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July 9, 2010, 7:00 AM CT

Vitamin B3 to treat fungal infections

Vitamin B3 to treat fungal infections
A team of scientists from the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer of the University of Montreal have identified vitamin B3 as a potential antifungal treatment.

Credit: Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the University of Montreal

A team of researchers from the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the University of Montreal have identified vitamin B3 as a potential antifungal therapy. Led by IRIC Principal Investigators Martine Raymond, Alain Verreault and Pierre Thibault, in collaboration with Alaka Mullick, from the Biotechnology Research Institute of the National Research Council Canada, the study is the subject of a recent article in Nature Medicine

Infections by the yeast Candida albicans represent a significant public health problem and a common complication in immunodeficient individuals such as AIDS patients, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and recipients of organ transplants. While some therapys are available, their efficacy can be compromised by the emergence of drug-resistant strains.

The current study shows that a C. albicans enzyme, known as Hst3, is essential to the growth and survival of the yeast. Scientists observed that genetic or pharmacological inhibition of Hst3 with nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3, strongly reduced C. albicans virulence in a mouse model. Both normal and drug-resistant strains of C. albicans were susceptible to nicotinamide. In addition, nicotinamide prevented the growth of other pathogenic Candida species and Aspergillus fumigatus (another human pathogen), thus demonstrating the broad antifungal properties of nicotinamide.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


July 9, 2010, 6:57 AM CT

What's your baseline PSA?

What's your baseline PSA?
Normal prostate anatomy
Men who have a baseline PSA value of 10 or higher the first time they are tested are up to 11 times more likely to die from prostate cancer than are men with lower initial values, as per Duke University Medical Center researchers.

Researchers say the finding, appearing early online in the journal Cancer, supports routine, early prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening among healthy men with normal life expectancy a practice several studies have recently questioned.

"There has been some controversy over the value of PSA screening beginning at age 40, but the data from this study strongly suggests that early screening can help us stratify patients' risk and identify those who need to be followed most closely from this younger age group. That, in turn, may help save lives," says Judd W. Moul, MD, Professor of Urologic Surgery and Director of the Duke Prostate Center and senior author of the paper.

Scientists used the Duke Prostate Center database to identify 4,568 men who had PSA tests during the past 20 years and who were diagnosed with prostate cancer. Investigators tracked the patients' age and race and analyzed each variable to assess any association with risk of death from prostate cancer or other causes.

The median age of the men at baseline was 65. The median baseline PSA was 4.5, and the average follow-up period was over nine years. Scientists observed that 3.5 percent of the men died from prostate cancer during the study period, while more than 20 percent died from other causes.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


July 9, 2010, 6:55 AM CT

Changing the cancer cell to respond to tamoxifen

Changing the cancer cell to respond to tamoxifen
Tamoxifen is a drug, taken orally as a tablet, which interferes with the activity of estrogen, a female hormone.

Using a small molecule decoy, researchers funded by the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation have managed to block protein interactions and induce epigenetic reprogramming in human and mouse breast cancer cells, essentially changing the gene expression of breast cancer cells to behave in a more normal manner. The research illustrates what may perhaps become an effective targeted epigenetic treatment in breast cancer. Interestingly, the targeted therapy showed exciting results in triple-negative breast cancer cells, reverting their function and appearance, and sensitizing them to tamoxifen and retinoids.

By introducing a small peptide, called the SID decoy, to interfere with protein binding in the Sin 3 PAH2 domain, researchers reduced the growth of triple-negative cancer cells by 80 percent. The decoy also blocked cancer cell invasion, which may shed light on preventing metastasis. The study was reported in the June 29 print edition of the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive form of breast cancer more usually diagnosed in young women, African-American women and women with BRCA-1 mutated cancers, said medical oncologist Samuel Waxman, M.D., the study's senior author. Currently, the only therapy options that women with triple-negative breast cancer have are radiation treatment, surgery and chemotherapy. Women with triple-negative breast cancer do not respond to hormonal treatment or Herceptin and have a higher recurrence rate after chemotherapy.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 8, 2010, 7:01 AM CT

Teens drink more during summer before college

Teens drink more during summer before college
Summertime and the living is easy. But not too easy for parents whose children will head to college in the fall.

