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February 6, 2007, 9:41 PM CT

Major Player in Cell Growth

Major Player in Cell Growth
When cells go about the business of dividing, they can get sidelined. Maybe there aren't enough nutrients. Maybe there aren't the right signals to resume multiplying. Either way, cells go quiet.

What can restart cell division - the process that drives the development of embryos, the renewal of hair, skin and blood, and the creation of cancer - is a single transcription factor called GABP, as per new research from The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital.

The work, published online in Nature Cell Biology, introduces a new pathway that can be manipulated to control cell growth. Since cell growth is a fundamental biological process, the research may shed light on everything from miscarriages to muscular dystrophy. The main application, however, is cancer. Since a key characteristic of cancer cells is unchecked growth, the research identifies potential targets for new therapys.

"As a scientist and a physician, I am tremendously excited," said Alan Rosmarin, M.D., an associate professor in the Department of Medicine and the Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry at Brown and director of clinical oncology research for Lifespan, Rhode Island's largest health care system. "This discovery not only adds to our basic understanding of cell division, it could lead to better cancer drugs. And they're needed. Cancer touches everyone".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 6, 2007, 9:34 PM CT

New Guidelines For Assessing Lymphoma Treatment

New Guidelines For Assessing Lymphoma Treatment
An international team of cancer specialists and imaging experts, including Bruce Cheson, professor of medicine, head of hematology, and director of hematology research at Georgetown's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, has developed standardized guidelines for assessing how lymphomas respond to therapy. The guidelines will provide clinicians worldwide with consistent criteria to compare and interpret clinical trials of lymphoma therapys and should facilitate the development of new therapies. The recommendations appear in the Jan. 22 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"These revised guidelines will improve our ability to evaluate new therapys, to compare various therapys, and to provide a way for regulatory agencies, such as the FDA, to better evaluate new drugs," said Cheson. "The overall goal is to improve therapies for patients with lymphoma, which will lead to better outcomes".

The IHP recommendations aim to standardize the parameters used in clinical trials for lymphoma and incorporate the new technologies. In addition, the revised guidelines cover all lymphomas.

Cheson co-chaired the International Harmonization Project (IHP), a group of experts in the management of lymphomas who worked together to develop new guidelines for.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 5, 2007, 9:32 PM CT

Two Brains: Connected?

Two Brains: Connected?
The nerve cells of the brain are inter-connected to a complex network. All brain activities are the result of the "firing" of nerve cells, when they send electrical pulses - like a Morse code - to other cells of the brain. This process depends on the exact dynamics of the neuronal activity. When the brain receives sensory input, calculates or remembers, it processes information encoded in a series of neuronal impulses in different nerve cells. Eventhough no two people have the same brain, they can still share the same thought. Thus, only to a certain extent is the dynamics of neuronal activity dependent on the structure of neuronal networks. For networks far simpler than that of the human brain this idea also applies: different structures can display the same functionality. Raoul-Martin Memmesheimer and Marc Timme, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Gottingen, have developed a mathematical method to describe the set of all networks that exhibit a given dynamics. With this, they provide scientists with a tool which can be used to investigate the connection between structure and function of a neuronal network.

A common approach in scientific research is to investigate the structure of a system in order to then draw conclusions about its function. Memmesheimer and Timme now took the reverse perspective. "For some simple networks we know the activity dynamics, that is, their function, but not their exact structure", explains Memmesheimer. "Any given dynamics can normally be created by a variety of different networks. We have developed a method to mathematically pin down this diversity". This procedure resembles juggling with a number of unknown quantities and requires great computational power. Already in a network of 1000 neurons (where each neuron can be connected to any other) there are a million possible contacts between any two neurons and consequently an unimaginably large number of possible networks. Each combination can have either an inhibiting or an activating effect on the downstream neuron and, in addition to this, can differ in its intensity and reaction time. The entirety of all possible networks of a defined dynamics resembles a complex figure in a multidimensional space. Here, every point on the surface specifies the data mandatory to determine a network with the desired dynamics. Memmesheimer and Timme have now worked out a mathematical description for this figure.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


February 5, 2007, 7:41 PM CT

Secret Of 1918 Influenza Virus

Secret Of 1918 Influenza Virus
In a study of non-human primates infected with the influenza virus that killed 50 million people in 1918, an international team of researchers has found a critical clue to how the virus killed so quickly and efficiently. The group was led by University of Wisconsin-Madison virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka, and includes Michael Katze, professor of microbiology at the University of Washington, and colleagues here.

