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November 5, 2007, 8:23 PM CT

Children with gene show reduced cognitive function

Children with gene show reduced cognitive function
Children who possess a gene known to increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease already show signs of reduced cognitive function, an Oregon Health & Science University study has observed.

Researchers in the OHSU School of Medicine discovered that 7- to 10-year-olds with a member of a family of genes implicated in development, nerve cell regeneration and neuroprotection display reduced spatial learning and memory, linked to later-life cognitive impairments.

Results of the study, presented today at Neuroscience 2007, the 37th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, suggest that changes predisposing a person to Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia might occur much sooner in the brain than previously thought.

"One of our questions has been is this a risk that only happens with age, or is it already - early on - the cause of differences in performance," said co-author of study Jacob Raber, Ph.D., associate professor of behavioral neuroscience and neurology in the OHSU School of Medicine. "This study suggests there already are cognitive differences very early on in life."

The results also mean therapeutic interventions that delay the effects of cognitive decline may be possible at a much younger age, Raber says.

Prior studies have shown that a member of the apolipoprotein E gene family, apoE4, increases a person's risk of age-related cognitive decline and cognitive injury from such "environmental" challenges as brain trauma. Mice expressing human apoE4 developed progressive, age-dependent impairments in spatial learning and memory.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 4, 2007, 9:22 PM CT

Emotional Intelligence and the use of tobacco and cannabis

Emotional Intelligence and the use of tobacco and cannabis
The term Emotional Intelligence could be defined as the capacity to perceive, comprehend and regulate one's own emotions and those of others so as to be able to distinguish between emotions and use this information as a guide for one's thoughts and actions. One of the important benefits of developing this type of intelligence is the ability to learn how to interact with others and to face an ever changing social and cultural world more effectively.

The Stress and Health Research Group (GIES) of the UAB Department of General, Development and Educational Psychology has carried out a research entitled "Perceived emotional intelligence and its relation to tobacco and cannabis use among university students".The objective of this research consisted in analysing the possible relation between EI and the use of tobacco and cannabis among 133 UAB psychology students with an average age of 21.5.

As per the research, students who had started smoking either tobacco or cannabis at a younger age and who regularly smoked these substances obtained lower scores in questions correlation to emotional regulation. Thus students who are less able to regulate their emotional state are more tempted to consume tobacco and/or cannabis and regular consumption of these substances is a way of making up for this emotional shortage.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 4, 2007, 9:19 PM CT

The need for speed in stroke treatment

The need for speed in stroke treatment
Every 45 seconds, an American suffers a stroke. Every minute one of those individuals goes without therapy, more brain cells die. And every hour that passes before victims get to the hospital, the less likely they are to be eligible for the most effective therapy.

But despite all this, 69 percent of stroke victims don¡¯t reach the hospital in the first three hours after their stroke symptoms begin, as per a new study led by the University of Michigan Stroke Program and reported in the journal Stroke.

That delay keeps a number of patients from receiving tPA, the only approved therapy for stroke caused by blood clots in the brain. If it¡¯s given intravenously within the first three hours of the start of a stroke, or injected directly into the brain within six hours, tPA can break up clots and stop or slow the damage caused by strokes.

But in the new study, only 44 percent of patients experiencing full-blown clot-based strokes got to the hospital even within six hours of the start of their symptoms ¨C and 36 percent didn¡¯t get there until more than 12 hours had passed. The study was conducted between 2000 and 2005 in Corpus Christi, Texas ¨C an area with no major university hospitals, making it a ¡ degree real world¡± snapshot of stroke care in America.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 4, 2007, 9:06 PM CT

Study: Fountain of youth for your heart?

