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October 20, 2009, 8:38 AM CT

285 million people worldwide have diabetes

285 million people worldwide have diabetes
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) released new data today showing that a staggering 285 million people worldwide have diabetes. The latest figures from the IDF Diabetes Atlas indicate that people in low and middle-income countries (LMCs) are bearing the brunt of the epidemic, and that the disease is affecting far more people of working age than previously believed.

In 1985, the best data available suggested that 30 million people had diabetes worldwide. Fast-forward 15 years and the numbers were revised to just over 150 million. Today, less than 10 years on, the new figures - launched at the 20th World Diabetes Congress in Montreal, Canada - put the number closer to 300 million, with more than half aged between 20 and 60. IDF predicts that, if the current rate of growth continues unchecked, the total number will exceed 435 million in 2030 - a number of more people than the current population of North America.

Professor Jean Claude Mbanya, President of the International Diabetes Federation, voiced concern: "The data from the latest edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas show that the epidemic is out of control. We are losing ground in the struggle to contain diabetes. No country is immune and no country is fully equipped to repel this common enemy".

Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. It is an autoimmune disease in which the body destroys its own insulin-producing cells. People with type 1 diabetes require daily injections of insulin to survive. The majority of all diabetes is type 2 diabetes (85%-95%), which in a number of cases can be prevented. People with type 2 diabetes cannot use the insulin they produce effectively, but can often manage their condition through exercise and diet, eventhough a number of go on to require medication, including insulin, to properly control blood glucose levels. It is estimated 60% or more of type 2 diabetes could be prevented.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 20, 2009, 8:35 AM CT

Chronic illnesses go undiagnosed in uninsured

Chronic illnesses go undiagnosed in uninsured
A newly released study shows uninsured American adults with chronic illnesses like diabetes or high cholesterol often go undiagnosed and undertreated, leading to an increased risk of costly, disabling and even lethal complications of their disease.

The study, published online today [Tuesday] in Health Affairs, analyzed data from a recent national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The researchers, based at Harvard Medical School and the affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance, analyzed data on 15,976 U.S. non-older adults from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a CDC program, between 1999 and 2006.

Respondents answered detailed questions about their health and economic circumstances. Then doctors examined them and ordered laboratory tests.

The study observed that about half of all uninsured people with diabetes (46 percent) or high cholesterol (52 percent) did not know they had these diseases. In contrast, about one-quarter of those with insurance were unaware of their illnesses (23 percent for diabetes, 29.9 percent for high cholesterol).

Undertreatment of disease followed similar patterns, with the uninsured being more likely to be undertreated than their insured counterparts: 58.3 percent vs. 51.4 percent had their hypertension poorly controlled, and 77.5 percent vs. 60.4 percent had their high cholesterol inadequately treated.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 20, 2009, 8:32 AM CT

Major swine flu outbreak at US Air Force Academy

Major swine flu outbreak at US Air Force Academy
With the 2009 influenza season upon us, characterization of the epidemiology and duration of shedding for the nH1N1 virus is critical. Investigators from the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine Epidemiology Consult Service capitalized on a unique opportunity to gain valuable insights about the natural behavior of the nH1N1 virus, including shedding patterns, during a recent large-scale swine flu outbreak at the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA). Their results are reported in an article published online on October 20, 2009 by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine It is the first published study of its kind.

Findings from serial nasal washes indicated the presence of viable virus shedding among about one quarter of confirmed nH1N1 patients sampled on Day 7 from symptom onset. Further, being afebrile and asymptomatic did not guarantee the patient was no longer shedding viable nH1N1 virus; in fact, 19% of those who reported being symptom-free for greater than 24 hours were still found to have viable virus shedding. While viable virus shedding does not necessarily mean the virus can be transmitted, these findings do indicate that the virus may persist even after the individual is feeling well and has returned to work. Furthermore, the results of this study may assist development of appropriate protocols for isolation in high-risk settings or if the scale and/or severity of the current nH1N1 situation increases. The current study also provides groundwork to other researchers for further study of the shedding characteristics of the virus.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 20, 2009, 8:28 AM CT

Do you enjoy drinking vegetable juice?

