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September 11, 2007, 11:32 PM CT

Breastfeeding does not protect against asthma, allergies

Breastfeeding does not protect against asthma, allergies
Breastfeeding does not protect children against developing asthma or allergies, says a new study led by McGill University's Dr. Michael Kramer and funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The findings were pre-published online September 11 by the British Medical Journal.

Dr. Kramer James McGill Professor of Pediatrics, Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McGill University and Scientific Director of CIHR's Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health and colleagues followed 13,889 children who had been selected at birth from 31 Belarussian maternity hospitals in the randomized Promotion of the Breastfeeding Intervention Trial (PROBIT). The follow-up took place from December 2002 to April 2005, when the children were 6 years old.

In the survey, a control group of maternity hospitals and affiliated polyclinics was randomized to continue their traditional practices, while those in the experimental group were trained to teach better breastfeeding techniques and to encourage mothers to breastfeed as long and as exclusively as possible. At the end of the trial, the scientists concluded that breastfeeding does not provide any protection against asthma or allergies. "We found, not only was there no protective effect," said Dr. Kramer, "but the results even suggested an increased risk of positive allergic skin tests".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 11, 2007, 11:28 PM CT

Children who learn heart healthy eating habits

Children who learn heart healthy eating habits
A new study in a mid-August edition of Circulation: Journal of the America Heart Association confirms that when young children learn about heart healthy eating habits, it can strongly influence their heart disease risk during the later part of life.

Results from the Turku Coronary Risk Factor Intervention Project have landmark implications on how children should be taught to eat. In this study, a childs fat intake, primarily reduction in intake of saturated fat, was found to be one of the greatest influencing factors, as per the research.

The publication of this study is timely since September 2007 is National Cholesterol Education Month, sponsored by the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institutes National Cholesterol Education Program.

Harri Niinikoski, M.D, Ph.D, lead author and a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Turku in Finland, says: The aim of the diet counseling in our study was not to reduce the total number of fat calories in the diet, but to shift the childs intake from saturated toward unsaturated fats and have cholesterol intakes of less than 200 mg (such as the use of more vegetable oils than animal fats and butter.) .

Key dietary changes in the intervention families included: 1) using soft margarine and liquid oils instead of butter to maintain adequate fat intake while lowering consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol, and 2) appropriate adjustments to the type of milk consumed by the children.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 11, 2007, 11:23 PM CT

Restoring Fertility In Women With Cancer

Restoring Fertility In Women With Cancer
The Oregon National Primate Research Center and the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine have been named to a national team of institutions hoping to preserve or restore fertility in women battling cancer. The Oncofertility Consortium, funded for five years by the National Institutes of Health, features participants from five universities and comprises researchers, physicians, engineers, educators, social workers and medical ethicists.

Biomedical research has helped save the lives of a number of women battling cancer, explained Richard Stouffer, Ph.D., director of the research team at OHSU. Stouffer also directs ONPRCs reproductive sciences division and is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the OHSU School of Medicine. However, the powerful chemotherapy drugs and radiation used to beat cancer can also result in a loss of reproductive function, which is a tremendous blow to young cancer patients who hope to have children. The bottom-line goal for this research team across the United States is to help these women through various avenues including research, therapy and counseling.

Additional members of the OHSU research team include Mary Zelinski, Ph.D., an affiliate assistant scientist at ONPRC, and David Lee, M.D., an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, reproductive endocrinology and infertility in the OHSU School of Medicine.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 11, 2007, 11:21 PM CT

Breast Cancer Medication For Bipolar Disorder

Breast Cancer Medication For Bipolar Disorder
Tamoxifen
The medicine tamoxifen, best known as a therapy for breast cancer, dramatically reduces symptoms of the manic phase of bipolar disorder more quickly than a number of standard medications for the mental illness, a new study shows. Scientists at the National Institutes of Healths National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) who conducted the study also explained how: Tamoxifen blocks an enzyme called protein kinase C (PKC) that regulates activities in brain cells. The enzyme is believed to be over-active during the manic phase of bipolar disorder.

