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October 1, 2008, 8:23 PM CT

PTSD impacts veterans' well-being

PTSD impacts veterans' well-being
Deployed peacekeeping veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have significant impairments in health-related quality of life as per research by Dr. J. Donald Richardson of The University of Western Ontario and his co-investigators.

The research, published this month in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, found anxiety disorders such as PTSD are linked to impaired emotional well-being, and this applies just as much to peacekeeping veterans as to combat veterans. "This finding is important to clinicians working with the newer generation of veterans, as it stresses the importance of including measures of quality of life when evaluating veterans to better address their rehabilitation needs," says Dr. Richardson. "It is not enough to measure symptom changes with therapy; we need to objectively asses if therapy is improving their quality of life and how they are functioning in their community".

Richardson is a consultant psychiatry expert with the Operational Stress Injury Clinic at Parkwood Hospital, part of St. Joseph's Health Care, London and a psychiatry professor with the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western. His team studied 125 male, deployed Canadian Forces peacekeeping veterans who were referred for a psychiatric assessment. The average age of these men was 41, and they averaged 16 years of military service. The most common military theatre in which they served were the Balkan states (Bosnia, Croatia, former Yugoslavia, and Kosovo), with 83 per cent having exposure to combat or a war zone.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


October 1, 2008, 8:16 PM CT

HIV drug maraviroc effective for drug-resistant patients

HIV drug maraviroc effective for drug-resistant patients
As a number of as one quarter of HIV patients have drug resistance, limiting their therapy options and raising their risk for AIDS and death. Now, maraviroc, the first of a new class of HIV drugs called CCR5 receptor antagonists, has been shown to be effective over 48 weeks for drug-resistant patients with R5 HIV-1, a variation of the virus found in more than half of HIV-infected patients.

Results of the two Phase 3 multicenter MOTIVATE (Maraviroc Plus Optimized Therapy in Viremic Antiretroviral Treatment Experienced Patients) studies led by NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center's Dr. Roy Gulick and reported in the October 2 issue of the New England Journal (NEJM) (NEJM) find that the drug, taken with an optimized standard HIV drug regimen, resulted in significantly greater suppression of the virus at 48 weeks, with concurrent increases in immune system T-cell counts, when compared with placebo. Rates of side effects were not different between the maraviroc and placebo groups.

Preliminary results of these studies led to FDA approval of maraviroc in August 2007.

Because it is from a new class of HIV medications known as HIV entry inhibitors, people living with HIV generally will not have resistance to maraviroc because they have not been exposed to any drugs from the class previously. Unlike earlier HIV drugs that target the virus, maraviroc acts on the human T-cell, binding to it in such a way that prevents HIV from binding and subsequently infecting the T-cell.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


October 1, 2008, 8:40 AM CT

Genes influence effectiveness of weight-loss drug

Genes influence effectiveness of weight-loss drug
Obese patients with a specific genetic make-up lose more weight when taking the weight loss drug sibutramine and undergoing behavioral treatment in comparison to those without this genetic make-up, reports a new study in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute.

The obesity epidemic continues to be an increasingly global problem: an estimated 1.6 billion adults worldwide are overweight (body mass index [BMI]>25) and 400 million are obese (BMI>30). In addition, the incidences of diabetes and other debilitating diseases attributable to obesity continue to rise.

While there are numerous options for the therapy of obesity, this study examined sibutramine, a medicine approved for the long-term therapy of obesity. The drug creates a feeling of fullness, prevents decline in metabolic rate linked to low calorie diets and causes weight loss, particularly when combined with behavioral treatment. However, weight loss with the drug is highly variable. Therefore, a research team at the Mayo Clinic assessed the influence of specific markers of candidate genes controlling serotonergic and adrenergic mechanisms (α2A-receptor, 5-HTTLPR and GNβ3) on weight loss/body composition in response to sibutramine or placebo.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 29, 2008, 10:37 PM CT

Birth size is a marker of susceptibility to breast cancer

Birth size is a marker of susceptibility to breast cancer
Birth size, and in particular birth length, correlates with subsequent risk of breast cancer in adulthood, as per a new study published in PLoS Medicine by scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Associations between birth size, perhaps as a marker of the pre-natal environment, and subsequent breast cancer risk have been identified before, but the findings from epidemiological studies have been inconsistent.

