October 9, 2006, 9:13 PM CT
Progress In HIV Research
How a harmless virus called GB Virus type C (GBV-C) protects against HIV infection is now better understood. Scientists at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Iowa City Health Care System and the University of Iowa have identified a protein segment that strongly inhibits HIV from growing in cell models.
The team observed that an 85-amino acid segment within a GBV-C viral protein called NS5A greatly slows down HIV from replicating in cells grown in labs. The study results will appear online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The finding builds on earlier VA and UI work showing that people with HIV who also are infected GBV-C live longer than those infected only with HIV, said Jinhua Xiang, M.D., a VA research health scientific specialist, UI researcher and the current study's principal author.
GBV-C and its role in HIV infection have been studied for nearly a decade by Xiang, along with another study author Jack Stapleton, M.D., staff doctor and researcher at the VA Iowa City Health Care System and professor of internal medicine at the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.
"Identifying a specific protein made by GBV-C that inhibits HIV growth in cell culture strengthens the argument that GBV-C is responsible for the prolonged survival observed in several studies of HIV-positive people," Xiang said. "Understanding how the protein works may allow us to develop target-specific therapies that can mimic these effects and inhibit HIV.........
Posted by: Mark Permalink Source
October 9, 2006, 9:08 PM CT
Laser Surgery Safer Than Contacts
Traditional assumptions have held that contact lenses are safer than laser surgery to correct vision problems. Now, an Oregon Health & Science University Casey Eye Institute physician, comparing data from several recent studies, has observed that belief may not be true.
William Mathers, M.D., professor of ophthalmology in the OHSU School of Medicine, evaluated several large, peer-evaluated studies and found a greater chance of suffering vision loss from contact lenses than from laser vision correction surgery, also known as "refractive" surgery. His findings appear in a letter in today's issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.
"Several times a year, I have patients who lose eyes from complications because they've been wearing contacts and they've gotten an infection. By this I mean their eyes have to be physically removed from their bodies," said Mathers, an eye surgeon with a strong background in contact lens issues and former president of the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists. "It's not that contacts aren't good. They're better than they've ever been. But one cannot assume contacts are safer".
The risks linked to laser surgery versus contact lenses can not be compared directly, partly because complications from contact lenses accumulate over years of use, and complications from surgery occur soon after the surgery.........
Posted by: Mike Permalink Source
October 8, 2006, 7:18 PM CT
Exercise For Older Adults
For a number of elderly adults, a visit to the doctor is not complete without the bestowal of at least one prescription. What if, in addition to prescribing medications as necessary, physicians also prescribed exercise? Ann Yelmokas McDermott, PhD, a researcher in the Lipid Metabolism Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University, and Heather Mernitz, PhD, now of the Nutrition and Cancer Biology Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA, propose using the familiar concept of a prescription to help physicians incorporate exercise recommendations into their routine practice. In the journal American Family Physician, McDermott and Mernitz provide clinicians with explicit guidelines for giving their older patients effective "exercise prescriptions."
Their motto for determining an exercise prescription is 'FITT-PRO':.
As per FITT-PRO principles, an exercise prescription must explicitly instruct the patient regarding what type of exercise to do, how often, how hard, and for how long. The exercises must also progress over time as the patient becomes more physically fit. McDermott and Mernitz caution that, as with medicine prescriptions, these exercise parameters must be personalized to suit each patient's health status and goals.........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink Source
October 8, 2006, 6:26 PM CT
Maggot Therapy Without The Maggots
Researchers in the United Kingdom have developed a new wound dressing that could bring the benefits of maggot treatment to patients without putting live Greenbottle fly (blowfly) larvae into non-healing wounds. The joint research project of Stephen Britland from Bradford University and David Pritchard of Nottingham University included colleagues from the Bradford-based biotechnology company AGT Sciences Ltd. It describes development and preliminary testing in laboratory cell cultures of the new hydrogel dressing in a report scheduled for publication in the Oct. 6 issue of the ACS bimonthly journal Biotechnology Progress.
