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March 27, 2008, 8:55 PM CT

Retired NFL players at increased risk for heart problems

Retired NFL players at increased risk for heart problems
Screening for cardiovascular problems in elite-level football players should begin in high school and continue throughout the lives of college and professional players. Mayo Clinic physicians based that conclusion on the results of their new study of the cardiovascular health of 233 retired National Football League (NFL) players.

The Mayo data showed that 82 percent of NFL players under age 50 had abnormal narrowing and blockages in arteries, in comparison to the general population of the same age. This finding suggests that the former athletes face increased risk of experiencing high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke. The report on research conducted by the Mayo Clinic Arizona group will be presented next week at the American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session in Chicago.



Significance of the Mayo Clinic Study


This is the first and largest study to measure comprehensive cardiovascular performance measures on retired NFL athletes, ages 35 to 65. Its findings add to the emerging portrait of poor heart health among this group of retired athletes. The findings also suggest that players as young as high school age who are engaged in serious competitive-conference level of training and play may benefit from regular cardiovascular screening. What we hope to emphasize with our findings is that all NFL players -- retired or not -- need to undergo cardiovascular health evaluation because they may have changes in heart and vessel conditions that we can treat so they dont experience problems during the later part of life, says Robert Hurst, M.D., Mayo Clinic heart specialist and lead researcher.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 26, 2008, 10:07 PM CT

FDG-PET Has Major Impact on Cancer Patient Care

FDG-PET Has Major Impact on Cancer Patient Care
CT PET scannner
As per a research studyof data from the National Oncologic PET Registry (NOPR) published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO) on March 24th, clinicians changed the intended care of more than one in three cancer patients as the results of FDG-PET scan findings.

There were over 1500 participating facilities that contributed FDG-PET scan data from the nearly 23,000 patients involved in the study. Analysis of registry data published in the JCO article observed that FDG-PET is linked to a 36.5% change in the therapy or no-treatment decision.

SNM, the world's largest molecular imaging and nuclear medicine society, has been a great supporter of the NOPR since it's inception nearly two years ago and is excited to see this promising data released.

The NOPR was launched in May 2006 in response to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) novel "Coverage with Evidence" policy to collect data through a clinical registry to inform the center's FDG-PET coverage determination decisions for currently non-covered cancer indications. Sponsored by the Academy of Molecular Imaging (AMI) and managed by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the ACR Imaging Network (ACRIN), the NOPR is designed to collect questionnaire data from referring physicians on intended patient management before and after a FDG-PET scan.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 26, 2008, 9:51 PM CT

The Upside Of Anger

The Upside Of Anger
Here's a maxim from the "duh" department: People typically prefer to feel emotions that are pleasant, like excitement, and avoid those that are unpleasant, like anger.

But a new study appearing in the recent issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, says this may not always be the case. Psychology experts Maya Tamir and Christopher Mitchell of Boston College, and James Gross of Stanford University tested whether people prefer to experience emotions that are potentially useful, even when they are unpleasant to experience.

The authors wanted to examine whether individuals are motivated to increase their level of anger when they expect to complete a confrontational task, where anger might enhance performance. They told the study participants that they will either play a computer game that is confrontational (Soldier of fortune -- a first person shooter game where killing enemies is your primary goal) or one that is not confrontational ("Diner Dash"-- a game in which players guide a waitress serving customers). They were then asked to rate the extent to which they would like to engage in different activities before playing the game.

The scientists observed that participants preferred activities that were likely to make them angry (e.g., listening to anger-inducing music, recalling past events in which they were angry) when they expected to perform the confrontational task. In contrast, participants preferred more pleasant activities when they expected to perform a non-confrontational task.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 25, 2008, 10:26 PM CT

Antidepressants and type 2 diabetes

Antidepressants and type 2 diabetes
While analyzing data from Saskatchewan health databases, Lauren Brown, researcher with the U of As School of Public Health, found people with a history of depression had a 30 per cent increased risk of type 2 Diabetes.

