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September 30, 2009, 7:00 AM CT

NFL players not more likely to develop heart disease

NFL players not more likely to develop heart disease
Former professional football players with large bodies don't appear to have the same risk factors for heart disease as their non-athletic counterparts, UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists have found in studying a group of National Football League (NFL) alumni.

In comparison to other men in a similar age range, retired NFL players had a significantly lower prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, sedentary lifestyles and metabolic syndrome, the study authors report. The scientific findings are reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

"Despite their large body size, retired NFL players do not have a greater prevalence of heart disease risk factors when in comparison to the general population," said Dr. Alice Chang, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and the study's main author. "In fact, other factors such as age and high cholesterol levels were better predictors for heart disease than the body size of the former athletes in our study".

When body mass index (BMI) standards are applied, more than half of all professional football players are considered overweight or obese, which is considered an indicator for heart disease risk. Dr. Chang said eventhough a majority of these players are not as fit and active after retirement, they still had fewer risk factors for heart disease than men of the same age and body size from the Dallas Heart Study, a groundbreaking investigation of cardiovascular disease that involves thousands of Dallas County residents.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 30, 2009, 6:56 AM CT

How old is your muscle?

How old is your muscle?
Young, healthy muscle (left column) appears pink and red. In contrast, the old muscle is marked by scarring and inflammation, as evidenced by the yellow and blue areas. This difference between old and young tissue occurs both in the muscle's normal state and after two weeks of immobilization in a cast. Exercise after cast removal did not significantly improve old muscle regeneration; scarring and inflammation persisted, or worsened in many cases.

Credit: Photos by Morgan E. Carlson and Irina M. Conboy, UC Berkeley

A study led by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, has identified critical biochemical pathways associated with the aging of human muscle. By manipulating these pathways, the scientists were able to turn back the clock on old human muscle, restoring its ability to repair and rebuild itself.

The findings will be published in the Sept. 30 issue of the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, a peer-evaluated, scientific publication of the European Molecular Biology Organization.

"Our study shows that the ability of old human muscle to be maintained and repaired by muscle stem cells can be restored to youthful vigor given the right mix of biochemical signals," said Professor Irina Conboy, a faculty member in the graduate bioengineering program that is run jointly by UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, and head of the research team conducting the study. "This provides promising new targets for forestalling the debilitating muscle atrophy that accompanies aging, and perhaps other tissue degenerative disorders as well".

Prior research in animal models led by Conboy, who is also an investigator at the Berkeley Stem Cell Center and at the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), revealed that the ability of adult stem cells to do their job of repairing and replacing damaged tissue is governed by the molecular signals they get from surrounding muscle tissue, and that those signals change with age in ways that preclude productive tissue repair.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 30, 2009, 6:54 AM CT

Less than half of men and women with depression

Less than half of men and women with depression
Less than half of men and women in Ontario who appears to be suffering from depression see a doctor to treat their potentially debilitating condition, as per a new women's health study by scientists at St. Michael's Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). What's more, a number of hospitalized for severe depression fail to see a doctor for follow-up care within 30 days of being discharged, and a number of head to hospital emergency departments for care. The findings suggest the need for a comprehensive care model involving a multidisciplinary team of health-care professionals, including family doctors and mental health specialists, to help women and men and better manage depression and improve their quality of life.

"As a leading cause of disease-related disability among women and men, depression puts a tremendous emotional and financial burden on people, their families and our health-care system," says Dr. Arlene Bierman, a doctor at St. Michael's Hospital and principal investigator of the study Project for an Ontario Women's Health Evidence-Based Report (POWER). "A number of Ontarians with depression are not treated for their condition and those who are often receive less than desired care. While there is a lot that is known about how to improve depression, we need to apply this to our work with patients if we want to improve the diagnosis and management of depression. "This involves better co-ordination among primary care and mental health-care professionals in both community and hospital settings," added Dr. Bierman, a researcher at ICES.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 30, 2009, 6:53 AM CT

Those overweight middle-aged women

Those overweight middle-aged women
Women who put on weight as they approach middle-age could reduce their chances of enjoying a healthy old age by up to 80%, as per research from the University of Warwick.

The study, published recently (Wednesday) in the British Medical Journal, suggests that women who have a high body mass index in middle age are significantly more likely to suffer from major chronic diseases such as cancer and coronary heart disease and poor quality of life.

Dr Oscar Franco, Assistant Clinical Professor of Public Health at Warwick Medical School collaborated on the paper with scientists from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.

