April 7, 2011, 8:38 AM CT
For Breast Cancer Patients Fatigue is Real
The persistent fatigue that plagues one out of every three breast cancer survivors appears to be caused by one part of the autonomic nervous system running in overdrive, while the other part fails to slow it down.
That imbalance of a natural system in the body appears associated with the tiredness and exhaustion that can burden cancer patients as much as a decade after their successful therapy.
The effect is so great, scientists say, that it appears to be a sign of accelerated aging in fatigued patients, causing them to seem as much as 20 years older compared with patients who aren't fatigued.
Those new research findings, just published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, are the latest from a three-decade-long study of the impact that stress can have on the human body.
Christopher Fagundes, a postdoctoral fellow at Ohio State University's Institute of Behavioral Medicine Research (IBMR), and Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychiatry and psychology and a member of the IBMR, drew early data from a larger ongoing study testing whether yoga can combat continuing fatigue in patients with breast cancer.
They were looking for a new biomarker, a signal that could point to the initial cause of this fatigue. Their target was the autonomic nervous system, that part of the body that controls unconscious activities like breathing, heartbeat, digestion and such, which earlier research had indicated might play a role.........
Posted by: Janet Read more Source
April 4, 2011, 7:07 AM CT
Nurturing newborn neurons
More newborn neurons (light green blotches near orange areas) are visible in part of the hippocampus of an adult mouse in which neurogenesis was genetically enhanced (right) than in a control mouse (left) .
Credit: Amar Sahay, Ph.D., Columbia University
Adult mice engineered to have more newborn neurons in their brain memory hub excelled at accurately discriminating between similar experiences � an ability that declines with normal aging and in some anxiety disorders. Boosting such neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus also produced antidepressant-like effects when combined with exercise, in the study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Researchers, for the first time, pinpointed the effects of enhanced adult neurogenesis by creating mice lacking a gene mandatory for programmed cell death of newborn neurons in the adult hippocampus.
"These mice with more young neurons were better at recognizing patterns � tasks that become more challenging as we age," explained Rene Hen Ph.D., of Columbia University in New York City. "A deficit in this ability can also contribute to anxiety, as over-generalization sometimes leads to mistaking ambiguous cues as threatening. Our study demonstrates that the stimulation of adult neurogenesis is sufficient to improve such pattern recognition behavior, but, while necessary, not sufficient to lift depression-like behavior."
Hen and Amar Sahay, Ph.D., grantees of the NIH's National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and his colleagues, report on their discovery online April 3, 2011, in the journal Nature
Posted by: Daniel Read more Source
April 4, 2011, 7:05 AM CT
4 new genes identified for Alzheimer's
Mount Sinai School of Medicine scientists are part of a consortium that has identified four new genes that when present increase the risk of a person developing Alzheimer's disease during the later part of life. The findings are reported in the current issue of Nature Genetics.
The consortium also contributed to the identification of a fifth gene reported by other groups of researchers from the United States and Europe.
"Mount Sinai has unique resources that we contributed to the study, having one of the largest brain banks for Alzheimer samples in the world," said lead Mount Sinai scientist, Joseph Buxbaum, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, Neuroscience, and Genetics and Genomic Sciences at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "Follow up studies of the genes identified, to determine how they affect brain biochemistry, are now possible in our samples, and this can help us understand how the genes contribute to Alzheimer's disease".
The study, conducted by the Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium, consisting of researchers from 44 universities and research institutions in the United States, and led by Gerard D. Schellenberg, PhD, at Penn, with primary analysis sites at Miami, led by Margaret A. Pericak-Vance, PhD, and Boston, led by Lindsay A. Farrer, PhD,.........
