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August 24, 2006, 4:43 AM CT

Is Canada too clean?

Is Canada too clean?
Canada has among the highest incidences of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease cases per capita in the world, a new study shows.

About one in 350 Canadians suffer from ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, otherwise known collectively as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), the study shows. The study was published recently in the American Journal of Gasteroenterology.

IBD is a wearing away of the lining of the intestinal tract until it becomes red and raw and begins to bleeds, like a skinned knee. The difference between ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease is where they occur: ulcerative colitis occurs only in the large intestine, and Crohn's disease, which is more common, occurs in both the large and small intestines.

"The key issue about IBD is that if affects people in the prime of their lives--it's commonly first diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 25--and it can be very debilitating," said Dr. Richard Fedorak, director of the University of Alberta Division of Gasteroenterology and a co-author of the study.

Fedorak and colleagues are studying IBD incidence rates in Canada to gain insight into the causes of the disease and determine why, as other studies have shown, it occurs more often in northern regions of the world.

"We know that people need a certain genetic mutation to be vulnerable to the disease," said Fedorak. "However, we believe there is an environmental element to it, as well, because not all people with the genetic mutation develop the disease".........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


August 8, 2006, 8:42 PM CT

Nutrition's Role In Genes And Birth Defects

Nutrition's Role In Genes And Birth Defects
Expectant mothers may someday get a personalized menu of foods to eat during pregnancy to complement their genetic makeup as a result of new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Scientists used transparent fish embryos to develop a way to discover how genes and diet interact to cause birth defects.

"By the time most women know they are pregnant, the development of the fetus' organs is essentially complete," said Bryce Mendelsohn, co-author and an M.D./Ph.D. student in the Medical Scientist Training Program at Washington University School of Medicine. "Since we currently do not understand the interaction between genetics and nutrition, the goal of this research was to understand how the lack of a specific nutrient, in this case copper, interacts with an embryo's genetics during early development."

Mendelsohn is doing the research in the laboratory of Jonathan D. Gitlin, M.D., the Helene B. Roberson Professor of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine, director of genetics and genomic medicine at St. Louis Children's Hospital and scientific director of the Children's Discovery Institute.

Mendelsohn and collaborators Stephen L. Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor of genetics at the School of Medicine, and graduate student Chunyue Yin, working with Lila Solnica-Krezel, associate professor of biology at Vanderbilt University, studied the impact of copper metabolism on the development of zebrafish, a vertebrate that develops similarly to humans. Zebrafish have become staples of genetic research because the transparent embryos grow outside of the mother's body, which allows development to be easily observed.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


August 6, 2006, 0:29 AM CT

Reversing Malnutrition

Reversing Malnutrition Patricia Wolff, M.D., examines a young patient in her pediatric clinic in Cap Haitien, Haiti
Swollen bellies, orange hair, listlessness and dull eyes - these are the traits of child malnutrition in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and where roughly one of every three children is chronically malnourished.

To try to change that statistic, Patricia A. Wolff, M.D., associate clinical professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, founded Meds & Food for Kids (MFK) in 2004, after she saw that medications and small amounts of the local staples rice, beans and corn weren't enough to nourish children back to health.

MFK works to combat childhood malnutrition and related diseases in northern coastal Cap Haitien, Haiti's second-largest city, by giving Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) to malnourished children between 6 months and 5 years old. The mixture, known to Haitians as "Medika Mamba," or peanut-butter medicine, is a nutrient-rich mixture of peanuts, sugar, oil, vitamins, minerals and powdered milk. It is distributed in plastic containers for families to feed their children at home and can be stored for several months.

Children start to show visible signs of improvement about 1-2 weeks after receiving the peanut-butter mixture, becoming more active and growing new black hair. One course of the six-week therapy, which can be enough to renourish the child, costs under US$100.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


July 31, 2006, 10:32 PM CT

An Eye-opening Look At Anesthesia

An Eye-opening Look At Anesthesia Dr. Emery N. Brown Photo courtesy / Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology
Raise your hand if you are more afraid of the prospect of general anesthesia than of surgery itself. If you raised your hand, you are not alone, as per the newest faculty member at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST).

