September 10, 2009, 7:07 AM CT
LED light and green tea cream to smooth facial wrinkles
A combination of LED light exposure and green tea extract significantly reduces skin wrinkles (right image) when compared to treatment with LED light alone, scientists are reporting.
Credit: Crystal Growth & Design
Researchers in Gera number of are reporting a major improvement in their potential new therapy for facial wrinkles that could emerge as an alternative to Botox and cosmetic surgery. The non-invasive technique combines high-intensity light from light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and a lotion made of green tea extract. It works ten times faster than a similar anti-wrinkle therapy that uses LEDs alone, the scientists say. Their study is scheduled for the Oct. 7 issue of ACS' Crystal Growth & Design
, a bi-monthly journal.
Andrei P. Sommer and Dan Zhu point out that scientists have used light-therapy, or phototherapy, for more than 40 years to help heal wounds. Recently the researchers showed that use of high-intensity LEDs, similar to those used in automotive tail lights and computers, could help reduce skin wrinkles when applied daily for several months. But exposure to intense LED light is also involved in generating high levels of reactive oxygen species as byproducts that can potentially damage cells. To combat that effect, the scientists combined the LED with a potent antioxidant in green tea extract called epigallocatechin gallate.
They applied a daily combination of LED light and green tea extract to the facial wrinkles of a human volunteer one month. The combination therapy resulted in smoother skin, including "less pronounced wrinkle levels, shorter wrinkle valleys, and juvenile complexion," the researchers say. The therapy showed promising results in only one-tenth of the time it took for LED treatment alone to reduce wrinkles. The study could form the basis of "an effective facial rejuvenation program," and lead to a new understanding of the effect reactive oxygen species on cellular aging, they note.........
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September 10, 2009, 7:04 AM CT
Toward a nanomedicine for brain cancer
Brain cancer cells like those in this tumor could someday become the target of nanoparticles that in lab experiments seek out and destroy brain cancer cells without harming healthy cells.
In an advance toward better therapys for the most serious form of brain cancer, researchers in Illinois are reporting development of the first nanoparticles that seek out and destroy brain cancer cells without damaging nearby healthy cells. The study is scheduled for the Sept. 9 issue of ACS' Nano Letters
, a monthly journal.
Elena Rozhkova and his colleagues note the pressing need for new ways to treat the disease, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), which often causes death within months of diagnosis. Recent studies show that titanium dioxide nanoparticles, a type of light-sensitive material widely used in sunscreens, cosmetics, and even wastewater therapy, can destroy some cancer cells when the chemical is exposed to ultraviolet light. However, researchers have had difficulty getting nanoparticles, each about 1/50,000th the width of a human hair, to target and enter cancer cells while avoiding healthy cells.
The scientists' solution involves chemically linked titanium dioxide nanoparticles to an antibody that recognizes and attaches to GMB cells. When they exposed cultured human GMB cells to these so-called "nanobio hybrids," the nanoparticles killed up to 80 percent of the brain cancer cells after 5 minutes of exposure to focused white light. The results suggest that these nanoparticles could become a promising part of brain cancer treatment, when used during surgery, the scientists say.........
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September 10, 2009, 6:49 AM CT
Medicine wheel model for nutrition
This is the Medicine Wheel, representing the four dietary components of the traditional Northern Plains Indian hunter-gatherer food pattern.
Credit: Figure was created and copyrighted by Kibbe Conti, second author, and used with her permission
American Indian populations experience significant nutrition-related health disparities in comparison to other racial and ethnic groups within the US. American Indian adults have the highest age-adjusted rates for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity of any racial or ethnic group. Age-adjusted rates of diabetes among Native people vary from 14% to 72%, which are 2.4 to more than 6 times the rate of the general US population. As per a research findings reported in the September 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association
, scientists from the South Dakota State University, Brookings, report that a culturally-sensitive educational program based on the Medicine Wheel Model for Nutrition shows promise in changing dietary patterns in an American Indian population and impacting glycemic control.
During a 6-month period from January 2005 through December 2005, participants from the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation were randomized to an education intervention or to a usual care control group. The education group received six nutrition lessons based on the Medicine Wheel Model for Nutrition, a diet patterned after the traditional consumption of macronutrients for Northern Plains Indians: protein (25% of energy), moderate in carbohydrate (45% to 50% of energy) and low in fat (25% to 30% of energy). The usual care group received the usual dietary education from their personal providers.........
