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September 4, 2006, 10:20 PM CT

Prevention Of Methamphetamine Abuse

Prevention Of Methamphetamine Abuse
New research supported in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, shows that prevention programs conducted in middle school can reduce methamphetamine abuse among rural adolescents years later. Because methamphetamine addiction leads to problems with social interactions and a wide range of medical conditions, research into early interventions such as this is critical to protecting the Nation's youth. The paper is reported in the recent issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

"We now have evidence that prevention programs can be important tools to protect adolescents from the devastating effects of methamphetamine use, and we will continue to explore the effectiveness of other drug abuse prevention programs," says Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, director of the National Institutes of Health. "These findings are part of our ongoing effort to support scientific research that can have practical applications in community settings".

"Prior preventive interventions have shown effects in reducing adolescents' abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana, but this is the first study to examine the effects of a preventive intervention on methamphetamine abuse among youth," says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "The results of this research indicate the effectiveness of prevention programs on lifetime or annual methamphetamine abuse."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 4, 2006, 10:15 PM CT

Anticipation And Human Memory

Anticipation And Human Memory
Psychology experts have long known that memories of disturbing emotional events - such as an act of violence or the unexpected death of a loved one - are more vivid and deeply imprinted in the brain than mundane recollections of everyday matters.

Probing deeper into how such memories form, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have observed that the mere anticipation of a fearful situation can fire up two memory-forming regions of the brain - even before the event has occurred.

That means the simple act of anticipation may play a surprisingly important role in how fresh the memory of a tough experience remains.

The findings of the brain-imaging study, which appear in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, have important implications for the therapy of psychological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety, which are often characterized by flashbacks and intrusive memories of upsetting events.

"The main motivation for this study was a clinical one, in terms of understanding and applying knowledge about memory so that we can better inform the therapy of disorders that have a large memory component, like PTSD," says lead author Kristen Mackiewicz, a graduate student at the University of Colorado who worked on the anticipation study while a student at UW-Madison.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 4, 2006, 9:51 PM CT

Trust Your Intuition

Trust Your Intuition
Risk and uncertainty are part of modern life, but why does the possibility of terrorist bombs on aeroplanes, a new generation of nuclear power stations and a flu pandemic trigger public distrust in the powers-that-be? What can the government do to re-build trust in politicians and scientists?

Risk scientists say the answer lies in emotions, not reason, particularly when the perceived risk is correlation to health, the environment, new technologies and energy. "There is a lot of evidence that concern about risk is directly correlation to lack of knowledge and the extent to which the event is dreaded," says Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby, Director of the Economic and Social Research Council Social Context and Responses to Risk Network (SCARR) at the University of Kent. "And trust always involves emotion as well as reason".

"The way that information about a particular risk is transmitted and interpreted by various audiences is also important in determining how people respond," Peter Taylor-Gooby explains. "Government should be certainly thinking about building trust, but it is very difficult to do. People need to feel they are being taken seriously and it would help if there was more reporting back after public consultations. Transparency is the key, especially when mistakes have been made".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 4, 2006, 7:11 PM CT

Tough Fight Against Ovarian Cancer

Tough Fight Against Ovarian Cancer
Gene therapy might be the answer to ovarian cancer as per some researches from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. These researchers have used gene therapy with surprising ability by either completely abolishing or significantly inhibiting tumor progression in a mouse model of ovarian cancer. University of Pittsburgh researchers believe these findings, which was presented at the American Society of Gene Therapy annual meeting would significantly improve the prognosis for ovarian cancer patients.

Ovarian cancer is diagnosed in more than 25,000 women in the United States each year, and about 16,000 American women die from the disease annually. Despite aggressive surgery and chemotherapy approaches, the prognosis for ovarian cancer is poor, and most women have a life expectancy of only three to four years after their diagnoses.

In this study, the Pitt scientists inoculated mice with an ovarian cancer cell line. They treated some of the mice immediately with a genetically engineered vaccinia virus containing a gene coding cytosine deaminase, a suicide gene, and delayed treatment of other mice for 30 or 60 days. Control mice were inoculated with ovarian cancer cells but were not given the gene therapy.

