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November 7, 2006, 7:08 PM CT

Enzyme For Treatment Of Diabetic Kidney Disease

Enzyme For Treatment Of Diabetic Kidney Disease
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine scientists have observed that an enzyme called ACE2 may hold the potential to treat diabetic kidney disease, the most common form of kidney disease.

In the laboratory, scientists led by Daniel Batlle, professor of medicine in the Feinberg School, chief of the nephrology/high blood pressure division and staff nephrologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, have found low levels of the ACE2 enzyme in the glomeruli of the kidneys of diabetic mice. When ACE2 was further decreased with an inhibitor drug, kidney disease worsened. Studies are now needed using compounds that increase the level of ACE2 in the kidneys of diabetic mice to see if it reverses or prevents kidney disease from developing, Batlle said.

The experiments appear in a report by Ye et. al in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Diabetes, which affects 230 million people worldwide and 21 million in the United States, is the leading cause of kidney failure. About one-third of patients with diabetes will go on to develop kidney disease. In diabetes, the small blood vessels in the kidneys are injured and the kidneys cannot clean the blood properly. In 2002, a total of 153,000 people in the U.S. with kidney failure due to diabetes were living on chronic dialysis or with a kidney transplant.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 7, 2006, 4:59 AM CT

Why Do We Stick To Our Bad Habits?

Why Do We Stick To Our Bad Habits?
Why do we ignore public warnings and advertisements about the dangers of smoking, drinking alcohol, overeating, stressing out and otherwise persist in habits and behaviours that we know aren't good for us?

Because, says a University of Alberta researcher, we aren't getting at the underlying reasons of why we persist in bad habits or risky behaviour.

In two recent case studies asking people to rate the danger of various types of risks including lifestyle habits, it was clear that they understood what types of behaviour are the riskiest, but that knowledge wasn't enough to motivate them to change their ways, said Dr. Cindy Jardine, an assistant professor of rural sociology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

"The results showed that in fact, people have a very realistic understanding of the various risks in their lives. We as risk communicators--scientists, academics, government agencies--have to get beyond the thought of 'If they only understood the facts, they'd change.' They do understand the facts, but we need to look at other factors we haven't been looking at before".

Jardine presented her findings recently at the RiskCom 2006 Conference in Sweden.

In the first case study conducted by Jardine, 1,200 people in Alberta were surveyed in both 1994 and 2005. Lifestyle habits like cigarette smoking, stress and sun-tanning were ranked as the top three risks, being considered more dangerous to the Alberta public than technology or pollution hazards such as chemical contamination, ozone depletion and sour gas wells. Cigarette smoking was ranked as "very dangerous" by 53 per cent of those surveyed in 1994 and by 60 per cent of the respondents surveyed in 2005. Stress was ranked as "very dangerous" by 54 per cent of the people in 1994 and by 65 per cent in 2005. In contrast, sour gas wells were ranked as "very dangerous" by only 24 per cent of the people in 1994 and by 28 per cent in 2005.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 7, 2006, 4:49 AM CT

More Hemodialysis May Improve Survival

More Hemodialysis May Improve Survival
A study recently published in Hemodialysis International observed that more frequent hemodialysis therapys (five or more weekly) can significantly increase the survival rate of patients suffering from irreversible kidney failure. Typical therapy in the U.S. generally involves three sessions weekly.

The study examines the mortality rate of 117 U.S. patients. Those receiving five or more therapys per week were shown to have a 61% better chance of survival when in comparison to patients receiving conventional therapy.

"More frequent hemodialysis has been shown to improve patient well-being, reduce symptoms during and between therapys and have beneficial effects on clinical outcomes," as per Christopher R. Blagg M.D., lead researcher of the study.

U.S. hemodialysis patients continue to have a high annual mortality rate, despite a number of improvements in dialysis and overall medical care. Increasing the frequency of dialysis may be an effective means of improving patient survival.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


November 7, 2006, 4:43 AM CT

Smoking, Fractures And Ligament Injuries

Smoking, Fractures And Ligament Injuries
Cigarette smoking, which causes over 8.6 million illnesses annually in the U.S., has been shown to have harmful effects on a variety of orthopedic conditions. Studies have shown that the numerous toxins contained in cigarette smoke can undermine fracture and ligament repair following injury. In addition, smokers have higher rates of hip fracture, fracture healing problems and bone infections and smoking has been shown to impair soft tissue wound healing. Two new studies, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Football League Charities, examined the effects of smoking on fractures and ligament healing in mice and observed that healing of both types of injury was delayed. The studies are published in the December 2006 issue of the Journal of Orthopaedic Research (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/jor), the official journal of the Orthopaedic Research Society.

