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September 17, 2007, 5:10 AM CT

Linchpin gene and breast cancer therapies

Linchpin gene and breast cancer therapies
University of Iowa scientists have discovered a gene that plays a linchpin role in the ability of breast cancer cells to respond to estrogen. The finding may lead to improved therapies for hormone-responsive breast cancers and may explain differences in the effectiveness of current therapys.

Estrogen causes hormone-responsive breast cancer cells to grow and divide by interacting with estrogen receptors made by cancer cells. Interfering with estrogen signaling is the basis of two common breast cancer therapies -- tamoxifen, which blocks estrogen's interaction with a primary estrogen receptor called ER-alpha, and aromatase inhibitors that reduce the amount of estrogen the body makes and therefore affect any pathway that uses estrogen.

The study, led by Ronald Weigel, M.D., Ph.D., professor and head of surgery at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, reveals a central role for transcription factor AP2C (TFAP2C) in controlling multiple pathways of estrogen signaling. The findings appear in the Sept. 15 issue of Cancer Research.

"Estrogen binds to estrogen receptors and triggers a cascade of events including gene regulation," said Weigel, who also is a member of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UI. "We observed that elimination of the TFAP2C from the cell causes all of those cascades that we associate with estrogen to go away. The treated cancer cells were not able to respond to estrogen by any normal pathway".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 17, 2007, 5:05 AM CT

Cholesterol heart and estrogen

Cholesterol heart and estrogen
New findings by UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists show that a byproduct of cholesterol metabolism interferes with the beneficial effects estrogen has on the cardiovascular system, providing a better understanding of the interplay between cholesterol and estrogen in heart disease.

The results of the study, available online and in the recent issue of the journal Nature Medicine, also may explain why hormone replacement treatment fails to protect some postmenopausal women from heart disease, said Dr. David Mangelsdorf, chairman of pharmacology and senior author of the paper.

The scientists observed that in rodents, a molecule called 27-hydroxycholesterol, or 27HC, binds to the same receptors in the blood vessels of the heart to which estrogen binds.

The normal result of this estrogen binding is that blood vessel walls remain elastic and dilated, and damage to the vasculature is repaired, among other heart-protective effects. Other research has shown that postmenopausal women who no longer produce estrogen lose this protective action and become more susceptible to heart disease.

Based on their animal studies and other experiments, the UT Southwestern scientists determined that when estrogen levels dropped relative to the amount of 27HC circulating in the blood, 27HC reacted and bound to the estrogen receptors in the cardiovascular system and blocked their protective function, primarily by inhibiting the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide mediates smooth muscle relaxation in blood vessels, aids cell growth and repair, and prevents thrombosis. Reduced levels of nitric oxide in blood vessels has been linked with high cholesterol and diabetes.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 17, 2007, 5:02 AM CT

Genetic variant linked to odor perception

Genetic variant linked to odor perception
Why the same sweaty man smells pleasant to one person and repellant to another comes down to the smellers genes.

Duke University Medical Center scientists demonstrated that genetic variants of odor receptors within the nose determine how a particular odor is perceived. The researchers, led by Dukes Hiroaki Matsunami, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular genetics and microbiology, published the results of their experiments early online Sept. 16 in the journal Nature.

The scientists focused on two chemicals androstenone and androstadienone that are created naturally by the body during the breakdown of the male sex hormone testosterone and are excreted in sweat and urine.

We observed that genetic variations of a specific odor receptor determine, to a significant degree, why the same chemicals smell pleasant or unpleasant to different people, Matsunami said. These results demonstrate the first link between the functioning of a human odor receptor gene and how that odor is perceived.

Humans have about 400 odor receptors within the nose that detect various odors or chemicals. Smells typically bind to their corresponding receptors, and the information is then relayed to the brain for processing.

The scientists wanted to uncover the reasons why people react differently when they smell these two sex steroid-derived chemicals. Hanyi Zhuang, a student in the Matsunami laboratory, tested all the known smell receptors in the laboratory and found one that reacted strongly with the two chemicals.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


September 14, 2007, 5:25 AM CT

Genes That Improve Survival

Genes That Improve Survival
University of Iowa scientists investigating the basic biology of cell signaling have made a discovery that may have therapeutic implications for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurodegenerative diseases.

