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March 13, 2011, 12:06 AM CT

DCIS patients who get invasive breast cancer

DCIS patients who get invasive breast cancer
Women with ductal carcinoma in situ�DCIS�who later develop invasive breast cancer in the same breast are at higher risk of dying from breast cancer than those who do not develop invasive disease, as per a research studypublished online March 11 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Retrospective studies of women with DCIS have compared breast conserving surgery (lumpectomy) to mastectomy and observed that survival rates are similar. However, women who have lumpectomy alone, without further therapy, are at higher risk of developing invasive breast cancer in the same breast. Whether women who develop invasive breast tumors after DCIS are also at higher risk of dying of breast cancer has not been clear.

To explore this question as well as the long-term effects of therapys aimed at avoiding invasive recurrence after lumpectomy, Irene Wapnir, M.D., of Stanford University School of Medicine, and James Dignam, PhD of University of Chicago looked at the long-term outcomes of patients with localized DCIS who took part in two large randomized trials, both carried out by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP). The B-17 trial compared lumpectomy alone to lumpectomy plus radiation treatment in women with DCIS. The B-24 trial compared lumpectomy plus radiation in combination with either tamoxifen or placebo.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 13, 2011, 11:56 AM CT

Prostate cancer patients on ADT gain significant weight

Prostate cancer patients on ADT gain significant weight
Seventy per cent of men who received androgen-deprivation treatment (ADT) after surgery to remove their prostate gland gained significant weight in the first year, putting on an average of 4.2kg, as per a paper in the recent issue of the urology journal BJUI.

Scientists studied the recorded weights of 132 men who underwent radical prostatectomy between 1988 and 2009 at four US Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in California, Georgia and North Carolina, before and after they received ADT.

This showed that the majority of the men gained significant weight during the first year of treatment, but did not put on any more weight after that.

"ADT is a hormone treatment that deprives the patient's body of androgens, such as testosterone, which have been shown to stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells" explains Dr Stephen J Freedland, from the Duke Prostate Center at Duke University School of Medicine and the Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.

"Having been established as the mainstay therapy for recurrent or secondary prostate cancer, ADT is now being increasingly used to treat localised disease.

"This rising use of ADT makes it even more important that we pay close attention to the side-effects of the treatment, including weight gain, as obesity is linked with many chronic and potentially life-threatening health problems".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


March 13, 2011, 11:32 AM CT

Most children slept through a smoke alarms

Most children slept through a smoke alarms
An Australian study to determine the likelihood of school-aged children waking up to their home smoke alarm observed that 78% of children slept through a smoke alarm sounding for 30 seconds. The outcomes of the study are published recently in the journal Fire and Materials.

Home smoke detectors have been relied on since the 1960s, and have been known to save lives in domestic fires. The study's results show children are most at risk of not waking up to the sound of their home's smoke detector. Though related studies have been conducted in the past, the sample size used in this study has been the largest to date.

In order to gather data for the study, parents of 123 children (79 families) were asked to trigger their smoke alarm for 30 seconds after their child, or children, had been asleep for one to three hours. 60 boys and 63 girls were included in the study and the average age was 8.82 years. The group was split into two age groups so that the younger group would be prepubescent. This is because plasma melatonin levels drop with puberty onset and the melatonin hormone is known to be sleep-inducing. About 70% of the participants were aged from 5 - 10 years (87) and 30% from 11 - 15 years (36).

Volunteer parents reported whether or not their children woke using a research website, and the results showed that 78% of the children slept through the alarm. Of the small number of children who did wake up, only half recognized the sound as a smoke alarm, and half of those children knew they should evacuate. The data collected also showed that younger children (five to ten years old) were significantly more at risk, with 87% sleeping through the alarm, in comparison to 56% of 11-15 year olds.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 13, 2011, 11:26 AM CT

Potential way to protect neurons

Potential way to protect neurons
This is an illustration of a healthy neuron. A UT Health Science Center San Antonio study found a protective mechanism for neurons placed under mitochondrial stress.

Credit: Image courtesy of the NIH/National Institute on Aging.

