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August 1, 2006, 6:53 AM CT

Curry And Onions May Prevent Colon Cancer

Curry And Onions May Prevent Colon Cancer
A small but informative clinical trial by Johns Hopkins researchers shows that a pill combining chemicals found in turmeric, a spice used in curries, and onions reduces both the size and number of premalignant lesions in the human intestinal tract.

In the study, reported in the recent issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, five patients with an inherited form of premalignant polyps in the lower bowel known as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) were treated with regular doses of curcumin (the chemical found in turmeric) and quercetin, an antioxidant in onions, over an average of six months. The average number of polyps dropped 60.4 percent, and the average size dropped by 50.9 percent, as per a team led by Francis M. Giardiello, M.D., at the Division of Gastroenterology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Marcia Cruz-Correa, M.D., Ph.D., at Johns Hopkins and the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine.

"We believe this is the first proof of principle that these substances have significant effects in patients with FAP," says Giardiello.

Typically familial adenomatous polyposis is a disorder that runs in families and is characterized by the development of hundreds of colorectal adenomas (polyps) and eventual colon cancer. Recently, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been used to treat some patients with this condition, but these compounds often produce significant side effects, including gastrointestinal ulcerations and bleeding, as per Giardiello.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


August 1, 2006, 6:48 AM CT

Higher Blood Pressure Associated with Decline in Walking Ability

Higher Blood Pressure Associated with Decline in Walking Ability
Decline in lower limb function is common in older people, and worsening gait is linked to increased risk of dementia and death. However, factors contributing to gait difficulties in older persons are not well understood. A study by scientists at Rush University Medical Center suggests that higher blood pressure may be one factor linked to a decline in walking ability in later life. The research, by Dr. Raj Shah and his colleagues at the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, is reported in the August 2006 issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, the scientific journal of The Gerontological Society of America.

Scientists recruited 888 older Catholic clergy without dementia or Parkinson's disease who are participating in the Religious Orders Study. At baseline, blood pressure was measured, the presence of vascular diseases and diabetes was recorded, cognitive function was assessed, and medications were inspected.

At baseline and subsequent annual visits, gait and balance were assessed using performance-based tasks, such as the time and number of steps taken to walk 8 feet, the time to sit up and down five times, the number of steps off the line during an 8-foot heel-to-toe walk, and a comparison of ability to stand with eyes open and eyes closed.

Participants completed a mean of nearly eight annual evaluations with a high rate of follow-up. Controlling for age, education, and gender, the study found a 10mmHg increment in systolic blood pressure was linked to greater decline in lower limb function. On average, lower limb function declined 28.7% faster in persons with a systolic blood pressure of 160 mmHg than in persons with a normal systolic blood pressure of 120 mmHg.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


August 1, 2006, 6:42 AM CT

Human Cytomegalovirus Vaccine

Human Cytomegalovirus Vaccine
Each year, about 40,000 children are born infected with human cytomegalovirus, or CMV, and about 8,000 of these children suffer permanent disabilities due to the virus almost one an hour. These disabilities can include hearing loss, vision loss, mental disability, a lack of coordination, and seizures. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CMV is as common a cause of serious disability as Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, or neural tube defects.

Because of the dangers posed by the virus to infants, the Institute of Medicine has declared that development of a CMV vaccine should be one of the highest priorities for vaccine makers. Now, in a new study in the August 1 issue of The Journal of Virology, scientists at The Wistar Institute outline an innovative approach that could be used to create such a vaccine.

The Wistar researchers began with the observation that mice harbor a species-specific form of CMV that is unable to sustain an infection in humans and is completely harmless to them. They then asked whether, using recombinant technologies, there might not be a way to shift the mouse-specific virus closer to the human-specific virus to generate a version of the virus able to elicit a protective immune response but not a dangerous infection in humans.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 31, 2006, 10:32 PM CT

An Eye-opening Look At Anesthesia

An Eye-opening Look At Anesthesia Dr. Emery N. Brown Photo courtesy / Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology
Raise your hand if you are more afraid of the prospect of general anesthesia than of surgery itself. If you raised your hand, you are not alone, as per the newest faculty member at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST).

