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August 30, 2006, 4:55 AM CT

Repeated Alcohol Exposures Can Affect Brain

Repeated Alcohol Exposures Can Affect Brain
Scientists at the University at Buffalo studying the effects of alcohol on the brain, using zebrafish as a model, have identified several novel central nervous system proteins that are affected by chronic alcohol exposure.

They also confirmed the involvement of additional proteins previously suggested as targets of alcohol toxicity, and observed abnormal behavior in the fish resulting from chronic alcohol exposure.

Results of the research appeared in the Aug. 15 online edition of the European Journal of Pharmacology.

Five proteins were found to be overexpressed and three were found to be underexpressed. These proteins are believed to be involved in critical mechanisms such as programmed cell death, cholesterol balance, amino acid metabolism, oxidative stress and signal transduction.

"Identification of proteins that show selective changes in abundance after alcohol exposure has the potential to unlock new pathways both for understanding the mechanisms of alcoholism and alcohol toxicity, as well as its amelioration," said Richard A. Rabin, Ph.D., professor in the UB Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and senior author on the study.

Senthilkumar Damodaran, doctoral student in pharmacology, is first author.

The study involved 16 long-fin striped zebrafish, in two trials of eight each, which were placed as a group in a tank with ethyl alcohol for four weeks. Rabin said the scientists chose zebrafish because they are easy to breed and maintain, their DNA sequences are similar to that of humans and they are sensitive to alcohol concentrations.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


August 30, 2006, 4:46 AM CT

Aspirin And NSAIDs To Prevent Prostateenlargement

Aspirin And NSAIDs To Prevent Prostateenlargement
Scientists at Mayo clinic have observed that taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen may prevent or delay non-malignant prostatic hyperplasia, an enlarged prostate which can cause urinary symptoms in men as they age such as frequent urination, trouble starting urination, awakening frequently at night to urinate, weak urine stream and an urgent need to urinate. Details would be reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

"This study suggests that men's urinary health may be improved by taking NSAIDs," says Michael Lieber, M.D., Mayo Clinic urologist and study investigator. He and his colleagues found the risk of developing an enlarged prostate was 50 percent lower in NSAID users in comparison to non-users, and risk of developing moderate to severe urinary symptoms was 35 percent lower, he says.

Jenny St. Sauver, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic epidemiologist and lead study investigator, says, "The association between intake of NSAIDs and the reduction of non-malignant prostatic hyperplasia is strengthened by the consistency and magnitude of our findings. We would not recommend that every man go out and take aspirin, but if they are already taking it regularly for other reasons, our findings suggest another benefit as well." .........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 29, 2006, 9:48 PM CT

Malpractice Concerns Deter Residents

Malpractice Concerns Deter Residents
The survey results were announced earlier this month at the Florida Obstetric and Gynecological Society (FOGS) annual meeting in West Palm Beach. Aaron Deutsch, MD, lead author of the study and chief resident in the USF Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, presented the findings. The paper received the 2006 first-place resident research award from FOGS.

"Florida is already a state without enough obstetrician/gynecologists to meet the needs of patients. In some parts of the state, women must wait several months to see an obstetrician, and there are no perinatologists or maternal-fetal medicine specialists to take care of high-risk pregnancies," Dr. Deutsch said. "Our findings suggest this shortage may get even worse".

The USF scientists sent surveys to all fourth-year medical students in Florida in fall 2005. The senior year is when medical students find out where they will conduct their residencies the period of specialized training for licensed medical graduates in their chosen medical field.

Florida mirrors a national trend of fewer medical students applying for ob/gyn residencies. The USF scientists hypothesized that student concerns about the rising cost of malpractice premiums and medical liability in Florida may contribute to the marked decline of students specializing in ob/gyn.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


August 29, 2006, 9:15 PM CT

Stress And Alzheimer's Disease

Stress And Alzheimer's Disease
Stress hormones appear to rapidly exacerbate the formation of brain lesions that are the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease, as per scientists at UC Irvine. The findings suggest that managing stress and reducing certain medications prescribed for the elderly could slow down the progression of this devastating disease.

