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April 20, 2006, 8:39 PM CT

Acidity Increases Risk For Kidney Stones In Diabetics

Acidity Increases Risk For Kidney Stones In Diabetics
People with type 2 diabetes have highly acidic urine, a metabolic feature that explains their greater risk for developing uric-acid kidney stones, scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

The study - the first to compare the urinary biochemical characteristics of type 2 diabetics with those of normal volunteers - is available online and would be reported in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Individuals with type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus) are at increased risk for developing kidney stones in general, and have a particular risk for uric-acid stones. The mechanisms for this greater risk were previously not entirely understood. This new study demonstrates that the propensity for type 2 diabetics to develop uric-acid stones is elevated because their urine is highly acidic.

"Our next step is to find out what causes type 2 diabetics to have an abnormally acidic urine, and what other urinary factors protect some diabetics who do not form uric-acid stones," said Dr. Mary Ann Cameron, the paper's lead author and a postdoctoral trainee in internal medicine.

Obesity and a diet rich in animal protein are associated with abnormally acidic urine. In earlier studies, UT Southwestern scientists also concluded that uric-acid stones are associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 20, 2006, 0:40 AM CT

Hypnotherapy Relieves Chest Pain

Hypnotherapy Relieves Chest Pain
Hypnotherapy seems to relieve severe chest pain that is not caused by a heart condition, known as non-cardiac chest pain, suggests a small study published ahead of print in Gut.

Around a third of patients investigated for chest pain believed to be caused by coronary artery disease have no identifiable cause for their pain. Nevertheless they often continue to be severely incapacitated by it, despite reassurances that there is nothing to worry about. Young women seem to be especially prone to the condition.

The cause of non-cardiac chest pain is unknown, eventhough several factors have been implicated, including acid reflux and psychological problems. The condition is notoriously difficult to treat.

Scientists randomly divided 28 patients with the condition into two groups. One group received 12 sessions of hypnotherapy over 17 weeks; the other group were given "supportive treatment" plus dummy medicine (placebo).

Of the 15 people treated with hypnotherapy, 80% reported significant pain relief, eventhough there was no change in frequency of bouts of pain, compared with just three of the 13 people treated with supportive treatment and placebo.

Hypnotherapy also significantly improved the sense of overall wellbeing and reduced the use of painkillers and other drugs prescribed to control the condition. By contrast, the group treated with supportive treatment increased their drug intake.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 20, 2006, 0:24 AM CT

New Genetic Cause Of Alzheimer's Disease Discovered

New Genetic Cause Of Alzheimer's Disease Discovered Dr. Alzheimer
Scientists from the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) connected to the University of Antwerp are the first to show that the quantity of amyloid protein in brain cells is a major risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Amyloid protein has already been known to be the primary component of the senile plaques in the brains of patients. The new discovery demonstrates that the greater the quantity of the protein that is produced, the younger the dementia patient is.

Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease is a memory disorder that affects up to 70% of all dementia patients. In Belgium, about 100,000 people suffer from this disease. The disease gradually destroys brain cells in the deep areas of the brain that are responsible for memory and knowledge. Ever since the disease was first reported by Alois Alzheimer - 100 years ago now - researchers have been searching diligently for ways to treat it.

Amyloid plaque formation plays a key role.

Genetic research has previously shown a direct correlation between amyloid protein and the development of senile plaques and loss of cells. Amyloid protein originates when it is cut by enzymes from a larger precursor protein. In very rare cases (fewer than 1 in 1000 patients), mutations appear in that amyloid precursor protein, causing it to change shape and be cut differently. The amyloid protein that is formed now has different characteristics, causing it to begin to stick together and precipitate as amyloid plaques. The development of amyloid plaques in the brain tissue of Alzheimer patients is a central factor in the search for a treatment for Alzheimer's disease.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


April 20, 2006, 0:15 AM CT

Cancer therapy based on anatomical location may soon be obsolete

Cancer therapy based on anatomical location may soon be obsolete
The results of a new study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis could eventually have oncologists removing their specialties from their shingles by making treatment based on a tumor's anatomical location obsolete.

When the scientists compared eight different kinds of malignant tumors, they saw that whether the tumor was, for instance, a breast tumor, lung tumor or colon tumor didn't correlate to how the cancers interacted with a standard anticancer drug.

