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March 23, 2009, 10:00 PM CT

High triglyceride levels common

High triglyceride levels common
High concentrations of blood fats known as triglycerides are common in the United States, as per a report in the March 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. Changes in lifestyle are the preferred initial therapy for hypertriglyceridemia (the resulting condition), but physical inactivity, obesity and other modifiable risk factors remain prevalent.

"Increasing evidence supports triglyceride concentration as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease," the authors write as background information in the article. "If triglyceride concentrations are indeed a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, then it becomes important to establish the prevalence of hypertriglyceridemia in the U.S. population and to learn about the degree of pharmacologic management of this risk factor".

Earl S. Ford, M.D., M.P.H., and his colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, examined data for 5,610 participants age 20 or older who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys between 1999 and 2004. The 2,837 men and 2,773 women were interviewed at home and then invited to attend a mobile examination center, where they answered additional questions, underwent examinations and provided blood samples.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 23, 2009, 9:58 PM CT

Do you have a family history of blood clots?

Do you have a family history of blood clots?
Children and siblings of those with venous thrombosis, or blood clots in the veins, appear to have more than double the risk of developing the condition than those without a family history, as per a report in the March 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Venous thrombosis typically begins in leg veins, eventhough the clot may subsequently break off and travel to the lungs. Several genetic risk factors have been identified that increase risk, as per background information in the article. Carriers of these factors have an additional elevated risk when exposed to an environmental risk factor such as surgical therapy, injury, a period of immobilization or the use of oral contraceptives. "Because universal screening is not cost-effective, research efforts are focused on selection criteria that appears to be used to increase the chance of finding a genetic risk factor," the authors write. "Family history is an evident candidate".

Irene D. Bezemer, M.Sc., and his colleagues at Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands, collected blood samples and information about family history and environmental risk factors from 1,605 patients who had experienced their first clot between 1999 and 2004. Their data was compared with that of 2,159 control participants who were the same sex and age but had not had venous thrombosis.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 22, 2009, 9:54 PM CT

Acetaldehyde in alcohol

Acetaldehyde in alcohol
A newly released study published recently in the journal Addiction shows that drinking alcohol is the greatest risk factor for acetaldehyde-related cancer. Heavy drinkers appears to be at increased risk due to exposure from multiple sources.

Acetaldehyde is ubiquitous in daily life. Widely present in the environment, it is inhaled from the air and tobacco smoke, ingested from alcohol and foods, and produced in the human body during the metabolism of alcoholic beverages. Research indicates that this organic chemical plays a significant role in the development of certain types of cancers (particularly of the upper digestive tract), and it is currently classified as possibly carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization. New research from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto and the Chemical and Veterinary Investigation Laboratory Karlsruhe (CVUA) in Gera number of recently provided the necessary methodology for calculating the risk for the ingestion of alcoholic beverages.

The research team observed that risk from ingesting acetaldehyde via alcoholic beverages alone may exceed usual safety limits for heavy drinkers. Their risk evaluation study observed that the average exposure to acetaldehyde from alcoholic beverages resulted in a life-time cancer risk of 7.6/10,000, with higher risk scenarios (e.g. contaminations in unrecorded alcohol) in the range of 1 in 1,000. As such, the life-time cancer risks for acetaldehyde from ingestion of alcoholic beverages greatly exceed the usual limits for cancer risks from the environment.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 19, 2009, 6:13 AM CT

A step closer to understanding how to control high blood sugar

A step closer to understanding how to control high blood sugar
Researchers are closer to understanding which proteins help control blood sugar, or glucose, during and after exercise. This understanding could lead to new drug therapies or more effective exercise to prevent Type 2 diabetes and other health problems linked to having high blood sugar.

Insulin resistance happens when insulin produced by the body doesn't properly stimulate the transport of glucose into the cells for energy. Too much glucose in the bloodstream can cause a host of medical problems, including Type 2 diabetes, said Gregory Cartee, professor at the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology.

Insulin and muscle contractions are the two most important stimuli to increase glucose transport into muscle cells. Cells then use the glucose for energy. However, researchers aren't entirely sure how this works.

Cartee and colleague Katsuhiko Funai, a graduate student researcher in kinesiology, looked at how two different proteins thought to beimportant in stimulating glucose transport react to two different enzymes also correlation to glucose transport. The goal of the study was to understand the contribution of the two proteins, AS160 and TBC1D1, in skeletal muscle stimulated by insulin.

"We're trying to rule out or rule in which proteins are important with exercise," Cartee said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 19, 2009, 6:10 AM CT

Why is it difficult to recognize faces on photo negatives?

Why is it difficult to recognize faces on photo negatives?
Humans excel at recognizing faces, but how we do this has been an abiding mystery in neuroscience and psychology. In an effort to explain our success in this area, scientists are taking a closer look at how and why we fail.

A newly released study from MIT looks at a especially striking instance of failure: our impaired ability to recognize faces in photographic negatives. The study, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week, suggests that a large part of the answer might lie in the brain's reliance on a certain kind of image feature.

The work could potentially lead to computer vision systems, for settings as diverse as industrial quality control or object and face detection. On a different front, the results and methodologies could help scientists probe face-perception skills in children with autism, who are often reported to experience difficulties analyzing facial information.

Anyone who remembers the days before digital photography has probably noticed that it's much harder to identify people in photographic negatives than in normal photographs. "You have not taken away any information, but somehow these faces are much harder to recognize," says Pawan Sinha, an associate professor of brain and cognitive sciences and senior author of the PNAS study.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 19, 2009, 5:22 AM CT

Biopsy of recurrent breast cancer may alter treatment

Biopsy of recurrent breast cancer may alter treatment
For women with recurrent breast cancer, the therapy the doctor chooses is commonly based on the properties of their original breast cancer. A group from Toronto has recently completed the world's first study that compared original breast cancer tumors with a biopsy of suspected tumors that recurred elsewhere in the body.

