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May 14, 2008, 9:33 PM CT

Risk For Developing Breast Cancer

Risk For Developing Breast Cancer
Dr. David Euhus
A chemical reaction in genes that control breast cancer provides a molecular clock that could one day help scientists more accurately determine a woman's risk for developing breast cancer and provide a new approach for therapy, UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists have found.

As per a research findings published in today's issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers from UT Southwestern show that the chemical process, called methylation, is strongly correlated with breast-cancer risk and with premalignant changes in the breast cells.

The scientists determined that methylation acts as a type of biological clock, indicating how a number of times a cell has divided. This information could aid scientists in determining an individual's cancer risk.

"The more a cell has divided, the greater the risk for cancer," said Dr. David Euhus, professor of surgical oncology. "Monitoring methylation levels could give scientists a way of seeing how often cells have divided and where a woman stands on that clock. Once the clock reaches a certain hour, breast cancer is more likely to ensue".

During methylation, small molecules called methyl groups attach themselves to a gene and turn off, or "silence," the gene.

Prior studies by Dr. Euhus have shown that apparently normal breast cells from women with breast cancer had increased methylation of a tumor-suppressor gene called RASSF1A.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 14, 2008, 8:51 PM CT

Teens reach linguistic peak in online chat

Teens reach linguistic peak in online chat
Parents and teachers worry that teenagers use of these and other forms of online shorthand is harming their language skills. Perhaps they will take comfort from a study suggesting that instant messaging (IM) actually represents an expansive new linguistic renaissance.

Sali Tagliamonte and Derek Denis at the University of Toronto, Canada, say teenagers risk the disapproval of their elders if they use slang, and the scorn of their friends if they sound too buttoned-up. But instant messaging allows them to deploy a robust mix of colloquial and formal language. In a paper would be reported in the spring 2008 issue of American Speech, the scientists argue that far from ruining teenagers ability to communicate, IM lets teenagers show off what they can do with language.

IM is interactive discourse among friends that is conducive to informal language, says Denis, but at the same time, it is a written interface which tends to be more formal than speech.

He and Tagliamonte analysed more than a million words of IM communications and a quarter of a million spoken words produced by 72 people aged between 15 and 20. They observed that eventhough IM shared some of the patterns used in speech, its vocabulary and grammar tended to be relatively conservative. For example, teenagers are more likely to use the phrase He was like, Whats up? than He said, Whats up? when speaking - but the opposite is true when they are instant-messaging. This supports the idea that IM represents a hybrid form of communication.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 14, 2008, 8:46 PM CT

Middle class relaxing with marijuana

Middle class relaxing with marijuana
A variety of middle-class people are making a conscious but careful choice to use marijuana to enhance their leisure activities, a University of Alberta study shows.

A qualitative study of 41 Canadians surveyed in 2005-06 by U of A scientists showed that there is no such thing as a typical marijuana user, but that people of all ages are selectively lighting up the drug as a way to enhance activities ranging from watching television and playing sports to having sex, painting or writing.

For some of the participants, marijuana enhanced their ability to relax by taking their minds off daily stresses and pressures. Others found it helpful in focusing on the activity at hand, said Geraint Osborne, a professor of sociology at the University of Albertas Augustana Campus in Camrose, and one of the studys authors.

The study was published recently in the journal Substance Use and Misuse.

The focus was on adult users who were employed, ranging in age from 21 to 61, including 25 men and 16 women from Alberta, Quebec, Ontario and Newfoundland whose use of the drug ranged from daily to once or twice a year. They were predominantly middle class and worked in the retail and service industries, in communications, as white-collar employees, or as health-care and social workers. As well, 68 per cent of the users held post-secondary degrees, while another 11 survey participants had earned their high school diplomas.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 14, 2008, 8:30 PM CT

Attitudes to stem cell research

Attitudes to stem cell research
Unlike most scientific and technological advances, which tend to take their place silently in society, biotechnology often finds itself the center of public debate and regulatory attention, due partly to the moral issues posed by a number of of its applications.

In this second BBVA Foundation international study on Attitudes to Biotechnology (the first was in 2003), the sample has been enlarged from nine to twelve European countries (Austria, Czech Republic, Gera number of, Denmark, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, United Kingdom and Sweden), with the addition of countries from other continents; namely the United States, Japan and Israel. The selection of countries was informed by both their demographical weight and their variability from the standpoint of religious beliefs and cultural traditions.

