October 1, 2007, 5:31 AM CT
Women with severe PMS have poor sleep quality
Women with severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS) perceive their sleep quality to be poorer in association with their symptoms in the late luteal (premenstrual) phase, despite there being no specific alterations in sleep structure linked to premenstrual symptoms, as per a research studyreported in the October 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.
The study, authored by Fiona C. Baker, PhD, of the Human Sleep Research Program at SRI International in Menlo Park, Calif., and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, focused on nine women with PMS or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and 12 controls. The subjects, all 18-40 years of age, had laboratory-based polysomnographic recordings at two phases of the menstrual cycle: follicular phase and late luteal phase.
As per the results, women with severe PMS reported a significantly poorer subjective sleep quality during the late luteal phase, but there was no evidence of disturbed sleep based on the polysomnogram specific to premenstrual symptom expression. Both groups of women had increased wakefulness after sleep onset and increased sigma power in the late luteal phase compared with the follicular phase.
There were, however, some group differences in electroencephalographic measures regardless of menstrual phase, including decreased delta incidence and increase theta incidence and amplitude in women with PMS, suggesting the possibility of sleep electroencephalogram trait markers in women with PMS.........
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October 1, 2007, 5:29 AM CT
Best weight-loss plans for heart health
Over the past three decades, the rising obesity epidemic has been accompanied by a proliferation of weight-loss plans. However, as a new study by scientists from the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) reveals, these weight-loss plans vary significantly in their ability to positively affect heart health.
In A Dietary Quality Comparison of Popular Weight-Loss Plans, reported in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, several weight-loss plans significantly outperformed others in their ability to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Specifically, the researchers observed that the Ornish, Weight Watchers High Carbohydrate and New Glucose Revolution plans scored highest when measured by the Alternate Healthy Eating Index (AHEI). Proven to be a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease, the AHEI is a measure that isolates dietary components that are most strongly associated with cardiovascular disease risk reduction.
Obviously, obesity is linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, said UMMS Assistant Professor of Medicine Yunsheng Ma, PhD, MPH, one of the studys primary authors. Optimal weight-loss plans should facilitate both weight loss and chronic disease prevention, specifically cardiovascular risk reduction.........
Posted by: JoAnn Read more Source
October 1, 2007, 5:06 AM CT
Standard treatment for prostate cancer may encourage spread
A popular prostate cancer therapy called androgen deprivation treatment may encourage prostate cancer cells to produce a protein that makes them more likely to spread throughout the body, a new study by Johns Hopkins scientists suggests.
Eventhough the finding could eventually lead to changes in this standard therapy for a sometimes deadly disease, the Johns Hopkins scientists caution that their discovery is far too preliminary for patients with prostate cancer or physicians to stop using it. The treatment is effective at slowing tumor growth, they emphasized.
David Berman, an assistant professor of pathology, urology and oncology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and colleagues identified the unsuspected potential problem with therapys that suppress testosterone after discovering that the gene that codes for the protein, called nestin, was active in lab-grown human prostate cancer cells.
Curious about whether prostate cancer cells in people also produce nestin, the scientists looked for it in cells taken from men who had surgery to remove locally confined cancers of their prostates and found none. But when they looked for nestin in prostate cancer cells isolated from patients who had died of metastatic prostate cancer - in which cancer cells spread out from the prostate tumor - they found substantial evidence that the nestin gene was active.........
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September 27, 2007, 10:11 PM CT
Music and Language are Processed by the Same Brain Systems
Scientists have long debated whether or not language and music depend on common processes in the mind. Now, scientists at Georgetown University Medical Center have found evidence that the processing of music and language do indeed depend on some of the same brain systems.
