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May 21, 2007, 10:45 AM CT

Keeping pain and fatigue on the run

Keeping pain and fatigue on the run
Women diagnosed with breast cancer should either get exercising or keep exercising. This is the message from a new study in Springer's Journal of Cancer Survivorship by Catherine Alfano and his colleagues at the Ohio State University1. The study of over 500 women who had survived breast cancer highlights how physical activity, and more specifically the intensity and amount of physical activity you do before and after cancer therapy, can affect future symptoms and your quality of life.

Cancer symptoms and those brought on by its therapy can have a huge impact on everyday life. Physical symptoms usually include fatigue, post-surgery pain, hormone-related symptoms in-cluding hot flashes, sweats, palpitations, urinary incontinence and cognitive and mood changes. Psychological effects such as anxiety and depression are also common. Physical symptoms exacerbate anxiety as they are a constant reminder of the cancer and add to the worry about whether it will recur. Some of these symptoms are seen in cancer survivors as long as 20 years after the cancer has gone.

Participants in this study from New Mexico and western Washington were asked to score their lev-els of pain and physical sensation, hormone-related symptoms, sexual interest/dysfunction, fatigue and physical health-related quality of life at 6, 29 and 39 months post-diagnosis. They were also asked to quantify their physical activity levels based on household activity, moderately vigorous activity, vigorous activity and sports/recreational activity at these times. The authors expected to see higher levels of activity being correlation to fewer physical symptoms and higher health-related quality of life.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

May 21, 2007, 10:42 AM CT

Lubiprostone For Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Lubiprostone For Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Image courtesy of
A new study demonstrated that the active ingredient in AMITIZA (lubiprostone), given 8 mcg twice a day, may improve symptom relief rates in adults with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C). These results were presented as a late-breaker at Digestive Disease Week 2007, the largest annual international meeting of digestive disease specialists.

"In this study, patients receiving lubiprostone were nearly twice as likely to achieve an overall response from symptoms of IBS-C in comparison to those receiving placebo," said Douglas A. Drossman, M.D., primary investigator, UNC Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders, University of North Carolina, and the Chair of the Rome Committee. "As a result, lubiprostone may represent an important therapy for IBS-C sufferers".

IBS is a condition that affects approximately 58 million Americans and accounts for 25-50 percent of referrals to gastroenterologists. IBS-C symptoms include abdominal pain or discomfort linked to defecation or a change in bowel habits with features of disordered defecation.

Lubiprostone is a novel selective chloride channel activator that has been shown to be effective and well-tolerated in many well-controlled clinical trials in patients with chronic idiopathic constipation. Lubiprostone is marketed in the U.S. as AMITIZA, a 24-mcg gelcap that was approved for use for chronic idiopathic constipation in adults on January 31, 2006.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source

May 21, 2007, 10:34 AM CT

Protein Protects Neurons from Stress Induced Cell Death

Protein Protects Neurons from Stress Induced Cell Death
Photo: ABDA
The researchers could show that Parkin prevents the induction of neuronal cell death. As published in the "Journal of Neuroscience", the protein activates a survival mechanism which had been known for its prominent role in immune response.

Usually, Parkinson's disease occurs after the age of 50 and in Gera number of about 400,000 people are affected. Typically it is characterized by a decline of neurons in the so-called Substantia Nigra, a structure in the midbrain that produces dopamine. The resulting deprivation of this messenger substance causes symptoms like muscular tremor at rest and restricted mobility and even complete immobility. Characteristic deposits are found in the brain, the Lewy corpuscles.

Little is known about the causes of Parkinson's disease. It has only been known for a few years that ten to fifteen per cent of all cases are linked to mutations in certain genes.

"The parkin gene is of special interest here", says Winklhofer. "One effect of its inactivation is that the Parkin protein loses its physiological function. This genetic defect plays a role for hereditary Parkinson's disease, which may lead to an early onset of the disease".

However, inactivation of the Parkin protein could also contribute to sporadic forms of the disease. In these cases massive oxidative stress probably results in misfolding and aggregation of the protein. "Interestingly, misfolding of Parkin proteins has recently been observed in the brain of patients with sporadic Parkinson's disease", Winklhofer reports.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

May 21, 2007, 10:32 AM CT

Soldiers acquired drug-resistant infections in field hospitals

Soldiers acquired drug-resistant infections in field hospitals
An outbreak of drug-resistant wound infections among soldiers in Iraq likely came from the hospitals where they were treated, not the battlefield, as per a new study in the June 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, currently available online.

