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March 31, 2011, 6:55 AM CT

Migraine headaches and a common heart defect

Migraine headaches and a common heart defect
Cincinnati, OH, March 31, 2011 -- Roughly 15% of children suffer from migraines, and approximately one-third of these affected children have migraines with aura, a collection of symptoms that can include weakness, blind spots, and even hallucinations. Eventhough the causes of migraines are unclear, a newly released study soon to be published in The Journal of Pediatrics suggests a correlation between migraine headaches in children and a heart defect called patent foramen ovale, which affects 25% of people in the U.S.

Dr. Rachel McCandless and his colleagues from the Primary Children's Medical Center and the University of Utah studied children 6-18 years old who were diagnosed with migraines between 2008 and 2009. The 109 children enrolled in the study were treated at the Primary Children's Medical Center, which serves kids from Utah, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Colorado, and parts of Wyoming.

The scientists took two-dimensional echocardiograms of each child's heart, looking for a patent foramen ovale (PFO), a common defect in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart. Eventhough a PFO is not necessarily dangerous, it can allow unfiltered blood to bypass the lungs and circulate throughout the body. As Dr. McCandless explains, "Some adult studies have suggested a link between having a PFO and migraine headaches".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 30, 2011, 10:54 PM CT

A woman's blues bring a relationship down

A woman's blues bring a relationship down
Depression erodes intimate relationships. A depressed person can be withdrawn, needy, or hostile�and give little back.

But there's another way that depression isolates partners from each other. It chips away at the ability to perceive the others' thoughts and feelings. It impairs what psychology experts call "empathic accuracy" �and that can exacerbate alienation, depression, and the cycle by which they feed each other.

Three Israeli researchers�Reuma Gadassi and Nilly Mor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Eshkol Rafaeli at Bar-Ilan University�wanted to understand better these dynamics in relationships, especially the role of gender. Their study will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The study revealed a surprising dynamic: "It's called the partner effect," said Gadassi, a psychology graduate student. She explained: "Women's depression affects their own accuracy. But it also affected their partner's accuracy"�in both cases, negatively.

Fifty heterosexual couples�some married, some cohabiting, and together an average of about five years�took part in the study. First, a questionnaire assessed their levels of depression. Then, their interpersonal perceptions were tested both in the lab and in daily life.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 30, 2011, 10:47 PM CT

Cholesterol regulator and cirrhosis

Cholesterol regulator and  cirrhosis
Treated with a control substance, livers from normal and LXR-deficient mice appear identical and undamaged (top left and right). The bottom images show the greater degree of fibrosis (blue bands) in the livers of mice lacking LXRs (right) compared to normal mice (left) after liver injury.

Credit: UCLA

UCLA scientists have demonstrated that a key regulator of cholesterol and fat metabolism in the liver also plays an important role in the development of liver fibrosis � the build-up of collagen scar tissue that can develop into cirrhosis. Cirrhosis, in turn, is a major cause of premature death and is incurable without a liver transplant.

Reported in the recent issue of the journal Gastroenterology, the study shows that liver X receptors (LXRs), master regulators of cholesterol, fat and inflammatory gene expression, also control the fibrosis-making cells of the liver, known as hepatic stellate cells.

In the face of chronic liver injury � due to excess fat, chronic viral hepatitis or alcohol abuse, for example � stellate cells become activated and launch an inflammatory and fibrotic cascade that eventually results in the build-up of collagen scar tissue in the liver.

LXRs, when stimulated, "turn on" several hundred genes that hold instructions to create proteins for carrying out bodily processes in cells, from transporting and excreting cholesterol to synthesizing fat in the liver. They have also been shown to suppress inflammatory processes in several contexts.

"Our work sets the stage for looking at new ways to modulate cholesterol and/or fat metabolism in order to have therapeutic potential for the therapy of fibrosing liver diseases," said main author Dr. Simon Beaven, an assistant professor of digestive diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


March 30, 2011, 10:45 PM CT

Frequent CT scanning for testicular cancer surveillance

Frequent CT scanning for testicular cancer surveillance
UC Davis cancer scientists have observed that older men with early-stage testicular cancer who opt for surveillance with regular Computerized axial tomography scans over lymph node removal are at greater risk for secondary cancers. The findings, published online last week in the journal Cancer, indicate that physicians should consider the risk of new cancers with surveillance when discussing therapy options with their patients.

