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September 23, 2009, 7:15 AM CT

Childbearing Increases Chance of Developing the Metabolic Syndrome

Childbearing Increases Chance of Developing the Metabolic Syndrome
Childbearing is associated directly with future development of the metabolic syndrome - abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, insulin resistance and other cardiovascular disease risk factors - and for women who have had gestational diabetes, the risk is more than twice greater, as per a co-author of studyed by University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) scientists reported in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

UAB Professor of Preventive Medicine Cora E. Lewis, M.D., M.S.P.H., and his colleagues used data collected in the CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) study to determine the connection between a higher occurence rate of the metabolic syndrome among women ages 18-30 at the start of the study who bore at least one child during the 20-year period following.

"Pregnancy can have lasting, adverse physiological effects and may result in behavioral changes," Lewis said. "Some prior studies have shown an association between childbearing and the metabolic syndrome, and some have shown that a history of gestational diabetes is a strong predictor of Type 2 diabetes.

"However, these studies lacked the preconception measurements to establish a baseline with which to measure the changes brought on by pregnancy," she said. "A number of have not had control groups of women who had not had pregnancies, and thus they have rarely provided conclusive evidence linking pregnancy-related risk factor changes to disease onset. CARDIA began following participants ages 18-30 years in 1985-1986 and continues today, and we had the necessary information to track women both before and after pregnancy and to compare women with pregnancies to those without".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


September 23, 2009, 7:08 AM CT

Occupational safety monitoring

Occupational safety monitoring
The new Standard Reference Material, Beryllium Oxide Powder (SRM 1877), shown in this scanning electron micrograph mimics the form of beryllium to which workers would be exposed much more closely and should facilitate much more representative and informative toxicological studies, more accurate monitoring and more effective clean up of contaminated areas.

Credit: R. Dickerson, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in collaboration with private industry and other government agencies, have produced a new reference material for beryllium. Beryllium, an exotic rare-earth metal used as a hardener in high-performance alloys and ceramics, can cause berylliosisa chronic, incurable and sometimes fatal illness. The new reference material is expected to dramatically improve methods used to monitor workers' exposure and aid in contamination control as well as toxicological research.

The use of beryllium in manufacturing dates back to the advent of the atomic age. One of the researchers involved with the famous Chicago experiment known as Chicago Pile-1 to create the first artificial self-sustaining nuclear reaction in 1942 died of berylliosis in 1988. Aside from the nuclear industry, the unique properties of beryllium make it valuable in the manufacture of aircraft and supercolliders.

Beryllium dust can cause a condition characterized by chronic skin and/or respiratory inflammation resembling pneumonia in susceptible individuals and can increase the risk of lung cancers with long periods of exposure. Treating the particles as a threat, the body's immune system floods the affected area with white blood cells. The cells surround the beryllium particles and harden to form inflamed tissue nodules called granulomas. These granulomas can lodge under the skin or in lung tissue where they cause difficulty breathing and a host of other symptoms including fatigue, weight loss and muscle pain. The condition, eventhough treatable, is incurable.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 23, 2009, 7:06 AM CT

Ultrasound can predict survival in melanoma

Ultrasound can predict survival in melanoma
Scientists have demonstrated for the first time that patterns of ultrasound signals can be used to identify whether or not cancer has started to spread in melanoma patients, and to what extent. The discovery enables doctors to decide on how much surgery, if any, is mandatory and to predict the patient's probable survival.

Dr Christiane Voit told Europe's largest cancer congress, ECCO 15 ESMO 34 [1], in Berlin today (Wednesday 23 September): "We have identified two ultrasound patterns of lymph node metastasis in melanoma patients which can identify correctly any amount of tumour cells in the sentinel lymph nodes in 75-90% of cases before proceeding to surgery on the sentinel lymph nodes".

Dr Voit, who is a dermatologist and head of the diagnostic unit at the Skin Cancer Centre at Charit Universittsmedizin Berlin, the Medical University of Berlin, Gera number of, said that eventhough her research needs to be confirmed in multi-centre, randomised clinical trials, it had the potential to spare patients unnecessary surgery, particularly if it was combined with ultrasound-guided fine needle biopsy of lymph nodes rather than conventional surgery.

