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August 21, 2007, 5:34 PM CT

AIDS vaccine field moves toward larger-scale efficacy trials

AIDS vaccine field moves toward larger-scale efficacy trials
Leading scientists from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (USMHRP) presented final results today from a collection of independent studies reexamining the medical criteria for including African volunteers in AIDS vaccine trials. The findings, presented at the AIDS Vaccine 2007 Conference in Seattle, suggest that a number of healthy Southern and East Africans have, in the past, been excluded from participating in trials based on laboratory reference ranges that were developed for Western populations and may not be appropriate locally. Implementation of the results of the studies should improve participation of African volunteers in clinical trials for new drugs and vaccines against emerging infectious diseases currently ravaging Africa, including AIDS, TB and malaria, and enable clinicians to better monitor and define adverse events in trials.

In the first reference range studies conducted on such a large scale, scientists from the involved organizations examined the blood tests of approximately 5,500 clinically healthy HIV-negative volunteers across a dozen clinical sites in four African countries. For some markers, the studies revealed differences between the norms commonly found in healthy Africans and the reference values developed for populations in North America and Europe.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 21, 2007, 5:19 PM CT

Nonmedicinal treatment for preschoolers with ADHD

Nonmedicinal treatment for preschoolers with ADHD
Non-medicinal interventions are highly effective in preventing the behavioral and academic problems linked to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), as per a five-year study led by scientists at Lehigh Universitys College of Education.

The study, titled Project Achieve and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), was the largest of its kind focusing on children aged 3 to 5 who have shown significant symptoms of ADHD. It also involved scientists from Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa.

The researchers, led by George DuPaul, professor of school psychology at Lehigh; Lee Kern, professor of special education at Lehigh; and Dr. John Van Brakle, chair of the pediatrics department at Lehigh Valley Hospital, studied 135 preschool students with ADHD symptoms. They reviewed the effectiveness of early intervention techniques in helping children decrease defiant behavior and aggression, while improving academic and social skills.

The studys results are reported in a special series on ADHD in the most recent issue of School Psychology Review. Published by the National Association of School Psychology experts, the quarterly is the worlds second-largest peer-evaluated psychology journal.

Early identification and intervention are essential, but there has been a lack of research on how to identify and intervene effectively with these children during their preschool years, said Thomas Power, editor of the journal and program director with the Center for Management of ADHD at The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 21, 2007, 5:18 PM CT

Newborn In-hospital Weight Loss

Newborn In-hospital Weight Loss
Healthy, full-term newborn babies tend to lose weight during the first few days after their birth. A groundbreaking new study reported in the latest issue of the Journal of Human Lactation explores the reasons why certain newborns lose more (or less) than others and what conclusions can be drawn from the research.

The purpose of the study, published by SAGE in the Journal of Human Lactation, for the International Lactation Consultant Association, was to determine the factors linked to in-hospital weight loss of healthy, full-term newborns, including birth and infant-feeding factors as well as maternal and newborn demographics.

The study found a substantial difference in weight loss between exclusively breastfed and completely formula-fed newborns, which lost less. That disparity led the scientists to conjecture that formula-fed infants may be at risk of early overfeeding. Supplemented breastfed infants had similar weight loss patterns to the exclusively breastfed newborns.

Degree of weight loss is critical in the decision to supplement breastfed infants with formula, write the studys authors, Patricia J. Martens, IBCLC, PhD, and Linda Romphf, IBCLC. However, given the overhydration of newborns, the early loss of meconium, and small fluid intake in the first few days, loss of 5-7% of birth weight is considered physiologically appropriate.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 21, 2007, 5:03 PM CT

Vitamin D In Fighting Cancer

Vitamin D In Fighting Cancer
A new study looking at the relationship between vitamin D serum levels and the risk of colon and breast cancer across the globe has estimated the number of cases of cancer that could be prevented each year if vitamin D3 levels met the target proposed by researchers.

