November 2, 2009, 8:43 AM CT
Aggressive osteoporosis prevention needed
Aggressively managing patients at risk for osteoporosis could reduce the hip fracture rate in the United States by 25 percent, as per a Kaiser Permanente study reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery
The first step must be a more active role by orthopedic surgeons in osteoporosis disease management, scientists say.
This study, the largest to look at osteoporosis management in men and women over 50 years old, followed 650,000 men and women in Kaiser Permanente's osteoporosis management program and found hip fractures dropped by 38 percent, preventing 970 hip fractures in 2007.
The prospective observational study examined the effectiveness of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California's Healthy Bones Program from 2002 to 2007. Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect, the world's largest civilian electronic health record database, was used to collect data on patients that included anti-osteoporosis medicine usage, bone density scans and fragility fractures.
A recent report showed that Kaiser Permanente in Southern California leads the nation for effective osteoporosis disease management. The National Committee on Quality Assurance, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care quality, recently released the results in its Quality Compass study of reporting health plans for 2008. Of the 10 million Americans who have osteoporosis, 80 percent are women.........
Posted by: Janet Read more Source
October 29, 2009, 11:19 PM CT
Smartphone Games For Elderly Diabetics
Researchers designed interactive games to empower patients to manage their diabetes.
Cellular phones - once a luxury used strictly for talking - have taken on a number of new roles in recent years. Now scientists at Saint Louis University and Old Dominion University in Virginia say smartphones can be used to help elderly diabetics manage their health and learn more about their condition.
A team of scientists from business, engineering, medicine and public health, as well as practitioners and scientists in China, designed the smartphone technology, which includes interactive games and easy-to-use logging features, particularly for elderly Chinese diabetics. They will present their research on Thursday, Oct. 29 in Washington, D.C. at the mHealth Summit, a public-private partnership of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.
Initial studies of the interactive diabetes self-management system, called the Chinese Aged Diabetic Assistant (CADA), are promising, scientists found. The system enables diabetics to track their blood glucose, weight, diet, exercise, mood and blood pressure - valuable information that will assist their doctors in providing the best care possible.
"We know that patients with chronic illnesses who are actively involved in their health care have better outcomes, yet this can be a challenging task. Mobile technologies can empower elderly people to better understand diabetes, track their health indicators more closely and follow a healthier lifestyle," said Maggie Jiao Ma, Ph.D., assistant professor at SLU's Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology.........
Posted by: JoAnn Read more Source
October 29, 2009, 11:16 PM CT
Seeing is relieving
An f1000 assessment examines how pain relief improves greatly when the sufferer can actually see the area where the pain is occurring.
In an Anglo-Italian study, thirty healthy subjects were invited to look at either their own hand, the experimenter's hand, or an object, while their hand was subjected to laser-induced pain.
The results, published in The Journal of Neuroscience
, showed that, when the sufferer could see their own hand, they felt less pain than if they were looking at the experimenter's hand or a neutral object. Longo and his colleagues found there were subjective (self-report) and objective (brain potential) measures of the person's pain sensation.
Scientists also found the result was the same whether the subjects were looking at their actual hand or a mirror image; the latter using a technique previously used to reduce phantom limb pain in amputees.
Importantly, this is the first time such an experiment has been done on subjects who did not suffer from pre-existing body image issues.
Faculty of 1000 reviewer Alumit Ishai, of the University of Zurich, was very impressed. "These novel findings suggest that viewing the body modulates the subjective perception of pain," she said. "Eventhough the mechanism that mediates this analgesic effect is unclear the potential therapeutic implications for patients with chronic pain are huge".........
Posted by: JoAnn Read more Source
October 29, 2009, 11:08 PM CT
Drug-radiation eliminates lung cancer
Researchers, including Drs. Pier Paolo Scaglioni (right) and Georgia Konstantinidou, have eliminated non-small cell lung cancer in mice by using an investigative drug in combination with low-dose radiation.
Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have eliminated non-small cell lung (NSCL) cancer in mice by using an investigative drug called BEZ235 in combination with low-dose radiation.
In a study appearing in the recent issue of Cancer Research, UT Southwestern scientists observed that if they administered BEZ235 before they damaged the DNA of tumor cells with otherwise nontoxic radiation, the drug blocked the pro-survival actions of a protein called PI3K, which normally springs into action to keep tumor cells alive while they repair DNA damage.
