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September 16, 2008, 10:04 PM CT

A healthy lifestyle halves the risk of premature death in women

A healthy lifestyle halves the risk of premature death in women
Over half of deaths in women from chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease could be avoided if they never smoke, keep their weight in check, take exercise and eat a healthy diet low in red meat and trans-fats, as per a research studypublished on bmj.com today.

It is well known that diet, lack of physical activity, being overweight, alcohol consumption and smoking increase the risk of disease including cancer and diabetes, but little research has examined combinations of lifestyle factors in younger populations and women.

Dr Rob van Dam and his team from the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital, recruited nearly 80 000 women aged 34 to 59 years in 1980 who were part of the Nurses' Health Study in the US. They analysed the data of over 1.5 million person-years follow up over a 24 year period.

Participants completed detailed follow-up questionnaires every two years about their diet, frequency of physical activity, alcohol intake, weight, how much they smoked, and disease history. Deaths were confirmed by next of kin and the National Death Index.

Over the follow-up period the authors documented 8 882 deaths including 1 790 from heart disease and 4 527 from cancer.

The authors estimated that 28% of these deaths could have been avoided if women had never smoked and that 55% could have been avoided if women had combined never smoking, regular physical activity, a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight. Alcohol intake did not substantially change this estimate, eventhough heavy alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of dying from cancer.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 15, 2008, 10:20 PM CT

Vaccine against HER2-positive breast cance

Vaccine against HER2-positive breast cance
Scientists at Wayne State University have tested a breast cancer vaccine they say completely eliminated HER2-positive tumors in mice - even cancers resistant to current anti-HER2 treatment - without any toxicity.

The study, published in the September 15 issue of Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, suggests the vaccine could treat women with HER2-positive, therapy-resistant cancer or help prevent cancer recurrence. The scientists also say it might potentially be used in cancer-free women to prevent initial development of these tumors.

HER2 receptors promote normal cell growth, and are found in low amounts on normal breast cells. But HER2-positive breast cells can contain a number of more receptors than is typical, promoting a especially aggressive type of tumor that affects 20 to 30 percent of all patients with breast cancer. Therapies such as trastuzumab and lapatinib, designed to latch on to these receptors and destroy them, are a mainstay of therapy for this cancer, but a significant proportion of patients develop a resistance to them or cancer metastasis that is hard to treat.

This therapy relied on activated, own-immunity to wipe out the cancer, says the study's lead investigator, Wei-Zen Wei, Ph.D., a professor of immunology and microbiology at the Karmanos Cancer Institute.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 15, 2008, 10:18 PM CT

Massage therapy may have immediate positive effect

Massage therapy may have immediate positive effect
A new study from the National Institutes of Health finds that massage treatment may have immediate benefits on pain and mood among patients with advanced cancer. The study appears in the September 16, 2008 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine

In a randomized trial of 380 advanced cancer patients at 15 U.S. hospices, improvement in pain and mood immediately following therapy was greater with massage than with simple touch.

"When patients near the end of life, the goals of medical care change from trying to cure disease to making the patient as comfortable as possible," said Jean S. Kutner, MD, MSPH, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. "This study is important because it shows massage is a safe and effective way to provide immediate relief to patients with advanced cancer".

Pain and depressed mood are common problems for patients with advanced cancer. While drug therapies can reduce symptoms, they don't always work and often have troublesome side effects. Scientists believe that massage may interrupt the cycle of distress, offering brief physical and psychological benefits. Physically, massage may decrease inflammation and edema, increase blood and lymphatic circulation, and relax muscle spasms. Psychologically, massage may promote relaxation, release endorphins, and create a positive experience that distracts temporarily from pain and depression.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 15, 2008, 10:08 PM CT

Migraine linked to blood clots in veins

Migraine linked to blood clots in veins
People with migraines may also be more likely to develop blood clots in their veins, as per a research studyreported in the September 16, 2008, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

In the condition, called venous thrombosis or thromboembolism, blood clots form in a vein, which can limit blood flow and cause swelling and pain. Those clots can then dislodge from the vein and travel to the heart and the lungs, which can be fatal.