Along with a multi-disciplinary team of UC Davis researchers, Karim Chamie, a UC Davis urology resident at the time of the study, examined the cases of 7,301 men diagnosed between 1988 and 2006 with nonseminomatous germ cell tumor, the most common type of testicular cancer. Chamie and colleagues wanted to know if, after initial surgery, frequent computed tomography (CT) imaging of men to check for new signs of the disease increased the rate of secondary tumor growth.

"This is the first study that I am aware of that shows that diagnostic Computerized axial tomography scans cause cancer with statistical significance," said John Boone, professor in the Department of Radiology at UC Davis, co-author of study and internationally known CT expert. "The organizations that recommend these protocols need to reevaluate this aggressive use of CT and maybe opt for MRI or ultrasound."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 30, 2011, 7:16 AM CT

Cost of heart drugs makes patients skip pills

Cost of heart drugs makes patients skip pills
For more than 5 million Americans with heart failure, a critical step to better health is taking the medications they're prescribed. But a number of patients fail to do so, putting themselves at greater risk of hospitalization and even death. To date, studies have not fully answered why patients fall short when it comes to taking heart medicine. In a study appearing in the recent issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Mayo Clinic scientists found the drugs' cost is one of the biggest deterrents.

"We found patients weren't filling their prescriptions because of the expense," says Shannon Dunlay, M.D., Mayo Clinic heart specialist and main author.

The study recruited patients from Olmsted County, Minn., and tracked their pharmacy records. Prior studies looked only at electronic prescription claims data, possibly missing drugs purchased with cash or not covered by insurance, Dr. Dunlay says. The 209 patients in the study, ages 60 to 86, were asked how often they missed doses or didn't take drugs at all, and why.

Scientists observed that younger patients were slightly more likely to skip certain heart medications than older patients. Men were less likely than women to stick to certain drug regimens. Among patients who did a poor job following prescriptions, financial concern was the main reason: 46 percent reported that they had stopped taking statins or not filled a prescription because of cost, and 23 percent acknowledged skipping doses to save money.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 30, 2011, 7:15 AM CT

Attack breast cancer cells from the inside out

Attack breast cancer cells from the inside out
Throwing stones at castle walls is one way to attack an enemy, but sneaking inside makes the target much more vulnerable.

Scientists at Cedars-Sinai's Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute have employed a similar strategy using a mouse model to target important mechanisms inside the most challenging breast cancer cells. Earlier studies at Cedars-Sinai found a similar approach effective in attacking cancerous brain tumor targets.

Unlike other drugs that target cancer cells from outside and often injure normal cells as a side effect, this treatment consists of multiple drugs chemically bonded to a "transport vehicle." The drugs bypass healthy cells, accumulate inside tumor cells and attack molecular targets that enable cancer cells to grow and spread. Studies using a mouse model show this highly targeted approach, using combinations of drugs, to be more effective than standard therapy methods.

This research targeted HER2-positive breast cancer � a type that, due to a genetic mutation, makes excessive amounts of a protein that promotes the growth of cancer cells. HER2-positive breast cancers tend to be more aggressive and less responsive to therapy than other breast cancers.

One usually used antitumor drug, trastuzumab (Herceptin�), is sometimes beneficial, but with advantages and disadvantages. It is an antibody to the HER2 antigen, which means it naturally seeks out this protein in cancers. But its effectiveness as a therapy commonly is limited because in 66 to 88 percent of patients, the tumors become resistant within the first year of therapy. Herceptin also can injure normal organs it contacts.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 30, 2011, 7:07 AM CT

Bariatric surgery for type 2 diabetes

Bariatric surgery for type 2 diabetes
Bariatric surgery is an particularly cost-effective treatment for managing Type 2 diabetes in moderately and severely obese patients. These findings and others were presented today at the 2nd World Congress on Interventional Therapies for Type 2 Diabetes, hosted by NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College.

Cost effectiveness is central to the larger issue of access to surgical therapy of diabetes, says Dr. Francesco Rubino, director of the Congress and director of gastrointestinal metabolic surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Today, an estimated 285 million people around the globe suffer from Type 2 diabetes, and the number is expected to double by 2030, notes Dr. Rubino, who also serves as associate professor of surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. "The need for effective, potentially curative therapies is urgent".

As per an analysis presented today at the Congress by an Australian researcher, bariatric surgery to treat Type 2 diabetes has been demonstrated to be very cost effective in the countries in which this research has been done -- the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and in some European settings.

