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September 9, 2009, 7:31 AM CT

Work conditions impact parents' food choices

Work conditions impact parents' food choices
Since most parents in the US are employed, there are competing demands on their time that can compromise food choices for themselves and their children. How parents cope with these demands and how work conditions are correlation to food choice coping strategies are the subjects of a study in the September/recent issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior Findings suggest that better work conditions appears to be linked to more positive strategies such as more home-prepared meals, eating with the family, keeping healthful food at work, and less meal skipping.

Scientists from Cornell University measured food choice coping strategies in low- to middle-income families in five categories: (1) food prepared at/away from home; (2) missing meals; (3) individualizing meals (family eats differently, separately, or together); (4) speeding up to save time; and (5) planning. A three-part telephone survey of 25 employed mothers and 25 employed fathers or guardians from 3 racial/ethnic groups was used to evaluate food choice strategies.

Half or more of respondents often/sometimes used 12 of 22 food choice coping strategies and there were gender differences in the use of these strategies. Fathers who worked long hours or had nonstandard hours and schedules were more likely to use take-out meals, miss family meals, purchase prepared entrees, and eat while working. Mothers purchased restaurant meals or prepared entrees or missed breakfast. Job security, satisfaction, and food access were also linked to gender-specific strategies. About a quarter of mothers and fathers said they did not have access to healthful, reasonably priced, and/or good-tasting food at or near work.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 3, 2009, 7:37 AM CT

Rise in weight-loss drugs prescribed for childhood obesity

Rise in weight-loss drugs prescribed for childhood obesity
Thousands of children and adolescents are using anti-obesity drugs that in the UK are only licensed for use by adults. The number of young people receiving prescriptions for these drugs has increased 15-fold since 1999, but most stop using them before they could expect to see any benefit, as per a newly released study.

The study, reported in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, focuses on prescriptions in the UK, where the drugs are not licensed for use under the age of 18. Extrapolated across the whole population, the results indicate that around 1,300 young people are now being prescribed off-licence anti-obesity drugs each year.

More than three quarters of those included in the study received prescriptions for orlistat, also known as Xenical or Alli. Orlistat has been approved for children as young as 12 in the US, but only for adults in the UK. Most patients given orlistat stopped using it very quickly, on average after just three months, and therefore would have been unlikely to see any benefit.

"It's possible that the drugs are being given inappropriately, or that they have excessive side effects that make young people discontinue their use. Conversely they could be expecting the drugs to deliver a miracle "quick fix" and stop using them when sudden, rapid weight loss does not occur," said Russell Viner, one of the authors of the study based at the General & Adolescent Paediatrics Unit at University College London.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 3, 2009, 7:35 AM CT

Novel anti-cancer drug yields positive response

Novel anti-cancer drug yields positive response
The Hedgehog signaling pathway is involved in a preliminary study and case report describing positive responses to an experimental anticancer drug in a majority of people with advanced or metastatic basal cell skin cancers. One patient with the most common type of pediatric brain cancer, medulloblastoma, also showed tumor shrinkage.

Initial results of the drug trial, conducted at Johns Hopkins (Baltimore), the Karmanos Cancer Center (Detroit) and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (Scottsdale) are published online September 3 in the New England Journal (NEJM) (NEJM). The publication also details side effects of the drug, including muscle cramping, hair loss, fatigue and low blood sodium.

The compound, known as GDC-0449, is designed to inhibit the Hedgehog signaling pathway, thought to fuel growth of some cancers. The pathway was originally named for the oblong hedgehog like shape of fly embryos when a key gene in the pathway is disrupted.

Related research by Johns Hopkins and Genentech researchers reported online in the September 3 issue of Science Express reveals more findings on the medulloblastoma case.

"We know that both of these cancer types have mutations in Hedgehog pathway genes, and our results with Hedgehog inhibitors could be the starting point for developing a new type of treatment for these intractable cancers," says Charles Rudin, M.D., Ph.D., associate director for Clinical Research at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 3, 2009, 7:34 AM CT

Regenerating brain tissue in traumatic injuries

Regenerating brain tissue in traumatic injuries
Four weeks after a TBI lesion on a rat's brain with hydrogel treatment. This is a mosaic image reconstruction of the lesion. A well-structured vasculature network was rebuilt at the lesion filled with the hydrogel. Green is neurofilament staining for neurites, and red is Reca-1 staining for blood vessels.

