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February 8, 2010, 7:56 AM CT

Estrogen-only HRT may increase risk of asthma

Estrogen-only HRT may increase risk of asthma
Oestrogen-only hormone replacement treatment (HRT) may increase the risk of developing asthma after the menopause, suggests a large scale study published ahead of print in the journal Thorax

The authors base their findings on 57, 664 women, who were quizzed about their use of HRT and development of asthma symptoms every two years between 1990 and 2002.

All the women were taking part in the French E3N study, which includes almost 100, 000 women born between 1925 and 1950, and is the French component of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

None of these women had asthma when menopausal symptoms began.

The monitoring period equated to 495,448 person years in all, of which over a third was accounted for by women who had not used HRT (35.7%).

Prior users made up 4.5% while information on how long HRT was used was not known for a further 4%. Of the remainder, just under 56% were recent users of HRT.

Between 1990 and 2002, 569 women were newly diagnosed with asthma, corresponding to a rate of 1.15 cases per 1000 women a year.

Compared with women who had never used any form of HRT, those who did use it were 21% more likely to develop asthma, after adjusting for factors likely to influence the results.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 8, 2010, 7:41 AM CT

Family meals, adequate sleep and limited TV

Family meals, adequate sleep and limited TV
A new national study suggests that preschool-aged children are likely to have a lower risk for obesity if they regularly engage in one or more of three specific household routines: eating dinner as a family, getting adequate sleep and limiting their weekday television viewing time.

In a large sample of the U.S. population, the study showed that 4-year-olds living in homes with all three routines had an almost 40 percent lower prevalence of obesity than did children living in homes that practiced none of these routines.

Other studies have linked obesity to the individual behaviors of excessive TV viewing, a lack of sleep and, to a lesser extent, a low frequency of family meals. But this is the first study to assess the combination of all three routines with obesity prevalence in a national sample of preschoolers.

The scientists suggested that adopting these three household routines could be an attractive obesity-prevention strategy for all families with young children, particularly because these routines appears to benefit children's overall development. However, they also cautioned that this study alone does not confirm whether the routines themselves, or some other factor, protect children from obesity.

The study appears online and is scheduled for publication in the recent issue of the journal Pediatrics........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 8, 2010, 7:39 AM CT

Financial hardship and anxiety

Financial hardship and anxiety
A new analysis has observed that women with medium or low levels of income are especially susceptible to anxiety and depression after being diagnosed with the premalignant breast condition, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Published early online in Cancer, a peer-evaluated journal of the American Cancer Society, the study suggests that women with financial hardship appears to benefit from psychosocial interventions that are designed to accommodate their unique needs.

While research suggests that education and financial status, also known as socioeconomic status, can affect mental and physical health, few studies have examined its impact on psychological adjustment following a major stressor such as being diagnosed with a potentially serious medical condition. To investigate, Janet de Moor, MPH, PhD, of The Ohio State University College of Public Health and his colleagues looked at whether socioeconomic status affects the development of feelings of anxiety and depression in women after they are diagnosed with DCIS. The researchers also explored whether social support might impact the effects of socioeconomic status on distress in these women.

During the study, 487 women with newly diagnosed DCIS completed questions about sociodemographic, psychosocial, and clinical characteristics at the time of enrollment and again nine months after their diagnosis. The scientists observed that financial status was inversely linked to distress at the nine month follow up point: women with financial hardship reported higher levels of anxiety and depression than women with no financial hardship. Financial status also predicted change in anxiety and depression: women with medium to high levels of financial hardship reported an increase in their feelings of anxiety and depression during the study period, while women with no financial hardship reported a decrease in their feelings of anxiety and depression over time. In addition, the probability of exhibiting signs of clinical depression increased with increasing financial hardship.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 8, 2010, 7:38 AM CT

Beer and bone health

Beer and bone health
A newly released study suggests that beer is a significant source of dietary silicon, a key ingredient for increasing bone mineral density. Scientists from the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California, Davis studied commercial beer production to determine the relationship between beer production methods and the resulting silicon content, concluding that beer is a rich source of dietary silicon. Details of this study are available in the recent issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Society of Chemical Industry.

