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July 29, 2007, 9:57 PM CT

Stem Cells Could Lead To Heart Attack Treatments

Stem Cells Could Lead To Heart Attack Treatments
New research at the University of Nottingham, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), is paving the way for techniques that use stem cells to repair the damage caused by heart attacks.

The research, highlighted in the new issue of BBSRC Business, is looking at the process that turns a stem cell into a cardiomyocyte the beating cell that makes up the heart. The Nottingham scientists are in the process of developing a new system to monitor cardiomyocytes in real time as they differentiate from stem cells into beating heart cells. The system uses electrophysiology to record the electrical properties in a cell and will be the first time it has been used to study cardiomyocyte cells in the UK.

The scientists hope that their research could provide more detailed information on the electrical activity of stem cell derived cardiomyocytes. In the longer term, this could facilitate their use in regenerating the damaged hearts of heart attack victims.

Human embryonic stem cells promise unrivalled opportunities. However, they are difficult, time-consuming and expensive to grow in the lab, Dr Denning explains. Our understanding of how to convert them into cardiomyocytes is poor. At the moment we only know how to produce a few million cardiomyocytes, but to treat just one heart attack patient, we may need one billion that all function in the correct way.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

July 29, 2007, 9:55 PM CT

New Genetic Risk Factors For Multiple Sclerosis

New Genetic Risk Factors For Multiple Sclerosis
A pair of large-scale genetic studies supported by the National Institutes of Health has revealed two genes that influence the risk of getting multiple sclerosis (MS) data sought since the discovery of the only other known MS susceptibility gene decades ago. The findings could shed new light on what causes MS a puzzling mix of genes, environment and immunity and on potential therapys for at least 350,000 Americans who have the disease.

"These studies describe the first genes conclusively associated with MS in more than 20 years," said Ursula Utz, Ph.D., a program director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a part of NIH. This breakthrough was made possible through persistence, an elegant search strategy, and genomic data and techniques that were not available until recently.

Both studies involved scanning DNA samples from more than 20,000 MS patients and unaffected individuals in the U.S. and Europe, and looking for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which are single-letter variations in a gene's DNA code. Published simultaneously today in the New England Journal (NEJM) and Nature Genetics, the studies demonstrate an association between MS and SNPs in two genes that encode interleukin receptors, proteins that serve as antennae on the surface of immune cells.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

July 29, 2007, 9:54 PM CT

Work-family stress studied among immigrant Latinos

Work-family stress studied among immigrant Latinos
A new study that examined the work-family experiences of recent Latino immigrants working in low-wage, nonprofessional jobs, observed that they reported infrequent work-family conflict, as per lead author Joseph G. Grzywacz, Ph.D., of Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

The findings, would be reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology, suggest that individuals from more collective cultures experience fewer conflicts between work and family than white, middle-class workers because they view work as a necessary and vital component of assuring family well-being.

Work-family conflict refers to situations in which the demands and responsibilities of work and family roles are incompatible in some respect. It can occur in both directions. For example, family can interfere with work if a worker is distracted by marital problems or a sick child. And, work can interfere with family when work schedules make it impossible to attend family functions or complete household chores. Since the early part of 1970s when women began joining the workforce en masse, work-family conflict research has focused, almost exclusively, on professional white adults, said Grzywacz.

Work-family balance is a popular topic yet very little is known about the work-family experiences of Latinos, the fastest growing segment of the work force and a population that frequently finds themselves in difficult work arrangements, said Grzywacz.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

July 29, 2007, 9:53 PM CT

Research links genetic mutations to lupus

Research links genetic mutations to lupus
A gene discovered by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine has been associated with lupus and related autoimmune diseases. The finding, published in the current issue of Nature Genetics, is the latest in a series of revelations that shed new light on what goes wrong in human cells to cause the diseases.

This research is a huge leap toward understanding the cause of lupus and related autoimmune diseases, said Fred Perrino, Ph.D., a co-author on the paper and a professor of biochemistry at Wake Forest. There had been few clues before now.

