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April 29, 2007, 4:48 PM CT

Cortex Area Thinner in Youth with Alzheimer's-Related Gene

Cortex Area Thinner in Youth with Alzheimer's-Related Gene Cerebral cortex
A part of the brain first affected by Alzheimer's disease (http://www.nia.nih.gov/Alzheimers/) is thinner in youth with a risk gene for the disorder, a brain imaging study by scientists at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has found. A thinner entorhinal cortex, a structure in the lower middle part of the brain's outer mantle, may render these youth more susceptible to degenerative changes and mental decline during the later part of life, propose Drs. Philip Shaw, Judith Rapoport, Jay Giedd, and NIMH and McGill University colleagues. They report on how variation in the gene for apoliproprotein (ApoE), which plays a critical role in repair of brain cells, affects development of this learning and memory hub in the June, 2007 Lancet Neurology.

"People with the Alzheimer's-related variant of the ApoE gene might not be able to sustain much aging-related tissue loss in the entorhinal cortex before they cross a critical threshold," explained Shaw. "But the early thinning appears to be a harmless genetic variation rather than a disease-related change, as it did not affect youths' intellectual ability. Only long-term brain imaging studies of healthy aging adults will confirm whether this anatomical signature detectible in childhood predisposes for Alzheimer's".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


April 25, 2007, 9:41 PM CT

New hereditary breast cancer gene discovered

New hereditary breast cancer gene discovered
A new hereditary breast cancer gene has been discovered by researchers at the Lundberg Laboratory for Cancer Research and the Plastic Surgery Clinic at the Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden. The scientists observed that women with a certain hereditary deformity syndrome run a nearly twenty times higher risk of contracting breast cancer than expected.

Several research teams around the world have long been searching for new hereditary breast cancer genes, but thus far few have been found.

"Our findings are extremely important, providing new knowledge of hereditary cancer genes and how they can cause breast cancer. The discovery also makes it possible to uncover breast cancer in women who have a predisposition for Saethre-Chotzen malformation syndrome," says Gran Stenman.

By detailed mapping of families with Saethre-Chotzen syndrome, the Gteborg researchers have now observed that women with this syndrome have an elevated risk of contracting breast cancer. Saethre-Chotzen is a syndrome that primarily involves malformations of the skull, face, hands, and feet. The syndrome is caused by mutations in a gene called TWIST1.

"Our findings show that women with this syndrome run a nearly twenty times greater risk of contracting breast cancer than expected. Moreover, a number of of the women were young when they were affected by breast cancer," says Gran Stenman.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 25, 2007, 9:37 PM CT

Physician ties to drug industry

Physician ties to drug industry
Despite the potential for conflict of interest, virtually all practicing physicians in the U.S. have some form of relationship with pharmaceutical manufacturers but the nature and extent of those relationships vary, depending on the kind of practice, medical specialty, patient mix, and professional activities, reports a study in the April 26 issue of the New England Journal (NEJM).

In the first national survey to gauge the predictors and depth of relationships between industry and practicing physicians, 94 percent of doctors report that they have at least one type of relationship with the drug industry, mostly in the form of receiving food in the workplace or prescription samples. However, more than one third are reimbursed for costs linked to professional meetings or continuing medical education (CME), and more than a quarter receive honoraria for consulting, lecturing or enrolling patients in clinical trials, say scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital-Partners Health Care System, Yale University, and the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia.

"Relationships with industry are a fundamental part of the way medicine is practiced today. The real questions relate to how much is too much and how far is too far. It appears that these relationships benefit physicians and industry but the important policy question is to what extent do these relationships benefit patients in the terms of the care they receive," says lead researcher and co-author Eric Campbell, Ph.D., an associate professor of medicine at the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 25, 2007, 9:34 PM CT

Short chromosomes put cancer cells in forced rest

Short chromosomes put cancer cells in forced rest
A Johns Hopkins team has stopped in its tracks a form of blood cancer in mice by engineering and inactivating an enzyme, telomerase, thereby shortening the ends of chromosomes, called telomeres.

