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May 8, 2006, 9:11 PM CT

Two New Varieties of Non-Allergenic Soybeans

Two New Varieties of Non-Allergenic Soybeans
Soy is also a very common ingredient in a lot of food products, commonly as fillers and extenders. For a lot of vegetarians, it is also a common alternative to meat because of its high protein cotent. However, a considerable number of people, especially children, show allergic reactions such as skin rashes, gastrointestinal problems, or in more serious cases, swelling and diffulty of breathing and swallowing. If not for this, soy would have been an ideal food item, considering its nutritional value and relatively cheap price.

This is why researchers have tried to create genetically modified soybeans that are non-allergenic. They simply shut off that gene called p34, which has been found to be responsible for producing the protein that invokes allergic reactions. However, because of public resistance to GMOs, they tried other traditional approaches as well.

Alas, scientists from the University of Illinois and the USDA-Agricultural Research Service have been rewarded. After screening more than 16,000 soybean lines in the USDA's National Soybean Germplasm Collection, they found two varieties that are naturally deficient in the allergy-causing P34 protein. They said they will release these soybean varieties without patents to companies and breeders. Hopefully it doesn't take long before we consumers see them on the store shelves!........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 2, 2006, 0:17 AM CT

Children Living Near Major Roads Face Higher Asthma Risk

Children Living Near Major Roads Face Higher Asthma Risk
Young children who live near a major road are significantly more likely to have asthma than children who live only blocks away, as per a research studythat appears in the May 1 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

The study found that children living within 75 meters (about 82 yards) of a major road had a 50 percent greater risk of having had asthma symptoms in the past year than were children who lived more than 300 meters (about 328 yards) away. Higher traffic volumes on the different roads were also correlation to increased rates of asthma.

"These findings are consistent with an emerging body of evidence that local traffic around homes and schools may be causing an increase in asthma," says lead author Rob McConnell, M.D., professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. "This is a potentially important public health problem because a number of children live near major roads".

More than 5,000 children ages 5 to 7 were involved in the study which was an expansion of the Children's Health Study, currently underway in 13 southern California communities. The scientists determined how far each participating child lived from a major road - a freeway, large highway or a feeder road to a highway.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 30, 2006, 11:39 PM CT

Improving Childhood Asthma Outcomes

Improving Childhood Asthma Outcomes
A quality improvement initiative at four school-based health centers in Cincinnati has resulted in significant improvements in outcomes for children with asthma.

The results of the project provide support for the concept of school-based health centers in urban areas and for community partnerships to improve child health, as per scientists from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center involved in the initiative. They will present their study of the project at 3:15 p.m. Pacific time Saturday, April 29, at the annual Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in San Francisco.

"Improving outcomes through evidence-based care shows that school-based health centers can improve child health," says Mona Mansour, M.D., a doctor at Cincinnati Children's and medical director of the school-based health centers. Dr. Mansour co-authored the study with Barbara Rose, M.P.H., who was project manager of the quality improvement initiative.

Rose and Dr. Mansour followed 212 children with asthma who are enrolled in four school-based health centers in Cincinnati that are operated by Neighborhood Health Care, Inc., a federally qualified health center organization. The centers provide comprehensive primary, mental and dental health services to children in grades K-8. Cincinnati Children's provides physicians and nurse practitioners for these centers and collaborates with the Cincinnati Health Department, which provides school nurses; the Cincinnati Public Schools; and, parents of children with asthma.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 4, 2006, 8:39 PM CT

People With Allergies Are Less Likely To Develop Brain Tumors

People With Allergies Are Less Likely To Develop Brain Tumors
In their quest to determine whether immune system surveillance guards against brain tumor development, scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have found that allergies and asthma that stimulate inflammation may be protective, but use of antihistamines to control the inflammation could eliminate that protection.

In this study, reported at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the scientists also associated chicken pox infection with a significantly reduced risk of developing brain tumors.

The scientists say the findings suggest that a small amount of inflammation in the brain may rev up the immune system enough to protect against brain tumor development. But they stress that no one should give up antihistamines or shun use of a chicken pox vaccine because of this study.

