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March 25, 2007, 9:18 PM CT

Bacteria from patient's dental plaque

Bacteria from patient's dental plaque
Patients admitted to a hospital's intensive care unit (ICU) already are seriously ill, so the last thing they need is a new infection.

Unfortunately, statistics show that as a number of as 25 percent of all patients admitted to the ICU and placed on ventilators develop pneumonia, which can be fatal.

Ventilator-associated pneumonia is a major cause of infection in the hospital, and studies have shown that this infection can add $40,000 to costs and double the length of stay of the patient in the hospital.

Ironically, it turns out that the patients own dental plaque is a major source of germs that cause ventilator-associated pneumonia.

In results to be presented today (March 23, 2007) at the International Association of Dental Research (IADR), scientists from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine show that the same bacteria identified in dental plaque of patients when they were admitted to the ICU and placed on ventilators were found later in the lungs from those who subsequently developed pneumonia.

"Our study shows that a strong relationship exists between oral and respiratory pathogens in patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia," said Paul Heo, D.D.S., a doctoral student in the UB dental schools Department of Oral Biology and first author on the study.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


March 25, 2007, 9:16 PM CT

Estrogen and Bone Protection

Estrogen and Bone Protection
Scientists at the University at Buffalo have described a novel pathway by which estradiol, the primary estrogen in humans, aids in maintaining bone density, a function critical to avoiding osteoporosis.

It is well known that estrogen is essential for healthy bone, and that when the production of estrogen is reduced, as occurs normally in postmenopausal women and pathogenically after exposure to radiation or chemotherapeutic drugs, bones become brittle and break easily. However, the mechanisms involved aren't clearly understood.

The new study observed that one way estradiol helps to maintain bone density is by stopping the activation of an enzyme known as caspase-3. Also called the executioner caspase, caspase-3 is the central player in initiating the process of apoptosis, or programmed cell death of osteoblasts, the bone cells that aid in the growth and development of new bone and teeth.

Results of the study will be presented Friday, March 23, at the International Association of Dental Research meeting in New Orleans.

Peter G. Bradford, Ph.D., senior author on the study said of the results: "Basic and clinical studies have shown that estrogens can prevent both bone loss and reduce the occurence rate of bone fractures. Our research at the molecular and cellular level suggests that the underlying basis of this protective effect of estrogens involves the prevention of apoptosis in osteoblasts and that the key event in this prevention is the inhibition of caspase-3 activity".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


March 25, 2007, 9:05 PM CT

Low-dose aspirin beats high-dose

Low-dose aspirin beats high-dose
The use of medicines to fight cardiovascular disease has been a primary focus of research in this area for the past several decades, as combinations of interventions and medicinal treatment have gradually begun to increase long-term survival rates. Two studies presented today at the American College of Cardiology's 56th Annual Scientific Session look at the measurable impact of the use of aspirin and other maintenance therapies, and one demonstrates that lower doses of therapies may prove to be just as beneficial while also lowering side effects. ACC.07 is the premier cardiovascular medical meeting, bringing together heart specialists and cardiovascular specialists to further breakthroughs in cardiovascular medicine.

"Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death today, and the major focus of research is to find better ways to help these patients through prevention, immediate intervention and long-term therapy regimens," said Douglas P. Zipes, M.D., Distinguished Professor of the Indiana University School of Medicine. "As we continue to discover the benefits of these therapies, we expect to see continued and measurable improvements in overall survival and quality of life".

Effects of Aspirin dose on Ischemic Events and Bleeding after Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI): Insights from the PCI-CURE Study (Presentation Number: 2805-9).........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 25, 2007, 8:46 PM CT

Issues In Pediatric Cardiology

Issues In Pediatric Cardiology
Heart problems in children are quite different from those in adults, and four studies presented today at the American College of Cardiologys 56th Annual Scientific Session look at how pediatric heart specialists take different approaches to better understand and manage cardiovascular disease in this population, including insights into fundamental cardiac mechanisms and testing of new procedures. ACC.07 is the premier cardiovascular medical meeting, bringing together heart specialists and cardiovascular specialists to further breakthroughs in cardiovascular medicine.

