February 3, 2010, 8:11 AM CT
New weight-loss supplement as good as 20-minute walk
A new weight-loss supplement tested by the University of Oklahoma Health and Exercise Science Department has the potential to burn as a number of calories as a 20-minute walk, as per Joel T. Cramer, assistant professor of exercise physiology.
Cramer says General Nutrition Centers contracted with OU to test the weight-loss benefits of the nutritional supplement called the tri-pepper blend, which contains black pepper, caffeine and a concentrated form of capsaicin-the ingredient that makes red peppers hot. The OU study showed energy expenditures of three to six percent, results which are statistically significant enough to validate product weight-loss claims, Cramer said.
A group of participants in the study were given the supplement or a placebo followed by a metabolic rate test. The study measured oxygen consumed and carbon dioxide produced by participants to determine the arresting metabolic rate of each after receiving the supplements. The study confirmed the viability of the weight loss supplement.
OU has developed relationships within the nutritional supplement industry because of the department's ability to provide research support needed for new product development. Since Cramer arrived at OU in 2005 with a model of funding for industry grants, departmental funds have increased to nearly $3 million. The outcome has been an increase in the number of nutritional studies, which can provide vital information to industry.........
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February 3, 2010, 8:08 AM CT
How some prostate cancer cells become more aggressive?
UT Southwestern researchers, including Crystal Gore, Dr. Jer-Tsong Hsieh (center) and Dr. Daxing Xie, have shown that prostate cancer cells are more likely to spread to other parts of the body if a specific gene quits functioning normally.
Prostate cancer cells are more likely to spread to other parts of the body if a specific gene quits functioning normally, as per new data from scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Certain prostate cancer cells can be held in check by the DAB2IP gene. The gene's product, the DABIP protein, acts as scaffolding that prevents a number of other proteins involved in the progression of prostate cancer cells from over-activation. When those cells lose the DAB2IP protein, however, they break free and are able to metastasize, or spread, drastically increasing the risk of cancer progression in other organs as the cells travel through the bloodstream or lymph system.
The study in mice, reported in the Jan. 11 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, observed that eliminating the DAB2IP scaffolding in human carcinoma cells caused them to change from epithelial cells to mesenchymal cells - a hallmark of metastatic cancer.
Cells undergoing an epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) experience biological changes that enable them to move freely and spontaneously throughout the body," said Dr. Jer-Tsong Hsieh, director of the Jean H. & John T. Walker Jr. Center for Research in Urologic Oncology at.
UT Southwestern and the study's senior author. "By restoring DAB2IP function in cancer cells in mice, we reversed their ability to change and metastasize".........
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February 3, 2010, 7:59 AM CT
Women should be allowed to eat, drink during labor
The traditional practice of restricting food and fluids during labour does not provide any benefits, finds a new review co-authored by a Queen's University Associate Professor.
"Based on our review, there is no convincing and existing evidence to support restriction of fluids, and perhaps food, for women during labour. Women should be able to choose for themselves," says Dr. Joan Tranmer of the Queen's School of Nursing.
Practitioners have been concerned about eating and drinking during labour since the 1940s. The restriction is thought to prevent Mendelson's syndrome (named after work by Dr. Carl Mendelson), a rare, but sometimes fatal, condition caused by regurgitation of acidic stomach contents into the lungs when a general anaesthetic is given.
"With medical advances over the past 60 years, including the increase use of epidural anesthesia, we thought it was time to question the widespread ban on food and drink now that we are in the 2000s," says Professor Tranmer. "The use of general anesthesia during C-sections is low. And even when used, the techniques have improved since the 1940s, so the risk of maternal death or illness is very, very low" .
There is tremendous variation in the practice of fluid and food restriction across birth settings (home births versus hospitals).........
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February 3, 2010, 7:37 AM CT
Three Brain Diseases Linked to Same Neural Protein
The toxic form of Elk-1 is present in plaque found in brain tissue from an Alzheimer disease patient (red asterisk). A neuronal process of a dying neuron is denoted by the red arrow. (Click to view larger version.)
For the first time, scientists from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have observed that three different degenerative brain disorders are linked by a toxic form of the same protein. The protein, called Elk-1, was found in clumps of misshaped proteins that are the hallmarks of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and Huntington's disease.