University of Rhode Island Psychology Professor Mark Wood, a nationally recognized alcohol researcher, wants parents to be aware that this is a time when teens tend to increase their alcohol consumption.

The URI expert advises parents to monitor their children--know where they are, whom they are with and what they are doing.

"This type of monitoring, especially in combination with an emotionally supportive parenting style, is linked to less drinking and fewer alcohol-related problems across numerous studies," Wood said.

"It is also important for parents to express clear disapproval of alcohol use and to provide clear and fair consequences linked to breaking the rules. Research shows this combination of factors decreases alcohol use and problems through adolescence and into college," continued Wood who helps create interventions to reduce alcohol related-harm, especially among college-age students. Results of his recent study bear this out.

Is Wood advocating that parents become helicopter parents--ones who hover over their children and their problems or experiences, particularly when they are in college?

"We live in a era when students are texting and talking to parents, sometimes a number of times a day. Eventhough the term helicopter parent does have a negative connotation, I think conversations about drinking are good whenever and wherever they occur," said the researcher.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 8, 2010, 6:57 AM CT

Higher-protein diets support weight loss

Higher-protein diets support weight loss
Overweight and moderately obese postmenopausal women using diets based on higher protein intake also need to be aware of potential bone loss, as per new research from Purdue University.

"We know that when overweight, postmenopausal women reduce their energy intake to successfully lose weight, they can lose less lean body mass when they consume higher amounts of protein and include lean meats, such as pork loins, ham, beef and chicken, in their diet," said Wayne W. Campbell, professor of foods and nutrition. "However, we also observed that these older women lost bone mineral density faster than women who consumed normal protein diets that did not contain any meats. This finding is of concern for this age group that is susceptible to osteoporosis".

Campbell and doctoral student Minghua Tang analyzed data from two controlled diet studies. In the first study, they reduced 28 women's individual daily diets by 750 calories to achieve a one-and-one-half-pound weight loss each week for 12 weeks. These postmenopausal women ranged in age from 43-80. Fifteen women consumed meat-free diets with protein from vegetarian, dairy and egg sources, comprising 18 percent of each woman's energy intake. This amount of protein was comparable to the recommended dietary allowance of 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 8, 2010, 6:45 AM CT

Inactivity and childhood obesity epidemic

Inactivity and childhood obesity epidemic
A new report from the EarlyBird Diabetes Study suggests that physical activity has little if any role to play in the obesity epidemic among children. Obesity is the key factor behind diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

EarlyBird is based at the Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth, UK, and has been observing in detail a cohort of city school children for the past 11 years.

A review published in 2009 of all trials using physical activity to reduce childhood obesity showed weight loss amounting to just 90g (3oz) over three years, and the EarlyBird study wanted to know why the trials were so ineffective. So they challenged some popular paradigms.

It is well known that less active children are fatter, but that does not mean as most people assume it does that inactivity leads to fatness. It could equally well be the other way round: that obesity leads to inactivity.

And this is the question EarlyBird was uniquely placed to answer. With data collected annually over several years from a large cohort of children, it could ask the question which comes first? Does the physical activity of the child precede changes in fatness over time, or does the fatness of the child precede changes in physical activity over time?

And the answer, published recently in Archives of Disease in Childhood, was clear. Physical activity had no impact on weight change, but weight clearly led to less activity.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 8, 2010, 6:43 AM CT

Fish oil may reduce risk of breast cancer

Fish oil may reduce risk of breast cancer
Emily White, Ph.D., is a member of the public health sciences division.

Credit: Emily White, Ph.D.

A recent report in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, adds to the growing evidence that fish oil supplements may play a role in preventing chronic disease.

Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash., led by Emily White, Ph.D., a member of the public health sciences division, asked 35,016 postmenopausal women who did not have a history of breast cancer to complete a 24-page questionnaire about their use of non-vitamin, non-mineral "specialty" supplements in the Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort study.

After six years of follow-up, 880 cases of breast cancer were identified using the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results registry.

Regular use of fish oil supplements, which contain high levels of the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, was linked with a 32 percent reduced risk of breast cancer. The reduction in risk appeared to be restricted to invasive ductal breast cancer, the most common type of the disease.