Cedric F. Garland, Dr.P.H., cancer prevention specialist at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and his colleagues estimate that 250,000 cases of colorectal cancer and 350,000 cases of breast cancer could be prevented worldwide by increasing intake of vitamin D3, especially in countries north of the equator. Vitamin D3 is available through diet, supplements and exposure of the skin to sunlight.

For the first time, we are saying that 600,000 cases of breast and colorectal cancer could be prevented each year worldwide, including nearly 150,000 in the United States alone, said co-author of study Garland. The paper, which looks at the dose-response relationship between vitamin D and cancer, would be reported in the August edition of the journal Nutrition Reviews.

The study combined data from surveys of serum vitamin D levels during winter from 15 countries. It is the first such study to look at satellite measurements of sunshine and cloud cover in countries where actual blood serum levels of vitamin D3 had also been determined. The data were then applied to 177 countries to estimate the average serum level of a vitamin D metabolite of people living there.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 20, 2007, 9:42 PM CT

Women lose weight before developing dementia

Women lose weight before developing dementia
Women who have dementia start losing weight at least 10 years before the disease is diagnosed, as per a research studyreported in the August 21, 2007, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The scientists examined the records of 481 people with dementia and compared them to 481 people of the same age and gender who did not have dementia. The average weight was the same for those in the two groups from 21 to 30 years before the year the disease was diagnosed. But the women who would later develop dementia started losing weight up to 20 years before the disease was diagnosed. On average, those with dementia weighed 12 pounds less than those without the disease the year the disease was diagnosed.

One explanation for the weight loss is that, in the very early stages of dementia, people develop apathy, a loss of initiative, and also losses in the sense of smell, said study author David Knopman, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and member of the American Academy of Neurology. When you cant smell your food, it wont have much taste, and you might be less inclined to eat it. And, apathy and loss of initiative may make women less likely to prepare nutritious meals and more likely to skip meals altogether.

Unlike women, men in this study who later developed dementia did not lose weight in the years before diagnosis. Knopman said the difference could be due to hormones, but a social reason seems just as likely.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 20, 2007, 9:34 PM CT

High alcohol consumption increases stroke risk

High alcohol consumption increases stroke risk
In a study likely applicable to men of other ethnicities, Tulane University scientists observed that heavy drinking (more than 21 drinks per week) may increase the risk of stroke in Chinese men. The results of the study are reported in the latest issue of Annals of Neurology.

Scientists led by Lydia Bazzano of Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine recently examined the relationship between alcohol consumption and stroke in a large nationally representative sample of Chinese men. In China, stroke is the leading cause of death for men, killing more than 20 percent of the male population. It is also the top reason for long-term disability. Alcohol use in China has increased in recent years alongside the countrys economic development.

The research team conducted a study of 64,338 men who participated in the 1991 China National High blood pressure Survey. At the start of the survey all of the men were over 40 years old and free of stroke. They provided information about their demographic characteristics, medical history and lifestyle risk factors, including alcohol consumption.

Between 1999 and 2000 the scientists followed up with the participants, determined all incidents of stroke and assessed any relationship between alcohol consumption and stroke.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 20, 2007, 9:33 PM CT

Genetic predisposition for childhood asthma

Genetic predisposition for childhood asthma
Children who carry variations in specific genes that metabolize vehicle emissions are more susceptible to developing asthma, especially if they live near major roadways, a study led by scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) suggests.

Scientists observed that children who carried variations in two genes and lived within 75 meters of a major road were up to nine times more likely to develop asthma than children who lived further away, says Muhammad T. Salam, Ph.D. candidate at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and the studys lead author. The study will appear in the journal Thorax, and is now available online.

This is one of the first studies to report that children with certain genetic backgrounds are even more susceptible to asthma than if they lived near major roads and did not carry the variations, Salam says. We are working to understand how traffic-related exposures may interact with these genes, leading to asthma development.

Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children, and prior studies have shown that traffic-related pollution near the home increases asthma risk and reduces lung growth, as per USC experts.

