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October 29, 2006, 6:45 PM CT

Switch Involved In Allergy

Switch Involved In Allergy
A research team has identified a key enzyme responsible for triggering a chain of events that results in allergic reaction, as per new study findings published online this week in Nature Immunology.

The work by scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University, the Hospital for Special Surgery and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York sets the stage for development of new strategies and target therapies that control allergic disease the sixth leading cause of chronic disease in the United States.

Allergic diseases such as asthma and hay fever are problematic for about 30 percent of the population in the developed world. Scientists have developed various therapys to control allergy, but no cure has been found.

The team has demonstrated, for the first time, the role of a proteolytic enzyme called ADAM10 that releases a major allergy regulatory protein from the surface of cells and thereby promotes a stronger allergic response. The identification of drugs that inhibit ADAM10's ability to release this molecule could revolutionize therapy of asthma and allergic disease.

"Our research, for the first time, may represent a therapy strategy to prevent, rather than simply control IgE-mediated allergy," said Daniel Conrad, Ph.D., a professor in VCU's Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Conrad directed the research conducted at VCU. IgE is an antibody known to trigger Type I allergic disease.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 27, 2006, 9:08 PM CT

Study Shows Cognitive Decline Is Often Undetected

Study Shows Cognitive Decline Is Often Undetected
A number of patients over the age of 65 who are hospitalized with an acute illness experience a subtle change in their cognitive ability that often goes undiagnosed, untreated and underreported. As a result, a patient's ability to make decisions about his or her medical therapy may be negatively impacted.

These findings by Sharon Inouye, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Aging Brain Center at Hebrew SeniorLife and Professor of Medicine, Division of Gerontology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, identified symptoms, such as disorientation, forgetfulness and an inability to follow directions, that may go undetected except by those individuals such as family members who know the patient well enough to notice the changes. A report of Dr. Inouye's findings, "Recoverable Cognitive Dysfunction at Hospital Admission in Older Persons," will appear in the recent issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM).

"Acute illness can represent a life-altering event for an older person, yet the impact of acute illness on cognitive functioning has not been systematically examined," Dr. Inouye said. "Understanding a patient's cognitive functioning is also necessary for developing effective and appropriate discharge planning."

As per Dr. Inouye's paper, no prior studies exist that establish just how much change in cognitive function regularly occurs in older patients or how it impacts their care. The subtle cognitive decline that she examined is referred to as recoverable cognitive dysfunction (RCD) and is determined by the results of a questionnaire called the.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 27, 2006, 9:04 PM CT

Many Have Undiagnosed ADHD

Many Have Undiagnosed ADHD
Shire plc announced recently that many adults with a depressive disorder, Bipolar Disorder (BPD), or an anxiety disorder may also have undiagnosed Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), according to a longitudinal retrospective medical claims analysis presented today at a major medical meeting of child and adolescent psychiatrists.

According to an analysis of medical claims derived from a large managed care database in the United States, approximately 2.5 percent of adults initially diagnosed with a depressive disorder, BPD or an anxiety disorder were also diagnosed with ADHD within the 12-month analysis period spanning January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2005. However, recent findings from the National Comorbidity Survey (NCS) showed that among adult patients surveyed ADHD existed comorbidly in 32.0 percent of those with a depressive disorder, 21.2 percent of those with BPD, and 9.5 percent of those with an anxiety disorder. When compared with these high overall levels of psychiatric comorbidity detected in the NCS, the low comorbid diagnosis rates of the medical claims analysis suggest that many adult patients with psychiatric disorders such as a depressive disorder, BPD or an anxiety disorder may also have undiagnosed ADHD.

"The large discrepancy between the known rates of ADHD comorbidity and the number of patients actually being diagnosed with comorbid ADHD clearly demonstrates that there is still a strong need for increased awareness of adult ADHD, and that physicians treating the adult population may benefit from additional training in evaluating and diagnosing this disorder," said Lenard A. Adler, M.D., lead researcher and director of the Adult ADHD Program in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine and author of Scattered Minds: Hope and Help for Adults with ADHD (Putnam).........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 27, 2006, 5:15 AM CT

linking ethnic identity to breast cancer genes

linking ethnic identity to breast cancer genes BRCA
Genetic research over the past decade has linked Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity to an increased risk for hereditary breast cancer, so much so that certain gene mutations have become known as "Jewish ancestral mutations." But a new study released in the recent issue of The American Journal of Public Health challenges this approach, warning that disparities in access to care and other unintended consequences can, and have, resulted.

