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Aug 07, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- DRY EYE SYNDROME UNDERDIAGNOSED

New research suggests dry eye syndrome, a painful and sometimes debilitating eye disease, affects more than 3 million American women age 50 and older. Dry eye syndrome occurs when there is a drop in the quality and amount of tears that normally keep the eye moist. The result is pain, dryness, and/or a gritty feeling in the eyes. Left untreated, the disease can lead to scarring or ulceration of the cornea and loss of vision. The research, published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, surveyed more than 37,000 women across the country and found almost 8 percent age 50 and older suffered from dry eye syndrome. The numbers in the general population might be higher because the study participants were health workers, who might be healthier than others. Hispanic and Asian women were more likely to report severe symptoms. Researchers said the study pinpoints the need for more attention to the disease.


Women, regardless of culture, experience more anxiety than men after heart attacks, new research indicates. The study, published in Psychosomatic Medicine, involved more than 900 people from four continents. "There were no statistically significant differences in anxiety among the countires," said Debra Moser, a nursing professor at the University of Kentucky. "Women from a variety of cultural backgrounds have higher levels of anxiety than men." Health care workers should be aware of this difference and consider anxiety when treating their patients, researchers said. High anxiety often leads to complications such as second heart attacks, blood vessel blockages, irregular heartbeat and death.


As the SARS scare declines, a new study suggests up to 80 percent of Canadian hospitals do a poor job of protecting hospitalized patients from new infections. Hospitals today require a higher level of infection control, researchers said, but according to the survey almost half do not have the recommended number of infection control staff. The study, initiated in 2000 and published this August in the American Journal of Infection Control, revealed in 40 percent of hospitals, there is no one to head an infection control program. Statistics show about 250,000 patients a year experience infected surgical wounds, blood infections and antibiotic-resistant organisms while in the hospital. About 8,000 of them die. Treating hospital-acquired infections costs at least $1 billion. Meanwhile, researchers estimate one-third to one-half of the cases is preventable.


More than half of Latino immigrants surveyed in a new study said they experienced political violence in their homeland, but rarely reported it to physicians. However, exposure to violence can affect a person's health as well as diagnosis and treatment of conditions they might have. "Torture, forced disappearances of family members and witnessing massacres are just some of the traumas that still affect our patients," said Dr. David Eisenman, clinical instructor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. The survey, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that 54 percent of the 638 participants had been exposed to political violence. Eight percent reported torture, 15 percent witnessed violence against their family, 27 percent reported forced disappearance of family members, 26 percent witnessed mass violence, and 32 percent reported that their lives had been endangered by armed attacks. Researchers suggested that doctors ask immigrant patients whether they had been exposed to political violence.

(Editors: For more information on DRY EYES, contact Patti Jacobs at 617-912-2544 or For ANXIETY, Debra Moser at 859-323-6687 or For CANADIAN HOSPITALS, contact Nancy Dorrance at 613-533-2869. For LATINOS, Sandra Levy at 310-794-0777 or

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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