Posted by: Daniel Read more Source
April 4, 2011, 7:02 AM CT
Utilization of virtual colonoscopy triples
Medicare coverage and nationwide utilization of computed tomographic colonography (CTC), usually referred to as virtual colonoscopy, has tripled in recent years, as per a research studyin the recent issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology
(www.jacr.org). CTC employs virtual reality technology to produce a three-dimensional visualization that permits a thorough and minimally invasive assessment of the entire colon and rectum. CT colonography is an alternative to conventional optical colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening and diagnosis.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. Yet, only 50 percent of the eligible population participates in colorectal cancer screening programs. Since most colon cancers develop from polyps, and screening to find and remove these polyps can prevent colon cancer, an opportunity exists to save lives with early detection. CTC, which is an American Cancer Society recommended screening exam, can attract more people to be screened and save more lives through early detection of disease.
"Several well-designed multicenter trials now corroborate the results of an earlier landmark trial demonstrating equivalent performance of conventional optical colonoscopy and CTC in screening for cancer and premalignant polyps. The rapid expansion of the use of diagnostic CTC, even in the absence of Medicare coverage for screening CTC, speaks volumes to the need of an alternative exam for those who choose not to undergo colonoscopy. As more insurers provide coverage for CTC, access to CTC is likely to expand," said Richard Duszak Jr., MD, main author of the study.........
Posted by: Sue Read more Source
April 3, 2011, 9:49 AM CT
Target for lung cancer chemoprevention
Researchers have identified a biomarker for measuring the success of lung cancer chemoprevention, an emerging frontier in the fight against this disease that has long been stymied by a lack of measureable outcomes. These study results were presented at the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011, held April 2-6.
Paul Bunn, M.D., executive director of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer and the James Dudley endowed professor of lung cancer research at the University of Colorado Cancer Center at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said measurements of endobronchial dysplasia, abnormal cell development that can lead to lung cancer, could predict how well a chemoprevention agent is working.
Bunn presented updated results of a study that tested the effect of oral iloprost on the improvement on endobronchial dysplasia in 152 former smokers. As smoking cessation messages take hold and quit rates increase, former smokers are still at greater risk for lung cancer than the general population.
"We told people to quit smoking and they did, but half of our lung cancer cases in the United States are coming from people who are former smokers," he said. "We need to work on ways to repair their lungs through chemoprevention".
Bunn analyzed the effect of iloprost among those who had endobronchial dysplasia at enrollment, and found a significant difference in prevalence of endobronchial dysplasia. Moreover, when they analyzed the effect of iloprost on Ki-67, a measure of cell proliferation, the difference was not significant.........
Posted by: Scott Read more Source
April 3, 2011, 9:47 AM CT
DNA of 50 breast cancer patients decoded
In the single largest cancer genomics investigation reported to date, researchers have sequenced the whole genomes of tumors from 50 patients with breast cancer and compared them to the matched DNA of the same patients' healthy cells. This comparison allowed scientists to find mutations that only occurred in the cancer cells.
They uncovered incredible complexity in the cancer genomes, but also got a glimpse of new routes toward personalized medicine. The work was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 102nd Annual Meeting 2011.
In all, the tumors had more than 1,700 mutations, most of which were unique to the individual, says Matthew J. Ellis, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and a lead investigator on the project.
"Cancer genomes are extraordinarily complicated," Ellis says. "This explains our difficulty in predicting outcomes and finding new therapys".
To undertake the massive task, Washington University oncologists and pathologists at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine collaborated with the university's Genome Institute to sequence more than 10 trillion chemical bases of DNA � repeating the sequencing of each patient's tumor and healthy DNA about 30 times to ensure accurate data.........
Posted by: Janet Read more Source
April 3, 2011, 9:41 AM CT
Mum's the word
As part of the study, which will follow 40,000 UK households over many years, young people aged between 10 to 15 years have been asked how satisfied they are with their lives. The findings indicate that a mother's happiness in her partnership is more important to the child than the father's. The findings are based on a sample of 6,441 women, 5,384 men and 1,268 young people.
Overall, 60 per cent of young people say they are 'completely satisfied' with their family situation but in families where the child's mother is unhappy in her partnership, only 55 per cent of young people say they are 'completely happy' with their family situation � compared with 73 per cent of young people whose mothers are 'perfectly happy' in their relationships.
