Jewish World Review August 9, 2002 / 1 Elul, 5762

Effectiveness of restraining orders on domestic violence

By Robert A. Wascher, M.D., F.A.C.S. | Approximately 1.5 million American women experience domestic violence every year, and about 20% of such women will seek restraining orders. The effectiveness of such restraining orders is unclear. In this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, a study of 2,691 women who had experienced domestic violence was undertaken. The women evaluated in this study were divided into three groups: those who had obtained a temporary restraining order against their abusive partner, those who had obtained a permanent restraining order, and those who did not seek any restraining order. During the 12 months following the initial reported incident of domestic abuse, the women who had subsequently obtained a temporary restraining order were almost 5 times as likely to be abused again as the women who did not seek any type of restraining order. However, the women who obtained permanent restraining orders were, in turn, 80% less likely to be abused again as the women who did not seek any restraining orders. The study's authors concluded that permanent, but not temporary, restraining orders are associated with a significant reduction in the incidence of repeat domestic violence against women.

Bone Marrow Cells Improve Blood Flow in Vascular Disease

In the current issue of the journal Lancet is an intriguing study that looked at the ability of bone marrow cells to restore blood flow to the legs of people with poor circulation. The authors extracted a sample of bone marrow from each study patient, separated out the different types of cells found in the marrow, and then injected a specific type of bone marrow cell, called mononuclear cells, into the calf muscles of the affected legs. Four weeks after the injections, the researchers found evidence of improved blood flow and tissue oxygenation in those patients who had their calf muscles injected with the bone marrow cells. The ability to walk without experiencing leg pain (due to inadequate blood flow) was also significantly improved following injection of the mononuclear cells. All of these improvements were substantial, and were still present 6 months after the study began.

The authors believe that the bone marrow mononuclear cells are able to act as stem cells for blood vessels in the legs, and that such cells can also secrete proteins that stimulate additional blood vessel growth in oxygen-starved tissues. This is a very exciting study which needs to be replicated with larger numbers of patients. The simplicity and minimal risk of injecting a person's own bone marrow cells into the muscles of the leg make this approach very compelling when compared to the current surgical approaches to the difficult problem of peripheral vascular disease.

Intestinal Hormone Kills Appetite

A recently discovered hormone that is secreted in the intestines of mice (peptide YY3-36) has been found to play a potentially important role in appetite control. The hormone appears to be released after eating a meal, and is secreted in proportion to the amount of calories contained in each meal. A new study in the journal Nature suggests that this newly discovered hormone may play a key role in generating the sensation of satiety (lack of hunger) that follows a meal in most people. When injected into rats in this study, the hormone significantly reduced food intake and weight gain. Moreover, the researchers found clear evidence that this satiety hormone directly inhibited the brain centers in the hypothalamus that control appetite and feeding behavior. When the hormone was injected into human volunteers, caloric intake decreased by one-third over the following 24 hours.

After the disappointing outcomes in previous studies that looked at the hormone leptin, this new study raises the hope that an effective new treatment for overeating and obesity might be feasible in the foreseeable future. Larger scale studies of the effects, both good and bad, of this intestinal hormone on humans still need to be performed, but this small and very preliminary study is very exciting nonetheless.

Botulinum Toxin & Post-Stroke Spasticity

The muscle paralyzing effect of botulinum toxin has made this substance an unlikely therapeutic drug. Today, it is most commonly used by cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists to temporarily paralyze the facial muscles that accentuate the wrinkles around our eyes and mouth. As reported in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers have used injections of botulinum toxin into the muscles of the wrists and fingers of patients who were left with spastic limbs after suffering a stroke. Spastic tightening of the muscles in the hands and fingers following a stroke often renders such limbs at least partially useless. In this study, botulinum toxin injections significantly improved the subjects' ability to perform personal hygiene activities and dress themselves. Botulinum injections also reduced the painful tightening of spastic limbs and improved flexibility. This is an intriguing new application of botulinum toxin, and may prove to be of very substantial importance to stroke victims who have been left with painful and useless spastic limbs. While the improvement in function was modest overall, and while stroke-induced paralysis is not helped by botulinum injections, this study still represents a very important and potentially useful advance in the care of patients who have experienced stroke-related complications.

JWR contributor Dr. Robert A. Wascher is a senior research fellow in molecular & surgical oncology at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, CA. Comment by clicking here.


08/02/02: Mammography Saves Lives!; Obesity & the Risk of Heart Failure; High Sugar Diets & the Risk of Colon Cancer; Abuse During Childhood & Possible Effects of Genes on Antisocial Behaviors

07/26/02: Cancer: Nature vs. Nurture; Cardiorespiratory Fitness & Inflammation; Kidney Transplants from Cadaver Donors; Aircraft Cabin Air Recirculation & the Common Cold

07/19/02: PCBs & the Gender of Babies; Breastfeeding & the Risk of Breast Cancer; More Bad News About Hormone replacement Therapy

07/12/02: A cancer surgeon's perspective on hormone replacement therapy

07/08/02: Hormone replacement therapy & the risk of disease; more good news about statins; antioxidant vitamins & disease prevention; more

06/28/02: Antioxidants & the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease; Effects of Exercise on the Hearts of Patients with Mild Hypertension; Statins reduce cardiac events following angioplasty; more

06/21/02: Sex & violence and Advertising: Do Advertisers Get What they Pay For?; Don't Drink the Water (or the Salsa Either!); Vasectomy & Prostate Cancer Risk; Update on Smoking & Disease

06/14/02: Young Men, Obesity & Heart Disease; Breastfeeding & Obesity; Irritable Bowel Syndrome & rectal pain threshold; more data on cox-2 inhibitors & cancer; more

06/07/02: New coronary artery stent reduces risk of restenosis; possible cause of Parkinson's Disease identified; more

05/31/02: New biological insights into obesity & weight loss; broccoli kills cancer-causing stomach bug; anti-inflammatory drugs and the risk of heart attack

05/24/02: Molecular detection of tumor cells in the blood & prognosis; Cox-2 & breast/lung cancers; BRCA2 gene mutations & the risk of breast cancer; breast density & the risk of breast cancer

05/19/02: Moderate alcohol intake and blood sugar levels; more good news for tea drinkers; blood potassium levels & the risk of cardiovascular disease; ethnic differences in diabetic complications

05/10/02: Tea drinkers and the risk of death following heart attack; duration of breastfeeding & adult intelligence; abdominal aortic aneurysms: surgery or observation?

