December 13, 2006, 5:07 AM CT
Acid Reflux Disease Linked To Obesity
As per a new article in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GRD), more usually known as, acid reflux, is associated with obesity. Since (GRD) is strongly linked to more serious conditions, such as esophageal ulcers and cancer, weight reduction treatment may be useful in therapy and prevention of these conditions.
"The condition is very common, but prior studies have not been successful at pinpointing risk factors for the condition," says Douglas Corley, author of the study. "Because we evaluated the results of 20 studies on the subject, we were able to better identify and understand the association between obesity and acid reflux."
In a nation becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of obesity, this new finding provides yet another reason to discuss weight management with a physician. "We know that an increase in body weight increases the chance of having heartburn and acid reflux, which can increase the risk of esophageal ulcers and cancer," says Corley. "While we can't say at this time that weight loss treatment is definitely the solution to this condition, it certainly warrants further research as a therapy".........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink Source
December 13, 2006, 4:58 AM CT
Positive Reults For Investigational Thrombocytopenia Agent
AKR-501 is a promising member of a new class of agents called, "TPO receptor agonists" that is now in Phase II clinical development. It is an investigational orally administered drug being developed by AkaRx, Inc. intended to mimic the biologic effect of thrombopoietin, a growth factor that stimulates production of platelets.
At the American Society of Hematology meeting, results from two Phase I clinical research trials were presented. These data in healthy volunteers showed that AKR-501 produced a 50% increase or greater over the baseline platelet count. AKR-501 is the first oral drug in its class to show these platelet increases with a single dose. In the single dose study this was achieved at the 100 mg dose. In all volunteers given multiple doses of either 10 mg or 20 mg for 10 - 14 days a platelet effect was observed where increases were at least 50% over baseline.
The unmet medical need for AKR-501 is that there is no approved agent to specifically stimulate megakaryocytes to produce platelets to treat thrombocytopenia in the same way that there are products available to stimulate production of red and white blood cells. Severe thrombocytopenia is currently managed in some settings with platelet transfusions. However, this temporary solution in not suitable for long-term use in chronic settings and is often linked to serious complications when used in acute situations. AKR-501 imitates the body's mechanism for stimulating platelet production by mimicking the action of thrombopoietin-the growth factor that modulates this process.........
Posted by: Scott Permalink Source
December 13, 2006, 4:48 AM CT
Gene That Causes Familial Pancreatic Cancer
An international group of scientists has discovered that the mutated form of a gene called Palladin causes familial pancreas cancer. The findings, published online today (Dec. 12) in the peer-evaluated journal PLoS-Medicine, may help explain why the disease is so deadly. The research project was led by Dr. Teri Brentnall, University of Washington associate professor of medicine, and supported by The Lustgarten Foundation, Canary Foundation, and other private sources.
Pancreas cancer is commonly a fatal diagnosis. One of the deadliest types of cancer, it is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths overall, and third-leading cause of cancer deaths for people aged 40 to 60 in the United States. Most people with the disease die within a year of diagnosis; about 95 percent of patients die within five years. Scientists estimate that at least ten percent of all pancreas cancer cases are inherited.
The discovery also reveals that the Palladin gene behaves abnormally in both the hereditary and non-hereditary, or sporadic, forms of pancreas cancer. Prior studies by co-author Dr. Carol Otey, associate professor of physiology at the University of North Carolina, have revealed that when the Palladin gene is functioning properly, it gives a cell its shape and enables the cell to move. In the case of pancreas cancer, a mutation in Palladin allows the cell to move much more quickly than normal, essentially invading the surrounding, healthy tissue.........
Posted by: Sue Permalink Source
December 13, 2006, 4:39 AM CT
Older Men With Early Prostate Cancer
Recent findings from an observational study by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine suggest that men between 65 and 80 years of age who received therapy for early stage, localized prostate cancer lived significantly longer than men who did not receive therapy. The study would be reported in the December 13th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Thanks to better cancer prevention education and the resulting wide-spread increase in using prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screenings, more men are being diagnosed with early-stage and low-or intermediate-grade prostate cancer. Studies have shown that the slow-developing nature of prostate cancer during its earliest stages makes therapy options, such as a radical prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate) and radiation treatment, controversial with unpredictable outcomes. Often, recently diagnosed men of this group were advised to just "watch and wait" to see how their situation progressed.