Cell biologists pondering the death of neurons � brain cells � said today that by eliminating one ingredient from the cellular machinery, they prolonged the life of neurons stressed by a pesticide chemical. The finding identifies a potential therapeutic target to slow changes that lead to neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

The researchers, from The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, observed that neurons lacking a substance called caspase-2 were better able to withstand pesticide-induced damage to energy centers known as mitochondria.

Master switch

Caspase-2 may be a master switch that can trigger either cell death or survival depending on the amount of cellular damage, the team found. Neurons that lacked caspase-2 showed an increase in protective activities, including the efficient breakdown of obsolete or used proteins. This process, called autophagy, delays cell death.

"This research shows, for the first time, that in the absence of caspase-2 neurons increase autophagy to survive," said co-author of study Marisa Lopez-Cruzan, Ph.D., investigator in the cellular and structural biology department at the Health Science Center.

Role of energy centers

Evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction plays an important role in neuronal death in conditions such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease) and Huntington's disease.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 13, 2011, 11:12 AM CT

Genius quality might be the result of hormonal influences

Genius quality might be the result of hormonal influences
A longstanding debate as to whether genius is a byproduct of good genes or good environment has an upstart challenger that may take the discussion in an entirely new direction. University of Alberta researcher Marty Mrazik says being bright appears to be due to an excess level of a natural hormone.

Mrazik, a professor in the Faculty of Education's educational psychology department, and a colleague from Rider University in the U.S., have published a paper in Roeper Review linking giftedness (having an IQ score of 130 or higher) to prenatal exposure of higher levels of testosterone. Mrazik hypothesizes that, in the same way that physical and cognitive deficiencies can be developed in utero, so, too, could similar exposure to this naturally occurring chemical result in giftedness.

"There seems to be some evidence that excessive prenatal exposure to testosterone facilitates increased connections in the brain, particularly in the right prefrontal cortex," said Mrazik. "That's why we see some intellectually gifted people with distinct personality characteristics that you don't see in the normal population".

Mrazik's notion came from observations made during clinical evaluations of gifted individuals. He and his fellow researcher observed some specific traits among the subjects. This finding stimulated a conversation on the role of early development in setting the foundation for giftedness.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 13, 2011, 11:09 AM CT

Secrets to Long life

Secrets to Long life
Howard Friedman
Good advice for a long life? As it turns out, no. In a groundbreaking study of personality as a predictor of longevity, University of California, Riverside scientists found just the opposite.

"It's surprising just how often common assumptions - by both researchers and the media - are wrong," said Howard S. Friedman, distinguished professor of psychology who led the 20-year study.

Friedman and Leslie R. Martin , a 1996 UCR alumna (Ph.D.) and staff researchers, have published those findings in "The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study" (Hudson Street Press, March 2011).

Friedman and Martin examined, refined and supplemented data gathered by the late Stanford University psychology expert Louis Terman and subsequent scientists on more than 1,500 bright children who were about 10 years old when they were first studied in 1921. "Probably our most amazing finding was that personality characteristics and social relations from childhood can predict one's risk of dying decades later," Friedman concluded.

The Longevity Project, as the study became known, followed the children through their lives, collecting information that included family histories and relationships, teacher and parent ratings of personality, hobbies, pet ownership, job success, education levels, military service and numerous other details.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 10, 2011, 8:01 AM CT

Keeping an eye on H1N1

Keeping an eye on H1N1
An image of the H1N1 influenza virus taken in the CDC Influenza Laboratory.
Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control
In the fall of 1917, a new strain of influenza swirled around the globe. At first, it resembled a typical flu epidemic: Most deaths occurred among the elderly, while younger people recovered quickly. However, in the summer of 1918, a deadlier version of the same virus began spreading, with disastrous consequence. In total, the pandemic killed at least 50 million people - about 3 percent of the world's population at the time.

That two-wave pattern is typical of pandemic flu viruses, which is why a number of researchers worry that the 2009 H1N1 ("swine") flu virus might evolve into a deadlier form.

H1N1, first reported in March 2009 in Mexico, contains a mix of human, swine and avian flu genes, which prompted fears that it could prove deadlier than typical seasonal flu viruses. However, the death toll was much lower than initially feared, in large part because the virus turned out to be relatively inefficient at spreading from person to person.

