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September 18, 2009, 6:37 PM CT

Tamoxifen Can Also Cause Serious Side Effects

Tamoxifen Can Also Cause Serious Side Effects
Three drugs that reduce a woman's chance of getting breast cancer also have been shown to cause adverse effects, as per a new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

The report is based on a study led by Heidi D. Nelson, M.D., M.P.H., research professor in the Oregon Evidence-Based Practice Center at Oregon Health & Science University and medical director of the Women and Children's Program and Research Center at Providence Health & Services. It is published online in the Sept. 15 issue of theAnnals of Internal Medicine.

The study is the first to make a direct, comprehensive comparison of drugs that reduce the risk of breast cancer so that women and their health care providers can assess their potential effectiveness and adverse effects. It compares the use of tamoxifen, raloxifene and tibolone to reduce the risks of getting breast cancer in women without pre-existing cancer.

Tamoxifen, raloxifene and tibolone can be prescribed to women with a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors, but prescribing practices vary widely. As per the study, all three drugs significantly reduce invasive breast cancer in midlife and older women, but benefits and adverse effects can vary depending on the drug and the patient.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 18, 2009, 6:33 PM CT

New way to calculate body's 'Maximum Weight Limit'

New way to calculate body's 'Maximum Weight Limit'
Most of us are familiar with the term, Body Mass Index, or BMI, as an index to determine healthy body weight. But, calculating BMI involves a complex formula: weight in pounds is multiplied by 703, and then divided by height in inches squared. Charts or online calculators are then used to show a "healthy weight range" given an individual's height that corresponds to the "healthy range BMI." For example, a BMI chart indicates that a healthy range BMI of 19 to 24 translates to a "healthy weight range" of 120 to 150 pounds for a 5-foot, 6-inch individual.

If this sounds way too complicated to you, you're not alone. George Fernandez, a professor of applied statistics and director of the Center for Research Design and Analysis at the University of Nevada, Reno, set out to give people a simpler way of calculating their healthy weight, and one that wouldn't require charts or online calculators. In addition, he doesn't think the "range" approach sticks in individuals' minds.

"We need a "Maximum Weight Limit, or MWL," he said, "one number that we know we can't go over, just like a speed limit".

So, using SAS software and statistical procedures, he discovered a much simpler way of calculating a Maximum Weight Limit, which closely corresponds to weight recommendations listed on BMI charts. But, you don't need to calculate or know your BMI, nor do you need a chart or online calculator to figure out your Maximum Weight Limit. Fernandez will present his Maximum Weight Limit calculation at the Nevada Public Health Association Conference, 1:30 p.m., Sept. 22 at the University of Nevada, Reno's Joe Crowley Student Union, Room 423.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 18, 2009, 6:31 PM CT

Women Benefit From Endurance

Women Benefit From Endurance
Zinta Zarins with one of the 10 subjects who participated in a study of the cardiovascular effects of endurance training - 60 minutes daily on an exercise bicycle - on postmenopausal women. (Credit: George Brooks/UC Berkeley photo)
Marilyn Graham was 56 when she signed up for a grueling hour of cycling each morning for 12 weeks, occasionally decked out in a mask, a heart monitor and a bag of intravenous fluid and subjected to needle pricks to obtain blood samples.

"I was probably the biggest whiner of the group, complaining loudly about the seats and how my butt hurt," said Graham, who writes software for business units on the University of California, Berkeley campus. "It was really intense, and on some days my legs felt like wet noodles. On a cranky day I'd say, 'Let me off this stupid bike!'".

But once the training "kicked in," she said," I was feeling good. I had energy left over at the end of the day, less mental sluggishness. And I dropped two dress sizes without any weight loss".

Graham's experience was typical of the 10 healthy but sedentary women, averaging 55 years of age, who participated in a 2006 study of endurance training in 50-something women.

In two papers based on the experiments and published in recent months, UC Berkeley scientists report that postmenopausal women can achieve the same health benefits from regular, vigorous exercise as younger women do.

"There is some good news here for older women in the population, in that they respond much like younger women do to training," said study leader and exercise physiologist George Brooks, UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology. "The results are very encouraging for exercise without weight loss as an effective means for increasing vigor and controlling risk factors for chronic diseases in older women".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 18, 2009, 6:28 PM CT

New rabies vaccine may require only a single shot

New rabies vaccine may require only a single shot
A person, commonly a child, dies of rabies every 20 minutes. However, only one inoculation appears to be all it takes for rabies vaccination, as per new research reported in the Journal of Infectious Diseases by scientists at the Jefferson Vaccine Center.