Study: Fountain of youth for your heart?
Image courtesy of Mississippi College
An age-related decline in heart function is a risk factor for heart disease in the elderly. While a number of factors contribute to a progressive age-related decline in heart function, alterations in the types of fuels the heart uses to produce energy also play important roles. Jason Dyck and his research team at the University of Alberta have been studying the types of fuels used by the heart in young and aged mice. The young healthy heart normally used a balance of fat and sugar to generate energy to allow the heart to beat and pump blood efficiently. However, as the heart ages the ability to use fat as an energy source deteriorates. This compromises heart function in the elderly. Interestingly, at a time when the heart is using less fat for energy, Dyck has shown that a protein that is responsible for transporting fat into the contractile cells of the heart actually increases. Based on this finding, Dyck proposed that the mismatch between fat uptake and fat use in the heart could lead to an accumulation of fat in the heart resulting in an age-related decrease in heart function.

Using a genetically engineered mouse that is deficient in a protein that is responsible for transporting fat into the cells of the heart, Dyck studied these mice as they aged. These genetically altered mice have no choice but to mainly use sugar as a fuel source because they lack the protein that allows them to use fat as a primary fuel source. In an exciting new finding, Dyck showed that old genetically modified mice did not accumulate fat in their hearts, as did ordinary mice. In addition, Dyck and his team showed that these old genetically altered mice out-performed ordinary old mice on a treadmill test, were completely protected from age-related decline in heart function, and in a number of ways their hearts looked and performed like hearts from a young mouse. His findings suggest that the protein responsible for transporting fat into the contractile cells of the heart may be a candidate for drug inhibition and that this drug could protect the heart from aging.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 4, 2007, 8:26 PM CT

Scientists question folic acid fortification

Scientists question folic acid fortification
Researchers at the Institute of Food Research have highlighted possible consequences of fortifying flour with folic acid due to new evidence of how it is absorbed by the body.

In May, the Food Standards Agency's Board agreed unanimously that 'required fortification' with folic acid should be introduced to make sure the number of babies born with neural tube defects is reduced. This means that it would be compulsory to add folic acid to either bread or flour.

Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate, a B vitamin found in a wide variety of foods including liver and green leafy vegetables. Folates are metabolised in the gut, whereas in a paper would be reported in the British Journal of Nutrition in October IFR researchers suggest that folic acid is metabolised in the liver. The liver is an easily saturated system, and fortification could lead to significant unmetabolised folic acid entering the blood stream, with the potential to cause many health problems.

"Fortifying UK flour with folic acid would reduce the occurence rate of neural tube defects", said Dr Siân Astley of the Institute of Food Research. "However, with doses of half the amount being proposed for fortification in the UK, the liver becomes saturated and unmetabolised folic acid floats around the blood stream.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


November 4, 2007, 8:03 PM CT

Asymptomatic peripheral artery disease prevalence is rising

Asymptomatic peripheral artery disease prevalence is rising
The prevalence of asymptomatic peripheral artery disease (PAD) is steadily increasing among American adults, scientists reported at the American Heart Associations Scientific Sessions 2007.

PAD occurs when fatty deposits accumulate in the inner linings of artery walls, restricting blood flow and needed oxygen to the legs, feet, arms and other areas of the body. PAD increases the risk of dying from heart disease and stroke.

We were interested in seeing if the prevalence of peripheral artery disease in the general U.S. population is increasing, specifically among people who dont have known coronary artery disease, said Andrew D. Sumner, M.D., lead author of the study and a heart specialist and medical director of the Heart Station and Cardiac Prevention at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa.

Scientists hypothesized that the prevalence of asymptomatic PAD is increasing and the escalation is linked to a rise in the prevalence of other common cardiovascular risk factors, including diabetes, smoking, obesity and hypertension.

Sumner and his colleagues analyzed data from three successive National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), conducted in two-year increments between 1999 and 2004. They identified PAD prevalence by identifying people with an ankle-brachial index of less than 0.9.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


November 4, 2007, 8:00 PM CT

Older adults not more distractible

Older adults not more distractible
Despite prior research suggesting that elderly adults are more distractible, new research shows they are no more distractible than younger adults when asked to focus their attention on their sense of sight or sound, or when asked to switch their attention from one sense to the other.

The research, performed at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, focused on the effects of age on multisensory attention, or the way the senses work together. It is part of the PROMISE (Processing of Multiple Individual Senses in the Elderly) study, funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and was presented today at the 37th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, Calif.