In a study with genetically modified mice, Frank LaFerla, professor of neurobiology and behavior, and a team of UCI scientists observed that when young animals were injected for just seven days with dexamethasone, a glucocorticoid similar to the body's stress hormones, the levels of the protein beta-amyloid in the brain increased by 60 percent. When beta-amyloid production increases and these protein fragments aggregate, they form plaques, one of the two hallmark brain lesions of Alzheimer's disease. The researchers also observed that the levels of another protein, tau, also increased. Tau accumulation eventually leads to the formation of tangles, the other signature lesion of Alzheimer's. The findings are published in this week's issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

"It is remarkable that these stress hormones can have such a significant effect in such a short period of time," LaFerla said. "Eventhough we have known for some time that higher levels of stress hormones are seen in individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer's, this is the first time we have seen how these hormones play such a direct role in exacerbating the underlying pathology of the disease".........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


August 28, 2006, 9:41 PM CT

Serious Mental Illness In Katrina Survivors

Serious Mental Illness In Katrina Survivors New Orleans Katrina survivors take the bus to schools Houston. (Photo DOD)
As per the most comprehensive survey yet completed of mental health among Hurricane Katrina survivors from Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, the proportion of people with a serious mental illness doubled in the months after the hurricane in comparison to a survey carried out several years before the hurricane. The study also observed that thoughts of suicide did not increase despite the dramatic increase in mental illness. The authors suggest that this low rate of suicide thoughts is due to optimistic beliefs about the success of future recovery efforts. The research, which was published recently in a special online edition of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, was led by scientists from Harvard Medical School (HMS).

"The increase in mental illness among Katrina survivors is not surprising, but the low suicidality is a surprise," says Ronald Kessler, PhD, professor of health care policy at HMS and lead author of the study. "Our concern, though, is that this lowering of suicidal tendencies appears to be strongly linked to expectations for recovery efforts that might not be realistic."

This report is the first in a planned series based on the Hurricane Katrina Community Advisory Group, a statistically representative sample of hurricane survivors participating in ongoing tracking surveys to monitor the pace and mental health effects of hurricane recovery efforts. The project is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Planning and Evaluation.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


August 28, 2006, 9:25 PM CT

Lead Exposure Leads To Brain Cancer

Lead Exposure Leads To Brain Cancer Lead paint
People who are routinely exposed to lead on the job are 50 percent more likely to die from brain cancer than people who are not exposed, as per a University of Rochester Medical Center study.

More than 18,000 brain and spinal cord tumors will be diagnosed in the United States this year. Yet little is known about what causes brain cancer; the only established risk factor is radiation, as per the American Cancer Society.

Results of other studies attempting to show a clear link between lead and cancer have been inconclusive. The new data, based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Death Index, may be the largest study ever to find a lead-cancer link. In doing so it provides further evidence that widespread environmental risk factors such as lead must be explored, said study author Edwin van Wijngaarden, Ph.D.

"If we are able to help explain the cause of even 1 or 2 percent of the total number of cases, that's important," said van Wijngaarden, an assistant professor and epidemiologist in the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine at the University of Rochester.

Reported in the Sept. 1, 2006, issue of the International Journal of Cancer, the study computed the risk estimates for lead exposure and brain cancer from a census sample of 317,968 people who reported their occupations between 1979 and 1981. Van Wijngaarden was looking for evidence of an exposure-response trend, or a rise in cancer incidence or mortality linked to an exposure to a toxic substance. The goal among scientists who do this type of investigation is to identify preventable, environmental risk factors that might cause the gene mutations that lead to cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 28, 2006, 9:22 PM CT

Pain Control Discovery

Pain Control Discovery
A newly discovered enzyme inhibitor, identified by scientists originally looking for biological pest controls, may lead to pain relief for sufferers of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, say scientists at the University of California, Davis. The finding, hailed by a noted inflammatory disease expert "as the most important discovery in inflammation in more than a decade," may also reduce side effects linked to the painkiller, Vioxx.

Lead author Kara Schmelzer, a post-doctoral researcher in principal investigator Bruce Hammock's lab, tested the novel compounds on rodents and found them to be as potent at a low-dose as Vioxx and Celebrex, but without the changes in blood chemistry associated with heart attacks. Vioxx and Celebrex belong to a class of drugs known as Cox-2 inhibitors. The enzyme targeted by the newly discovered inhibitors is also found in humans. (Enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions.).

