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November 6, 2008, 6:18 PM CT

Age is not a key factor in cancer survival

Age is not a key factor in cancer survival
Age is not an independent factor in cancer survival rates and should not influence decisions about how to treat older patients, as per a research studyin the recent issue of IJCP, the Independent Journal of Clinical Practice

A team of hospital and University-based scientists from Barcelona, Spain, carried out a detailed study of more than 200 patients diagnosed with cancer.

"We observed that there were many factors that influence survival rates including physical quality of life and how far the cancer had spread but age was not one of them" says lead researcher Dr Eva Domingo from Hospital Vall d'Hebron.

"Despite this fact, and the challenges that clinicians face from an ageing population, there has been little research into how to treat older cancer patients, who often have complex medical needs because of other health issues.

"They have been systematically excluded from clinical trials for cancer therapys. Eventhough 60 per cent of cancers occur in patients over 65, their participation in clinical trials does not exceed 25 per cent.

"This has made it difficult to predict how older patients will tolerate and respond to .

the latest cancer therapys and has provided an obstacle to making evidence-based clinical decisions".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 6, 2008, 6:13 PM CT

Quality Of Life After Breast Cancer Treatment

Quality Of Life After Breast Cancer Treatment
Opting for less damaging therapys, staying active and learning about the warning signs of lymphedema: that's how women with breast cancer can avoid developing chronic lymphedema, as per the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). Women can learn more about how to protect themselves from this common and distressing adverse effect of therapy as well as handle the condition at the Institute's website, www.informedhealthonline.org.

Protecting women's lymph systems

Breast cancer therapy is becoming more effective, with a survival rate of more than 80% for this disease in Gera number of. As the survival rate goes up, quality of life for survivors assumes even more importance, as per the German Institute. Lymphedema is an adverse effect of breast cancer therapy caused by damage to the lymph system. When the lymph system cannot properly remove fluids from around the breast and arm, the fluid gathers and the arm swells. This causes pain and restricts movement. It could become a chronic problem that is hard to treat.

The more aggressive breast cancer therapy is, the higher the risk of lymphedema. Scientists estimate around 400,000 women in Gera number of alone have lymphoedema caused by breast cancer therapy.

"Even with a number of women having less aggressive breast cancer therapys, around 10 to 20% will develop lymphedema," as per Professor Peter Sawicki, the Institute's Director. "We doctors still underestimate the impact on patients' quality of life of therapy adverse effects like lymphedema. The first step to prevention is using therapies that limit the damage to the woman's lymph system".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 4, 2008, 10:56 PM CT

Lung airway cells activate vitamin D

Lung airway cells activate vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential to good health but needs to be activated to function properly in the human body. Until recently, this activation was thought to happen primarily in the kidneys, but a new University of Iowa study finds that the activation step can also occur in lung airway cells.

The study also links the vitamin D locally produced in the lung airway cells to activation of two genes that help fight infection. The study results appear in the Nov. 15 issue of the Journal of Immunology, now online.

In addition to contributing to calcium absorption and bone health, vitamin D is increasingly recognized for its beneficial effects on the immune system. Vitamin D deficiency has been recently associated with increased risk of some infections, autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes, and some cancers.

"The more researchers have been studying vitamin D, the more we learn about new roles it plays in the human body," said the study's lead author Sif Hansdottir, M.D., fellow in internal medicine in the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. "The active form of vitamin D is known to affect the expression of more than 200 genes, so we were interested both in the possible lung-specific production of active vitamin D and in vitamin D-dependent production of proteins that fight infections".........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


November 4, 2008, 10:53 PM CT

Psychoses among migrant groups

Psychoses among migrant groups
Scientists examining the occurrence of psychoses among migrant groups have shown a raised incidence for all black and ethnic minority subgroups compared with white British counterparts, and reveal that the risk of psychoses for first and second generations varies by ethnicity. Findings from the East London First Episode Psychosis Study, which recommend that further research should focus on differential rates of psychoses by ethnicity, rather than between generations, are reported in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry on 3rd November, 2008.

