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May 12, 2010, 10:14 AM CT

Efficacy and Safety of Available Rotavirus Vaccines

Efficacy and Safety of Available Rotavirus Vaccines
Acute diarrhea has been a major cause of death in young children worldwide until recently, and still true in many developing countries. The infectious agent for most of these diarrheas in young children is Rotavirus which was discovered in 1973 by Ruth Bisop. (Ref1). Rotavirus is shown to cause 40-50% of severe acute diarrhea in young children worldwide in both developing and developed countries. More than 600, 000 young children die every year from rotavirus disease, predominantly in South-East Asia and sub-Sahara. (Ref1).

Rotavirus is a double strand RNA virus belonging to the family of Reovirus. It is the most most common cause of diarrhea in infants and young children. Almost all kids have had a rotavirus infection by the time they're 5 years (Ref 2).

Wyeth introduced a Rotavirus vaccine (RotaShield) in1998. Clinical trials in US and many countries showed this to be highly effective vaccine. This vaccine was subsequently licensed for use in the United States. Wyeth, however, withdrew it from the market in 1999, after it was found that the vaccine may have contributed to an increased risk of bowel obstruction (Ref 4).

Subsequently two other vaccines (Rotarix by GlaxoSmithKline and RotaTeq by Merck) were introduced against Rotavirus. These were shown to be safe (Ref 5). ........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 10, 2010, 11:11 PM CT

Levitra may may be useful to treat brain tumors

Levitra may may be useful to treat brain tumors
New research at Cedars-Sinai's Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute showed that vardenafil (Levitra), a drug currently FDA approved to treat erectile dysfunction may find useful to treat brain tumors. Erectile dysfunction drugs works by increasing blood supply to the male reproductive organs. Researches used the same principle and used this drug in studies in combination with Herceptin in the therapy of metastatic brain cancer. The combination resulted in two fold increase in the delivery of Herceptin to brain. These findings are published on in the journal PLoS ONE. This finding could lead to better therapy options for breast cancer patients and lung cancer who had cancer spread to their brain.

While cancers that originate in the brain are relatively rare -- approximately 22,000 patients are diagnosed with a primary brain tumor every year -- nearly 10 times that a number of people develop brain tumors from cancers that began elsewhere in the body. Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., and about 20 percent of lung cancers metastasize to the brain. Breast cancer and melanoma may also spread to the brain, and once this happens, the cancer becomes extremely difficult to treat and the prognosis turns poor.

Even if a cancer is susceptible to drugs, these drugs must penetrate the "blood-brain barrier" if they're to treat cancer that's metastasized to the brain. "Mother Nature created this barrier to protect our brains from dangerous substances, but here we need to get through the barrier to deliver the drugs, and that's a problem," says study author Julia Y. Ljubimova, M.D., Ph.D., a research scientist at the Cedars-Sinai Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute in Los Angeles.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 9, 2010, 8:43 AM CT

FDA Approves New Combination Product Oral Contraceptive

FDA Approves New Combination Product Oral Contraceptive
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Natazia, a combination hormonal tablet for use as an oral contraceptive.

Natazia contains two female hormones, an estrogen (estradiol valerate) and a progestin (dienogest), and is the first four-phasic oral contraceptive marketed in the United States. Four-phasic refers to the doses of progestin and estrogen varying at four times throughout each 28-day treatment cycle.

“Nearly 12 million women in the United States and more than 100 million women worldwide currently use oral contraceptives,” said Scott Monroe, M.D., director of FDA’s Division of Reproductive and Urologic Products. “The approval of Natazia provides another option for women who choose to use an oral contraceptive as their method of contraception.”

The safety and efficacy of Natazia as an oral contraceptive was evaluated in two multicenter phase 3 clinical trials in North America and Europe. The trials involved 1,867 women and nearly 30,000 28-day treatment cycles. Natazia was found to be effective as a hormonal contraceptive in both studies.

The most common side effects observed with Natazia include irregular bleeding, breast tenderness, headaches, nausea and vomiting, increased weight, and acne. Women older than 35 who smoke should not use this product. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular events from combination oral contraceptive use.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


May 9, 2010, 7:07 AM CT

New insights into the mystery of natural HIV immunity

New insights into the mystery of natural HIV immunity
Graphic: Christine Daniloff
When people become infected by HIV, it’s usually only a matter of time, barring drug intervention, until they develop full-blown AIDS. However, a small number of people exposed to the virus progress very slowly to AIDS — and some never develop the disease at all.

