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March 5, 2009, 6:15 AM CT

Antibody treatment for sever asthma

Antibody treatment for sever asthma
McMaster University scientists have found patients with a very severe asthma benefit from injections of the antibody, mepolizumab.

The study by Dr. Param Nair and his colleagues based at The Firestone Institute for Respiratory Disease, St. Joseph's Healthcare, found patients who require a lot of medication, including prednisone, to control their disease benefit from the injections.

The research reported in the New England Journal (NEJM) (NEJM), investigated asthmatics with a persisting type of airway inflammation with inflammatory cells called eosinophils. It is estimated there are 60,000 to 120,000 Canadians with this condition.

"Mepolizumab works by blocking the production of eosinophils," said the study's senior author Dr. Paul O'Byrne. "By preventing their production, we were able to improve asthma, reduce the need for prednisone and really show that eosinophils are important in causing asthma symptoms in these patients." O'Byrne is the E. J. Moran Campbell Professor in Respiratory Medicine and chair of the Department of Medicine at McMaster University, and executive director of the Firestone Institute of Respiratory Health at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton.

Of three million asthmatics in Canada, about five to eight per cent are severe asthmatics. About half of these have severe asthma with persistent eosinophilia. Eventhough these asthmatics are fewer in number, they represent huge costs to the health care system because frequent flare-ups which can require admission to hospital.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 5, 2009, 6:13 AM CT

Childhood obsessive symptoms and OCD

Childhood obsessive symptoms and OCD
A research group led Miguel ngel Fullana, researcher at the Universitat Autnoma de Barcelona Department of Psychiatry and Legal Medicine, psychology expert the Institute of Psychiatric Treatment of Hospital de Mar in Barcelona and researcher at King's College Institute of Psychiatry, London, has carried out a first study which connects the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive rituals in childhood with the risk of developing an obsessive-compulsive disorder as adults. One of the main conclusions of the study is that children who repeatedly manifest having obsessions and compulsions notably increase their risk of suffering from a disorder during the later part of life.

The research used data from the Dunedin Study which has been carried out with citizens of Dunedin, New Zealand since 1973. It is the only place in the world where a long-term follow-up of different psychological variables has taken place from childhood to adulthood with a sample of one thousand people. Scientists assessed the evolution of two variables in participants at ages 11, 26 and 32: the repeated presence of obsessive ideas (e.g. recurrent and undesired thoughts to harm others) and compulsive rituals (a need to wash their hands constantly, to check up on small everyday tasks to prevent harm or repeatedly carrying out activities that seem meaningless, etc.).........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 5, 2009, 6:07 AM CT

The blind mole rat and the fight against cancer

The blind mole rat and the fight against cancer
Middle East Blind Mole Rat
If someone ever calls you a "dirty rat," consider it a compliment. A new discovery published online in the FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) shows that cellular mechanisms used by the blind mole rat to survive the very low oxygen environment of its subterranean niche are the same as those that tumors use to thrive deep in our tissues. The net effect of this discovery is two hundred percent: first the blind mole rat can serve a "living tumor" in cancer research; andperhaps more importantthat unique gene in the blind mole rat becomes a prime target for new anti-cancer drugs that can "suffocate" tumors.

"President Obama said in his February 24 address to the U.S. Congress that he wants to put an end to cancer, and the boost to basic science in the stimulus package is a great start," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal "But if he wants to end the longest ongoing war in U.S. historya War on Cancer we've been fighting since before Nixon declared it in 1971then building on this discovery is a good place to start".

To reach their finding, American and Israeli researchers from the Universities of Illinois and Haifa conducted experiments in multiple groups of "dirty" mole rats and "regular" rats. For each type of animal, a control group was exposed to normal levels of oxygen while the experimental groups were exposed to oxygen levels ranging from 3 percent to 10 percent. In the regular rats exposed to low levels of oxygen, the gene that becomes active to protect their bodies from low oxygen (BNIP3) was shown to be active in heart and skeletal muscles. In the mole rats, however, it was discovered that their version of the BNIP3 gene was much more effective at helping them tolerate low levels of oxygen than the version of the gene in "regular" rats.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 5, 2009, 6:04 AM CT

With age comes the ability to better regulate emotions

With age comes the ability to better regulate emotions
Mary Buchanan participates in one of the first studies demonstrating that the costs of emotion regulation vary across age groups.

