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January 7, 2007, 9:13 PM CT

New HIV test To predict drug resistance

New HIV test To predict drug resistance The test identifies which drug-resistant strains of HIV are harbored in a patient's bloodstream.
Credit: Duke University Medical Center News Offic
Scientists at Duke University Medical Center have developed a highly sensitive test for identifying which drug-resistant strains of HIV are harbored in a patient's bloodstream.

The test may provide physicians with a tool to guide patient therapy by predicting if a patient is likely to become resistant to a particular HIV drug, said one of its developers, Feng Gao, M.D., associate professor of medicine. Drug resistance is one of the most common reasons why treatment for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, fails.

The test, which detects genetic changes, or mutations, in HIV, also may help researchers understand how the constantly evolving virus develops drug resistance, Gao said. He said such knowledge ultimately may result in the development of new therapys designed to evade resistance.

The findings will appear online on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2007, in the journal Nature Methods, as well as in the journal's February 2007 print edition. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Duke Center for AIDS Research.

Duke has filed for a provisional patent on the technology, and the scientists are considering ways to establish a new company to pursue its development or to license the technology to an existing company, Gao said.

Because HIV genes mutate so easily and the virus reproduces so rapidly, most people who are infected have a number of different forms of the virus in their bodies. In some cases, mutated strains take on new properties that make them more resistant to the drugs used in antiretroviral treatment, the primary means of therapy for HIV infection.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


January 7, 2007, 8:32 AM CT

MRI Of The Ankle Changes Patient Treatment

MRI Of The Ankle Changes Patient Treatment Image courtesy of Dove open MRI
MR imaging can make a dramatic difference in the management of patients with ankle pain, changing therapy in about one-third of the patients, a new study finds.

The study, of 91 patients, observed that MR changed the management plans of 35% of patients, said Philip W.P. Bearcroft, MD, of Cambridge University Hospitals in England. "This is itself is significant, but more significant is the fact that before an MRI was done, 65 of the 91 patients were scheduled to undergo surgery. After an MRI was done, nine of those patients were treated nonsurgically," Dr. Bearcroft said.

Dr. Bearcroft and colleagues conducted the study in conjunction with an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon at a regional teaching hospital. The surgeon noted his proposed therapy plan for each patient before and after an MR examination. The surgeon also noted the potential diagnoses for each injury. Before an MR examination was done, the surgeon indicated an average 2.3 possible diagnoses per patient. "After MRI waccording toformed, the number of diagnoses per patient was reduced to 1.2," said Dr. Bearcroft. MRI increased the referring physician's confidence in his diagnoses, Dr. Bearcroft said. "In 66% of the MRI examinations performed, the referring surgeon felt that his understanding of the patient's disease had either depended upon or had been substantially improved by MRI," he added.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


January 7, 2007, 6:58 AM CT

Value Of Foods High In Calcium And Vitamin D

Value Of Foods High In Calcium And Vitamin D Calcium, Vitamin D
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed an amended health claim that would communicate to consumers the value of foods high in calcium and vitamin D for reducing the risk of osteoporosis. The National Dairy Council (NDC) acknowledges and supports the body of scientific evidence that backs the proposed claim, which indicates that a lifestyle that includes a well-balanced diet with adequate calcium and vitamin D, and physical activity, helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

"The proposed claim provides a clearer way to communicate the benefits of calcium and vitamin D in bone health," says Ann Marie Krautheim, registered dietitian and senior vice president of nutrition and health promotion at the National Dairy Council. "We hope the simplified language will help consumers better understand the importance of three daily servings of dairy to obtain these nutrients and reduce the risk of osteoporosis."

Together, milk, cheese and yogurt provide excellent sources of calcium and vitamin D. In addition to calcium and vitamin D, the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Bone Health and Osteoporosis recognizes the role of a number of other nutrients in dairy foods, including magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and protein, that work together to help protect bones. The report also recognizes the importance of regular physical activity in contributing to bone health.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


December 28, 2006, 9:42 PM CT

Treatments for urinary infections leave bacteria bald

Treatments for urinary infections leave bacteria bald Bacteria that cause many urinary tract infections are normally coated in fine hairlike structures known as pili.
A different approach to treating urinary tract infections (UTIs) could defeat the bacteria that cause the infections without directly killing them, a strategy that could help slow the growth of antibiotic-resistant infections.

