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December 2, 2007, 8:43 PM CT

Leading cause of death in 'preemies' might be controlled

Leading cause of death in 'preemies' might be controlled
Blocking signals from a key molecular receptor that normally switches on the intestines immune response but instead becomes too intense in the presence of stress and toxins may help reverse necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a leading cause of death in premature newborns, as per researchers at the American Society for Cell Biology 47th annual meeting.

David J. Hackam and his laboratory team at the Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh report that neonatal mice with inactivating mutations in the Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) are protected from NEC. Its a case of defenders becoming unwitting attackers, says Hackam.

Toll-like receptors are key players in the innate immune system. Protruding from enterocytes that form the innermost barrier-like layer of the small and large intestines, TLR4 receptors are primed to recognize pathogenic bacteria and sound the alarm.

But Hackams group observed that the stresses of oxygen deprivation and bombardment by bacterial toxins, conditions that can occur in premature infants with underdeveloped lungs, stimulate too much production of TLR4. Like an unstoppable alarm, the increased numbers of TLR4 blare out signals that eventually tip the cells into cellular suicide. They also stop enterocytes from migrating to close wounds in the intestines.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 29, 2007, 10:51 PM CT

Biomarkers for epithelial ovarian cancer

Biomarkers for epithelial ovarian cancer
With the genomic revolution radical improvement has been made in methods of detection of ovary cancer. This is of the utmost importance, since the chances of successful therapy are strongly enhanced with early detection. In a special issue of Disease Markers, published by IOS Press, eleven articles explore new developments in the identification and understanding of biomarkers for epithelial ovary cancer.

A number of of these biomarkers may serve not only as markers of clinical and biology interest but also as potential therapeutic and imaging targets which could significantly improve the survival of patients with this disease, states Prof. Michael J. Birrer (National Cancer Institute, Center for Cancer Research, Cell and Cancer Biology Department, MD, USA).

Discussed in the issue are new hypotheses on the molecular development of ovary cancer, SP markers of risk, biomarkers that are specific for the different histological subtypes, and new biomarkers and approaches for the early detection of ovary cancer. Furthermore, new molecular technologies have allowed for the analysis and characterization of specific cellular components of ovarian tumors identifying biomarkers of tumor associated immune and endothelial cells.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


November 26, 2007, 9:51 PM CT

Smoking and depressionr in new mothers

Smoking and depressionr in new mothers
Smoking and depression often go hand-in-hand for new mothers, as per a research studyin the November 2007 issue of Preventive Medicine by Temple University researcher Dr. Robert Whitaker.

"While smoking and depression adversely affect a mother's health, the combination may also affect the health of her child," Whitaker said.

For children, the potential consequences of maternal smoking include sudden infant death, asthma, ear infections and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, while the potential consequences of maternal depression include behavior problems, language delay and childhood depression.

"Giving a mother who smokes the telephone number to a 'quit line' is probably not going to be enough if smoking is helping the mother cope with her symptoms of untreated depression," said Whitaker, a pediatrician and professor of public health at Temple University. "Depression and addiction to tobacco should not be diagnosed or treated in isolation from each other".

The issue is especially troublesome for low-income families.

"Unfortunately, an adequately financed primary-care system for low-income mothers does not exist beyond pregnancy. You can improve the well-being of the child by addressing the health and well-being of the mother. Care of mothers and their children should be better integrated in our healthcare system," Whitaker said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


November 19, 2007, 8:30 PM CT

New HPV vaccine under study

New HPV vaccine under study
A new vaccine against nine of the most harmful strains of human papillomavirus is under study at the Medical College of Georgia.

The vaccine, called nine-valent, is being compared with Gardasil, a quadrivalent vaccine already on the market that works against the two most deadly HPV types.

"We're testing Gardasil against three different doses of the investigational vaccine," says Dr. Daron Ferris, family medicine doctor and director of the MCG Gynecologic Cancer Prevention Center. "This study will determine the best dose of the new vaccine and whether it is safe, well-tolerated and effective in preventing HPV infection and disease compared with what's already out there".

