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September 6, 2007, 10:14 PM CT

Molecular Clues to Breast Cancer

Molecular Clues to Breast Cancer
New insights into the role of estrogen receptor in mammary gland development may help researchers better understand the molecular origin of breast cancer, as per new research from the University of Cincinnati (UC).

About a decade ago, U.S. researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) developed a standard estrogen receptor (ER) gene knock-out mouse model to study the estrogen receptor's role in human diseases.

"Unfortunately, because these mice lacked mammary glands as a consequence of genetic manipulation, using this model to study the relationship between the estrogen receptor and breast cancer proved ineffective," explains Sohaib Khan, PhD, professor of cell and cancer biology at UC.

"Knocking out the estrogen receptor gene for the entire genome, as the NIH researchers did, doesn't just affect the function of the receptor in all estrogen-responsive organs. It also creates an imbalance in the body's circulating sex hormone levels, which could affect other physiological functions," Khan adds. "An alternative model was clearly needed to study the intricacies of estrogen receptors involvement in this disease".

Estrogen receptor is a cellular protein that binds with the hormone estrogen and facilitates action in different parts of the body, including the mammary gland. Research has shown that about 70 percent of patients with breast cancer have estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, meaning their tumors will have some beneficial response to anti-estrogen drugs like tamoxifen (ta-MOX'-ee-fen, marketed as Nolvodex).........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 6, 2007, 10:11 PM CT

Managing Children's Fevers

Managing Children's Fevers
Australian parents need to be educated about managing fever in young children because a number of give medicine incorrectly and often unnecessarily, as per a Queensland University of Technology nursing researcher.

QUT senior research fellow Anne Walsh conducted the first study into how Australian parents' manage childhood fever as part of her PhD. Her results were reported in the latest Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Ms Walsh observed that, of more than 400 Queensland parents surveyed, paracetamol was administered too frequently by 4 per cent and ibuprofen by 32 per cent.

She said the finding that 23 per cent administered ibuprofen every four hours instead of the recommended six- to eight-hourly intervals was disturbing.

Ms Walsh expressed concern at the rise over the past decade of the practice of alternating over-the-counter antipyretic medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen (in products such as Nurofen).

"This is disturbing because our survey revealed that it was very common for parents to give these medications for mild fever and at too frequent doses," Ms Walsh said.

"Given that such a high percentage of parents are giving ibuprofen too frequently, it may be that they are assuming it is the same as paracetamol which can be given four hourly".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 6, 2007, 10:04 PM CT

Higher social skills are distinctly human

Higher social skills are distinctly human
Esther Herrmann and colleagues compared 105 2-year-old human children, 106 chimpanzees and 32 organutans in a comprehensive battery of physical and social cognitive tests. Credit: Image courtesy of MPI EVAN
Apes bite and try to break a tube to retrieve the food inside while children follow the experimenter's example to get inside the tube to retrieve the prize, showing that even before preschool, toddlers are more sophisticated in their social learning skills than their closest primate relatives, as per a report reported in the 7 recent issue of the journal Science, published by AAAS, the nonprofit science society.

This innate proficiency allows them to excel in both physical and social skills as they begin school and progress through life.

"We compared three species to determine which abilities and skills are distinctly human," explained Esther Herrmann of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Gera number of and lead author of the research paper. Humans differ from their great ape relatives because human brains are about three times the size of the closest primate relatives and humans have language, symbolic math and scientific reasoning.

"Social cognition skills are critical for learning," Herrmann said. The children were much better than the apes in understanding nonverbal communications, imitating another's solution to a problem and understanding the intentions of others," she said.

This is the first comprehensive test comparing social and physical skills of children, chimpanzees and orangutans, Herrmann explained, adding that the findings provide important insight into the evolution of human cognition.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 6, 2007, 10:01 PM CT

Embryonic stem cells used to grow cartilage

Embryonic stem cells used to grow cartilage
Rice University biomedical engineers have developed a new technique for growing cartilage from human embryonic stem cells, a method that could be used to grow replacement cartilage for the surgical repair of knee, jaw, hip, and other joints.