By pointing to PKC as a target for new medications, the study raises the possibility of developing faster-acting therapys for the manic phase of the illness. Current medications for the manic phase generally take more than a week to begin working, and not everyone responds to them. Tamoxifen itself might not become a therapy of choice, though, because it also blocks estrogen the property that makes it useful as a therapy for breast cancer and because it may cause endometrial cancer if taken over long periods of time. Currently, tamoxifen is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for therapy of some kinds of cancer and infertility, for example. It was used experimentally in this study because it both blocks PKC and is able to enter the brain.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 10, 2007, 10:14 PM CT

Preserving Vessel Function After Heart Attack

Preserving Vessel Function After Heart Attack
Researchers have identified the process that causes blood vessels to constrict during and after a heart attack. They've also demonstrated that delivering a vital molecule that is depleted during this process directly to those blood vessels can reverse damage and help restore blood flow.

The Ohio State University medical scientists say these findings have the potential to improve outcomes for patients with acute coronary episodes correlation to ischemia, and to ameliorate the restriction of blood supply to the heart.

The study is published online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This is a useful therapeutic approach and should be easy to translate," said Jay L. Zweier, director of the Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute at Ohio State University Medical Center and senior author of the study. "This should enable improved therapy of patients with unstable coronary syndromes and heart attacks, allowing enhanced restoration of blood flow and preservation of heart muscle at risk".

Researchers have known that following a heart attack blood vessels around the heart do not properly dilate and may constrict because of problems in the cells that line the vessel walls. But until now, they did not precisely understand why. Zweier and his colleagues set out to determine the cascade of events that leads to the loss of vessel vasodilatory function and, in the process, identified a potential solution that would dilate.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 10, 2007, 9:43 PM CT

A key discovery for Fragile X Syndrome

A key discovery for Fragile X Syndrome
An important finding has been made by McMaster scientists about Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), a sex-linked genetic disorder that affects approximately one in 4,000 males and one in 6,000 females.

FXS is the most common genetic disorder linked to mental impairment. The affected gene (FMR1) leads to inactivation of the FMR1 gene product, known as the fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP).

Brain development in the absence of this protein leads to cognitive effects, learning and memory problems, attention deficit, hyperactivity and autistic behaviors. A number of children go undiagnosed with Fragile X.

Eventhough the exact functions of FMRP in the brain are unresolved, there is compelling evidence that FMRP is important for normal function at the sites of communication between cells or neurons in the brain. Until now, FMRP was believed to be found only in neurons.

Stem cells are candidates for cell treatment in neurological disorders since they are capable of producing all cell types in the nervous system.

When studying the development of adult stem cells from the mouse brain, Laura Pacey, a Ph.D. student in professor Laurie Doerings laboratory, realized that cells, in addition to neurons, were also producing the FMRP. Doering is an associate professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 10, 2007, 9:34 PM CT

Women less likely to change heart-disease risk habits

Women less likely to change heart-disease risk habits
Smoking, eating fattening foods and not getting enough exercise are all lifestyle habits that can lead to poor health and cardiovascular disease - more so if you have a family history. But scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have observed that women don't change these habits as often as men, even when they have relatives with heart disease.

The scientists, reporting in the recent issue of the American Heart Journal, observed that women with a family history of heart disease are less likely than men to change habits such as smoking and infrequent physical activity. They also are more likely to engage in lifestyle choices that increase their risk of heart disease than are women who did not report a history of heart disease.

"A family history of heart disease is as important an indicator of future cardiovascular health in women as it is in men - perhaps more important," said Dr. Amit Khera, assistant professor of internal medicine and senior author of the study. "And yet there is an underappreciation of cardiovascular-disease risk among young women, which may contribute to unfavorable trends in important lifestyle choices such as quitting smoking and increasing physical activity".

