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August 10, 2006, 7:06 AM CT

Predictors Of Breast Cancer

Predictors Of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have identified many activity patterns in the genes of individual tumors that make them biologically different from others. These findings could provide valuable clinical information such as how likely the tumors are to be invasive, how well they might respond to different therapys and how likely they are to recur or spread.

Currently, doctors treating patients with breast cancer make therapy decisions and predictions based largely on the location and size of the tumor and if the cancer has spread, or metastasized, to lymph nodes and distant sites of the body.

But not all patients who are similar in terms of these clinical indicators get the same benefits from therapy.

These new findings could remedy that situation. Such differences in gene activity may be used as biomarkers to identify which therapys can be individually matched.

Over the past five years, gene expression profiles have been identified that appear to be predictive for cancer patients, particularly for breast cancer patients. But these tests show very little overlap in their gene lists, and thus it is not known just how distinct these different assays might be.

As per Dr. Charles M. Perou, assistant professor of genetics and pathology at the UNC School of Medicine and a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, some of the predictive assays are available commercially and others are under study in clinical trials in which therapy decisions, including whether or not to use chemotherapy, are being made based on them.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 10, 2006, 7:01 AM CT

Never marrieds has highest risk of early death

Never marrieds has highest risk of early death
People who never marry have the greatest chance of an earlier death, reveals a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The findings are based on national census and death certification data, involving almost 67,000 adults in the USA between 1989 and 1997.

In 1989, almost one in two of the sample were married, and almost one in 10 were widowed. Around 12% were divorced and 3% were separated. Of the remainder, 5% were cohabiting, and one in five had never been married.

Unsurprisingly, older age and poor health were the strongest predictors of death by 1997, but a surviving marriage was also strongly linked to a longer life.

After taking into account age, state of health, and several other factors likely to influence the findings, those who had been widowed were almost 40% more likely to die between 1989 and 1997. Those who had been divorced or separated were 27% more likely to have done so.

But those who had never been married were 58% more likely to have died during this period than their peers who were married and living with their spouse in 1989.

The never married "penalty" was larger for those in very good or excellent health, and smallest for those in poor health, and it was greater among men than women.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


August 10, 2006, 6:46 AM CT

Genetics Of Successful Aging

Genetics Of Successful Aging
Researchers have identified genes correlation to reaching age 90 with preserved cognition, as per a research studyreported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. The study, which was conducted at the University of Pittsburgh is among the first to identify genetic links to cognitive longevity.

"Successful aging has been defined in a number of ways, however, we focused on individuals who had reached at least 90 without significant decline in mental capacity," said lead researcher George S. Zubenko, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and biological sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. "While this is a goal that a number of of us share, such a definition of 'successful aging' can be determined objectively and consistently across subjects--an important requirement of scientific studies."

While prior research has revealed that genes make important contributions to exceptional longevity, the goal of this study was to identify regions of the human genome that contributed, along with lifestyle factors, to reaching age 90 with preserved cognition.

The study involved 100 people age 90 and older who had preserved cognition as measured by clinical and psychometric assessments. Half of the subjects were male, half were female. Using a novel genome survey method, researchers compared the DNA of the study sample with that of 100 young adults, aged 18-25, who were matched for sex, race, ethnicity and geographic location. Particularly, Dr. Zubenko and his research team attempted to identify specific genetic sequences present in older individuals that may be associated with reaching older ages with preserved cognitive abilities, or on the other hand, specific genetic sequences present in younger individuals (and not present in those over age 90) that may impede successful aging. The study also looked at a variety of lifestyle factors, such as smoking and alcohol consumption, with the goal of eventually exploring the interactive effects of genes and lifestyle on successful aging.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


August 10, 2006, 6:41 AM CT

Texts to reveal 'Whodunnit'

Texts to reveal 'Whodunnit'
Psychology experts at the University of Leicester are to investigate texting language to provide new tools for criminal investigation.

The forensic linguistic study based in the Forensic Section of the School of Psychology will examine how well an individual can be identified by their texting style.

