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September 6, 2006, 9:43 PM CT

Ghost Parasites And Severely Congested Sinuses

Ghost Parasites And Severely Congested Sinuses
Eventhough it's unclear why it's so, researchers at Johns Hopkins have linked a gene that allows for the chemical breakdown of the tough, protective casing that houses insects and worms to the severe congestion and polyp formation typical of chronic sinusitis.

A team of Hopkins sinus experts has observed that the gene for the enzyme, acidic mammalian chitinase (AMCase), is up to 250 times more active in people with severe sinus inflammation that persists even after surgery when in comparison to patients in whom surgery is successful. Sinus surgery is commonly the therapy of last resort for those who do not respond to drug treatment. But nearly one in 10 of those treated see symptoms return within weeks or months after surgery fails to keep open the nasal passages, researchers say.

The Hopkins report, reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Rhinology, is thought to bethe first to identify the enzyme's presence in the nose and confirm its link to sinusitis.

"This finding does not mean that there are actually parasites in the nose causing sinusitis, but our study does lend support to the concept that really severe and persistent sinusitis may be a case of a misplaced immune response directed against parasites that are not really there," says study lead author Andrew Lane, M.D., an associate professor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of its rhinology and sinus surgery center.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


August 31, 2006, 5:03 AM CT

New cell-based targets for inflammatory diseases

New cell-based targets for inflammatory diseases
Patients with systemic autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) often suffer loss of kidney function. When marked by a crescent formation in the glomerulus a tiny ball comprised of capillary blood vessels integral to forming urine kidney failure tends to be rapidly progressive, irreversible, and fatal. Little is known about the mechanism behind this crescent or its relationship to immune-mediated inflammation.

To gain understanding, a team of scientists in Japan began by analyzing a spontaneous mutant strain of EOD mice. Their study, published in the September 2006 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis), indicates the critical role of platelet function in this dire form of autoimmune kidney disease, crescentic glomerulonenephritis (CGN). It also sheds light on the involvement of Cno protein, a member of a large protein complex called biogenesis of lysosome-related organelle complex 1 (BLOC-1), in the development of an autoimmune disease.

Scientists isolated this mutant strain of mice from the autoimmune-prone strain EOD, which stably develops fatal CGN. Then, using blood samples, they thoroughly assessed blood cell count, immune function, platelet function, and properties of various cell types and genes in these mice, searching for clues to their marked improvement in CGN and ability to survive about twice as long as wild-type EOD mice. Among the surprising findings in the mutant mice was an ability to alter platelet functions. While wild-type EOD mice displayed massive accumulations of platelets in the glomerulus, the mutant mice did not, but they were more prone to bleeding. Further investigation revealed a mutation in the cappuccino gene, which encodes the Cno protein. Mutant platelets also showed abnormally low aggregation in response to collagen and abnormally low rates of serotonin storage.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


August 29, 2006, 5:03 AM CT

Dogs And Smog Don't Mix

Dogs And Smog Don't Mix
A new study from scientists at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) suggests that having a dog in the home may worsen the response to air pollution of a child with asthma. The study was published this week in the online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives, the journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

In "Dog Ownership Enhances Symptomatic Responses to Air Pollution in Children with Asthma," scientists looked at the relationship between chronic cough, phlegm production or bronchitis and dog and cat ownership among 475 southern California children with asthma who participated in the Children's Health Study, a longitudinal study of air pollution and respiratory health.

Children with dogs had significantly increased cough, phlegm production and bronchitis responses to the measured pollutants, including nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter and acid vapor. There were no increases of these symptoms in children who lived in homes without pets or who lived with only cats.

"Further work is needed to determine what it is about dogs that may increase an asthmatic child's response to air pollution," says Rob McConnell, M.D., professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and lead author of the study.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


August 21, 2006, 9:11 PM CT

Ozone forecaster unveiled

Ozone forecaster unveiled
People with asthma or other respiratory problems can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to University of Houston professors who have recently unveiled a forecasting system that provides air quality data on ozone conditions.

With the intent to not only increase public awareness, but also help Texas manage air quality issues, the Institute for Multi-dimensional Air Quality Studies (IMAQS) at UH has been operating an air quality forecasting system for a year that has been tested, fine-tuned and now determined ready for public use. Over the course of this past year, the system has been expanded and improved to serve the entire eastern half of Texas, including the Houston and Dallas metropolitan areas.

"Our ozone forecaster is more localized than others and goes into further detail," said Daewon Byun, director of IMAQS and a professor in UH's geosciences department. "For instance, while the ozone conditions may be rated unhealthy in downtown Houston on a given day, suburbs like Sugar Land and The Woodlands may actually be experiencing a good day that still is safe for outdoor activities in those specific areas. Other days, the opposite is true with downtown-area ozone levels being lower than in certain suburbs." .

By clicking on the local, regional or national maps at http://www.imaqs.uh.edu/ozone_forecast.htm, the public can obtain a map view of daily maximum ozone levels color-coded with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) health alert index. Also included are links to animations of a two-day forecast in one-hour increments. These maps and animations can help individuals, particularly those with respiratory problems, plan their day's outside activities. The Web site is updated daily with the most recent 48-hour local, regional and national forecasts, providing graphical analysis of the onset, intensity, duration and area of poor air quality conditions via access to hourly data from 165 East Texas air pollution monitors. The near real-time hourly air pollution and meteorological data, air quality indices and animations from 3-D simulations performed by IMAQS use the EPA's Community Multiscale Air Quality modeling system co-developed by Byun in 1999 while at the EPA before coming to UH.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


August 20, 2006, 2:27 PM CT

Trial Of New Asthma Treatment Calls For Volunteers

Trial Of New Asthma Treatment Calls For Volunteers
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are seeking participants for the AIR2 (Asthma Interventional Research) international, multi-center clinical trial, which explores whether a new asthma therapy improves asthma care.

