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October 21, 2009, 11:32 PM CT

Psychological trauma in HIV patients

Psychological trauma in HIV patients
The feeling of stigmatization that people living with HIV often experience doesn't only exact a psychological toll new UCLA research suggests it can also lead to quantifiably negative health outcomes.

As per a research findings reported in the recent issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, scientists from the division of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA observed that a large number of HIV-positive individuals who reported feeling stigmatized also reported poor access to care or suboptimal adherence to antiretroviral treatment (ART).

In fact, individuals who experienced high levels of internalized stigma were four times as likely as those who didn't to report poor access to medical care; they were three times as likely to report suboptimal adherence to HIV medications.

These findings were due, at least in part, to the poor mental health found among a number of of the participants. Scientists observed that HIV stigma was one of the strongest predictors of poor access to medical care and that both HIV stigma and poor mental health predicted suboptimal adherence to medication. Adherence to HIV medications is already known to lead to better health outcomes, including survival, among people living with HIV.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 21, 2009, 11:26 PM CT

Now you can see: Perception of invisible stimuli

Now you can see: Perception of invisible stimuli
Eventhough we assume we can see everything in our field of vision, the brain actually picks and chooses the stimuli that come into our consciousness. A newly released study in the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology's Journal of Vision reveals that our brains can be trained to consciously see stimuli that would normally be invisible.

Lead researcher Caspar Schwiedrzik from the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Gera number of said the brain is an organ that continuously adapts to its environment and can be taught to improve visual perception.

"A question that had not been tackled until now was whether a hallmark of the human brain, namely its ability to produce conscious awareness, is also trainable," Schwiedrzik said. "Our findings imply that there is no fixed border between things that we perceive and things that we do not perceive that this border can be shifted".

The scientists showed subjects with normal vision two shapes, a square and a diamond, one immediately followed by a mask. The subjects were asked to identify the shape they saw. The first shape was invisible to the subjects at the beginning of the tests, but after 5 training sessions, subjects were better able to identify both the square and the diamond.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 21, 2009, 11:20 PM CT

Cancer diagnosis using sensor biochips

Cancer diagnosis using sensor biochips
Sensor biochips like this one, developed at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen, could be used to establish in the laboratory whether or not a particular cancer drug is likely to work in an individual patient's body. Shown here is a ceramic version of the chip -- just a few millimeters across but packed with sensors.

Credit: Technische Universitaet Muenchen

It is very difficult to predict whether a cancer drug will help an individual patient: only around one third of drugs will work directly in a given patient. Scientists at the Heinz Nixdorf Chair for Medical Electronics at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) have developed a new test process for cancer drugs. With the help of microchips, they can establish in the laboratory whether a patient's tumor cells will react to a given drug. This chip could help in future with the rapid identification of the most effective medicine for the individual patient.

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the Western world. As per the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, approximately 450,000 people develop cancer every year in Gera number of. Eventhough the doctors who treat cancer have numerous cancer drugs at their disposal today, the therapy must be precisely tailored to the patient and the type of cancer in question to be as effective as possible. If it takes a second or third try to find a drug that works, the patient loses valuable time in which the tumor can continue to grow.

In the future, miniature laboratories could provide the fast help mandatory here. A lab-on-a-chip is a device -- made of glass, for example -- that is just a few millimeters across and has bioelectronic sensors that monitor the vitality of living cells. The chips sit in small wells, known as microtiter plates, and are covered with a patient's tumor cells. A robot changes the culture fluid in each well containing a chip at intervals of just a few minutes. The microsensors on the chip record, among other things, changes in the acid content of the medium and the cells' oxygen consumption; photographs of the process are also taken by a microscope fitted underneath the microtiter plate. All of the data merge in a computer that is connected to the system, and which provides an overview of the metabolic activity of the tumor cells and their vitality.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 20, 2009, 10:21 PM CT

Who believe in equality are more likely to buy on impulse

Who believe in equality are more likely to buy on impulse
A newly released study from Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business finds that Americans who believe in equality are more-impulsive shoppers. And it has implications for how to market products differently in countries where shoppers are more likely to buy on impulse.

