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May 10, 2006, 7:16 AM CT

Looking For A Pill To Prevent Breast Cancer

Looking For A Pill To Prevent Breast Cancer
Imagine someone somewhere inventing a pill that would prevent breast cancer. I am sure that all women in the world would line up for that pill. He or she who invents the pill could become an instant multimillionaire.

Sorry to disappoint you, it's not there yet. But in 1998 scientists thought they had the next best thing when a study found that tamoxifen could significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer by about 50 percent in women who have high risk of developing breast cancer.

Tamoxifen had its own problems. Among other thing tamoxifen causes hot flashes, increases the risk of blood clot in the legs and lung. Tamoxifen also increases the risk of developing uterine cancer and may increase the risk of developing stroke. Tamoxifen never became very popular among women for breast cancer prevention, and was not used except in women who have very high risk of developing breast cancer like BRCA carriers.

Breast cancer prevention was again in the center of breast cancer news last month, when the results of a new study showing efficacy of raloxifene in breast cancer were published. The National Cancer Institute held a series of news conferences and announced that the drug raloxifene was as good as tamoxifen in breast cancer prevention with lesser side effects.........

Posted by: Sherin      Permalink

May 10, 2006, 0:13 AM CT

Get More Hypertensive Patients To Goal

Get More Hypertensive Patients To Goal
This World High blood pressure Day, the results of a global survey are being announced, uncovering alarming gaps between current and recommended high blood pressure management, and important insights into doctor awareness of the importance of blood pressure goal achievement.

In response to the Close The Gap survey findings, the World High blood pressure League is supporting a call for better awareness of the importance of hypertension patients reaching the internationally-recognised goal of 140/90mmHg or lower.

At the moment, around 50-70% of the one billion people with hypertension worldwide remain above this goal, leaving them at significant risk of coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke, vascular and kidney damage1,2.

Dr Claude Lenfant, President of the World High blood pressure League, commented on the survey findings, "Viewed simply, for every 20/10mmHg rise in blood pressure above this level, the risk of death from cardiovascular problems doubles3. International guidelines have set a clear goal - every patient with high blood pressure needs to have their blood pressure reduced to 140mmHg or below".

The Close The Gap survey, conducted with 1,259 primary care physicians across 17 countries, compared physicians' perceptions against the reality of current high blood pressure management.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink

May 10, 2006, 0:10 AM CT

Hurricane Linked To Long-term Mental Distress

Hurricane Linked To Long-term Mental Distress
Florida State University sociologists in Tallahassee, Fla. have found that some South Floridians who survived 1992's Hurricane Andrew suffered mental health problems a number of years later, a finding that has led the scientists to predict even more dire consequences for those who lived through last year's devastating Hurricane Katrina.

The researchers, sociology doctoral student and lead author David Russell and professors John Taylor and Donald Lloyd, presented their findings at the 2006 annual meeting of the Southern Sociological Society held recently in New Orleans. Eventhough the short-term mental health consequences of Hurricane Andrew have been documented, this study of adolescents is the first to show that it had long-term effects on mental health.

"We found that people who experienced previous stressful events and who had pre-existing symptoms of psychological distress were more adversely affected by exposure to hurricane-related stressful events," Russell said.

"Based on our findings, we believe intervention efforts should include assessments of the previous experiences and psychological well-being of disaster victims. Doing so will aid response workers in identifying those most at risk for developing post-disaster psychological problems."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 10, 2006, 0:06 AM CT

Summer Sun Safety

Summer Sun Safety
Fifty years of medical studies show that sun exposure is a primary component in the development of melanoma, the most serious and deadly type of skin cancer, report leading dermatologists in the April 2006 issue of Dermatology Surgery.

"Though genetics may play a role in the development of some melanomas, there's overwhelming evidence that shows sun exposure adversely affects patients both with and without genetic predisposition to melanoma," said Elisabeth K. Shim, M.D., an Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Keck USC Medical School of Medicine in Los Angeles, CA.

