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September 29, 2010, 10:58 PM CT

Women with triple negative breast cancer and BRCA mutations

Women with triple negative breast cancer and BRCA mutations
Ana M. Gonzalez-Angulo, M.D., is an associate professor in MD Anderson's Departments of Breast Medical Oncology and Systems Biology.

Credit: MD Anderson

Patients with triple negative breast cancer that also have mutations in the BRCA gene appear to have a lower risk of recurrence, in comparison to those with the same disease without the deleterious genetic mutation, as per scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The findings may offer a direction for study of personalized treatment in this select group of triple negative patients with breast cancer, as well as highlight the unique need for genetic testing in a patient population. Ana M. Gonzalez-Angulo, M.D., associate professor in MD Anderson's Departments of Breast Medical Oncology and Systems Biology presented the findings in advance of the 2010 Breast Cancer Symposium.

"There is data on the number of patients with breast cancer with BRCA mutations, as well as those that have triple negative disease. However, there is no understanding of the occurence rate of BRCA1 and 2 mutations in unselected patients with triple negative breast cancer," said Gonzalez-Angulo, the study's first and corresponding author. "Now, there are new drugs that appear to be more effective in treating triple negative breast cancer and BRCA status appears to be an important way of selecting patients that may respond to these therapies."

Triple negative disease - breast cancer that is estrogen, progesterone and HER2-neu receptor negative - accounts for about 15 percent of all breast cancers. Currently, it's an area of much research focus in the breast cancer community because: it lacks effective targets effective for anti-cancer therapies; chemotherapy is only effective in about 40 percent of patients; and in those that do relapse, the disease is highly resistant and patients die quickly.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 29, 2010, 10:56 PM CT

Vicious cycle of overeating and obesity

Vicious cycle of overeating and obesity
New research provides evidence of the vicious cycle created when an obese individual overeats to compensate for reduced pleasure from food.

Obese individuals have fewer pleasure receptors and overeat to compensate, as per a research studyby University of Texas at Austin senior research fellow and Oregon Research Institute senior scientist Eric Stice and colleagues published this week in The Journal of Neuroscience

Stice shows evidence this overeating may further weaken the responsiveness of the pleasure receptors ("hypofunctioning reward circuitry"), further diminishing the rewards gained from overeating.

Food intake is linked to dopamine release. The degree of pleasure derived from eating correlates with the amount of dopamine released. Evidence shows obese individuals have fewer dopamine (D2) receptors in the brain relative to lean individuals and suggests obese individuals overeat to compensate for this reward deficit.

People with fewer of the dopamine receptors need to take in more of a rewarding substance -- such as food or drugs -- to get an effect other people get with less.

"Eventhough recent findings suggested that obese individuals may experience less pleasure when eating, and therefore eat more to compensate, this is the first prospective evidence to show that the overeating itself further blunts the award circuitry," says Stice, a senior scientist at Oregon Research Institute, a non-profit, independent behavioral research center. "The weakened responsivity of the reward circuitry increases the risk for future weight gain in a feed-forward manner. This may explain why obesity typically shows a chronic course and is resistant to therapy".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 29, 2010, 10:52 PM CT

Women treated for breast cancer while pregnant have improved survival

Women treated for breast cancer while pregnant have improved survival
Jennifer Litton, M.D., is an assistant professor in MD Anderson's Department of Breast Medical Oncology.

Credit: MD Anderson

Long linked to a worse outcome, scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have discovered that women treated for breast cancer while pregnant, in fact, have improved disease-free survival and a trend for improved overall survival in comparison to non-pregnant women treated for the disease.

Jennifer Litton, M.D., assistant professor in MD Anderson's Department of Breast Medical Oncology, presented the findings in a poster discussion session at the 2010 Breast Cancer Symposium.

"Until now, older registry studies showed that patients with breast cancer treated while pregnant had a worse outcome. However, in the past, these patients weren't always treated consistently with standard of care chemotherapy and often delayed their treatment until after delivery." said Litton, the study's first and corresponding author. "Given MD Anderson's experience in treating pregnant patients and our registry, we were able to look at these women treated by the same physicians, at the same institution, with the same standard of care".