Information was gathered through 1,500 face-to-face interviews in each country with subjects aged 18 and over (around 22,500 interviewees in all) conducted between April 2007 and February 2008. The design and analysis of the survey were the work of the Department of Social Studies and Public Opinion of the BBVA Foundation.

The present study focuses on attitudes towards one biotechnology application: research with embryos for the purpose of obtaining stem cells. In particular, it analyzes how far public opinion is informed about stem cells, expectations and reservations regarding research with embryonic stem cells and differences in support for such research depending on the origin of the embryos used. Attention also goes to the attitudes held on the creation of hybrid embryos for stem cell research.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


May 14, 2008, 7:48 PM CT

Mothers' Depression, Young Children's Injuries

Mothers' Depression, Young Children's Injuries
Infants and toddlers whose mothers are severely depressed are almost three times more likely to suffer accidental injuries than other children in the same age group, as per a new study. The study's findings, published recently in the Advanced Access edition of the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, suggest that proper therapy for depression would improve not only the mothers' health, but the health of young children as well.

Previous studies have shown that mothers who reported symptoms consistent with clinical depression had children who experienced a significant number of accidental injuries between the ages 3 months to 2 years.

In his study, UAB psychology expert David Schwebel, Ph.D., director of the UAB Youth Safety Lab, examined the difference between mothers with severe, chronic depression and those who were moderately depressed as their children grew from birth to first grade.

A likely cause for the link between severe maternal depression and young children's injury risk is that chronically depressed mothers may not appropriately safeguard the physical environments that children engage in, Schwebel said. Another cause may be that symptoms of depression include inattention, poor concentration and irritability, which "might lead to poor or inconsistent supervision and enforcement of safety-related rules," he said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


May 14, 2008, 7:33 PM CT

Alzheimer's-like brain tangles in nonhuman primates

Alzheimer's-like brain tangles in nonhuman primates
Alzheimers brain tangles
Scientists at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, have discovered the first conclusive evidence of Alzheimer's-like neurofibrillary brain tangles in an aged nonhuman primate. The unprecedented finding, described in the online issue of the Journal of Comparative Neurology, has the potential to move the scientific community one step closer to understanding why age-related neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, are uniquely human and seem to never fully manifest in other species--including our closest evolutionary relative, the chimpanzee.

Lead scientists Rebecca Rosen, a doctoral student who is conducting her research at Yerkes, and Lary Walker, PhD, a neuroscientist and research professor at Yerkes, in collaboration with colleagues at UCLA, made the unanticipated finding during a routine post-mortem study of an aged, female chimpanzee that died of natural causes. The scientists also discovered deposits of beta-amyloid protein in plaques and blood vessels of the chimp's brain tissue, eventhough these changes were infrequent in comparison to Alzheimer's disease in humans.

"We've seen these plaques in aged chimpanzees before, but this is the first time scientists have found both hallmark features of Alzheimer's disease--plaques and neurofibrillary tangles--in a nonhuman primate," explains Walker.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


May 13, 2008, 7:46 PM CT

Adding ultrasound screening to mammography

Adding ultrasound screening to mammography
Adding a screening ultrasound examination to routine mammography reveals more breast cancers than mammography alone, as per results of a major new clinical trial. The trial, however, also observed that adding an ultrasound exam also increases the rate of false positive findings and unnecessary biopsies.

Results of the clinical trial, conducted by the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) and analyzed by Brown University statisticians, appear in the May 14, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The trial uncovered a significant trade-off with ultrasound screening, said Jeffrey Blume, an associate professor in the Department of Community Health and the deputy director of the ACRIN Biostatistics and Data Management Center at Brown. While supplemental ultrasound screening uncovers more breast cancers, it also substantially increases the risk of a false positive cancer finding and unnecessary biopsy.