With age comes the ability to better regulate emotions in order to not disrupt performance on a memory-intensive task, as per a research studyreported in the recent issue of the journal Psychology and Aging

The research study observed that regulating emotions such as reducing negative emotions or inhibiting unwanted thoughts is a resource-demanding process that disrupts the ability of young adults to simultaneously or subsequently perform tasks.

"This study is among the first to demonstrate that the costs of emotion regulation vary across age groups," said Fredda Blanchard-Fields, chair of Georgia Tech's School of Psychology and the study's main author.

The study which included 72 young adults who were 20 to 30 years old and 72 adults who were 60 to 75 years old was funded by the National Institutes of Health. It was conducted by Blanchard-Fields and Susanne Scheibe, a former postdoctoral fellow at Georgia Tech currently at Stanford University.

For the investigation, three-fourths of the participants watched a two-minute Fear Factor television clip depicting a woman eating something revolting in order to win money. The video was intended to induce a feeling of disgust in the participants. The remaining participants comprising the control group watched a two-minute clip of two men talking about a woman's dress and subsequently sharing a beer in silence that was not intended to induce emotions.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 5, 2009, 6:01 AM CT

Safety of intravenous gammaglobulin treatment

Safety of intravenous gammaglobulin treatment
New research out of Wake Forest University School of Medicine identifies the presence of cardiovascular risk factors as an indicator of how likely it is that elderly, hospitalized patients who receive intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) therapy will have a stroke or heart attack.

An advance copy of the study appears online this week in the Journal of Neurology, the official publication of the European Neurological Society. It is scheduled to appear in a future print issue.

Previous to this study, physicians knew that administering intravenous immunoglobulin, or IVIg, could cause stroke or heart attack, but it was unclear when those serious side effects occurred.

"Stroke or heart attack has always been considered a fairly rare complication, but it's a catastrophic one," said James B. Caress, M.D., an associate professor of neurology and the study's lead researcher. Before this study, it was difficult for doctors to counsel patients about their risk for stroke or heart attack from IVIg therapy because prior reports could not identify which patients were at the highest risk, he added.

IVIg used in patients with autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, and with immunodeficiencies is a drug made from human blood components. In patients who have an autoimmune disease, in which the body forms antibodies that attack its own tissues, IVIg can suppress the detrimental effects of those antibodies. In patients with advanced cancer, where the immune system is damaged from the tumor or chemotherapy, the drug boosts the immune system to stave off infections.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 4, 2009, 6:24 AM CT

Where's Waldo?

Where's Waldo?
With assistance from the classic book character Where's Waldo?, scientists at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center have recently made a major advance in understanding how the brain searches for objects of interest.

Susana Martinez-Conde, PhD, and fellow scientists Jorge Otero-Millan, Xoana Troncoso, PhD, Stephen Macknik, PhD, and Ignacio Serrano-Pedraza, PhD, recently conducted a study asking participants to find Waldo. As participants searched, their eye movements were simultaneously recorded. Results showed that the rate of microsaccades tiny, jerk-like fixational eye movements dramatically increased when participants found Waldo.

"This discovery helps explain human searching behavior, which can assist us in finding keys on a cluttered desk or recognizing a child's face on a playground," says Dr. Martinez-Conde.

The central role of microsaccades in visual perception has been a highly debated, and vaguely understood, topic among scientists for decades. The results from the Martinez-Conde lab may help explain the connection between microsaccades and search behavior, both in the normal brain, and in brains with visual or eye movement deficits.

"We now know there is a direct link between microsaccades and how we search for objects of interest," says Dr. Martinez-Conde. "This link can help with future advancements such as creating neural prosthetics for patients with brain damage or machines that can see as well as humans".........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


March 4, 2009, 6:16 AM CT

Will teenagers listen to parent's advice on smoking?

Will teenagers listen to parent's advice on smoking?
Parents can help their teenagers to never start smoking. A Swedish study reported in the open access journal BMC Public Health has observed that adolescents respond positively to their parents' attitudes towards smoking.

The research, carried out by a team led by Maria Nilsson of Ume University, Sweden,.

utilized statistics obtained from three national surveys conducted by The National Board for Health and Welfare and The Swedish National Institute of Public Health in 1987, 1994 and 2003. The surveys explored the attitudes, beliefs and tobacco use of teenagers across Sweden. Responses were obtained from young people aged 13, 15 and 17 years old, with 1500 adolescents in each age group. A total of 13500 adolescents were surveyed. The aim of the study was to determine adolescent attitudes towards parental intervention on tobacco use in Sweden and to see if these have changed over time.

