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Esteban Delisio




    There are three key risk factors for childhood injuries, researchers say. They are the child being impulsive or having unrealistic expectations of his physical prowess and lack of parental control and monitoring. The study was done at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Pediatric psychologists have much to contribute in the battle to prevent children's unintentional injuries," said David Schwebel, assistant professor of psychology. "But to approach injury prevention from an educated viewpoint, we must gain a thorough understanding of the psychological factors that lead children to injure themselves." Injuries are the leading cause of death in children ages one to 18. Each year more than 20 million children are injuried, and 22,000 die from their injuries, says the National Safety Council. Behavioral scientists say the greatest risk is faced by children who are impulsive, overactive and uncontrolled, who think they are physically more capable than th! ey really are and whose parents fail to provide proper supervision and rules of safety. The new study looks at how the three factors interact to increase the risk of accidents.
    Scientists have identified the location of genes that are associated with a long life. The team pinpointed them to a region on human chromosome 4. "This is the first study to use humans to try to find genes that play a role in life span," said Dr. Thomas Perls, a co-authors, geriatrician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and director of the New England Centenarian Study. "Many investigators thought longevity was far more complex a trait that wouldn't be influenced by just a few genes." Scientists said they have known that only a handful of genes influences longevity in lower organisms; now they think that may be true for humans as well. One in 10,000 Americans is a centenarian, topping the average life expectancy by 20 years. Despite their rarity, centenarians are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, Perls said. Scientists had thought about 1,000 genes influence aging, but the region on chromosome 4 has only one or at most a! few genes that are related to longevity, researchers said. The next step is to identify these genes.
    People with a copy of a mutation that protects cells against HIV infection may be partially resistant to the virus that causes AIDS, scientists say. The finding is reported in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome by teams from New York City, Boston, Seattle and San Francisco. "We looked for this mutation in a large cohort of high-risk people who were HIV-negative. We found that bisexual and homosexual Caucasian men with one copy of the mutation had a 70 percent reduced risk of HIV infection compared with men who didn't carry the mutation at all," said study author Michael Marmor, professor of environmental medicine and medicine at New York University School of Medicine. Scientists have known that men with two mutant copies of the CCR5 gene have stronger resistance to HIV infection. "Our finding suggests that strategies to prevent HIV infection by blocking receptors used by the virus need not block all of the receptors," Marmor said. "Reducin! g the number of receptor sites per cell may be adequate to provide an imperfect but important degree of protection."
    Implanted heart devices are prone to silent, dangerous staph infections, doctors caution. These include pacemakers and other devices implanted to prolong the lives of people with heart rhythm problems. A staph infection, however, could be life-threatening in these patients, scientists said in the journal Circulation. "If a patient has an implanted cardiac device and develops a Staphylococcus aureus infection, the patient's physicians should be worried that the device is infected," said Dr. Donna Lisa Chamis of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. "Our data suggest that if the infection occurs within one year of implantation, the device ends up being infected in about three-fourths of the cases. The major new finding is that the majority of the device infections showed no obvious signs." In the study, most of the infections started in another part of the body, then spread to the heart device, the researchers said. The heart device itself was link! ed directly to the staph infection in 18 percent of cases.
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