Led by Professor of Forensic Psychiatry at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Jeremy Coid, and Dr James Kirkbride from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, the research shows that both first and subsequent generation groups in England are at higher risk of schizophrenia and other psychoses (in line with prior literature). Unknown previous to this study, was whether rates were further elevated in second and later generations (i.e. UK born) ethnic minority groups, than in their first generation counterparts.

Professor Coid's and Dr Kirkbride's research suggests that in fact rates are not consistently elevated to a greater extent for later generations (compared to the first) but that much depends on the ethnic group in question, and more specifically their age profile. The study, for example, shows incidence rates of psychoses are significantly (statistically) greater for second compared with first generation black Caribbean immigrants, yet their respective age profiles reveal that this is primarily because the second generation are more likely to be in the peak at-risk ages for psychoses (under 30) and that the first generation, having migrated in the 1950s and 1960s whilst in their 20s and 30s, have now moved out of the critical age period of risk for psychoses into their 50s, 60s and 70s.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 4, 2008, 9:34 PM CT

Healthy bones program reduces hip fractures by 37 percent

Healthy bones program reduces hip fractures by 37 percent
Proactive measures can reduce hip fracture rates by an average of 37.2 percent -- and as much as 50 percent -- among those at risk, as per a research studyconducted by Kaiser Permanente Southern California. The study was published online on November 3 by The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, a peer-evaluated journal.

The largest study of its kind, the five-year study tracked more than 625,000 male and female patients over the age of 50 in Southern California who had specific risk factors for osteoporosis and/or hip fractures. The implementation of many initiatives in the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Healthy Bones Program reduced the hip fracture rates beyond the goal rate of 25 percent.

"One-half of all women and one-third of all men will sustain a fragility fracture in their lifetime. The mortality rate due to osteoporosis-related fractures is greater than the rates for breast cancer and cervical cancer combined," said study lead author Richard M. Dell, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center. "Yet it's a misconception that nothing can be done to prevent or treat osteoporosis. It is possible to achieve at least a 25 percent reduction in the hip fracture rate in the United States if a more active role is taken by all orthopedic surgeons in osteoporosis disease management."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 31, 2008, 5:39 AM CT

Study of breast cancer in black women

Study of breast cancer in black women
A new study seeking to improve scientists' understanding of breast cancer, including why the disease's fatality rate is higher in African-American women, is getting underway in 44 counties in North Carolina.

The project, named after the late Jeanne Hopkins Lucas, a North Carolina state senator who died of breast cancer last year, is being run by the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The research is an extension of the Carolina Breast Cancer Study, one of the largest breast cancer databases in the United States.

Potential participants will be identified from among women living in the 44 North Carolina counties, as participating hospitals report newly diagnosed breast cancer cases to the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry. Using a scientifically selected study sample, UNC scientists will contact the doctor of record previous to contacting the patient about the study.

Robert Millikan, D.V.M., Ph.D., Barbara Sorensen Hulka Distinguished Professor of Epidemiology in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, is the study's principal investigator. Mary Beth Bell, project manager of the Carolina Breast Cancer Study, is coordinating the project team, which includes nurse interviewers, recruitment specialists, outreach coordinators and others. The study is supported by the University Cancer Research Fund.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 31, 2008, 5:37 AM CT

Friend or foe? Body's clot-busting system and atherosclerosis

Friend or foe? Body's clot-busting system and atherosclerosis
Sometimes it's hard to tell friends from foes, biologically speaking. Naturally produced in the body, urokinase plasminogen activator and plasminogen interact to break up blood clots and recruit clean-up cells to clear away debris correlation to inflammation. In fact, urokinase manufactured as a drug effectively clears clogged arteries by generating clot-busting plasmin from blood-derived plasminogen.

However, despite the efficacy of urokinase and plasmin in clearing blood clots, evidence has shown that humans with a high baseline level of blood plasmin are at increased risk for heart attacks and for fast-developing forms of atherosclerosis. In addition, human arteries affected by atherosclerosis have an abundance of urokinase. These associations between plasmin, urokinase and increased atherosclerosis counter the notion that urokinase and plasmin protect against heart attacks by removing dangerous blood clots.

