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December 11, 2008, 5:17 AM CT

Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease linked

Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease linked
Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes and celiac disease appear to share a common genetic origin, researchers at the University of Cambridge and Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, have confirmed.

Their findings, which are reported in this week's edition of the New England Journal (NEJM), identified seven chromosome regions which are shared between the two diseases. The research suggests that type 1 diabetes and celiac disease may be caused by common underlying mechanisms such as autoimmunity-related tissue damage and intolerance to dietary antigens (foreign substances which prompt an immune response).

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder which causes the body to attack the beta cells of the pancreas, limiting its ability to produce the insulin necessary to regulate blood sugar levels. Celiac disease, also an autoimmune disorder, attacks the small intestine and is triggered by the consumption of gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye) and cereals. The development and anatomy of the small intestine and pancreas are closely related, and the gut immune system shares connections with pancreatic lymph nodes, which have been associated with an inflammation of the pancreas and the destruction of beta cells.

In order to assess the genetic similarities and differences between the two inflammatory disorders, the scientists obtained 9339 control samples, 8064 samples from people with type 1 diabetes and 2560 samples from individuals with celiac disease. They found a total of seven loci (regions of a chromosome) were shared between the two.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 11, 2008, 5:16 AM CT

Sugar can be addictive, Princeton scientist says

Sugar can be addictive, Princeton scientist says
A Princeton University scientist will present new evidence today demonstrating that sugar can be an addictive substance, wielding its power over the brains of lab animals in a manner similar to a number of drugs of abuse.

Professor Bart Hoebel and his team in the Department of Psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute have been studying signs of sugar addiction in rats for years. Until now, the rats under study have met two of the three elements of addiction. They have demonstrated a behavioral pattern of increased intake and then showed signs of withdrawal. His current experiments captured craving and relapse to complete the picture.

"If bingeing on sugar is really a form of addiction, there should be long-lasting effects in the brains of sugar addicts," Hoebel said. "Craving and relapse are critical components of addiction, and we have been able to demonstrate these behaviors in sugar-bingeing rats in many ways".

At the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in Scottsdale, Ariz., Hoebel will report on profound behavioral changes in rats that, through experimental conditions, have been trained to become dependent on high doses of sugar.

"We have the first set of comprehensive studies showing the strong suggestion of sugar addiction in rats and a mechanism that might underlie it," Hoebel said. The findings eventually could have implications for the therapy of humans with eating disorders, he said.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 11, 2008, 5:14 AM CT

Surge in older cancer survivors expected as baby boomers age

Surge in older cancer survivors expected as baby boomers age
The United States could be faced with a national health care crisis in the coming decades as the country's baby boomer population ages and a growing number of elderly adults find themselves diagnosed with and living longer with cancer.

That is the position of a team of scientists from across the country who believe current prevention measures, screening, therapys, and supportive care for older patients at risk of or dealing with cancer are lacking in the US.

In a special supplement issue of the international journal Cancer being released this month - Aging in the Context of Cancer Prevention and Control: Perspectives from Behavioral Health Medicine the scientists say there is an urgent need for clear, evidence-based practice guidelines to assist physicians, oncologists and others who provide short- and long-term care management to elderly adults with cancer.

Only with more immediate research will proper prevention efforts, screening, therapy approaches, post-treatment survivorship and end of life care be put in place to serve this rapidly growing population, the experts say.

Consider these facts:
  • More than 60 percent of all cancerous cancer diagnoses in the U.S. occur in people age 65 or older.
  • There are an estimated 6.5 million adults age 65 or older currently living with a history of cancer in the U.S.
  • ........

    Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 11, 2008, 5:11 AM CT

Late preterm births present serious risks to newborns

Late preterm births present serious risks to newborns
More than half a million babies are born preterm in the United States each year, and preterm births are on the rise. Late preterm births, or births that occur between 34 and 36 weeks (approximately 4 to 6 weeks before the mother's due date), account for more than 70% of preterm births. Despite the large number of affected babies, a number of people are unaware of the serious health problems correlation to late preterm births. A new study and an accompanying editorial soon would be published in The Journal of Pediatrics investigate the serious neurological problems linked to late preterm births.