The scientists note resurgence in medical use of larval biotherapy -- intentionally introducing blowfly maggots into non-healing wounds to clean away dead tissue. Medical use of the technique led to observations suggesting that maggots' excretions and secretions (ESs) also may encourage regeneration of tissue and wound healing. Realizing that the ESs would have to be delivered in a controlled fashion, Britland's group developed the hydrogel dressing, which slowly releases maggot ESs.
"The present prototype hydrogel wound dressing could potentially be deployed as a device to deliver insect-derived active products to skin wounds in vivo to encourage tissue regeneration."........
Posted by: George Permalink Source
October 8, 2006, 5:47 PM CT
Marijuana's Ingredient May Slow Down Alzheimer's Disease
Researchers are reporting discovery in laboratory experiments of a previously unknown molecular mechanism in which the active ingredient in marijuana may slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Scripps Research Institute's Kim D. Janda and his colleagues used laboratory experiments to show that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) preserves brain levels of the key neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
Existing medications for AD, including donepezil and tacrine, also relieve AD symptoms by inhibiting the enzyme, acetylcholinesterase, which breaks down acetylcholine. THC does so by inhibiting an alternative site on acetylchlolinesterase and at lower concentrations, Janda's group reports in an article in the current (Oct. 2) issue of the ACS bimonthly journal, Molecular Pharmaceutics. Their experiments show that THC also prevents formation of the amyloid plaques that are a hallmark of AD and its damage to the brain.
"Our results provide a mechanism whereby the THC molecule can directly impact Alzheimer's disease pathology," they state. They also note that THC may provide a "drug lead" -- a model for developing new and more effective medications with more targeted effects on AD.
The scientists explain that such compounds "may provide an improved therapeutic for Alzheimer's disease, augmenting acetylcholine levels by preventing neurotransmitter degradation and reeducating amyloid beta aggregation, thereby simultaneously treating both the symptoms and progression of Alzheimer's disease".........
Posted by: Daniel Permalink Source
October 8, 2006, 5:28 PM CT
Antidepressants After Plastic Surgery
It has been proven that plastic surgery can improve self-esteem, but can it also act as a natural mood enhancer? A significant number of patients stopped taking antidepressant medicine after undergoing plastic surgery, as per a research studypresented today at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery 2006 conference in San Francisco.
"Plastic surgery patients are taking a proactive approach in making themselves happier by improving something that has truly bothered them," said Bruce Freedman, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and study author. "While we are not saying that cosmetic plastic surgery alone is responsible for the drop in patients needing antidepressants, it surely is an important factor".
In the study, 362 patients had cosmetic plastic surgery 17 percent or 61 patients were taking antidepressants. Six months after surgery, however, that number decreased 31 percent, down to 42 patients. In addition, 98 percent of patients said cosmetic plastic surgery had markedly improved their self-esteem.
All of the patients, who were primarily middle-aged women, had an invasive cosmetic plastic surgery procedure such as breast augmentation, tummy tuck or facelift. The authors did not identify any other major life changes that may have affected patients' use of antidepressants.........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink Source
October 8, 2006, 5:22 PM CT
Breast Asymmetry Surgery
Many women carry a private sorrow. They suffer from uneven breasts; with each breast differing is size from the other. This condition is also known as breast asymmetry and is a relatively common condition. The embarrassment about the uneven breasts could affect their daily lives, sexuality and confidence. Researchers say that for those women with significant asymmetry, breast surgery can considerably elevate quality of life and self-esteem. These discussions were part of as study that was presented recently at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) Plastic Surgery 2006 conference in San Francisco.
"All women have some degree of breast asymmetry, but for those with a noticeable difference, the embarrassment often keeps them from seeking help," said Walter Erhardt, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and Public Education Committee chair. "Even if breasts differ by less than a half-cup size it can be very noticeable. The condition is talked about so infrequently that a number of are unaware there are surgeries that can correct the problem".