Teenagers are more positive today towards their parents' attempts to discourage them from smoking, regardless of whether or not they smoked, than in the past. The most effective actions parents could take include dissuading their children from smoking, not smoking themselves and not allowing their children to smoke at home. Younger children were more positive about these approaches than older children.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 4, 2009, 6:14 AM CT

Portrayals of alcohol in films and TV leads to more drinking

Portrayals of alcohol in films and TV leads to more drinking
New research has shown for the first time that portrayals of alcohol in films and TV advertisements have an immediate effect on the amount of alcohol that people drink.

The research, published online today (Wednesday 4 March) in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism [1], found that people who watched films and commercials in which alcohol drinking featured prominently immediately reached for a bottle of beer or wine and drank an average of 1.5 bottles more than people who watched films and commercials in which alcohol played a less prominent role.

Scientists in The Netherlands and Canada conducted a randomised, controlled trial in which they allocated 80 male university students, aged 18-29, to one of four groups; 20 watched a film (American Pie) in which characters drank alcohol 18 times and alcoholic drinks were portrayed an additional 23 times, and a commercial break that included ads for alcohol; 20 watched American Pie and a neutral commercial break with no alcohol ads; 20 watched a film (40 Days and 40 Nights) in which alcohol appeared far less prominently (characters consumed it three times and alcoholic drinks were shown 15 times) and a commercial break including ads for alcohol; and 20 watched 40 Days and 40 nights and a neutral commercial break with no alcohol ads.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


March 4, 2009, 6:11 AM CT

Obesity may lead to infertility

Obesity may lead to infertility
Obese women have alterations in their ovaries which might be responsible for an egg's inability to make an embryo, as per a newly released study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

Obese women trying to become pregnant experience longer times to conception, even if they are young and have a regular menstrual cycle. This study sought to determine if there are alterations in an egg's environment in obese women which contribute to poorer reproductive outcomes.

"Characteristics of eggs are influenced by the environment in which they develop within the ovary," said Dr. Rebecca Robker, PhD, of Adelaide University in Australia and main author of the study. "Our study observed that obese women have abnormally high levels of fats and inflammation in the fluid surrounding their eggs which can impact an egg's developmental potential".

As per Dr. Robker, the fats might alter the very sensitive metabolism of the egg and such changes are known to be harmful to embryo formation. In addition, inflammation can damage cells and when this happens to eggs it can affect embryo survival.

For this study, scientists followed 96 women seeking assisted reproduction at a private clinic in South Australia from February 2006 to April 2007. Dr. Robker and her colleagues measured hormone and metabolite levels in follicular fluid obtained from the subjects' ovaries during their egg collection procedures. They observed that obese women exhibited an altered ovarian follicular environment, especially increased metabolite and androgen activity levels, which appears to be linked to poorer reproductive outcomes.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


March 4, 2009, 6:09 AM CT

Emotions hold sway over physical health

Emotions hold sway over physical health
A researcher from the University of Kansas has spearheaded a new investigation into the link between emotions and health. The research proves that positive emotions are critical for upkeep of physical health for people worldwide, above all for those who are deeply impoverished.

The study, a joint undertaking between KU and Gallup, will be presented today at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in Chicago.

"We've known for a while now that emotions play a critical role in physical health," said Sarah Pressman, assistant professor of psychology at KU and a Gallup senior research associate. "But until recently, most of this research was conducted only in industrialized countries. So we couldn't know whether feelings like happiness or sadness matter to the health of people who have more pressing concerns like getting enough to eat or finding shelter. But now we do".

Data from the Gallup World Poll drove the findings, with adults in more than 140 countries providing a representative sample of 95 percent of the world's population. The sample included more than 150,000 adults.

Participants reported emotions such as happiness, enjoyment, worry and sadness. They described their physical health problems such as pain and fatigue and answered questions about whether their most basic needs like food, shelter and personal safety were adequately met.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
Studies in monkeys and women suggest that unlike traditional estrogen therapy, a diet high in the natural plant estrogens found in soy does not increase the risk of uterine cancer in postmenopausal women, according to Mark Cline, D.V.M., Ph.D., an associate professor of comparative medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

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