The study, "Power-Distance Belief and Impulsive Buying," was authored by Rice management professor Vikas Mittal and recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Marketing Research.

Power-distance belief (PDB) is the degree of power disparity the people of a culture expect and accept. It is measured on a scale of zero to 100, and the higher the PDB, the more a person accepts disparity and expects power inequality. Americans have a low PDB score relative to people in countries like China and India. The study observed that people who have a high PDB score tend to exhibit more self-control and are less impulsive when shopping.

"In our studies, people with low PDB scores spent one-and-a-half times the amount spent by high-PDB individuals when buying daily items like snacks and drinks," Mittal said.

This effect was even more pronounced for "vice goods" -- tempting products like chocolate and candy -- than for "virtue goods" like yogurt and granola bars. The scientists hypothesized that people with low PDB scores -- who also should have lower self-control -- would show even stronger impulsive buying for vice goods because of their desire for immediate gratification. Indeed, the scientists found low-PDB people spent twice as much on vice goods as high PDB people spent.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 20, 2009, 10:15 PM CT

Melanoma treatment options

Melanoma treatment options
A targeted chemotherapy for the therapy of skin cancer is one step closer, after a team of University of Alberta scientists successfully synthesized a natural substance that shows exceptional potential to specifically treat this often fatal disease.

U of A chemistry professor Dennis Hall said after three years of work, his research team has successfully produced the substance called Palmerolide A.

"The potency of palmerolide is exceptional and melanoma is a very aggressive cancer for which there is almost no chemotherapeutic recourse," said Hall. "Natural substances like palmerolide offer real hope for such therapys.

"Current chemotherapy as an overall strategy is not very effective in treating melanoma. Less than a quarter of patients respond to chemotherapy and it typically only works for less than a year, and it has little to no effect on survival time. Palmerolide A as a targeted treatment may prove to be more effective [for therapy] with less toxicity," said Hall.

"One of the problems with most cancer drugs is the lack of selectivity for cancer cells versus normal cells. Preliminary data for Palmerolide A looks very promising in terms of solving this issue," he said.

"For commercialization, the structure needs to be made more 'drug-like;' smaller and more water-soluble, while preserving the potency," said Hall, who is optimistic that his U of A team is moving forward in the race to develop a therapy for melanoma.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 20, 2009, 10:13 PM CT

Drinking coffee slows progression of liver disease

Drinking coffee slows progression of liver disease
Patients with chronic hepatitis C and advanced liver disease who drink three or more cups of coffee per day have a 53% lower risk of liver disease progression than non-coffee drinkers as per a newly released study led by Neal Freedman, Ph.D., MPH, from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The study observed that patients with hepatitis C-related bridging fibrosis or cirrhosis who did not respond to standard disease therapy benefited from increased coffee intake. An effect on liver disease was not observed in patients who drank black or green tea. Findings of the study appear in the recent issue of Hepatology, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects approximately 2.2% of the world's population with more than 3 million Americans infected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites HCV as the leading cause of liver transplantation in the U.S. and accounts for 8,000 to 10,000 deaths in the country annually. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 3 to 4 million persons contract HCV each year with 70% becoming chronic cases that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.

This study included 766 participants enrolled in the Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-Term Treatment against Cirrhosis (HALT-C) trial who had hepatitis C-related bridging fibrosis or cirrhosis and failed to respond to standard therapy of the anti-viral drugs peginterferon and ribavirin. At the onset of the study, HALT-C patients were asked to report their typical frequency of coffee intake and portion size over the past year, using 9 frequency categories ranging from 'never' to 'every day' and 4 categories of portion size (1 cup, 2 cups, 3-4 cups, and 5+ cups). A similar question was asked for black and green tea intake. "This study is the first to address the association between liver disease progression correlation to hepatitis C and coffee intake," stated Dr. Freedman.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


October 20, 2009, 10:09 PM CT

Think what you eat

Think what you eat
New research released recently is affirming a long-held maxim: you are what you eat and, more to the point, what you eat has a profound influence on the brain. The findings offer insight into the neurobiological factors behind the obesity epidemic in the United States and other developed countries. The findings exposed changes in brain chemistry due to diet and weight gain, and were reported at Neuroscience 2009, the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

Obesity has been associated with rises in diabetes, stroke, and heart attacks, among other disorders. In the past decade alone, medical spending for obesity is estimated to have increased 87 percent in the United States reaching $147 billion in 2008 as per a research studyfunded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new research adds another dimension to understanding how obesity rates have more than doubled in the past 30 years.

