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May 11, 2009, 9:21 PM CT

Women have a more powerful immune system

Women have a more powerful immune system
When it comes to immunity, men may not have been dealt an equal hand. The latest study by Dr. Maya Saleh, of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre and McGill University, shows that women have a more powerful immune system than men. In fact, the production of estrogen by females could have a beneficial effect on the innate inflammatory response against bacterial pathogens. These surprising results were published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

More specifically, estrogen naturally produced in women seems to block the production of an enzyme called Caspase-12, which itself blocks the inflammatory process. The presence of estrogen would therefore have a beneficial effect on innate immunity, which represents the body's first line of defence against pathogenic organisms. "These results demonstrate that women have a more powerful inflammatory response than men," said Dr. Saleh.

This study was conducted on mice that lack the Caspase-12 gene, meaning that the mice were extremely resistant to infection. The human Caspase-12 gene was implanted in a group of male and female mice, yet only the males became more prone to infection. "We were very surprised by these results, and we determined that the estrogen produced by the female mice blocked the expression of the human Caspase-12 gene," explained Dr. Saleh. "We were also able to locate where the estrogen receptor binds on the gene in order to block its expression, which indicates that the hormone exerts direct action in this case".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 11, 2009, 5:09 AM CT

City-dwellers more likely to develop late-stage cancer

City-dwellers more likely to develop late-stage cancer
People who live in urban areas are more likely to develop late-stage cancer than those who live in suburban and rural areas. That is the conclusion of a newly released study reported in the June 15, 2009 issue of CANCER, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society. The study's results indicate a need for more effective urban-based cancer screening and awareness programs.

Diagnosing cancer at an early stage can improve outcomes. Studies show certain groups, such as low income populations, are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at later stages. While some studies have also observed that geography can affect the timing of cancer diagnoses, research on rural-urban disparities has produced mixed and conflicting findings.

To investigate the rural and urban differences in late-stage cancer diagnoses, Sara L. McLafferty, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois and Fahui Wang, Ph.D., of Louisiana Sate University analyzed data from the Illinois State Cancer Registry from 1998 to 2002. The researchers noted that Illinois is an appropriate area to study because it encompasses a diverse range of geographic regions from the densely populated Chicago metropolitan area to low-density, remote rural areas. They assessed late-stage cancer diagnoses of the four major types of cancer (breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate) throughout the state, comparing data from cities with those from less-populated regions.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 11, 2009, 5:06 AM CT

Conflict of interest in cancer studies

Conflict of interest in cancer studies
Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., is an assistant professor of radiation oncology at the U-M Medical School.
Nearly one-third of cancer research published in high-impact journals disclosed a conflict of interest, as per a newly released study from scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The most frequent type of conflict was industry funding of the study, which was seen in 17 percent of papers. Twelve percent of papers had a study author who was an industry employee. Randomized trials with reported conflicts of interest were more likely to have positive findings.

"Given the frequency we observed for conflicts of interest and the fact that conflicts were linked to study outcomes, I would suggest that merely disclosing conflicts is probably not enough. It's becoming increasingly clear that we need to look more at how we can disentangle cancer research from industry ties," says study author Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., assistant professor of radiation oncology at the U-M Medical School.

The scientists looked at 1,534 cancer research studies published in prominent journals. Results of this current study appear online in the journal Cancer

"A serious concern is individuals with conflicts of interest will either consciously or unconsciously be biased in their analyses. As researchers, we have an obligation to treat the data objectively and in an unbiased fashion. There appears to be some relationships that compromise a researcher's ability to do that," Jagsi says.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 11, 2009, 5:03 AM CT

Does mom know when it is enough?

Does mom know when it is enough?
As the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States continues, scientists are examining whether early parent and child behaviors contribute to the problem. A study from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Rutgers University, reported in the May/June 2009 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior reports that mothers who miss signs of satiety in their infants tend to overfeed them, leading to excess weight gains during the 6 month to 1 year period.

