January 10, 2008, 10:35 PM CT
Pancreatic cancer cells evade immune system
A protein that helps prevent a womans body from rejecting a fetus may also play an important role in enabling pancreas cancer cells to evade detection by the immune system, allowing them to spread in the body.
Scientists at Jeffersons Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia observed that the metastatic cancer cells in the lymph nodes of patients with pancreas cancer produce enough of the protein, IDO, to essentially wall-off the immune systems T-cells and recruit cells that suppress the immune systems response to the tumor. The findings might mean not only a better way to detect pancreas cancer spreading to lymph nodes, but also could enhance tumor immune treatment strategies against the fast-moving, deadly disease.
As per Jonathan Brody, Ph.D., assistant professor of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, one way that metastatic cancer cells can survive in nearby lymph nodes is by avoiding the immune system. Evidence from studies by researchers looking at other cancers has indicated that IDO (indolamine 23 dioxygenase) is critical to regulating the immune environment. The Jefferson researchers wanted to know if metastatic pancreas cancer cells residing in the lymph nodes expressed IDO to avoid being found, and if so, could they target this enzyme with available drugs to prevent the cancer cells from hiding from the immune system.........
Posted by: Sue Read more Source
January 10, 2008, 10:31 PM CT
Challenge previous findings regarding asthma treatment
A new study published recently in The Lancet reveals that one of the most usually used asthma medicines -- long-acting beta-agonists -- may not be linked to adverse events in people based on their genotype (gene variation), as prior studies had shown.
The study analyzed the effects of long-acting beta-agonist treatment, used in combination with inhaled corticosteroids, in asthmatics who have a specific beta-2 adrenergic receptor (ADRB2) genotype.
Investigators analyzed data from two clinical trials performed by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP. In each trial, patients were randomized to receive one of two different long-acting beta-agonists. In the case of each of the therapies, asthma symptoms and control improved, but no differences were observed based on the ADRB2 genotype.
These results are extremely important because prior studies on short-acting beta-agonists showed evidence for an adverse genotypic effect, said Eugene R. Bleecker, M.D., Thomas H. Davis Professor of Medicine, co-director of Center for Human Genomics at Wake Forest Baptist, and lead-investigator for the study. Smaller studies on long-acting beta-agonists have produced conflicting results.
Current guidelines recommend the use of combination treatment, with long-acting beta-agonists and inhaled corticosteroids, to control moderate to severe persistent asthma.........
Posted by: JoAnn Read more Source
January 8, 2008, 9:18 PM CT
Teen girls who regularly eat family meals
Adolescent girls who frequently eat meals with their families appear less likely to use diet pills, laxatives, or other extreme measures to control their weight five years later, as per research led by Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., lead investigator of Project Eating Among Teens (Project EAT) at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
Neumark-Sztainer and Project EAT colleagues studied 2,516 adolescents at 31 Minnesota schools over the course of five years. Participants completed two surveysan in-class survey in 1999 and a mailed survey in 2004regarding how often they ate with their families as well as their body mass index, feelings of family connectedness, and eating behaviors.
Among teen girls, those who ate five or more meals with their families each week in 1999 were significantly less likely to report using extreme measuresincluding binge eating and self-induced vomitingto control their weight in 2004, regardless of their sociodemographic characteristics, body mass index, or family connectedness. Among adolescent boys, regular family meals did not predict lower levels of disordered eating behaviors five years later.
The reasons for the gender differences are unclear. Boys who engage in regular family meals may be different in some way that increases their risk for disordered eating behaviors. It is also possible that adolescent boys and girls have different experiences at family meals. For example, girls may have more involvement in food preparation and other food-related tasks, which may play a protective role in the development of disordered eating behaviors. Girls also may be more sensitive to, and likely to be influenced by, interpersonal and familial relationships present at family meals than adolescent boys.........
Posted by: JoAnn Read more Source
January 8, 2008, 9:14 PM CT
When shorter waits increase stress
People hate to wait, says common customer service insight. Marketers will hype their earnest attempts to shorten waiting times or at least promise to provide customers with information or distractions to make the waiting time more palatable. However, when it comes to waiting for stressful events, such as a doctors appointments or a job interview, these types of well-meaning wait management strategies may backfire. New research reported in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that the effectiveness of wait-related customer service depends upon the nature of the waited-for event.
