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November 12, 2007, 9:47 PM CT

Mechanism For Acne Drug's Link To Depression

Mechanism For Acne Drug's Link To Depression
As per a research findings reported in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine, researchers reveal a potential mechanism that might link the drug Roaccutane (Accutane in the US) to reported cases of depression in some patients taking the medication.

The scientists had previously reported that the drug caused depressive behaviour in mice but, until now, the mechanism by which this might happen was unknown.

Using cells cultured in a laboratory, researchers from the University of Bath (UK) and University of Texas at Austin (USA) were able to monitor the effect of the drug on the chemistry of the cells that produce serotonin.

They observed that the cells significantly increased production of proteins and cell metabolites that are known to reduce the availability of serotonin.

This, says scientists, could disrupt the process by which serotonin relays signals between neurons in the brain and may be the cause of depression-related behaviour.

"Serotonin is an important chemical that relays signals from nerve cells to other cells in the body," said Dr Sarah Bailey from the Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology at the University of Bath.

"In the brain it is thought to play an important role in the regulation of a range of behaviours, such as aggression, anger and sleep.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


October 29, 2007, 10:16 PM CT

Smoking increases risk of psoriasis

Smoking increases risk of psoriasis
Another disease can be added to the list of smoking-related disorders -- psoriasis. Scientists have observed that smoking increases the risk of developing psoriasis, heavier smoking increases the risk further, and the risk decreases only slowly after quitting. Investigators from the Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, the Harvard School of Public Health, all in Boston, USA, and Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada, have published the results in the November 2007 issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

This study is the largest prospective assessment of multiple markers of smoking status, duration, and intensity in relation to the risk of psoriasis. Using data from the Nurses Health Study II (NHS II), an ongoing longitudinal study of 116,608 female registered nurses from 15 states between the ages of 25 and 42 years at baseline who completed and returned an initial questionnaire in 1989, the scientists documented 887 incident cases of psoriasis during the 14 years of follow-up. Lifetime smoking exposure was measured in pack-years, equal to smoking 20 cigarettes per day for one year.

Compared with women who never smoked, the risk of psoriasis was 37% higher among past smokers and 78% higher among current smokers. Pack-years were linked to a graded increase in the risk for psoriasis. Compared with never smokers; the risk was 20% higher for 1-10 pack-years, 60% higher for 11-20 pack-years, and more than two times higher for +21 pack-years. The significant trends persisted with smoking duration in both current and past smokers. Furthermore, exposure to passive smoke during pregnancy or childhood was linked to an increased risk of psoriasis. The risk of psoriasis among former smokers decreases nearly to that of never smokers 20 years after cessation.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


October 17, 2007, 9:06 PM CT

Using honey to heal wounds

Using honey to heal wounds
Surgeons are being advised to consider the supermarket as well as the drugs cupboard when it comes to effective wound healing, as per a research review reported in the recent issue of IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

And patients whove undergone surgery should ask their doctors whether they should apply honey to their wounds to speed up healing and reduce infection.

Honey is one of the oldest foods in existence and was an ancient remedy for wound healing explains lead author Dr Fasal Rauf Khan from North West Wales NHS Trust in Bangor. It was found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun and was still edible as it never spoils.

Honey is enjoying a revival as more reports of its effectiveness are published, he adds.

Scientists started to document the wound healing properties of honey in the early 20th century, but the introduction of antibiotics in 1940 temporarily halted its use.

Now concerns about antibiotic resistance, and a renewed interest in natural remedies, has prompted a resurgence in the antimicrobial and wound healing properties of honey.

Honey has many properties that make it effective against bacterial growth, including its high sugar content, low moisture content, gluconic acid which creates an acidic environment and hydrogen peroxide. It has also been shown to reduce inflammation and swelling.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


September 18, 2007, 10:19 PM CT

Results of phase 1 metastatic melanoma study

Results of phase 1 metastatic melanoma study
Provectus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced preliminary results of its Phase 1 clinical trial of Provecta for the therapy of metastatic melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer. Provecta demonstrated minimal side effects, significant efficacy and bystander effect on melanoma tumors in stage III patients. The study reviewed safety and efficacy of Provecta in a total of 20 subjects at two sites in Australia.

