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Archives Of Health News Blog From Medicineworld.Org

February 22, 2006, 10:17 PM CT

Twice-yearly Injections Only To Improve Bone Density

Twice-yearly Injections Only To Improve Bone Density
the world's largest biotechnology company, announced recently the publication of Phase 2 data demonstrating twice-yearly injections of denosumab (previously referred to as AMG 162), a RANK Ligand inhibitor, significantly increased bone mineral density (BMD) in the total hip, lumbar spine, distal 1/3 radius and total body compared to placebo. The results of this one-year study appeared in the Feb. 23, 2006 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Data results also included an open-label FOSAMAX- (alendronate)* arm of the same clinical trial.

Scientists reported that subcutaneous injections of denosumab significantly increased BMD at the total hip from 1.9 to 3.6 percent in women who were administered the treatment twice yearly as compared with a decrease of 0.6 percent in the placebo group (p<0.001) at one year. The open label FOSAMAX- group receiving 70 mg weekly had an increase of 2.1 percent during the same time frame. Results also indicated that denosumab had a rapid onset of action. A significant decrease in serum levels of C-telopeptide, a biomarker of bone resorption, was achieved within 72 hours after dosing.

"These exciting data suggest that denosumab, when administered in twice-yearly injections, may show promise in the therapy of osteoporosis," said Michael McClung, MD, FACP, principal investigator of the denosumab study, Providence Portland Medical Center, and director of the Oregon Osteoporosis Center, Portland, Ore. "Continued research will further our understanding of the potential of denosumab in bone loss management."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

February 21, 2006, 10:13 PM CT

Male Circumcision Protects Female Partners From HIV

Male Circumcision Protects Female Partners From HIV
A statistical review of the past medical files of more than 300 couples in Uganda, in which the female partner was HIV negative and the male was HIV positive, provides solid documentation of the protective effects of male circumcision in reducing the risk of infection among women. Male circumcision also reduced rates of trichomonas and bacterial vaginosis in female partners. The study is thought to bethe first to demonstrate the benefits to female partners of male circumcision.

Specifically, male circumcision reduced by 30 percent the likelihood that the female partner would become infected with the virus that causes AIDS, with 299 women contracting HIV from uncircumcised partners and only 44 women becoming infected by circumcised men. Similar reductions in risk were observed for the other two kinds of infection, but not for other common STDs, including human papillomavirus, syphilis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia.

As per the Hopkins scientists who led the study, Ronald Gray, M.D., and Steven Reynolds, M.D., M.P.H., the findings support efforts to assess male circumcision as an effective means of preventing HIV infection. Circumcision is a practice common in North America and among Jews and Muslims, but not generally in Eastern and Southern Africa, Europe or Asia.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source

February 21, 2006, 10:09 PM CT

Lower Doses Of Clot-busting Drug

Lower Doses Of Clot-busting Drug
Johns Hopkins study has shown that patients treated for a type of stroke caused by bleeding in the brain, or intracerebral hemorrhage, survived more often if given 1 milligram instead of the previously studied 3 milligram dose of the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). In the study, Daniel Hanley, M.D., a professor and neurologist at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, demonstrated that rates of continued bleeding and subsequent death can be reduced if the tPA dosage is lowered to 1 mg.

"We have strong evidence that lower doses of tPA not only worked as well as the higher dose, but also markedly reduced side effects in regard to bleeding," Hanley said. "Ten years ago, the mortality rate for this type of stroke was at 80 percent. One year ago, it was 50 percent. In this study it was 13 percent".

Hanley will present the study at the International Stroke Conference on Feb. 18 in Kissimmee, Fla.

An intracerebral hemorrhage -- bleeding in the brain -- is the only type of stroke without a clearly defined therapy. It occurs in more than 100,000 Americans each year. Up to half of patients die, and those who survive suffer significant disabilities. During such a stroke, blood often extends into the ventricles, small chambers in the brain where cerebrospinal fluid is made, increasing the chances of damage.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source

February 21, 2006, 10:05 PM CT

Treatment of milk-duct growths

Treatment of milk-duct growths
Surgery alone does not adequately lower the chances of relapse for women with small, early-stage growths in the milk ducts of the breast, a new study by Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center scientists has found.

The study sought to determine whether women with a condition known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) - in which abnormal cells appear in the milk ducts, but which may later invade adjacent tissue - can sufficiently protect themselves from a recurrence solely by undergoing surgery to remove the DCIS and a sizable margin of surrounding tissue. Standard therapy for the condition involves surgery followed by radiation treatment and, frequently, a prescription for the drug tamoxifen.

