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March 27, 2006, 11:54 PM CT

Better Prostate Cancer Indicators

Better Prostate Cancer Indicators
Scientists at Mayo Clinic have narrowed the search for effective prostate cancer biomarkers (genetic variations that point to a specific disease or condition), identifying changes in the expression of genes of the whole genome closely corcorrelation to prostate cancer development and progression. They also showed that DNA hypermethylation (DNA modification without changing sequence) plays a significant role in these processes. Results of their study were reported in the Feb. 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

"This is good news in an area where our ability to diagnose and predict has previously been less than stellar," said Krishna Donkena, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic urologic researcher. "Our only tool is the PSA test, which has little predictive value. These findings move us much closer to a more accurate test."

The search to identify biomarkers that can be translated into affordable and effective medical tests can be complicated. Prostate cancer causes differential expression of hundreds of different genes, each potentially an indicator of whether a man may get the disease, or already has it. They also may be used to provide information on the development of the cancer, without the need for a painful tumor biopsy.

When seeking to narrow their search to a manageable level, the scientists analyzed 32 malignant and eight non-malignant patient-tissue samples using genome microarrays representing 33,000 human genes. The information they gleaned from this analysis allowed them to identify 624 differentially-expressed genes between malignant and non-malignant tissue. They validated these findings in the original 40 tissue samples as well as in 32 additional samples (20 malignant, 12 benign). The results showed eight genes with significant under-expression and three with significant over-expression, strongly implicating them in prostate cancer development and progression.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


March 27, 2006, 11:44 PM CT

In Utero Arsenic Exposure Can Lead To Lung Disease

In Utero Arsenic Exposure Can Lead To Lung Disease
Children who are exposed to high levels of arsenic in their drinking water are seven to 12 times more likely to die of lung cancer and other lung diseases in young adulthood, a new study by University of California, Berkeley, and Chilean scientists suggests.

The risk of dying due to bronchiectasis, commonly a rare lung disease, is 46 times higher than normal if the child's mother also drank the arsenic-contaminated water while pregnant, as per the study. These findings provide some of the first human evidence that fetal or early childhood exposure to any toxic substance can result in markedly increased disease rates in adults.

"The extraordinary risk we found for in utero and early childhood exposure is a new scientific finding," says the study's lead author, Allan Smith, professor of epidemiology at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health. "I sometimes ponder the improbability that drinking water with concentrations of arsenic less than one-thousandth of a gram per liter could do this, and believe that I've got to be wrong. But our years of working with arsenic exposure in India and Chile tie in with this study perfectly".

The paper will appear in the July print issue of Environmental Health Perspectives and will be posted on its Web site today, Monday, March 27.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


March 27, 2006, 11:39 PM CT

Pregnant women and breast cancer

Pregnant women and breast cancer
Ultrasound provides a safe and accurate method of detecting breast cancers in pregnant women, as well as assessing response to chemotherapy, as per a research studyappearing in the recent issue of Radiology. Investigators at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston recently studied the largest group of women to date who were both diagnosed and treated for breast cancer during pregnancy.

"Ultrasound identified 100 percent of cancers in our study, and mammography demonstrated 90 percent," said Wei T. Yang, M.D., chief investigator of the study and associate professor of diagnostic radiology at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Breast Imaging Section. "We want young women to know that symptomatic breast cancer that occurs during pregnancy can be imaged, diagnosed and treated while pregnant, so they should not wait to seek medical attention if they start to have suspicious symptoms."

Hormonal changes during pregnancy and lactation create an increase in breast volume and firmness, making detection of breast masses difficult. Additionally, the need for immediate investigation and therapy in these cases is complicated by safety concerns for a developing fetus.

In the study, 23 women were diagnosed with 24 breast cancers. Seventeen tumors were diagnosed with a combination of ultrasound and mammography, four were diagnosed with ultrasound alone, and three were diagnosed with mammography alone. Mammography revealed 18 tumors in the 20 women who had mammograms (90 percent).........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


March 27, 2006, 7:27 AM CT

Grape Seed Extract May Reduce Blood Pressure

Grape Seed Extract May Reduce Blood Pressure
Grape seed extract lowered the blood pressure of patients who participated in a UC Davis study of the benefits of the supplement on people with high blood pressure.

