January 10, 2011, 6:25 AM CT
Fear of the dentist's drill
An innovative device which cancels out the noise of the dental drill could spell the end of people's anxiety about trips to the dentist, as per experts at King's College London, Brunel University and London South Bank University, who pioneered the invention.
It is widely known that the sound of the dental drill is the prime cause of anxiety about dental therapy, and some patients avoid trips to the dentist because of it. This new device could help address people's fears and encourage them to seek the oral healthcare therapy they need.
The prototype device works in a similar way to noise-cancelling headphones but is designed to deal with the very high pitch of the dental drill. Patients would simply unplug their headphones, plug the device into their MP3 player or mobile phone, and then plug the headphones into the device, allowing them to listen to their own music while completely blocking out the unpleasant sound of the drill and suction equipment. The patient can still hear the dentist and other members of the dental team speaking to them but other unwanted sounds are filtered out by the device.
Containing a microphone and a chip that analyses the incoming sound wave, the device produces an inverted wave to cancel out unwanted noise. It also uses technology called 'adaptive filtering' where electronic filters lock onto sound waves and removes them, even if the amplitude and frequency change as the drill is being used.........
Posted by: Janet Read more Source
January 10, 2011, 6:17 AM CT
Colorectal cancer screening disparities
Individuals from certain areas of the United States are more likely to get screened for colorectal cancer than those from other areas, especially when comparing non-whites living in different parts of the country. That is the conclusion of a newly released study published early online in Cancer
, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society. Additional research is needed to better understand how colorectal cancer screening disparities develop in some regions and not in others.
Racial and ethnic disparities in colorectal screening exist among the Medicare population, but scientists do not know whether these disparities differ across geographic regions. To find out, Thomas Semrad, MD, of the University of California Davis led a team that examined colorectal cancer screening among Medicare enrollees within eight U.S. states. Individuals were considered up-to-date on screening if they had fecal occult blood testing in the previous year or sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy in the previous five years.
There was little geographic variation in up-to-date status among whites, who were consistently more likely to be up-to-date on screening than other races (except in Hawaii). White versus non-white up-to-date status varied significantly across regions for blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders but not Hispanics. While white versus black differences in up-to-date status were greatest in Atlanta, rural Georgia, and the San Francisco Bay Area (range: 10 percent to 16 percent differences), there were no significant white versus black differences in Connecticut, Seattle, or Iowa. Whereas Asian/Pacific Islanders had significantly lower up-to-date prevalence than whites in Michigan, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Jose (range: 4 percent to 15 percent differences), Asian/Pacific Islanders in Hawaii had higher up-to-date status than whites (52 percent versus 38 percent). White versus Hispanic differences were substantial but homogeneous across regions (range: 8 percent to 16 percent differences).........
Posted by: Sue Read more Source
January 8, 2011, 11:38 PM CT
What causes brain cell death in Parkinson's patients
Just 5 percent of Parkinson's disease cases can be explained by genetic mutation, while the rest have no known cause. But a new discovery by scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center appears to begin to explain why the vast majority of Parkinson's patients develop the progressive neurodegenerative disease.
This week in The Journal of Neuroscience, the scientists demystified a process that leads to the death of brain cells - or neurons - in Parkinson's patients. When scientists blocked the process, the neurons survived.
The findings could lead to an effective therapy to slow the progression of Parkinson's disease, rather than simply address symptoms that include tremors, slowed movement, muscle stiffness and impaired balance. Further studies could lead to a diagnostic test that could screen for Parkinson's years before symptoms develop, said Syed Z. Imam, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor at the UT Health Science Center.
Parkinson's disease, which commonly is not diagnosed until age 60 or later, affects an estimated half-million people in the United States.
Dr. Imam joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after the research was conducted. Co-authors are from the Health Science Center's Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies; the South Texas Veterans Health Care System; and the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research in Tübingen, Gera number of.........
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January 8, 2011, 11:27 PM CT
Promise for New Drug to Treat Fragile X
The first drug to treat the underlying disorder instead of the symptoms of Fragile X, the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability, shows some promise as per a newly released study reported in the recent issue of Science Translational Medicine. Scientists from Rush University Medical Center helped design the study and are now participating in the larger follow-up clinical trial.