Dr. Emery N. Brown, who explores what happens to the brain during anesthesia, began a dual appointment as professor of health sciences and technology and professor of computational neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) at MIT in October 2005.

"Anesthesia has taken on a mythical quality; it's not perceived as a neuro-physiological phenomenon," he said.

He describes the motivation behind his current research focus: "For a number of years, I was practicing anesthesiology, learning clinical skills in order to take care of patients, not thinking about how anesthesia affects patients. Then 10 years ago, when HST alum Dr. Greg Koski was the head of human studies at MGH, he said, 'It would be interesting to see an image, to see what happens when someone is under anesthesia.'" Brown was hooked.

"We say we induce anesthesia and then 'wake up' the patient," Brown said. "But in French the patient is reanime, or brought back to life. We haven't yet begun to think precisely about what we do, however. Anesthesia is not like sleep. It's not the same process".........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


July 31, 2006, 6:56 AM CT

HIV hides from drugs

HIV hides from drugs
UC Davis scientists have discovered that the human immunodeficiency virus, the virus that causes AIDS, is able to survive efforts to destroy it by hiding out in the mucosal tissues of the intestine. They also observed that HIV continues to replicate in the gut mucosa, suppressing immune function in patients being treated with antiretroviral treatment--even when blood samples from the same individuals indicated the therapy was working. Results of the three-year study appear in the August issue of the Journal of Virology (available online today at http://jvi.asm.org).

"This is the first longitudinal study to show that, while current HIV treatment is quite successful in reducing viral loads and increasing T-cells in peripheral blood, it is not so effective in gut mucosa," said Satya Dandekar, professor and chair of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at UC Davis Health System and senior author of the study.

"The real battle between the virus and exposed individuals is happening in the gut immediately after viral infection," she said. "We need to be focusing our efforts on improving therapy of gut mucosa, where massive destruction of immune cells is occurring. Gut-associated lymphoid tissue accounts for 70 percent of the body's immune system. Restoring its function is crucial to ridding the body of the virus".........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


July 31, 2006, 6:48 AM CT

Diagnosis And Referrals For Kidney Disease

Diagnosis And Referrals For Kidney Disease
Results of a national study of 304 U.S. physicians, in which "mock" patients' symptoms were presented for diagnosis, suggest that a sizeable percentage of primary care doctors probably fail to properly diagnose and refer patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Their findings, published in the recent issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, show that of 126 kidney specialists surveyed, 97 percent properly diagnosed CKD and 99 percent would have recommended specialized kidney care for the "patient." But only 59 percent of the 89 family physicians and 78 percent of 89 general internal medicine physicians fully recognized the signs and symptoms of CKD. And referrals to a nephrologist were made by only 76 percent of the family physicians and only 81 percent of general internists.

"We, as physicians, can certainly do better," says L. Ebony Boulware, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and lead author of the study.

"Millions of people have kidney disease, but a substantial number may not have their disease recognized," Boulware added. "Simply put, our study shows that primary care physicians are not recognizing kidney disease in high-risk patients as often as they should".

In the study, the Hopkins group asked the surveyed physicians to evaluate the medical files of a simulated patient being treated by a primary-care doctor and suffering from progressive CKD. CKD is a growing epidemic, affecting an estimated 10 million Americans. The medical "record" contained clues to the condition indicating that, based on guidelines issued in 2000 by the National Kidney Foundation, the patient should be referred to a nephrologist for evaluation of CKD.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


July 31, 2006, 6:44 AM CT

Interventions Should Start After The First Puff

Interventions Should Start After The First Puff
In this research study, Gervais and his colleagues describe the sequence and timing of 12 milestones (6 correlation to cigarette use and 6 to symptoms of nicotine dependence) among grade 7 students. They observed that symptoms of nicotine dependence can take hold long before regular smoking, even after the first puff in some cases.

This information needs to be incorporated into intervention programs aimed at young smokers.