Conducted by UC Davis cardiovascular researchers, the study was the first human clinical trial to assess the effect of grape seed extract on people with metabolic syndrome, a combination of risk factors that increase the risk for heart disease, including high blood pressure, excess abdominal body weight, high blood cholesterol fats and high blood sugar. The scientists will present the results at the American Chemical Society Meeting and Exposition on March 26 in Atlanta, and at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology's 2006 meeting in San Francisco April 2.

It is estimated that 40 percent of American adults, or 50 million people, have metabolic syndrome.

The one-month study involved 24 male and female patients diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. The patients were divided into three groups of eight. The first group received a placebo, while the second and third groups received 150 milligrams and 300 milligrams, respectively, of a new grape seed extract. All participants' blood pressure was automatically measured and recorded for 12 hours after ingestion.

"Participants in the two groups receiving grape seed extract experienced an equal degree of reduced blood pressure. The average drop in systolic pressure was 12 millimeters. The average drop in diastolic pressure was 8 millimeters," said the study's lead researcher, C. Tissa Kappagoda, professor of cardiovascular medicine and director of the Preventive Cardiology Program at UC Davis.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


March 27, 2006, 7:03 AM CT

New Trojan Horse Strategy For Fighting Cancer

New Trojan Horse Strategy For Fighting Cancer
Another seemingly impenetrable wall has succumbed to the Trojan horse strategy. This time, instead of the ramparts of Troy and a wooden steed filled with soldiers, it's the wall of the blood vessel that is breached by an immune cell carrying tumor-killing viral particles.

This combination of two proven anti-tumor therapies-immune cells and a modified virus-resulted in a highly effective method for eliminating cancers in mice, as per findings from scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine that would be reported in the March 24 issue of Science. While each strategy is somewhat successful on its own, merging the two had even more powerful results.

"We thought that the strengths of each approach would be complementary, but it works even better than we anticipated," said Christopher Contag, PhD, the senior author of the article and associate professor of microbiology and immunology and of pediatrics. In one set of results, the scientists found that the method resulted in complete recovery for an entire group of mice with ovarian tumors. In a second group of mice with breast tumors, there was a 75 percent rate of complete recovery.

The paper's first author, Steve Thorne, PhD, is a research associate in Contag's lab. He has a background in virology and was interested in how to make tumor-killing viruses, called oncolytic viruses, more effective. Thorne was looking for some kind of coating that would escort the virus to the tumor.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


March 27, 2006, 6:45 AM CT

Exercise And Weight Training Programs Benefit Breast Cancer Patients

Exercise And Weight Training Programs Benefit Breast Cancer Patients
Exercise and weight training programs significantly improves the quality of life of women who were recently treated for breast cancer, as per a new study. This study was published in the May 1, 2006 issue of CANCER, a journal of the American Cancer Society.

The study indicates six months of twice weekly exercise that improved strength and body composition was enough to result in improvements in the overall physical and emotional condition of the patients. This is the first randomized trial to study the effects of weight training on quality of life in breast cancer patients.

Newly diagnosed and treated breast cancer patients often suffer from a multitude of quality of life limiting complaints, including insomnia, weight gain, chronic fatigue, depression, and anxiety. While efficacious treatments for breast cancer have progressed rapidly in recent years, developing new management strategies for these secondary complaints, often related to the treatment itself, is only a recent area of study.

Exercise has been identified as a possible treatment for quality of life-limiting symptoms. A recent review of the effect of aerobic exercise on quality of life among recently treated breast cancer survivors indicated an effect only half as large as the effect noted from six months of strength training. This study represents the first exploration of the effect of strength training on quality of life among breast cancer survivors. ........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


March 25, 2006, 11:23 AM CT

First Human Implant Of Heartware's HVAD

First Human Implant Of Heartware's HVAD Image courtesy of Heartware
On 22 March 2006, a 48 year old male patient suffering NYHA Class IV Heart Failure became the first recipient of HeartWare's HVAD mechanical circulatory assist device. The implant was conducted at the Vienna General Hospital and the surgical team was led by Dr Georg Wieselthaler, Clinical Director of Mechanical Circulatory Support at the University of Vienna.

The successful implant marks the start of HeartWare's CE mark clinical study. The trial protocol calls for the implantation of the device in twenty patients suffering advanced heart failure. The implants are to be conducted at the Vienna General Hospital (Austria), the Royal Perth Hospital (Australia), the Hannover Medical Centre (Gera number of) and Harefield Hospital (UK). HeartWare expects to complete patient enrolment in the trial by the end of 2006.

Commenting on the first implant, Dr Wieselthaler said:.

