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August 30, 2007, 9:25 PM CT

New Targets For Antibiotics

New Targets For Antibiotics
University of Illinois at Chicago scientists have identified new sites on the bacterial cell's protein-making machinery where antibiotics can be delivered to treat infections.

"The primary challenge of antibiotic treatment has been fighting infections caused by the pathogens which became resistant to antibiotics," says Alexander Mankin, professor and associate director of UIC's Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and lead investigator of the study. "Not a single class of drugs has escaped the inevitable emergence of resistance."

At present, Mankin said, "the constant development of new drugs is the only available strategy to keep up with the ever-growing variety of antibiotic-resistant pathogens".

Mankin and his research team are looking for new vulnerable sites on bacteria where drugs can be delivered to fight the infections.

"First we need to find the target, and then the weapons can be developed," he said.

In the study, which is reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, UIC scientists divided a ribosome -- the main apparatus within the cell that makes protein, and one of the best antibiotic targets -- into specific sections. Random genetic mutations were engineered in each area, and the scientists looked for those alterations that stopped the ribosome from making proteins.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 29, 2007, 9:53 PM CT

You're likely to order more calories at a 'healthy' restaurant

You're likely to order more calories at a 'healthy' restaurant
An important new study from the Journal of Consumer Research explains the American obesity paradox: the parallel rise in obesity rates and the popularity of healthier food. In a series of four studies, the scientists reveal that we over-generalize healthy claims. In fact, consumers chose beverages, side dishes, and desserts containing up to 131% more calories when the main dish was positioned as healthy.

In our black and white view, most food is good or not good, explain Pierre Chandon (INSEAD, France) and Brian Wansink (Cornell University). When we see a fast-food restaurant like Subway advertising its low-calorie sandwiches, we think, Its OK: I can eat a sandwich there and then have a high-calorie dessert, when, in fact, some Subway sandwiches contain more calories than a Big Mac.

In one study, Chandon and Wansink had consumers guess how a number of calories are in sandwiches from two restaurants. They estimated that sandwiches contain 35% fewer calories when they come from restaurants claiming to be healthy than when they are from restaurants not making this claim.

The result of this calorie underestimation" Consumers then chose beverages, side dishes, and desserts containing up to 131% more calories when the main course was positioned as healthy in comparison to when it was noteven though, in the study, the healthy main course already contained 50% more calories than the unhealthy one.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 29, 2007, 9:52 PM CT

New Nurses Report Significant Job Stress

New Nurses Report Significant Job Stress
What keeps a newly licensed nurse on the job? Answers to that question are important to hospitals across the U.S., a number of of which are confronting serious nursing shortages.

Based on results of a study would be reported in the September 2007 issue of American Journal of Nursing, the top two priorities for hospitals to address the retention issue are improving nursing management and taking steps to reduce on-the-job stress.

The study surveyed the work experience of nurses from 35 states who obtained their first license between Aug. 1, 2004, and July 31, 2005, and had been employed for up to 18 months. Of the 3,226 respondents, 610 had already left their first job -- 41.8 percent due to poor management, and 37.2 percent because of stressful work conditions. Another 34 percent changed jobs because they wanted to get experience in a different clinical area.

Carol S. Brewer, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Nursing at the University at Buffalo, was co-principal investigator on the study. Christine T. Kovner, Ph.D., professor at New York University's College of Nursing and senior fellow at the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, was first author and principal investigator.

"This study helps to establish baseline data about a population that is especially important both to the nursing profession and our health-care system," said Brewer. "There is much conventional wisdom about the experiences of newly licensed nurses, but little fact. This study helps to fill that void, and provide insight into their career choices."........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 29, 2007, 9:50 PM CT

New Strategies For Antibiotic Resistance

New Strategies For Antibiotic Resistance
With infections increasingly resistant to even the most modern antibiotics, scientists at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed) report in the recent issue of Nature Reviews Microbiology on new clues they have uncovered in immune system molecules that defend against infection.

