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May 8, 2006, 11:44 PM CT

Social Stress Prompts Hamsters To Overeat

Social Stress Prompts Hamsters To Overeat
Put a mouse or a rat under stress and what does it do? It stops eating. Humans should be so lucky. When people suffer nontraumatic stress they often head for the refrigerator, producing unhealthy extra pounds.

When Syrian hamsters, which are normally solitary, are placed in a group-living situation, they also gain weight. So researchers at the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at Georgia State University are using hamsters as a model for human stress-induced obesity. They want to begin unraveling the complex factors that lead people to eat when under stress and hope that the information can eventually be used to block appetites under this common scenario.

The study, "Social defeat increases food intake, body mass, and adiposity in Syrian hamsters," by Michelle T. Foster, Matia B. Solomon, Kim L. Huhman and Timothy J. Bartness, Georgia State University, Atlanta, appears in the recent issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology published by The American Physiological Society.

Hamsters similar to humans

In the study, the scientists look at nontraumatic stress -- the stress we experience in everyday life, such as getting stuck in traffic or trying to complete a major project at work. It is distinct from traumatic stress, such as suffering the death of a loved one. Traumatic stress typically dulls the human appetite, said Bartness, the study's senior researcher and an authority on obesity.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 8, 2006, 11:37 PM CT

Genetic Insights Into Retinoblastoma

Genetic Insights Into Retinoblastoma
Investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have discovered the role of several key genes in the development of the retina, and in the process have taken a significant step toward understanding how to prevent or cure the potentially deadly eye cancer retinoblastoma. Retinoblastoma is the third most common cancer in infants after leukemia and neuroblastoma (nerve cancer). Retinoblastoma that has spread outside the eye is among the deadliest childhood cancers, with an average survival rate of less than 10 percent.

A key finding of the new study is that humans are more susceptible to developing retinoblastoma than mice, because mice can compensate for the loss of a gene critical to normal retinal development while humans cannot. The results of the study appear in the open-access journal BMC Biology.

"Our study gives us important new information on the normal development of the retina and suggests new studies that could lead to the design of more effective drugs to treat retinoblastoma," said Michael Dyer, Ph.D., an associate member of the Department of Developmental Neurobiology at St. Jude and senior author of the paper.

The scientists discovered that during the development of the retina in mice, three genes that belong to the Rb gene family are expressed at different times. Specifically, the p107 gene is active before birth in cells that are going to become the retina. This gene ensures that the retinal cells stop multiplying at the proper time during development of this tissue. The Rb gene is expressed after birth in those cells that are actively multiplying as they also help form the retina.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 8, 2006, 11:32 PM CT

Cutting Calories Can Combat Aging

Cutting Calories Can Combat Aging
A lifelong habit of trimming just a few calories from the daily diet can do more than slim the waistline - a new study shows it may help lessen the effects of aging.

Researchers from the University of Florida's Institute on Aging have found that eating a little less food and exercising a little more over a lifespan can reduce or even reverse aging-related cell and organ damage in rats.

The discovery, described this month in the journal Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, builds on recent research in animals and humans that has shown a more drastic 20 percent to 40 percent cut in calories slows aging damage. The UF findings indicate even small reductions in calories could have big effects on health and shed light on the molecular process responsible for the phenomenon, which until now has been poorly understood.

"This finding suggests that even slight moderation in intake of calories and a moderate exercise program is beneficial to a key organ such as the liver, which shows significant signs of dysfunction in the aging process," said Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, Ph.D., an associate professor of aging and geriatric research at the UF College of Medicine and the paper's senior author.

UF researchers found that feeding rats just 8 percent fewer calories a day and moderately increasing the animals' activity extended their average lifespan and significantly overturned the negative effects of cellular aging on liver function and overall health.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 8, 2006, 9:11 PM CT

Two New Varieties of Non-Allergenic Soybeans

Two New Varieties of Non-Allergenic Soybeans
Soy is also a very common ingredient in a lot of food products, commonly as fillers and extenders. For a lot of vegetarians, it is also a common alternative to meat because of its high protein cotent. However, a considerable number of people, especially children, show allergic reactions such as skin rashes, gastrointestinal problems, or in more serious cases, swelling and diffulty of breathing and swallowing. If not for this, soy would have been an ideal food item, considering its nutritional value and relatively cheap price.