In 1992, Richard Theriault, D.O., professor in the Department of Breast Medical Oncology, opened the first protocol examining a chemotherapeutic regimen for the management of these patients. He later published seminal studies proving that the regimen was safe for both pregnant mother and unborn child; it has since been adopted as the standard of care. MD Anderson has the oldest, active prospective registry in the world following the health of pregnant patients with breast cancer and their children.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 25, 2010, 8:45 AM CT

Genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's disease

Genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's disease
Scientists have identified a gene that appears to increase a person's risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of the disease. The gene, abbreviated as MTHFD1L, is on chromosome six, and was identified in a genome-wide association study. Details are published September 23 in the journal PLoS Genetics

The collaborative team of scientists was led by Margaret A. Pericak-Vance, PhD, Director of the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Joseph D. Buxbaum, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; and Jonathan L. Haines, PhD, Vanderbilt Center for Human Genetics Research, Vanderbilt University. The scientists were able to identify small differences in the genetic sequences of the MTHFD1L gene in people with and without Alzheimer's disease. The team observed that individuals with the variation appears to be nearly twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease as people without the variation. The scientists observed the gene variation throughout the human genomes of 2,269 people with late-onset Alzheimer's disease and 3,107 without the disease.

"Identifying this gene is important because the gene is known to be involved in influencing the body's levels of homocysteine, and high levels of homocysteine are a strong risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer disease," said Dr. Pericak-Vance. "In addition, variations of the MTHFD1L gene have been reported to possibly increase the risk of coronary artery disease. Since the function of blood vessels in the brain may affect Alzheimer's disease, this finding may help us understand how homocysteine levels and blood vessel function in the brain affect Alzheimer's disease."........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 25, 2010, 8:26 AM CT

How stress controls our genes

How stress controls our genes
Stress has become a main disease states in the developed world. But what is stress? It depends on from where you look. You may experience stress as something that affects your entire body and mind, the causes of which are plentiful. But if we zoom in on the building bricks of the body, our cells, stress and its causes are defined somewhat differently. Stress can arise at the cellular level after exposure to pollution, tobacco smoke, bacterial toxins etc, where stressed cells have to react to survive and maintain their normal function. In worst case scenario, cellular stress can lead to development of disease.

Scientists from Dr.Klaus Hansen's group at BRIC, University of Copenhagen, have just shown that external factors can stress our cells through the control of our genes. "We observed that stress-activating factors can control our genes by turning on certain genes that were supposed to be silenced. It is very important that some genes are on and others are off in order to ensure normal foetal development and correct function of our cells during the later part of life" says Dr. Klaus Hansen. Simmi Gehani, PhD-student in the Hansen group, observed that exposing human cells to a stress-activating compound turned on silenced genes. Even brief changes in gene activation can be disastrous during foetal development as establishment of correct cellular identity can be disturbed in our cells. But altered gene activity can also have consequences in the adult body. "For example, one could imagine that prolonged stress causes nerve cells in the brain to produce hormones and other signalling molecules they do not normally produce and this can disturb normal brain function" says Simmi Gehani.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 25, 2010, 8:01 AM CT

Maybe it's the wrong time of month

Maybe it's the wrong time of month
Feeling a little sluggish and having trouble concentrating? Hormones might be to blame as per new research from Concordia University reported in the journal Brain and Cognition The study shows that high estrogen levels are linked to an inability to pay attention and learn the first such paper to report how this impediment can be due to a direct effect of the hormone on mature brain structures.

"Eventhough estrogen is known to play a significant role in learning and memory, there has been no clear consensus on its effect," says senior author Wayne Brake, an associate professor at Concordia's Center for Studies in Behavioural Neurobiology. "Our findings, using a well-established model of learning called latent inhibition, shows conclusively that high estrogen levels inhibit the cognitive ability in female rodents".

Human females have high estrogen levels while they are ovulating. These high levels have also been shown to interfere with women's ability to pay attention.

"The similarity between human studies and our findings suggest that we have a good model for human learning," says first author Matthew Quinlan, a former Concordia doctoral student now a lecturer at California State University San Bernadino. "Rodent research is invaluable to us. We can tease out the real contributors and their respective roles in these systems. It is much more difficult to conduct comparable experiments in humans".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 25, 2010, 7:51 AM CT

Abortion does not cause depression or low self-esteem in adolescents

Abortion does not cause depression or low self-esteem in adolescents
A newly released study has determined that teenagers who have abortions are no more likely to become depressed or have low self-esteem than their peers whose pregnancies do not end in abortion.

The study conducted by scientists from Oregon State University and University of California, San Francisco, is the first to use both depression and low self-esteem as outcomes with a nationally representative sample of adolescents.

The scientists observed that young women in the study who had an abortion were no more likely to become depressed or have low self-esteem within the first year of pregnancy or five years later than their peers who were pregnant, but did not have an abortion.