Scientists tested this novel therapeutic strategy in mice transplanted with NSCL cancers obtained from patients.
They observed that tumors in the mice treated with BEZ235 alone were significantly smaller than those in mice not given the drug. Eventhough the tumors stopped growing, they did not die.
By contrast, tumors were completely eradicated in mice treated with a combination of BEZ235 and radiation.
"These early results suggest that the drug-radiation combination might be an effective treatment in patients with lung cancer," said Dr. Pier Paolo Scaglioni, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study.
NSCL cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. The cancer cells often harbor mutations in a gene called K-RAS. Patients with such K-RAS mutations typically are more resistant to therapy with radiation and have a poor prognosis.........
Posted by: Scott Read more Source
October 29, 2009, 10:40 PM CT
Antioxidants against the flu virus
As the nation copes with a shortage of vaccines for H1N1 influenza, a team of Alabama scientists have raised hopes that they have found an Achilles' heel for all strains of the fluantioxidants. In an article appearing in the November 2009 print issue of the FASEB Journal
(http://www.fasebj.org) they show that antioxidantsthe same substances found in plant-based foodsmight hold the key in preventing the flu virus from wreaking havoc on our lungs.
"The recent outbreak of H1N1 influenza and the rapid spread of this strain across the world highlights the need to better understand how this virus damages the lungs and to find new therapys," said Sadis Matalon, co-author of the study. "Additionally, our research shows that antioxidants may prove beneficial in the therapy of flu".
Matalon and his colleagues showed that the flu virus damages our lungs through its "M2 protein," which attacks the cells that line the inner surfaces of our lungs (epithelial cells). Specifically, the M2 protein disrupts lung epithelial cells' ability to remove liquid from inside of our lungs, setting the stage for pneumonia and other lung problems. The scientists made this discovery by conducting three sets of experiments using the M2 protein and the lung protein they damage. First, frog eggs were injected with the lung protein alone to measure its function. Second, scientists injected frog eggs with both the M2 protein and the lung protein and observed that the function of the lung protein was significantly decreased. Using molecular biology techniques, researchers isolated the segment of the M2 protein responsible for the damage to the lung protein. Then they demonstrated that without this segment, the protein was unable to cause damage. Third, the full M2 protein (with the "offending" segment intact) and the lung protein were then re-injected into the frog eggs along with drugs known to remove oxidants. This too prevented the M2 protein from causing damage to the lung protein. These experiments were repeated using cells from human lungs with exactly the same results.........
Posted by: Mark Read more Source
October 29, 2009, 10:05 PM CT
Learn from past flu season
Pregnant women who catch the flu are at serious risk for flu-related complications, including death, and that risk far outweighs the risk of possible side effects from injectable vaccines containing killed virus, as per an extensive review of published research and data from prior flu seasons.
The review, a collaboration among researchers from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, Emory University and Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and published online Oct. 22 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology,
found substantial and persistent evidence of high complication risk among pregnant women -- both healthy ones and those with underlying medical conditions -- infected with the flu virus, while confirming vaccine safety. The findings, scientists say, solidify existing CDC recommendations that make pregnant women the highest-priority group to receive both the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines.
"The lessons learned from flu outbreaks in the distant and not-too-distant past are clear and so are the messages," says lead investigator Pranita Tamma, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. "If you are an expectant mother, get vaccinated. If you are a doctor caring for pregnant women, urge your patients to get vaccinated".........
Posted by: Mark Read more Source
October 29, 2009, 10:04 PM CT
Pregnant women using psychiatric medications
The odds triple for premature child delivery pregnant women with a history of depression who used psychiatric medication, as per a newly released study.
Scientists at the University of Washington, University of Michigan and Michigan State University observed that a combination of medicine use and depression either before or during pregnancy was strongly associated with delivery before 35 weeks' gestation.
Amelia Gavin, main author and UW assistant professor of social work, said the findings highlight the need for carefully planned studies that can clarify associations between depression, psychiatric medications and preterm delivery.
"Women with depression face difficult decisions regarding the benefits and risks of using psychotropic medications in pregnancy," Gavin said. "Therefore, a focus on disentangling medicine effects and depression effects on mother and offspring health should be a major clinical priority".