Led by Hossam B. El-Zawawy of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO the first study involved 35 mice divided into a smoking group, which was exposed to cigarette smoke 6 days per week for a month, and a control group. Surgery waccording toformed on all the mice to achieve a simple fracture. Scientists used type II collagen expression as a marker of cartilage formation (chondrogenesis) during healing. They observed that smoking delayed fracture healing and that it began at the early stages of the healing process, eventhough over time it did not inhibit normal healing. Specifically, they were able to show that there was a delay in the development of mature cartilage cells in the mice exposed to cigarette smoke. This was the first study to analyze the molecular and cellular mechanisms of fracture healing in mice exposed to smoke.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


November 7, 2006, 4:38 AM CT

Progress On Retinal Degenerative Diseases

Progress On Retinal Degenerative Diseases
In an unprecedented animal research study, scientists at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, and the Atlanta VA Hospital have used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to produce images of the eyes retinal layers. The research, which will publish in an online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has the potential to revolutionize the way retinal degenerative diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, are diagnosed and treated. Accelerating detection and therapy of such diseases ultimately could help prevent vision loss.

"Currently available technologies for capturing images of the retina, such as fundus photography, allow doctors to view only surface vessels and structures," said lead researcher Timothy Q. Duong, PhD, director of magnetic resonance research at Yerkes and associate professor of neurology and radiology at Emory. "The most serious retinal diseases that cause vision loss, however, attack various cellular levels within the retina. Consequently, these diseases often are diagnosed only in the late stages, after irreversible damage has occurred," he continued.

To penetrate the deep layers of the retina and produce clear images, Dr. Duong and his research team made significant improvements in spatial resolution and sensitivity using Yerkes state-of-the-art MRI technology. These improvements enabled them to non-invasively image structural oxygenation and functional changes in the rodent retinas and detect layer-specific changes in an animal model of retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative disease that affects approximately 1.5 million people worldwide.........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink         Source


November 7, 2006, 4:15 AM CT

Missing Link In Sudden Cardiac Death

Missing Link In Sudden Cardiac Death
An electrical imbalance caused by a malfunctioning gene triggers a potentially fatal heart rhythm disorder, as per scientists at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.

Findings are published in the Nov. 21 print edition of the journal Circulation, a publication of the American Heart Association. The journal has posted the findings online.

Electrical impulses originate in the top of the heart's right atrium and travel through the muscle fibers, causing the heart to contract. The genetic and molecular basis of sudden cardiac arrest, which occurs when these impulses are disrupted, is not well understood.

Study researchers began to close this gap of understanding by becoming the first to isolate a gene called Caveolin-3, which influences the electrical-muscular impulses that drive the heart's rhythm. A mutation of the gene can trigger arrhythmia linked to long QT syndrome, a hereditary disorder that can occur in otherwise-healthy people of all ages, and increases the risk of sudden cardiac death.

"This is part of a totally new concept in which the structural part of the heart is intertwined and connected with the electrical part," said first author Dr. Matteo Vatta, assistant professor of pediatrics at BCM and pediatric cardiac researcher at Texas Children's Hospital. "This is the missing link between the heart's electrical and muscular activities".........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


November 6, 2006, 7:53 PM CT

Most Ear Infections Host Both Bacteria And Viruses

Most Ear Infections Host Both Bacteria And Viruses
Ear infections are among the most common diseases seen in pediatric practice. They have generally been considered bacterial diseases and are therefore commonly treated with antibiotics. New research, reported in the December 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases and currently available online, provides evidence that viruses are found in a great a number of ear infection cases and may complicate therapy.

The scientists used a variety of laboratory techniques to identify the pathogen that caused ear infections, known clinically as acute otitis media (AOM), in 79 young children. They found bacteria in 92 percent of the cases, viruses in 70 percent, and both bacteria and viruses in 66 percent.

