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May 21, 2006, 9:49 AM CT

Key Role For Vegf In Onset Of Sepsis

Key Role For Vegf In Onset Of Sepsis
A study led by scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has found that the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) protein is a key biomarker for sepsis, a severe inflammatory response that develops following a bacterial infection. The findings, which would be reported in the June 12, 2006, issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM) and currently appear on-line, offer a promising new target for the development of drug therapies to treat this overwhelming - and often fatal -- condition.

"Sepsis represents a patient's response to severe infection," explains senior author William C. Aird, MD, Chief of the Division of Molecular Medicine and Associate Director of the Center for Vascular Biology at BIDMC. "We know that antibiotics will take care of the primary infection, but 30 percent of patients with severe sepsis will die in spite of successful antibiotic treatment because the body's host response is out of control and turns on its bearer."

Sepsis develops when the immune system becomes overactivated in response to an existing infection, setting in motion a cascade of dangerous inflammatory and coagulation responses throughout the body. A leading cause of organ failure and intensive care unit (ICU) hospitalizations, severe sepsis accounts for 200,000 deaths each year and poses a particular danger in hospital settings, where patients are more likely to come in contact with antibiotic-resistant pathogens, and when their immune systems have already been weakened by illness or therapys.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


May 21, 2006, 9:32 AM CT

Woman's Chances Of Having Twins Can Be Modified By Diet

Woman's Chances Of Having Twins Can Be Modified By Diet
An obstetrician well known for his care of and research into multiple-birth pregnancies has found that dietary changes can affect a woman's chances of having twins, and that her overall chance is determined by a combination of diet and heredity. By comparing the twinning rate of vegan women, who consume no animal products, with that of women who do eat animal products, Gary Steinman, MD, PhD, an attending doctor at Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Center in New Hyde Park, NY, found that the women who consume animal products, specifically dairy, are five times more likely to have twins. The study is reported in the May 2006 issue of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, available May 20.

The Lancet recently published an invited comment by Dr. Steinman on dietary influences on twinning in the journal's May 6 issue.

The culprit may be insulin-like growth factor (IGF), a protein that is released from the liver of animals -- including humans -- in response to growth hormone, circulates in the blood and makes its way into the animal's milk. IGF increases the sensitivity of the ovaries to follicle stimulating hormone, thereby increasing ovulation. Some studies also suggest that IGF may help embryos survive in the early stages of development. The concentration of IGF in the blood is about 13 percent lower in vegan women than in women who consume dairy.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


May 21, 2006, 9:25 AM CT

Anxiety Often Undertreated In Elderly

Anxiety Often Undertreated In Elderly
Anxiety may be the most common mental disorder experienced by elderly adults, affecting one in 10 people over the age of 60. As a number of as 7 percent of people in this age group have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), a disorder characterized by uncontrollable worries about everyday things. Despite its prevalence, anxiety remains one of the most undiagnosed and undertreated conditions in this population.

An overview of current research in geriatric anxiety disorder will be presented today as part of an industry-sponsored symposium at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, being held May 20-25 in Toronto.

With the first of the 80 million "baby boomers" turning 60 in 2006, scientists are seeing a greater need to focus attention on disorders usually experienced by people age 60 and older.

"Studies have shown that generalized anxiety disorder is more common in the elderly, affecting 7 percent of seniors, than depression, which affects about 3 percent of seniors. Surprisingly, there is little research that has been done on this disorder in the elderly," said Eric J. Lenze, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "Due to the lack of evidence, doctors often believe that this disorder is rare in the elderly or that it is a normal part of aging, so they don't diagnose or treat anxiety in their older patients, when, in fact, anxiety is quite common in the elderly and can have a serious impact on quality of life."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 21, 2006, 9:18 AM CT

Vitamin E Offshoot A Potent Cancer Killer

Vitamin E Offshoot A Potent Cancer Killer
Scientists here have learned how a derivative of vitamin E causes the death of cancer cells. The scientists then used that knowledge to make the agent an even more potent cancer killer.

