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January 27, 2010, 8:17 AM CT

Proper vaccine refrigeration vital

Proper vaccine refrigeration vital
Every year, billions of dollars worth of vaccines are shipped to thousands of medical providers across the country, and every year doctors must dispose of tens of millions of dollars worth of those vaccines because they became too warm or too cold while in storage. Now, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), with funding from and in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have completed the first of a series of tests to determine best practices for properly storing and monitoring the temperature of refrigerated vaccines.

Their initial findings* will be included in a CDC training video and report to be released July 2010.

To ensure they are effective, most vaccines must be kept between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius from the time they are manufactured until they are administered. In addition to the cost of spoiled vaccines that must be destroyed, lack of temperature control probably has resulted in the administering of ineffective vaccinations to the public in a small, but significant, percentage of cases.

In this first phase of a larger study, NIST scientists compared standard-sized refrigerators without freezers against smaller, dormitory-style refrigerators under a variety of conditions, storage practices and use scenarios, including leaving the refrigerator door ajar for various periods, power loss and raising the ambient temperature of the room.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


January 27, 2010, 8:16 AM CT

Ffighting the deadly staph infection

Ffighting the deadly staph infection
Scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Israel's Weizman Institute of Science have observed that two antibiotics working together might be more effective in fighting pathogenic bacteria than either drug on its own.

Individually, lankacidin and lankamycin, two antibiotics produced naturally by the microbe streptomyces, are marginally effective in warding off pathogens, says Alexander Mankin, professor and associate director of the UIC Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and lead investigator of the portion of the study conducted at UIC.

Mankin's team observed that when used together, the two antibiotics are much more successful in inhibiting growth of dangerous pathogens such as MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and possibly others.

MRSA is a staph infection that is resistant to certain antibiotics. As per a 2007 government report, more than 90,000 Americans get potentially deadly infections each year.

The research results are reported in the Jan. 11 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

Lankacidin and lankamycin act upon the ribosomes, the protein-synthesizing factories of the cell. A newly-made protein exits the ribosome through a tunnel through the ribosome body. Some antibiotics stave off an infection by preventing the ribosome from assembling proteins, while others bind in the tunnel and block the protein's passage.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


January 27, 2010, 8:12 AM CT

Human growth hormone: Not a life extender

Human growth hormone: Not a life extender
People profoundly deficient in human growth hormone (HGH) due to a genetic mutation appear to live just as long as people who make normal amounts of the hormone, a newly released study shows. The findings suggest that HGH may not be the "fountain of youth" that some scientists have suggested.

"Without HGH, these people still live long, healthy lives, and our results don't seem to support the notion that lack of HGH slows or accelerates the aging process," says Roberto Salvatori, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Endocrinology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The researchers, working with an unusual population of dwarves residing in Itabaianinha county, a rural area in the northeastern Brazilian state of Sergipe, and led by Salvatori, sought to sort out conflicting results of prior studies on the effects of HGH on human aging.

Some studies have suggested that mice whose bodies don't efficiently produce or process the mouse equivalent to HGH have an extended lifespan. Other research has shown that people with low levels of HGH due to surgical or radiation damage to the pituitary gland that makes HGH have increased risk of cardiovascular disease, a factor that can shorten life span. These patients also have decreased levels of other important hormones that the pituitary produces, possibly confounding results.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


January 27, 2010, 8:11 AM CT

Transferrin to fight anemia

Transferrin to fight anemia
January 26, 2010 (BRONX, NY) A newly released study shows that a protein found in blood alleviates anemia, a condition in which the body's tissues don't get enough oxygen from the blood. In this animal study, injections of the protein, known as transferrin, also protected against potentially fatal iron overload in mice with thalassemia, a type of inherited anemia that affects millions of people worldwide.

Implications of the study, reported in the January 24 online edition of Nature Medicine,

could extend well beyond thalassemia to include other types of anemia including sickle cell anemia and myelodysplastic syndromes (bone marrow disorders that often precede leukemia) if proven in humans. The research was conducted by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

"People who have thalassemia or other types of anemia need frequent blood transfusions over a number of years to correct the problem," says Mary E. Fabry, Ph.D., professor of medicine at Einstein and a study author. "But the human body has no way to get rid of the massive amount of iron in the transfused blood, and the resulting iron overload - particularly its accumulation in the heart and liver is often fatal. Our study suggests that therapy with transferrin could prevent this".........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


January 27, 2010, 8:09 AM CT

New potential to treat COPD

New potential to treat COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is defined by emphysema and/or chronic bronchitis. It destroys the normal architecture of the lung and inhibits the mechanical aspects of breathing, which prevents necessary gas exchange. Patients suffer from coughing fits, wheezing, and increased occurence rate of lung infections. These symptoms are linked to changes in the architecture of the lung. The air sacs, which commonly inflate with air during breathing as they loose their elasticity, becoming rigid and unable to inflate. The lung becomes inflamed and increases its mucus production, which further inhibits gas exchange, and prevents the patient's ability to be physically active.

Eventhough COPD is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, there is currently no cure for the disease. Providing patients with concentrated oxygen treatment and instruction on breathing techniques increases survival rates.

