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November 7, 2006, 7:08 PM CT

Enzyme For Treatment Of Diabetic Kidney Disease

Enzyme For Treatment Of Diabetic Kidney Disease
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine scientists have observed that an enzyme called ACE2 may hold the potential to treat diabetic kidney disease, the most common form of kidney disease.

In the laboratory, scientists led by Daniel Batlle, professor of medicine in the Feinberg School, chief of the nephrology/high blood pressure division and staff nephrologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, have found low levels of the ACE2 enzyme in the glomeruli of the kidneys of diabetic mice. When ACE2 was further decreased with an inhibitor drug, kidney disease worsened. Studies are now needed using compounds that increase the level of ACE2 in the kidneys of diabetic mice to see if it reverses or prevents kidney disease from developing, Batlle said.

The experiments appear in a report by Ye et. al in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Diabetes, which affects 230 million people worldwide and 21 million in the United States, is the leading cause of kidney failure. About one-third of patients with diabetes will go on to develop kidney disease. In diabetes, the small blood vessels in the kidneys are injured and the kidneys cannot clean the blood properly. In 2002, a total of 153,000 people in the U.S. with kidney failure due to diabetes were living on chronic dialysis or with a kidney transplant.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


November 7, 2006, 4:49 AM CT

More Hemodialysis May Improve Survival

More Hemodialysis May Improve Survival
A study recently published in Hemodialysis International observed that more frequent hemodialysis therapys (five or more weekly) can significantly increase the survival rate of patients suffering from irreversible kidney failure. Typical therapy in the U.S. generally involves three sessions weekly.

The study examines the mortality rate of 117 U.S. patients. Those receiving five or more therapys per week were shown to have a 61% better chance of survival when in comparison to patients receiving conventional therapy.

"More frequent hemodialysis has been shown to improve patient well-being, reduce symptoms during and between therapys and have beneficial effects on clinical outcomes," as per Christopher R. Blagg M.D., lead researcher of the study.

U.S. hemodialysis patients continue to have a high annual mortality rate, despite a number of improvements in dialysis and overall medical care. Increasing the frequency of dialysis may be an effective means of improving patient survival.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


November 7, 2006, 4:39 AM CT

Progress On Retinal Degenerative Diseases

Progress On Retinal Degenerative Diseases
In an unprecedented animal research study, scientists at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, and the Atlanta VA Hospital have used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to produce images of the eyes retinal layers. The research, which will publish in an online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has the potential to revolutionize the way retinal degenerative diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, are diagnosed and treated. Accelerating detection and therapy of such diseases ultimately could help prevent vision loss.

"Currently available technologies for capturing images of the retina, such as fundus photography, allow doctors to view only surface vessels and structures," said lead researcher Timothy Q. Duong, PhD, director of magnetic resonance research at Yerkes and associate professor of neurology and radiology at Emory. "The most serious retinal diseases that cause vision loss, however, attack various cellular levels within the retina. Consequently, these diseases often are diagnosed only in the late stages, after irreversible damage has occurred," he continued.

To penetrate the deep layers of the retina and produce clear images, Dr. Duong and his research team made significant improvements in spatial resolution and sensitivity using Yerkes state-of-the-art MRI technology. These improvements enabled them to non-invasively image structural oxygenation and functional changes in the rodent retinas and detect layer-specific changes in an animal model of retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative disease that affects approximately 1.5 million people worldwide.........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink         Source


November 7, 2006, 4:16 AM CT

Missing Link In Sudden Cardiac Death

Missing Link In Sudden Cardiac Death
An electrical imbalance caused by a malfunctioning gene triggers a potentially fatal heart rhythm disorder, as per scientists at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.

Findings are published in the Nov. 21 print edition of the journal Circulation, a publication of the American Heart Association. The journal has posted the findings online.

Electrical impulses originate in the top of the heart's right atrium and travel through the muscle fibers, causing the heart to contract. The genetic and molecular basis of sudden cardiac arrest, which occurs when these impulses are disrupted, is not well understood.