In the late 1990s, researchers showed that a very high percentage of those naturally HIV-immune people, who represent about one in 200 infected individuals, carry a gene called HLA B57. Now a team of researchers from the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard has revealed a new effect that contributes to this gene’s ability to confer immunity.

The research team, led by MIT Professor Arup Chakraborty and Harvard Professor Bruce Walker of MGH, found that the HLA B57 gene causes the body to make more potent killer T cells — white blood cells that help defend the body from infectious invaders. Patients with the gene have a larger number of T cells that bind strongly to more pieces of HIV protein than people who do not have the gene. This makes the T cells more likely to recognize cells that express HIV proteins, including mutated versions that arise during infection. This effect contributes to superior control of HIV infection (and any other virus that evolves rapidly), but it also makes those people more susceptible to autoimmune diseases, in which T cells attack the body’s own cells.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


May 6, 2010, 6:46 AM CT

Preventing blindness

Preventing blindness
Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers Ken Tobin (left) and Tom Karnowski see TRIAD as something that could be a life-changer for people at risk of diabetic retinopathy and other potentially blinding diseases. (Photo by Ron Walli/ORNL)
Automated Medical Diagnostics, a startup company based in Memphis, envisions its product helping to preserve the sight of millions of people who are at risk of vision loss from diabetic retinopathy.

Using Telemedical Retinal Image Analysis and Diagnosis, a technology recently licensed by AMDx from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, patients can quickly be screened for the disease in their primary care doctor's office and other remote sites, permitting early detection and referral for diabetic retinopathy and other retinal diseases.

"If diabetic retinopathy is detected early, therapys can preserve vision and significantly reduce the occurence rate of debilitating blindness," said Edward Chaum, an ophthalmologist and Plough Foundation professor of retinal diseases at the UT Health Science Center Hamilton Eye Institute in Memphis. Chaum and ORNL's Ken Tobin, partners in AMDx, led the team that developed a method for teaching computers to aid in the diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy and other blinding eye diseases.

The Web-based technology uses a digital camera that takes pictures of the retina at a primary care physician's office or other remote clinical site. The patient's medical data and retinal images are sent to a server and processed through the patented system that quickly sorts through large databases and finds visually similar images representing equivalent states of diabetic eye disease. This allows diagnoses to be made in seconds so patients will know before they leave the office if they have no eye disease or if they need to follow up with a retinal specialist. Conventional techniques require a patient to wait several days to receive results.........

Posted by: Mike      Read more         Source


May 6, 2010, 6:40 AM CT

Spouses who care for partners with dementia

Spouses who care for partners with dementia
Husbands or wives who care for spouses with dementia are six times more likely to develop the memory-impairing condition than those whose spouses don't have it, as per results of a 12-year study led by Johns Hopkins, Utah State University, and Duke University. The increased risk that the scientists saw among caregivers was on par with the power of a gene variant known to increase susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease, they report in the May Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

A few small studies have suggested that spousal caregivers frequently show memory deficits greater than spouses who aren't caregivers. However, none examined the cognitive ability of caregivers over time using standard, strict criteria to diagnose dementia, a serious cognitive disorder characterized by deficits in memory, attention, judgment, language, and other abilities.

To get some answers, Johns Hopkins psychiatry professor Peter Rabins, M.D., M.P.H., and a team led by associate professor Maria Norton, Ph.D., of Utah State University, examined 1,221 married couples ages 65 or older. These individuals were part of the Cache County (Utah) Memory Study, which has identified over 900 persons with dementia in the community since 1995. All of the study participants live in Cache County, whose residents topped the longevity scale in the 1990 United States census.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


May 6, 2010, 6:39 AM CT

Dark chocolate may guard against brain injury

Dark chocolate may guard against brain injury
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have discovered that a compound in dark chocolate may protect the brain after a stroke by increasing cellular signals already known to shield nerve cells from damage.

Ninety minutes after feeding mice a single modest dose of epicatechin, a compound found naturally in dark chocolate, the researchers induced an ischemic stroke by essentially cutting off blood supply to the animals' brains. They observed that the animals that had preventively ingested the epicatechin suffered significantly less brain damage than the ones that had not been given the compound.