Since 2001 Dr Voit and her colleagues in Gera number of and The Netherlands have included 850 melanoma patients in a prospective study to investigate the use of ultrasound in diagnosis and therapy planning. They have already demonstrated that ultrasound-guided fine needle biopsy of sentinel nodes before conventional sentinel node surgery can identify up to 65% of patients in whom the cancer has started to spread. The study presented today shows how far ultrasound patterns correlate with disease progression, tumour burden, survival and prognosis in the first 400 of these patients with stage I/II melanoma and with the longest follow-up.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 23, 2009, 7:04 AM CT

Trial of new treatment for advanced melanoma

Trial of new treatment for advanced melanoma
Berlin, Gera number of: Scientists have made significant advances in the therapy of metastatic cancerous melanoma one of the most difficult cancers to treat successfully once it has started to spread as per a research studyto be presented at Europe's largest cancer congress, ECCO 15 ESMO 34 [1], in Berlin on Thursday.

In the phase I extension study, scientists have seen rapid and dramatic shrinking of metastatic tumours in patients treated with a new compound that blocks the activity of the cancer-causing mutation of the BRAF gene, which is implicated in about 50% melanomas and 5% of colorectal cancers. In new results from 31 melanoma patients with the BRAF mutation who were treated with 960mg of PLX4032 twice a day, 64% (14) of the 22 patients who could be reviewed so far met the official criteria for partial response (this involves the diameter of tumours shrinking by at least 30% for at least a month). A further six of the 22 patients also showed a response, but, at the time of the congress presentation, it was too early to say whether the tumours would shrink far enough to meet these criteria.

Dr Paul Chapman, an attending doctor on the Melanoma/Sarcoma service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York, USA) and who was one of the leaders of the trial, told a news briefing: "We are very excited about these results. Of the 22 patients we have been able to evaluate so far, 20 have had some objective tumour shrinkage. This is impressive as they all had metastatic disease and most of them had failed several previous therapies. A lot of these patients were pretty sick but a number of of them had a significant and rapid improvement in the way they function. We've had patients come off oxygen and we've got several patients who have been able to come off narcotic pain medicine soon after starting therapy".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 23, 2009, 7:02 AM CT

Sorafenib for breast cancer

Sorafenib for breast cancer
One of the first of a series of trials to investigate the use of sorafenib a targeted anti-cancer drug for the therapy of advanced breast cancer has observed that if it is combined with the chemotherapy drug, capecitabine, it makes a significant difference to the time women live without their disease worsening.

Principal investigator of the study, Professor Jos Baselga told Europe's largest cancer congress, ECCO 15 ESMO 34 [1], in Berlin today (Wednesday 23 September): "This is the first, large, randomised study that demonstrates significant clinical activity of sorafenib in breast cancer when given in combination with chemotherapy. Our results showed that patients who received sorafenib plus capecitabine had a 74% percent improvement in the time they lived without their disease worsening in comparison to those who received the chemotherapy alone. This is a very positive study and the magnitude of the benefit is such that it suggests that this agent will be an important addition to our therapeutic armoury in breast cancer."

Sorafenib (Nexavar) is a potent multi-kinase inhibitor, which works by interfering with the growth of cancer cells and slowing the growth of new blood vessels within the tumour. Until now, it has only been used in the therapy of kidney and liver cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 23, 2009, 7:01 AM CT

New cancer drug shows promise

New cancer drug shows promise
A group of researchers from Hamburg may have taken a big step towards more effective cancer drug development, Europe's largest cancer congress, ECCO 15 ESMO 34 [1], heard today. Dr Ilona Schonn, Director of Cell Culture Research at Indivumed GmbH, told the conference that they had developed a preclinical drug test platform that would enable scientists to analyse tumour tissue for individual patient drug responses on the molecular level.

To date most tests for drug metabolism and toxicity testing have used tissue slices of normal organs like liver, kidney and lung. The new test was created specifically for oncology drug testing and uses tumour tissues from colorectal and patients with lung cancer.

A major problem of drug development at present is the inability to extrapolate response in preclinical cell models to patients. "Approximately 90% of clinical trials fail because the drugs used are too ineffective or too toxic," explained Dr Schonn. "Not only does this result in unacceptably high costs for drug development, but it also exposes patients to risks from toxicity or simply wastes their time in testing a substance which proves to be ineffective".

The problem arises from the fact that patients respond individually to drugs. In addition, each tumour consists of a variety of different cancer cells that interact in different ways with the framework of individual non-tumour cells, resulting in highly variable growth behaviour and response to drugs. Dr Schonn and her team set out to try to develop a drug test that would eliminate these problems and provide an accurate model of individual patient response.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 20, 2009, 7:01 PM CT

New blood tests for gastrointestinal cancers

New blood tests for gastrointestinal cancers
Promising results from two new blood tests that can aid in the early identification of patients with gastrointestinal (GI) cancers will be presented at Europe's largest cancer congress, ECCO 15 ESMO 34 [1], in Berlin today (Monday September 21). The tests will make GI cancer detection simpler, cost-effective, and more acceptable to patients than current methods, the scientists say.

