February 23, 2009, 10:08 PM CT
Drug could help drinkers stay sober
A drug prescribed for male and female infertility and menstrual disorders could hold the key to a more effective therapy for alcoholism, as per a research studyby scientists at the UCSF-affiliated Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center.
The study showed that "alcoholic" rodents, when injected with the drug cabergoline, decreased their alcohol consumption and alcohol-seeking behavior and were less likely to relapse.
Cabergoline, which is marketed under the trade name Dostinex, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration in pill form to treat conditions caused by excess of the hormone prolactin.
The study, led by Dorit Ron, PhD, a principal investigator at the Gallo Center and associate professor of neurology at UCSF, is now on line (February 20, 2009), in the journal "Biological Psychiatry." (See end of news release for link to paper.).
Notably, cabergoline did not impact the rats' consumption of sucrose and, in a subgroup of binge-drinking mice, the drug did not appear to significantly affect intake of water or saccharin.
"This is encouraging," says Ron, "because it demonstrates that cabergoline is specific for alcohol, but does not affect general reward or pleasure. One of the problems with some existing drugs to treat alcoholism is a side effect that decreases pleasure, making compliance an obstacle to sobriety".........
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February 23, 2009, 10:05 PM CT
Who has greater risk after a mini-stroke?
That first "mini-stroke" appears to be more of a non-malignant event for women than men, as per scientists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and Yale University. The findings underscore the need to continue researching gender differences in disease prevention and follow-up care.
Data show 30 days after a transient ischemic attack (TIA), women are 30 percent less likely to have a stroke, 14 percent less likely to have heart-related problems and 26 percent less likely to die than men of the same age, the scientists said. TIAs are called mini-strokes because they produce stroke-like symptoms but rarely cause lasting damage.
The study appears online in the journal Stroke and was presented at the American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference in San Diego.
"We know that a number of TIA patients show up at medical centers with heart problems within a month of the first event, and even more show up within a year," said Virginia Howard, Ph.D., an associate professor in the UAB School of Public Health and a co-author of study. "Now we're seeing that warning signal may mean differing things for different people depending on gender, age and a number of other factors".FARE BETTER LONGER
Besides the post-30-day period, the study authors analyzed the one-year-period after TIA and found women were 15 percent less likely to have a stroke, 19 percent less likely to have a cardiac event and 22 percent less likely to die than men.........
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February 23, 2009, 10:03 PM CT
Enzymatic Activity and Alzheimer's Disease
(Mainz, Gera number of, 23 February 2009) In a project involving the collaboration of several institutes, research researchers of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz have succeeded in gaining further insight in the functioning of endogenous mechanisms that protect against the development of Alzheimer's disease. It was observed that the activity of the enzyme α-secretase is mainly responsible for the protective effect.
"In the past, we postulated that the enzyme α-secretase was involved in preventing the formation of cerebral plaques characteristic of Alzheimer's disease and also enhanced cerebral functions, such as learning and memory," explained Professor Falk Fahrenholz of the Institute of Biochemistry. His research group has been working in cooperation with the Clinic of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the university's Faculty of Medicine and the Central Animal Laboratory Facility (ZVTE) to discover the mechanism for the beneficial effects of α-secretase. The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease
(JAD) presents the results of this project in its February 2009 issue.
α-secretase is an endogenous enzyme that is present in the nerve cells of the brain, where it is responsible for the cleavage of an Aβ into Aβ domain. The result is a soluble protein fragment that promotes the growth of nerve cells and thus prevents the development of cerebral deterioration caused by Aβ. However, if the enzyme β-secretase is active, a chain reaction is initiated that subsequently results in the development Aβ initializing the cascade of Alzheimer's disease through formation of Aβ. "You could say that α-secretase is the good enzyme, and β-secretase the bad en-zyme," Fahrenholz commented. "We now want to find out how to activate this 'good' enzyme or increase its concentrations in the brain as a way of combating this disease".........
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February 23, 2009, 10:00 PM CT
Breakthrough in HPV research
Scientists have developed a new, inexpensive and efficient method for producing and studying a type of human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer. The process could speed understanding of how the virus functions and causes diseases, and lead to new prevention or therapy options.
In findings reported on-line and in print in January in Genes & Development,
the UAB team detailed a process for producing HPV-18 in the laboratory. Previously, the virus had proven resistant to propagation in a lab setting, making it extremely difficult for researchers to study the virus and its effects on the host cells that it infects.