Study researchers began to close this gap of understanding by becoming the first to isolate a gene called Caveolin-3, which influences the electrical-muscular impulses that drive the heart's rhythm. A mutation of the gene can trigger arrhythmia linked to long QT syndrome, a hereditary disorder that can occur in otherwise-healthy people of all ages, and increases the risk of sudden cardiac death.

"This is part of a totally new concept in which the structural part of the heart is intertwined and connected with the electrical part," said first author Dr. Matteo Vatta, assistant professor of pediatrics at BCM and pediatric cardiac researcher at Texas Children's Hospital. "This is the missing link between the heart's electrical and muscular activities".........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


November 2, 2006, 9:14 PM CT

Computer with Brain Connections

Computer with Brain Connections
Fundamental theories regarding consciousness, emotion and quality of life in sufferers of paralysis from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as 'Lou Gerhig's disease') are being challenged based on new research on brain-computer interaction. ALS is a progressive disease that destroys neurons affecting movement. The study appears in the latest issue of Psychophysiology. The article reviews the usefulness of currently available brain-computer -interfaces (BCI), which use brain activity to communicate through external devices, such as computers.

The research focuses on a condition called the completely locked-in state (CLIS, a total lack of muscle control). In a CLIS situation, intentional thoughts and imagery can rarely be acted upon physically and, therefore, are rarely followed by a stimulus. The research suggests that as the disease progresses and the probability for an external event to function as a link between response and consequence becomes progressively smaller, it may eventually vanish altogether.

Scientists have observed that by implementing a BCI before the CLIS state occurs, a patient can be taught to communicate through an electronic device with great regularity. The continued interaction between thought, response and consequence is believed to slow the destruction of the nervous system.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


November 2, 2006, 8:43 PM CT

Towards Cure For Multiple Sclerosis

Towards Cure For Multiple Sclerosis
A breakthrough finding on the mechanism of myelin formation by Jonah Chan, assistant professor of cell and neurobiology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, could have a major impact on the therapy of diseases such as multiple sclerosis and demyelination as a result of spinal cord injuries.

Myelin, the white matter that coats all nerves, allows long-distance communication in the nervous system. "It plays a vital role in the overall health and function of the nervous system, and its degeneration plays a role in many diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, peripheral neuropathies, and even in spinal cord injury," Chan explained.

The study, "The Polarity Protein Par-3 Directly Interacts with p75NTR to Regulate Myelination", appears in the Nov. 3 issue of Science. Chan, who works at the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, collaborated on the study with Michel Cayouette and scientists at the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montreal in Canada.

At a basic level, the nervous system functions like a collection of wires that transmit electrical signals encoding our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Just as an electrical wire needs insulation, myelin is wrapped around axons - the wire-like extensions of neurons that make up nerve fibers. The sheath helps to propagate the electrical signal and maximize the efficiency and velocity of these signals in our brain and body.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


November 2, 2006, 5:17 AM CT

Breakthrough In Eye Cancer Treatment

Breakthrough In Eye Cancer Treatment
Researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital have demonstrated in a mouse model a new, locally applied therapy for the eye cancer retinoblastoma that not only greatly reduces the size of the tumor, but does so without causing the side effects common with standard chemotherapy. The therapy also appears to be suitable for certain forms of breast, lung, prostate and colon cancer, and is simple enough for widespread use even in countries with limited resources.

A report on this work appears in the Nov. 2 issue of the journal Nature.

Retinoblastoma occurs in about 5,000 young children worldwide each year, arising from the immature retina, which is the part of the eye responsible for detecting light and color. The cancer is fatal if left untreated.

The new therapy holds promise for a simpler, more effective and less-toxic therapy for retinoblastoma that would eliminate the need for the current, complex treatment, as per senior author Michael Dyer, Ph.D., a Pew Scholar and associate member of the St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology. The therapy is based on a discovery by Dyer's laboratory that overturned a widely held belief about the process of apoptosis (cell suicide) in retinoblastoma. Apoptosis is the way the body rids itself of abnormal cells that might become malignant or cause other problems.........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink         Source


November 1, 2006, 4:41 AM CT

Rock Climbing Does Not Increase Risk Of Osteoarthritis

Rock Climbing Does Not Increase Risk Of Osteoarthritis
A study in the US has found there is no greater risk of osteoarthritis in rock climbers in comparison to non climbers, contrary to prior theory.