A replication-deficient rabies virus vaccine that lacks a key gene called the matrix (M) gene induced a rapid and efficient anti-rabies immune response in mice and non-human primates, as per James McGettigan, Ph.D., assistant professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.

"The M gene is one of the central genes of the rabies virus, and its absence inhibits the virus from completing its life cycle," Dr. McGettigan said. "The virus in the vaccine infects cells and induces an immune response, but the virus is deficient in spreading".

The immune response induced with this process is so substantial that only one inoculation appears to be sufficient enough, as per Dr. McGettigan. In addition, the vaccine may be efficient in both pre-exposure and post-exposure settings.

Currently, the World Health Organization standard for rabies infection is post-exposure prophylaxis. The complex regimen in the United States requires six different shots over 28 days: five of the rabies vaccine and one of rabies immunoglobulin.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 18, 2009, 7:52 AM CT

New vitamin K analysis supports the triage theory

New vitamin K analysis supports the triage theory
Oakland, CA An important analysis conducted by Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute researchers suggests the importance of ensuring optimal dietary intakes of vitamin K to prevent age-related conditions such as bone fragility, arterial and kidney calcification, cardiovascular disease, and possibly cancer (1). Vitamin K is concentrated in dark green plants such as spinach or Swiss chard, and is either not present or present in only small amounts in most multivitamin pills.

This finding comes from Associate Staff Scientist, Joyce McCann, PhD, and Senior Scientist, Bruce Ames, PhD, who analyzed data from hundreds of published articles dating back to the 1970's. Their review was designed to test Dr. Ames' "triage" theory that provides a new basis for determining the optimum intake of individual vitamins and minerals (also called micronutrients), and has major implications for preventive medicine. The analysis, which strongly supports his theory, would be reported in the October 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Dr. Ames proposed the triage theory in 2006 (2,3) to explain numerous observations from his own lab and the scientific literature. The theory explains why diseases linked to aging like cancer, heart disease, and dementia (and the pace of aging itself) appears to be unintended consequences of mechanisms developed during evolution to protect against episodic vitamin/mineral shortages. If correct, the triage theory has widespread implications for public health because modest vitamin/mineral deficiencies are quite common. The theory also suggests a new scientifically based and consistent strategy for establishing optimal vitamin/mineral intake standards, and it provides a research strategy to uncover early biomarkers of chronic disease.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 17, 2009, 7:54 AM CT

Green tea may help improve bone health

Green tea may help improve bone health
Scientists in Hong Kong are reporting new evidence that green tea one of the most popular beverages consumed worldwide and now available as a dietary supplement may help improve bone health. They observed that the tea contains a group of chemicals that can stimulate bone formation and help slow its breakdown. Their findings are in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication. The beverage has the potential to help in the prevention and therapy of osteoporosis and other bone diseases that affect million worldwide, the scientists suggest.

In the newly released study, Ping Chung Leung and his colleagues note that a number of scientific studies have linked tea to beneficial effects in preventing cancer, heart disease, and other conditions. Recent studies in humans and cell cultures suggest that tea may also benefit bone health. But few scientific studies have explored the exact chemicals in tea that might be responsible for this effect.

The researchers exposed a group of cultured bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) to three major green tea components epigallocatechin (EGC), gallocatechin (GC), and gallocatechin gallate (GCG) for several days. They observed that one in particular, EGC, boosted the activity of a key enzyme that promotes bone growth by up to 79 percent. EGC also significantly boosted levels of bone mineralization in the cells, which strengthens bones. The researchers also showed that high concentrations of ECG blocked the activity of a type of cell (osteoclast) that breaks down or weakens bones. The green tea components did not cause any toxic effects to the bone cells, they note.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 17, 2009, 7:52 AM CT

How HIV cripples immune cells

How HIV cripples immune cells
The actin cytoskeleton of human T-lymphocytes (red) in the presence of the stimulus CCL-19. An HIV-1 infection (HIV-1 protein CA in green) leads to the loss of actin reorganization and therefore of cell motility.

Source: Hygiene Institute, Heidelberg University Hospital.
In order to be able to ward off disease pathogens, immune cells must be mobile and be able to establish contact with each other. The working group around Professor Dr. Oliver Fackler in the Virology Department of the Hygiene Institute of the Heidelberg University Hospital has discovered a mechanism in an animal model revealing how HIV, the AIDS pathogen, cripples immune cells: Cell mobility is inhibited by the HIV Nef protein. The study was reported in the highly respected journal "Cell Host & Microbe". This discovery may have pointed the way towards a new therapy approach.

