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May 18, 2008, 9:48 PM CT

Which patients should get treatment for colorectal cancer

Which patients should get treatment for colorectal cancer
A new study being presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago (Abstract #4020), may change therapy practice in about 25 percent of colon cancer patients and is the basis for proposed changes to the way colorectal cancers will be staged.

This new study, using National Cancer Institute (NCI) SEER population-based statistic registries from 1992 to 2004, and phase III clinical trial data, shows that outcomes of patients with positive nodes (Stage III) in colorectal cancer interact, to a greater extent than previously thought, with how deeply the cancer penetrates the bowel wall.

Survival outcomes depend on the thickness of the primary cancer within or beyond the bowel wall in addition to whether nodes are positive or negative. A patient with a node positive thin lesion (i.e., confined to the bowel wall) has a stage III cancer with better survival outcomes than a patient with a Stage II node negative thick cancer that penetrates beyond the bowel wall. The current standard of practice for patients with colon cancer is that all or most Stage III patients receive chemotherapy after surgical removal of their cancer, but Stage II patients do not routinely receive chemotherapy. In a separate National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) analysis, patients with Stage III colon cancers confined to the bowel wall who did not receive chemotherapy still had better survival than Stage II patients.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


May 18, 2008, 9:22 PM CT

Mother's prenatal stress predisposes babies to asthma and allergy

Mother's prenatal stress predisposes babies to asthma and allergy
Women who are stressed during pregnancy may pass some of that frazzlement to their fetuses in the form of increased sensitivity to allergen exposure and possibly future asthma risk, as per scientists from Harvard Medical School who will present their findings at the American Thoracic Societys 2008 International Conference in Toronto on Sunday, May 18.

While predisposition to asthma may be, in part, set at birth, the factors that may determine this are not strictly genetic. Certain substances in the environment that cause allergies, such as dust mites, can increase a childs chance of developing asthma and the effects may begin before birth, said Rosalind J. Wright, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine at Brigham & Womens Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Mothers stress during pregnancy can also influence the babies developing immune system. While animal studies suggest that the combination of stress and allergen exposure during pregnancy may magnify the effects on the immune system, this is the first human study to examine this directly. The scientists analyzed levels of maternal stress and mothers exposure to dust mite allergen in their homes while pregnant with respect to cord blood IgE expressiona marker of the childs immune response at birth in 387 infants enrolled in the Asthma Coalition on Community, Environment, and Social Stress (ACCESS) project in Boston.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


May 18, 2008, 9:09 PM CT

Men at increased risk of death from pneumonia

Men at increased risk of death from pneumonia
Men who come to the hospital with pneumonia generally are sicker than women and have a higher risk of dying over the next year, despite aggressive medical care, as per a research studybeing presented Tuesday, May 20, at the 104th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society. Scientific sessions are scheduled May 16 to 21 in Toronto.

It is well known that women live longer than men. We have always assumed that these differences occur because men engage in riskier behaviors and have a greater burden of chronic diseases, said Sachin Yende, M.D., co-author of study and assistant professor in the Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Our study showed that men were more likely to die up to a year after pneumonia, despite adjusting for health behaviors and chronic conditions. Further, our findings indicate this may be associated with differences in immune response.

The University of Pittsburgh scientists reviewed data from 1,136 men and 1,047 women with symptoms of pneumonia who were treated at 28 hospital emergency departments in the United States.

On average, men arrived at the emergency departments with poorer vital signs, were more likely to be smokers and had a greater variety of complicating health conditions. After hospitalization, men received timely antibiotic therapys more often than women and were twice as likely to be admitted immediately to intensive-care units.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


May 18, 2008, 9:03 PM CT

Personalized therapy for asthma and COPD

Personalized therapy for asthma and COPD
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have defined a new type of immune response that is activated in patients with severe asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Their discovery could dramatically improve diagnosis and therapy of patients with chronic inflammatory lung disease.