The new findings show that:
  • Disruptions in the sleep/wake cycle lead to weight gain, impulsivity, slower thinking, and other physiological and behavioral changes. These findings appears to be especially important for people who do shift work (Ilia Karatsoreos, PhD, abstract 471.1, see attached summary).........

    Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 20, 2009, 10:01 PM CT

Call to reconsider screening for breast cancer and prostate cancer

Call to reconsider screening for breast cancer and prostate cancer
Laura Esserman, MD, MBA
Twenty years of screening for breast and prostate cancer - the most diagnosed cancer for women and men - have not brought the anticipated decline in deaths from these diseases, argue experts from the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in an opinion piece reported in the "Journal of the American Medical Association".

Instead, overall cancer rates are higher, a number of more patients are being treated, and the occurence rate of aggressive or later-stage disease has not been significantly decreased, the authors conclude. Current screening programs are leading to "potential tumor over-detection and over-treatment," they write in the Oct. 21, 2009 issue of JAMA.

"Screening does provide some benefit, but the problem is that the benefit is not nearly as much as we hoped and comes at the cost of over-diagnosis and over-treatment," said Laura Esserman, MD, MBA, professor of surgery and radiology, director of the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center, and co-leader of the breast oncology program at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"We need to focus on developing new tools to identify men and women at risk for the most aggressive cancers, to identify at the time of diagnosis those who have indolent or 'idle' tumors that are not life-threatening," she added. "If we can identify groups of patients that don't need much therapy, or don't need to be screened, wouldn't that be great? Screening is by no means perfect. We should want to make it better. For both breast and prostate cancer we need to invest in changing our focus from the cancers that won't kill people to the ones that do".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 20, 2009, 8:57 AM CT

Blood lead levels and test scores

Blood lead levels and test scores
Exposure to lead in early childhood significantly contributes to lower performances on end-of-grade (EOG) reading tests among minority and low-income children, as per scientists at Duke University and North Carolina Central University.

"We found a clear dose-response pattern between lead exposure and test performance, with the effects becoming more pronounced as you move from children at the high end to the low end of the test-score curve," said lead investigator Marie Lynn Miranda, director of the Children's Environmental Health Initiative (CEHI) at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.

"Given the higher average lead exposure experienced by African-American children in the United States, our results show that lead does in fact explain part of the observed achievement gap that blacks, children of low socioeconomic status and other disadvantaged groups continue to exhibit in school performance in the U.S. education system, in comparison to middle- and upper-class whites," Miranda said.

The study, published online in the peer-evaluated journal NeuroToxicology, linked data on blood-lead levels from the North Carolina Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program surveillance registry to EOG reading test scores for 4th graders in all 100 of the state's counties.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 20, 2009, 8:46 AM CT

Deep into the brain working

Deep into the brain working
Research presented today at Neuroscience 2009, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health, provide further insights into brain mechanisms, including those involved in music, social interaction, learning and memory.

Specific research released recently:.
  • New findings indicate that musical training might enhance other auditory skills such as language acquisition and reading, and provides important diagnostic and therapy options for many hearing and language disorders.
  • Researchers employ new light-activated circuits to explore how the brain functions in both normal and pathological situations. .
  • How a person reads another's facial cues can affect an individual's ability to engage socially. Research focuses on how the brain recognizes and processes facial data in typical social interactions and how people with disorders like autism, Williams, Rett's, Fragile X, and Timothy syndromes can vary in their ability to engage with others.
........

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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