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May 30, 2006, 10:28 PM CT

Follow Up Lacking In Colon Cancer Screening

Follow Up Lacking In Colon Cancer Screening
A UCLA/Veteran's Affairs study showed that more than 40 percent of patients who initially had received a positive result on a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) -- an initial screening tool for colon cancer -- did not receive appropriate diagnostic follow-up tests such as a colonoscopy or barium enema in 2002. As per the authors, the study may even underestimate this problem in the United States, since prior studies have shown the VA's level of preventive care and follow-up traditionally has been higher than at most other health care settings.

Published in May in the journal Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, the UCLA/VA study is one of the largest reviews of colorectal screening and follow-up patient data to date. The study used data from the VA, the nation's largest integrated health care system. The study waccording toformed as a prelude to a national VA effort, now underway, to improve colorectal cancer screening and suggested the need for better medical follow-through for patients with potential colon cancer.

Study authors took advantage of the VA's ongoing quality improvement program to analyze 39,870 patient records. Overall, 61 percent of eligible VA patients had been screened for colorectal cancer, a rate significantly higher than the national average. Of the screened population, 313 patients had an abnormal FOBT result. Only 59 percent, or 185 patients, of this group received follow-up diagnostic tests such as a colonoscopy or a barium enema. Forty-one percent, or 128 patients, received no follow-up at all in the six months following the FOBT.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source

May 30, 2006, 6:58 AM CT

Clever Bacteria Riding In The Stem-cell

Clever Bacteria Riding  In The Stem-cell Accumulation of Wolbachia in the somatic stem cell niche of the germarium. The image shows several developing oocytes in the fruit fly. The Wolbachia, in red, have accumulated in the germarium, which is at the right of the picture.
Scientists have discovered a new clue to how bacterial parasites are able to produce a long-term infection that can spread through an insect population. They have found that a type of bacteria that infects insects actually hitchhikes in the eggs of fruit flies. This ensures that the bacteria are passed from mother to offspring.

The findings show that in the first stages of infection, Wolbachia bacteria home in on stem-cell niches in the fruit fly, where they can continually infect the cells that produce eggs. Stem-cell niches are specialized cellular environments that provide stem cells with the support needed for differentiation and self-renewal.

The new studies offer the first glimpses of how Wolbachia infection, which occurs in a wide range of insects, is passed from one generation to the next. As per the researchers, their experiments with the fruit fly Drosophila offer a valuable laboratory model for tracing the machinery bacteria use to infect insects. The basic studies could ultimately help researchers understand the mechanisms underlying insect-borne parasitic diseases that affect humans.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator Eric Wieschaus, first author and HHMI research associate Horacio Frydman, Jennifer Li, and Drew Robson collaborated on the studies. The researchers, who are all at Princeton University, published their findings in the May 25, 2006, issue of the journal Nature.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source

May 30, 2006, 6:39 AM CT

Shorter Radiation Therapy For Breast Cancer

Shorter Radiation Therapy For Breast Cancer
Currently radiation therapy extending to 5 weeks or more is often given to breast cancer patients after lumpectomy. This prolonged course of radiation therapy often causes hardship for many breast cancer patients. Over the years researchers have been trying various alternative methods of delivery of radiation, aimed at cutting the duration of radiation therapy of breast cancer.

In a recently published article a team of researchers from U.K. is showing that fewer but larger doses of radiotherapy may be a safe and effective way to treat breast cancer. These UK researchers have found that giving 13 larger doses was as effective for breast cancer prevention compared to the regular way of treating with 25 small doses extending over a period of 5 weeks. This new research finding could lead to more convenient way of radiation therapy of breast cancer for thousands of breast cancer patients.

This study, which spanned for a period of 10 years was done by researches from Cancer Research UK and involved 1,410 women. These research findings are published in the latest issue of the journal Lancet Oncology.

The research was a collaboration between the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, the Gloucestershire Oncology Centre, The Institute of Cancer Research and the University of Wisconsin. ........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 29, 2006, 9:19 PM CT

Fatty Diet Does Not Increase Skin Cancer Risk

Fatty Diet Does Not Increase Skin Cancer Risk
Eating fatty food does not appear to increase the risk of skin cancer. A study published recently in the open access journal BMC Cancer contradicts prior research that showed a link between high fat intake and certain types of skin cancer. The results of this latest study suggest that high fat intake might even play a protective role in the development of non-melanoma skin cancer.

