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October 17, 2006, 9:21 PM CT

Virtual Colonoscopy Prevents Colorectal Cancer

Virtual Colonoscopy Prevents Colorectal Cancer Image courtesy of Vision system
Three-dimensional computed tomography (CT) colonography, also known as virtual colonoscopy, is an accurate screening method for colorectal cancer, as per a research studyreported in the recent issue of the journal Radiology. In addition, when covered by third-party payers, virtual colonoscopy may entice more people to be screened.

"Our positive experience with virtual colonoscopy screening covered by health insurance demonstrates its enormous potential for increasing compliance for colorectal cancer prevention and screening," said lead author Perry J. Pickhardt, M.D., associate professor of radiology at The University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison. "In addition, recent technical improvements have resulted in even better performance results".

Colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer mortality in the United States, and the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that there will be 148,610 new cases diagnosed in 2006 and 55,170 deaths. The disease is largely preventable through screening for colon polyps, which are non-malignant growths that may develop into cancer if not removed. ACS recommends that people at average risk for colorectal cancer begin regular colorectal cancer screening at age 50, but current compliance with this recommendation remains well below 50 percent. A number of people resist screening because of the discomfort and inconvenience caused by the standard optical colonoscopy test.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


October 9, 2006, 9:27 PM CT

Celiac Disease And Cognitive Decline

Celiac Disease And Cognitive Decline Image courtesy of celiacdisease.net
Mayo Clinic scientists have uncovered a new link between celiac disease, a digestive condition triggered by consumption of gluten, and dementia or other forms of cognitive decline. The investigators' case series analysis -- an examination of medical histories of a group of patients with a common problem -- of 13 patients would be reported in the recent issue of Archives of Neurology.

"There has been very little known about this correlation between celiac disease and cognitive decline until now," says Keith Josephs, M.D., Mayo Clinic neurologist and study investigator. "This is the largest case series to date of patients demonstrating cognitive decline within two years of the onset of celiac disease symptom onset or worsening."

Says Joseph Murray, M.D., Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and study investigator, "There has been a fair amount written before about celiac disease and neurological issues like peripheral neuropathy (nerve problems causing numbness or pain) or balance problems, but this degree of brain problem -- the cognitive decline we've found here -- has not been recognized before. I was not expecting there would be so a number of celiac disease patients with cognitive decline."

The next step in the research will be to investigate the measure and nature of the correlation between the two conditions.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


September 25, 2006, 10:10 PM CT

Bacterial Protein To Treat Intestinal Parasites

Bacterial Protein To Treat Intestinal Parasites Adult hookworm attached to intestine. Credit: Richard Bungiro, Yale
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego and Yale University have discovered that a natural protein produced by Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterium sprayed on crops by organic farmers to reduce insect damage, is highly effective at treating hookworm infections in laboratory animals.

Their discovery, detailed in this week's early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could pave the way for the development of more effective therapys for hookworm and other soil-transmitted nematode infections, which are a major global health problem in developing countries. A number of of the nearly two billion people worldwide infected with these intestinal parasites are children, who are at particular risk for anemia, malnutrition and delayed growth.

The UCSD-Yale team observed that a protein produced by the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, given orally to laboratory hamsters infected with hookworms was as effective in eliminating the parasites, curing anemia and restoring weight gain in the hamsters as mebendazole, one of the drugs currently recommended to treat infections in humans. The researchers also discovered that this protein, called Cry5B, targets both developing, or larval, stages and adult parasites, as well as impairs the excretion of eggs by female worms.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


September 25, 2006, 5:47 PM CT

A Spy In The Intestinal Canal

A Spy In The Intestinal Canal
The colonsope, whic is a medical device currently used for intestinal research, causes patients great discomfort. At TU Delft, an alternative method has been developed, inspired by the way in which snails move. Researcher Dimitra Dodou received her PhD degree from TU Delft based on this research subject.

The intestines are an extremely difficult area to navigate through with a medical device. Yet, a number of people need to have intestinal examinations done to determine if, for example, they have intestinal cancer. The medical device currently used for this is the colonscope, a long, thin and flexible tube that causes patients great discomfort and pain. For this reason, scientists have been trying to develop alternative medical devices, such as, for example, a small robot that moves independently through the intestinal tract. There is a layer of slime, called mucus, on the inside of the large intestine (colon). The robots, as they move forward under their own power, ignore this layer of mucus and try, if possible, to suck or grab on to the intestinal wall, which results in the walls being stretched and the patient feeling pain and discomfort.

A better method, as per TU Delft researcher Dimitra Dodou, is in fact to use this layer of mucus and allow the robot to imitate the forward movement of a snail. A snail leaves a trail of slime behind it on the ground. This slimy material works simultaneously as a lubricant for gliding on and as a glue which the slug can grip hold of.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


September 22, 2006, 4:31 PM CT

Diverticulitis Now Seen In Young, Obese Adults

Diverticulitis Now Seen In Young, Obese Adults
This used to be a disease of older people who are more than 50 years old. Now this this is appearing in younger adults, who are obese. A research study from the University of Maryland Medical Center showed that diverticulitis is now occurring in younger adults who are obese.

"Over the last ten years, I noted that a number of patients coming into the emergency room with CT findings of acute diverticulitis seemed younger than traditional teaching suggested, and often were obese," said Barry Daly, MD, an author of the study partner in research. "We were seeing patients as young as their early twenties, though textbooks typically describe this condition as a disease of the over-fifty age group," he said.

