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February 26, 2006, 11:38 PM CT

Fighting Tooth Decay With Electricity

Fighting Tooth Decay With Electricity The gel tray filled with gel and suitable to external power supply Image courtesy of IsraCast
The Israeli company Fluorinex Active has developed a new technology for fighting tooth decay. The company is currently working on a small device which together with a gel will impose an efficient ion exchange process through an Electro-chemical reaction in which fluor ions displace the Hydroxide ions at the outer layer of the tooth. This is intended to produce a new mineral layer with significantly improved chemical and physical resistance to the aggressive bacteria and the resulting acidic environment in the mouth.

The technology uses an existing fluoride-based gel along with a device which produces a small electric current (6-9 volt, at low amperage) to achieve activation of the teeth that will enable the formation of a genuine electrolyte when activated. This in turn enhances the fluor ion attraction to the teeth and its exchange that transforms into a highly resistant and protective mineral layer.

In the past there have been many attempts to create a lasting layer of protective coating over the teeth but all of them had failed due to a weak adherence of the fluor ions and rapid loss of fluorides.

Fluorinex claims the new product will be able to give protection for up to five years and will be administered by a simple procedure at the dental clinic. The new device should be ready for commercial use in a year and a half and is currently undergoing clinical trials after extensive research had been done at the Hebrew University last year.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

February 24, 2006, 9:23 PM CT

Burden of Illness in Drug abusers

Burden of Illness in Drug abusers
Little is known about the frequency, severity and risk factors for disease in drug and alcohol dependent persons without primary medical care. This article assesses the burden of medical illness and identifies patient and substance dependence characteristics associated with worse physical health in order to compare measures of illness burden in this population. Scientists conducted a cross-sectional study among alcohol, heroin or cocaine dependent persons without primary medical care admitted to an urban inpatient detoxification unit (mean age = 35.7 years; 76% male; 46% Black).

Forty-five percent reported being diagnosed with a chronic illness, and 80% had previous medical hospitalizations. The mean age-adjusted SF-36 Physical Component Summary (PCS) score was significantly lower than the general U.S. population norm (44.1 vs. 50.1). In multivariable analysis, the following factors were associated with worse health: female gender, problem use of hallucinogens, heroin, other opiates, living alone, having medical insurance, and older age. Alcohol and drug dependent persons without primary medical care have a substantial burden of medical illness compared to age and gender matched U.S. population controls. While the optimal measure of medical illness burden in this population is unclear, a variety of health measures document this medical illness burden in addicted persons.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink     

February 24, 2006, 0:07 AM CT

2-way Conversations Between Malignant, Normal Cells

2-way Conversations Between Malignant, Normal Cells
For more than seven decades, researchers have had tantalizing clues that cancer cells and neighboring non-malignant cells in the body communicate with one another. It now emerges that this dialog may explain the clinical observation that cancer cells grow to make secondary tumors (metastasize) in some organs of the body and not others. Findings published recently (Feb. 15) suggest that this may also have therapeutic implications.

With the aid of gene chip technology and other powerful new tools, scientists at the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have shown clearly that there are two-way conversations taking place that are essential for metastatic cancer cells to form new tumors in distant organs. Further, they have been able to distinguish messages generated by the metastatic cells from those produced by the neighboring non-malignant cells.

"We now know that metastatic tumor cells do not act alone. They must find the right neighborhood, whose resident cells speak their language and are able to provide the support system necessary for the metastatic cells to survive and form secondary tumors," said David Tarin, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology and member of the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego. Tarin is the principal investigator of the study, published February 15 as an EarlyView article on the International Journal of Cancer web site at Wiley Interscience ( The DOI (digital object identifier) is 10.1002/ijc.21757.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

February 24, 2006, 0:04 AM CT

Dvds, Books And Behavioural Problems In Children

Dvds, Books And Behavioural Problems In Children
Parents wanting to solve their children's behavioural problems may be well advised to turn to DVDs and self-help books, rather than to clinical help such as face-to-face cognitive-behavioural treatment, as per Oxford University research published in The Cochrane Library 2006.

Cognitive-behavioural interventions have shown to be highly effective for reducing behavioural problems in children, yet they are costly and not always available to all those needing help as times on waiting lists can be up to 30 weeks for non-urgent cases. If the information parents need in order to manage their children's behaviour presented in book (or other media format) more families could have access to practical help.

