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October 16, 2006, 10:20 PM CT

Chemistry To Predict The Dynamics Of Clotting

Chemistry To Predict The Dynamics Of Clotting This image shows clotting occurring on a large area of vascular damage, but not small areas.
Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation
University of Chicago chemists have shown for the first time how to use a simple laboratory model consisting of only a few chemical reactions to predict when and where blood clotting will occur. The researchers used microfluidics, a technique that allowed them to probe blood clotting on surfaces that mimic vascular damage on the micron scale, a unit of measurement much narrower than the diameter of a human hair.

Eventhough researchers understand what occurs during a number of of the 80 individual chemical reactions involved in blood clotting, a number of questions about the dynamics of the entire reaction network remain. Rustem Ismagilov, Associate Professor in Chemistry at the University of Chicago, and graduate students Christian Kastrup, Matthew Runyon and Feng Shen have now developed a technique that will enable researchers to understand the rules governing complex biological reaction networks. They will detail their technique in the online early edition of the Oct. 16-20 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Life and death literally depend on a finely tuned blood-clotting system. "Clotting has to occur at the right place at the right time," Ismagilov said. "A strong, rapid clotting response is essential to stop bleeding at a wound, but such a clotting response at the wrong spot can block blood vessels and can be life-threatening".........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


October 16, 2006, 10:09 PM CT

Prescription Pain Medication Abuse On Increase

Prescription Pain Medication Abuse On Increase
Scientists at Rush University Medical Center found prescription pain medicine (PPM) abuse is a rapidly growing problem with surprising and often unpredictable distribution patterns. The research was presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Anesthesiologists in Chicago, October 13, 2006.

Mario Moric, PhD, a researcher in the department of Anesthesiology at Rush, and his colleagues used survey data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health for 2002-04 to estimate the prevalence of drug abuse across the United States for various illicit and prescription substances.

Moric observed that PPM abuse did not follow traditional patterns. "Individual states with high levels of PPM abuse may not recognize the problem. The prevailing assumption that only those states with high levels of traditional illicit drug abuse should be vigilant is clearly misleading".

The scientists found distribution of PPM abuse across the United States varied greatly and differed from other seemingly similar drug abuse trends. PPM distribution differed substantially from inhalants, heroin and sedatives, was somewhat similar to cocaine and stimulants and was closely correlation to distribution of tranquilizers.

Furthermore, the scientists observed that states with large metropolitan areas (New York, Illinois, Texas and California) did not have a high distribution of abuse, despite the common view that drug abuse is linked to the fast-paced lifestyle of city dwellers.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


October 16, 2006, 9:56 PM CT

Asthma Linked To Soot From Diesel Trucks

Asthma Linked To Soot From Diesel Trucks
Soot particles spewing from the exhaust of diesel trucks constitute a major contributor to the alarmingly high rates of asthma symptoms among school-aged children in the South Bronx, as per the results of a five-year study by scientists at New York University's School of Medicine and Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Over the course of the study, asthma symptoms, especially wheezing, doubled among elementary school children on high traffic days, as large numbers attend schools in close proximity to busy truck routes because of past land-use decisions.

The South Bronx has among the highest incidences of asthma hospital admissions in New York City, and a recent city survey of asthma in the South Bronx's Hunts Point district found an asthma prevalence rate in elementary school of 21 percent to 23 percent. The South Bronx is surrounded by several major highways, including Interstates 95, 87, 278 and 895. At Hunts Point Market alone, some 12,000 trucks roll in and out daily.

The study is a collaboration of NYU School of Medicine, the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and four community groups The Point Community Development Corporation, Sports Foundation, Inc., We Stay/Nos Quedamos, Inc., and Youth Ministries for Peace & Justice Inc. Endorsed by Congressman Jose E. Serrano, the aim of the study was to examine the impact of industrial emissions on air quality and to direct policy initiatives. Serrano sponsored the press conference today where the findings were discussed.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 16, 2006, 9:52 PM CT

Women On Hormone Therapy

Women On Hormone Therapy
Older women on hormone treatment are more sensitive to negative events, confirming speculation that age-related estrogen loss affects the brain's ability to process emotion, an Oregon Health & Science University study shows.

But that sensitivity to negative emotional events, such as viewing a photograph of a dead person, doesn't necessarily mean women taking estrogen remember those events any better.