"We've cracked the first part of the molecular code that links a viral infection to the later development of chronic inflammatory diseases like asthma and COPD," says senior author Michael Holtzman, M.D., the Selma and Herman Seldin Professor of Medicine, director of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and a pulmonary specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. "With this information, we can more precisely diagnose and monitor these types of diseases and then better target our therapy to specific abnormalities. That's a big step forward from simply monitoring breathing status".

The findings, published online May 18, 2008, in Nature Medicine, promise a way to determine whether a patient's asthma or COPD is the result of a chronic immune response that can be turned on by a respiratory viral infection. Guided by these new findings, this type of immune response could be detected by monitoring specific types of inflammatory cells or molecules in the lung or potentially in the bloodstream, giving physicians a more precise approach to diagnosis and therapy of lung disease.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 18, 2008, 9:00 PM CT

Finasteride in preventing prostate cancer

Finasteride in preventing prostate cancer
A comprehensive re-evaluation of the largest prostate cancer prevention study ever completed produced new findings suggesting that men and their doctors should consider a more aggressive approach that includes finasteride to prevent the development of prostate cancer.

A pathologic analysis of that same study sheds light on the significance of the cancers found in that study. Additionally, this study highlights the role of prostate specific antigen (PSA) scores in therapy decision-making. Scientists observed that even those men who have a low PSA screening value can have cancer that is difficult to cure.

The two studies will be published online in advanced of the June 2008 issue of Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The original study, the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT), had randomized 18,822 men to receive either a placebo or an agent known as finasteride, currently approved to control prostate growth, for seven years. Results showed that while finasteride reduced prostate cancer risk by 25 percent, it appeared to increase development of more aggressive prostate cancer in some men. Because of this finding and concerns that tumors detected had low PSA values and might be of little risk to patients, since the studys original publication in 2003, few doctors have recommended finasteride for prostate cancer prevention.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


May 15, 2008, 8:33 PM CT

Having less power impairs the mind and ability to get ahead

Having less power impairs the mind and ability to get ahead
New research appearing in the recent issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that being put in a low-power role may impair a person's basic cognitive functioning and thus, their ability to get ahead.

In their article, Pamela Smith of Radboud University Nijmegen, and his colleagues Nils B. Jostmann of VU University Amsterdam, Adam Galinsky of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and Wilco W. van Dijk of VU University Amsterdam, focus on a set of cognitive processes called executive functions. Executive functions help people maintain and pursue their goals in difficult, distracting situations. The scientists observed that lacking power impaired people's ability to keep track of ever-changing information, to parse out irrelevant information, and to successfully plan ahead to achieve their goals.

In one experiment, the participants completed a Stroop task, a common psychological test designed to exercise executive functions. Participants who had earlier been randomly assigned to a low-power group made more errors in the Stroop task than those who had been assigned to a high-power group. Smith and his colleagues also observed that these results were not due to low-power people being less motivated or putting in less effort. Instead, those lacking in power had difficulty maintaining a focus on their current goal.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 15, 2008, 8:25 PM CT

Dr. Anthony Fauci reflects on 25 years of HIV

Dr. Anthony Fauci reflects on 25 years of HIV
On the 25th anniversary of the first scientific article linking a retrovirus to AIDS, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, reflects in an essay in Nature on his experience treating and studying HIV/AIDS for the past quarter century. Outlining the peaks and valleys of the scientific communitys journey so far, Dr. Fauci writes, we must learn from our mis-steps, build on our successes in therapy and prevention, and renew our commitment to developing the truly transforming tools that will one day put this scourge behind us.

From the outset, AIDS was clearly more menacing than any other novel disease Dr. Fauci and colleagues had previously encountered, he writes. The period when clinicians lacked the ability to diagnose and treat AIDS was the bleakest of his career. The discovery that HIV causes AIDS stimulated a burst of progress in both the clinic and the laboratory. But the 1987 debut of the first effective drug against HIV, zidovudine (AZT), generated excessive optimism, Dr. Fauci reflects, as the virus quickly and predictably developed drug resistance.