Robert Granger and his colleagues from the Menzies Research Institute in Hobart, Australia and his colleagues from Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne studied 652 people who had been diagnosed with skin melanoma - the aggressive skin cancer that spreads to other tissues - or non-melanoma skin cancers - skin cancers that are less likely to spread to other tissues - between 1998 and 1999. They compared these patients with 471 individuals who did not have skin cancer. Both patients and control subjects were asked to fill in a questionnaire about their fat intake, history of sun exposure and other factors of interest. The data was analysed at that point, showing that the control subjects reported marginally higher levels of fat consumption. All subjects were subsequently followed for about 5 years to see if they developed any non-melanoma skin cancers.

Granger and his colleagues found no evidence that high fat intake increases the risk of developing melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. Patients who had previously been diagnosed with a skin cancer other than melanoma even had a lower risk of getting a further non-melanoma skin cancer if they reported consuming more fat. Statistical analyses reveal a lowered risk of non-melanoma skin cancer in people who consumed the most fat.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 29, 2006, 9:16 PM CT

Potential Treatments For Type 2 Diabetes

Potential Treatments For Type 2 Diabetes
Scientists funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) have identified an unsuspected role of a protein named SHP-1 that could constitute a new therapeutic path against Type 2 Diabetes.

Under the direction of professor Andre Marette (Laval University), Nicole Beauchemin (McGill University), Martin Oliver (McGill University Health Centre) and Katherine Siminovitch (University of Toronto) were part of a Canadian and American team which published an article in the recent issue of Nature Medicine that explains the role of SHP-1 in the control of blood glucose.

The scientists already knew that SHP-1 played a role in regulating the immune system. However, no one had previously taken the time to verify if this protein was involved in the regulation of metabolism. This is precisely what this team of Canadian and American scientists did, thanks to a series of mutant or genetically modified mice producing little or no SHP-1.

"Our results indicate that these mice are extremely sensitive to insulin and, consequently, they are very effective in metabolising glucose at the level of the liver and the muscles," notes Andre Marette. In addition, the scientists highlighted that SHP-1 inhibits the decomposition of insulin by the liver. "This could explain the increase in the insulin concentrations of certain metabolic disorders associated with obesity," indicates the researcher.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 29, 2006, 9:12 PM CT

A Tumour Suppressor In Action

A Tumour Suppressor In Action Activity of a tumour suppressor in skin cells
Growth, separation, and differentiation of cells is one of the body's most well regulated processes. Even just a single cell escaping this regulation can lead to a tumour. Oncogenes are, in this sense, like ticking time bombs, which can cause cancer. Their activity is controlled in healthy cells by tumour suppressor genes. The cellular "opponents" of the Bcl-3 oncogene, however, had still not been known before this study. The protein has to find its way to the nucleus to function as what is called a "transcription factor". These initiate and support genetic transcription - DNA fragments codified by proteins. This process is necessary for transcribing genetic information during protein synthesis.

During the process of genetic transcription, Bcl-3 cooperates with other, uncommonly important transcription factors which belong to the NF-?B-family. Its five members influence a broad spectrum of disease processes, like infections and immune reactions, as well as cell growth. Two representatives of this group, p50 and p52, must themselves first be activated in order to initiate the transcription. One important mechanism for doing that is Bcl-3 binding. Until now, we have known that Bcl-3 can cooperate with p50 or p52, causing intense cell growth and ultimately cancer. For such cooperation, however, Bcl-3 has to first enter the nucleus, where DNA and the NF-?B proteins can be found. The team from Munich, led by Prof. Reinhard Fässler, showed that the transcription factor is helped by a molecular "ticket".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 27, 2006, 7:26 PM CT

Clipping And Coiling Of Aneurysms

Clipping And Coiling Of Aneurysms
A study led by UCSF neurologist S. Claiborne Johnston, MD, has shown that coiling of ruptured brain aneurysms is very effective during long-term follow-up, similar to outcomes with surgical clipping.

Eventhough results of a prior trial suggested that coiling was superior to surgical clipping one year after therapy, a lack of data on long-term outcomes has been a major concern, as per Johnston. The study results are reported in the June 2006 issue of the journal Stroke, a publication of the American Heart Association.

