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January 18, 2006, 7:46 PM CT

Turmeric And Cauliflower To Halt Prostate Cancer

Turmeric And Cauliflower To Halt Prostate Cancer
Rutgers scientists have found that the curry spice turmeric holds real potential for the therapy and prevention of prostate cancer, especially when combined with certain vegetables.

The researchers tested turmeric, also known as curcumin, along with phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), a naturally occurring substance especially abundant in a group of vegetables that includes watercress, cabbage, winter cress, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi and turnips. "The bottom line is that PEITC and curcumin, alone or in combination, demonstrate significant cancer-preventive qualities in laboratory mice, and the combination of PEITC and curcumin could be effective in treating established prostate cancers," said Ah-Ng Tony Kong, a professor of pharmaceutics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

The discovery was announced in the Jan. 15 issue of the journal Cancer Research by Kong and colleagues at Rutgers' Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States, with a half-million new cases appearing each year. The incidence and mortality of prostate cancer have not decreased in past decades despite tremendous efforts and resources devoted to therapy. This is because advanced prostate cancer cells are barely responsive even to high concentrations of chemotherapeutic agents or radiotherapy.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink

January 18, 2006, 0:33 AM CT

Losing Weight By Controlling Flavor

Losing Weight By Controlling Flavor
A major cause of overeating is eating too a number of flavors all at once, triggering the hypothalamus in the brain to ask for more food, according to David Katz, M.D., Associate Professor Adjunct in Public Health Practice at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale.

This is the premise of his new book, "The Flavor Point Diet" (Rodale Press), based on a phenomenon he said is well studied, but is well known only to appetite researchers-sensory specific satiety.

"We stay hungry longer the more diverse the flavors in a meal or snack," said Katz, of the Prevention Research Center at Griffin Hospital. "If flavors are thoughtfully distributed, we fill up on fewer calories. This explains why, for instance, people can eat a holiday meal to the point of feeling unpleasantly full, yet still have room for dessert. No, that's not because you have a 'hollow leg!' It's because of sensory specific satiety; the hypothalamus is hard-wired to respond to flavors".

The Flavor Point Diet

A pilot study of Katz's eating plan was conducted with 20 men and women, and their families, for 12 weeks. Katz said the mean weight loss over that time was 16 pounds with persons losing from 10 to 31 pounds. The study participants also lost body fat and saw their cholesterol, blood sugar, insulin, and blood pressure decline.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

January 18, 2006, 0:26 AM CT

Parents In The Operating Room

Parents In The Operating Room
Knowing whether the presence of a parent diminishes or increases a child's anxiety previous to surgery may soon be answered with a new psychometric instrument developed at Yale School of Medicine and the University of Georgia.

An article in the recent issue of Anesthesiology details PCAMPIS (Perioperaitve Child-Adult Medical Procedure Interaction Scale), a scale that creates a complex coding of parent-child communications during the period before surgery. The instrument was developed by Alison Caldwell-Andrews, associate research scientist in the Department of Anesthesiology at Yale School of Medicine and Ronald Blount of the University of Georgia.

The senior author of the study, Zeev Kain, M.D., professor in the Departments of Anesthesiology, Pediatrics, and the Child Study Center at Yale, said bringing parents into the operating room for surgical procedures is not always beneficial to the child or to the parents and may even increase the child's anxiety.

"We simply must look at the interactions between the parents and child," said Kain, who is executive director and founder of the Center for the Advancement of Perioperative Health (CAPH) at the medical school. "We think that what parents say and do is what is important, not simply whether or not they are present".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

January 18, 2006, 0:21 AM CT

Controversy Over Prostate Cancer Screening

Controversy Over Prostate Cancer Screening John Concato, M.D.
A screening test for prostate cancer that measures prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels does not improve survival, scientists at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Connecticut Healthcare System and Yale School of Medicine report in the January 9 Archives of Internal Medicine.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting American men and ranks second in mortality. According to the study, screening tests almost always increase the detection of cancer, but among other requirements for improving survival, the tumors detected must be both fatal (if left untreated) yet curable.

