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November 24, 2009, 11:26 AM CT

How obese patients react to diet?

How obese patients react to diet?
he presence of increased body fat, and therefore higher levels of inflammatory substances in the blood, hinders the loss and maintenance of body weight; as shown by a research project of the University of Navarra conducted by Estbaliz Goyenechea Soto, a scientist at the School of Pharmacy.

The project, entitled "A nutrigenetic and nutrigenomic study in relation to the control of body weight and inflammation," examines how the individual genetics of obese patients can help or hinder weight loss when dieting and even influence the subsequent long term maintenance of their weight loss.

Some overweight or obese people have mutated or altered genes that initially make it difficult to lose weight and later make it easier to regain lost body weight in a period of six months or a year. This problem occurs similarly in patients who have higher levels of inflammatory substances in their blood.

This genetic predisposition, along with external and personal factors such as inadequate dietary habits or physical inactivity, predispose patients to obesity and the complications that arise from it (diabetes, hypercholesterolemia and high blood pressure) which in turn increase cardiovascular risk.

The future: customized diets

The study, conducted by the Department of Food Sciences, Physiology and Toxicology has provided new data on the genetic and plasma biomarkers that predict the response of obese patients to specific diets. The goal is to develop customized therapeutic strategies in the near future based on the genetic characteristics of each person.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 24, 2009, 11:22 AM CT

What makes obese people develop diabetes?

What makes obese people develop diabetes?
Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes.
A number of people who are overweight or obese develop insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes at some stage in their lives. A European research team has now discovered that obese people have large amounts of the molecule CXCL5, produced by certain cells in fatty tissue.

The main risk factors for type 2 diabetes are obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. The biomedical community has known for a number of years that substances produced by fatty tissue are responsible for the link between obesity and diabetes. "Chronic inflammation of the adipose tissue, which is characteristic of obese people, is a crucial stage in the development of insulin resistence and type 2 diabetes", Lluis Fajas, main author of the study and a researcher at the Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) in France, told SINC.

The results of this newly released study show that serum levels of a chemokine molecule called CXCL5, produced by certain adipose tissue cells, appear at much high levels in the tissues of obese people than in those of individuals with normal weight. This has helped Lluis Fajas's research team to come to a biomedically relevant conclusion: "The CXCL5 molecule helps cause insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes".

The most important part of this study, reported in the journal Cell Metabolism, is the discovery that an experimental therapy aimed at inhibiting the action of CXCL5 can help to protect obese mice from develping type 2 diabetes. "If these studies can be confirmed in humans, this therapy would represent a fundamental improvement in the quality of life of obese individuals", the researcher concludes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 24, 2009, 11:20 AM CT

Involving family in medical rounds

Involving family in medical rounds
Involving family members of pediatric cancer and hematology patients in medical rounds benefits both the family and the medical team, as per a new Indiana University School of Medicine study.

Riley Hospital for Children, where the study was conducted, is now one of only a small number of hospitals nationwide routinely offering the parents of pediatric cancer and hematology patients the opportunity to join their child's medical team as active participants in the discussion and planning of their son's or daughter's care.

Medical rounds in hospitals across the United States have changed over the years. They have evolved from formal didactic presentations conducted with great pomp in auditoriums with theater seating where the patient sat quietly on display; to bedside rounds as portrayed in television programs such as Scrubs, Grey's Anatomy and House. The current practice of sit-down team rounds physically removed from the family and patient have become standard due to heighted sensitivity to medical privacy.

The composition of rounding teams has evolved as well. At leading medical institutions, like Riley Hospital, the rounding team has expanded to include nurses, social workers, nutritionists, clinical pharmacists, and others in addition to the traditional medical students, residents, fellows and the attending physician. The more medical participants involved, the less likely parents were to participate as team rounds moved from the bedside to the conference room.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 23, 2009, 8:23 AM CT

High blood pressure and kidney disease

High blood pressure and kidney disease
Susan Furth MD, PhD
Susan Furth, M.D., Ph.D.

Spot blood pressure readings in children with chronic kidney disease often fail to detect high blood pressure - even during doctor's office visits - increasing a child's risk for serious heart problems, as per research from Johns Hopkins Children's Center and other institutions. A report of the findings appears online in the Journal of American Society of Nephrology.