Credit: Clemson University

An injectable biomaterial gel may help brain tissue grow at the site of a traumatic brain injury, as per findings by a Clemson.

University bioengineer.

Research by assistant professor of bioengineering Ning Zhang shows that the.

biomaterial gel made up of both synthetic and natural sources has the potential to spur the growth of a patient's own neural stem cells in the body, structurally repairing the brain injury site. In prior lab studies, Zhang has demonstrated the reconstruction of a complete vascular network at the injury site as an initial step toward brain tissue regeneration.

Zhang presented her findings Wednesday, Sept. 2, at the Military Research Forum in Kansas City. The conference is geared toward improving the overall health and welfare of the U.S. armed forces, their families, veterans and the American public.

"We have seen an increase in brain injuries due to combat, but our strategy can also potentially be applied to head injuries caused by car accidents, falls and gunshot wounds," said Zhang. "These results that we are seeing in.

adult lab rats are the first of its kind and show a sustained functional recovery in the animal model of TBI (traumatic brain injury). It also.

represents one of very few in the traumatic brain injury field that attempts structural repair of the lesion cavity using a tissue-engineering approach".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 3, 2009, 7:33 AM CT

Resident duty-hour reform increased complication rate

Resident duty-hour reform increased complication rate
A newly released study finds a 2003 reform of the length of resident on-duty hours has led to an increase in the rate of perioperative (the span of all three phases of surgery: before, during and after) complications for patients treated for hip fractures. Among other restrictions, this reform limited the resident workweek to 80 hours. The resulting complications vary significantly, with an increasing rate of worse outcomes seen in teaching hospitals, as per a research studyreported in the September 2009 issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS).

"The data suggests a statistically significant increase in selected complications after implementation of the duty-hour reforms in teaching hospitals, where residents help deliver care, in comparison to non-teaching hospitals. This may go against common assumptions regarding outcomes as they relate to the length of resident hours," said study main author James M. Browne, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon currently completing a fellowship in Rochester, Minnesota. The study waccording toformed at Duke University Medical Center.

On July 1, 2003, The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education implemented a resident duty-hour reform for all medical and surgical residents, including orthopaedic resident surgeons, in the U.S. Dr. Browne and his co-authors at Duke evaluated data from teaching and nonteaching hospitals for 48,430 patients treated for hip fractures in a nationwide inpatient sample database, reviewing two groups:.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 3, 2009, 7:27 AM CT

Canadian research breakthrough for cancer therapies

Canadian research breakthrough for cancer therapies
Scientists Dr. Marc Therrien at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Universit de Montral, and Dr. Frank Sicheri, at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, have discovered a new target that appears to be instrumental in the development of new, more effective cancer therapies.

A recent article co-authored by Drs. Therrien and Sicheri and reported in the leading scientific journal Nature sheds new light on the activation mechanism of the RAF protein kinase which, when mutated, is responsible for more than 25 per cent of cancers. Understanding this mechanism may lead to novel anti-cancer agents designed to minimize the toxic side effects caused by chemotherapy.

The RAF family of kinases regulates various cellular processes including cell growth, differentiation and survival. The Therrien-Sicheri team is the first to show that the dimerization, or combination, of two RAF proteins is essential to its activation. Inhibiting the dimerization of RAF may therefore block its activation, thus stopping cancer cells from growing. The study exposes not only the activation mechanism of RAF, but potentially the mechanisms that control other protein kinases, a large number of which are associated with cancer and other diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and neurodegeneration.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 1, 2009, 11:18 PM CT

Computational Process Zeroes in

Computational Process Zeroes in
Rachel Karchin, right, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, and doctoral student Hannah Carter led a Johns Hopkins team that developed software to narrow the search for mutations linked to cancer. Photo by Will Kirk.
Johns Hopkins engineers have devised innovative computer software that can sift through hundreds of genetic mutations and highlight the DNA changes that are most likely to promote cancer. The goal is to provide critical help to scientists who are poring over numerous newly discovered gene mutations, a number of of which are harmless or have no connection to cancer. As per its inventors, the new software will enable these researchers to focus more of their attention on the mutations most likely to trigger tumors.

A description of the method and details of a test using it on brain cancer DNA were reported in the August 15 issue of the journal Cancer Research.

