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September 1, 2006, 4:52 AM CT

stimulating stem cell growth in the brain

stimulating stem cell growth in the brain
Researchers at Harvard University have identified key compounds that stimulate stem cell growth in the brain, which may one day lead to restored function for people affected by Parkinson's disease, strokes, multiple sclerosis, and a wide range of neurological disorders. These findings, which appear in the September 2006 issue of The FASEB Journal, provide important clues as to which compounds may be responsible for causing key brain cells, neurons, to regenerate and ultimately restore brain function.

The research study focused on two compounds--LTB4 and LXA4. Both play a role in inflammation and are regulators of proliferation of several cell types. When stem cells isolated from the brains of mouse embryos were exposed to LTB4 they proliferated and differentiated, giving rise to additional stem cells and to differentiated neurons with limited or absent capacity to divide. When exposed to LXA4, these cells experienced decreased growth and apoptosis.

"This study opens doors to new therapeutic approaches for a wide range neurological disorders and injuries that were once considered incurable," said Gerald Weissmann, MD, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal.

The study also provided so insight into the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved when LTB4 stimulates neuronal stem cells. As per the study, cells generated as the result of LTB4 exposure had high levels of LTB4 receptors, whereas the level of LTB4 receptors was considerably lower in similar cells not generated by LTB4 stimulation. The researchers were further able to show that LTB4 up-regulated several molecules involved in cell cycling and growth, such as cyclins and epidermal growth factor receptor, and decreased those such as caspase 8 which play a role in apoptosis. LXA4 had the opposite effects.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


September 1, 2006, 4:40 AM CT

Detailed Nutritional Value Of Salad

Detailed Nutritional Value Of Salad
Go ahead and indulge at the salad bar. "Rabbit food" is nutritious for people too.

A new UCLA/Louisiana State University study of dietary data on more than 17,500 men and women finds consumption of salad and raw vegetables correlates with higher concentrations of folic acid, vitamins C and E, lycopene and alpha and beta carotene in the bloodstream.

Reported in the September edition of the peer-evaluated Journal of the American Dietetic Association, the study also suggests that each serving of salad consumed correlates with a 165 percent higher likelihood of meeting recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for vitamin C in women and 119 percent greater likelihood in men.

The study is the first to examine the relationship between normal salad consumption and nutrient levels in the bloodstream, and also the first to examine the dietary adequacy of salad consumption using the latest nutritional guidelines of the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings blunt concerns about the human body's ability to absorb nutrients from raw vegetables, as well as concern that the structure and characteristics of some plants undercut nutritional value.

"The consistently higher levels of certain nutrients in the bloodstream of salad-eaters suggest these important components of a healthy diet are being well-absorbed from salad," said Lenore Arab, visiting professor of epidemiology at the UCLA School of Public Health and co-author of the study with L. Joseph Su, assistant professor at the LSU School of Public Health.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 31, 2006, 5:34 AM CT

Focus on stroke

Focus on stroke
We examined whether the location of brain damage, neurocognitive deficits, and/or the number of clinical features identified during a swallowing study affected stroke patients' swallowing outcomes. Identification of at least four of six clinical features (cough after swallow, voice change after swallow, abnormal volitional cough, abnormal gag reflex, dysphonia, and dysarthria) was associated with poor swallowing outcomes at admission and discharge from the hospital. In addition, specific neurocognitive deficits seemed to be related to swallowing outcomes; however, location of brain damage was not associated. More information about clinical indictors, neuroanatomical locations, and behavioral features will lead to earlier detection of swallowing disorders.

Does motor lateralization have implications for stroke rehabilitation? pg. 311.

This article describes current findings on the usefulness of dominance retraining strategies in poststroke patients with dominant-arm hemiplegia. We found consistent differences in control strategies used by both the dominant and nondominant hemisphere/limb systems. However, the nondominant arm may not spontaneously become an efficient dominant manipulator, indicated by persistent deficits in chronic stroke patients. Because ipsilesional deficits are usually mild compared with contralesional, they are not normally addressed in rehabilitation. We propose that the previously nondominant limb impeded by motor deficits could benefit from remedial therapy to help switch to a dominant controller.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink


August 31, 2006, 5:24 AM CT

Discover Memory Molecule

Discover Memory Molecule
Researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center have discovered a molecular mechanism that maintains memories in the brain. In an article in Science magazine, they demonstrate that by inhibiting the molecule they can erase long-term memories, much as you might erase a computer disc.