It's not clear what pattern of sun exposure causes melanoma or whether it's short, intense intermittent or cumulative. Further more, it's not clear if ultraviolet B (UVB), ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, or both are responsible for causing melanoma. "Regardless, the sun acts as an initiating and promoting agent in causing melanoma, and causes immunosuppression," noted Dr. Shim.

With summer quickly approaching, it's necessary to protect yourself by using sunscreen and sun protective measures to prevent melanoma, and other skin cancers, despite current controversy.........

Posted by: George      Permalink         Source

May 9, 2006, 11:51 PM CT

Stem Cell Fusion Occurs In Tumors

Stem Cell Fusion Occurs In Tumors
An Oregon Health & Science University study is adding credence to an increasingly popular theory that fusion is what bonds stem cells with bone marrow cells to regenerate organ tissue.

Researchers in the OHSU School of Medicine found that transplanted cells derived from adult bone marrow can fuse with intestinal stem cells of both normal and diseased tissue comprising the cellular lining of intestinal walls, known as the epithelium. The findings, reported recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, point to the integral role of bone marrow-derived cells in not only regeneration of damaged tissue, but also disease progression.

"It's the first observation that there's fusion at the level of stem cells," said the study's corresponding author, Melissa Wong, Ph.D., assistant professor of dermatology, and cell and developmental biology. "Second, we're seeing cell fusion in tumors and we think that this concept is an underappreciated mechanism for promoting tumor growth. Our findings have implications on how tissues regenerate and how, in the process of this regeneration, cells may become prone to future problems. ".

Eventhough the tumor in her study did not "initiate" tumors or become cancerous, Wong believes the fusion process is one explanation for how tumors acquire genetic instability and have the potential to give rise to cancerous cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

May 9, 2006, 11:40 PM CT

Grapefruit Juicecould beDangerous With Some Drugs

Grapefruit Juicecould beDangerous With Some Drugs Image courtesy of
New research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has identified and established the substance in grapefruit juice that causes potentially dangerous interactions with certain medications.

For almost a decade, people have been told by their doctors and pharmacists to avoid grapefruit juice if they are being treated with certain medications, including some drugs that control blood pressure or lower cholesterol. Studies have shown that grapefruit juice can cause more of these drugs to enter the blood stream, resulting in undesirable and even dangerous side effects.

The drugs affected by grapefruit juice commonly have some difficulty entering the body after they are consumed because an intestinal enzyme, CYP3A, partially destroys them as they are absorbed. Grapefruit juice, but not other usually consumed fruit juices, inhibits this enzyme, allowing more of these drugs to enter the body.

It was originally assumed that the ingredients responsible for drug interactions were the flavonoids that give grapefruit juice its bitter taste.

The new study shows that a group of chemicals called furanocoumarins are the likely culprit.

"This is the best evidence to date that furanocoumarins are the active ingredients in grapefruit juice that cause the interaction with medications," said Dr. Paul Watkins, the Dr. Verne S. Caviness distinguished professor of medicine and director of UNC's General Clinical Research Center (GCRC). Watkins led the study team.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 9, 2006, 10:58 PM CT

Food Marketing And Childhood Obesity

Food Marketing And Childhood Obesity
The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Health and Human Services today released a report recommending concrete steps that industry can take to change their marketing and other practices to make progress against childhood obesity. The report is a product of last summer's joint FTC/HHS workshop, which provided a forum for industry, consumer, academic, and government stakeholders to examine the role of the private sector in addressing rising childhood obesity rates in the United States. Since 1980, childhood obesity rates have tripled among adolescents and doubled among younger children. Workshop participants acknowledged that a number of factors contribute to childhood obesity, but recognized that regardless of the causes, responsible marketing can play a positive role in improving children's diets and exercise behavior.

"Responsible, industry-generated action and effective self-regulation are critical to addressing the national problem of childhood obesity," said FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras. "The FTC plans to monitor industry efforts closely, and we expect to see real improvements".

