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August 6, 2007, 5:10 PM CT

Green tea as treatment for inflammatory skin diseases

Green tea as treatment for inflammatory skin diseases
Green tea could hold promise as a new therapy for skin disorders such as psoriasis and dandruff, Medical College of Georgia scientists say.

Scientists studied an animal model for inflammatory skin diseases, which are often characterized by patches of dry, red, flaky skin caused by the inflammation and overproduction of skin cells. Those treated with green tea showed slower growth of skin cells and the presence of a gene that regulates the cells' life cycles.

"Psoriasis, an autoimmune disease, causes the skin to become thicker because the growth of skin cells is out of control," says Dr. Stephen Hsu, an oral biologist in the MCG School of Dentistry and lead investigator on the study reported in the Aug. 18 edition of Experimental Dermatology. "In psoriasis, immune cells, which commonly protect against infection, instead trigger the release of cytokines, which causes inflammation and the overproduction of skin cells".

Other autoimmune diseases with similar side effects include lupus, which can lead to skin lesions, and dandruff.

Green tea, already shown to suppress inflammation, helps by regulating the expression of Caspase-14, a protein in genes that regulates the life cycle of a skin cell.

"That marker guides cells by telling them when to differentiate, die off and form a skin barrier," Dr. Hsu says. "In people with psoriasis, that process is interrupted and the skin cells don't die before more are created and the resulting lesions form." .........

Posted by: George      Read more         Source

August 6, 2007, 5:06 PM CT

Inhaled nitric oxide safe for tiny preemie lungs

Inhaled nitric oxide safe for tiny preemie lungs
A nationwide study led by scientists at UCSF provides evidence that inhaled nitric oxide is safe and effective for the prevention of the most common type of long-term lung disease of very premature infants.

Chronic lung disease is a major source of morbidity in these infants. Neonatologists have been trying to figure out how to prevent it for years, said Philip Ballard, MD, PhD, lead study author and professor of pediatrics at UCSF.

The benefit of inhaled nitric oxide for infants born close to term who suffer from the lung disease known as pulmonary high blood pressure has been known for some time, but the effect in preemies had not been clearly determined, as per Ballard.

Nitric oxide is a gaseous compound normally produced by the body, however, premature infants produce insufficient amounts. Recent clinical studies done elsewhere have found positive effects of inhaled nitric oxide in very premature infants, while some animal research has suggested that inhaled nitric oxide in preemies might interfere with the production of pulmonary surfactant, a substance critical to normal lung development and functioning.

The new study findings, published in the August 2007 issue of Pediatrics, found no adverse affects of inhaled nitric oxide on surfactant production or function, said Ballard, a neonatologist at UCSF Childrens Hospital.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

August 6, 2007, 5:05 PM CT

Backache Sufferers Who Fear Pain Change

Backache Sufferers Who Fear Pain Change
People who fear aggravating a backache will change the way they move to prevent more pain, a new study finds. But doing so may set the stage for further injury, scientists warn.

As per a research findings reported in the journal Spine, Ohio University scientists Jim Thomas and Christopher France examined 36 adults who recently had experienced lower back pain. They split them into two groups: one that confessed a high fear of aggravating the backache and another that was less afraid of reinjury.

The scientists next asked the participants to perform a series of three reaching tasks designed to simulate everyday activities, such as bending to open a mailbox or leaning to ring a doorbell. Sensors attached to the study subjects recorded their muscle movements.

The study confirmed what scientists have long suspected: People with a high fear of back pain will twist, bend and make other unusual moves to try to avoid more aches. It might be okay to baby sore muscles for a while, but protecting them for too long can cause them to weaken. When those muscles are called into play unexpectedly -- such as lurching forward to grab a bag of falling groceries -- more injury can occur, said Thomas, an associate professor of physical treatment whose study is funded by a four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source

August 6, 2007, 4:58 PM CT

Early-childhood Intervention Improves Well-being

Early-childhood Intervention Improves Well-being
Minority preschoolers from low-income families who participated in a comprehensive school-based intervention fared better educationally, socially and economically as they moved into young adulthood, as per a report by University of Minnesota professors Arthur Reynolds and Judy Temple. The study is published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Associations (JAMA) Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Reynolds is a child development professor in the College of Education and Human Development and Judy Temple is a professor in the department of applied economics and in the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

This study is the first to show that large-scale established programs run by schools can have enduring effects into adulthood on general health and well-being, Reynolds says. Early childhood programs can promote not only educational success but health status and behavior.

