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September 15, 2009, 9:43 PM CT

Oxygen-saturated blood reduces levels of damaged heart tissue

Oxygen-saturated blood reduces levels of damaged heart tissue
Results of a clinical trial published recently in Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions demonstrate that an infusion of blood that is "supersaturated" with oxygen (SS02) can reduce the amount of damaged heart muscle immediately following a life-threatening heart attack.

"The benefit of this treatment increased with the scope of the heart attack," said Gregg W. Stone, M.D., main author and professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and director of cardiovascular research and education in the Center for Interventional Vascular Therapy at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Stone is also the immediate past chairman of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation in New York. "The data show that heart muscle can be saved even after severe heart attack".

The AMIHOT-II study focused on patients having the most serious types of heart attacks those with anterior ST-segment elevation myocardial infarctions (STEMIs) and on patients treated within 6 hours. Of the 733,000 Americans who suffer acute coronary syndromes (i.e. heart attack or chest pain) each year, 361,000 (almost half) have a STEMI, as per the American Heart Association. When a large area of the heart is damaged, heart failure is more likely, and catheter-based percutaneous coronary intervention is a procedure that can effectively open blocked arteries in STEMI patients, Dr. Stone said.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 15, 2009, 9:25 PM CT

Role of Sleep in Memory Formation

Role of Sleep in Memory Formation
A Rutgers University, Newark and College de France, Paris research team has pinpointed for the first time the mechanism that takes place during sleep that causes learning and memory formation to occur.

It's been known for more than a century that sleep somehow is important for learning and memory. Sigmund Freud further suspected that what we learned during the day was "rehearsed" by the brain during dreaming, allowing memories to form. And while much recent research has focused on the correlative links between the hippocampus and memory consolidation, what had not been identified was the specific processes that cause long-term memories to form.

As posted online September 11, 2009 by Nature Neuroscience, Gyorgy Buzsaki, professor at the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience at Rutgers University, Newark, and his co-researchers, Gabrielle Girardeau, Karim Benchenane, Sidney I. Wiener and Michaƫl B. Zugaro of the College de France, have determined that short transient brain events, called "sharp wave ripples," are responsible for consolidating memory and transferring the learned information from the hippocampus to the neocortex, where long-term memories are stored. www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nn.2384.html.

Sharp wave ripples are intense, compressed oscillations that occur in the hippocampus when the hippocampus is working "off-line," most often during stage four sleep, which, along with stage three, is the deepest level of sleep.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 15, 2009, 7:26 PM CT

Brain's response to seeing food and weight loss maintenance

Brain's response to seeing food and weight loss maintenance
A difference in brain activity patterns may explain why some people are able to maintain a significant weight loss while others regain the weight, as per a newly released study by scientists with The Miriam Hospital.

The researchers report that when individuals who have kept the weight off for several years were shown pictures of food, they were more likely to engage the areas of the brain linked to behavioral control and visual attention, in comparison to obese and normal weight participants.

Findings from this brain imaging study, published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest that successful weight loss maintainers may learn to respond differently to food cues.

"Our findings shed some light on the biological factors that may contribute to weight loss maintenance. They also provide an intriguing complement to prior behavioral studies that suggest people who have maintained a long-term weight loss monitor their food intake closely and exhibit restraint in their food choices," said main author Jeanne McCaffery, PhD, of The Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center.

Long-term weight loss maintenance continues to be a major problem in obesity therapy. Participants in behavioral weight loss programs lose an average of 8 to 10 percent of their weight during the first six months of therapy and will maintain approximately two-thirds of their weight loss after one year. However, despite intensive efforts, weight regain appears to continue for the next several years, with most patients returning to their baseline weight after five years.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 15, 2009, 2:51 PM CT

Space-related radiation research to help cancer patients

Space-related radiation research to help cancer patients
Dr. Ted Bateman (standing) and Dr. Jeff Willey discuss data collected for a project seeking to understand space radiation-induced bone loss and to determine which treatments can reduce that loss of bone and lower the risk of fractures. The data, presented as a 3-D image, depicts bone loss in a sample of irradiated spongy bone.
A research project looking for ways to reduce bone loss in astronauts may yield methods of improving the bone health of cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy.

