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October 10, 2007, 5:23 PM CT

Brain circuits used in sensation of touch

Brain circuits used in sensation of touch
The ability to tactually recognize fine spatial details, such as the raised dots used in braille, is particularly important to those who are blind. With that in mind, a team of scientists has identified the neural circuitry that facilitates spatial discrimination through touch. Understanding this circuitry may lead to the creation of sensory-substitution devices, such as tactile maps for the visually impaired.

The findings are reported in the Oct. 10 edition of The Journal of Neuroscience.

The research team, led by Krish Sathian, MD, PhD, professor of neurology in Emory University School of Medicine, included first author Randall Stilla, research MRI technologist at Emory, and Gopikrishna Deshpande, Stephen Laconte and Xiaoping Hu of the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the scientists found heightened neural activity in a network of frontoparietal regions of the brain when people engaged in fine tactile spatial discrimination. Within this network, the levels of activity in two subregions of the right posteromedial parietal cortex--the right posterior intraparietal sulcus (pIPS) and the right precuneus--were predictive of individual participants' tactile sensitivities.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 10, 2007, 5:10 AM CT

Prostate cancer more likely to return in blacks

Prostate cancer more likely to return in blacks
African-American men are more likely to have their prostate cancer return after therapy, but their disease is no more aggressive when it does recur than that of their white counterparts, as per a research studyled by Duke Prostate Center researchers.

Our study observed that African-American men have a slightly higher risk of what is known as PSA recurrence, which is a blood test that indicates the presence of cancer based on the levels of a certain biomarker known as prostate-specific antigen, said Stephen Freedland, M.D., a urologist at Duke and senior researcher on the study. We were encouraged, however, to see that their disease is not necessarily more aggressive than that of white men, once it has recurred.

African-American men tend to have higher PSA levels at initial diagnosis of prostate cancer, as well, despite being diagnosed at younger ages. This suggests that there may be an underlying genetic and biologic component that predisposes African-American men to prostate disease, Freedland said, highlighting the need for black men to have prostate screening early and often.

The team's findings would be reported in the November 15, 2007 print edition of the journal Cancer, but also appeared early in the journals September 17, 2007 online edition. The study was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, the Prostate Cancer Research Program, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, the Georgia Cancer Coalition and the American Urological Association Foundation.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 10, 2007, 5:09 AM CT

Revimmune for refractory MS

Revimmune for refractory MS
Accentia Biopharmaceuticals announces that it met with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on September 26, 2007 for a scheduled pre-Investigational New Drug (pre-IND) meeting on Revimmune. The FDA has indicated its support for Accentia to submit an IND for a pivotal Phase 3 randomized controlled, multi-center clinical trial of Revimmune, the companys potential therapeutic for refractory, relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The FDA indicated that they support the proposed submission from Accentia and that they are in overall agreement with the proposed design of the Accentia clinical program.

The Revimmune MS study will enroll subjects in a one-year study comparing baseline disability to disability at month 12 with an interim data analysis. After consultation with the FDA on the design of the trial, it was agreed that the primary endpoint will be recovery of lost function and that this unique study will be done under a special protocol assessment (SPA). Accentia will proceed diligently with submission of the IND under a SPA and of an application for Fast Track status, and currently projects commencement of the Phase 3 study in the first half of 2008. A Special Protocol Assessment is a declaration from the Food and Drug Administration that a proposed Phase 3 trial 's design, clinical endpoints, and statistical analyses are acceptable for FDA approval. All previous approved therapeutics suppress rather than eliminate autoimmunity and they have used the more limited indication of a reduction in the rate of progression of disability as their primary endpoint, not a reduction in disability as for Revimmune.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


October 10, 2007, 5:07 AM CT

Married men have lower testosterone levels

Married men have lower testosterone levels
A fascinating new study is the first outside of North America to observe lower testosterone levels among married men. Supporting a growing body of research, the study reveals that even married men who are considered aloof spouses and provide minimal parenting have much lower testosterone levels than single, unmarried men.

