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September 26, 2007, 7:57 PM CT

New drug makes weight loss safer

New drug makes weight loss safer
Dr. Nir Barak of TAU
More than 60 percent of American women are overweight, with nearly a third falling into the category of obese and at greater risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Until now, there has been no safe, long-term medical remedy that tackles unwanted weight gain.

Dr. Nir Barak of Tel Aviv Universitys Sackler School of Medicine has developed what could be a new weight-loss wonder drug. In conjunction with the drug company Obecure, Dr. Barak developed a new formulation called HistaleanTM, based on betahistine, an approved drug marketed worldwide for the therapy of vertigo. Betahistine has been available to health authorities for over 30 years.

Betahistine is believed to block receptors in the brain the H1 and H3 receptors which are connected to ones sense of fullness and desire to eat fatty foods. It has an excellent safety profile and has been used for therapy by more than 100 million patients suffering from vertigo and dizziness in Canada and Europe.

The repurposed pill, Histalean, has been found to quell the desire to consume fatty foods, and the effects have been most pronounced in women.

As per the U.S. Center for Disease Control, about 32% of adult American women under 54 (about 25 million women) suffer from obesity. Our new results suggest a strong gender-and-age-effect and support the potential of the drug as a breakthrough anti-obesity agent in women 50 years old or less, confirmed Dr. Yaffa Beck, Obecures CEO.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 25, 2007, 10:02 PM CT

Mutation of the COX2 gene and ovarian cancer

Mutation of the COX2 gene and ovarian cancer
Scientists in Portugal have discovered that a specific mutation of the COX2 gene seems to play a role in the onset of ovary cancer, increasing womens susceptibility to developing the disease.

The discovery raises the possibility that, if the findings are confirmed by further studies, it might be possible to use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen, which are used already for other conditions, to prevent ovary cancer developing in women with the COX2 mutation.

Dr Ana Carina Pereira told the European Cancer Conference (ECCO 14) in Barcelona, today (Tuesday) that the COX2 gene is responsible for the production of the enzyme COX-2, which plays a crucial role in prostaglandins production; prostaglandins cause inflammation, pain and fever, as well as mediating a wide range of other physiological processes. Eventhough the causes of ovary cancer are not fully understood yet, inflammation is known to play an important role in the onset of both ovarian and invasive cervical cancer, she said. COX-2 has an important role in the inflammatory process, as well as in key steps in tumour development.

Dr Pereira, who is a junior scientist in the molecular oncology group at the Portuguese Institute of Oncology, Oporto, Portugal, said that one mutation, the -765G>C COX2 polymorphism, had been linked to the development of many diseases such as cancers of the stomach, oesophagus and prostate, and asthma, heart attacks and stroke. So she and her colleagues decided to investigate the role it played in ovarian and invasive cervical cancer.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


September 25, 2007, 9:41 PM CT

HPV might cause bladder cancer

HPV might cause bladder cancer
HPV
The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is considered the cause of one of the most important sexually transmitted diseases nowadays, and affects both men and women. HPV is so common in our society that only people who have never had sexual relations can be sure that they have not been exposed to this disease. However, as with other microbes, people infected do not necessarily develop the disease, because, in most cases, it only means the colonization. Only some of the people colonized will fall ill with different processes.

Nevertheless, the development of this disease might have serious consequences: It is probable that HPV is correlation to bladder cancer, as per a recent study carried out by the Department of Microbiology of the University of Granada, in collaboration with the Department of Biostatistics and the Urology Service of San Cecilio Hospital.

Several prior studies point out the possibility that HPV might cause, in certain subjects, some types of cancer: cervical, anus, vulva, penis, oropharyngeal (the middle part of the throat behind the mouth including the back of the tongue, the soft palate, the side and back walls of the throat) and bladder cancer. The scientists from Granada have focused their study on bladder cancer and have found some evidence of the relationship between both diseases. Nevertheless, they warn that further research on this matter is needed, especially in order rule out the assumption that this infection is only a viral colonization and does not cause cancer (that is to say, the tumor appeared before the tissue was infected by the virus).........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 25, 2007, 9:37 PM CT

More Babies Are Born From Monday To Friday

More Babies Are Born From Monday To Friday
Practical and financial constraints on public sector hospitals could be dictating how and when babies are born. Two new studies (1,2) show that as the number of elective, planned caesarean sections rises, more and more babies are born during the week and fewer come into the world at weekends. It appears that hospitals schedule births during the week when they are fully resourced and staff is working 'normal' hours at no extra cost. These findings by Alexander Lerchl, from the Jacobs University Bremen in Gera number of, will be published online this week in Springer's journal Naturwissenschaften.

