January 31, 2007, 8:30 PM CT
Promise In Halting HIV Spread
A new compound has shown promise in halting the spread of HIV by preventing the virus from replicating. Developed by Temple University researchers, 2-5AN6B could someday work as an effective therapy for HIV particularly in conjunction with current drug therapys. Their work is reported in the recent issue of AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.
A nucleic acid, 2-5AN6B inhibited HIV replication in white blood cells from a group of 18 HIV infected patients by up to 80 percent, regardless of the patients' therapy regimens.
"A cure for HIV infection remains an elusive goal despite the significant impact of current therapys because of the virus' ability to adapt to and resist those therapys, and bypass the immune system's natural defenses," said Robert J. Suhadolnik, Ph.D., prinicipal investigator and professor of biochemistry at Temple University School of Medicine. "This compound prompts the body to restore its natural antiviral defense systems against the invading virus."
Current drugs for HIV work by blocking one of the steps toward virus replication.
"This new anti-HIV compound works by a very different mechanism, and would appear to offer the promise of someday being combined with existing anti-viral therapies for a much more effective therapy. It is also very important that this compound is much less likely to be defeated by the ability of the virus to mutate, a problem often encountered with existing anti-viral drugs," said Thomas Rogers, Ph.D., co-author and professor of pharmacology at Temple.........
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January 31, 2007, 8:12 PM CT
MRI Better Than CT For Diagnosis Of Stroke
Results from the most comprehensive study to compare two imaging techniques for the emergency diagnosis of suspected acute stroke show that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can provide a more sensitive diagnosis than computed tomography (CT) for acute ischemic stroke. The difference between MRI and CT was attributable to MRI's superiority for detection of acute ischemic stroke - the most common form of stroke, caused by a blood clot. The study was conducted by physicians at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Findings are reported in the January 27, 2007 edition of The Lancet.
"These NIH research findings on acute stroke imaging are directly applicable to real-world clinical practice," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. "The patients involved in this study were the typical cross-section of suspected stroke patients that come into emergency rooms on a daily basis".
Furthermore, the study has good news for patients, as per Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., NINDS Deputy Director. "This study shows that approximately 25 percent of stroke patients who come to the hospital within three hours of onset, the time frame for approved clot-busting treatment, have no detectable signs of damage. In other words, brain injury may be completely avoided in some stroke victims by quick re-opening of the blocked blood vessel," said Dr. Koroshetz.........
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January 31, 2007, 8:05 PM CT
Folic Acid May Prevent Cleft Lip And Palate
A new study finds that women who take folic acid supplements early in their pregnancy can substantially reduce their baby's chances of being born with a facial cleft.
Scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health, observed that 0.4 milligrams (mg) a day of folic acid reduced by one third the baby's risk of isolated cleft lip (with or without cleft palate). Folic acid is a B vitamin found in leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, and whole grains. It can also be taken as a vitamin supplement, and it is added to flour and other fortified foods. The recommended daily dietary allowance for folate for adults is 400 micrograms or 0.4 mg.
"These findings provide further evidence of the benefits of folic acid for women," said Allen J. Wilcox, M.D., Ph.D., lead NIEHS author on the new study published online in the British Medical Journal. "We already know that folic acid reduces the risk of neural tube defects, including spina bifida. Our research suggests that folic acid also helps prevent facial clefts, another common birth defect." In the United States, about one in every 750 babies is born with cleft lip and/or palate.
"Folic acid deficiency causes facial clefts in laboratory animals, so we had a good reason to focus on folic acid in our clefts study," said Wilcox. "It was one of our main hypotheses."........
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January 30, 2007, 9:33 PM CT
Treatment For Cervical Dysplasia
Temple University Hospital's Center For Women's Health is participating in a national study to determine the safety and effectiveness of an investigational therapy for cervical dysplasia. As per the American Cancer Society, approximately 500,000 women are diagnosed with high-grade cervical dysplasia each year, with roughly 10,000 cases progressing to cervical cancer.
For numerous women afflicted with the common sexually transmitted disease known as human papillomavirus (HPV), the immune system can not prevent certain high-risk strains of the virus from causing cervical dysplasia, a common precursor to cervical cancer. "The expected widespread availability of two preventive vaccines may lower the occurence rate of HPV infection and reduce the risk of cervical cancer," said Enrigue Hernandez, The Abraham Roth Professor and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Temple University Hospital and School of Medicine. "However, for those women already infected with HPV, and those who will become infected, there are emerging non-surgical options in development."
HPV vaccines are expected to be a significant advance in women's healthcare, but they will not protect all women from cervical cancer. "Prophylactic vaccines will probably not help the more than 350,000 women in the U.S. already infected with HPV who have moderate to severe cervical dysplasia, a premalignant condition," explained Hernandez.........
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January 30, 2007, 7:17 PM CT
Media Coverage Of Autism Differs
Sifting through the pages of newspapers, most people reading stories about autism would think researchers are primarily grappling with understanding how environmental factors, such as childhood vaccines, might contribute to the condition. But the truth is quite different. The efforts of the scientific community to explore autism lie predominantly in brain and behavior research.
This disconnect between the scientific community and the popular media is starkly laid out as per a research findings reported in the recent issue of Nature Reviews Neuroscience by scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
The scientists observed that while 41 percent of research funding and published scientific papers on autism dealt with brain and behavior research, only 11 percent of newspaper stories in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada dealt with those issues. Instead, 48 percent of the media coverage dealt with environmental causes of autism, especially the childhood MMR vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella that was once linked with autism in a widely refuted study. Only 13 percent of published research was about environmental triggers of autism.
