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March 1, 2006, 11:41 PM CT

Obese People Are More Sensitive To Pain

Obese People Are More Sensitive To Pain
Obese people may be more sensitive to pain than people who aren't obese, a new study suggests.

All of the older adults who completed the study had osteoarthritis of the knee, a disease that causes inflammation and extreme pain in the knees.

Participants were given a mild electrical stimulation on their left ankle to measure their pain reflex. The stimulus was given before and after the participants took part in a 45-minute coping skills training session that included a progressive muscle relaxation exercise.

The obese patients showed a greater physical response to the electrical stimulation than did the non-obese people, both before and after the training session. This indicates they had a lower tolerance for the painful stimulation despite reporting, in questionnaires, that they felt no more pain than non-obese people.

"The relaxation procedure helped both groups cope with pain," said Charles Emery, the study's lead author and a professor of psychology at Ohio State University. "Additionally, our tests showed both groups had higher physical pain thresholds after the relaxation session. But the obese participants still had a lower threshold for tolerating the pain".

Emery and colleagues presented their findings on March 4 in Denver at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


February 27, 2006, 8:30 PM CT

Medical Device Combines Wireless and MEMS Technology

Medical Device Combines Wireless and MEMS Technology Deborah McGee of CardioMEMS examines an EndoSure sensor in the company's clean room facility in the ATDC Biosciences Center located at Georgia Tech's Environmental Science and Technology Building. The sensor is implanted to measure pressure in an aneurism being treated by a stent graft. Georgia Tech Photo: Gary Meek
Winning a thumbs-up from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, CardioMEMS Inc. has launched its EndoSure- sensor, which makes testing safer and more convenient for aneurysm patients.

Based on intellectual property from the Georgia Institute of Technology, EndoSure is the first implantable pressure sensor that combines wireless and microelectromechanical system (MEMS) technology to receive FDA clearance.

"This is a significant milestone that validates our product is safe and relevant," says David Stern, CardioMEMS' chief executive, noting that the FDA based its 510(k) clearance on results from an international clinical study involving more than 100 hospital patients in the United States as well as Brazil, Argentina and Canada.

Better results, less hassle.

Officially known as the EndoSure Wireless AAA Pressure Measurement System, CardioMEMs' innovative device measures blood pressure in people who have an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Ruptures from this weakening of the lower aorta rank as the 13th leading cause of death in the United States. Although doctors can treat the bulging artery with a stent graft, stents can fail, so aneurysm patients require lifetime monitoring.

Yet traditional testing methods, such as CT scans, are expensive and time-consuming. What's more, CT scans are limited in scope because they only reveal the size of an aneurysm. In contrast, the EndoSure monitors pressure inside the aneurysm sac - the most important measurement for doctors to know.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


February 23, 2006, 11:26 PM CT

Revealing The Secrets Of The Brain

Revealing The Secrets Of The Brain Activity patterns in the brain elicited by electrical microstimulation are observed around the electrode and in other functionally connected visual areas. Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to measure activation. Image credit: Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics
Researchers from the MPI for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen have developed a new procedure which accurately maps the activity in primate brains by means of the BOLD-Signal (Blood Oxygen Level Dependent Signal). The combination of electrical microstimulation and FMRT promises substantially more precise insights into the functional organisation or the brain and its circuitry.

Over the last two centuries electrical microstimulation has been often used to demonstrate causal links between neural activity and specific behaviors or cognitive functions. It has also been used successfully for the therapy of several neurological disorders, most notably, Parkinson's disease. However, to understand the mechanisms by which electrical microstimulation can cause alternations in behaviors and cognitive functions it is imperative to characterize the cortical activity patterns that are elicited by stimulation locally around the electrode and in other functionally connected areas.

To this end, in a new study reported in the December, 2005, issue of Neuron, Andreas S. Tolias and Fahad Sultan, under the guidance of Prof. Nikos K. Logothetis from the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, have for the first time developed a technique to record brain activity using the blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal while applying electrical microstimulation to the primate brain. They found that the spread of activity around the electrode in macaque area V1 is larger than expected from calculations based on passive spread of current and therefore may reflect functional spread by way of horizontal connections. Consistent with this functional transsynaptic spread they also obtained activation in expected projection sites in extrastriate visual areas demonstrating the utility of their technique in uncovering in vivo functional connectivity maps.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


February 21, 2006, 10:09 PM CT

Lower Doses Of Clot-busting Drug

Lower Doses Of Clot-busting Drug
Johns Hopkins study has shown that patients treated for a type of stroke caused by bleeding in the brain, or intracerebral hemorrhage, survived more often if given 1 milligram instead of the previously studied 3 milligram dose of the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). In the study, Daniel Hanley, M.D., a professor and neurologist at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, demonstrated that rates of continued bleeding and subsequent death can be reduced if the tPA dosage is lowered to 1 mg.

