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December 15, 2006, 4:21 AM CT

How To Predict Potential For Breast Cancer Spread

How To Predict Potential For Breast Cancer Spread
Expression of two different proteins taken from primary tumor biopsies is highly linked to spread of breast cancer to nearby lymph nodes, as per scientists who say this protein profile could help identify at an early stage those patients whose disease is likely to metastasize.

In the December 15 issue of Cancer Research, the scientists say over-expression of one unidentified protein and under-expression of another is 88 percent accurate in identifying breast cancer that has spread in a group of 65 patients, in comparison to an analysis of lymph nodes and outcomes.

If the predictive and diagnostic power of these proteins is validated, they could be analyzed in primary tumor biopsies that are routinely collected at the time of diagnosis, saving some women from extensive and possibly unnecessary therapy as well as from undergoing a second surgery to collect lymph nodes for analysis, the scientists say.

"We want to be able to predict, at the earliest stages, if a tumor has spread and how dangerous it will be," said the study's lead author, Dave S. B. Hoon, Ph.D., director of Molecular Oncology at the John Wayne Cancer Institute, Saint Johns Health Center, in Santa Monica, California. "These two proteins may allow us to target aggressive tumors with more extensive treatment management to some women, while sparing others from needless therapy".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


December 13, 2006, 8:06 PM CT

Elimination Of Menstrual Cycles Safe

Elimination Of Menstrual Cycles Safe
Scientists for the first time have demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of continuous-use oral contraceptives that can eliminate menstrual cycles, as per a research studyreported in the recent issue of Contraception.

While low-dose oral contraceptives reducing the number of menstrual periods to four are on the market, this study marks the first time scientists have shown that it's safe to eliminate them, said lead investigator David F. Archer, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

"It is felt that the relief of menstrual cycle symptoms during continuous use of the contraceptive is a significant improvement in the quality of life," said Archer.

Traditional birth-control regimens include 21 days of active hormones with seven days of placebos to continue monthly menstruation. During menstruation, a number of women suffer a variety of symptoms including headaches, bloating and irritability, Archer said.

In the study, conducted at 92 sites in North America, scientists used a birth-control pill consisting of 20 micrograms of ethinyl estradiol and 90 micrograms of levonorgestrel, a formulation being developed by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals under the name Lybrel. Healthy, sexually active women between 18 and 49 years old were given a continuous regimen without any breaks or placebos.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


December 13, 2006, 7:55 PM CT

New Hope To Lung Cancer Patients

New Hope To Lung Cancer Patients
Patients suffering from the most common type of lung cancer experienced a 20-percent improvement in overall survival in a national clinical trial of a drug that chokes off the blood vessels nourishing tumors, a multicenter study has observed.

Dr. Joan Schiller, chief of hematology/oncology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, said: "This is great news for patients with lung cancer - they live longer, and the side effects from Avastin are unlike those of conventional chemotherapy. For example, Avastin does not cause hair loss, nausea, or vomiting".

Results of the Phase III trial involving 878 patients that was conducted by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group are published in the Dec. 14 issue of the New England Journal (NEJM). The publication of the study comes two months after the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug bevacizumab, known under the trademark Avastin, as a first-line therapy for patients with inoperable, locally advanced, recurrent or metastatic non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer. The FDA approval was based on the findings of the study.

The results of the trial showed that patients who received Avastin along with the conventional chemotherapy drugs paclitaxel and carboplatin had a 35-percent chance of responding to the therapy, in comparison to 15 percent for patients who received chemotherapy alone.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


December 13, 2006, 7:50 PM CT

Soft Drink Ads In Schools May Discourage Healthy Nutrition

Soft Drink Ads In Schools May Discourage Healthy Nutrition
Commercial activity permitted in schools, such as soft drink ads; the use of Channel One broadcasts in classrooms; sales incentives from soft drink bottlers; and exclusive beverage contracts may discourage a "nutrition-friendly" environment for students, says researchers.

Dr. Claudia Probart, Penn State associate professor of nutritional sciences who led the study, says, "Schools' newly created wellness policies as mandated by the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 provide ideal opportunities to examine school environments for advertising that might conflict with their goals for a healthy climate for students."