"Brain tumors are exceedingly rare, and a number of, a number of people use antihistamines, so we certainly are not suggesting a direct correlation between the two, or between chicken pox and tumors," says the study's lead author, Melissa Bondy, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Epidemiology. "What this study may do is help us begin to understand if the immune system plays a role in development of different kinds of brain tumors".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


February 27, 2006, 0:10 AM CT

How Gold Works In Arthritis

How Gold Works In Arthritis Gold coins
Gold compounds have been used for the therapy of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases for more than 75 years, but until now, how the metals work has been a mystery. Harvard Medical School scientists report in the Feb. 27 issue of Nature Chemical Biology that special forms of gold, platinum, and other classes of medicinal metals work by stripping bacteria and virus particles from the grasp of a key immune system protein.

"We were searching for a new drug to treat autoimmune diseases," says Brian DeDecker, PhD, HMS post-doctoral student in the Department of Cell Biology and a co-author of study. At the time of this work, DeDecker was in the Harvard Medical School Institute of Chemistry and Cell Biology, which uses powerful chemical tools to illuminate complex biological processes and provide new leads for drug development. "But instead we discovered a biochemical mechanism that may help explain how an old drug works".

DeDecker and co-author Stephen De Wall, PhD, undertook a large-scale search for new drugs that would suppress the function of an important component of the immune system, MHC class II proteins, which are associated with autoimmune diseases. MHC class II proteins normally hold pieces of invading bacteria and virus on the surface of specialized antigen presentation cells. Presentation of these pieces alerts other specialized recognition cells of the immune system called lymphocytes, which starts the normal immune response. Commonly this response is limited to harmful bacteria and viruses, but sometimes this process goes awry and the immune system turns towards the body itself causing autoimmune diseases such as Juvenile diabetes, Lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


February 22, 2006, 10:57 PM CT

Obesity and asthma medications

Obesity and asthma medications Marc Peters-Golden, M.D
As the nation's collective waistline has swelled in recent decades, rates of asthma diagnoses also have accelerated. Indeed, much research has affirmed a link between the two conditions.

But doctors also recognize that asthma may not behave the same way among people who have different body types. With a variety of asthma medications on the market, what kinds work best for lean people and what kinds work best for obese people? The answer may be different for each group.

A new study suggests that people who are overweight or obese may have better results with the prescription pill sold as Singulair than with a type of inhaled steroid, while leaner people may have better luck with an inhaled steroid, called beclomethasone and sold as beclovent, vanceril and other brand names. The findings are reported in the new issue of the European Respiratory Journal.

"It is increasingly recognized that obese people are more prone to develop asthma, but there is no information about whether obesity influences people's responses to particular asthma medications," says lead author Marc Peters-Golden, M.D., professor of internal medicine and director of the Fellowship Program in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.

"Our findings are the first to suggest the possibility that obesity might be a factor that influences how well asthmatics respond to particular medications," Peters-Golden says.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


February 22, 2006, 10:25 PM CT

Psychology Of Asthma Response In Children

Psychology Of Asthma Response In Children
While a number of urban children suffer from asthma, those who have high self-esteem and good problem-solving skills may be less likely to have their asthma symptoms interfere with school, a new study finds.

"Our results suggest that in spite of facing asthma symptoms, stressors correlation to urban residence, as well as family life stressors, children's individual characteristics such as higher levels of problem-solving beliefs and self-esteem were associated with fewer school absences, more participation in activities, and less missed sleep," says lead author, Daphne Koinis Mitchell, PhD, with the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center (BHCRC) and Brown Medical School.

This study, reported in the December 2005 issue of the Journal of School Health, is an important step towards identifying ways in which school systems can develop plans to help students with asthma improve their academic performance.

Asthma can influence school absences, increase emergency room visits, limit physical activities, and account for sleep loss. If not properly treated, asthma can negatively impact children's ability to learn when in school, the authors write.