"We have strong evidence that lower doses of tPA not only worked as well as the higher dose, but also markedly reduced side effects in regard to bleeding," Hanley said. "Ten years ago, the mortality rate for this type of stroke was at 80 percent. One year ago, it was 50 percent. In this study it was 13 percent".

Hanley will present the study at the International Stroke Conference on Feb. 18 in Kissimmee, Fla.

An intracerebral hemorrhage -- bleeding in the brain -- is the only type of stroke without a clearly defined therapy. It occurs in more than 100,000 Americans each year. Up to half of patients die, and those who survive suffer significant disabilities. During such a stroke, blood often extends into the ventricles, small chambers in the brain where cerebrospinal fluid is made, increasing the chances of damage.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


February 11, 2006, 3:04 PM CT

People React Differently To Pain

People React Differently To Pain Pain pathway to the brain
A Rochester-based study has observed more than 20 percent of people with chronic pain did not seek doctor help for their pain. The study supports the opinion of a number of physicians that a large segment of patients has an unmet need for pain care.

Increased media attention and doctor education are recommended to decrease the number of "silent sufferers," as per the study. Reported in the recent issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the study looked at 3,575 people. Of the 2,211 respondents who reported pain of more than three months' duration, 22.4 percent (497) stated that they had not informed their doctor about their pain. The survey covered a cross-section of residents of Olmsted County, Minn., from March through June 2004.

It is unclear whether the reasons for not seeking therapy are limited to minor impact of pain on the person, or for other reasons such as poor prior experiences with pain care, perceived lack of effective therapys, and barriers to health care; lack of medical insurance, for example.

The importance of pain management has gained increasing recognition in the last decade. In 1995, the American Pain Society declared pain to be the fifth vital sign, a designation to increase pain awareness among health care professionals.

The rapid increases in pain medicine prescription hint at a population of patients with unmet pain needs, as per the study.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


February 10, 2006, 7:39 PM CT

Explaining Alzheimer's Memory Loss

Explaining Alzheimer's Memory Loss
Based on laboratory research, researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have a new theory as to why people with Alzheimer's disease have trouble performing even the simplest memory tasks, such as remembering a family member's name.

That's because they discovered a physical link between apolipoprotein E (APOE), the transport molecules known to play a role in development of the disease, and glutamate, a brain chemical necessary for establishing human memory.

As per a research findings reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the research team specifically found that receptors on the outside of brain nerve cells (neurons) that bind on to APOE and glutamate are connected on the surface of neurons, separated from each other by only a small protein.

While the scientists don't know why these receptors are linked together, they say inefficient or higher-than-average levels of APOE in the brain could possibly be clogging these binding sites, preventing glutamate from activating the processes necessary to form memories.

"We have found out that two receptors previously thought to have nothing to do with each other do, in fact, interact, leading us to conclude that APOE affects the NMDA glutamate channel that is important in memory," says the study's senior author, G. William Rebeck, PhD, associate professor of neuroscience in Georgetown's Biomedical Graduate Research Organization.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink    Source


February 6, 2006, 11:39 PM CT

Memory Problems At Menopause

Memory Problems At Menopause
Women who feel that they become more forgetful as menopause approaches shouldn't just "fuhgetabout it": There may be something to their own widespread reports that they're more likely to forget things as menopause approaches, say researchers who reported results from a small study today at the annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society in Boston.

The team from the University of Rochester Medical Center found that the issue is not really impaired memory. Instead, the team found a link between complaints of forgetfulness and the way middle-aged, stressed women learn or "encode" new information.

"This is not what most people think of traditionally when they think of memory loss," said co-author Mark Mapstone, Ph.D., assistant professor of Neurology. "It feels like a memory problem, but the cause is different. It feels like you can't remember, but that's because you never really learned the information in the first place".

The findings come from Mapstone and Miriam Weber, Ph.D., memory experts at the University's Memory Disorders Clinic who are seeing more and more middle-aged women who say they are having problems with forgetfulness.

The team found nothing to support the idea that such women are on their way to developing Alzheimer's disease, and they didn't find any problem with what most people consider "memory." But they did make a finding that helps explain why women in their 40s and 50s frequently say they're having memory problems: It's possible that their changing moods and hectic lives make it harder to keep track of everything.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink


February 6, 2006, 11:33 PM CT

Connection Between Dementia And Cancer

Connection Between Dementia And Cancer
By expressing a protein associated with Alzheimer's disease in the brain of the fruit fly, scientists have demonstrated an intriguing link between neuronal death and proteins previously associated with cancer.

