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January 29, 2007, 9:34 PM CT

Why Breast cancer incidence is decreasing?

Why Breast cancer incidence is decreasing?
Breast cancer incidence in the United States has dropped sharply and this decline might be due to the fact that millions of older women have stopped using hormone replacement treatment, as per research presented here at the 29th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

The scientists reported that there was an overall 7% relative decline in breast cancer incidence between 2002 and 2003 and that the steepest decline (12%) occurred in women aged between 50 and 69 diagnosed with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. ER-positive breast cancer depends on hormones for tumor growth, as per the report.

From their data, the scientists concluded that as a number of as 14,000 fewer women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 than in 2002, a year in which the American Cancer Society estimated 203,500 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed.

"It is the largest single drop in breast cancer incidence within a single year I am aware of," said Peter Ravdin, MD, PhD, a research professor in the department of biostatistics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in a press release.

"Something went right in 2003, and it seems that it was the decrease in the use of hormone treatment, but from the data we used we can only indirectly infer that is the case," he said. "But if it is true, the tumor growth effect of stopping use of HRT is very dramatic during a short period of time, making the difference between whether a tumor is detected on a mammogram or not in 2003," Ravdin said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 29, 2007, 5:17 AM CT

Top Hospitals Have 28 Percent Lower Mortality Rate

Top Hospitals Have 28 Percent Lower Mortality Rate Johns Hopkins medical school
Patients treated at top-rated hospitals nationwide have nearly a one-third better chance of surviving, on average, than those admitted to all other hospitals, according to a study released recently by HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings company. Patients who undergo surgery at these high-performing hospitals also have an average five percent lower risk of complications during their stay, researchers found.

The annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality and Clinical Excellence study, now in its fifth year, identifies hospitals in the top five percent nationally in terms of mortality and complication rates for 26 procedures and diagnoses, from bypass surgery to stroke. Hospitals achieving this level of care quality are designated Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence by HealthGrades and are identified on the organization's consumer Web site, HealthGrades.com.

Disparities in the level of care patients receive, based simply on where they choose to seek treatment, highlight a troubling phenomenon in the U.S. healthcare system: a preventable, but growing gap between high-quality hospitals and the rest of the field.

The 2007 study found that 158,264 lives may have been saved and 12,409 major complications avoided, had the quality of care at all hospitals matched the level of those in the top five percent.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 29, 2007, 5:10 AM CT

Major Link In Brain-obesity Puzzle

Major Link In Brain-obesity Puzzle
A single protein in brain cells may act as a linchpin in the body's weight-regulating system, playing a key role in the flurry of signals that govern fat storage, sugar use, energy balance and weight, University of Michigan Medical School scientists report.

And eventhough it's far too early to say how this protein could be useful in new strategies to fight the world's epidemic of obesity, the finding gives researchers an important system to target in future research and the development of anti-obesity medications.

In the recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, U-M researcher Liangyou Rui, Ph.D. and his team report their findings on a protein called SH2B1, and specifically on its activity in brain cells.

Using a variety of genetic, diet and hormone techniques, they were able to show that the action of SH2B1 regulates body weight, the action of the metabolic signaling molecules leptin and insulin, and the use of energy from food. It even moderated the impact of a high-fat diet on body weight.

The experiments were performed in mice, including two types of mice that the team altered genetically so that they only expressed a unique form of the SH2B1 protein in their brain cells. The protein occurs elsewhere in the body, but the scientists were able to zero in on its activity in the hypothalamus: the area of the brain that coordinates signals from the brain and body relating to food, hunger, and the balance of energy and nutrients in the body.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 28, 2007, 8:56 PM CT

100 Percent Juices Beneficial To Health

100 Percent Juices Beneficial To Health
When it comes to some of today's health issues, 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices do help reduce risk factors correlation to certain diseases.

This conclusion is the result of a European study designed to question traditional thinking that 100 percent juices play a less significant role in reducing risk for both cancer and cardiovascular disease than whole fruits and vegetables.

