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February 27, 2009, 6:20 AM CT

How to treat post-burn itching?

How to treat post-burn itching?
Dr. Vincent Gabriel
Mr. Mashburn, a worker at a paper-recycling plant, fell through a loose grate and into a sump pit in September 2008 as he was preparing to inspect a steam valve. Super hot condensate, at a temperature of at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit, enveloped his legs instantly, searing skin up to his thighs.

A co-worker was able to pull Mr. Mashburn out of the pit within 30 seconds, sparing him a worse fate, but he was left with first-, second- and third-degree burns on both legs.

"Once I got out and pulled my pants and my boots off, I remember just watching the skin peel away like you were taking a ladies stocking off. That's how fast the skin went away," he recalled.

Mr. Mashburn, 56, was airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, where he received skin grafts on his right leg and both ankles before returning to his Rockwall County home for rehabilitation. His wounds are healing, but the resulting itching requires the application of moisturizing lotion several times a day to relieve the constant sensory irritation.

"Every day on a scale of one to 10, it's about a 3 or a 4. If the moisturizing lotion wears off, if the skin dries and starts to flake and gets a sunburned look, it gets to 8 or 9 on the itch scale. It's pretty intense," Mr. Mashburn said. "If you've ever had a really bad case of poison ivy, that's what it's like".........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


February 27, 2009, 6:03 AM CT

The obesity paradox

The obesity paradox
It's called the obesity paradox. Although obese people are more apt to suffer from inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, they are also more likely to survive a major attack caused by one of those conditions.

University of Illinois scientists Gregory Freund and Christina Sherry shed light on the reasons for this phenomenon in a study in this month's issue of Endocrinology

"Fat is a very complex and active tissueit has important functions beyond providing energy and insulating us from the cold," said Freund, a professor in the U of I College of Medicine's Department of Pathology and a faculty member in the U of I Division of Nutritional Sciences.

"We now know that leptin, a hormone secreted by fat tissue, plays a key role in regulating the immune system. When we exposed mice to hypoxia (simulating an event, such as a heart attack, in which a part of the body is deprived of oxygen), leptin triggered the immune system to increase production of an anti-inflammatory molecule, interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA)," he said.

"And, when we gave non-obese mice leptin injections, they recovered three times faster. Leptin did not hasten recovery though in IL-1RA knockout mice," Sherry said. That earlier work was published in a recent issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 26, 2009, 11:15 PM CT

Statins lower stroke severity

Statins lower stroke severity
Mayo Clinic scientists have shown that patients who were taking statins before a stroke experienced better outcomes and recovery than patients who weren't on the drug even when their cholesterol levels were ideal. The finding is published in the current issue of the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases

"We were trying to determine if the daily use of statins had more of an impact on stroke patients than simply lowering their "bad" (low-density lipid) cholesterol," explains lead researcher Latha Stead, M.D. "We already knew statin use improved outcomes in general, so we focused on the patients who had optimal LDL levels and found it still had quite significant value".

Statins or reductase inhibitors are enzymes that are widely used to improve cardiovascular health and, more recently, for certain vascular conditions in the brain. One use has been to lower the level of LDL which can contribute to arterial blockages.



Significance of the Research


Prior scientists had shown a lower death rate and improved function in strokes when people had used statins. The Mayo team observed that statin used in this cohort also decreased the severity of the strokes and significantly improved overall outcomes. The scientists say this shows benefits far beyond lowering lipid levels. Scientists think the specific benefits may include plaque stabilization and improved cell function in vascular walls, as well as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant factors. More studies are needed to pinpoint the specific benefits.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


February 26, 2009, 11:11 PM CT

Why teeth form in a single row?

Why teeth form in a single row?
A system of opposing genetic forces determines why mammals develop a single row of teeth, while sharks sport several, as per a research studypublished recently in the journal Science When completely understood, the genetic program described in the study may help guide efforts to re-grow missing teeth and prevent cleft palate, one of the most common birth defects.

