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July 22, 2008, 7:53 PM CT

More lymph nodes linked to cancer survival

More lymph nodes linked to cancer survival
Why do patients with gastric or pancreas cancer live longer when they are treated at cancer centers or high-volume hospitals than patients treated at low-volume or community hospitals?.

New research from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine observed that cancer patients have more lymph nodes examined for the spread of their disease if they are treated at hospitals performing more cancer surgeries or those designated as comprehensive cancer centers.

Lymph node metastases (indicating the spread of cancer) have been shown to predict patients' prognosis after cancer tissue is removed from the stomach or pancreas. If too few lymph nodes are examined for cancerous cells, a patient's cancer may be incorrectly classified, which alters the prognosis, therapy decisions and eligibility for clinical trials.

"The differences in nodal evaluation may contribute to improved long-term outcomes at cancer centers and high-volume hospitals for patients with gastric and pancreas cancer," said Karl Bilimoria, M.D., lead author of the paper and a surgical resident at the Feinberg School. The study was reported in the recent issue of Archives of Surgery

Current guidelines recommend evaluating at least 15 regional lymph nodes for gastric and pancreas cancer, as per the study.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 22, 2008, 7:48 PM CT

New breast cancer test under study

New breast cancer test under study
Whether a painless, portable device that uses electrical current rather than X-ray to look for breast cancer could be an alternative to traditional mammograms is under study at the Medical College of Georgia.

MCG is one of 20 centers internationally and the only place in Georgia studying new technology developed by Z-Tech Inc., to compare traditional mammograms with impedence scanning, a technique based on evidence that electrical current passes through malignant tissue differently than through normal tissue.

This phase of the study will focus on women age 40-50. Older women have less dense breast tissue so cancer is easier to find, says Dr. James Craft, MCG radiologist and principal investigator on the study. Mammograms, also performed in the study, are more accurate in this population, so this phase will be a tougher test of the new technology, he says. The first phase of the study, which began in 2005, was open to women of all ages.

"Normal breast tissue is very dense, particularly in younger women, and can hide tumors," Dr. Craft says. "While we've known for a while that water flows more freely through malignant cells, we also know that electrical current flows easier through malignant and tumor tissue".

The Z-Tech scan works by placing a flower-shaped grouping of electrodes over each breast and sending a small, painless amount of electricity through them. Unlike traditional mammography, the scan does not involve breast compression or radiation.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 21, 2008, 9:36 PM CT

Beijing pollution may trigger heart attacks

Beijing pollution may trigger heart attacks
Olympic athletes aren't the only ones who need to be concerned about the heavily polluted air in Beijing. The dirty air may trigger serious cardiovascular problems for some spectators.

Two scientists in pulmonary medicine and critical care at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine warn that for people in certain risk groups, breathing high levels of pollution can cause heart attacks and strokes within 24 hours of exposure and increase the possibility of having blood clots in their legs on the plane home.

The people who are vulnerable include those who already have known cardiovascular disease or risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, lung disease, a current smoking habit or a family member diagnosed with heart disease before age 55.

"If the air quality is bad, you are more likely to have serious heart disease related events," said Gokhan Mutlu, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the Northwestern's Feinberg School and a doctor at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "Being exposed to higher levels of pollution may unmask heart disease even if you've never had any symptoms."



WHY POLLUTION CAUSES HEART ATTACKS, STROKES AND BLOOD CLOTS


Mutlu published research in 2007 that showed how pollution triggers heart attacks and strokes. He discovered that microscopic air pollution -- particles less than one-tenth of the diameter of a human hair -- makes the blood thicker and sticky. He found when lungs are inflamed by pollution, they secrete a substance, interleukin-6, which causes an increased tendency for blood to clot.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 20, 2008, 5:00 PM CT

Loud music can make you drink more

Loud music can make you drink more
Commercial venues are very aware of the effects that the environment in this case, music can have on in-store traffic flow, sales volumes, product choices, and consumer time spent in the immediate vicinity. A study of the effects of music levels on drinking in a bar setting has observed that loud music leads to more drinking in less time.