The compound, called vitamin E succinate, or alpha tocopheryl succinate, is taken by some people as a nutritional supplement, mainly for its antioxidant properties. In addition, it has a weak ability to kill cancer cells, and it has been tested as a cancer chemopreventive agent.

The substance kills cancer cells by causing them to undergo a natural process known as programmed cell death, or apoptosis. Until now, no one knew how the agent caused this to happen.

These findings answer that question and also indicate that the molecule's antitumor activity is separate from its antioxidant effect.

The study, led by scientists with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James), is reported in the April 28 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

"Our findings could lead to a potent chemopreventive agent that has both strong anticancer and antioxidant properties," says principal investigator Ching-Shih Chen, professor of pharmacy and of internal medicine and a researcher with the OSUCCC-James.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


May 21, 2006, 9:05 AM CT

Surgical Plugs In Ear Bone Helps Dizziness

Surgical Plugs In Ear Bone Helps Dizziness
Rapid, uncontrollable eye movements that swish and thump as the eyes roll and blink. Bones that creak as the body moves. Sudden dizziness, loss of balance. Falling down after a loud noise, such as the sound of your own voice, a cough or even laughter. These are hallmarks of a debilitating and relatively rare syndrome known as superior canal dehiscence that has stumped clinicians for a long time.

Victims lose balance, fall down stairs, are unable to read or sleep due to loud noises inside their head, and some become convinced they are mentally ill, suffering from symptoms that won't yield to conventional therapy. Now, Johns Hopkins surgeons have proven that these symptoms can all be successfully treated by a single operation that plugs up a threadbare layer of bone in the inner ear.

Superior canal dehiscence occurs in roughly equal numbers of men and women and is often not diagnosed until after age 40, when symptoms, such as hearing loss, appear to worsen. However, patients often recall that initial symptoms happened much earlier in their lives.

"The surgical plugging procedure can put a stop to even severe symptoms and can lead to a return to normal daily activities and, in some cases, to a mild-to-moderate improvement in hearing," says Lloyd B. Minor, M.D., the Andelot Professor and director of otolaryngology - head and neck surgery at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. It was Minor who, in 1998, first clinically described superior canal dehiscence and developed the surgical techniques to repair it.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


May 21, 2006, 9:00 AM CT

MRI Alert To Progression Of Polycystic Kidney Disease

MRI Alert To Progression Of Polycystic Kidney Disease
A new method using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) accurately tracks structural changes that predict functional changes earlier than standard blood and urine tests in people with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (PKD), as per a research studyfunded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). PKD is a common inherited condition characterized by cysts that grossly distort the kidneys and liver and by hypertension and brain aneurysms (bulges in arteries). Findings are in the May 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Scientists found that both small and large cysts and both kidneys grew continuously at steady rates, seemingly tailored to the individual with PKD, regardless of patient age. These structural changes correlate with losses in kidney function, suggesting that MRI can be used to track the major contributor to the progression of PKD, an advance that could speed the discovery of new therapies.

"There is so much variability in the loss of kidney function among PKD patients, even within families with the same altered gene, that it was assumed that cysts and kidneys must grow at variable rates. So it's quite remarkable to find cysts and kidneys in individuals growing at uniform and predictable rates," said Catherine M. Meyers, M.D., a kidney specialist at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). "Our experience is still limited, but this method appears very promising".........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


May 21, 2006, 8:55 AM CT

Signs of Adolescent Depression

Signs of Adolescent Depression
New findings from a study supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, show that girls and boys who exhibit high levels of risky behaviors have similar chances of developing symptoms of depression. However, gender differences become apparent with low and moderate levels of risky behaviors with girls being significantly more likely than boys to experience symptoms of depression. The study, which incorporates data from almost 19,000 teens, is reported in the May 15, 2006 issue of the Archives of Women's Mental Health.