"The old method for propagating papillomaviruses in the lab for study was compromised by several factors," said Louise Chow, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at UAB and a co-author of study. "We could only look at the viral DNA gene by individual gene, which gave us little insight into how the entire virus coordinated its replication program or how it interacted with the host cells and tissues that had been infected".
The new method, which Chow and co-author of study Thomas Broker, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, have been developing for over 20 years, for the first time allows scientists to reproduce the entire infection cycle of HPV-18 in primary human skin cells, called keratinocytes. The breakthrough is the result of several years of intensive and creative efforts by graduate students Hsu-Kun (Wayne) Wang and Aaron Duffy, coauthors of the publication. Researchers now can observe how the virus behaves in the same cells it would infect in a human body.........
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February 20, 2009, 6:24 AM CT
Number of fast-food restaurants and stroke risk
The risk of stroke increases with the number of fast-food restaurants in a neighborhood, as per research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2009.
After statistically controlling for demographic and socioeconomic factors, scientists found: Residents of neighborhoods with the highest number of fast-food restaurants had a 13 percent higher relative risk of suffering ischemic strokes than those living in areas with the lowest numbers of restaurants. The relative risk of stroke increased 1 percent for each fast-food restaurant in a neighborhood.
However, the scientists said the discovery of increased risk only demonstrates an association, it does not prove that fast-food restaurants raise stroke risk.
"The data show a true association," said Lewis B. Morgenstern, M.D., main author of the study and director of the University of Michigan's stroke program and professor of neurology and epidemiology in Ann Arbor. "What we don't know is whether fast food actually increased the risk because of its contents, or whether fast-food restaurants are a marker of unhealthy neighborhoods".
Neighborhoods with large numbers of the restaurants are prime areas for stroke prevention programs, Morgenstern said. "We need to consider targeting communities that have a lot of fast-food restaurants as places where we can improve health".........
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February 20, 2009, 6:22 AM CT
Breast feeding may reduce multiple sclerosis relapses
Women who have multiple sclerosis may reduce their risk of relapses after pregnancy if they breastfeed their babies, as per a research studyreleased recently that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 61st Annual Meeting in Seattle, April 25 to May 2, 2009.
For the study, scientists followed 32 pregnant women with MS and 29 pregnant women without MS during each trimester and up to a year after they gave birth. The women were interviewed about their breastfeeding and menstrual period history.
A total of 52 percent of the women with MS did not breastfeed or began supplemental formula feedings within two months of giving birth. Of those, 87 percent had a relapse after pregnancy in comparison to 36 percent of women with MS who breastfed exclusively for at least two months after pregnancy.
Sixty percent of the women reported their main reason for not breastfeeding exclusively was to start taking MS therapys again. Women who began taking MS therapys within the first two months after giving birth had significantly higher risk of suffering a relapse than women with MS who did not start taking medications early, regardless of whether they breastfed. Those who breastfed exclusively got their menstrual periods back later than the women who did not breastfeed or began early supplemental feedings.........
Posted by: Janet Read more Source
February 20, 2009, 6:18 AM CT
Bacteria with burglar's tools
Differences in the way they use their genes cause different strains of the E. coli bacterium to take on different hues. The beaker in the foreground contains strains of bacteria linked to urinary tract infections, while the background beaker holds more benign strains of bacteria isolated from the gut. Scientists are hoping to develop drugs that specifically target infection-causing strains of bacteria like those in the foreground beaker.
Credit: Michael Purdy/Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
Bacteria that cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) make more tools for stealing from their host than friendly versions of the same bacteria found in the gut, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Washington have found.
The tools, compounds called siderophores, allow the bad bacteria to steal iron from their hosts, making it easier for the bacteria to survive and reproduce. But they also provide a potential way to target the bad strains of bacteria for eradication without adversely affecting the good strains, scientists report as per a research findings published online Feb. 20 by PLoS Pathogens
"When we treat an infection with antibiotics, it's like dropping a bombnearly everything gets wiped out, regardless of whether it's helpful or harmful," says main author Jeff Henderson, M.D., Ph.D., a Washington University infectious disease specialist who treats patients with UTIs at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. "We'd like to find ways to target the bad bacteria and leave the good bacteria alone, and these siderophores are a great lead in that direction".
