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June 1, 2006, 7:05 PM CT

Landmark Study On Diabetic Foot Infection

Landmark Study On Diabetic Foot Infection
Persons with diabetes who develop an infection are at a 55-fold greater risk for hospitalization, and an alarming 154-fold greater risk for amputation. These are some of the startling figures emanating from the first population-based study on diabetic foot infection. Scientists from Texas A&M University, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, and the University of Washington collected data on nearly 1,700 patients over a two-year period.

"The results strongly suggested that foot infections are common and complex. They are also costly in terms of morbidity," noted Dr. Lawrence A. Lavery of Texas A&M, the lead author on the study.

The study also found that nearly 9 in 10 amputations performed are instigated by an infection. "This waccording tohaps the most interesting figure in the study," noted David G. Armstrong, DPM, PhD, Professor of Surgery and Director of Scholl's Center for Lower Extremity Ambulatory Research at Rosalind Franklin University and one of the study's principal investigators.

"It is infection that is the spark that led to nearly all amputations in this study," said Armstrong. "Poor circulation, while critically important, did not necessarily cause amputation. It determined the level of amputation. This subtlety makes a significant difference when designing strategies for prevention."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


June 1, 2006, 6:17 PM CT

How Brain Controls Movement

How Brain Controls Movement
By training a group of human subjects to operate a robot-controlled joystick, Johns Hopkins scientists have shown that the slower the brain "learns" to control certain muscle movements, the more likely it is to remember the lesson over the long haul. The results, the researchers say, could alter rehabilitation approaches for people who have lost motor abilities to brain injuries like strokes.

In a report on the work in the May 23 issue of PLoS Biology, the scientists built on their observations that some parts of the brain learn - and forget - fast, while others learn more slowly and more lastingly. Both types of learning are critical.

"We believe our work is the first to show that motor learning involves different time scales and implies that the best strategy in rehabilitating a stroke patient should focus on slow learning because slow-learned motor skills will be maintained longer," says the report's senior author, Reza Shadmehr, Ph.D., a professor of biomedical engineering in the Institute of Basic Biomedical Sciences at Johns Hopkins.

Neuroresearchers long have thought that two things are mandatory for mastering such muscle control - time and error. Time refers to the need to "sleep on it," for the brain to somehow process and "remember" how to carefully control muscles. As for error, it's thought that mistakes help the brain and muscles fine-tune fine movements. The requirement for time and error explains why repetition of simple movements day after day is used routinely in rehabilitating partially paralyzed stroke patients and those with other brain injuries.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


June 1, 2006, 6:12 PM CT

Chewing Gum To Treat Diabetes

Chewing Gum To Treat Diabetes
Generex Biotechnology Corp. (Nasdaq:GNBT), a Toronto company that develops diabetes therapy sprays, has struck a deal with Fertin Pharma A/S to develop a medicinal chewing gum to treat Type-2 diabetes and obesity.

Generex said Wednesday the two companies will develop a gum that contains metformin, a widely used drug to control blood sugar levels in Type-2 diabetics, who don't inject themselves with insulin to control the disease.

Under the deal, Generex will carry out a clinical study to establish the effectiveness of the metformin gum before the company seeks regulatory approvals for the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of the product.

"We are pleased to have established this collaborative relationship with Fertin Pharma, the industry leader in medicinal gum," said Anna Gluskin, Generex's president and chief executive.

"Together, we will continue the Generex mission of improving diabetes care and the quality of life of people with diabetes."

Metformin is a generic drug used to regulate blood sugar levels by reducing the amount of glucose produced by the liver, reducing the amount of glucose absorbed from food in the stomach and by making the insulin produced by the body work more effectively to reduce the amount of glucose already in the blood.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


June 1, 2006, 6:07 PM CT

How About Painless Finger-pricking

How About Painless Finger-pricking
Anyone who has undergone glucose testing by fingerstick method knows how painful it is! A diabetic patient has to go through these daily rituals through his or her life span. Scientists all over the world are trying to find methods by which this pain can be reduced. Over a period of 20 years a person might have to pin-prick themselves 60,000 times.