The outbreak of drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii-calcoaceticus complex (ABC) infections among U.S. service members injured in Iraq has been of major concern to military health care workers since it was first detected in 2003. ABC bacteria are usually found in soil and water. They sometimes also exist on the skin of healthy people. The bacteria pose little risk to healthy people. However, those with open wounds or weakened immune systems are at greater risk of ABC infection. An ABC infection can cause or contribute to death, particularly if the patient is immunosuppressed.

Historically, ABC infections were treated with a wide variety of drugs. Unfortunately, in recent years, strains of Acinetobacter have been emerging that are resistant to nearly all known remedies. The ABC infections found among the U.S. service members are of this type, known as multi-drug resistant (MDR).

Between March and October 2003, scientists from the Army and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified 145 inpatients at U.S. military therapy facilities infected or colonized with ABC. The scientists attempted to identify the source(s) of the outbreak. They tested for the presence of ABC on the skin of casualties treated in or evacuated from Iraq. They tested soil samples taken near field hospitals in Iraq and from locations throughout Iraq and Kuwait. And they looked at samples taken from in and around patient-treatment areas in five field hospitals in Iraq and two in Kuwait.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

May 17, 2007, 8:33 PM CT

Genome of yellow fever/dengue fever mosquito sequenced

Genome of yellow fever/dengue fever mosquito sequenced
Developing new strategies to prevent and control yellow fever and dengue fever has become more possible with the completion of the first draft of the genome sequence of Aedes aegypti mosquito by researchers led by Vishvanath Nene at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and David Severson at the University of Notre Dame. The genome is the complete set of genetic material including genes and other segments of DNA in an organism.

The research appears in the May 18, 2007 Science Express, in the article, "Genome Sequence of Aedes aegypti, A Major Arbovirus Vector." Scientists at 24 universities and other institutions worldwide contributed to the effort.

Among the co-authors are members of the Vector-Borne Infectious Disease Research Group at Virginia Tech (, Zhijian (Jake) Tu, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry (; James K Biedler, biochemistry postdoctoral associate; Song Li, research specialist senior in biochemistry; and Monique Royer Coy, biochemistry graduate student; and Chunhong Mao, senior project associate with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech.

Tu coordinated efforts with TIGR and five research laboratories in the United States, Spain, and France to annotate transposable elements (TEs) in the Ae. aegypti genome. TEs are segments of nucleic acids, or genetic material, that move around the genome and have a significant impact on its structure and size.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

May 17, 2007, 7:14 PM CT

Soft Contacts Designed for Cone-Shaped Cornea

Soft Contacts Designed for Cone-Shaped Cornea
Geunyoung Yoon (PHOTO CREDIT: University of Rochester)
Custom-designed contacts improved vision for subjects with keratoconic eyes and offer hope of nonsurgical therapy instead of corneal transplants. University of Rochester scientists describe the custom design techniques and results of visual acuity tests in a paper published in April in Optics Letters.

Keratoconic eyes are rare but disabling. From the side, the eyes look more pointed or cone-shaped than round. The apex shift from visual axis in the cornea causes people with the condition to see halos and double and triple images. About 1 in 2,000 people suffer from the disease, commonly in both eyes.

"The condition shows up in a relatively small population, but it causes huge optical problems," says Geunyoung Yoon, assistant professor in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Biomedical Engineering, the Center for Visual Science, and the Institute of Optics. "These people have problems so severe, they can't tolerate glasses. They can't take laser vision correction because they have a very thin cornea around the apex, so it's not an option. The only available therapy is to wear hard contact lenses or corneal transplant with a donored cornea if the disease is severe. And with the corneal transplant, there is a rejection rate".

All three subjects reported their vision significantly improved with the custom-designed soft contact lenses.........

Posted by: Mike      Read more         Source

May 17, 2007, 7:07 PM CT

Healthy Humans Not Harmed By Taser

Healthy Humans Not Harmed By Taser
Using a Taser to control agitated suspects in police custody is standard operating procedure for a number of law enforcement agencies. In some circles, however, the idea that using a Taser could lead to a suspects death has caused controversy.

Now, the final results of a study conducted by emergency medicine physicians at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Medical Center showed no lasting effects of the Taser on healthy test subjects.

