March 9, 2008, 5:02 PM CT
New bacteria contaminate hairspray
Researchers in Japan have discovered a new species of bacteria that can live in hairspray, as per the results of a study reported in the recent issue of the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.
Contamination of cosmetic products is rare but some products may be unable to suppress the growth of certain bacteria, says Dr Bakir from the Japan Collection of Microorganisms, Saitama, Japan. We discovered a new species of bacteria called Microbacterium hatanonis, which we found contaminates hairspray.
We also found a related species, Microbacterium oxydans in hairspray which was originally isolated from hospital material. Microbacterium species have been identified in milk, cheese, beef, eggs and even in the blood of patients with leukaemia, on catheters and in bone marrow.
The researchers looked at the appearance and diet of the bacterium, then analysed its genome to show that it is an entirely new species. It has been named in honour of Dr Kazunori Hatano, for his contribution to the understanding of the genus Microbacterium, says Dr Bakir. Microbacterium hatanonis is rod-shaped and grows best at 30C and pH neutral.
Researchers now need to determine the clinical importance of the new species, as similar bacteria have been found to infect humans. Further testing will establish whether the species is a threat to human health, says Dr Bakir. We hope our study will benefit the formulation of hairspray to prevent contamination in the future.........
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March 9, 2008, 4:57 PM CT
New colorectal cancer gene
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine scientists published a study in the March 7th issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics identifying the hereditary components of colorectal cancer (CRC.) Identification of Susceptibility Genes for Cancer in a Genome-wide Scan: Results from the Colon Neoplasia Sibling Study is the first large linkage study of families with CRC and colon polyps in the country. Because only five percent of CRC cases are due to known gene defects, this NIH-funded study is designed to identify the remaining CRC-related susceptibility genes. The team built on a prior study which identified a specific region on chromosome 9q that harbors a CRC susceptibility gene. Upon review of a whole genome scan of all chromosome pairs in 194 families, the scientists were able to identify additional CRC gene regions on chromosomes 1p, 15q, and 17p.
While the overall Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine study looked at families with colon cancer and colon polyps, the study also analyzed families with different clusters of cancer, such as CRC with multiple polyps and CRC with breast cancer. These different phenotypes appeared to link to different chromosomal regions, which the study teams says supports the idea of multiple susceptibility genes causing different types of cancers. These links will be further investigated in the next phase of the study.........
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March 9, 2008, 4:54 PM CT
Lasik Patients Report More Than 95 Percent Satisfaction Rate
Worldwide, an average 95.4 percent of LASIK patients are satisfied with their new vision, as per the first review of the world body of scientific literature, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery announced recently.
With 16.3 million patients having had LASIK worldwide, and more than a decade of clinical study and technological innovation behind it, LASIK is considered among the most successful elective procedures available today.
"We find that there is solid evidence in the world's scientific literature to affirm that there is an exceptionally high level of satisfaction in patients who have had LASIK surgery. While no surgery is perfect, certainly the 19 peer-evaluated studies of the 2,199 patients studied show extremely high satisfaction rates," said Richard L. Lindstrom, M.D., president of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. "While patient satisfaction is extremely high, we recognize that there are patients who have unsatisfactory outcomes. As surgeons, we have taken the Hippocratic Oath. The well being of all of our patients is central to what we do and what we are. As such, and as the history of medicine has shown, we are committed to advancing our technology, patient selection, and surgical techniques so that we can continue to enhance the quality of our patient's lives," Lindstrom added.........
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March 9, 2008, 4:41 PM CT
North American diet is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids
New research from the Child & Family Research Institute shows the typical North American diet of eating lots of meat and not much fish is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids and this may pose a risk to infant neurological development. Omega-3 fatty acids are unsaturated fats found in some fish such as salmon and herring and in smaller amounts in eggs and chicken. This discovery is an important step towards developing dietary fat guidelines for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Current dietary recommendations evolved from the 1950s emphasis on reducing saturated fat intake to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The study is published March 7th, 2008 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Omega 3 fatty acids are important for the babys developing eyes and brain, says Dr. Sheila Innis, the studys principal investigator, head of the nutrition and metabolism program at the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Childrens Hospital, and professor, department of pediatrics, University of British Columbia.
During pregnancy and breastfeeding, fat consumed by the mum is transferred to the developing baby and breastfed infant, and this fat is important for the babys developing organs. Our next task is to find out why the typical North American diet puts mothers at risk. Then we can develop dietary recommendations to help women consume a nutritious diet that promotes optimal health for mums and babies.........
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March 7, 2008, 5:33 AM CT
Curbing college drinking problems
Parental monitoring can reduce high-school drinking and, as a result, have a protective effect on students drinking at college, says research published this week in the online open access journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy.
The findings strengthen the idea that certain parental practices throughout high school and perhaps college could be used to curb high-risk drinking in older adolescents. Underage drinking is associated with many negative outcomes in this group, including suicide, high-risk sexual activity and an increased chance of alcohol dependence.
Scientists from the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland College Park, Maryland, USA interviewed over 1,200 students for the research, which forms part of the College Life Study. This is an ongoing, longitudinal, prospective investigation of health-risk behaviors in college students, including alcohol and other drug use.
The team assessed parental monitoring and student alcohol consumption (in drinks per day) in high school using surveys in the summer before the students attended a large public university in the mid-Atlantic. Students were followed up with a personal interview in their first college year to assess their alcohol consumption over the past year.........
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March 7, 2008, 5:30 AM CT
Drugs like aspirin could reduce breast cancer
Anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin may reduce breast cancer by up to 20 per cent, as per an extensive review carried out by experts at Londons Guys Hospital and reported in the recent issue of IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice.
But they stress that further research is needed to determine the best type, dose and duration and whether the benefits of regularly using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) outweigh the side effects, particularly for high-risk groups.
