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February 15, 2007, 4:31 AM CT

African-american Breast Cancer Survivors And Perceived Risk

African-american Breast Cancer Survivors And Perceived Risk
A unique survey of African American breast cancer survivors at heightened risk for hereditary breast cancer has found the majority do not believe they have an increased chance of developing the cancer again.

Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, reporting in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, say these findings suggest it is important to ensure that African American women understand their risk of developing cancer, and genetic counseling to address cultural beliefs and values may be one way of doing so.

"Having a personal and family history of breast cancer are known risk factors for breast cancer, and it is surprising and worrisome that most of these women with such a history don't recognize that risk," said the study's lead author, Chanita Hughes Halbert, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and Director of the Community and Minority Cancer Control Program at the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Cancer Center.

Halbert's research focuses on understanding the socio-cultural underpinnings of cancer prevention and control behaviors among ethnically diverse populations so that interventions can be designed that reduce cancer morbidity and mortality.

One such intervention is genetic counseling that often includes testing whether a woman has a mutation in one of two genes (BRCA1/BRCA2); women with these genes are at greater risk for developing breast cancer than women without alterations in those genes.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 13, 2007, 9:51 PM CT

Flu shot might protect against H5N1

Flu shot might protect against H5N1
The yearly influenza vaccine that health officials urge people to get each fall might also offer certain individuals some cross protection against the H5N1 virus, usually known as bird flu, as per researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

The researchers observed that a protein present in the annual influenza shot can act as a vaccine itself and trigger some cross protection against H5N1 in mice; and that some human volunteers already had antibodies directed against the same part of this virus. Cross protection occurs when the immune response triggered by a vaccine designed to protect against one germ also offers some protection against a different germ.

The finding also suggests that the annual influenza vaccine might be particularly beneficial to populations in areas of the world where H5N1 routinely infects birds and poses a threat to people.

"The jury is still out on whether the seasonal flu vaccine is definitely a reliable way to offer people some protection from H5N1," said Richard J. Webby, Ph.D., assistant member in the Virology division of the Department of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude. "But our initial results suggest that this is a research trail worth following." Webby is senior author of the report that appears in the Feb. 13 issue of the online journal PLoS Medicine at www.plosmedicine.org........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


February 13, 2007, 9:50 PM CT

Elucidation of the genome for diabetics

Elucidation of the genome for diabetics
The genome of patients with type 2 diabetes (DT2) has been elucidated, for the first time, thanks to the use of new DNA chip technologies allowing 400,000 DNA mutations to be studied simultaneously. New genes conferring a predisposition to DT2 have been identified. They include the zinc transporter of pancreatic insulin-secreting cells (ZnT8), which is a potential target for therapy. This study of the French population was carried out as a French-British-Canadian collaboration between the teams directed by Philippe Froguel (CNRS, University of Lille 2, Pasteur Institute, Imperial College London) and Rob Sladek (McGill University, Montreal, Canada). About 70% of the genetic risk of DT2 is accounted for by these new discoveries, published online in Nature on February 11 2007. This work opens up entirely new avenues of prevention and therapy for this disease.

There are more than 200 million diabetics worldwide, and it has been predicted that this number will double by 2030. This increase in the number of diabetics is associated with the obesity epidemic, which currently affects 1.1 thousand million people, including 150 million children. However, heredity also makes a major contribution to the development of DT2. Abnormalities in insulin secretion appear very early in the children of diabetic parents. These individuals become hyperglycaemic when they put on weight and are resistant to the insulin they produce. The team of Philippe Froguel was the first to identify a gene linked to DT2 that encoding glucokinase in 1992. Several other such genes have since been discovered, but together these genes account for only a small proportion of DT2 cases. Insufficient knowledge of the human genome and the absence of cheap, simple-to-use, rapid analytical techniques hampered progress in medical research for a number of years. The recent sequencing of the human genome and the establishment of a complete map of DNA variations in the human species have finally made it possible to explore genetic predisposition to DT2 in its entirety. In 2006, a revolutionary genetic analysis technique was developed in the United States. This method is based on the use of DNA chips, with a surface of only a few square centimetres, carrying almost half a million DNA mutations. Each of these chips can be used to dissect the entire genome of an individual.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 13, 2007, 9:17 PM CT

Be careful with garlic treatment for children

Be careful with garlic treatment for children
Parents and practitioners should know more about garlic before using it to treat children, as per a review of data conducted in part by the University of Alberta.