"The burden of illness associated with depression during adolescence is considerable, and psychosocial problems - including substance abuse - are associated with depressive disorders in teens," says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "The findings from this study create a more complete picture of commonalities and differences of the risk of depression among boys and girls who engage in risky behaviors, and provide information for healthcare providers to consider as they screen, evaluate, and treat their young patients".

Symptoms of depression include loss of appetite, feeling blue, loss of interest in things that used to be of interest, being bothered by things that previously were not bothersome, and not feeling hopeful about the future.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 21, 2006, 8:52 AM CT

More Informed Approach To Multivitamins Use For Chronic Disease Prevention

More Informed Approach To Multivitamins Use For Chronic Disease Prevention
An independent panel convened this week by the NIH Office of Medical Applications of Research and the Office of Dietary Supplements assessed the available evidence on the safety and effectiveness of multivitamin/minerals (MVMs). Following two days of expert presentations, public discussion, and panel deliberations, the panel made recommendations regarding certain specific supplements but ultimately concluded that more rigorous scientific research is needed before strong recommendations can be made regarding MVM use to prevent chronic diseases.

The panel released a draft statement of its findings this morning, at the close of the conference. The panel's findings pertain to the generally healthy population, and do not include pregnant women, children, or those with disease. Full text of the panel's draft state-of-the-science statement will be available late today at http://consensus.nih.gov. The final version will be available at the same Web site in four to six weeks.

"Half of American adults are taking MVMs and the bottom line is that we don't know for sure that they're benefiting from them. In fact, we're concerned that some people may be getting too much of certain nutrients," said J. Michael McGinnis, M.D., M.P.P., Senior Scholar with the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, who chaired the panel.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink


May 18, 2006, 11:47 PM CT

Blood Test Predicts Success Of Quitting Smoking

Blood Test Predicts Success Of Quitting Smoking
A blood test may enable doctors to predict which smokers using the nicotine patch are likely to experience the least amount of cravings and have the highest probability of success in quitting cigarettes, as per the results of a study in the recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

The blood test, which is a measure of the rate at which nicotine is metabolized, may eventually be performed non-invasively using saliva or urine samples. "The ultimate aim here is to distinguish smokers who are likely to benefit from a standard dose of nicotine patch from those who may need a higher dose patch or an alternative treatment in order to succeed in quitting," said lead researcher for the study, Caryn Lerman, PhD, Associate Director for Cancer Control and Population Science at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, and Director of the University of Pennsylvania Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center.

When nicotine is metabolized - or broken down in the body - it turns to cotinine. Cotinine is then metabolized to 3-hydroxycotinine (3-HC) by an enzyme in the liver. This study measured the ratio of these two breakdown products of nicotine among 480 smokers. A high ratio meant rapid metabolism of nicotine, which was associated with higher amounts of craving and greater difficulty in quitting cigarettes using the nicotine patch.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


May 18, 2006, 11:40 PM CT

Codeine May Be No Cure For Cough

Codeine May Be No Cure For Cough
Researchers at the University of Manchester's North West Lung Centre have found that codeine - a standard ingredient in cough remedies - could be no more effective than an inactive placebo compound at treating cough.

Scientists at the Centre, which is based at Wythenshawe Hospital, studied a sample of patients with chronic lung disease. After coughing was induced with citric acid they were given either codeine or a placebo, and sent home wearing a lapel microphone to record their coughing during the day and night.

Lead researcher Dr. Jacyln Smith said: "Codeine has long been considered the standard anti-cough agent against which others are measured, but until now little has been known about its impact in patients with chronic lung diseases.

"After the placebo therapy the patients' coughing fell from an average of 8.27 seconds per hour to 7.22 seconds, and after codeine to 6.41 seconds.

"Eventhough there was a significant reduction after codeine, from a statistical standpoint there was really no difference between codeine and placebo - despite the fact that the dose of codeine used far exceeds that in over-the-counter cough remedies."

The findings were reported in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and seem to confirm some medics' view that reductions in coughing after codeine are attributable to a placebo effect.........

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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