"Congenital heart disease is one of the most common birth defects seen in the United States today, and it is important we continue supporting research that will improve the diagnosis and therapy of infants, children and young adults with these problems, said Roberta Williams, M.D., of the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. These studies show how a better understanding of new technologies can save lives and establish a better quality of life for children living with cardiovascular disorders.

Long-term Follow-up of Stents Placed in Infants with Congenital Heart Disease (Presentation Number 1017-27).

Stents have been credited with saving thousands of lives by treating blocked coronary arteries. While the implantation of balloon-expandable stents in infants has been shown to be technically feasible, there is essentially no long-term data showing that this therapy remains effective as an infant grows. In order to determine the benefits of stent implantation in infants, scientists from Miami Childrens Hospital in Florida conducted a retrospective analysis on the earliest consecutive series of infants who underwent stent placement between October 1995 and December 1999.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 25, 2007, 8:40 PM CT

Molecular tools make the cut

Molecular tools make the cut
Scientists in Japan have developed a pair of molecular-scale scissors that open and close in response to light. The tiny scissors are the first example of a molecular machine capable of mechanically manipulating molecules by using light, the researchers say.

The scissors measure just three nanometers in length, small enough to deliver drugs into cells or manipulate genes and other biological molecules, says principal investigator Takuzo Aida, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and biotechnology at the University of Tokyo.

Chemists and biochemists may also use the scissors to precisely control the activity of proteins, Aida says. He presented details of the new technique today at the 233rd national meeting of the American Chemical society, the worlds largest scientific society.

Researchers have long been looking for ways to develop molecular-scale tools that operate in response to specific stimuli, such as sound or light. Biologists, in particular, are enthusiastic about development of such techniques because it would provide them with a simple way to manipulate genes and other molecules.

It is known, for example, that near-infrared light can reach deep parts of the body, says Kazushi Kinbara, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and biotechnology at the University of Tokyo and co-investigator of the study. Thus, by using a multi-photon excitation technique, the scissors can be manipulated in the body for medicinal applications such as gene delivery.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


March 25, 2007, 8:09 PM CT

New Superbug Weapon

New Superbug Weapon
Imagine the desperation of trying to fight lethal infections when antibiotics fail to work.

That scenario usually found with "hospital superbugs" may well improve thanks to a discovery by a research team at the University of British Columbia, in collaboration with UBC spin-off company Inimex Pharmaceuticals, that has identified a peptide that can fight infection by boosting the body's own immune system.

"Antibiotics are now under threat because of the explosion in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A third of all deaths on this planet are the result of infection so there is an urgent need to create new therapies," says Robert Hancock, principal investigator and Canada Research Chair in Pathogenomics and Antimicrobials. "The beauty of this peptide is that it acts on the host to trigger a protective response and doesn't act on bacteria directly. That means it's unlikely bacteria will become resistant to it".

The team observed that a peptide, or chain of amino acids, they have dubbed innate defense regulator peptide (IDR-1), can increase innate immunity without triggering harmful inflammation, and offer protection both before and after infection is present.

The discovery, in animal models, will be published March 25 in the journal Nature Biotechnology.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


March 25, 2007, 7:30 PM CT

Meat, neutrons and a longer life

Meat, neutrons and a longer life
Indulging in an isotope-enhanced steak or chicken fillet every now and again could add as much as 10 years to your life. Researchers have demonstrated for the first time that food enriched with natural isotopes builds bodily components that are more resistant to the processes of ageing. The concept has been demonstrated in worms and scientists hope that the same concept can help extend human life and reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases of ageing, reports Marina Murphy in Chemistry & Industry, the magazine of the SCI.

A team led by Mikhail Shchepinov, formerly of Oxford University, fed nematode worms nutrients reinforced with natural isotopes (naturally occurring atomic variations of elements). In initial experiments, worms' life spans were extended by 10%, which, with humans expected to routinely coast close to the centenary, could add a further 10 years to human life.

Food enhanced with isotopes is thought to produce bodily constituents and DNA more resistant to detrimental processes, like free radical attack. The isotopes replace atoms in susceptible bonds making these bonds stronger. 'Because these bonds are so much more stable, it should be possible to slow down the process of oxidation and ageing,' Shchepinov says.

