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October 30, 2006, 8:29 PM CT

3-D ultrasound and robotic surgery

3-D ultrasound and robotic surgery Image courtesy of Cleveland Clinic
Duke University engineers have shown that a three-dimensional ultrasound scanner they developed can successfully guide a surgical robot.

The scanner could find application in various medical settings, as per the researchers. They said the scanner ultimately might enable surgeries to be performed without surgeons, a capability that could prove valuable in space stations or other remote locations.

"It's the first time, to our knowledge, that anyone has used the information in a 3-D ultrasound scan to actually guide a robot," said Stephen Smith, professor of biomedical engineering at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering.

Smith and Eric Pua, a Pratt graduate student who participated in the research, reported the findings in the cover article of the November 2006 issue of the journal IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control http://www.ieee-uffc.org/tr/covers/2006toc.htm#nov06

The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

In their demonstration, the scientists used 3-D ultrasound images to pinpoint in real time the exact location of targets in a simulated surgical procedure. That spatial information then guided a robotically controlled surgical instrument right to its mark.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


October 30, 2006, 8:22 PM CT

Speaking In Tongues

Speaking In Tongues
Glossolalia, otherwise referred to as "speaking in tongues," has been around for thousands of years, and references to it can be found in the Old and New Testament. Speaking in tongues is an unusual mental state linked to specific religious traditions. The individual appears to be speaking in an incomprehensible language, yet perceives it to have great personal meaning. Now, in a first of its kind study, researchers are shining the light on this mysterious practice -- attempting to explain what actually happens physiologically to the brain of someone while speaking in tongues.

Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered decreased activity in the frontal lobes, an area of the brain linked to being in control of one's self. This pioneering study, involving functional imaging of the brain while subjects were speaking in tongues, is in the recent issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, the official publication of the International Society for Neuroimaging in Psychiatry.

Radiology researchers observed increased or decreased brain activity - by measuring regional cerebral blood flow with SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) imaging - while the subjects were speaking in tongues. They then compared the imaging to what happened to the brain while the subjects sang gospel music.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 30, 2006, 8:15 PM CT

Dad Or Mom?

Dad Or Mom?
In families with two working parents, fathers had greater impact than mothers on their children's language development between ages 2 and 3, as per a research studyby the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute and UNC's School of Education.

Scientists videotaped pairs of parents and their 2-year-old children in their homes during playtime. The children whose fathers used more diverse vocabularies had greater language development when they were tested one year later. However, the mothers' vocabulary did not significantly affect a child's language skills.

"Most prior studies on early language development focused on mothers," said Nadya Panscofar, a graduate research assistant and an author of the study. "These findings underscore that for two-parent, dual earner families, fathers should be included in all efforts to improve language development and school readiness".

Panscofar and Dr. Lynne Vernon-Feagans, the William C. Friday distinguished professor of Child and Family Studies in the School of Education and a faculty fellow at FPG, conducted the study in Pennsylvania as part of the Penn State Health and Development Project when both were affiliated with that university.

The study appears in the online version of the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. It will appear in the November print issue of that publication.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


October 30, 2006, 6:34 PM CT

Breast Cancer Therapy In Which Order?

Breast Cancer Therapy In Which Order?
For women who have had surgery for early breast cancer, it may not matter whether they receive follow-up chemotherapy before, after or during radiation treatment, as per a new review of studies.

A woman's chances of survival or seeing the cancer return are similar in all three cases, if radiation treatment and chemotherapy begin within seven months after surgery, the review concludes.

However, the studies suggest that certain toxic side effects in the blood and esophagus -- common in chemotherapy and radiation patients -- may be up to 44 percent more likely when the two therapies are delivered at the same time, said Dr. Brigid Hickey and his colleagues at the Southern Zone Radiation Oncology Service in Brisbane, Australia.

The reviewers also note that most of the women in the studies were treated about 10 years ago. "As a result, the trials do not assess the modern types of radiotherapy and newer types of chemotherapy" and other anti-cancer drugs such as Herceptin, Hickey said.

