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February 20, 2006, 6:03 PM CT

Take Calcium And Vitamin D: Avoid Hip Fractures

Take Calcium And Vitamin D: Avoid Hip Fractures Food rich in vitamin D and calcium
Taking calcium and Vitamin D slightly decreased the risk of hip fractures in older women, but not the risk for other types of fractures or for colorectal cancer, as per the latest findings from the federally funded Women's Health Initiative. Additionally, the supplements slightly increased the incidence of kidney stones.

A researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine who helped oversee the WHI study said the results don't change current recommendations that women over age 50 should consume 1,200 milligrams of calcium and 400-600 international units of Vitamin D each day to maintain their bone health. However, Marcia Stefanick, PhD, professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, pointed out that adequate levels of these nutrients don't have to come from supplements.

"You may be able to get enough calcium and Vitamin D through the foods you eat," said Stefanick, who chaired the WHI steering committee.

The findings would be reported in the Feb, 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. They are the latest clinical results from the WHI, a 15-year, broad-based look at the causes and prevention of diseases affecting older women. Prior WHI studies have involved hormone treatment, low-fat diets and heart disease.

The calcium/Vitamin D study involved more than 36,000 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 79 who were tracked over the course of seven years. Scientists wanted to determine whether women who took the supplements could reduce their risk of bone fractures, particularly hip fractures, and colorectal cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

February 20, 2006, 5:57 PM CT

Field Laborers Eat Hamburger, Not Fruits

Field Laborers Eat Hamburger, Not Fruits
In the middle of John Steinbeck country, the "salad bowl of America," most of the Mexican farmworkers who harvest the fruits and vegetables that feed the nation aren't eating enough of it themselves, as per a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Underpaid and overworked, Salinas farmworkers are eating at fast-food restaurants where the food is high-fat but low-cost. As a result, despite long hours working in the fields, the Latino farmworkers-especially those single, young men living in the agricultural labor camps-are facing a very American problem: obesity.

"They often eat someplace that's cheap and fast with high fat content," said Marilyn Winkleby, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has spent years visiting farm laborers in the Salinas Valley in an ongoing partnership with the Monterey County Health Department. "Their jobs are becoming increasingly mechanized and less active".

Winkleby is the senior author of a study reported in the recent issue of the journal Ethnicity and Health that examines the changes in cancer-related health behaviors within the Salinas Latino population, most of whom are of Mexican origin, over the 10-year period between 1900 and 2000. The study surveyed almost 2,000 Latino women and men from both the community at large and the Latino population within 29 agricultural labor camps.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

February 17, 2006, 7:29 AM CT

Defeat Tumor Cells By Inhibiting Healthy Cells

Defeat Tumor Cells By Inhibiting Healthy Cells
Defeating malignant tumors by attacking healthy cells seems like an unusual strategy, but scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown the strategy to be effective against leukemia/lymphoma in mice.

Led by Katherine N. Weilbaecher, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, the research group found that inhibiting normal bone-maintenance cells called osteoclasts not only prevented the mice's cancer from spreading to their bones, it also slowed the growth of tumors in the body's soft tissues.

"Tumor cells can mutate to overcome the therapys we use, but normal body cells won't," says Weilbaecher, an oncologist with the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. "And since cancer cells depend on the normal cells in our body for their survival, we can sometimes get at them by targeting more vulnerable host cells. In this case, by going after osteoclasts, we were able to affect tumor cells."

The mice used in the study were developed in the laboratory of Lee Ratner, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine, of molecular microbiology and of pathology and immunology. The Ratner group introduced a gene called Tax into the mice's genome. Having the Tax gene makes the mice very susceptible to T-cell leukemia/lymphoma, a blood cancer that also forms soft-tissue tumors and metastasizes to invade bones.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

February 17, 2006, 7:24 AM CT

Targeting The Telomere Protein

Targeting The Telomere Protein
Inactivating a protein called mammalian Rad9 could make cancer cells easier to kill with ionizing radiation, as per research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The scientists found that Rad9, previously considered a "watchman" that checks for DNA damage, is actually a "repairman" that fixes dangerous breaks in the DNA double helix. They found Rad9 is particularly active in telomeres, the protective ends of chromosomes.

Because of this new role, Rad9 has gained the researchers' interest as a potential target for cancer treatment -- knocking out Rad9 would enhance the power of radiation therapys by making it easier for radiation to inflict fatal damage to a tumor's genetic material. Their study appears in the recent issue of the journal Molecular and Cellular Biology, which is now available online.