Furthermore, erasing the memory from the brain does not prevent the ability to re-learn the memory, much as a cleaned computer disc may be re-used. This finding may some day have applications in treating chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and memory loss, among other conditions.

The SUNY Downstate scientists published in the August 25 issue of Science that an enzyme molecule called "protein kinase M zeta" preserves long-term memories through persistent strengthening of synaptic connections between neurons. This is analogous to the mechanism storing information as 0's and 1's in a computer's hard disc. By inhibiting the enzyme, researchers were able to erase a memory that had been stored for one day, or even one month. This function in memory storage is specific to protein kinase M zeta, because inhibiting related molecules did not disrupt memory.

These findings may be useful for the therapy of disorders characterized by the pathological over-strengthening of synaptic connections, such as neuropathic pain, phantom limb syndrome, dystonia, and post-traumatic stress. On the other hand, the identification of the core molecular mechanism for memory storage may focus effort on the development of specific therapeutic agents that enhance memory persistence and prevent memory loss. Earlier this year, SUNY Downstate researchers reported that PKMzeta was bound up in the tangles of Alzheimer's disease, thus perhaps blocking its function in memory storage.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


August 31, 2006, 5:10 AM CT

Tumor Necrosis Factor Blockers May Not Cause Cancer

Tumor Necrosis Factor Blockers May Not Cause Cancer
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune, inflammatory disease marked by progressive joint and organ damage, face a high risk of developing cancer. Their vulnerability, particularly to lymphoma and leukemia, may be due to the nature of RA. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) including tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF) antagonists, a type of biologic DMARD have also been implicated. TNF blockers, which work by attaching to and impeding chemical messengers behind inflammation, have had a significant impact on the therapy of RA. They have also been associated with lymphoma among users. In fact, reports of lymphoma prompted the Food and Drug Administration to mandate adding a cancer risk warning to the labels of three TNF blockers: etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade), and adalimumab (Humira).

Motivated by persistent concerns and inconclusive studies, scientists at Harvard Medical School's Brigham and Women's Hospital set out to investigate the association between therapy with TNF blockers and occurrence of cancer in a large sample of patients with RA. Their results, featured in the September 2006 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis), indicate that biologic DMARD treatment poses no greater risk for cancer than treatment with a standard prescription DMARD, methotrexate (MTX).........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


August 31, 2006, 5:03 AM CT

New cell-based targets for inflammatory diseases

New cell-based targets for inflammatory diseases
Patients with systemic autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) often suffer loss of kidney function. When marked by a crescent formation in the glomerulus a tiny ball comprised of capillary blood vessels integral to forming urine kidney failure tends to be rapidly progressive, irreversible, and fatal. Little is known about the mechanism behind this crescent or its relationship to immune-mediated inflammation.

To gain understanding, a team of scientists in Japan began by analyzing a spontaneous mutant strain of EOD mice. Their study, published in the September 2006 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis), indicates the critical role of platelet function in this dire form of autoimmune kidney disease, crescentic glomerulonenephritis (CGN). It also sheds light on the involvement of Cno protein, a member of a large protein complex called biogenesis of lysosome-related organelle complex 1 (BLOC-1), in the development of an autoimmune disease.

Scientists isolated this mutant strain of mice from the autoimmune-prone strain EOD, which stably develops fatal CGN. Then, using blood samples, they thoroughly assessed blood cell count, immune function, platelet function, and properties of various cell types and genes in these mice, searching for clues to their marked improvement in CGN and ability to survive about twice as long as wild-type EOD mice. Among the surprising findings in the mutant mice was an ability to alter platelet functions. While wild-type EOD mice displayed massive accumulations of platelets in the glomerulus, the mutant mice did not, but they were more prone to bleeding. Further investigation revealed a mutation in the cappuccino gene, which encodes the Cno protein. Mutant platelets also showed abnormally low aggregation in response to collagen and abnormally low rates of serotonin storage.........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


August 31, 2006, 4:57 AM CT

Juices Reduces Alzheimer's Risk

Juices Reduces Alzheimer's  Risk
In a large epidemiological study, scientists observed that people who drank three or more servings of fruit and vegetable juices per week had a 76 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimers disease than those who drank juice less than once per week.