For the study, 574 people in Italy age 55 and up were interviewed to determine whether they had a history of migraine or migraine at the time of the evaluation and their medical records were evaluated for cases of venous thrombosis. The arteries in their necks and thighs were scanned with ultrasounds to check for atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

Of the participants, 111 people had migraine. A total of 21 people with migraine also had one or more instances of venous thrombosis, or 19 percent. In comparison, 35 people without migraine had the condition, or 8 percent.

Scientists do not know why migraine and venous thrombosis are linked. One theory is that the blood of people with migraine may be more prone to clotting.

The study also observed that people with migraine are not more likely to have hardening or narrowing of the arteries, which is contrary to a current theory.........

Posted by: Daniel      Read more         Source


September 15, 2008, 9:46 PM CT

Ovarian cancer drug: promising new treatment

Ovarian cancer drug: promising new treatment
Irvine, Calif. Women with recurrent ovary cancer can be helped by an experimental treatment using a drug already touted for its ability to fight other cancers, a finding that provides hope for improved therapy of this deadly disease.

Dr. Bradley Monk, a UC Irvine gynecologic oncologist who led the worldwide phase III clinical trial, said trabectedin is the most recent addition to a short list of active drug therapies for recurrent ovary cancer. He presents study results Sept. 15 at the 33rd Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology in Stockholm.

"These are exciting results because positive trials in recurrent ovary cancer are rare and have almost always led to federally approved therapys," said Monk, an associate professor who studies and treats ovary cancers at the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UC Irvine. "This therapy undoubtedly will be reviewed carefully by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and, if approved, will give women with ovary cancer another much needed option".

Phase III studies are multicenter trials on large patient groups designed to be the definitive assessment of a drug's effectiveness. Such a study is often the last step before a drug is evaluated by a regulatory agency like the FDA for approval as a safe, effective therapy.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


September 15, 2008, 9:43 PM CT

Steady work and mental health - is there a connection?

Steady work and mental health - is there a connection?
Despite low overall unemployment, Canada's manufacturing industry has cut 88,000 jobs this year, with nearly all the losses occurring in Ontario. Also, part-time employment has grown by 3.5 per cent in 12 months, much faster than the 0.9 per cent growth in full time work. A new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) on the social determinants of health demonstrates that these kind of employment changes can affect more than your wallet. Research from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)'s Dr. Carles Muntaner in the WHO report highlights the profound impact of employment conditions on health.

Dr. Muntaner and his research team observed that poor mental health outcomes are linked to precarious employment (e.g. temporary contracts or part-time work with low wages and no benefits). When compared with those with full-time work with benefits, workers who report employment insecurity experience significant adverse effects on their physical and mental health.

The research team have also observed that stress at work is linked to a 50 per cent excess risk of coronary heart disease, and there is consistent evidence that jobs with high demands, low control, and effort-reward imbalance are risk factors for mental and physical health problems (major depression, anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders). Canada and many other wealthy countries such as the U.K., the United States, Australia and New Zealand all face similar challenges, Dr. Muntaner notes, because there's a greater tolerance for inequities than in some other countries such as Sweden and Denmark.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 15, 2008, 9:34 PM CT

Poor weight loss after gastric bypass surgery

Poor weight loss after gastric bypass surgery
Individuals with diabetes and those whose stomach pouches are larger appear less likely to successfully lose weight after gastric bypass surgery, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery is the most common bariatric procedure in North America, as per background information in the article. During the procedure, surgeons create a smaller stomach pouch that restricts food intake and bypasses large sections of the digestive system. "When performed in high-volume centers and with a low rate of complications, gastric bypass provides sustained and meaningful weight loss, significant improvement in quality of life, improvement or resolution of obesity-associated comorbidities and extended life span," the authors write. "However, 5 percent to 15 percent of patients do not lose weight successfully, despite perceived precise surgical technique and regular follow-up".