In the study, Provecta was injected once into one to twenty tumors in each subject. In addition to these treated tumors, an additional one to three tumors were left untreated in each subject to allow assessment of a potential "bystander effect" resulting from immune system response to tumor therapy. A total of 114 tumors were injected and 39 bystander tumors were observed in the study. Subjects were followed for 4 to 27 weeks. Study therapys were well tolerated and elicited minimal side effects, the most common being mild to moderate pain at the injection site.

Results for all evaluable tumors were tabulated using the RECIST (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors) approach, which objectively grades response for each subject based on change in the sum of the longest diameter for each of the subject's tumors vs. baseline. Subject outcome was scored in terms of complete response (CR -- complete tumor disappearance or negative histopathology), partial response (PR -- 30% or more tumor shrinkage), stable disease (SD -- 29% shrinkage to 20% growth), and progressive disease (PD -- greater than 20% growth).........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


August 16, 2007, 9:40 PM CT

Cannabis May Alleviate Allergic Skin Disease

Cannabis May Alleviate Allergic Skin Disease
Administering a substance found in the cannabis plant can help the bodys natural protective system alleviate an allergic skin disease (allergic contact dermatitis), an international group of scientists from Gera number of, Israel, Italy, Switzerland and the U.S. has found.

Allergic contact dermatitis is caused by reaction to something that directly contacts the skin. A number of different substances (allergens) can cause allergic contact dermatitis. Commonly these substances cause no trouble for most people, but if the skin is sensitive or allergic to the substance, any exposure will produce a rash, which may become very severe. Allergic contact dermatitis affects about 5 percent of men and 11percent of women in industrialized countries and is one of the leading causes for occupational diseases.

An article describing the work of the international research group, led by Dr Andreas Zimmer from the University of Bonn, was published recently in the journal Science. The article deals with alleviating allergic skin disease through what is called the endocannabinoid system. Among the members of the group is Prof. Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem School of Pharmacy.

In earlier work, Prof.Mechoulams research group at the Hebrew University isolated two naturally occurring cannabinoid (cannabis-like) components one from the brain, named anandamide (from the word ananda, meaning supreme joy in Sanskrit), and another from the intestines named 2-AG. These two cannabinoids, plus their receptors and various enzymes that are involved in the cannnabinoids syntheses and degradations, comprise the endocannabinoid system. These materials have similar effects to those of the active components in hashish and marijuana, produced from the cannabis plant.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 6, 2007, 5:10 PM CT

Green tea as treatment for inflammatory skin diseases

Green tea as treatment for inflammatory skin diseases
Green tea could hold promise as a new therapy for skin disorders such as psoriasis and dandruff, Medical College of Georgia scientists say.

Scientists studied an animal model for inflammatory skin diseases, which are often characterized by patches of dry, red, flaky skin caused by the inflammation and overproduction of skin cells. Those treated with green tea showed slower growth of skin cells and the presence of a gene that regulates the cells' life cycles.

"Psoriasis, an autoimmune disease, causes the skin to become thicker because the growth of skin cells is out of control," says Dr. Stephen Hsu, an oral biologist in the MCG School of Dentistry and lead investigator on the study reported in the Aug. 18 edition of Experimental Dermatology. "In psoriasis, immune cells, which commonly protect against infection, instead trigger the release of cytokines, which causes inflammation and the overproduction of skin cells".

Other autoimmune diseases with similar side effects include lupus, which can lead to skin lesions, and dandruff.

Green tea, already shown to suppress inflammation, helps by regulating the expression of Caspase-14, a protein in genes that regulates the life cycle of a skin cell.

"That marker guides cells by telling them when to differentiate, die off and form a skin barrier," Dr. Hsu says. "In people with psoriasis, that process is interrupted and the skin cells don't die before more are created and the resulting lesions form." .........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


July 3, 2007, 9:42 PM CT

The elderberry way to perfect skin

The elderberry way to perfect skin
Forget expensive moisturisers and cosmetic surgery, a compound found in the humble elderberry could give a natural boost to skin.

In the first study of its kind, a team of scientists led by Prof Aedin Cassidy at the University of East Anglia and Dr Paul Kroon at the Institute of Food Research, will explore whether the skins condition is improved by a compound which gives berries their vibrant colour (called anthocyanin).

