January 20, 2009, 6:29 AM CT
What your mother ate?
In the United States, there has been a recent dramatic rise in the number of children classified as obese and diagnosed with obesity-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). One factor thought to contribute to this rise is obesity of the mother during pregnancy. However, a team of researchers, at Oregon Health and Science University, Beaverton, and the University of Colorado School of Medicine,.
Aurora, have found the offspring of both lean and obese nonhuman primate mothers chronically consuming a high-fat diet exhibited an increased risk of developing NAFLD. Importantly, if mothers fed a high-fat diet were reverted to a low-fat diet during a subsequent pregnancy, this second offspring exhibited fewer signs of NAFLD. The team, led by Kevin Grove and Jacob Friedman, therefore suggests that a developing fetus is highly susceptible to maternal consumption of excess fat, whether or not the mother is obese, and that a healthy maternal diet is most important for the obesity-related health of a developing fetus.........
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January 20, 2009, 6:26 AM CT
The severity of first heart attacks
The severity of first heart attacks has dropped significantly in the United States - propelling a decline in coronary heart disease deaths, scientists reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
"This landmark study suggests that better prevention and better management in the hospital have contributed to the reduction in deaths," said Merle Myerson, M.D., Ed.D., main author of the study, heart specialist and director of the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital of Columbia University in New York City.
"Better control of risk factors for heart disease, such as blood pressure and cholesterol as well as improvements in hospital management may lessen the severity if somebody has a heart attack," Myerson said. "We also considered whether people had less severity because they got to the hospital sooner, but that was not the case".
The study extends prior findings from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC), an ongoing epidemiologic study that includes data from four areas - Forsythe County, N.C., including Winston-Salem; Washington County, Md., including Hagerstown; and the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minn. and Jackson, Miss. Both whites and African-Americans were included in the study.
In a prior analysis of ARIC data gathered from 1987 to 1994, scientists found a decrease in a number of, but not all indicators of severity. Myerson and his colleagues included an extra eight years of data, covering 10,285 patients, ages 35 to 74, who were discharged from the hospital diagnosed with a definite or probable first-time heart attack from Jan. 1, 1987 through Dec. 31, 2002. The new findings show a more consistent picture with a clear decline in severity of heart attacks.........
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January 20, 2009, 6:24 AM CT
Providing support to psoriasis patients
Online support communities appear to offer both a valuable educational resource and a source of psychological and social support for individuals with psoriasis, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Dermatology,
one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
"Psoriasis currently affects approximately 0.6 percent to 4.8 percent of the world's population," as per background information in the article. In addition to causing skin and joint problems, psoriasis can also impair individuals' financial status and emotional, physical and sexual well-being. It is estimated that 10 percent of psoriasis patients have contemplated suicide. "As a result, it is a necessity to provide patients with access to psychological support".
Shereene Z. Idriss, B.A., and his colleagues at the Center for Connected Health and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, assessed perceived benefits and usage of online psoriasis support groups among 260 adults who participated in one of five such groups (average age 40). Patients' disease characteristics and demographic information were also recorded.
Participants were mostly white (75.7 percent), female (60.4 percent) and college-educated (84.3 percent). "A total of 188 (73.7 percent) reported having moderate or more severe psoriasis, and 206 (79.9 percent) rated their current general health status as average or better," the authors write.........
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January 20, 2009, 6:20 AM CT
Our microbes, ourselves
The team's study is the first molecular survey of gut microbial diversity following surgical weight loss (gastric bypass), and has helped solidify the link between methane producing microbes and obesity. This means the drastic anatomical changes created by gastric bypass surgery appear to have profound effects on the microorganisms that inhabit the intestine. This change may be part of the reason that gastric-bypass surgery is the most effective means to treat obesity today.
Credit: Mayo Clinic
In terms of diversity and sheer numbers, the microbes occupying the human gut easily dwarf the billions of people inhabiting the Earth. Numbering in the tens of trillions and representing a number of thousands of distinct genetic families, this microbiome, as it's called, helps the body perform a variety of regulatory and digestive functions, a number of still poorly understood.