"For this study we looked back over the existing data of a large population of patients with prostate cancer, aged 65 to 80, with small tumors that were at a low or intermediate risk of spreading," said senior author Katrina Armstrong, MD, MSCE, who worked on the study with colleagues from Penn's Abramson Cancer Center, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Leonard Davis Institute of Health and Economics, and Division of Internal Medicine, and Fox Chase Cancer Center. "After accounting for all their differences, we discovered that the men - who within six months of diagnosis underwent surgery or radiation treatment - were 31 percent less likely to die than those who did not undergo therapy during that time".........
Posted by: Mark Permalink Source
December 12, 2006, 5:14 AM CT
Obesity Epidemic Will Cause Thousands More Cases Of Cancer
Cancer Research UK today put Britain on a warning that the rising tide of obesity could result in as many as 12,000 cases of weight related cancer diagnosed annually by 2010.
The most recent figures show that in 2003 there were 24.2 million obese or overweight people in the UK. The department of health has predicted a 14 per cent increase by 2010 which means the numbers will rise to 27.6 million.
Cancer Research UK statisticians have calculated that if the rate of obese and overweight people continues to rise - as the government has predicted - there will be an increase of around 1500 weight related cancers per year by 2010.
Researchers have estimated that excess weight causes 3.8 per cent of cancers. The projected rise in people becoming overweight or obese means that weight related cancers are likely to rise from 10, 500 cases per year to 12,000 in just seven years.
After smoking obesity is one of the most important preventable causes of cancer. But few people are aware that being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing the disease. A Cancer Research UK survey has shown that only 29 per cent of overweight or obese people are aware of the cancer connection.
Professor Tim Key, Cancer Research UK epidemiologist and expert on diet and cancer, said: "It is now well established that being overweight increases the risk of developing several types of cancer. The effects on breast and womb cancer are almost certainly due to the increased production of the hormone oestrogen in the fatty tissue. We are less sure of the precise mechanisms in other obesity related cancers but we can confidently predict that the number of these cases will increase unless the rise in obesity in Britain can be reversed".........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
December 12, 2006, 5:04 AM CT
Almost Half Of Lung Cancer Patients Go Back To Cigarettes
New research has shown that the development of lung cancer and surgery to remove it is not yet enough to put a number of smokers off picking up cigarettes again.
A Washington University School of Medicine study of 154 smokers who had surgery to remove early stage lung cancer found almost half picked up a cigarette again within 12 months of their operations.
The scientists observed that 43 per cent of patients smoked at some point after surgery and 37 per cent were smoking 12 months after their operation.
Furthermore, 60 per cent of those who took up smoking again did so within two months of surgery.
Highlighting the dangerous addictiveness of cigarettes, Mark Walker, a clinical psychology expert and assistant professor of medicine at Washington University, said: "These patients are all addicted, so you cannot assume they will easily change their behaviour simply because they have dodged this particular bullet.
"Their choices are driven by insidious cravings for nicotine".
Contrary to predictions, scientists found no link between the quantity of smoking and the ability to quit, and also discovered that higher education was linked to a greater likelihood of smoking after surgery.
"It wasn't the number of cigarettes smoked daily that determined who couldn't quit, but how long they continued to smoke before surgery," Professor Walker explained.........
Posted by: Scott Permalink Source
December 12, 2006, 5:00 AM CT
Daily Weighing and Quick Action Keeps Pounds Off
Stepping on the scale every day, then cutting calories and boosting exercise if the numbers run too high, can significantly help dieters maintain weight loss, as per results of the first program designed specifically for weight loss maintenance. Study results are reported in the New England Journal (NEJM).
Unlike other obesity studies, which focus on how to lose weight, the "STOP Regain" trial tested a method that taught participants how to keep those pounds from coming back - regardless of the method they used to lose the weight in the first place.
Led by Rena Wing, professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown Medical School and director of the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center at The Miriam Hospital, the study taught successful dieters a technique called "self-regulation." With the goal of maintaining their weight within five pounds, participants were taught to weigh themselves daily and use the information from the scale to determine if they needed to adjust their diet or exercise routine.
