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November 23, 2010, 8:03 AM CT

HIV drugs interfere with blood sugar

HIV drugs interfere with blood sugar
The same powerful drugs that have extended the lives of countless people with HIV come with a price - insulin resistance that can lead to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Now, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have determined why that happens. Their research shows that HIV protease inhibitors directly interfere with the way blood sugar levels are controlled in the body. This leads to insulin resistance, a condition that occurs when the body produces enough insulin but doesn't use it properly.

This confirmation provides the potential to develop safer antiviral drugs.

Paul Hruz, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics and of cell biology and physiology at the School of Medicine, and his team observed that first-generation protease inhibitors, including the drug ritonavir, block GLUT4, a protein that transports glucose from the blood into the cells where it is needed. This raises blood sugar levels - a hallmark of diabetes.

"Our lab has established that one of the effects of these drugs is blocking glucose transport, one of most important steps in how insulin works," says Hruz, senior author of the study reported in the Nov. 19 Journal of Biological Chemistry. "Now that we've identified the main mechanism, we will look to develop new drugs that treat HIV but don't cause diabetes".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


November 23, 2010, 7:54 AM CT

Thermotherapy instead of chemotherapy?

Thermotherapy instead of chemotherapy?
Ishwar Puri, professor and head of the engineering science and mechanics department at Virginia Tech, is a member of the research team that introduced thermotherapy to destroy cancer cells.

Credit: Virginia Tech Photo

Using hyperthermia, Virginia Tech engineering scientists and a colleague from India unveiled a new method to target and destroy malignant cells. The research was presented at the 63rd annual meeting of the American Physical Society Nov. 23 in Long Beach, Calif.

The cancer therapy uses hyperthermia to elevate the temperature of tumor cells, while keeping the surrounding healthy tissue at a lower degree of body heat. The researchers used both in vitro and in vivo experiments to confirm their findings.

The collaborators are Monrudee Liangruksa, a Virginia Tech graduate student in engineering science and mechanics, and her thesis adviser, Ishwar Puri, professor and head of the department, along with Ranjan Ganguly of the department of power engineering at Iadavpur Univesity, Kolkata, India.

Liangruska of Bangkok, Thailand, presented the paper at the meeting.

In an interview previous to the presentation, Puri explained that to further perfect the technique they used ferrofluids to induce the hyperthermia. A ferrofluid is a liquid that becomes strongly magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field. The magnetic nanoparticles are suspended in the non-polar state.

"These fluids can then be magnetically targeted to malignant tissues after intravenous application," Puri said. "The magnetic nanoparticles, each billionths of a meter in size, seep into the tissue of the tumor cell due to the high permeability of these vessels."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 23, 2010, 7:51 AM CT

Role of dietitians in diabetes management

Role of dietitians in diabetes management
St. Louis, MO, November 23, 2010 Proper nutrition treatment is essential for the successful management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and registered dietitians (RDs) can play a key role as part of the health care team. An article in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reviews the evidence and nutrition practice recommendations presented in the American Dietetic Association Nutrition Practice Guidelines for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in Adults. This complete and systematic review presents 29 key nutrition practice guidelines in order to best support people with diabetes.

As per Marion J Franz, MS, RD, main author and noted nutrition consultant, "This publication has evaluated the process for developing the guidelines, identified major and contributing factors for diabetes nutrition treatment, evaluated and summarized research, and stated the nutrition practice recommendations that are to be integrated into the nutrition care process. The nutrition practice guidelines provide recommendations for assessing client/patient needs and for selecting interventions, monitoring and evaluating outcomes. The evidence is strong that medical nutrition treatment provided by RDs is an effective and essential treatment in the management of diabetes. RDs are uniquely skilled in this process".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 18, 2010, 7:46 AM CT

IQ scores and academic performance iin autism

IQ scores and academic performance iin autism
New data show that a number of children with autism spectrum disorders have greater academic abilities than previously thought. In a study by scientists at the University of Washington, 90 percent of high-functioning children with autism spectrum disorders showed a discrepancy between their IQ score and their performance on reading, spelling and math tests.