The data from the early trial of 30 Fragile X patients, found the drug, called AFQ056, made by Novartis Pharmaceuticals, helped improve symptoms in some patients. Patients who had the best response have a kind of "fingerprint" in their DNA that could act as a marker to determine who should get therapy.
"This is an exciting development. It is the first time we have a therapy targeted to the underlying disorder, as opposed to supportive therapy of the behavioral symptoms, in a developmental brain disorder causing intellectual disability. This drug could be a model for therapy of other disorders such as autism," said pediatric neurologist Dr. Elizabeth Berry-Kravis, a study author and director of the Fragile X Clinic and Research Program and the Fragile X-Associated Disorders Program at Rush.
The drug is designed to block the activity of mGluR5, a receptor protein on brain cells that is involved in most aspects of normal brain function, including regulation of the strength of brain connections, a key process mandatory for learning and memory. Fragile X patients have a mutation in a single gene, known as Fragile X Mental Retardation-1 or FMR1. The mutation prevents FMR1 from making its protein, called FMRP, such that FMRP is missing in the brain. FMRP normally acts as a blocker or "brake" for brain cell pathways activated by mGluR5. When FMRP is missing, mGluR5 pathways are overactive resulting in abnormal connections in the brain and the behavioral and cognitive impairments linked to Fragile X.........
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January 7, 2011, 6:58 AM CT
Widespread use of costly antipsychotic drugs
A number of prescriptions for the top-selling class of drugs, known as atypical antipsychotic medications, lack good evidence that the drugs will actually help, a study by scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine and University of Chicago has found. Yet, drugs in this class may cause such serious effects as weight gain, diabetes and heart disease, and cost Americans billions of dollars.
"Because these drugs have safety issues, physicians should prescribe them only when they are sure patients will get substantial benefits," said Randall Stafford, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who is senior author of the study to be published online Jan. 7 in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
"These are usually used and very expensive drugs".
Prescriptions for these drugs have risen steadily since they first came on the U.S. market in 1989, largely replacing the first generation of antipsychotics, which were mainly used to treat schizophrenia. The U.S. government's original stamp of approval for the new drugs was for treating schizophrenia, but they're used more today for other conditions, including other psychoses, autism, bipolar disorder, delirium, dementia, depression and personality disorders. And while some of these uses have recently been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a number of have not.........
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January 6, 2011, 6:19 PM CT
How do data exclusivity periods affect
Pharmaceutical companies and generic drug manufacturers have long been at odds over regulations about "data exclusivity," the period of time before generic manufacturers can make use of valuable clinical trial data.
A newly released study in the January 2011 issue of Health Affairs
is the first to calculate the financial and social costs of limiting access to trial data and finds that extending the term of exclusive access will lead to higher drug costs in the short term but also to more than 200 extra drug approvals and to greater life expectancy in the next several decades.
"Elected officials are unlikely to embrace legislation that would result in higher drug prices, but our research suggests that legislation to extend data exclusivity would spur innovation that would benefit future generations," explained Dana Goldman, main author, director of the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at USC and Norman Topping Chair in Medicine and Public Policy at USC.
The pharmaceutical companies that introduce new drugs are currently granted five years of exclusive access to the clinical trial data they submit during the approval process. An extension of three years is available if new applications arise and a six month extension is granted if the drug is approved for use in pediatric populations.........
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January 5, 2011, 7:01 AM CT
A new drug target in atherosclerosis
For decades, doctors have looked at fitness levels, weight, and overall health risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Now, they may soon add a new risk factor to the list: activation of the complement system. The complement system is commonly implicated in immune responses, but now there's a role for it in cardiovascular disease. In a new research report appearing in the January 2011 print issue of the FASEB Journal
(http://www.fasebj.org), researchers from Europe and the United States show that anaphylatoxin C5a, a protein released when complement is activated, contributes to atherosclerotic disease. C5a causes plaques to break free from where they would be anchored to ultimately cause blockages elsewhere in the body. This new discovery not only shows that C5a is a new marker for identifying risk for heart attack and stroke, but it also establishes C5a as a new therapeutic target for preventing these problems.
"Given the huge impact of cardiovascular disease in general, and atherosclerosis in particular, on public health, we feel that unraveling mechanisms involved in the development and progression of the disease are of utmost importance," said Johann Wojta, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the University of Vienna in Austria. "Our findings have identified a particular component possibly involved in the development of atherosclerosis as a target for future therapies".........