PSA, a protein produced in the prostate, is found in the blood of healthy men. Prostate cancer often increases PSA levels in the blood, but a similar increase can be caused by non-malignant enlargement of the prostate gland (prostatism) or prostate infections.

To test the impact of prostate cancer screening on survival, the scientists conducted a case-control review of the medical records of over 1,000 male veterans age 50 or older receiving care at 10 VA medical centers in New England. Half of the men had died with prostate cancer; the other half were living and matched to be the same age as those who died. The study included up to nine years of follow-up after the diagnosis of cancer. The scientists compared the group that died to the group that lived and found that the same fraction of men had received screening with the PSA test.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink

January 18, 2006, 0:17 AM CT

Complex Infection Fighting Mechanisms

Complex Infection Fighting Mechanisms Image courtesy of Yale University
Yale School of Medicine scientists report in Nature Immunology how infection fighting mechanisms in the body can distinguish between a virus and the healthy body, shedding new light on auto immune disorders.

The infection fighters in question, toll-like receptors (TLRs), function by recognizing viral, bacterial or fungal pathogens and then sending signals throughout the immune system announcing that an infection has occurred.

Viruses change features to avoid being recognized, thereby triggering the immune response. But TLRs recognize the highly conserved features of pathogens, features that are often difficult to change without affecting the punch of the pathogen, said lead author of the study, Gregory Barton of the University of California at Berkeley who performed the research while in the Section of Immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine.

He said that one exception to the general view of how TLRs work is the way TLRs recognize viruses since viruses lack the unique features of bacterial or fungal pathogens. Because of this, the immune system has had to find other ways to recognize viral infection.

"In particular, the DNA or RNA that comprise viral genomes can stimulate certain TLRs," Barton said. "This strategy comes at an enormous cost. By targeting the DNA or RNA of viruses, the immune system runs the risk of accidentally recognizing its own DNA and RNA as foreign and inappropriately making an immune response against itself. This autoimmune condition is called systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE, and can be devastating for those unfortunate enough to suffer from it".........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink

January 18, 2006, 0:09 AM CT

Stress In Infancy May Lead To Addictions

Stress In Infancy May Lead To Addictions
Female rats appear to be affected more than males by stress early in life, leading to a higher likelihood of cocaine addiction and eating disorders as adults, as per a studyby Yale School of Medicine scientists in Neuropsychopharmacology.

"These results differ somewhat from our prior study conducted with male rats," said Therese Kosten, research scientist, Department of Psychiatry, and lead author of the study. "Early life stress produces a greater increase in cocaine self-administration in female versus male rats".

In addition, the neonatal stress enhances responding for food treats in female, but not male, rats, she said. "We believe this may suggest that women with early life stress have an enhanced risk of developing drug addiction, as well as eating disorders," Kosten said.

Of the rats in the research, some were isolated from their mothers as "infants." The rats were studied as adults who had learned to self-administer cocaine and food treats. The scientists found the rats that had been kept in isolation worked harder to obtain food and drug rewards.

"The results of the cocaine self-administration study along with our prior work demonstrating enduring effects of neonatal isolation in female rats point to the possibility that women with early life stress experience may be at increased risk of initiating and maintaining drug addiction," Kosten said. "The fact that early isolation enhances responding for food in female rats, but not male rats, may provide an insight into the role of early life stress on gender differences in vulnerability to develop eating disorders".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

January 16, 2006, 11:56 PM CT

Physical Activity And Parkinson's Disease

Physical Activity And Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease can be more effectively managed by a regular exercise program, say experts at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

"There's no doubt that people who have a positive attitude and exercise generally cope with the disease much better than those who don't," said Dr. Joseph Jankovic, professor of neurology and director of BCM's Parkinson's Disease Center and Movement Disorders Clinic. "Exercise is clearly a positive force in dealing with Parkinson's".

Living proof of the "use it or lose it" adage can be found in one of Jankovic's patients, former Beaumont, Texas, Mayor Maury Meyers, who not only stays physically active, he also embodies advancements in patient care and research.

