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October 6, 2010, 7:43 AM CT

Low Testosterone Linked to Alzheimer's

Low Testosterone Linked to Alzheimer's
John Morley, M.D
Low levels of the male sex hormone, testosterone, in older men is linked to the onset of Alzheimer's disease, as per research by a team that includes a Saint Louis University scientist.

"Having low testosterone may make you more vulnerable to Alzheimer's disease," said John E. Morley, M.D., director of the division of geriatric medicine at Saint Louis University and a study co-investigator. "The take-home message is we should pay more attention to low testosterone, especially in people who have memory problems or other signs of cognitive impairment".

The study was published electronically previous to its print publication in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and led by Leung-Wing Chu, M.D., who is chief of the division of geriatric medicine at Queen Mary Hospital at the University of Hong Kong.

Scientists studied 153 Chinese men who were recruited from social centers. They were at least 55 years and older, lived in the community and didn't have dementia. Of those men, 47 had mild cognitive impairment - or problems with clear thinking and memory loss.

Within a year, 10 men who all were part of the cognitively impaired group developed probable Alzheimer's disease. These men also had low testosterone in their body tissues; elevated levels of the ApoE 4 (apolipoprotein E) protein, which is correlated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease; and high blood pressure.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 5, 2010, 7:24 AM CT

Depression during pregnancy

Depression during pregnancy
A nurse's fingertips gently touch the foot of a preterm infant in newborn intensive care. Clinical depression during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth.

Credit: Clare McLean/UW Medicine

Usage Restrictions: For use by news media and education institutions only.

Clinical depression puts pregnant women at increased risk of delivering prematurely and of giving birth to below-normal weight infants, as per a report published Oct. 4 in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Being born too soon and weighing too little at birth can jeopardize the immediate survival and long-term health of babies. Preterm birth and low birth weight are leading causes worldwide of infant and early childhood mortality, respiratory distress, neurological and developmental impairment, cerebral palsy, blindness, hearing loss and other disabilities.

Depression is common during pregnancy as well as at other times in a woman's life. Between 9 to 23 percent of women experience clinical depression while pregnant.

"In the United States, the likelihood of experiencing premature birth is even greater for depressed pregnant women living in poverty than for depressed pregnant women from middle- to high-socioeconomic backgrounds," said the main author of the report, Dr. Nancy Grote, University of Washington (UW)research associate professor of social work. Compounding the situation, she added, "Poor women in America are twice as likely to experience depression, in comparison to other women in this country".

Depressed, pregnant women living in European social democracies fared better than poor pregnant, depressed women in developing nations or in the United States, the Oct. 4 paper reported. European women had lower rates of premature births and low-birth weight infants. Social democracies offer universal health care and tend to have fewer socio-economic disparities in birth outcomes. Living in a developing nation or in poverty in the United States, where adequate prenatal, medical and mental health services appears to be lacking, could add to the harmful effects of depression during pregnancy on birth outcomes, the Oct. 4 paper suggested.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


October 5, 2010, 7:17 AM CT

Sing to cure speech disorder

Sing to cure speech disorder
Nandhu Radhakrishnan, professor of communication science and disorders in the School of Health Professions, is comparing two vocal styles in hopes of finding a treatment for laryngeal tremors, a vocal disorder associated with many neurological disorders.

Credit: University of Missouri

Hindustani singing, a North Indian traditional style of singing, and classical singing, such as the music of Puccini, Mozart and Wagner, vary greatly in technique and sound. Now, speech-language pathology scientists at the University of Missouri are comparing the two styles in hopes of finding a therapy for laryngeal tremors, a vocal disorder linked to a number of neurological disorders that can result in severe communication difficulties.

Sound is developed in the larynx, an organ located in the neck. A laryngeal or vocal tremor occurs when the larynx spasms during speech, creating a breathy voice featuring a constantly shifting pitch. People with Parkinson's disease and other similar disorders often display vocal tremors. Currently, speech-language pathologists are only able to help patients manage tremors. By understanding the physiology behind voluntary and involuntary pitch fluctuation, an MU researcher hopes to find a therapy.