In a newly released study published in Disease Models & Mechanisms (DMM), dmm.biologists.org, collaborative findings by European scientists demonstrate that an antioxidant protein, sestrin, triggers molecular pathways that induce some of the critical lung changes linked to COPD. By genetically inactivating this protein, they were able to improve the elastic features of the lung in a mouse model of emphysema. These authors think that by inhibiting the antioxidant sestrin protein, they prevent the accelerated degradation of elastic fibers within the lung. This suggests that patients with COPD could benefit from therapy with drugs that block sestrin function.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


January 26, 2010, 8:54 AM CT

CT to diagnose appendicitis

CT to diagnose appendicitis
Preoperative computed tomography (CT) may help reduce unnecessary surgeries in women of reproductive age with suspected acute appendicitis, as per a newly released study appearing in the recent issue of the journal Radiology

"We observed that rising utilization of preoperative CT over the past decade, along with advances in CT technology, coincided with a significant decrease in negative appendectomies among women 45 years and younger," said Courtney A. Coursey, M.D., a radiologist at Emory University in Atlanta, who co-authored this study while a radiology fellow at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

Acute appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix, a fingerlike organ attached to the large intestine in the lower right area of the abdomen. An inflamed appendix can perforate, resulting in a life-threatening infection.

While surgical removal of the appendix is the common therapy for acute appendicitis, diagnosis is not always clear clinically. Previous to the advent of CT, in inconclusive cases, physicians would often remove the appendix as a precaution. Historically, this resulted in a high rate of negative appendectomies with negative appendectomy rates of 20 percent to 25 percent and as high as 40 percent in women considered acceptable. Negative appendectomy rates are generally higher in women due to gynecologic pathology that can confound appendicitis diagnosis. For instance, symptomatic ovarian cysts can cause lower abdominal pain similar to that from appendicitis.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


January 26, 2010, 8:52 AM CT

Childhood obesity and cardiovascular disease risk

Childhood obesity and cardiovascular disease risk
By as early as 7 years of age, being obese may raise a child's risk of future heart disease and stroke, even in the absence of other cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, as per a newly released study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

"This newly released study demonstrates that the unhealthy consequences of excess body fat start very early," said Nelly Mauras, MD, of Nemours Children's Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida and senior author of the study. "Our study shows that obesity alone is associated with certain abnormalities in the blood that can predispose individuals to developing cardiovascular disease early in adulthood.

These findings suggest that we need more aggressive interventions for weight control in obese children, even those who do not have the co-morbidities of the metabolic syndrome."

The metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors that raise the risk of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It is being increasingly diagnosed in children as being overweight becomes a greater problem. Eventhough debate exists as to its exact definition, to receive a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome, one must have at least three of the following characteristics: increased waist circumference (abdominal fat), low HDL ("good") cholesterol, high triglycerides (fats in the blood), hypertension and high blood glucose (blood sugar).........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 26, 2010, 8:50 AM CT

Antidepressants and lactation difficulties

Antidepressants and lactation difficulties
As per a newly released study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), women taking usually used forms of antidepressant drugs may experience delayed lactation after giving birth and may need additional support to achieve their breastfeeding goals.

Breastfeeding benefits both infants and mothers in a number of ways as breast milk is easy to digest and contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections. The World Health Organization recommends that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. This newly released study shows that certain common antidepressant drugs appears to be associated with a common difficulty experienced by new mothers known as delayed secretory activation, defined as a delay in the initiation of full milk secretion.

"The breasts are serotonin-regulated glands, meaning the breasts' ability to secrete milk at the right time is closely correlation to the body's production and regulation of the hormone serotonin," said Nelson Horseman, PhD, of the University of Cincinnati and co-author of the study. "Common antidepressant drugs like fluoxetine, sertraline and paroxetine are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs and while they can affect mood, emotion and sleep they may also impact serotonin regulation in the breast, placing new mothers at greater risk of a delay in the establishment of a full milk supply".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 26, 2010, 8:46 AM CT

Virtual colonoscopy is effective

Virtual colonoscopy is effective
Computed tomographic colonography (CTC), also known as virtual colonoscopy, remains effective in screening older patients for colorectal cancer (CRC), produces low referral for colonoscopy rates similar to other screening exams now covered by Medicare, and does not result in unreasonable levels of additional testing resulting from extracolonic findings, as per a research studyreported in the recent issue of Radiology.

CT colonography employs virtual reality technology to produce a three-dimensional visualization that permits a thorough and minimally invasive assessment of the entire colon and rectum. Prior CTC trials have demonstrated excellent performance in average risk individuals. However, concerns remained that such results may not be applicable to older Medicare beneficiaries. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health analyzed various CTC performance and program outcome measures for screening individuals aged 65-79.

"These results confirm that CTC is a safe and effective colorectal cancer screening tool for the older individual. There is no significant difference in the way CTC performs in older patients as opposed to younger patients," said David H. Kim, MD, associate professor of radiology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and principal investigator of the study.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


January 25, 2010, 8:20 AM CT

Cartilage repair can improve life

Cartilage repair can improve life
Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the ten most disabling diseases in the developed world and is set to become more of a financial burden on health services as average life expectancy increases.

OA is the most common form of arthritis, affecting nearly 27 million Americans or 12.1% of the adult population of the United States, as per Laurence et al. A 2001 study showed that the disease costs US health services about $89.1 billion,2 and indirect costs relating to wages and productivity losses and unplanned home care averaged $4603 per person.3.

In a review for F1000 Medicine Reports, Yves Henrotin and Jean-Emile Dubuc examine the range of therapies currently on offer for repairing cartilaginous tissue. They also consider how recent technological developments could affect the therapy of OA in elderly populations.

The most promising therapeutic technique is Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI), which involves non-invasively removing a small sample of cartilage from a healthy site, isolating and culturing cells, then re-implanting them into the damaged area.

A recent enhancement to this method is matrix-assisted ACI (MACI) - where the cultured cells are fixed within a biomaterial before being implanted to promote a smooth integration with the existing tissues. ACI and MACI have previously been reserved for younger patients who are not severely obese (i.e. with a BMI below 35), whose cartilage defect is relatively small and where other therapies have already been tried.........

Posted by: Mark      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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