The intervention worked: Significantly fewer participants regained five or more pounds during the 18-month-long program. The program was most successful when delivered in face-to-face meetings, eventhough the Internet also proved a viable way to help participants maintain their weight loss.........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink Source
December 12, 2006, 4:50 AM CT
'ZIP Code' Spurs Cargo Transport in Neurons
Highly prized in the kitchen and the lab Squid have a giant axon that is 1,000 times wider than the average human.
Image: Russell Jacobs, Elaine Bearer/MBL
For the first time, scientists have identified a peptide that can spur cargo transport in nerve cells, a discovery that could help researchers better understand nerve cell function and test possible therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.
Elaine Bearer, a professor at Brown Medical School, led the research, which was conducted at the MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) in Woods Hole, Mass., where Bearer was a Dart Scholar and is a Whitman investigator. Reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online early edition, the research shows that a peptide, or protein bit, can hitch biological material onto molecular motor machinery, acting as a "ZIP Code" that directs the shipment to the synapse.
The peptide comes from amyloid precursor protein, or APP, a principal component of plaques found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. Researchers have long known that APP can break down and form these plaques and that mutations in this protein lead to early onset of Alzheimer's disease. Until now, however, little was understood about the function of APP in healthy nerve cells.
The research also sheds light on the complex intracellular transport system inside nerve cells. This transport system is critical to nervous system function, bringing proteins and RNA from the cell body down a neuron's spindly axon to the synapse, the major site of information exchange and storage in the nervous system. Without this precious cargo, neurons can't communicate. Memories can't be made. Learning can't take place. And neurons die.........
Posted by: Daniel Permalink Source
December 11, 2006, 9:25 PM CT
Antibody Extends Life of Mice with Breast Cancer
A monoclonal antibody developed by scientists at the University at Buffalo has been shown to extend significantly the survival of mice with human breast-cancer tumors and to inhibit the cancer's spread to the lungs in the animals by more than 50 percent.
The antibody, named JAA-F11, targets a particular disaccharide, an antigen known as TF-Ag, which aids the adhesion and spread of certain cancer cells. While the antibody did not kill the cancer cells, it blocked stages of cancer-cell growth that allow the cells to adhere to organ tissue, the research showed.
Results of the research appeared in the November 2006 issue of the journal Neoplasia.
Mice with breast-cancer tumors that received the antibody had a median survival time of 72 days, in comparison to 57 days for the animals that did not receive JAA-F11, the study found. In addition, exposing cultures of tumor cells to the antibody inhibited cell growth by a statistically significant 16 percent.
Kate Rittenhouse-Olson, Ph.D., associate professor of clinical and laboratory sciences in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is senior author on the study.
"This antibody binds with a carbohydrate on the tumor cell surface that is involved in adhesion of the cell during the metastatic process," said Rittenhouse-Olson. "Not only would drugs attached to the antibody JAA-F11 bind to the tumor cell surface to direct their cytotoxic effect, but the binding of the antibody itself would block the cell from metastasizing".........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
December 11, 2006, 9:17 PM CT
Cutting Back On Cigarettes May Not Work
Heavy smokers who have reduced their number of daily cigarettes still experience significantly greater exposure to toxins per cigarette than light smokers, as per a new study by scientists at the University of Minnesota.
Even when smokers in the two groups smoked as few as five cigarettes a day, heavy smokers who reduced their cigarette intake experienced two to three times the amount of total toxin exposure per cigarette when compared with light smokers, scientists report in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
In addition, scientists found that the more that heavy smokers reduced their smoking, the more likely they were to increase their exposure to toxicants per cigarette presumably because they took more frequent puffs or inhaled deeper or longer on each cigarette, a process referred to as "compensatory smoking." As a result, smokers who decreased their smoking to as little as one to three cigarettes per day experienced a four- to eight-fold increased exposure to toxins per cigarette as compared with light smokers.
Compensatory smoking occurs because smokers are trying to maintain a specific level of nicotine in their bodies, says Dorothy K. Hatsukami, Ph.D., lead author of the study and director of the University's Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center in Minneapolis. Other factors, such as the sensory aspects of smoking, also may play a role in compensatory smoking, Hatsukami says.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source