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December 9, 2007, 5:23 PM CT

Psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder

Psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder
When treated within a month, survivors of a psychologically traumatic event improved significantly with psychotherapy, as per a new study presented at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) annual meeting.

Lead researcher and ACNP member Arieh Shalev, M.D., Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and founding Director of the Center for Traumatic Stress at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, studied 248 adults with early symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a traumatic event that had occurred no more than four weeks earlier. His goal was to determine which forms of therapy given soon after the traumatic event can prevent the development of chronic PTSD. Officially, PTSD cannot be diagnosed until four weeks after a traumatic event. However, symptoms that occur before four weeks often persist, and effective early intervention may prevent subsequent trauma-related suffering.

Patients were treated for 12 weeks with cognitive treatment (which helps people change unproductive or harmful thought patterns), cognitive behavioral treatment (which helps densensitize patients upsetting reactions to traumatic memories), an antidepressant (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) known to be helpful in treating chronic PTSD, placebo or no intervention at all.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 9, 2007, 5:22 PM CT

Genetic links between cancer and schizophrenia

Genetic links between cancer and schizophrenia
A series of studies presented today at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) annual meeting elucidates evidence that there is a genetic link between schizophrenia and cancer, providing a surprising possible scientific explanation for lower rates of cancer among patients with schizophrenia despite having poor diets and high rates of smoking and their parents.

Scientists at the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) emphasize that a number of of the genes linked to schizophrenia are the same as the genes linked to cancer, but that the cells that have these genes use them in opposite ways in the two disorders. While cancer results from changes in the genes that cause cells to go into metabolic overdrive and multiply rapidly, those same genes cause cells in schizophrenia to slow to a crawl.

We observed that a number of of the same genes are involved in schizophrenia as in cancer, but in a yin and yang way. This will provide critical insight into the molecular structure of schizophrenia, said lead researcher and ACNP member Dr. Daniel Weinberger of NIMH. Some of the genes showing this yin-yang effect include NRG1, AKT1, PIK3, COMT, PRODH and ErbB4. While these genes cant be used to predict exactly who will develop these diseases, Dr. Weinberger says they can be used to help determine risk.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 9, 2007, 5:20 PM CT

Homosexuality is biological but not hard-wired

Homosexuality is biological but not hard-wired
While the biological basis for homosexuality remains a mystery, a team of neurobiologists reports they may have closed in on an answer -- by a nose.

The team led by University of Illinois at Chicago researcher David Featherstone has discovered that sexual orientation in fruit flies is controlled by a previously unknown regulator of synapse strength. Armed with this knowledge, the scientists found they were able to use either genetic manipulation or drugs to turn the flies' homosexual behavior on and off within hours.

Featherstone, associate professor of biological sciences at UIC, and his colleagues discovered a gene in fruit flies they called "genderblind," or GB. A mutation in GB turns flies bisexual.

Featherstone found the gene interesting initially because it has the unusual ability to transport the neurotransmitter glutamate out of glial cells -- cells that support and nourish nerve cells but do not fire like neurons do. Prior work from his laboratory showed that changing the amount of glutamate outside cells can change the strength of nerve cell junctions, or synapses, which play a key role in human and animal behavior.

But the GB gene became even more interesting when post-doctoral researcher Yael Grosjean noticed that all the GB mutant male flies were courting other males.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 9, 2007, 5:18 PM CT

Neurons in the frontal lobe may be responsible

Neurons in the frontal lobe may be responsible
You study the menu at a restaurant and decide to order the steak rather than the salmon. But when the waiter tells you about the lobster special, you decide lobster trumps steak. Without reconsidering the salmon, you place your orderall because of a trait called transitivity.

Transitivity is the hallmark of rational economic choice, says Camillo Padoa-Schioppa, a postdoctoral researcher in HMS Professor of Neurobiology John Assads lab. As per transitivity, if you prefer A to B and B to C, then you ought to prefer A to C. Or, if you prefer lobster to steak, and steak to salmon, then you will prefer lobster to salmon.