Studies show that radiation treatment can reduce the risk of breast cancer returning in the treated breast and boost the likelihood of survival after breast cancer surgery. Doctors may also prescribe chemotherapy to women at high risk for having the cancer spread to other parts of the body after surgery, to reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink


October 30, 2006, 5:48 PM CT

Oral Contraceptives Increase Risk For Breast Cancer

Oral Contraceptives Increase Risk For Breast Cancer
A meta-analysis reported in the recent issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings indicts oral contraceptives as putting premenopausal women at significantly increased risk for breast cancer, particularly women who use them previous to having a child.

The meta-analysis builds on a number of studies with similar findings. But even as the findings stack up, a number of women are unaware of the risks posed by oral contraceptive use previous to pregnancy, says lead study author Chris Kahlenborn, M.D., of Altoona Hospital in Altoona, Pa.

Dr. Kahlenborn says the discrepancy between risk and patient awareness prompted the meta-analysis, which involved extracting data from 34 studies on whether oral contraceptive (OC) use is linked to premenopausal breast cancer. Included in the studies were women who were premenopausal or younger than 50 and who had been, in most cases, diagnosed with breast cancer during or after 1980.

"As I studied the medical literature, I noticed that a trend appeared," says Dr. Kahlenborn. "Namely, OC use previous to first-term pregnancy seemed to consistently increase the risk of premenopausal breast cancer. Eventhough the trend was apparent, premenopausal women have continued to hear that OCs are basically safe".

Rather, patients should know that sustained oral contraceptive use previous to pregnancy increases a premenopausal woman's risk of developing breast cancer, saysDr. Kahlenborn. He says physicians should better inform their patients of the risks linked to oral contraceptives and calls it a "clear-cut informed consent issue".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink


October 30, 2006, 5:31 PM CT

How Multiple Copies Of A Gene Affect Metastasis?

How Multiple Copies Of A Gene Affect Metastasis?
Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have for the first time described how multiple copies of a gene are responsible for metastases in early-stage breast cancer and poor prognosis for patients.

As per a research findings published in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the gene, called uPAR, offers a promising target for therapeutic drugs to stop or slow the progression of the disease and could serve as a screening tool for assessing which types of drugs a patient will respond to.

The gene launches a biochemical process in which a molecule called plasmin perforates the membranes of tissues, causing the membranes to break down and allowing the cancer cells to escape into the bloodstream and to adjacent tissues. The result is metastasizing breast cancer. About 20 percent to 25 percent of breast-cancer patients were shown to have uPAR gene amplification, which means they carry too a number of copies of the gene.

"The uPAR system probably plays a role in metastases in a number of of the common solid tumors," said Dr. Jonathan Uhr, professor in the Cancer Immunobiology Center and of microbiology and the study's senior author.

While analyzing slides of individual tumor cells - either from the primary tumor or circulating tumor cells - of 72 patients with advanced recurrent breast carcinoma, the UT Southwestern research team discovered how uPAR may work in concert with another known breast cancer gene, HER-2.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink


October 30, 2006, 5:09 PM CT

Breast Cancer Survivors Face Higher Suicide Rates

Breast Cancer Survivors Face Higher Suicide Rates
The burden is not over for patients with breast cancer even after the battle with breast cancer is won. A new study suggests that breast cancer survivors have an increased risk committing suicide in comparison to women in the general population. Survivors of breast cancer have as much as 37 percent increased risk of committing suicide in comparison to other women and this increased risk of suicide persist for more than 25 years after the diagnosis of breast cancer.

These study findings were published in a recent issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. There have been prior studies on this topic but none have undertaken such a long-term study of the subject and none of the studies included women from the United States of America.

This conclusion is from analysis of a large pool of data involving 723,810 breast cancer survivors who were diagnosed between 1953 and 2001 and were included in population-based cancer registries in the United States and Scandinavia.

