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April 21, 2009, 5:12 AM CT

Looking to prevent kidney damage in lupus

Looking to prevent kidney damage in lupus
Kidney damage linked to the autoimmune disease lupus is associated with a malfunction of immune cells that causes them to congregate in and attack the organs, scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have discovered in a mouse study.

In a separate study with an international team, the scientists also observed that a certain set of genes appears to protect the kidneys from a different sort of immune attack in both mice and humans.

"These studies, taken together, uncover two important molecules that underlie the pathology of lupus, especially kidney disease," said Dr. Edward Wakeland, chairman of immunology at UT Southwestern and co-senior author of the studies.

"In addition, they highlight a certain molecule as a potential target for treating this disease," he said.

In the first study, which appears in the recent issue of The Journal of Immunology, the scientists examined several strains of mice that mimic human lupus. They observed that immune cells in those mice overproduced a particular molecule called CXCR4. In fact, the mice had up to twice as much CXCR4 as their normal counterparts in several types of immune cells. The lupus-prone mice also had more immune-system cells in their kidneys, indicating that the inflammatory action of the immune cells might be causing the kidney damage.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


April 20, 2009, 5:25 AM CT

Benefits of fish oil

Benefits of fish oil
Dr. Nicolas Bazan, Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence, Boyd Professor, and Ernest C. and Yvette C. Villere Chair of Retinal Degenerative Diseases Research at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, will present new research findings showing that an omega three fatty acid in the diet protects brain cells by preventing the misfolding of a protein resulting from a gene mutation in neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Huntington's. He will present these findings for the first time on Sunday, April 19, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Nouvelle C Room, at the American Society for Nutrition, Experimental Biology 2009 Annual Meeting.

With funding from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Bazan and colleagues developed a cell model with a mutation of the Ataxin-1 gene. The defective Ataxin-1 gene induces the misfolding of the protein produced by the gene. These misshapened proteins cannot be properly processed by the cell machinery, resulting in tangled clumps of toxic protein that eventually kill the cell. Spinocerebellar Ataxia, a disabling disorder that affects speech, eye movement, and hand coordination at early ages of life, is one disorder resulting from the Ataxin-1 misfolding defect. The research team led by Dr. Bazan observed that the omega three fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), protects cells from this defect.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 20, 2009, 5:24 AM CT

New biomarker for chronic lymphocytic leukemia

New biomarker for chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego and the Moores UCSD Cancer Center have evidence of a potential new biomarker to predict the aggressiveness of an often difficult-to-treat form of leukemia. They observed that high levels of a particular enzyme in the blood are an indicator that chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) the most common form of adult leukemia will be aggressive and in need of immediate therapy.

The researchers, led by Paul A. Insel, MD, professor of pharmacology and medicine at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, say that the enzyme, PDE7B, is also critical to the development of CLL and a potential target for drugs against the disease. They present their results April 19, 2009 at the AACR 100th Annual Meeting 2009 in Denver.

One of the problems in deciding on the right treatment for CLL is that it is difficult to know which type of leukemia a patient has. One form progresses slowly, with few symptoms for years while the other form is more aggressive and dangerous. While tests exist and are usually used to help doctors predict which form a patient may have, their availability and usefulness are limited.

In prior work, Insel's group had discovered that among a group of enzymes, cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases, one of the phosphodiesterases, PDE7B, was 10 times higher in CLL patients than in healthy individuals. PDE7B controls the levels of cyclic AMP (cAMP), a molecule that can promote programmed cell death, a process that is defective in CLL. Typically whereas most cancers have out-of-control cell growth, cll is characterized by an overabundance of white blood cells that do not die when they should. High levels of PDE7B mean less cAMP and as a result, less cell death.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 20, 2009, 5:21 AM CT

Vegetable juice may help some to lose weight

Vegetable juice may help some to lose weight
Drinking at least one glass of low sodium vegetable juice daily may help overweight people with metabolic syndrome achieve better weight loss results. A study, conducted at the Baylor College of Medicine and presented at this week's Experimental Biology Meeting, observed that participants who drank at least 8-ounces of low sodium vegetable juice as part of a calorie-controlled DASH diet lost four pounds over 12 weeks, while those who followed the same diet but drank no juice lost one pound.

