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July 16, 2007, 10:17 PM CT

No Change InTaste After Tonsil Removal

No Change InTaste After Tonsil Removal
In a small study of patients undergoing tonsillectomy, or removal of the tonsils, none reported an ongoing dysfunction in their sense of taste following the procedure, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of OtolaryngologyHead & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Together with the sense of smell and nerve impulses in the mouth, the sense of taste contributes considerably to flavor perception during eating and drinking and thus plays a major role in the enjoyment of foods and beverages, as per background information in the article. The sense of taste shows little deterioration during aging but can be weakened by disease or medications. Accidental nerve damage during some medical procedures, including radiation therapy, middle ear surgery, dental or oral surgery or tonsillectomy, also can cause taste dysfunction.

Christian A. Mueller, M.D., of the University of Vienna, Austria, and his colleagues asked 65 tonsillectomy patients (42 females, 23 males; average age 28) to rate their own sense of smell and taste before surgery on a scale of zero to 100, where zero is no sense of taste or smell and 100 is an excellent sense of taste and smell. Taste function and sensitivity also was assessed one day before surgery with gustatory testing, during which taste strips for four concentrations of sweet, sour, salty and bitter were applied to both sides of the front and back areas of the tongue. Between 64 and 173 days after surgery, patients were asked to report any changes to their sense of taste or smell and again asked to rate them from zero to 100. Gustatory testing waccording toformed again on 32 patients.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


July 16, 2007, 10:15 PM CT

Chemical In Curry For Alzheimer's

Chemical In Curry For Alzheimer's
FINDINGS: Scientists isolated bisdemethoxycurcumin, the active ingredient of curcuminoids a natural substance found in turmeric root that may help boost the immune system in clearing amyloid beta, a peptide that forms the plaques found in Alzheimers disease. Using blood samples from Alzheimers disease patients, scientists observed that bisdemethoxycurcumin boosted immune cells called macrophages to clear amyloid beta. In addition, scientists identified the immune genes linked to this activity.

IMPACT: The study provides more insight into the role of the immune system in Alzheimers disease and points to a new therapy approach. Scientists say that it may be possible to test a patients immune response with a blood sample in order to individualize therapy. The genes involved in the process, called MGAT III and Toll-like receptors, are also responsible for many other key functions in the immune system. The results also suggest a new drug development approach for the disease that differs from the amyloid-beta vaccine. The new approach relies on the innate immune system, which is present at birth rather than on antibodies produced by B cells, which is a later developed part of the active immune system.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 16, 2007, 10:13 PM CT

Poor Sleep And Cognitive Decline

Poor Sleep And Cognitive Decline
Women who experienced cognitive decline over a 13 to 15 year period after age 65 were more likely to sleep poorly than women whose cognition did not decline, as per a research studyled by scientists at the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC).

The womens cognitive decline was linked to interrupted or fitful sleep. Total sleep time per night made no difference, says lead author Kristine Yaffe, MD, chief of geriatric psychiatry at SFVAMC and professor of psychiatry, neurology, epidemiology, and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

This indicates that its not how long you sleep, but how well you sleep, she says.

The study appears in the July 17, 2007 issue of Neurology.

Yaffe speculates that there are three possible explanations for the association between cognitive decline and disturbed sleep. She says the first and most likely reason is that whatever neurodegenerative condition is starting to cause cognitive decline, such as Alzheimers disease, is also affecting areas of the brain that govern sleep.

Sleep is very complex, notes Yaffe. It involves a coordinated series of neurologic functions that we dont entirely understand. Its not unlikely that early neurodegenerative disease could start having an effect on sleep centers as well.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 15, 2007, 9:32 PM CT

Selenium Supplements And Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Selenium Supplements And Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Selenium, an antioxidant included in multivitamin tablets thought to have a possible protective effect against the development of type 2 diabetes, may actually increase the risk of developing the disease, an analysis by scientists at the University at Buffalo has shown.