Reynolds research group discovered that by age 24, children who were involved in preschool programs were more likely to finish high school, attend four-year colleges and have health insurance coverage, and less likely to be arrested for a felony, be incarcerated or develop depressive symptoms. For example, the preschool group had higher rates of high school completion with 71.4 percent finishing high school compared with a 63.7 percent finish rate among those in the non preschool group. Those who attended preschool also were more likely to have health insurance with 70.2 percent having insurance compared with 61.5 percent of those not in preschool. Those children in the program also had lower rates of felony arrests with 16.5 percent compared with 21.1 percent and lower depressive symptoms with 12.8 percent compared with 17.4 percent.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

August 3, 2007, 10:35 PM CT

Emergency angioplasty use rises

Emergency angioplasty use rises
Compared with their counterparts a decade ago, todays heart attack patients are receiving emergency angioplasty or clot-busting drugs to re-open clogged arteries at a far greater rate, but 10 percent of patients who could benefit from this life-saving therapy still do not receive it, as per a research studypublished in The American Journal of Medicine by Yale and University of Michigan researchers.

The results also showed that the chance of missing out on lifesaving emergency therapy was highest among patients without typical symptoms like chest pain, patients who did not arrive at the hospital until six or more hours after the heart attack began, female patients, those over age 75 and non-whites.

The 10-year study was based on data from 238,291 heart attack patients between 1994 and 2003 who were listed in the National Registry of Myocardial Infarction. The patients had a particular kind of heart attack called ST-elevated myocardial infarction (STEMI). It is the most current and comprehensive look at the use of emergency reperfusion, a therapy that can restore blood flow to the heart muscle. To track the changes in emergency reperfusion treatment over time, the scientists divided the study data into three time periods: June 1994 through May 1997, June 1997 through May 2000, and June 2000 through May 2003.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source

August 3, 2007, 10:18 PM CT

Infants Have 'Mind-reading' Capability

Infants Have 'Mind-reading' Capability
One of the unique characteristics of humans that distinguish us from the animal kingdom is the ability to represent others beliefs in our own minds. This sort of intuitive mind-reading, as per experts, lays the cognitive foundations of interpersonal understanding and communication.

Despite its importance, researchers have yet to reach a consensus on how this psychological function develops. Some argue that this complex and flexible ability is acquired at the age of 3-4 years and only after prerequisites such as language grammar are fulfilled. Others suggest specialized developmental mechanisms are in place at birth, allowing infants to refine this ability very early in life.

Luca Surian, a psychology expert at the University of Trento in Italy, and colleagues believe they have made some progress in the debate. As per a research findings reported in the recent issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, Surian observed that 13-month-old infants were able to exhibit the ability to attribute mental content.

In two experiments, the scientists had the infants watch a series of animations in which a caterpillar went in search of food (either a red apple or a piece of cheese) that was hidden behind a screen. In some scenes, the caterpillar could see a human hand situating the food, but in others there was no hand to drop a hint. The caterpillar was either successful finding the preferred food behind the correct screen, or went behind an alternative screen with the other type of food behind it.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

August 3, 2007, 10:17 PM CT

Cognitive impairment with H2 Blockers

Cognitive impairment with H2 Blockers
Long-term use of histamine2 receptor antagonists (H2A), one class of drugs that blocks stomach acid, may be linked to cognitive impairment in older African-American adults. As per an Indiana University School of Medicine and Regenstrief Institute study reported in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the risk for showing signs of cognitive impairment is 2.5 times greater for patients using these medications long-term.

These acid blockers, including ranitidine and famotidine, are among the most popular medications prescribed in the United States. More than 16 million prescriptions were dispensed in 2005 and several of these medications are also available over-the-counter. The drugs are sold under brand names such as Axid, Pepcid, Tagamet and Zantac, and are used to treat ulcers, acid reflux and other gastrointestinal disorders.

The five-year observational study included 1,558 cognitively normal African-Americans aged 65 and older. After controlling for other possible factors, nearly 18 percent of H2A users studied exhibited signs of cognitive impairment.

