitive function; a surprising finding, according to Dr. de Brouwer, with several possible explanations.

"The hippocampus is made up of different layers, and it is possible that the calcifications did not damage the hippocampal structure that is important for memory storage," she said. "Another explanation could be the selection of our study participants, who all came from a memory clinic."

The researchers plan to carry out additional studies in different groups of people to better understand possible links between these calcifications and cognitive problems.


Story Source:
Materials provided by Radiological Society of North America. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
Esther J. M. de Brouwer, Remko Kockelkoren, Jules J. Claus, Annemarieke de Jonghe, Mirjam I. Geerlings, Thomas E. F. Jongsma, Willem P. T. M. Mali, Jeroen Hendrikse, Pim A. de Jong, Huiberdina L. Koek. Hippocampal Calcifications: Risk Factors and Association with Cognitive Function. Radiology, 2018; 172588 DOI: 10.1148/radiol.2018172588

Cite This Page:
Radiological Society of North America. "Smoking and diabetes linked to brain calcifications." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 June 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180612185219.htm>.

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19 June 2018

Can Coffee Help With The Pain Of Fibromyalgia?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 0
Caffeine as an opioid analgesic adjuvant in fibromyalgia.

ABSTRACT
BACKGROUND 
Caffeine’s properties as an analgesic adjuvant with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs/acetaminophen are well documented. However, little clinical research has explored caffeine’s effects on opioid analgesia. This study assessed the effects of caffeine consumption on pain and other symptoms in opioid-using and non-using chronic pain patients meeting the survey criteria for fibromyalgia.


MATERIALS AND METHODS 
Patients presenting to a university-based pain clinic completed validated self-report questionnaires assessing symptoms. Patients (N=962) meeting the fibromyalgia survey criteria were stratified by opioid use and further split into groups based on caffeine amount consumed per day (no caffeine, or low, moderate, high caffeine). Analysis of covariance with Dunnett’s post hoc testing compared pain and symptom severity between the no caffeine group and the caffeine consuming groups.
RESULTS 
In opioid users, caffeine consumption had modest but significant effects on pain, catastrophizing, and physical function. Lower levels of pain interference were associated with low and moderate caffeine use compared to no caffeine intake. Lower pain catastrophizing and higher physical function were observed in all caffeine dose groups, relative to the no caffeine group. Lower pain severity and depression were observed only in the moderate caffeine group. In opioid nonusers, low caffeine intake was associated with higher physical function; however, no other significant effects were observed.


CONCLUSION

Caffeine consumption was associated with decreased pain and symptom severity in opioid users, but not in opioid non-users, indicating caffeine may act as an opioid adjuvant in fibromyalgia-like chronic pain patients. These data suggest that caffeine consumption concomitant with opioid analgesics could provide therapeutic benefits not seen with opioids or caffeine alone.
Full text available here.
Source:  Scott JR, Hassett AL, Brummett CM, Harris RE, Clauw, DJ, Harte SE. Caffeine as an opioid analgesic adjuvant in fibromyalgia. J Pain Res. 2017 Jul 28;10:1801-1809. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S134421. eCollection 2017.
Editor’s Note: Dr. Dan Clauw is one of the authors of this study. Watch for Cort Johnson’s review of Dr. Clauw’s fibromyalgia research later this week.

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