Writing in the Jan. 18 issue of the journal Nature, the team reports how the virus -- modern history's most savage influenza strain -- unleashes an immune response that destroys the lungs in a matter of days leading to death.

The finding is important because it provides insight into how the virus that swept the world in the closing days of World War I was so efficiently deadly, claiming as a number of of its victims people in the prime of life. The work suggests that it may be possible in future outbreaks of highly pathogenic flu to stem the tide of death through early intervention, and it proves that the virus was different from all of the other flu viruses currently studied.

The new study, conducted at the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba, utilized the 1918 flu virus, which has been reconstructed by scientists using genes obtained from the tissues of victims of the great pandemic in a reverse genetics process that enables researchers to make fully functioning viruses. The research gives clues into the longstanding mystery of why the 1918 flu was so deadly, and it will help researchers better understand all influenza viruses and their ability to cause pandemics.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


February 5, 2007, 6:13 PM CT

Getting Rid Of Lead Hazards

Getting Rid Of Lead Hazards
The length of time it can take to rid homes of lead hazards is "unacceptable" as per scientists from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and his colleagues in this month's American Journal of Public Health.

"This is the first study that looks at the time that it takes from a child's first blood lead level (BLL) test to the time when their home is made lead safe," said Kristina M. Zierold, Ph.D., lead author. "We knew there were a lot of kids with elevated BLLs, but nobody really knew how long it was taking to remove the exposure".

The study was conducted in Wisconsin while Zierold was an epidemic intelligence service officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"While our results apply only to Wisconsin, the fact that this was the first time anyone had studied this issue suggests that the problem may apply to other states," Zierold said.

An estimated 24 million housing units nationwide contain this poisonous material. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported in 1995 that 86 percent of all public housing and 83 percent of private homes had some lead-based paint.

The research reviewed 382 Wisconsin children aged 6 months to 6 years during a four-year period (1996 - 1999), with BLLs of 20 micrograms per deciliter (g/dL) or greater. In Wisconsin, these levels mandatory a lead hazard investigation of children's residences. The median length of time it took to eliminate the lead exposure was 465 days. Overall, only 18 percent of homes were completed within six months, and 46 percent mandatory more than 18 months to be considered lead safe.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 2, 2007, 5:05 AM CT

Stem Cells to Repair Damaged Hearts

Stem Cells to Repair Damaged Hearts
Rush University Medical Center is one of the first medical centers in the country, and currently the only site in Illinois, participating in a novel clinical trial to determine if a subject's own stem cells can treat a form of severe coronary artery disease.

The Autologous Cellular Therapy CD34-Chronic Myocardial Ischemia (ACT34-CMI) Trial is the first human, Phase II adult stem cell treatment study in the U.S. designed to investigate the efficacy, tolerability, and safety of blood-derived selected CD34+ stem cells to improve symptoms and clinical outcomes in subjects with chronic myocardial ischemia (CMI), a severe form of coronary artery disease.

"What we're hoping is that these stem cells will be able to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels to bring more blood and oxygen to the heart muscle, so that these patients will have a better quality of life and less chest pain," said Dr. Gary Schaer, director of the Rush Cardiac Catheterization Lab and study investigator.

Myocardial ischemia is a serious heart condition that involves narrowing of coronary arteries and results in limited blood flow to the heart. The disease affects hundreds of thousands of new people each year. A person who suffers from chronic myocardial ischemia continues to experience insufficient flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart despite optimum medical intervention.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


February 2, 2007, 5:02 AM CT

Helium Helps Patients Breathe Easier

Helium Helps Patients Breathe Easier
It makes for bobbing balloons and squeaky voices, but now helium is also helping people with severe respiratory problems breathe easier.