In the new study, led by Isabel dos Santos Silva (Professor of Epidemiology), the scientists re-analysed data from published and unpublished studies to obtain more precise estimates of the extent to which birth size affects the risk of breast cancer during the later part of life and to investigate whether they could be explained by associations with other risk factors.

They examined 32 studies, comprising 22,058 cases of breast cancer among a total of more than 600,000 women, most of whom lived in developed countries. They observed that birth weight was positively linked to breast cancer risk in studies where information on birth size was based on birth records (eventhough not in those based on adult self-reports, which tend to be less accurate). Analyses of women with data from birth records showed that a 0.5 kg increment in birth weight was linked to an estimated 7% increase in the risk of breast cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 29, 2008, 10:35 PM CT

Pain is not a symptom of arthritis, pain causes arthritis

Pain is not a symptom of arthritis, pain causes arthritis
Pain is more than a symptom of osteoarthritis, it is an inherent and damaging part of the disease itself, as per a research studypublished recently in journal Arthritis and Rheumatism More specifically, the study revealed that pain signals originating in arthritic joints, and the biochemical processing of those signals as they reach the spinal cord, worsen and expand arthritis. In addition, scientists observed that nerve pathways carrying pain signals transfer inflammation from arthritic joints to the spine and back again, causing disease at both ends.

Technically, pain is a patient's conscious realization of discomfort. Before that can happen, however, information must be carried along nerve cell pathways from say an injured knee to the pain processing centers in dorsal horns of the spinal cord, a process called nociception. The current study provides good evidence that two-way, nociceptive "crosstalk" may first enable joint arthritis to transmit inflammation into the spinal cord and brain, and then to spread through the central nervous system (CNS) from one joint to another.

Furthermore, if joint arthritis can cause neuro-inflammation, it could have a role in conditions like Alzheimer's disease, dementia and multiple sclerosis. Armed with the results, scientists have identified likely drug targets that could interfere with key inflammatory receptors on sensory nerve cells as a new way to treat osteoarthritis (OA), which destroys joint cartilage in 21 million Americans. The most common form of arthritis, OA eventually brings deformity and severe pain as patients loose the protective cushion between bones in weight-bearing joints like knees and hips.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 29, 2008, 10:31 PM CT

Second-hand smoke may trigger nicotine dependence

Second-hand smoke may trigger nicotine dependence
Montreal, September 29, 2008 Parents who smoke cigarettes around their kids in cars and homes beware second-hand smoke may trigger symptoms of nicotine dependence in children. The findings appear in the September edition of the journal Addictive Behaviors in a joint study from nine Canadian institutions.

"Increased exposure to second-hand smoke, both in cars and homes, was linked to an increased likelihood of children reporting nicotine dependence symptoms, even though these children had never smoked," says Dr. Jennifer O'Loughlin, senior author of the study, a professor at the Universit de Montral's Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and a researcher at the Centre Hospitalier de l'Universit de Montral.

"These findings support the need for public health interventions that promote non-smoking in the presence of children, and uphold policies to restrict smoking in vehicles when children are present," adds Dr. O'Loughlin, who collaborated with scientists from the Universit de Sherbrooke, the Universit de Moncton, the University of British Columbia, McGill University, Concordia University and the Institut national de sant publique du Qubec.

Study participants were recruited from 29 Quebec schools as part of AdoQuest, a cohort investigation that measures tobacco use and other health-compromising behaviours. Some 1,800 children aged 10 to 12 years old, from all socioeconomic levels, were asked to complete questionnaires on their health and behaviours. Scientists also asked questions about symptoms of nicotine dependence and exposure to second-hand smoke.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 29, 2008, 10:19 PM CT

Hepatitis B exposure and pancreatic cancer

Hepatitis B exposure and pancreatic cancer
Manal Hassan, M.D., Ph.D.

Credit: M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

HOUSTON - In a first-of-its-kind finding, scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have discovered that exposure to the hepatitis B virus (HBV) may increase the risk of pancreas cancer.

The study, reported in the Oct. 1 edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, also suggests that patients with this lethal form of cancer treated with chemotherapy may face danger of reactivation of their HBV.

Pancreas cancer is diagnosed in 37,000 people in the United States each year, and more than 34,000 people die of the disease annually, as per the American Cancer Society. It is often diagnosed in the late stages and is particularly perplexing because few risk factors are known.

"If this study is validated, it will give us more information about the risk factors of pancreas cancer and possibly even help prevent it in some cases," said lead author Manal Hassan, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology.