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September 9, 2009, 7:42 AM CT
Gene variant heightens risk of severe liver disease
Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have discovered a genetic risk factor for severe liver disease in people with cystic fibrosis. Those who carry a particular variant of the SERPINA1 gene (also known as alpha-1-antitrypsin or alpha-1-antiprotease) are five times more likely to develop cirrhosis and other liver complications than patients who carry the normal version of the gene.
The study, which appears in the Sept. 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association
), could lead to earlier detection and diagnosis of cystic fibrosis liver disease and better therapy options for the patients affected by the disease. In addition, it could pave the way for similar studies in more common forms of liver disease.
"I predict that as we uncover more risk factors of liver disease in cystic fibrosis we may also find that they play a role in how rapidly people with a more common malady, such as viral hepatitis, develop liver complications (or "fibrosis")," said senior study author Michael R. Knowles, M.D., professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at UNC.
Cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic illness among Caucasians. In the disease, defects in the CFTR gene cause the lungs, intestines and pancreas to become clogged with mucus, resulting in breathing problems and other difficulties. Though every patient with cystic fibrosis carries mutations in both copies of their CFTR gene (one inherited from the mother and one from the father), symptoms can vary widely from patient to patient. For instance, about five percent of cystic fibrosis patients develop liver disease so severe it requires a liver transplant.........
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September 9, 2009, 7:41 AM CT
'Hygiene hypothesis' challenged
New research hints that the common belief that kids who go to daycare have lower rates of asthma and allergy during the later part of life might be nothing more than wishful thinking. While young children in daycare definitely do get more illnesses and experience more respiratory symptoms as a result, any perceived protection these exposures afford against asthma and allergy seem to disappear by the time the child hits the age of eight.
"We found no evidence for a protective or harmful effect of daycare on the development of asthma symptoms, allergic sensitization, or airway hyper-responsiveness at the age of eight years," wrote Johan C de Jongste, M.D., Ph.D., of Erasmus University in the Netherlands and principle investigator of the study. "Early daycare was linked to more airway symptoms until the age of four years, and only in children without older siblings, with a transient decrease in symptoms between four and eight years".
The results are reported in the September 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine,
a journal of the American Thoracic Society.
The scientists prospectively followed a birth cohort of nearly 4,000 Dutch children over the course of eight years in the Prevention and Occurence rate of Asthma and Mite Allergy (PIAMA) Study. Parents completed questionnaires during pregnancy, at three and 12 months, and then yearly until the child reached the age of eight, and reported their children's airway symptoms annually. At the age of eight, more than 3,500 of the children were also assessed for specific allergies. Some also underwent testing for lung function and airway hyper-responsiveness.........
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September 9, 2009, 7:40 AM CT
New vaccine shows promise for COPD patients
A new vaccine against pneumonia may offer better protection from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients than the currently accepted vaccine, as per recent research that would be reported in the September 15 issue of the American Journal of the Respiratory and Critical Care Journal,
a publication of the American Thoracic Society.
Because pneumonia disproportionately affects patients with COPD and frequently causes exacerbations, the Centers for Disease Control currently recommend that all adults with COPD receive the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination (PPSV23). However, the efficacy of PPSV23 is not well established in the COPD patient population.
"Reasonable effectiveness for this vaccine has been demonstrated in cohort studies in adults with lung disease," said Mark Dransfield, M.D. of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and main author of the study. "[However,] debate remains about its immunogenicity and effectiveness in COPD."
Dr. Dransfield and his colleagues sought to determine the efficacy of a newer type of vaccine, PCV7, a protein conjugate vaccine, which attaches a weak antigen (in this case, the pneumococcal polysaccharide antigen) to a stronger antigen (the diphtheria toxin) in the hope that the stronger antigen with provoke a more forceful defense from the immune system.........
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September 9, 2009, 7:39 AM CT
Lapatinib shows effect against liver cancer
Tanios Bekaii-Saab, M.D., is an assistant professor of medicine and pharmacology and medical director of gastrointestinal oncology at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Credit: Tanios Bekaii-Saab, M.D.
Use of the molecularly targeted agent lapatinib to delay tumor growth and improve the survival of patients with inoperable hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver cancer, only benefited certain subgroups of patients. While results of this study were largely negative, patients that exhibited toxicity from the drug in the form of a skin rash appeared to have a greater tumor response and longer survival.
Findings of this phase II, multi-institutional study are published in Clinical Cancer Research
, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
"These results may not be practice changing, but they do emphasize the need to continue developing strategies targeting epidermal growth factor receptor [EGFR] in hepatocellular carcinoma," said lead researcher Tanios Bekaii-Saab, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and pharmacology and medical director of gastrointestinal oncology at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The prevalence of hepatocellular carcinoma is increasing worldwide, and since this form of cancer typically responds poorly to chemotherapy, new therapys are necessary to help curb its rise. The current standard therapy for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma is sorafenib.