Until now, no company has addressed the pain problem. Current mechanical devices often lance skin deeper than necessary, aggravating nerve endings, leaving a pool of blood that can become infected.

Now, the world's first and only digital lancing device, launched in Australia by Diabetes Australia-NSW, detects the exact depth needed to extract the minimum amount of blood needed, without hitting nerves.

Made by DiaCare International Pty Ltd, the device, called the The Pelikan Sun, uses advanced technology to increase the comfort and precision of blood glucose testing. It can accurately measure the sensitive skin depth of a baby - or the calloused finger of an adult.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


June 1, 2006, 5:34 PM CT

Eat Pistachios To Protect Heart

Eat Pistachios To Protect Heart
Scientists from Turkey say that eating pistachios can protect you from heart disease. Turkey is the world's fourth largest pistachios producer. Adding pistachio nuts to your daily diet could be an easy way to improve cholesterol levels, say scientists from Turkey, the world's fourth biggest pistachio nut producer.

The US is currently the number two producer of pistachios in the world, with annual production of about 136,000 metric tons (302m lbs). Exports of the nuts are worth almost $100m every year with Europe getting the lion's share of the exported nuts (71 percent).

The new study, reported in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases (Vol. 16, pp. 202-209), randomly assigned 44 healthy volunteers with an average age of 33 and a BMI of 24.5 kg per square meter to a regular diet (control) or the test diet with 20 percent of the daily calorific intake from pistachio nuts.

After three weeks of the diet, the researchers, from the Medical Faculty of the Harran University in Turkey, found that plasma levels of total cholesterol decreased by 12 percent for the pistachio group, compared to baseline, and HDL cholesterol levels increased by 26 percent.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


June 1, 2006, 7:04 AM CT

Novel Treatment Strategy For Sarcoma

Novel Treatment Strategy For Sarcoma Ewing's sarcoma of the right hip
Using molecular and cell-based models, scientists at Georgetown University Medical Center have refined the picture of how a cancer-promoting protein associated with Ewing's sarcoma functions. And in the process, they have hit upon a possible strategy for therapy of the cancer, which is a rare and highly cancerous cancer that most often strikes teens and young adults.

In the June 1st issue of the journal Cancer Research, published by the American Association for Cancer Research, the scientists report that the oncoprotein, EWS-FLI1, teams up with a helicase protein that bends the shape of RNA, and together they work to promote or repress transcription of various other proteins, leading to cancer development.

But because it is not possible to directly shut down helicase proteins, given their vital general role in protein transcription, and given that no one has figured out how to clinically inactivate EWS-FLI1 alone, the scientists propose driving a wedge-like drug between the two proteins that would eliminate their interaction.

"Proteins are three-dimensional structures, and the space between EWS-FLI1 and the helicase might be targetable by a small molecule that keeps the proteins apart," says the study's lead author Jeffrey Toretsky, M.D., an associate professor in the departments of Oncology and Pediatrics at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. "It could render EWS-FLI1 harmless while not affecting its partnering helicase protein."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


June 1, 2006, 6:59 AM CT

Environmental Estrogens Increases Prostate Cancer Risk

Environmental Estrogens Increases Prostate Cancer Risk
A study in the June 1 issue of Cancer Research presents the first evidence that exposure to low doses of environmental estrogens during development of the prostate gland in the male fetus may result in a predisposition to prostate cancer during the later part of life.

The study, done in an animal model, also demonstrates how the predisposition may arise, and a way to identify those at risk.

Man-made compounds that can mimic the hormone action of estrogens (xenoestrogens) are widespread in the environment. One of these agents is bisphenol A (BPA), used in the manufacture of plastics and epoxy resins. The United States alone produces over 1.6 million pounds of BPA annually. BPA, which can also leach from plastics when heated, turns up in human blood and in placental and fetal tissues in even higher concentrations.

In this study, a research team led by Dr. Gail Prins of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Dr. Shuk-Mei Ho of the University of Cincinnati exposed rats to low doses of estradiol, a natural estrogen, or to BPA during the developmental period corresponding to the second and third trimester of human pregnancy. They found that this early exposure predisposed male rats to premalignant lesions of the prostate in old age.

