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September 6, 2006, 9:43 PM CT

Ghost Parasites And Severely Congested Sinuses

Ghost Parasites And Severely Congested Sinuses
Eventhough it's unclear why it's so, researchers at Johns Hopkins have linked a gene that allows for the chemical breakdown of the tough, protective casing that houses insects and worms to the severe congestion and polyp formation typical of chronic sinusitis.

A team of Hopkins sinus experts has observed that the gene for the enzyme, acidic mammalian chitinase (AMCase), is up to 250 times more active in people with severe sinus inflammation that persists even after surgery when in comparison to patients in whom surgery is successful. Sinus surgery is commonly the therapy of last resort for those who do not respond to drug treatment. But nearly one in 10 of those treated see symptoms return within weeks or months after surgery fails to keep open the nasal passages, researchers say.

The Hopkins report, reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Rhinology, is thought to bethe first to identify the enzyme's presence in the nose and confirm its link to sinusitis.

"This finding does not mean that there are actually parasites in the nose causing sinusitis, but our study does lend support to the concept that really severe and persistent sinusitis may be a case of a misplaced immune response directed against parasites that are not really there," says study lead author Andrew Lane, M.D., an associate professor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of its rhinology and sinus surgery center.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


September 6, 2006, 9:37 PM CT

Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria And Muscle Infections

Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria And Muscle Infections
Scientists in Houston, Texas have found two bacterial muscle infections common in tropical countries becoming more frequent occurrences along with the emergence of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA), as per a research studyreported in the Oct. 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Staphylococcus aureus, or staph, is a common bacterium found on the skin or in the nose of a quarter to a third of all people. Commonly harmless, staph can cause skin infections such as pimples and boils and, less frequently, serious infections of surgical wounds or the bloodstream, and pneumonia. For years, infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus have been treated by inexpensive antibiotics in the penicillin and cephalosporin family.

Some years ago, strains resistant to these drugs, called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) appeared in hospitalized patients. Recently, however, newer forms of MRSA began to strike healthy people who have not been recently hospitalized or undergone invasive medical procedures. These community-acquired strains appear to be readily transmitted from person to person and can cause serious skin and soft tissue infections as well as invasive infections such as bone or joint infections or pneumonia. Failure by physicians to suspect this kind of drug-resistant staph can lead to therapy with the wrong antibiotic.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


September 6, 2006, 7:50 PM CT

Progress In Macular Degeneration

Progress In Macular Degeneration
A dart-like molecule that adheres to proteins in the eye is the key that turns on the uncontrolled growth of blood vessels, as per scientists at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute. Uncontrolled blood vessel growth is a major contributor to the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness among people over 65 in the United States.

Robert Salomon and his graduate students Kutralanathan Renganathan and Liang Lu of Case's Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, observed that the molecule, Carboxyethylpyrroles (CEPs), attaches to proteins found in the eye, triggering the uncontrolled growth of blood cells.

The Case scientists teamed up with Quteba Ebrahem Jonathan Sears, Amit Vasanji, John Crabb and Bela Anand-Apte and Xiaorong Gu (a Salomon group alumna), of Cleveland Clinic, to complete the study titled Carboxyethlpyrrole oxidative protein modifications stimulate neovascularization: Implications for age-related macular degeneration." .

The results of their collaborative work were reported in the recent Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).

AMD is a progressive disease that results in the severe loss of vision. The early stages of AMD are characterized as "dry," with the disease advancing to the "wet form" as the retina, the part of the eye responsible for central vision, becomes infused with fluid from leaky new blood vessels, during a process called neovascularization. The unchecked blood vessel growth, or angiogenesis, in the retina accounts for 80% of the vision loss in the advanced stages of AMD.........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink         Source


September 6, 2006, 5:08 AM CT

Viruses can jump between primates and humans

Viruses can jump between primates and humans
Viruses that jump the species barrier between monkeys and humans can harm both people and animals, and we should take steps to reduce the risk of virus transmission. That's the message running through the recent issue of the American Journal of Primatology, a special issue on disease risk analysis edited by a primate expert at the University of Washington.

The special issue covers a range of topics, including an estimate of the viral transmission risk for visitors to a monkey temple in Indonesia, and a study showing how methods to limit contact between monkeys and humans can reduce the risk of transmission between the species. Other scientists describe how human viruses infecting monkeys and apes can wreak havoc on those animals' populations.