Perrino, who discovered the gene in 1998, said he suspected it was involved in human disease, but it took a group of scientists from around the world collaborating to put the puzzle together.

Weve known that lupus was a complex disease, but now we have a specific protein and a particular cellular process that appears to be one of the causes, said Perrino. Were connecting the dots to understand the biology of whats going on with the disease.

In Nature Genetics, lead author Min Ae Lee-Kirsch, M.D., from the Technische Universitt Dresden in Dresden, Gera number of, and his colleagues report finding variations of the TREX1 gene discovered by Perrino in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. The.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source

July 26, 2007, 9:42 PM CT

Weight and pregnancy

Weight and pregnancy
Gaining or losing weight in between pregnancies can have major health implications for an unborn baby, warn two senior obstetricians in todays BMJ.

While weight and obesity have long concerned women in relation to body image and lifestyle issues, few are aware of the possible risks that fluctuating weight could have on their unborn child, write Dr Jennifer Walsh and Professor Deirdre Murphy.

They point to two studies. The first, from Sweden, which observed that weight gain between pregnancies was strongly linked to major complications for the woman and baby in the months preceding, during and just after childbirth. This was independent of whether a woman was, by definition, overweight.

The scientists studied 207,534 women from the beginning of their first pregnancy to the beginning of their second. They found increased rates of pre-eclampsia, diabetes in the expectant mother, pregnancy induced hypertension and high birth weight if a womans body mass index (BMI) increased by just one to two units. A rise of more than three BMI units significantly increased the rate of stillbirths.

The key message, say the authors, is that women of normal weight should avoid gaining weight between pregnancies, while overweight and obese women are likely to benefit from weight loss before becoming pregnant.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source

July 26, 2007, 9:40 PM CT

Malt Liquor Linked to Marijuana Use

Malt Liquor Linked to Marijuana Use
Image courtesy of lager57
Drinking malt liquor -- the cheap, high-alcohol beverage often marketed to teens -- may put young adults at increased risk for alcohol problems and use of illicit drugs, especially marijuana, as per a new study of malt liquor drinkers and marijuana use by researchers at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions (RIA).

"In our study of young adults who regularly drink malt liquor," reports lead researcher R. Lorraine Collins, senior research scientist at RIA, "we observed that malt liquor use is significantly correlation to reports of alcohol problems, problems specific to the use of malt liquor and to marijuana use above and beyond typical alcohol use." Collins also is a research professor in the Department of Psychology, UB College of Arts and Sciences.

The study consisted of 639 young adults (456 men) of approximately 23 years of age who regularly consume 40 ounces or more of malt liquor per week. They were recruited from the community-at-large, as well as Buffalo Niagara area colleges. The participants were heavy drinkers, averaging 30 alcoholic drinks -- including 17 malt liquor drinks -- per week.

In addition to malt liquor use, marijuana was the illicit drug of choice, with 46 percent reporting simultaneous use of malt liquor and marijuana. Individuals who used malt liquor and marijuana together smoked 19 marijuana joints, on average, during a typical week, whereas those who did not use the two together smoked two marijuana joints, on average, during a typical week. Very few participants reported regular use of other illicit drugs.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

July 26, 2007, 9:33 PM CT

U-M researchers identify gene involved in breast cancer

U-M researchers identify gene involved in breast cancer
Scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified a gene associated with the development of an aggressive form of breast cancer.

The scientists observed that the gene, FOXP3, suppresses tumor growth. FOXP3 is located on the X chromosome, which means a single mutation can effectively silence the gene. This is unusual, as only one other gene associated with cancer has been found on the X chromosome.

When one copy of the FOXP3 gene is silenced, the scientists found in studying mice, 90 percent of the mice spontaneously developed malignant tumors. The scientists also looked at FOXP3 in human breast tissue cells, comparing malignant and non-malignant cells. FOXP3 was found to be either deleted or mutated in a substantial portion of the cancer sample: about 80 percent of the cancer tissues studied did not express the gene at all.

