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July 1, 2006, 11:55 AM CT

Clozapine Has Serious Health Consequences

Clozapine Has Serious Health Consequences
Patients who take clozapine, the most effective antipsychotic drug, have significantly higher rates of metabolic syndrome, according to a first-of-a-kind study by University of Rochester Medical Center researchers.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that increase the risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The conditions include high blood pressure, excess body fat around the waist, abnormal levels of cholesterol and triglycerides and insulin resistance. Any one of the conditions increases the risk of serious disease. In combination, the risk grows greater.

More than half the clozapine patients studied had metabolic syndrome while only about 20 percent of those in a comparison group did, researchers report in the recent issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Patients with metabolic syndrome in this study would be expected to have a two-to-threefold increase in cardiovascular disease mortality, the Medical Center Department of Psychiatry researchers state.

"Clozapine is the last hope for many people," said J. Steven Lamberti, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry and lead author of the journal article. "But there are long-term health implications. This study suggests that patients who need the most effective medicine are between a rock and a hard place".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 1, 2006, 11:48 AM CT

Aspirin may not reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in smokers

Aspirin may not reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in smokers
It is widely known that the use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer by up to 40 percent, but this protective effect may not extend to long-term smokers, who already face an increased risk of the disease, as per a research studyled by scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

In a large, population-based study comparing risk factors in people with and without colorectal cancer, the scientists found the highest risk of colon cancer to be among long-term smokers of 20 or more years who had never used NSAIDs. The scientists also found that smokers who used NSAIDs were still at an approximate 30 percent higher risk of colon cancer than nonsmokers.

The findings, which appear in the July 1 issue of Cancer Research, arise from the first study of its kind to examine the effects of NSAID use on colorectal-cancer risk among smokers, said first author Victoria Chia, a research associate in the Hutchinson Center's Cancer Prevention Program.

"Smoking has been linked to a modestly increased risk of colorectal cancer, and use of NSAIDs has been shown to significantly decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. We wanted to see if NSAIDs could counteract the adverse effects of smoking with regard to colorectal-cancer risk, and whether these associations differed by tumor characteristics," she said.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


July 1, 2006, 10:01 AM CT

Gabapentin Cools Hot Flashes

Gabapentin Cools Hot Flashes Image courtesy of www.neurontin.com
University of Rochester researchers, who have been investigating new therapies for hot flashes for several years, report in the July Obstetrics and Gynecology journal that the seizure drug gabapentin is as effective as estrogen, which used to be the gold standard therapy for menopause symptoms.

Estrogen is no longer the preferred treatment because recent, large studies have shown that the hormone increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease for some women. Given that news, millions of women have abandoned hormone replacement treatment (HRT) and are seeking other ways to ease symptoms. So-called natural remedies such as soy, herbal products or acupuncture have not proven safe or effective at this point.

The latest Rochester study is the first to compare gabapentin and estrogen head-to-head against a placebo. Eventhough it showed a substantial placebo effect similar to other menopause studies - women taking the sugar pill reported a 54-percent reduction in hot flashes - the women taking gabapentin and estrogen reported even better results, with a 71 percent to 72 percent decline in symptoms.

"Gabapentin does appear to be as effective as estrogen," said lead author Sireesha Y. Reddy, M.D., assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "Until now its efficacy relative to estrogen was unknown".........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


July 1, 2006, 9:56 AM CT

Pomegranate Juice Keeps PSA Levels Stable

Pomegranate Juice Keeps PSA Levels Stable
Drinking an eight ounce glass of pomegranate juice daily increased by nearly four times the period during which PSA levels in men treated for prostate cancer remained stable, a three-year UCLA study has observed.

The study involved 50 men who had undergone surgery or radiation but quickly experienced increases in prostate-specific antigen or PSA, a biomarker that indicates the presence of cancer. UCLA scientists measured "doubling time," how long it takes for PSA levels to double, a signal that the cancer is progressing, said Dr. Allan Pantuck, an associate professor of urology, a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher and lead author of the study.