The UI team, led by John Engelhardt, Ph.D., professor and head of anatomy and cell biology in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, discovered that two cell-signaling proteins called Nox1 and Nox2 appear to play an important role in disease progression of an inherited form of ALS. This work is reported in the Sept. 13 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Deleting either Nox1 or Nox2 genes from mice with the inherited type of ALS significantly increased the lifespan of the mice. Nox2 deletion produces the most dramatic effect, nearly doubling the lifespan of the mice. In addition, Nox2 deletion dramatically increased the survival index -- the time from disease onset to death. This is the first report of a single gene that affects the survival index in ALS models.

"The findings provide encouraging data that there are new potential therapeutic targets in ALS," said Engelhardt, who also is the Roy J. Carver Chair in Molecular Medicine. "Whether our findings will bear out in humans still has to be reviewed, but our results suggest that inhibiting Nox proteins might significantly enhance survival in ALS".........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


September 14, 2007, 5:18 AM CT

Less than 3 percent of UK 11-year-olds take enough exercise

Less than 3 percent of UK 11-year-olds take enough exercise
Less than 3 per cent of UK 11 year olds are taking enough exercise, suggests research published ahead of print in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

It is recommended that kids spend at least an hour a day doing some form of moderate to vigorous physical activity, in a bid to promote good health and stave off the risks of subsequent obesity and diabetes.

The scientists monitored the physical activity levels of more than 5,500 11 year olds in the South West of England over seven consecutive days between January 2003 and January 2005.

The children were part of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), which has tracked the health of more than 14,000 children since birth.

Each child was kitted out with a special piece of equipment (accelerometer), worn on an elasticated belt, which recorded minute by minute the intensity and frequency of physical activity.

The scientists were especially interested in total levels of physical activity and the amount of moderate to vigorous exercise the kids were taking daily.

When the data were analysed, they showed that the children were around twice as physically active as adults, but they were not yet active enough.

Boys were more physically active than girls, and they were also more likely to engage in moderate to vigorous forms of activity.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 14, 2007, 5:15 AM CT

Correlation between GERD and obesity in females

Correlation between GERD and obesity in females
A group of researchers recently discovered an association between being overweightand a disease called gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) in women.

This discovery was reported in the Sept. 14 issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology by a research group led by Dr. Corazziari from the University La Sapienza of Rome. Dr. Corazziari has been a leader in the field of gastroenterology for a long time and published over 200 research articles and 20 professional books. He and his fellow scientists (with Dr. Piretta being the first author of this article) discovered that, compared to average population, overweight and obesity are risk factors for GERD in women and not so much in men.

GERD is a disease with chronic symptoms or mucosal damage produced by the abnormal reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus. Heartburn (burning discomfort behind the breastbone) is the major symptom of GERD because the gastric acid gets into esophagus.

It is known that fatty foods produce a prolonged inhibitory effect on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), especially following intra-duodenal lipid perfusion, but this inhibitory effect would appear due to a cholecystokinin-mediated action on LES. An epidemiological study revealed that overweightedness, but not excess fatty food intake, increases the risk of hospitalisation for GERD. Gastric distention following a copious meal also relaxes LER and increases the possibility of GERD.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 14, 2007, 5:12 AM CT

Children in affluent countries more likely to develop allergy-related asthma

Children in affluent countries more likely to develop allergy-related asthma
Children with allergic sensitizations in economically developed countries are much more likely to develop asthma than similarly sensitized children in poorer countries, as per a team of international researchers.

The global research study is the first to link economic development to differences in rates of asthma symptoms and allergic sensitization, based on examination of a large, multi-center cross-sectional study of 8- to 12-year-old children who participated in Phase Two of the International Study of Asthma and Allergy in Childhood (ISAAC).