Dr. Joann Petrini of the March of Dimes and his colleagues from institutions throughout the United States studied more than 140,000 babies born between 2000 and 2004, ranging from preterm (30-37 weeks) to full term (37-41 weeks). The scientists reviewed the babies' neurological development and observed that late preterm babies were more than three times as likely to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy as full term babies. They also observed that late preterm babies were at an increased risk for developmental delay or mental retardation.

Editorialist Dr. Michael Kramer of McGill University points out that the "rates of preterm births are increasing, particularly in the United States, and the associated risks are a serious public health concern." He sees the increasing number of twins and induced labors as contributing factors in the rise of preterm births. "The rise in twins may be due to the use of fertility therapys like hormones and in-vitro fertilization," Dr. Kramer explains. However, he notes that the increased risks may not always come from early delivery itself, but from other underlying problems, such as gestational diabetes, that may lead to early delivery.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


December 11, 2008, 5:09 AM CT

Strategic video game improves critical cognitive skills

Strategic video game improves critical cognitive skills
Illinois psychology professor Arthur Kramer and postdoctoral research Chandramallika Basak found that several important cognitive skills improved in older adults who were trained in a strategic video game.
A desire to rule the world may be a good thing if you're over 60 and worried about losing your mental faculties. A new study observed that adults in their 60s and 70s can improve many cognitive functions by playing a strategic video game that rewards nation-building and territorial expansion.

This is the first such study of elderly adults, and it is the first to find such pronounced effects on cognitive skills not directly correlation to the skills learned in the video game, said University of Illinois psychology professor Arthur Kramer, an author on the study.

The research appears this month in the journal Psychology & Aging

Decades of laboratory studies designed to improve specific cognitive skills, such as short-term memory, have found again and again that trainees improve almost exclusively on the tasks they perform in the lab and only under laboratory conditions, Kramer said.

"When you train somebody on a task they tend to improve in that task, whatever it is, but it commonly doesn't transfer much beyond that skill or beyond the particular situation in which they learned it," he said. "And there are virtually no studies that examine whether there's any transfer outside the lab to things people care about".

Kramer and colleagues wanted to know whether a more integrated training approach could go beyond the training environment to enhance the cognitive skills used in every day life. Specifically, the scientists wondered whether interactive video games might benefit those cognitive functions that decline most with age.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


December 11, 2008, 5:07 AM CT

Exercise Suppresses Appetite By Affecting Appetite Hormones

Exercise Suppresses Appetite By Affecting Appetite Hormones
A vigorous 60-minute workout on a treadmill affects the release of two key appetite hormones, ghrelin and peptide YY, while 90 minutes of weight lifting affects the level of only ghrelin, as per a new study. Taken together, the research shows that aerobic exercise is better at suppressing appetite than non-aerobic exercise and provides a possible explanation for how that happens.

This line of research may eventually lead to more effective ways to use exercise to help control weight, as per the senior author, David J. Stensel of Loughborough University in the United Kingdom.

The study, "The influence of resistance and aerobic exercise on hunger, circulating levels of acylated ghrelin and peptide YY in healthy males," appears in the online edition of The American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, published by The American Physiological Society. The authors are David R. Broom, James A. King and David J. Stensel of Loughborough University, and Rachel L. Batterham of University College, London.

Treadmill versus weight lifting

There are several hormones that help regulate appetite, but the scientists looked at two of the major ones, ghrelin and peptide YY. Ghrelin is the only hormone known to stimulate appetite. Peptide YY suppresses appetite.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 9, 2008, 10:25 PM CT

Honey adds health benefits and is a natural preservative

Honey adds health benefits and is a natural preservative
Antioxidant-rich honey is a healthy alternative to chemical additives and refined sweeteners in commercial salad dressings, said a new University of Illinois study.

"To capitalize on the positive health effects of honey, we experimented with using honey in salad dressings," said Nicki Engeseth, a U of I associate professor of food chemistry. "We observed that the antioxidants in honey protected the quality of the salad dressings for up to nine months while sweetening them naturally".

Engeseth's study substituted honey for EDTA, an additive used to keep the oils in salad dressings from oxidizing, and high-fructose corn syrup, used by a number of commercial salad-dressing producers to sweeten their salad dressing recipes.

