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July 4, 2006, 10:10 AM CT

Early drinking linked to higher lifetime alcoholism risk

Early drinking linked to higher lifetime alcoholism risk
Data from a survey of 43,000 U.S. adults heighten concerns that early alcohol use, independent of other risk factors, may contribute to the risk of developing future alcohol problems. Those who began drinking in their early teens were not only at greater risk of developing alcohol dependence at some point in their lives, they were also at greater risk of developing dependence more quickly and at younger ages, and of developing chronic, relapsing dependence. Among all respondents who developed alcoholism at some point, almost half (47 percent) met the diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence (alcoholism) by age 21.

The associations between early drinking and later problems held even after researchers controlled for other risk factors for dependence, adding to concerns that drinking at a young age might raise the risk of future alcohol problems rather than being an identifying feature of young people predisposed to risky behavior. The study appears in the recent issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Volume 160, pages 739-746.

Elias Zerhouni, M.D., director of the NIH, said, "This is a very good example of how insights gained from health research can inform public policy. Converging research suggests that youthful drinking is associated with an increased risk of long-term, not just acute, health consequences.ยจ........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 4, 2006, 10:06 AM CT

Healing The Heart With Bone Marrow

Healing The Heart With Bone Marrow
Scientists at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine at Toronto General Hospital have discovered the 'SOS' distress signal that mobilizes specific heart repair cells from the bone marrow to the injured heart after a heart attack.

While it has long been known that bone marrow cells have the ability to clear the dead tissue after a heart attack, what has not been known until now is the critically important role of bone marrow adult stem cells in repairing a damaged heart, restoring its function and enhancing the growth of new blood vessels.

"These cells act like generals in a battlefield, explained Dr. Shafie Fazel, cardiac surgery resident at TGH, University of Toronto surgeon/scientist program fellow and lead author of the study entitled, "Cardioprotective c-kit+ cells are from the bone marrow and regulate the myocardial balance of angiogenic cytokines," published recently in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. "When damaged heart tissue sends out an 'SOS' distress signal, this subset of bone marrow cells mobilizes quickly and stimulates the growth of new blood vessels in the heart. This is the first step in repairing the heart and in preventing the vicious downward spiral of heart failure in which the heart progressively thins and dilates, eventually causing death." Despite advances in surgical procedures, mechanical assistance devices, drug treatment, and organ transplantation, more than half of patients with congestive heart failure die within five years of initial diagnosis.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


July 4, 2006, 10:03 AM CT

fruit Experiments lead to cancer knowledge

fruit Experiments lead to cancer knowledge Professor Oded Shoseyov of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Hebrew University photo
Experimental work aimed at improving the quality of fruit has led to the discovery by Hebrew University of Jerusalem agricultural scientists of a promising new avenue of drug therapy for halting the growth and spread of cancer cells in animals and humans.

Their approach has been shown to inhibit the cancerous cells without affecting normal cells and without the severe side effects of traditional therapys such as radiation and chemotherapy. The strategy involves isolating the cancerous tumor from its nutritional and oxygen supplies, thereby halting its growth and stopping metastases (spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body).

The work on the project was carried out at the Hebrew University Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences in Rehovot by Prof. Oded Shoseyov, Dr. Levava Roiz, Dr. Patricia Smirnoff and Dr. Betty Schwartz. Their discoveries were published recently in the journal Cancer of the American Cancer Society.

The approach of the Hebrew University scientists is based on the actions of actibind, a protein that is produced by the black mold Aspergillus niger and that is a well-known microorganism used in bio and food technology. In plants, actibind binds actin, a major component of the intracellular structure in plants, interfering with the plants' pollen tubes and halting cell growth.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


July 4, 2006, 9:44 AM CT

Path To Miscarriage Traced To Placental Infection

Path To Miscarriage Traced To Placental Infection
For years, doctors have puzzled over why pregnant women are 20 times more likely than others to be infected by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, now think they have the answer, and it isn't pretty.