While most therapys against stroke in humans have to be given within a two- to three-hour time window to be effective, epicatechin appeared to limit further neuronal damage when given to mice 3.5 hours after a stroke. Given six hours after a stroke, however, the compound offered no protection to brain cells.

Sylvain Dor, Ph.D., associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine and pharmacology and molecular sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says his study suggests that epicatechin stimulates two previously well-established pathways known to shield nerve cells in the brain from damage. When the stroke hits, the brain is ready to protect itself because these pathways Nrf2 and heme oxygenase 1 are activated. In mice that selectively lacked activity in those pathways, the study found, epicatechin had no significant protective effect and their brain cells died after a stroke.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


May 6, 2010, 6:37 AM CT

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy
Eventhough acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is relatively rare in children, drinking alcohol during pregnancy could increase the risk, as per a recent paper published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Julie Ross, Ph.D., director of the division of pediatric epidemiology and clinical research at the University of Minnesota, said there are about 700 cases of AML in the United States in children each year.

"It's quite rare, so we want to be careful about worrying parents too much," said Ross, who was not involved in the study, but is an editorial board member of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention

Ross and the lead researcher of this study, Paule Latino-Martel, Ph.D., research director at the Research Center for Human Nutrition in France, agreed that these findings should strengthen the public health recommendation against alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

"Despite the current recommendation that pregnant women should not drink alcohol during pregnancy, alcohol consumption during pregnancy is 12 percent in the United States, 30 percent in Sweden, 52 percent in France, 59 percent in Australia and 60 percent in Russia," said Latino-Martel.

Latino-Martel and his colleagues analyzed 21 case control studies. Alcohol intake during pregnancy, defined as a response to a yes or no question, was linked to a 56 percent increased risk of AML in children. The risk of AML was higher in children aged 0 to 4 years old at diagnosis. There was no significant association with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


May 6, 2010, 6:35 AM CT

Whole body MRI ifor breast cancer spread

Whole body MRI ifor breast cancer spread
Whole body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) should be the imaging modality of choice for the detection of breast cancer metastases (when the cancer has spread beyond the breast) as it is highly accurate and can detect bone metastases while a patient is still asymptomatic (shows no symptoms), as per a research studyto be presented at the ARRS 2010 Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

Whole body MRI is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat breast cancer. Breast cancer cells usually spread to the bones, lungs, liver, or brain. Metastatic breast cancer tumors appears to be found before or at the same time as the primary tumor, or months and even years later.

"It is important that we detect metastases early in order to ensure the patient is getting the appropriate therapy. This study shows that whole body MRI can accomplish this task and is ready to be used for this indication," said Joshita Singh, MD, main author of the study.

Besides MRI, other imaging modalities usually used to detect breast cancer metastases include positron emission tomography computed tomography (PET/CT), chest X-rays, bone scans, and ultrasound of the abdomen and pelvis.

The study, performed at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital and Research Center in Pune, India, included 99 patients with known breast cancer who were reviewed for metastases using whole body MRI. "Of the 99 patients, MRI accurately revealed that 47 patients were positive for metastases while 52 were negative. Of those patients who were positive for metastases, whole body MRI frequently detected bone metastases earlier when the patient was still asymptomatic," said Singh.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 6, 2010, 6:34 AM CT

Milk and renal cell cancer

Milk and renal cell cancer
While prior research had suggested that drinking milk was correlation to factors that may increase the risk of renal cell cancer, results of a recent study exploiting the genetic contribution to variation in milk consumption suggest that this may not be the case.

"The data in this study provide no concrete evidence of a need to alter milk drinking in any way," said lead researcher Nicholas Timpson, Ph.D., lecturer in genetic epidemiology at the MRC CAiTE Center in the department of social medicine at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom. "If anything, the failure of genetic findings to replicate the association between milk and renal cell cancer suggests that fears that milk consumption might elevate cancer risk are likely to be unfounded."

These study results are reported in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Previously reported studies suggested a correlation between milk intake and renal cell carcinoma risk, and whether this represents a causal association or is the result of bias is currently unclear. Timpson and his colleagues used a genetic marker to try to help untangle this observation.

From 1999 through 2003 the scientists conducted a large, hospital-based, case-control study from four central and eastern European countries.........

Posted by: Janet      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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