"Evaluating in-custody deaths following use of a Taser is a process that requires looking at the totality of the event. It is like putting a puzzle together. The data from this study helped shape another piece of the puzzle by looking at the physiological effects of a single Taser activation in human subjects," said study director Gary Vilke, M.D., professor of clinical medicine and director of Clinical Research for Emergency Medicine at UC San Diego. Vilke presented his findings at the 2007 Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) Annual Meeting, May 16-19, 2007, Chicago, IL.

Taser subdues a person by delivering an electrical current that interferes with the bodys neuromuscular system, temporarily incapacitating the recipient.

"I have been Tazed," said Vilke. "The experience is painful while its happening but afterward, you only feel sore, like you might after a tough workout. Our goal was to find out how, in the absence of alcohol, drugs or other stimulants, humans are affected physiologically."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

May 17, 2007, 6:46 PM CT

Obese women are more likely to skip medical screening tests

Obese women are more likely to skip medical screening tests
Women who are severely overweight and obese are more likely than other women to skip cancer screenings. This happens despite the fact that being severely obese increases their risk of developing and dying of cancer.

Scientists from the United States analyzed data from a total of 8,300 women who were aged 40 to 74 who participated in the 2000 National Health Interview survey. The scientists observed that those women who were severely obese were up to 10 percent less likely than normal-weight women to be up-to-date on clinical breast exams, mammograms and Pap smears. The scientists note that this decreased compliance with the medical tests comes in the face of increased health risk linked to this group of women.

The study also indicated that women were severerly obese were 51 percent less likely to adhere to doctors' recommendations for mammography and 83 percent less likely to adhere to Pap recommendations. This one-sided and the study observed that doctors equally likely to recommend mammography and Pap smears to obese and non-obese women.

This study is reported in the latest issue of American Journal of.

Preventive Medicine. It was also presented at a meeting of the American Society of Preventive Oncology in March.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more

May 17, 2007, 5:30 AM CT

Asthma patients have more options

Asthma patients have more options
People with mild asthma that is well-controlled with twice-daily use of inhaled steroids may be able to reduce inhaler use to once a day or switch to a daily pill as per new research conducted at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and 20 other centers.

"This is good news for patients with mild, persistent asthma because it gives them more choices about how to manage their disease," said Stephen P. Peters, M.D., Ph.D., lead author and a professor of pediatrics, internal medicine-pulmonary and associate director of the Center for Human Genomics.

The study, involving 500 children and adults with mild asthma, was conducted by the American Lung Associations Asthma Clinical Research Centers. Its goal was to determine if patients whose symptoms are well controlled on twice daily inhaled corticosteroid can "step down" their medicine use. The results are published in the May 17 issue of the New England Journal (NEJM).

Asthma is considered mild, but persistent, when symptoms occur more than two times a week or cause the patient to awaken during the night more than twice a month. The standard therapy for mild-persistent asthma is twice-daily use of an inhaled steroid to prevent symptoms. Patients may also take additional drugs such as the inhaler albuterol, known as "rescue" treatment, to treat symptoms. A majority of people with asthma have mild disease, as per Peters.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

May 17, 2007, 5:28 AM CT

High-quality child care for poor children

High-quality child care for poor children
Young adults from low-income families who were in full-time early educational child care from infancy to age 5 report fewer symptoms of depression than their peers who were not in this type of care. The early educational intervention also appears to have protected the children to some extent against the negative effects of their home environments. These findings highlight the value of investing in high quality early childhood experiences for low-income children.

Those are the conclusions of a new study conducted by scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Washington at Seattle. The study is reported in the May/June 2007 issue of the journal Child Development.

Research has shown a relationship between poverty in early childhood and an increased risk for mental health problems in adulthood. Many early intervention programs have been found to enhance the cognitive development and academic outcomes of children living in poverty, but less is known about the long-term effects of these programs on children's mental health.

Some 111 children were enrolled as infants in the Abecedarian Project, a North Carolina-based study in which high-risk children were randomly assigned to early educational child care from infancy to age 5; a control group did not receive such care. All children came from low-income families with demographic factors known to predict developmental delays or academic problems; 98 percent were African-American. As part of the study, developmental and demographic data were collected regularly during the early childhood years with follow-up assessments in adolescence and young adulthood.........

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. Archives of health news blog

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