Our review of research published over the last 27 years suggests that, in addition to possible prevention, there may also be a role for NSAIDs in the therapy of women with established breast cancer says Professor Ian Fentiman from the Hedley Atkins Breast Unit at the hospital, part of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.
NSAID use could be combined with hormone treatment or used to relieve symptoms in the commonest cause of cancer-related deaths in women.
Professor Fentiman and Mr Avi Agrawal evaluated 21 studies covering more than 37,000 women published between 1980 and 2007.
Their review included 11 studies of women with breast cancer and ten studies that compared women who did and did not have the disease.
The purpose of a review like this is to look at a wide range of published studies and see if it is possible to pull together all the findings and come to any overarching conclusions explains Professor Fentiman. This includes looking at any conflicting results and exploring how the studies were carried out.........
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March 7, 2008, 5:29 AM CT
Breakthrough in birth-defect research
Researchers have discovered how to prevent certain craniofacial disorders in what could ultimately lead to at-risk babies being treated in the womb.
University of Manchester researchers, working with colleagues at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas, have successfully treated mice with Treacher Collins syndrome a rare genetic disorder characterised by underdeveloped facial bones, absent or deformed ears and occasionally cleft palate.
The team had previously observed that the condition, which affects one in 10,000 individuals, was caused by a mutation in a single gene called TCOF1. They later discovered that this mutation causes cells, known as neural crest cells, to die prematurely in the early stages of pregnancy resulting in the facial anomalies.
Now, writing in the journal Nature Medicine, the scientists have shown that preventing the neural crest cells from dying allowed mice with the Treacher Collins gene to develop normally. The principle, say the authors, could also be applied to other single-gene birth defects.
This is the first time that a congenital defect has been successfully treated and provides genuine hope within a realistic timeframe of one day preventing these conditions in humans, said Professor Mike Dixon in Manchesters Faculty of Life Sciences.........
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March 7, 2008, 5:26 AM CT
Torrefacto-roasted coffee has higher antioxidant properties
Torrefacto-roasted coffee has higher antioxidant properties than natural roast, as per the dissertation defended by a biologist of the University of Navarra, Isabel Lopez Galilea. She has emphasized in her study that the addition of sugar during the roasting process increases the development of compounds with high antioxidant activity.
The researcher of Department of Food Sciences, Physiology and Toxicology of the University of Navarra analyzed eleven varieties of commercial coffee for her study, which was entitled "The Influence of Torrefacto Roasting on the Principal Components of Coffee and its Antioxidant and Pro-oxidant Capacity".
As this scientist of the School of Sciences emphasized, numerous studies have shown the benefits of this drink. In particular, it is considered to be one of the best sources for antioxidants in the diet; these substances help to protect us against free radicals, which are a cause of premature aging and certain diseases. Coffee has an antioxidant capacity which is ten times higher than other drinks, such as red wine and tea.The antioxidant capacity varies as per the preparation method
In order to carry out this research, Isabel Lopez analyzed the coffee consumption habits of the inhabitants of Navarra, via 300 surveys. The results showed that Navarrans consume an average of 125 ml of coffee per day, with consumption slightly higher among women. In addition, they primarily consume ground coffee resulting from a mixture of natural roast and torrefacto-roast coffees, and the coffee is generally prepared with Italian or mocha coffee makers, followed by the filter, espresso and pump methods.........
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March 7, 2008, 5:20 AM CT
Moderate alcohol consumption can lower cardiac risk
Prior studies have pointed out the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption as a factor in lowering cardiovascular risk. In a study conducted by the Department of Family Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina and reported in the March 2008 issue of The American Journal of Medicine, scientists observed that middle-aged non-drinkers who began consuming moderate amounts of alcohol saw an immediate benefit of lower cardiac disease morbidity with no change in mortality after four years.
Studying 7,697 people between 45 and 64 who were non-drinkers and who were participating in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study over a 10 year period, the authors observed that 6% began moderate alcohol consumption (1 drink per day or fewer for women and 2 drinks per day or fewer for men) during the follow-up period. After 4 years of follow-up, new moderate drinkers had a 38% lower chance of developing cardiovascular disease than did their non-drinking counterparts. Even after adjusting for physical activity, Body Mass Index, demographic and cardiac risk factors, this difference persisted.
The study also identified a subset of new drinkers who consumed only wine. When comparing non-drinkers to wine-only drinkers, drinkers of other types of alcohol, and heavy drinkers, the wine-only drinkers had the most significant reduction in cardiovascular events. Drinkers of other types of alcohol also had an advantage over non-drinkers, but the difference did not reach statistical significance.........
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March 5, 2008, 9:28 PM CT
Earlier, More Accurate Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease
Scientists involved in a large, multi-institutional study using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with the radiotracer fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) were able to classify different types of dementia with very high rates of success, raising hopes that dementia diagnoses may one day be made at earlier stages.
"Previously, researchers have been able to look only at the surface of the brain to differentiate various types of dementia," said Lisa Mosconi, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine. "With FDG PET, we were able to develop standardized disease-specific patterns from which we could correctly classify dementia more than 94 percent of the time."
The study, which was published in the recent issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, measured the cerebral metabolic rate of glucose (CMRglc)-the amount of sugar the brain uses to fuel its activities-in various areas of the organ. A decrease in this rate is indicative of a loss of nerve cells and of dysfunction linked to dementia. Because FDG behaves like glucose when injected into the body, its location in the PET scans pinpointed the specific area where glucose utilization had fallen below normal levels as in comparison to an age-appropriate control group.
"Each type of dementia examined-Alzheimer's disease (AD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)-affects a different area of the brain. Based on where in the brain this decrease occurred, we were able to determine which type of dementia a patient had," Mosconi explained.........
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