Do you enjoy drinking vegetable juice?
Decades of studies have documented the link between eating a diet rich in vegetables and multiple health benefits, yet nearly eight out of 10 people worldwide fall short of the daily recommendation. Research presented at the International Symposium on Human Health Effects of Fruits and Vegetables suggests the best approach appears to be to focus on the factors that are often behind this vegetable gap: convenience and enjoyment.

Two studies presented at the symposium observed that the addition of vegetable juice in people's diets was a successful strategy to help them reach the vegetable guidelines (at least 4 servings per day). In fact, the addition of a portable drink, such as V8 100% vegetable juice, was more successful than an approach that focused solely on nutrition education, or offering dietary counseling on ways to increase vegetable intake.

Scientists at the University of California-Davis conducted a 12-week study among adults ages 40-65 years. All of the people in the study who drank at least two cups of vegetable juice met daily vegetable recommendations, yet only seven percent of the non-juice drinkers met the goal. The participants in the study with borderline hypertension who drank one to two servings of V8 juice lowered their blood pressure significantly.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 19, 2009, 7:12 AM CT

Why seizures occur with alcohol withdrawal

Why seizures occur with alcohol withdrawal
Epileptic seizures are the most dramatic and prominent aspect of the "alcohol withdrawal syndrome" that occurs when a person abruptly stops a long-term or chronic drinking habit. Scientists have shown that the flow of calcium ions into brain cells via voltage-gated calcium channels plays an important role in the generation of alcohol withdrawal seizures, because blocking this flow suppresses these seizures. But do the changes in calcium currents contribute to alcohol withdrawal seizures or are they a consequence of the seizures?

Using a careful analysis of correlations between the course of alcohol withdrawal seizures and the expression of calcium currents, Georgetown University Medical Center scientists observed that the enhancement of total calcium current density in pre-clinical animal studies occur previous to the onset of alcohol withdrawal seizures. The research presented at 39th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience also shows that calcium currents remain enhanced during the period of seizure susceptibility, but return to control levels when the period of seizure susceptibility is over.

"These preliminary findings are the first to indicate that altered calcium channel activity contributes to the occurrence of alcohol withdrawal seizures," explains main author, Prosper N'Gouemo, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at GUMC. "The next step in our research is to determine which types of voltage-gated calcium channels contribute to the enhanced current density that takes place before the onset of alcohol withdrawal seizures so a potential therapy can be developed".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 19, 2009, 7:10 AM CT

Gleevec may be helpful in sclerodema

Gleevec may be helpful in sclerodema
Investigators have identified a drug that is currently approved to treat certain types of cancer, Gleevec, that could provide the first therapy for scleroderma, a chronic connective tissue disease for which a therapy has remained elusive. The news will be presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology on October 18 in Philadelphia.

"There has never been a drug that has been shown to be effective for this condition. I think there is a very good chance of Gleevec becoming a real therapy for a previously untreatable disease," said Robert Spiera, M.D., an associate attending rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery who led the study.

For the study, researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery enrolled 30 patients with diffuse scleroderma, a widespread severe form of the disease, and gave them 400 mg of Gleevec per day. Patients were reviewed monthly for 12 months during therapy and were seen for follow-up three months after discontinuing the drug.

To measure the effectiveness of the drug, scientists used a tool known as the modified Rodnan skin score, a measure of how much skin is affected by the disease. "The skin score seems to be a very good marker of disease status and most scleroderma trials use this as an outcome measure," said Dr. Spiera, who is also an associate professor at Weill Cornell Medical College. The researchers also measured lung function using tests for forced vital capacity (FVC), the maximum volume of air that a person can exhale after maximum inhalation, and diffusion capacity, a measurement of the lung's capacity to transfer gases. Lung disease is the main cause of mortality in scleroderma.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 19, 2009, 7:08 AM CT

Making depression treatments better

Making depression treatments better
New research clarifies how neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine, are regulated a finding that may help fine-tune therapies for depression.

Current drugs for depression target the regulatory process for neurotransmitters, and while effective in some cases, do not appear to work in other cases.

Recent findings suggest that synucleins, a family of small proteins in the brain, are key players in the management of neurotransmitters -- specifically, alpha- and gamma-synuclein. Additionally, scientists have found elevated levels of gamma-synuclein in the brains of both depressed animals and humans.