HBV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are major global health problems, affecting about 2 percent of the population worldwide. In the United States 1.25 million people have chronic HBV, while 3.2 million have chronic HCV. These systemic viruses can harm the body in a variety of ways, including traveling through the bloodstream and damaging tissues throughout the body.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


September 29, 2008, 9:28 PM CT

Supplements no better than placebo in slowing cartilage loss

Supplements no better than placebo in slowing cartilage loss
In a two-year multicenter study led by University of Utah doctors, the dietary supplements glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate performed no better than placebo in slowing the rate of cartilage loss in the knees of osteoarthritis patients.

This was an ancillary study concurrently conducted on a subset of the patients who were enrolled in the prospective, randomized GAIT (Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial). The primary objective of this ancillary study was to investigate whether these dietary supplements could diminish the structural damage of osteoarthritis. The results, reported in the recent issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, show none of the agents had a clinically significant effect on slowing the rate of joint space width loss the distance between the ends of joint bones as shown by X-ray.

However, in line with other recent studies, the scientists found that all the study's participants had a slower rate of joint space width loss than expected, making it more difficult to detect the effects of the dietary supplements and other agents used in the study.

Rheumatologist Allen D. Sawitzke, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine, was lead investigator. "At two years, no therapy achieved what was predefined to be a clinically important reduction in joint space width loss," Sawitzke said. "While we found a trend toward improvement among those with moderate osteoarthritis of the knee in those taking glucosamine, we were not able to draw any definitive conclusions".........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 28, 2008, 9:11 PM CT

Less nicotine to the brain than regular cigarettes?

Less nicotine to the brain than regular cigarettes?
For decades now, cigarette makers have marketed so-called light cigarettes which contain less nicotine than regular smokes with the implication that they are less harmful to smokers' health. A new UCLA study shows, however, that they deliver nearly as much nicotine to the brain.

Reporting in the current online edition of the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, UCLA psychiatry professor Dr. Arthur L. Brody and his colleagues observed that low-nicotine cigarettes act similarly to regular cigarettes, occupying a significant percentage of the brain's nicotine receptors.

Light cigarettes have nicotine levels of 0.6 to 1 milligrams, while regular cigarettes contain between 1.2 and 1.4 milligrams.

The scientists also looked at de-nicotinized cigarettes, which contain only a trace amount of nicotine (0.05 milligrams) and are currently being tested as an adjunct to standard smoking-cessation therapys. They observed that even that low a nicotine level is enough to occupy a sizeable percentage of receptors.

"The two take-home messages are that very little nicotine is needed to occupy a substantial portion of brain nicotine receptors," Brody said, "and cigarettes with less nicotine than regular cigarettes, such as 'light' cigarettes, still occupy most brain nicotine receptors. Thus, low-nicotine cigarettes function almost the same as regular cigarettes in terms of brain nicotine-receptor occupancy.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


September 28, 2008, 8:47 PM CT

Deadly rugby virus spreads in sumo wrestlers

Deadly rugby virus spreads in sumo wrestlers
Rugby players may get more than just the ball out of a scrum herpes virus can cause a skin disease called "scrumpox" and it spreads through physical contact. Scientists have studied the spread of the disease among sumo wrestlers in Japan and have discovered that a new strain of the virus could be even more pathogenic, as per an article reported in the recent issue of the Journal of General Virology

"Scrumpox", or herpes gladiatorum, is a skin infection caused by the herpes virus, which can cause coldsores. It is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact so it is common among rugby players and wrestlers. Symptoms can start with a sore throat and swollen glands and the telltale blisters appear on the face, neck, arms or legs. The disease is highly infectious, so players who are infected are often taken out of competition to stop the virus from spreading.

"Researchers in Japan think that a strain of herpes virus called BgKL has replaced the strain BgOL as one of the most common and pathogenic, causing a skin disease in sumo wrestlers," said Dr Kazuo Yanagi from the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo, Japan. "We wanted to see if this is the case, so we studied the spread of the disease in sumo wrestlers in Tokyo".

The scientists looked at samples taken from 39 wrestlers diagnosed with herpes gladiatorum, who were living in 8 different sumo stables in Tokyo between 1989 and 1994. Tests showed that some of the cases were primary infections, being the first time the wrestlers had been infected. However, in some cases the disease had recurred several times.........

Posted by: Mark      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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