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July 2, 2010, 7:20 AM CT

Loss of key protein promotes aggressive form of leukemia

Loss of key protein promotes aggressive form of leukemia
Cold Spring Harbor, NY New research by researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has illuminated in fine detail one of the genetic paths that leads to a especially aggressive form of leukemia.

CSHL Professor Scott W. Lowe. Ph.D., an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, led a team of researchers who wanted to know more about how the absence of an important tumor-suppressing protein called p53 combines with another genetic "hit" in immature blood cells to give rise to acute myeloid leukemia, or AML. In experiments in living mice, the team discovered that if p53 is disabled in immature blood-cell "precursors" in which a mutation in a gene called Kras is also present, a built-in braking mechanism fails to engage and the cells proliferate out of control.

Mutations in p53, the gene that encodes the p53 "master tumor-suppressor" protein, had previously been linked to drug resistance and adverse outcome in AML. The mechanism, however, was a matter of conjecture previous to the new results, which are reported in the July 1 issue of Genes & Development

"Our team has shown how mutations in Kras and p53 act to reinforce one another to change the character of blood precursor cells, transforming them into cells that can renew themselves and thus proliferate indefinitely, somewhat as cancer stem cells are theorized to do," says Lowe.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 2, 2010, 7:18 AM CT

Brain atrophy responsible for depression in MS

Brain atrophy responsible for depression in MS
Adding to all that ails people managing their multiple sclerosis is depression ― for which MS sufferers have a lifetime risk as high as 50 percent.

Yet despite its prevalence, the cause of this depression is not understood. It's not correlation to how severe one's MS is, and it can occur at any stage of the disease. That suggests it is not simply a psychological reaction that comes from dealing with the burden of a serious neurologic disorder.

Now, in the first such study in living humans, scientists at UCLA suggest a cause, and it's not psychological, but physical: atrophy of a specific region of the hippocampus, a critical part of the brain involved in mood and memory, among other functions.

Reporting in the early online edition of the journal Biological Psychiatry, senior study author Dr. Nancy Sicotte, a UCLA associate professor of neurology, Stefan Gold, main author and a postdoctoral fellow in the UCLA Multiple Sclerosis Program, and his colleagues used high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging to identify three key sub-regions of the hippocampus that were found to be smaller in people with MS when compared with the brains of healthy individuals.

The scientists also found a relationship between this atrophy and hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a complex set of interactions among three glands. The HPA axis is part of the neuroendocrine system that controls reactions to stress and regulates a number of physiological processes. It's thought that this dysregulation may play a role in the atrophy of the hippocampus and the development of depression.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 2, 2010, 7:17 AM CT

Increasing Fertility Threefold

Increasing Fertility Threefold
As per the American Pregnancy Association, six million women a year deal with infertility. Now, a Tel Aviv University study is giving new hope to women who want to conceive - in the form of a pill they can find on their drugstore shelves right now.

Prof. Adrian Shulman of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Meir Medical Center has found a statistical correlation between the over-the-counter vitamin supplement DHEA, used to counter the effects of aging, and successful pregnancy rates in women undergoing therapy for infertility.

In the first controlled study on the effects of the supplement, Prof. Shulman observed that women being treated for infertility who also received supplements of DHEA were three times more likely to conceive than women being treated without the additional drug. The results were recently published in AYALA, the journal of the Israeli Fertility Association.

A natural supplement to fertility therapys

After hearing anecdotal evidence from his patients and the medical community on the benefits of combining fertility therapys with DHEA, a supplement marketed as an anti-aging drug around the world, Prof. Shulman decided to put this old wives' tale to the statistical test.

He and his fellow scientists conducted a study in which a control group of women received therapy for poor ovulation, and another group received the same therapy with the addition of the DHEA supplement. The latter group took 75mg of the supplement daily for 40 days before starting fertility therapys, and continued for up to five months.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


July 1, 2010, 7:07 AM CT

A good night's sleep will help you remember

A good night's sleep will help you remember
Sleep enhances our ability to remember to do something in the future.
When it comes to executing items on tomorrow's to-do list, it's best to think it over, then "sleep on it," say psychology experts at Washington University in St. Louis.

People who sleep after processing and storing a memory carry out their intentions much better than people who try to execute their plan before getting to sleep. The scientists have shown that sleep enhances our ability to remember to do something in the future, a skill known as prospective memory.