The study, by Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons researchers, notes that while three recognized breast cancer mutations are present in 2-3 percent of the Ashkenazi Jewish population, similar prevalence studies have not been carried out in other ethnic groups. In addition, the study finds that research linking the breast cancer mutations with Ashkenazi Jews has been beset by methodological problems that cast doubt on the use of ethnicity as the basis for genetic research on disease.

"The linking of Ashkenazi Jews to a deadly disease raises serious scientific and social concerns," said co-author Sheila M. Rothman, PhD, Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at the Center for the Study of Society and Medicine. "Focusing genetic studies on a specific ethnic group confers disadvantages to that group and others. For Ashkenazi Jews it raises the risk of stigmatization and insurance or job discrimination. For other groups, it introduces a gap in access to testing and therapy".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


October 27, 2006, 5:11 AM CT

Women With Mental Disorders And Mammograms

Women With Mental Disorders And Mammograms
Women with mental disorders are less likely to have screening mammograms than women without mental illness, although.

the nature of the mental illness does play a role, as per a large study published by Indiana University School of Medicine and Richard Roudebush VA Health Services Center for Excellence scientists in the recent issue of Journal of General Internal Medicine. Previous to this study, little was known about whether the type or severity of mental illness influences receipt of preventive services such as mammograms.

"Eventhough women with mental disorders are less likely to receive mammography than women who do not have mental disorders, we observed that both the type and severity of mental illness does influence the receipt of mammograms. Women with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia are significantly less likely to receive mammograms than women in the general population. However, women with mild depression do not differ markedly. But, as depression severity increases, so does the likelihood that women will not receive needed screening," said senior author Caroline Carney Doebbeling, M.D., M.Sc., associate professor of psychiatry and medicine at the I.U. School of Medicine. She is also a Regenstrief Institute, Inc. research scientist and director of the IU.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


October 27, 2006, 5:08 AM CT

Videoconferencing In Pediatric Oncology

Videoconferencing In Pediatric Oncology
An article in the January 2007 issue of the Pediatric Blood & Cancer examines the use of videoconferencing between industrialized and developing countries as a way of improving patient care. The journal is available online via Wiley InterScience at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/pbc.

Pediatric oncology has seen vast improvements in survival rates in industrialized countries over the last several decades, but developing nations are still lagging behind, despite the fact that up to 85 percent of childhood malignancies occur in these countries. Obstacles to advances in the development of pediatric oncology programs include poverty, malnutrition, lack of education, and compliance. Additional factors are a shortage of pediatric oncologist specialists, a lack of cross communication between different disciplines, which leads to delayed and improper referrals, and the tendency to seek multiple second opinions due to a distrust of the quality of available medical care.

Efforts to improve medical care in developing countries include twinning programs that involve the exchange of personnel between participating institutions, a practice that is time consuming and expensive. Telemedicine, another way of communicating and distributing information, is already being used in industrialized countries for educational purposes, second opinions and quality assurance in many fields, but there are few reports of its impact in developing countries.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


October 27, 2006, 5:00 AM CT

Survivors of organized violence

Survivors of organized violence
A series of studies, conducted by a psychotraumatology research group headed by Thomas Elbert in collaboration with Penn State psychology expert William Ray, has examined a group of people who have been exposed to different magnitudes of torture and found the appearance of dissociation (mental separation from the incident) long after the event. The research is reported in the latest issue of Psychological Science.

Those who experienced multiple and extreme trauma stopped responding physiologically and began to feel numb. The scientists think that, just as the body can turn off some of its stress response during feelings of great terror or helplessness, the mind has a way of turning off strong emotions in overwhelming situations.

The research group examined the functional architecture of the brain in relation to varying degrees of dissociation. They found that dissociative experiences are reflected in slow, abnormal brainwaves in an area that contributes to verbalizing and the ability to plan and prepare for actions.