Gene expression is the process by which information stored in genes is converted into proteins that make up the body's structures and carry its messages. As the baby's face takes shape in the womb, the development of teeth and palate are tightly controlled in space and time by gene expression. Related abnormalities result in the development of teeth outside of the normal row, missing teeth and cleft palate, and the new insights suggest ways to combat these malformations.

The current study adds an important detail to the understanding of the interplay between biochemicals that induce teeth formation, and others that restrict it, to result in the correct pattern. Specifically, scientists discovered that turning off a single gene in mice resulted in development of extra teeth, next to and inside of their first molars. While the study was in mice, past studies have shown that the involved biochemical players are active in humans as well.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


February 26, 2009, 6:30 AM CT

Low-cal diets promote weight loss

Low-cal diets promote weight loss
Heart-healthy diets that reduce calorie intakeregardless of differing proportions of fat, protein, or carbohydratecan help overweight and obese adults achieve and maintain weight loss, as per a research studyfunded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, and published Feb., 26, 2009, in the New England Journal (NEJM)

Scientists from the Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies (POUNDS LOST) study found similar weight loss after six months and two years among participants assigned to four diets that differed in their proportions of these three major nutrients. The diets were low or high in total fat (20 or 40 percent of calories) with average or high protein (15 or 25 percent of calories). Carbohydrate content ranged from 35 to 65 percent of calories. The diets all used the same calorie reduction goals and were heart-healthylow in saturated fat and cholesterol while high in dietary fiber.

On average, participants lost 13 pounds at six months and maintained a 9 pound loss at two years. Participants also reduced their waistlines by 1 to 3 inches by the end of the study. Craving, fullness, hunger, and diet satisfaction were all similar across the four diets.

"These results show that, as long as people follow a heart-healthy, reduced-calorie diet, there is more than one nutritional approach to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight," said Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., director, NHLBI. "This provides people who need to lose weight with the flexibility to choose an approach that they're most likely to sustainone that is most suited to their personal preferences and health needs".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 26, 2009, 6:26 AM CT

New piece in Alzheimer's puzzle

New piece in Alzheimer's puzzle
Yale scientists have filled in a missing gap on the molecular road map of Alzheimer's disease.

In the Feb. 26 issue of the journal Nature, the Yale team reports that cellular prion proteins trigger the process by which amyloid-beta peptides block brain function in Alzheimer's patients.

"It has been a black box," said Stephen M. Strittmatter, senior author of the study and the Vincent Coates Professor of Neurology and director of Cellular Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration and Repair at the Yale School of Medicine. "We have known that amyloid-beta is bad for the brain, but we have not known exactly how amyloid-beta does bad things to neurons".

After an extensive gene expression analysis, the first step in amyloid-beta damage appears to involve cellular prion proteins. These proteins are normally harmless and exist within all cells, but on rare occasions they change shape and cause notorious prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt- Jacob disease, or its well-known variant, mad cow disease.

When the Yale team searched hundreds of thousands of candidates for potential disease-mediating receptors for the specific amyloid-beta form known to play a role in the development of Alzheimer's disease, the most likely candidate was cellular prion proteins. It seems that amyloid-beta peptides latch onto these cellular prion proteins and precipitate the damage in brain cells.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


February 26, 2009, 6:24 AM CT

There is precise communication across brain areas during sleep

There is precise communication across brain areas during sleep
-By listening in on the chatter between neurons in various parts of the brain, scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have taken steps toward fully understanding just how memories are formed, transferred, and ultimately stored in the brain--and how that process varies throughout the various stages of sleep.

Their findings, reported in the February 26 issue of the journal Neuron, may someday even help researchers understand why dreams are so difficult to remember.

Researchers have long known that memories are formed in the brain's hippocampus, but are stored elsewhere--most likely in the neocortex, the outer layer of the brain. Transferring memories from one part of the brain to the other requires changing the strength of the connections between neurons and is thought to depend on the precise timing of the firing of brain cells.

