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June 15, 2008, 1:19 PM CT

Carbon Nanotubes Could Have Asbestos-Like Health Complications

Carbon Nanotubes Could Have Asbestos-Like Health Complications
A recent laboratory study has shed new light on the possibility of a nexus between carbon nanotube exposure and the asbestos-like health effects.

Carbon nanotubes are molecular-level structures that are now being used in thousands of products from tennis rackets and hair dryers to computer chips and electronics. They are renowned for their unparalleled strength and remarkably low mass, and were seen by a number of as the next frontier of product durability.

The study, which involved laboratory mice, indicated that upon introduction into the lower abdomen, nanotubes had virtually identical effects as asbestos fibers. When inhaled or ingested, asbestos fibers will become lodged in the pleural lining of the body's internal organs.

Over time, these fibers cause a sustained inflammation of the internal tissue. This inflammation is usually linked to the beginning stages of asbestosis and mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer now only attributed to asbestos exposure.

Like asbestos fibers, nanotubes are extremely durable and cannot be broken down or expelled by natural body function.

While there is no immediate reason for concern, (most nanotubes are securely adhered within structural compounds) there is certainly justification for further research. Those who may potentially be endangered are those who work in the manufacture of these products as well as those who encounter damaged products.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more


June 11, 2008, 9:00 PM CT

Montana still threatened by West Nile

Montana still threatened by West Nile
West Nile virus is apparently here to stay despite Montana's cool, wet spring, says Montana State University entomologist Greg Johnson.

Urging Montanans to protect themselves with repellents, Johnson said the mosquitoes that carry the virus are sure to emerge when temperatures reach the 70s and 80s. Infection rates and deaths may not always be as high as they were in 2003 and 2007, but Montanans should be aware of the threat.

"Regardless of whether it's a wet or dry year, we still need to think about mosquitoes and West Nile virus," Johnson said.

Elton Mosher, disease surveillance specialist with the Montana Department of Public Health, said West Nile virus infected 202 Montanans last year and killed five people. They were from Cascade County, Chouteau County, Dawson County, Sheridan County and Yellowstone County. Last summer was Montana's second highest season on record for the number of people affected by West Nile, Mosher said. First was 2003 when 226 Montanans were infected and four people died.

This summer could be another busy season if the rain continues and temperatures rise as expected, Mosher said.

Johnson, now in his sixth summer of a statewide study of West Nile virus, said the Culex tarsalis mosquito is the primary species that transmits West Nile virus in Montana. The mosquito likes river drainages, extensive wetlands and areas irrigated for agriculture. Hot spots in the state are the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Montana, the Yellowstone River and the Milk River. More infected mosquitoes have been found in eastern Montana than western.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


June 11, 2008, 8:42 PM CT

Normal sleep linked to successful aging

Normal sleep linked to successful aging
A research abstract that will be presented on Wednesday at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS), finds a link between normal sleep and healthy aging.

The study, authored by Sonia Ancoli-Israel, PhD, of the University of California at San Diego, and his colleagues, focused on 2,226 women 60 years of age or older. Reports of use of sleeping aids, daytime somnolence, napping, sleep latency, sleep maintenance insomnia, early morning awakening, snoring, overall perceived sleep quality, and sleep duration were all assessed.

As per the results, 20.8 percent of the women were categorized as successful agers. Items correlation to less daytime napping and fewer complaints of sleep maintenance insomnia best predicted successful aging. There was no direct relationship between use of sedative-hypnotics and successful aging. Increased severity of sleep disturbance also predicted lower self-rated successful aging and a greater difference between perceived and actual age, and this result again remained significant after controlling for depressive symptom severity.

Our findings that reports of better sleep are correlation to successful aging reinforce the idea that good sleep is of utmost importance for good health, said Dr. Ancoli-Israel. Health care professionals need to ask their patients of all ages about sleep and help those with poor sleep to find ways for improvement.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 11, 2008, 8:26 PM CT

Vitamin supplement little more than 'snake oil'

Vitamin supplement little more than 'snake oil'
A popular vitamin supplement is being advertised with claims that are demonstrably untrue, as revealed by research reported in the open access journal BMC Pharmacology

Benfotiamine is a synthetic derivative of thiamine (vitamin B1). It is marketed heavily as a dietary supplement using a selection of unsubstantiated, 'not-quite-medical' claims that tend to characterize this field. A large part of this campaign has been built around the belief that benfotiamine is lipid-soluble and, therefore, more physiologically active. Scientific research led by Dr Lucien Bettendorff of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology at the University of Lige, Belgium, has entirely disproved these claims.