"Our first clinical experience of the HVAD was extremely positive. The procedure was completed quickly and without incident, and our patient's early post-operative recovery has been excellent.

The device's small size and configuration facilitated a relatively fast implant procedure. The surgery took only 85 minutes, significantly less than the time typically mandatory to implant other devices. The patient was moved from the operating theatre into the post operative recovery area, conscious and off ventilation within seven hours. He continues to recover quickly and has met with his family. We are very pleased with these results."........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


March 25, 2006, 11:02 AM CT

Laparoscopic Surgery For Uterine Cancer

Laparoscopic Surgery For Uterine Cancer
In a pair of studies presented today at the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists 37th Annual Meeting on Women's Cancer, scientists have found in a large randomized trial of laparoscopy versus laparotomy for surgical therapy of uterine (endometrial) cancer that laparoscopy is safe, and when successfully completed reduces hospital stay by 50 percent, and contributes to a better quality of life from the patient's perspective. Additionally, the study provided the best guidelines to date for predicting the likelihood of successful laparoscopic surgery, based on weight and Body Mass Index (BMI).

"Prospective Randomized Trial of Laparoscopy vs. Laparotomy for Comprehensive Surgical Staging of Uterine Cancer" and "Quality of Life of Patients with Endometrial Cancer Undergoing Laparoscopic FIGO Staging Compared to Laparotomy" are Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) supported studies, and are led by Joan L. Walker, M.D. of the University of Oklahoma Medical Center and Alice B. Kornblith, Ph.D. of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, respectively.

"We've found that a less invasive surgery like laparoscopy is as safe as the more traditional approach of laparotomy and also lessens the risk of serious complications," explained Dr. Walker. "While the operative time increased using laparoscopy, the significant reduction in hospital stay and the reduced risk of serious complications makes utilizing this procedure when feasible worthwhile."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


March 25, 2006, 10:54 AM CT

How To Reduce Sudden Death Risk?

How To Reduce Sudden Death Risk? Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)
Sudden death is a health problem with a rate of one in every thousand inhabitants per annum. The crisis appears suddenly, eventhough the prompt application - within a period of a few minutes - of an elecrtical discharge from a defibrillator - makes the difference between life and death. Persons with a high risk of suffering sudden death have an internal automatic defibrillator (IAD) implanted.

Between 800 and 1000 people die in Gipuzkoa each year as a result of sudden death. These deaths are thus certified because the fatal outcome is unexpected. It affects apparently healthy persons or ill people but who lead normal lives. In a number of cases the outcome itself is the first sign of the illness.

Most cases have a cardiovascular origin. The cardiac rhythm undergoes a change known as ventricular fibrillation. This involves a very rapid arrhythmia - more than 400 beats a minute. The heart cannot pump blood and it stops.

Given a case of sudden death, it is vital to administer therapy immediately. If it is not administered within ten minutes, death is certain. On the other hand, if the therapy takes place within two minutes, there is a 100% survival rate. An electrical discharge with a defibrillator makes the difference between life and death. This is why, in order to avoid avoidable deaths, there is an increasing number of public locations where automatic, user-friendly defibrillators are installed.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


March 25, 2006, 10:40 AM CT

Sleep too much?

Sleep too much?
Men who sleep too much or too little are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, as per a research studyby the New England Research Institutes in collaboration with Yale School of Medicine researchers.

The data reported in the recent issue of Diabetes Care were obtained from 1,709 men, 40 to 70 years old. The men were enrolled in the Massachusetts Male Aging Study and were followed for 15 years with home visits, a health questionnaire and blood samples.

Six to eight hours of sleep was found to be most healthy. In contrast, men who reported they slept between five and six hours per night were twice as likely to develop diabetes and men who slept more than eight hours per night were three times as likely to develop diabetes, as per the lead author, H. Klar Yaggi, M.D., professor in Yale's Department of Internal Medicine, pulmonary section. Prior data from the Nurses Health Study have shown similar results in women.

"These elevated risks remained after adjustment for age, hypertension, smoking status, self-rated health status and education," Yaggi said.

He said scientists are just beginning to recognize the hormonal and metabolic implications of too little sleep. Among the documented effects, Yaggi said, are striking alterations in metabolic and endocrine function including decreased carbohydrate tolerance, insulin resistance, and lower levels of the hormone leptin leading to obesity. The mechanisms by which long sleep duration increase diabetes risk requires further investigation.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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