At first vascular biologists didn't know how to interpret these findings. Specifically, they wondered whether the high level of urokinase in atherosclerotic artery walls was contributing to atherosclerosis or was evidence of the body's efforts to fight it.

To try to resolve this puzzle, Dr. David A. Dichek, the John Locke Jr. Family Endowed Professor of Cardiology and associate director for research in the Division of Cardiology at the University of Washington (UW), and his team generated mice that were genetically engineered to produce more urokinase in their artery walls. These mice developed arteries with worse atherosclerosis, including thicker walls, narrower interiors, and limited blood flow. The mice died suddenly with clogged arteries and evidence of heart attacks.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 31, 2008, 5:28 AM CT

Personality shapes perception of romance

Personality shapes perception of romance
Psychology professor Glenn Roisman and graduate student Ashley Holland found that measuring the quality of romantic relationships is more complex than earlier studies suggest.
Personality scientists have long known that people who report they have certain personality traits are also more (or less) likely to be satisfied with their romantic partners. Someone who says she is often anxious or moody, for example, is more likely than her less neurotic counterpart to be dissatisfied with her significant other.

In a new analysis, scientists at the University of Illinois observed that measuring the quality of romantic relationships is more complex than these earlier studies suggest. While personality has been found to be predictive of perceived relationship satisfaction and success, other measures of relationship quality may offer additional insight into how a romantic relationship is functioning.

"Obviously there are going to be strong links between how you perceive your relationship and how you perceive yourself," said Ashley Holland, a doctoral student in developmental psychology who led the research as part of her master's thesis. "But maybe there are not going to be such strong links between how you perceive yourself and how well you actually interact with your partner".

"Our question was whether personality traits get reflected not just in how people perceive their relationships, but actually how they're behaving toward one another - and how their bodies respond while they interact," said Illinois psychology professor Glenn Roisman, a co-author on the study.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 31, 2008, 5:26 AM CT

Drinking milk to ease milk allergy?

Drinking milk to ease milk allergy?
Giving children with milk allergies increasingly higher doses of milk over time may ease, and even help them completely overcome, their allergic reactions, as per the results of a study led by the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and conducted jointly with Duke University.

Despite the small number of patients in the trial 19 the findings are illuminating and encouraging, researchers say, because this is the first-ever double-blinded and placebo-controlled study of milk immunotherapy. In the study, the scientists compared a group of children receiving milk powder to a group of children receiving placebo identical in appearance and taste to real milk powder. Neither the patients nor the researchers knew which child received which powder, a rigorous research setup that minimizes the chance for error and bias.

The findings of the study are reported online ahead of print, Oct. 28, in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology

"Our findings suggest that oral immunotherapy gradually retrains the immune system to completely disregard or to better tolerate the allergens in milk that previously caused allergic reactions," says Robert Wood, M.D., senior investigator on the study and director of Allergy & Immunology at Hopkins Children's. "Albeit preliminary and requiring further study, these results suggest that oral immunotherapy may be the closest thing yet to a 'true' therapy for food allergy".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 31, 2008, 5:15 AM CT

Type-1 diabetes not so much bad genes

Type-1 diabetes not so much bad genes
Investigators combing the genome in the hope of finding genetic variants responsible for triggering early-onset diabetes may be looking in the wrong place, new research at the Stanford University School of Medicine suggests.

Early-onset diabetes, also known as type-1 diabetes, is an autoimmune disease, caused when the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in a person's pancreas.

What triggers that immune response apparently has less to do with having a distinct set of gene variants than how the behavior of genes may differ in people with the disease. That is the finding of a study reported in the recent issue of Clinical Immunology, by Garry Fathman, MD, professor of immunology and rheumatology, and colleagues.

The paper builds upon the knowledge that particular immune-system-related gene variants confer type-1 diabetes susceptibility. A number of people have those genes, but only a fraction actually develop the disease. This has led a number of researchers to conduct exhaustive searches of the genome for other elusive genes that, when defective, may predispose someone to type-1 diabetes. Fathman suggests they may be on the wrong track.

Fathman explained it this way: "Take a pair of identical twins, with one having type-1 diabetes. Eventhough both have precisely the same genes, roughly half the time the other twin doesn't get the disease." The same holds true for other autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, he added.........

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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