"Academic achievement is a potential source of self-worth and source of feeling of mastery that people may not have realized is available to children with autism," said Annette Estes, research assistant professor at the UW's Autism Center.

Improved autism diagnosis and early behavioral interventions have led to more and more children being ranked in the high-functioning range, with average to above average IQs. Up to 70 percent of autistic children are considered high-functioning, though they have significant social communication challenges.

With early interventions that improve social skills and curb problem behaviors, more high-functioning children with autism are able to learn in regular education classrooms. In Estes' study, most of the participants 22 of 30 were in regular education classrooms. The study was published online Nov. 2 in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 18, 2010, 7:11 AM CT

Vitamin C: A life-saving treatment for sepsis?

Vitamin C: A life-saving treatment for sepsis?
Physicians caring for patients with sepsis may soon have a new safe and cost-effective therapy for this life-threatening illness. Research led by Dr. Karel Tyml and colleagues at The University of Western Ontario and Lawson Health Research Institute have observed that vitamin C can not only prevent the onset of sepsis, but can reverse the disease.

Sepsis is caused by a bacterial infection that can begin anywhere in your body. Your immune system goes into overdrive, overwhelming normal processes in your blood. The result is that small blood clots form, blocking blood flow to vital organs. This can lead to organ failure. Babies, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most likely to get sepsis. But even healthy people can become deathly ill from the disease.

As per Dr. Tyml, a professor at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, patients with severe sepsis have a high mortality rate, nearly 40 percent, because there is no effective therapy.

"There are a number of facets to sepsis, but the one we have focused on for the past 10 years is the plugging of capillaries," says Dr. Tyml. Plugged capillaries prevent oxygenation and the supply of life-supporting materials to your organ tissue and stop the removal of metabolic waste product. Plugged capillaries are seen in organs of septic patients. These organs may eventually fail, leading to multiple organ failure and death. Dr. Tyml's lab was the first to discover this plugging by using intravital microscopy, a technique Dr. Tyml pioneered in Canada.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


November 18, 2010, 7:09 AM CT

Insight into the Cause of Common Dementia

Insight into the Cause of Common Dementia
Scientists at the Mayo Clinic campus in Florida have found a clue as to how some people develop a form of dementia that affects the brain areas linked to personality, behavior, and language.

In the Nov. 17 online issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics, the researchers write that they discovered a link between two proteins - progranulin and sortilin - they say might open new avenues for the therapy of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), which occurs in the frontal lobe and temporal lobe of the brain. This form of dementia, which is currently untreatable, generally occurs in younger people, in comparison to other common neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.

"We now can look for a direct link between these two proteins and the development of FTLD," says the study's main author, neuroscientist Rosa Rademakers, Ph.D. "The hope is that if we do find a strong association, it might be possible to manipulate levels of one or both of these proteins therapeutically."

Coincidentally, a research group from Yale University led by Stephen Strittmatter, M.D., Ph.D., has also pinpointed sortilin's association with progranulin - thus confirming Mayo's results. Their study is being published in Neuron, also on Nov. 17.

FTLD is a family of brain diseases that are believed to share some common molecular features. One is the presence of mutations in the gene that produces tau protein in neurons. The other is mutations in the progranulin gene that Mayo Clinic scientists and their colleagues discovered in 2006. They observed that 5 to 10 percent of patients with FTLD have a mutation in this gene, and that these mutations lead to a substantial loss of normal progranulin protein production, and development of FTLD.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 18, 2010, 7:03 AM CT

US adults most likely to forgo care due to cost

US adults most likely to forgo care due to cost
A new 11-country survey from The Commonwealth Fund finds that adults in the United States are far more likely than those in 10 other industrialized nations to go without health care because of costs, have trouble paying medical bills, encounter high medical bills even when insured, and have disputes with their insurers or discover insurance wouldn't pay as they expected. As per the report, the findings highlight the need for Affordable Care Act reforms that will ensure access to health care, protect people from medical debt, and simplify health insurance.