"We know that if neuron A in the hippocampus fires consistently right before neuron B in the neocortex, and if there is a connection from A to B, then that connection will be strengthened," explains Casimir Wierzynski, a Caltech graduate student in computation and neural systems, and first author on the Neuron paper. "And so we wanted to understand the timing relationships between neurons in the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, which is the front portion of the neocortex".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


February 26, 2009, 6:21 AM CT

Physical therapy effective for low-back ache

Physical therapy effective for low-back ache
A new review article reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons should help convince a number of patients with low back pain to consider physical treatment as a first line of therapy for their condition, as per the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The review, published in February 2009, recommends that in most cases of symptomatic lumbar degenerative disc disease, a common cause of low back pain (LBP), the most effective therapy is physical treatment combined with anti-inflammatory medications. Approximately 75 to 85 percent of adults will be affected by low back pain during their lifetimes.1.

Symptomatic lumbar degenerative disc disease develops when a disc weakens (often due to repetitive strain), is injured, or deteriorates from aging. As a result, the disc is unable to hold the vertebrae as it should and the lack of stability can cause back pain.

The review details the different therapy methods for symptomatic lumbar degenerative disc disease, including physical treatment with the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and concludes that, in most patients with low back pain, symptoms resolve without surgical intervention. The review also concludes that physical treatment and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the "cornerstones" of non-surgical therapy.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


February 26, 2009, 6:15 AM CT

Your location and availability of healthy food

Your location and availability of healthy food
The availability of healthy food choices and your quality of diet is linked to where you live, as per two studies conducted by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Scientists examined healthy food availability and diet quality among Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Md., residents and observed that availability of healthy foods was linked to quality of diet and 46 percent of lower-income neighborhoods had a low availability of healthy foods. The results are reported in the March 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the December 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

"Place of residence plays a larger role in dietary health than previously estimated," said Manuel Franco, MD, PhD, main author of the studies and an associate with the Bloomberg School's Department of Epidemiology. "Our findings show that participants who live in neighborhoods with low healthy food availability are at an increased risk of consuming a lower quality diet. We also observed that 24 percent of the black participants lived in neighborhoods with a low availability of healthy food compared with 5 percent of white participants."

Scientists conducted a cross-sectional study to examine the association between the availability of healthy foods and diet quality among 759 participants of a population-based cardiovascular cohort study, the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Using a food frequency questionnaire, Franco, along with colleagues from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the University of Michigan and the University of Texas, summarized diet into two dietary patterns reflecting low and high quality diet. The availability of healthy foods was assessed by examining food stores within MESA participants' neighborhood or census tract, their closest food store and all food stores within one mile of the participants' residence. Availability of healthy foods in each food store was assessed by measuring the availability of items like fresh fruits and vegetables, skim milk and whole wheat bread as recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Their findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 26, 2009, 6:12 AM CT

The genes you inherit and your risk of stroke

The genes you inherit and your risk of stroke
A Bayesian network showing the relationship and interactions between individual genetic predictors (blue spheres) and stroke (red sphere). The predictive influence of race on stroke is also included (yellow sphere).
A new statistical model could be used to predict an individual's lifetime risk of stroke, finds a study from the Children's Hospital Informatics Program (CHIP). Using genetic information from 569 hospital patients, the scientists showed that their predictive model could estimate an individual's overall risk of cardioembolic stroke -- the most common form of stroke -- with 86 percent accuracy. The findings are published in the recent issue of Stroke.

"For complex diseases like stroke, it's not just a single mutation that will kill you," explains CHIP researcher Marco Ramoni, PhD, the study's senior author, who is also an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. "More likely it is an interaction of a number of factors".

Ramoni, in collaboration with Karen Furie, MD, the director of the stroke unit at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and Rachel Ramoni, DMD, ScD, of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, identified 569 patients that had presented to MGH's emergency department and outpatient neurology clinics between 2002 and 2005 with symptoms of suspected stroke. They collected genetic information from the 146 patients with confirmed cardioembolic stroke, and 423 controls who were followed and found not to have stroke, and looked for 1,313 genetic variants (called single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs) known to correlate with stroke. The SNPs that each patient had were then entered into the model -- known as a Bayesian network -- which not only identified the genetic variants that correlated with stroke, but also determined how these factors interplayed and the strength of these interactions.........

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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