Scientists observed that the biopsy resulted in 20% of the women having a significant change in their therapy. In some cases, this was a change in drug therapy and in others, the biopsy showed the woman did not actually have an advanced cancer, but a non-malignant condition.

"The results show that cancers may change over time and not respond to therapy that was appropriate for the original cancer," says principal investigator Dr. Mark Clemons, a medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer in the Princess Margaret Hospital Cancer Program, University Health Network (UHN).

"These early findings are leading us in a new direction as we understand more about why some women don't respond to therapy. This knowledge will help us in our quest to always deliver the right therapy, to the right patient, at the right time".

The findings are published online today in the Annals of Oncology, Oxford University Press (Doi:10.1093/annonc/mdp028).........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 19, 2009, 5:19 AM CT

Longer bouts of exercise to prevent childhood obesity

Longer bouts of exercise to prevent childhood obesity
Kinesiology and Health Studies professor Ian Janssen
Photo by Stephen Wild
Children who exercise in bouts of activity lasting five minutes or longer are less likely to become obese than those whose activity levels are more sporadic and typically last less than five minutes each, Queen's University scientists have discovered.

Led by Kinesiology and Health Studies professor Ian Janssen, the newly released study supports Canada's Physical Activity Guidelines for Children and Youth, which call for children to accumulate at least 90 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity over the course of the day, in bouts of at least five to 10 minutes' duration. Until now there has been no scientific evidence to support the recommendation of sustained, rather than sporadic exercise.

"Even in 60-minute physical education classes or team practices, children are inactive for a large portion of the time and this would not necessarily count as sustained exercise," says Dr. Janssen. "When children engage in longer periods of sustained physical activity, there is a smaller likelihood that they will be overweight or obese." .

The findings are reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Conducted by Dr. Janssen and graduate student Amy Mark, the study analyzed data from 2,498 youth aged eight to 17, who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Sporadic (one to four minutes), short (five to nine minutes) and medium-to-long (10 minutes and longer) bouts of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity were measured using motion sensors. Participants' body mass index (BMI) was used to classify them as normal weight or obese.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 19, 2009, 5:15 AM CT

Genetic markers for aggressive head and neck cancer

Genetic markers for aggressive head and neck cancer
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have identified genetic markers that signal poor outcomes for patients with head and neck cancer. These findings could one day lead to a genetic test that could help select or predict successful therapy options for patients with this type of cancer. The results were reported in the American Journal of Pathology

Head and neck cancer refers to tumors in the mouth, throat or larynx (voice box). Each year, about 40,000 men and women in the U.S. develop head and neck cancer, making it the sixth most common cancer in the U.S. Surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation are the main therapy options but cause serious side effects: surgery may involve removing large areas of the tongue, throat, or neck and can affect appearance, and any type of treatment can cause swallowing or speech problems that can significantly affect quality of life. Despite curative therapy attempts, on average only about half of patients survive beyond five years after therapy. This is greatly affected by the size and location of the tumor.

The Einstein study focuses on microRNAs, a recently identified class of short RNA molecules that play key roles in regulating gene expression. Abnormal microRNA levels have been linked to all types of cancer yet examined.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 19, 2009, 5:13 AM CT

Few friends combined with loneliness

Few friends combined with loneliness
Eventhough not having a number of close friends contributes to poorer health for a number of elderly adults, those who also feel lonely face even greater health risks, research at the University of Chicago suggests. Older people who are able to adjust to being alone don't have the same health problems.

The study is the first to examine the relationships between health and two different types of isolation. Scientists measured the degree to which elderly adults are socially connected and socially active. They also assessed whether elderly adults feel lonely and whether they expect that friends and family would help them in times of need.

"Social disconnectedness is linked to worse physical health, regardless of whether it prompts feelings of loneliness or a perceived lack of social support," said co-author of study Linda Waite, the Lucy Flower Professor in Sociology at the University of Chicago and a leading expert on aging.

However, the scientists found a different relationship between social isolation and mental health. "The relationship between social disconnectedness and mental health appears to operate through feelings of loneliness and a perceived lack of social support," Waite explained.

Elderly adults who feel most isolated report 65 percent more depressive symptoms than those who feel least isolated, regardless of their actual levels of connectedness. The consequences of poor mental health can be substantial, as deteriorating mental health also reduces people's willingness to exercise and may increase health-risk behaviors such as cigarette smoking and alcohol use, Waite explained.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 19, 2009, 5:10 AM CT

How Brain Remembers Single Events

How Brain Remembers Single Events
Single events account for a number of of our most vivid memories - a marriage proposal, a wedding toast, a baby's birth. Until a recent UC Irvine discovery, however, researchers knew little about what happens inside the brain that allows you to remember such events.

In a study with rats, neuroscientist John Guzowski and his colleagues observed that a single brief experience was as effective at activating neurons and genes linked to memory as more repetitive activities.

Knowing how the brain remembers one-time events can help researchers design better therapies for diseases such as Alzheimer's in which the ability to form such memories is impaired.

"Most experiences in life are encounters defined by places, people, things and times. They are specific, and they happen once," says Guzowski, UCI neurobiology and behavior assistant professor. "This type of memory is what makes each person unique".

It is well known that a brain structure called the hippocampus is critical to memory and learning, but a number of questions exist about how brief experiences trigger the physical changes necessary for memory. In his study, Guzowski set out to learn how neurons in the hippocampus react to single events - especially in the CA3 region, which is believed to be most critical for single-event memory.........

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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