Taking these medications continuously appears to put older African-Americans at greater risk for the development of cognitive impairment, said Malaz Boustani, M.D., MPH, assistant professor of medicine at the IU School of Medicine and a Regenstrief research scientist. Dr. Boustani is lead author of the study. We need to study this further to determine how acid blockers might be causing or creating this effect and if it occurs only in African-Americans.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source

August 3, 2007, 9:59 PM CT

Radiofrequency ablation for kidney tumors

Radiofrequency ablation for kidney tumors
A relatively new, minimally invasive therapy was 93 percent successful in eradicating cancerous kidney tumors, as per a recent study conducted by scientists from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC.

I have performed a number of radiofrequency ablations of renal tumors and the results looked promising, said Ronald J. Zagoria, MD, lead author of the study. I wanted to scientifically review the data to better assess the results and look for patterns that might predict success or complications, he said.

The study consisted of 104 patients with a total of 125 tumors ranging from 0.6 cm to 8.8 cm. In all patients, a biopsy confirmed the presence of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common type of kidney cancer. Of the 125 tumors, 95 were smaller than 3.7 cm and were completely eradicated in one therapy. Fourteen larger tumors were also eradicated after one therapy. Of the 16 remaining larger tumors, seven were eradicated after a second therapy.

Patients who are not good operative candidates, commonly due to co-existing illnesses, and those with multiple renal tumors, now have an excellent option for curing their tumors, said Dr. Zagoria. Surgery should be the first option, since the long-term results of this procedure have not been substantiated, he said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source

August 3, 2007, 9:46 PM CT

The matrix of autism

The matrix of autism
Autistic children are doubly stigmatized. On the one hand, they are often dismissed as low functioning or mentally retarded, particularly if they have poor speaking skills as a number of do. Yet when autistics do show exceptional abilitiesuncanny visual discrimination and memory for detail, for exampletheir flashes of brilliance are marginalized as aberrations, mere symptoms of their higher order cognitive deficit. They often earn a dubious promotion to idiot savant.

The theoretical justification for this view is that prototypical autistic skills are not true intelligence at all, but really just low-level perceptual abilities. Indeed, in this view autistics are missing the big picture because they are obsessed with the detail.

But is this true" Are autistics really incapable of abstraction and integration and other high-level thinking" Surprisingly, given how pervasive this view of autism is, it has never been rigorously tested. But a team of researchers in Canada suspected that the tests themselves might be baised and decided to explore the idea in the lab.

Led by psychology expert Laurent Mottron of the University of Montreal, the team gave both autistic kids and normal kids two of the most popular IQ tests used in schools. The two tests are both highly regarded, but they are very different. The so-called WISC relies heavily on language, which is why the psychology experts were suspicious of it. The other, known as the Ravens Progressive Matrices, is considered the preeminent test of whats called fluid intelligence, that is, the ability to infer rules, to set and manage goals, to do high-level abstractions. Basically the test presents arrays of complicated patterns with one missing, and test takers are mandatory to choose the one that would logically complete the series. The test demands a good memory, focused attention and other executive skills, butunlike the WISCit doesnt require much language.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source

August 3, 2007, 5:30 AM CT

Controlling stress helps fight chronic diseases such as Lupus

Controlling stress helps fight chronic diseases such as Lupus
Lupus is an autoimmune disease affecting more than 5 million people around the world, and makes the immune system attack the body's cells and tissue as if they were enemies.

- It especially affects women of fertile age between 15 and 44 years old.

- A study conducted at the University of Granada (Universidad de Granada) shows that reducing stress in people suffering from lupus also decreases some symptoms of this disease such as inexplicable loss of weight, feeling of fatigue, continuous fever or pain and inflammation in joints.

- Patients who received psychological treatment significantly reduced their levels of stress, anxiety and depression, achieving even lower levels than those of the general population.

C@MPUS DIGITAL Lupus is an autoimmune disease which produces antibodies causing injuries to the body's cells and tissue. It makes the immune system go out of control and the organism attack healthy cells instead of the germs on them. This pathology, which affects more than 5 million people around the world, is more developed in women of fertile age between 15 and 44 years old.

A study conducted in the Department of Medicine at the University of Granada determined that daily stress (which occurs in circumstances of little importance but of high frequency) could exacerbate the symptoms of patients suffering from lupus. In other words, controlling the stress level of those suffering from this disease allows the determination of its negative effects, such as inexplicable loss of weight, feeling of fatigue, continuous fever or pain and inflammation in joints.........

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. Archives of health news blog

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