Results would be reported in the recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

"Prior research had shown that fast music can cause fast drinking, and that music versus no music can cause a person to spend more time in a bar," said Nicolas Guguen, a professor of behavioral sciences at the Universit de Bretagne-Sud in France, and corresponding author for the study. "This is the first time that an experimental approach in a real context found the effects of loud music on alcohol consumption."

Scientists discretely visited two bars for three Saturday evenings in a medium-size city located in the west of France. The study subjects, 40 males 18 to 25 years of age, were unaware that they were being observed; only those who ordered a glass of draft beer (25 cl. or 8 oz.) were included. With permission from the bar owners, observers would randomly manipulate the sound levels (either 72 dB, considered normal, or 88 dB, considered high) of the music in the bar (Top 40 songs) before choosing a participant. After the observed participant left the bar, sound levels were again randomly selected and a new participant was chosen.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 20, 2008, 4:58 PM CT

Enzyme expression levels and chemotherapy drug response

Enzyme expression levels and chemotherapy drug response
Why do cancer patients develop resistance to chemotherapy drugs, sometimes abruptly, after a period in which the drugs seem to be working well to reduce tumors or hold them in check? Eventhough largely a mystery to scientists, the result when this occurs is all too familiar: patients relapse and in a number of cases die when their cancers become resistant.

A team of scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), seeking to understand the genetic underpinnings of cancer treatment response, have identified what they regard a "significant contributor to resistance." Using a novel screening technique involving "pools" of gene-regulating short RNA molecules, they were able to determine how resistance to a drug called doxorubicin arises in lymphomas occurring in a particular strain of mice.



Toward a "global view" of factors influencing treatment response


"The method we developed is notable," said CSHL Professor Scott W. Lowe, Ph.D., a leader of the research team, "because it gives us a view of how resistance works at the level of individual molecules in living animals, and also because it can be easily extended to other chemotherapy drugs and tumor systems to give a potentially global view of factors that mediate response to cancer treatment".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 20, 2008, 4:57 PM CT

Refuting common stereotypes about obese workers

Refuting common stereotypes about obese workers
Mark Roehling, associate professor, School of Labor and Industrial Relations, College of Social Science

New research led by a Michigan State University scholar refutes usually held stereotypes that overweight workers are lazier, more emotionally unstable and harder to get along with than their "normal weight" colleagues.

With the findings, employers are urged to guard against the use of weight-based stereotypes when it comes to hiring, promoting or firing.

Mark Roehling, associate professor of human resource management, and two colleagues studied the relationship between body weight and personality traits for nearly 3,500 adults. Contrary to widely held stereotypes, overweight and obese adults were not found to be significantly less conscientious, less agreeable, less extraverted or less emotionally stable.

The research, done in conjunction with Hope College near Grand Rapids, appears in the current edition of the journal Group & Organization Management.

"Prior research has demonstrated that a number of employers hold negative stereotypes about obese workers, and those beliefs contribute to discrimination against overweight workers at virtually every stage of the employment process, from hiring to promotion to firing," Roehling said.

"This study goes a step further by examining whether there is empirical support for these usually held negative stereotypes. Are they based on fact or fiction? Our results suggest that the answer is fiction".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 19, 2008, 10:14 AM CT

An ID for Alzheimer's?

An ID for Alzheimer's?
Dr. Alzheimer
Every aging baby boomer listens for the footsteps of Alzheimer's, and for good reason: It's estimated that 10 million American boomers will develop the disease. The need to develop preventative strategies, ideally long before Alzheimer's destructive, clinical symptoms appear, is critical.

In furthering the steps toward that goal, UCLA associate professor of neurology John Ringman and colleagues confirm in the current issue of the journal Neurology that during Alzheimer's earliest stages, levels of specific proteins in the blood and spinal fluid begin to drop as the disease progresses, making them potentially useful as biomarkers to identify and track progression long before symptoms appear.

Identifying patients at the clinically "silent" stage is a prerequisite for advancing the strategies needed to prevent the symptoms from appearing. The hope is that one day, screening for such biomarkers could take its place beside such routine tests as colonoscopies and mammograms as another common tool of preventive medicine.