"Our study suggests that if we could inactivate Rad9 in tumor cells, we would be able to kill them with a very low dose of radiation and gain a therapeutic advantage," says senior author Tej K. Pandita, Ph.D., associate professor of radiation oncology and on the faculty of the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

The study revealed that Rad9 proteins interact with chromosomes' telomeres, which are special structures at the ends of chromosomes that protect them from fusion or degradation. Specifically, Rad9 proteins were shown to interact with proteins called telomere binding proteins. When the researchers inactivated Rad9 in human cells, they saw damage to chromosomes and end-to-end fusion at telomeres. DNA damage and chromosomal fusion can disrupt the cell cycle and cause cell death. Because radiation therapys increase these incidents, loss of Rad9 in cancer cells could enhance the killing effect of radiation.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

February 15, 2006, 11:27 PM CT

Discovery That May Lead to New Treatments

Discovery That May Lead to New Treatments The image above at left shows normal blood vessels in a mouse paw. Five minutes after receiving arthritis-causing antibodies, the blood vessels become leaky, as shown at right. Photo by Bryce Binstadt, M.D., Ph.D., and Pratik Patel Courtesy Joslin Diabetes Center and Massachusetts General Hospital
What makes joints in people with rheumatoid arthritis, and related conditions like Lyme disease or lupus, so susceptible to attack by the body's immune system, leading to painful flare-ups and deterioration? The answer may surprise you.

The answer did surprise researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, who gained a novel insight into this question in a recent collaborative study. Their report appeared in the January 29 online issue of Nature Immunology, and is scheduled to appear in the February print edition.

Working with an animal model of rheumatoid arthritis, the scientists discovered that histamine, a small molecule commonly associated with asthma and allergy, is produced as part of the inflammatory process during the development of arthritis. Histamine made the blood vessels surrounding the joints particularly vulnerable to leakage, and thereby rendered the joints more susceptible to inflammatory attack. The scientists think that this is true not only in rheumatoid arthritis, but perhaps also in other autoimmune conditions with which arthritis is associated, such as lupus, and in some infectious diseases, like Lyme disease.

"For patients with rheumatoid arthritis, these new findings raise the possibility that medications designed to prevent the blood vessels from becoming leaky might one day be used to delay the onset of arthritis or to prevent flare-ups of disease," said Christophe Benoist, M.D., Ph.D., who led the study together with Diane Mathis, Ph.D., and Ralph Weissleder, M.D., Ph.D. Drs. Mathis and Benoist head Joslin's Section on Immunology and Immunogenetics, hold the William T. Young Chair in Diabetes Research at Joslin, and are Professors of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Weissleder heads the Center for Molecular Imaging Research at MGH and is a Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source

February 15, 2006, 11:13 PM CT

Aspirin Derivative With Chemo For Ovarian Cancer

Aspirin Derivative With Chemo For Ovarian Cancer
A new study using ovarian cancer cell lines shows promise in treating the deadly disease by combining the chemotherapy drug cisplatin with an aspirin-like compound to make recurrent cancer cells less resistant to the chemotherapy.

The study appears online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

As a first course of treatment, ovarian cancer typically is treated with surgery followed by a regimen of the chemotherapy drug cisplatin. However, cisplatin is not an effective treatment when the ovarian cancer inevitably returns, says Periannan Kuppusamy, a professor of internal medicine at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

"Somehow the ovarian cancer cells adapt and become resistant to this drug," said Kuppusamy, lead author of the study. "Once treated with cisplatin, the ovarian cancer cells develop an abundance of thiols, which are a kind of cellular antioxidants that protect the cancer from the chemotherapy".

Kuppusamy wondered whether the abundance of thiols could somehow be used against the ovarian cancer cells. The study found that the nitric oxide released from the aspirin derivative NCX-4016 reacts with the cellular thiols, which causes the cancer cells to stop proliferating. In addition, the nitric oxide depletes the thiols, making the cancer cells more susceptible to the chemotherapy.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source

February 14, 2006, 11:45 PM CT

Rimonabant Helps To Lose Weight

Rimonabant Helps To Lose Weight
Use of the weight-loss medicine rimonabant produced modest yet sustained weight loss after 2 years, and improved HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as per a research studyin the February 15 issue of JAMA.

Approximately two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese, which greatly increases the risk of developing diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease and death from related causes. Scientists think that besides weight loss, obesity management should target improvement in certain cardiometabolic risk factors, which include abnormal cholesterol and glucose (blood sugar) levels and excess weight around the waist, as per background information in the article. Long-term weight management remains a challenge for patients and clinicians.