In a related commentary, Klein discusses the challenges in helping young smokers quit and the need for stronger public health efforts to keep youth from starting in the first place.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 29, 2006, 8:49 PM CT

Genetic Model For Parkinson's Disease

Genetic Model For Parkinson's Disease
In the mouse model generated by the research team, a gene called TFAM is automatically deleted from the genome in dopamine nerve cells only. Without TFAM, mitochondria cannot function normally. The so called respiratory chain is compromised and energy production decreases severely in the dopamine cells.

The new mice are born healthy from healthy but genetically modified parents and will develop spontaneous disease. Prior studies in the field have been based on scientists delivering neurotoxic substances to kill the dopamine neurons. In the new mice, however, mice develop disease slowly in adulthood, like humans with Parkinson's disease, which may facilitate research aimed at finding novel medical therapys and other therapies.

"We see that the dopamine producing nerve cells in the brain stem slowly degenerate", says Dr. Nils-Gran Larsson. "In the microscope we can see.

that the mitochondria are swollen and that aggregates of a protein, probably alpha-synuclein starts to accumulate in the nerve cell bodies. Inclusions of alpha-synuclein-rich so called Lewy bodies is typical for the human disease".

The causes of Parkinson's disease have long remained a mystery. Genes and environment are both implicated, but recently there has been an increased focus on the roles of genetic factors. It has been observed that mutations in many genes can lead directly to disease, while other mutations may be susceptibility factors, so that carriers have an increased risk of becoming ill. A common denominator for some of the implicated genes is their suggested role for the normal functioning of mitochondria.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


July 29, 2006, 8:13 PM CT

meditation and cognitive impairment

meditation and cognitive impairment
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine are examining the effectiveness of meditation on early cognitive impairment. Once this new study is completed, the results could help answer lingering questions over whether or not stress-reducing techniques and mind exercises can lessen or even prevent cognitive decline. This is the first study at Penn's new "Center for Spirituality and the Mind," which evolved from work initiated in Penn's Department of Radiology to embrace and encourage scientists from the fields of medicine, pastoral care, religious studies, social work, nursing, and bioethics to expand our knowledge of how spirituality may affect the human brain.

"We'll be looking at patients with mild cognitive impairment or symptoms of early Alzheimer's disease," explains Andrew Newberg, MD, Associate Professor of Radiology, Psychiatry, and Religious Studies, who also directs the Center's investigations and is Principal Investigator of this pilot study. "We'll combine their meditation with brain imaging over a period of time to see if meditation improves cognitive function and is linked to actual change in the brain's activity levels. Specifically, we'll be looking for decreased activity in specific areas of the brain".

The dementia process causes a decreased function of neurons in the brain and can result in problems with memory, visual-spatial tasks, and handling emotional issues. As it worsens in a patient, it can also eventually lead to the need for round-the-clock care.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 28, 2006, 10:20 PM CT

gene therapy for hereditary heart conditions

gene therapy for hereditary heart conditions
A new way of delivering corrective genes with a single injection into a vein holds promise for long-lasting therapys of hereditary diseases of the heart, University of Florida scientists report.

UF scientists used the approach to successfully reverse symptoms in mice with a form of muscular dystrophy that damages the heart. They also tested the virus-based delivery method in monkeys and found genes were readily absorbed by heart muscle cells, and the effect persisted for months.

The findings, published July 27 in the online edition of Circulation Research, pave the way for studies in humans that could begin as soon as early next year for patients with Pompe disease, a rare form of muscular dystrophy that is commonly fatal in the first year of life.

"Nine years ago we knew we could get long-term gene expression in the heart but it was with direct injection into the heart muscle and it was inefficient," said UF pediatric cardiologist Barry J. Byrne, M.D., Ph.D., the paper's senior author and director of the Powell Gene Therapy Center. "The difference here is that we can deliver a much lower dose of the vector into a vein like any other drug, and the corrective gene collects in the heart".

Researchers say gene treatment looks increasingly feasible for the therapy of cardiovascular conditions associated with faulty genes or congenital metabolic diseases, including atherosclerosis, stroke, muscular dystrophy and an enlargement of the heart muscle known as dilated cardiomyopathy.........

Posted by: Daniel      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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