Instead of trying to wipe out bacteria, scientists in the laboratory of Scott Hultgren, Ph.D., the Helen L. Stoever Professor of Molecular Microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, have been working to create pharmaceuticals that essentially "defang" the bacteria by preventing them from assembling pili, microscopic hairs that both enable the invasion of host cells and allow the bacteria to mount a cooperative defense against the host's immune system.

"We're leaving the bacteria bald but healthy and happy," says Jerome S. Pinkner, lab manager for Hultgren. "Rather than trying to kill them, we're working to make them non-pathogenic, so that they will be unable to adhere to or invade the bladder tissues and are readily eliminated from the body."

Pinkner and colleagues think the bacteria will find it harder to evolve resistance to a therapy that does not directly impact their survival. As per an April 2006 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases fact sheet, resistance to at least one antibiotic has been detected in more than 70 percent of the bacteria that cause hospital-acquired infections.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


December 28, 2006, 8:53 PM CT

Insights Into Learning

Insights Into Learning Leonid Moroz
Credit: Sarah Kiewel/UF HSC News
Researchers analyzing the genomics of a marine snail have gotten an unprecedented look at brain mechanisms, discovering that the neural processes in even a simple sea creature are far from sluggish.

At any given time within just a single brain cell of sea slug known as Aplysia, more than 10,000 genes are active, as per researchers writing in Friday's (Dec. 29, 2006) edition of the journal Cell. The findings suggest that acts of learning or the progression of brain disorders do not take place in isolation - large clusters of genes within an untold amount of cells contribute to major neural events.

"For the first time we provide a genomic dissection of the memory-forming network," said Leonid Moroz, a professor of neuroscience and zoology at the University of Florida Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience. "We took advantage of this powerful model of neurobiology and identified thousands of genes operating within a single neuron. Just during any simple event correlation to memory formation, we expect differences in gene expression for at least 200 to 400 genes".

Scientists studied gene expression in association with specific networks controlling feeding or defensive reflexes in the sea slug. To their surprise, they identified more than 100 genes similar to those linked to all major human neurological diseases and more than 600 genes controlling development, confirming that molecular and genomic events underlying key neuronal functions were developed in early animal ancestors and remained practically unchanged for more than 530 million years of independent evolution in the lineages leading to men or sea slugs.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


December 27, 2006, 5:01 AM CT

Super-stable Glass May Aid Drug Delivery

Super-stable Glass May Aid Drug Delivery A type of glass created by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Credit: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Look at your window - not out it, but at it. Though the window glass looks clear, if you could peer inside the pane you would see a surprising molecular mess, with tiny particles jumbled together any which way.

Now, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a new glass-making technique that eliminates some of that mess. With the new technology, described in a study in the Dec. 8 issue of Science, they created a novel glass that is stronger and more stable than glass made in traditional ways. Though not suitable to replace everyday products like window panes or eyeglasses, this new glass may allow pharmaceutical companies the opportunity to explore previously unusable drug compounds.

When considered at the molecular level, most solid materials can be described as either crystals or glasses, explains lead author Mark Ediger, a UW-Madison chemistry professor. The difference lies in the degree of internal organization of their constituent molecules.

"A crystal is like toy soldiers all lined up marching together," Ediger says. "A glass is a teenager's room, with stuff packed in everywhere".

Just as levels of messiness can range from cluttered to chaotic, levels of molecular disorder can vary between different types of glass. Glasses composed of more organized molecules are more stable and durable, while glasses with haphazard molecular assemblies are less stable and may degrade over time.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


December 26, 2006, 8:03 PM CT

Stem Cells As Cancer Therapy

Stem Cells As Cancer Therapy
It is widely hoped that neural stem cells will eventually be useful for replacing nerves damaged by degenerative diseases like Alzheimer disease and multiple sclerosis. But there may also be another use for such stem cells--delivering anti-cancer drugs to cancer cells.

A Perspective article in PLoS Medic ine, by Professor Riccardo Fodde (Erasmus Medical Center, The Netherlands), discusses a new study in mice, reported in the launch issue of PLoS ONE (www.plosone.org), that showed that neural stem cells could be used to help deliver anti-cancer drugs to metastatic cancer cells.