Drs. Michael R. Yeaman and Nannette Y. Yount present evidence that small proteins in the immune systems of humans and all kingdoms of life share fundamental structural and functional characteristics that enable these molecules to inhibit or kill microbial pathogens even as these pathogens evolve to resist conventional antibiotics.

"These findings reveal that nature uses a recurring molecular strategy to defend against infection," said Dr. Yeaman. "A clearer understanding of this strategy provides new opportunities to develop innovative anti-infective therapies to better prevent or treat life-threatening infections that resist current antibiotics".

Most modern antibiotics work by targeting specific structures or functions in microbial pathogens. If the targets change due to mutation, pathogens can quickly become resistant to the antibiotics. In contrast, immune system molecules have retained the ability to fight infection even as microbes evolve.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 29, 2007, 9:49 PM CT

Influence of sex and handedness on brain

Influence of sex and handedness on brain
Capuchin monkeys are playful, inquisitive primates known for their manual dexterity, complex social behavior, and cognitive abilities. New research now shows that just like humans, they display a fundamental sex difference in the organization of the brain, specifically in the corpus callosum, the region that connects the two cerebral lobes.

A recently published paper by Associate Professor of Psychology and Biology Kimberley A. Phillips (Hiram College), Chet C. Sherwood (George Washington University) and Alayna L. Lilak (Hiram College), reports finding both sex and handedness influences on the relative size of the corpus callosum. The scientists contribution appears in PLoS ONE, the online, open-access journal of the Public Library of Science. The paper can be read at: http://www.plosone.org/doi/pone.0000792.

In the study, thirteen adult capuchins underwent magnetic resonance imaging of the brain to determine the size of their corpus callosum, which is the major white matter tract connecting the left and right cerebral hemispheres. The monkeys were later given a task to determine hand preference. The authors results led them to conclude that, as in humans, male capuchins have a smaller relative size of the corpus callosum than females, and right-handed individuals have a smaller relative size of the corpus callosum than left-handed individuals.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


August 29, 2007, 9:45 PM CT

Discovery could help stop malaria at its source

Discovery could help stop malaria at its source
As summer temperatures cool in the United States, fewer mosquitoes whir around our tiki torches. But mosquitoes swarming around nearly 40 percent of the worlds population will continue to spread a deadly parasitic disease malaria. Now an interdisciplinary team led by scientists from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has found a key link that causes malarial infection in both humans and mosquitoes.

If this link in the chain of infection can be broken at its source the mosquito then the spread of malaria could be stopped without any man, woman, or child needing to a take a drug. The scientists discovery would be reported in the Aug. 31 edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

The team observed that humans and the mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite share the same complex carbohydrate, heparan sulfate. In both humans and mosquitoes, heparan sulfate is a receptor for the malaria parasite, binding to the parasite and giving it quick and easy transport through the body. The team was led by Robert J. Linhardt, the Ann and John H. Broadbent Jr. 59 Senior Constellation Professor of Biocatalysis and Metabolic Engineering at Rensselaer.

The discovery allows us to think differently about preventing the disease, Linhardt said. If we can stop heparan sulfate from binding to the parasite in mosquitoes, we will not just be treating the disease, we will be stopping its spread completely.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


August 29, 2007, 9:43 PM CT

Injuries of Football Season

Injuries of Football Season
Football Fever is upon the nation once again. The soaring of the pigskin signals the start of the "busy" season for cheerleaders, marching bands, and inevitably, sports medicine physicians.

"After only a few days of practice at UB we've had three players with ACL injuries, a medial collateral ligament tear, a dislocated shoulder and a dislocated elbow," said Marc Fineberg, M.D., chief of sports medicine in the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

University Sports Medicine doctors serve as team physicians for the Buffalo Bills, the Buffalo Sabres and Western New York's major collegiate football teams -- the UB Bulls, the Buffalo State Bengals and the Erie Community College Kats. They also treat a number of of the area's high school teams.

