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June 18, 2008, 8:55 PM CT

Failure to bridle inflammation spurs atherosclerosis

Failure to bridle inflammation spurs atherosclerosis
When a person develops a sore or a boil, it erupts, drawing to it immune system cells that fight the infection. Then it resolves and flattens into the skin, often leaving behind a mark or a scar.

A similar scenario plays out in the blood vessels. However, when there is a defect in the resolution response the ability of blood vessels to recover from inflammation atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries can result, said scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and Harvard Medical School in Boston in a report that appears online today in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology The major factor in this disease is a deficiency in the chemical signals that encourage resolution (pro-resolution signals). These signals are produced in the blood vessel where the inflammation occurs, the scientists said.

Chronic inflammation of the artery wall can cause atherosclerosis, a major risk factor for heart disease and heart attack. However, said Dr. Lawrence C.B. Chan, professor of medicine and molecular and cellular biology and chief of the division of division of diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism at BCM, in a number of instances, the lesions or little sores inside the artery arise and then resolve, often from a very young age. The mystery is why some lesions do not heal.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


June 17, 2008, 9:56 PM CT

US could face shortage of 44,000 primary care physicians by 2025

US could face shortage of 44,000 primary care physicians by 2025
By 2025, the wait to see a doctor could get a lot longer if the current number of students training to be primary care physicians doesn't increase soon, as per a new University of Missouri study. Jack Colwill, professor emeritus of family and community medicine in the MU School of Medicine, and his research team observed that the U.S. could face a shortage of up to 44,000 family physicians and general internists in less than 20 years, due to a skewed compensation system that rewards specialists increasingly more than primary care practitioners. The scientists are more optimistic about the future supply of general pediatricians.

Today, generalist physicians are a third of the U.S. doctor workforce and are responsible for more than half of all patient visits at doctors' offices.

"Concern about the supply of generalists is not new," said Colwill, who also is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine. "It has been with us since the 1960s and was gradually improving. However, during the past decade, the number of generalist graduates has fallen by 22 percent and declines continue as medical school graduates enter other specialties. At the same time, the U.S. population is increasing by about one percent each year, and the baby boomer generation will significantly increase the number of Americans older than 65 by 2025.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 17, 2008, 9:42 PM CT

Inherited melanoma risk: What you do know?

Inherited melanoma risk: What you do know?
Salt Lake CityWhen people know the results of genetic tests confirming they have inherited an increased risk of developing melanoma, they follow skin cancer screening recommendations more proactivelymuch like those who have already been diagnosed with the potentially deadly disease, as per results of a study completed at the University of Utah's Huntsman Cancer Institute. and reported in the recent issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention

Tests for mutations in the CDKN2A gene can reveal a reason that melanomas "run" in families. The study reviewed the intent to follow, and the actual practice of, skin cancer early detection methods by members of families that carry CDKN2A gene mutations. Study participants were drawn from a group of Utahns who participated in the original "CDKN2A gene hunt" 10 to 12 years ago. They already knew that their family history might put them at increased risk for melanoma, and they had previously received melanoma prevention and screening education.

The results showed that people who tested positive for the CDKN2A mutation followed melanoma screening recommendations more carefully than before, even if they had not had a melanoma. In addition, knowing the test results did not lead family members without the mutation to decrease their screening measures.........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source


June 17, 2008, 8:57 PM CT

Red grape seeds in treatment of Alzheimer's disease

Red grape seeds in treatment of Alzheimer's disease
Mount Sinai scientists have discovered that polyphenolics derived from red grape seeds may be useful agents to prevent or treat Alzheimer's disease (AD). The new study entitled, "Grape derived polyphenolics prevent A oligomerization and attenuate cognitive deterioration in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease," was published in The Journal of Neuroscience This new study explored the possibility of developing 'wine mimetic pills' that would replace the recommended beneficial glass of red wine a day for AD prevention.

"Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive impairments in memory and cognition," said Dr. Giulio Maria Pasinetti, senior author and Director of the NCCAM-NIH funded Center of Excellence for Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Alzheimer's Disease at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "The study used a naturally derived grape seed polyphenolic extract and demonstrated its efficacy to reduce AD-type A neuropathology as well as cognitive deterioration in the Tg2576 AD mouse model. This natural compound is immediately available to be tested in AD clinical settings to prevent or treat AD".

Over the past few years scientists at Mount Sinai's Center of Excellence set out to determine whether the FDA's recommended daily servings of red wine (approximately one glass for women and two glasses for men), might have the same positive health effect that studies and surveys of populations had shown in the past. They are currently investigating nearly 5000 compounds contained in red wine.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


June 16, 2008, 10:22 PM CT

How safe are medical cannabinoids?

How safe are medical cannabinoids?
Wang and his colleagues performed a systematic review of safety studies of medical cannabinoids published over the past 40 years and observed that short-term use appeared to increase the risk of non-serious adverse events. Of all non-serious adverse events, dizziness was the most common (15.5%).

"We observed that the rate of non-serious adverse events was 1.86 times higher among medical cannabinoid users than among controls," state the authors. "However, we did not find a higher incidence rate of serious adverse events linked to medical cannabinoid use." The authors note that 99% of the serious adverse events from randomized controlled trials were reported in only 2 trials, a fact the authors say suggests that more studies are mandatory to further characterize safety issues.

In a related commentary, Dr. Louisa Degenhardt, Professor of Epidemiology, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (l.degenhardt@unsw.edu.au), states that, eventhough the side effects of oral cannabis treatment appear to be minor in the short term, their longer-term effects, especially in the setting of chronic illness, have yet to be studied.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


June 16, 2008, 10:15 PM CT

Blood pressure levels in childhood track into adulthood

Blood pressure levels in childhood track into adulthood
Hypertension in childhood is linked to higher blood pressure or high blood pressure in adulthood, as per a research studyby scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Their analyses of previously published blood pressure tracking studies over the last four decades show a consistent relationship between children's blood pressure levels with their blood pressure levels as adults. The results are reported in the June 2008 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association

"The blood pressure tracking data indicate that children with elevated blood pressure levels often grew up to become adults with elevated blood pressure," said Youfa Wang, MD, PhD, senior author of the study and associate professor with the Bloomberg School's Center for Human Nutrition. "It is important to monitor blood pressure in childrensince early detection and intervention could prevent high blood pressure and related disease risks during the later part of life. For example, studies show that even slightly elevated blood pressure as adults will increase future risks for cardiovascular disease considerably".

Wang and Xiaoli Chen, MD, PhD, former postdoctoral research fellow in the Bloomberg School's Department of International Health, attributed the findings to a systematic review and meta-analysis of 50 cohort studies tracking the systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels of children into adulthood. Scientists analyzed blood pressure levels at various ages and follow-up lengths from previously published studies that monitored children's blood pressure levels for as long as forty years across multiple countries and continents.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 16, 2008, 10:13 PM CT

Why some don't respond to cholesterol-lowering drugs

Why some don't respond to cholesterol-lowering drugs
A variation in the way the body processes a single protein may explain why some people don't respond well to drugs that lower "bad" cholesterol, as per a report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association

The gene variation, called alternative splicing, explained 9 percent of the drugs' decreased power to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in study participants in comparison to people with the standard processing pathway.

The study is the first to show that a change in a biological process contributes substantially to the effectiveness of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins.

"Nine percent is a large number," said Ronald Krauss, M.D., senior author of the study and director of atherosclerosis research at the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute in California. "When we look at individual variations in genes affecting cholesterol metabolism, we can commonly explain only a few percent of the variability in statin response."

The discovery could lead to improved cholesterol therapy and new treatment for other chronic ailments.