In the study by scientists in the Cognition & Aging Laboratory at the OHSU School of Medicine's Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, hormone treatment in women appears to reverse the age-related loss of arousal to negative emotional events experienced by the elderly. It also points to specific changes in the brain's arousal system, in the regions that process emotion, and intensification of negative emotions.

The results were presented today at Neuroscience 2006, the Society for Neuroscience's 36th annual meeting at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

Researchers have suspected a link between sex hormones and emotion. Strengthening this theory is the fact that brain regions tuned for processing emotion and storing emotional memory - the amygdala and hippocampus - also respond to sex hormones and contain hormone receptors. Thus, changes in "emotional enhancement" people experience as they age, including a reduction in the ability to remember negative events, may be modified by age-related loss of sex hormones or hormone treatment.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


October 16, 2006, 8:55 PM CT

Could Dreams Be A Mechanism To Help Us Prepare For Danger?

Could Dreams Be A Mechanism To Help Us Prepare For Danger?
Dreams have been interpreted in a number of different ways through the ages: as messages from the gods, repressed sexual fantasies..... or, based on an evolutionist approach that emerged around the turn of the millennium, as a mechanism that helps us to prepare survival strategies in the face of danger.

Antonio Zadra, a professor in the Department of Psychology, likes that last theory. "Among its merits is that it lets us formulate hypotheses that can be tested quite easily," says Zadra, whose initial study tested no fewer than eight hypotheses derived from the new approach.

The theory was developed by Antti Revonsuo, Director of the Consciousness Research Group at the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Turku in Finland. He postulates that dreams developed in our long-ago ancestors to simulate outside threats, enabling the dreamer to put into practice or rehearse avoidance behaviours.

Pleistocene man faced constant threats from predators, rival tribes, and forces of nature. Seeking ways to avoid danger, our ancestors lived in a perpetual state of alert, and so the dream function assumed the form we see today. The theory is also based on the fact that rehearsing an action in your mind can improve the motor skills needed.

Research on dreams lends some credence to the theory. Research in the 1960s showed that 80% of dreams are negative in content, and misfortune occurs seven times more often than good fortune in dreams. In 96% of cases where there is some interaction with an animal, there is aggression. For both men and women, enemies are nearly always strangers - male strangers.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 15, 2006, 7:37 PM CT

Physicians Hinder Use Of Cutting Edge Technology In Diabetes

Physicians Hinder Use Of Cutting Edge Technology In Diabetes
Diabetic patients who use newer technologies such as insulin pumps and blood glucose monitoring devices are better able to manage their disease and adhere to therapy regimens, with less daily pain, than with conventional therapys, as per Duke University researchers. Yet scientists have observed that the newer methods to manage diabetes are not being widely used because physicians may be reluctant to prescribe them, and even patients who are using them may not be deriving their full benefits.

As per the Duke researchers, the lack of strong scientific evidence on the efficacy of newer devices, combined with insufficient patient-education resources for physicians and their patients, hinders the diffusion of new devices and contributes to their incorrect use. In addition, the scientists pointed to the higher costs of newer medical technologies and the demographics of diabetes as probable causes of low usage - i.e., its disproportionate prevalence among racial and ethnic minorities, persons of low socioeconomic status, and the elderly.

These findings have emerged from a literature review conducted by the Medical Technology Assessment Working Group at Duke University, focusing on technologies used to monitor glucose and deliver insulin outside of conventional methods, such as daily injections and finger stick tests.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 15, 2006, 7:25 PM CT

Promise For Herpes Vaccine

Promise For Herpes Vaccine Bill Halford
A study by a Montana State University researcher suggests a new avenue for developing a vaccine against genital herpes and other diseases caused by herpes simplex viruses.

As per a research findings published earlier this year in the Virology Journal, MSU virologist William Halford showed that mice vaccinated with a live, genetically-modified herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) showed no signs of disease 30 days after being exposed to a especially lethal "wild-type" strain of the virus.

In contrast, a second group of mice that received a more conventional vaccine died within six days of being exposed to the same "wild-type" strain.

"We have a clear roadmap for producing an effective live vaccine against genital herpes," said Halford, who works in MSU's Department of Veterinary Molecular Biology. "Eventhough my studies were performed with HSV-1, the implications for HSV-2-induced genital herpes are clear. Overall the two viruses are about 99 percent genetically identical".