Their research, conducted in guinea pigs, shows that the bacteria can invade the placenta, where - protected from the body's immune system - they proliferate rapidly before pouring out to infect organs such as the liver and spleen. The illness they cause often results in miscarriage or infection of the fetus.

The study is the first to trace such a pathway of infection, and it dashes the widely-held assumption that immune-system changes during pregnancy are to blame for elevated Listeria infection rates.

"The reason the mother is more susceptible is not necessarily because her immune system is compromised, but because the bacteria that got into her placenta are infecting her," said Anna Bakardjiev, the study's lead author and a postdoctoral researcher with Daniel Portnoy, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at UC Berkeley. "The miscarriages that result from these infections may be a natural defense mechanism to dispel this source of infection".

The study will be posted on June 30 in the recent issue of the online journal PLoS Pathogens.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


July 4, 2006, 9:41 AM CT

Infections Link With Diabetes

Infections Link With Diabetes
A major study has added weight to the theory that environmental factors such as common infections may be a trigger for diabetes in children and young adults.

The study, the biggest of its kind, analysed information from a register of over 4,000 people aged 0-29 years old diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes over a 25-year period. The findings for young adults have not been published before.

A quarter of a million people in the UK have Type 1 diabetes, and the number of cases in children is rising by three per cent each year. It develops if the body is unable to produce any insulin and commonly appears before the age of 40.

The study authors, from Newcastle and Leeds Universities and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, carried out a sophisticated statistical analysis using information from the register on the times and places where the children and young adults were diagnosed.

A pattern emerged where 'clusters' of cases were found at different geographical locations and time intervals for 10-19 year olds. There were six to seven per cent more cases of Type 1 diabetes found in 10-19 year olds in the clusters than would have been expected by chance.

Females with the condition were more likely to occur in clusters with seven to 14 per cent more cases than expected found in young girls and women aged 10-19 years.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 3, 2006, 9:45 AM CT

Duke To Test Flu Vaccine

Duke To Test Flu Vaccine
A clinical trial to test an influenza vaccine manufactured in Australia begins this month at Duke University Medical Center.

The Duke study is part of a multi-center trial that will test the immune response and reactions of people given the vaccine. CSL Limited, the company manufacturing the vaccine, has been making flu vaccines for nearly 40 years. The trial is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.

In 2004, nearly half of the normal supply of seasonal influenza vaccine in the United States was unavailable when one of two manufacturers of FDA-licensed flu vaccine had to withdraw its product due to safety concerns. This event highlighted the need for a greater number of manufacturers to make their influenza vaccine available in the United States.

"We need to ensure more secure supplies of influenza vaccine," said Emmanuel Walter, M.D., associate director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute's Primary Care Research Consortium and leader of the Duke study.

Trial participants will receive varying strengths of the vaccine. Volunteers will be randomly assigned to different groups, either receiving one of four formulations of the vaccine or a placebo. As with current flu vaccines given yearly in the U.S., the Australian vaccine causes the body's immune system to make antibodies to fight infection, Walter said.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


July 3, 2006, 9:39 AM CT

Grammar School Improves Grandma's Health

Grammar School Improves Grandma's Health
Confining activities to the rocking chair, the beach and the TV couch may be some retirees' idea of good living, but as per new research by experts at Johns Hopkins, published this month on the Journal of Urban Health's Web site, spending some time with young children in the classroom might give them a lot more time to enjoy life.

"Volunteering in a grade school may not seem immediately appealing to older Americans," said Erwin Tan, Ph.D., assistant professor of geriatrics at Johns Hopkins University and lead author of the study. "But honestly, our volunteers say it's an enriching experience, and, it turns out, it may be good for you".