Gardasil, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006, protects against HPV types 16 and 18, which cause about 70 percent of HPV-related cervical cancer cases, and types 6 and 11, which cause about 90 percent of genital wart cases.

The new drug could prevent infection from those four types and five other cancer-causing types, Dr. Ferris says.

"Women infected with those five types of HPV also have an increased risk of developing severe premalignant cervical disease and cervical cancer," he says. "While genital warts go away on their own in most cases, cervical premalignant lesions are less likely to disappear without therapy".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


November 14, 2007, 9:45 PM CT

Predicting the future in ovarian cancer

Predicting the future in ovarian cancer
Kisspeptin and its receptor GPR54 predict a favourable clinical outcome in women with ovarian carcinoma, and are specific for the clear cell carcinoma subtype, research published this week in the online open access journal, BMC Medicine, reveals.

The kisspeptins, a family of peptide hormones, and the receptor GPR54 have previously been linked to anti-metastatic activity in certain human tumours. In this study, scientists have shown that kisspeptin and GPR54 are independent prognostic biomarkers specific for ovarian clear cell carcinoma - the first such markers to be identified.

A research team based at the BC Cancer Agency and Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, Canada created a tissue microarray - paraffin blocks which allow numerous tissue samples to be analysed simultaneously - from 518 cases of early-stage ovarian carcinoma. They analysed the samples using antibodies against kisspeptin and the G-protein-coupled receptor GPR54. Cases that showed strong staining for either kisspeptin or GPR54 were scored as positive, the rest negative.

The study revealed that patients who were positive for both kisspeptin and GPR54 had a favourable prognosis as in comparison to those patients who were negative for both kisspeptin and GPR54 cases - both in terms of disease-specific survival and overall survival. Scientists also observed that these molecular markers were significantly linked to the clear cell ovarian carcinomas subtype.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


November 7, 2007, 7:00 PM CT

When to have a child?

When to have a child?
Women seeking to balance career, social life and family life in making the decision on when to have a child may benefit from applying formal decision-making science to this complex emotional choice.

This decision is too complex to logically consider all the relevant aspects intuitively in ones head, write Professor Ralph Keeney and doctoral student Dinah Vernik of Dukes Fuqua School of Business. Yet, for a number of, it is too important and consequential to simply go with ones feelings.

The pair have demonstrated that using a formalized approach to this very personal decision may help a woman evaluate her options regarding the optimal time for her to attempt to conceive a first child. Their analysis, which was reported in the current issue of the journal Decision Analysis, also reveals that women may have more options than they realize.

Keeney and Vernik developed a sophisticated logical decision model to help women weigh their options. Variables are plugged into the model which then attempts to balance the benefits of motherhood against its effects on career and social interests and the age-related concerns of diminishing fertility or an increased likelihood of conceiving a child with a genetic abnormality.

In their analyses, Keeney and Vernik illustrate their model by considering the situations of a 25-year-old doctoral student who desires an academic career and a 20-year-old college student who plans to pursue a professional career.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


November 5, 2007, 8:31 PM CT

Breastfeeding boost IQ in infants

Breastfeeding boost IQ in infants
Breastfeeding boosts infants IQs, but only if the babies have a genetic variant that enhances their metabolism of breast milk, a Yale researcher and collaborators report today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

It is this genetic variant in FADS2, a gene involved in the control of fatty acid pathways, that may help the children make better use of the breast milk and promote the brain development that is linked to a higher IQ score, said Julia Kim-Cohen, assistant professor of psychology and a member of the research team.

Children who do not carry the helpful genetic variant have normal average IQ scores, Kim-Cohen said. Being breastfed for them is not linked to an IQ advantage.

The study included scientists from Kings College, London, Duke University, and the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.

The intelligence quotient (IQ) has long been at the heart of debates about nature versus nurture. Twin studies document both strong genetic influences and nongenetic environmental influences on IQ, especially for young children.

This study looked at how long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAS), which are present in human milk but not in cows milk or most infant formulas, are metabolized. LC-PUFAS in breast milk, the authors said, is believed to enhance cognitive development because the fatty acids are mandatory for efficient neurotransmission and are involved in neuronal growth and regeneration.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


November 4, 2007, 8:26 PM CT

Scientists question folic acid fortification

Scientists question folic acid fortification
Researchers at the Institute of Food Research have highlighted possible consequences of fortifying flour with folic acid due to new evidence of how it is absorbed by the body.