Dr. Emery N. Brown, who explores what happens to the brain during anesthesia, began a dual appointment as professor of health sciences and technology and professor of computational neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) at MIT in October 2005.

"Anesthesia has taken on a mythical quality; it's not perceived as a neuro-physiological phenomenon," he said.

He describes the motivation behind his current research focus: "For a number of years, I was practicing anesthesiology, learning clinical skills in order to take care of patients, not thinking about how anesthesia affects patients. Then 10 years ago, when HST alum Dr. Greg Koski was the head of human studies at MGH, he said, 'It would be interesting to see an image, to see what happens when someone is under anesthesia.'" Brown was hooked.

"We say we induce anesthesia and then 'wake up' the patient," Brown said. "But in French the patient is reanime, or brought back to life. We haven't yet begun to think precisely about what we do, however. Anesthesia is not like sleep. It's not the same process".........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


June 28, 2006, 11:59 PM CT

No Need To Avoid Chocolate, Wine, Or Spicy Foods

No Need To Avoid Chocolate, Wine, Or Spicy Foods
Patients have been known to hug Lauren Gerson, MD, so overjoyed are they at hearing her words. What does she say to them? Go ahead and eat chocolate. Indulge your passion for spicy cuisine. Drink red wine. Enjoy coffee when you want it, have that orange juice with breakfast and, what the heck, eat a grapefruit, too. Gerson says that for most heartburn patients, there's insufficient evidence to support the notion that eating these foods will make heartburn worse - or that cutting them out will make it go away.

A number of of Gerson's patients walk into her clinic upset, having been advised elsewhere to severely limit their diets to help reduce their heartburn symptoms. But recent research by Gerson, assistant professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, indicates there's no evidence to support a need for dietary deprivation, except for the unlucky few whose heartburn is clearly triggered by a particular food.

Gerson's advice runs counter to the long-standing recommendations of virtually every professional organization of gastroenterologists, including the American College of Gastroenterology, as well as the National Institutes of Health. For the past 15 to 20 years, the standard therapy for heartburn has been to cut out the aforementioned culinary joys - along with fried and fatty foods, all alcoholic and carbonated beverages, tobacco and mint - and to stop eating three hours before lying down. In addition, you're advised to keep your weight under control. Those changes in lifestyle coupled with antacids and various over-the-counter and prescription medications have been the accepted first line of therapy.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


June 19, 2006, 9:23 PM CT

Suggest your News Item To Medicineworld

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Posted by: Janet      Permalink


June 15, 2006, 10:39 PM CT

Gut Microbes' Partnership

Gut Microbes' Partnership Image courtesy of yakult.com.au
Scientists studying mutually beneficial interactions between members of our vast community of friendly gut microorganisms have shown that two common organisms collude and collaborate to increase the amount of calories harvested from a class of carbohydrates found in food sweeteners.

In the study, conducted in previously germ-free mice, colonization with two prominent human gut microbes led to fatter mice. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis called the results an illustration of how understanding the menagerie of microorganisms that live in our guts can provide new insights into health. The study is published online this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

To one day consider manipulating gut microbes for medical benefits, such as weight loss or gain, researchers need to know who's living in our digestive systems and how they form strategic alliances with one another to benefit themselves and us. They also have to learn how much this cast of microbial characters varies in different human individuals.

"We are superorganisms containing a mixture of not just human cells but also bacterial cells and cells of another microscopic domain of life known as Archaea," says senior author Jeffrey Gordon, M.D., the Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor. "As adults, the number of these bacterial and archaeal microbial cells exceeds the number of our human cells by tenfold. The genes present in this community of 10-100 trillion bugs vastly outnumber our own genes and are a key part of our genetic landscape, providing us with attributes we have not had to evolve on our own."........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


June 14, 2006, 0:07 AM CT

Pancreatic Cancer Surgery Can Help Those Over 80

Pancreatic Cancer Surgery Can Help Those Over 80
Age doesn't necessarily have to be the deciding factor for cancer surgery, Jefferson Medical College surgeons have found.