Over 30 million persons worldwide are infected with HIV. Typically, after the initial infection accompanied by acute symptoms, there is a latency period of several years before the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) manifests. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has developed numerous strategies for eluding the body's defenses and the medications administered. The prerequisite for efficient reproduction of the virus in the patient's body is the virus's own Nef protein. Without Nef, the development of AIDS is significantly slowed or even stopped completely. The underlying mechanism of this observation was a complete mystery up to now, however.

HIV modifies the cell structure system of the host cells.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 17, 2009, 7:50 AM CT

Relieving pain affecting millions

Relieving pain affecting millions
An unprecedented gathering of some of Australia's leading authorities in pain medicine, together with consumer groups representing chronic pain sufferers, will meet in Melbourne today to work towards a national, coordinated approach to managing chronic pain.

The meeting has been called in recognition of the fact that one in five Australians will suffer chronic pain in their lifetime and up to 80% of people currently living with chronic pain are missing out on therapy that could improve their health and quality of life.

The MBF Foundation's landmark report, The High Price of Pain, originally highlighted chronic pain's enormous economic and personal burden and its recommendation for a national pain strategy has led to today's meeting, which is being hosted by the Faculty of Pain Medicine at the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) with the Australian Pain Society and Chronic Pain Australia.

Professor Michael Cousins, Chair of the steering committee for the meeting and Director of the Pain Management Research Institute (PMRI), said chronic pain should be considered a disease in its own right and a national health priority.

"Everyone fears severe pain," explains Professor Cousins, "Unfortunately, most of us will face some type of severe pain during our lifetime and yet in 2009 an apparently simple problem such as the management of "acute pain" for example, after surgery or trauma - is still only effectively managed in half of all patients, despite availability of knowledge and techniques to provide effective therapy in 90% of patients.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 15, 2009, 9:46 PM CT

Reading Kafka Improves Learning

Reading Kafka Improves Learning
Reading a book by Franz Kafka -- or watching a film by director David Lynch -- could make you smarter.

As per research by psychology experts at UC Santa Barbara and the University of British Columbia, exposure to the surrealism in, say, Kafka's "The Country Doctor" or Lynch's "Blue Velvet" enhances the cognitive mechanisms that oversee implicit learning functions. The researchers' findings are published in an article reported in the recent issue of the journal Psychological Science.

"The idea is that when you're exposed to a meaning threat -- something that fundamentally does not make sense -- your brain is going to respond by looking for some other kind of structure within your environment," said Travis Proulx, a postdoctoral researcher at UCSB and co-author of the article. "And, it turns out, that structure can be completely uncorrelation to the meaning threat".

Meaning, as per Proulx, is an expected association within one's environment. Fire, for example, is linked to extreme heat, and putting your hand in a flame and finding it icy cold would constitute a threat to that meaning. "It would be very disturbing to you because it wouldn't make sense," he said.

As part of their research, Proulx and Steven J. Heine, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and the article's second co-author, asked a group of subjects to read an abridged and slightly edited version of Kafka's "The Country Doctor," which involves a nonsensical -- and in some ways disturbing -- series of events. A second group read a different version of the same short story, one that had been rewritten so that the plot and literary elements made sense. The subjects were then asked to complete an artificial-grammar learning task in which they were exposed to hidden patterns in letter strings. They were asked to copy the individual letter strings and then to put a mark next to those that followed a similar pattern.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 15, 2009, 9:44 PM CT

The Impact of Stress on Decision Making

The Impact of Stress on Decision Making
We are faced with making decisions all the time. Often, we carefully deliberate the pros and cons of our choices, taking into consideration past experiences in similar situations before making a final decision. However, a newly released study suggests that cognitive stress, such as distraction, can influence this balanced, logical approach to decision making.

Psychology experts Jane Raymond and Jennifer L. O'Brien of Bangor University in the United Kingdom wanted to investigate how cognitive stress affects rational decision making. In this study, participants played a simple gambling game in which they earned money by deciding between stimuliâ€"in this case, two pictures of different faces. Once their selection was made, it was immediately clear if they had won, lost, or broken even. Each face was always linked to the same outcome throughout this task. In the next stage of the experiment, the volunteers were shown each face individually and had to indicate whether they had seen those faces before. Sometimes volunteers were distracted during this task while other times they were not.

The results, published in the current issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reveal that distractions significantly impact decision making. When volunteers were not distracted, they tended to excel at recognizing faces that had been highly predictive of either winning or losing outcomes. However, when they were distracted, they only recognized faces that had been linked to winning.........

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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