Familial Alzheimer's and sporadic Alzheimer's are two of the basic types of the disease. The majority of Alzheimer's cases are sporadic and late-onset, developing after the age of 65; the causes of this disease type are not completely understood. Familial Alzheimer's (FAD) is a rare form of the disease caused by certain gene mutations that affects less than 2 percent of Alzheimer's patients. FAD is early-onset, meaning the disease develops before age 65, and it is inherited; all offspring in the same generation have a 50-50 chance of developing FAD if one of their parents had it. The markers the scientists tracked came from people with the FAD mutations.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 17, 2008, 9:41 PM CT

Too much, too little sleep increases ischemic risk

Too much, too little sleep increases ischemic risk
Postmenopausal women who regularly sleep more than nine hours a night may have an increased risk of ischemic stroke, scientists reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

In comparison to women sleeping seven hours, the risk of ischemic stroke was 60-70 percent higher for those sleeping nine hours or more, said lead author Jiu-Chiuan Chen, M.D., Sc.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina's School of Public Health in Chapel Hill.

"After accounting for all common clinical conditions predictive of stroke, we found this increase was statistically significant: sleeping nine hours or more is strongly linked to increased risk of ischemic stroke," he said.

Scientists also observed that women who slept six hours or less were at 14 percent greater stroke risk than those who slept seven hours a night. Nearly twice as a number of women reported sleeping less than six hours (8.3 percent) than those who reported sleeping nine hours or more (4.6 percent).

"The prevalence in women of having long sleep duration is much lower than having sleep duration less than six hours. So the overall public health impact of short sleep is probably larger than long sleep," Chen said. "This study provides additional evidence that habitual sleep patterns in postmenopausal women could be important for determining the risk of ischemic stroke".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 17, 2008, 9:37 PM CT

Saltwater olives

Saltwater olives
The news that olives are sources of "good fat" has increased worldwide demand for the luscious, versatile fruits. Olives have become extremely popular, enjoyed as condiments, appetizers, spreads, and additions to salads and sauces. Their heart-healthy oil has is also enjoying superstar status in kitchens around the world.

The olive's reputation as a health food is being borne out by modern science, as studies of olive-consuming Mediterranean peoples have shown. To keep the world's olive lovers satisfied, an intensive wave of olive planting has occurred in the past decade in a number of parts of the world. Traditionally, olives have been cultivated in the Mediterranean region. But fresh water is becoming increasingly hard to come by in semiarid areas, and irrigation of most new olive plantations is often accomplished with low-quality sources of water that contain relatively high levels of salt.

The relationship between the use of "saline water" and olive cultivation has been actively studied for a number of years. As per Professor Zeev Wiesman, Department of Biotechnology Engineering at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, it is well-known that saline conditions can limit the development of olives, mainly because the salty water interferes with the olives' root system and causes "toxic accumulation of chloride and sodium ions on the leaves".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 17, 2008, 9:15 PM CT

Elderly falls cut by 11 percent with education and intervention

Elderly falls cut by 11 percent with education and intervention
Usually viewed as an inevitable consequence of aging and often ignored in clinical practice, falls among the elderly were cut by 11 percent when scientists at Yale School of Medicine used a combination of fall prevention educational campaigns and interventions aimed at encouraging clinicians to incorporate fall-risk assessment and management into their practices.

Reported in the July 17 New England Journal (NEJM), the study also observed that the fall prevention programs resulted in almost 10 percent fewer fall-related hip fractures and head injuries among the elderly, who receive their care from a broad range of health providers in the intervention area.

The study was conducted by Mary E. Tinetti, M.D., the Gladys Phillips Crofoot Professor of Medicine, epidemiology and public health and investigative medicine at Yale School of Medicine, and his colleagues.

It is the first study to examine the effects of fall prevention strategies when used by clinicians who care for the elderly. Prior trials studied fall prevention carried out by researchers, not by elderly patients' own health providers. The study targeted primary care physicians, rehabilitation specialists (physical and occupational therapists), home care nurses, hospital emergency room staff and other clinicians and providers.........

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.

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