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January 28, 2008, 10:20 PM CT

Diuretics Excel in Drug Comparison Trial

Diuretics Excel in Drug Comparison Trial
UT-Houston's Barry Davis, M.D., Ph.D., Sara Pressel,
M.S., and Charles Baimbridge.
Diuretics were linked to reduced heart disease in a drug comparison trial involving 23,077 people with both hypertension and the metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors for heart disease, report scientists from The University of Texas School of Public Health and Case Western Reserve University in the Jan. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. The cardiac benefits connected with diuretics were especially pronounced in blacks, who have a high occurence rate of hypertension or hypertension.

"In hypertensive patients with metabolic syndrome, initial therapy for high blood pressure should include a diuretic," said senior author Barry Davis, M.D., Ph.D., professor of biostatistics and the director of the Coordinating Center for Clinical Trials at the UT School of Public Health. "Diuretics are preferred over other major classes of blood pressure medications to prevent one or more forms of cardiovascular disease."

Hypertension is one of the risk factors included in the metabolic syndrome along with diabetes or pre-diabetes, excessive belly fat, high triglyceride levels, or low levels of high-density lipoprotein ("good" cholesterol). It is estimated that about 40 percent of adults age 60 years or older can be classified as having the metabolic syndrome.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


January 28, 2008, 5:17 AM CT

Cutting caffeine may help control diabetes

Cutting caffeine may help control diabetes
Daily consumption of caffeine in coffee, tea or soft drinks increases blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes and may undermine efforts to control their disease, say researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

Scientists used new technology that measured participants glucose (sugar) levels on a constant basis throughout the day. Dr. James Lane, a psychology expert at Duke and the lead author of the study, says it represents the first time scientists have been able to track the impact of caffeine consumption as patients go about their normal, everyday lives.

The findings, appearing in the recent issue of Diabetes Care, add more weight to a growing body of research suggesting that eliminating caffeine from the diet might be a good way to manage blood sugar levels.

Lane studied 10 patients with established type 2 diabetes and who drank at least two cups of coffee every day and who were trying to manage their disease through diet, exercise and oral medications, but no extra insulin. Each had a tiny glucose monitor embedded under their abdominal skin that continuously monitored their glucose levels over a 72-hour period.

Participants took capsules containing caffeine equal to about four cups of coffee on one day and then identical capsules that contained a placebo on another day. Everyone had the same nutrition drink for breakfast, but were free to eat whatever they liked for lunch and dinner.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 28, 2008, 5:15 AM CT

Stroke victims may benefit from stem cell transplants

Stroke victims may benefit from stem cell transplants
As per two studies reported in the current issue of CELL TRANSPLANTATION (Vol.16 No.10), stroke victims may benefit from human mesenchymal stem cell (hMSC) or bone marrow stromal cell (BMSCs) transplantation. In both studies, the migration of chemically tagged transplanted stem cells were tracked to determine the degree to which the transplanted cells reached damaged areas of the brain and became therapeutically active.



Tracking transplanted hMSCs to infarcted areas


In a study carried out by Korean researchers, labeled hMSCs (early precursor cells to musculoskeletal, blood, vascular and urogenital systems) were transplanted into animal stroke models with cerebral artery occlusion and tracked by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at two days, one week, two weeks, six weeks and ten weeks after transplant.

Cells started showing indications of migration as early as one or two weeks following transplantation, said lead author Jihwan, Song, DPhil, of the Pochon CHA University College of Medicine. At 10 weeks, the majority of the cells were detected in the core of the infarcted area.

The study concluded that there is a strong tendency for transplanted hMSCs to migrate toward the infarcted area regardless of injection site but that the degree of migration was likely based on differences in each animals ischemic condition.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


January 28, 2008, 5:13 AM CT

Drug that may prevent radiation injury

Drug that may prevent radiation injury
The Department of Defense has commissioned a nine-month study from Rice University chemists and researchers in the Texas Medical Center to determine whether a new drug based on carbon nanotubes can help prevent people from dying of acute radiation injury following radiation exposure. The new study was commissioned after preliminary tests found the drug was greater than 5,000 times more effective at reducing the effects of acute radiation injury than the most effective drugs currently available.