But are there are factors that might mitigate these effects? The authors studied a group of urban, school-aged children (and their mothers) with asthma from minority backgrounds.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


February 5, 2006, 10:30 PM CT

Pregnancy With Female Fetus Causes More Asthma Attacks

Women with asthma who are carrying a female fetus are more likely to experience worse asthma symptoms than asthmatic women carrying a male fetus, scientists at Yale School of Medicine report in the recent issue of American Journal of Epidemiology.

"This is one of the first and largest studies to investigate the effect of fetal sex on the severity of the mother's asthma, and one of the largest to investigate the effect of fetal sex on any disease of the mother," said senior author Michael B. Bracken, Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale School of Medicine.

The scientists monitored 702 pregnant women throughout southern New England who were trained to assess their lung function for 10-day intervals at selected points in pregnancy. Lung function and a large number of other factors that might influence severity of the mother's asthma were recorded automatically.

Asthma worsened in mothers with either male or female fetuses until about 30 weeks gestation, after which there was an improvement in lung function. However, throughout pregnancy, mothers with a male fetus had 10 percent better lung function.

"This difference due to sex is potentially important but needs to be placed in the context of other factors which have a greater impact on the severity of mother's asthma, including inadequate medical management of asthma symptoms, and whether the mother was a smoker or not," said Bracken, who also co-directs the Yale Center for Perinatal, Pediatric and Environmental Epidemiology.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink


January 28, 2006, 5:01 PM CT

Thermal Energy Procedure For Asthma

Thermal Energy Procedure For Asthma
Up until now, if you suffer from asthma, medicine has been the only therapy available to you for relief. But now, clinical scientists at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) hope to open up a new avenue to alleviate the debilitating symptoms of asthma - through an investigative bronchoscopic procedure where the smooth muscle of the airway, which causes the spasm, is reduced using thermal energy.

"Even though the smooth muscle in your airway serves no identifiable purpose, when something does go wrong with it, it can cause problems," explains Ali Musani, MD, an interventional pulmonologist at Penn and principal investigator of the study. "It can constrict, tighten, and narrow the airway considerably -- causing real health consequences for asthmatics".

Interventional pulmonologists will explore, for the first time in the United States, a new way to treat asthma. Physicians will actually go into the airways with a bronchoscope, which is a routine procedure, and by generating and applying thermal energy, will reduce areas of underlying smooth muscle in the small to medium size airways with a new medical device. The Alairandreg; System - which is manufactured by Asthmatx, Inc. - consists of a single-use device and a controller that delivers thermal energy to the bronchial wall during an outpatient bronchoscopic procedure known as Bronchial Thermoplasty™.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink


January 18, 2006, 8:26 PM CT

Genetic Link Between Asthma And Obesity

Genetic Link Between Asthma And Obesity
A study about the relationship between asthma and obesity, which uses a community-based twin registry from the University of Washington in Seattle, has found a strong genetic link between the two disorders, as per findings reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

While this study replicates prior findings that have shown asthma to be more common in obese individuals, it goes on to show that the largest portion of the association between the two disorders could be explained by a common set of genetic factors.

Dr. Teal Hallstrand, assistant professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, led the study, which compared the frequency of asthma and obesity in both identical and fraternal, or non-identical, twins. The scientists analyzed 1001 identical and 383 fraternal same-sex twin pairs within the University of Washington Twin Registry. They found that the largest portion of the association between asthma and obesity could be attributed to a common set of genetic factors, referred to as genetic pleiotropy, which implies that the same genetic factors may have a causal influence on both asthma and obesity.

Asthma and obesity are increasingly common disorders, particularly in Westernized societies. A fundamental question about the relationship between obesity and asthma is whether the association between these two disorders is predominantly genetic or environmental.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink



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Did you know?
Scientists at Yale have brought to light a mechanism that regulates the way an internal organelle, the Golgi apparatus, duplicates as cells prepare to divide, according to a report in Science Express.Graham Warren, professor of cell biology, and colleagues at Yale study Trypanosoma brucei, the parasite that causes Sleeping Sickness. Like a number of parasites, it is exceptionally streamlined and has only one of each internal organelle, making it ideal for studying processes of more complex organisms that have a number of copies in each cell.

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