"Improvements in mammographic screening and microscopic examination of abnormal breast cells have given us the ability to detect smaller and smaller areas of DCIS," says the study's lead author, Julia Wong, MD, of Radiation Oncology at Dana-Farber. "We know from prior studies that breast-conserving surgery followed by radiation treatment reduces recurrence rates by 50 to 60 percent. But radiation treatment hasn't been shown to improve survival rates; it's also time-consuming and can have some undesirable side effects. As a result, there has been an interest in identifying patients with small DCIS growths who might be effectively treated with surgery alone."........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source

February 21, 2006, 9:09 PM CT

Therapies For Deadly Lung Failure

Therapies For Deadly Lung Failure
Scientists at the University of Virginia Health System have identified a molecular target, or receptor, for potential drugs to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a sudden and life-threatening failure of the lung. Interestingly, the receptor is in the same class that gives people their sense of sight, smell and taste (G-protein coupled receptors.).

In ARDS, patients cannot breathe on their own because fluid gets into the lungs. Essentially, the body's immune system causes lung inflammation and accumulation of fluid in the air sacs, or alveoli, leading to low blood-oxygen levels. Up to 30 percent of patients in intensive care units can die from ARDS. There is no current treatment other than general life support and putting patients on a breathing machine. If they survive, a number of people face long-term lung problems. Common causes of ARDS are pneumonia, septic shock, trauma, or inhaling chemicals.

The receptor identified by UVa doctors is called CXCR2. It's expressed on the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels of the lung and on inflammatory leukocytes. Using animal models, UVa doctors have found that CXCR2 attracts white blood cells called neutrophils into the lung, a key event in the early development of ARDS. CXCR2 has been characterized in the past, but the endothelial cell effects define a new role for this receptor in the body's physiology.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source

February 21, 2006, 9:00 PM CT

Revealing Vitamin B12 Secrets

Revealing Vitamin B12 Secrets Under ultraviolet light in a Petri dish containing laundry whitener, symbiotic bacteria with a mutant bluB gene (lower right) fluoresce brightly, while the same bacteria with no mutation only glow slightly (top right), and bacteria with another mutation (in the exoY gene) are completely dark. ( Image: Michiko Taga courtesy of HHMI)
For decades, researchers have wondered how living organisms manufacture the essential vitamin B12. Now, using laundry whitener and dirt-dwelling bacteria-the everyday ingredients of an undergraduate science experiment-scientists may have found the major clue they need to solve the mystery.

Scientists led by Graham Walker, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) professor and American Cancer Society research professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have discovered the first known mutant bacteria with a specific defect in a gene involved in the least-understood part of B12 synthesis. They report their findings in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published February 20, 2006. HHMI professors are leading research researchers who received $1 million grants from the Institute to find ways to bring the excitement of the research lab into undergraduate science classrooms.

In the ancient world, B12 was probably catalyzing reactions before cells even existed. Now, all animals need B12 to help make the building blocks of DNA, and children need enough of the vitamin to help their brain develop normally. Most people consume enough B12 through animal products or fortified foods in their diet. On the other hand, animals that do not eat other animal products acquire the nutrient from bacteria in their guts or from bacteria-infected dirt on their plant food. An estimated one-quarter of people older than 60 in this country have trouble absorbing B12. B12 deficiency can lead to nerve damage, anemia, and forgetfulness.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source

February 20, 2006, 10:15 PM CT

Stress And Risk Of Miscarriage

Stress And Risk Of Miscarriage
Women who exhibit signs of stress are three times more likely to miscarry during the first three weeks of the pregnancy, a recent study of a small population of women found.

Pablo Nepomnaschy and a group of University of Michigan scientists measured the cortisol-a stress induced hormone-levels in urine samples taken three times weekly for a year from 61women in a rural Guatemalan community. Nepomnaschy conducted the fieldwork while he was a Ph.D student at U-M both at the Anthropology Department and the School of Natural Resources and Environment. He is now a post-doctoral fellow at the Epidemiology Branch of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The Guatemalan study is the first to link increases in cortisol levels to very early-stage pregnancy loss.

As per prior scientific reports anywhere from 31 percent to 89 percent of all conceptions result in miscarriage. Most studies begin when women notice they are pregnant, about six weeks after conception. Most miscarriages, however, are known to happen during the first 3 weeks of pregnancy.