Padoa-Schioppa is lead author on a paper that suggests this trait might be encoded at the level of individual neurons. The study, which appears online Dec. 9 in Nature Neuroscience, shows that some neurons in a part of the brain called the orbitofrontal cortex encode economic value in a menu invariant way. That is, the neurons respond the same to steak regardless if its offered against salmon or lobster.

People make choices by assigning values to different options. If the values are menu invariant preferences will be transitive. The activity of these neurons does not vary with the menu options, suggesting that these neurons could be responsible for transitivity, Padoa-Schioppa explains.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


December 9, 2007, 5:13 PM CT

Dasatinib, Nilotinib as frontline therapy for CML

Dasatinib, Nilotinib as frontline therapy for CML
Two drugs approved for use as second line treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia are showing promising results as frontline treatment for newly diagnosed patients in two clinical trials, research teams led by researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report at the 49th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

All patients in both trials have a complete cytogenetic response - absence of the aberrant chromosome that causes the disease - after one year on either drug. Approximately 90 percent reach complete cytogenetic response as early as 6 months.

"These are early results but certainly encouraging so far in both cases," says lead author Jorge Cortes, M.D., professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Leukemia. Patients in both trials are in the chronic, or initial phase, of CML and had not received previous treatment for their disease.

The two medications are dasatinib, the Bristol-Myers Squibb drug known as Sprycel(r), and nilotinib, the Novartis drug known as Tasigna(r). Both have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in CML patients whose disease becomes resistant to the frontline treatment imatinib, also a Novartis drug known as Gleevec(r), or who become intolerant to the drug.

Cortes and his colleagues compared the two medications at 3, 6 and 12 months with historical data from patients who took either 400 mg or 800 mg daily of Gleevec.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 9, 2007, 5:06 PM CT

Oblimersen combination improves survival of CLL

Oblimersen combination improves survival of CLL
Relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients who had a complete response to combination treatment that included the drug oblimersen survived significantly longer than patients treated with chemotherapy alone, a team led by scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center reports at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

Patients who achieved a complete response with oblimersen have survived so well that a median survival time canstill not be calculated, but it is estimated to exceed 49 months. Those who achieved complete response with chemotherapy alone had a median survival time of 35 months.

"In a relapsed population, that's excellent survival," says lead author Susan O'Brien, M.D., professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Leukemia. "Survival is linked to achieving complete response".

The Phase III clinical trial compared a regimen of fludarabine and cyclophosphamide (F/C) with F/C plus oblimersen. Known commercially as Genasense(r), oblimersen blocks the Bcl-2 protein, which plays a critical role in progression of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), including development of resistance to therapy.

By stifling Bcl-2, scientists believe CLL becomes more vulnerable to chemotherapy such as the F/C combination.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 9, 2007, 5:02 PM CT

Vaccine improves outcome leukemia patients

Vaccine improves outcome leukemia patients
Patients whose immune system responded to a peptide vaccine for leukemia enjoyed a median remission that was more than three times longer than non-responders, a team led by scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center reports at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

Immune response to the PR1 vaccine was linked to an 8.7 month event-free survival compared with 2.4 months for non-responders. Clinical responses ranging from improvements in blood counts to complete cytogenetic remission were observed in 36 percent of the responders compared with 10 percent of non-responders.

"We did not expect dramatic responses in this clinical trial, and were pleasantly surprised to see the clinical responses and improved event-free survival" says Muzaffar Qazilbash, M.D., associate professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy.

The Phase I/II clinical trial that ran from 2000 to 2006 was designed to assess the vaccine's safety and its ability to elicit an immune response. Toxicity was limited to low-grade injection site side effects such as redness, swelling and some pain.

The PR1 vaccine is derived from two myeloid leukemia-associated antigens, proteins that are either overexpressed or aberrantly expressed in cancer cells. When PR1 elicits an immune response, PR1-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes are produced that selectively kill three types of leukemia - myelodysplastic syndrome, acute myelogenous leukemia and chronic myelogenous leukemia.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 9, 2007, 4:58 PM CT

More good news from Gleevec

More good news from Gleevec
Gleevec, the targeted cancer pill that has saved more than 100,000 lives, now is saving more children with a dire leukemia, as well as preventing disease progression with long term use in adults with chronic myeloid leukemia.