"Viruses are already jumping the species barrier and affecting both people and animals, and there is the potential for much worse," explained Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel, a research scientist in the Division of International Programs at the UW's Washington National Primate Research Center and guest editor for the journal's special issue. "It's particularly cause for concern in Asia, where people and monkeys have so much interaction, and there has been little research done on this topic."

Researchers think that HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, started out as simian immunodeficiency virus (or SIV), and jumped to humans decades ago when African bush meat hunters became infected by the monkeys they were hunting for food. Other viruses, like influenza, have also jumped species barriers with frightening results.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


September 5, 2006, 10:21 PM CT

Hormone-replacement therapy hurts hearing

Hormone-replacement therapy hurts hearing
The largest study ever to analyze the hearing of women on hormone-replacement treatment has observed that women who take the most common form of HRT have a hearing loss of 10 to 30 percent more in comparison to similar women who have not had the treatment. The results are being published on-line this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

It's as if the usual age-related hearing loss in women whose HRT included progestin, a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone, was accelerated in comparison to women taking estrogen alone or women not taking HRT. On average, women who received progestin had the hearing of women five to 10 years older.

The results of the study involving 124 women confirm results from a smaller study that the same group reported in 2004 at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology. The new results also identify progestin as the component of HRT doing possible damage.

"Whether a woman goes on HRT is certainly her decision, and she should discuss the options with her doctor," says senior author Robert D. Frisina, Ph.D. "In light of these findings, we feel that hearing loss should be added to the list of negative things to keep in mind when talking about HRT. Women particularly who already have a hearing problem should weigh this decision carefully. Women on HRT should consider having a thorough hearing check-up done every six months".........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


September 5, 2006, 10:05 PM CT

Identifying risk for obesity in early childhood

Identifying risk for obesity in early childhood
A new research study of children's growth, reported in the recent issue of Pediatrics, can help parents and pediatricians determine the risk that a child will be overweight at age 12 by examining the child's earlier growth. The study demonstrates that children who are overweight at any stage of their growth before age 12 are more likely to be overweight by the time they are 12, and the more times a child is measured as overweight during these growth years, the greater the chance that by 12 the child will be overweight.

For example, the scientists discovered that preschool-age children who were medically determined to be overweight at one of three points of measurement before age 5 were more than five times as likely to be overweight at age 12 than those who were below the 85th percentile for body mass index (BMI) during the same period. BMI is a standard measure calculated from a person's height and weight.

Philip R. Nader, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, is primary author of the study, with co-authors from 10 different institutions around the nation. He said the group pursued the study because obesity is a major public health problem in the United States.

As per Center for Disease Control growth standards developed before the obesity epidemic, children are considered to be overweight if their BMI is over the 85th percentile, or falls in the top 15% of children of the same height and gender. The Institute of Medicine considers these children obese if their BMI is over the 95tth percentile or the top 5%. The rate of obesity among adults and children in the U.S. has nearly tripled over the time that the children in the study were growing up.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 5, 2006, 9:55 PM CT

Vioxx Reduces the Risk of Colorectal Polyps

Vioxx Reduces the Risk of Colorectal Polyps John A. Baron
A researcher from Dartmouth reports the results of a clinical trial that shows that the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor rofecoxib (VIOXX®) reduces the risk of colorectal adenomas, or polyps. Polyps are non-malignant tumors that are precursors to colon cancer, and they are often found in elderly adults.

The results of the study appeared online on August 30 at the American Gastroenterological Association website (212kb PDF) in advance of being reported in the journal, Gastroenterology. Extensive data have suggested previously that aspirin and non-selective nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could reduce colon cancer risk, and this study now demonstrates a similar effect for VIOXX®.

"These are exciting findings," says Dr. John Baron, the lead author of the paper and a professor at Dartmouth Medical School, who has been studying chemoprevention of colorectal cancer for more than twenty years. "They show once again the potential for NSAIDs to interfere with the development of cancer in the colon and rectum."