05/03/02: Risk of adverse drug reactions from newly released medications; preoperative beta-blockers may reduce heart bypass deaths; shape-shifting plastics may alter surgical practice; weight loss supplement may cause liver damage
04/26/02: Angry young men & risk of premature cardiovascular disease; stay-at-home dads & risk of cardiovascular disease; more on the effects of statins; dairy consumption and the risk of pre-diabetes; smallpox vaccine: good to the last drop?
04/19/02: Change your sex by drinking water?; Anti-inflammatory RXs may reduce growth of breast cancer cells; radiation treatment reduces repeat narrowing of bypass grafts
04/05/02: Fish & Omega-3 fatty acid consumption and cardiac health; news briefs
04/05/02: Can coffee reduce your risk of tooth decay?; exercise & blood pressure; a single high-fat meal reduces coronary artery function
04/01/02: Pre-diabetes: a newly defined category of health risk; teen television viewing and subsequent aggressive behavior; the benefits of strength training in the elderly; more ...
03/22/02: Bacteria, antibiotics & heart disease; mammograms: the debate continues; calcium & the risk of colon cancer ... and more
03/15/02: Mammography debate continues; statins & fracture risk; physical fitness & the risk of death; other intriguing findings
03/08/02: Blows to the chest & sudden cardiac death; air quality & the risk of lung cancer; tomatoes and your prostate
03/01/02: Diet & the risk of ovarian cancer; lifetime risk of developing high blood pressure; Osteoporosis prevention with a once-a-year injection?
02/26/02: The continuing controversy regarding screening mammography
02/22/02: Lowering body temperature after heart attack improves outcome; A silver lining for the chronically sleep-deprived?
02/15/02: Hormone replacement therapy & the risk of breast cancer; use it or lose it: Alzheimer's disease & cognitive stimulation; stress, divorce & death; child daycare, infections & parental guilt
02/08/02: Possible breakthrough in early cancer diagnosis; mammography: the controversy continues; CPR techniques revisited
02/01/02: Antibiotics in livestock feed & human disease; genetic detection of early colon cancer in the stool; genetic analysis of breast cancers may help decide treatment
01/25/02: Drug increases lifespan (if you're a fly...); workplace attitudes and smoking cessation; effects of inadequate sleep on surgeons
01/18/02: Lifelong effects of premature birth; smokers under the knife; aspirin and cardiovascular health
01/11/02: Estrogen levels in the blood & breast cancer risk; Heart attack: sex and survival; dangerous lettuce invaders
01/09/02: Cancer & aging: Two sides of the same coin?
01/04/02: Vitamin a & the risk of hip fracture in postmenopausal women; ovarian cancer risk and oral contraceptives
12/28/01: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) detects coronary artery disease; new development in obesity research; adverse childhood experiences & the risk of suicide attempts
12/21/01: Vaccination of children controls hepatitis a in the community; a possible cure for sickle cell disease; leptin and the risk of heart attacks
12/14/01: Chernobyl and the Risk of Thyroid Cancer in hildren; children & obesity; gastroesophageal reflux disease update
12/07/01: Update on school shootings; new implantable heart-assist device approved for further evaluation; prevention of fungal infections in pre-term babies
11/30/01: Flu vaccination in asthmatics; low-tar cigarettes are not less harmful; beans and your heart
11/21/01: Modified smallpox vaccine may reduce risk of cervical cancer; New approach to breast cancer diagnosis; New non-invasive prenatal diagnostic test for down's syndrome
11/16/01: Cholesterol-lowering drugs reduce risk of heart attack; supplemental radiation therapy reduces risk of breast cancer recurrence; brains of women may answer age-old questions
11/09/01: Bio-warfare (redux); my gray matter is bigger than yours; mad elk disease?
11/02/01: Making sense of bio-warfare
10/26/01: The impact of mammography on deaths due to breast cancer; diet & exercise may slow cancer cell growth; antidepressants and the risk of heart disease
10/19/01: New insights into autism; the wiley appendix
10/12/01: More bad news about obesity links to other diseases…Hey dad, can I borrow the car keys?
10/05/01: California leads nation in reduction of tobacco-related disease; exercise as an antidepressant?
09/25/01: Advances in the detection of breast cancer; primary care physician awareness of peripheral arterial disease; arsenic in the water
09/17/01: In perspective
09/12/01: Genes may hold secret to long life; men and women: cognitive function in the elderly; physical activity, obesity and the risk of pancreatic cancer
09/05/01: English milk cows prefer Beethoven and Simon & Garfunkel over Bananarama; new prostate cancer prevention study: looking for a few good men; exercise & diet can help prevent diabetes
08/28/01: Arthritis drugs may be linked with increased risk of heart disease; errors in blood clotting tests can be fatal; infant soy formula not associated with reproductive side effects

© 2002, Dr. Robert A. Wascher