Juices are comparable in their ability to reduce risk in comparison to their whole fruit/vegetable counterparts say several scientists in the United Kingdom who conducted the literature review. The scientists analyzed a variety of studies that looked at risk reduction attributed to the effects of both fiber and antioxidants. As a result, they determined that the positive impact fruits and vegetables offer come not from just the fiber but also from antioxidants which are present in both juice and the whole fruit and vegetables.

This 2006 review of the literature states, "When considering cancer and coronary heart disease prevention, there is no evidence that pure fruit and vegetable juices are less beneficial than whole fruit and vegetables." The scientists add that the positioning of juices as being nutritionally inferior to whole fruits and vegetables in relationship to chronic disease development is "unjustified" and that policies which suggest otherwise about fruit and vegetable juices should be re-examined.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 26, 2007, 4:51 AM CT

Mri Contrast Agent Linked To Rare Disease

Mri Contrast Agent Linked To Rare Disease
New research has shown a possible association between a popular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent and the occurence rate of a rare disease called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) in patients with kidney disease, as per an editorial appearing in the recent issue of Radiology.

"We recommend avoiding the use of gadodiamide in patients with any degree of renal disease," said Phillip H. Kuo, M.D., Ph.D., assistant clinical professor of diagnostic radiology at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn. "At this point, the data clearly show the vast majority of NSF cases are linked to the use of gadodiamide".

NSF, an emerging systemic disorder characterized by widespread tissue fibrosis, has been diagnosed in patients who were previously administered gadodiamide (Omniscan) and other gadolinium-based MRI contrast agents. While the precise cause of NSF is unknown, the disorder has only been observed in patients with kidney disease, particularly those requiring dialysis.

"So far, NSF has only been reported in patients with renal failure," Dr. Kuo said. "Gadolinium contrast agents do not appear to cause NSF in patients with normal kidney function."

Patients with NSF experience an increase of collagen in the tissues, causing thickening and hardening of the skin of the extremities and often resulting in immobility and tightening or deformity of the joints. NSF can develop rapidly and may result in patients becoming wheelchair-bound within just a few weeks. In some cases, there is involvement of other tissues, including the lungs, heart, diaphragm, esophagus and skeletal muscle. No consistently effective treatment exists.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 25, 2007, 9:35 PM CT

When Smokers 'Forget' To Smoke

When Smokers 'Forget' To Smoke
Preliminary research supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health, has observed that some smokers with damage to a part of the brain called the insula may have their addiction to nicotine practically eliminated. The study is reported in the January 26, 2007 issue of the journal Science.

"The scientists observed that smokers with insula lesions were 136 times more likely to have their addiction to nicotine erased than smokers with other brain injuries," says NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow. "Research that identifies a way to alter the function of this area could have major implications for smokers and addiction therapy in general".

Dr. Antoine Bechara of the University of Southern California and colleagues identified 19 smokers who had experienced some degree of brain damage, resulting in lesions on the insula. Of these, 13 quit smoking. The researchers also identified 50 smokers whose brain injuries did not include damage to the insula. Of these, 19 quit smoking.

The researchers recognized that individuals from both groups-those with damage to the insula or damage to other brain regions-were able to quit smoking. However, some smokers experienced a greater ease in quitting. The researchers developed four behavioral criteria for determining who fell into this group; those who reported: (1) quitting smoking less than one day after the brain injury; (2) their difficulty of quitting was less than three on a scale of one to seven; (3) that they did not smoke again after quitting; and (4) no urge to smoke since quitting.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 24, 2007, 6:34 PM CT

Gene That May Predispose To Schizophrenia

Gene That May Predispose To Schizophrenia
In a new study from The American Journal of Human Genetics, a research team lead by Xinzhi Zhao and Ruqi Tang (Shanghai Jiao Tong University) present evidence that genetic variation may indicate predisposition to schizophrenia. Specifically, their findings identify the chitinase 3-like 1 gene as a potential schizophrenia-susceptibility gene and suggest that the genes involved in biological response to adverse conditions are likely associated with schizophrenia.