"Businesses need to work with mothers, fathers and children to bring America's epidemic of childhood overweight under control,'' said HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. ``Families can help children to be physically active and to eat right, and business can encourage children to eat nutritious foods in proper portions".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

May 9, 2006, 0:00 AM CT

Nanotubes To Send Signals To Nerve Cells

Nanotubes To Send Signals To Nerve Cells
Texas researchers have added one more trick to the amazing repertoire of carbon nanotubes -- the ability to carry electrical signals to nerve cells.

Nanotubes, tiny hollow carbon filaments about one ten-thousandth the diameter of a human hair, are already famed as one of the most versatile materials ever discovered. A hundred times as strong as steel and one-sixth as dense, able to conduct electricity better than copper or to substitute for silicon in semiconductor chips, carbon nanotubes have been proposed as the basis for everything from elevator cables that could lift payloads into Earth orbit to computers smaller than human cells.

Thin films of carbon nanotubes deposited on transparent plastic can also serve as a surface on which cells can grow. And as scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) and Rice University suggest in a paper reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, these nanotube films could potentially serve as an electrical interface between living tissue and prosthetic devices or biomedical instruments.

"As far as I know, we're the first group to show that you can have some kind of electrical communication between these two things, by stimulating cells through our transparent conductive layer," said Todd Pappas, director of sensory and molecular neuroengineering at UTMB's Center for Biomedical Engineering and one of the study's senior authors. Pappas and UTMB research associate Anton Liopo collaborated on the work with James Tour, director of the Carbon Nanotechnology Laboratory at Rice's Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, Rice postdoctoral fellow Michael Stewart and Rice graduate student Jared Hudson.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source

May 8, 2006, 11:54 PM CT

Smokers Seven Times More Likely To Receive Jolt From Heart Devices

Smokers Seven Times More Likely To Receive Jolt From Heart Devices
If some patients with heart disease don't take their doctor's advice to quit smoking, they are probably going to get "shocking" reminders. A study conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that heart patients who had implanted defibrillators and also smoked were seven times more likely to have the devices jolt their hearts back into normal rhythm than nonsmokers with the devices. When the devices fire, it can feel like a thump or even a strong kick to the chest.

"Eleven percent of cardiovascular deaths are correlation to smoking, and prior studies have shown that decreasing or quitting smoking is in itself a very effective treatment for patients with heart disease," says J. Mauricio Sánchez, M.D., lead author of the study, which was reported in the April 2006 issue of Heart Rhythm.

"But if having heart disease isn't enough to make patients want to stop smoking," continues Sánchez, a cardiology fellow in the cardiovascular division, "the evidence from our study should definitely add a strong argument to quit."

Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) are self-contained units that are placed within the chest to monitor heart rhythms and deliver electrical charges directly to heart muscle to correct abnormal rhythms. Abnormal rhythms can occur without warning, and some can cause death rapidly if no action is taken. A recent study demonstrated that ICDs decreased the risk of death by 23 percent in patients with congestive heart failure.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source

May 8, 2006, 11:49 PM CT

Antidepressant Drug May Help Depression In Diabetics

Antidepressant Drug May Help Depression In Diabetics
team of scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that an antidepressant medicine may reduce the risk of recurrent depression and increase the length of time between depressive episodes in patients with diabetes.

"That's important not only because people with diabetes will feel better if we can control their depression. It's also key to helping manage blood sugar," says Patrick J. Lustman, Ph.D., principal investigator and professor of psychiatry. "As depression improves, glucose levels also tend to improve."

Eventhough depression affects about 5 percent of the general population, the rate is about 25 percent for patients with diabetes. Lustman's team previously demonstrated that therapy with antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy is an effective way to treat depression in patients with diabetes, but often depression would quickly redevelop.

"As we better understand depression, it's clear that for a number of patients, it is a chronic and recurring disease," Lustman says. "That appears to be particularly true for patients with diabetes compared to those otherwise free of medical illness".

Eventhough they knew that short-term therapy with antidepressants was helpful with mood and with control of blood glucose, Lustman's team didn't know whether the drug could prevent the recurrence of depression in patients with diabetes. He also didn't know what would happen to glucose levels in the months following successful depression treatment.........

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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