"Medication use appears to be an indicator of depressive symptom severity, which is a direct or indirect contributing factor to pre-term delivery," added Kristine Siefert, co-author and a Michigan professor of social work.
Most physicians initiated preterm deliveries after the women suffered complications, such as pre-eclampsia, poor fetal growth or acute hemorrhage.........
Posted by: Emily Read more Source
October 29, 2009, 9:14 PM CT
Blocking heat shock protein to fight cancer
This image shows an accumulation of holes, called vacuoles, inside a cell, which are associated with protein aggregation and disrupted regulation of normal protein degradation processes following exposure of cells to the HSP70 inhibitor.
Credit: Donna George, PhD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Like yoga for office drones, cells do have coping strategies for stress. Heat, lack of nutrients, oxygen radicals all can wreak havoc on the delicate internal components of a cell, potentially damaging it beyond repair. Proteins called HSPs (heat shock proteins) allow cells to survive stress-induced damage. Researchers have long studied how HSPs work in order to harness their therapeutic potential.
Donna George, PhD, Associate Professor of Genetics, and Julie Leu, PhD, Assistant Professor of Genetics, both at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, in collaboration with the lab of Maureen Murphy, PhD at Fox Chase Cancer Center, identified a small molecule that inhibits the heat shock protein HSP70. They also showed that the HSP inhibitor could stop tumor formation and significantly extend survival of mice. They describe their findings in this month's issue of Molecular Cell
HSP70 is an intracellular quality control officer, refolding misfolded proteins and preventing protein aggregation, which among other disorders, is linked to neurodegenerative diseases. HSP70 also ferries proteins to their proper intracellular locations. Tumor cells, which face an abundance of cellular stresses, typically overexpress HSP70, making it a potentially interesting anticancer target.........
Posted by: Janet Read more Source
October 29, 2009, 9:12 PM CT
Statin against parkinsonism?
Simvastatin, a usually used, cholesterol-lowering drug, may prevent Parkinson's disease from progressing further. Neurological scientists at Rush University Medical Center conducted a study examining the use of the FDA-approved medicine in mice with Parkinson's disease and observed that the drug successfully reverses the biochemical, cellular and anatomical changes caused by the disease.
"Statins are one of the most widely used cholesterol-lowering drugs throughout the world," said study author Kalipada Pahan, PhD, professor of neurological sciences at Rush University Medical Center. "This appears to be a safer approach to halt the disease progression in Parkinson's patients." .
Pahan and his colleagues from Rush, along with scientists at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha published these findings in the October 28 issue of the Journal of Neurosciences
The authors have shown that the activity of one protein called p21Ras is increased very early in the midbrain of mice with Parkinson's pathology. Simvastatin enters into the brain and blocks the activity of the p21Ras protein and other associated toxic molecules, and goes on to protect the neurons, normalize neurotransmitter levels, and improves the motor functions in the mice with Parkinson's.........
Posted by: Daniel Read more Source
October 29, 2009, 7:21 AM CT
Hormone replacement therapy decreases mortality in some women
Hormone replacement treatment (HRT) to treat menopausal estrogen deficiency has been in widespread use for over 60 years. Several findings based on observation over the years showed that HRT use by younger postmenopausal women was linked to a significant reduction in total mortality; available evidence supported the routine use of HRT to increase longevity in postmenopausal women. However, the 2002 publication of a major study, the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), indicated increased risk for certain outcomes in older women, without increasing mortality. This sparked debate regarding potential benefits or harm of HRT. In an article reported in the November 2009 issue of The American Journal of Medicine,
scientists conducted a meta-analysis of the available data using Bayesian methods and concluded that HRT almost certainly decreases mortality in younger postmenopausal women.
Bayesian analysis uses previous data, updated with new information, to make statistical inferences. The authors pooled results from 19 randomized trials that included age-specific data from the WHI, with 16,000 younger postmenopausal women (mean age 55 years) followed for 83,000 patient-years, and showed a mortality relative risk of 0.73. When data from 8 findings based on observation were added to the analysis, the resultant relative risk was 0.72. Using Bayesian analysis to synthesize the available data, the probability of a mortality benefit in this population was 1.0. This means that the probability of the hypothesis that hormone treatment reduces total mortality in younger women is essentially 1.........
Posted by: Emily Read more Source