"Most remarkably, early BPA exposure sensitized the prostate to premalignant lesions brought on by exposure of the adult animal to elevated estradiol," said Prins, professor of urology at UIC and senior author of the study. "This is highly relevant to people, because relative estradiol levels increase in aging men as a result of their increased body fat and declining testosterone levels."........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


June 1, 2006, 6:55 AM CT

Promising Results For Advanced Lung Cancer

Promising Results For Advanced Lung Cancer
An early phase study pairing an experimental targeted treatment with a common anti-inflammatory produced promising results in patients with advanced lung cancer, scientists at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center reported.

Pairing the targeted treatment Tarceva with the anti-inflammatory drug Celebrex increased response rates in lung cancer patients by about three-fold, said Dr. Karen Reckamp, an assistant professor of hematology/oncology and lead author of the study. The research appears in the June 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Association of Cancer Research.

Prior laboratory studies at UCLA showed that a cell signaling pathway known as COX-2 may be linked to resistance to drugs like Tarceva, which block tumor cell growth by targeting the protein EGFR, or epidermal growth factor receptor. Scientists theorized that giving Tarceva with Celebrex, a COX-2 inhibitor, would help battle resistance and prove to be an affective combination against lung cancer.

Typically, about 10 percent of lung cancer patients respond to Tarceva. In Reckamp's study of the combination treatment, about 33 percent of patients responded.

"Tarceva alone is a great drug and has a lot of clinical benefits, but for a small proportion of patients," Reckamp said. "With this drug combination, we saw an increase in response rates, indicating we are overcoming some resistance. We also may be beginning to understand the mechanisms of that resistance."........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


May 31, 2006, 9:32 PM CT

New Hope For AIDS Vaccine

New Hope For AIDS  Vaccine Pedro Reche, PhD, and Derin Keskin, PhD
New research by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute researchers suggests that it may one day be possible to immunize healthy individuals against HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS.

As per a research findings reported in the online journal Medical Immunology, researchers led by Dana-Farber's Pedro Reche, PhD, and Derin Keskin, PhD, upend the long-held view that human immune system cells do not fully recognize HIV-1 following infection, and thus are unable to eliminate it from the body. The scientists found that lab-grown immune system cells from uninfected individuals are able to distinguish and respond to key HIV proteins. Cells taken from infected individuals, by contrast, were much less responsive to the virus.

If these findings hold true in follow-up studies, they suggest that exposing healthy people to HIV-1 proteins might train their immune to attack the virus and prevent them from developing AIDS if exposed to HIV-1 in the future, Reche said.

"It has been unknown for 20 years why HIV-1 becomes persistent and isn't cleared from the bodies of AIDS patients," says Medical Immunology's editor, Kendall Smith, MD, chief of the Division of Immunology at Weill Medical College at Cornell University. "This study suggests that in HIV-positive people, the immune system cells that respond to HIV-1 are either deleted or have lost the ability to recognize and home in on major parts of the virus."........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


May 31, 2006, 9:29 PM CT

Anti-epileptic Drug Could Help Beat Cancer

Anti-epileptic Drug Could Help Beat Cancer
A new combination of two drugs, including one usually used in the therapy of epilepsy, has proved effective at killing cancer cells, as per research reported in the British Journal of Cancer* today.

The results, from the Section of Thoracic Oncology, Surgery Branch, of the National Cancer Institute's Center for Cancer Research in the United States, raise the prospect of a new form of chemotherapy to treat a number of types of cancer. The advantage of this combination is that the anti-epileptic, called valproic acid, is a NICE-approved drug, and the second compound, called UCN-01, has been used in clinical trials. Scientists therefore already know a lot about the effects of these molecules on the human body.

If successful, this combined treatment would be another example of medical compounds in use for other conditions later being developed for treating and preventing cancer. In recent years, for example, the household painkiller aspirin has shown promising anticancer properties in clinical trials. Valproic acid has a weak anticancer effect on its own but in this new combination it becomes highly effective against cancer cells.

Principal investigator Dr Dao Nguyen said: "We are very encouraged by these latest results, and strongly think that drug combinations including valproic acid will, in time, reach the clinic and help cancer patients".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         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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