An estimated 55 million Americans carry herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), which causes genital herpes. Infection is life-long. Approximately 5 percent of those with genital herpes - 2 million to 3 million Americans - suffer outbreaks one to four times annually. A vaccine offering life-long protection does not exist.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


October 15, 2006, 7:20 PM CT

Drug Might Give Prolonged Arthritis Relief

Drug Might Give Prolonged Arthritis Relief
Scientists at Duke University have devised a new way to significantly prolong the effects of an anti-inflammatory drug, potentially making it useful for providing longer-lasting therapy for osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis.

The modified drug, which would be injected directly into arthritic joints, could last for several weeks rather than just the few hours the unmodified drug would last, the scientists said.

In their study, the scientists modified a drug called interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL1RA). They observed that the drug, which is a protein, could be improved by attaching a second protein that clumps together at normal body temperatures. The combined drug likewise would assemble into clumps in the body to serve as "drug depots" that gradually release active drug particles, the scientists said.

"Eventhough the conventional drug is being used for autoimmune diseases, no one yet knows how much of it would be needed to achieve a therapeutic effect for osteoarthritis," said Lori Setton, associate professor of biomedical engineering and surgery. "Current estimates suggest it would require perhaps two injections per week of the unmodified drug.

"With this advance, we believe therapys could go from twice a week to perhaps twice a month, and that would be a huge clinical gain," she said.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


October 15, 2006, 7:15 PM CT

Same Gene For Cleft Lip And Skin Biology

Same Gene For Cleft Lip And Skin Biology
Following up on an earlier discovery that a gene called IRF6 is involved in the common birth defect cleft lip and palate, scientists at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and their colleagues have identified the function of the gene. Their latest findings, published online Oct. 15 in Nature Genetics, reveal an unexpected role for IRF6 in the growth and development of skin cells, a discovery that may have implications for wound healing and cancer research.

In 2002, Brian Schutte, Ph.D., UI associate professor of pediatrics and nursing, and Jeff Murray, M.D., UI professor of pediatrics, pediatric dentistry and biological sciences, and the Roy J. Carver Chair in Perinatal Health, led a study showing that mutations in IRF6 cause Van der Woude syndrome (VWS), a rare, dominantly inherited form of cleft lip and palate. Subsequently, the scientists observed that this gene also is mutated in 10 to 15 percent of the more common, so-called non-syndromic cases of cleft lip and palate. Cleft lip and palate, where the lip or both the lip and palate (roof of the mouth) fail to close, occurs in approximately one of every 1,000 babies.

In order to determine the function of this gene, the scientists created mice that lacked IRF6. These mice had very abnormal skin as well as a cleft palate. Detailed analysis of the mice revealed that IRF6 regulates the proliferation and differentiation of keratinocytes -- the main cell type in the epidermis or outer layer of skin. Keratinocytes also provide a protective barrier around the mouth, gut, liver, lung, kidney and other internal organs.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 15, 2006, 7:09 PM CT

Adolescent And Fluoxetine

Adolescent And Fluoxetine
New research offers tantalizing clues as to why some teenagers taking common anti-depressants may become more aggressive or kill themselves. The research is reported in the October Behavioral Neuroscience, which is published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Neuroresearchers at the University of Texas at Austin observed that juvenile hamsters given low doses of fluoxetine hydrochloride, which is sold in the United States as Prozac, became more aggressive on low doses of the drug. Juveniles given high doses became somewhat less aggressive, but not as much as adult hamsters, who calmed down on both high and low doses.

Doctoral student and lead author Kereshmeh Taravosh-Lahn, BA, says the findings confirm that juvenile and adult brains are different. Thus, she says, "It is unwise to expect a drug to work the same in juveniles as in adults." .

Fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), is the only medicine approved to treat depression in children and adolescents. However, it has carried an FDA "black box" warning since Fall 2004 due to findings of increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in some children and adolescents on the drugs. Fluoxetine affects the regulation of serotonin, a naturally occuring neurotransmitter believed to be involved in depression, by keeping it available longer in the brain's synapses. It is known to inhibit aggression in adult hamsters. Hamsters are often used as an animal model for studying the neural basis of social behavior, given how the rodents' youthful play fighting develops in clearly understood stages into adult aggression.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source



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Did you know?
Adolescents who suffer physical injuries are vulnerable to emotional distress in the months following their hospitalization, yet almost 40 percent of hospitalized adolescents interviewed for a new study had no source for the follow-up medical care that could diagnose and treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress. These young trauma survivors are at risk for high levels of post-traumatic stress and depressive symptoms, as well as high levels of alcohol use, according to research by researchers at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.

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