One of the characteristics of neural stem cells is their tendency to move towards diseased areas (researchers call this phenomenon "pathotropism"). This characteristic, says Professor Fodde, "makes them especially attractive candidates not only to replace damaged tissue in degenerative pathologies, but also to deliver therapeutic molecules in patients with disseminated metastatic cancer".

In the study published in PLoS ONE, Karen Aboody and his colleagues report on the eradication of disseminated metastases in a mouse model of a cancer called neuroblastoma. The scientists took advantage of the tumor-tropic (selective migration towards cance r cells) properties of neural stem cells engineered to express an enzyme that activates an anti-cancer drug.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 26, 2006, 8:00 PM CT

Profiling Of Cancer Genes

Profiling Of Cancer Genes Dr. John Minna (left) and Deborah Moncrief Jr
Credit: UT Southwestern Medical Center
A research team at UT Southwestern Medical Center has for the first time identified several genes whose expression is lost in four of the most common solid human cancers - lung, breast, prostate and colon cancer.

The findings, which scientists say could form the basis for a new early detection screen for certain cancers, are published recently in the online journal Public Library of Science Medicine.

The expression of genes that inhibit cancer development, so-called tumor suppressor genes, is often lost in tumor cells. This can occur through a mutation in the gene's DNA sequence or through deletion of the gene. Loss of tumor suppression function also can occur in a process called methylation, where a chemical called a methyl group is attached to a DNA region near the gene and prevents it from being activated, essentially "silencing" the gene.

"These results show the power of studying tumors on a genome-wide basis, looking at a number of genes at the same time," said Dr. John Minna, the study's senior author and director of the W.A. "Tex" and Deborah Moncrief Jr. Center for Cancer Genetics and the Nancy B. and Jake L. Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research at UT Southwestern.

In an effort to identify new tumor-suppressor genes that might be important to lung and breast cancer development, the UT Southwestern team examined which genes are active in those kinds of tumors and compared them to gene expression profiles from normal lung epithelial cells. The scientists then examined the gene expression profiles of these various cell types before and after therapy with a drug that inhibits methylation.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


December 26, 2006, 7:54 PM CT

Incidence Of Stroke Decreasing

Incidence Of Stroke Decreasing
The occurence rate of stroke in the U.S. over the past 50 years has declined, eventhough the severity of stroke has not, as per a research studyin the December 27 issue of JAMA.

Stroke continues to be a major public health concern, with more than 750,000 new strokes occurring each year in the United States. It is the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer and the leading neurologic cause of long-term disability, as per background information in the article. Previous estimates of long-term trends in the incidence and severity of stroke have varied. Determining trends could help guide health programs, public policy, and the allocation of research funding.

Raphael Carandang, M.D., of Boston University, and his colleagues examined data from the Framingham Study (health study, with participants initially recruited in 1948) to determine long-term trends in the incidence, lifetime risk, severity, and 30-day risk of death from clinical stroke. This study included 9,152 Framingham Study original participants and offspring undergoing follow-up for up to 50 years over three consecutive time-periods (1950-1977, 1978-1989, and 1990-2004), with ascertainment of stroke risk factor data every 2 years and active surveillance for occurrence of stroke or death.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


December 26, 2006, 7:50 PM CT

Acid Suppression Medications And Hip Fracture

Acid Suppression Medications And Hip Fracture
Use of the drugs proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for the therapy of acid-related diseases such as gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is linked to a greater risk of hip fracture, as per a research studyin the December 27 issue of JAMA.

Potent acid suppressive medications such as PPIs have revolutionized the management of acid-related diseases. Millions of individuals have been using these medications on a continuous or long-term basis, as per background information in the article. Some research has shown that PPI treatment may decrease insoluble calcium absorption or bone density in certain patients. These factors could increase the risk for hip fracture, which has a death rate during the first year after the fracture of 20 percent. Among those who survive this period, 1 in 5 require nursing home care and often an emergency department visit, hospitalization, surgery, and rehabilitation, with huge health care costs.

Yu-Xiao Yang, M.D., M.S.C.E., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, conducted a study to determine what effects PPI treatment has on bone metabolism and hip fracture risk in a large group representative of the general population. The scientists analyzed data from the General Practice Research Database (1987-2003), which contains information on patients in the United Kingdom. The study group consisted of users of PPI treatment and nonusers of acid suppression drugs who were older than 50 years.........

Posted by: Mark      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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