In a newly released study from MIT, scientists have identified a single mutation in the H1N1 genetic makeup that would allow it to be much more easily transmitted between people. The finding, published in the March 2 edition of the journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) One, should give the World Health Organization, which tracks influenza evolution, something to watch out for, says Ram Sasisekharan, senior author of the paper.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


March 10, 2011, 7:58 AM CT

Brain has 3 layers of working memory

Brain has 3 layers of working memory
Scientists from Rice University and Georgia Institute of Technology have found support for the theory that the brain has three concentric layers of working memory where it stores readily available items. Memory scientists have long debated whether there are two or three layers and what the capacity and function of each layer is.

In a paper in the recent issue of the Journal of Cognitive Psychology, scientists observed that short-term memory is made up of three areas: a core focusing on one active item, a surrounding area holding at least three more active items, and a wider region containing passive items that have been tagged for later retrieval or "put on the back burner." But more importantly, they observed that the core region, called the focus of attention, has three roles -- not two as proposed by prior researchers. First, this core focus directs attention to the correct item, which is affected by predictability of input pattern. Then it retrieves the item and subsequently, when needed, updates it.

The researchers, Chandramallika Basak of Rice University and Paul Verhaeghen of Georgia Tech, used simple memory tasks involving colors and shapes on a computer screen to determine the three distinct layers of memory. They also determined the roles of attention focus by exploring the process of switching items in and out of the focus of attention.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 10, 2011, 7:34 AM CT

Selectively Controlling Anxiety Pathways in the Brain

Selectively Controlling Anxiety Pathways in the Brain
A new study supports the role of a brain region called the amygdala in processing anxiety. In this 3-D magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) rendering of a human brain, functional MRI (fMRI) activation of the amygdala is highlighted in red.

Credit: NIMH Clinical Brain Disorders Branch

A newly released study sheds light--both literally and figuratively--on the intricate brain cell connections responsible for anxiety.

Researchers at Stanford University recently used light to activate mouse neurons and precisely identify neural circuits that increase or decrease anxiety-related behaviors. Pinpointing the origin of anxiety brings psychiatric professionals closer to understanding anxiety disorders, the most common class of psychiatric disease.

A research team led by Karl Deisseroth, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and bioengineering, identified two key pathways in the brain: one which promotes anxiety, and one which alleviates anxiety.

The pathways are in a brain region called the amygdala. Previous research suggests the amygdala plays a role in anxiety, but earlier studies used widespread modifications of the amygdala, through drugs or physical disruption of the brain region, to study the way in which it affects anxiety. This new work, published in this week's Nature, uses a tool called optogenetics--developed by Deisseroth and recently named Method of the Year by Nature Methods--to specifically tease out which pathways contribute to anxiety.

Optogenetics combines genetics and optical science to selectively manipulate the way a neuron fires in the brain. Neurons are electrically excitable cells that convey information through electrical and chemical signaling.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 10, 2011, 7:12 AM CT

Passive smoking increases risk to unborn babies

Passive smoking increases risk to unborn babies
Pregnant non-smokers who breathe in the second-hand smoke of other people are at an increased risk of delivering stillborn babies or babies with defects, a study led by scientists at The University of Nottingham has found.

The study, reported in the April edition of the journal Pediatrics, found passive smoking increased the risk of still birth by almost one-quarter (23 per cent) and was associated with a 13 per cent increased risk of congenital birth defects.

The findings underline the importance of discouraging expectant fathers from smoking around their pregnant partners and warning women of the potential dangers of second-hand smoke both pre-conception and during pregnancy.

Dr Jo Leonardi-Bee, of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies at the University, said: "Mothers' smoking during pregnancy is well-recognised as carrying a range of serious health risks for the unborn baby including fetal mortality, low birth weight, premature birth and a range of serious birth defects such as cleft palate, club foot and heart problems.

"Since passive smoking involves exposure to the same range of tobacco toxins experienced by active smokers, albeit at lower levels, it is likely that coming into contact with second-hand smoke also increases the risk of some of all of these complications".........

Posted by: Emily      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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