HealthWise at 5 From 11.8 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/8/04

HealthWise at 5 From 11.8

  • Nicotine Addiction

It appears scientists are on the way to finding a flip switch to turn off addiction. A study in mice has pinpointed a group of brain molecules that nicotine activates and then releases the pleasure chemical dopamine. So, now this study in the Journal Science suggests if scientists can find those molecules that turn on an addiction, more research could lead the way to targeting those brain receptors to turn off the pleasure, thereby dulling the addiction. Each year 440,000 people die of a tobacco-related illness in the U.S., costing $75 billion in direct medical costs and $82 billion in lost productivity.

  • Food Pyramid

The food pyramid may be on its way out. Studies show 80% of Americans are familiar with the triangle shaped guide, but now the government says most people don't know how to use it. Officials say if it were easy to figure out, two out of three Americans wouldn't be overweight. The pyramid was introduced 12 years ago, an idea that cost around a million dollars to develop. Now, the Agricultural Department says if we keep the guide, it needs to be updated to include portion sizes and the correct number of servings. For more information ( click here ).

  • Arthritis Scanner

Hot joints may be a sign that arthritis is on the way. Duke researchers are using a high tech thermal imaging device to measure temperature changes in the hands of patients with early osteoarthritis. Their study of nearly 100 patients found the inflamed joints give off heat as the disease starts to set in, before any sign of joint damage can be picked up on an x-ray. The study found inflammation is highest in the early stages of the wear and tear disease, and that joints begin to "cool off" as the arthritis progresses. The study was led by Dr. Virginia Kraus and is published in the Journal Rheumatology. The thermal scanner, is sensitive enough to detect differences to the of a tenth of a degree fahrenheit. It revealed that the temperature of finger joints is proportional to the severity of osteoarthritis.

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