"Because native cartilage is unable to heal itself, scientists have long looked for ways to grow replacement cartilage in the lab that could be used to surgically repair injuries," said lead researcher Kyriacos A. Athanasiou, the Karl F. Hasselmann Professor of Bioengineering. "This research offers a novel approach for producing cartilage-like cells from embryonic stem cells, and it also presents the first method to use such cells to engineer cartilage tissue with significant functional properties".

The results are available online and slated to appear in the recent issue of the journal Stem Cells. The study involved cells from an NIH-sanctioned stem cell line.

Using a series of stimuli, the scientists developed a method of converting the stem cells into cartilage cells. Building upon this work, the scientists then developed a process for using the cartilage cells to make cartilage tissue. The results show that cartilages can be generated that mimic the different types of cartilage found in the human body, such as hyaline articular cartilage -- the type of cartilage found in all joints -- and fibrocartilage -- a type found in the knee meniscus and the jaw joint. Athanasiou said the results are exciting, as they suggest that similar methods may be used to convert the stem cell-derived cartilage cells into robust cartilage sections that can be of clinical usefulness.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


September 6, 2007, 9:59 PM CT

Genetic Risk Factor for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus

Genetic Risk Factor for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus
A genetic variation has been identified that increases the risk of two chronic, autoimmune inflammatory diseases: rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus). These research findings result from a long-time collaboration between the Intramural Research Program (IRP) of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) and other organizations. NIAMS is part of the National Institutes of Health.

These results appear in the Sept. 6 issue of the New England Journal (NEJM).

"Eventhough both diseases are believed to have a strong genetic component, identifying the relevant genes has been extremely difficult," says study coauthor Elaine Remmers, Ph.D., of the Genetics and Genomics Branch of the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Dr. Remmers and her colleagues tested variants within 13 candidate genes located in a region of chromosome 2, which they had previously linked with RA, for association with disease in large collections of RA and lupus patients and controls. Among the variants were several disease-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) - small differences in DNA sequence that represent the most common genetic variations between individuals - in a large segment of the STAT4 gene. The STAT4 gene encodes a protein that plays an important role in the regulation and activation of certain cells of the immune system.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


September 6, 2007, 9:57 PM CT

Preventing variceal bleeding

Preventing variceal bleeding
Beta blockers should be the first line of prevention against variceal bleeding in patients with cirrhosis and portal hypertension. While banding is similarly effective in reducing the occurence rate of such bleeding, it can have fatal complications and is more expensive. These findings appear in the recent issue of Liver Transplantation, a journal by John Wiley & Sons. The article is also available online via Wiley Interscience at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/livertransplantion.

Patients with liver disease often develop portal high blood pressure from a blockage in the blood flow through the liver. The increased blood pressure in the portal vein causes large veins, called varices, to develop across the esophagus and stomach to bypass the blockage. The se varices become fragile and can bleed easily, causing frightening symptoms like vomiting blood, as well as ascites and encephalopathy. Two ways to prevent variceal bleeding are beta blockers and endoscopic variceal ligation, however it is unclear which is better for patients.

To compare the safety and efficacy of the two therapies in the prevention of primary variceal bleeding, scientists led by Lorenzo Norberto and Lino Polese of the University of Padova in Italy, conducted a randomized controlled trial among patients awaiting liver transplantation. Between September 2001 and December 2005, they enrolled sixty-two patients with Child-B-C cirrhosis and high-risk esophagal varices into their study. The patients were randomly divided between therapy with the beta blocker, propranolol, or variceal banding. All patients had an EGD and a clinical examination every 6 months after beginning therapy.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


September 6, 2007, 9:55 PM CT

Parenting help for bipolar mums and dads

Parenting help for bipolar mums and dads
Parents with bipolar disorder are taking part in a study that will give them the chance to follow a highly successful parenting skills programme.

Dr Steven Jones and Dr Rachel Calam at the University of Manchesters School of Psychological Sciences assess the volunteers current mood and experiences of parenting with an online questionnaire before offering some of them help via an online version of the Triple P Positive Parenting Programme that featured on the ITV1 television series called Driving Mum and Dad Mad.

The Triple P system, developed by Australian clinical psychology expert Professor Matt Sanders, is known to be effective in modifying and improving childrens behaviour by rebuilding positive relationships, tackling discipline and setting rules and limits.

