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June 13, 2006, 9:39 PM CT

Vitamin A Deficiency And Intestinal Surgery

Vitamin A Deficiency And Intestinal Surgery
Major intestinal surgery, including stomach reduction for obesity, may boost the chances of subsequent vitamin A deficiency, suggests a small study published ahead of print in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

The scientists base their findings on three patients with increasingly poor eyesight or night blindness, who attended a specialist eye clinic within the space of a year. None of the patients had a family or personal history of eye problems.

All three patients, who were all over the age of 65, had had extensive intestinal surgery between 20 and 35 years earlier.

The operations included intestinal bypass, surgical removal of diseased tissue as a result of inflammatory bowel disease, and gallbladder removal.

All the patients were diagnosed with vitamin A deficiency, and this was in spite of them having taken vitamin supplements.

One of the patients refused injections of vitamin A into the muscles. But the other two went ahead with this therapy, which prompted an improvement in their vision within days.

Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of childhood blindness in developing countries, and is caused by malnutrition. It is rare in affluent, developed countries, where it is mainly caused by poor absorption or abnormal metabolism.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source

June 13, 2006, 9:34 PM CT

Drinking Coffee May Protect Liver

Drinking Coffee May Protect Liver
Drinking coffee could help protect against alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. That's the finding of a new study in the June 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Scientists at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., followed more than 125,000 health plan members who underwent a medical exam between 1978 and 1985. At the time, none of the members had diagnosed liver disease. Participants filled out a questionnaire detailing how much alcohol, coffee and tea they drank per day. By the end of 2001, 330 participants had been diagnosed with liver disease, including 199 with alcoholic cirrhosis. The scientists found that the more coffee a person drank, the less likely they were to develop alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.

"Consuming coffee seems to have some protective benefits against alcoholic cirrhosis, and the more coffee a person consumes the less risk they seem to have of being hospitalized or dying of alcoholic cirrhosis," said Arthur Klatsky, MD, an investigator with Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research and the lead author of the study. "We did not see a similar protective association between coffee and non-alcoholic cirrhosis".

"This is not a recommendation to drink coffee," said Klatsky. "Nor is it a recommendation that the way to deal with heavy alcohol consumption is to drink more coffee. The value of this study is that it may offer us some clues as to the biochemical processes taking place inside liver cells that could help in finding new ways to protect the liver against injury."........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source

June 13, 2006, 9:22 PM CT

Asherman's Syndrome Poses Pregnancy Problems

Asherman's Syndrome Poses Pregnancy Problems Dr. Fermin Barrueto, Chief of Endoscopy and Pelvic Reconstruction at Mercy
A somewhat rare condition could cause significant problems for women trying to become pregnant. Asherman's syndrome affects the walls of the uterus, which stick together as a result of scar tissue following surgery. Asherman's, which may occur following a D&C (dilatation and curettage, a procedure to scrape and collect the tissue in the uterus), may causes problems for a woman trying to get pregnant or carry one full term.

As per Dr. Fermin Barrueto, Chief of Endoscopy and Pelvic Reconstruction at Mercy, mild to moderate cases of Asherman's syndrome can mean reduced menstrual flow and frequent miscarriage. When Asherman's syndrome becomes severe, he said menstrual flow completely stops and there's no pregnancy. "The great majority don't even know they have this condition and there is a lack of space for baby to grow," Barrueto said.

Significant research brought Brenner to Barrueto in an effort fix her condition with surgery -- a very delicate operation.

"What we have to do is put a telescope inside the uterus and make a new cavity, it has to be done under laproscopic control," Barrueto said.

Barreuto said the most common scenarios for Asherman's syndrome to occur is after a postpartum dilatation and curettage, or sometimes after having fibroids removed.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source

June 13, 2006, 6:42 AM CT

Kylie Minogue Returns To Stage

Kylie Minogue Returns To Stage
Good news for pop music lovers! Kylie Minogue is back on the stage. Kylie Minogue sang to a delighted crowd in London last weekend in her first live performance since she was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. With a sporting short, beautifully cropped hair and her popular wide smile, the 38-year-old joined her younger sister, Dannii, who waccording toforming at the Astoria on Saturday night.

This was a surprise appearance for Kylie and she sang the chorus of Dannii's song "Jump To The Beat".