The researchers found complete inhibition of tumor growth in the mice that were treated immediately with gene therapy and significant tumor inhibition in the 30- and 60-day delayed treatment mice. In contrast, all non-gene-therapy treated mice either died or were euthanized due to overwhelming buildup of fluid in the peritoneal cavity by 94 days following tumor inoculation.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


September 3, 2006, 7:37 AM CT

Combined therapies for brain tumors

Combined therapies for  brain tumors
One treatment for treating brain tumors alerts the immune system to the presence of foreign material. A second treatment enhances the first and prolongs the immune system's response. Now, in an animal study conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute, scientists have combined the two in a form that appears effective when injected directly into a cancerous brain tumor.

The result, extended length of survival, even after "rechallenge," is detailed in the Sept. 1 issue of the journal Cancer Research.

Dendritic cell immunotherapy, pioneered at the Institute in the therapy of deadly, recurring brain tumors called gliomas, is one component of the experimental procedure. The therapy is commonly performed after a patient's tumor has been surgically removed. Proteins from the tumor are collected, cultured and introduced in a Petri dish to dendritic cells taken from the patient's blood. The "new" dendritic cells are then injected into the patient's bloodstream. When they encounter lingering tumor cells, they initiate an immune response.

Dendritic cells are specialized "antigen-presenting cells" responsible for alerting the immune system to foreign matter and eliciting an attack. They normally exist in the body to clear debris, such as dead cells, detecting antigens in the process.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


September 3, 2006, 7:27 AM CT

Vaccine For Severe Form Of Malaria

Vaccine For Severe Form Of Malaria Plasmodium falciparium
Plasmodium falciparium, the most severe form of malaria hits pregnant women and children the hardest. A joint study between Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and Makerere University in Uganda has now produced some important findings on how the malaria parasite conceals itself in the placenta.

Plasmodium falciparium is the name of by far the most virulent of the four malaria parasites that infect man. It is especially dangerous in that it also infects the placenta of pregnant women, with fatal consequences for both her and the foetus. This, combined with the often feeble medical resources of malaria-stricken countries, can lead to such serous complications that the mother dies during delivery.

"For some reason, women in their first pregnancy lose the semi-immunity that is normally found in adults," explains Niloofar Rasti, a KI graduate student who has been working with the study. "The placenta seems to be an anatomically favourable environment for a subpopulation of the parasites".

The research group from Karolinska Institutet, under the leadership of Professor Mats Wahlgren, has been working with colleagues from KI's partner university in Uganda to study in detail how the parasite infects the placenta. Their results, which are reported in the American scientific journal PNAS, can enable the development of vaccines and therapies to combat severe malarial infections.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


September 3, 2006, 5:25 AM CT

Geography of cardiovascular deaths

Geography of cardiovascular deaths
Deaths from heart disease are not uniformly distributed around the world. Eastern European and Middle Eastern patients with diseased blood vessels have the highest rates of heart attacks and strokes, and the highest rates of death from those conditions, compared with similar patients in other regions of the world, as per a preliminary analysis of more than 68,000 patients in 44 countries.

"We observed that more than 10 percent of Eastern Europeans and 9 percent of Middle Easterners had died or suffered from a stroke or heart attack," said Duke University Medical Center heart specialist Magnus Ohman, M.D., who helped analyze an international registry of patients with proven or suspected cardiovascular disease. By comparison, 7.3 percent of North Americans with similar conditions either died or suffered from a stroke or heart attack, he said.

Four percent of Eastern European patients, 3.58 percent of Middle Eastern patients and 3.37 percent of North American patients died from their disease, he said.

"Based on the data collected to date, we can say that adverse health effects due to cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease are no longer afflictions solely of the Western, industrialized world," Ohman said.

