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March 17, 2010, 7:49 PM CT

New chemotherapy combination for endometrial cancer

New chemotherapy combination for endometrial cancer
Jubilee Brown, M.D., is an associate professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Gynecologic Oncology.

Credit: M. D. Anderson
Scientists from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report that in a small study of women with advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer, gemcitabine and cisplatin, when used in combination, produced a response rate in fifty percent of patients.

Jubilee Brown, M.D., associate professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Gynecologic Oncology, presented the findings at today's plenary session of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists' 41st Annual Meeting on Women's Cancer.

While early-stage endometrial cancer typically responds well to standard therapies, low survival rates for advanced or recurrent disease result from limited and ineffective chemotherapy and hormonal therapy options. The American Cancer Society estimates that 15 percent, or three out of every 20 of women with stage IV endometrial cancer, will survive more than five years.

The Phase II study of 20 patients observed that the combination of gemcitabine and cisplatin, two drugs currently used to treat other types of cancer, limited the disease's progression, increasing progression-free survival while maintaining tolerable toxicity levels. It is believed that when administered together, gemcitabine helps overcome cell resistance to cisplatin, throwing tumor cells a potent one-two punch.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


March 17, 2010, 7:46 PM CT

Deep brain stimulation reduces epileptic seizures

Deep brain stimulation reduces epileptic seizures
A recent study organized by Stanford University scientists found patients with refractory partial and secondarily generalized seizures had a reduction in seizures after deep brain stimulation. This multi-center clinical trial determined that the benefits of stimulation of the anterior nuclei of thalamus for epilepsy (SANTE) persisted and by 2 years there was a 56% reduction in seizure frequency. Full findings of this study are available early online in Epilepsia, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the International League Against Epilepsy.

Typically epilepsy, a common neurological disorder, is characterized by recurrent seizures that can cause temporary loss of consciousness, convulsions, confusion or disturbances in sensations. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), epilepsy affects 50 million people worldwide. Past studies indicate that one-third of those with epilepsy do not respond adequately to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs).

"Electrical deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a promising treatment for epilepsy," said Robert Fisher, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Epilepsy Center at Stanford University, and main author of the SANTE study. "Our goal is to find therapys that reduce the effects of epilepsy, especially for those who don't respond to AED treatment." .........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 17, 2010, 7:45 PM CT

Stress during pregnancy and asthma in offspring

Stress during pregnancy and asthma in offspring
Stress during pregnancy may raise the risk of asthma in offspring, as per scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. The scientists investigated differences in immune function markers in cord blood between infants born to mothers in high stress environments and those born to mothers with lower stress and found marked differences in patterns that appears to be linked to asthma risk during the later part of life.

"This is the first study in humans to show that increased stress experienced during pregnancy in these urban, largely minority women, is linked to different patterns of cord blood cytokine production to various environmental stimuli, relative to babies born to lower-stressed mothers," said Rosalind Wright, M.D., M.P.H., associate doctor at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The findings have been published online ahead of print publication in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

Asthma is known to be more prevalent among ethnic minorities and among disadvantaged urban communities, but the disparity is not completely explained by known physical factors. Urban women living in the inner-city also experience significant stress, especially minority women.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


March 15, 2010, 8:04 PM CT

How cancer and obesity are linked

How cancer and obesity are linked
The link between obesity and disease has been well documented. There's evidence now that obesity and cancer have a strong link, as they've shown in the United States at least 90,000 cancer deaths a year can be attributed to obesity. University of Alberta researcher Richard Lamb is on his way to understanding the correlation and it's a good example of how the scientific process works.

Lamb is studying a cell pathway in the human body that regulates cell growth. In their most recent work, Lamb and his research group have observed that this pathway can be affected by sources not within the cell, specifically amino acid nutrients. Amino acids are the building blocks of tissues and muscle in the human body.

What makes this interesting is that these amino acids are found to be elevated in obese people. That means this signalling pathway, called mTOR, could be hyper-activated by these heightened amino acid nutrients and this could affect how human cells respond to stress and disease among many other things. Lamb and his team will now investigate if cancer cells are aided by this potential hyper-activity of the pathway.