In a study of 113 men and women 60 and older, Hopkins scientists investigated the subjects' physical health as it correlation to their activity levels. Fifty-nine were involved in the Experience Corps Baltimore, a volunteer program designed at Johns Hopkins' Center for Aging, which places elderly volunteers in kindergarten and grammar school classrooms to be mentors and tutors for 15 hours a week. The other 54 individuals were not enrolled in any activity-based volunteer work and served as a comparison group.

The Hopkins scientists concluded that elderly adults who failed suggested U.S. standards for physical activity when they started volunteering in public grammar schools doubled the amount of calories they burned after volunteering for just one school year. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that all Americans be physically active or exercise for half an hour a day, five days a week.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


July 3, 2006, 9:33 AM CT

Tips To Reduce Your Cancer Risk While Grilling

Tips To Reduce Your Cancer Risk While Grilling
Summer is officially here and it's time to fire up the grill. But there's something you should know about some of your summertime favorites. All that barbecuing could be cooking up chemicals that may increase your risk of cancer. As per the American Institute for Cancer Research, these chemicals may be linked to breast, stomach, prostate, and colon cancer.

But Dana-Farber Cancer Institute nutritionist Stephanie Vangsness, RD, LDN, CNSD, says that doesn't mean you have to give up those summertime favorites like burgers, steaks, and ribs. "It's really about being careful and making wise choices."

There are two risk factors to keep in mind. The high heat of grilling reacts with proteins in red meat, poultry, and fish to create heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Studies have linked these chemicals to cancer.

Another form of cancer-causing agents, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), are found in the smoke. They form when fat and juices from meat products drip on to the heat source. As the smoke rises, it can stick to the surface of the meat.

What can you do to lower your risk? Here are some tips to make sure your summer grilling is safe.

Prep the meat.

Choose lean cuts of meat instead of high-fat varieties, such as ribs and sausage. Trim all excess fat and remove the skin.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 3, 2006, 9:25 AM CT

Milk Thistle Against Lung Cancer

Milk Thistle Against Lung Cancer
A derivative of milk thistle has shown a significant ability to reduce lung tumour growth in mice say scientists.

"We have been studying milk thistle components, silymarin and silibinin, to examine their efficacy and mechanisms against different cancers for over a decade," noted lead investigator Dr Rana Singh.

In the current tests, mice were given silibinin as part of their diet.

Those that had received the supplement developed on average two tumours per animal, while an untreated control group developed an average of 27.

The scientists also noted that silibinin seemed able to reduce the number of blood vessels supplying nutrients to the tumours.

"We expect soon after that clinical trials with silibinin in lung cancer patients will be planned," added Dr Singh.

Patient trials of the effects of silibinin on prostate cancer are currently underway.

The study noted that the derivative used was created artificially and bore no resemblance to milk thistle dietary supplements.

The research was conducted by the University of Colorado and reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


July 3, 2006, 9:10 AM CT

Graduated Driver Licensing Reduces Fatal Crashes

Graduated Driver Licensing Reduces Fatal Crashes
Graduated driver licensing programs reduce, by an average of 11 percent, the incidence of fatal crashes of 16-year-old drivers, according to a study by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. When examining the most comprehensive programs, which include at least five of seven components [see list below], the researchers found about a 20 percent reduction in fatal crashes involving 16-year-old drivers. The report was supported primarily by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Graduated driver licensing programs are a popular way to reduce the risk of vehicle crashes for novice drivers. We already knew that the programs reduced crash rates of young drivers, but we didn't know which programs were most effective in reducing risk," said Susan P. Baker, MPH, lead author of the study and a professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health's Department of Health Policy and Management and Center for Injury Research and Policy. "After completing our study, it is clear that more comprehensive programs have the greatest effect".

"This study strongly underscores the effectiveness of graduated licensing laws. To states searching for solutions to the tragic problem of fatal crashes involving teenagers, it provides extremely valuable new information," said Nicole Nason, NHTSA Administrator.........

Posted by: JoAnn      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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