UTIs are one of the most common infections, causing around $1.6 billion in medical expenses every year in the United States. Half of all women will experience a UTI at some point in their lives, and recurrent UTIs affect 20 to 40 percent of these patients. Researchers believe 90 percent of all UTIs are caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli
Posted by: Mark Read more Source
February 20, 2009, 6:15 AM CT
Molecular target esophageal cancer
The cadherin superfamily has a correlate relationship with the invasion and metastasis of carcinoma. It has been suggested that, unlike E-cadherin, N-cadherin may promote motility and invasion in carcinoma cells. To explore clinical pathological significance of E-cadherin and N-cadherin expressions in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), a research team led by Prof. Qing-Xia Fan from China detected the expression of E-cadherin and N-cadherin in 62 cases of normal esophageal epithelium, 31 cases of adjacent atypical hyperplasia epithelium and 62 cases of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.Their study will be published on February 14, 2009 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology
They observed that the positive rates of N-cadherin decreased in the carcinoma, adjacent atypical hyperplastic and normal esophageal tissues (75.8%, 61.3% and 29.0%, P < 0.05), respectively, while those of E-cadherin increased (40.3%, 71.0% and 95.2%, P < 0.05). The increased expression of N-cadherin and decreased expression of E-cadherin were correlation to invasion, differentiation, and lymph node metastasis (P < 0.05). The expression level of N-cadherin decreased in the N-cadherin knocked down cells, and the invasiveness of those cells decreased significantly as well. The number of cells which crossed the basement membrane filter decreased from 123.40 8.23 to 49.60 6.80 (P < 0.05).........
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February 20, 2009, 6:13 AM CT
What to do with those aspirin induced stomach ulcer?
The occurence rate of low-dose aspirin-induced peptic ulcer seems to be increasing in Japan in conjunction with the increasing proportion of elderly individuals, in whom metabolic syndrome frequently develops. However, a therapeutic and prevention strategy for such peptic ulcers has still not been established.
A research team led by Dr. Satoshi Mochida from Japan addressed this question. Their study will be published on February 14, 2009 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology
In their study, Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy waccording toformed in 68 patients receiving daily low-dose aspirin (81 or 100 mg/day). The endoscopic findings were classified as per the Lanza score, and the scores were compared between groups categorized as per the concomitant use of anti-ulcer drugs and the types of drugs used. In another study, 31 hemorrhagic peptic ulcer patients who had been receiving low-dose aspirin were enrolled. The patients were randomly classified into the proton pump inhibitor (PPI)-treated group and the H2 receptor antagonist (H2RA)-treated group. The administration of low-dose aspirin was continued concomitantly, and endoscopic examinations were performed 8 wk later.
They observed that the Lanza scores (mean SD) of the gastro-mucosal lesions were 1.0 1.9 and 1.9 2.3 in 8 and 16 patients receiving prevention treatment with a PPI and an H2RA, respectively. Both scores were significantly smaller than the scores in 34 patients who were not receiving prevention treatment (4.7 1.0) and in 10 patients receiving cytoprotective anti-ulcer drugs (4.3 1.6). In the prospective study, 18 and 13 patients received a PPI and an H2RA, respectively. Endoscopic examinations revealed that the tissue in the region of the gastro-mucosal lesions had reverted to normal in all patients in the PPI-treated group and in 12 patients (92%) in the H2RA-treated group; no significant differences were observed between the groups.........
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February 20, 2009, 6:10 AM CT
Alleviating your child's fears of dental visit
For a number of children, a trip to the doctor or dentist is a stressful experience. The sensory environment (i.e., the sounds, smells, and lights linked to the clinical setting) can cause a child's anxiety levels to rise. This is particularly true in children with developmental disabilities who may have difficulty understanding the unfamiliar clinical environment. A newly released study soon to be published in The Journal of Pediatrics
explores the relationship between the sensory environment and anxiety levels in children.
Dr. Michele Shapiro of the Issie Shapiro Educational Center and his colleagues from Hebrew University in Israel studied the effects of the sensory environment on a child's anxiety levels during two separate routine cleaning visits to the dentist. The scientists observed 35 children between the ages of 6-11 years, 16 of whom were developmentally disabled. They measured the anxiety levels of the children during each visit using a behavior checklist and monitored each child's electro-dermal activity, an objective measure of arousal.
The first trip included the typical sensory experiences of a dental office, including fluorescent lighting and the use of an overhead dental lamp. During the second trip, however, the scientists created a sensory adapted environment that modified the experience of the children. No overhead lighting was used, a slow moving repetitive color lamp was added, and the dental hygienist wore a special LED headlamp that directed the light into the child's mouth. The children listened to soothing music and were wrapped in a heavy vest that created a "hugging" effect. The dental chair itself was also modified to produce a vibration.........
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