Moreover, scientists studying the relationship between memory and sleep say that our ability to carry out our intentions is not so much a function of how firmly that intention has been embedded in our memories. Rather, the trigger that helps carry out our intentions is commonly a place, situation or circumstance - some context encountered the next day - that sparks the recall of an intended action.

These are the key findings from a study published online this month in Psychological Science of the relationship between memory and sleep. Scientists Michael Scullin, doctoral candidate in psychology, and his adviser, Mark McDaniel, PhD, professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences, are focusing on "prospective memory" - things we intend to do - as opposed to "retrospective memory" - things that have happened in the past.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 1, 2010, 6:59 AM CT

Can money buy happiness?

Can money buy happiness?
A worldwide survey of more than 136,000 people in 132 countries included questions about happiness and income, and the results reveal that while life satisfaction commonly rises with income, positive feelings don't necessarily follow, scientists report.

The findings, from an analysis of data gathered in the first Gallup World Poll, appear this month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

"The public always wonders: Does money make you happy?" said University of Illinois professor emeritus of psychology Ed Diener, a senior scientist with the Gallup Organization. "This study shows that it all depends on how you define happiness, because if you look at life satisfaction, how you evaluate your life as a whole, you see a pretty strong correlation around the world between income and happiness," he said. "Conversely it's pretty shocking how small the correlation is with positive feelings and enjoying yourself."

The Gallup World Poll conducted surveys on a wide range of subjects in a representative sample of people from 132 countries from 2005 to 2006. The poll used telephone surveys in more affluent areas, and door-to-door interviews in rural or less-developed regions.

The countries surveyed represent about 96 percent of the world's population, the scientists report, and reflect the diversity of cultural, economic and political realities around the globe.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 30, 2010, 7:17 AM CT

Risks and benefits of alcohol consumption

Risks and benefits of alcohol consumption
A discussion by renowned epidemiologist Kenneth Mukamal has recently been reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA It provides a discussion in response to a theoretical question, - if you are a 42 year old male, should you drink alcohol ( in moderation) for your health? .

The paper provides an excellent discussion of a theoretical question about drinking and health. It focuses on the potential risks and benefits linked to moderate drinking for a middle-aged male patient. ' Most members of the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research (ISFAR) were pleased with the discussion of the topic. It was noted how uncommon it is that such knowledgeable, detailed, and mostly objective data appear in the mainstream medical literature. It was believed to be readable, informative and thoughtful.'.

The reason the patient questioned his moderate use of alcohol was based on an encounter with a "specialist" who advised him to consider stopping drinking because alcohol could "accelerate brain shrinkage." While "brain shrinkage" is a radiological term with little known relation with clinical outcomes, most studies suggest less decline in cognitive functioning over time, and lower risk of dementia, among moderate drinkers in comparison with non-drinkers. Such findings are supported by much data from basic science experiments. This illustrates the danger of incomplete information ("a little knowledge") by a member of the medical profession. Mr. Q seems to be very careful (perhaps even a little too careful) in following a healthy lifestyle, including consuming small amounts of alcohol in a reasonable pattern. The ISFAR critique points out many topics that were covered incompletely in the paper, including inadequate information on the importance of the pattern of drinking: moderate regular consumption versus binge drinking. Overall, it was believed that the paper provided important information for physicians who appears to be discussing alcohol consumption with their patients.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 30, 2010, 7:08 AM CT

Turning Back the Cellular Clock

Turning Back the Cellular Clock
method for tracking adult stem cells as they regress
Cell reprogramming calls The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to mind.

It's a new technology that uses molecular treatment to coax adult cells to revert to an embryonic stem cell-like state, allowing researchers to later re-differentiate these cells into specific types with the potential to treat heart attacks or diseases such as Parkinson's. But at this point in the technology's development, only one percent of cells are successfully being reprogrammed.

Now, for the first time, researchers at Tel Aviv University in collaboration with scientists at Harvard University have succeeded in tracking the progression of these cells through live imaging to learn more about how they are reprogrammed, and how the new cells evolve over time.