Their findings, which are currently available on-line and will be published later this year in the journal NeuroImage, are the first to suggest that two different aspects of both music and language depend on the same two memory systems in the brain. One brain system, based in the temporal lobes, helps humans memorize information in both language and music- for example, words and meanings in language and familiar melodies in music. The other system, based in the frontal lobes, helps us unconsciously learn and use the rules that underlie both language and music, such as the rules of syntax in sentences, and the rules of harmony in music.
"Up until now, scientists had observed that the processing of rules relies on an overlapping set of frontal lobe structures in music and language. However, in addition to rules, both language and music crucially require the memorization of arbitrary information such as words and melodies," says the study's principal investigator, Michael Ullman, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience, psychology, neurology and linguistics.........
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September 27, 2007, 10:04 PM CT
Drug Boosts Survival in Recurrent Ovarian Cancer
New clinical data showed an experimental drug called pertuzumab prolonged the survival time for women with recurrent ovary cancer, a University of Alabama at Birmingham doctor said recently.
The data was presented Sept. 24 during a scientific session of the 14th European Cancer Conference held in Barcelona, Spain. The session's main speaker was Sharmila Makhija, M.D., an associate professor in UAB's Division of Gynecologic Oncology.
Makhija said Phase II clinical trial data showed that pertuzumab added weeks to the lives of Stage 3 ovary cancer patients whose disease had returned after therapy with existing chemotherapy regimens.
In the study, pertuzumab was administered in combination with a standard chemotherapy agent sometime after the initial therapys had been given, and after the re-emergence of cancer. Makhija said the new combination added weeks to the standard survival period for recurrent patients, and the drug combo was well-tolerated by the body and caused minimal side effects.
"We wanted to know if pertuzumab would improve the effects of the chemotherapy with cancer recurrence, and if it would improve their lives. It did," Makhija said. "Now we want to see if it impacts overall survival".
Once ovary cancer becomes resistant to multiple types of chemotherapy, fewer therapy options exist and the focus becomes lengthening patients' survival periods.........
Posted by: Emily Read more Source
September 27, 2007, 9:51 PM CT
Study links asthma to allergies
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have observed that more than 50 percent of the current asthma cases in the country can be attributed to allergies, with approximately 30 percent of those cases attributed to cat allergy.
It has long been debated whether people who develop asthma have a genetic propensity to develop allergies, or atopy, said Darryl C. Zeldin, M.D., a senior investigator at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). This new research shows that 56.3 percent of asthma cases are attributed to atopy. Atopy is a condition that results from gene-environment interactions and can be measured by a positive skin test to allergens (or allergy causing substances in the environment).
The study, available online today in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, was conducted by scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, both parts of the NIH. The data come from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), a nationally representative sample of the population of the United States.
Sensitization to cat appears to be a strong risk factor for asthma in this study, said Zeldin. Zeldin and his co-authors, however, point out that some research shows that exposure to cats, especially early in life, may be a protective factor. We are not advocating parents get rid of pets, but if you suspect that you or your child might have cat allergies or get asthmatic-like symptoms, you should consult with a doctor about the best course of action for your family, added Zeldin.........
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September 26, 2007, 8:58 PM CT
Married oesophageal cancer patients fare worse
In a surprising finding, American researchers have observed that when battling oesophageal cancer, married patients don't fare as well as their single counterparts in certain aspects of their quality of life.
In the study, presented today (Wednesday) at the European Cancer Conference (ECCO 14) in Barcelona, 212 oesophageal cancer patients and 489 patients with Barrett's oesophagus, a non-malignant condition associated with acid reflux, filled out two quality of life questionnaires a year apart. Changes in the scores between the two assessments were analysed as per marital status.
No differences in quality of life changes over time were seen between marital states in the patients with Barrett's oesophagus. That finding was expected because the condition is not a potentially fatal one requiring stressful major therapy.
"In general, there were not major differences in quality of life between single and married oesophageal cancer patients, but there were slight differences in some aspects," said the study's lead researcher, Dr. Robert Miller, an assistant professor of oncology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
For the single patients, quality of life scores relating to pain frequency, overall physical wellbeing and legal worries improved between the first and second questionnaire. However, married patients reported less improvement in their legal worries than the single patients did, and worsening physical wellbeing and increasing pain frequency over time.........