The study is detailed in the current (December) issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in a paper, "Existence and Predictors of Soft Drink Advertisements in Pennsylvania High Schools." The authors are Probart; Elaine McDonnell, project coordinator, Penn State; Lisa Bailey-Davis, director of operations, Pennsylvania Advocates for Nutrition and Activity; and J. Elaine Weirich, project manager at Penn State.

The scientists sent surveys to 271 school foodservice directors at high schools in Pennsylvania and received 84 percent participation. The schools were representative of the entire population of high schools in Pennsylvania.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


December 13, 2006, 7:04 PM CT

Tobacco Prevention Ads May Backfire

Tobacco Prevention Ads May Backfire
Tobacco company-sponsored anti-smoking advertising aimed at youths not only has no negative effect on teen smoking, it may actually encourage youngsters to smoke, as per a co-author of studyed by an Oregon State University researcher.

Results from the study also show that tobacco industry-sponsored prevention ads aimed at parents often have harmful effects on students, also increasing their likelihood of smoking.

"We suspected this the minute we saw the kind of ads the tobacco companies were creating," said Brian Flay, a professor in the Department of Public Health at Oregon State University. "Their objective is to get customers, not to stop customers from finding them".

The study appears in the recent issue of American Journal of Public Health.

Flay was one of nine scientists from Bridging the Gap, a policy research program based at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Michigan, who worked on this study, which is the first to examine how youth are affected by parent-targeted ads sponsored by the tobacco industry.

More than 100,000 students from all areas of the country in 8th, 10th and 12th grades were surveyed to assess the relationship between exposure to tobacco company prevention advertising and youth smoking-related beliefs, intentions and behaviors. Scientists linked these data with Nielsen Media Research data on the exposure of youth to smoking-related ads that appeared on network and cable stations in the 75 largest United States media markets from 1999 to 2002.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


December 13, 2006, 6:41 PM CT

Growing Up In Bad Neighborhood

Growing Up In Bad Neighborhood
There's good news for children growing up in bad neighborhoods in a comprehensive study led by nationally renowned University of Colorado at Boulder sociology Professor Delbert Elliott.

The 8-year effort analyzing the successful development of children in different kinds of neighborhoods in Denver and Chicago observed that children growing up in high-poverty neighborhoods were doing much better than expected. The rate of successful development for children from the best neighborhoods was 63 percent while the success rate for children living in high-poverty, disadvantaged neighborhoods was 52 percent.

"There's an 11-point difference between our worst neighborhoods and our best neighborhoods," said Elliott, director of the CU-Boulder Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. "That's very surprising".

"The idea that living in high-poverty, disorganized, disadvantaged neighborhoods is kind of a death sentence for kids is clearly not the case," he said. "We're getting kids coming out of those neighborhoods that are doing quite well".

The examination of neighborhoods was one of four integrated studies launched by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's Network on Successful Adolescent Development. The portion of the study conducted by Elliott and colleagues looked at neighborhoods, while three other teams focused on family and school influences on development, and youth development in rural farming areas.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


December 13, 2006, 6:32 PM CT

International Trial Of Novel Breast Cancer Drug

International Trial Of Novel Breast Cancer Drug
A clinical trial of a new targeted breast cancer drug, led by physicians at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center, has begun enrolling patients. The TEACH (Tykerb Evaluation After CHemotherapy) trial will investigate the experimental drug Tykerb (lapatinib) in patients with early-stage, HER2-positive breast cancer who have not been treated with Herceptin, another targeted drug used for the same type of tumor. The MGH is the lead institution for the international trial, which is being sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Tykerb.

"This trial represents another step toward understanding the role of targeted therapies in extending disease-free survival," said Paul Goss, MD, PhD, director of Breast Cancer Research at the MGH Cancer Center, who proposed the TEACH study and chairs the International Steering Committee.