"More than half of those who suffer acute radiation injury die within 30 days, not from the initial radioactive particles themselves but from the devastation they cause in the immune system, the gastrointestinal tract and other parts of the body," said James Tour, Rice's Chao Professor of Chemistry, director of Rice's Carbon Nanotechnology Laboratory (CNL) and principal investigator on the grant. "Ideally, we'd like to develop a drug that can be administered within 12 hours of exposure and prevent deaths from what are currently fatal exposure doses of ionizing radiation".

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded Tour and co-principal researchers J. Conyers and Valerie Moore at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT-Houston) and Luka Milas, Kathy Mason and Jeffrey Myers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center a $540,000 grant for a nine-month study of an experimental drug that the researchers have named Nanovector Trojan Horses (NTH).........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


January 24, 2008, 11:18 PM CT

New MIT tool probes brain circuits

New MIT tool probes brain circuits
Scientists at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT report in the Jan. 24 online edition of Science that they have created a way to see, for the first time, the effect of blocking and unblocking a single neural circuit in a living animal.

This revolutionary method allowed Susumu Tonegawa, Picower Professor of Biology and Neuroscience, and his colleagues to see how bypassing a major memory-forming circuit in the brain affected learning and memory in mice.

Our data strongly suggest that the hippocampal neural pathway called the tri-synaptic pathway, or TSP, plays a crucial role in quickly forming memories when encountering new events and episodes in day-to-day life, Tonegawa said. Our results indicate that the decline of these abilities, such as that which accompanies neurodegenerative diseases and normal aging in humans, is likely to be due, at least in part, to the malfunctioning of this circuit.

Combining several cutting-edge genetic engineering techniques, Tonegawa's laboratory invented a method called doxycycline-inhibited circuit exocytosis-knockdown, or DICE-K-an acronym that also reflects Tonegawa's admiration of ace Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. DICE-K allows scientists for the first time to induce and reverse a blockade of synaptic transmission in specific neural circuits in the hippocampus.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


January 24, 2008, 11:07 PM CT

Don't worry, be happy, research suggests

Don't worry, be happy, research suggests
Illinois psychology professor Ed Diener suggests that happiness is a worthy goal for those who lack it, but the endless pursuit of even more happiness for the already happy may be counterproductive.

Credit: Photo courtesy Ed Diener, University of Illinois
Could the pursuit of happiness go too far" Most self-help books on the subject offer tips on how to maximize ones bliss, but a new study suggests that moderate happiness may be preferable to full-fledged elation.

The researchers, from the University of Virginia, the University of Illinois and Michigan State University, looked at data from the World Values Survey, a large-scale analysis of economic, social, political and religious influences around the world. They also analyzed the behaviors and attitudes of 193 undergraduate students at Illinois.

Their findings, which appear in the December 2007 Perspectives on Psychological Science, challenge the common assumption that all measures of well-being go up as happiness increases. While a number of indicators of success and well-being do correspond to higher levels of happiness, the scientists report, those at the uppermost end of the happiness scale (people who report that they are 10s on a 10-point life satisfaction score) are in some measures worse off than their slightly less elated counterparts.

To put the findings in perspective, it is important to note that happiness generally correlates with all kinds of positive measures, said Illinois psychology professor Ed Diener, an author of the study. In general, the happier you are the more successful you are in terms of money, employment and relationships.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 24, 2008, 10:55 PM CT

Marijuana withdrawal as bad as withdrawal from cigarettes

Marijuana withdrawal as bad as withdrawal from cigarettes
Research by a group of researchers studying the effects of heavy marijuana use suggests that withdrawal from the use of marijuana is similar to what is experienced by people when they quit smoking cigarettes. Abstinence from each of these drugs appears to cause several common symptoms, such as irritability, anger and trouble sleeping - based on self reporting in a recent study of 12 heavy users of both marijuana and cigarettes.

These results indicate that some marijuana users experience withdrawal effects when they try to quit, and that these effects should be considered by clinicians treating people with problems correlation to heavy marijuana use, says lead investigator in the study, Ryan Vandrey, Ph.D., of the Department of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the United States. Admissions in substance abuse therapy facilities in which marijuana was the primary problem substance have more than doubled since the early part of 1990s and now rank similar to cocaine and heroin with respect to total number of yearly therapy episodes in the United States, says Vandrey.