"The reason this is so exciting is that this is a novel way to reduce inflammation, with a combination treatment," Schmelzer said. "We're going after a new enzyme target, not going after the Cox-2 inhibitors".

Their research is reported in a paper entitled "Enhancement of Antinociception by Coadministration of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase Inhibitors," reported in the current edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


August 28, 2006, 9:03 PM CT

Why You Go Hairless?

Why You Go Hairless?
Researchers looking at mice may have discovered why certain people are hairier than others in what could provide clues as to the reason some men go bald prematurely.

The University of Manchester team has laid bare the molecular processes that determine which embryonic skin cells will form into hair follicles and determine the body's hair pattern.

The findings will be of interest to researchers looking at male-pattern baldness but have more direct implications for people who suffer from ectodermal dysplasia - a range of conditions where skin cells fail to develop into other tissue, including hair follicles.

"During human development, skin cells have the ability to turn into other types of cells to form hair follicles, sweat glands, teeth and nails," said Dr Denis Headon, who led the research. "Which cells are transformed into hair follicles is determined by three proteins that are produced by our genes.

"Our research has identified how one of these proteins working outside of the cell interacts at a molecular level to determine an individual's hair pattern as the embryonic skin spatially organises itself".

The team observed that cells given the genetic command to become hair follicles will send out signals to neighbouring cells to prevent them from doing likewise, so producing a specific hair pattern.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 28, 2006, 8:52 PM CT

Sunscreens Can Damage Skin

Sunscreens Can Damage Skin UV filters generate reactive oxygen species in skin
Credit: K. Hanson, UC Riverside
Are sunscreens always beneficial, or can they be detrimental to users? A research team led by UC Riverside chemists reports that unless people out in the sun apply sunscreen often, the sunscreen itself can become harmful to the skin.

When skin is exposed to sunlight, ultraviolet radiation (UV) is absorbed by skin molecules that then can generate harmful compounds, called reactive oxygen species or ROS, which are highly reactive molecules that can cause "oxidative damage." For example, ROS can react with cellular components like cell walls, lipid membranes, mitochondria and DNA, leading to skin damage and increasing the visible signs of aging.

When sunscreen is applied on the skin, however, special molecules - called UV filters - contained in the sunscreen, cut down the amount of UV radiation that can penetrate the skin. Over time, though, these filters penetrate into the skin below the surface of the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, leaving the body vulnerable to UV radiation.

Led by Kerry M. Hanson, a senior research scientist in the Department of Chemistry at UCR, the scientists report that three UV filters (octylmethoxycinnamate, benzophenone-3 and octocrylene), which are approved by the Food and Drug Administration and widely used in sunscreens, generate ROS in skin themselves when exposed to ultraviolet radiation, thus augmenting the ROS that is naturally produced. The scientists note that the additional ROS are generated only when the UV filters have penetrated into the skin and, at the same time, sunscreen has not been reapplied to prevent ultraviolet radiation from reaching these filters.........

Posted by: George      Permalink         Source


August 28, 2006, 4:25 AM CT

Diabetes Control Poorer In Blacks Compared To Whites

Diabetes Control Poorer In Blacks Compared To Whites
A recently performed meta-analysis (a systematic analysis of several studies) combining 11 separate research studies observed that blacks with diabetes have poorer control of blood sugar than whites. These research findings come from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and his colleagues.

"This lower level of control may partly explain why blacks have disproportionately higher rates of death and complications from diabetes," said Julienne Kirk, PharmD, lead author of the study published online today (Aug. 25) in Diabetes Care.

Kirk said the findings point to the need to determine why the difference in control exists and to identify ways to prevent or reduce the resulting health problems. Poor blood sugar control can result in long-term complications such as blindness, amputation and end-stage kidney failure.

The scientists analyzed studies that measured sugar control among blacks and whites using a blood test for glycosylated hemoglobin hemoglobin that has linked with glucose, or blood sugar. The lower the amounts of glycosylated hemoglobin, also called A1C, in the blood, the better the body is controlling blood sugar.

By combining the data from the 11 studies into a "meta-analysis" involving a total of 42,273 white and 14,670 black patients, they were able to detect differences that may not have shown up in each individual study. This was the first meta-analysis of racial and ethnic differences in blood sugar control among patients with diabetes.........

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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