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March 1, 2007, 9:43 PM CT

Treating male infertility with stem cells

Treating male infertility with stem cells
Los Angeles, CA -- New research has examined the usefulness of bone marrow stem cells for treating male infertility, with promising results. The related report by Lue et al, Fate of bone marrow stem cells transplanted into the testis: potential implication for men with testicular failure, appears in the recent issue of The American Journal of Pathology.

When a couple experiences infertility, the man is just as likely as the woman to be the cause. Male infertility may arise from failed proliferation and differentiation of the germ cells (precursors of sperm) or from dysfunction of the supporting cells. New research is looking to stem cells as a means of replacing nonfunctioning cells, whether germ cells or supporting cells.

Researchers, directed by Dr. Ronald S. Swerdloff of the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, collected bone marrow stem cells from mice expressing the green fluorescent protein (GFP). These green cells, which could be easily tracked in recipient mice, were injected into the testes of infertile mice, in which infertility was induced either chemically or genetically (via mutations in a gene mandatory for sperm production).

The donor GFP-expressing cells took up residence in the testes and survived within the recipient mice for the entire 12-week study period. The donor stem cells displayed the characteristic shape of either germ cells or supporting cells, suggesting that the stem cells had differentiated. These differentiated donor (green) cells were also found near the native recipient cells of the same type, demonstrating that the local cellular environment likely influenced the fate of the donor stem cells.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

March 1, 2007, 5:00 AM CT

Children with sleep disorders

Children with sleep disorders
Parents of children with sleep problems are more likely to have sleep-related problems themselves, including more daytime sleepiness, as per a new study by scientists at the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center and Brown Medical School.

"While most parents can testify that having a child with sleeping problems affects their own sleep, few scientific studies have looked at the relationship between children's and parents' sleep," says lead author Julie Boergers, PhD, with the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center and Brown Medical School, and co-director of the Pediatric Sleep Disorders Clinic of Hasbro Children's Hospital.

The authors studied 107 families seeking therapy for their children aged 2 to 12 at a pediatric sleep disorders clinic, and found a link between children's and parents' sleep problems. For both parents, having a child with more than one sleep disorder was linked to greater parental daytime sleepiness. Children in the study had a broad range of sleep problems, including obstructive sleep apnea, sleep terrors, insomnia, and bedtime refusal.

The study appears in the March 2007 issue of the Journal of Family Psychology.

They also observed that the link between parental and child sleep was especially apparent for mothers. That is, within families, mothers of children with sleep disorders had significantly greater daytime sleepiness than fathers, even though they reported about the same number of hours of sleep per night.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

March 1, 2007, 4:53 AM CT

Green Tea And Cox-2 Inhibitors To Fight Prostate Cancer

Green Tea And Cox-2 Inhibitors To Fight Prostate Cancer
Drinking a nice warm cup of green tea has long been touted for its healthful benefits, both real and anecdotal. But now scientists have observed that a component of green tea, combined with low doses of a COX-2 inhibitor, could slow the spread of human prostate cancer.

In the March 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, scientists from University of Wisconsin-Madison demonstrate that low doses of the COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib, administered with a green tea polyphenol called pigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), can slow the growth of human prostate cancer. Their experiments were performed in cell cultures and in a mouse model for the disease.

"Celecoxib and green tea have a synergistic effect -- each triggering cellular pathways that, combined, are more powerful than either agent alone," said Hasan Mukhtar, Ph.D., professor of dermatology at the University of Wisconsin and member of Wisconsin's Paul Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center. "We hope that a clinical trial could lead to a preventative therapy as simple as tea time."

Prior research has linked the cyclooxygenase-2 enzyme, usually known as COX-2, to a number of cancer types, including prostate cancer, said Mukhtar. Mukhtar and colleagues have previously shown COX-2 inhibitors like celecoxib (known under the brand name CelebrexTM) suppress prostate cancer in animal models. COX-2 inhibitors also have been shown to cause adverse cardiovascular effects when administered at high doses over long durations.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

March 1, 2007, 4:46 AM CT

Frequency of Dietary Supplement Use

Frequency of Dietary Supplement Use
More than one in seven American adults have used nonprescription dietary supplements to try to lose weight, according to researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Nearly 9,500 people over age 18 were asked about the prevalence and duration of nonprescription weight-loss supplement use, associated weight-control behaviors, discussion of use with a health-care professional and specific ingredient use.