A severe deficiency of thiamine is known to cause weight loss, emotional disturbances, impaired sensory perception, weakness and pain in the limbs, and periods of irregular heart rate. Deficiencies can occur as a result of alcoholism or malnutrition. As thiamine itself is very poorly absorbed by the body, it must be taken in as various precursor forms. This research shows that benfotiamine may not be as effective in this regard as has been claimed, in particular concerning its ability to raise effective thiamine levels in the central nervous system.

As per Bettendorff, "We suspect that those companies selling benfotiamine have poisoned much of the recent literature in an attempt to bestow it with properties that it does not have". Benfotiamine has been previously shown to prevent several diabetic complications in experimental animal models. The scientists carried out experiments in mice in which benfotiamine was administered using several different techniques and the resulting levels of thiamine were measured in various parts of the body. Contrary to other claims about its solubility, the results show that benfotiamine is only sparingly soluble in water under physiological conditions and cannot be dissolved in octanol or oils.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 11, 2008, 8:21 PM CT

Efficacy of travelers' diarrhea vaccine

Efficacy of travelers' diarrhea vaccine
Areas of risk for travellers' diarrhea
Scientists at The University of Texas School of Public Health have observed that patients given a travelers' diarrhea vaccine were significantly less likely to suffer from clinically significant diarrhea than those who received placebo, as per a research studypublished in this week's edition of the Lancet The patch-based vaccine is part of the Phase 2 study in conjunction with the Iomai Corporation.

The study, which followed 170 healthy travelers ages 18-64 to Mexico and Guatemala, observed that of the 59 individuals who received the novel vaccine, only three suffered from moderate or severe diarrhea, while roughly two dozen of the 111 who received a placebo suffered from moderate or severe diarrhea. Only one of the 59 volunteers in the vaccine group reported severe diarrhea, compared with 12 in the placebo group.

"These results suggest that the Iomai patch has the potential to fundamentally change the way we approach prevention of this disease, an ailment against which we now have very few weapons," said Herbert L. DuPont, M.D., professor and director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at The University of Texas School of Public Health and the principal investigator of the trial. "If these results are replicated, the Iomai vaccine will have the potential to not only mitigate a disease that sickens millions each year but also keep some patients from going on to develop the chronic symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


June 10, 2008, 10:13 PM CT

Raloxifene reduces risk of invasive estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer

Raloxifene reduces risk of invasive estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer
Women who took raloxifene were less likely to develop invasive estrogen-receptor (ER) positive breast cancer compared with women who did not, as per data from a randomized controlled trial published online June 10 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute The drug did not reduce the risk of non-invasive cancer or invasive ER-negative cancers.

A prior analysis of data from the Raloxifene Use for the Heart (RUTH) trial, which enrolled women with coronary heart disease or those at an increased risk for the disease, showed that the drug did not protect against heart disease, which was one of the primary aims of the trial. But after a median follow up of 5.6 years, it did reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer by 44 percent, compared with women not taking the drug. Raloxifene is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), which might suggest that the drug would have a preferential effect on hormone-responsive breast cancers. The drug is approved by the FDA for the prevention and therapy of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and for invasive breast cancer risk reduction in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis or at high risk for breast cancer.

To investigate the specific types and stages of breast cancer affected by raloxifene, as well as the timing of its action and the types of patients it can help, Deborah Grady, M.D., of the University of California at San Francisco and his colleagues examined the RUTH trial data in more detail.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 10, 2008, 9:52 PM CT

Cost of cancer care on rise

Cost of cancer care on rise
The cost of cancer care incurred during the period two months previous to cancer diagnosis and 12 months following diagnosis increased substantially between 1991 and 2002 for elderly patients in the United States, as per a research studypublished online June 10 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute The increases in costs for breast, lung, and colorectal cancer were due in large part to increases in the percentage of patients receiving radiation treatment and chemotherapy and the rising costs for those therapies.

There have been general reports of increases in the cost of cancer care, but little research has examined the magnitude of those changes or the type of therapys that are driving them.

To find out, Joan L. Warren, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and his colleagues analyzed data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End-Results (SEER)-Medicare linked database. They identified 306,709 individuals aged 65 or older who were diagnosed with breast, lung, colorectal, or prostate cancer between 1991 and 2002. The scientists compared the cost of initial cancer therapy, separating cancer-related surgery, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and other hospitalization.