The review also observed that several studies have determined that bariatric surgery was not only cost effective, but cost saving, says Catherine Keating, a senior research fellow from the Health Economics Unit at Deakin University in Melbourne, who made the presentation. For obese patients diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes during the two years previous to bariatric surgery, one study observed that the upfront costs of surgery would be fully recouped through the prevention of future health care costs to treat Type 2 diabetes. This study was undertaken alongside a clinical trial that observed that remission of Type 2 diabetes was five times greater in surgically treated patients, relative to those receiving conventional therapies, she says.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 28, 2011, 8:10 AM CT

Nicotine as main culprit in diabetes complications

Nicotine as main culprit in diabetes complications
Researchers today reported the first good evidence implicating nicotine as the main culprit responsible for persistently elevated blood sugar levels � and the resulting increased risk of serious health complications � in people who have diabetes and smoke. In a presentation at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), they said the discovery also may have implications for people with diabetes who are using nicotine-replacement treatment for extended periods in an attempt to stop smoking.

"This is an important study," said Xiao-Chuan Liu, Ph.D., who presented the results. "It is the first study to establish a strong link between nicotine and diabetes complications. If you're a smoker and have diabetes, you should be concerned and make every effort to quit smoking".

Nearly 26 million people in the United States and 260 million more worldwide have diabetes. Those complications � which include heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, and nerve damage � are why diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and the third leading cause in some minority groups, as per the National Institutes of Health. Treating those complications takes $1 out of every $10 spent on health care each year.

Liu cited past research showing that good control of blood sugar levels is the key to preventing complications. The gold standard for monitoring long-term blood sugar levels in people with diabetes is the hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) blood test. Used in conjunction with daily home blood sugar monitoring, the HbA1c test reveals the average amount of sugar in the blood during the last several weeks. High test results mean that diabetes is not well controlled and there is an increased risk of complications.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 28, 2011, 7:31 AM CT

Walnuts are top nut for heart-healthy antioxidants

Walnuts are top nut for heart-healthy antioxidants
A new scientific study positions walnuts in the No. 1 slot among a family of foods that lay claim to being among Mother Nature's most nearly perfect packaged foods: Tree and ground nuts. In a report here today at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, researchers presented an analysis showing that walnuts have a combination of more healthful antioxidants and higher quality antioxidants than any other nut.

"Walnuts rank above peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios and other nuts," said Joe Vinson, Ph.D., who did the analysis. "A handful of walnuts contains almost twice as much antioxidants as an equivalent amount of any other usually consumed nut. But unfortunately, people don't eat a lot of them. This study suggests that consumers should eat more walnuts as part of a healthy diet".

Vinson noted that nuts in general have an unusual combination of nutritional benefits � in addition those antioxidants � wrapped into a convenient and inexpensive package. Nuts, for instance, contain plenty of high-quality protein that can substitute for meat; vitamins and minerals; dietary fiber; and are dairy- and gluten-free. Years of research by researchers around the world link regular consumption of small amounts of nuts or peanut butter with decreased risk of heart disease, certain kinds of cancer, gallstones, Type 2 diabetes, and other health problems.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 28, 2011, 7:23 AM CT

Gene processes in myeloid leukaemia

Gene processes in myeloid leukaemia
Scientists have described how the most common gene mutation found in acute myeloid leukaemia starts the process of cancer development and how it can cooperate with a well-defined group of other mutations to cause full-blown leukaemia.

The scientists suggest that three critical steps are mandatory to transform normal blood cells into leukaemic ones, each subverting a different cellular process. By charting the route towards cancer, the study identifies processes that might serve as targets for new therapys to halt the cancer's development in its tracks and even reverse it.

Acute myeloid leukaemia is a rare but devastating disease, which can take hold in a matter of just days or weeks. Every year, 2,000 adults in the UK are diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia: only about three in ten adults survive for five years.

In recent years scientists have identified many genes involved in the development of acute myeloid leukaemia. The most common is NPM1, a gene with a number of known functions. The new research shows that mutation in NPM1 is a key event in the development of a large proportion of cases of acute myeloid leukaemia and that it exerts its effect by helping cells to self-renew, a process that can be thought of as the first step towards leukaemia. The team also identify two subsequent events that are mandatory to cooperate with NPM1 to drive cells to become malignant.........

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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