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January 14, 2009, 11:34 PM CT

Alzheimer's research based on family consent

Alzheimer's research based on family consent
By the time they have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, a number of patients' decision-making ability is so impaired that they cannot give informed consent to participate in research studies.

Close family members are left with the decision, but there is no clear policy for this so-called "surrogate" consent. Because of that, research about the increasingly common disease is often stalled.

But a newly released study led by the University of Michigan Health System suggests that older Americans are very supportive of family surrogate-based research, and would support having their family members enroll them in research in case of future incapacity. The study appears in the new issue of the journal Neurology.

Because of uncertainties about federal policy, some institutions have gone so far as to not allow surrogate consent at all and research has been halted at other institutions, says main author Scott Y. H. Kim, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the U-M Medical School's Department of Psychiatry; investigator in the U-M Center for Behavioral and Decision Sciences in Medicine; and core member of the U-M Bioethics Program.

The federal policy states that surrogate consent can be provided by legally authorized representatives of adult patients, but the federal government defers to states to define who these representatives are. The lack of a clear definition has caused widespread confusion and uncertainty for three decades, notes Kim.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


January 14, 2009, 11:27 PM CT

A new protein that initiates breast cancer

A new protein that initiates breast cancer
Canadian scientists have identified a novel protein in the advancement of breast cancer. As per a recent study from the Universit de Montral and the University of Alberta, reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the protein ARF1 plays a critical role in cancer cell growth and the spread of tumours. Targeting this protein with drug treatment may provide hope to women with breast cancer.

"Until now, ARF1 has been linked to harmless albeit important housekeeping duties of cells," says senior author Audrey Claing, a professor of pharmacology at the Universit de Montral. "The Universit de Montral and the University of Alberta team is the first to characterize the role of ARF1 in breast cancer."

Dr. Claing and her colleagues applied invasive breast cancer cell lines to study ARF1's role. These cells are sensitive to a particular growth factor, called epidermal growth factor or EGF, which has previously been demonstrated to stimulate tumour growth and invasion. Their findings suggest that EGF acts upon ARF1 in these cells. In addition, when ARF1 activity was chemically blocked, breast cancer cell migration and growth was reduced. On the other hand, when ARF1 was overproduced in these cells, their movement was enhanced.

"Taken together our findings reveal an unsuspected role for ARF1 and indicate that this small protein appears to be a potential therapeutic target for the therapy of invasive breast cancers," says Dr. Claing, who is a member of the Groupe d'tude des protines membranaires as well a the Groupe de Recherche Universitaire sur le Mdicament, two multidisciplinary research teams dedicated to the study of membrane protein functions and the identification of new therapeutic targets for drug discovery.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 14, 2009, 11:16 PM CT

Obesity may lead to complications at surgery

Obesity may lead to complications at surgery
A newly reported study in the recent issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons shows that morbidly obese patients are at higher risk than normal weight patients for complications after colectomy surgical removal of all or part of the colon for the therapy of cancer.

Obese patients are more likely than non-obese patients to develop and ultimately die from colon cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Surgical intervention remains the primary therapy for colon cancer, but it carries the risk of serious complications.

"Eventhough recent analyses have indicated that obese patients getting colectomy have higher rates of complications after the operation, this is the first major study to examine how body mass index affects the risk of specific adverse events such as infection, kidney failure and blood clots," said Ryan P. Merkow, MD, department of surgery, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. "These findings could help medical teams anticipate and manage post-operative risks in morbidly obese patients".

The scientists used the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Project dataset to identify 3,202 patients who had colectomy for cancer. These patients were categorized into four patient populations based on body mass index (BMI): normal weight (BMI = 18.5 to 24 kg/m2, 33.4 percent); overweight (BMI = 25 to 29 kg/m2, 35.1 percent); obese (BMI = 30 to 34kg/m2, 19.0 percent); and morbidly obese (BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2, 12.4 percent). Logistic regression models were developed to assess risk-adjusted 30-day outcomes by BMI while adjusting for preoperative risk factors.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 14, 2009, 11:10 PM CT

laparoscopic removal of GIST

laparoscopic removal of GIST
New research reported in the recent issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons shows that laparoscopic removal of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) is safe and effective, with a disease-free survival rate of nearly 80 percent after an average follow-up time of three and a-half years.

