September 20, 2006, 9:40 PM CT
White Blood Cells And Transplanted Kidneys
In an example of biological irony, the same white blood cell chemistry known to damage kidneys used for transplants may also help prevent such damage, as per a federally funded study in genetically engineered mice at Johns Hopkins.
Scientists have long known that when blood flow is cut off and then returned to transplanted kidneys or other organs, immune system cells called T lymphocytes produce toxic natural chemicals that contribute to ischemic reperfusion injury (IRI). Nature cannot distinguish between deliberate surgical wounds needed to remove and re-implant a donor kidney and other kinds of organ damage in which certain toxic chemicals are needed to clean up or remove bad tissue.
But in the new study reported in the recent issue of The Journal of Immunology, the Hopkins team reports that that T cells can also play a role in reducing cellular damage in IRI kidneys, as per Hamid Rabb, M.D., medical director of kidney and pancreas transplantation at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
IRI occurs in 30 percent to 40 percent of kidneys removed from dead donors, resulting in lower kidney survival rates, shortened kidney life and a cost increase of approximately $20,000 per patient from the initial hospital stay and therapy alone, as per Rabb. Researchers therefore are interested in identifying means of preventing or rapidly treating IRI, but one barrier to greater understanding has been the inability to detect the lymphocytes in the kidney during the first critical six hours after blood flow is returned.........
Posted by: Mark Permalink Source
September 20, 2006, 5:09 AM CT
Why Food Tastes Bad To Chemotherapy Recipients
It's a common experience among patients who are receiving chemotherapy to have no tast for food. About two million cancer patients currently receiving certain drug therapies and chemotherapy find foods and beverages to have a foul metallic flavor, as per a medical study. In general, more than 40 percent of hospitalized patients suffer from malnutrition due to taste and smell dysfunction.
"Unfortunately, these problems that impact nutrition and quality of life are underestimated and understudied by oncologists," said Andrea Dietrich, Virginia Tech professor of civil and environmental engineering (CEE).
Dietrich believes there are two components to the metallic flavor the taste of metal ions on the tongue and the production of metal-catalyzed odors in the mouth that create a retro-nasal effect. "I am attempting to gain a better understanding of the metallic sensation, its prevention, and application to human health," Dietrich said.
Along with two of her university colleagues, Susan E. Duncan, professor of food science and technology, and YongWoo Lee, an assistant professor in the biomedical sciences and pathology department and a member of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Dietrich is the recipient of a $200,000 grant from the Institute of Public Health and Water Research (IPWR) to examine the problems of foul flavored water. The interdisciplinary investigative team combines proficiency in food oxidation and off-flavors, water chemistry, cell biology, and human perception.........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
September 20, 2006, 4:57 AM CT
Higher Suicide Rate Among Women With Breast Implants
Does women with breast implants have a higher mortality rate? This was the question the researchers were asking, but they came up with a surprising finding. In study that evaluated 24,600 women by the Canadian Public Health Agency and Cancer Care Ontario found that having breast implants does not increase mortality risk. However, the study found that the suicide rate among women with breast implants is 73% higher than in the general population. Researchers have published these findings in a recent issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Reserchers Universit Laval's Jacques Brisson and Louis Latulippe and their colleagues collected data on 17,400 women from the province of Quebec and 7,200 from Ontario who had received breast implants for cosmetic purposes between 1974 and 1989. These women, who had undergone the surgery at an average age of 32, were followed regularly during a 15-year period. The researchers found that a total of 480 women with breast implants died during that period, comparable to the mortality rate of the general population.
Researchers found mortality rate in women with breast implant to be 26% lower than in the control group. Fewer deaths occurred from breast cancer and heart occurred in this group. The researchers say that this lower mortality rate is not the result of the breast augmentation procedure itself, but rather of a double selection bias. "First, a woman must be in relatively good health to undergo breast implant surgery," points out Dr. Brisson. "Also, women who receive breast implants tend to be of higher-than-average socioeconomic status. Thus, women who undergo breast augmentation surgery are more likely to be in better health than the general population".........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
September 19, 2006, 10:06 PM CT
Too little fat! May not be the best thing
Too much body fat may be a bad thing, but there is increasing evidence that too little fat also may have some surprisingly negative consequences.
