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July 12, 2009, 8:46 AM CT

New Alzheimer's disease treatment promising

New Alzheimer's disease treatment promising
Scientists at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have observed that a compound called NIC5-15, might be a safe and effective therapy to stabilize cognitive performance in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. The two investigators, Giulio Maria Pasinetti, M.D., Ph.D. , and Hillel Grossman, M.D., presented Phase IIA preliminary clinical findings at the Alzheimer's Association 2009 International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease (ICAD) in Vienna on Sunday, July 12.

NIC5-15's potential to preserve cognitive performance will be further reviewed in a Phase IIB clinical trial. Early evidence suggests that NIC5-15 is a safe and tolerable natural compound that may reduce the progression of Alzheimer's disease-related dementia by preventing the formation of beta-amyloid plaque, a waxy substance that accumulates between brain cells and impacts cognitive function.

"With Alzheimer's disease affecting 5.2 million Americans, another 5 million with early-state disease, and nearly a half million new cases reported annually, therapys like NIC5-15 would make a significant difference in the lives of a number of Alzheimer's patients," said Dr. Pasinetti, Professor of Psychiatry, Professor of Neuroscience and Professor of Geriatrics and Adult Development, in the Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "We are hopeful that the follow up clinical study will support this preliminary evidence".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 11, 2009, 1:14 PM CT

MRI may help accurately diagnose dementia patients

MRI may help accurately diagnose dementia patients
A new Mayo Clinic study may help physicians differentially diagnose three common neurodegenerative disorders in the future. The study will be presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease on July 11 in Vienna.

In this study, Mayo Clinic scientists developed a framework for MRI-based differential diagnosis of three common neurodegenerative disorders: Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, and Lewy body disease using Structural MRI. Currently, examination of the brain at autopsy is the only way to confirm with certainty that a patient had a specific form of dementia. The framework, which is called "STructural Abnormality iNDex" or STAND-Map, shows promise in accurately diagnosing dementia patients while they are alive. The rationale is that if each neurodegenerative disorder can be linked to a unique pattern of atrophy specific on MRI, then it appears to be possible to differentially diagnose new patients. The study looked at 90 patients from the Mayo Clinic database who were confirmed to have only a single dementia pathology and also underwent an MRI at the time of clinical diagnosis of dementia. Using the STAND-Map framework, scientists predicted an accurate pathological diagnosis 75 to 80 percent of the time.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 6, 2009, 7:45 PM CT

Students with depression twice as likely to drop out of college

Students with depression twice as likely to drop out of college
College students with depression are twice as likely as their classmates to drop out of school, new research shows.

However, the research also indicates that lower grade point averages depended upon a student's type of depression, as per Daniel Eisenberg, assistant professor in the University of Michigan School of Public Health and principal investigator of the study.

There are two core symptoms of depression---loss of interest and pleasure in activities, or depressed mood---but only loss of interest is linked to lower grade point averages.

"The connection between depression and academic performance is mainly driven by loss of interest in activities," Eisenberg said. "This is significant because it means individuals can be very depressed and very functional, depending on which type of depression they have. I believe that this can be true for a number of high achieving people, who may feel down and hopeless but not lose interest in activities.

"Lots of students who have significant depression on some dimension are performing just fine, but appears to be at risk and go unnoticed because there is no noticeable drop in functioning".

Students with both depression and anxiety had particularly poor academic performance.

"If you take a student at the 50th percentile of the GPA distribution and compare them to a student with depression alone, the depressed student would be around the 37th percentile---a 13 percent drop," Eisenberg said. "However, a student with depression and anxiety plummets to about the 23rd percentile, a 50 percent drop."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 4, 2009, 10:58 PM CT

Overweight Kids Experience More Loneliness

Overweight Kids Experience More Loneliness
As childhood obesity rates continue to increase, experts agree that more information is needed about the implications of being overweight as a step toward reversing current trends. Now, a new University of Missouri study has observed that overweight children, particularly girls, show signs of the negative consequences of being overweight as early as kindergarten.

"We observed that both boys and girls who were overweight from kindergarten through third grade displayed more depression, anxiety and loneliness than kids who were never overweight, and those negative feelings worsened over time," said Sara Gable, associate professor of human development and family studies in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences. "Overweight is widely considered a stigmatizing condition and overweight individuals are typically blamed for their situation. The experience of being stigmatized often leads to negative feelings, even in children".

MU scientists used the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K) to examine the social and behavioral development of 8,000 school-age children from kindergarten entry through third grade. The scientists reviewed factors that have not been studied previously: age at becoming overweight and length of time being overweight.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 4, 2009, 10:56 PM CT

Prostate cancer patients who are disease free after 5 years

Prostate cancer patients who are disease free after 5 years
Patients with prostate cancer who receive brachytherapy and remain free of disease for five years or greater are unlikely to have a recurrence at 10 years, as per a research studyin the July 1 issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

Brachytherapy is the placement of radioactive sources in or just next to a tumor either permanently or temporarily, depending upon the cancer.

In the study, scientists at The Mount Sinai Medical Center Departments of Radiation Oncology and Urology in New York followed 742 patients with prostate cancer who were treated with brachytherapy alone, brachytherapy and hormonal treatment, or combined brachytherapy and external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) between 1991 and 2002. None of these patients had recurred during their first five years post-treatment. They observed that the PSA level taken at five years was an indicator of how well a patient would do in the future and the overall chance of being cancer free at 10 years was 97 percent.

Also, none of the study participants developed metastatic disease or died from prostate cancer.