The study, reported in the recent issue of Journal of Anatomy, examined osteological changes in the hands and fingers of rock climbers that result from intense, long-term mechanical stress placed on these bones. Specifically, whether rock climbing leads to increased cortical bone thickness and joint changes linked to osteoarthritis. Scientists also wanted to identify whether climbing intensity and frequency of different styles of climbing influence changes.

Adam Sylvester of the University of Tennessee explains: "Radiographs of both hands were taken for each participant and were scored for radiographic signs of osteoarthritis using an atlas method. We compared 27 recreational rock climbers and 35 non-climbers for four measures of bone strength and dimensions and osteoarthritis. The results suggest that climbers are not at an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis compared with non-climbers.

Climber's finger and hand bones are, however, greater in cross-sectional area and total width, indicating that additional bone is being deposited on the external surface, not commonly seen in adults. The strength of the finger and hand bones are correlated with styles of climbing that emphasize athletic difficulty. Significant predictors include the highest levels achieved in bouldering and sport climbing".........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


October 31, 2006, 4:01 AM CT

Topiramates Increases Risk Of Kidney Stones

Topiramates Increases Risk Of Kidney Stones Drs. Khashayar Sakhaee (left), chief of mineral metabolism, and Dion Graybeal.
Credit: UT Southwestern Medical Cente
Topiramate (Topamax), a drug usually prescribed to treat seizures and migraine headaches, can increase the propensity of calcium phosphate kidney stones, scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

A study - the largest cross-sectional examination of how the long-term use of topiramate affects kidney-stone formation - appears in the recent issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

Several case reports have described an association between topiramate and the development of kidney stones, but this complication had not been well recognized and physicians have not informed patients about the risk, the UT Southwestern scientists said. More important, the mechanism of stone formation was largely unknown previously.

"The wide-spread and escalating use of topiramate emphasizes the importance of considering the long-term impact of this drug on kidney-stone formation," said Dr. Khashayar Sakhaee, senior author of the study and chief of mineral metabolism at UT Southwestern.

More than 29 million Americans suffer from migraines, with women being affected three times more often than men, as per the National Headache Foundation.

"Topiramate is probably one of the most usually prescribed and most effective neurological medications right now," said Dr. Dion Graybeal, assistant professor of neurology and an author of the study.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


October 30, 2006, 8:41 PM CT

How Blood Clots Are Formed?

How Blood Clots Are Formed? A model of platelets in action
Good science requires great patience. In a number of fields, ideas and theories surge ahead while the tools to test them can take decades to catch up. When Peter Richardson began talking with colleagues who were modeling blood flow through the vessels on the heart's surface, he hardly suspected that the collaboration would lead to a test of ideas he had proposed more than 30 years before.

The resulting model, described in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences appearing the week of Oct. 30 to Nov. 3, could help evaluate candidate drugs aimed at preventing blood clots - a major cause of strokes, heart attacks and organ transplant rejection.

In 1970, Richardson, who had been working on the clotting problems linked to artificial organs, saw a paper describing the time course of clot formation in uninjured blood vessels. Gustav Born and his co-author, Nicola Begent, had found an odd relationship - shaped like a playground slide - between the rate of blood flow and the rate of blood clot, or thrombus, formation. As blood flow increased, the rate at which the clot grew increased rapidly, up to a point. After that point, the rate of growth declined suddenly and then gradually flattened out.

Richardson recognized that there must be two groups of processes at work - probably one chemical and one physical. The increase in clotting with flow made sense. Faster blood flow meant more platelets encountered the clot each second, so more had a chance to be captured by it. But the decrease was puzzling.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source



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Did you know?
Scientists at Yale have brought to light a mechanism that regulates the way an internal organelle, the Golgi apparatus, duplicates as cells prepare to divide, according to a report in Science Express.Graham Warren, professor of cell biology, and colleagues at Yale study Trypanosoma brucei, the parasite that causes Sleeping Sickness. Like a number of parasites, it is exceptionally streamlined and has only one of each internal organelle, making it ideal for studying processes of more complex organisms that have a number of copies in each cell.

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