Scientists compared blood pressure measurements obtained during regular doctor visits to readings obtained via a special device the children wore at home that automatically recorded their blood pressure every 20 minutes.

Of the 198 children in the study, nearly 40 percent had "masked" hypertension, meaning their blood pressure was normal at the doctor's office, but spiked outside of it.

An even more disturbing finding: Children with masked high blood pressure were four times more likely to have a form of hypertension-related heart damage called left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) than children with normal blood pressure, scientists report. LVH is a common consequence of untreated high blood pressure that results in a thickening of the left chamber of the heart and that over time can lead to heart failure and heart rhythm disturbances.

"Taking blood pressure at the doctor's office clearly misses a number of cases of masked hypertension," says Susan Furth, M.D., Ph.D., a pediatric nephrologist at Hopkins Children's and one of the study's principal investigators. "This means children with chronic kidney disease should have their blood pressure taken at home several times a day and regularly reported to their doctors." An overnight monitor, like the one used in the study, that automatically takes a child's blood pressure every 20 minutes is great, but some insurance companies won't pay for it, researchers say.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 20, 2009, 8:48 AM CT

Depression in the mother and asthma in the child

Depression in the mother and asthma in the child
Kristin Riekert, PhD
Asthma symptoms can worsen in children with depressed mothers, as per research from Johns Hopkins Children's Center published online in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

Analyzing data from interviews with 262 mothers of African-American children with asthma - a population disproportionately affected by this inflammatory airway disorder - the Hopkins researchers observed that children whose mothers had more depressive symptoms had more frequent asthma symptoms during the six-months of the study. On the other hand, children whose mothers reported fewer depressive symptoms had less frequent asthma symptoms.

Scientists tracked ups and downs in maternal depression as correlation to the frequency of symptoms among children.

"Even though our research was not set up to measure just how much a mom's depression increased the frequency of her child's symptoms, a clear pattern emerged in which the latter followed the earlier," says senior investigator Kristin Riekert, Ph.D., a pediatric psychology expert and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Adherence Research Center.

But while maternal depression appeared to aggravate a child's asthma, the opposite was not true: How often a child had symptoms did not seem to affect the mother's depressive symptoms, an important finding that suggests maternal depression is an independent risk factor that can portend a child's symptoms, scientists say.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 20, 2009, 8:44 AM CT

A new weapon against allergies and asthma

A new weapon against allergies and asthma
Researchers at Johns Hopkins and their colleagues have developed sugar-coated polymer strands that selectively kill off cells involved in triggering aggressive allergy and asthma attacks. Their advance is a significant step toward crafting pharmaceuticals to fight these often life-endangering conditions in a new way.

For more than a decade, a team led by Bruce S. Bochner, M.D., director of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has studied a unique protein known as Siglec-8. This protein, whose name is an acronym for Sialic Acid-binding, Immunoglobulin-like LECtin number 8, is present on the surfaces of a few types of immune cells, including eosinophils, basophils and mast cells. These different cell types have diverse but cooperative roles in normal immune function and allergic diseases. When functioning correctly, they are a valuable aid to keeping the body healthy and infection-free. However, in allergic reactions and asthma attacks, the cells unleash an overwhelming response that typically harms the body more than it helps.

The scientists found in prior studies that when they bound antibodies that specifically target Siglec-8 to the protein on eosinophils, the cells promptly died, an effect that might be useful in stemming an allergy or asthma attack. Since producing antibodies can be expensivea potential roadblock to using them as pharmaceuticals in the futurethe scientists sought another way to activate this protein.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 20, 2009, 8:39 AM CT

Supplying prescriptions as three month supply

Supplying prescriptions as three month supply
Purchasing prescription drugs in a three-month supply rather than a one-month supply has long been regarded as a way to reduce the cost of drugs for patients and third-party payers. New research from the University of Chicago quantifies the savings for the first time.

An analysis of 26,852 prescriptions filled for 395 different drugs from 2000-2005 showed that patients who purchased their drugs in three-month supplies rather than with one-month supplies saved on average 29% in out-of-pocket costs. After factoring in third-party payers, including Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies, total savings averaged 18%.