Brown then studied the medical history of 2,400 people who were diagnosed with depression and were taking antidepressants to determine whether there was a clear connection between that disease and type 2 Diabetes.

Brown divided the group into four categories: those who took antidepressants that were considered older therapies, patients who were using newer therapys, those using a combination of both an old and new therapys and people who were switching medications.

What she found was the risk of diabetes almost doubled for the patients who were using two types of therapies at the same time, tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Brown says people are commonly prescribed multiple medications if they have severe depression or if they are having a problem finding the right treatment.

Brown believes these results, and results of prior studies demonstrating an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in people with depression, emphasize the need for regular screening for type 2 diabetes in people with depression, especially those taking more than one antidepressant. She also encourages diabetes and depression organizations to educate their members about this link.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 25, 2008, 10:21 PM CT

Seeing may be believing -- but is it the same as looking?

Seeing may be believing -- but is it the same as looking?
If you see something, its because youre looking at it, right? A recently published study examined this question and established that while people do tend to notice objects within their gaze, it is the assumptions they make about their environment that affects their perceptions. This study gives insight into how the brain and the eye work together to interpret everyday observations.

The study If I saw it, it probably wasnt far from where I was looking, reflects the work of a group of scientists led by E.M. Brenner, PhD of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The article recently appeared in the Journal of Vision (http://www.journalofvision.org/8/2), published by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

Previous studies have confirmed that peoples familiarity with the world around them allows them to make credible assumptions about what they see. This study sought to discover how people would visually interpret a constantly changing or uncertain environment in the absence of common visual assumptions.

Eight subjects participated in two experiments to identify the location of a jumping target (a circular green cursor). In the first session, the target jumped to different locations within five concentric circles (arranged around a fixation point) every 250 milliseconds. The subjects had to position a mouse cursor at the location where the target had been at the moment of a flash. The second session mimicked the first except a tone replaced the flash. Each session continued until subjects made 250 responses.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 25, 2008, 10:19 PM CT

Partners can help or hinder attempts at changing diet

Partners can help or hinder attempts at changing diet
For people trying to make a change in their diet, significant others generally play a positive and supportive role, but sometimes respond in negative ways, as per a research studyin the March/April Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (http://www.jneb.org/).

Led by Judy Paisley, Ph.D., R.D., of Ryerson University, Toronto, the scientists looked at how significant others responded when their partners attempted to make a dietary change for health reasons. "For most pairs, the significant others' emotional and behavioral responses to the dietary change appeared to reflect the general dynamics of the relationship," says Dr. Paisley.

The scientists conducted interviews with 21 people making dietary changesmost in response to a medical diagnosisand with their partners or significant others. "By examining the perspectives of significant others, we hoped to deepen understanding of the social nature of dietary change," Dr. Paisley explains.

The partners' emotional responses varied widely: from co-operation and encouragement to skepticism and anger. In most cases, the significant others described themselves as playing a positive, supportive role. Some facilitated the change by joining in the new diet, or by changing their shopping or cooking habits. Others helped by monitoring the dietary change, finding and sharing information, or providing motivation.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 25, 2008, 8:04 PM CT

Ant guts could pave the way for better drugs

Ant guts could pave the way for better drugs
Researchers have discovered two key proteins that guide one of the two groups of pathogenic bacteria to make their hardy outer shells -- their defense against the world.

The work, they said, could allow scientists to create new antibiotics against gram-negative bacteria, like E. coli and salmonella, that would destroy these bacteria by disabling the mechanism that produces their protective coating.

"A long-term goal is to find inhibitors of these proteins we have discovered," said Natividad Ruiz, a research molecular biologist at Princeton University and the lead author on the paper describing the work. "Small molecule inhibitors could become antibiotics that subvert the outer membrane".