Results of a randomized clinical trial using 200 micrograms of selenium alone showed that 55 percent more cases of type 2 diabetes developed among participants randomized to receive selenium than in those who received a placebo pill.

Results will appear in print in the August 2007 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine and were posted online on July 10.

Self-reported diagnosis of type 2 diabetes was a secondary endpoint in a clinical trial designed to test the benefit of selenium supplementation in prevention of non-melanoma skin cancer in areas in the Eastern U.S. where selenium levels are lower than the national average. Selenium is a trace mineral that is an essential component of proteins involved in antioxidant activity.

Saverio Stranges, M.D., Ph.D., first author on the diabetes prevention study, conducted the analysis while at UB, in cooperation with colleagues from Roswell Park Cancer Institute. He now is affiliated with the Clinical Sciences Research Institute, Warwick Medical School, Coventry, UK.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 15, 2007, 9:29 PM CT

Potential new target for cancer

Potential new target for cancer
By bypassing a well-known gene implicated in almost one-third of all cancers and instead focusing on the protein activated by the gene, Duke University Medical Center scientists believe they may have found a new target for anti-cancer drugs.

In experiments with human cells and animal models, the scientists studied the gene known as Ras, which is integral in normal cell growth. When this gene is mutated and becomes overactive, it can lead to the unregulated proliferation of cells that is the hallmark of tumor formation.

The ras gene, known as an oncogene when it is in this mutated state, has been implicated in several different cancers, including those of the pancreas and lungs. To date, efforts at blocking or turning off ras have proven ineffective. Pancreas cancer has been shown to have the strongest link to the ras oncogene, and it is also one of the hardest cancers to treat, with few patients alive five years after diagnosis, scientists said.

Since it has been so difficult to target the ras gene itself with drugs, we tried to determine if something that ras activates could be a possible target for a drug or treatment, said Christopher Counter, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology and cancer biology and senior member of the research team. We found a specific target that could be susceptible to drugs, and if these findings are proven true in human trials, we could have a new way of treating ras-dependent cancers.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 15, 2007, 9:24 PM CT

Throwing motion in young baseball players

Throwing motion in young baseball players
Adaptive changes occur in the arm bone and soft tissue of the shoulders of young athletes participating in youth baseball and help protect them against injury, as per new research released recently at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine at the Telus Convention Center (July 12-15).

Young baseball players who throw a lot maintain external shoulder rotation as they mature, says principal investigator Scott D. Mair, M.D., associate professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Good external rotation of the shoulder helps athletes throw faster while reducing their chance of injury.

Some shoulder motion is naturally lost through aging. Dr. Mair says that the throwing shoulder does not lose as much external rotation. An adult will never have as much shoulder motion as a nine year-old, he explains.

To evaluate the adaptive changes in the shoulder joint of overhead throwing athletes, Dr. Mair and his colleagues followed 32 male baseball players between 13 and 21 years of age for six years to study changes in range of motion, strength, and X-ray images.

The scientists observed that the act of throwing causes changes in the upper arm bone and soft tissue in the shoulders of young baseball players. This is not necessarily a bad thing, explains Dr. Mair. It can help protect players from injury. However, pitch counts that are too high and playing year-round can push those adaptive changes to the point of injury.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


July 15, 2007, 9:18 PM CT

Mechanism To Emergence Of Deadly Strep Bacteria

Mechanism To Emergence Of Deadly Strep Bacteria
The occurence rate of serious strep infections has risen dramatically in the last three decades, and this increase is largely attributed to the spread around the globe of a single strain of strep known as the invasive M1T1 clone. Scientists at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine and the University of Wollongong in Australia have discovered that, 30 years ago, a virus infected the strep bacteria creating a deadly strain of flesh-eating bacteria that has evolved to produce serious human infections worldwide.