The findings were reported in the second issue for September of the American Thoracic Societys American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Atopic sensitization has long been known to be correlation to childhood asthma, wrote Gudrun Weinmayr, M.D., M.P.H., of the Institute of Epidemiology of Ulm University in Gera number of, and lead investigator of the study. Dr. Weinmayr noted that the strongest relationships have been found in studies in affluent western countries. Thus, it may be that the link between asthma and atopic sensitization differs between countries.

Dr. Weinmayr and his colleagues reviewed parents answers about their childrens respiratory symptoms from over 54,000 standardized questionnaires; assessed the results of more than 31,000 skin-prick tests; and analyzed the serum levels of allergen-specific IgE in nearly 9,000 children from 22 countries, from rural African to urban Europe.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 12, 2007, 8:28 PM CT

After MS patients stop drug

After MS patients stop drug
People with multiple sclerosis who stop taking the drug natalizumab may experience a rebound increase in disease activity, as per a research studypublished September 12, 2007, in the online edition of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study involved 21 people who had MRI scans of their brains taken before taking natalizumab and again an average of 15 months after receiving the last infusion of the drug. The drug is given by IV infusion once a month. The participants were divided into two groups: one group took the drug for an average of three years, and the other group took the drug for an average of two months.

The participants developed more than three times as a number of brain lesions, or areas of damage in the brain that are a marker of MS disease activity, in the 15-month period after discontinuing the drug than they had developed before they started taking the drug. The results were most pronounced for those who took the drug for only a short time; they developed five times as a number of brain lesions after stopping the drug than they did before they started taking it.

More research needs to be done with larger numbers of patients before any recommendations can be made about use of the drug, as per study author Machteld Vellinga, MD, of VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. For now the recommendations remain the samepatients and their doctors should choose the most applicable therapy for them, she said.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 12, 2007, 8:19 PM CT

More sick leave given to men by male GPs

More sick leave given to men by male GPs
Male patients are given more certified sick leave by male doctors compared with the amount of sick notes given to females by female doctors, a University of Liverpool study has revealed.

The report, written by primary care experts at the University, indicates that male GPs are more likely to give male patients a larger amount of intermediate sick leave (6-28 weeks) from work compared with female patients certified by female doctors. The study, which is the first of its kind in the UK, is based on a survey of 3,906 patients from nine general practices across Merseyside.

Dr Mark Gabbay from the Universitys Division of Primary Care explained: The evident link between GP gender and consultation outcome could be down to differing assumptions about roles within work for male and female patients and hence capacity for work, between GPs of different gender.

Conversely, the key to gender interaction differences might be found with the patient. Male patients may be more demanding, or better negotiators, when facing a male GP. What is not clear is whether this group do indeed have relatively greater problems, poorer coping skills, or are more sympathetically dealt with by male than female GPs.

Mild mental disorders (MMDs) such as depression and anxiety were the commonest cause of complaint by women, followed by musculoskeletal problems for which males sought a higher proportion of medical attention. The research revealed however, that male patients were granted a longer amount of sick leave for MMDs compared with female patients, by doctors of both genders groups.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 12, 2007, 8:13 PM CT

Pine bark extract reduces ADHD symptoms

Pine bark extract reduces ADHD symptoms
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a prevailing issue in the United States, with millions of children getting diagnosed every year. A new study reveals that Pycnogenol, (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, reduces ADHD in children. The study shows Pycnogenol balances stress hormones, which lowers adrenaline and dopamine, resulting in a decrease of ADHD.

The findings, would be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Nutritional Neuroscience is a spin-off of a 2006 study found in the journal of European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry that revealed Pycnogenol helped reduce hyperactivity and improve attention, concentration and motor-visual coordination in children with ADHD. The current study measures urine samples and blood samples of the children, which were not accounted for in the results of the original study.

Pycnogenols ability to naturally treat symptoms of ADHD is what makes this extract exceptionally pleasing to parents who may be uneasy about medicating their children with stimulant medications,"said Dr. Peter Rohdewald of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Gera number ofs University of Munster and one of the authors of the study.

The study sampled 57 outpatients with ADHD with an average age of 9"years, from the Department of Child Psychology at the Children University Hospital in Slovakia.........

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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