"Aneurysms are very serious. Half of those who suffer a ruptured aneurysm will die from it, and another 30 percent will be permanently disabled," Johnston said. "Aneurysms that rupture once are very likely to bleed again, so therapy is definitely indicated. However, there has been concern that coiling may not work as well to prevent new bleeding, and this has limited its use, especially in the U.S."

There are two main courses of therapy for an aneurysm: clipping the aneurysm, which involves invasive brain surgery, or coiling, which is a procedure in which a small catheter is placed into the groin and threaded up to the brain where a small platinum wire is released into the aneurysm to clot it off from the inside.

"While it is true that some aneurysms can only be treated with clipping and some only with coiling, most patients can be treated with either method," Johnston explained. "This leaves the doctor and the patient in the awkward position to decide which is best. Without good data on long term results, the choice is difficult and may be based on purely anecdotal evidence or the preference of the physician. My hope is that this study will help both patients and physicians make better informed decisions based on that particular patient's situation."........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source

May 27, 2006, 7:19 PM CT

New Images Of AIDS Virus

New Images Of AIDS Virus Envelope Spikes on Surface of HIV-1 virus.
Courtesy of Kenneth Roux
As the world marks the 25th year since the first diagnosed case of AIDS, groundbreaking research by researchers at Florida State University has produced remarkable three-dimensional images of the virus and the protein spikes on its surface that allow it to bind and fuse with human immune cells.

Findings from this AIDS research could boost the development of vaccines that will thwart infection by targeting and crippling the sticky HIV-1 spike proteins. In fact, said principal investigator and FSU Professor Kenneth H. Roux, at least two laboratories already are crafting vaccine candidates based on preliminary results uncovered by his team of structural biologists.

Those results are described in the online edition of the journal Nature.

Never before generated in such intricate detail, the super-sized images of the virus and its viral spikes have given scientists their first good look at the pathogen's complex molecular surface architecture that facilitates the infection process.

"Until now, despite intensive study by a number of laboratories, the design details of the spikes and their distribution pattern on the surface of the virus membrane have been poorly understood, which has limited our understanding of how the virus infection actually occurs and frustrated efforts to create vaccines," Roux said.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source

May 26, 2006, 7:03 AM CT

Stroke Risk From Raloxifene

Stroke Risk From Raloxifene
Couple of weeks ago I wrote about Raloxifene (a drug usually used in the prevention of osteoporosis), and discussed a study, which showed significant reduction of breast cancer risk associated with this drug. This drug was hailed as a breakthrough for breast cancer prevention. National Cancer Institute has recently reported that one of the largest breast cancer studies ever done showed that the osteoporosis drug Raloxifene (Evista) is as effective as tamoxifen in the prevention of breast cancer.

Now there are some setbacks uncovering for Raloxifene. But now, Eli Lilly, who makes Raloxifene, says it has uncovered an increased risk of deaths from stroke in users of Raloxifene. This unexpected finding was seen in the course of a study looking for effectiveness of Raloxifene in reducing the risk of heart disease and breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

In this study involving about 10,000 women, scientists found that the incidence of stroke mortality was 1.5 per 1,000 women per year taking a placebo, compared to 2.2 per 1,000 per year for raloxifene according to a warning sent by the company to physicians. However incidence of stroke, myocardial infarction, cardiovascular mortality and overall mortality were comparable between for Raloxifene and placebo which was used in the above said trial.........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink

May 26, 2006, 0:00 AM CT

Revolution In The Fight Against Cancer

Revolution In The Fight Against Cancer
A recent scientific discovery could herald the introduction of fast, effective therapys for cancer and viruses.

In a paper reported in the May edition of Nature Biotechnology, researchers describe how they have manipulated a process that occurs naturally throughout the human body, into a potential therapeutic tool.

"The process, called RNA interference, blocks the production of proteins that create cancer and viruses," said research leader and Director of the Monash Institute of Medical Research (MIMR), Professor Bryan Williams.

"We've exploited this process by creating short interfering RNA, or siRNA, that are being developed into drugs to fight viruses and cancer," he said. "We've now taken this a step further and worked out how we can create siRNA with different cellular properties to target different diseases."

While prior studies had demonstrated siRNA had the potential to be a potent anti-cancer and anti-viral agent, Professor Williams had shown there was a danger siRNA-based drugs could cause a dangerous inflammatory response.

Professor Williams and his team have now discovered the physical structure of siRNA are key to creating effective anti-cancer and anti-viral drugs. This will allow both the development of siRNA-based drugs to react differently for different diseases.........

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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