GIST is a type of cancer arising from special cells in the wall of the gastrointestinal tract that help coordinate the muscular movement of digestive organs. Each year, between 4,500 and 6,000 cases of GIST are diagnosed in the United States. Laparoscopic surgery is an attractive alternative to traditional "open" surgery the therapy of choice for GISTs that have not spread to nearby organs since it is requires smaller abdominal incisions and therefore appears to be safer and result in a quicker recovery.

"Based on our data, which represents the largest retrospective series of GIST patients reported to date, we think that laparoscopic resection is feasible in the management of these tumors, carries no additional risks and has comparable results to the open approach," said Celia Divino, MD, FACS, Chief, Division of General Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, N.Y.

Parissa Tabrizian, MD, further noted that, "The biologic behavior of GISTs makes them amenable to laparoscopic resection because they do not require removal of large amounts of tissue or lymph nodes".........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


January 14, 2009, 9:29 PM CT

Exercise, mood and grievous psychological problems

Exercise, mood and grievous psychological problems
A newly released study from Indiana University suggests that even meager levels of physical activity can improve the mood of people with serious mental illnesses (SMI) such as bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia.

The study, reported in the recent issue of the "International Journal of Social Psychiatry," both reinforces earlier findings that people with SMI demonstrate low levels of physical activity and supports the consideration of physical activity as a regular part of psychiatric rehabilitation.

"We found a positive association between physical activity level and positive mood when low to moderate levels of physical activity are considered," said study author Bryan McCormick, associate professor in IU's Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies. "Physical activity interventions that require lower levels of exertion might be more conducive to improving transitory mood, or the ups and downs people with SMI experience throughout the day".

McCormick said physical activity often is advocated in addition to psychiatric therapy for people with SMI because of the significant health concerns common to this population. The low levels of physical activity also common to this population poses a major hurdle, however. For this study, physical activity is considered most forms of sustained movement, such as house cleaning, gardening, walking for transportation or formal exercise.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 14, 2009, 6:31 AM CT

New gene to predict outcome in pancreatic cancer

New gene to predict outcome in pancreatic cancer
Variations in mismatch repair genes can help predict therapy response and prognosis in patients with pancreas cancer, as per research from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center presented today in advance of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium.

In the study, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes involved in DNA mismatch repair were linked to response to gemcitabine (Gemzar)-based preoperative chemoradiation, tumor resectability (the likelihood of removing the entire tumor), and overall survival.

"Gemcitabine is a major chemotherapeutic agent used to treat pancreas cancer, but we don't understand why some patients respond and most patients do not," said Donghui Li, Ph.D., the study's main author and professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology. "There has been no biomarker for pancreas cancer used in the clinic to predict response. Our research interest has been to determine whether genetic variation in DNA repair can be a predictor of therapy response or a prognosis factor for patient survival".

DNA repair is a complicated process, Li noted, with various mechanisms responsible for identifying and correcting different types of DNA damage. Mismatch repair genes correct mistakes in DNA replication or trigger cell death (apoptosis) if repair is not possible. Ensuring cell death is critical to preventing the runaway cell division that occurs in cancerous tumors.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


January 14, 2009, 6:29 AM CT

Hepatitis C May Increase Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Hepatitis C May Increase Pancreatic Cancer Risk
A newly released study shows that infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) increases a person's risk for a highly fatal cancer of the biliary tree, the bile carrying pathway between the liver and pancreas. This finding is in the recent issue of Hepatology, a journal published by John Wiley & Sons on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). The article is also available online at Wiley Interscience (www.interscience.wiley.com).

More than 4 million Americans are infected with HCV, which causes chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer. However, the associations between the virus and other potentially-related cancers are less clear.

To better understand the associations between HCV and these cancers, scientists led by Hashem El-Serag of Baylor College of Medicine, conducted a retrospective cohort study of more than 718,000 U.S. veterans who were treated at Veterans Affairs medical facilities between October 1, 1988 and September 30, 2004. Among them, 146,394 were infected with HCV and 572,293 were not. Uninfected subjects were matched to infected ones by sex, age and type and date of visit.