In the first study, Dr Joost Louwagie, from the company OncoMethylome Sciences, headquartered in Lige, Belgium, will present data on the way in which tumour markers for colorectal cancer were selected, the analytical performance of the test and the first results from a multi-centre feasibility study. "This test has potential to provide a better balance of performance, cost-effectiveness and patient compliance than other options currently available for colorectal cancer screening," he says.

The researchers collected blood before surgery from 193 patients known to have colorectal cancer, as well as from 688 controls undergoing colonoscopy for cancer screening. DNA was extracted from the blood plasma and tested for the presence of DNA methylation of specific genes. DNA methylation is involved in the regulation of protein expression, and methylation or silencing of key genes has been associated with the initiation and progression of tumours. Based on studies conducted in colorectal tissues, methylated genes that were capable of discriminating accurately between malignant and normal tissues were chosen. The researchers then reviewed the best-performing methylated genes in blood samples, with the ultimate goal of providing a sensitive, specific and patient-friendly option for colorectal cancer screening.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 20, 2009, 6:58 PM CT

Why it's hard to be good

Why it's hard to be good
Being seen as either well behaved or naughty at school is never entirely in the hands of the individual child, this study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council shows.

The research demonstrates that being good is not a simple matter. Once some children acquire poor overall reputations among teachers and other school staff, classmates and parents, it becomes difficult for them to be regarded as good. When young children start school they also have to develop interpretive skills to decode and negotiate mixed messages about how to behave.

This study of four and five year olds in reception classes was undertaken by Professor Maggie MacLure and Professor Liz Jones of Manchester Metropolitan University. They observed that two broad types of behaviour in school cause particular concern: physical actions such as kicking and punching and persistent failure to comply with adults' requests. Repeatedly calling out or not sitting properly in class, failing to listen or being noisy in queues are all examples of conduct likely to arouse the concern of teachers and other staff.

Yet such behaviour does not always result in children gaining poor reputations. This is most likely to happen when a child's immediate conduct is regarded as a sign of a wider problem.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 20, 2009, 6:56 PM CT

Key factor in regulating placenta and fetal growth

Key factor in regulating placenta and fetal growth
Researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have shown that a common biological protein molecule called SHP-2 is crucial for encouraging placenta growth. The research is published recently in Endocrinology

Dr Melissa Westwood, one of the team at the University of Manchester said: "For fetuses to grow well in the womb they need to get nutrients and oxygen from their mother. These come via the placenta and so as the fetus grows and its demand on mum increases, the placenta also must increase in size. If the placenta doesn't grow properly, the fetus is unable to receive all it needs from the mother and its growth is restricted. This can impact seriously on the health of the newborn. Furthermore we have learned recently that it dramatically increases the risk of ill health in adult life".

The scientists have investigated a group of proteins called the insulin-like growth factors (IGF). They have discovered that SHP-2, a molecule within placental cells, is a crucial mediator of the effects of IGFs in stimulating the placenta to grow.

Dr Westwood continued: "We know that placentas need an array of factors to support their growth, but until now we didn't realise that SHP-2 was so important for ensuring that these factors do their job.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


September 20, 2009, 6:51 PM CT

Genetic link between cardiac arrhythmias and thyroid

Genetic link between cardiac arrhythmias and thyroid
Genes previously known to be essential to the coordinated, rhythmic electrical activity of cardiac muscle -- a healthy heartbeat -- have now also been found to play a key role in thyroid hormone (TH) biosynthesis, as per Weill Cornell Medical College researchers.

The authors' findings, published online this week by the peer-evaluated journal Nature Medicine, suggest that mutations of either of two gene products -- proteins called KCNE2 and KCNQ1 -- already known to be involved in human cardiac arrhythmias, could also cause thyroid dysfunction.

"It has long been known that the thyroid influences cardiac function and cardiac arrhythmias," says study senior author Dr. Geoffrey W. Abbott, associate professor of pharmacology in medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, "but our findings demonstrate a novel genetic link between inherited cardiac arrhythmia and thyroid dysfunction".

Additionally, it is the authors' suggestion that evaluation of the thyroid status of patients with KCNE2- and KCNQ1-linked cardiac arrhythmias could in some cases reveal a potential endocrine component to their cardiac arrhythmias that may not have been previously determined. This, in turn, could indicate therapy of the thyroid condition, with potentially beneficial effects on cardiac function.........

Posted by: Daniel      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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