"These savings may not seem large to some, but they could help trim the cost of health care, which is particularly important given the nationwide debate about how to finance health care reform," said G. Caleb Alexander, MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center and senior author of the study, which will be published in print November 20, 2009, in Applied Health Economics & Health Policy

Eventhough prescription drug costs represent only about 10% of the nation's total health care bill, they are one of the fastest growing sectors and affect a large proportion of patients.

"No matter what any health care reform package looks like, millions of Americans are burdened by prescription drugs costs, and this is one important way to help relieve that burden," Alexander said. "Other methods to lower prescription drug costs include substituting generic drugs for brand-name drugs and discontinuing non-essential medicines".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 19, 2009, 0:05 AM CT

Transcendental meditation for college students

Transcendental meditation for college students
The Transcendental Meditation technique appears to be an effective method to reduce blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and anger among at-risk college students, as per a newly released study to be reported in the American Journal of Hypertension, December 2009.

"The Transcendental Meditation Program, a widely-used standardized program to reduce stress, showed significant decreases in blood pressure and improved mental health in young adults at risk for hypertension," said David Haaga, PhD, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at American University in Washington, D.C.

This study was conducted at American University with 298 university students randomly allocated to either the Transcendental Meditation technique or wait-list control over a three-month intervention period. A subgroup of 159 subjects at risk for high blood pressure was analyzed separately. At baseline and after three months, blood pressure, psychological distress, and coping ability were assessed.

For the students at risk for developing hypertension, significant improvements were observed in blood pressure, psychological distress and coping. In comparison to the control group, students practicing the Transcendental Meditation program showed reductions of 6.3 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure and 4.0 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure. These reductions are linked to a 52% lower risk for development of high blood pressure in later years.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 19, 2009, 0:02 AM CT

Morphine may stimulate cancer growth

Morphine may stimulate cancer growth
Eventhough morphine has been the gold-standard therapy for postoperative and chronic cancer pain for two centuries, a growing body of evidence is showing that opiate-based painkillers can stimulate the growth and spread of cancer cells. Two new studies advance that argument and demonstrate how shielding lung cancer cells from opiates reduces cell proliferation, invasion and migration in both cell-culture and mouse models.

The reports--to be presented November 18, 2009, at "Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics," a joint meeting in Boston of the American Association for Cancer Research, the National Cancer Institute, and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer--highlight the mu opiate receptor, where morphine works, as a potential therapeutic target.

"If confirmed clinically, this could change how we do surgical anesthesia for our cancer patients," said Patrick A. Singleton, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center and principal author of both studies. "It also suggests potential new applications for this novel class of drugs which should be explored".

The proposition that opiates influence cancer recurrence, prompted by several unrelated clinical and laboratory studies, has gradually gained support. It started with a 2002 palliative-care trial in which patients who received spinal rather than systemic pain relief survived longer. Soon after that, Singleton's colleague, anesthesiologist Jonathan Moss, noticed that several cancer patients receiving a selective opiate blocker in a compassionate-use protocol lived longer than expected. Two recent retrospective studies observed that breast and patients with prostate cancer who received regional rather than general anesthesia had fewer recurrences. In February, 2009, the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation highlighted the issue.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 19, 2009, 0:00 AM CT

Vitamin A deficiency in women

Vitamin A deficiency in women
Almost half of UK women could be suffering from a lack of vitamin A due to a previously undiscovered genetic variation, researchers at Newcastle University have found.

The team, led by Dr Georg Lietz, has shown that almost 50 per cent of women have a genetic variation which reduces their ability to produce sufficient amounts of vitamin A from beta-carotene.

Vitamin A also known as retinol plays a vital role in strengthening our immune system, protecting us against common infections such as flu and winter vomiting. Vitamin A also helps to maintain healthy skin and mucus linings such as inside the nose and the lungs.

In 1987, an American study observed that excessive use of vitamin A during pregnancy was linked to certain birth defects. Beta-carotene, however, was deemed to be safe and this led to the general advice that we should eat more of this nutrient, allowing the body to convert what it needs into vitamin A.

However, Dr Lietz' latest research reported in the FASEB Journal and presented this month at the 2nd Hohenheim Nutrition Conference in Stuttgart shows that for a number of women, beta-carotene is not an effective substitute for vitamin A.

Dr Lietz explained: "Vitamin A is incredibly important especially at this time of year when we are all trying to fight off the winter colds and flu.........

Posted by: Janet      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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