Daily Mirror showed pictures of the two sisters hugging each other on the stage, with Minogue looking as radiant and sparkling as ever despite her fight against breast cancer.

Kylie Minogue was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2005 while she was preparing for the Australian leg of her Showgirl Tour.

With the diagnosis of breast cancer Minogue postponed her Australian and Asian tours and had undergone breast cancer surgery in Melbourne and had received further therapy in Europe.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink

June 13, 2006, 0:32 AM CT

Pregnancy Cravings Can Harm Your Oral Health

Pregnancy Cravings Can Harm Your Oral Health
Pregnant women may often make ice cream runs to calm their cravings as they wait for their baby's arrival. Other women suffering from an eating disorder called pica, will have cravings for ice, freezer frost, or even soil.

Pica combined with bulimia can have adverse effects on an individual's oral health during pregnancy and also can be hard to diagnose and treat during those nine months, as per a research studyreported in the May/June 2006 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal.

Pica, commonly a secretive behavior, is a compulsive eating disorder in which sufferers have a constant appetite for non-nutritious substances. Bulimia is a condition in which patients overeat and then purge due to a fear of gaining weight. While the conditions' association and cause during pregnancy are not known, a number of suggest cultural and physiological factors are to blame. Others believe depression or iron and zinc deficiencies during pregnancy could be a factor.

"Eating disorders can cause serious erosion of the tooth's enamel, as well as sensitivity, thinning, and chipping," says Paula Jones, DDS, FAGD, AGD spokesperson. "Dentists can detect the signs and provide patients with therapy options."

While women often believe they should avoid dental care during pregnancy, it is very important for those suffering from eating disorders to continue with their dental visits. "Dentists are often the first to witness the physical effects of an eating disorder on an individual's oral health," says Dr. Jones. "A number of of those who suffer will not self-report the problem."........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source

June 13, 2006, 0:13 AM CT

Pollen Beneficial For Northern Lakes

Pollen Beneficial For Northern Lakes
Mention the word pollen to most people and it triggers thoughts of their battle against allergic reactions. However, a University of Alberta researcher has found an important spin-off for this fine yellow dust-like powder.

Mark Graham, a PhD student from the Department of Biological Sciences at the U of A, has demonstrated for the first time the benefits of pollen on boreal lakes. Rich in nutrients, pollen is an essential component of plant fertilization but few think of its importance to fertilize lakes. Wind-dispersed pollen in early summer is not only visually striking, but it can represent a substantial pulse of nutrients to northern lakes.

Graham's research team found that plankton responded strongly to additions of pollen in experimental enclosures, located along the shorelines of three boreal lakes in northwestern Ontario's Experimental Lakes Area. "Specifically, pollen subsidized the lake water nutrient levels and in turn, promoted the abundance of plankton," said Graham, who is working with Dr. Rolf Vinebrooke in the U of A's Freshwater Biodiversity Laboratory. "Our findings strongly suggest that pollen is an important linkable between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in northern environments."

By increasing the availability of plankton, an important food resource for forage fish, the production of harvestable sport fish may also rise, all thanks to pollen.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

June 12, 2006, 11:50 PM CT

Why That Cold Sore Keep Coming Back?

Why That Cold Sore Keep Coming Back?
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered part of the reason why cold sores, caused by a herpes virus, come back again and again. The new study, published online last month in Nature, points to a small RNA molecule, called a microRNA (miRNA) as the culprit that keeps the latent virus-infected cell alive. These findings could one day lead to a new way to fight the virus and offers the first target for intervention in the latent infection.

A research team led by Nigel W. Fraser, PhD, Professor of Microbiology, has found that herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), the virus that causes cold sores and ocular keratitis, produces an miRNA molecule. This miRNA is encoded by the Latency-Associated Transcript gene (LAT) in the viral genome and works through a process called RNA interference to prevent normal cell death or apoptosis. Thus, the latent viral infection is maintained for the lifetime of the individual because the latently infected cell does not die.

"Eventhough miRNAs encoded by cellular genes are known to be an important mechanism for controlling gene expression, this is one of the first miRNA found to be encoded by a viral genome," says Fraser. "Our study helps show how HSV-1 can maintain a latent infection for the lifetime of an infected individual."........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source

June 12, 2006, 11:42 PM CT

Are You Happier At Younger Age?