Approximately 15 percent of the respondents said they had used weight-loss supplements, and 8.7 percent said they had done so in the past year. The highest use was among women 18 to 34 years old (16.7 percent). Nearly three-fourths of respondents (73.8 percent) said they have used a supplement containing a stimulant including ephedra, caffeine and/or bitter orange.

The researchers conclude: Qualified professionals should inquire about use of supplements for weight loss to facilitate discussion about the lack of efficacy data, possible adverse effects, as well as dispel misinformation that may interfere with sound weight-management practices.

Additional research articles in the March Journal of the American Dietetic Association include:
  • Supplementation with Soy-Protein-Rich Foods Does Not Enhance Weight Loss.
  • Safety and Efficacy of a Ginkgo Biloba Containing Dietary Supplement on Cognitive Function, Quality of Life and Platelet Function in Healthy Cognitively Intact Older Adults.........

    Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

February 28, 2007, 9:39 PM CT

Internet Does Not Provide Behavioral Counseling

Internet Does Not Provide Behavioral Counseling
A national survey of commercial health plans has observed that most plans provide online information regarding mental health and substance abuse but few provide clinical services such as counseling via the Internet. The nationally representative health plan survey, published in Psychiatric Services, and led by Dr. Constance Horgan at Brandeis University, is one of the first to examine the prevalence of health plan-sponsored online resources for behavioral health.

"Our study is part of an ongoing effort to determine how health insurers allocate resources for alcohol and substance abuse therapyhistorically an undermet need," said Horgan, director of the Institute for Behavioral Health, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis.

The survey sampled 60 nationally representative markets and included health maintenance organizations, preferred provider organizations and point-of-service plans. Most private health plans offered online provider directories; 81 percent offered educational information; two thirds offered behavioral self-assessment tools, and almost half offered online referral. About one-third offered personalized responses to questions or problems. Only two percent offered online counseling.

"Delivering behavioral health services such as counseling certainly raises more complex clinical, professional, privacy, and legal issues, than, for example, offering educational information," said Horgan. "At least in the short term, increasing use of Internet-based tools designed to facilitate and complement, rather than replace, traditional clinical services seems most likely".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

February 28, 2007, 9:35 PM CT

Surgery Improves Outcomes For Baseball Pitchers

Surgery Improves Outcomes For Baseball Pitchers
In the largest study of its kind, surgeons at Hospital for Special Surgery have determined that by modifying a classic ligament surgery, they can return more athletes, such as baseball players, to their prior level of competition. The modified surgery repairs a torn medial collateral ligament (MCL), which links and stabilizes bones of the lower and upper arm where they meet at the elbow.

Less traumatic than the classic Tommy John surgery, the modified surgery called the docking procedure, with time, is likely to become the gold standard for treating these injuries.

"This paper, in the largest series of patients ever published, shows that this particular operation in throwing athletes demonstrates better results than the classic operation," said David W. Altchek, M.D., senior author of the study and co-chief of the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York. The study was presented at a special session of the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons, held during the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons annual meeting.

MCL injury is most common in professional and amateur athletes involved in so-called overhead throwing sports, such as baseball, softball, football, lacrosse and tennis. These sports involve a throwing motion at high velocity that exerts an exceptional force at the elbow. Repeated over time, this motion can cause inflammation and microtrauma, which can eventually lead to an MCL tear. When this ligament is torn, an individual has a full range of motion and can go about daily life, but a professional or semi-professional athlete cannot perform at their usual level because they cannot exert a significant force.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

February 28, 2007, 9:30 PM CT

Color Red Can Affect How People Function

Color Red Can Affect How People Function
The color red can affect how people function: Red means danger and commands us to stop in traffic. Scientists at the University of Rochester have now observed that red also can keep us from performing our best on tests.