Scientists drew upon data from the Childrens Health Study (CHS), a longitudinal study of respiratory health among school-age children in 12 Southern California communities. They compared associations between number of genetic variants and exposure to toxins among more than 3,000 study participants.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 20, 2007, 9:32 PM CT

Emergency treatment may be only skin deep

Emergency treatment may be only skin deep
Doctors' unconscious racial biases may influence their decisions to treat patients and explain racial and ethnic disparities in the use of certain medical procedures, as per Alexander Green from Harvard Medical School and his team. Their study1, published in Springer's Journal of General Internal Medicine, is the first evidence of how unconscious race bias among doctors affects their clinical decisions.

Green and his colleagues tested whether doctors showed unconscious race bias and whether the scale of such bias predicted recommendations for medical intervention to dissolve clots (thrombolysis) for black and white patients with acute coronary conditions. A total of 220 doctors from four academic medical centres in Atlanta and Boston were surveyed.

The scientists used a web-based survey tool that randomly assigned doctors to look at a picture of a black or white patient presenting to the emergency room department, alongside a brief clinical history and symptoms suggestive of a myocardial infarction. The doctors were then asked whether the chest pain was the result of coronary artery disease, whether they would give the patient thrombolysis and the strength of the recommendation on a scale of '1 - definitely' to '5 - definitely not'. The scientists used computer-based Implicit Association Tests (IATs) to measure unconscious bias. The software asked doctors whether they preferred white or black Americans and also about their beliefs concerning patients' cooperativeness in general and with regard to medical procedures in particular. Doctors' conscious racial bias was also assessed by questionnaire.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 20, 2007, 7:50 AM CT

Computers to fight emerging infections

Computers to fight emerging infections
Computer analysis of existing drugs may be key to fighting new infectious agents and antibiotic-resistant pathogens like deadly tuberculosis strains and staph superbugs. Scientists in Canada say the use of such emergency discovery technology could save time, money and lives during a sudden outbreak or a bioterrorism attack. They reported here today at the 234th national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Drug repurposing or reprofiling is not new: Pharmaceutical companies have been seeking new uses of old drugs to extend patent protections and whenever new, off-label uses of the drugs are found. But reprofiling to deliberately develop emergency drugs is a new concept, made possible by advances in chemoinformatics, a new field that merges chemistry with computer science, as per study presenter Artem Cherkasov, Ph.D., of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

In the case of new infectious threats, there might be no time to develop a completely new drug from the ground up, as the corresponding toxicological studies and regulatory investigations will take years to complete properly, says Cherkasov, a chemist with a background in computer-aided drug design and infectious disease. Finding an already existing, well-studied therapeutic agent that will kill an emerging bug might provide a rapid, first line of defense response option.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 20, 2007, 6:59 AM CT

How Air Force women are handling the stress

How Air Force women are handling the stress
About 20 percent of Air Force women deployed during the Iraq war report that they are experiencing at least one major symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as per a University of Michigan survey of 1,114 servicewomen.

The scientists also assessed the prevalence of family-work conflicts among the military women surveyed, and analyzed the impact of these conflicts on mental health and job functioning.

"We were surprised to find that work-family conflict is an independent and significant predictor of PTSD, above and beyond combat exposure," said Penny Pierce, a colonel in the Air Force Reserve Program, who presented preliminary findings from the survey at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association. "This finding is important because there are things we can do to help minimize work-family stress and the toll it is taking on women in the military".

Conducted by the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR) and funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense through the TriService Nursing Research Program, the survey is part of a research study that's ongoing headed by Pierce, an associate professor in the U-M School of Nursing and a faculty associate at the ISR and ISR research professor Amiram Vinokur.

"Since the Gulf War, the role of women in combat has been a subject of heated debate," said Pierce. "This study is the latest attempt to assess the impact of deployment-related stressors, including family separation, on military women, who now comprise 13 percent of our nation's armed forces".........

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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