Lamb's work is reported in the prestigious journal Molecular Cell, and as is normal scientific process, this will elicit calls from scientists around the world who could have other ideas on why this pathway is relevant to disease.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 15, 2010, 7:49 PM CT

Smoking may impair mental function

Smoking may impair mental function
Men and women with a history of alcohol abuse may not see long-term negative effects on their memory and thinking, but female smokers do, a newly released study suggests.

In a study of 287 men and women ages 31 to 60, scientists observed that those with past alcohol-use disorders performed similarly on standard tests of cognitive function as those with no past drinking problems.

The findings were not as positive when it came to tobacco, however.

In general, women who had ever been addicted to smoking had lower scores on certain cognitive tests than their nonsmoking counterparts. The same pattern was not true of men, however, the scientists report in the recent issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs

The reasons for the disparate findings on alcohol and smoking are not fully clear. Nor do they necessarily mean that serious alcohol problems would not affect long-term memory and other cognitive abilities; most study participants who had ever had drinking problems met the criteria for alcohol abuse rather than the more serious diagnosis of dependence.

Alcohol abuse was diagnosed when people reported one symptom of problem drinking -- drinking and driving, for instance, or failing to meet work or school obligations as a result of drinking. Dependence, conversely, mandatory people to have at least three symptoms -- such as needing to drink more and more to achieve the same effects and experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms when they did not drink.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 14, 2010, 8:10 PM CT

Psychopaths' brains wired to seek rewards

Psychopaths' brains wired to seek rewards
The brains of psychopaths appear to be wired to keep seeking a reward at any cost, new research from Vanderbilt University finds. The research uncovers the role of the brain's reward system in psychopathy and opens a new area of study for understanding what drives these individuals.

"This study underscores the importance of neurological research as it relates to behavior," Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said. "The findings may help us find new ways to intervene before a personality trait becomes antisocial behavior".

The results were published March 14, 2010, in Nature Neuroscience

"Psychopaths are often thought of as cold-blooded criminals who take what they want without thinking about consequences," Joshua Buckholtz, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology and main author of the newly released study, said. "We observed that a hyper-reactive dopamine reward system appears to be the foundation for some of the most problematic behaviors linked to psychopathy, such as violent crime, recidivism and substance abuse."

Prior research on psychopathy has focused on what these individuals lackfear, empathy and interpersonal skills. The new research, however, examines what they have in abundanceimpulsivity, heightened attraction to rewards and risk taking. Importantly, it is these latter traits that are most closely linked with the violent and criminal aspects of psychopathy.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 14, 2010, 7:58 PM CT

Vitamin D and atherosclerosis

Vitamin D and atherosclerosis
Vitamin D is quickly becoming the "go-to" remedy for treating a wide range of illnesses, from osteoporosis to atherosclerosis. However, new evidence from a Wake Forest University School of Medicine study suggests that supplementing vitamin D in those with low levels may have different effects based on patient race and, in black individuals, the supplement could actually do harm.

The study is the first to show a positive relationship between calcified plaque in large arteries, a measure of atherosclerosis or "hardening of the arteries," and circulating vitamin D levels in black patients. It appears in the recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism

"In black patients, lower levels of vitamin D may not signify deficiency to the same extent as in whites," said the study's lead investigator, Barry I. Freedman, M.D., John H. Felts III Professor and chief of the section on nephrology at the School of Medicine "We should use caution when supplementing vitamin D in black patients while we investigate if we are actually worsening calcium deposition in the arteries with therapy".

Vitamin D is widely used to treat patients with osteoporosis and/or low vitamin D levels based on a medically accepted normal range. This "normal" range is typically applied to all race groups, eventhough it was established predominantly in whites. It is thought that as low vitamin D levels rise to the normal range with supplementation, protection from bone and heart disease (atherosclerosis) may increase, as well.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 12, 2010, 8:15 AM CT

New Alzheimer's test offers better opportunities

New Alzheimer's test offers better opportunities
This is a s screenshot from the Computerized Self Test for Alzheimer's Disease. The test was developed by University of Tennessee researchers, and findings published in the April 2010 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease showed that the test was highly effective at early detection of the disease.