Guilherme M. Campos, M.D., and his colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, examined data from 361 patients who underwent gastric bypass at one institution between 2003 and 2006. Poor weight loss was defined as losing 40 percent or less of excess body weight after 12 months and good weight loss as losing more than 40 percent of excess weight.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 15, 2008, 9:32 PM CT

Limiting resident surgeon's work hours associated with fewer complications

Limiting resident surgeon's work hours associated with fewer complications
Fewer patients undergoing gallbladder surgery at one major public teaching hospital sustained injuries to their bile ducts or other complications after resident physicians' work hours were limited to 80 per week, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Concerns about patient safety and resident well-being led to the implementation of the 80-hour workweek in July 2003, as per background information in the article. "However, some surgical educators have expressed misgivings about the restricted hours because of more frequent shift changes, decreased patient exposure for residents, interruption in continuity of care and increased potential for communication breakdown," the authors write.

Arezou Yaghoubian, M.D., and his colleagues at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, Calif., analyzed the medical records of 2,470 patients who underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal)a procedure usually performed by surgical residents nationwidebefore and after the duty hour limitations. "Prior studies using simulators have indicated that sleep deprivation has substantial adverse effects on laparoscopic skills in residents," the authors write. "Bile duct injury [a common complication of cholecystectomy, in which the tubes that transport fluids between the liver and gallbladder are damaged] has a potentially devastating long-term adverse effect on the patient".........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 14, 2008, 10:39 PM CT

Extremely exact images from inside the body

Extremely exact images from inside the body
The magnet has reached his final position: it is surrounded by a cage of steel weighin 250 tons which will, in future, be used to protect the surrounding area from the magnetic field. The hole in the center of the magnet will be the "pipe" in which the patient will be pushed in order to be examined.
It will be the only magnetic resonance tomograph of the modern 7 tesla generation in the world, in which a metrology institute is also involved. Magnetic resonance tomographs, which use a magnetic field of 7 tesla, have still not been in operation in hospitals and clinics, but have solely served research. For the first time in the world, cardiovascular research carried out on such a device is now also to play an important role. The magnetic resonance tomograph costing approximately seven million Euros and weighing 35 tonnes was delivered to its new location, the Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC) of the Max Delbrück Center (MDC) for Molecular Medicine in Berlin-Buch on 11th September.

In contrast to the 1.5 and 3 tesla devices which have largely been the norm to date, its higher magnetic field will provide sharper images and better insights into the smallest structures of the human body. The aim is to detect the risk or commencement of an illness at a very early stage in heart, brain and cancer research. Above all, heart research by magnetic resonance tomography is viewed as very difficult. As such, a demanding task will be waiting for PTB researchers from January 2009, when the device has been fully installed: as the partner dealing with physics and technical issues in the joint project, they are responsible for making the unique potential of this tomograph useful for applications in clinics. The PTB will, moreover, find the ideal conditions to advance its work on patient safety in high-field tomographs and on the development of new concepts in MRT imaging. The other partners in the project, besides the Max Delbrück Center and the PTB, are Siemens, the constructors of the 7 tesla device, and the Charite hospital. The new ultra-high-field MRT equipment of the ECRC has been completed with a 9.4 tesla small animal MRT of the Bruker company which was supplied three weeks ago.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


September 14, 2008, 10:34 PM CT

Calcium and exercise to strengthen the bones

Calcium and exercise to strengthen the bones
A stumble, a fall - a broken bone: a number of older people are afraid of this happening. The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care published information today about how you can protect yourself. Research shows that regular adequate intake of calcium and exercise can strengthen the bones. But a number of people do not know whether they are getting enough calcium in their diets. The Institute has developed a calculator at www.informedhealthonline.org that can help you estimate if you are getting enough calcium.

Regular intake of calcium protects the bones.

Getting older does not necessarily mean that you will get osteoporosis. However, the risk of osteoporosis does rise as we get older, and people over 70 often have brittle bones. A fall does not only mean bruises then, but it is easier for a bone to break. There are several ways to protect and strengthen bones, even when you are already older.

One important way is to get enough calcium regularly. To stop our bones losing too much strength we need an increasing amount of calcium as we get older. The best way to get it is with a calcium-rich diet. "Older people in particular are often not getting enough calcium," as per the Institute's Director, Professor Peter Sawicki.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum daily intake of calcium of 1,300 mg for women after the menopause and men over the age of 65. The Institute developed an online calculator for its website with the help of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin. The calculator helps you find out quickly and easily roughly how much calcium you are getting through your diet every day and whether that is enough.........

Posted by: Janet      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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