F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, M.D., of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, and his colleagues evaluated the efficacy and safety of the weight-loss medicine rimonabant in conjunction with diet and exercise in promoting reductions in body weight and waist circumference, long-term weight maintenance, and reduction of cardiometabolic risk factors in obese and higher risk overweight patients. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, conducted from August 2001 to April 2004, included 3,045 adults who were obese (body mass index 30 or greater) or overweight (body mass index greater than 27 and treated or untreated high blood pressure [high blood pressure] or dyslipidemia [abnormal levels of certain lipids and lipoproteins in the blood]). Patients were randomized to receive placebo, 5 mg/d of rimonabant, or 20 mg/d of rimonabant for 1 year. Rimonabant-treated patients were re-randomized to receive placebo or continued to receive the same rimonabant dose while the placebo group continued to receive placebo during year 2.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

February 14, 2006, 11:35 PM CT

Climate Change May Affect Length of Respiratory Infection

Climate Change May Affect Length of Respiratory Infection
Rising global temperatures over the past two decades may be responsible for a shortened season of a serious respiratory illness in the United Kingdom, as per an article in the March 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can cause especially severe lower respiratory tract infections in infants and young children, sometimes resulting in pneumonia. Like the flu, RSV has a seasonal pattern, infecting the majority of people during autumn and winter.

Author Gavin Donaldson, PhD, of the University College London, examined the relationship between the RSV season and the rise in temperatures in central England from 1981 to 2004, and found that the RSV season ended earlier each year as temperatures increased. The illness season-measured by laboratory isolation of RSV and emergency room admissions due to RSV-was shortened by about three weeks per degree Celsius rise in annual mean daily temperature.

The link between respiratory disease and temperature is mysterious. "People know that there is a relationship, but don't know what's causing it," Dr. Donaldson said. Staying indoors in chilly weather might result in a higher infection rate due to our close proximity to other people. Cold air might enhance viruses' survival or affect our bodies' ability to fight off infection. "It is known that as the temperature gets colder, a lot of respiratory infections increase. There must be some link with the temperature or the season to explain precisely why this is happening," Dr. Donaldson said. However, he added, "there's no clear evidence of what the mechanism is, nor has it been shown that other respiratory illness seasons, like influenza's, have shortened due to climate change".........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source

February 14, 2006, 11:23 PM CT

Why Many Foreign-born Women Don't Recieve Rubella Vaccine?

Why Many Foreign-born Women Don't Recieve Rubella Vaccine?
Contrary to federal recommendations, a number of women who are eligible for rubella vaccination are not being immunized after giving birth, a new study of Miami-area hospitals has found.

"Overall, studies have shown that two-thirds or more of women get vaccinated appropriately," said co-author Susan Reef, M.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We found that in this high-risk population, only 21 percent of non-immune women were vaccinated".

Reef and his colleagues from the CDC and the Miami-Dade County Health Department reviewed medical records for 2001 from four Miami birthing hospitals. The majority of births at these hospitals are to women of Hispanic and Haitian origin, a group at high risk for congenital rubella syndrome due to historically low vaccination rates in their native countries.

Vaccination rates were even lower among women who had not been screened for rubella immunity --just 2 percent received vaccinations, as per the study in the latest American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Of the 1,991 women whose medical records were reviewed, 410 were eligible for vaccination, either because they were not immune or because there was no record that they had been screened. Only 44 of these women (11 percent) received postpartum vaccinations.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source

February 14, 2006, 11:16 PM CT

Few Effective Treatments For Personality Disorder

Few Effective Treatments For Personality Disorder
No single therapy stands out as particularly effective for borderline personality disorder, a mental illness that can involve self-harm and suicide attempts, as per two new reviews of recent studies.

Borderline personaltiy disorder does appear to respond more strongly to certain kinds of psychological "talk" therapies, British scientists found. However, the therapys that showed the most promise were relatively new and supported by "too few data for confidence," the authors write.

Because both are complex, intensive therapies that require long-term staff training, "we think that such therapys will only be available to a select few patients," said co-author Mark Fenton.

The team, led by Conor Duggan of the University of Nottingham and Clive Adams of the University of Leeds, conducted separate reviews on psychological and drug therapies for boderline personality disorder.

The reviews appear in the current issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.

The team analyzed findings from seven studies on structured talking therapies, comprising 262 adult outpatients with either a formal diagnosis or at least three criteria for the boderline personality disorder.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         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. Archives of health news blog

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