The scientists have observed that during follow-up through 2002, a total of 836 women committed suicide. Compared with the general population the women with breast cancer had a suicide rate of 4.1 per 100,000 women per year.

Even after a period of 25 years, breast cancer survivors still had a 35 percent increased risk of committing suicide. Suicide rates were higher among African American women, with a 2.88-fold elevated risk. Scientists noted that the risk of committing suicide increases with increasing stage of breast cancer.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink


October 29, 2006, 7:18 PM CT

Chemo Drugs May Cause Cognitive Dysfunction

Chemo Drugs May Cause Cognitive Dysfunction
A new study investigating the effects of chemotherapy on cognitive function in mice has confirmed what a number of cancer patients receiving therapy have often complained about a decline in their memory and other cognitive functions, sometimes characterized as "chemobrain".

The study, led by Dr. Gordon Winocur of the Baycrest Research Centre for Aging and the Brain, in collaboration with Drs. Ian Tannock and Janette Vardy of Princess Margaret Hospital, was conducted at Trent University. The findings are published in the September 2006 issue of Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior (Vol. 85, Issue 1), which will be available online in the next week. The results were presented at a workshop held in conjunction with the 8th World Congress of Psycho-Oncology in Venice last week.

"In our study, we identified learning and memory deficits in the mild to moderate range in the drug-treated mice in comparison to the controls," says Dr. Winocur.

"That the deficits were relatively small is encouraging. It's important that cancer patients continue with these drugs and know that if they experience mild to moderate impairments in their cognitive functions, this level of change is potentially manageable".

While there is growing evidence from studies of cancer patients on chemotherapy that the chemobrain effect does exist, a number of of the studies have suffered from methodological limitations. These include small samples, less than adequate controls and failure to account for other factors, including disease-related complications and stress, which could affect performance.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


October 29, 2006, 7:11 PM CT

Nightmares, demons and slaves

Nightmares, demons and slaves
Workplace bullying negatively impacts employees' physical and mental health, leading to higher company costs including increased employee illness, use of sick days, and medical costs, ultimately affecting productivity. Studies report that 25-30% of employees experience bullying and emotional abuse sometime during their work life.

In a recent study researching organizational conflict, emotion, wellness and work-life balance, reported in the recent issue of SAGE Publication's Management Communication Quarterly, communication scientists Sarah Tracy, Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik, and Jess Alberts used metaphor analysis to better understand the emotional pain experienced as a result of workplace bullying.

The study, which was supported by a grant from Research and Economic Affairs at Arizona State University, and is part of "The Project of Wellness and Work-Life," collected qualitative data through focus groups, narrative interviews and target drawings, allowing participants the freedom to describe their workplace harassment as "a battle," "water torture," "a nightmare," or "a noxious substance." Bullies were described as "two-faced actors" and "devils" and the workers were left feeling like "vulnerable children," "slaves," or "prisoners" in these situations. As one employee explained, "I feel like I have 'kick me' tattooed on my forehead".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


October 29, 2006, 7:02 PM CT

Racial discrimination against African-American

Racial discrimination against African-American
The experience of racial discrimination may be a key factor in explaining why African Americans have higher rates of obesity and suffer at higher rates from such diseases as diabetes and cardiovascular disorders, as per UCLA researchers.

Repeated responses to such discrimination -- which include elevated blood pressure and heart rate -- can cause enormous stress on a person's mental and physical health, as per research scheduled would be published in Volume 58 of the Annual Review of Psychology.

Race-based discrimination may help explain why African Americans, despite gains in civil rights and targeted health programs, continue to have the highest rates of diabetes, cardiovascular heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke as in comparison to all other racial or ethnic groups in the United States.

"This is not to say that every African American has poor health," said Vickie Mays, the report's lead author, a UCLA professor of psychology and health services and director of the Center for Research, Education, Training and Strategic Communication on Minority Health Disparities. "However, African Americans -- as a group of people -- have not been able to gain as much ground as other ethnic groups. That's when you need to worry and look at missing factors that can explain these health disparities."........

Posted by: Sue      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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