Are You Happier At Younger Age?
Back when he was 20 years old in 1965, rock star Pete Townshend wrote the line "I hope I die before I get old" into a song, "My Generation" that launched his band, the Who, onto the rock 'n' roll scene.

But a unique new study suggests that Townshend may have fallen victim to a common, and mistaken, belief: That the happiest days of people's lives occur when they're young.

In fact, the study finds, both young people and older people believe that young people are happier than older people -- when in fact research has shown the opposite. And while both older and younger adults tend to equate old age with unhappiness for other people, individuals tend to think they'll be happier than most in their old age.

In other words, the young Pete Townshend may have thought others of his generation would be miserable in old age. And now that he's 61, he might look back and think he himself was happier back then. But the opposite is likely to be true: Older people "mis-remember" how happy they were as youths, just as youths "mis-predict" how happy (or unhappy) they will be as they age.

The study, performed by VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System and University of Michigan researchers, involved more than 540 adults who were either between the ages of 21 and 40, or over age 60. All were asked to rate or predict their own individual happiness at their current age, at age 30 and at age 70, and also to judge how happy most people are at those ages. The results are reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Happiness Studies, a major research journal in the field of positive psychology.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

June 12, 2006, 11:37 PM CT

A Sweet Solution For Alzheimer's Disease?

A Sweet Solution For Alzheimer's Disease?
Certain variants of a simple sugar ameliorate Alzheimer's-like disease in mice, as per a new study by Canadian researchers. Eventhough the new studies are still in the early stages, the findings could lead to new therapies that prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

The new studies show that some types of a sugar called cyclohexanehexol-also known as inositol-prevented the accumulation of amyloid ß deposits, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. Scyllo-inositol therapy also improved cognitive abilities in the mice and allowed them to live a normal lifetime. The study appeared in advance online publication of the journal Nature Medicine on June 11, 2006.

HHMI international research scholar and senior author Peter St George-Hyslop cautioned that the chemicals tested in these studies are not the type of inositol sold commercially as a nutritional supplement. That type-myo-inositol-has been shown previously to be ineffective at breaking up amyloid aggregates, he said.

In the brain of a person with Alzheimer's disease, small proteins called amyloid ß aggregate into plaques, and a protein called tau clumps into neurofibrillary tangles. The brain becomes inflamed and neurons atrophy and die. It's not completely clear what kind of amyloid ß peptide (monomers, oligomeric aggregates, or fibrillar aggregates) is responsible for the onset of disease, said St George-Hyslop of the University of Toronto. "Because we were able to show that scyllo-inositol specifically dispersed the high-molecular-weight oligomeric aggregates, this study confirms that the initiating event is the accumulation of oligomeric aggregates of amyloid ß peptide," he said.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source

June 12, 2006, 8:55 PM CT

New Test Identifies Patients Who Benefit From Targeted Cancer Drugs

New Test Identifies Patients Who Benefit From Targeted Cancer Drugs
The Weisenthal Cancer Group today announced that clinical data published at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) show that a new laboratory test it has developed accurately identified patients who would benefit from therapy with the molecularly-targeted anti-cancer therapies gefitinib (Iressa, AstraZeneca) and erlotinib (Tarceva®, Genentech). The new test, called the EGFRx- assay, predicted accurately for the survival of patients treated with the targeted drugs. The finding is important because the EGFRx- test, which can also be applied to a number of emerging targeted cancer drugs, could help to help to solve the growing problem of knowing which patients should receive costly, new therapys that can have harmful side-effects and which work for some but not all cancer patients who receive them.

Larry Weisenthal, M.D., Ph.D., a medical oncologist and developer of the EGFRx assay explains that the new test relies upon what he calls "Whole Cell Profiling" in which living tumor cells are removed from an individual cancer patient and exposed in the laboratory to the new drugs. A variety of metabolic and apoptotic measurements are then used to determine if a specific drug was successful at killing the patient's cancer cells. The whole cell profiling method differs from other tests in that it assesses the activity of a drug upon combined effect of all cellular processes, using several metabolic and morphologic endpoints. Other tests, such as those which identify DNA or RNA sequences or expression of individual proteins often examine only one component of a much larger, interactive process.........

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. Archives of health news blog

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