Scientists at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada have discovered that by combining helium with 40 per cent oxygen allowed patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to increase their exercise capacity by an average of 245 per cent. COPD is a disease of the lungs caused by smoking and includes the conditions of emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

This was the first study to demonstrate that helium-hyperoxia (40 per cent oxygen, 60 per cent helium) improves the exercise tolerance of COPD patients to a greater extent than oxygen alone, which is currently used for treating patients with this disorder. People with severe COPD typically struggle for every breath while exercising and any improvements that could be made to their ability to perform exercise could have significant clinical implications.

The results of the study were published recently in the American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine.

Patients with COPD have difficulty breathing out and often air is trapped in the lungs at the end of each breath; this has been shown to be one of the primary reasons for the shortness of breath experienced by these patients. Combining the helium and hyperoxia slows down the frequency of breathing while making the air easier to breathe. This combined effect reduces the amount of air trapped in the lungs during exercise.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


February 2, 2007, 4:23 AM CT

Based On Race, Gender And Insurance

Based On Race, Gender And Insurance
The study, conducted by Liliana E. Pezzin, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at the Medical College, along with co-researchers Gary B. Green, M.D., MPH, and Penelope Keyl, Ph.D., at Johns Hopkins, appears in the February 2007 issue of Academic Emergency Medicine.

Chest pain is the most common initial symptom in patients diagnosed with coronary artery disease. Tests such as electrocardiography, chest radiography as well as oxygen saturation monitoring and cardiac monitoring are non-invasive and useful in diagnosing the disease. The study observed that these tests are applied differently based on patients' race, gender and insurance.

Scientists drew on data compiled by the National Hospital Ambulatory Health Care Survey of Emergency Departments (NHAMCS-ED), from 1995 to 2000, for patients 30 years old or older presenting with chest pain. The retrospective study used a sample of 7,068 patients which corresponded to 32 million visits nationally throughout the six-year period.

They observed that the rate of visits to emergency departments by patients presenting with chest pain increased in the six-year period, and that race, gender and insurance differences were factors in the type of care patients received at emergency departments.

Overall, African American males were 25 to 30 percent less likely to receive any of the tests than non-African American males.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


January 31, 2007, 8:52 PM CT

Space Technology And Medical Community

Space Technology And Medical Community The Ambulatory Raynaud's Monitor
A small group of APL researchers, in collaboration with physicians from the Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center in Baltimore, developed and recently completed initial trials for a miniature device to help physicians characterize Raynaud's disease and measure therapy effectiveness.

"The Ambulatory Raynaud's Monitor is a tiny, Band-Aid-like device that enables physicians to objectively characterize a patient's condition, determine its severity and measure symptoms in real time," says Dr. Frederick Wigley, director of the Hopkins Scleroderma Center and one of the country's leading scleroderma experts, who asked the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, Md., to develop the device after reading about APL's work developing miniature devices for spacecraft. "Until now, Raynaud's research has been crippled without such a device".

The small, low-cost monitor wraps around a patient's finger and is secured with a bandage or medical tape. It contains two sensors that alternately record skin and ambient temperatures - indicators of surface blood flow - every 36 seconds. Interactive controls permit a patient to record the date and time of a suspected Raynaud's attack. A week's data is held by the monitor's electronics and is retained even if the device's power is unexpectedly interrupted.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


January 31, 2007, 8:33 PM CT

Doing Surgery on a Beating Heart

Doing Surgery on a Beating Heart
As per a review of the latest clinical trials, coronary artery bypass surgery performed on a beating heart, without the aid of a heart-lung machine, is a safe option that leads to fewer negative side effects for bypass patients. This review is featured in Journal of Cardiac Surgery.

"Previously, it was more common for doctors to perform artery bypass surgery on the heart by stopping the heart and passing the blood through a heart-lung machine," says author Dr. Shahzad Raja. "However, this process frequently leads to 'whole body inflammation,' which includes complications such as brain swelling, heart arrhythmia and infections." As per Raja, performing the surgery on the beating heart, while more technically challenging for the surgeon, keeps these side effects low and allows for a quicker recovery.

"If the surgeons are skilled enough to perform the surgery without stopping the heart, it can be offered to high-risk patients who would not be likely to survive the side effects of the traditional stopped-heart method," says Raja. "For this reason, quality training needs to be provided for those surgeons who wish to offer this option to their patients".........

Posted by: Daniel      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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