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December 12, 2005

African-american Women's Decisions To Join A Screening

African-american Women's Decisions To Join A Screening
Do African-American women who join a screening trial for cancer differ from those who do not join? Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health sought to answer this question by surveying African-American women who were invited to join the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial, a randomized, community-based longitudinal study evaluating the effectiveness of cancer screening tests on site-specific mortality.

Their results, published in today's issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, indicate that African-American women who decided to join PLCO held significantly different beliefs regarding the benefits and risks of participation than those who did not join - the majority of those who joined were much more likely to report that African-Americans benefit as much as whites from participating in clinical trials. Interestingly, the study also found that none of the women surveyed had reported learning about clinical trials from their doctors or other health care providers.

"By interviewing women who joined the PLCO as well as those who did not, we were able to analyze their responses and suggest a strategy for improving the recruitment of African-American women to cancer clinical trials," said Jeanette Trauth, Ph.D., lead author of the study and associate professor of behavioral and community health sciences, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

The scientists interviewed 299 African-American women between the ages of 55 and 74 who were eligible for the PLCO; 230 of these women decided not to participate in PLCO (non-joiners) and 69 of these women decided to participate in PLCO (joiners). The investigators found that joiners had a better understanding of cancer and the role of early detection and screening, and appeared to be motivated to join a trial by the experience of having a loved one with cancer. Joiners also tended to seek out information more than non-joiners and were willing to take the next step and take part in a study of a new therapy for a health problem that they perceived was important, particularly if they or one of their loved ones had the problem.........

Janet      Permalink

December 12, 2005

Re-opening Of Blocked Internal Carotid Arteries In Acute Stroke

Re-opening Of Blocked Internal Carotid Arteries In Acute Stroke Tudor Jovin, M.D.
University of Pittsburgh scientists report a high level of effectiveness in re-opening completely blocked internal carotid arteries (ICA) as late as two to three days after acute stroke symptoms by using stents. The study at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Department of Neurology and University of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Stroke Institute, is in the recent issue of Stroke, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Heart Association.

"This report breaks new ground in that it contradicts the conventional wisdom that a completely blocked or occluded carotid cannot be opened," said the study's lead author, Tudor Jovin, M.D., assistant professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Pitt's School of Medicine, and co-director of the Center for Endovascular Therapy at UPMC.

Dr. Jovin's team, which consisted of members of the UPMC Stroke Institute, retrospectively studied 25 patients with acute carotid occlusion who underwent angiography with the intent to revascularize the occlusion from January 2002 to March 2005.

Scientists concluded that recanalization, or re-opening of the artery, was successful in 23 of the 25 patients, and that the procedure was done safely.

"The main finding of the report was that endovascular revascularization of occluded ICA in the setting of acute or subacute ischemic stroke carries a high-revascularization rate and is safe in selected patients," Dr. Jovin reported.

"Management of stroke because of acute internal carotid artery occlusion continues to represent a challenge because it may result in significant disability in 40 percent and death in 20 percent of cases," Dr. Jovin said. "Our results are significant because they offer an opportunity for patients who may need more aggressive therapy. Future prospective studies are necessary to determine which patients are most likely to benefit from this form of treatment.".........

Daniel      Permalink

December 12, 2005

Clinical Trial for New Ocular Prosthetic Device

Clinical Trial for New Ocular Prosthetic Device
Emory Eye Center has begun a new clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of a new prosthetic ocular device, made by Porex Surgical, Inc. The device, the MEDPOR ATTRACTOR Magnetic Coupling System, will offer patients who need a prosthetic eye a better alternative than ever before.

Those needing a prosthetic eye include patients who have had recent enucleations (eye removal) due to trauma or disease and congenital disorders.

"The new device provides our patients with a more realistic prosthetic eye because of a magnetic attraction that can improve the eye's movement," says Robert Bernardino, MD, oculoplastics specialist at Emory Eye Center. "Because the prosthetic eye is vital to making a patient feel whole again, this new one, which provides better movement of the prosthetic eye, is helping their comfort level."

BACKGROUND Porex Surgical, Inc. (Newnan, Ga.) is a manufacturer of medical devices and is the maker of MEDPOR porous polyethylene implants, used for craniofacial reconstruction, and of the MEDPOR ATTRACTOR (TM) Magnetic Coupling System.