Posted by: Sue Read more Source
September 26, 2007, 8:53 PM CT
Alcohol and cancer: is drinking the new smoking?
September 26, 2007 (Toronto) - Scientists at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have clarified the link between alcohol consumption and the risk of head and neck cancers, showing that people who stop drinking can significantly reduce their cancer risk.
As per CAMH Principal Investigator Dr. Jrgen Rehm, existing research consistently shows a relationship between alcohol consumption and an increased risk for cancer of the esophagus, larynx and oral cavity. Dr. Rehm and his team analyzed epidemiological literature from 1966 to 2006 to further investigate this association and their results, reported in the recent issue of the International Journal of Cancer, showed that:
- The risk of esophageal cancer nearly doubled in the first two years following alcohol cessation, a sharp increase that may be due to the fact that some people only stop drinking when they are already experiencing disease symptoms. However, risk then decreased rapidly and significantly after longer periods of abstention.
- Risk of head and neck cancer only reduced significantly after 10 years of cessation.
- After more than 20 years of alcohol cessation, the risks for both cancers were similar to those seen in people who never drank alcohol.
These results have important implications for tailoring alcohol policies and prevention strategies, particularly for people with a family risk of cancer.........
Posted by: Janet Read more Source
September 26, 2007, 8:41 PM CT
Autism symptoms can improve into adulthood
Hallmarks of autism are characteristic behaviors - repetitive motions, problems interacting with others, impaired communication abilities - that occur in widely different combinations and degrees of severity among those who have the condition.
But how those behaviors change as individuals progress through adolescence and adulthood has, until now, never been fully scientifically documented. In a new study, reported in the September Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, scientists have observed that symptoms can improve with age.
"On average, people are getting better," says Paul T. Shattuck, an assistant professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis who worked on the study as a graduate student and post-doctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Waisman Center and is the first author of the paper. "It is a hopeful finding, but the fact remains that those with severe autism will depend on others for their everyday needs and care for the rest of their lives".
Autism is a widespread condition in the United States, affecting an estimated one in 150 children and an unknown number of adults.
The new publication is part of a groundbreaking longitudinal study of more than 400 adolescents and adults with autism and their families led by Marsha Mailick Seltzer, a Wisconsin professor of social work and the director of the UW-Madison Waisman Center. "This project is one of the largest long-term studies of autism and it represents the collaborations of a team of scientists who together are investigating how autism changes across the life course," Seltzer explains.........
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September 26, 2007, 8:27 PM CT
Capsule Endoscopy Diagnoses More Crohn's Disease
Research from La Fe University Hospital in Valencia, Spain shows that capsule endoscopy diagnoses more Crohn's disease recurrence after surgery than colonoscopy. Capsule endoscopy led to changes in treatment for more than half of the patients studied. The research appears in the recent issue of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the monthly peer-evaluated scientific journal of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
Crohn's disease is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, most usually affecting the small intestine and colon (large intestine). As per the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, approximately half a million people in the United States have Crohn's disease. Scientists do not know what causes the disease and there is no cure, so the goal of therapy is to reduce the inflammatory response. Surgery becomes necessary when medicine can no longer control symptoms. In most cases, the diseased segment of the intestines is removed, this is called a resection. The two sections of the remaining healthy intestines are joined together in a procedure called anastomosis. While patients may live symptom-free for years, surgery is not a cure and disease frequently recurs at or near the site of the anastomosis.
Colonoscopy is the gold standard in screening for colorectal cancer, which develops in the large intestine. It is effective in diagnosing diseases of the large intestine and in viewing the end part of the small intestine. Capsule endoscopy allows physicians to view the entire small intestine, but is not currently a method used to view the large intestine.........
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