While using garlic to treat children for various ailments appears to be generally safe, more research needs to be done on its specific effects, and garlic is not recommended in at least one therapy, scientists found after reviewing several studies that used the plant to treat several childhood ailments. Their findings were published recently in Pediatrics in Review.

"Data are insufficient to recommend precise dosages when treating children," said Dr. Sunita Vohra, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Despite its longtime use in a number of cultures for its purported pharmacologic benefits, further research will help answer questions surrounding garlic's use in children, Vohra noted.

The data review revealed that garlic tablets did appear to aid upper respiratory tract infections, resulting in a 1.7-fold reduction in morbidity compared with placebo and 2.4-fold reduction versus dibazole, a commercial parasiticide containing medication. Garlic applied briefly to warts also proved effective with resolution reported in all children after three to nine weeks of therapy.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 13, 2007, 8:48 PM CT

Genetic Testing Of Degenerative Eye Disease

Genetic Testing Of Degenerative Eye Disease
ANN ARBOR, Mich. Genetic testing for eye disease is providing vital information about complex retinal diseases, particularly when used to confirm a clinicians diagnosis.

In a newly published review of such tests that were conducted over a five-year period at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, researchers were able to confirm a clinicians diagnosis in half of the cases. The testing took place in the laboratory of Radha Ayyagari, Ph.D., director of Kelloggs Ophthalmic Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory.

In the recent issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, Ayyagari and her colleagues report on 350 genetic tests conducted since 1999, when the U-M Ophthalmic Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory became one of the first laboratories in the nation to receive government approval for ophthalmic testing under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA). For each test described in the current study, researchers analyzed one or more of eight genes known to cause diseases of the retina.

Of the 350 tests, 266 were performed to confirm a clinicians diagnosis, by far the most common use of genetic testing for eye disease. Another 75 tests sought to determine whether an individual was a carrier of a disease, and nine tests were used to predict the likelihood that an individual with a family history of a given eye disease would go on to develop it.........

Posted by: Mike      Read more         Source


February 13, 2007, 8:41 PM CT

Patients And Therapists Are 'Wired To Connect'

Patients And Therapists Are 'Wired To Connect'
Empathy is well known to be an important component of the patient-therapist relationship, and a new study has revealed the biology behind how patients and therapists connect during a clinical encounter. In the February Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases, scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) report the first physiologic evidence of shared emotions underlying the experience of empathy during live psychotherapy sessions. The scientists observed that, during moments of high positive emotion, both patients and therapists had similar physiologic responses and that greater levels of similarity were correlation to higher ratings of therapist empathy by patients.

This research supports brain imaging data that shows humans are literally wired to connect emotionally, says Carl Marci, MD, director of Social Neuroscience in the MGH Department of Psychiatry and the papers lead author. There is now converging evidence that, during moments of empathic connection, humans reflect or mirror each others emotions, and their physiologies move on the same wavelength.

As part of a research study that's ongoing of the role of empathy in psychotherapy, the MGH scientists videotaped therapeutic sessions of 20 unique patient-therapist pairs. The patients were being treated as outpatients for common mood and anxiety disorders in established therapeutic relationships. The participating therapists practiced psychodynamic treatment, an approach that uses the therapeutic relationship to help patients develop insight into their emotions.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 13, 2007, 8:36 PM CT

Migration Played Key Role in HIV Spread

Migration Played Key Role in HIV Spread
Labor migration played a critical role in the spread of HIV in South Africa, as per new research reported in the journal AIDS.

Using data collected from nearly 500 men and women living in bustling towns and rural villages, scientists from Brown University, Harvard Medical School and Imperial College London created a mathematical model that shows that migration of South African workers played a major role in the spread of HIV mainly by increasing high-risk sexual behavior.