The Understanding Society research examined the relationships between married or cohabiting partners, and relationships between parents and their children. Professor John Ermisch, Dr Maria Iacovou, and Dr Alexandra Skew from the Institute for Social and Economic Research observed that the happiest children are those living with two parents � either biological or step � with no younger siblings, who do not quarrel with their parents regularly, who eat at least three evening meals per week with their family and whose mother is happy in her own relationship.........
Posted by: JoAnn Read more Source
April 3, 2011, 9:35 AM CT
Quadruple therapy shows 100 percent SVR for HCV patients
Exciting new data presented today at the International Liver CongressTM 2011 show that quadruple treatment in chronic hepatitis C (HCV) patients suppressed the emergence of resistant variants and resulted in a 100% rate of sustained virological response - undetectable HCV RNA - 12 weeks after therapy (SVR12).1.
In the quadruple treatment study, HCV patients were given four drugs in combination; pegylated Interferon-alpha (PegIFN-alpha); ribavirin (RBV); and two different direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) BMS-650032 (an HCV NS3 protease inhibitor) and BMS-790052 (an HCV NS5A replication complex inhibitor).
The current standard of care (SoC) for HCV treatment is PegIFN-alpha plus RBV � a dual treatment. The addition of DAAs (currently in phase-III clinical trials) marks the next step in therapy evolution � a triple treatment. However, the new data presented today suggests that quadruple treatment could be the next generation of therapy for chronic HCV patients.
Professor Heiner Wedemeyer, EASL'S Secretary General, said: "Quadruple treatment is possibly the future of HCV therapy; this study goes a way to confirming that. While it's expected that the first DAAs and triple treatment will be approved for use later this year, quadruple treatment appears to have a more profound effect on virological response, with less of a resistance problem".........
Posted by: Mark Read more Source
April 3, 2011, 9:32 AM CT
Genetic variation cuts bladder cancer risk
A common genetic variation links to both bladder cancer risk and to the length of protective caps found on the ends of chromosomes, researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reported today at the AACR 102nd Annual Meeting.
These endings or tips, called telomeres, guard against chromosomal damage and genomic instability that can lead to cancer and other diseases.
"We found a single point of variation in the genome strongly linked to a 19 percent decrease in bladder cancer risk. The same variant also is associated with longer telomeres, which accounts for part of the overall reduction in risk," said first author Jian Gu, Ph.D., assistant professor in MD Anderson's Department of Epidemiology.
Telomere length diminishes with age, Gu said, and short telomeres are linked to age-related diseases such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Prior studies separately tied telomere length either to cancer risk or to genetic variation. The paper by Gu and his colleagues is the first to make both connections.
"Understanding the complex genetic regulation of telomere length and its relation to the causes of bladder and other types of cancer will help develop therapies or changes in lifestyle to reduce cancer risk," said senior author Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of MD Anderson's Department of Epidemiology.........
Posted by: Mark Read more Source
April 3, 2011, 9:31 AM CT
Antidepressants linked to thicker arteries
Antidepressant use has been associated with thicker arteries, possibly contributing to the risk of heart disease and stroke, in a study of twin veterans. The data is being presented Tuesday, April 5 at the American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans.
Depression can heighten the risk for heart disease, but the effect of antidepressant use revealed by the study is separate and independent from depression itself, says first author Amit Shah, MD, a cardiology fellow at Emory University School of Medicine. The data suggest that antidepressants may combine with depression for a negative effect on blood vessels, he says. Shah is a researcher working with Viola Vaccarino, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Epidemiology at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health.
The study included 513 middle-aged male twins who both served in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. Twins are genetically the same but appears to be different when it comes to other risk factors such as diet, smoking and exercise, so studying them is a good way to distill out the effects of genetics, Shah says.
Scientists measured carotid intima-media thickness � the thickness of the lining of the main arteries in the neck -- by ultrasound. Among the 59 pairs of twins where only one brother took antidepressants, the one taking the drugs tended to have higher carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), even when standard heart disease risk factors were taken into account. The effect was seen both in twins with or without a prior heart attack or stroke. A higher level of depressive symptoms was linked to higher IMT only in those taking antidepressants.........
Posted by: JoAnn Read more Source