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November 1, 2010, 7:38 AM CT

Spice in curry could prevent liver damage

Spice in curry could prevent liver damage
Curcumin, a chemical that gives curry its zing, holds promise in preventing or treating liver damage from an advanced form of a condition known as fatty liver disease, new Saint Louis University research suggests.

Curcurmin is contained in turmeric, a plant used by the Chinese to make traditional medicines for thousands of years. SLU's recent study highlights its potential in countering an increasingly common kind of fatty liver disease called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Associated with obesity and weight gain, NASH affects 3 to 4 percent of U.S. adults and can lead to a type of liver damage called liver fibrosis and possibly cirrhosis, liver cancer and death.

"My laboratory studies the molecular mechanism of liver fibrosis and is searching for natural ways to prevent and treat this liver damage," said Anping Chen, Ph.D., corresponding author and director of research in the pathology department of Saint Louis University.

"While research in an animal model and human clinical trials are needed, our study suggests that curcumin appears to be an effective treatment to treat and prevent liver fibrosis, which is linked to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)".

High levels of blood leptin, glucose and insulin are usually found in human patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes, which might contribute to NASH-associated liver fibrosis.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


November 1, 2010, 7:05 AM CT

Self awareness can help in relationships

Self awareness can help in relationships
A little self-awareness can help people struggling in the world of relationships, says Jeffrey Hall, assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas.

Hall recently completed a study into styles of flirting among dating adults, surveying more than 5,100 people regarding their methods of communicating romantic interest.

"Knowing something about the way you communicate attraction says something about challenges you might have had in your past dating life," Hall said. "Hopefully, this awareness can help people avoid those mistakes and succeed in courtship".

He identified five styles of flirting: physical, traditional, polite, sincere and playful.
  • Physical flirting involves the expression of sexual interest in a potential partner. People who scored high in this form of flirting often develop relationships quickly, have more sexual chemistry and have a greater emotional connection to their partners.
  • Traditional flirts think men should make the first move and women should not pursue men. Because they adopt a more passive role in dating, women with this style are likely to report trouble getting men's attention and are less likely to flirt or be flattered by flirting. Traditional men often know a potential partner for a longer time before approaching them. Both genders tend to be introverted and prefer a more intimate dating scene.........

    Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 1, 2010, 7:03 AM CT

Pregnant women who eat peanuts

Pregnant women who eat peanuts
Scientists have observed that allergic infants appears to be at increased risk of peanut allergy if their mothers ingested peanuts during pregnancy. The data are published in the November 1 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

Led by Scott H. Sicherer, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, scientists at five U.S. study sites reviewed 503 infants aged three to 15 months with likely milk or egg allergies or with significant eczema and positive allergy tests to milk or egg, which are factors linked to an increased risk of peanut allergy. The study infants had no prior diagnosis of peanut allergy. A total of 140 infants had strong sensitivity to peanut based on blood tests, and consumption of peanut during pregnancy was a significant predictor of this test result.

"Scientists in recent years have been uncertain about the role of peanut consumption during pregnancy on the risk of peanut allergy in infants," said Dr. Sicherer. "While our study does not definitively indicate that pregnant women should not eat peanut products during pregnancy, it highlights the need for further research in order make recommendations about dietary restrictions".

In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that women whose infants were at increased risk of allergies based upon family history consider avoiding peanut products while pregnant and breast feeding. However, the recommendation was withdrawn in 2008 due to limited scientific evidence to support it. The Consortium of Food Allergy Research (CoFAR), which was just awarded a renewed $29.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, is conducting this ongoing, observational study to help better understand the risk factors behind a child's developing peanut allergy, as well as allergies to milk and egg. The Consortium is also studying novel therapys for food allergies.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 28, 2010, 8:05 AM CT

Glucosamine causes the death of pancreatic cells

Glucosamine causes the death of pancreatic cells
High doses or prolonged use of glucosamine causes the death of pancreatic cells and could increase the risk of developing diabetes, as per a team of scientists at Universit Laval's Faculty of Pharmacy. Details of this discovery were recently published on the website of the Journal of Endocrinology

In vitro tests conducted by Professor Frdric Picard and his team revealed that glucosamine exposure causes a significant increase in mortality in insulin-producing pancreatic cells, a phenomenon tied to the development of diabetes. Cell death rate increases with glucosamine dose and exposure time. "In our experiments, we used doses five to ten times higher than that recommended by most manufacturers, or 1,500 mg/day," stressed Professor Picard. "Prior studies showed that a significant proportion of glucosamine users up the dose hoping to increase the effects," he explained.