In one study (1), Lerchl shows a direct link between the increase in the number of elective caesarean sections and the fall in weekend births in Switzerland. By analyzing birth data from almost 3 million babies born between 1969 and 2005, Lerchl and his colleague Sarah Reinhard show that up to 18 percent fewer births than expected occur at weekends. Over the study period, nearly 100,000 fewer babies were born at the weekend than expected, as a consequence of the increasing numbers of caesarean sections and elective labor induction, which reached 29 percent and 20 percent respectively in Switzerland in 2004.

The second study (2) paints a similar picture in Gera number of, across all 16 states. Weekend births were consistently less frequent, with an average of 15 percent fewer births at weekends than expected.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


September 25, 2007, 9:24 PM CT

Infections increasing in frequency and cost

Infections increasing in frequency and cost
A new review of inpatient data from US hospitals shows that the number of infections caused by a common bacterium increased by over 7 percent each year from 1998 to 2003. The attendant economic burden to hospitals increased by nearly 12 percent annually. The research is reported in the November 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Staphylococcus aureus (also known as staph) is a significant cause of a wide range of infectious diseases in humans, ranging from minor skin infections to life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia and meningitis. In 1998, US hospitals reported a little more than a quarter-million staph infections and slightly over 7 percent of those patients died. By the final year of this study, 2003, hospitals reported nearly 390,000 infections, representing 1 percent of that years inpatient stays.

The authors suggest one possible reason for the increase in infections is the documented increase of a especially dangerous type of antibiotic-resistant staph infection known as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). A more non-malignant possibility is that doctors and hospitals have improved their infection detection and reporting practices.

The good news is that the staph-related in-hospital mortality rate dropped by almost 5 percent each year. The decrease in the in-hospital mortality risk may be due to the introduction of more stringent infection control programs or due to appropriate early therapy of MRSA infections with an effective antibiotic, the authors write.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 25, 2007, 9:21 PM CT

Breast cancer death rate continues to drop

Breast cancer death rate continues to drop
A report from the American Cancer Society finds the breast cancer death rate in the United States continues to drop more than two percent per year, a trend that began in 1990 and is credited to progress in early detection and therapy. But the report says African American women and women of other racial and ethnic groups have benefited less than white women from the advances that have led to those gains, and that a recent drop in cancer incidence (the rate at which news cancers are diagnosed) is due in part to fewer women getting mammograms.

The findings appear in Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2007-2008 (available online September 25 at http://www.cancer.org/statistics). The report, published every two years since 1996, provides detailed analyses of breast cancer trends and presents information on known risk factors for the disease, factors that influence survival, the latest data on prevention, early detection, therapy, and ongoing and future research.

While a number of women live in fear of breast cancer, this report shows a woman today has a lower chance of dying from breast cancer than shes had in decades, said Harmon J. Eyre, M.D., chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. Unfortunately, not all women are benefiting at the same level. Perhaps most troubling is the striking divergence in long-term mortality trends seen between African American and white females that began in the early part of 1980s and that by 2004 had led to death rates being 36 percent higher in African American women.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 25, 2007, 9:01 PM CT

Sense of taste different in women with anorexia nervosa

Sense of taste different in women with anorexia nervosa
Eventhough anorexia nervosa is categorized as an eating disorder, it is not known whether there are alterations of the portions of the brain that regulate appetite. Now, a new study finds that women with anorexia have distinct differences in the insulta the specific part of the brain that is important for recognizing taste as per a new study by University of Pittsburgh and University of California, San Diego scientists currently on line in advance of publication in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

The study also implies that there may be differences in the processing of information correlation to self-awareness in recovering anorexics in comparison to those without the illness findings that may lead to a better understanding of the cause of this serious and sometimes fatal mental disorder.