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January 5, 2011, 6:46 AM CT
Metabolic cost of human sleep deprivation
In the first-ever quantification of energy expended by humans during sleep, a University of Colorado team has observed that the metabolic cost of an adult missing one night of sleep is the equivalent of walking slightly less than two miles.
The new findings will help scientists further understand one of the important functions of sleep in humans, said CU-Boulder Associate Professor Kenneth Wright. Wright, who led the study, said the goal was to measure and quantify energy expenditure during both sleep and wakeful periods.
"We observed that people do expend more energy when they are awake in bed than when they are asleep," he said. The findings showed the eight hours of sleep saved roughly 135 calories over eight hours of wakefulness.
"While the amount of energy savings for humans during sleep may seem relatively small, it actually was a little more than we expected," said Wright, a faculty member in CU-Boulder's integrative physiology department and director of CU-Boulder's Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory.
A paper on the subject was reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Physiology
Co-authors included CU-Boulder's Christopher Jung and Emily Frydenall, as well as Assistant Professor Edward Melanson, Dr. Leigh Perreault and Dr. Robert Eckel of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Jung, first author on the paper, got his doctorate from CU-Boulder in 2009 and is now at the University of Alaska.........
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January 5, 2011, 6:38 AM CT
Double doses of chicken pox vaccine most effective
When vaccinating children against varicella (chicken pox), scientists at Yale School of Medicine have found, two doses are better than one. In fact, the odds of developing chicken pox were 95 percent lower in children who had received two doses of the vaccine compared with those who had received only one dose.
Reported in the February 1 issue of Journal of Infectious Diseases
, the study was led by Eugene D. Shapiro, M.D., professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Yale and colleagues at Yale and Columbia universities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began recommending a single dose of chicken pox vaccine for children ages 1 to 13 in 1995. The chicken pox rate fell drastically and studies showed that the effectiveness of one dose was 86 percent. But there was still a high rate of breakthrough illness in immunized children. The CDC changed the immunization policy for chicken pox in 2006, adding a second dose for children ages 4 to 6. In this study, Shapiro and his team showed that the effectiveness of two doses is 98.3 percent.
Past studies have suggested that two doses of varicella vaccine are associated with higher antibody levels than one dose, but this is the first study to assess the clinical effectiveness of two doses of the vaccine in the general population. In a survey of Connecticut children, Shapiro and his team discovered 71 cases of chicken pox in children ages 4 and older. None of these children had received two doses of vaccine; 66 (93 percent) had received one dose and five (7 percent) had received no vaccine.........
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January 4, 2011, 7:02 AM CT
Peptide against Breast cancer
Scientists at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (WFUBMC) have discovered what appears to become a new weapon in the fight against breast cancer. For the first time, a peptide found in blood and tissue has been shown to inhibit the growth of human breast tumors in mice, as per a research studyrecently reported in the journal Cancer Research.
Patricia E. Gallagher, Ph.D., and E. Ann Tallant, Ph.D., researchers in the High blood pressure and Vascular Research Center at WFUBMC, demonstrated that the peptide angiotensin-(1-7) attacked breast cancer in two ways: by inhibiting the growth of the breast cancer cells themselves and by inhibiting the growth of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), cells found in the tumor microenvironment -- the tissue surrounding the tumor. CAFs play a vital role in tumor initiation, growth and metastases by providing structural support for the tumor cells and by producing growth factors that help the tumor cells grow.
In this study, mice were injected with human breast cancer cells to form the two most common types of breast tumors -- estrogen-receptor and HER2 sensitive. In women with breast cancer, an estimated 50 to 60 percent have estrogen-receptor sensitive tumors and 20 to 30 percent have HER2 sensitive tumors.
Once the tumors grew, the mice were injected with either angiotensin-(1-7) or saline for 18 days. In the mice treated with angiotensin-(1-7), there was a 40 percent reduction in tumor size as in comparison to the saline-injected mice, whose tumors grew three times their size at the initiation of therapy. Breast tumor fibrosis also was reduced by 64 to 75 percent in the mice treated with the peptide as in comparison to the saline-injected mice. Fibrosis is the thickening of the breast tissue around and within the tumor that acts as a scaffold to support the spread of cancer cells.........
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