The medical community may well decide that the screening benefit is offset by the increase in risk to women from a false positive finding, Blume said. However this study also shows that supplemental ultrasound may be beneficial in women at high risk of breast cancer who could not, or would not, otherwise undergo a magnetic resonance imaging scan. Women should consult their doctor for more information.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 12, 2008, 10:09 PM CT

High blood pressure and high cholesterol

High blood pressure and high cholesterol
Hypertension and high cholesterol levels appear to be risk factors for retinal vein occlusion, a condition that causes vision loss, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Retinal vein occlusion occurs when one or more veins carrying blood from the eye to the heart become blocked, as per background information in the article. Bleeding (hemorrhage) or fluid buildup (edema) may follow, damaging vision.

Paul R.A. OMahoney, of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, and his colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 21 previously published studies involving 2,916 individuals with retinal vein occlusion and 28,646 control participants without the condition. The scientists pooled data from all the studies and estimated the population-attributable risk, or the percentage of cases of retinal vein occlusion that could be attributed to high blood pressure (high blood pressure), diabetes and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol).

Of patients with retinal vein occlusion, 63.6 percent had hypertension, compared with 36.2 percent of controls; those with hypertension had more than 3.5 times the odds of having retinal vein occlusion. High cholesterol levels were more than twice as common among patients with retinal vein occlusion as those without (35.1 percent vs. 16.7 percent), and those with high cholesterol levels had an approximately 2.5-fold higher risk of retinal vein occlusion. Diabetes was slightly more prevalent among those with retinal vein occlusion than among those without (14.6 percent vs. 11.1 percent).........

Posted by: Mike      Read more         Source


May 12, 2008, 9:50 PM CT

Vision therapy appears to improve visual function

Vision therapy appears to improve visual function
A low-vision treatment program that includes a home visit, counseling, assistive devices such as magnifiers and assignments to practice using them appears to significantly improve vision in veterans with diseases of the macula (the area of the retina with the sharpest vision), as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Low vision, chronic visual impairment that limits everyday function, is one of the 10 most prevalent causes of disability in America, the authors write as background information in the article. In addition to affecting daily function, low vision increases the risk of depression, injury and an overall decline in health. Most diseases that cause low vision are not curable. In most cases, impaired vision cannot be corrected and rehabilitation is the only option for regaining lost function for the patient with low vision. Low-vision rehabilitation aims to restore functional ability, the ability to perform tasks modulated by visual impairment.

Joan A. Stelmack, O.D., M.P.H., of the Edward E. Hines Jr. VA Hospital, Hines, Ill., and the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, and his colleagues studied 126 patients (average age 78.9, 98 percent male) with low vision and diseases affecting the macula who were eligible for Veterans Affairs (VA) services. Between November 2004 and November 2006, participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. In one, patients received a vision treatment program incorporating a low-vision examination, counseling, assistive devices such as magnifiers and five weekly sessions provided by a low-vision therapist to teach use of the assistive devices and other adaptive strategies. They were also assigned homework to ensure they used the devices outside of treatment. The other group was placed on a wait list for the treatment program and received no therapy for four months, an amount of time veterans might normally wait to receive such services.........

Posted by: Mike      Read more         Source


May 12, 2008, 9:48 PM CT

When schools ban unhealthy snacks

When schools ban unhealthy snacks
Children who attend schools that run fruit tuck shops are much more likely to eat more fruit if they and their friends are also banned from bringing unhealthy snacks on to the school premises, as per research published online ahead of print in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Scientists at Cardiff University studied the snacking habits of 9-11 year olds attending 43 primary schools in deprived areas of South Wales and South West England which had a variety of policies on bringing food to school: no restrictions, fruit only or no food at all.

Twenty three of the schools were asked to start fruit tuck shops selling a variety of fruit at a fixed price and not to sell sweets and crisps as alternatives. All the schools continued with their current policies on bringing food to school.

Over the year-long study funded by the Food Standards Agency, the tuck shops sold approximately 70,000 pieces of fruit, equivalent to 0.06 pieces of fruit per student per day.

At the end of the year, the children were surveyed on how much fruit and other snacks they had eaten the prior day. They were also asked how much fruit they and their friends were eating regularly at school.

Fruit tuck shops alone had a limited impact on childrens fruit consumption at school. Eventhough children in schools with fruit tuck shops were more likely to say they and their friends ate fruit regularly, the amount of fruit they reported eating the prior day was not significantly more than children at schools without fruit tuck shops.........

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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