A previous case where this was used was the investigation of murder a few years ago. At the 2002 trial an alibi was broken based on the evidence that the murderer and not the victim had sent crucial messages from her phone. Text analyses revealed that the texts had not been written by the victim herself, but that they had been faked to deflect suspicion from the killer as there were many differences in the texting styles between the victim and murderer. Linguistic analysis is therefore a useful tool which can reveal secrets within the criminal investigation, which otherwise would not be apparent. This present study aims to develop the technique further by investigating text language and style.

The innovative six-month study will assess similarities and differences in texting style, between texts sent by individuals and within and between networks of people who frequently text one another. The scientists are inviting ordinary people to help them with the study by completing an anonymous on-line questionnaire. Eventhough forensic authorship analysis is a growing area of research, this is the first study to focus on mobile phone texting.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


August 9, 2006, 11:39 PM CT

Assessment Of Aggressive Boys' Needs

Assessment Of Aggressive Boys' Needs
A decision support system, in form of a checklist with 20 risk- and need factors, complements clinical evaluation of boys between the ages of six and twelve with behavioural problems, as per new research from Karolinska Institutet.

Prolonged aggressive and disruptive behaviour in childhood is a strong risk marker for criminality and mental health problems in adulthood. Early identification of boys with increased risk of problems in the future is therefore important in order to be able to provide specialised initiatives to help them and their families.

Several years ago, help appeared in the form of a checklist called EARL-20B. EARL-20B (Early Assessment Risk List for boys) consists of 20 risk- and need factors, where boys' anti-social behaviour, family, friends and environment are reviewed. Dr. Pia Enebrink, psychology expert and researcher at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, is one of the first to investigate how well EARL-20B works for boys between the ages of six and twelve.

"The results show that EARL-20B is reliable and useful in evaluating different risk factors and that it can help us identify the boys who really need help, and focus on the risks and needs with which they require help" , says Dr. Enebrink.

The investigation followed 76 Swedish boys in outpatient child psychiatry, and EARL-20B was compared with standard clinical assessments. The boys were followed up after 6 months and again after 30 months.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


August 9, 2006, 11:21 PM CT

Blocking Human HIV Transmissions

Blocking Human HIV Transmissions
As primates evolved 7 million years ago, the more advanced species stopped making a protein that University of Central Florida scientists believe can effectively block the HIV-1 virus from entering and infecting blood cells.

HIV-1 often mutates quickly to overcome antiviral compounds designed to prevent infections. But a research team led by Associate Professor Alexander Cole of UCF's Burnett College of Biomedical Sciences has demonstrated that over 100 days the virus develops only weak resistance to retrocyclin, a defense peptide still found in monkeys and lower primates.

If additional laboratory tests demonstrate only weak resistance, Cole will study how retrocyclin could be developed into a drug designed to prevent the HIV virus from entering human cells.

Cole is also working with Henry Daniell, a UCF professor of molecular biology and microbiology, to develop a way to grow retrocyclin through genetically engineered tobacco plants. The retrocyclin gene would be incorporated into the chloroplast genome of tobacco cells before the plants grow. Daniell has developed a similar approach to growing anthrax vaccine in tobacco plants.

An inexpensive way to produce the drug with only a small amount of tobacco would help to make it accessible in areas such as Southeast Asia, Africa and the Caribbean where the disease spreads most quickly.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


August 9, 2006, 11:18 PM CT

High Blood Sugar May Cause Cognitive Impairment

High Blood Sugar May Cause Cognitive Impairment
A four-year study of elderly women has observed that chronically elevated blood sugar is linked to an increased risk of developing either mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia.

The study was the first to investigate the association over time between glycosylated hemoglobin - a long-term measure of blood sugar - and the risk of cognitive difficulties, and the first to investigate that association in people without diabetes. It appears in the Volume 10, Number 4 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging.

"We already know there's a correlation between diabetes and cognitive problems," says lead author Kristine Yaffe, MD, a staff doctor at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and a professor of psychiatry, neurology, and epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco. "We were interested in what this measurement would tell us about a group of women with and without diabetes who were followed for four years. Nobody has really looked at that before."