Wait management strategies that are effective in Disney World may cause more stress if implemented in a hospital waiting room, explain Elizabeth Gelfand Miller (Boston College), Barbara E. Kahn (University of Miami), and Mary Frances Luce (Duke University). Given that waiting has historically been viewed as negative and that it is likely the only stressor during a number of (positive) service encounters, shorter waits are generally viewed as better than longer waits. However, we propose that the wait itself can facilitate coping with negative events, and thus, that longer waits may result in less stress.
For example, one study in the paper involved college students waiting to participate in a group discussion about an undisclosed topic. Some students were informed that they were expected to give an impromptu speech as part of a Career Services exercise and would be judged on demeanor and appearance. Others were told they would merely observe. In the follow-up questionnaire, students who had been in the neutral waiting condition were far more likely to rate the waiting duration as their biggest source of annoyance. In contrast, those who had been told they had to give a speech used the waiting time to mentally prepare for the discussion group.........
Posted by: JoAnn Read more Source
January 8, 2008, 8:59 PM CT
Americans pay the most for prescription drugs
An international study of dialysis patients shows that eventhough U.S. residents have the highest out-of-pocket drug costs, even those who can afford their prescription drugs are far less likely to take them than patients in other countries.
The new research from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the Arbor Research Collaborative for Health observed that high out-of-pocket drug costs are only a partial reason why fewer American dialysis patients took their medications than in other countries, said Richard Hirth, professor at the U-M School of Public Health.
"There is something about Americans that make them more noncompliant with their drugs even when you leave out the higher cost of the drugs," said Hirth, who co-authored the paper with Scott Greer, assistant professor at the School of Public Health. "The study looked at drug costs and adherence in hemodialysis patients from 12 developed countries participating in the Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study.
Dialysis patients in the United Kingdom enjoyed the lowest out-of-pocket spending, at $8 per month, in comparison to $114 per month in the United States. The percentage of people who did not adhere to their drug regimens because of cost ranged from 3 percent in Japan to 29 percent in the United States-a percentage higher than expected, even accounting for the high cost of U.S. prescriptions, Hirth said.........
Posted by: Janet Read more Source
January 8, 2008, 8:56 PM CT
Device prevents potential errors
A device designed to eliminate mistakes made while mixing compounds at a hospital pharmacy was 100 percent accurate in identifying the proper formulations of seven intravenous drugs.
Five potentially serious medicine errors were averted over an 18-month period in a test at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in the University of Michigan Health System by using the technology, said Jim Stevenson, associate dean of Clinical Sciences at the U-M College of Pharmacy. Stevenson also directs Pharmacy Services at the U-M Health System.
Stevenson said the hospital is the first in the world to use this device to test patient drugs compounded in the pharmacy. The U-M Health System already has a number of safeguards, such as bar coding, in place to avert mistakes.
"Errors in compounding these types of medications are rare. However, when they occur they can have a significant negative impact on patients and staff," Stevenson said. "We know from having this technology in place we've deterred five errors that might have happened. I really believe having technology like this needs to be the standard around the country".
The table-top device manufactured by ValiMed, a division of Tuscon, Ariz.,-based CDEX Inc., uses a technique called enhanced photoemission spectroscopy to determine if the compounds are correct. Light is shot into the drug compound, which excites molecules, and the energy emitted by the excited molecules is measured by a spectrometer. Each drug compound tested has its own so-called light fingerprint, which is in comparison to the fingerprint of the control compound. If they match, the drug is considered correct.........
Posted by: JoAnn Read more Source
January 8, 2008, 5:18 AM CT
4 health behaviors can add 14 extra years of life
People who adopt four healthy behaviours not smoking; taking exercise; moderate alcohol intake; and eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day live on average an additional fourteen years of life compared with people who adopt none of these behaviours, as per a research studyreported in the open access journal PLoS Medicine.
Rather than focusing on how an individual factor is correlation to health, the study calculates the combined impact of these four simply-defined forms of behaviour. The results suggest that several small lifestyle changes could have a marked impact on the health of populations.
There is overwhelming evidence showing that lifestyles such as smoking, diet and physical activity influence health and longevity but there is little information about their combined impact. Furthermore the huge amount of information provided by these studies and the varying definitions of a health behaviour that these studies use can often make them confusing for public health professionals and for the general public. For example: small amounts of alcohol appear to be correlation to lower risk of cardiovascular disease health but what is the overall impact on longevity ".