"The factors in brewing that influence silicon levels in beer have not been extensively studied" said Charles Bamforth, main author of the study. "We have examined a wide range of beer styles for their silicon content and have also studied the impact of raw materials and the brewing process on the quantities of silicon that enter wort and beer".

Silicon is present in beer in the soluble form of orthosilicic acid (OSA), which yields 50% bioavailability, making beer a major contributor to silicon intake in the Western diet. As per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), dietary silicon (Si), as soluble OSA, appears to be important for the growth and development of bone and connective tissue, and beer may be a major contributor to Si intake. Based on these findings, some studies suggest moderate beer consumption may help fight osteoporosis, a disease of the skeletal system characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 8, 2010, 7:37 AM CT

Soft drink consumption and pancreatic cancer

Soft drink consumption and  pancreatic cancer
Consuming two or more soft drinks per week increased the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by nearly twofold compared to individuals who did not consume soft drinks, according to a report in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Although relatively rare, pancreatic cancer remains one of the most deadly, and only 5 percent of people who are diagnosed are alive five years later.

Mark Pereira, Ph.D., senior author on the study and associate professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota, said people who consume soft drinks on a regular basis, defined as primarily carbonated sugar-sweetened beverages, tend to have a poor behavioral profile overall.

However, the effect of these drinks on pancreatic cancer may be unique.

"The high levels of sugar in soft drinks may be increasing the level of insulin in the body, which we think contributes to pancreatic cancer cell growth," said Pereira.

For the current study, Pereira and colleagues followed 60,524 men and women in the Singapore Chinese Health Study for 14 years. During that time, there were 140 pancreatic cancer cases. Those who consumed two or more soft drinks per week (averaging five per week) had an 87 percent increased risk compared with individuals who did not.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


February 8, 2010, 7:34 AM CT

Marijuana ineffective as an Alzheimer's treatment

Marijuana ineffective as an Alzheimer's treatment
The benefits of marijuana in tempering or reversing the effects of Alzheimer's disease have been challenged in a newly released study by scientists at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.

The findings, reported in the current issue of the journal Current Alzheimer Research, could lower expectations about the benefits of medical marijuana in combating various cognitive diseases and help redirect future research to more promising therapeutics.

Prior studies using animal models showed that HU210, a synthetic form of the compounds found in marijuana, reduced the toxicity of plaques and promoted the growth of new neurons. Those studies used rats carrying amyloid protein, the toxin that forms plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's victims.

The newly released study, led by Dr. Weihong Song, Canada Research Chair in Alzheimer's Disease and a professor of psychiatry in the UBC Faculty of Medicine, was the first to test those findings using mice carrying human genetic mutations that cause Alzheimer's disease widely considered to be a more accurate model for the disease in humans.

"As scientists, we begin every study hoping to be able to confirm beneficial effects of potential therapies, and we hoped to confirm this for the use of medical marijuana in treating Alzheimer's disease," says Song, a member of the Brain Research Centre at UBC and VCH Research Institute and Director of Townsend Family Laboratories at UBC.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


February 5, 2010, 7:58 AM CT

Killing cancer with nano

Killing cancer with nano
Rapidly expanding nanobubbles blasted through arterial plaque in a 2009 study. Gold nanoparticles were sprayed on the plaque (from left) and illuminated with a laser from above. With the backlighting turned off, each bubble shows up as a brilliant flash.

Credit: D. Lapotko/Rice University
Using lasers and nanoparticles, researchers at Rice University have discovered a new technique for singling out individual diseased cells and destroying them with tiny explosions. The researchers used lasers to make "nanobubbles" by zapping gold nanoparticles inside cells. In tests on cancer cells, they found they could tune the lasers to create either small, bright bubbles that were visible but harmless or large bubbles that burst the cells.

"Single-cell targeting is one of the most touted advantages of nanomedicine, and our approach delivers on that promise with a localized effect inside an individual cell," said Rice physicist Dmitri Lapotko, the lead researcher on the project. "The idea is to spot and treat unhealthy cells early, before a disease progresses to the point of making people extremely ill".