Ninety-six low-income black and Hispanic mothers, who chose to formula feed exclusively, were enrolled in the study. Data was collected during an initial interview and three home visits at 3, 6, and 12 months. During the home visits, feedings were observed, the mothers were interviewed, and the child's weight was measured. Feeding diaries were also checked for omissions or clarifications.

Many characteristics that predicted infant weight gain from birth to 3 months were included in the analysis. These were birth weight, gender, race/ethnicity, maternal age, education, country of origin, body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy, and weight gain during pregnancy. For the 3 to 6 month period, birth weight, maternal BMI, infant weight gain from birth to 3 months, infant length gain from birth to 3 months, the estimated number of feeds per day, the month that solid food was introduced, and the mothers' sensitivity to the infants' signals at 3 months were included. And, finally, for the 6 to 12 month period, birth weight, maternal BMI, infant weight gain from 3 to 6 months, infant length gain from 3 to 6 months, maternal sensitivity to infant signals at 6 months, and the estimated number of feeds/day at 6 months were entered as the independent variables.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 8, 2009, 5:28 AM CT

Smoking: mortality and cardiovascular disease

Smoking: mortality and cardiovascular disease
Non-smokers live longer and have less cardiovascular disease than those who smoke, as per a 30-year follow-up study of 54,000 men and women in Norway. Smoking, say the investigators, is "strongly" correlation to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality from various causes.

The results, presented in Stockholm at EuroPRevent 2009, reflect what a number of other studies have indicated, but, says investigator Professor Haakon Meyer from the University of Oslo and Norwegian Institute of Public Health, these results provide a picture of the long-term, absolute "real life" risk.

Behind his conclusions lies a far-reaching follow-up study which began in 1974 with an invitation to every middle aged man and woman (aged 35-49) living in three counties of Norway to take part in a basic cardiovascular screening examination. The invitation had a huge response, with 91% attending for the baseline screen.

Over the next three decades deaths were recorded by linkage to the Norwegian population registry and, between 2006 and 2008, those surviving responded to a follow-up questionnaire. This allowed division of the participants as per their smoking status never-smokers, ex-smokers, current smokers of 1-9 cigarettes a day, 10-19 cigarettes a day and more than 20 cigarettes a day (the last group referred to as "heavy smokers").........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


May 8, 2009, 5:17 AM CT

Benefit of exercise in cardiovascular disease

Benefit of exercise in cardiovascular disease
Exercise is one of eight preventive measures identified by the European Heart Health Charter and features prominently in the scientific programme of EuroPRevent 2009, the congress of the European Association of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation.1 EuroPRevent 2009 takes place in Stockholm, Sweden, on 6-9 May. In new studies presented at the congress exercise is shown to improve markers of heart disease in patients following coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG), to improve event-free survival rate in coronary patients better than stent angioplasty, and to improve markers of disease in heart failure patients, a group commonly thought amenable to little more than palliative care.

1. In rehabilitation following CABG

A study performed by Dr Tomasz Mikulski and his colleagues from the Medical Research Centre in Warsaw, Poland, observed that aerobic training using a cycloergometer (a static bike whose pedal load can be set and user performance measured) improved the physical capacity of cardiac patients following CABG, with reduction in the levels of lipids and markers of inflammation. Sixty optimally treated patients, with a mean age of 56 years and an average of two months following heart surgery, were randomised to either six weeks of aerobic training three times per week on the cycloergometer or to a non-exercise control group. At the end of the study period only the exercise group showed improvement in exercise duration and maximum workload. Other measures taken during a stationary handgrip test heart rate, blood pressure and stroke volume were all improved in the exercise group, as were some metabolic markers such as LDL cholesterol.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 8, 2009, 5:13 AM CT

Vibration plate machines may aid weight loss and trim abdominal fat

Vibration plate machines may aid weight loss and trim abdominal fat
Image courtesy of made-in-china.com
New research suggests that, if used properly, vibration plate exercise machines may help you lose weight and trim the especially harmful belly fat between the organs.

In a study presented on Friday at the European Congress on Obesity, researchers observed that overweight or obese people who regularly used the equipment in combination with a calorie restricted diet were more successful at long-term weight loss and shedding the fat around their abdominal organs than those who combined dieting with a more conventional fitness routine.

