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July 12, 2007, 5:51 AM CT

Tumor Blood Flow Can Improve Chemotherapy

Tumor Blood Flow Can Improve Chemotherapy
A therapy for neuroblastoma that lands a one-two punch works best when the second punch is timed to take maximum advantage of the first one, as per results of studies at St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital. Neuroblastoma is a pediatric solid tumor that arises from cells in the peripheral nervous system.

The finding holds promise for improving neuroblastoma therapy by using the drug bevacizumab to block VEGF, a protein that stimulates blood vessel growth in tumors and then following with the chemotherapy drug topotecan, which depends on blood vessels to penetrate the tumor and kill the cancer cells. A report on this work appears in the current issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

Results of the current study are particularly important because drugs such as bevacizumab are being reviewed in clinical trials for children with neuroblastoma. However, there are no standard guidelines for how much of the drug to give or when to give it. Such guidelines would be particularly helpful for developing combination treatment with both bevacizumab and chemotherapy drugs, not only for neuroblastoma, but also for other tumors.

The results of our study are a significant step toward establishing such guidelines, said Andrew Davidoff, M.D., director of surgical research at St. Jude, and the reports senior author.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 12, 2007, 5:49 AM CT

When it comes to walking, it's all good

When it comes to walking, it's all good
These days, its easy for people to get confused about exercise -- how a number of minutes a day should they spend working out, for how long and at what exertion level" Conflicting facts and opinions abound, but one Mayo Clinic doctor says the bottom line is this: walking is good, whether the outcome measurement is blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, joint problems or mental health.

Getting out there and taking a walk is what its all about, says James Levine, M.D., Ph.D., and a Mayo Clinic expert on obesity. You dont have to join a gym, you dont have to check your pulse. You just have to switch off the TV, get off the sofa and go for a walk.

The health benefit linked to walking is the subject of Dr. Levines editorial in the recent issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Dr. Levines piece is entitled, Exercise: A Walk in the Park" and accompanies a Proceedings article that showcases the merits of walking as beneficial exercise.

The study, undertaken by physicians from the Shinshu University Graduate School of Medicine in Matsumoto, Japan, determined that high-intensity interval walking may protect against hypertension and decreased muscle strength among older people.

Over five months, the Japanese scientists studied 246 adults who engaged in either no walking or moderate to high-intensity walking. The group who engaged in high-intensity walking experienced the most significant improvement in their health, the scientists found.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 12, 2007, 5:44 AM CT

Up To 10 Percent Of Human Genome May Have Changed Very Recently

Up To 10 Percent Of Human Genome May Have Changed Very Recently
A Cornell study of genome sequences in African-Americans, European-Americans and Chinese suggests that natural selection has caused as much as 10 percent of the human genome to change in some populations in the last 15,000 to 100,000 years, when people began migrating from Africa.

The study, reported in the June 1 issue of PLoS (Public Library of Science) Genetics, looked for areas where most members of a population showed the same genetic changes. For example, the scientists found evidence of recent selection on skin pigmentation genes, providing the genetic data to support theories proposed by anthropologists for decades that as anatomically modern humans migrated out of Africa and experienced different climates and sunlight levels, their skin colors adapted to the new environments.

However, the study found no evidence of differences in genes that control brain development among the various geographical groups, as some scientists have proposed in the past.

"We undertook a very careful study of genetic differences within and among major human groups, and aimed to explain why certain parts of the genome differed," said Scott Williamson, the study's lead author and a Cornell assistant professor of biological statistics and computational biology. "We aimed to eliminate as a number of possible confounding variables as possible, and when all is said and done, we find that as much as 10 percent of the genome may have been affected by one of these bouts of recent selection".........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


July 12, 2007, 5:35 AM CT

How the brain and an iPhone differ

How the brain and an iPhone differ
UO psychologist Edward Awh and colleagues have found that people with high IQs may be able to remember more than the four objects an average person can store in short-term memory, but they may not be able to recall the objects with clarity.
Credit: Photo by Jim Barlow
How many simple objects can you think about at once? Even though people feel they have rich visual experiences, researchers have found that the average person is only aware of about four items at a time.

This ability, say researchers at the University of Oregon, varies from person to person, and theyve found that an individuals capacity of short-term memory is a strong predictor of IQ and scholastic achievement. People with high IQs can think about more things at once.

