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December 3, 2006, 8:28 PM CT

Better Tumor Vaccines

Better Tumor Vaccines
A "super" form of the enzyme Akt1 could provide the key to boosting the effect of tumor vaccines by extending the lives of dendritic cells, the immune-system master switches that promote the response of T-cells, which attack tumors, said scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in a report that appears in the "advance online publication" section of the current issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology.

"By keeping the dendritic cells alive longer, you extend the window of activation, promoting the desirable immune response, which in the case of cancer, is the expansion of T-cells," said Dr. David Spencer, associate professor of immunology at BCM. "The longer your dendritic cells are alive and active, the more likely you are to expand the appropriate T-helper repertoire and ultimately the desirable cytotoxic (cell killing) T-lymphocytes".

"The dendritic cells are the master switch in the immune system. They decide whether there will be a robust immune response or a tempered immune response to pathogens or cancer," he said.

Using a variety of sophisticated laboratory techniques, Spencer and colleagues observed that Akt1 "was in fact essential for dendritic cell survival," he said. Then they sought to develop a more potent form of Akt1 that would enable the dendritic cells to live longer, boosting immune response.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


December 1, 2006, 4:54 AM CT

Glucocorticoid, Skin Abnormalities And Stress

Glucocorticoid, Skin Abnormalities And Stress
Inhibiting glucocorticoid, a type of steroid, can prevent skin abnormalities induced by psychological stress, as per a new study from the recent issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. The new study also shows how psychological stress induces skin abnormalities that could initiate or worsen skin disorders such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

The study, "Glucocorticoid blockade reverses psychological stress-induced abnormalities in epidermal structure and function," was carried out by Eung-Ho Choi, Marianne Demerjian, Debra Crumrine, Barbara E. Brown, Theodora Mauro, Peter M. Elias and Kenneth R. Feingold of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco and the University of California at San Francisco. Choi is also linked to Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, Wonju, Korea. The American Physiological Society published the study.

Prior research has shown that psychological stress increases glucocorticoid production. In addition, it is well recognized that psychological stress adversely affects a number of skin disorders, including psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

"In this study, we showed that the increase in glucocorticoids induced by psychological stress induces abnormalities in skin structure and function, which could exacerbate skin diseases," Feingold explained. This provides a link for understanding how psychological stress can adversely affect skin disorders. Blocking the production or action of glucocorticoids prevented the skin abnormalities induced by psychological stress.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


December 1, 2006, 4:43 AM CT

Varying Weight Training Intensity In Women

Varying Weight Training Intensity In Women
Women who undertake a long-term weight training program produce more biologically active growth hormone, a finding that allows physiologists to understand why weight training improves muscle tone and optimizes metabolic function.

A study reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism looked at different forms of growth hormone, used different testing methods, and varied weight training regimens. The research observed that the role of growth hormone in women's muscle development may be more complicated than previously thought.

"We observed that growth hormone was responsive to moderate and heavy exercise regimens having 3-12 repetitions with varying weight loading," said the study's principal author, William J. Kraemer. "Women need to have heavy loading cycle or workout in their resistance training routines, as it helps to build muscle and bone."

The study, "Chronic resistance training in women potentiates growth hormone in vivo bioactivity: characterization of molecular mass variants," was carried out by Kraemer, Jeff S. Volek, Barry A. Spiering and Carl M. Maresh of the University of Connecticut, Storrs; Bradley C. Nindl, U.S Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, Mass.; James O. Marx, The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Lincoln A. Gotshalk, University of Hawaii at Hilo; Jill A. Bush, University of Houston, Texas; and Jill R. Welsch, Andrea M. Mastro and Wesley C. Hymer, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Penn. The The American Physiological Society published the study.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


December 1, 2006, 4:36 AM CT

Treating The Bedwetters

Treating The Bedwetters
Children with a form of bedwetting that does not respond to a common medicine have more sodium and urea in their nighttime urine, possibly because of an imbalance of prostaglandin, a hormone-like substance, a new study has observed.

The finding helps physiologists understand why about 30% of children who suffer from bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis) do not respond to desmopressin, a drug that successfully treats the other 70%. The findings, made by Danish medical doctors who treat enuresis, could help lead to better therapy for these children.