"We chose clover and blueberry honeys for the study after an analysis of the sweetening potential, antioxidant activity, and phenolic profiles of 19 honeys with varying characteristics," said the scientist.

The dressings were also in comparison to a control dressing that contained ingredients found in current commercial salad dressings, she said.

Engeseth explained a problem the researchers encountered in using honey in a salad dressing system. "Salad dressings are emulsionsthey contain oil and water; and to keep these ingredients together in one phase, manufacturers rely on emulsifiers and thickening agents to avoid thinning of the dressing and separation of the oil and water phase," she said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 9, 2008, 10:10 PM CT

Genetic markers identified for alcohol response

Genetic markers identified for alcohol response
Researchers at the UCSF Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center have identified a region on the human genome that appears to determine how strongly drinkers feel the effects of alcohol and thus how prone they are to alcohol abuse.

The researchers found that a DNA sequence variation, known as a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), on chromosome 15 is significantly associated with the level of response to alcohol and could signal the genetic factors that affect alcohol abuse, according to findings published in the Dec. 8 online edition of the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences".

The research investigated two sentinel SNP markers - RS1051730 and RS8034191 -that previously had been associated with nicotine dependence and lung cancer and found a strong association with the first marker, according to Raymond L. White, PhD, director of the Gallo Center and senior author on the paper.

"We know that the level of response to alcohol is heritable and think there are genetic factors behind 40 to 60 percent of alcohol dependence, but until now, the chromosomal locations of these factors have not been clear for the most common forms of alcohol use disorders," White said. "By understanding which portion of our genetic makeup influences our response to alcohol, we can begin to understand what type of treatments might be most successful in helping reduce alcohol use disorders".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 9, 2008, 10:01 PM CT

How Power Affects Complex Decision Making

How Power Affects Complex Decision Making
Presidential scholars have written volumes trying to understand the presidential mind. How can anyone juggle so a number of complicated decisions? Do those seeking office have a unique approach to decision making? Studies have suggested that power changes not only a person's responsibilities, but also the way they think. Now, a new study in the recent issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, indicates that having power may lead people to automatically think in a way that makes complex decision-making easier.

Psychology experts Pamela Smith, Ap Dijksterhuis and Daniƫl Wigboldus of Radboud University Nijmegen stimulated feelings of powerlessness or power in a group of volunteers by having some volunteers recall a situation when other people had power over them and other volunteers recall a situation when they had power over other people. Then they were given a complicated problem to solve (they had to pick among four cars, each varying on 12 different attributes). The experiment was designed so that there was a "correct" solution-that is, one of the cars had the most positive and least negative attributes, eventhough the optimal choice was not obvious. Both the "powerful" and the "powerless" volunteers chose among the cars, but some spent time consciously thinking about the problem, while others were distracted with a word puzzle.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 9, 2008, 9:56 PM CT

Causes of death on Mount Everest

Causes of death on Mount Everest
An international research team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers has conducted the first detailed analysis of deaths during expeditions to the summit of Mt. Everest. They observed that most deaths occur during descents from the summit in the so-called "death zone" above 8,000 meters and also identified factors that appear to be linked to a greater risk of death, especially symptoms of high-altitude cerebral edema. The report, which will appear the December 20/27 issue of the British Medical Journal has been released online.

"We know that climbing Everest is dangerous, but exactly how and why people have died had not been studied," says Paul Firth, MB, ChB, of the MGH Department of Anesthesia, who led the study "It had been assumed that avalanches and falling ice especially in the Khumbu Icefall on the Nepal route were the leading causes of death and that high-altitude pulmonary edema would be a common problem at such extreme altitude. But our results do not support either assumption."

Thousands of climbers have attempted to reach the summit of 8,850-meter (29,000-foot) Mount Everest since the 1920s. In order to examine the circumstances surrounding all deaths on Everest expeditions, the research team which included researchers from three British hospitals and the University of Toronto evaluated available expedition records including the Himalayan Database, a compilation of information from all expeditions to 300 major peaks in the world's highest range. Of a total of reported 212 deaths on Everest from 1921 to 2006, 192 occurred above Base Camp, the last encampment before technical (roped) climbing begins.........

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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