In May, the Food Standards Agency's Board agreed unanimously that 'required fortification' with folic acid should be introduced to make sure the number of babies born with neural tube defects is reduced. This means that it would be compulsory to add folic acid to either bread or flour.

Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate, a B vitamin found in a wide variety of foods including liver and green leafy vegetables. Folates are metabolised in the gut, whereas in a paper would be reported in the British Journal of Nutrition in October IFR researchers suggest that folic acid is metabolised in the liver. The liver is an easily saturated system, and fortification could lead to significant unmetabolised folic acid entering the blood stream, with the potential to cause many health problems.

"Fortifying UK flour with folic acid would reduce the occurence rate of neural tube defects", said Dr Siân Astley of the Institute of Food Research. "However, with doses of half the amount being proposed for fortification in the UK, the liver becomes saturated and unmetabolised folic acid floats around the blood stream.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


November 1, 2007, 9:58 PM CT

Breastfeeding study dispels sagging myth

Breastfeeding study dispels sagging myth
Nursing mothers needn't worry. A new study shows that breastfeeding does not increase breast sagging. University of Kentucky plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Rinker and colleagues conducted the study with patients at UK HealthCare Cosmetic Surgery Associates. The study observed that breastfeeding does not adversely affect breast shape.

"A lot of times, if a woman comes in for a breast lift or a breast augmentation, she'll say 'I want to fix what breastfeeding did to my breasts'," Rinker said. As a result, Rinker decided to find out if breast sagging was a direct result of breastfeeding.

Rinker and colleagues interviewed 132 women who had come to UK for a breast lift or augmentation between 1998 and 2006. The women were, on average, 39 years old; 93 percent had had at least one pregnancy, and most of the mothers58 percent-- had breastfed at least one child. Additionally, the research team reviewed the patients' medical history, body mass index, pre-pregnancy bra cup size, and smoking status.

The results showed no difference in the degree of breast ptosis (TOE-sis) the medical term for sagging of the breast--for those women who breastfed and those who didn't. However, scientists observed that several other factors did affect breast sagging, including age, the number of pregnancies, and whether the patient smoked.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


October 28, 2007, 4:16 PM CT

Removal of uterus increases risk of urinary incontinence

Removal of uterus increases risk of urinary incontinence
Scientists at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have shown that hysterectomy - a common operation involving the removal of the uterus - greatly increases the risk of urinary incontinence. Their results, which come from a nationwide study, are presented in The Lancet.

Hysterectomy is the most common gynaecological abdominal operation in the world. It is normally performed as a cure for non-malignant medical problems in order to improve life quality for the patients. However, the long-term effects are largely unknown, and it has long been suspected that the operation increases the risk of developing urinary incontinence, in a number of respects a very disabling condition that affects hundreds of thousands of women in Sweden.

Scientists at Karolinska Institutet have now shown that women who have had a hysterectomy are more than twice as likely to undergo surgery for urinary incontinence as women with intact uteri.

"It's important that gynaecologists take this into account ahead of a hysterectomy, and the patients should themselves be aware of the greater risk the operation entails, especially if they belong to a high-risk group," says Daniel Altman, gynaecologist and one of the scientists behind the study.

The highest likelihood of incontinence surgery was noted within five years of the removal of the uterus, but the higher risk remains throughout the patients' lives. The risk increased most for women who had a hysterectomy before their menopause or after having undergone several deliveries.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
The addition of testosterone to hormone therapy in women after menopause enhances their sexual function. However, it may also reduce HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) in women, according to a systematic review of current evidence."If the reduction in HDL had been associated with an increase in triglycerides [fatty acids] or LDL cholesterol it would be of great concern," said Dr. Susan Davis, professor of medicine at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, and study co-author "However, as an isolated finding the significance is difficult to interpret." She added, "Testosterone has not been found to alter other coronary heart disease risk factors.".

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