During the study period, the average cost per lung cancer patient rose by $7,139 to $39,891, after adjusting for inflation. Similarly, the cost per colorectal cancer patient climbed by $5,345 to an average of $41,134, and per-patient breast cancer care rose by $4,189 to an average of $20,964. The cost of per-patient prostate cancer care declined by $196 during the same period to an average of $18,261 in 2002. The decline in the cost of prostate cancer care was due to a reduction in the number of men undergoing surgery as therapy for their prostate cancer. The total cost of initial care for patients with these four cancers was $6.7 billion in 2002.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 10, 2008, 9:15 PM CT

Unique drug combination for Type I diabetes

Unique drug combination for Type I diabetes
Promising results from a study that tested a new approach for reversing Type 1 diabetes are being presented this week at the American Diabetes Association's 68th Annual Scientific Session in San Francisco.

The study tested the combination of Lisofylline (LSF), a drug that is being developed to halt immune damage to insulin producing cells, and Islet Neogenesis Associated Protein peptide (INGAP), a drug based on a naturally occurring protein produced by the pancreas. (ADA abstract number: 1620-P Unique Drug Combination for Reversal of Type 1 Diabetes, by Tersey, Carter, Kropf, Rosenberg, Nadler, available online at http://scientificsessions.diabetes.org).

The study was conducted at the University of Virginia by a team of researchers led by Jerry L. Nadler, M.D. Currently Director of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Virginia, Nadler will join the faculty at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) in July as chair of the Department of Internal Medicine and head of the EVMS Strelitz Diabetes Center.

INGAP was discovered in 1997 at the EVMS Strelitz Diabetes Center by Aaron I. Vinik, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Internal Medicine and the Strelitz Center's Director of Research.

Diabetes is caused by the body's inability to produce or process insulin, a hormone that cells need to convert food into energy. Uncontrolled diabetes causes serious complications throughout the body, including cardiovascular disease, blindness, kidney failure, and nerve disease. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, caused when the body's own immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. This damage was once believed to be irreversible, however, new evidence suggests that the pancreas has an innate ability to repair and regenerate the insulin-producing cells. In Type 1 diabetes, however, the pancreas' ability to self-repair cannot keep pace against the autoimmune response that is causing the diabetes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 9, 2008, 9:55 PM CT

Students with a delayed school start time sleep longer

Students with a delayed school start time sleep longer
High school students with a delayed school start time are more likely to take advantage of the extra time in bed, and less likely to report daytime sleepiness, as per a research abstract that will be presented on Monday at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

The study, authored by Zaw W. Htwe, MD, of Norwalk Hospitals Sleep Disorders Center in Norwalk, Conn., focused on 259 high school students who completed the condensed School Sleep Habits Questionnaire. Previous to the delay, students reported sleeping a mean of 422 minutes (7.03 hours) per school night, with a mean bed-time of 10:52 p.m. and a mean wake-up time as 6:12 a.m.

As per the results, after a 40-minute delay in the school start time from 7:35 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., students slept significantly longer on school nights. Total sleep time on school nights increased 33 minutes, which was due mainly to a later rise time. These changes were consistent across all age groups. Students bedtime on school nights was marginally later, and weekend night sleep time decreased slightly. More students reported no problem with sleepiness after the schedule change.

Following a 40-minute delay in start time, the students utilized 83 percent of the extra time for sleep. This increase in sleep time came as a result of being able to sleep in to 6:53 a.m., with little delay in their reported school night bedtime. This study demonstrates that students given the opportunity to sleep longer, will, rather than extend their wake activities on school nights, said Mary B. O'Malley, MD, PhD, corresponding author of the study.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 9, 2008, 9:29 PM CT

Children with high risk for a sleep-related breathing disorder

Children with high risk for a sleep-related breathing disorder
Children with high risk for a sleep-related breathing disorder (SRBD) are more likely to have anxiety, as per a research abstract that will be presented on Monday at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

The study, authored by Shalini Paruthi, MD, of the University of Michigan, focused on 341 families with a child in second through fifth grade, who were surveyed about SRBD symptoms as well as behavior. Parents completed two well-validated instruments: the SRBD subscale of the Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire and the Conners Parent Rating Scale.

As per the results, children with a high risk for an SRBD, in comparison to those without, were more likely to have anxiety. This relationship was independent of hyperactivity, which is known to be linked to both SRBD and anxiety.

SRBD is a common condition in children, and is frequently linked to cognitive and behavioral morbidities such as hyperactivity, said Dr. Paruthi. Anxiety in children is often multifactorial and can be linked to other disorders, including ADHD. As ADHD has been linked to SRBD, our results showed that therapy of an SRBD has been shown to improve behavior and cognitive function in children diagnosed with ADHD, and may translate into therapy options for school age children with anxiety. More studies are needed to further explore this relationship between SRBD and anxiety.........

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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