The new process focuses on missense mutations, meaning protein sequences that each possess a single tiny variation from the normal pattern. A small percentage of these genetic errors can reduce the activity of proteins that commonly suppress tumors or hyperactivate proteins that make it easier for tumors to grow, thereby allowing cancer to develop and spread. But finding these genetic offenders can be difficult.

"It's very expensive and time-consuming to test a huge number of gene mutations, trying to find the few that have a solid link to cancer," said Rachel Karchin, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering who supervised the development of the computational sorting approach. "Our new screening system should dramatically speed up efforts to identify genetic cancer risk factors and help find new targets for cancer-fighting medications".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 1, 2009, 11:15 PM CT

Exercise Minimizes Weight Regain By Reducing Appetite

Exercise Minimizes Weight Regain By Reducing Appetite
Exercise helps prevent weight regain after dieting by reducing appetite and by burning fat before burning carbohydrates, as per a newly released study with rats. Burning fat first and storing carbohydrates for use later in the day slows weight regain and may minimize overeating by signaling a feeling of fullness to the brain.

The University of Colorado Denver study also observed that exercise prevents the increase in the number of fat cells that occurs during weight regain, challenging the conventional wisdom that the number of fat cells is set and cannot be altered by dietary or changes in lifestyle.

These coordinated physiological changes in the brain and the body lower the 'defended' weight, that is, the weight that our physiology drives us to achieve, and suggest that the effects of exercise on these physiological processes may make it easier to stay on a diet.

The study is "Regular exercise attenuates the metabolic drive to regain weight after long term weight loss." Paul S. MacLean, Janine A. Higgins, Holly R. Wyatt, Edward L. Melanson, Ginger C. Johnson, Matthew R. Jackman, Erin D. Giles, Ian E. Brown and James O. Hill, all of the University of Colorado Denver, conducted the study. The American Physiological Society published the research in the American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 31, 2009, 10:08 PM CT

How much omega-3 fatty acid do we need

How much omega-3 fatty acid do we need
A team of French researchers have found the dose of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) that is "just right" for preventing cardiovascular disease in healthy men. In a research report appearing in the September 2009 print issue of The FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org), the researchers show that a 200 mg dose of DHA per day is enough to affect biochemical markers that reliably predict cardiovascular problems, such as those correlation to aging, atherosclerosis, and diabetes. This study is the first to identify how much DHA is necessary to promote optimal heart health.

"This study shows that regularly consuming small amounts of DHA is likely to improve the health status of people, particularly in regards to cardiovascular function," said Michel Lagarde, co-author of the study.

To determine the optimal dose of DHA, Lagarde and his colleagues examined the effects of increasing doses of DHA on 12 healthy male volunteers between ages of 53 and 65. These men consumed doses of DHA at 200, 400, 800, and 1600 mg per day for two weeks for each dose amount, with DHA being the only omega-3 fatty acid in their diet. Blood and urine samples were collected before and after each dose and at eight weeks after DHA supplementation stopped. The scientists then examined these samples for biochemical markers indicating the effects of each dose on the volunteers.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


August 31, 2009, 9:56 PM CT

Natural compounds, chemotherapeutic drugs may become partners

Natural compounds, chemotherapeutic drugs may become partners
Research in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University suggests that some natural food compounds, which previously have been studied for their ability to prevent cancer, appears to be able to play a more significant role in treating it - working side-by-side with the conventional drugs that are now used in chemotherapy.

A newly released study just reported in the International Journal of Cancer examined the activity of chlorophyllin and observed that, on a dose-by-dose basis, it was 10 times more potent at causing death of colon cancer cells than hydroxyurea, a chemotherapeutic drug usually used in cancer therapy.

Beyond that, chlorophyllin kills cancer cells by blocking the same phase of cellular division that hydroxyurea does, but by a different mechanism. This suggests that it - and possibly other "cocktails" of natural products - might be developed to have a synergistic effect with conventional cancer drugs, helping them to work better or require less toxic dosages, scientists said.

"We conclude that chlorophyllin has the potential to be effective in the clinical setting, when used alone or in combination with currently available cancer therapeutic agents," the scientists wrote in their study.

The concept of combining conventional or new cancer drugs with natural compounds that have been shown to have anti-cancer properties is very promising, said Rod Dashwood, professor and director of the Cancer Chemoprotection Program in the Linus Pauling Institute.........

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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