Breast asymmetry occurs when a woman's breasts differ in size or shape. For example, a woman's left breast may be a B-cup and the right, a D-cup. Conversely, a woman may have one breast that significantly droops, and the other does not, making the woman's breasts appear unbalanced.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
October 6, 2006, 5:09 AM CT
Emotionally Ambivalent Workers Are More Creative
People who experience emotional ambivalence -- simultaneously feeling positive and negative emotions -- are more creative than those who feel just happy or sad, or lack emotion at all, as per a new study.
That's because people who feel mixed emotions interpret the experience as a signal that they are in an unusual environment and thus respond to it by drawing upon their creative thinking abilities, said Christina Ting Fong, an assistant professor at the University of Washington Business School. This increased sensitivity for recognizing unusual associations, which happy or sad workers probably couldn't detect, is what leads to creativity in the workplace, she added.
"Due to the complexity of a number of organizations, workplace experiences often elicit mixed emotions from employees, and it's often assumed that mixed emotions are bad for workers and companies," said Fong, whose study appears in the recent issue of the Academy of Management Journal. "Rather than assuming ambivalence will lead to negative results for the organization, managers should recognize that emotional ambivalence can have positive consequences that can be leveraged for organizational success."
For her research, Fong conducted two studies. In the first, she asked 102 college students to write about certain emotional experiences in their lives with the goal of invoking in them feelings of happiness, sadness, neutrality or ambivalence. She then had them complete a usually used measure of creativity called the Remote Associates Test that explored their ability to recognize common themes among seemingly unrelated words. The results demonstrated that while there were no differences among happy, sad and neutral individuals, people who were feeling emotionally ambivalent performed significantly better on this creativity task.........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink Source
October 6, 2006, 5:04 AM CT
Tongue scrapers only slightly reduce bad breath
Bad breath is a common problem for a number of people, given the wide variety of substances traveling through our mouths daily. Some people avoid offensive foods and drinks, chew gum, use mouth rinses, or eat mints to mask unpleasant odor. Others cannot escape bad breath quite so easily. At least 40 million Americans suffer from halitosis. Unfortunately, there is no standard therapy for it.
As per a research studyin the September/recent issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) clinical, peer-evaluated journal, halitosis is a term used to describe any disagreeable odor of expired air. Bad breath is a generally accepted term for foul smells emanating from the mouth. Oral malodor is a term reserved for unpleasant smells originating from the oral cavity. "A common reason for bad breath is post-nasal drip, which coats the back area of the tongue with bacteria-rich mucous," says AGD spokesperson, June Lee, DDS, MAGD. "A tongue scraper is often effective in relieving oral malodor caused by sinus drainage".
The study evaluated literature examining the effects of using tongue scrapers to brush the tongue, rather than using a toothbrush to scrape the tongue. Data revealed that a tongue cleaner/scraper demonstrated a significant difference in reducing volatile sulfur compounds (VSC) levels, which are produced when bacteria and amino acids interact to produce bad breath.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
October 6, 2006, 5:00 AM CT
Methamphetamine Use On The Rise
Image courtesy of http://www.drugs.indiana.edu
It's cheap, addictive and can harm your smile for life. Its use is also rapidly increasing both nationally and world-wide. It is methamphetamine. As per the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 12 million Americans age 12 and older reported they had tried methamphetamine at least once in their lifetime. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) advises it is imperative that the public and dental professionals learn about the severe oral health effects the drug is having on a number of users' mouths.
As per a report that will appear in the November/December 2006 issue of General Dentistry, the AGD's clinical, peer-evaluated journal, methamphetamine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant that produces prolonged euphoria and is relatively easy to make, inexpensive to purchase and distribute. Its use is on the rise and can have serious adverse affects on one's oral health, including highly visible widespread cavities and rampant decay.
Meth abuse patients may have a higher tolerance for anesthetics, experience unpleasant effects due to drug interactions or have anxiety regarding dental therapy which combined with meth use can cause serious problems. Their teeth have been described as "blackened, stained, rotting, crumbling, or falling apart," as per information in the study obtained from the American Dental Association (ADA). Some teeth are in such poor condition that they are unsalvageable and must be extracted.........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink Source