"Normally, when telomeres get critically short, the cell commits suicide as a means of protecting the body," says Carol Greider, Ph.D., the Daniel Nathans chair of molecular biology and genetics at Johns Hopkins. Her study, appearing online this month at Cancer Cell, uncovers an alternate response where cells simply - and permanently - stop growing, a process known as senescence.

In an unusual set of experiments, the research team first mated mice with nonoperating telomerase to mice carrying a mutation that predisposed them to Burkitts lymphoma, a rare but aggressive cancer of white blood cells. Telomerase helps maintain the caps or ends of chromosomes called telomeres, which shrink each time a cell divides and eventually - when the chromosomes get too short - force the cell to essentially commit suicide. Such cell death is natural, and when it fails to happen, the result may be unbridled cell growth, or cancer.

The first generation pups born to these mice contained no telomerase and very long telomeres. These mice all developed lymphomas by the time they were 7 months old. The scientists then continued breeding the mice to see what would happen in later generations. By the fifth generation, the scientists discovered that the mice had short telomeres and stopped developing lymphomas.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 25, 2007, 9:27 PM CT

Fixing the 'taste' of diet soda

Fixing the 'taste' of diet soda
University of Illinois scientists Soo-Yeun Lee and Shelly Schmidt are trying to solve a mystery: Why doesn't diet soda taste more like regular soda? Can a well-trained panel of "taste testers" pinpoint the exact problem? And can food researchers do anything to fix it?

"If we could make diet soda taste better, it would be a big step in fighting the obesity epidemic," said Shelly Schmidt, a U of I professor of food chemistry. "A number of people know they should cut calories, but they won't drink diet pop because they don't like the taste".

Consumers may claim they don't like diet soda because of artificial sweeteners, but Schmidt and sensory scientist Lee think people are also influenced by a subtle difference called "mouth-feel." Think body, fullness, thickness; regular soda contains high-fructose corn syrup, diet soda doesn't.

What makes these researchers think mouth-feel is the culprit? For one thing, artificial sweeteners have been greatly improved and extensively studied. "Taste profiles for artificial sweeteners now closely match the one for sucrose, which humans describe as the perfect sweetness," Lee said.

But the most compelling piece of evidence is the verdict of Lee's sensory panel--12 people trained for four weeks to use a 15-point scale in order to rate the characteristics that contribute to the mouth-feel of diet and regular soda. Lee called her panelists "highly trained instruments" because they could detect significant differences in the mouth-feel of 14 samples that the scientist's super-sensitive lab instruments identified as very, very small.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 25, 2007, 9:12 PM CT

Report Calls For More Dairy Foods At School

Report Calls For More Dairy Foods At School
Rosemont, Ill. April 25, 2007 Today, the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine released a report recommending nutrition standards be established for "competitive" foods in the school environment, such as a la carte cafeteria items, vending machines and school stores. The National Dairy Council (NDC) applauds the overall recommendations outlined in the report, which promote the consumption of nonfat and low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables and whole grains and limits the amount of saturated fat, salt, added sugars, and total calories. The report includes a specific recommendation for schools to increase the availability of low-fat and nonfat white and flavored milk and yogurt, with modest amounts of added sugars, for all grade levels, throughout the day.

"We're pleased that the report recognizes the important role dairy foods play in contributing valuable nutrients to the diet of children and adolescents," said Ann Marie Krautheim, MA, RD, senior vice president of nutrition affairs at the NDC. "Child health is a dairy industry priority and we're committed to continuing to develop healthy and great-tasting dairy foods that can be enjoyed at school, at home and on-the-go".

With child obesity rates on the rise, the new guidelines aim to improve children and adolescent's diets and health.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


April 24, 2007, 11:04 PM CT

Hot flashes: genes, obesity and alcohol

Hot flashes: genes, obesity and alcohol
A number of women in the menopausal transition experience hot flashes: unpredictable, sometimes disruptive, periods of intense heat in the upper torso, neck and face. Eventhough generations of physicians have prescribed hormones to reduce these symptoms, very little research has focused on the underlying causes of hot flashes.