"What was very interesting is that media frequently reported being very skeptical of the MMR evidence, as was scientific literature," said Judy Illes, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics and senior author of the paper. The media stories accurately reflected scientific thinking, but didn't reflect the breadth of scientific research including the genetics, therapy and epidemiology of autism.........
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January 30, 2007, 7:04 PM CT
Osteoporosis Isn't Just A Woman's Problem
A McMaster University researcher is alerting men and their doctors that osteoporosis isn't just a woman's problem but that the bone-wasting disease can severely afflict them, too.
To overcome this common perception, Dr. Aliya A. Khan, a professor of clinical medicine, led a group of five Canadian experts in the development of guidelines for the diagnosis, therapy and management of osteoporosis in men. Their paper appears in the January 30 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).
Dr. Khan said the CMAJ paper is intended to make physicians aware of the fact that they can no longer overlook diagnosing osteoporosis in their male patients. "That's the bottom line. We want to bring all the research we have to the forefront and we want to bring it to the desk of Canadian physicians".
The CMAJ paper supplements clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis published by Osteoporosis Canada in 2002. It provides a review and synthesis of the current literature on the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis in men.
Up until now, Dr. Khan said, doctors have underestimated even how common the condition is in men. One in eight men over 50 years of age has osteoporosis, in comparison to one in four women after menopause.........
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January 30, 2007, 6:12 PM CT
Safety Impacts Of Nanotechnology
University of Florida engineering student Maria Palazuelos is working on nanotechnology, but she's not seeking a better sunscreen, tougher golf club or other product - the focus of a number of engineers in the field.
Instead, Palazuelos, a doctoral student in chemical engineering, is probing the potentially harmful effects of nanotechnology by testing how ultra-small particles may adversely affect living cells, organisms and the environment. But this is no scene from a Michael Crichton's novel "Prey" about nanotechnology run amok. Rather, this is a real-world endeavor grounded in solid science.
"We don't want to look back in 50 years if something bad has happened and say, 'why didn't we ask these questions?'" Palazuelos said.
Palazuelos is a member of a small interdisciplinary group of UF faculty members and students, the UF Nanotoxicology Group, whose work is rapidly becoming more timely as manufacturers increasingly turn to the super-small tubes, cylinders and other nanoparticles at the heart of nanotechnology.
There are already more than 400 companies worldwide that tap nanoparticles and other forms of nanotechnology, and regulatory agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration are closely examining whether new regulations are needed to guard against potentially harmful but currently unknown effects, said Kevin Powers, associate director of UF's National Science Foundation Particle Engineering Research Center. These agencies are turning to university scientists for help in making those kinds of determinations, he said.........
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January 30, 2007, 5:23 PM CT
Understanding Discipline Practices
Time-outs, removal of privileges, yelling and spanking -these are the four most common disciplinary actions, yet a third of parents report that they don't work. Research in the latest issue of Clinical Pediatrics indicates that parents want their child's pediatrician to work with them to develop effective and personally tailored discipline practices.
The research, published by SAGE Publications in the recent issue of Clinical Pediatrics, and written by lead author Dr. Shari Barken of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina, indicates that, while national guidelines urge pediatricians to address discipline, a number of don't know what leads parents to use different discipline approaches.
To provide more clarity, Dr. Barkin and her colleagues surveyed parents at the pediatrician's office before their child's well-child exam. The survey asked about the use of common discipline practices, about the perception of discipline effectiveness, and the surrounding factors of each type of discipline. The scientists found several factors that went into the types of discipline used, such as: the child's age, the family's race and ethnicity, and how parents were disciplined during their own childhood. The research provides pediatricians with more information so they can address discipline more consistently and effectively with their patients' parents.........
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January 30, 2007, 5:07 AM CT
Romantic Relationships From Your Genes
New research suggests that choosing a mate may be partially determined by your genes. A study published in Psychological Science has found a link between a set of genes involved with immune function and partner selection in humans.
Vertebrate species and humans are inclined to prefer mates who have dissimilar MHC (major histocompatibility complex) genotypes, rather than similar ones. This preference may help avoid inbreeding between partners, as well as strengthen the immune systems of their offspring through exposure to a wider variety of pathogens.
The study investigated whether MHC similarity among romantically involved couples predicted aspects of their sexual relationship. "As the proportion of the couple's shared genotypes increased, womens' sexual responsivity to their partners decreased, their number of extra-pair sexual partners increased and their attraction to men other than their primary partners increased, especially during the fertile phase of their cycles," says Christine Garver-Apgar, author of the study.
This study offers some understanding of the basis for romantic chemistry, and is the first to show that compatible genes can influence the sexual relationships of romantic couples.........
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January 30, 2007, 4:47 AM CT
Vaginal Birth Increases Risk Of Brain Hemorrhage
The first scientists to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the brains of a large group of babies soon after birth found a small amount of bleeding in and around the brains of one in four babies who were delivered vaginally. The study appears in the recent issue of Radiology.
"Small bleeds in and around the brain are very common in infants who are born vaginally," said John H. Gilmore, M.D., professor of psychiatry and Vice-Chair for Research and Scientific Affairs at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. "It seems that a normal vaginal birth can cause these small bleeds".
For the study, 88 asymptomatic infants, equally divided between male and female, underwent MRI between the ages of one and five weeks. Sixty-five had been delivered vaginally and 23 had been delivered by cesarean section. MR images showed that 17 (26 percent) of the babies who had been delivered vaginally had intracranial hemorrhages (ICH), or small bleeds in and around the brain. Seven infants had two or more types of ICH. Previous studies have shown a smaller incidence-approximately 10 percent-of intracranial hemorrhage linked to vaginal birth.
While ICH was significantly linked to vaginal birth, it was not dependent on prolonged duration of labor or on traumatic or assisted vaginal birth.........
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