"Our data have indicated that improvements in therapy are continuing and that these will continue to have an effect on prostate brachytherapy data for years to come," Richard Stock, M.D., main author of the study and chairman of radiation oncology at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, said. "Late failure rates will continue to decrease, making prostate brachytherapy alone and combined with hormonal treatment and/or EBRT an increasingly attractive therapy option".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


July 2, 2009, 10:01 PM CT

How tamoxifen stimulates uterine cell growth and cancer

How tamoxifen stimulates uterine cell growth and cancer
UCSF scientists have identified a new "feed-forward" pathway linking estrogen receptors in the membrane of the uterus to a process that increases local estrogen levels and promotes cell growth.

The research is significant in helping determine why tamoxifen and other synthetic estrogens are associated with increased rates of endometriosis and uterine cancer, and identifies a pathway that could be targeted in drug therapies for those diseases, scientists say.

Findings are reported in the July 1, 2009 issue of "Cancer Research," the journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. The paper also can be found online at http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/current.shtml.

The research observed that when activated by estrogens, endometrial cells obtained from patients suffering from endometriosis or human uterine cancer cells initiate a previously unknown cascade of signals that leads to cellular replication and further estrogen production, the paper says.

The ensuing cycle leads to abnormal growth of the cells lining the uterus, or endometrium, which occurs in endometriosis and uterine cancer, as per senior author Holly A. Ingraham, PhD, a professor in the UCSF School of Medicine's Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 25, 2009, 7:26 PM CT

Remembering what to remember and what to forget

Remembering what to remember and what to forget
People in very early stages of Alzheimer's disease already have trouble focusing on what is important to remember, a UCLA psychology expert and his colleagues report.

"One of the first telltale signs of Alzheimer's disease appears to be not memory problems, but failure to control attention," said Alan Castel, UCLA assistant professor of psychology and main author of the study.

The study consisted of three groups: 109 healthy elderly adults (68 of them female), with an average age of just under 75; 54 elderly adults (22 of them female) with very mild Alzheimer's disease, who were functioning fine in their daily lives, with an average age of just under 76; and 35 young adults, with an average age of 19.

They were presented with eight lists of 12 words, one word at a time, each paired with a point value from 1 to 12. A new word with its value was presented on a screen every second. The words were common, like "table," "wallet" and "apple." They were given 30 seconds to recall the words, and were told to maximize their scores, by focusing on remembering the high-value words.

The young adults were selective, remembering more of the high-value words than the low-value words. They recalled an average of 5.7 words out of 12. The healthy elderly adults remembered fewer words, an average of 3.5, but were equally selective in recalling the high-value words.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


June 25, 2009, 6:49 PM CT

Big Tobacco dead by 2047

Big Tobacco dead by 2047
President Barack Obama's signature on a bill this week to grant the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory authority over tobacco was historic, and represents a step in the march to eliminate tobacco use in this country by 2047, two national tobacco experts said today (June 25).

The pair published "Stealing a March in the 21st Century: Accelerating Progress in the 100-Year War Against Tobacco Addiction in the United States" in the recent issue of the American Journal of Public Health Michael Fiore and Timothy Baker, director and associate director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention (UW-CTRI), respectively, chart milestones in beating tobacco addiction and map a battle plan to eradicate tobacco use in the next few decades. The scientists analyzed data from the 1960s, when the first systemic tracking of smoking rates began, until the present.

"Numerous observers have claimed over time that tobacco use has plateaued and progress against its use has stalled," the authors write. "However, the remarkable decline in rates of tobacco use since the 1960s belies this claim and underscores the remarkable success of tobacco control efforts to date."

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show adults smoking between 1965 and 2007 dropped by an average of one half of one percentage point per year, from 42 percent to the current rate of about 20 percent rate. While this rate of decline hasn't occurred each year, the overall decrease has been quite steady.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


June 25, 2009, 6:06 PM CT

Selenium intake may worsen prostate cancer

Selenium intake may worsen prostate cancer
Higher selenium levels in the blood may worsen prostate cancer in some men who already have the disease, as per a research studyby scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute the University of California, San Francisco.

A higher risk of more-aggressive prostate cancer was seen in men with a certain genetic variant found in about 75 percent of the patients with prostate cancer in the study. In those subjects, having a high level of selenium in the blood was linked to a two hundred percent greater risk of poorer outcomes than men with the lowest amounts of selenium. By contrast, the 25 percent of men with a different variant of the same gene and who had high selenium levels were at 40 percent lower risk of aggressive disease. The variants are slightly different forms of a gene that instructs cells to make manganese superoxide dismutase (SOD2), an enzyme that protects the body against harmful oxygen compounds.

The research findings suggest that "if you already have prostate cancer, it appears to be a bad thing to take selenium," says Philip Kantoff, MD, director of Dana-Farber's Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology and senior author of the study that is published by the Journal of Clinical Oncology on its website now and later will be in a print journal. The main author is June Chan, ScD, of the University of California, San Francisco.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


June 25, 2009, 6:01 PM CT

More gene mutations linked to autism risk

More gene mutations linked to autism risk
More pieces in the complex autism inheritance puzzle are emerging in the latest study from a research team including geneticists from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and several collaborating institutions. This study identified 27 different genetic regions where rare copy number variations missing or extra copies of DNA segments were found in the genes of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), but not in the healthy controls. The complex combination of multiple genetic duplications and deletions is thought to interfere with gene function, which can disrupt the production of proteins necessary for normal neurological development.

"We focused on changes in the exons of DNAprotein-coding areas in which deletions or duplications are more likely to directly disrupt biological functions," said study leader Hakon Hakonarson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Applied Genomics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and associate professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "We identified additional autism susceptibility genes, a number of of which, as we previously found, belong to the neuronal cell adhesion molecule family involved in the development of brain circuitry in early childhood." He added that the team discovered a number of "private" gene mutations, those found only in one or a few individuals or familiesan indication of genetic complexity, in which a number of different gene changes may contribute to an autism spectrum disorder.........

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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