This is why researchers have tried to create genetically modified soybeans that are non-allergenic. They simply shut off that gene called p34, which has been found to be responsible for producing the protein that invokes allergic reactions. However, because of public resistance to GMOs, they tried other traditional approaches as well.

Alas, scientists from the University of Illinois and the USDA-Agricultural Research Service have been rewarded. After screening more than 16,000 soybean lines in the USDA's National Soybean Germplasm Collection, they found two varieties that are naturally deficient in the allergy-causing P34 protein. They said they will release these soybean varieties without patents to companies and breeders. Hopefully it doesn't take long before we consumers see them on the store shelves!........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 8, 2006, 7:14 AM CT

Outcomes In Lobular Invasive Carcinoma Of The Breast

Outcomes In Lobular Invasive Carcinoma Of The Breast
A new study has confirmed that invasive lobular carcinoma can be effectively treated just like invasive ductal carcinoma by breast conservation surgery. The study proves that invasive lobular carcinoma does not require any additional preferential therapy compared to invasive ductal carcinoma.

Invasive ductal carcinoma is rare compared to the ductal carcinoma, and currently doctors are treating both subtypes of breast cancer similarly with breast conservation surgery in early stages of the disease. Now there is some proof to the all in one approach by the physicians and surgeons.

These findings appear in the latest issue of CANCER, which is a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. Invasive lobular carcinoma is associated with similar success rates with breast conservation surgery and is not associated with any additional surgeries compared to invasive ductal carcinoma. Some recent studies have suggested invasive lobular carcinoma has suggested that breast-conserving surgery is not appropriate for invasive lobular carcinoma, and this study challenges that finding.

Invasive lobular carcinoma makes up only 10 percent of all breast cancers, and because of this data focusing on invasive lobular carcinoma is scanty. Much of information on mammography screening and breast conservation surgery are based on data from invasive ductal carcinoma which comprises of up to 85 percent of all breast cancers.........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink

May 7, 2006, 10:56 PM CT

Gene That Increases Type 2 Diabetes

Gene That Increases Type 2 Diabetes
In a painstaking set of experiments in overweight mice, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered a gene that appears to play an important role in the onset of type 2 diabetes.

The finding is important because it provides evidence that the same gene in humans could provide clinicians with a powerful tool to determine the likelihood that some individuals will acquire the condition. Moreover, the finding that the gene works through a pathway not generally studied in the context of diabetes, suggests new avenues to explore in the search for new drugs to treat or prevent the disease, says Alan Attie, a UW-Madison professor of biochemistry and the senior author of the study published this week (May 7) in the journal Nature Genetics.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the condition in the United States, with an estimated 16 million Americans afflicted with the disease. It is caused by an inability of the pancreas to produce enough insulin, or by the body's reduced ability to respond to insulin, or both. Insulin is necessary for the body to properly utilize sugar.

Often, the development of type 2 diabetes is caused by obesity. Obese individuals tend to have insulin resistance; that is, it takes more insulin for the body to respond normally. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to manufacture enough insulin to compensate for the body's increased demand for the hormone, which it does by growing more insulin-producing beta cells or by ramping up insulin secretion.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 6, 2006, 9:04 PM CT

Patients Positively Weigh In On Liposuction

Patients Positively Weigh In On Liposuction
Patients are weighing in on liposuction, the most popular cosmetic plastic surgery procedure in 2005, and resoundingly saying they would have the procedure again. As per a research studyin May's Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 80 percent of patients were satisfied with their results and 86 percent would recommend the procedure to family or friends.

"Liposuction is one of the most satisfying procedures for patients and most effective at eliminating localized fat," said ASPS Spokesperson Jeffrey Kenkel, MD, co-author of study, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. "The majority of patients recognize their role in maintaining positive results and pursue a healthy diet and exercise. These patients typically maintain or lose weight after surgery, while those that do not may gain small amounts of weight. Ultimately, one's lifestyle can affect long term-results".