Picard and his team have shown that glucosamine triggers a mechanism intended to lower very high blood sugar levels. However, this reaction negatively affects SIRT1, a protein critical to cell survival. A high concentration of glucosamine diminishes the level of SIRT1, leading to cell death in the tissues where this protein is abundant, such as the pancreas.

Individuals who use large amounts of glucosamine, those who consume it for long periods, and those with little SIRT1 in their cells are therefore thought to beat greater risk of developing diabetes. In many mammal species, SIRT1 level diminishes with age. This phenomenon has not been shown in humans but if it were the case, the elderlywho constitute the target market for glucosaminewould be even more vulnerable.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 28, 2010, 7:54 AM CT

Heavy drinkers consume less over time

Heavy drinkers consume less over time
Problem drinkers in the general population may reduce the amount of alcohol they consume over a period of years but not to the level of the average adult, as per a newly released study in the recent issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs

Given that heavy drinkers often don't become "normal" drinkers on their own, the takeaway message for clinicians and family members is to help connect a problem drinker to a community social service agency or Alcoholics Anonymous. Simply telling someone that they had a drinking problem did not seem to be helpful in this study, but being specific about how to get help did.

Using a telephone screening program, scientists identified 672 problem and dependent drinkers who had not been in an alcohol therapy program for at least 12 months. Eleven years later, men in the study had reduced their average number of drinks per month by 51%, and women had reduced their average number of drinks by 57%. However, even after this reduction, male and female problem drinkers still consumed 160% and 223% more alcohol, respectively, than the average adult without a drinking problem.

The scientists point out that the greatest reductions in alcohol consumption occurred within one to two years after the initial screening and then slowed, suggesting that problem drinkers and heavy drinkers may never lower their consumption to the level of the general population.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 28, 2010, 7:43 AM CT

Benefit of breast-feeding

Benefit of breast-feeding
Pediatric scientists at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia describe a successful program in which nurses helped mothers attain high rates of breast-feeding in very sick babies--newborns with complex birth defects requiring surgery and intensive care.

A number of of these highly vulnerable newborns immediately experience a paradoxical situation. Their mother's milk helps to fend off infection and provides easily digestible, nutritious ingredients that can reduce the infant's stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). But because the babies are often in critical condition, breast-feeding may not be considered a priority, or even be feasible, when in comparison to urgent medical problems.

"Human milk is important for all newborns, but particularly for sick infants," said project mentor Diane L. Spatz, Ph.D., R.N.-B.C., nurse researcher, of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Breast milk protects an infant in the NICU from necrotizing enterocolitisa devastating disease of the boweland from a host of infectious diseases. "It is of critical importance that all mothers make the informed decision to provide human milk for their infants, and that nurses provide evidence-based lactation care and support in order for mothers to achieve success," added Spatz.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 28, 2010, 7:27 AM CT

Sex Differences in the Brain Are Overblown

Sex Differences in the Brain Are Overblown
People love to speculate about differences between the sexes, and neuroscience has brought a new technology to this pastime. Brain imaging studies are published at a great rate, and some report sex differences in brain structure or patterns of neural activity. But we should be skeptical about reports of brain differences between the sexes, writes psychological scientist Cordelia Fine in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The results from these studies may not necessarily withstand the tests of larger sample sizes or improved analysis techniques-and it's too soon to know for sure what such results, even if they prove to be reliable, might mean for differences in male and female minds.

Bookstores are full of popular books on the differences between men's and women's brains. Fine, who works at Macquarie University in Australia, first got interested in the issue as a parent. She was reading a book about how the differences between boys' and girls' brains mean they should be taught differently. But as an academic, she was curious about the research on which these claims were based, and looked up the original studies.