Because the capacity of the short-term memory system seems to underlie a core aspect of intelligence, cognitive psychologists have been interested in determining what causes a four-item limit for most people. One reasonable idea, which researchers have been tossing about, is that memory capacity might be influenced by the complexity of items being stored.

For example, a four-gigabyte iPhone, the popular new Apple cell phone, might be able to hold about 1,000 four-minute songs, but, of course, far fewer songs would fit in storage if the songs were all 20 minutes in length, explained UO psychology professors Edward Awh and Edward Vogel, co-authors with recent UO graduate Brian Barton on a study published in the July issue of Psychological Science.

Does human memory work the same way? Their study drew some surprising conclusions on the topic. Even when very complex objects had to be remembered by subjects participating in laboratory experiments, participants, who ranged in age from 18 to 30, still were able to hold four items in active memory. However, Awh said, the clarity of those items was not perfect, and some people had much clearer memories than others.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


July 11, 2007, 5:40 AM CT

Late nights may impact preteen behavior

Late nights may impact preteen behavior
A propensity for activities in the evening rather than in the morning may offer clues to behavioral problems in early adolescence, as per psychology experts who have observed that kids who prefer evenings are more likely to exhibit antisocial behavior, rule-breaking, and attention problems.

Results from the study further suggest that atypical secretions of the hormone cortisol and early puberty are both associated with antisocial behavior, though the findings are stronger for boys than girls.

Elizabeth J. Susman, the Jean Phillips Shibley professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State, and her colleagues are trying to understand how a characteristic titled 'morningness/eveningness', along with the ratio of cortisol readings taken in the morning and afternoon, influences young adolescent behavior.

"Morningness/eveningness refers to individual differences in sleep-wake patterns and preferences for activity and alertness during mornings or evenings," Susman said. Prior studies with older adolescents show that it is associated with various psychological problems.

Susman thinks eveningness could make young adolescents vulnerable to antisocial behavior as well, and is studying how atypical patterns of cortisol secretion might add to the problem.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 11, 2007, 5:39 AM CT

"America's Best Hospitals" Not AlwaysThe Best

Harlan M. Krumholz, M.D.
Heart attack patients admitted to hospitals ranked to be among "America's Best" by U.S. News & World Report are less likely to die within 30 days than those patients admitted to non-ranked hospitals, Yale School of Medicine scientists report in the July 9 Archives of Internal Medicine.

"The rankings, which include a number of of the nation's most prestigious hospitals, did identify a group of hospitals that was much more likely than non-ranked hospitals to have superb performance on 30-day mortality after acute myocardial infarction," said corresponding author Harlan M. Krumholz, M.D., The Harold H. Hines, Jr. Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale School of Medicine. "But our study also shows that not all ranked hospitals had outstanding performance and that a number of non-ranked hospitals performed well."

Krumholz and his team compared 30-day death rates for 13,662 acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients in 50 U.S. News & World Report ranked hospitals with 254,907 AMI patients in 3,813 non-ranked hospitals. The study methods used were similar to recently released mortality measures that are publicly reported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The scientists compared the hospitals' standardized mortality ratios, where a ratio of greater than one indicates more deaths than expected and a ratio of less than one indicates fewer deaths than expected.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 11, 2007, 5:23 AM CT

Early Warning Of Deep Belly Fat

Early Warning Of Deep Belly Fat
Measuring levels of a chemical found in blood offers the best indicator yet of the amount of fat surrounding abdominal organs, as per a new study of lean and obese individuals published in the recent issue of Cell Metabolism, a publication of Cell Press. The buildup of such visceral fat is of particular health concern as it has been associated with insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease risk.

The researchers, including Barbara Kahn and Timothy Graham of Harvard Medical School and Matthias Blher of the University of Leipzig in Gera number of, showed that retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4) is produced in much greater amounts by visceral fat in comparison to the subcutaneous fat that lies just beneath the skin. Moreover, they report that blood serum levels of RBP4 jump in people who are obese, who have double or even triple the concentrations found in individuals of normal weight.