"The only way to capture the first three weeks of pregnancy is to begin collecting their urine from before they become pregnant. That is extremely labor intensive and expensive," Nepomnaschy said.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source

February 20, 2006, 6:30 PM CT

Proteins That Help Make Healthy Eggs

Proteins That Help Make Healthy Eggs A healthy egg, far left, is surrounded by normal, nurturing granulosa cells. Near left, an ovarian follicle lacking the TAF4b protein results in a misshapen egg and withered granulosa cells whose bonds are broken. Image: Richard Freiman, Brown University
Human eggs rely on handmaidens. Called granulosa cells, they surround eggs and deliver nutrients and hormones. Without granulosa cells, eggs cannot mature and be successfully fertilized.

How do these handmaidens grow? Biologists at Brown University and the University of California-Berkeley have discovered that two proteins - TAF4b and c-Jun - team up to turn on about two dozen genes inside the nuclei of granulosa cells. This subset of genes, in turn, writes the genetic code for proteins that cause granulosa cells to multiply and nurture developing eggs.

The finding, published in an advanced online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides an important piece of the reproduction puzzle, and it points to possible drug targets for treating infertility and ovary cancer.

"Thousands of women in this country undergo fertility therapys each year and some have no idea why they can't get pregnant," said Richard Freiman, an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry at Brown. "This research gives us important new information about fertility. It's a basic science finding, but it may provide answers for some of these women and, possibly, lead to better in-vitro fertilization therapies".........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source

February 20, 2006, 6:24 PM CT

Landmark Study Of Bipolar Disorder In Children

Landmark Study Of Bipolar Disorder In Children
Children and teen-agers with bipolar disorder suffer from the illness differently than adults do. Their symptoms last longer and swing more swiftly from hyperactivity and recklessness to lethargy and depression.

This is the first major finding published from the Course and Outcome of Bipolar Illness in Youth, or COBY, research program. Under COBY, psychiatry experts from Brown Medical School, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of California-Los Angeles have studied more than 400 pediatric patients, some for as long as five years, to determine the course of bipolar disorder as well as gauge its behavioral and social effects. COBY is the largest and most comprehensive pediatric study of bipolar disorder to date.

In their first COBY publication, in the Archives of General Psychiatry, scientists report on 263 subjects aged 7 to 17 with bipolar spectrum disorder. Subjects were studied over a roughly two-year period and asked about mood, behavior, and medical therapy. The aim: Determine how bipolar disorder, in all its forms, progresses in children and teens.

Martin Keller, M.D., a pioneer in designing and conducting long-term studies of major psychiatric disorders, is principal investigator for the Brown Medical School research team.

"Bipolar disorder severely impairs functioning and has a high rate of related psychiatric and physical health issues, such as anxiety and substance abuse," said Keller, the Mary E. Zucker Professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and psychiatry expert-in-chief of Brown's seven affiliated hospitals. "These data are essential to improving diagnosis and therapy for a vulnerable population. The data can also inform the design of clinical drug trials so the trials have a maximum likelihood of identifying effective therapys".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

February 20, 2006, 6:11 PM CT

New Cystic Fibrosis Test Developed

New Cystic Fibrosis Test Developed
Prospective parents will have access to a less expensive blood test to determine if they carry the gene for deadly cystic fibrosis, thanks in part to technology developed by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill chemist Dr. Holden Thorp.

Thorp's technology is used in a new product being distributed commercially by Osmetech plc, the Pasadena, Calif.-based international health-care diagnostics group.

Osmetech has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the cystic fibrosis carrier detection tests and its eSensor 4800 DNA Detection instrument platform.

The intellectual property that protects the eSensor includes patents from the laboratory of Thorp, Kenan professor and chairman of the department of chemistry in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences. The rights to the UNC patents, which formed the basis of the Research Triangle Park-based company Xanthon in 1996, were acquired by Motorola Inc. and later by Osmetech.

"It has been a long journey from the first time we drew an electrochemical gene sensor on the back of an envelope 11 years ago," Thorp said. "It's really satisfying to see those ideas begin to improve human health".

More than 10 million Americans are unknowing, symptomless carriers of the defective cystic fibrosis gene, as per the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. If two carriers conceive, there is a 25 percent chance that their child will have the disease and a 50 percent chance the child will become a carrier.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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