The study by Qi Dai, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Medicine, and his colleagues appears in the recent issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

The scientists followed a subset of subjects from a large cross-cultural study of dementia, called the Ni-Hon-Sea Project, which investigated Alzheimers disease and vascular dementia in older Japanese populations living in Japan, Hawaii and Seattle, Wash.

For the current study, called the Kame Project, the scientists identified 1,836 dementia-free subjects in the Seattle population and collected information on their dietary consumption of fruit and vegetable juices. They then assessed cognitive function every two years for up to 10 years.

After controlling for possible confounding factors like smoking, education, physical activity and fat intake, the scientists observed that those who reported drinking juices three or more times per week were 76 percent less likely to develop signs of Alzheimers disease than those who drank less than one serving per week.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


August 31, 2006, 4:44 AM CT

Diagnostic Tests Have Low Risk Of Miscarriage

Diagnostic Tests Have Low Risk Of Miscarriage Amniocentesis
Pregnant women who seek prenatal diagnostic testing to identify genetic or chromosomal abnormalities have a lower risk of miscarriage than previously believed, as per a UCSF study.

The findings appear in the September 2006 issue of the journal "Obstetrics and Gynecology".

Two standard tests--amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS)--are common prenatal tests performed during the first and second trimester of pregnancy. Early testing using the CVS procedure has typically been thought to have a higher rate of miscarriage than amniocentesis. However, in a 20-year retrospective comparison study of the two procedures, scientists observed that the loss rates for both procedures decreased over time.

"This is a significant finding for use as information in both patient counseling and in establishing widespread prenatal diagnostic and screening programs," said co-author of study Mary E. Norton, MD, who is medical director of the Prenatal Diagnostic Center at UCSF Medical Center and associate clinical professor in the UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences.

Both amniocentesis and CVS are invasive diagnostic screening methods that carry a small risk of pregnancy loss. Amniocentesis requires insertion of a hollow needle through the abdominal wall and into the uterus to withdraw amniotic fluid. CVS is a biopsy procedure that involves removing a piece of tissue from the placenta. These samples are then cultured and chromosomes analyzed to determine abnormalities linked to Down syndrome and other genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, and sickle cell disease.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


August 31, 2006, 4:38 AM CT

Drink Orange Juice To Keep Kidney Stones Away

Drink Orange Juice  To Keep Kidney Stones Away
A daily glass of orange juice can help prevent the recurrence of kidney stones better than other citrus fruit juices such as lemonade, scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have discovered.

The findings indicate that eventhough a number of people assume that all citrus fruit juices help prevent the formation of kidney stones, not all have the same effect. The study is available online and is scheduled would be reported in the Oct. 26 issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Medically managing recurrent kidney stones requires dietary and changes in lifestyle as well as therapy such as the addition of potassium citrate, which has been shown to lower the rate of new stone formation in patients with kidney stones.

But some patients can't tolerate potassium citrate because of gastrointestinal side effects, said Dr. Clarita Odvina, assistant professor of internal medicine at the Charles and Jane Pak Center for Mineral Metabolism and Clinical Research and the study's lead author. In those cases, dietary sources of citrate such as orange juice may be considered as an alternative to pharmacological drugs.

"Orange juice could potentially play an important role in the management of kidney stone disease and may be considered an option for patients who are intolerant of potassium citrate," Dr. Odvina said.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


August 30, 2006, 5:04 AM CT

Treating Chronic Coronary Artery Disease

Treating Chronic Coronary Artery Disease
Medication, angioplasty or surgery? For some heart disease patients, there's no clear-cut choice. The key to getting the best care is to follow your individual doctor's advice, new research shows.

The research, conducted at the Heart Institute of the University of So Paulo Medical School in Brazil, appears in the recent issue of Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

For the study, scientists evaluated data collected during the Medicine, Angioplasty or Surgery Study II (MASS II) to determine how physician-recommended care affected patient outcomes one year after therapy. All patients were diagnosed with severe coronary artery disease affecting at least two blood vessels but still not causing a loss of heart function. Coronary artery disease occurs when a buildup of cholesterol in the arteries prevents oxygen-rich blood from nourishing the heart muscle.

"We still currently do not know which is the best therapeutic option for patients with multivessel chronic coronary artery disease and a normal ventricular function," said Whady Hueb, MD, PhD, a heart specialist at the University of So Paulo Heart Institute (InCor). "I think our study offers additional information and reassurance for both doctors and patients that, at the end of the decision-making process, what the doctor and patient agree is the best option in most cases really is the best option".........

Posted by: Daniel      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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