The scientists used data from 289 respondents to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Data were taken from three survey waves, starting in 1994-1995, surveyed again one year later, and then five years after that. The study is available online and will appear in the recent issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health

Main author Jocelyn Warren, a post-doctoral research associate at OSU, said the study was intended to fill a major gap in abortion research.

"We know most teen pregnancies are not wanted pregnancies and an unwanted pregnancy can be very stressful," Warren said.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


September 23, 2010, 7:24 AM CT

Talking while walking to Parkinson's patients

Talking while walking to Parkinson's patients
Francis Eppes Professor of Communication Science and Disorders, Leonard L. LaPointe.

Credit: Florida State University

We've all heard the saying about people who can't walk and chew gum at the same time, but it turns out that walking and talking is difficult enough, particularly for people with Parkinson's disease who are at increased risk for falls with injury.

A new Florida State University study observed that elderly adults with Parkinson's disease altered their gait stride length, step velocity and the time they spent stabilizing on two feet when asked to perform increasingly difficult verbal tasks while walking. But the real surprise was that even elderly adults without a neurological impairment demonstrated similar difficulties walking and talking.

A disruption in gait could place Parkinson's patients and the elderly at an increased risk of falls, as per the Florida State researchers.

Francis Eppes Professor of Communication Science and Disorders Leonard L. LaPointe and.

co-authors Julie A.G. Stierwalt, associate professor in the School of Communication Science and Disorders, and Charles G. Maitland, professor of neurology in the College of Medicine, outlined their findings in "Talking while walking: Cognitive loading and injurious falls in Parkinson's disease." The study would be reported in the recent issue of the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 23, 2010, 7:13 AM CT

Hit the Gym to Maintain Health Gains

Hit the Gym to Maintain Health Gains
Eventhough obesity is a major risk factor for disease, much of the threat appears to be linked to the metabolic (or cardiometabolic) syndrome, a cluster of risk factors correlation to diabetes and heart disease. Losing weight can improve health and reduce a number of of these risk factors. However, a number of people struggle to keep the weight off long-term. Now, scientists at the University of Missouri have observed that people who perform resistance training while regaining weight can help maintain strides in reducing their risks for chronic disease.

"Long-term weight loss maintenance is uncommon without regular exercise," said Shana Warner, a doctoral student in the MU Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. "It is very important to address other things that can be done to maintain health as opposed to focusing solely on body weight. Our research indicates that following a consistent exercise program can help maintain certain aspects of metabolic health, even in those who experience weight regain".

The study consisted of two phases, meant to simulate real-life weight loss and regain. In the first phase, overweight and obese participants lost 4 to 6 percent of their initial body weight by following an eight to 12-week regimen of diet and aerobic exercise. In the second phase, participants regained 50 percent of the weight they had lost. During the regain phase, participants performed 45 minutes of supervised resistance training three times each week.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 23, 2010, 6:58 AM CT

Career choice and disease in brain

Career choice and disease in brain
FTLD patients with professions ranked highly for verbal skills, such as chief executive, showed atrophy in right temporal lobe. In those with professions ranked lower for verbal skills, such as art director, atrophy was identified in left temporal lobe.

Credit: Baycrest

In an international study of patients with a devastating type of dementia that often strikes in middle age, scientists have found intriguing evidence that career choice may influence where the disease takes root in the brain.

The study was led by Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute in collaboration with the Memory and Aging Centre at the University of California, San Francisco and several U.S. and European clinical sites. It appears online today in the Article in Press section of the journal Neuropsychologia, ahead of publication.

Scientists conducted a multi-centre, retrospective chart review of brain imaging and occupation data from 588 patients diagnosed with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), sometimes referred to as frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Among the dementias affecting those 65 years and younger, FTLD is as common as Alzheimer's disease. Like Alzheimer's, it is progressive and fatal. Unlike Alzheimer's, which tends to affect both sides of the brain equally, FTLD often manifests on either the left or the right side of the brain, then becomes more widespread as the disease progresses. Typical symptoms include changes in personality and behaviour, and a decline in language skills.

For this study, each patient's occupation was rated with scores derived from an occupation database published by the U.S. Department of Labor. The scores indicated the skills mandatory for the occupation, including verbal, physical and visuospatial skills. For example, a school principal would receive a higher rating for verbal skills than for visuospatial skills, whereas a flight engineer would show the opposite pattern. Both of these professions would score lower on physical skills than a firefighter.........

Posted by: Daniel      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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