This study is one of the first trials to test the tolerability and efficacy of lapatinib in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. Lapatinib targets both EGFR and Human EGFR type 2 (HER2/neu) signaling pathways. The FDA approved this drug in March of 2007 for breast cancer patients who were already using the chemotherapeutic agent capecitabine. Lapatinib works by inhibiting the tyrosine kinase activity linked to the two oncogenes EGFR and HER2/neu.........
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September 9, 2009, 7:38 AM CT
Healthy older brains not significantly smaller
WASHINGTON -- The belief that healthy older brains are substantially smaller than younger brains may stem from studies that did not screen out people whose undetected, slowly developing brain disease was killing off cells in key areas, as per new research. As a result, prior findings may have overestimated atrophy and underestimated normal size for the older brain.
The newly released study tested participants in Holland's long-term Maastricht Aging Study who were free of neurological problems such as dementia, Parkinson's disease or stroke. Once participants were deemed otherwise healthy, they took neuropsychological tests, including a screening test for dementia, at baseline and every three years afterward for nine years.
As per the report in the September Neuropsychology,
published by the American Psychological Association, participants were also given MRI scans at Year 3 to measure seven different parts of the brain, including the memory-laden hippocampus, the areas around it, and the frontal and cingulate areas of the cognitively critical cortex.
After examining behavioral data collected from 1994 to 2005 (with scans taken between 1997 and 1999 depending on when people entered the study), the scientists divided participants into two groups: one group with 35 cognitively healthy people who stayed free of dementia (average starting age 69.1 years), and the other group with 30 people who showed substantial cognitive decline but were still dementia-free (average starting age 69.2 years).........
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September 9, 2009, 7:35 AM CT
Patients with upper gastrointestinal (GI) complaints
Patients with upper gastrointestinal (GI) complaints visit their general practitioner (GP) more often than patients with other conditions. Scientists writing in the open access journal BMC Family Practice
observed that people with dyspepsia, heartburn, epigastric discomfort and other upper-abdominal complaints had almost twice as a number of GP contacts, which were ultimately linked to problems in all organ systems. These patients were twice as frequently referred to specialist care and received twice as a number of prescriptions.
Henk van Weert led a team of scientists from the University of Amsterdam who set out to investigate the correlation between psychological conditions and upper-GI symptoms. He said, "Traditionally, psychological factors were held responsible for upper-GI symptoms. With the identification of Helicobacter pylori the etiological paradigm changed dramatically, but eradication treatment has proved to be of only limited value in functional dyspepsia. We aimed to investigate whether psychological and social problems are more frequent in patients with upper GI symptoms".
The scientists observed that the prevalence of upper-GI symptoms was actually linked to a broader pattern of illness-related health care use GI patients' increased health care demands were not restricted to psychosocial problems, but comprised all organ systems. As per van Weert, "Patients with upper-GI symptoms visited their GP twice as often and received up to double the number of prescriptions as control patients. We demonstrated that not psychological and social co-morbidity, but high contact frequency in general is most strongly linked to upper-GI symptoms".........
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September 9, 2009, 7:33 AM CT
Face processing slows with age
Identifying a face can be difficult when that face is shown for only a fraction of a second. However, young adults have a marked advantage over elderly people in these conditions. Scientists writing in the open access journal BMC Neuroscience
found indications that elderly people have reduced perception speed.
Guillaume Rousselet, from the University of Glasgow, UK, worked with a team of scientists to study electric activity from the brains of young and old people as they watched pictures of faces with cloud-like noise. He said, "Very few studies have attempted to measure the effect of ageing on the time-course of visual processing in response to complex stimuli like faces. We observed that, as well as a general reduction in speed in the elderly, one particular component of the response to a face, the N170, is less sensitive to faces in the elderly".
The N170 occurs 170 milliseconds after a stimulus is presented. In the young, it was more closely linked to the appearance of a face, while in older subjects it occurred also in response to noise, perhaps implying reduced ability to differentiate faces from noise. Speaking about the results, Rousselet said, "Our data support the common belief that as we get older we get slower. Beyond this general conclusion, our research provides new tools to quantify by how much the brain slows down in the particular context of face perception. Now, we need to identify the reasons for the speed reduction and for the heterogeneity of the effects indeed, why the brains of some older subjects seem to tick as fast as the brains of some young subjects is, at this point, a complete mystery".........
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