MEDPOR Spheres and related shapes are designed for reconstruction of the anophthalmic socket, the condition resulting from the removal of the eye due to trauma or disease. The MEDPOR Implant is placed within the socket and covered with the pink conjunctival tissues after the eye is removed.

After healing, a prosthetic eye, (usually called a "Glass Eye" eventhough made of acrylic plastic), painted to look like a real eye, and shaped like a thick contact lens, is placed in the socket behind the eyelids and over the tissue covered implant. The MEDPOR Implant often moves within the socket in the same way a normal eye will move, but this motion is only partially transmitted to the prosthetic eye, resulting in an unnatural appearance when the patient looks around.........

Mike      Permalink

December 12, 2005

Studying Autism Susceptibility Genes

Studying Autism Susceptibility Genes
The recent sequencing of a single human genome was the first step in speeding the discovery of genetic variations that contribute to disease in humans. Now a geneticist is using microarry-based "resequencing" -- a new technology he helped develop -- to search for genes on targeted sections of the X chromosome that could be related to the development of autism.

Michael Zwick, PhD, assistant professor of Human Genetics at Emory University School of Medicine, has received a five-year grant totaling approximately $1.3 million from a public/private partnership of government health agencies and private advocacy organizations, including five institutes within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Cure Autism Now, the National Alliance for Autism Research, and the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center. The Emory grant is one of five grants awarded nationally for genetic autism research.

Autism has an incidence rate of 1 in every 166 children. Symptoms include varying degrees of impairment in communication and social skills and repetitive patterns of behavior. Strong evidence from twin and family studies indicates that at least some cases of autism are inherited; however, no single gene has been found to explain autism, and researchers now believe genetic susceptibility may be caused by multiple genes, along with environmental factors.

Dr. Zwick helped develop the microarray resequencing technology first as a post-doctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins, and then as a Navy reservist working at the Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, Md. Microarray, or DNA chip resequencing, allows researchers to determine 300,000 base pairs of an individual's genome (the G, A, T, C in the DNA sequence) using square chips that are just .75 inches long by .75 inches wide. This allows researchers to examine specific chromosomal regions in large collections of human patients to uncover subtle variations that could have significant consequences for health and disease.........

JoAnn      Permalink

December 12, 2005

Phase II Study for Advanced Bladder Cancer

Phase II Study for Advanced Bladder Cancer
Emory Winship Cancer Institute is the only cancer research and treatment facility in Georgia to offer an innovative Phase II clinical trial for transitional cell carcinoma (TCC), a common form of bladder cancer. The clinical trial is testing the efficacy of the investigational drug Vinflunine. Vasily Assikis, MD, assistant professor of hematology and oncology and director of Winship's Prostate Cancer Translational Research Program is principal investigator.

"There is currently no standard treatment for patients with advanced bladder cancer who have received chemotherapy and their cancer is getting worse," said Dr. Assikis. "This study is promising and could make a major impact for that specific patient population." TCC refers to cancers of the layer of cells lining the inside of the bladder, the kidneys, ureters, or the urethra. More than 90 percent of bladder cancers begin in these transitional cells.

The use of Vinflunine as an anti-cancer agent is still in the experimental stage, but studies have demonstrated that the new drug exhibits anti-tumor activity by inhibiting cell division.

The primary purpose of the clinical trial, which is sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb, is to assess whether Vinflunine will shrink tumors or slow their growth. Doing so could potentially improve the condition of those patients with locally advanced-staged TCC of the urothelium who have been previously been treated with chemotherapy and whose disease has progressed. Patients participating in the clinical trial will be administered the drug Vinflunine intravenously.........

Mark      Permalink

December 12, 2005

Two Treatments Similar Results

Two Treatments Similar Results
Results from a clinical trial comparing the effectiveness of the drugs paclitaxel and docetaxel, delivered over two different dosing schedules, showed that both drugs - regardless of the dosing schedules tested in this trial - provided similar benefits for women with stage II or III, operable breast cancer. However, more women treated with docetaxel than with paclitaxel experienced serious side effects from their therapy. The trial was led by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group in collaboration with the Cancer and Leukemia Group B, North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG), and the Southwest Oncology Group. The National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, supported this Phase III randomized clinical trial. The results were presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium on December 8, 2005.

Paclitaxel and docetaxel are members of a class of drugs called taxanes, and both are approved for the therapy of patients with breast cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes. Eventhough these drugs have been shown to be beneficial in treating breast cancer, this is the first time they have been directly compared and the first time that a weekly dosing schedule has been compared with a standard every three-week dosing schedule in the therapy of early-stage breast cancer.