Just like a computer virus might come in and reprogram your hard drive, this virus reprogrammed the genetic machinery of the M1T1 strep into a more virulent form, said senior author Victor Nizet, M.D., UCSD Professor of Pediatrics and Pharmacy. The consequences of this event on human health are still being felt three decades later.

The research, published in the July 15 advance online publication of the journal Nature Medicine, focuses on the major human pathogen group A Streptococcus (strep.) Among the most important of all human infectious disease agents, strep is responsible for a wide range of diseases, ranging from simple throat and skin infections to life-threatening invasive conditions such as necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) and toxic shock syndrome. Strep is estimated to cause over 700 million infections each year; over 650,000 of these are dangerous invasive forms.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


July 15, 2007, 9:15 PM CT

Mechanism Behind Fear

Mechanism Behind Fear
Scientists from MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory have uncovered a molecular mechanism that governs the formation of fears stemming from traumatic events. The work could lead to the first drug to treat the millions of adults who suffer each year from persistent, debilitating fears - including hundreds of soldiers returning from conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The team will report their results in the July 15 advance online publication of Nature Neuroscience.

A study conducted by the Army in 2004 observed that one in eight soldiers returning from Iraq reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As per the National Center for PTSD in the United States, around eight percent of the population will have PTSD symptoms at some point in their lives. Some 5.2 million adults have PTSD during a given year, the center reports.

Li-Huei Tsai, Picower Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and his colleagues show that inhibiting a kinase (kinases are enzymes that change proteins) called Cdk5 facilitates the extinction of fear learned in a particular context. On the other hand, the learned fear persisted when the kinase's activity was increased in the hippocampus, the brain's center for storing memories.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 12, 2007, 10:24 PM CT

The '2-week wait rule' is failing breast cancer patients

The '2-week wait rule' is failing breast cancer patients
The two week wait rule is failing patients with breast cancer and needs to be evaluated urgently say the authors of a seven year study examining the impact of the target, published recently on bmj.com.

At the end of the last century death rates from breast cancer in the UK were among the highest in Europe. Long waiting lists, resulting in delayed diagnosis and therapy, were believed to be partly responsible. In 1998 the Department of Health brought in the 2 week wait rule which stipulated that by April 1999 all patients with suspected breast cancer should be seen by a specialist within two weeks of referral by a GP.

A number of studies have questioned the validity of the 2 week wait rule, but this is the first to assess the long term impact. Dr Shelley Potter and her colleagues gathered data on the number, route and outcome of Primary Care referrals to the Frenchay Brest Care Centre in Bristol between 1999 and 2005.

There were 24,999 referrals to the centre during this period, with GPs classifying each patient as being either urgent as per 2 week wait criteria or routine. Between 1999 and 2005 the number of annual referrals to the centre increased by 9%.

Routine referrals decreased by 24% but 2-week wait referrals increased by 42%. Despite the changes in referral patterns the total number of cancers remained constant over the 7 year period.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 12, 2007, 5:54 AM CT

Could targeted food taxes improve health?

Could targeted food taxes improve health?
A daily pinta or a helping of dairy foods protect against the clustering of abnormal body chemistry known as the metabolic syndrome, suggests a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The syndrome has been associated with an increased risk of diabetes, coronary artery disease, and premature death.

The findings are based on a representative sample of 2375 men aged between 45 and 59, all of whom were part of a long term study on health, known as the Caerphilly Prospective Study.

Two or more out of high blood glucose, insulin, blood fats, body fat, and blood pressure defined the presence of the metabolic syndrome in the men studied.

The mens health was tracked over 20 years, during which time data from food questionnaires and weekly food diaries were used to assess how much milk and dairy foods the men consumed.

Around one in seven men (15%) had metabolic syndrome at entry into the study.

These men had almost double the risk of coronary artery heart disease and four times the risk of diabetes of those without the syndrome. They were also almost 50% more likely to die early.

But those who regularly drank milk and ate dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese, were significantly less likely to have the syndrome.........

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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