He points out that a lack of data, until recently, has led to cannabis withdrawal symptoms not being characterized or included in medical reference literature such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, (DSM-IV) or the International Classification of Diseases, 10th edition (ICD-10).........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 24, 2008, 10:46 PM CT

Popular Arthritis Drug May Disrupt Heart Rhythm

Popular Arthritis Drug May Disrupt Heart Rhythm
Celebrex, a popular arthritis drug that blocks pain by inhibiting an enzyme known as COX-2, has been shown in laboratory studies to induce arrhythmia, or irregular beating of the heart, via a novel pathway uncorrelation to its COX-2 inhibition.

University at Buffalo scientists discovered this unexpected finding while conducting basic research on potassium channels.

They observed that low concentrations of the drug, corresponding to a standard prescription, reduced the heart rate and induced pronounced arrhythmia in fruit flies and the heart cells of rats.

The drug inhibited the normal passage of potassium ions into and out of heart cells through pores in the cell membrane known as delayed rectifier potassium channels, the study showed.

"The adverse effects of drugs like Celebrex and Vioxx based on their selective inhibition of COX-2 currently are a topic of intense discussion in the medical community," said Satpal Singh, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and senior author on the study. Vioxx was withdrawn from the market in September 2004.

"We now have shown an important new effect of Celebrex through a totally different pathway, one that is uncorrelation to the drug's effect as a pain reducer," Singh said. "The adverse effect arising from this unexpected mechanism definitely needs to be studied more closely, because the potassium channels inhibited by the drug are present in heart, brain and a number of other tissues in the human body.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


January 24, 2008, 10:41 PM CT

Camera in a pill

Camera in a pill
The UW's scanning fiber endoscope fits in a pill that can be comfortably swallowed. The casing measures 6 millimeters wide and 18 millimeters long.
What if swallowing a pill with a camera could detect the earliest signs of cancer? The tiny camera is designed to take high-quality, color pictures in confined spaces. Such a device could find warning signs of esophageal cancer, the fastest growing cancer in the United States.

A fundamentally new design has created a smaller endoscope that is more comfortable for the patient and cheaper to use than current technology. Its first use on a human, scanning for early signs of esophageal cancer, will be reported in an upcoming issue of IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering.

"Our technology is completely different from what's available now. This could be the foundation for the future of endoscopy," said lead author Eric Seibel, a University of Washington research associate professor of mechanical engineering.

In the past 30 years diagnoses of esophageal cancer have more than tripled. The esophagus is the section of digestive tract that moves food from the throat down to the stomach. Esophageal cancer often follows a condition called Barrett's esophagus, a noticeable change in the esophageal lining. Patients with Barrett's esophagus can be healed, avoiding the deadly esophageal cancer. But because internal scans are expensive most people don't find out they have the condition until it's progressed to cancer, and by that stage the survival rate is less than 15 percent.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


January 22, 2008, 11:10 PM CT

Daily exercise dramatically lowers men's death rates

Daily exercise dramatically lowers men's death rates
Increased exercise capacity reduces the risk of death in African-American and Caucasian men, scientists reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The government-supported Veterans Affairs study included 15,660 participants and is the largest known to assess the link between fitness and mortality.

It is important to emphasize that it takes relatively moderate levels of physical activity like brisk walking to attain the associated health benefits. Certainly, one does not need to be a marathon runner. This is the message that we need to convey to the public, said Peter Kokkinos, Ph.D., lead author of the study and director of the Exercise Testing and Research Lab in the cardiology department at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Professor Kokkinos and his colleagues investigated exercise capacity as an independent predictor of overall mortality for African-American men (6,749) and Caucasian men (8,911) and also examined whether racial differences in exercise capacity influence the risk of death. Veterans were tested by a standardized treadmill test to assess exercise capacity between May 1983 and December 2006 at Veterans Affairs medical centers in Washington, D.C., and Palo Alto, Calif. The men were encouraged to exercise until fatigued unless they developed symptoms or other indicators of ischemia. These individuals were then followed for an average of 7.5 years and death rates were recorded.........

Posted by: Daniel      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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