September 14, 2009, 11:59 PM CT
Common Pain Cream Could Protect Heart During Attack
New research from the University of Cincinnati shows that a common, over-the-counter pain salve rubbed on the skin during a heart attack could serve as a cardiac-protectant, preventing or reducing damage to the heart while interventions are administered.
These findings appear in the Sept. 14 edition of the journal Circulation.
Keith Jones, PhD, a researcher in the department of pharmacology and cell biophysics, and researchers in his lab have observed that applying capsaicin to specific skin locations in mice caused sensory nerves in the skin to trigger signals in the nervous system. These signals activate cellular "pro-survival" pathways in the heart which protect the muscle.
Capsaicin is the main component of chili peppers and produces a hot sensation. It is also the active ingredient in several topical medications used for temporary pain relief.
Capsaicin is approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Jones is working with Neal Weintraub, MD, a UC Health heart specialist and director of UC's cardiovascular diseases division, and other clinicians to construct a translational plan to test capsaicin in a human population.
"Topical capsaicin has no known serious adverse effects and could be easily applied in an ambulance or emergency room setting well in advance of coronary tissue death," Jones says. "If proven effective in humans, this treatment has the potential to reduce injury and/or death in the event of a coronary blockage, thereby reducing the extent and consequences of heart attack."........
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September 14, 2009, 11:56 PM CT
New 'adjuvant' could hold future of vaccine
Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a new "adjuvant" that could allow the creation of important new vaccines, possibly become a universal vaccine carrier and help medical experts tackle a number of diseases more effectively.
Adjuvants are substances that are not immunogenic themselves, but increase the immune response when used in combination with a vaccine.
However, due to concerns about safety and toxicity, there's only a single vaccine adjuvant aluminum hydroxide, or alum that has been approved for human use in the United States. It's found in such common vaccines as hepatitis B and tetanus. But even though widely used, alum is comparatively weak and will only work with certain diseases.
The new adjuvant is based on nanoparticles prepared with lecithin, a common food product. In animal models, it helped protein antigens to induce an immune response more than six times stronger than when alum was used. Scientists also showed that the lecithin nanoparticles were able to help induce a reasonable antibody response after only one shot, whereas it took at least two shots for the alum adjuvant to work.
Based on their studies, scientists believe the lecithin nanoparticles have wide potential applications and possibly a good safety profile. Their findings were just reported in the Journal of Controlled Release,
a professional journal in the field of pharmaceutics, in work supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.........
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September 14, 2009, 11:51 PM CT
High-quality child care leads to academic success
For low income parents, finding high quality child care not only boosts the performance of their children in school, but actually combats the effects of poverty, as per a newly released study in the journal Child Development
Children who spent more time in high-quality child care in the first five years of their lives had better reading and math scores in middle school, as per scientists from Boston College, the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Samford University, who studied 1,300 middle school students.
Looking deeper, scientists observed that low income children who received high-quality child care achieved at similar academic levels as their more affluent peers, even after taking into account factors such as levels of parental education and employment.
"The real takeaway here is that even minimal exposure to higher quality child care protects children from the harm done by living in poverty," co-author Eric Dearing, an associate professor of applied developmental psychology in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, said. "When it comes to early child care, quality matters more for children in poverty than for affluent children in promoting the long term academic achievement of the former up to similar levels as the latter".........
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September 11, 2009, 7:47 AM CT
Size of fat cells and waist size predict type 2 diabetes in women
When it comes to assessing risk for type 2 diabetes, not only do waistlines matter to women, but so does the size of their fat cells. This new discovery by a team of Swedish scientists was just published online in the FASEB Journal
(http://www.fasebj.org) and helps explain why some women of normal weight develop type 2 diabetes, despite not having any known risk factors.
"Increased knowledge of the link between enlarged fat cells and the development of type 2 diabetes may give rise to new preventive and therapeutic alternatives," said Malin Lnn, co-author of the study and associate professor in the department of clinical chemistry at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden. "Our research also identifies the ratio waist-to-height, waist circumference divided by body height, as a simple tool that can be used to identify women at risk of developing type 2 diabetes".