Scientists looked at data from more than 2,400 people between the ages of 30 and 50. Family history of premature heart disease was defined as a first-degree relative with history of heart attacks before the age of 50 in men and 55 in women.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 10, 2007, 9:31 PM CT

Implantable device to detect, stop seizures

Implantable device to detect, stop seizures
A small device implanted in the skull that detects oncoming seizures, then delivers a brief electrical stimulus to the brain to stop them is under study at the Medical College of Georgia.

Credit: Medical College of Georgia
A small device implanted in the skull that detects oncoming seizures, then delivers a brief electrical stimulus to the brain to stop them is under study at the Medical College of Georgia.

MCG is among 28 U.S. centers participating in a study to determine if the neurostimulator device can help patients whose seizures are not well controlled by drugs.

The device constantly monitors electrical activity of the brain, gets accustomed to what is normal for that patient and, when it detects activity that is abnormal, within a few milliseconds, sends out a small electrical stimulus to stop it, says Dr. Yong Park, MCG pediatric epileptologist and a principal investigator.

At MCG Medical Center, the RNS System, developed by California-based medical device manufacturer NeuroPace, will be used in about 10 patients age 18-70 who have failed to get their seizures controlled with at least two medications. About 240 patients are expected to enroll nationwide.

Eligible participants must have at least three seizures per month and no more than two seizure foci in the brain. Seizure activity is closely monitored through a diary and monthly doctor visits for three months before patients become eligible.

Participants have a device implanted in the skull, with up to two wires containing electrodes placed near the seizure focus. A modified laptop computer looks at electrical activity picked up by the neurostimulator, then is used to program the device to recognize a patients seizure activity. Physicians can continue to fine-tune the detection and stimulation patterns.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 10, 2007, 9:28 PM CT

Personalized cancer treatment

Personalized cancer treatment
Researchers and clinicians from around the world will gather in Atlanta, Georgia next week at the American Association for Cancer Researchs second International Conference on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development. The conference is subtitled Maximizing Opportunities for Personalized Treatment, which reflects the potential of molecular diagnostics to provide new strategies for tailoring therapies to fit the needs of each cancer patients unique biology.

Sessions will include discussions on the use of biomarkers blood-borne molecules that indicate the presence of cancer in clinical practice and new drug development, advanced imaging technologies for diagnosis, and the application of proteomics in personalized medicine. Novel findings to be reported at the conference include:
  • Case studies that report how clinicians are already bridging the gap between basic cancer biology and personalized clinical care. Scientists present examples of how they fine-tuned the therapy of many different cancer types, including lung and ovarian, based on the genetic profile of the patients tumors.
  • A new acoustic sensor device that could make it possible to screen for multiple cancer biomarkers during a routine doctors visit.
  • A sensitive blood test for early-stage liver cancer that detects a gene altered by the molecular processes that lead to cancer.
........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 10, 2007, 9:12 PM CT

Adverse drug events reported to the FDA

Adverse drug events reported to the FDA
A new study shows the number of drug-therapy related deaths and injuries reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nearly tripled between 1998 and 2005.

A researcher at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and his colleagues evaluated serious and fatal drug events reported in that eight-year period to the FDA by consumers, health professionals and drug manufacturers, and observed that serious adverse drug events increased 2.6-fold, from about 35,000 to nearly 89,000, and adverse drug-related deaths increased 2.7-fold, from about 5,500 to more than 15,000.

The study is published in the Sept. 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

The FDA receives these reports of serious adverse drug events through its Adverse Event Reporting System. Better known to health professionals as MedWatch, this system has been in operation under the same database system since 1998, with consistent regulatory requirements for drug manufacturers.

The study also reported serious events increased four times faster than the total number of outpatient prescriptions during that period.

This marked increase of serious injuries from drug therapy is of great concern, said Curt Furberg, M.D., Ph.D., professor of public health sciences at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and a co-author of the report. It shows current efforts to ensure the safety of drugs are not adequate, and that physicians and patients are unaware of these risks.........

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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