As per the study, approximately 57 percent of patients reported no weight change after having liposuction - 46 percent of these patients actually reported a weight loss, losing an average of five to 10 pounds in less than six months. Forty-three percent of patients reported gaining weight, with the majority gaining between five and 10 pounds more than six months after surgery.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 6, 2006, 3:09 PM CT

Placental Growth Factor May Help Body Repair Heart Attack Damage

Placental Growth Factor May Help Body Repair Heart Attack Damage
Heart attack patients produce higher levels of a natural substance in the body that plays a role in the growth of new blood vessels and this over-expression of placental growth factor (PlGF) may help reduce damage to the heart muscle, as per a new study in the April 18, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"Because the degree of PlGF production released from the heart after a heart attack correlated with the improvement of cardiac function, we think PlGF becomes a potential therapy of myocardial infarction. Furthermore, prior studies have shown that PlGF enhances angiogenesis and arteriogenesis in ischemic tissue, also PlGF appears to promote mobilization of flt-1-positive hematopoietic stem cells from bone marrow to the peripheral circulation. We have started further experiments to evaluate this hypothesis," said Shiro Uemura, M.D. from the Nara Medical University in Kashihara, Japan.

The researchers, including first author Hajime Iwama, M.D., compared 55 heart attack patients to 43 control subjects. The heart attack patients had significantly higher levels of PlGF than the healthy subjects. Also, the patients with higher levels of PlGF three days after a heart attack had lower left ventricular ejection fractions, indicating more heart muscle damage. The scientists wrote that it is likely that the degree of injury is a key determinant of how much PlGF the body produces.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source

May 6, 2006, 6:50 AM CT

Fenretinide For Breast Cancer Prevention?

Fenretinide For Breast Cancer Prevention?
A trial meant to reduce the risk of recurrence of breast cancer in postmenopausal women by taking a vitamin like drug had just the opposite effect. Instead of decreasing the risk of breast cancer the drug has actually increased the risk of breast cancer.

Postmenopausal women who took the vitamin A derivative called fenretinide daily for five years after breast cancer surgery to help prevent cancer recurrence ended up having 23 percent increase in the breast cancer incidence compared to women who were not taking this drug.

A subgroup of younger premneopausal women however experienced a 38 percent reduction in the breast cancer recurrence.

This result comes from re-analysis of data from a 15-year study, which included 2,800 women from Europe who had undergone surgery for breast cancer. These research results appeared in the recent issue of the Annals of Oncology.

When the initial results from this trial was published in 1999 with data from the initial 11 years of the study, experts believed that the data showed no support for the argument that this drug decreases risk of breast cancer. Fenretinide is not approved for breast cancer prevention in the United States. Users of the drug have also experience higher incidence of night blindness in some users.........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink

May 4, 2006, 5:07 PM CT

'Cellular Antennae' On Algae

'Cellular Antennae' On Algae
By studying microscopic hairs called cilia on algae, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found that an internal structure that helps build cilia is also responsible for a cell's response to external signals.

Cilia perform many functions on human cells; they propel egg and sperm cells to make fertilization possible, line the nose to pick up odors, and purify the blood, among other tasks.

With such a range of abilities, cilia serve as both motors and "cellular antennae," said Dr. William Snell, a professor of cell biology at UT Southwestern and senior author of new research on cilia published in the May 5 issue of Cell.

Genetic defects in cilia can cause people to develop debilitating kidney disease or to be born with learning disabilities, extra fingers or toes, or the inability to smell.

But no one really knows how cilia work, or, in some parts of the body, what their function is.

"There are cilia all over within our brain, and we don't have a clue about what they're doing," Dr. Snell said.

He and his team use the microscopic green alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, which has two individual cilia. This alga allows researchers to manipulate genes and study the resulting effects on cilia in a way that would be impossible in animals such as mice.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         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. Archives of health news blog

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