The trial, the first test of the procedure in the United States, focuses on a procedure called bronchial thermoplasty to treat asthma. Early patient data from trials outside the United States suggest it may hold promise for moderate and severe asthmatic patients.

"This is an exciting trial because for the first time ever in the U.S., we are looking at a non-pharmacological therapy for asthma," says Mario Castro, M.D., principal investigator of the study at the School of Medicine and associate professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. "Currently, if you suffer from asthma, medicine is the only therapy available to you for relief, so there is the potential this clinical trial may change the way we care for millions of asthma sufferers."

Asthma is one of the most common and costly diseases in the world. It affects more than 20 million people in the United States alone, with an estimated 2 million emergency room visits and 5,000 deaths per year. The prevalence of asthma is on the rise, and there is no cure.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


July 12, 2006, 11:40 PM CT

Allergy Battle Could Be Won In Five Years

Allergy Battle Could Be Won In Five Years
Researchers, working with colleagues at St George's, University of London, are developing drugs designed to stop allergens from entering the body, so rendering them harmless.

Professor David Garrod said the research - recently shortlisted for the Northwest Regional Development Agency's Bionow Project of the Year - takes a completely new approach to the therapy and prevention of allergies.

"The technology is based on our earlier discovery of how allergens, the substances that cause allergy, enter the body through the surface layer of cells that protect the skin and the tubes of the lungs," he said.

"Allergens from pollen or house dust mites are inhaled and then dissolve the binding material between the cells that form these protective linings; they can then enter the body by passing between the cells to cause an allergic response.

"The drugs we are developing -- called Allergen Delivery Inhibitors (ADIs) - are designed to disable these allergens so they can no longer eat through the protective cell layer and block the allergic reaction before it occurs.

"The effect will be like avoiding allergens altogether. Removing carpets and rigorous cleaning of homes are established ways to avoid allergens, but they are only partially effective because their effects do not 'travel' with allergy sufferers.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


June 20, 2006, 8:49 PM CT

Animal Feeding Operations Near Schools

Animal Feeding Operations Near Schools
Children who attend school near large-scale livestock farms known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) may be at a higher risk for asthma, as per a new study by University of Iowa researchers.

The study, led by Joel Kline, M.D., professor of internal medicine in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, appears in the recent issue of Chest, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org).

"Prior research has shown increased rates of asthma among children living in rural areas of Iowa and the United States," said Kline, who also is deputy director of the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center (EHSRC) in the UI College of Public Health, which helped fund the study. "Given that CAFOs release inflammatory substances that can affect the health of workers at these facilities and the air quality of nearby communities, we were interested in whether there was a correlation between CAFOs and increased rates of asthma among kids in rural areas."

Scientists surveyed the parents of kindergarten through fifth-grade students attending two Iowa elementary schools to compare the prevalence of asthma among students. The "study" school was located a half-mile from a CAFO in northeast Iowa; the "control" school was in east-central Iowa, more than 10 miles away from any CAFO (generally classified as a livestock facility that houses more than 3,500 animals). Sixty-one participants responded from the study school, and 248 participants responded from the control school.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


June 19, 2006, 9:23 PM CT

Suggest your News Item To Medicineworld

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Posted by: Janet      Permalink


June 18, 2006, 6:56 PM CT

Why Cleanliness brings allergy?

Why Cleanliness brings allergy?
In a study comparing wild rodents with their laboratory counterparts, scientists at Duke University Medical Center have found evidence that may help to explain why people in industrialized societies that greatly stress hygiene have higher rates of allergy and autoimmune diseases than do people in less developed societies in which hygiene is harder to achieve or considered less critical.

The prevailing hypothesis concerning the development of allergy and probably autoimmune disease is the "hygiene hypothesis," which states that people in "hygienic" societies have higher rates of allergy and perhaps autoimmune disease because they -- and hence their immune systems -- have not been as challenged during everyday life by the host of microbes usually found in the environment.

The study suggests that an overly hygienic environment could simultaneously increase the tendency to have allergic reactions and the tendency to acquire autoimmune disease, despite the fact that these two reactions represent two different types of immune responses.

The scientists added that their experimental model, which compares specific immune system responses of wild rodents to laboratory rodents, could open up a new approach to studying human disease and allergies that complements traditional scientific studies.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


June 16, 2006, 0:17 AM CT

Mold Spores Increase Risk For Multiple Allergies

Mold Spores Increase Risk For Multiple Allergies Image courtesy of healthyairusa.com
University of Cincinnati (UC) scientists say exposure to a certain group of fungal spores-abundant in the air that we breathe every day-can make young children more susceptible to developing multiple allergies during the later part of life.

The team found that infants who were exposed to basidiospores and other airborne fungal spores-specifically penicillium/aspergillus and alternaria-early in life were more likely to develop allergies to mold, pollen, dust mites, pet dander and certain foods as they grew older.

This is the first study to show a relationship between specific airborne fungal spores and an increased risk for multiple allergies in children, the UC team reports in an upcoming edition of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology and an early online edition June 14.

A fungus is a plantlike organism that grows by releasing tiny reproductive cells (spores) into the air. Mold is a type of fungus that can grow on any moist surface-including wood, drywall and cement.

Prior allergy studies focused on visible mold or total mold concentrations, not the identification of specific airborne fungal spores. The UC-led study showed that exposure to specific airborne fungal spores may increase allergic reactions and others could help reduce them.

These findings reinforce the idea that not all fungi are created equal, says Tiina Reponen, PhD, professor of environmental health at UC and corresponding author on the study.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source



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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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