Metabolic syndrome is defined by a cluster of risk factors including excess body fat in the midsection, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and abnormal blood lipids. If left uncontrolled, metabolic syndrome increases risk for chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke or diabetes. An estimated 47 million Americans have some combination of these risk factors and are often overweight or obese as well.

Participants in the study were primarily African-American and Hispanic adults, populations that typically have a higher occurence rate of metabolic syndrome. Each group followed a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet that emphasized eating lean meat, lower fat dairy, whole grains, vegetables and fruit daily and keeping saturated fat, total fat, cholesterol and sodium in check. Two of the groups were given Low Sodium V8 100% vegetable juice and instructed to drink 1 or 2 cups every day for 12 weeks, while the third group was not given any vegetable juice.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 20, 2009, 5:14 AM CT

Antioxidant benefits of tart cherries

Antioxidant benefits of tart cherries
Eating just one and a half servings of tart cherries could significantly boost antioxidant activity in the body, as per new University of Michigan research reported at the 2009 Experimental Biology meeting in New Orleans.1 In the study, healthy adults who ate a cup and a half of frozen cherries had increased levels of antioxidants, specifically five different anthocyanins the natural antioxidants that give cherries their red color.

Twelve healthy adults, aged 18 to 25 years, were randomly assigned to eat either one and a half cups or three cups of frozen tart cherries. Scientists analyzed participants' blood and urine at regular intervals after they ate the cherries and found increased antioxidant activity for up to 12 hours after eating cherries.

"This study documents for the first time that the antioxidants in tart cherries do make it into the human bloodstream and is coupled with increased antioxidant activity that could have a positive impact," said Sara L. Warber, MD, Co-Director of University of Michigan Integrative Medicine and principal investigator of the study. "And, while more studies are needed, what's really great is that a reasonable amount of cherries could potentially deliver benefits, like reducing risk factors for heart disease and inflammation." .........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 20, 2009, 5:11 AM CT

Chewing gum helps lower calorie intake

Chewing gum helps lower calorie intake
WHAT: New research from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and Louisiana State University shows the potential role of Extra sugar-free gum in helping to control appetite, decrease calorie intake and reduce snack cravings.i Primary outcomes include:
  • Chewing Extra sugar-free gum significantly reduced intake of an afternoon snack by 40 calories.
    • Chewing Extra sugar-free gum specifically reduced sweet snack intake by 60 calories.
  • When participants chewed gum, hunger, desire to eat and sweet snack cravings were significantly suppressed between lunch and an afternoon snack as in comparison to when they did not chew gum.
  • When participants chewed gum, they reported that their energy levels were maintained between lunch and an afternoon snack, and were significantly less drowsy as in comparison to when they did not chew gum during this same timeframe.


Overall, this study demonstrates the role of chewing gum in helping to decrease calorie intake from an afternoon snack, controlling appetite and reducing snack cravings. Nutritionists report that even small changes in caloric intake can have a significant impact in the long term. This research study supports the role of chewing sugar-free gum as an easy, practical tool for helping to manage snack intake and reducing sweet snack cravings.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 20, 2009, 5:08 AM CT

Herbal extra to against pancreatic cancer

Herbal extra to against pancreatic cancer
An herb recently found to kill pancreas cancer cells also appears to inhibit development of pancreas cancer as a result of its anti-inflammatory properties, as per scientists from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. The data were presented at the AACR 100th Annual Meeting 2009 in Denver. (Abstract #494).

Thymoquinone, the major constituent of the oil extract from a Middle Eastern herbal seed called Nigella sativa, exhibited anti-inflammatory properties that reduced the release of inflammatory mediators in pancreas cancer cells, as per Hwyda Arafat, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Surgery at the Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and a member of the Jefferson Pancreatic, Biliary & Related Cancers Center.

Nigella sativa seeds and oil are used in traditional medicine by a number of Middle Eastern and Asian countries. It helps treat a broad array of diseases, including some immune and inflammatory disorders, Dr. Arafat said. Prior studies have also shown it to have anti-cancer effects on prostate and colon cancers.