How this microbial mlange appears to be associated with body weight changes linked to morbid obesity is a relevant and important clinical question that has received recent attention. Now, a newly released study suggests that the composition of microbes within the gut may hold a key to one cause of obesityand the prospect of future therapy.
In the January 19 early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
, scientists at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute in collaboration with colleagues at the Mayo Clinic, Arizona, and the University of Arizona, reveal a tantalizing link between differing microbial populations in the human gut and body weight among three distinct groups: normal weight individuals, those who have undergone gastric bypass surgery, and patients suffering the condition of morbid obesitya serious, often life-threatening condition linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and psychosocial disorders. Obesity affects around 4 million Americans and, each year, some 300,000 die from obesity-related illness.........
Posted by: Mark Read more Source
January 20, 2009, 6:17 AM CT
Resistance to antibiotic on the rise
A report by scientists in the Jan. 19, 2009 Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
shows that there was nationwide increase in the prevalence of pediatric methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) head and neck infections from January 2001 to December 2006.
The increase in antibiotic-resistant infections has become a big concern for scientists and clinicians over the years. MRSA was once a condition that was only found in hospital settings; however, over the last decade MRSA outbreaks have increasingly been found in patients without risk factors.
In an attempt to identify trends in the susceptibility of antibiotic-resistant infections, scientists from Emory University School of Medicine and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta studied data on pediatric patients from nationwide hospitals.
"The growing concern about the recent worldwide MRSA epidemic has fueled the curiosity of the scientific community to gain insight into the clinical and epidemiologic manifestations of this microbe," says Steven E. Sobol, MD, MSc, primary investigator of the study and director of Pediatric Otolaryngology in the Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery at Emory.
"Prior studies have established that skin and soft tissue infections in some communities are due to MRSA," he says. "However, it has been observed in several institutions that there is a significant rise in pediatric head and neck infections as well".........
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January 20, 2009, 6:14 AM CT
Turning those tumor suppressor genes on
Scientists at Mayo Clinic have observed that the experimental drug they are testing to treat a deadly form of thyroid cancer turns on a powerful tumor suppressor capable of halting cell growth. Few other cancer drugs have this property, they say.
In the Feb. 15 issue of Cancer Research (available online Jan. 20), they report that RS5444, being tested in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial to treat anaplastic thyroid cancer, might be useful for treating other cancers. The agent is also known as CS-7017.
From prior research, the researchers knew that RS5444 binds to a protein known as PPAR-gamma, a transcriptional factor that increases the expression of a number of genes. They had observed that human anaplastic thyroid tumor cells treated with RS5444 expressed a protein known as p21, which inhibited cell replication and tumor growth. But they did not understand how. They have now discovered that the agent actually forces PPAR-gamma to turn on the RhoB tumor suppressor gene, which in turn induces p21 expression.
"This is very unusual," says the study's lead investigator, John Copland, Ph.D., a cancer biologist at the Mayo Clinic campus at Jacksonville. "Drugs typically target genes and proteins that are over-expressed and turn them off. We observed that RS5444 turns on a valuable tumor suppressor gene. We rarely find a drug that can take a suppressed gene and cause it to be re-expressed."........
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January 20, 2009, 6:11 AM CT
People on low-carb diets more effectively burn fat
People on low-carbohydrate diets are more dependent on the oxidation of fat in the liver for energy than those on a low-calorie diet, scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found in a small clinical study.
The findings, reported in the journal Hepatology
, could have implications for treating obesity and related diseases such as diabetes, insulin resistance and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, said Dr. Jeffrey Browning, assistant professor in the UT Southwestern Advanced Imaging Research Center and of internal medicine at the medical center.
"Instead of looking at drugs to combat obesity and the diseases that stem from it, maybe optimizing diet can not only manage and treat these diseases, but also prevent them," said Dr. Browning, the study's main author.