Dr. Iftach Nachman of TAU's Department of Biochemistry says that this represents a huge stride forward. It will not only allow scientists to develop techniques and choose the right cells for replacement treatment, increasing the efficiency of cell reprogramming, but will give invaluable insight into how these cells will eventually react in the human body. Results from the research project were recently reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Looking at your cell's family tree

Dr. Nachman and his fellow scientists used flourescent markers to develop their live imaging approach. During the reprogramming process, the team was able to visually track whole lineages of a cell population from their single-cell point of origin.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


June 30, 2010, 6:37 AM CT

New non-surgical treatment for uterine fibroids

New non-surgical treatment for uterine fibroids
Rome, Italy: A new, effective, non-surgical therapy for uterine fibroids can help women with this condition maintain their fertility, an American scientist told the 26th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Rome today (Wednesday). Dr. Alicia Armstrong, Chief, Gynecologic Services, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Programme in Reproductive and Adult Endocrinology, Bethesda, Maryland, said that the outcome of two Phase II clinical trials of ulipristal acetate (UPA) had significant implications for both infertility and general gynaecology patients.

UPA belongs to a relatively new class of drug, the selective progesterone receptor modulators or SPRMs. It is currently used for emergency contraception, and acts by blocking the progesterone receptor and hence ovulation (release of the egg). Recent research has shown that progesterone also plays a role in the development of uterine fibroids, which affect 24 million women in Europe and can lead to a range of symptoms such as abdominal pain and discomfort and heavy and irregular menstrual bleeding. Fibroids are the major indication for hysterectomy in Europe and the US, and they also contribute to infertility by interfering with the ability of the embryo to implant in the womb and causing miscarriage.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


June 30, 2010, 6:36 AM CT

Does in vitro maturation causes large babies?

Does in vitro maturation causes large babies?
Rome, Italy: A review of studies of babies born after in vitro maturation (IVM) fertility therapy has suggested that they are more likely to be born larger than normal and to have more difficult births requiring more obstetric interventions such as caesareans.

Authors of the literature review to be presented to the 26th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Rome today (Wednesday) think that this appears to be a problem linked to the IVM process in which immature eggs are retrieved from a woman's ovaries and matured in the lab before being fertilised and any resulting embryos transferred to the woman's uterus. They have urged caution in the use of IVM until further studies can clarify their findings.

Dr Peter Sjblom, unit manager of Nurture, the Nottingham University IVF clinic at Queen's Medical Centre (Nottingham, UK), said: "We looked at four different data sets from four different countries and, eventhough the numbers were small and differences modest, we saw a consistent pattern that cannot be ignored. We strongly think that these findings must be explored further."

Dr Sjblom and colleagues analysed data from studies of babies born after IVM, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in Denmark, Finland, Canada and Korea. They observed that the birth weight of the 165 babies born after IVM was between 0.3% and 6% higher than the national average for singleton births and 6%-9% higher than babies conceived after IVF and/or ICSI. Caesarean rates were consistently higher after IVM as well: for singleton IVM births they were 30-60% versus 27-44% for IVF/ICSI births. IVM pregnancies had high miscarriage rates (25-37%) and the average period of gestation was 3-11 days longer than for IVF/ICSI. Eventhough there were no firm data on other obstetric interventions, the authors thought it was probable that there was also a higher number of procedures such as inductions, vacuum extractions and forceps deliveries in comparison to IVF/ICSI births and births after natural conception.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


June 29, 2010, 7:25 AM CT

A Pacemaker for Your Brain

A Pacemaker for Your Brain
By stimulating certain areas of the brain, researchers can alleviate the effects of disorders such as depression or Parkinson's disease. That's the good news. But because controlling that stimulation currently lacks precision, over-stimulation is a serious concern - losing some of its therapeutic benefits for the patient over time.

Now a Tel Aviv University team, part of a European consortium, is delving deep into human behavior, neurophysiology and engineering to create a chip that can help doctors wire computer applications and sensors to the brain. The chip will provide deep brain stimulation precisely where and when it's needed.

Prof. Matti Mintz of Tel Aviv University's Psychobiology Research Unit in its Department of Psychology is focusing on the behavioral-physiological aspects of the research. He and the rest of the international research team are working toward a chip that could help treat some diseases of the mind in just a few years. The platform, says Prof. Mintz, is flexible enough to provide a basis for a variety of clinical experiments, and tools which can be programmed for specific disorders. For example, the chip could restore lost functions of the brain after a traumatic brain injury from a car accident or stroke.

Reversing strokes, depression and aging........

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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