The isotopes could be used in animal feed so that humans could get the "age-defying" isotopes indirectly in steaks or chicken fillets, for example, rather than eating chemically enhanced products themselves. Shchepinov says an occasional top-up would be sufficient to have a beneficial effect.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 25, 2007, 7:20 PM CT

Targeting tumors the natural way

Targeting tumors the natural way
By mimicking Nature's way of distinguishing one type of cell from another, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers now report they can more effectively seek out and kill cancer cells while sparing healthy ones.

The new tumor targeting strategy, presented today (March 25) at the annual national meeting of the American Chemical Society, cleverly harnesses one of the body's natural antibodies and immune responses. "The killing agent we chose is already in us," says UW-Madison chemistry professor Laura Kiessling, who led the work with postdoctoral researcher Coby Carlson. "It's just not commonly directed toward tumor cells."

In a series of cell-based experiments, the researchers' system recognized and killed only those cells displaying high levels of receptors known as integrins. These molecules, which tend to bedeck the surfaces of cancer cells and tumor vasculature in large numbers, have become important targets in cancer research.

In contrast, an established tumor-homing agent associated with the cell toxin doxorubicin destroyed cells even when they expressed very little integrin, indicating this strategy has the potential to kill malignant and healthy cells indiscriminately.

"This study suggests that the cell recognition mode we used can direct an endogenous immune response to destroy cancer cells selectively," says Kiessling. "We think this could lead to a new class of therapeutic agents not only for cancer but also for other diseases involving harmful cells".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 25, 2007, 7:06 PM CT

Novel therapy for lipid disorders shows mixed results

Novel therapy for lipid disorders shows mixed results
Preliminary research suggests that use of a novel, potent drug to treat cholesterol disorders decreases triglycerides and increases HDL-C, the "good" cholesterol, but also raises some safety concerns, as per a research studyin the March 28 issue of JAMA. The study is being released early to coincide with its presentation at the American College of Cardiology's annual conference.

Several different classes of drugs are used to treat lipid disorders. Fibrates reduce the liver's production of a triglyceride-carrying particle and speed up removal of triglycerides from the blood. Statins reduce cholesterol levels by inhibiting an enzyme that produces cholesterol in the liver. New, more potent and selective medications are being developed to treat lipid disorders within the class of drugs known according tooxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-alpha agonists - drugs that turn on one of several cellular switches, as per background information in the article. None of the new PPAR-alpha agonists has achieved regulatory approval.

Steven E. Nissen, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner School of Medicine, Cleveland, and his colleagues conducted two multi-center, randomized trials to examine the safety and efficacy of a PPAR-alpha agonist known as LY518674. In one study, 309 patients with atherogenic dyslipidemia (elevated triglycerides and low HDL-C) received LY518674 (in one of 4 doses, 10, 25, 50 or 100 micrograms), placebo, or the fibrate drug fenofibrate. In the other study, 304 patients with hypercholesterolemia (elevated LDL-C, the "bad" cholesterol) received placebo or the statin drug atorvastatin for four weeks, then placebo or LY518674 (in one of 2 doses, 10 or 50 micrograms) for 12 more weeks. The patients were randomized between August 2005 and August 2006.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 25, 2007, 7:03 PM CT

iPods help docs improve stethoscope skills

iPods help docs improve stethoscope skills (Photo by Joseph V. Labolito / Temple University)
Patients rely on their physicians to recognize signs of trouble, yet for common heart murmurs, that ability is only fair at best. Fortunately, the solution is simple: listening repeatedly. In fact, intensive repetition - listening at least 400 times to each heart sound - significantly improved the stethoscope abilities of doctors, according to a study presented today at the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting.

After demonstrating last year that medical students greatly improved their stethoscope skills by listening repeatedly to heart sounds on their iPods, lead investigator Michael Barrett, M.D., clinical associate professor of medicine and cardiologist at Temple University School of Medicine and Hospital, set out to test the technique on practicing physicians.

During a single 90-minute session, 149 general internists listened 400 times to five common heart murmurs including aortic stenosis, aortic regurgitation, mitral stenosis, mitral regurgitation and innocent systolic murmur. Previous studies have found the average rate of correct heart sound identification in physicians is 40 percent. After the session, the average improved to 80 percent.

Proficiency with a stethoscope - and the ability to recognize abnormal heart sounds - is a critical skill for identifying dangerous heart conditions and minimizing dependence on expensive medical tests.........

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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