"The implications could go well beyond the efficacy of statins by helping us to understand the differences among individuals in how cholesterol is metabolized," Krauss said.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


June 16, 2008, 10:09 PM CT

Abortion drug's off-label use may have led to deaths

Abortion drug's off-label use may have led to deaths
University of Michigan researcher David Aronoff, M.D., uses an oxygen-free "glove box" to study Clostridium sordellii bacteria. These bacteria normally don't cause serious infection, but overwhelmed the immune systems of several women taking the drug misoprostol.

Credit: Scott Galvin-U-M Photo Services

Preliminary U-M studies indicate that oral use of RU-486's companion drug misoprostol is safe, but vaginal use may undermine body's immune responses.

The off-label use of a drug given with RU-486 to terminate a pregnancy may be responsible for a handful of rare, fatal infections seen in women taking the drugs since 2000, a study by University of Michigan researchers suggests.

The drug misoprostol is FDA-approved to be taken by mouth along with RU-486 to end a pregnancy. But a number of women have received the drug vaginally as part of the two-drug combination, a method of delivery not reviewed by the FDA.

In animal and cell culture studies, the U-M scientists observed that misoprostol, when given directly in the reproductive tract, suppresses key immune responses and can allow a normally non-threatening bacterium, Clostridium sordellii, to gain the upper hand and cause deadly infection. When absorbed through the stomach, however, the drug did not compromise immune defenses or cause illness.

The study, which appears today online ahead of print in the Journal of Immunology, also has implications for understanding dangerous infections that occur during pregnancy.

"Infections after medicine abortions are rare, and Clostridium infections after abortion are exceedingly rare," says David Aronoff, M.D., an infectious disease specialist who led the U-M study.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


June 16, 2008, 9:19 PM CT

Complex Changes in the Brain's Vascular System Occur after Menopause

Complex Changes in the Brain's Vascular System Occur after Menopause
A number of women experience menopausal changes in their body including hot flashes, moodiness and fatigue, but the changes they don't notice can be more dangerous. In a new study, scientists at the University of Missouri have discovered significant changes in the brain's vascular system when the ovaries stop producing estrogen. MU researchers predict that currently used estrogen-based hormone therapies may complicate this process and may do more harm than good in postmenopausal women.

"Before menopause, women are much more protected from certain conditions such as heart disease and stroke, but these vascular changes might explain why women lose this protection after menopause," said Olga Glinskii, research assistant professor of medical pharmacology and physiology in MU's School of Medicine and lead author of the study. "Because the body eventually will naturally adapt to the loss of estrogen, we advise extreme caution when using estrogen-based treatment in postmenopausal women".

In their study, MU scientists removed the ovaries of pigs, which have a reproductive cycle similar to humans, to create postmenopausal conditions. Two months after the ovaries were removed, they observed dramatic differences in the brain's vascular system. There was a huge loss of micro vessels, and blood vessels became "leaky".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


June 16, 2008, 9:16 PM CT

Hot flashes underreported and linked to forgetfulness

Hot flashes underreported and linked to forgetfulness
Women in midlife underreport the number of hot flashes that they experience by more than 40 percent, and these hot flashes are associated with poor verbal memory, as per a research studyby scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The study is published online and will appear in the September/recent issue of the journal Menopause

It is the first study to explore the relationship between objectively measured hot flashes and memory performance.

Memory complaints are common at midlife, and prior research indicates that about 40 percent of midlife women report forgetfulness.

Many studies have looked at the relationship between menopausal symptoms (vasomotor symptoms, hot flashes and sleep disturbances that accompany hot flashes) and memory complaints and found no relationship between subjective, or self-reported, hot flashes and objective performance on memory tests in women.

These findings have left a number of to assume that there is no relationship between menopausal symptoms and memory dysfunction in women, said Maki.

"The problem is that the physiology of hot flashes and the science of hot flashes is more complex than we previously understood," she said.

The scientists enrolled 29 midlife women with moderate to severe hot flashes in an observational study. The women wore monitors that measured changes in skin conductance during a hot flash. Both subjective and objective hot flashes were recorded during a 24-hour period. The average number of objective hot flashes was 19.5 per day.........

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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