Three new studies explore the role of genes, obesity and alcohol consumption in contributing to - or lessening - the intensity and frequency of hot flashes in midlife women. These studies are part of a five-year research effort led by University of Illinois veterinary biosciences professor Jodi Flaws and his colleagues at the University of Maryland, Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore and the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University.

Physicians have long noted that some factors, such as smoking, increase the likelihood that a woman will experience more - or more intense - hot flashes than other women. Race also appears to play a role, with African American women at higher risk than others. But the mechanisms that cause some women to suffer from severe (frequent and intense) hot flashes have remained a mystery.

"Even though more than 40 million women experience hot flashes each year," the authors wrote in their paper published in Maturitas, "little is known about the factors that predispose women to hot flashes".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 24, 2007, 10:51 PM CT

FDA causes unnecessary scare

FDA causes unnecessary scare
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has caused an unnecessary scare about some pain relievers by adding a warning to drugs that are safe, says Curt Furberg, M.D., Ph.D., from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. At the same time, he says the agency has failed to recognize the harm of a pain reliever that should be taken off the market.

"The FDA is adding 'black box' warnings to all prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers even to naproxen which the evidence shows is safe," said Furberg, who serves on the FDA Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee. "This is based on the false assumption that all nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs increase the risk of heart attacks. In fact, there are major differences between these agents".

In a commentary published by Trials, an online journal of BioMed Central, Furberg says the FDA has failed to recognize current scientific evidence when it made decisions on the safety of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are often used to treat the pain or inflammation from arthritis.

The most usually used NSAIDs are ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), and diclofenac (Voltaren). There are more than a dozen others, including drugs such as celecoxib (Celebrex) that are in a special class known as selective COX-2 inhibitors because of the hormone they target. The other NSAIDs are known as "non-selective".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


April 24, 2007, 10:30 PM CT

Smoking Common During Pregnancy

Smoking Common During Pregnancy
While pregnancy may be considered an effective motivator for smoking cessation, results of a new study by scientists at the Mailman School of Public Health indicate that pregnant U.S. women usually smoke, placing themselves and their unborn children at risk for health and developmental complications. The research also finds a significant association between cigarette use, nicotine dependence, and the presence of mental disorders among pregnant women.

The data show that almost 22 percent of these women smoked cigarettes and more than 10 percent were nicotine dependent. The results also indicate that approximately 30 percent of pregnant women who used cigarettes had a mental disorder, with personality disorders, major depressive disorder, and specific phobia among the most common psychological ailments. Mental disorders were even more common among pregnant women with nicotine dependence, affecting more than 57 percent. In terms of specific disorders, the strongest associations with nicotine dependence were seen for prolonged depression, panic disorder, and major depressive disorder.

"Our research shows that prenatal smoking appears to be more common in pregnant women who are already vulnerablethose who are unmarried, have less than high school education, and have lower personal incomes," says Renee Goodwin, assistant professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School, and lead scientist. "They also are likely to have limited access to health care services, which may contribute to a lower likelihood of some women quitting smoking upon becoming pregnant".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


April 23, 2007, 11:06 PM CT

Depression may trigger diabetes in older adults

Depression may trigger diabetes in older adults
Chronic depression or depression that worsens over time may cause diabetes in older adults, according to new Northwestern University research.

This is the first national study to suggest that depression alone -- and not lifestyle factors like being overweight can trigger Type 2 diabetes in adults 65 and older, a population with a high prevalence of diabetes and depression. The report will be published April 23 in Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study examined 4,681 men and women 65 and older from Forsyth County, N.C.; Sacramento County, Calif.; Washington County, Md.; and Pittsburgh, Pa., annually for 10 years.

"This means doctors need to take depressive symptoms in older adults very seriously because of the effect it has on the likelihood of developing diabetes," said Mercedes Carnethon, lead author of the study and assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwesterns Feinberg School of Medicine.

An estimated 2 million older adults suffer from clinical depression, the second highest incidence of any age group. People 65 and older also have the highest prevalence of Type 2 diabetes.

"Diabetes is a scourge," said Carnethon. "It causes heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, leg amputations and lowered cognitive function because it essentially degrades the small and large blood vessels".........

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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