The authors of the study carried out the first systematic review of those studies which dealt with the question of improving children's behaviour. Analysing 11 studies including 943 participants, the authors found that media-based therapies for behavioural disorders in children had a moderate effect when compared with no therapy, or as an adjunct to medication. Significant improvements were made with the addition of up to two hours of therapist time.

Dr Paul Montgomery, Lecturer in Evidence-Based Intervention at Oxford, said: 'Self-help books and other media on how to solve your child's behaviour problems abound in the shops, yet almost none have actually been scientifically tested. Our work suggests that self-help books may, in some cases, make significant changes in a child's behaviour. This means that, if used systematically, they may help reduce the time that primary care workers have to devote to each case. Such media could also be used as a first stage in a stepped up care approach. This would increase the number of families who could benefit from this type of intervention, and clinical time could be used for more complex cases.'.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

February 22, 2006, 10:25 PM CT

Psychology Of Asthma Response In Children

Psychology Of Asthma Response In Children
While a number of urban children suffer from asthma, those who have high self-esteem and good problem-solving skills may be less likely to have their asthma symptoms interfere with school, a new study finds.

"Our results suggest that in spite of facing asthma symptoms, stressors correlation to urban residence, as well as family life stressors, children's individual characteristics such as higher levels of problem-solving beliefs and self-esteem were associated with fewer school absences, more participation in activities, and less missed sleep," says lead author, Daphne Koinis Mitchell, PhD, with the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center (BHCRC) and Brown Medical School.

This study, reported in the December 2005 issue of the Journal of School Health, is an important step towards identifying ways in which school systems can develop plans to help students with asthma improve their academic performance.

Asthma can influence school absences, increase emergency room visits, limit physical activities, and account for sleep loss. If not properly treated, asthma can negatively impact children's ability to learn when in school, the authors write.

But are there are factors that might mitigate these effects? The authors studied a group of urban, school-aged children (and their mothers) with asthma from minority backgrounds.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

February 22, 2006, 10:17 PM CT

Twice-yearly Injections Only To Improve Bone Density

Twice-yearly Injections Only To Improve Bone Density
the world's largest biotechnology company, announced recently the publication of Phase 2 data demonstrating twice-yearly injections of denosumab (previously referred to as AMG 162), a RANK Ligand inhibitor, significantly increased bone mineral density (BMD) in the total hip, lumbar spine, distal 1/3 radius and total body compared to placebo. The results of this one-year study appeared in the Feb. 23, 2006 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Data results also included an open-label FOSAMAX- (alendronate)* arm of the same clinical trial.

Scientists reported that subcutaneous injections of denosumab significantly increased BMD at the total hip from 1.9 to 3.6 percent in women who were administered the treatment twice yearly as compared with a decrease of 0.6 percent in the placebo group (p<0.001) at one year. The open label FOSAMAX- group receiving 70 mg weekly had an increase of 2.1 percent during the same time frame. Results also indicated that denosumab had a rapid onset of action. A significant decrease in serum levels of C-telopeptide, a biomarker of bone resorption, was achieved within 72 hours after dosing.

"These exciting data suggest that denosumab, when administered in twice-yearly injections, may show promise in the therapy of osteoporosis," said Michael McClung, MD, FACP, principal investigator of the denosumab study, Providence Portland Medical Center, and director of the Oregon Osteoporosis Center, Portland, Ore. "Continued research will further our understanding of the potential of denosumab in bone loss management."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source

February 21, 2006, 10:13 PM CT

Male Circumcision Protects Female Partners From HIV

Male Circumcision Protects Female Partners From HIV
A statistical review of the past medical files of more than 300 couples in Uganda, in which the female partner was HIV negative and the male was HIV positive, provides solid documentation of the protective effects of male circumcision in reducing the risk of infection among women. Male circumcision also reduced rates of trichomonas and bacterial vaginosis in female partners. The study is thought to bethe first to demonstrate the benefits to female partners of male circumcision.

Specifically, male circumcision reduced by 30 percent the likelihood that the female partner would become infected with the virus that causes AIDS, with 299 women contracting HIV from uncircumcised partners and only 44 women becoming infected by circumcised men. Similar reductions in risk were observed for the other two kinds of infection, but not for other common STDs, including human papillomavirus, syphilis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia.