If test takers are aware of even a hint of red, performance on a test will be affected to a significant degree, say scientists at Rochester and the University of Munich. The scientists article in the recent issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General on the effect of red on intellectual performance reveals that color associations are so strong and embedded so deeply that people are predisposed to certain reactions when they see red.

Andrew J. Elliot, lead author and professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, and his co-authors observed that when people see even a flash of red before being tested, they associate the color with mistakes and failures. In turn, they do poorly on the test. Red, of course, is traditionally linked to marking errors on school papers.

"Color clearly has aesthetic value, but it can also carry specific meaning and convey specific information," says Elliot. "Our study of avoidance motivation is part and parcel of that".

Four experiments demonstrated that the brief perception of red previous to an important testsuch as an IQ test or a major examactually impaired performance. Two further experiments also established the link between red and avoidance motivation when task choice and psychophysiological measures were applied.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

February 27, 2007, 8:30 PM CT

Taxotere Improves Survival in Prostate Cancer

Taxotere Improves Survival in Prostate Cancer
One step forward in prostate cancer:

As per a press release by Sanofi-Aventis, long-term results indicate that Taxotere (docetaxel) improves survival in patients with metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is second only to non-melanoma skin cancers as the most usually diagnosed cancer in men in the U.S. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that is located between the bladder and rectum. It is responsible for forming a component of semen.

Prostate cancer is stimulated to grow by male hormones, especially testosterone. Hormone treatment, which is intended to reduce levels of male hormones available to cancer cells, is a therapy option for men diagnosed with prostate cancer. By reducing levels of male hormones, the cancer cells are deprived of their growth stimulus, causing the cancer to shrink. Unfortunately, patients ultimately stop responding to hormone treatment after receiving therapy for a period of time; they are then referred to as having hormone-refractory or androgen-independent prostate cancer.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

February 27, 2007, 8:04 PM CT

Computer Model Mimics Neural Processes

Computer Model Mimics Neural Processes An MIT model for object recognition takes as input the unlabeled images of digital photographs from the street scene database (top) and generates automatic annotations (bottom row).
For the first time, MIT researchers have applied a computer model of how the brain processes visual information to a complex, real world task: recognizing the objects in a busy street scene. The scientists were pleasantly surprised at the power of this new approach.

"People have been talking about computers imitating the brain for a long time," said Tomaso Poggio, the Eugene McDermott Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and a member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. "That was Alan Turing's original motivation in the 1940s. But in the last 50 years, computer science and AI (artificial intelligence) have developed independently of neuroscience."

"Our work is biologically inspired computer science," said Poggio, who is also co-director of the Center for Biological and Computational Learning.

"We developed a model of the visual system that was meant to be useful for neuroresearchers in designing and interpreting experiments, but that also could be used for computer science," said Thomas Serre, a postdoctoral associate in Poggio's lab and lead author of a paper on the work in the March 2007 IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence.

"We chose street scene recognition as an example because it has a restricted set of object categories, and it has practical social applications," said Serre.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

February 27, 2007, 7:49 PM CT

Eat well, get fit, stop smoking - prevent cancer

Eat well, get fit, stop smoking - prevent cancer
If you wanted to start today to reduce your chances of getting cancer, what would you have to do? Lose excess weight, get more exercise, eat a healthy diet and quit smoking.

Watch video

Those basic behavior changes would have a tremendous impact on the occurence rate of the most prevalent types of cancer - lung, breast, prostate and colon cancer - says Graham Colditz, M.D., Dr.P.H., associate director of Prevention and Control at the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. "We estimate that more than 50 percent of cancer incidence could be prevented if we act today on what we already know," Colditz says.

Every year, more than 500,000 Americans die from cancer. The National Cancer Institute estimates that on average each person who dies from cancer loses 15 years of life, and altogether cancer deaths were responsible for nearly 8.7 million person-years of life lost in 2003, the most recent year for which the data were available.

"The loss of life and earning potential and the social impact of cancer are enormous," Colditz says. "Reducing risk by adopting changes in lifestyle like quitting smoking and losing weight isn't always easy, but it may help to remember that these behavior changes can also reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and osteoporosis."........

Posted by: Janet      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. Archives of health news blog

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