Elderly adults often develop acute diverticulitis, and this is considered to be one of the most frequent acute diseases of the colon. This disease is thoughtful occur because of inadequate amount of fiber in the diet. A diet which is deficient in fiber causes numerous thin-walled out-pouches called diverticula to develop in the bowel wall. This is actually a chronic condition known as diverticulosis. With passage of time bacterial infection of these diverticula can occur and this would cause inflammation that may lead to a perforation in the wall of the intestine and other serious complications.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


September 20, 2006, 9:47 PM CT

NSAIDs and GI complications

NSAIDs and GI complications
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) provide a broad range of benefits for patients who require their use, but health care providers need to carefully consider the associated risks before prescribing these drugs for their patients, as per a multi-disciplinary panel of experts convened by the AGA Institute. Gastrointestinal (GI) morbidities are the most common adverse events linked to NSAID use, including complications in both the upper- and lower-GI tracts; serious GI complications, such as potentially fatal bleeding ulcers, occur in one to four percent of NSAID users annually.

The findings of the panel, "Consensus Development Conference on the Use of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Including Cyclooxygenase-2 Enzyme Inhibitors and Aspirin," were reported in the recent issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, published by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute.

"NSAIDs are the most widely used medications in the world, and the broad use of these drugs confirms their effectiveness and relative safety," as per C. Mel Wilcox, MD, professor of medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and lead author of the paper. "However, well-recognized GI complications and previously unrecognized cardiac risks have caused great concern about the use of these drugs among healthcare professionals. The AGA Institute convened the consensus conference to increase awareness about the benefits and the risks of GI and cardiovascular toxicities linked to these medications and to improve their use".........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


September 11, 2006, 8:45 PM CT

Ulcerative Colitis Responds To Arthritis Drug

Ulcerative Colitis Responds To Arthritis Drug
In good news for patients with stubborn cases of ulcerative colitis, a serious intestinal disorder, a new research review suggests that the drug infliximab can be a useful alternative if other therapys don't work.

The drug is currently used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease.

"For people with active ulcerative colitis who do not respond to corticosteroids or immunosuppressive agents, infliximab is effective in inducing clinical remission, inducing clinical response, promoting mucosal healing and reducing the need for colectomy, at least in the short term," said review co-author Dr. Anthony Kwaku Akobeng.

Akobeng, a gastroenterologist at Manchester Children's University Hospitals in England, and his colleagues examined seven randomized controlled studies comprising 860 patients that reviewed infliximab as a therapy for ulcerative colitis.

The review of studies appears in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews like this one draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.

"Infliximab is another option if steroids fail," said Peter Higgins, M.D., an assistant professor in gastroenterology at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


September 7, 2006, 8:10 PM CT

Liver Diagnosis Breakthrough

Liver Diagnosis Breakthrough
Researchers from Mayo Clinic have recently developed a new technique for using MRI to measure the hardness or elasticity of the liver. This exciting new technology which he is called promising a revolutionary new technique for detecting fibrosis of the liver. Currently liver fibrosis is diagnosed using needle biopsy. This new technology promises a new way of diagnosing liver fibrosis using a painless and a low-risk procedure. These findings are published in the latest edition of John radiology.

"This is potentially an important diagnostic advance, since conventional imaging techniques, such as CT, MRI and ultrasound are not capable of identifying liver fibrosis previous to the onset of cirrhosis," says Richard Ehman, M.D., Mayo researcher and lead investigator on the study.



"The Elastogram"


The healthy liver is very soft in comparison to most other tissues and particularly in comparison to a liver with cirrhosis, which is rock hard. The development by Dr. Ehman and colleagues applies vibrations to the liver and then utilizes a modified form of MRI to obtain pictures of the mechanical waves passing through the organ. The imaging can be accomplished in as little as 20 seconds. The wave pictures are then processed to generate a quantitative image of tissue stiffness -- called an elastogram.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


September 2, 2006, 10:05 PM CT

Reducing contrast material in elderly

Reducing contrast material in elderly
The dose of contrast material can be effectively reduced by at least 10% for elderly patients undergoing a multi-detector CT examination of the pancreas and biliary region a new study finds. When the dose is reduced, the cost of the examination and the risk of complications is reduced. This study was conducted by the Department of Technical Radiology at Nagoya University School of Health Science in Nagoya, Japan.

"When interpreting CT images acquired using the established protocol in our clinical practice, it was noted that in some examinations of elderly patients, contrast enhancement of the pancreatic parenchyma was too intense," said Shigeki Itoh, MD, lead author of the study. "Therefore, we speculated that it might be possible to reduce the dose and rate of contrast material injection without adversely affecting the degree of contrast enhancement in elderly patients," said Dr. Itoh.

The study included 112 patients, ranging from 23-80 years old who had known or suspected pancreatobiliary disease who were split into three groups (60 years old or younger with a contrast injection of 0.08 milliliters/kg/sec, 60 years old or older with a contrast injection of 0.08 milliliters/kg/sec, and 60 years old or older with a contrast injection of 0.07 milliliters/kg/sec).........

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



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Did you know?
The number of bariatric surgeries performed in the U.S. increased by 450 percent between 1998 and 2002, a growth the scientists say could be linked with use of the minimally invasive laparoscopic technique, according to an article in the recent issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

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