It is well documented that living in the microgravity environment of space causes bone loss in astronauts, but until recently, little was known about the effects of space radiation on bones. Dr. Ted Bateman leads a project funded by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) to understand radiation-induced bone loss and to determine which therapys can be used to reduce that loss and lower the risk of fractures.

"Our studies indicate significant bone loss at the radiation levels astronauts will experience during long missions to the moon or Mars," said Bateman, a member of NSBRI's Musculoskeletal Alterations Team.

Bateman, an associate professor of bioengineering at Clemson University, and his colleagues at Clemson and Loma Linda University have discovered in experiments with mice that bone loss begins within days of radiation exposure through activation of bone-reducing cells called osteoclasts. Under normal conditions, these cells work with bone-building cells, called osteoblasts, to maintain bone health.

"Our research challenges some conventional thought by saying radiation turns on the bone-eating osteoclasts," Bateman said. "If that is indeed the case, existing therapys, such as bisphosphonates, appears to be able to prevent this early loss of bone."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 15, 2009, 2:41 PM CT

Link Between Protein And Lung Disease

Link Between Protein And Lung Disease
Michael Blackburn, Ph.D., right, and Daniel Schneider discover link between protein and lung disease.
In a development that could lead to a novel approach to the therapy of a devastating lung disease, biochemists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston report they are the first to link the osteopontin (OPN) protein to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Findings appear online and will be in the January 2010 print issue of The FASEB Journal, the journal of The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

More than 12 million Americans are currently diagnosed with this incurable illness, which is the fourth leading cause of death, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute reports. In the United States, the term COPD includes two main conditions - emphysema and chronic obstructive bronchitis.

The scientists were able to prevent COPD features in a mouse model by genetically removing osteopontin. To gauge the applicability of their findings to humans, the researchers analyzed the airways of people with COPD and found elevated levels of the protein.

"This is an important crossover study," said Michael Blackburn, Ph.D., the study's senior author and professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. "Because we can show osteopontin is elevated in people with COPD, this suggests that osteopontin could serve as both an indicator of disease progression and a therapeutic target".........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


September 15, 2009, 7:55 AM CT

Green tea component for stored platelets

Green tea component for stored platelets
In two separate studies, a major component in green tea, epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate (EGCG), has been found to help prolong the preservation of both stored blood platelets and cryopreserved skin tissues. Reported in the current double issue of Cell Transplantation (18:5/6), now freely available on-line at http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cog/ct, devoted to organ preservation and transplantation studies from Japan, the two complimentary studies have shown that EGCG, known to have strong anti-oxidative activity, can prolong platelet cell "shelf life" via anti-apoptosis (programmed cell death) properties and preserve skin tissues by controlling cell division.

Dr. Suong-Hyn Hyon, main author on both studies and associate professor in the Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences in Kyoto, Japan, says that EGCG, a green tea polyphenol, is a known anti-oxidation and anti-proliferation agent, yet the exact mechanism by which EGCG works is still not known. However, some of the activity of EGCG is likely to be correlation to its surface binding ability.

Enhanced platelet preservation

Using standard blood banking procedures, the storage duration for platelet cells (PCs) is limited to five days internationally or three days in Japan. During storage, PCs undergo biochemical, structural and functional changes, and PCs may lose membrane integrity and haemostatic functions, such as aggregability and affinity for surface receptors. Thus, PC shortages often occur. When EGCG was added to blood platelet concentrates, aggregation and coagulation functions were better-maintained after six days, perhaps due to EGCG's anti-oxidative ability. Scientists suggested that EGCG inhibited the activation of platelet functions and protected the surface proteins and lipids from oxidation.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 15, 2009, 7:54 AM CT

Stomach acid reducer pneumonia

Stomach acid reducer pneumonia
A popular stomach-acid reducer used to prevent stress ulcers in critically ill patients needing breathing machine support increases the risk of those patients contracting pneumonia threefold, as per scientists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Hospital-acquired pneumonia is the leading cause of infection-related deaths in critically ill patients. It increases hospital stays by an average of seven to nine days, cost of care, and the risk of other complications.