The first series of Driving Mum and Dad Mad in spring 2005 followed the experiences of five families attending a Triple P group. An average of 4.23 million viewers watched the show, with 500 families taking part in a parallel study by Dr Calam, The Great Parenting Experiment. All the parents who followed the TV series and used the strategies shown reported improved behaviour in their child and greater confidence in managing it. The group receiving additional web-based information and email support experienced an even greater improvement, and six months after the series most of the families reported long term benefits and continued improvements to their childrens behaviour.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 6, 2007, 9:47 PM CT

Soy isoflavone may inhibit rotavirus illness in infants

Soy isoflavone may inhibit rotavirus illness in infants
The soy isoflavone genistin--at concentrations present in soy infant formula-- may reduce a babys susceptibility to rotavirus infections by as much as 74 percent, as per a University of Illinois study published in Septembers Journal of Nutrition.

Rotavirus is the primary cause of diarrhea in infants, affecting virtually all children before age five. In the United States, it mainly leads to dehydration, doctors visits, and parents missing work to care for sick children. In developing countries, though, rotavirus causes approximately 611,000 deaths each year, said Sharon Donovan, the Melissa M. Noel Professor of Nutrition at the U of I.

Eventhough rotavirus vaccines have recently become available, they are expensive and cannot be given to some infants, she said.

Its exciting to believe that the isoflavones in soy formula could be a cost-effective nutritional approach to decreasing the incidence and severity of rotavirus infections, particularly among children in developing countries who are most at risk, said the scientist of her work with doctoral candidate Aline Andres, who conducted the experiments.

In the study, cells in culture were exposed to rotavirus in the absence or presence of soy isoflavones, biologically active compounds in soy that are thought to have health benefits. Soy contains many different forms of isoflavones, and all were tested individually and as the complete mixture present in infant formula.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 6, 2007, 9:37 PM CT

developing new method for hearing loss assessment

developing new method for hearing loss assessment
A new technique to diagnose hearing loss
A Purdue University researcher is working on a new technique to diagnose hearing loss in a way that more accurately reflects real-world situations.

"The traditional way to assess speech understanding in people with hearing loss is to put them in a quiet room and ask them to repeat words produced by one person they can't see," said Karen Iler Kirk, a professor of speech, language and hearing sciences. "The goal of our research is to develop new tests that reflect more natural listening situations with visual cues, different background noises, voice quality, dialects and speaking rates. This is a more accurate way to predict how people perceive speech in the real world and, therefore, can help us determine appropriate treatment and interventions, such as cochlear implants.

"The better the diagnostic tool we have to make such decisions, the better we can serve our patients".

Kirk received a $2.8 million grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders for the five-year project to develop two new audiovisual and multi-talker sentence tests that expand upon the traditional spoken word recognition format that has been used since the 1950s. One test is for adults and the other for children. More than 1,000 people ages 4-65 will participate in the study.........

Posted by: Sue      Read more         Source


September 6, 2007, 5:12 AM CT

Mobiles should be kept away from hospital beds

Mobiles should be kept away from hospital beds
Mobile phones should come no closer than one meter to hospital beds and equipment, according Dutch research reported in the online open access journal, Critical Care. Researchers demonstrated that incidents of electromagnetic interference (EMI) from second and third generation mobile phones occurred at a mere three-centimeter distance.

In this particular study, the research team examined the effects of General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) signals on critical care equipment such as ventilators and pacemakers. Almost 50 EMI incidents were recorded; 75% were significant or hazardous. Hazardous incidents varied from a total switch off and restart of mechanical ventilator and complete stops without alarms in syringe pumps to incorrect pulsing by an external pacemaker.

The second generation (2.5G) GPRS signal caused the highest number of EMI incidents at over 60% whereas the third generation (3G) UMTS signal was responsible for just 13%. EMI incidents also occurred a greater distance with GPRS with a hazardous incident even at three meters.

While first generation mobile phones are used mainly for voice transmission, 2.5G and 3G phones enable internet access, sending and receiving data. They entered the market, however, with little proof regarding their safe use in the medical environment.........

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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