"We are now seeing these diseases, and the death and disability they cause, spread to a significant degree to other parts of the world," he said. "These data suggest that heart attack and stroke represent an urgent international issue and are more prevalent than previously appreciated. The findings also raise the issue of whether or not the spread of Western culture is detrimental to the overall health of the rest of the world".........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


September 2, 2006, 10:10 PM CT

MRI Best To Detect Cancer Spread Into Breast Ducts

MRI Best To Detect Cancer Spread Into Breast Ducts
MRI is better than MDCT for determining if and how far breast cancer has spread into the breast ducts and should be used before patients receive breast conserving treatment, a new study shows.

"Patients have a lower survival rate if their surgical margins are positive for tumor cells. A positive surgical margin is commonly the result of inadequate resection of the cancer's intraductal component," said Akiko Shimauchi, MD, at Tohoku University in Sendai, Miyagi, Japan. "Accurate preoperative diagnosis of the intraductal component allows the surgeon to achieve a cancer-free surgical margin," she said.

The study included 69 patients with proven invasive cancer, 44 of which had an intraductal component, said Dr. Shimauchi. MRI correctly identified 33 of the 44 cases, while MDCT correctly identified 27. "MRI revealed the presence of the intraductal component with significantly higher sensitivity (75%) in comparison to MDCT (61%), Dr. Shimauchi said.

"The lesions that were missed by both examinations were the ductal extension type, i.e. the tumor included a dominant mass with an outward extension of cancer cells, with a relatively small ductal component," said Dr. Shimauchi. MRI was better able to detect the smaller ductal components than MDCT, she said.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


September 2, 2006, 10:05 PM CT

Reducing contrast material in elderly

Reducing contrast material in elderly
The dose of contrast material can be effectively reduced by at least 10% for elderly patients undergoing a multi-detector CT examination of the pancreas and biliary region a new study finds. When the dose is reduced, the cost of the examination and the risk of complications is reduced. This study was conducted by the Department of Technical Radiology at Nagoya University School of Health Science in Nagoya, Japan.

"When interpreting CT images acquired using the established protocol in our clinical practice, it was noted that in some examinations of elderly patients, contrast enhancement of the pancreatic parenchyma was too intense," said Shigeki Itoh, MD, lead author of the study. "Therefore, we speculated that it might be possible to reduce the dose and rate of contrast material injection without adversely affecting the degree of contrast enhancement in elderly patients," said Dr. Itoh.

The study included 112 patients, ranging from 23-80 years old who had known or suspected pancreatobiliary disease who were split into three groups (60 years old or younger with a contrast injection of 0.08 milliliters/kg/sec, 60 years old or older with a contrast injection of 0.08 milliliters/kg/sec, and 60 years old or older with a contrast injection of 0.07 milliliters/kg/sec).........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


September 2, 2006, 9:05 PM CT

Carbon Monoxide To Help Pre-eclampsia

Carbon Monoxide To Help Pre-eclampsia
Carbon monoxide is poisonous? Scientists have shown that carbon monoxide may prevent the placental cell death caused by oxidative stress injury, possibly averting the risks of pre-eclampsia. The report by Bainbridge et al., "Carbon monoxide inhibits hypoxia/reoxygenation-induced apoptosis and secondary necrosis in syncytiotrophoblast," appears in the recent issue of The American Journal of Pathology.

Pre-eclampsia, a form of pregnancy-associated hypertension, affects 5-7% of pregnancies and poses serious risks for both mother and child. If maternal blood vessels at the placental barrier fail to remodel and adapt to the changing nutrient/oxygen needs of the growing fetus, the maternal blood pressure rises in an effort to improve nutrient delivery. This leads to oxidative stress and damage to the placenta, specifically to the syncytiotrophoblast. When syncytiotrophoblast cells die, they are released into the maternal circulation, initiating a cascade of inflammation that can damage maternal organs.

Interestingly, mothers who smoke cigarettes during pregnancy have a 33% decreased risk of developing pre-eclampsia in comparison to nonsmokers. New research questions whether the carbon monoxide found in cigarette smoke, and subsequently carried in a smoking mother's blood, may be the cause. Carbon monoxide, which is produced naturally by the body at low levels, possesses vessel-relaxing and cytoprotective activities that may prevent syncytiotrophoblast cell death and the resulting injury to fetus and mother.........

Posted by: Emily      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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