South Africa has one of the world's highest rates of HIV infection. As per UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, an estimated 5.5 million South Africans were living with HIV in 2005 and roughly 1,000 AIDS deaths occur in South Africa every day.

"The AIDS epidemic in South Africa is devastating - and the migration of workers played an incredibly important role in its spread," said Mark Lurie, an assistant professor in the Department of Community Health at Brown. "While the epidemic is already pervasive in South Africa, our findings have policy implications for other countries with high rates of population mobility. Countries like India and China could see a surge in HIV rates unless there is proper prevention and therapy efforts among migrants and their partners".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


February 13, 2007, 7:51 PM CT

Protein targets antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Protein targets antibiotic-resistant bacteria
A new type of protein discovered by Queens University scientists may be useful in developing therapys for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as those that cause food poisoning and typhoid.

By solving the structure and activity of the protein called YihE or RdoA a team of professors and students from the departments of Biochemistry and Microbiology & Immunology has opened up possibilities for new drug development.

Our group is the first to solve the structure and to begin to understand the function of this particular protein, says Dr. Nancy Martin (Microbiology & Immunology), who coordinated the study with Dr. Zongchao Jia (Biochemistry). It turns out to be a potentially good target in a wide range of bacteria that cause infectious diseases. Because of the increasing number of antibiotic-resistant strains of a number of different types of bacteria, such as salmonella, she notes, new approaches to antibiotic treatment are needed.

The Queens findings appear in the on-line edition of the journal Molecular Microbiology.

Also on the team, from Biochemistry, are PhD student Jimin Zheng and post-doctoral fellow Vinay Singh; and Microbiology & Immunology Masters student Chunhua He.

The group is studying sensory pathways used by bacteria that enter our bodies and move from the stomach into the gastro-intestinal tract. If we can block the sensory pathway, then the bacteria cant adapt to that change in their environment, and wont be able to infect, says Dr. Martin.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


February 12, 2007, 9:50 PM CT

Walkable Communities Make Elders Healthier

Walkable Communities Make Elders Healthier
Some of a neighborhood's features -- the length of its blocks, how a number of grocery stores or restaurants are nearby -- may be more than selling points for real estate agents. A new study suggests such factors may work to beat back obesity in older people by increasing a neighborhood's "walkability."

The findings by University of Washington and Group Health Cooperative scientists involved more than 900 elderly Group Health members living in Seattle and King County. The results could have broad implications for public health and planning officials throughout the United States, where obesity has been called an epidemic and as baby boomers start to retire.

"The area around someone's home is an opportunity to walk if the habitat is right," said Dr. Ethan Berke, lead researcher of the study reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Scientists compared the study participants' self-reported walking behavior with geographic information relating to the location of their residences, as well as some 200 directly observable neighborhood attributes, including parks, streets and foot-and-bike trails, land slope and traffic. Scientists concluded that the chief factors contributing to an area's walkability were higher residential density and clusters of destinations such as grocery stores, restaurants and other services.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 12, 2007, 9:43 PM CT

Whose tastes do you trust more?

Whose tastes do you trust more?
Whose tastes do you trust more? The person who loves the same things you love? Or the person who hates the same things you hate? Turns out, when were looking for advice, positivity reigns. A new study reveals that we trust those who love the same things we love more than those who hate the same things we hate. As the scientists explain in the recent issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, "There are few ways that products are loved, but a number of ways that they are hated".

Through a series of experiments, Andrew D. Gershoff (University of Michigan), Ashesh Mukherjee (McGill University), and Anirban Mukhopadhyay (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) reveal that we are more willing to take the advice of someone with shared likes than someone with shared dislikes because of "attribute ambiguity." That is, consumers find it hard to isolate exactly what the recommender didnt like the offending characteristic of a movie, say, could be plot, acting, special effects, or any number of other factors.

"For a loved product, most people tend to love everything about it, and tend to hate nothing. But for a hated product, some people hate everything about it, some hate just one aspect while liking other aspects, and some like all the aspects individually, but hate how they go together," the authors explain.........

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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