"Eventhough both drugs are used as adjuvant breast cancer therapys, which taxane and which schedule are most effective has been a question for a number of years," said JoAnne Zujewski, M.D., who oversees breast cancer trials for NCI's Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program. "Now doctors and patients will be able to consider side effects, convenience, and cost in determining taxane therapy without concern that effectiveness will be compromised."

A total of 4,988 women were enrolled in the trial between 1999 and 2002. All of the women had axillary lymph node (a lymph node in the armpit region that drains lymph channels from the breast) positive or high-risk (their tumor was at least 2 centimeters in size) node-negative breast cancer. All of the women were first treated with doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide, a standard therapy protocol referred to as AC (representing the drugs doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide). Following AC chemotherapy, patients were randomly assigned to groups that received either paclitaxel or docetaxel, administered weekly for 12 weeks or every third week over a 12-week period.........

Emily      Permalink

December 12, 2005

About Trust-building Hormone

About Trust-building Hormone Functional magnetic resonance imaging data (red) superimposed on structural MRI scans. Frightful faces triggered a dramatic reduction in amygdala activity in subjects who had sniffed oxytocin, suggesting that oxytocin mediates social fear and trust via the amygdala and related circuitry.
brain chemical recently found to boost trust appears to work by reducing activity and weakening connections in fear-processing circuitry, a brain imaging study at the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has discovered. Scans of the hormone oxytocin's effect on human brain function reveal that it quells the brain's fear hub, the amygdala, and its brainstem relay stations in response to fearful stimuli. The work at NIMH and a collaborating site in Gera number of suggests new approaches to treating diseases thought to involve amygdala dysfunction and social fear, such as social phobia, autism, and possibly schizophrenia, report Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, M.D., Ph.D., NIMH Genes Cognition and Psychosis Program, and his colleagues, in the December 7, 2005 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

"Studies in animals, pioneered by now NIMH director Dr. Thomas Insel, have shown that oxytocin plays a key role in complex emotional and social behaviors, such as attachment, social recognition and aggression" noted NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, M.D. "Now, for the first time, we can literally see these same mechanisms at work in the human brain."

"The observed changes in the amygdala are exciting as they suggest that a long-acting analogue of oxytocin could have therapeutic value in disorders characterized by social avoidance," added Insel.

Inspired by Swiss researchers who last summer reported1 that oxytocin increased trust in humans, Meyer-Lindenberg and his colleagues quickly mounted a brain imaging study that would explore how this works at the level of brain circuitry. British scientists had earlier linked increased amygdala activity to decreased trustworthiness2. Having just discovered decreased amygdala activity ( in response to social stimuli in people with a rare genetic brain disorder that rendered them overly trusting of others, Meyer-Lindenberg hypothesized that oxytocin boosts trust by suppressing the amygdala and its fear-processing networks.........

Daniel      Permalink

December 12, 2005

Researchers Publish Dog Genome Sequence

Researchers Publish Dog Genome Sequence
An international team, led by scientists at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, today announced the publication of the genome sequence of the dog. In the Dec. 8 issue of the journal Nature, the scientists present a detailed analysis of the dog genome and describe how the data offer the potential for improving the health of man and man's best friend.

"When compared with the genomes of human and other important organisms, the dog genome provides a powerful tool for identifying genetic factors that contribute to human health and disease," said Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), which supported the research. "This milestone is particularly gratifying because it will also directly benefit veterinary researchers' efforts to better understand and treat diseases afflicting our loyal canine companions."

Efforts to create the genetic tools needed for mapping disease genes in dogs have gained momentum over the last 15 years, and already include a partial survey of the poodle genome. More than two years ago, Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, Ph.D., co-director of the genome sequencing and analysis program at the Broad Institute, and her colleagues embarked on a two-part project to assemble a complete map of the dog genome.

In the first phase, they acquired high-quality DNA sequence covering nearly 99 percent of the dog genome, from a female boxer named Tasha. The boxer was chosen as a representative of the average purebred dog to produce what has become a reference sequence for the dog genome community. Using the sequence information as a genetic "compass," they navigated the genomes of 10 different dog breeds and other related canine species, including the gray wolf and coyote. In this sampling, they pinpointed tiny spots of genetic variation, called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which serve as recognizable signposts that can be used to locate the causes of genetic disease.........