"As best we can tell, patients who develop hospital-acquired pneumonia or ventilator-acquired pneumonia have about a 20 to 30 percent chance of dying from that pneumonia," said senior study author David L. Bowton, M.D., professor and head of the Section on Critical Care in the Department of Anesthesiology. "It's a significant event".

The study, published in a recent issue of CHEST, compared therapy with two drugs that decrease stomach acid: ranitidine, marketed under the name ZantacTM, and pantoprazole, marketed under the name ProtonixTM or PrilosecTM.

Both drugs decrease stomach acid, but the newer pantoprazole is considered more powerful and has become the drug of choice in a number of hospitals.

However, in the analysis of 834 patient charts, the scientists observed that hospitalized cardiothoracic surgery patients treated with pantoprazole were three times more likely to develop pneumonia.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


September 15, 2009, 7:52 AM CT

New marker for Alzheimer's

New marker for Alzheimer's
This is Erik Portelius, a biochemist at University of Gothenburg.

Gothenburg scientists have discovered a previously unknown substance in spinal fluid that can be used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease. The findings, described in a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, will also be useful in research on new medications.

The substance is a beta-amyloid protein called Abeta16. The thesis shows in two independent studies that Alzheimer's patients have higher levels of the protein in their spinal fluid than do healthy individuals.

'The discovery of the new protein could be used to diagnose patients with Alzheimer's and also help determine which medications are most effective for the disease', says biochemist Erik Portelius, the author of the thesis.

Alzheimer's disease includes the formation of plaque on the brain. Neurons and other cell types form around 20 different beta-amyloid proteins, and these are excreted into the spinal fluid around the brain.

'These types of beta-amyloid proteins can be analysed with great precision, and our research team has also shown that the analyses can be used to distinguish between Alzheimer's patients and healthy individuals with a high degree of accuracy', says Portelius.

The beta-amyloid protein Abeta42 is especially prevalent in the plaque. Abeta42 is created when a larger protein is cut into pieces by certain enzymes. The new Alzheimer's drugs that are currently being tested aim to reduce the production of Abeta42 by blocking these enzymes. Portelius observed that these drugs increase the level of the newly discovered Abeta16.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 15, 2009, 7:38 AM CT

Neurons found to be similar to Electoral College

Neurons found to be similar to Electoral College
A tiny neuron is a very complicated structure. Its complex network of dendrites, axons and synapses is constantly dealing with information, deciding whether or not to send a nerve impulse, to drive a certain action.

It turns out that neurons, at one level, operate like another complicated structure -- the United States, especially its system of electing a president, through the Electoral College.

A new Northwestern University study provides evidence that supports the "two-layer integration model," one of several competing models attempting to explain how neurons integrate synaptic inputs. The findings appear in the journal Neuron

In this model, each dendritic branch of a neuron receives and integrates thousands of electrical inputs, deciding on just one signal to send to the axon. The axon then receives signals from all the dendrites, much like electoral votes coming in from state elections, and a final decision is made. The result could be an output in the form of an impulse, or action potential, or no action at all.

"There are more than 100 billion neurons in the human brain, so detailed knowledge of individual neurons will lead to a better understanding of how the brain works, including the processes of learning and memory," said Nelson Spruston, who led the research team. He is professor of neurobiology and physiology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 15, 2009, 7:36 AM CT

Treating bone loss in breast cancer survivors

Treating bone loss in breast cancer survivors
A key statistic that consumer groups and the media often use when compiling hospital report cards and national rankings can be misleading, scientists report in a newly released study.

The statistic is called the mortality index. A number above 1.0 indicates a hospital had more deaths than expected within a given specialty. Lower than 1.0 means there were fewer than the expected number of deaths.

The study by Loyola University Health System scientists in the Journal of Neurosurgery illustrates how the mortality index can be misleading in at least two major specialties -- neurology and neurosurgery. The index fails to take into account such factors as whether a hospital treats complex cases transferred from other hospitals or whether a hospital treats lower-risk elective cases or higher-risk non-elective cases.

"A hospital with a lower mortality index may not be a better hospital for patient care, but rather a place where the patient mix has been refined or limited," said senior author Dr. Thomas Origitano, chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery, Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine.

There is no "definitive or reliable source for rating the quality of overall neurosurgical care," Origitano and his colleagues wrote in the Journal of Neurosurgery, published by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.........

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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