Scientists at UC Irvine have observed that fat droplets - tiny balls of fat that exist in most cells - appear to have an intriguing role to play when it comes to regulating excess proteins in the body. In a study with fruit flies, developmental biologist Steven Gross and his colleagues observed that these fat droplets served as storage depots for a type of protein used primarily by the cell to bind DNA and organize it in the nucleus. The fat keeps this extra protein out of the way until it is needed so that it does not cause harm within the cell. The findings imply that fat droplets could also serve as storage warehouses for other excess proteins that might otherwise cause harm if not sequestered. The study appears in the current issue of Current Biology.
"We were surprised to find that these droplets appear to be a mechanism for cleaning up excess proteins before they cause trouble," said Gross, associate professor of developmental and cell biology. "Obviously, everything in the body should be balanced. There is no doubt that huge amounts of fat tax your system in a lot of ways. But there now appears to be growing evidence that fat is also important for keeping us healthy".........
Posted by: Scott Permalink Source
September 19, 2006, 10:01 PM CT
A spicy solution for colon cancer?
A spicy turmeric solution for colon cancer.
In the last few years, that tactic has proved productive for scientists investigating turmeric, a curry spice used for centuries in Indian traditional medicine.
They've observed that turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin, works in the lab to fight skin, breast and other tumor cells. In fact, human clinical trials employing curcumin have already been launched.
Now, working with cell cultures in a laboratory, researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) have discovered that curcumin blocks the activity of a gastrointestinal hormone implicated in the development of colorectal cancer, the country's second leading cancer killer with nearly 60,000 deaths annually. In a paper reported in the current issue of Clinical Cancer Research, the UTMB scientists link the gastrointestinal hormone neurotensin, which is generated in response to fat consumption, to the production of IL-8, a potent inflammatory protein that accelerates the growth and spread of a variety of human cancer cells, including colorectal and pancreatic tumor cells.
"We observed that in colon cancer cells, neurotensin increases not just the rate of growth but also other critical things, including cell migration and metastasis," said UTMB surgery professor B. Mark Evers, senior author of the article and director of UTMB's Sealy Center for Cancer Cell Biology. "The fact that all that can be turned off by this natural product, curcumin, was really remarkable".........
Posted by: Sue Permalink Source
September 19, 2006, 9:37 PM CT
Outpatient Thyroid Surgery Is Safe
Thyroid surgery can be performed safely as an outpatient procedure for most patients. These findings and conclusion are from a study that followed 91 patients at two hospitals.
"This is a logical benefit of doing less-invasive surgical techniques," says Dr. David Terris, chair of the Medical College of Georgia Department of Otolaryngology -Head and Neck Surgery. "Now patients are able to go home the same day they have surgery".
With careful selection, 52 of the patients, or 57 percent, were able to leave the hospital about two hours after surgery, as per the study being presented during the 110th Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO of the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Sept. 17-20 in Toronto.
Of the patients operated on at MCG Medical Center and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Augusta, Ga., between December 2004 and October 2005, 26 were kept in the hospital just under a day and 13 were admitted.
Smaller incisions, reduced use of surgical drains and prophylactic calcium supplementation have enabled thyroid surgery - which just a few years ago mandatory a four-inch neck incision and several days in the hospital - to be done safely on an outpatient basis, Dr. Terris says.
"Three or four years ago, the dissection we did, raising skin and muscle flaps and cutting muscle to get the thyroid gland out, meant we had to put a drain in and we had to watch patients carefully overnight or for two or maybe even three nights," he says. "Now that we are doing much less dissection, a number of patients can go home the same day.........
Posted by: Sue Permalink Source
September 18, 2006, 9:59 PM CT
Preeclampsia and Fetal Development Problems
New research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ties low levels of a hormone secreted by the uterus and embryos to problems with pregnancy and fetal development.
The findings also suggest that the hormone, adrenomedullin, plays a key role in maternal susceptibility to preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication that occurs in the third trimester. Preeclampsia affects roughly one in fifteen pregnant women and is the leading cause of death among expectant mothers.
The UNC scientists demonstrated that pregnant mice with low adrenomedullin levels had reduced litter sizes, and while embryos implanted normally in the uterus, their spacing was overcrowded and resulted in poor growth. Because the low hormone levels were caused by a genetic mutation affecting adrenomedullin production, similar genetic changes could be associated with problems in human pregnancy, the scientists said.