"There were huge discrepancies between what the neuroimaging studies showed and the conclusions and claims that were being drawn from them," she says. In the article and her new book, Delusions of Gender, Fine dissects the ways that research goes astray between the scanning machine and the sound bite.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 28, 2010, 7:15 AM CT

Deadly monkeypox virus

Deadly monkeypox virus
Monkeypox causes infectious pustules as seen in this four-year old Liberian infected with the virus.
Photo courtesy of CDC Public Health Image Library.

A newly released study of an exotic, infectious virus that has caused three recent outbreaks in the United States reveals clues to how the virus might damage lungs during infection. The findings also suggest possible new ways to treat lung diseases in humans.

Not only does the infection from monkeypox virus increase production of proteins involved in inflammation, but it decreases production of proteins that keep lung tissue intact and lubricated. The findings are published in an upcoming issue of Molecular & Cellular Proteomics.

"Going into this study, we thought monkeypox caused disease primarily by inducing inflammation in the lung, and that leads to pneumonia," said main author Joseph Brown, a systems biologist at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "We were surprised to see how badly the virus wrecked the structural integrity of the lungs".

The study was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Center for Research Resources, both part of the National Institutes of Health; the Department of Defense; and Battelle.

Collaborating with virologist Scott Wong, Ryan Estep and others at the Oregon Health & Science University's Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute in Beaverton, Ore., Brown and the PNNL team examined how the virus affected the collection of proteins found in lung fluid from macaque monkeys at OHSU. The monkeys were part of a research study that's ongoing of monkeypox infection at OHSU's Oregon National Primate Research Center in Beaverton.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 28, 2010, 7:12 AM CT

Preschool-age children exceed daily screen time

Preschool-age children exceed daily screen time
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents limit combined screen time from television, DVDs, computers, and video games to 2 hours per day for preschool-age children. In a study soon to be published in The Journal of Pediatrics, scientists observed that a number of children are exposed to screen time both at home and while at child care, with 66% exceeding the recommended daily amount.

As per Dr. Pooja Tandon, "A majority of children under the age of 5 years in the United States spend almost 40 hours a week with caregivers other than their parents, and it's important to understand what kind of screen time exposure children are getting with these other caregivers." Dr. Tandon and fellow scientists from the Seattle Children's Research Institute and the University of Washington studied nearly 9000 preschool-age children who took part in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth Cohort (ECLS-b), a longitudinal, observational study of over 10,000 children born in 2001 with diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. The ECLS-b used interviews with parents and child care providers to collect data about each child's daily screen time.

On average, children were exposed to 4 hours of screen time each weekday, with 3.6 hours of exposure coming from home. Children in home-based child care spent a combined average of 5.6 hours watching television or videos at home and while at child care, with 87% exceeding the 2 hour recommendation. Center-based child care scored slightly better, with children watching an approximate total of 3.2 hours each weekday at home and while at child care. Children who did not go to child care also tended to exceed the recommendations, however, with the average child watching 4.4 hours a day.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 28, 2010, 7:10 AM CT

Missing out on sperm banking

Missing out on sperm banking
A number of men whose fertility appears to be at risk from cancer therapy are not being offered the chance to store their sperm as per new research published recently in the Annals of Oncology (Thursday).

Guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) state that any men or adolescent boys who are receiving therapy that may leave them infertile should be offered the opportunity to store their sperm.

But in a study funded by Cancer Research UK, scientists at the University of Warwick and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust observed that only half of oncologists and haematologists across the UK agreed that information on sperm banking is readily available to patients, despite national guidelines which state sperm banking should be offered.

In a survey of nearly 500 clinicians, the scientists also observed that 21 per cent were unaware of any local policies on sperm banking.

And only a quarter (26 per cent) of oncologists and 38 per cent of haematologists reported that discussions about sperm banking with male cancer patients are being documented systematically, yet nearly all doctors believed it was an integral part of their role to raise this topic.

Dr Ann Adams, study author from Warwick Medical School, said: "Our findings are very concerning and show that doctors in the UK aren't following sperm banking guidance, meaning a number of men are missing the opportunity to store their sperm for the future. Instead it appears that clinicians are deciding who is offered the chance to bank sperm based on their own personal beliefs, attitudes and assumptions about their patients' likelihood of starting a family in the future.........

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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