Attention works in two main ways, as per Christina E. Hugenschmidt, a Ph.D. candidate at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, who presented the results. It speeds up the brain's processing of what you want to pay attention to, and slows down the processing of what you want to ignore.

"Most research has focused on distractors that occur in one sense at a time, like ignoring only certain red signs or recognizing one sound that is different in a series of sounds," said Hugenschmidt. "However, we all know that distractions can come across sensory systems as well. We often do things automatically to minimize this multisensory distraction, like turning down the radio in the car to concentrate on finding an address."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 4, 2007, 2:43 PM CT

Better, faster heart attack care

Better, faster heart attack care
A North Carolina team of doctors, nurses, hospitals and emergency medical service workers has come up with a way to provide faster, more effective therapy for heart attack patients.

It doesnt require expensive drugs or fancy new equipment. But it does require competitors to become collaborators, and it calls on everyone involved to move therapy forward empowering emergency services personnel in the field to diagnose a heart attack, something only physicians had done before.

Working as partners, rather than as rivals, the team, led by clinicians at Duke University Medical Center, was able to dramatically slash the time from diagnosis to therapy with potentially life-saving therapies, particularly in the area of transfers into and out of smaller, feeder hospitals.

Results of the two-year project, called RACE (Reperfusion of Acute Myocardial Infarction in North Carolina Emergency departments), were presented today at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association.

Heart disease is the number one killer in North Carolina, and this program resulted in patients being treated faster and more effectively with life-saving care, said Dr. Christopher Granger, a heart specialist at Duke University Medical Center and a lead investigator of the project. While several other, smaller, city-wide health systems like Boston and Minneapolis have mounted similar efforts, this is the first to demonstrate dramatic system-wide improvement on a statewide scale. We are so encouraged by the results that we feel the RACE system may be a model for change throughout the rest of the country.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


November 4, 2007, 2:34 PM CT

Gene Behind Rheumatoid Arthritis

Gene Behind Rheumatoid Arthritis
University of Manchester scientists have identified a genetic variant in a region on chromosome 6 that is linked to rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the most common inflammatory arthritis affecting 387,000 people in the UK.

Professor Jane Worthington and her team at the Arthritis Research Campaign (arc) Epidemiology Unit at the University investigated 9 genetic regions identified earlier this year as potentially harbouring DNA variants determining susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis. Association to one of the variants on chromosome 6 was unequivocally confirmed, reports this week's Nature Genetics (4 November 2007). Eventhough this variant is not located in a gene, Professor Worthington suggests that it may influence the behaviour of a nearby gene: tumour necrosis factor associated protein (TNFAIP3) as this is a gene that is known to be involved in inflammatory processes.

Rheumatoid arthritis, which affects up to 1% of the adult population, is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect nearly all joints in the body, especially the hands and feet. Complications such as lung disease can occur. In addition, patients with RA are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Some people respond well to therapy, but most suffer a lifetime of disability.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


November 4, 2007, 2:28 PM CT

Gene alterations in lung cancer

Gene alterations in lung cancer
An international team of scientists, supported in part by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced that its systematic effort to map the genomic changes underlying lung cancer has uncovered a critical gene alteration not previously associated with any form of cancer. The research, reported in the advance online issue of the journal Nature, also revealed more than 50 genomic regions that are frequently gained or lost in lung adenocarcinoma, the most common type of lung cancer in the United States.

"This view of the lung cancer genome is unprecedented, both in its breadth and depth," said senior author Matthew Meyerson, M.D., Ph.D., a senior associate member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Mass., and an associate professor at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston. "It lays an essential foundation, and has already pinpointed an important gene that controls the growth of lung cells. This information offers crucial inroads to the biology of lung cancer and will help shape new strategies for cancer diagnosis and treatment."

Each year more than 1 million people worldwide die of lung cancer, including more than 150,000 in the United States. The new study focused on lung adenocarcinoma, which, as per the National Cancer Institute (NCI), is the most frequently diagnosed form of lung cancer in the United States, accounting for approximately 30 percent of cases.........

Posted by: Scott      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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