Scott      Permalink

December 11, 2005

Help for Hispanic Families Caring for a Loved Ones

Holidays are a time to share with family and friends. But when a family member has Alzheimer's disease (AD), holidays can be particularly stressful. Providing care at home for a memory-impaired person can be overwhelming. By educating themselves, however, families can learn to develop creative solutions to adapt to the physical and mental changes caused by the disease.........

Janet      Permalink

December 11, 2005

TLR4 Gene Against Tumor Development

A new study finds that a gene which plays an important role in immune function, known as toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), may also play a critical role in suppressing chronic lung inflammation and tumor development in mice.

"We know that chronic inflammation predisposes people to a number of types of cancer," says NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, M.D. "By using this new information we may be able to suppress chronic inflammation and reduce our Nation's cancer burden."

In the December 7, 2005 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a part of the National Institutes of Health, report that mice prone to lung cancer that had TLR4 removed or altered had 60 percent more tumors than mice that had intact receptors, illustrating a new protective role for this gene. There were no differences in overall tumor size or structure between the mice. TLR4 is part of what immunologists refer to as the "innate immune system" which acts as the body's first line of defense against harmful substances.........
Daniel      Permalink

December 11, 2005

Willingness Of Minorities To Participate In Health Research

New findings by scientists at the National Institutes of Health show that minorities participate in health research studies at the same rate as non-Hispanic whites when they are made aware of the study and meet the medical requirements. The findings counter the widely held notion that minorities are less willing to participate and lead the scientists to suggest that minority involvement is more a matter of access than attitude.

The study was led by scientists in the Department of Clinical Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, the hospital at NIH. The work is published online December 6, 2005 in the medical journal PLoS Medicine, published by the Public Library of Science.........
Janet      Permalink

Missing Link In Taste (December 11, 2005)
Researchers funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), one of the National Institutes of Health, are a step closer to unraveling the mystery of taste. As per a research findings published in the December 2, 2005, issue of Science, scientists have pinpointed the chemical responsible for transmitting signals from the taste buds - small sensory bumps on the tongue, throat, and roof of the mouth - to the taste nerves leading to the brain. Today's findings provide researchers with a more complete picture of this complicated process, helping advance the study of taste and taste disorders.

No Kidney Benefit for ACE-Inhibitors (December 11, 2005)
The best way to protect kidneys of diabetic patients is to lower blood pressure. Period. So says Juan P. Casas M.D. and his colleagues of the British Heart Foundation Laboratory at University College London, who reported that a meta-analysis of 127 randomized trials did not confirm a renoprotective effect for either ACE-inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers.

Obesity Before Pregnancy May Cause Childhood Weight Problems (December 11, 2005)
A new study shows that a child's weight may be influenced by the mother even before the child is actually born. The study, conducted by scientists from Ohio State University (OSU) College of Nursing and School of Public Health, appears in the December 5, 2005 issue of the journal Pediatrics and was supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Study on Temporomandibular Joint (December 11, 2005)
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part of the National Institutes of Health, announced today the launch of a seven-year clinical study that could accelerate research on better pain-controlling therapys for a jaw condition called temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJDs).

Computer-Aided Polyp Detection Software (December 11, 2005)
A study led by the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center finds that computer-aided detection (CAD) software in conjunction with a procedure usually called virtual colonoscopy can deliver results comparable to conventional optical colonoscopy for detecting the most worrisome types of polyps.

Send Teens the Message about the Link Between Drug Abuse and HIV (December 11, 2005)
Drug Abuse and HIV: Learn the Link" is the message of a new public awareness campaign announced November 29, 2005, by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health. "Drug abuse prevention is HIV prevention," says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "Research has shown that a significant proportion of young people are not concerned about becoming infected with HIV. In recent years, the number of young people in the United States diagnosed with AIDS rose substantially. Because drug use encourages risky behaviors that can promote HIV transmission, NIDA views drug abuse therapy as essential HIV prevention."

MicroRNAs shape evolution (December 11, 2005)
RNA continues to shed its reputation as DNA's faithful sidekick. Now, scientists in the lab of Whitehead Institute Member David Bartel have found that a class of small RNAs called microRNAs influence the evolution of genes far more widely than prior research had indicated. "MicroRNAs are affecting the majority of protein-coding genes, either at a functional level or an evolutionary level," says Andrew Grimson, a post-doctoral fellow in Bartel's lab.

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