Observation of structural or functional brain lesions has led the authors to interpret their findings as a sign of the brain decoupling these regions from sensory experience and action. They believe this is the only response that seems possible during serious torture but note that, when maintained during the later part of life, the long-term consequences are devastating. This brain reorganization is maintained even when the torture is over.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 27, 2006, 4:53 AM CT

Media And Body-image

Media And Body-image
New research explores the relationship between so called "thin-ideal" images in the media and body-image issues among young women. Female undergraduates who viewed advertisements displaying ultra-thin women exhibited increases in body dissatisfaction, negative mood, levels of depression and lowered self-esteem. These findings were especially true for women who have negative views of their current body image and believe themselves to be overweight.

The study shows that women who possess these body image concerns are twice as likely to compare their own bodies to those of the thin models in the advertisements. They are also more likely to have those comparisons affect their self-worth, leading to feelings of depression, body dissatisfaction and preoccupation with diet and exercise. On the other hand, women who are content with their bodies did not show any effects from viewing thin-ideal advertisements.

"Women who already have low opinions of their physical appearance are at an even greater risk for negative effects from media images," says Gayle R. Bessenoff, Ph.D., author of the study. "Understanding who will compare to media ideals and when this comparison will take place can help further our understanding of the role of the media in the development of eating disorders".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 27, 2006, 4:43 AM CT

Gene Target Against Crohn's Disease And Ulcerative Colitis

Gene Target Against Crohn's Disease And Ulcerative Colitis
The discovery by a six-member Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Genetics Consortium of a genetic risk factor for IBD has been reported in Science Express, the online publication of the journal Science. As per one of the Canadian principal investigators, director of the Laboratory in Genetics and Genomic Medicine of Inflammation at the Montreal Heart Institute, Dr. John D. Rioux, "This discovery may lead to a paradigm shift in our thinking from 'genetics of diseases to genetics of health', especially as concerns Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis." This discovery was, in part, due to the contributions of the gastroenterologists of the Quebec IBD Genetics Consortium led by Dr. Rioux and Dr. Alain Bitton of the McGill University Health Centre.

Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, describes two similar yet distinct conditions called Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. These diseases affect the digestive system and cause the intestinal tissue to become inflamed, form sores and bleed easily. Symptoms include abdominal pain, cramping, fatigue and diarrhea.

Crohn's disease may affect the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus, and while Crohn's disease can not be cured by drugs or surgery, either may relieve symptoms.

In Canada, an estimated 170,000 Canadian men and women suffer from IBD, most frequently between the ages of 15-25, or 45-55. It is especially difficult for children and young adults since it often affects a person's self-concept. IBD is found throughout the world. However, it appears to be most common in North America and northern Europe; Canada having one of the highest incidence rates of IBD in the world. (1) In the U.S., more than 1 million Americans have Crohn's or colitis.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


October 27, 2006, 4:28 AM CT

Hypertension On The Spotlight

Hypertension On The Spotlight
There may be as a number of as 70 million Americans with prehypertension. If these people can be treated pharmacologically to avoid or delay progression to clinical hypertension, there would be significant benefits to them and the overall health of the population. The recent TROPHY study seems to lead to that conclusion. However, two editorials reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of High blood pressure emphatically argue that the study is flawed and the conclusions reached are misleading.

Persons with prehypertension, generally defined as having a systolic blood pressure in the range of 120-139 mm Hg or a diastolic blood pressure of 80-89, will commonly develop high blood pressure at the rate of about 10% per year. The recent Trial of Preventing High blood pressure (TROPHY) examined whether treating patients with candesartan for two years resulted in a sustained reduction in the occurence rate of hypertension after the drug was discontinued. The TROPHY study concluded that the therapy significantly reduced the risk of incident high blood pressure over the four year study.

As per Stephen Persell, MD, MPH, TROPHY results are likely invalid. He and co-author David W. Baker, MD, MPH, both of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, argue that the study used an unusual definition of incident high blood pressure which could not accurately discriminate whether the drug had a sustained effect. They demonstrate that because blood pressure readings taken during active therapy were combined with readings taken after therapy had ended, a difference between therapy and placebo could appear even if blood pressures were identical after the therapy had ended. They also analyze how the results could be misleading due to the methods used to calculate the mean blood pressures.........

Posted by: Daniel      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.

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