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September 6, 2007, 5:02 AM CT

Mold linked to asthma

Mold linked to asthma
Image courtesy of .homemoldtestkit
A Cardiff University study has observed that removing indoor mold improves the symptoms of people with asthma.

Asthma UK figures show the prevalence of asthma in Wales is among the highest in the world, with 260,000 people receiving therapy for their asthma with the rate of hospital admissions for adults 12 per cent more than anywhere else in the UK.

Scientists in the School of Medicine asked patients with asthma living in two areas of South Wales if they noticed mold growing inside their houses which was then confirmed by a trained observer. In half of the houses with mold (chosen at random), the mold was removed (using a fungicidal wash to kill any remaining mold) and ventilation was improved by means of a fan in the loft. In the other houses, mold removal was delayed for twelve months.

Dr Michael Burr, School of Medicines Department of Primary Care and Public Health said: In the houses where mold was removed, the symptoms of asthma improved and the use of inhalers decreased more than in the other houses. Removing mold also led to improvements in other symptoms: sneezing, runny or blocked noses, and itchy-watery eyes.

There was no clear effect on measurements of breathing, but this may have been because patients used their inhalers as needed so that they could always breathe freely.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 6, 2007, 4:51 AM CT

Breast Cancer and Aromatase Inhibitor Side Effects

Breast Cancer and Aromatase Inhibitor Side Effects
More than 10 percent of women with breast cancer stopped taking a usually prescribed drug because of joint and muscle pain, as per a new study from scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The women in the study were taking aromatase inhibitors, a type of drug designed to block the production of estrogen, which fuels some breast cancers. The therapy is generally given after surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatment to prevent the cancer from returning. Its typically prescribed as one pill each day for five years. Use of these drugs has increased because they have been shown to be more effective than tamoxifen, the prior standard of care.

We know 25 percent to 30 percent of women taking aromatase inhibitors have aches and pains. What was surprising here was the number of people who actually discontinued the drugs because of the side effects. Up to 15 percent of patients in previously reported studies stopped taking aromatase inhibitors for a variety of reasons, but in our study, we had 13 percent drop out just because of musculoskeletal problems, says N. Lynn Henry, M.D., Ph.D., lecturer in internal medicine at the U-M Medical School.

Henry will present the findings Sept. 8 in San Francisco at the 2007 Breast Cancer Symposium, a scientific meeting sponsored by five leading cancer care societies.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 4, 2007, 8:09 PM CT

Better communicators make better doctors

Better communicators make better doctors
Physicians who score poorly on patient-doctor communication skills exams are far more likely to generate patient complaints to regulatory authorities, says a new study led by McGill University's Robyn Tamblyn and reported in the September 5 issue of JAMA.

Tamblyns team followed 3,424 physicians licensed to practice in Ontario and Quebec who took the Medical Council of Canada clinical skills examination between 1993 and 1996. They discovered a very strong relationship between those who scored poorly and later complaints by patients.

"Low scores on the exam were quite predictive," said Tamblyn, scientific director of McGill University's Clinical and Health Informatics research unit. "It was really like a dose-response relationship. The higher your score, the less likely you would get complaints. And this was whether you were a man, a woman, a foreign medical graduate or whether you were in Ontario or Quebec. It was amazingly robust".

The Medical Council of Canada became the first accreditation body in the world to introduce patient-doctor communication skills testing as part of the medical credentialing process in the 1990's. Despite generating considerable controversy at the time, the study's results prove their value, said Tamblyn. "This is a bit of a good news story for Canada. We led the world in this." The United States instituted similar testing in 2005, and Tamblyn expects to see similar results there.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 4, 2007, 7:50 PM CT

Avocados May Help Prevent Oral Cancer

Nutrients taken from avocados are able to thwart oral cancer cells, killing some and preventing pre-malignant cells from developing into actual cancers, as per scientists at Ohio State University.

Scientists observed that extracts from Hass avocados kill or stop the growth of pre-malignant cells that lead to oral cancer. Hass avocados are year-round fruits known for their distinctive bumpy skin that turns from green to purplish-black as they ripen.