As per the Hopkins scientists who led the study, Ronald Gray, M.D., and Steven Reynolds, M.D., M.P.H., the findings support efforts to assess male circumcision as an effective means of preventing HIV infection. Circumcision is a practice common in North America and among Jews and Muslims, but not generally in Eastern and Southern Africa, Europe or Asia.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source

February 20, 2006, 6:30 PM CT

Proteins That Help Make Healthy Eggs

Proteins That Help Make Healthy Eggs A healthy egg, far left, is surrounded by normal, nurturing granulosa cells. Near left, an ovarian follicle lacking the TAF4b protein results in a misshapen egg and withered granulosa cells whose bonds are broken. Image: Richard Freiman, Brown University
Human eggs rely on handmaidens. Called granulosa cells, they surround eggs and deliver nutrients and hormones. Without granulosa cells, eggs cannot mature and be successfully fertilized.

How do these handmaidens grow? Biologists at Brown University and the University of California-Berkeley have discovered that two proteins - TAF4b and c-Jun - team up to turn on about two dozen genes inside the nuclei of granulosa cells. This subset of genes, in turn, writes the genetic code for proteins that cause granulosa cells to multiply and nurture developing eggs.

The finding, published in an advanced online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides an important piece of the reproduction puzzle, and it points to possible drug targets for treating infertility and ovary cancer.

"Thousands of women in this country undergo fertility therapys each year and some have no idea why they can't get pregnant," said Richard Freiman, an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry at Brown. "This research gives us important new information about fertility. It's a basic science finding, but it may provide answers for some of these women and, possibly, lead to better in-vitro fertilization therapies".........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source

February 20, 2006, 6:24 PM CT

Landmark Study Of Bipolar Disorder In Children

Landmark Study Of Bipolar Disorder In Children
Children and teen-agers with bipolar disorder suffer from the illness differently than adults do. Their symptoms last longer and swing more swiftly from hyperactivity and recklessness to lethargy and depression.

This is the first major finding published from the Course and Outcome of Bipolar Illness in Youth, or COBY, research program. Under COBY, psychiatry experts from Brown Medical School, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of California-Los Angeles have studied more than 400 pediatric patients, some for as long as five years, to determine the course of bipolar disorder as well as gauge its behavioral and social effects. COBY is the largest and most comprehensive pediatric study of bipolar disorder to date.

In their first COBY publication, in the Archives of General Psychiatry, scientists report on 263 subjects aged 7 to 17 with bipolar spectrum disorder. Subjects were studied over a roughly two-year period and asked about mood, behavior, and medical therapy. The aim: Determine how bipolar disorder, in all its forms, progresses in children and teens.

Martin Keller, M.D., a pioneer in designing and conducting long-term studies of major psychiatric disorders, is principal investigator for the Brown Medical School research team.

"Bipolar disorder severely impairs functioning and has a high rate of related psychiatric and physical health issues, such as anxiety and substance abuse," said Keller, the Mary E. Zucker Professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and psychiatry expert-in-chief of Brown's seven affiliated hospitals. "These data are essential to improving diagnosis and therapy for a vulnerable population. The data can also inform the design of clinical drug trials so the trials have a maximum likelihood of identifying effective therapys".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source

February 20, 2006, 6:03 PM CT

Take Calcium And Vitamin D: Avoid Hip Fractures

Take Calcium And Vitamin D: Avoid Hip Fractures Food rich in vitamin D and calcium
Taking calcium and Vitamin D slightly decreased the risk of hip fractures in older women, but not the risk for other types of fractures or for colorectal cancer, as per the latest findings from the federally funded Women's Health Initiative. Additionally, the supplements slightly increased the incidence of kidney stones.

A researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine who helped oversee the WHI study said the results don't change current recommendations that women over age 50 should consume 1,200 milligrams of calcium and 400-600 international units of Vitamin D each day to maintain their bone health. However, Marcia Stefanick, PhD, professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, pointed out that adequate levels of these nutrients don't have to come from supplements.

"You may be able to get enough calcium and Vitamin D through the foods you eat," said Stefanick, who chaired the WHI steering committee.

The findings would be reported in the Feb, 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. They are the latest clinical results from the WHI, a 15-year, broad-based look at the causes and prevention of diseases affecting older women. Prior WHI studies have involved hormone treatment, low-fat diets and heart disease.

The calcium/Vitamin D study involved more than 36,000 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 79 who were tracked over the course of seven years. Scientists wanted to determine whether women who took the supplements could reduce their risk of bone fractures, particularly hip fractures, and colorectal cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      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. Archives of society medical news blog

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