In order to examine the combined impact of lifestyle changes, Kay-Tee Khaw and his colleagues from the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council used a health behaviour score that is easy to understand in order to assess the participants in the study (who were from Norfolk, United Kingdom). Between 1993 and 1997, 20,000 men and women between the ages of 45 and 79, none of whom had known cancer or heart or circulatory disease, completed a questionnaire that resulted in a score between 0 and 4. A point was awarded for each of the following: not currently smoking; not being physically inactive (physical inactivity was defined as having a sedentary job and not doing any recreational exercise); a moderate alcohol intake of 1-14 units a week (a unit is half a pint of beer or a glass of wine); and a blood vitamin C level consistent with eating five servings of fruit or vegetables a day. Deaths among the participants were recorded unti l 2006.........
Posted by: Janet Read more Source
January 8, 2008, 5:16 AM CT
Multiple skin cancer risk behaviors are common
Whether youre basking on the beach during vacation, coasting down glittering white snow on a weekend ski trip, or simply walking the dog or running errands, sunlights ultraviolet rays can damage your skin year-round. Yet a new study by behavioral scientists at Fox Chase Cancer Center shows that most American adults engage in multiple behaviors that boost their risk of skin cancer by increasing their exposure to UV rays.
These behaviors include infrequent use of sun-protective clothing; staying outside in the sun rather than seeking shade; infrequent use of sunscreen with a sun-protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more; indoor tanning with a sunlamp or tanning bed within the past year; and getting sunburned within the past year.
Collectively, skin cancer of all types is the most common cancer in the United States and the incidence has increased over the past three decades. During 2007, an estimated 1.1 million Americans received a diagnosis of basal- or squamous-cell skin cancer or the more invasive, potentially lethal melanoma, as per the American Cancer Society.
Heredity plays an important role in skin cancer. For example, a typical portrait of someone at risk of skin cancer would show a natural blonde or redhead with very fair skin that freckles and burns more easily than it tans. Melanoma, in particular, is known to run in certain families.........
Posted by: George Read more Source
January 7, 2008, 10:56 PM CT
Infants with Birthmarks Received Less Oxygen
A hemangioma is a non-malignant tumor of cells that line blood vessels, appearing during the first few weeks of life as a large birthmark or lesion. A study published in Pediatric Dermatology reveals that a disturbance of oxygen depletion was found in placentas of babies who developed infantile hemangioma (IH).
Scientists evaluated placental samples from 26 pregnancies with babies who weighed less than 3.5 pounds, 13 consisting of newborns who developed IH after birth and 13 healthy preterm infants who did not have IH.
Only one of the infants without IH showed an abnormal placenta. The higher ratio of placental anomalies in babies with IH suggests that reduced oxygen to the placenta contributed to fetal stress, and that stress led to infantile hemangioma development.
"Our results suggest that disturbed placental circulation is a factor underlying the development of hemangiomas in very low weight newborns and indicates that placental examination is essential for clarifying the physiologic changes leading to IH in babies with normal birth weight," the authors conclude.........
Posted by: Emily Read more Source
January 7, 2008, 10:50 PM CT
Trichloroethylene is a risk factor for parkinsonism
Parkinsons disease, the most common neurodegenerative movement disorder caused by aging, can also be caused by pesticides and other neurotoxins. A new study found good evidence that trichloroethylene (TCE) is a risk factor for parkinsonism, a group of nervous disorders with symptoms similar to Parkinsons disease. TCE is a chemical widely used in industry that is also found in drinking water, surface water and soil due to runoff from manufacturing sites where it is used. The study was reported in the October 2007 issue of Annals of Neurology (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/ana), the official journal of the American Neurological Association.
Led by Don M. Gash and John T Slevin, of the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY, scientists conducting a clinical trial of 10 Parkinsons disease patients came across a patient who described long-term exposure to TCE, which he suspected to be a risk factor in his disease. TCE has been identified as an environmental contaminant in almost 60 percent of the Superfund priority sites listed by the Environmental Protection Agency and there has been increasing concern about its long term effects. The patient noted that some of his co-workers had also developed Parkinsons disease, which led to the current study of this patient and two of his co-workers diagnosed with Parkinsons disease who underwent neurological evaluations to assess motor function. All of these individuals had at least a 25 year history of occupational exposure to TCE, which included both inhalation and exposure to it from submerging their unprotected arms and forearms in a TCE vat or touching parts that had been cleaned in it. In addition, questionnaires about experiencing signs of Parkinsons disease, such as slowness of voluntary movement, stooped posture and trouble with balance, were mailed to 134 former workers. The scientists also conducted studies in rats to determine how TCE affects the brain.........
Posted by: Daniel Read more Source