Pancreas cancer surgeon Charles J. Yeo, M.D., Samuel D. Gross Professor and chair of surgery at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia and Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center, and colleagues studied records of pancreatic surgery during the last 35 years at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and found that contrary to what a number of both in and out of medicine may believe, major pancreas cancer surgery can successfully be performed on patients in their 80s, 90s and even older.

In the study, reported recently in the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Dr. Yeo and co-workers examined records of nearly 2,700 cases of the standard Whipple operation for pancreatic disease, including cancer. Of these, about 1,000 operations were performed in the last four years. The Whipple procedure entails the surgical removal of the head of the pancreas, the duodenum (part of the small intestine), part of the common bile duct, the gallbladder and sometimes a portion of the stomach.

Of this group, 207 patients were 80 years old or older. Those who were 80 to 89 years of age had a mortality rate of 4.1 percent (8 of 197), and a complication rate of 52.8 percent. Those younger than 80 years old had a mortality rate of 1.7 percent, with a complication rate of 41.6 percent. Of 10 patients 90 or older, the scientists reported no deaths after surgery, though half had complications. Of those 80 to 89 years old, 59.1 percent lived for at least one year, while 60 percent of patients 90 years and older lived that long after surgery.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


June 13, 2006, 9:41 PM CT

Risk Of Infertility Iafter Bowel Surgery

Risk Of Infertility Iafter Bowel Surgery
The risk of infertility in women triples after the most major surgery for the inflammatory bowel disease ulcerative colitis, suggests research published ahead of print in the journal Gut.

The authors base their finding on an extensive trawl of print and online research archives, and a detailed analysis of eight published studies. Infertility was defined as a failure to conceive after 12 months of trying.

Ulcerative colitis is a condition in which sores and inflammation develop along the lining of the large intestine, producing severe diarrhoea and rectal bleeding. It affects around 1 to 2% of the population. Surgical removal of the colon is sometimes needed to alleviate persistent and painful symptoms.

Ileal pouch anal anastomosis is a standard procedure in which the lower section of the large intestine is removed and a surgical pouch artificially created from the small intestine. This is then joined to a short remaining cuff of the rectum to ensure as normal bowel function as possible.

The evidence from the published studies showed that the risk of infertility after drug therapy was around 1 in 7 or 15%.

But this risk tripled to 48% after ileal pouch anal anastomosis. All patients seemed to be at risk of infertility, so there were no obvious factors among the patients or the procedure itself to account for the increased risk.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


June 13, 2006, 9:39 PM CT

Vitamin A Deficiency And Intestinal Surgery

Vitamin A Deficiency And Intestinal Surgery
Major intestinal surgery, including stomach reduction for obesity, may boost the chances of subsequent vitamin A deficiency, suggests a small study published ahead of print in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

The scientists base their findings on three patients with increasingly poor eyesight or night blindness, who attended a specialist eye clinic within the space of a year. None of the patients had a family or personal history of eye problems.

All three patients, who were all over the age of 65, had had extensive intestinal surgery between 20 and 35 years earlier.

The operations included intestinal bypass, surgical removal of diseased tissue as a result of inflammatory bowel disease, and gallbladder removal.

All the patients were diagnosed with vitamin A deficiency, and this was in spite of them having taken vitamin supplements.

One of the patients refused injections of vitamin A into the muscles. But the other two went ahead with this therapy, which prompted an improvement in their vision within days.

Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of childhood blindness in developing countries, and is caused by malnutrition. It is rare in affluent, developed countries, where it is mainly caused by poor absorption or abnormal metabolism.........

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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