For over 10 years, Meyers has organized the Dr. Sol and Miriam Rogers Memorial Golf Tournament, which supports a research endowment at the clinic. In spite of the devastation wrought to the Beaumont area by Hurricane Rita, Meyers' charity tournament raised the most money in its history.

"Parkinson's disease keeps on going, hurricanes or not," said Jankovic.

Meyers, who also played in the recent tournament for the first time, currently shoots in the mid-80s for 18 holes in a sport where a number of people with no physical disabilities at all struggle to avoid the three-digit range. It took Meyers five years to overhaul the mechanics of his swing after first being diagnosed with the debilitating disease.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink

January 16, 2006, 11:45 PM CT

Boosting Stem Cells to Treat Diabetes

Boosting Stem Cells to Treat Diabetes
For diabetes patients, who can't produce their own insulin, human stem cell-based transplants that produce insulin would be a major breakthrough.

But current laboratory methods of culturing human stem cells result in very limited quantities, far short of the quantities necessary for therapeutic applications.

For that reason, Emmanuel (Manolis) Tzanakakis, Ph.D., is striving to boost the numbers of stem cells produced in the laboratory, expanding the pool of cells that eventually can be differentiated into insulin-producing cells.

Tzanakakis, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering in the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has received a $200,000 James D. Watson Investigator Grant award to support his studies from the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR). He is one of six scientists throughout the state to receive the award this year.

His ultimate goal is to conduct research to develop methods that will allow sufficient quantities of differentiated cells that secrete insulin to be produced from the stem cells. Such cells could be used for diabetes therapies, including transplantation into patients, freeing them from the lifelong necessity of daily insulin injections.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink

January 16, 2006, 11:40 PM CT

Working Under Influence of Alcohol

Working Under Influence of Alcohol
Workplace alcohol use and impairment directly affects an estimated 15 percent of the U.S. workforce, or 19.2 million workers, according to a recent study conducted at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) and reported in the current issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol.

Information about workplace alcohol use and impairment during the prior 12 months was obtained by telephone interviews from 2,805 employed adults residing in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia. The sample of participants was designed to reflect the demographic composition of the adult civilian U.S. workforce from ages 18-65.

Interviews were conducted from January 2002 to June 2003. Those interviewed were asked how often during the prior year they drank alcohol within two hours of reporting to work, drank during the workday, worked under the influence or worked with a hangover.

This is the first study of workplace alcohol use to utilize a representative probability sample of the U.S. workforce.

Based on those responses, Michael R. Frone, Ph.D., principal investigator on the study, estimates that 2.3 million workers (1.8 percent of the workforce) have consumed alcohol at least once before coming to work and 8.9 million workers (7.1 percent of the workforce) have drank alcohol at least once during the workday. Most workers who drink during the workday do so during lunch breaks, though some drink while working or during other breaks.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink

January 16, 2006, 11:34 PM CT

Pancreatic Cancer and Insulin Resistance

Pancreatic Cancer and Insulin Resistance
A new study led by scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, shows for the first time that male smokers with the highest insulin levels are twice as likely to develop pancreas cancer as men with the lowest levels. Similarly, men with glucose levels in the range of clinical diabetes were twice as likely to develop the cancer as men with normal glucose levels. This study examined data from the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention (ATBC) Study* of 29,000 male smokers in Finland and appears in the December 14, 2005, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association**.

Study researchers drew blood from enrollees when they joined the ATBC Study in the mid-1980s. This allowed the scientists to determine participants' overnight fasting insulin and glucose levels a number of years ahead of when they might be diagnosed with cancer. Over the course of 17 years, 169 men in the study developed pancreas cancer.

Study results show a two-fold increase in risk of pancreas cancer in the quartile of men with the highest fasting serum insulin levels (greater than 6.1 microinternational units per milliliter) compared to those in the lowest quartile (less than 2.75 microinternational units per milliliter). Increasing concentrations of glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance were also associated with pancreas cancer. Moreover, the risk for pancreas cancer increased with longer follow-up time.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink

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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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