The findings are reported by Vik Khurana, Mel Feany, and his colleagues from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Burnham Institute.

Neurons in the brain generally do not divide. It is therefore perplexing that in Alzheimer's disease, and other dementias associated with a protein called tau, dying neurons actually re-express proteins normally seen during cell division or in cancer. It has previously been unclear whether such cell-division proteins cause neuronal death, protect neurons from death, or are irrelevant.

In the present work, the scientists used a fruit-fly model of Alzheimer's disease to examine the relationship of cell-division proteins to neurodegeneration. The power of this model, which recapitulates key features of the human disease, lies in the ability to use genetic tools to establish a causal correlation between a molecular pathway and neuronal death. Khurana and his colleagues found that, as in human disease, abnormal expression of cell-cycle proteins accompanied neuronal death in their fly model. Most importantly, loss of neurons could be prevented when the cell cycle was genetically blocked or when flies were fed anticancer drugs. Cell-cycle activation depended upon a hyperactive cell growth molecule, TOR (target of rapamycin), also known to be abnormally activated in Alzheimer's disease. By establishing these causal connections, this study suggests that anticancer drugs are potential therapies for Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. More broadly, the results point to an intriguing correlation between cancer and dementia, two of the most important diseases in the elderly.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink


February 1, 2006, 7:39 AM CT

Aspirin Therapy After Brain Hemorrhage

Aspirin Therapy After Brain Hemorrhage
A study from the Stroke Service at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has found that some patients who have survived an intracerebral hemorrhage - a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain - may be safely treated with aspirin to prevent future heart attacks or strokes caused by blood clots. The study, appearing in the January 24 issue of the journal Neurology, addresses a fairly common clinical dilemma.

"The two types of stroke - ischemic, caused by a clot cutting off the brain's blood supply, and hemorrhagic, caused by bleeding in the brain - share a number of of the same risk factors," says Eric Smith, MD, MPH, of MGH Neurology, the study's senior author. "Physicians often see patients with a history of intracerebral hemorrhage who are also at risk for ischemic stroke or heart attacks and need to decide what kind of preventive therapy to recommend. We have still not had a good answer to whether daily aspirin treatment would be safe for these patients or would increase the risk of another hemorrhage."

The scientists followed a group of 207 patients who had survived intracerebral hemorrhage during the period from 1994 to 2004. The patients were surveyed by telephone every six months and asked about any recurrence of hemorrhage or other neurologic disorders and whether they took aspirin or other antiplatelet therapies. While 18 percent of the study participants had recurrent hemorrhages during an average of 20 months of follow-up, the risk was no greater among the 46 patients who reported taking antiplatelet treatment than it was among the 161 who did not take aspirin. The only factor associated with increased risk of recurrence was the location of the original hemorrhage, with greater risk associated with hemorrhage in the cerebral cortex than in the deep structure of the brain, which had been observed in prior studies.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink


February 1, 2006, 7:27 AM CT

Drug Slows Severe Alzheimer's Symptoms

Drug Slows Severe Alzheimer's Symptoms
A drug used to treat symptoms of moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease appears to be effective for one year, as per the results of a new multicenter study that provides additional support for the continuing effectiveness of the therapy, called Namendaandreg;, for patients in the later stages of the disease.

"This study demonstrates that it is possible to alleviate some of the cognitive and functional losses associated with the later stages of Alzheimer's, providing a basis for greater optimism on the part of caregivers," says Barry Reisberg, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine, the lead investigator of the study, which is reported in the January 2006 issue of the Archives of Neurology.

"Our study verifies that this medicine continues to be beneficial and is safe with remarkably few side effects," said Dr. Reisberg, who is also Clinical Director of the Silberstein Aging and Dementia Research Center at NYU School of Medicine.

Namendaandreg; was approved in October 2003 by the Food and Drug Administration for the therapy of moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease. The approval was based partly on a rigorous 28-week study of 252 people who were randomly chosen to receive the drug or a placebo. The results, reported in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine in the spring of 2003, showed that the drug could slow the downward spiral of the disease. Dr. Reisberg also was the principal investigator of this study.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink



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Did you know?
The drug Ativan is better than Valium or Dilantin for controlling severe epileptic seizures, according to a new review of studies.Ativan, or lorazepam, and Valium, or diazepam, are both benzodiazepines, the currently preferred class of drugs for treating severe epileptic seizures. Dilantin, or phenytoin, is an anticonvulsant long used for the treatment of epileptic seizures.

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