The data for this discovery were obtained as part of the "Prospective Study of Women in Gothenburg," performed in Sweden and started in 1968 by Professor Emeritus Calle Bengtsson. For this study, a team of Swedish scientists invited women to free health examinations over the course of 25 years. In 1974-1975, researchers collected abdominal fat biopsies from some of the women and tracked who developed type 2 diabetes. They observed that the number of abdominal fat cells remained relatively constant in women after adolescence, but the size of fat cells could change considerably throughout life and were larger in women with type 2 diabetes. In addition, they observed that waist-to-height ratio may also be a good indicator of diabetes risk.........
Posted by: JoAnn Read more Source
September 11, 2009, 7:44 AM CT
Biomarker for rapid relief of major depression
It is a long, slow slog to treat major depression. A number of antidepressant medications are available, but no single biomarker or diagnostic test exists to predict which one is right for an individual. As a result, for more than half of all patients, the first drug prescribed doesn't work, and it can take months to figure out what does.
Now, based on the final results of a nationwide study led by UCLA, clinicians appears to be able to accurately predict within a week whether a particular drug will be effective by using a non-invasive test that takes less than 15 minutes to administer. The test will allow physicians to quickly switch patients to a more effective therapy, if necessary.
The study, called the Biomarkers for Rapid Identification of Treatment Effectiveness in Major Depression, or BRITE-MD, measured changes in brain-wave patterns using quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG), a non-invasive, computerized measurement that recognizes specific alterations in brain-wave activity. These changes precede improvement in mood by a number of weeks and appear to serve as a biomarker that accurately predicts how effective a given medicine will be. The study results appear in two articles reported in the recent issue of the journal Psychiatry Research
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September 11, 2009, 7:43 AM CT
Second-hand smoking results in liver disease
A team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside has observed that even second-hand tobacco smoke exposure can result in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a common disease and rising cause of chronic liver injury in which fat accumulates in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol.
The scientists found fat accumulated in liver cells of mice exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke for a year in the lab. Such fat buildup is a sign of NAFLD, leading eventually to liver dysfunction.
In their study, the scientists focused on two key regulators of lipid (fat) metabolism that are found in a number of human cells as well: SREBP (sterol regulatory element-binding protein) that stimulates synthesis of fatty acids in the liver, and AMPK (adenosine monophosphate kinase) that turns SREBP on and off.
They observed that second-hand smoke exposure inhibits AMPK activity, which, in turn, causes an increase in activity of SREBP. When SREBP is more active, more fatty acids get synthesized. The result is NAFLD induced by second-hand smoke.
"Our study provides compelling experimental evidence in support of tobacco smoke exposure playing a major role in NAFLD development," said Manuela Martins-Green, a professor of cell biology, who led the study. "Our work points to SREBP and AMPK as new molecular targets for drug treatment that can reverse NAFLD development resulting from second-hand smoke. Drugs could now be developed that stimulate AMPK activity, and thereby inhibit SREBP, leading to reduced fatty acid production in the liver".........
Posted by: Sue Read more Source
September 11, 2009, 6:52 AM CT
Management of breakthrough cancer pain
New data presented today further demonstrate the efficacy of Instanyl in management of breakthrough cancer pain. The data which were presented at the 6th congress of the European Federation of Chapters of the International Association for the Study of Pain (EFIC) are from a multinational, crossover trial comparing Instanyl with oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate (OTFC) for the therapy of breakthrough pain in patients with cancer. The study concludes that pain relief was significantly greater for Instanyl in comparison to OTFC at all time points:
- 25% of episodes showed meaningful pain relief already at 5 minutes after therapy with Instanyl, as in comparison to 7% with OTFC. (p<0.001) (1).