"These results suggest a molecular link between the presence of inclusions and neuronal loss that is shared across a spectrum of neurodegenerative disease," notes senior author, James Eberwine, PhD, co-director of the Penn Genome Frontiers Institute and the Elmer Holmes Bobst Professor of Pharmacology. "Identifying these links within the diseased microenvironment will open up novel avenues for therapeutic intervention. For example it is reasonable to now ask, "Is this molecule a possible new biomarker for these neurodegenerative diseases?" says Eberwine.
Eberwine, co-first authors Anup Sharma, an MD-PhD student, Jai-Yoon Sul, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, both from Penn, Linda M. Callahan, PhD, from the University of Rochester Medical Center, and his colleagues, report their findings this week in the online journal PLoS One.
Typically neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by many features including the protein clumps called inclusions; decline of nerve-cell synapses; and the selective loss of the nerve cells themselves.........
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February 3, 2010, 7:33 AM CT
Clean, biodegradable structure for stem cell growth
University of Washington
The UW's biodegradable scaffold was built as a cylinder (right) which was then cut into dime-sized slices.
Medical scientists were shocked to discover that virtually all human embryonic stem cell lines being used in 2005 were contaminated. Animal byproducts used to line Petri dishes had left traces on the human cells. If those cells had been implanted in a human body they likely would have been rejected by the patient's immune system.
Even today, with new stem cell lines approved for use in medical research, there remains a risk that these cells will be contaminated in the same way. Most research labs still use animal-based "feeder layers" because it remains the cheapest and most reliable way to get stem cells to multiply.
Materials researchers at the University of Washington have now created an alternative. They built a three-dimensional scaffold out of a natural material that mimics the binding sites for stem cells, allowing the cells to reproduce on a clean, biodegradable structure. Results reported in the journal Biomaterials show that human embryonic stem cells grow and multiply readily on the structure.
"The major challenge for stem cell treatment today is it's very difficult to make a lot of them with high purity," said main author Miqin Zhang, a UW professor of materials science and engineering. "So far it seems like this material is very good for stem cell renewal."........
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February 2, 2010, 9:21 AM CT
Fat tissue in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Fat tissue in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome produces an inadequate amount of the hormone that regulates how fats and glucose are processed, promoting increased insulin resistance and inflammation, glucose intolerance, and greater risk of diabetes and heart disease, as per a research studyconducted at the Center for Androgen-Related Research and Discovery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, is the most common hormonal disorder of women of childbearing age, affecting approximately 10 percent of women. It is the most common cause of infertility, and an important risk factor for early diabetes in women.
"We're beginning to find that fat tissue behaves very differently in patients with PCOS than in other women," said Ricardo Azziz, M.D.,M.P.H., director of the Center for Androgen-Related Research and Discovery, and principal investigator on the study. "Identifying the unusual behavior of this fat-produced hormone is an important step to better understanding the causes underlying the disorder, and appears to be helpful in developing therapys that will protect patients against developing heart disease and insulin resistance".
Fat tissue is the body's largest hormone-producing organ, secreting a large number of hormones that affect appetite, bowel function, brain function, and fat and sugar metabolism. One of these hormones is adiponectin, which in sufficient quantities encourages the proper action of insulin on fats and sugars and reduces inflammation. Women with PCOS produce a smaller amount of adiponectin than women who do not have the disease, in response to other fat-produced hormones, as per the research to be reported in the recent issue of Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
(Published online ahead of print and available at http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/rapidpdf/jc.2009-1158v1.).........
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February 2, 2010, 9:19 AM CT
Counseling for obesity and smoking
Reducing obesity and smoking have become national priorities in the United States. Research has shown that intensive counseling can positively impact each problem. However, because such counseling is typically not covered by medical insurance, cost can be a barrier. As per a research findings reported in the March 2010 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
, scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, observed that when primary care clinicians and community counselors collaborated to offer free counseling services to patients, there was an overwhelming positive response. Yet, when the same services were offered at a cost to the patient, there was a significant drop in participation.
An electronic linkage system (eLinkS) was used to prompt healthcare providers to suggest intensive healthcare counseling for adult patients with unhealthy behaviors. eLinkS then helped to facilitate and automate referrals and communication between primary care practices and community programs. During a 5-week period when funding was available, 5679 patients were reviewed, 1860 had at least one unhealthy behavior (triggering an eLinkS prompt), and 407 (21.8%) were referred for intensive counseling.
