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February 14, 2008, 10:29 PM CT

Novel approach strips staph of virulence

Novel approach strips staph of virulence
An international team of scientists supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has blocked staph infections in mice using a drug previously tested in clinical trials as a cholesterol-lowering agent. The novel approach, described in the February 14 online edition of Science, could offer a new direction for therapies against a bacterium thats becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.

By following their scientific instinct about a basic biological process, the scientists made a surprising discovery with important clinical implications, said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. Eventhough the results are still very preliminary, they offer a promising new lead for developing drugs to treat a very timely and medically important health concern.

This work was supported by three NIH components: the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

A pigment similar to the one that gives carrots their color turns Staphylococcus aureus (staph) golden. In the bacterium, this pigment acts as an antioxidant to block the reactive oxygen molecules the immune system uses to kill bacteria.

Scientists had speculated that blocking pigment formation in staph could restore the immune systems ability to thwart infection. While perusing a magazine on microbial research, Eric Oldfield, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign read how in 2005 University of California, San Diego scientists knocked out a gene in staphs pigment-making pathway to create colorlessand less pathogenicbacteria.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


February 14, 2008, 10:19 PM CT

Single reader with CAD more efficient

Single reader with CAD more efficient
Single reading of screening mammograms with computer-aided detection (CAD) is more efficient than double reading and yields a higher sensitivity than the first reader in a double reading program, as per a research studyconducted by scientists at Charlotte Radiology in Charlotte, NC. In addition, the readings with CAD had a significantly lower recall rate than double reading.

The double reading method consisted of the mammogram being first read by sub-specialized mammographers, with the second reading performed by either a specialist or a general radiologist who is certified in mammography. Single reading with CAD waccording toformed by sub-specialized mammographers.

The study compared the recall rate, sensitivity, positive predictive value (PPV), and cancer detection rate of single reading with CAD to double reading and to the first reader in the double reading program in 231,221 mammograms from 2001-2005. The study shows that single reading with CAD was as effective at finding cancers as double reading and had a lower recall rate.

Because double reading is time consuming and not generally reimbursed, CAD has become increasingly popular in the United States as an alternative way to increase sensitivity, said Matthew Gromet, JD, MD, author of the study.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 14, 2008, 10:09 PM CT

Physicians Pinpoint Cause Of Children's Seizures

Physicians Pinpoint Cause Of Children's Seizures
It was no way for an 11-year-old to live. For a month the boy had endured daily episodes of uncontrollable jerking and foaming at the mouth, and his physicians at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital were concerned that the boy had epilepsy. Before starting the boy on a lifetime of anti-seizure medications, though, they turned to an unconventional diagnostic tool: hypnosis.

"Children are highly suggestible and they have great imaginations," said Packard Children's child psychiatry expert Richard Shaw, MD. "We've observed that if we suggest that they are going to have one of their events while they are in a hypnotic trance, they will commonly have one".

But wait. Aren't physicians supposed to try to STOP seizures rather than searching for new ways to cause them? In a word, yes. But in order to treat seizures effectively, doctors must learn which parts of the brain are causing the trouble. A number of children who seem to be having epileptic seizures are actually having an involuntary physical reaction to psychological stress in their lives. These events require a vastly different therapy than do true epileptic seizures.

The only way to pinpoint the true cause is to monitor the child's brain activity during an event. Connecting a panel of electrodes to a child's scalp is relatively easy and painless. Conducting a "seizure watch" of indefinite length is another matter.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 13, 2008, 9:36 PM CT

Exercise to avoid gallstones!

Exercise to avoid gallstones!
A new University of Illinois study shows that exercise-trained mice get far fewer gallstones than sedentary mice and identifies potential mechanisms to explain why this occurs.

The study, recently reported in the Journal of Applied Physiology, can be viewed online at: http://jap.physiology.org/cgi/reprint/01292.2007v1.

For the first time, we have direct evidence that physical activity reduces gallstone formation, adding to the ever-increasing number of reasons that people should get more exercise,?said Kenneth Wilund, a faculty member in the U of I Division of Nutritional Sciences and an Assistant Professor in Kinesiology and Community Health.