"Hindustani and classical singing styles are very different," said Nandhu Radhakrishnan, professor of communication science and disorders in the School of Health Professions. "In Hindustani singing, performers use 'Taan' to modulate pitch voluntarily, while classical singers use vibrato to vary pitch involuntarily. With this knowledge, we appears to be able to develop a specific treatment to cure laryngeal tremors."........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


October 5, 2010, 7:15 AM CT

MRI to predict cognitive impairment

MRI to predict cognitive impairment
Using advanced MRI and an artificial intelligence technique, scientists in Geneva, Switzerland, have identified a method that may help identify which individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) will continue to decline, as per a research studypublished online and in the recent issue of Radiology.

"We know that about half of all individuals with early-stage mild cognitive impairment will progress to Alzheimer's disease," said lead researcher Sven Haller, M.D, M.Sc., a radiologist at University Hospitals of Geneva. "But not knowing which patients will continue to decline makes it difficult to treat Alzheimer's early in the disease process".

Haller and a team of scientists used two novel techniques to image the brains of 35 control participants (mean age 63.7) and 69 patients with MCI (mean age 65 years), including 38 women and 31 men. Patients were diagnosed with MCI based on a battery of neuropsychological tests, which were repeated on 67 of the patients one year later to determine whether their disease was stable (40 patients) or progressive (27 patients).

Using an advanced technique called susceptibility-weighted MRI, the scientists were able to generate scans with greater detail of the a number of blood vessels in the brain, including the presence of tiny leaks called microhemorrhages or microbleeds.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 5, 2010, 7:13 AM CT

Promise for Type 1 diabetes treatment

Promise for Type 1 diabetes treatment
A research team from the University of British Columbia and the Child & Family Research Institute (CFRI) at BC Children's Hospital has identified the role of a type of T cell in type 1 diabetes that may lead to new therapy options for young patients.

Also known as juvenile diabetes, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease primarily affecting children and young adults. In patients with type 1 diabetes, the body attacks itself by destroying insulin-producing cells in the pancreas that regulate glucose, or blood sugar.

Led by Rusung Tan, a Pathology professor in the UBC Faculty of Medicine and co-head of the Immunity in Health and Disease research cluster at CFRI, the research team has identified the increased presence of Th17 cells, a type of T cell discovered in 2005, in children newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

"T cells are white blood cells and key members of the immune system that control infections," says Tan, who is also a member of the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at BC Children's Hospital and a senior scholar of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. "In healthy individuals, Th17 cells provide a strong defence against bacteria and viruses by guiding the immune system to strongly attack infected targets within our bodies".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 3, 2010, 9:19 PM CT

Computer-aided detection mammography

Computer-aided detection mammography
The use of computer-aided detection (CAD) is increasing, in both screening and diagnostic mammography, as per a research studyin the recent issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology (www.jacr.org). CAD software systems highlight and alert the radiologist of abnormal areas of density, mass or calcification on a digitized mammographic image (of the breast) that may indicate the presence of cancer.

Screening mammography is an X-ray exam of the breast that is used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms. Diagnostic mammography is an X-ray exam of the breast that is performed in order to evaluate a breast complaint of abnormality detected by physical exam or routine screening mammography.

Scientists at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA, evaluated codes for screening and diagnostic mammography (both screen-film and digital) as well as codes for screening and diagnostic CAD from the Medicare Part B Physician/Supplier Procedure Summary Master Files for 2004 2008.

In 2004, a total of 5,728,419 screening mammograms were performed, and CAD was used in 2,257,434 (39 percent) of them. In 2008, a total of 5,827,326 screening mammograms were performed, and CAD was used in 4,305,595 (74 percent) of them. In 2004, a total of 1,835,700 diagnostic mammograms were performed, and CAD was used in 360,483 (20 percent) of them. In 2008, a total of 1,682,026 diagnostic mammograms were performed, and CAD was used in 845,461 (50 percent) of them. "By 2008, CAD was used in about three quarters of all screening exams and half of all diagnostic exams," said Vijay M. Rao, MD, main author of the study.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 1, 2010, 5:45 AM CT

Short and long sleep in early pregnancy

Short and long sleep in early pregnancy
DARIEN, IL A study in the Oct. 1 issue of the journal Sleep observed that getting too little or too much sleep in early pregnancy is linked to elevated blood pressure in the third trimester. The study suggests that improving prenatal sleep hygiene may provide important health benefits.

Results show that the mean systolic blood pressure in the third trimester was 114 mm Hg in women with a normal self-reported nightly sleep duration of nine hours in early pregnancy, 118.05 mm Hg in women who reported sleeping six hours or less per night, and 118.90 mm Hg in women with a nightly sleep duration of 10 hours or more in early pregnancy. After adjustments for potential confounders such as age, race and pre-pregnancy body mass index, mean systolic blood pressure was 3.72 mm Hg higher in short sleepers and 4.21 mm Hg higher in long sleepers. Similar results also were found for diastolic blood pressure.