Credit: Rex Cannon and Andrew Dougherty/University of Tennessee

Early detection is key to more effective therapy for Alzheimer's disease and other forms of cognitive impairment, and new research shows that a test developed at the University of Tennessee is more than 95 percent effective in detecting cognitive abnormalities linked to these diseases.

The test, called CST -- for computerized self test -- was designed to be both effective and relatively simple for medical professionals to administer and for patients to take.

Rex Cannon, an adjunct research assistant professor of psychology at UT Knoxville, and Dr. John Dougherty, an associate professor in the UT Graduate School of Medicine, worked with a team of scientists to develop CST. The impetus for the test came from data showing that 60 percent of Alzheimer's cases are not diagnosed in the primary care setting, and that those delays lead to missed therapy opportunities.

"Early detection is at the forefront of the clinical effort in Alzheimer's research, and application of instruments like CST in the primary care setting is of extreme importance," said Cannon.

The CST is a brief, interactive online test that works to asses various impairments in functional cognitive domains in essence, it's a "fitness test" of sorts for the basic functions of thinking and processing information that are affected by Alzheimer's and milder forms of cognitive impairment.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 12, 2010, 8:12 AM CT

A new oral treatment for lice

A new oral treatment for lice
French medical scientists from the AP-HP (Henri Mondor Hospital and Avicenne Hospital) and Inserm (Unit 738 "Models and methods for therapeutic assessment of chronic illnesses" and CIC 202, at Tours) have recently demonstrated the effectiveness of a new molecule in the fight against lice. Faced with the emergence of increasing resistance to conventional therapys by these parasites, this new medicine represents a real therapeutic alternative which is effective in 95% of cases.

This work has been reported in the March 11th edition of The New England Journal (NEJM)

Lice are parasites which infest more than 100 million people worldwide each year. Children between the ages of 3 and 11 years are especially vulnerable because of their social behaviour (games etc.) which is favourable to the propagation of parasites.

Eventhough conventional anti-lice lotions are effective in a a number of cases, an ever increasing resistance to these therapys has been observed. Like a number of parasites, lice have evolved their own strategy for survival in difficult conditions. Through evolution of their genetic inheritance, they have become insensitive to the usual insecticides (malathion and pyrethrin) contained in the lotions. In the case of pyrethrin, mutations in the amino acids involved in the development of the sodium channels, acting at the central nervous system level of the lice, have been identified and are responsible for this resistance.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 12, 2010, 8:01 AM CT

Weight-Bearing Exercise Does Not Prevent Increased Bone Turnover

Weight-Bearing Exercise Does Not Prevent Increased Bone Turnover
In a new study, MU researchers found that weight-bearing exercise, in this case, fast walking or jogging, did not prevent the increased bone turnover caused by weight loss.
While there are a number of benefits of losing weight, weight reduction also might negatively affect bones in the body. During weight loss, bones are being remodeled - breaking down old bone and forming new bone - at an accelerated rate. As a result, bone density is reduced, causing increased fragility. In a newly released study, University of Missouri scientists observed that weight-bearing exercise, in this case, fast walking or jogging, did not prevent the increased bone turnover caused by weight loss.

"Accelerated bone turnover is not favorable, but the potential negative consequences of increased bone turnover do not outweigh the numerous other health benefits of weight loss," said Pam Hinton, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences. "Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D may minimize the reduction in bone density during weight loss".

In the study, Hinton examined bone turnover markers in the blood of overweight, premenopausal women. These bone markers, which are released by the bone cells that are involved in bone breakdown and formation, are used as indirect indicators of bone remodeling. After six weeks, women who lost 5 percent of their body weight by adhering to a calorie-restricted diet and participating in weight-bearing exercise experienced an increase in bone turnover markers.........

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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