In addition, the scientists found FOXP3 to be a repressor of HER-2, a protein that typically marks a more aggressive form of breast cancer. The scientists believe FOXP3 suppresses the HER-2 gene. HER-2 can be activated by a number of different factors, but the scientists observed that when FOXP3 is normal, it keeps HER-2 levels low; when FOXP3 is missing or mutated, HER-2 levels are likely to rise.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

July 26, 2007, 9:31 PM CT

Nutritional Supplement Cuts Anemia In Poor Children

Nutritional Supplement Cuts Anemia In Poor Children
A nutritional supplement known as Sprinkles, which can be added to children's food, reduces anemia by more than half, as per a recent study reported in the Journal of Nutrition.

The study was led by Purnima Menon, Cornell Ph.D. '02, a research associate in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. It is the first to show, using a rigorous study design, that Sprinkles can reduce the occurence rate of anemia among poor children enrolled in an ongoing fortified food aid program implemented under challenging, real-life conditions in developing countries.

This research, which was conducted by Cornell's Division of Nutritional Sciences with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), offers promising insights on how to reduce iron and other micronutrient deficiencies among poor people in developing countries. These deficiencies are a devastating problem worldwide, causing poor health, premature death and impaired development, says Menon. Children age 6 to 24 months are most vulnerable to suffering from iron-deficiency anemia.

"When combined with other food aid initiatives, the potential impact [of Sprinkles] is huge," said Marie Ruel, Cornell Ph.D. '90, director of IFPRI's Food Consumption and Nutrition Division and a co-author of the study.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

July 26, 2007, 5:10 AM CT

Why do people love horror movies?

Why do people love horror movies?
A bedrock assumption in theories that explain and predict human behavior is people's motivation to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. How can this be reconciled with the decision to engage in experiences known to elicit negative feelings, such as horror movies" It certainly seems counterintuitive that so a number of people would voluntarily immerse themselves in almost two hours of fear, disgust and terror. "Why do people pay for this?" "How is this enjoyable?" .

Investigators generally use one of two theories to explain why people like horror movies. The first is that the person is not actually afraid, but excited by the movie. The second explanation is that they are willing to endure the terror in order to enjoy a euphoric sense of relief at the end. But, a new study by Eduardo Andrade (University of California, Berkeley) and Joel B. Cohen (University of Florida) appearing in the recent issue of the Journal of Consumer Research argues that neither of these theories is correct.

We think that a reevaluation of the two dominant explanations for peoples willingness to consume negative experiences (both of which assume that people can not experience negative and positive emotions simultaneously) is in order, explain Andrade and Cohen in their study.

They continue: The assumption of peoples inability to experience positive and negative affect at the same time is incorrect.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

July 26, 2007, 4:59 AM CT

You're Not As Generous As You Think

You're Not As Generous As You Think
Christina Fong
A new study out of Carnegie Mellon University reveals that people who regard themselves as humanitarians are even more likely than others to base donations to the poor on whether they believe poverty is a result of bad luck or bad choices.

The study by Christina Fong, a research scientist in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon, supports prior findings that people are more likely to give money to the poor when they think that poverty is a result of misfortune rather than laziness. What's surprising is that this effect is largest among people who claim to have more humanitarian or egalitarian beliefs. In fact, humanitarians give no more than others when recipients are deemed to be poor because of laziness.

Fong's results, reported in the recent issue of the Economic Journal, are significant because altruistic behavior is not well explained by traditional economics, which assumes that self-interest is the prime motivator for human behavior.

"These findings, along with previous findings from social survey data and experiments, help economists develop more realistic models of human behavior so that they can better explain how societies deal with poverty and inequality. They imply that people may be more likely to support policies and charities that help insure people against bad luck rather than their own choices," Fong said.........

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. Archives of health news blog

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