Data at this weekends meeting continues to show how much Gleevec has completely changed the outlook for so a number of, a number of patients facing cancer, said Brian Druker, M.D., director of the OHSU Cancer Institute.

At the plenary session of the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology scientists delivered news that Gleevec has been shown to improve outcomes for children with Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL).

Ph+ ALL is the childhood leukemia with the worst prognosis and the Childrens Oncology Group study shows that adding Gleevec to the therapy almost completely reverses this poor prognosis. The Childrens Oncology Group is a worldwide clinical trial cooperative supported by the National Cancer Institute, a branch of the National Institutes of Health.

Also released at the conference is new data from the largest clinical trial in Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) that showed Gleevec, with long-term use, can prevent progression to advanced stages of the disease.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 7, 2007, 9:23 PM CT

Diet, gardening and lung cancer risk

Diet, gardening and lung cancer risk
By simply eating four or more servings of green salad a week and working in the garden once or twice a week, smokers and nonsmokers alike may be able to substantially reduce the risk of developing lung cancer, say scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

"This is the first risk prediction model to examine the effects of diet and physical activity on the possibility of developing lung cancer," says Michele R. Forman, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Epidemiology. Forman presented study results at the American Association for Cancer Research "Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research" meeting Dec. 7 in Philadelphia, Pa. The data are from an ongoing M. D. Anderson case-control lung cancer study involving more than 3,800 participants. Separate epidemiologic risk assessment models were developed for current and former smokers as well as for those who have never smoked ("never smokers").

Forman's study looked at salad consumption and gardening because, "salad is a marker for the consumption of a number of vegetables and gardening is an activity in which smokers and nonsmokers can participate".

The baseline lung cancer prediction model had moderate risk protection. The study pairs M. D. Anderson patients with lung cancer with cancer-free current, former and never smoker counterparts provided through a partnership with Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, a Houston-based HMO. By including diet and physical activity, the discriminatory power of the model was raised to 64 percent, 67 percent and 71 percent respectively for never, former and current smokers.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


December 6, 2007, 8:07 PM CT

New direction for chance discovery?

New direction for chance discovery?
International Journal of Knowledge-Based and Intelligent Engineering Systems.

Credit: International Journal of Knowledge-Based and Intelligent Engineering Systems
There have been publications on the subject of chance discovery since Yukio Ohsawa proposed the concept of chance discovery in 2000, but the question arises: will the research continue in the way it is done now or shall chance discovery move towards a new direction? A special issue of the International Journal of Knowledge-Based and Intelligent Engineering Systems on the subject is being published by IOS Press in December.

The issue on chance discovery (volume 11, issue 5) is guest edited by Akinori Abe and Yukio Ohsawa. Since 2000, invited sessions on chance discovery have been organized in KES conferences (www.kesinternational.org). In this issue, nine papers which are extended version of sessions' paper and newly submitted are selected. A full list of contents can be read further on, but as a whole, the keywords for this issue are interaction, visualization and abduction that are contributive to the basic methodologies of chance discovery. And, for application, the management and discovery of risks, in which stock price movements are to be included, are appeared as core issues.

The real lives of humans are complex and the future is not predictable. In order to have better or the best- benefits, it is necessary to predict the future trends. In the usual case, data mining techniques provide us with satisfactory enough results for doing good business. However, there are exceptional events where simple data mining techniques and statistical analysis dont suffice. If the risk cant be predicted, the result may be serious. There are implicit (not noticed due to the rarity or the novelty) events which can be signs for fatal, or sometimes for an extremely beneficial, scenario. Because these signs are novel, and hard to be correlation to the result, it has been difficult to catch them for making a suitable decision at a suitable time. It is important to determine implicit symptoms to risks or benefits (opportunities). Accordingly, Ohsawa proposed chance discovery in 2000.........

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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