Doubling time is crucial in prostate cancer, Pantuck said, because patients who have short doubling times are more likely to die from their cancer. The average doubling time is about 15 months. In the UCLA study, Pantuck and his team observed increases in doubling times from 15 months to 54 months, an almost four-fold increase.

"That's a big increase. I was surprised when I saw such an improvement in PSA numbers," Pantuck said. "In older men 65 to 70 who have been treated for prostate cancer, we can give them pomegranate juice and it may be possible for them to outlive their risk of dying from their cancer. We're hoping we may be able to prevent or delay the need for other therapies commonly used in this population such as hormone therapy or chemotherapy, both of which bring with them harmful side effects".........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


July 1, 2006, 9:52 AM CT

Prostatic Radiation Does Not Increase Rectal Cancer Risk

Prostatic Radiation Does Not Increase Rectal Cancer Risk
Men who receive radiation treatment for prostate cancer are not at any appreciable increased risk of developing rectal cancer compared to those not given radiation treatment, as per a new study reported in the July 1, 2006, issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of ASTRO, the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

This year, 235,000 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. The main ways of dealing with the disease are radiation treatment, surgery and watchful waiting - each of which has its benefits and disadvantages. Scientists have hypothesized that one disadvantage of using radiation to kill the cancer cells in the prostate is that it might also make men more likely to develop cancer in the nearby rectum.

In this study, doctors in Canada evaluated the records of 237,773 men who had prostate cancer. Of them, 33,841 received radiation treatment, 167,607 had their prostate removed surgically and 36,335 received neither therapy. On an initial simple evaluation, doctors found that rectal cancer developed in 243 men who received radiation (0.7 percent), 578 men treated with surgery (0.3 percent), and 227 of the men given neither therapy (0.8 percent). Once doctors had adjusted for the age differences between all the men in the irradiated and non-irradiated groups, they could not find any significant increased risk of rectal cancer in the irradiated men compared to those not given radiation treatment.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


June 30, 2006, 0:12 AM CT

Light Cigarette Smokers Less Likely To Quit

Light Cigarette Smokers Less Likely To Quit
People who smoke low-tar and low-nicotine, or "light" cigarettes thinking they will reduce their health risks may actually be less likely to kick the habit, as per research conducted by University of Pittsburgh and Harvard University. As such, light cigarette smokers increase their lifetime risk of a variety of smoking-related diseases suggests the study published online by the American Journal of Public Health.

The analysis, conducted by Hilary Tindle, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, while she was based at Harvard Medical School, found that of 12,285 self-reported smokers, those who used light cigarettes were about 50 percent less likely to quit smoking than those who smoked non-light cigarettes. Smoking light cigarettes was associated with reduced odds of quitting for all age groups, but this effect increased with progressing age, peaking in adults age 65 and older, who were 76 percent less likely to quit than their counterparts who smoked non-light cigarettes.

Additionally, Dr. Tindle and her collaborators, who included Saul Shiffman, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, found that more than a third (37 percent) of the self-reported smokers said they used light cigarettes to reduce their health risks. The majority of these light cigarette smokers were female, Caucasian and highly educated. The responses were obtained as part of the 2000 National Health Interview Survey, an ongoing household survey of the U.S. population conducted by the United States Census Bureau for the National Center for Health Statistics.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 30, 2006, 0:07 AM CT

No Link Between Income And Happiness

No Link Between Income And Happiness
While most people think that having more income would make them happier, Princeton University scientists have found that the link is greatly exaggerated and mostly an illusion.

People surveyed about their own happiness and that of others with varying incomes tended to overstate the impact of income on well-being, as per a new study. Eventhough income is widely assumed to be a good measure of well-being, the scientists found that its role is less significant than predicted and that people with higher incomes do not necessarily spend more time in more enjoyable ways.

Two Princeton professors, economist Alan B. Krueger and psychology expert and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, collaborated with colleagues from three other universities on the study, being reported in the June 30 issue of Science. The new findings build on their efforts to develop alternative methods of gauging the well-being of individuals and of society. The new measures are based on people's ratings of their actual experiences, instead of a judgment of their lives as a whole.