In the recent issue of Current Anthropology, Peter B. Gray (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), Peter T. Ellison (Harvard University), and Benjamin C. Campbell (Boston University) investigated the links between male testosterone levels and marital status among modern-day pastoralists in northern Kenya of whom less than 1.5 percent consider their wives a source of emotional support. The Ariaal males serve as herd boys until they reach puberty, at which point they are initiated, become warriors, and accumulate livestock. They do not marry and have children until around 30, and, the scientists suggest, value social bonds with male peers more than spousal bonds or familial bonds.

These findings add to the cross-cultural scope of published data on the topic of human pair bonding, parenting and testosterone, explain the researchers. While many North American studies have shown lower testosterone levels among monogamously married men compared with their single counterparts, no study outside North America had observed this.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 10, 2007, 4:47 AM CT

New radioactive agents for colon cancer work inside cells

New radioactive agents for colon cancer work inside cells
Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a potentially novel way to fight colorectal cancer using tiny molecules to deliver potent barrages of radiation inside cancer cells, unlike current therapys that bind to the surface of cells and attack from the outside and cause unwanted side effects.

In laboratory studies with normal and cancer cells, the new radiation delivery system proved able to specifically target colon cancer cells, and whats left over is likely to be easily filtered out by the kidneys because the delivery systems molecules are so small.

As reported online in PLoS One on October 3, Hopkins colorectal cancer specialists John Abraham, Ph.D., and Stephen Meltzer, M.D. -working with the notion that small molecules generally make better therapy packages-designed small bits of protein only 10 amino acids long as the foundation for their drugs. By contrast, antibodies used to deliver radiation or chemicals can be over one thousand amino acids long.

The team attached radioactive phosphorous, P32, as a test of how well their peptides worked and to our surprise, our first tests showed that cells were ingesting these molecules, thus transferring the radiation inside and killing them by breaking up their DNA and proteins, Abraham says.

While cautioning that the new radiation delivery system is still far from ready for use in people, Abraham notes that P32 gives off high energy that can penetrate through 5 millimeters of human tissue, making it a good candidate to tackle colon cancer since colon cancer cells can often form large, thick tumors into which drugs may not penetrate very well. In addition, P32-labeled peptides may serve another valuable use: to find small metastases or recurrences of colon tumors while they are still small enough to treat. Images of the body can be taken of the labeled peptides as they bind, revealing where stray tumor cells may be nesting.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


October 9, 2007, 8:55 PM CT

Low-Fat Dietary To Lower Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Low-Fat Dietary To Lower Risk of Ovarian Cancer
A diet low in fat could reduce the risk of ovary cancer in healthy postmenopausal women, as per new results from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Dietary Modification Trial. Scientists observed that after four years, women who decreased the amount of dietary fat they consumed were 40 percent less likely to develop ovary cancer than women who followed normal dietary patterns. As expected, no effect was found during the first four years because preventive benefits on cancer often take a number of years to develop. Ovary cancer affects about 1 in 60 U.S. women in their lifetimes and has the highest mortality of all cancers of the female reproductive system.

"Low-Fat Dietary Pattern and Invasive Cancer Incidence: Further Results from the Women's Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial," is published online October 9 by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The WHI Dietary Modification Trial was conducted in 40 clinical centers throughout the United States and is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health.

The WHI Dietary Modification clinical trial followed 48,835 healthy, postmenopausal women for an average of 8.1 years to test whether a low-fat diet would reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Nearly 20,000 women in the intervention group were counseled to decrease fat intake to 20 percent of calories and to replace calories from fat with calories from vegetables, fruits, and grains. The control group (nearly 30,000 women) received diet-related education materials only.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


October 8, 2007, 3:52 PM CT

Genes That Increase Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk

Genes That Increase Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
Scientists in the United States and Sweden have identified a genetic region linked to increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic and debilitating inflammatory disease of the joints that affects an estimated 2.1 million Americans. The U.S. arm of the study involved a long-time collaboration between intramural scientists of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) and other organizations. NIAMS is one of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health. The results appeared in the New England Journal (NEJM).