The scientists followed the subjects for an average of 2.3 years to determine the incidence these cancers. They observed that "risk for biliary tree cancer in the HCV-infected cohort, eventhough low (4 per 100,000 person-years), was more than double that in the HCV-uninfected cohort".........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


January 14, 2009, 6:11 AM CT

Cattle and sheep grazed on natural grasslands

Cattle and sheep grazed on natural grasslands
Cattle and sheep grazed on natural grasslands help maintain biodiversity and produce tastier, healthier meat, as per a research studyfunded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The research, part of the Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) programme which draws together the social and natural science, concluded that pasture-based farming is good for the environment, the consumer and the producer but needs stronger support from British policy makers if it is to realise its full potential.

Detailed analysis of the nutritional qualities of the plant species present on the natural grasslands showed that they provided grazing animals with a richer more diverse diet than the improved pastures used for more intensive farming. And this richer diet translated into tastier meat.

The taste panels rated biodiverse beef from cattle breeds such as Longhorn - a traditional breed especially well adapted to unimproved grassland environments to be more tender and more flavour intense than meat from conventional breeds.

Chemical analysis showed that the meat from animals with a more biodiverse diet was healthier too. Meat from wild-grazed lambs, especially those grazed on heather, had higher levels of the natural antioxidant, vitamin E, than meat from animals grazed on improved grass land. It also had higher levels of healthy fatty acids including the long chain omega 3 fatty acid, DHA, thought to play a key role in brain development and to protect against heart disease. And higher levels of the anti-carcinogenic compound, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) were found in meat from lambs grazed on moorland and Longhorn cattle grazed on unimproved pastures than in control meat.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 14, 2009, 6:07 AM CT

You are Not What your Mother Eats

You are Not What your Mother Eats
Scientists S. Stanley Young, Ph.D., Assistant Director of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences, Heejung Bang, Ph.D., of Cornell University and Kutluk Oktay. MD, FACOG, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Director, Division of Reproductive Medicine & Infertility Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology from New York Medical College, wrote a paper, "Cereal-Induced Gender Selection? Most Likely a Multiple Testing False Positive," which has been reported in the January 14, 2009 online issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B The paper questions the claims made by Mathews, Johnson and Neil (2008) in their article "You are What your Mother Eats" that was reported in the April 22, 2008 Proceedings of the Royal Society B, and generated over 50,000 Google hits due to media interest.

Young, Bang & Oktay note that the original research by Mathews, Johnson & Neil implied that children of women who eat breakfast cereal are more likely to be boys than girls. Young, Bang & Oktay assert that the result of the original study is easily explained as chance. Young, Bang & Oktay examined the data sets from the original study and noted that 132 food items were tested for two time periods, totaling 264 statistical tests.

With this a number of tests, it is quite likely that some apparent statistical significance will occur simply by chance.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 13, 2009, 11:37 PM CT

Physically active lifestyle is just a few clicks away

Physically active lifestyle is just a few clicks away
New research suggests that a healthier, more physically active lifestyle is just a few clicks away with Dairy Council of California's MyFitness Planner.

Credit: Dairy Council of California

New research suggests that a healthier, more physically active lifestyle is just a few clicks away with Dairy Council of California's MyFitness Planner.

Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, yet less than half of all American women (47.7 percent) engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity or greater physical activity on most days of the week. To help, Dairy Council of California developed MyFitness Planner, formerly called the Women's Fitness Planner.

A randomized control trial of 150 healthy adult women showed that MyFitness Planner's individually tailored Internet-plus-email physical activity intervention resulted in 37 minutes of increased walking and 48 minutes of increased total moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each week in comparison to a control group. Study results were reported in the recent issue of Preventive Medicine

A study led by Genevieve Fridlund Dunton, Ph.D., M.P.H., a Cancer Prevention Fellow at the National Cancer Institute, indicated that Dairy Council of California's online tool can positively impact women's physical activity levels. Results further showed that participants who clicked more links in the update emails trended toward greater activity by 10󈞀 minutes per week, regardless of socio-economic or education status.........

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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