The use of other specialty supplements, a number of of which are usually taken by women to treat symptoms of menopause, was not linked to breast cancer risk.

This research is the first to demonstrate a link between the use of fish oil supplements and a reduction in breast cancer. Studies of dietary intake of fish or omega-3 fatty acids have not been consistent.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 7, 2010, 7:28 AM CT

Should specialist medical training be more flexible?

Should specialist medical training be more flexible?
Specialist medical training programmes should retain some flexibility to help trainee doctors make the right career choices, as per a research studypublished on bmj.com today.

Some UK medical graduates choose a specialty as soon as they qualify and others after a few years of postgraduate work. But changes to postgraduate medical training mean that junior doctors will generally have to make choices sooner than in the past.

This concern was first highlighted by the Tooke report in 2008, which suggested that medical education and Modernising Medical Careers policy in the UK encourages foundation trainees to make career choices when a number of are not ready to make such commitments.

Scientists at the University of Oxford, set out to compare doctors' early career choices with their eventual career destinations.

Using questionnaire data from five cohorts of doctors from UK medical schools, who graduated between 1974 and 1996, they compared the extent to which choices of specialties at one, three, and five years after graduation corresponded to career destinations 10 years after graduation.

They observed that, 10 years after graduating, almost half of doctors were working in a specialty different from the one chosen in their first year after graduation and about a quarter were working in a specialty different from their year three choice.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 7, 2010, 7:26 AM CT

It takes more than antioxidants to slow aging

It takes more than antioxidants to slow aging
Don't put down the red wine and vitamins just yet, but if you're taking antioxidants because you hope to live longer, consider this: a newly released study reported in the June 2010 issue of the journal GENETICS (http://www.genetics.org) casts doubt on the theory that oxidative stress to our tissues shortens lifespan. That's because scientists from McGill University in Canada have identified mutations in 10 different genes of worms (genes believed to have counterparts in humans) that extend their lifespan without reducing the level of oxidative stress the worms suffer. The results contradict the popular theory that production of toxic reactive oxygen species in tissues is responsible for aging.

"We hope that our study will help in tempering the undue emphasis put on the notion that oxidative stress causes aging and thus that antioxidants could combat aging," said Siegfried Hekimi, Ph.D, the senior author of the study from the Department of Biology at McGill University in Montreal. "We also hope that the genes we have discovered can be used in the future to modulate energy metabolism in a way that can help delay the health issues associated with aging, and possibly increase lifespan itself."

To make their discovery, the researchers exposed a passel of worms (Caenorhabditis elegans) to a chemical that causes random changes in its DNA, and looked among the mutagenized worms for those appearing to have a slow rate of metabolism, manifested in their slow development and slow behavioral responses. They then identified the mutations in these worms that caused this effect, revealing 10 distinct genes involved in metabolism. The scientists' expected that the slowly metabolizing worms would have less oxidative stress, but to the investigators' surprise that was not the case. This suggests that a slow rate of living and reduced energy metabolism is sufficient to increase longevity, even when oxidative stress is not reduced.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


July 7, 2010, 6:52 AM CT

How patients manage chronic lower-back pain

How patients manage chronic lower-back pain
Approximately 10% of low back pain (LBP) sufferers experience persistent pain and significant disability. As per a research findings reported in the recent issue of Pain, a group of Australian scientists investigating the relevance of health literacy in patients with chronic lower back pain (CLBP) observed that LBP-related beliefs and behaviors affect a person's disability more than pain intensity or a standard measure of functional health literacy. However, when delving deeper into aspects of health literacy, important factors were identified which might help to explain disability linked to CLBP, highlighting important factors to consider in the delivery of information for CLBP.

Health literacy, the ability to seek, understand and utilize health information, is important for good health. Low levels of health literacy have been linked to poorer health outcomes in a number of chronic conditions, eventhough this had not been studied previously in CLBP, even though CLBP imposes a significant personal and societal burden.

The health literacy of individuals with CLBP was examined using a mixed methods approach. 117 adults participated, comprising 61 with no history of CLBP and 56 with CLBP (28 with low and high disability, respectively, as determined by a median split in disability using a scoring system for characterizing disability linked to lower back. pain). The sample group consisted of Australian adults from a middle class community with a similar socioeconomic status.........

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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