"These machines are increasingly found in gyms across the industrialized world and have gathered a devoted following in some places, but there has not been any evidence that they help people lose weight. Our study, the first to investigate the effects of vibration in obese people, indicates it's a promising approach. It looks like these machines could be a useful addition to a weight control package," said the study's leader, Dirk Vissers, a physiotherapist at the Artesis University College and the University of Antwerp in Belgium.

Vissers and colleagues studied the effects of the Power Plate in 61 overweight or obese people - mostly women - for a year. The intervention lasted six months, after which the researchers advised all the volunteers to do the best they could with a healthy diet and exercise regime on their own for another six months. Body measurements, including Computerized axial tomography scans of abdominal fat, were taken at the beginning of the study and after three, six and 12 months.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 7, 2009, 10:20 PM CT

Too much of a good thing

Too much of a good thing
For a number of women, body image is a constant struggle; a poor self-image can lead to a host of both mental and physical health problems. But a newly released study out of Temple University finds that an extremely good body image can also take its toll on a woman's health.

In research reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Temple scientists studied the body image perceptions of 81 underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese women in the North Philadelphia area and observed that as their body mass index (BMI) increased, two-thirds of the women still felt they were at an ideal body size.

"So the question for doctors then becomes, 'How can we effectively treat our overweight and obese patients, when they don't feel they're in harm's way?'" said study researcher Marisa Rose, M.D., assistant professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences in the Temple University School of Medicine. "It stresses a need for culturally sensitive education for this population".

All participants were measured for height and weight and completed an anonymous survey to determine their self-perceived, current and ideal body sizes. Each woman was then shown an illustration of different-sized women that correlated with increasing BMIs, and were asked which size they felt they were at currently, and what their ideal would be.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 7, 2009, 9:39 PM CT

Massage after exercise does not improves circulation

Massage after exercise does not improves circulation
A Queen's University research team has blown open the myth that massage after exercise improves circulation to the muscle and assists in the removal of lactic acid and other waste products.

"This dispels a common belief in the general public about the way in which massage is beneficial," says Kinesiology and Health Studies professor Michael Tschakovsky. "It also dispels that belief among people in the physical treatment profession. All the physical treatment professionals that I have talked to, when asked what massage does, answer that it improves muscle blood flow and helps get rid of lactic acid. Ours is the first study to challenge this and rigorously test its validity".

The belief that massage aids in the removal of lactic acid from muscle tissue is so pervasive it is even listed on the Canadian Sports Massage Therapists website as one of the benefits of massage, despite there being absolutely no scientific research to back this up.

Kinesiology MSc candidate Vicky Wiltshire and Dr. Tschakovsky set out to discover if this untested hypothesis was true, and their results show that massage actually impairs blood flow to the muscle after exercise, and that it therefore also impairs the removal of lactic acid from muscle after exercise.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 5, 2009, 8:42 PM CT

CT Scans Increase Cancer Risk

CT Scans Increase Cancer Risk
Physicians should review a patient's CT imaging history and cumulative radiation dose when considering whether to perform another CT exam, as per scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.

The study included 130 patients who had at least three emergency department visits within one year in which they had a Computerized axial tomography scan of the neck, chest, abdomen or pelvis. "We gathered the recent CT exam histories for each of these patients and observed that half had undergone ten or more Computerized axial tomography scans in the prior eight years, up to a maximum of 70 Computerized axial tomography scans," said Aaron Sodickson, MD, PhD. "Using typical dose values and standard risk estimation methods, we calculated that half of our group had accrued additional radiation-induced cancer risks above baseline greater than 1 in 110, up to a maximum of 1 in 17".

"A patient's cumulative risk of radiation-induced cancers is believed to increase with increasing cumulative radiation dose. The level of risk is further increased for patients scanned at young ages and is in general greater for women than for men. There is no absolute threshold, however, and the potential risks of radiation induced cancer must be balanced against the expected clinical benefits of the Computerized axial tomography scan for the patient's particular scenario," he said.........

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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