Prevention is the primary goal of everyone involved in the sport, but when large, highly charged males engage in bodily contact, injuries are inevitable. Knee and ankle sprains are the most common injuries treated during football season, followed by concussion and shoulder sprains, said Fineberg.

The knee injury most common in football is a sprained medial collateral ligament, or MCL, one of four ligaments that support the knee joint. MCL injuries, which commonly occur during a tackle or block -- sometimes because of an illegal hit -- heal on their own without surgery, said Fineberg.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 28, 2007, 9:52 PM CT

Mothers' baby cradling habits are indicator of stress

Mothers' baby cradling habits are indicator of stress
Le berceau (The Cradle)
1872 Oil on canvas, 56 x 46 cm (22 x 18"); Musee d'Orsay, Paris
The models are her sister Edma and Edma's daughter Blanche.
Mothers who cradle their baby to their right hand side are displaying signs of extreme stress, a new study suggests.

Eventhough most mums feel stressed in the early stages of their babys life, the study by Durham University scientists suggests their baby cradling habits are a key indicator of whether this stress could become overwhelming and lead to depression.

Prior research has already shown that the majority of mothers prefer to cradle their baby to their left regardless of whether they are left or right handed.

As at least one in ten women develop post-natal depression, studying non-verbal cues such as baby cradling could potentially help doctors and health visitors identify which mothers are in need of extra professional support before it gets too late.

Experts say that stress in mums can lead to depression which can have a detrimental effect on their babys mental development and wellbeing.

The study, reported in the on-line version of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, studied 79 new mothers and their babies, who were an average age of seven months.

In their own homes, mothers were asked to pick up their babies and cradle them in their arm. They also completed a survey which quizzed them on their mental state. The research methodology established there was no link between cradling side and left or right handedness.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 28, 2007, 9:47 PM CT

We Remember The Bad Times Better Than The Good

We Remember The Bad Times Better Than The Good
Do you remember exactly where you were when you learned of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks? Your answer is probably yes, and scientists are beginning to understand why we remember events that carry negative emotional weight.

In the recent issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, Boston College psychology expert, Elizabeth Kensinger and his colleagues, explain when emotion is likely to reduce our memory inconsistencies.

Her research shows that whether an event is pleasurable or aversive seems to be a critical determinant of the accuracy with which the event is remembered, with negative events being remembered in greater detail than positive ones.

For example, after seeing a man on a street holding a gun, people remember the gun vividly, but they forget the details of the street. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), studies have shown increased cellular activity in emotion-processing regions at the time that a negative event is experienced.

The more activity in the orbitofrontal cortex and the amygdala, two emotion-processing regions of the brain, the more likely an individual is to remember details intrinsically associated with the emotional aspect of the event, such as the exact appearance of the gun.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 28, 2007, 9:32 PM CT

Hypnosis reduces pain in breast cancer surgery

Hypnosis reduces pain in breast cancer surgery
The use of hypnosis previous to breast cancer surgery reduced the amount of anesthesia administered during the operation, the level of pain reported afterwards, and the time and cost of the procedure, as per a research studypublished online August 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Breast cancer surgery patients often suffer side effects such as pain, nausea, and fatigue during and after their operation. These complications can lengthen their hospital stay, lead to hospital readmission, or require additional medicationsall of which increase medical costs. Several prior studies have suggested that hypnosis may reduce pain, recovery time, and the need for medications after surgery.

Guy Montgomery, Ph.D., of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and his colleagues conducted a clinical trial to examine the effects of hypnosis when it is given within one hour before surgery. Two hundred women were randomly assigned to either 15 minutes of hypnosis by a psychology expert or a control session in which they spoke with a psychology expert. The scientists then compared the use of pain medications and sedatives during surgery, as well as the levels of pain and other side effects reported afterwards.

The hypnosis session began with suggestions for relaxation and pleasant visual imagery. The patients were also given suggestions on how to reduce pain, nausea, and fatigue, and instructions on how to use hypnosis on their own.........

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.

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