"Our study provides the first genetic evidence to suggest that a modest reduction in human adrenomedullin expression during pregnancy may cause profound defects during pregnancy," said Dr. Kathleen M. Caron, senior study author and an assistant professor in the departments of cell and molecular physiology and genetics at the UNC School of Medicine.
Among the potential problems are poor implantation of the embryo, failure of the placenta to establish blood flow between mother and fetus and restricted fetal growth, Caron said. "The clinical implications are that women who have mutations in the gene responsible for expressing adrenomedullin might have greater susceptibility to these pregnancy problems, including preeclampsia".........
Posted by: Emily Permalink Source
September 18, 2006, 9:51 PM CT
Link Between Kidney Cancer And Sunlight Exposure
Closer to the equator you live, higher your chances for kidney cancer. Using newly available data researchers have shown a clear association between deficiency in exposure to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B (UVB), and kidney cancer.
UVB exposure triggers photosynthesis of vitamin D3 in the body. This form of vitamin D also is available through diet and supplements. Previous studies from this core research team have shown an association between higher levels of vitamin D3 and a lower risk of cancers of the breast, colon and ovary.
"Kidney cancer is a mysterious cancer for which no widely accepted cause or means of prevention exists, so we wanted to build on research by one of the co-authors, William Grant, and see if it might be related to deficiency of vitamin D," said study co-author Cedric Garland, Dr. P.H., professor of Family and Preventive Medicine in the UCSD School of Medicine, and member of the Moores UCSD Cancer Center.
There will be approximately 208,500 cases and 101,900 deaths from kidney cancer worldwide in 2006, including 39,000 new cases and 12,700 deaths in the United States, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the American Cancer Society.
The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer's online edition dated September 15, is the research team's newest finding relating exposure to the sun as a source of vitamin D, and estimated vitamin D deficiency to higher rates of several major types of cancer.........
Posted by: Mark Permalink Source
September 18, 2006, 9:45 PM CT
CAM For Insomnia Or Trouble Sleeping
A new study reveals that over 1.6 million American adults use some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to treat insomnia or trouble sleeping* as per researchers at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the National Institutes of Health. The data came from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 2002 the NHIS, an in-person, annual health survey, included over 31,000 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older. A CAM supplement to the survey asked about the use of 27 types of CAM therapies, as well as a variety of medical conditions for which CAM may be used, including insomnia or trouble sleeping. Survey results show that over 17 percent of adults reported trouble sleeping or insomnia in the past 12 months. Of those with insomnia or trouble sleeping, 4.5 percent--more than 1.6 million people--used some form of CAM to treat their condition.
"These data offer some new insights regarding the prevalence of insomnia or trouble sleeping in the United States and the types of CAM therapies people use to treat these conditions," said Dr. Margaret A. Chesney, Acting Director of NCCAM. "They will help us develop new research questions regarding the safety and efficacy of the CAM therapies being used."........
Posted by: Janet Permalink Source
September 18, 2006, 9:30 PM CT
A Mother Prompting Her Child To Eat And Obesity?
The prevalence of childhood obesity has increased significantly since the 1980s. A number of factors contribute to childhood obesity; however, parents are in a key position to help shape children's eating behaviors and eating environments. A study in the recent issue of The Journal of Pediatrics evaluates the role of mothers prompting their child to eat, the child's compliance with those prompts, and the potential contribution of each to the risk of obesity.
Dr. Julie Lumeng and Ms. Lori Burke from the University of Michigan videotaped and reviewed the tasting of four different foods by 71 mother-child pairs. Two of the foods presented were familiar (a cream-filled sponge cake and potato chips) and two were unfamiliar (a sweet Chinese dessert cake and fried vegetable chips). The scientists recorded how a number of times the mother prompted her child to take a bite and whether the child obeyed these prompts. On average, children complied with their mother's prompts to take another bite approximately two-thirds of the time.
Low maternal education, the presentation of unfamiliar foods, and younger age of the child were factors that predicted more prompting from the mother. Conversely, the mother being obese, the offering of familiar foods, and older age of the child were factors that predicted the child's compliance with the prompts. In children of obese mothers, variables that predicted a higher body mass index in the child were low maternal education, more prompts by the mother to eat unfamiliar foods, and fewer prompts to eat and bites of the familiar foods. In contrast, in children of mothers who were not obese, none of these behaviors were correlation to the child's weight status.........
Posted by: JoAnn Permalink Source