This study, called the APPROVe (Adenomatous Polyp Prevention on VIOXX®) study, was a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial conducted by Merck Research Laboratories. The study involved 108 sites in the United States and abroad and followed 2,587 patients with a recent history of confirmed colorectal adenomas. After removal of all polyps, the subjects were randomized to receive daily placebo or 25 mg rofecoxib on a daily basis. The primary endpoint was to analyze all adenomas diagnosed during the three-year therapy period based upon colonoscopies conducted one year and three years after baseline.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


September 5, 2006, 7:52 PM CT

Epilepsy Breakthrough In Progress

Epilepsy Breakthrough In Progress
Scientists at MIT are in the process of developing a device that could detect and prevent epileptic seizures before they become debilitating.

Epilepsy affects about 50 million people worldwide, and while anticonvulsant medications can reduce the frequency of seizures, the drugs are ineffective for as a number of as one in three patients.

The new therapy builds on an existing therapy for epilepsy, the Cyberonics Inc. vagus nerve stimulator (VNS), which is often used in patients who do not respond to drugs. A defibrillator typically implanted under the patient's collar bone stimulates the left vagus nerve about every five minutes, which has been shown to help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in a number of patients.

The MIT scientists and his colleagues at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) seek to improve the therapy by combining it with a detector that measures brain activity to predict when a seizure is about to occur. The new device would sense the oncoming seizure and then activate the VNS, in principle halting the seizure before it becomes manifest.

"Our contribution is the software that decides when to turn the stimulator on," said John Guttag, MIT's Dugald C. Jackson Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Guttag developed the system along with Ali Shoeb, a graduate student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


September 5, 2006, 5:01 AM CT

Drinking During Pregnancy And Alcoholism Later

Drinking During Pregnancy And Alcoholism Later
Individuals whose mothers drink three or more glasses of alcohol at any one occasion in early pregnancy have an increased risk of developing alcohol disorders by 21 years of age, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Exposure to maternal drinking during early childhood has been linked to difficulties in thinking, learning and memory, as well as mental and behavioral problems. However, few studies have examined the link between drinking during pregnancy and a child's later risk for alcohol dependence and other disorders, as per background information in the article. Animal studies have provided extensive evidence of a link between exposure to alcohol before birth and early acceptance of alcohol. "Similar results replicated in human studies would carry considerable implications for public health intervention," the authors write. "First, such studies would suggest that even small quantities of alcohol exposure, if consumed in a single session, may cause in utero neurodevelopmental changes that in turn may lead to the early onset of alcohol disorder in youth. Second, they would provide support for the role of a biological origin of alcohol disorders".

Rosa Alati, Ph.D., from The University of Queensland, Herston, Australia, and his colleagues explored whether maternal exposure to alcohol during pregnancy increased a child's risk of developing alcohol disorders in 2,138 participants who were followed from birth to age 21. A group of 7,223 mothers was originally interviewed at their first prenatal doctor visit, between 1981 and 1984 in Brisbane, Australia. The mothers and children were assessed at birth and again 6 months and 5, 14, and 21 years later. Before pregnancy, in early (first 18 weeks) and late (last three months) pregnancy, and when their children were age 5 and 14, the mothers were asked how often they drank alcohol and the number of drinks consumed on any one occasion. Children were reviewed for alcohol disorders at age 21.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


September 5, 2006, 4:56 AM CT

Televised Movie Trailers And Tobacco Use

Televised Movie Trailers And Tobacco Use
Despite a ban on tobacco advertising on television, nearly all U.S. children age 12 to 17 years may have been exposed to tobacco use through movie advertisements televised in 2001 to 2002, as per an article in the recent issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Tobacco advertising was banned from television in 1971, but tobacco use is still portrayed in a variety of forms on television, including movie advertisements or trailers. "Trailers pair tobacco use with popular movie stars and edgy action shots," the authors write. "These images translate into positive images of tobacco that are conveyed to a broad audience, including a large population younger than 18 years." Studies have shown that most movies released in the United States contain images of smoking, including about half of those with PG or G ratings, as per background information in the article. Surveys of children and adolescents indicate that they are more likely to smoke if their favorite movie stars do, and that watching movies in which characters smoke can have an immediate effect on their attitudes toward smoking.

Cheryl G. Healton, Dr.P.H., American Legacy Foundation, Washington, D.C., and his colleagues studied all 216 movie trailers that aired in the United States from August 2001 through July 2002. They first analyzed the full-length versions of all the trailers to determine whether they included images of tobacco use. They then obtained viewer information from Nielson Media Research, the primary source of U.S. television ratings, to determine the population exposed to each trailer.........

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.

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