About one quarter of patients with breast cancer have tumors that overexpress or produce too a number of copies of a receptor molecule called HER2. Because cellular growth is stimulated by the overactivity of this molecule, which also is called ErbB2, these tumors are more likely to recur and are less responsive to hormone-based therapys. Herceptin, a monoclonal antibody that blocks the HER2 receptor, is approved by the FDA as an adjuvant therapy - given along with chemotherapy after surgical removal and/or radiation treatment - for early-stage, node-positive and HER2-positive tumors as well as for metastatic tumors.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


December 13, 2006, 6:22 PM CT

New Tool To Halt Recurrence Of Atrial Fibrillation

New Tool To Halt Recurrence Of Atrial Fibrillation High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) ablation system
Credit: Courtesy: ProRhythm, Inc
Clinical scientists at the University of Pennsylvania Health System are starting a trial utilizing a new mechanism to treat the heart when its electrical pulses essentially short-circuit, referred to as atrial fibrillation (A-Fib).

The biggest problem physicians run into with current therapies to cope with electrical rhythmic pumping problems in the heart, namely pulmonary vein isolation procedures, is that up until now, they've had to deliver the energy bursts to the tissue in a dot-by-dot catheter ablation procedure around the veins, almost like a string of pearls. "That can cause swelling, and when that swelling goes down, you may still have viable tissue left behind, gaps, where the electricity can still conduct itself or get through," explains David Callans, MD, director of the electrophysiology laboratory at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and principal investigator of this study. "Now we have a mechanism to construct this barricade of lesions, to do an entire circular ablation, minimizing the potential for gaps behind in the pulmonary veins".

Cardiac electrophysiologists at Penn are now using a high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) ablation system. It's the first to deliver energy bursts forward in a complete circle, all at once, from outside of the vein. This invasive procedure is done in the lab with balloon catheters while the patient is awake but sedated.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


December 13, 2006, 6:10 PM CT

Relationships Benefit When New Parents Get Help

Relationships Benefit When New Parents Get Help
The birth of a first child is commonly an exciting and eagerly anticipated milestone in any committed relationship, yet research suggests it can also be the beginning of the end for a number of couples.

As per clinical psychology expert Dr Jemima Petch, about half of all couples report a significant decline in satisfaction with their relationship during the transition to parenthood.

Conflict between the couple, psychological distress, negative relationships with their children and poorer child outcomes can be the result.

"I've realised there is an urgent need to support parents as couples because support for mothers alone in not enough. This is my way of helping children," Dr Petch said.

As part of the research for her PhD, Dr Petch has been evaluating the effectiveness of an early intervention program for couples expecting their first child.

The program, Couple CARE for Parents, included face-to-face group sessions as well as phone support after the birth. It covered issues such as expectations of parenthood, communication skills and conflict management skills.

"In couples who received our program rather than the usual antenatal and postnatal care, the typical decline in satisfaction with their relationship was largely prevented. They invested the effort and had the skills to enhance their relationship and stay happy".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


December 13, 2006, 5:41 PM CT

Moderate Drinking May Help Older Women Live Longer

Moderate Drinking May Help Older Women Live Longer
A study published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society finds that moderate alcohol intake (1-2 drinks/day for 3-6 days/week, depending on alcoholic content) may lead to increased quality of life and survival in older women. The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health followed nearly 12,000 women in their 70's over a 6 year period. The group was comprised of non-drinkers, occasional drinkers and moderate drinkers.

The study observed that non-drinkers and women who rarely drank had a significantly higher risk of dying during the survey period than did women who drank moderately. Of those who survived, the women who drank the least reported the lowest health-related quality of life. Prior studies have shown that women who have at least one drink per day stand at a lower risk for cardiovascular disease and ischemic stroke than non-drinkers.

"The results of this study indicate that moderate alcohol intake in keeping with current guidelines may carry some health benefits for older women," says Dr. Julie Ellen Byles, author of the study. This contrasts prior studies which have suggested that moderate alcohol intake can be detrimental to older women and may lead to accidents, cancers, even dementia.

The potential causes of increased health and survival may be ingredients found in wine or ethanol, the social and pleasurable benefits of drinking or the improved appetite and nutrition that often accompanies modest alcohol intake. The author notes that the study does not advocate non-drinkers to begin drinking. Changes in diet need to be determined through consultation with a doctor due to the potential complications of mixing alcohol and medication.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         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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