"The belief that high income is associated with good mood is widespread but mostly illusory," the scientists wrote. "People with above-average income are relatively satisfied with their lives but are barely happier than others in moment-to-moment experience, tend to be more tense, and do not spend more time in especially enjoyable activities".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


June 29, 2006, 11:57 PM CT

Biological Clock And Cancer

Biological Clock And Cancer
What’s the connection between the biological clock and cancer? Looks like researchers from the Dartmouth Medical School geneticists have the answer. They have discovered that DNA damage resets the cellular circadian clock, suggesting links among circadian timing, the cycle of cell division, and the propensity for cancer.

Their work, reported June 29 in Science Express, the advance electronic publication of Science, implies a protective dimension for the biological clock in addition to its pacemaker functions that play such a sweeping role in the rhythms and activities of life.

"The notion that the clock regulates DNA-damage input and that mutation can affect the clock as well as the cell cycle is novel," says Jay Dunlap, professor and chair of genetics at DMS. "It suggests a fundamental connection among circadian timing, cell cycle progress, and potentially the origins of some cancers".

Dunlap is a co-author of the paper with DMS colleagues, Jennifer Loros, professor of biochemistry, graduate student Christopher L. Baker, and former students Antonio M. Pregueiro and Qiuyun Liu.

The team of Loros and Dunlap were among to first to delineate the intricate web of clockwork genes, proteins and feedback loops that drive circadian rhythms, working chiefly in the classic genetic model organism Neurospora, the common bread mold.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 29, 2006, 9:35 PM CT

With Cochlear Implants

With Cochlear Implants
"Bye-bye, bye-bye," said one 3 and a half-year old child, born deaf but with a cochlear implant that partially restored hearing nine months earlier. That's the most complex speech the child uttered during a testing session that involved play with a toy train set.

In contrast, a child of the same age who had a cochlear implant 31 months earlier made more sophisticated statements: "OK, now the people goes to stand there with that noise and now -- Woo! Woo!" and "OK, the train's coming to get the animals and people."

The testing session was part of research that indicates the earlier a deaf infant or toddler receives a cochlear implant, the better his or her spoken language skills at age 3 and a half. The research was conducted by Johanna Grant Nicholas, Ph.D., research associate professor of otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and colleague Ann E. Geers, Ph.D., from the Southwestern Medical School at the University of Texas at Dallas.

"Ninety percent of children born deaf are born to hearing parents, and these parents know very little about deafness," Nicholas says. "They don't know how to have a conversation in sign language or teach it to their children. A number of of these parents would like their children to learn spoken language."........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


June 28, 2006, 11:59 PM CT

No Need To Avoid Chocolate, Wine, Or Spicy Foods

No Need To Avoid Chocolate, Wine, Or Spicy Foods
Patients have been known to hug Lauren Gerson, MD, so overjoyed are they at hearing her words. What does she say to them? Go ahead and eat chocolate. Indulge your passion for spicy cuisine. Drink red wine. Enjoy coffee when you want it, have that orange juice with breakfast and, what the heck, eat a grapefruit, too. Gerson says that for most heartburn patients, there's insufficient evidence to support the notion that eating these foods will make heartburn worse - or that cutting them out will make it go away.

A number of of Gerson's patients walk into her clinic upset, having been advised elsewhere to severely limit their diets to help reduce their heartburn symptoms. But recent research by Gerson, assistant professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, indicates there's no evidence to support a need for dietary deprivation, except for the unlucky few whose heartburn is clearly triggered by a particular food.

Gerson's advice runs counter to the long-standing recommendations of virtually every professional organization of gastroenterologists, including the American College of Gastroenterology, as well as the National Institutes of Health. For the past 15 to 20 years, the standard therapy for heartburn has been to cut out the aforementioned culinary joys - along with fried and fatty foods, all alcoholic and carbonated beverages, tobacco and mint - and to stop eating three hours before lying down. In addition, you're advised to keep your weight under control. Those changes in lifestyle coupled with antacids and various over-the-counter and prescription medications have been the accepted first line of therapy.........

Posted by: Sue      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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