In a study presented at the 39th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Georgetown University Medical Center scientists observed increased depressive-like behavior in mice where gamma-synuclein acts alone to regulate neurotransmitters, confirming earlier studies by this group.

"These findings show the importance of, and clarify a functional role for, gamma synuclein in depression and may provide new therapeutic targets in therapy of this disease," says Adam Oaks, a student researcher in the Laboratory of Molecular Neurochemistry at GUMC. "Understanding how current therapies work with the synucleins is important because the drugs don't work for all patients, and some are linked to side effects including an increased risk of suicide".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 19, 2009, 7:05 AM CT

Exercise after your radiation therapy

Exercise after your radiation therapy
Exercise is a key factor in improving both memory and mood after whole-brain radiation therapys in rodents, as per data presented by Duke University researchers at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.

"This is the first demonstration that exercise can prevent a decline in memory after whole-brain radiation therapy," said lead researcher and graduate student Sarah Wong-Goodrich of the Duke Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Whole-brain radiation is sometimes used to treat brain cancers in humans.

"We observed that exercise following radiation prevented a decline in erasable memory in mice and this is analogous to the type of memory problems people have after whole-brain radiation for brain tumors," said senior researcher Christina Williams, Ph.D., professor of psychology and neuroscience. "This is the type of short-term memory people use to find their car after they have parked it in a large lot. After radiation, this type of memory becomes impaired in a number of people."

In the experiment, one group of mice that had brain radiation stayed in their cages under normal conditions, living with other mice, eating and playing as they liked. But a different group of mice that had radiation were given daily access to a cage with a running wheel, which they could use if they wanted to.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 19, 2009, 6:52 AM CT

New chromosomal abnormality identified in leukemia

New chromosomal abnormality identified in leukemia
Scientists identified a new chromosomal abnormality in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that appears to work in concert with another mutation to give rise to cancer. This latest anomaly is especially common in children with Down syndrome.

The findings have already resulted in new diagnostic tests and potential tools for tracking a patient's response to therapy. The research, led by researchers from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, also highlights a new potential ALL therapy. Clinicians are already planning trials of an experimental medicine targeting one of the altered genes.

This study is reported in the October 18 online edition of Nature Genetics

"A substantial proportion of children with ALL lack one of the previously identified, common chromosomal abnormalities. Also, children with Down syndrome have an increased risk of ALL, but the reasons why are unclear," said Charles Mullighan, M.D., Ph.D., assistant member in the St. Jude Department of Pathology. Mullighan is senior author of the study, which involved researchers from 10 institutions in the U.S. and Italy. "Our results have provided important data regarding the mechanisms contributing to leukemia in these cases," he said.

Instead of the normal pairs of 23 chromosomes, individuals with Down syndrome inherit an extra copy of one chromosome, in this case chromosome 21. Chromosomes are made of DNA and carry the genes that serve as the assembly and operations manual for life. Down syndrome is linked to a variety of medical and developmental problems, including a 10-to-20fold increased risk of ALL. But patients with Down syndrome rarely have the genetic and chromosomal alterations usually linked to childhood ALL. Until recently the genetic basis of the elevated risk for these patients was unknown.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 19, 2009, 6:51 AM CT

Migraine sufferers, beware

Migraine sufferers, beware
Migraine sufferers, beware. You appears to be more prone to an alcohol-induced headache after a night of drinking, as per scientists from the Jefferson Headache Center. The research will be presented at Neuroscience 2009, the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, in Chicago.

Until now, studying the mechanism behind migraine and other forms of recurrent headaches has not been possible in an animal model, as per Michael Oshinsky, Ph.D., assistant professor of Neurology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, and a member of the Jefferson Headache Center team. In order to facilitate the study of migraine, Dr. Oshinsky developed a rat model in which headaches are induced by repeatedly stimulating, over weeks to months, the brain's dura mater with an inflammatory mixture.

Dr. Oshinsky and Christina Maxwell, a Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience program at the Jefferson College of Graduate Studies, used their rat model to study the effects of alcohol on rats who suffer recurrent migraines, in comparison to rats that do not get headaches. They analyzed four groups of rats: two groups received repeated dural simulation, followed by an oral ingestion of saline or alcohol (the equivalent of one to two shots of liquor). Two control groups received no inflammatory stimulation, and received the similar oral ingestion of saline or alcohol.........

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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