While there are more than 500 varieties of avocados grown worldwide, Hass avocados are the most readily available at supermarkets nationwide. Similar research has not been conducted on other varieties of avocados.

The findings are published online in the journal Seminars in Cancer Biology.

Lead author Steven M. D'Ambrosio, a member of the molecular carcinogenesis and chemoprevention program at Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center, also wrote an accompanying editorial for the journal, discussing the cancer-fighting potential of fruits and vegetables. D'Ambrosio collaborated with Haiming Ding in Ohio State's College of Medicine.

Studies have long associated the consumption of fruits and vegetables with a reduced risk for various types of human cancer. The protective effect is attributed to the high levels of phytonutrients or phytochemicals - plant compounds thought to have health-protecting qualities - that are often found in dark colored fruits and vegetables.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 4, 2007, 7:44 PM CT

Primary Care Depression Treatment

Primary Care Depression Treatment
Most patients with depression who are treated by primary care physicians do not receive care consistent with quality standards, as per a new RAND Corporation study.

Physicians had high rates of adherence to just one third of the 20 measures of quality that scientists examined and had low rates of adherence to nearly half of the therapy recommendations studied, as per the report in the September 4 edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"These findings are important for patients since most cases of depression are diagnosed and treated in primary care settings," said senior author Dr. Lisa V. Rubenstein, the study's senior author, and a senior scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization, and a doctor at the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. "This shows that additional efforts are needed to improve the therapy of depression".

The study also observed that patients who received better-quality care reported fewer symptoms of depression up to two years after the start of therapy. The findings are among the first linking quality guidelines for depression therapy with improved patient outcomes in community settings.

"These are initial findings, but they suggest that programs that encourage doctors to follow therapy guidelines can help improve the long-term outlook for people with depression," said Rubenstein, who also is affiliated with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 4, 2007, 7:26 PM CT

UI professor identifies new eating disorder

UI professor identifies new eating disorder
A University of Iowa professor is making a case for a new eating disorder she calls purging disorder.

The disorder is similar to bulimia nervosa in that both syndromes involve eating, then trying to compensate for the calories. What sets the disorders apart is the amount of food consumed and the way people compensate for what they eat. Women with purging disorder eat normal or even small amounts of food and then purge, often by vomiting. Women with bulimia have large, out-of-control binge eating episodes followed by purging, fasting or excessive exercise.

"Purging disorder is new in the sense that it has not been officially recognized as a unique condition in the classification of eating disorders," said Pamela Keel, associate professor of psychology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, "But it's not a new problem. Women were struggling with purging disorder long before we began studying it".

In a paper published this week in the Archives of General Psychiatry, Keel shares the results of a study indicating that purging disorder is a significant problem in women that is distinct from bulimia.

Keel recruited participants for three groups: women without eating disorders; women who purge to compensate for binge episodes; and women with purging disorder who purge to control their weight or shape but do not have binge episodes. Participants came from the Boston and Iowa City/Cedar Rapids areas and were within a healthy weight range. The women completed self-report questionnaires and clinical interviews. They also had blood drawn before and after consuming a liquid test meal and reported their feelings throughout the meal, including feelings of fullness, hunger, sadness or tension.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 4, 2007, 7:24 PM CT

Exercise, yoga and breast cancer

Exercise, yoga and  breast cancer
Two studies report that exercise and yoga can help maintain and in some cases improve quality of life in women with early-stage breast cancer. The first study observed that resistance and aerobic exercise improved physical fitness, self-esteem and body composition, and that resistance exercise improved chemotherapy completion rates. The second study demonstrated that yoga was especially beneficial for women who were not receiving chemotherapy during the study period. Both studies will be published online September 4 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO).

Resistance and Aerobic Exercise.

In the first study, Canadian researchers explored the effects of exercise on quality of life, physical fitness and body composition in women receiving chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer. This study, the Supervised Trial of Aerobic versus Resistance Training (START) trial, is the largest to date to explore the effects of exercise during chemotherapy and one of the first to evaluate a regimen of resistance exercise.