Eight years and thousands of AIDS deaths later, protease inhibitors launched a renaissance of anti-HIV drug development in 1995. Combination therapies dramatically cut the rate of AIDS deaths in the United Statesbut the developing world has continued to suffer from lack of access to effective therapys for HIV. Even more sobering, Dr. Fauci writes, Treatment alone will never end the AIDS pandemicaround three people are newly infected for every person put on treatment.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


May 15, 2008, 8:23 PM CT

Visual System Equipped With "Future Seeing Powers"

Visual System Equipped With
Catching a football. Maneuvering through a room full of people. Jumping out of the way when a golfer yells "fore." Most would agree these seemingly simple actions require us to perceive and quickly respond to a situation. Assistant Professor of Cognitive Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Mark Changizi argues they require something more - our ability to foresee the future.

It takes our brain nearly one-tenth of a second to translate the light that hits our retina into a visual perception of the world around us. While a neural delay of that magnitude may seem minuscule, imagine trying to catch a ball or wade through a store full of people while always perceiving the very recent (one-tenth of a second prior) past. A ball passing within one meter of you and traveling at one meter per second in reality would be roughly six degrees displaced from where you perceive it, and even the slowest forward-moving person can travel at least ten centimeters in a tenth of a second.

Changizi claims the visual system has evolved to compensate for neural delays, allowing it to generate perceptions of what will occur one-tenth of a second into the future, so that when an observer actually perceives something, it is the present rather than what happened one-tenth of a second ago. Using his hypothesis, called "perceiving-the-present," he was able to systematically organize and explain more than 50 types of visual illusions that occur because our brains are trying to perceive the near future. His findings are described in May-recent issue of the journal Cognitive Science.........

Posted by: Mike      Read more         Source


May 15, 2008, 7:40 PM CT

Doubt on Risk of Death from Higher Salt Intake

Doubt on Risk of Death from Higher Salt Intake
Contrary to long-held assumptions, high-salt diets may not increase the risk of death, as per researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. They reached their conclusion after examining dietary intake among a nationally representative sample of adults in the U.S. The Einstein scientists actually observed a significantly increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) linked to lower sodium diets. They report their findings in the advance online edition of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The scientists analyzed data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), which was conducted by the federal government among a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. These data were then compared against death records that had been collected by the government through the year 2000. The sample of approximately 8,700 represented American adults who were over 30 years of age at the time of the baseline survey (1988-1994) and were not on a special low-salt diet.

After adjusting for known CVD risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes and blood pressure, the one-fourth of the sample who reported consuming the lowest amount of sodium were found to be 80% more likely to die from CVD in comparison to the one-fourth of the sample consuming the highest level of sodium. The risk for death from any cause appeared 24% greater for those consuming lower salt, but this latter difference was not quite large enough to dismiss the role of chance.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


May 15, 2008, 7:23 PM CT

Link between vitamin D status, breast cancer

Link between vitamin D status, breast cancer
Food containing vitamin-D
Using newly available data on worldwide cancer incidence, scientists at the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine have shown a clear association between deficiency in exposure to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B (UVB), and breast cancer.

UVB exposure triggers photosynthesis of vitamin D3 in the body. This form of vitamin D also is available through diet and supplements.

Approximately 1,150,000 cases and 410,000 deaths from breast cancer occur annually worldwide, including 215,000 new cases and 41,000 deaths in the United States.

The study is reported in the May-June 2008 issue of The Breast Journal.

This is the first study, to our knowledge, to show that higher serum levels of vitamin D are linked to reduced incidence rates of breast cancer worldwide, said Cedric F. Garland, Dr. P.H., professor of Family and Preventive Medicine in the UCSD School of Medicine, and member of the Moores UCSD Cancer Center.

This paper used worldwide data only recently available through a new tool called GLOBOCAN, developed by the World Health Organizations International Agency for Research on Cancer. GLOBOCAN is a database of cancer incidence, mortality and prevalence for 175 countries.........

Posted by: Janet      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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