The research is available online in the journal Nanotechnology

Nanobubbles are created when gold nanoparticles are struck by short laser pulses. The short-lived bubbles are very bright and can be made smaller or larger by varying the power of the laser. Because they are visible under a microscope, nanobubbles can be used to either diagnose sick cells or to track the explosions that are destroying them.

In laboratory studies published last year, Lapotko and his colleagues at the Laboratory for Laser Cytotechnologies at the A.V. Lykov Heat and Mass Transfer Institute in Minsk, Belarus, applied nanobubbles to arterial plaque. They observed that they could blast right through the deposits that block arteries.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 5, 2010, 7:54 AM CT

Possible source of beta cell destruction

Possible source of beta cell destruction
Doctors at Eastern Virginia Medical School's Strelitz Diabetes Center have been stalking the culprit responsible for Type 1 diabetes. Now, they are one step closer.

Members of a research team at the center, led by Jerry Nadler, MD, professor and chair of internal medicine and director of the center, have been studying the role of the enzyme 12-Lipoxygenase (12-LO) in the development of Type 1 diabetes. They hope that targeting this enzyme will hold the key to a cure.

Dr. Nadler and several research colleagues in the EVMS Department of Internal Medicine, including Kaiwen Ma, PhD, research instructor; Swarup K. Chakrabarti, PhD, research assistant professor; and David A. Taylor-Fishwick, PhD, associate professor, recently published their findings in the recent issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition that develops when the pancreas stops generating enough insulin to maintain normal levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Insulin moves sugar from the bloodstream to cells so that it can be used to generate energy. In Type 1 diabetes, a person's immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells, found only in the pancreas. When the beta cells die, the body no longer can produce enough insulin to regulate blood-glucose levels, and this can lead to serious health complications, even death, without therapy.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 5, 2010, 7:52 AM CT

Barriers to screening for colorectal cancer

Barriers to screening for colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Despite evidence and guidelines supporting the value of screening for this disease, rates of screening for colorectal cancer are consistently lower than those for other types of cancer, particularly breast and cervical. Although the screening rates in the target population of adults over age 50, have increased from 20-30 percent in 1997 to nearly 55 percent in 2008 the rates are still too low. An NIH state-of-the-science panel was convened this week to identify ways to further increase the use and quality of colorectal cancer screening in the United States.

"We recognize that some may find colorectal cancer screening tests to be unpleasant and time-consuming. However, we also know that recommended screening strategies reduce colorectal cancer deaths," said Dr. Donald Steinwachs, panel chair, and professor and director of the Health Services Research and Development Center at the Johns Hopkins University. "We need to find ways to encourage more people to get these important tests".

The panel found that the most important factors associated with being screened are having insurance coverage and access to a regular health care provider. Their recommendations highlighted the need to remove out-of-pocket costs for screening tests.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


February 5, 2010, 7:48 AM CT

High sensitivity to stress isn't always bad

High sensitivity to stress isn't always bad
Children who are particularly reactive to stress are more vulnerable to adversity and have more behavior and health problems than their peers. But a new longitudinal study suggests that highly reactive children are also more likely to do well when they're raised in supportive environments.

The study, by researchers at the University of British Columbia, the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of California, Berkeley, appears in the January/February 2010 issue of the journal Child Development

"Parents and teachers may find that sensitive children, like orchids, are more challenging to raise and care for, but they can bloom into individuals of exceptional ability and strength when reared in a supportive, nurturing, and encouraging environment," as per Jelena Obradović, an assistant professor in the School of Education at Stanford University (Dr. Obradović was at the University of British Columbia when she led the study).

The scientists looked at 338 kindergarteners, as well as their teachers and families, to determine how family adversity and biological reactivity contribute to healthy development.

They observed that children who had significantly stronger biological reactions to a series of mildly stressful tasks designed to look like challenges in their daily lives were more affected by their family contexts, both bad and good. This means that highly reactive children were more likely to have developmental problems when growing up in adverse, stressful family settings.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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