As per Aino Ruohola, MD, PhD, from the Turku University Hospital in Finland and lead author of the study, "the major finding of the study is that acute otitis media is a coinfection of bacteria and viruses in the great majority of children. This is actually logical since acute otitis media is virtually always connected to viral respiratory infection".

Antibiotics, which are effective against the bacteria that cause AOM, have no effect on the viruses found in AOM infections. Therefore, the standard therapy for AOM--antibiotics--can be, at best, partially effective in the majority of cases. "Based on this and prior research," said Dr. Ruohola, "it is possible that viruses cause a considerable proportion of clinical therapy failures. Thus, in these cases a new antibiotic is not necessarily the best choice eventhough bacteria resistant to common antibiotics are wide-spread."........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


November 6, 2006, 7:42 PM CT

Pounding Heart And Sweaty Palms

Pounding Heart And Sweaty Palms
People who get scared when they experience a pounding heart, sweaty palms or dizziness -- even if the cause is something as mundane as stress, exercise or caffeine -- are more likely to develop a clinical case of anxiety or panic disorder, as per a Florida State University researcher in Tallahassee, Fla.

While other scientists have proposed a correlation between this so-called "anxiety sensitivity" and a range of anxiety problems, the study by FSU psychology professors N. Brad Schmidt and Jon Maner and University of Vermont Professor Michael Zvolensky provides the first evidence that anxiety sensitivity is a risk factor in the development of anxiety disorders. The study would be reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

"The findings offer an exciting possibility for prevention of anxiety and panic reactions among high-risk individuals," Schmidt said, explaining that the key is to teach people cognitive and behavioral skills to reduce their anxiety sensitivity so that it does not lead to a serious problem.

People with anxiety sensitivity perceive their physical responses to certain triggers as a sign of imminent personal harm. They not only fear their reactions, they also fear that other people will detect their anxiety, which only serves to increase their anxiety and puts them at risk for a panic attack, as per Schmidt.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 6, 2006, 4:51 AM CT

Hospital Costs For Children With Flu

Hospital Costs For Children With Flu
Going into another flu season, a new study reports that hospitalizing children for influenza may cost up to three or four times the previously accepted estimates. Pediatric scientists from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia say their finding strengthens the economic justification for broadly vaccinating children against flu.

"We found the cost of influenza-related hospitalizations in children was about $13,000 each--in comparison to most previous studies that estimated the cost at three to four thousand dollars," said study leader Ron Keren, M.D., M.P.H., a pediatrician at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "This suggests that annual influenza vaccinations for children, particularly for those with certain high-risk conditions, may be more cost-effective than previously thought".

The study appears in the recent issue of Pediatrics.

The scientists analyzed billing data for 727 patients up to age 21 who were admitted to Children's Hospital with laboratory-confirmed influenza over four consecutive flu seasons, from 2000 to 2004. The study team statistically adjusted the direct medical costs to account for geographic variations in those costs.

"We found a broad range of hospital costs in the study, from approximately $7,000 each for patients treated only on the ward, to nearly $40,000 each for children cared for in the intensive care unit," said Dr. Keren. Children with low-risk conditions had hospital costs averaging $9,000 each, in comparison to those with high-risk conditions, whose costs averaged $15,000 each.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


November 6, 2006, 4:48 AM CT

Who Would Cut The Cake?

Who Would Cut The Cake?
Suppose a cake is to be divided between two people, Alice and Bob. A fair procedure is to have Alice cut the cake and then have Bob choose whichever piece he prefers. Alice has an incentive to cut the cake exactly in half, since she will be left with whichever piece Bob does not take.

This "you cut, I choose" method, known since time immemorial, has been used in dispute resolutions ranging from land division in the Bible to children's squabbles over birthday cake. An article to appear in the December 2006 issue of the Notices of the AMS draws on the power and precision of mathematics to show there are even better ways to cut a cake.

The three authors of the article, Steven J. Brams, Michael A. Jones, and Christian Klamler, point out that the cut-and-choose method has the desirable property of "envy-freeness": Neither person envies the other, because each knows he has gotten at least half the cake. But the method lacks another desirable property, that of equitability: The subjective value that the two people place on the pieces they get might not be the same. For example, suppose one half of the cake is frosted with vanilla icing and the other with chocolate icing, and suppose Alice values chocolate icing twice as much as vanilla. It is possible that Alice's valuation of the piece she gets will be less than Bob's valuation of his piece, making these the two valuations inequitable.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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