In the study led by Angela Wagner, M.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Walter H. Kaye, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Schools of Medicine, the brain activity of 32 women was measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI.) The research team looked at images of the brains of 16 women who had recovered from anorexia nervosa some of whom had been treated at the Center for Overcoming Problem Eating at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and 16 control subjects. They measured their brains reactions to pleasant taste (sucrose) and neutral taste (distilled water.) The results of the fMRI study are the first evidence that individuals with anorexia process taste in a different way than those without the eating disorder.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 25, 2007, 8:41 PM CT

Children obese due to many unhealthy pressures

Children obese due to many unhealthy pressures
Unhealthy options and pressures influence nearly every part of children's daily lives, as per studies released this week in a special supplement of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

The national studies, which include work conducted at the University of Michigan, reveal that, in most middle and high schools across the nation, contracts with soft drink bottling companies give students easy access to sugary beverages.

Low- versus high-income neighborhoods have a higher proportion of their restaurants serving fast foods and have fewer supermarkets and more convenience stores at which to buy their groceries. In the media, television advertisements steer kids to spend their money on junk food, and minority students get considerably more such exposure, the studies showed.

For the special supplement, Bridging the Gap, a national research program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and based at U-M and the University of Illinois at Chicago, produced a groundbreaking collection of evidence on factors that contribute to the escalating rates of childhood obesity.

The studies offer new insight about how current school policies, neighborhood characteristics and advertising collectively impact the childhood obesity epidemic-and together create an overwhelmingly unhealthy environment for young people.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 25, 2007, 5:12 AM CT

Molecular fingerprint of breast-cancer drug resistance

Molecular fingerprint of breast-cancer drug resistance
A way of predicting which patients will respond well to therapy with a common chemotherapy drug used in breast cancer was unveiled at the European Cancer Conference (ECCO 14) today (Monday 24 September). Dr Iain Brown, from the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, told the conference that he and his colleague, Dr Andrew Schofield, had identified two genes that could identify which cells would be resistant and which would respond to docetaxel.

Docetaxel is one of the most effective chemotherapy therapys in advanced breast cancer. It works by binding to cell components called microtubules, and stabilising them so that they do not disassemble. They then accumulate within the cell and bring about apoptosis, or cell death. However, up to half of all patients treated with this drug will develop resistance, and hence the therapy will fail, said Dr Brown.

The researchers decided to look for a specific genetic make-up in patients where docetaxel therapy had failed, in the hope that this might explain why they became resistant to the drug. They used micro-array analysis, a technique that allowed them to look at every known gene in our cells at once, to identify genes that were significantly linked to such resistance.

By going back to the laboratory, using breast cancer cell lines, we can eliminate much of the variation in gene expression found in different patients, and thus remove a lot of background noise, said Dr Brown. We developed a unique model of docetaxel resistance in breast cancer from two different cell lines made resistant to the drug by exposing them to increasing concentrations of the drug. This model has also allowed us to test cells which are resistant to low levels of the drug and cells which are resistant to high levels.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 25, 2007, 5:08 AM CT

Novel strategy for aggressive leukemia

Novel strategy for aggressive leukemia
A novel strategy to hopefully beat into oblivion one of the most aggressive forms of acute myelogenous leukemia combines the strengths of some of the newest leukemia agents, scientists say.

"These are not traditional chemotherapy regimens. These are targeted therapies that our earlier laboratory studies have shown have a synergistic effect," says Dr. Kapil N. Bhalla, director of the Medical College of Georgia Cancer Center.

The strategy takes on the mutated protein receptor that enables the deadly proliferation of leukemic cells by degrading it with histone deacetylase and heat shock protein 90 inhibitors. It uses protein kinase inhibitors to reduce the function of any remaining protein and kills off leukemic cells with a natural cell death mechanism called TRAIL.

Dr. Bhalla recently received a five-year, $1.3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute that will enable his research team to do more preclinical testing of the strategy in human leukemic cells and an AML animal model.

About six years ago, scientists found the mutation in the FLT-3 gene that results in the mutated protein receptor on the cell surface. This receptor commonly responds to a growth factor that gives rise to normal bone marrow cell proliferation. "But in this case, this mutated protein receptor is constantly triggered, is constantly on and it drives proliferation, promotes survival and shuts down differentiation," Dr. Bhalla says.........

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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