In a 3-week period after funding was exhausted, 2510 patients visited the practices, 729 triggered an eLinkS prompt, but only 5 (0.7%) were referred for intensive counseling. In comparison to the coverage period, the overall referral rate for patients with an unhealthy behavior decreased by 97%. Practice nurses asked 22% fewer patients about health behaviors (37% vs 29%). When prompted by eLinkS, clinicians offered referrals to 79% fewer patients (29% vs 6%). If a referral was offered, 81% fewer patients accepted (76% vs 14%).........
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February 1, 2010, 8:23 AM CT
Curing More Cervical Cancer Patients
Cervical cancer is highly curable when caught early. But in a third of cases, the tumor responds poorly to treatment or recurs later, when cure is much less likely.
Quicker identification of non-responding tumors appears to be possible using a new mathematical model developed by scientists at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.
The model uses information from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans taken before and during treatment to monitor changes in tumor size. That information is plugged into the model to predict whether a particular case is responding well to therapy. If not, the patient can be changed to a more aggressive or experimental treatment midway through therapy, something not possible now.
The study, reported in the journal Cancer Research, uses MRI scans and outcome information from 80 cervical cancer patients receiving a standard course of radiation treatment designed to cure their cancer.
"The model enables us to better interpret clinical data and predict therapy outcomes for individual patients," says principal investigator Jian Z. Wang, assistant professor of radiation medicine and a radiation physicist at the OSUCCC-James.
"The outcome predictions presented in this paper were solely based on changes in tumor volume as derived from MRI scans, which can be easily accessed even in community hospitals," Wang says. "The model is very robust and can provide a prediction accuracy of 90 percent for local tumor control and recurrence".........
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February 1, 2010, 8:18 AM CT
Approval of oncology drugs at FDA
Over a two and half year period, beginning in 2005 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's oncology drug product's office began reviewing marketing applications, a total of 60 new oncology and hematology drugs were evaluated, of which 53 were approved, as per a new article published online January 29 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute
To provide an overview of recent regulatory actions by the FDA's Office of Oncology Drug Products in the Center for Drug Assessment and Research, Rajeshwari Sridhara, Ph.D., of the FDA's Office of Biostatistics, in Silver Spring, Md., and his colleagues identified all applications evaluated, as well as actions taken, from July 1, 2005, through December 31, 2007. Their review included "New Drug Application" and "Biologics Licensing Application" approvals.
Marketing applications for 60 new products were evaluated and regulatory action was taken on 58 of them based on a riskbenefit assessment. Products that demonstrated efficacy and had an acceptable riskbenefit ratio (i.e., the magnitude of the therapy effect was statistically persuasive and clinically meaningful) were granted either regular or accelerated marketing approval. A total of 53 new indications were approved: 39 received regular approval, nine received accelerated approval, and five were converted from accelerated to regular approval. Two applications were withdrawn before action was taken, and five were not approved.........
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February 1, 2010, 8:16 AM CT
Tailoring treatment for rheumatoid arthritis
Investigators have identified a biomarker that could help doctors select patients with rheumatoid arthritis who will benefit from treatment with drugs such as Enbrel, a tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-antagonist drug. The study, led by scientists at Hospital for Special Surgery in collaboration with rheumatologists at University of Southern California, appears in the recent issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.
"While our study waccording toformed on a relatively small group of patients and will need to be confirmed in a larger cohort, the data are promising and appears to be clinically significant for the medical management of patients," said Mary K. Crow, M.D., director of Rheumatology Research and co-director of the Mary Kirkland Center for Lupus Research at Hospital for Special Surgery. "Treatment with these drugs is very expensive; the drugs can cost around $16,000 or so per year. If you are going to use them, you would like to know that they are likely to work in your patient." Other well-known TNF-antagonists include Humira and Remicade.
While TNF antagonists have brought relief to thousands of people with rheumatoid arthritis, the drugs are not highly effective in 30 percent to 50 percent of patients. Clinicians thus run the risk of providing a treatment to patients that doesn't work well, is expensive and is potentially toxic. Patients taking TNF antagonists, which have been available for roughly ten years, can run the risk of developing bacterial or fungal infections.........
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