Based upon their previously published findings that thymoquinone inhibits histone deacetylases (HDACs), Dr. Arafat and her colleagues compared the anti-inflammatory properties of thymoquinone and trichostatin A, an HDAC inhibitor that has previously shown to ameliorate inflammation-associated cancers.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


April 17, 2009, 5:12 AM CT

New drug for fibromyalgia

New drug for fibromyalgia
For Tara Campbell, the onset of her fibromyalgia began slowly with repeated sore throats, fevers and fatigue. By the time she was diagnosed, a year later, she had become so debilitated by flulike symptoms and exhaustion that she often couldn't get off the couch all day.

"Fall, a year ago, I hit my very, very worst," said Campbell, 39, of Walnut Creek, Calif. "I felt overall pain to the point that even when my children or husband just touched me it hurt".

Campbell's symptoms still linger, but since taking part in a Stanford University School of Medicine clinical trial in the spring of 2008, she's improved enough that she's gone back to working again as an interior decorator and even headed up the fundraising auction at her daughters' school.

"I am really, really good," Campbell said. "Having said that, I'm not yet 100 percent. I'm not yet that person I was before".

Campbell was one of 10 women with fibromyalgia to take part in a small pilot study at Stanford over a 14-week period to test the new use of a low dose of a drug called naltrexone for the therapy of chronic pain. The drug, which has been used clinically for more than 30 years to treat opioid addiction, was found to reduce symptoms of pain and fatigue an average of 30 percent over placebo, as per the results of the study to be published April 17 online in the journal Pain Medicine........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


April 17, 2009, 5:10 AM CT

Site where 'bad' cholesterol levels are controlled

Site where 'bad' cholesterol levels are controlled
UT Southwestern Medical Center have observed that a protein responsible for regulating "bad" cholesterol in the blood works almost exclusively outside cells, providing clues for the development of therapies to block the protein's disruptive actions.

"The fact that it works mostly extracellularly provides more opportunities to develop different kinds of therapies," said Dr. Jay Horton, professor of internal medicine and molecular genetics and co-author of the study, which is available online and appears in today's issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. .

The protein, called PCSK9, disrupts the activity of a key molecule called the low-density lipoprotein receptor, or LDLR. This molecule, which is made and secreted in the liver, latches onto the LDL receptor. This binding, however, triggers a chain of biochemical reactions that leads to the destruction of the LDL receptor. With fewer receptors available, more of the so-called "bad" cholesterol remains in the bloodstream.

Dr. Horton said these new findings show that PCSK9 principally acts as a secreted protein to cause the degradation of LDL receptors. "Therefore, approaches to block the protein's activity in the blood should be successful in reducing plasma cholesterol levels," he said.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 17, 2009, 5:08 AM CT

Exercise During Pregnancy

Exercise During Pregnancy
No one doubts that mothers - particularly pregnant mothers - are among the busiest people on earth. And while the benefits of exercise for these women and their developing fetuses are widely known, a number of expectant mothers do not exercise. A survey examining daily activities of moms-to-be will soon be released as part of a larger study looking at the effect of maternal exercise on fetal development. The results suggest, among other things, that exercising during pregnancy does not require "stealing" time from other activities.

The study was conducted by Linda E. May, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCUMB), Kansas City, MO; Alan Glaros, KCUMB, and Kathleen M. Gustafson, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS and is entitled Differences Among Exercisers and Non-Exercisers During Pregnancy. The team will discuss its study at the 122nd Annual Meeting of the American Physiological Society (APS; www.the-aps.org/press), which is part of the Experimental Biology 2009 scientific conference. The meeting will be held April 18-22, 2009 in New Orleans.

The Study and Background

Based on prior research findings, over one-third (36 percent) of pregnant moms cite time as the main reason for not participating in regular aerobic exercise. With this in mind, the scientists wanted to determine if women who exercised during pregnancy spent less time doing specific activities in order to have time for exercise and to determine if there were any trends between mothers who exercised during pregnancy and those that do not.........

Posted by: Emily      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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