The research team observed that for every 1kg gained in weight since the age of 18, the odds of healthy survival into old age decreased by 5%.

They also observed that women who were overweight at the age of 18 and continued to gain weight as they grew older were most at risk of developing a major chronic disease. Obese women with a body mass index of more than 25kg/m2 had 79% lower odds of aging without developing a chronic disease, in comparison to women with a body mass index of 18.5-22.9kg/m2.

The research team used the Nurses' Health Study, which has gathered data from more than 120,000 female registered nurses living in 11 US states since 1976. Follow-up questionnaires have been sent out every two years to update information on disease incidence and lifestyle factors.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 30, 2009, 6:42 AM CT

HIV-AIDS in American prison system

HIV-AIDS in American prison system
HIV/Aids is up to five times more prevalent in American prisons than in the general population. Adherence to therapy programs can be strictly monitored in prison. However, once prisoners are released, medical monitoring becomes problematic. A newly released study by Dr. Nitika Pant Pai an Assistant professor of Medicine and a medical scientist at the Research Institute of the MUHC suggests the majority (76%) of inmates take their antiretroviral therapy (ART) intermittently once they leave prison, representing a higher risk to the general population.

"Over a period of 9 years, we studied 512 HIV positive repeat offender inmates from the San Francisco County jail system," says Dr. Pant Pai. "Our results show that only 15% continuously took their ART between incarcerations or after their release." As per the study, reported in the journal PLoS one, these figures highlight a lack of effectiveness on the part of medical monitoring services for these people outside prison.

"Taking ART intermittently is a problem because it depletes the CD4 count - the immunizing cells that fight infection and increases the probability of developing resistance to the virus," says Dr. Pant Pai. "The risk for rapid disease progression becomes higher and presents a risk for public health transmission of HIV to their partners." As per the study those on intermittent treatment were 1.5 times more likely to have higher virus load than those on continuous treatment; those who never received treatment were 3 times more likely to have a higher VL.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 29, 2009, 10:47 PM CT

Eat Soybeans to Prevent Diseases

Eat Soybeans to Prevent Diseases
Soybeans contain high levels of several health-beneficial compounds including tocopherols, which have antioxidant properties. These molecules can be used in the development of functional foods, which have specific health-beneficial properties and can be used in the therapy or prevention of diseases. Tocopherols exist in four forms (a, ß, ?, and d) of which ?-tocopherol is found in greatest concentration in soybeans. However, a-tocopherol has the greatest antioxidant activity, and is the form converted to vitamin E in the human body. Thus, most interest for soybean tocopherols resides in a-tocopherol; however, certain health-properties have also been attributed to other tocopherol forms and interest for these remains. It has been suggested that all tocopherols could play a role in cardiovascular diseases and cancer prevention.

Eventhough few studies have determined soybean tocopherols concentration in a range of genotypes or environments, none has investigated differences among several early-maturing genotypes grown in multiple environments. Such study allows for the determination of the tocopherols concentration range found in soybean, but also to determine how genotypes perform and compare to each other in contrasting environments. Such information is vital for both plant breeders and agricultural producers.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 29, 2009, 10:45 PM CT

Young Adults May Outgrow Bipolar Disorder

Young Adults May Outgrow Bipolar Disorder
David Cicero is a graduate student, who led a paper on treatment of bipolar disorder.
Bipolar disorder, or manic-depression, causes severe and unusual shifts in mood and energy, affecting a person's ability to perform everyday tasks. With symptoms often starting in early adulthood, bipolar disorder has been thought of traditionally as a lifelong disorder. Now, University of Missouri scientists have found evidence that nearly half of those diagnosed between the ages of 18 and 25 may outgrow the disorder by the time they reach 30.

"Using two large nationally representative studies, we observed that there was a strikingly high peak prevalence of bipolar disorders in emerging adulthood," said David Cicero, doctoral student in the Department of Psychological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science.

and main author of the paper. "During the third decade of life, the prevalence of the disorder appears to resolve substantially, suggesting patients become less symptomatic and may have a greater chance of recovery".

By examining the results of two large national surveys, MU scientists found an "age gradient" in the prevalence of bipolar disorder, with part of the population appearing to outgrow the disorder. In the survey results, 5.5 to 6.2 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 suffer from bipolar disorder, but only about 3 percent of people older than 29 suffer from bipolar disorder.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 29, 2009, 10:43 PM CT

Explaining HIV spread in Central and East Africa

Explaining HIV spread in Central and East Africa
The gradient of colors indicates the estimated travel time to the nearest city with a population of more than 500,000, with yellow at one extreme indicating short travel times and red at the other extreme indicating long travel times. The graphic explains accessibility factors affecting the spread of HIV from central to east Africa. The virus was circulating at stable levels in the urban centers of the Democratic Republic of Congo, but these centers were isolated. Once the virus reached east Africa, connectivity between population centers combined with better quality transportation networks and higher rates of human movement caused HIV to spread exponentially.