In a 12-week trial starting in September, post-menopausal women will consume either extracts from elderberries or placebo capsules, and will have their skins structure and appearance measured with state-of-the-art equipment used by experts in skin science. At the same time, scientists will also test whether the elderberry extract can reduce risk factors for heart disease.

We already know that a healthy diet can help protect against heart disease and skin damage, and that a mixture of similar food components have been shown to improve the skins structure. There is also evidence that the active components have anti-inflammatory properties, which may be important in helping people stay healthy, said UEAs Dr Peter Curtis who is leading the project.

If the results of our study are positive, it may lead to innovations in skin health products and may also give us vital information about diets which promote healthier hearts.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


June 29, 2007, 5:13 AM CT

Natural signal holds promise for psoriasis

Natural signal holds promise for psoriasis
The body may hold a secret to normalizing skin cell growth that is over zealous in psoriasis and non-melanoma skin cancers and too slow in aging and sun-damaged skin, scientists say.

Phosphatidylglycerol, a natural body lipid or fat, appears to signal cells to normalize growth and maturation or differentiation. "When we apply it to skin cells, we see the normalization ability," says Dr. Wendy B. Bollag, cell physiologist at the Medical College of Georgia.

Her research, published online in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, helps piece together the signaling pathway that prompts skin cells to stop multiplying and start differentiating.

Perhaps most importantly it shows that bypassing that pathway - one scientists suspect becomes dysfunctional in diseases like psoriasis - and giving the signal itself restores normal differentiation of skin cells or keratinocytes.

The findings prompted Dr. Bollag and John Edwards, CEO of Apeliotus Technologies of Atlanta, to seek National Institutes of Health funding for yearlong study in animal models of mild psoriasis to see if it works, with human trials as the goal. "Proof of principle is the first phase. If in vivo data looks promising, we'll put together a study we can take into the clinic," says Dr. Bollag. She and Apeliotus received an NIH Small Business Technology Transfer grant, which supports small businesses collaborating with U.S. research institutions to develop technologies and methodologies with commercial potential.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


June 10, 2007, 8:49 PM CT

Sun exposure early in life and skin cancer

Sun exposure early in life and skin cancer
Skin cancers often contain different gene mutations, but just how these mutations contribute to the cause of melanomas has been a mystery.

A new clue comes from researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Schools of Medicine and Public Health. Their research indicates that early life sun exposure, from birth to 20 years old, may specifically increase the risk of melanomas with BRAF gene mutations. A different mutation, on the NRAS gene, was found in patients who had sun exposure during the later part of life (between ages 50 to 60 years old). The results indicate that different subtypes of melanoma are linked to different risk factors.

"The findings suggest that melanoma subtypes have different causes. This is important for learning more about how to prevent and treat skin cancer," said Dr. Nancy Thomas, associate professor of dermatology in the UNC School of Medicine, a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and lead author of the study. This finding is expected to strengthen current recommendations to protect children from sun exposure in order to prevent melanoma, Thomas said.

The study, reported in the May 2007 edition of the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, presents some of the first data to link early life sunlight exposure to a specific mutation in melanomas.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


June 5, 2007, 0:24 AM CT

Diagnosing skin cancers with light, not scalpels

Diagnosing skin cancers with light, not scalpels
In an early step toward nonsurgical screening for cancerous skin cancers, Duke University chemists have demonstrated a laser-based system that can capture three-dimensional images of the chemical and structural changes under way beneath the surface of human skin.

"The standard way physicians do a diagnosis now is to cut out a mole and look at a slice of it with a microscope," said Warren Warren, the James B. Duke Professor of chemistry, radiology and biomedical engineering, and director of Duke's new Center for Molecular and Biomedical Imaging. "What we're trying to do is find cancer signals they can get to without having to cut out the mole.

"This is the first approach that can target molecules like hemoglobin and melanin and get microscopic resolution images the equivalent of what a doctor would see if he or she were able to slice down to that particular point," Warren said.

The distributions of hemoglobin, a component of red blood cells, and melanin, a skin pigment, serve as early warning signs for skin cancer growth. But because skin scatters light strongly, simple microscopes cannot be used to locate those molecules except right at the surface. Eventhough laser methods have been developed to probe deeper down for some other molecules that can be made to glow, both melanin and hemoglobin remain dark and inaccessible using those methods.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have found that the risk of developing melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, is only partially associated with exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, the rays in sunlight that increase in summer and cause sunburn.

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