We think that in the near future, measurements of RBP4 serum concentrations might serve as a novel biomarker for visceral obesity and increased risk for type 2 diabetes and other adverse outcomes of visceral obesity, said Blher. In addition, pharmacological interventions that reduce RBP4 levels might be a new approach in the therapy of metabolic syndrome and visceral obesity.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 11, 2007, 5:22 AM CT

Nearly 90 percent of babies receive recommended newborn screening tests

Nearly 90 percent of babies receive recommended newborn screening tests
Nearly 90 percent of all babies born in the United States more than double the percentage in 2005 live in states that require screening for at least 21 life-threatening disorders, as per the latest March of Dimes Newborn Screening Report Card.

The March of Dimes endorsed the 2004 report of the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG) that calls for every baby born in the U.S. to be screened for 29 genetic or functional disorders. If diagnosed early, all of these devastating conditions can be successfully managed or treated to prevent severe consequences.

Two years ago, only 38 percent of infants were born in states that mandatory screening for at least 21 of these 29 core conditions. As a result of four years of intensive advocacy efforts by March of Dimes chapters and their partners, that percentage has increased to 87.5, or about 3.6 million babies.

While this important expansion of newborn screening is very good news for families, the lives of 500,000 newborns who still arent tested hang in the balance, said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. Despite the pleas of parents, clinicians and advocacy groups the United States still lacks consistent federal guidelines for newborn screening. Babies must be screened, to receive immediate therapy necessary to survive and lead healthy lives. The lack of federal guidelines makes it difficult for states to get support for needed legislation.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


July 11, 2007, 5:17 AM CT

No strong link between tomatoes and reduced cancer risk

No strong link between tomatoes and reduced cancer risk
A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review has found only limited evidence for an association between eating tomatoes and a decreased risk of certain cancers, as per an article published online July 10 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Several studies have reported an association between the consumption of tomatoes or lycopene, an antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red hue, and a decreased risk of some cancers, especially prostate cancer. In order for foods and dietary supplements to be labeled with such health claims, the FDA must review and approve these claims based on the available scientific evidence.

In a review article, Claudine Kavanaugh, Ph.D., of the FDA in College Park, Md., and his colleagues describe the agencys November 2005 evaluation of the scientific evidence linking tomatoes or tomato-based foods, lycopene, and reduced cancer risk.

Their review found no evidence that tomatoes reduced the risk of lung, colorectal, breast, cervical, or endometrial cancer. However, there was very limited evidence for associations between tomato consumption and reduced risk of prostate, ovarian, gastric, and pancreas cancers. Based on this assessment, the FDA decided to allow qualified health claims for a very limited association between tomatoes and these four cancers. Their analysis found no credible evidence that lycopene, either in food or in a dietary supplement, was linked to reduced risk of any of the cancers reviewed.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


July 11, 2007, 5:03 AM CT

Prophylactic Antibiotic Treatment For Children With UTI Not Effective

Prophylactic Antibiotic Treatment For Children With UTI Not Effective
The use of prophylactic antibiotics, which involves daily administration of antibiotics to children after an initial urinary tract infection, is not linked to reduced risk of recurrent urinary tract infections, but is linked to an increased risk of resistant infections, as per a research studyin the July 11 issue of JAMA.

Estimates of cumulative occurence rate of UTI in children younger than 6 years (3 percent - 7 percent in girls, 1 percent - 2 percent in boys) suggest that 70,000 to 180,000 of the annual U.S. birth cohort will have experienced a UTI by age 6, as per background information in the article. Practice guidelines for after the first UTI in children recommend an imaging study to evaluate for the presence and degree (grade) of vesicoureteral reflux (VUR; a backflow of urine from the bladder into the ureter), a condition present in approximately 30 percent to 40 percent of children with UTI. If the child has VUR, daily antibiotic (destroying or suppressing the growth of microorganisms) therapy is recommended in an attempt to prevent recurrent UTIs. Evidence is limited regarding risk factors for recurrent urinary tract infection (UTI) and the risks and benefits of antibiotic therapy.

Patrick H. Conway, M.D., M.Sc., of the University of Pennsylvania Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, Philadelphia, and his colleagues conducted a study to identify risk factors for recurrent UTI and estimate the effectiveness and possibility of resistance of antimicrobials in preventing recurrent UTI. Patients in the study were from a Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia supported network of 27 primary care pediatric practices in urban, suburban, and semi-rural areas spanning three states, with children ages birth through 6 years, who were diagnosed with first UTI between July 2001 and May 2006.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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