Credit: Andrew J. Tatem/University of Florida

Researchers studying biology and geography may seem worlds apart, but together they have answered a question that has defied explanation about the spread of the HIV-1 epidemic in Africa.

Writing in the recent issue of AIDS, a research team led by researchers at the University of Florida explained why two subtypes of HIV-1 the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS held steady at relatively low levels for more than 50 years in west central Africa before erupting as an epidemic in east Africa in the 1970s.

Essentially, the explanation for the HIV explosion obscured until now involves the relative ease with which people can travel from city to city in east Africa as opposed to the difficulties faced by people living in the population centers of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the point where HIV emerged from west central Africa in its spread to the east.

Later, as the epidemic raged in the east, cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo a vast country almost as big as all of Western Europe remained disconnected and isolated, explaining why the virus affected only about 5 percent of the country's population, a level that has not changed much since the 1950s.

"We live in a world that is more interconnected every day, and we have all seen how pathogens such as HIV or the swine flu virus can arise in a remote area of the planet and quickly become a global threat," said Marco Salemi, an assistant professor of pathology, immunology, and laboratory medicine at the UF College of Medicine and senior author of the study. "Understanding the factors that can lead to a full-scale pandemic is essential to protect our species from emerging dangers".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 29, 2009, 10:39 PM CT

Metabolic syndrome, liver disease and obese teenaged boy

Metabolic syndrome,  liver disease and obese teenaged boy
Scientists studying a large sample of adolescent American boys have found an association between metabolic syndrome, which is a complication of obesity, and elevated liver enzymes that mark potentially serious liver disease.

The link between metabolic syndrome and the suspected liver disease did not appear in adolescent girls, said study leader Rose C. Graham, M.D., a pediatric gastroenterologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. There were ethnic differences among the boys as well, she added, between Hispanic and non-Hispanic males.

The study appears in the October 2009 print edition of the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition

Metabolic syndrome is of concern as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and is estimated to occur in 22 percent of U.S. adults and 4 percent of U.S. adolescents. It is defined by insulin resistance, increased waist circumference, high blood pressure, and abnormal measures of high density lipoprotein ("good cholesterol") and triglycerides in the blood. The criteria are similar for pediatric metabolic syndrome, eventhough there is some dispute over details of the definition.

In adults, scientists have shown an association between metabolic syndrome and a group of diseases called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which at its most severe, may progress to irreversible liver damage. The purpose of the current study was to investigate to what extent metabolic syndrome in adolescents was linked to elevated levels of the liver enzyme alanine aminotransferase (ALT), a marker of NAFLD.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 29, 2009, 10:35 PM CT

Stem cell success to regenerate parathyroid glands

Stem cell success to regenerate parathyroid glands
An early laboratory success is taking University of Michigan scientists a step closer to parathyroid gland transplants that could one day prevent a currently untreatable form of bone loss linked to thyroid surgery.

The researchers were able to induce embryonic stem cells to differentiate into parathyroid cells that produced a hormone essential to maintaining bone density. The laboratory results in live cell cultures, published in Stem Cells and Development, need to be tested in further pre-clinical studies.

Parathyroid glands, four glands each the size of a rice grain that lie next to the thyroid in the neck, are easily damaged when surgeons operate on patients with malignant or non-malignant thyroid tumors. Without their calcium-regulating hormone, patients can develop osteomalacia, a severe form of bone loss similar to rickets that affects tens of thousands of people in the United States with muscle cramps and numbness in the hands and feet.

"We used human embryonic stem cells as a model for ways to work out the recipe to make parathyroid cells," says Gerard M. Doherty, M.D., chief of endocrine surgery and Norman W. Thompson Professor of Endocrine Surgery at U-M Medical School.

The research illustrates the payoff of rapidly increasing knowledge about how embryonic stem cells give rise to other kinds of cells. That knowledge can be the springboard for influencing other cells to regenerate damaged parts of the body.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Studies in monkeys and women suggest that unlike traditional estrogen therapy, a diet high in the natural plant estrogens found in soy does not increase the risk of uterine cancer in postmenopausal women, according to Mark Cline, D.V.M., Ph.D., an associate professor of comparative medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

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