The study Nocturnal polyuria in monosymptomatic nocturnal enuresis refractory to desmopressin therapy, was carried out by Konstantinos Kamperis and Jens Christian Djurhuus of the University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark and Soren Rittig and Kaj Anker Jorgensen of the Aarhus University Hospital. The study appears in the recent issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology published by the American Physiological Society.

Circadian rhythm important

Urine output is controlled, in part, by our own internal daily clocks, or circadian rhythm. With the transition from day to night, our bodies reduce the amount of excreted water, electrolytes and other metabolic end products in preparation for hours of sleep. We are not born with this circadian rhythm, but it commonly develops in early childhood.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


December 1, 2006, 4:18 AM CT

Preparing Food Helps Young Adults Eat Better

Preparing Food Helps Young Adults Eat Better
Young adults who often purchase their own food and prepare meals at home eat fast food less often, eat more fruits and vegetables and have better overall diet quality than those who are not involved in planning and cooking their meals, as per scientists at the University of Minnesota.

The study surveyed more than 1,500 people ages 18 to 23 about their food purchasing and preparation habits and the quality of their diets. The scientists found 31 percent of those surveyed who reported high involvement in meal preparation also consume five servings of fruits or vegetables daily, compared with three percent of those who reported very low involvement in meal preparation. Eighteen percent of the "high participation" group met guidelines for consuming servings of deep-yellow or green vegetables, compared with just 2 percent of the "very low involvement" group.

The scientists found the young adults most likely to be involved with food preparation and purchasing in association tend to be female; Asian, Hispanic or white; and eating at fast-food restaurants fewer than three times per week. Still, even among study participants who were very involved in food preparation, the study found a number of young adults do not meet recommended dietary guidelines in what they eat. "Cooking skills, money to buy food and time available for food preparation were perceived as inadequate by approximately one-fifth to more than one-third of the sample." The scientists conclude: "To improve dietary intake, interventions among young adults should teach skills for preparing quick and healthful meals".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 30, 2006, 5:14 AM CT

Fortified Milk For Preschool Children

Fortified Milk For Preschool Children
Consumption of milk fortified with specific micronutrients-zinc, iron, selenium, copper, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E-significantly reduces diarrhea and acute lower respiratory illness among children in developing countries, as per scientists from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Center for Micronutrient Research at Annamalai University in India. The study was published November 28, 2006, on the website of the British Medical Journal.

"Some micronutrients have a crucial role in generation, maintenance and amplification of immune responses in the body. Deficiencies in multiple micronutrients among preschool children are an important determinant of child health in developing countries," said Sunil Sazawal, MD, MPH, PhD, lead author of the study and an associate professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health's Department of International Health.

The authors conducted a randomized, controlled trial among 633 children aged 1-4 years in a peri-urban population in New Delhi, India, from April 2002-April 2004. An intervention group of 316 children received milk fortified with additional micronutrients-7.8 mg zinc, 9.6 mg iron, 4.2 µg selenium, 0.27 mg copper, 156 µg vitamin A, 40.2 mg vitamin C and 7.5 mg vitamin E-while a control group of 317 children received the same milk without fortification. The study was undertaken in children over 12 months of age, of which breast feeding is not the primary source of nutrition.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 30, 2006, 5:02 AM CT

Go To Church To Breathe Easier

Go To Church To Breathe Easier
Going to church might help you breathe easier. A new study by Temple Universitys Joanna Maselko, Sc.D., observed that religious activity may protect and maintain pulmonary health in the elderly.

Pulmonary function is an important indicator of respiratory and overall health, yet little is known about the psychosocial factors that might predict pulmonary function. At the same time, religious activity is emerging as a potential health promoting factor, particularly among the elderly. We wanted to determine whether there was a correlation between the two, Maselko said.

Religious Service Attendance and Decline in Pulmonary Function in a High-Functioning Elderly Cohort, reported in the November 2006 issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, was conducted while Maselko, assistant professor of public health, was at Harvard University.