This research, which was conducted by Ruiz, Thomas Silhavy, Princeton's Warner-Lambert Parke-Davis Professor of Molecular Biology, and others from Harvard University, is described in the online edition of the April 8 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The team discovered the proteins through an extended process of elimination. The researchers looked at microbes in the guts of carpenter ants. The bacteria, which have lived there for millions of years -- passed on over a number of generations -- have lost a number of of the traits necessary for survival in the outer world. As a result, their collection of genes, known as a genome, is far smaller and simpler than the genome of E. coli.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


March 24, 2008, 8:11 PM CT

New approach to help control drug resistance in leukemia

New approach to help control drug resistance in leukemia
Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute scientists have observed that an experimental drug known as SGX393 is effective against Gleevec-resistant chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). The results of their study will be published the week of March 24th in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Gleevec, the targeted treatment identified by OHSU Cancer Institute Director Brian Druker, M.D., is the current first line treatment for CML. Gleevec works by inhibiting the activity of Bcr-Abl, an enzyme that is present only in CML cells and upon which these cells depend for survival. Eventhough most patients with CML respond dramatically to Gleevec, some patients develop resistance to the drug. Most Gleevec-resistant CML cells carry a mutated form of Bcr-Abl, which prevents Gleevec from functioning properly. The second-generation drugs Sprycel and Tasigna have been developed as largely successful therapys for Gleevec-resistant patients. However, one mutated form of Bcr-Abl, called T315I, is resistant to all three clinical CML drugs and is a frequent cause of relapse.

Michael Deininger, M.D., Ph.D., head of the Hematologic Malignancies Section, and his research team in the OHSU Cancer Institute have shown that SGX393, developed by SGX Pharmaceuticals, Inc., San Diego, Calif., inhibits the T315I mutant and most, but not all, other Gleevec-resistant mutants. This was shown to be true using laboratory models as well as leukemia cells from patients with CML.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 24, 2008, 8:08 PM CT

JAMA editor-in-chief comments on Pfizer lawsuit

JAMA editor-in-chief comments on Pfizer lawsuit
In an editorial published early online today, JAMA Editor-in-Chief Catherine D. DeAngelis, M.D., M.P.H., and JAMA Editorial Counsel Joseph P. Thornton, J.D., write about a recent court ruling regarding litigation involving JAMA and the Archives of Internal Medicine (AIM) that significantly threatened the integrity of our peer review process.

Attorneys for the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, Inc. had issued subpoenas last year to obtain confidential information from the journals concerning studies published on the pain relief medications called COX-2 inhibitors (cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitors) celecoxib and valdecoxib.

the subpoenas sought all documents regarding the decision to accept or reject manuscripts, copies of rejected manuscripts, the identities of peer reviewers and the manuscripts they evaluated, and the comments by and among peer reviewers and editor regarding manuscripts, revisions, and publication decisions. For months, JAMA and AIM consistently argued that the sanctity of the confidential peer review process should not be violated.

In a ruling issued March 14, 2008, the Court agreed with JAMA and AIM that information kept confidential from Pfizer, the general public, and the medical community at large was irrelevant to the pending claims.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 24, 2008, 7:57 PM CT

Mutant proteins could lead to new treatment for heart disease

Mutant proteins could lead to new treatment for heart disease
Heart damage due to blocked arteries remains the leading cause of disease and death in the Western world, but a Florida State University College of Medicine researcher is helping to open new pathways toward treating the problem.

Michael Blaber, a professor in the department of biomedical sciences, is researching mutant forms of a human protein that have been shown to help the human body grow new blood vessels to restore blood flow in damaged areas of the heart.

Working with a $264,000, three-year grant from the American Heart Association, Blaber hopes to provide data that will enable the use of the mutant proteins in new therapy methods previously unavailable for patients with advanced no option heart disease.

This research offers the potential to treat people who currently are being sent home to die, Blaber said. Weve tested a group of mutants in the laboratory with unusual properties of increased stability and activities -- good properties. In some cases it was unexpected, but the results are very promising.

Obstructed blood vessels and clogged or blocked arteries typically are treated through angioplasty, the mechanical widening of a vessel, or bypass surgery. Some patients, however, have numerous small blockages that cannot be treated through traditional approaches. In most cases, they are sent home with a predicted life expectancy that, no matter how its phrased, sounds like a death sentence.........

Posted by: Daniel      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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