Their findings suggest that traditional cancer therapys - which have established different drug regimens for brain, prostate or ovary cancer, for example - should eventually be replaced with therapies that use drugs deemed to be of highest benefit based on the tumor's pharmacologic profile. Treatment choice would be determined by how each patient's tumor reacts to anticancer drugs, regardless of the tumor's anatomical origin.

"This study is the first time the pathway for a drug's effect has been analyzed in tumors from different anatomical locations," says Howard McLeod, Pharm.D., director of the pharmacology core at the Siteman Cancer Center and a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pharmacogenetics Research Network. "We've shown that drug effect is independent of where the tumor came from in the body. If further studies confirm that a tumor-specific approach is better than the current anatomical emphasis, oncologists may have to stop thinking of themselves as colon cancer or breast cancer specialists and let the cancer tell them which drugs to use for each specific patient."........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 19, 2006, 10:23 PM CT

Hypertension Drug Reverses Death Of Cells

Hypertension Drug Reverses Death Of Cells Riyi Shi
Purdue University scientists have identified a drug usually used to treat high blood pressure that may also reverse damage from spinal cord injuries, cancer and Parkinson's disease.

A research team led by Riyi Shi (REE-yee SHEE) and Richard Borgens found that hydralazine, a medicine that relaxes veins and arteries, may be an antidote for acrolein, a deadly toxin that is produced after a nerve cell is injured.

New findings based on research at the cellular level are detailed in two studies reported in the Journal of Neuroscience Research today (Monday, April 17). In the first article, scientists examine how acrolein attacks and kills cells. In the second article, they demonstrate that cell death caused by acrolein (a-KRO-le-an), a byproduct of an injury, can be reversed when hydralazine is administered.

"This is probably the most important fundamental discovery we have made at the Center for Paralysis Research because we are saving nerve cells from death," said Borgens, Mari Hulman George Professor of Applied Neurology in the School of Veterinary Medicine and founder of the paralysis research center where the research was conducted.

"Initially we may use this discovery for spinal cord injury and stroke, but we can expect further studies will look at how it works against a whole spectrum of injury and disease," he said.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


April 19, 2006, 10:04 PM CT

Hantavirus Found in African Wood Mouse

Hantavirus Found in African Wood Mouse Image credit: CDC
Scientists have discovered the first African hantavirus, a type of rodent-borne virus that can cause life-threatening infections in humans when it is inhaled through aerosolized rodent urine or droppings.

A team led by Jan ter Meulen while he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) international research scholar at the University of Conakry in the Republic of Guinea, identified the new virus in an African wood mouse (Hylomiscus simus) in Sangassou, Guinea. Their findings appear in the May 2006 issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, published early online on April 18, 2006.

"This discovery represents the first genetic evidence for the presence of hantaviruses in Africa," said ter Meulen, who also holds a position at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. "This novel hantavirus is correlation to viruses that cause severe disease in humans in Central and Eastern Europe."

European and Asian hantaviruses cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS), a group of similar illnesses with symptoms including, fever, kidney failure, and bleeding. The viruses are carried by many rodents, including the brown rat, the striped field mouse, and the yellow-necked mouse. If left untreated, mortality can be as high as 15 percent.

Hantavirus was not seen in the Americas until 1993, when it killed approximately 20 people in the western United States. The American virus causes hantavirus pulmonary syndrome: fever, chills, and severe muscle pain, followed by respiratory distress. Nearly four in 10 cases are fatal. Initially called "Four Corners Disease," the malady was later traced to a previously unknown hantavirus carried by the deer mouse.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


April 19, 2006, 9:34 PM CT

Raloxifene as Effective as Tamoxifen in Preventing Breast Cancer

Raloxifene as Effective as Tamoxifen in Preventing Breast Cancer Tamoxifen and raloxifene
The largest North American breast cancer prevention trial, the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, or STAR trial, has compiled an initial analysis of study data and found the osteoporosis drug raloxifene works as well as tamoxifen in reducing breast cancer risk for postmenopausal women at increased risk of the disease. Both drugs reduced the risk of developing invasive breast cancer by about 50 percent.

In addition, within the study, women who were prospectively and randomly assigned to take raloxifene daily, and who were followed for an average of about four years, had 36 percent fewer uterine cancers and 29 percent fewer blood clots than the women who were assigned to take tamoxifen. Uterine cancers, particularly endometrial cancers, are a rare but serious side effect of tamoxifen. Both tamoxifen and raloxifene are known to increase a woman's risk of blood clots.