- 51% of the Instanyl treated patients had a meaningful pain relief at 10 minutes, as in comparison to 24% with OTFC. (p<0.001) (1)
"These data confirm the superiority of the intranasal drug administration over OTFC. Rapid pain relief is essential for the management of breakthrough cancer pain and with evidence of onset of pain relief as early as 5 minutes, Instanyl offers patients a much more effective pain control than OTFC," said Professor Sebastiano Mercadante, principal investigator of the comparative study and Director of the Anesthesia and Intensive Care and Pain Relief and Palliative Care Units at La Maddalena Cancer Center, Palermo, Italy.........
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September 10, 2009, 7:14 AM CT
Role of vitamin C in skin protection
Researchers have uncovered a new role played by Vitamin C in protecting the skin.
Scientists at the University of Leicester and Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Portugal studied new protective properties of vitamin C in cells from the human skin, which could lead to better skin regeneration.
The work, by Tiago Duarte, Marcus S. Cooke and G. Don Jones, observed that a form of Vitamin C helped to promote wound healing and also helped protect the DNA damage of skin cells. Their findings have been reported in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine
This report is the latest in a long line of publications from these researchers, at the University of Leicester, concerning vitamin C. Previously, the group has published evidence that DNA repair is upregulated in people consuming vitamin C supplements. The scientists have now provided some mechanistic evidence for this, in cell culture, using techniques such as Affymetrix microarray, for looking at gene expression, and the 'Comet' assay to study DNA damage and repair.
Tiago Duarte, formerly of the University of Leicester, and now at the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Portugal, said: "The exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation increases in summer, often resulting in a higher occurence rate of skin lesions. Ultraviolet radiation is also a genotoxic agent responsible for skin cancer, through the formation of free radicals and DNA damage.........
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September 10, 2009, 7:11 AM CT
Regular aerobic exercise reduces health concerns
Scientists from the University of Sydney, Australia determined that patients with a sedentary lifestyle who engage in routine physical activities lower their risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The lower risk of problems linked to fatty liver was not contingent upon weight loss, but a direct result from the increased aerobic exercise. The results of this study are reported in the recent issue of Hepatology
, a journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease affects 30% of the adult population and the majority of obese individuals. The condition, where fat accumulates in the liver of those individuals who drink little or no alcohol, can cause inflammation or scarring of the liver with more serious cases, known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, possibly progressing to liver failure.
A study, led by Jacob George, M.D. from Westmead Hospital at the University of Sydney, included 19 obese adults who had a body mass index >30 kg/m2 and reported a sedentary lifestyle. Baseline measurements were performed to determine hepatic triglyceride concentration (HTGC) and hepatic lipid saturation index (SI), intramyocellular triglyceride (IMTG) levels, visceral adipose tissue (VAT) or amount of fat stores in the abdomen, cardiorespiratory fitness, blood biochemistry, and measurements for body height and weight. Volunteers either received 4 weeks of aerobic cycling exercise (12 subjects) or a placebo (7 participants), which involved regular stretching.........
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September 10, 2009, 7:09 AM CT
Rejecting Cancer Safety Fears
Fears about the cancer causing effects of the second most prescribed group of drugs in the Western world have been put to rest, following the largest ever study into their use.
'Proton pump inhibitors' (PPI) are the most usually used therapy for chronic acid reflux, or 'heartburn', a painful burning sensation in the chest, neck and throat which is experienced by almost a third of people in developed countries.
Regular and prolonged heartburn is known to cause 'non-malignant oesophagitis', a reversible inflammation of the gullet. However if left untreated a condition called Barrett's Oesophagus (BE) occurs in around 10 per cent of sufferers, which can in turn develop into a potentially fatal cancer called oesophageal adenocarcinoma.
BE is twice as common in the UK as it is in the USA, and oesophageal cancer rates in the UK are the highest in the world; up to four times more common than in other European countries.
Despite their excellent safety record, it was unclear if long-term use of PPIs to reduce the discomfort of heartburn could increase the risk of developing either BE or the spread of the associated cancer.
New research carried out at Queen Mary, University of London and Leicester Royal Infirmary, has given the most conclusive evidence yet that this is not the case. The work is reported in the peer evaluated journal Gut.........
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