The U.S. stands out for the most negative insurance-related experiences. One third (33%) of U.S. adults went without recommended care, did not see a doctor when sick, or failed to fill prescriptions because of costs, in comparison to as few as 5 percent to 6 percent in the Netherlands and the U.K., as per the study published recently as a Health Affairs Web First article. In addition, one-fifth of U.S. adults had major problems paying medical bills, in comparison to 9 percent in France, the next highest country, 2 percent in the U.K., 3 percent in Gera number of, and 4 percent in the Netherlands. Uninsured and insured U.S. adults reported equally high rates of out-of-pocket costs, with one-third (35%) of U.S. adults paying $1,000 or more out-of-pocket in the past year for medical bills, significantly higher than all of the other countries.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 17, 2010, 7:51 AM CT

Progress in Alzheimer's disease

Progress in Alzheimer's disease
New studies identify brain changes in people with Alzheimer's disease. The results give scientists a greater understanding of the disease and may help at-risk individuals by improving early detection. New animal research also shows a novel approach to Alzheimer's vaccine design that may avoid dangerous side effects. These new results were reported at Neuroscience 2010, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news on brain science and health.

About 5.3 million people have Alzheimer's disease, as per the Alzheimer's Association. With the aging baby boomer population, Alzheimer's will continue to affect more people worldwide. Better diagnostic techniques may help identify the disease at earlier, potentially more treatable stages.

Today's new findings show that:.
  • People with Alzheimer's disease show structural changes in the caudate nucleus, a brain structure typically linked to movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease, suggesting that the disease produces broader damage in the brain than previously thought (Sarah Madsen, abstract 348.4, see attached summary).
  • People who are at risk for Alzheimer's disease exhibit a structural change in portions of the cerebral cortex, which is largely responsible for reasoning, memory and other "higher function" tasks. The findings may help identify those who would most benefit from early intervention (Sarah George, abstract 756.9, see attached summary).........

    Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 17, 2010, 7:43 AM CT

Preterm birth rates improve

Preterm birth rates improve
Eight states earned a better grade on the 2010 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card and 32 others and the District of Columbia saw their preterm birth rates improve.

Following three decades of increases, in 2008 the nation saw the first two-year decline in the preterm birth rate, a 4 percent drop from 2006. The 2008 preliminary preterm birth rate dropped to 12.3 percent, from the 2006 final rate of 12.8 percent. The March of Dimes says 79 percent of the decline was among babies born just a few weeks too soon.

Overall, the United States received a "D" on the report card, when national preterm birth rates are measured against the Healthy People 2010 goals. The United States has a high rate of preterm birth in comparison to top scoring states and, notably, most industrialized countries.

"The policy changes and programs to prevent preterm birth that our volunteers and staff have worked so hard to bring about are starting to pay off," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. "The two-year decline we have seen nationwide, though small, are encouraging. We believe this decline is the beginning of a trend, but must be supported by better health care, new research and adoption of intervention programs to lower the risk of preterm birth."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 16, 2010, 7:05 AM CT

Melanoma does not conform to the cancer stem cell model

Melanoma does not conform to the cancer stem cell model
Sean Morrison
Michigan scientists have determined that most types of melanoma cells can form cancerous tumors, providing new evidence that the deadliest form of skin cancer does not conform to the increasingly popular cancer stem cell model.

In addition, the scientists observed that melanoma tumor cells can change their appearance by switching various genes on and off, making the cancerous cells a stealthy, shape-shifting target for scientists seeking new therapys, as per a team led by Sean Morrison, director of the U-M Center for Stem Cell Biology.

Both findings fly in the face of the cancer stem cell model, which states that a handful of rare stem cells drive the formation, growth and progression of cancerous tumors in a number of cancers. Some supporters of the model have suggested that melanoma might be more effectively treated by taking aim specifically at these rare cancer stems cells, rather than attempting to eliminate all melanoma cells.

But after conducting an exhaustive search for this elusive sub-population of tumor-forming melanoma cell, the U-M team concluded that it probably does not exist. The scientists analyzed 44 sub-populations of human melanoma cells, and all 44 had a similar ability to form tumors when transplanted into mice.

"Some have suggested that melanoma follows a cancer stem cell model in which only rare cells are able to proliferate extensively and form new tumors," said Morrison, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.........

Posted by: George      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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