Eventhough the study was not designed to determine which diet was more effective for losing weight, the average weight loss for the low-calorie dieters was about 5 pounds after two weeks, while the low-carbohydrate dieters lost about 9 pounds on average.
Glucose, a form of sugar, and fat are both sources of energy that are metabolized in the liver and used as energy in the body. Glucose can be formed from lactate, amino acids or glycerol.
In order to determine how diet affects glucose production and utilization in the liver, the scientists randomly assigned 14 obese or overweight adults to either a low-carbohydrate or low-calorie diet and monitored seven lean subjects on a regular diet.........
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January 19, 2009, 11:52 PM CT
Fingerprints of domestic violence
Women who are victims of intimate partner violence tend to have different patterns of facial injury than women who experience facial trauma from other causes, as per a report in the January/recent issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery,
one of the JAMA/Archives journals. This information, and other key characteristics such as a delay before visiting a health care facility, could help surgeons and other physicians recognize patients who are victims of this type of abuse.
Intimate partner violenceabuse by a spouse or significant otheraffects approximately 25 percent to 33 percent of women in the United States, as per background information in the article. Between 88 percent and 94 percent of intimate partner violence victims seek medical attention for injuries to the head and neck, and 56 percent of those have facial fractures. "Because intimate partner violence accounts for 34 percent to 73 percent of facial injuries in women, facial plastic surgeons and other health care providers who treat patients with maxillofacial injuries are in a unique position to identify these victims and refer them to local domestic violence service programs for safety planning, information and referrals, support services and advocacy, depending on the victims' needs and choices," the authors write.........
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January 19, 2009, 11:50 PM CT
Who with lung cancer live longer?
Disparities in survival among black patients diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer are not seen when patients are recommended appropriate therapy, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Surgery
, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Lung cancer causes more deaths in the United States than any other cancer, as per background information in the article. Pulmonary resectionor surgery to remove a portion of the lungprovides the best chance for patients with early-stage disease to be cured. "Black patients with early-stage lung cancer have lower five-year survival rates than white patients, and this difference in outcome has been attributed to lower rates of resection among black patients," the authors write. "Several potential factors underlying racial differences in the receipt of surgical treatment include differences in pulmonary function, access to care, refusal of surgery, beliefs about tumor spread on air exposure at the time of operation and the possibility of cure without surgery, distrust of the health care system and physicians, suboptimal patterns of patient and doctor communication and health care system and provider biases." Of these, access to care is often considered the most important of factors underlying racial disparities.
Farhood Farjah, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Washington, Seattle, and his colleagues designed a study to address whether differences in survival persist when evaluating only patients who had been recommended to receive optimal treatment, in this case lung resection. Patients recommended for treatment were considered likely to have "cleared" at least one major hurdle of access to care. The researchers analyzed data from 17,739 patients who were diagnosed with lung cancer between 1992 and 2002 (average age 75, 89 percent white and 6 percent black) and who were recommended to receive surgical treatment. They tracked whether or not the patients underwent surgery, and their overall survival, through 2005.........
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January 19, 2009, 11:48 PM CT
About those food ads in the magazine
In the first-ever study of food adverts in UK magazines, scientists found them filled with sugary, salt-filled options often contradicting the health messages the articles were trying to put across.
"Nearly every magazine contains advice on a healthier lifestyle, yet we found the food adverts were for products high in sugar and salt and low in fibre such as ready meals, sauces and confectionary," explains Dr Jean Adams, lecturer in public health at Newcastle University, who led the study.
"Obviously, it's up to each of us to decide what we eat but if we're constantly bombarded with images of unhealthy food every time we pick up a magazine then we're going to be swayed in what we choose," she adds.
It means that women sitting down to enjoy the treat of a cup of tea, a chocolate bar and a magazine may unwittingly be tempted to an even unhealthier diet.What's in the ads?
Newcastle University scientists collected and compared data on the nutritional content of the foods advertised in 30 most widely-read weekly magazines during November 2007.
A detailed nutritional analysis of the foods in the adverts observed that the products advertised were generally much higher in sugar and salt, and lower in fibre than the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations.........
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