Analyzing two separate cohorts of Chinese patients with schizophrenia, the scientists observed a positive association between schizophrenia and genetic variations in the promoter region of the chitinase 3-like 1 (CHI3L1) gene, an association that was significant in both population-based and family-based investigations.

The CHI3L1 gene acts as a survival factor in response to adverse environments, countering various types of physiological stress, such as inflammation, nutrient deprivation, and oxygen deficiency, all of which may induce high expression of CHI3L1. The gene is located on chromosome 1q32.1, a region that has been previously shown to have a weak related to schizophrenia.

Many environmental factors, including prenatal exposure to disease, have been reported as risk factors of schizophrenia. However, the scientists argue that sensitivity to environmental stressors varies widely among individuals, and "at least part of this variation may be genetic in origin and/or involve gene-environment factors," they write.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 24, 2007, 6:01 PM CT

Getting Sad Is More Than Having The Blues

Getting Sad Is More Than Having The Blues
While a number of people think that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) amounts to feeling gloomy in the winter, a University of Rochester research review emphasizes that SAD is actually a subtype of major depression and should be treated as such.

Lead author Stephen Lurie, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor of Family Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, also noted that SAD is sometimes missed in the typical doctor's office setting.

"Like major depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder probably is under-diagnosed in primary care offices," Lurie said. "But with personalized and detailed attention to symptoms, most patients can be helped a great deal".

New, preliminary studies link SAD to alcoholism or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, not all people with SAD will have ADHD, as per the review article for the American Academy of Family Physicians.

"The important message here is that if you are a patient who has been diagnosed with a mental illness of any kind, don't just assume that any new mental or emotional problem is due to that illness," Lurie said. "Specifically, if you have ADHD and you feel worse in the winter, don't just assume it's your ADHD getting worse. It could actually be SAD - and you should see your doctor because ADHD and SAD are treated entirely differently".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


January 24, 2007, 5:49 PM CT

If Mom Smoked During Pregnancy

If Mom Smoked During Pregnancy
Quitting smoking may be more difficult for individuals whose mothers smoked during pregnancy, as per animal research conducted by Duke University Medical Center researchers.

Prenatal exposure to nicotine is known to alter areas of the brain critical to learning, memory and reward. Researchers at the Duke Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research have discovered that these alterations may program the brain for relapse to nicotine addiction. Rodents exposed to nicotine before birth self administer more of the drug after periods of abstinence than those that had not been exposed.

The study suggests that pregnant women should quit smoking to avoid exposing their unborn children to nicotine, and that they should do so without the use of nicotine products such as patches or gums that also present a risk to the baby, the scientists said.

"Smoking during pregnancy can harm the baby in ways that extend far beyond preterm delivery or low birth weight," said lead study investigator Edward Levin, Ph.D., a professor of biological psychiatry. "It causes changes in the brain development of the baby that can last a lifetime."

Results of the study appear this week in the online issue of the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. The work was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Philip Morris USA.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 17, 2007, 8:18 PM CT

New Strategy For The Treatment Of CML

New Strategy For The Treatment Of CML
Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center scientists have identified an approach to enhance the activity of a new anti-cancer agent that has already shown impressive efficacy in the therapy of chronic myelogenous leukemia.

Chronic myelogenous leukemia, or CML, is a cancer of the bone marrow caused by a specific genetic abnormality and is one of the more common forms of leukemia. Imatinib mesylate (Gleevec) is a highly effective anti-cancer agent that has revolutionized the course of treatment for patients with CML. It works by inhibiting the activity of a mutant protein, known as Bcr/ABl, which is responsible for this disease. However, despite initial success, patients eventually become resistant to imatinib mesylate.

As per Steven Grant, M.D., Massey's associate director for translational research and co-leader of the cancer center's cancer cell biology program, and senior author of the study, resistance to imatinib mesylate has prompted the development of newer generation inhibitors, such as a compound known as dasatinib, which are not only considerably more potent than imatinib mesylate, but also are active against cells expressing a number of of the mutations that make them resistant to the latter agent. Dasatinib also inhibits another important survival protein known as Src. However, Grant said that not all patients respond to dasatinib, and the risk remains that patients will develop resistance to this agent as well.........

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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