"Both short and long sleep duration in early pregnancy were linked to increased mean third trimester systolic and diastolic blood pressure values," said principal investigator and main author Dr. Michelle A. Williams, professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health at the University of Washington and co-director of the Center for Perinatal Studies at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Wash.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


October 1, 2010, 5:42 AM CT

Half of advanced lung cancer patients receive chemotherapy

Half of advanced lung cancer patients receive chemotherapy
For the first time to date, research reported in the October edition of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology (JTO) sought to determine the use of chemotherapy in a contemporary, diverse non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) population encompassing all patient ages. Previous population-based studies have shown that only 20 to 30 percent of advanced patients with lung cancer receive chemotherapy therapy. These studies have previously relied on the Medicare-linked Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database, thus excluding the 30 to 35 percent of patients with lung cancer younger than 65 years of age.

Scientists performed a retrospective analysis of patients diagnosed with stage IV NSCLC from 2000 to 2007 at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, and Parkland Health and Hospital System, the safety net hospital for Dallas County. Overall, the findings indicate that for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), chemotherapy was administered to approximately half of all patientsmore than twice the rate reported in some earlier studies. In all, 718 patients met criteria, of whom 353 received chemotherapy (49 percent). Age and insurance type were linked to therapy with chemotherapy; specifically, young patients and those with private health insurance were more likely to receive chemotherapy. Furthermore, median survival for the group which received chemotherapy was 9.2 months, compared with 2.3 months for untreated patients.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


October 1, 2010, 5:36 AM CT

Drugs for macular degeneration

Drugs for macular degeneration
(Boston) Scientists from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and the VA Boston Healthcare System have conducted a study that failed to show a difference in efficacy between Bevacizumab (Avastin) and Ranibizumab (Lucentis) for the therapy of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The study, which appears currently on-line in Eye, is thought to bethe first study to describe one-year outcomes of a prospective, double-masked, randomized clinical trial directly comparing bevacizumab to ranibizuamab. Last October, these same scientists published early, six month outcomes of the same study, which also failed to show a difference in efficacy between these two drugs for treating AMD.

AMD is the leading cause of blindness over the age of 50 in developed Western countries. It presents in two forms, exudative (wet) or nonexudative (dry). Wet AMD is often more visually devastating with a higher risk of blindness. The gold standard of therapy for wet AMD is ranibizumab (Lucentis, Genentech Inc.), which was FDA approved as an eye injection in 2006. Bevacizumab (Avastin, Genentech Inc.) was FDA approved for the therapy of colorectal cancer in 2004, but has also been used worldwide in an off-label fashion as an eye injection for the therapy of wet AMD. Lucenitis costs approximately $2000.00 per injection, while Avastin costs approximately $50.00 per injection. While both drugs have shown independently to be effective in treating wet AMD, it was uncertain if both drugs were equally efficacious or if either one was better.........

Posted by: Mike      Read more         Source


October 1, 2010, 5:34 AM CT

Empty calories into children's food supply

Empty calories into children's food supply
St. Louis, MO, October 1, 2010 With over 23 million children and adolescents in the US overweight or obese, the risks for a number of chronic diseases continue to increase. An article in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association examines the diets of American youth and finds some disturbing results.

"The epidemic of obesity among children and adolescents is now widely regarded as one of the most important public health problems in the US," commented Jill Reedy, PhD, MPH, RD, and Susan M. Krebs-Smith, PhD, MPH, RD, both of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD. "Most experts agree that the solution will involve changes in both diet and physical activity, in order to affect energy balance. For diet, this means a reduction in energy from current consumption levelsThis paper identifies the major sources of overall energy and empty calories, providing context for dietary guidance that could specifically focus on limiting calories from these sources and for changes in the food environment. Product reformulation alone is not sufficientthe flow of empty calories into the food supply must be reduced".

For 2-18 year olds, the top sources of energy were grain desserts, pizza, and soda. Sugar-sweetened beverages (soda and fruit drinks combined) provided almost 10% of total calories consumed. Nearly 40% of total calories consumed by 2-18 year olds were in the form of empty calories from solid fat and from added sugars. Half of empty calories came from six foods: soda, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza, and whole milk.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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