Scientists divided women into three groups: supervised resistance exercise three times weekly (82 women), supervised aerobic exercise three times weekly (78), and no aerobic or resistance exercise, also known as the usual care group (82). The median duration of chemotherapy and exercise was 17 weeks. Participants were surveyed at the beginning and middle of chemotherapy and up to four weeks after completing therapy.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 4, 2007, 7:16 PM CT

Promising Drug Combination For Ocular Melanoma

Promising Drug Combination For Ocular Melanoma
Image courtesy of looc.org.uk
A combination of two drugs shows promise in treating a rare and treatment-resistant type of melanoma that originates in the eye and spreads to other organs, as per a new study led by Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers.

The drugs -- decitabine, which can turn on certain genes in cancer cells, and interferon gamma, an immune system protein -- may work together to cause cancer cell death.

"Metastatic uveal melanoma, or melanoma that originates in the eye and spreads to other parts of the body, has been very difficult to treat, in fact there have been no effective therapies to date," said Jared Gollob, M.D., a medical oncologist at Duke and lead investigator on the study. "This study could lead to a very promising new treatment for patients who previously had very little hope."

The scientists published their findings in the September 1, 2007 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

This pre-clinical study came on the heels of prior lab work examining proteins called interferons, which originate from immune system cells. These proteins were shown to boost immune function and directly affect melanoma cells, inhibiting their growth and accelerating their death, Gollob said.........

Posted by: Mike      Read more         Source


September 4, 2007, 7:11 PM CT

Halting Lethal Rabies Infection in Brain

Halting Lethal Rabies Infection in Brain
While rabies, an ancient scourge that still kills 70,000 every year in developing countries worldwide can be combated with a series of vaccines today, it nearly is always fatal when it reaches the brain.

But now, immunology scientists at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have shown how a type of bat rabies infection can be prevented in mice - even after the virus reaches the brain, when it is most lethal. They observed that by opening the central nervous system's (CNS) protective blood-brain barrier, powerful infection fighting substances can swarm in, essentially driving off the invading virus. A better understanding of the process, they say, may lead to improved therapy for late-stage rabies infections in humans.

"The findings indicate that delivering immune system 'effector cells' - T and B cells - to the CNS can reverse an otherwise lethal rabies infection even after the virus has reached the brain," says D. Craig Hooper, Ph.D., associate professor of cancer biology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, who led the work. "While that's not a practical way to help infected humans, finding a method to open the blood brain barrier may be crucial to saving a person who is already showing clinical signs of rabies infection, where a vaccine is useless." They report their work in the August 2007 issue of the Journal of Virology.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 4, 2007, 7:02 PM CT

Ibuprofen for children with cystic fibrosis

Ibuprofen for children with cystic fibrosis
The results of a clinical trial, published in late August in the Journal of Pediatrics, indicates that, when used as part of routine treatment, high-dose ibuprofen is safe, and effective in slowing down lung disease in children with cystic fibrosis (CF).

Headed by Dr. Larry Lands, Director of Pediatric Respiratory Medicine at Montreal Childrens Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre, the multi-centre study monitored 142 children aged six to 18 with mild lung disease over two years.

Children given high-dose ibuprofen twice a day showed a significant reduction in the rate of decline in lung function, and had fewer and shorter hospital stays.

Slowing the rate of the decline of lung function will result in enhanced longevity and quality of life for patients with CF, said Dr. Larry Lands.

A number of therapys for cystic fibrosis can be a financial hardship for families, said Cathleen Morrison, Chief Executive Officer at the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. News that ibuprofen a relatively inexpensive therapy in comparison to other therapies for CF is effective, is very exciting.

"We are delighted to share this great news. The findings of this study show that through research and innovation, a simple inexpensive therapy can have a profound impact on the lives of children affected by CF and their families," said Dr. Peter Liu, Scientific Director of CIHR's Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         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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