Gallbladder disease affects 10 to 25 percent of adults in the United States, eventhough some persons who are affected may not have symptoms. It has the second highest cost of any digestive disease at $5.8 billion annually and results in over 800,000 hospitalizations each year.

Gallstones form when bile cholesterol levels become high enough to precipitate, fall out of solution, and solidify, Wilund said.

In the study, 50 mice from a gallstone-susceptible strain were fed a high-fat diet containing cholic acid, which helps increase cholesterol absorption. They were then divided into two groups. One group of mice ran on treadmills 45 minutes per day five days a week; the other group did not exercise.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 13, 2008, 9:28 PM CT

When it comes to physical activity

When it comes to physical activity
A landmark University of Alberta study, analyzing a sample of over 275,000 individuals, has observed that when it comes to participation in physical activity, one size does not fit all.

Our study uncovered some definite trends and preferences when deciding how and if a person wants to be physically active, says Brad Humphreys, an economics professor at the University of Alberta. It is clear that different genders, ethnicities and income levels have very diverse influences and choices when it comes to being physically active.

The study, co-authored with U of A professor Jane Ruseski, looked at a wide range of factors, including income, education and ethnicity, that influence whether a person decides to be physically active, as well as their time spent being active. It also examined the impact of government spending on parks and recreation on an individuals decision to participate in physical activity and sports.

At a 57 per cent participation rate, walking was found to be the most common form of physical activity undertaken for exercise. Results suggest that participation in walking increases with age, indicating that programs aimed at promoting walking for exercise could appeal to older populations, says Humphreys.

Choosing walking as the main form of physical activity may reflect the relatively low cost of this activity, says Humphreys. Walking can be done in almost any setting under almost any condition without needing specialized equipment or facilities.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 13, 2008, 9:23 PM CT

Earlier colon cancer screening for smokers

Earlier colon cancer screening for smokers
New evidence suggests screening for colorectal cancer, which is now recommended to begin at age 50 for most people, should start five to 10 years earlier for individuals with a significant lifetime exposure to tobacco smoke, a University of Rochester Medical Center study said.

An examination of 3,450 cases observed that current smokers were diagnosed with colon cancer approximately seven years earlier than people who never smoked. The study is also one of the first to link exposure to second-hand smoke, particularly early in life, with a younger age for colon cancer onset.

The article appears online in the Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology.

The message for physicians and patients is clear: When making decisions about colon cancer screening you should take into account smoking history as well as family history of disease and age, said lead author Luke J. Peppone, Ph.D., research assistant professor of Radiation Oncology at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester.

Peppones group examined data from patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 1957 and 1997 at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. (Peppone joined the University of Rochester in 2007, coming from RPCI. Co-authors are from RPCI.).........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


February 13, 2008, 9:20 PM CT

Vaccine for stomach flu may be possible

Vaccine for stomach flu may be possible
Every year, millions of people are infected with noroviruses - usually called stomach flu often resulting in up to 72 hours of vomiting and diarrhea. While most people recover in a few days, the symptoms can lead to dehydration and - in rare cases, particularly among the elderly and infants - death.

Now, scientists at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health have discovered that the virus mutates genetically, similar to the virus that causes influenza. And, like flu, a vaccine could be possible.

One of the mysteries of medicine has been why do they keep infecting people when youd think wed be developing immunity, said Lisa Lindesmith, one of the lead authors of the study, Mechanisms of GII.4 Norovirus Persistence in Human Populations, published recently in the online medical journal PLoS Medicine. What weve found is that the GII.4 arm [of the noroviruses] keeps changing. Whenever were seeing big outbreaks of norovirus, were also seeing genetic changes in the virus.

Noroviruses are the leading cause of viral acute gastroenteritis. They are highly contagious, often causing epidemic outbreaks in families and communities, on cruise ships, in hospitals and in assisted living facilities. The viruses are particularly hard on the elderly in 2006, 19 deaths were linked to norovirus acute gastroenteritis in long-term care facilities in the United States. Often, infection can mean a number of miserable hours, with time lost from work, school and other activities. There is no therapy to stop the infection.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


February 13, 2008, 9:19 PM CT

HIV persists in the gut despite long-term therapy

HIV persists in the gut despite long-term therapy
Even with effective anti-HIV therapies, doctors still have not been able to eradicate the virus from infected individuals who are receiving such therapys, largely because of the persistence of HIV in hideouts known as viral reservoirs. One important reservoir is the gut, where HIV causes much of its damage due to the large number of HIV target cells that reside there. These cells, known as CD4+ T cells, are largely contained in lymph nodes and patches of lymphocytes that collectively are called gut-associated lymphoid tissue, or GALT.