Participants in STAR are now receiving information about which drug they were taking. Women assigned to raloxifene will continue to be provided with the drug until they have completed five years of therapy. Those women assigned to tamoxifen can choose to continue taking tamoxifen or to receive raloxifene to complete their five years of therapy.

"Women everywhere are at risk for breast cancer, and we are pleased that Houston-area women have had the chance to participate in this important study," says says Therese B. Bevers, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences and principal investigator of STAR at M. D. Anderson.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


April 19, 2006, 0:15 AM CT

Health Effects Of Dental Amalgam In Children

Health Effects Of Dental Amalgam In Children
Researchers supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part of the National Institutes of Health, report in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association the results of the first-ever randomized clinical trials to evaluate the safety of placing amalgam fillings, which contain mercury, in the teeth of children.

Both studies--one conducted in Europe, the other in the United States--independently reached the conclusion: Children whose cavities were filled with dental amalgam had no adverse health effects. The findings included no detectable loss of intelligence, memory, coordination, concentration, nerve conduction, or kidney function during the 5-7 years the children were followed. The scientists looked for measurable signs of damage to the brain and kidneys because prior studies with adults indicated these organs might be particularly sensitive to mercury.

The authors noted that children in both studies who received amalgam, informally known as "silver fillings," had slightly elevated levels of mercury in their urine. But after several years of analysis, they determined the mercury levels remained low and did not correlate with any symptoms of mercury poisoning.

"What's especially impressive is the strength of the evidence," said NIDCR director Dr. Lawrence Tabak. "The studies evaluated mercury exposure in two large, geographically distinct groups of children and reached similar conclusions about the safety of amalgam."........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


April 19, 2006, 0:10 AM CT

Forearm Supports Reduce Upper Body Pain Linked To Computer Use

Forearm Supports Reduce Upper Body Pain Linked To Computer Use
Providing forearm support is an effective intervention to prevent musculoskeletal disorders of the upper body and aids in reducing upper body pain associated with computer work, as per a research studyin The British Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Published in the April 18 issue, the study shows that use of large arm boards significantly reduces neck and shoulder pain as well as hand, wrist and forearm pain. "Based on these outcomes, employers should consider providing employees who use computers with appropriate forearm support," said lead author David Rempel, MD, MPH, director of the ergonomics program at San Francisco General Hospital and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

Study findings also show arm boards and ergonomics training provide the most protective effect, with a statistically significant reduction in both neck and shoulder pain and right hand/wrist/forearm pain in comparison to the control group, who did not receive forearm support. The boards reduced the risk of incidence of neck and shoulder disorders by nearly half.

As per the authors, musculoskeletal disorders of the neck, shoulders and arms are a common occupational health problem for individuals involved in computer-based customer service work. Specific disorders include wrist tendonitis, elbow tendonitis and muscle strain of the neck and upper back. These health problems account for a majority of lost work time in call centers and other computer-based jobs. "Extended hours of mouse or keyboard use and sustained awkward postures, such as wrist extension, are the most consistently observed risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders," Rempel added.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


April 18, 2006, 11:56 PM CT

Speeding Up Cure For Ear Infections

Speeding Up Cure For Ear Infections
Fast tracking the healing process for common ear infections will be the focus of ground-breaking research by WA's Lions Ear and Hearing Institute (LEHI).

The research will aim to understand why some eardrums heal by themselves (and why some do not heal at all) by identifying which genes are responsible for the wound-healing process of an infected human ear drum.

As per the World Health Organisation, almost half of the world's population suffers from 'chronic otitis media' - more usually known as an ear infection - which causes hearing loss and can lead to more serious disorders such as meningitis.

Ear infections can occur when ear drums burst as a result of a loud explosion, trauma or most usually by infection spread by a common cold or sore throat.

LEHI's Senior Research Scientist Dr Reza Ghassemifar, said he was looking forward to starting the three-year research project after securing a $238,600 grant from the Garnett Passe and Rodney William Memorial Foundation.

"With this funding we can start our studies to understand how wounds in ear drums heal themselves by examining the cells and molecules in the replacement tissue," Dr Ghassemifar said.

"Through DNA or gene profiling of animal models we hope to learn which molecules are active as the ear drum heals and we will then target those to speed up the healing process."........

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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