Using peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), scientists measured pulmonary function in 1,189 study subjects ranging in age from 70 to 79 years. They observed that.

regular religious service attendance (at least weekly attendance) was linked to a slower pulmonary function decline among men and women, in comparison to those who never attend services. The findings could not be explained by differences in smoking or physical activity.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 30, 2006, 4:57 AM CT

Pregnant Women With Placental Infection

Pregnant Women With Placental Infection Dr. Vanessa Laibl, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology
Pregnant women who develop an infection of the placenta or nearby membranes in their first pregnancy have twice the risk of getting it in their second pregnancy, scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

The infection, called chorioamnionitis, occurs in 0.5 percent to 10 percent of births. It can cause bleeding and widespread infection in the mother and infect the fetus as well, possibly resulting in cerebral palsy. If the infection develops during gestation, the baby must be delivered immediately, sometimes prematurely, to protect its health. Mother and child can then be treated with antibiotics.

The longer the time between the amniotic sac (waters) breaking and birth, the higher the risk for the infection at the time of birth. The infection can also take root before the waters break.

The study, which involved reviewing the records of 28,410 women who gave birth at Parkland Memorial Hospital, indicates that there may be one or more intrinsic risk factors that predispose women to the infection, the scientists report. Those might be the genetic makeup of their immune response or stronger bacteria in their genital tracts, they said.

We do think that there probably is a genetic component that predisposes women to intrauterine infection, said Dr. Vanessa Laibl, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study. We also think that certain women could be colonized with bacteria that are more virulent and more likely to cause infection.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


November 30, 2006, 4:38 AM CT

Metabolic Syndrome May Be Treatable With Malaria Drug

Metabolic Syndrome May Be Treatable With Malaria Drug
Studies of a rare genetic condition that increases cancer risk have unveiled a potential therapy for metabolic syndrome, a common disorder that afflicts as a number of as one in every four American adults and puts them at sharply increased risk of type 2 diabetes and clogged arteries.

Researchers know relatively little about metabolic syndrome, which is associated with a range of symptoms that include obesity, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, low levels of good cholesterol and high blood sugar levels. The number of adults and children with the condition is rising sharply in industrial countries, and diagnoses are also increasing in developing countries like India and China as they adopt Western standards of living.

In findings reported in the recent issue of Cell Metabolism, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. report that a small dose of the malaria drug chloroquine eased a number of symptoms of metabolic syndrome in mice, reducing blood pressure, decreasing hardening and narrowing of the arteries and improving blood sugar tolerance.

"We just received funding for a clinical trial, and we're very excited to see if the processes activated by chloroquine can effectively treat one of the most common health problems of modern industrialized society," says senior author Clay F. Semenkovich, M.D., professor of medicine and of cell biology and physiology at Washington University. "We already know that chloroquine is safe and well-tolerated, and our mouse results suggest we may only need very low and perhaps infrequent doses to achieve similar effects in humans."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 30, 2006, 4:30 AM CT

Predicting The Risk Of Glaucoma

Predicting The Risk Of Glaucoma
Investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a model to identify patients at high risk of developing glaucoma. Their research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Las Vegas.

The model that predicts glaucoma risk relies on five key risk factors. It was developed using data from two landmark clinical trials: the Ocular High blood pressure Treatment Study (OHTS) and the European Glaucoma Prevention Study (EGPS).

"The Ocular High blood pressure Treatment Study was really designed to answer two questions," says Michael A. Kass, M.D., national chair of the 22-center study and head of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine. "We wanted to learn whether preventive therapy could reduce the occurence rate of glaucoma, and we also wanted to learn whether we could determine what risk factors might help us predict which patients will go on to develop glaucoma."

The first question was answered more than four years ago when the results of the OHTS study were announced. That study had looked at patients at risk for glaucoma because of high pressure in the eyes. Kass and his colleagues concluded at that time that treating those people with pressure-lowering eye drops could delay, or possibly even prevent, glaucoma.........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink         Source



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Did you know?
Studies in monkeys and women suggest that unlike traditional estrogen therapy, a diet high in the natural plant estrogens found in soy does not increase the risk of uterine cancer in postmenopausal women, according to Mark Cline, D.V.M., Ph.D., an associate professor of comparative medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

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