Because of the importance of the gut to HIV disease, researchers hoped that long-term therapy with antiretroviral drugs could eradicate HIV from the GALT. A new NIAID study, published online by The Journal of Infectious Diseases, has observed that this goal seems unlikely with current antiretroviral drugs.

Tae-Wook Chun, Ph.D., of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation (LIR), Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., LIR chief and NIAID director, and their colleagues intensively studied eight patients receiving effective antiretroviral treatment for up to 9.9 years. In each of these of these individuals, treatment had consistently kept their blood levels of HIV at undetectable levels. Sensitive tests, however, detected the persistence of HIV as well as lowered CD4+ T cell levels in the GALT that did not completely rebound in response to treatment. Levels of virus were higher in the GALT than in immune cells in the blood, where HIV also was consistently found. In addition, the researchers found evidence of cross infection between the GALT and the lymphocytes in the blood, suggesting that one reason the virus persists in the blood is because of ongoing cycles of replication in the GALT. The authors conclude that any possibility of further lowering or eliminating viral reservoirs likely will require more powerful drug regimens to stop the low levels of ongoing viral replication originating in the GALT. The development of such regimens is an important goal of NIAID-supported research.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


February 12, 2008, 9:41 PM CT

Test detects early stage ovarian cancer with 99 percent accuracy

Test detects early stage ovarian cancer with 99 percent accuracy
Dr. Gil Mor at Yale Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences.

Credit: Yale University
Scientists at Yale School of Medicine have developed a blood test with enough sensitivity and specificity to detect early stage ovary cancer with 99 percent accuracy.

Results of this new study are reported in the February 15 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research. The results build on work done by the same Yale group in 2005 showing 95 percent effectiveness of a blood test using four proteins.

The ability to recognize almost 100 percent of new tumors will have a major impact on the high death rates of this cancer, said Mor. We hope this test will become the standard of care for women having routine examinations.

Epithelial ovary cancer is the leading cause of gynecologic cancer deaths in the United States and three times more lethal than breast cancer. It is commonly not diagnosed until its advanced stages and has come to be known as the silent killer.

This new phase II clinical trial led by Gil Mor, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale, included 500 patients; 350 healthy controls and 150 ovary cancer patients. Mor and his colleagues validated the prior research and used a new platform called multiplex technology to simplify the test into one single reaction using very small amounts of serum from the blood. The new platform uses six protein biomarkers instead of four, increasing the specificity of the test from 95 to 99.4 percent. The team looked for the presence of specific proteins and quantified the concentration of those proteins in the blood.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


February 12, 2008, 9:34 PM CT

Body image is stronger predictor of health than obesity

Body image is stronger predictor of health than obesity
In a study to examine the impact of desired body weight on the number of unhealthy days subjects report over one month, scientists at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health observed that the desire to weigh less was a more accurate predictor of physically and mentally unhealthy days, than body mass index (BMI). In addition, the desire to lose weight was more predictive of unhealthy days among Whites than among African-Americans or Hispanics, and among women than among men. The paper, I Think Therefore I Am: Perceived Ideal Weight as a Determinant of Health, would be reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

After controlling for actual BMI and age, the scientists observed that men who wished to lose 1 percent, 10 percent, and 20 percent of their body weight, respectively, reported 0.1, 0.9 and 2.7 more unhealthy days per month than those who were happy with their weight. Among women, the corresponding increase in numbers of reported unhealthy days was 0.1, 1.6 and 4.3. Persons who were happy with their weight experienced fewer physically unhealthy days (3.0 vs 3.7) and mentally unhealthy days (2.6 vs 3.6) compared with persons unhappy with their weight.

Our data suggest that some of the obesity epidemic may be partially attributable to social constructs that surround ideal body types, said Peter Muennig, MD, MPH, Mailman School of Public Health assistant professor of Health Policy and Management. Younger persons, Whites, and women are disproportionately affected by negative body.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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