The glycosylated hemoglobin test measures the percentage of hemoglobin - the oxygen-bearing protein in red blood cells - that is bound to glucose. Unlike the standard diabetic blood sugar test, which measures blood sugar at the moment of testing, glycosylated hemoglobin is considered an accurate measure of blood sugar levels over the course of two to four months preceding the test. A result of seven percent or less indicates good long-term blood sugar control.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


August 9, 2006, 10:27 PM CT

Behaviors That Can Lead To Poor Health

Behaviors That Can Lead To Poor Health
Adolescents who feel dissatisfied with their bodies are at higher risk for future binge eating, smoking, poor eating, and decreased physical activity, as per new research from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

A study reported in the August 2006 issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health found lower levels of body satisfaction among teenagers can predict the use of unhealthy weight control behaviors, which can lead to weight gain and poorer overall health.

Teenage girls who weren't satisfied with their bodies were more likely to binge eat, participate in less physical activity, eat less fruits and vegetables, take diet pills, and induce vomiting five years later. Adolescent boys with low body satisfaction were also more prone to these unhealthy habits and more likely to start smoking in the future. In contrast, teenagers with a positive body image were more likely to take care of themselves through healthy eating and exercise.

"This study shows that teens who have negative feelings about their bodies don't turn to healthy weight management," said Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., lead author and professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. "Instead, they use weight control behaviors that put them at a higher risk for obesity and poor health down the road. With this in mind, interventions with teens should strive to boost self-confidence so they will want to take care of themselves the right way".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


August 9, 2006, 10:16 PM CT

Antioxidants against tick-borne illness

Antioxidants against tick-borne illness Ixodid tick
For hikers, campers and others who enjoy the outdoors, summer can bring concerns about tick bites and related illnesses such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Scientists are investigating the role that antioxidants -- alpha-lipoic acid and potentially others like green tea and vitamins C and E, for example might play in preventing or treating the deadly rickettsia bacteria.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, part of the National Institutes of Health, awarded the University of Rochester Medical Center $2 million for a five-year study of the antioxidant theory. The grant caps more than a decade of rickettsia research led by Sanjeev Sahni, Ph.D.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the most frequently reported illness in the United States caused by the rickettsia bacteria, which is transmitted by tick parasites. It commonly afflicts otherwise healthy adults and children who are bitten by wood ticks or dog ticks. The illness can become life threatening if left untreated, and spotted fever can be difficult for physicians to diagnose because the earliest signs mimic less-serious viral illnesses. Limiting exposure to ticks is the best way to prevent the disease. If it does develop, in most cases doctors can treat it with antibiotics. Typhus is another rickettsial disease spread by lice or fleas. Eventhough less common, typhus remains a threat in crowded jails and in other poor hygienic environments.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


August 9, 2006, 7:07 AM CT

Transcendental Meditation And Pain

Transcendental Meditation And Pain
Twelve healthy long-term meditators who had been practicing Transcendental Meditation for 30 years showed a 40-50% lower brain response to pain in comparison to 12 healthy controls, reported by a latest NeuroReport journal article, published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (Vol.17 No.12; 21 August 2006:1359-1363). Further, when the 12 controls then learned and practiced Transcendental Meditation for 5 months, their brain responses to pain also decreased by a comparable 40-50%. www.neuroreport.com Current issue (Aug 9).

Transcendental Meditation could reduce the brain's response to pain because neuroimaging and autonomic studies indicate that it produces a physiological state capable of modifying various kinds of pain. In time it reduces trait anxiety, improves stress reactivity and decreases distress from acute pain.

As per Orme-Johnson, lead author of this research, "Previous research indicates that Transcendental Meditation creates a more balanced outlook on life and greater equanimity in reacting to stress. This study suggests that this is not just an attitudinal change, but a fundamental change in how the brain functions".

Pain is part of everyone's experience and 50 million people worldwide suffer from chronic pain. Transcendental Meditation would have a long term effect in reducing responses in the affective component of the pain matrix. Future research could focus on other areas of the pain matrix and the possible effects of other meditation techniques to relieve pain.........

Posted by: Daniel      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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