Using the relatively new genome-wide association approach - which makes it possible to analyze between 300,000 and 500,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, or small differences in DNA that are distributed throughout a person's genetic code) - scientists in both countries searched for genetic differences in blood samples from people with RA in comparison to controls. The U.S. group compared 908 samples from patients provided by the North American Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium (NARAC) - a group of researchers working together to identify the genetic factors that contribute to RA - with those from 1,282 people without RA (controls). The Swedish group compared 676 samples from the Swedish Epidemiological Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis (EIRA) with 673 controls.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 8, 2007, 11:21 AM CT

Apatone for cancer treatment

Apatone for cancer treatment
In a significant advancement in the ongoing battle against cancer, a group of scientists from Summa Health System, IC-MedTech and other institutions have completed the first ever FDA-approved human clinical trial of Apatone. Demonstrating promising results, Apatone exploits a new strategy to selectively lower the level of compounds within tumor cells that assist in energy production and protect against chemotherapy. This non-toxic approach weakens and kills cancers in a novel way.

Apatone was discovered by Dr. Henryk Taper from the Catholic University of Leuven in Brussels, Belgium and was developed by Dr. James Jamison and Dr. Jack Summers, both of Summa Health System, and Dr. Jacques Gilloteaux, now with the American University of the Caribbean in St. Maarten. Their groundbreaking discovery observed that moderate doses of Apatone eliminate a number of types of cancer cells, including prostate, bladder, renal and ovarian.

This strategy targets cancer cells by their inflammatory response, explains Dr. Jamison. Its a different approach than most other anti-tumor drugs, which target dividing cells or the development of blood vessels within the tumor. Since normal cells use sugars or fats for energy and cancer cells rely on glucose, the real key here is that Apatone resembles glucose. As Apatone preferentially accumulates in cancer cells, it also supplies quinone that weakens and can destroy the cancer cell from within.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


October 8, 2007, 11:18 AM CT

Got calcium?

Got calcium?
Laura Peracchio, professor of marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Credit: Peter Jakubowski, UWM Photo Services
Current food labeling leads to under-consumption of calcium, as per this study. Those who were taught how to translate the information consumed more. Scientists believe the same is true for other beneficial nutrients.

A woman at risk for osteoporosis is told by her doctor to get 1,200-1,500 milligrams of calcium every day. But when she looks at the Nutrition Facts panel on a carton of yogurt or a jug of milk, she finds that calcium is only listed by Percent Daily Value (%DV).

How does she convert that to milligrams?.

If shes like most of usshe cant. And neither can her doctor.

Those were among the findings of research conducted by Laura A. Peracchio, professor of marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), and Lauren Block, professor of marketing at Baruch College (CUNY). The results were so compelling that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added information to its Web site on how to translate %DV to milligrams.



The problem


The research, which involved three separate studies and a follow-up, is discussed in The Calcium Quandary: How Consumers Use Nutrition Labels for Daily Diet, reported in the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing. Peracchio and Block observed that:.
  • In Study 1, only two of 37 respondents correctly translated the calcium information on a carton of yogurt from %DV to milligrams.
........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 8, 2007, 9:39 AM CT

Brain Center Responsible for Tinnitus

Brain Center Responsible for Tinnitus
For the more than 50 million Americans who experience the phantom sounds of tinnitus -- ringing in the ears that can range from annoying to debilitating -- certain well-trained rats may be their best hope for finding relief.

Scientists at the University at Buffalo have studied the condition for more than 10 years and have developed these animal models, which can "tell" the scientists if they are experiencing tinnitus.

These researchers now have received a $2.9 million five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the brain signals responsible for creating the phantom sounds, using the animal models, and to test potential therapies to quiet the noise.

The research will take place at the Center for Hearing and Deafness, part of the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences in the university's College of Arts and Sciences. Richard Salvi, Ph.D., director of the center, is principal investigator. Researchers from UB's Department of Nuclear Medicine and from Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo are major collaborators on portions of the project.

Tinnitus is caused by continued exposure to loud noise, by normal aging and, to a much lesser extent, as a side effect of taking certain anti-cancer drugs. It is a major concern in the military: 30 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans suffer from the condition.........

Posted by: Sue      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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