Monday, August 06, 2012

Everyone At Risk From Mad Cow Disease

By John von Radowitz, Science Correspondent, PA News

No one is immune to the human form of mad cow disease, variant CJD, new research suggests today.

Some people whose genetic make-up normally acts as a barrier against infection may ultimately develop a different and so-far unrecognised type of disease, it is claimed.

Scientists have shown that individuals with a pair of genes known as MM about a third of the population acquire vCJD relatively easily.

No one with a different paring, VV, has been known to suffer the disease.

Then in August it emerged that a patient from a mixed MV genetic group had been infected with vCJD from contaminated blood, without showing any symptoms. Just over half the population has the MV pairing.

The news sparked fears of a mad cow disease timebomb in the population, with thousands of people unwittingly carrying the brain disease on a long incubation fuse. Read more…

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Needle-Sharing by Sex Workers Tied to Spread of Syphilis

(HealthDay News) -- Needle-sharing among drug abusers may play as big a role as risky sexual behavior in the transmission of syphilis, a new study suggests.

American and Mexican researchers interviewed more than 900 female sex workers in the Mexican border towns of Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, which are adjacent to San Diego and El Paso, Texas, respectively. The sex workers, who were also tested for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), operate legally in the two Mexican towns, which are located on major drug trafficking routes.

The researchers found that female sex workers who didn't have HIV, but tested positive for active syphilis infection, were more likely than those without active syphilis infection to inject drugs, to use illegal drugs before or during sex in the past month, and to have U.S. clients who had higher rates of drug use, including the use of injection drugs. Read more…

Monday, June 25, 2012

Enriched Skim Milk Good for Gout, Study Suggests

(HealthDay News) -- If you have gout, drinking enriched skim milk may help reduce the frequency of painful flare-ups, new research suggests.

The new study included 120 patients who had experienced at least two flare-ups in the previous four months. They were divided into three treatment groups that consumed either lactose powder, skim milk powder or skim milk powder enriched with glycomacropeptide (GMP) and G600 milk fat extract (G600).

Gout, a common form of arthritis, is caused by uric acid buildup in blood. Often, the big toe is the first place where gout strikes. Previous research has shown a higher risk for gout among people who consume fewer dairy products, and earlier work suggested that GMP and G600 tone down the inflammatory response to gout crystals.

The powders were mixed in roughly 8 ounces of water as a vanilla-flavored shake and consumed once a day. The patients recorded their flare-ups and went to a rheumatology clinic once a month. Read more…

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Thursday, June 07, 2012

Obesity Causes Increased Risk of Kidney Cancer, Kidney Stones, and Stroke

by: Steve G. Jones, Ed.S

Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 or greater. BMI is a ratio determined by weight and height. With a large percentage of Americans classified as being obese, research is showing the effects extra weight and obesity have on a person's overall health. Recent studies show that obese people have an increased risk of developing common kidney cancer, kidney stones, and an increased risk of having a stroke.

A study involving 1,640 participants studied the effects of weight on kidney cancer. The average age of patients was 62 and all participants had kidney tumors. The study showed that patients with a BMI of 30 or higher were 48% more likely to develop clear-cell renal cell cancer (RCC). With every 1 point increase in BMI, obese patients increased their odds of getting kidney cancer by 4%.

Out of all the participants, 67% of the obese patients had kidney cancer compared to 57% of non-obese patients. Researchers do not know why there is a link between obesity and kidney cancer. Researchers are looking into a secondary link involving diabetes, hypertension, hormonal changes, and decreased immune function. Read more…

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fatty liver disease - Choline provides a nutritional solution for a silent epidemic

by: Helmut Beierbeck

Fatty liver disease used to be associated with alcoholism, but it is no longer restricted to heavy drinkers. Our calorie-rich but nutrient-poor diet has led to an epidemic of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) that tracks our rising obesity and diabetes rates (1). Autopsies and ultrasound studies have shown that up to 75% of the obese and 70-85% of type 2 diabetics have fatty livers. And the low-profile but essential nutrient choline appears to provide the solution to the problem (1, 2).

What is NAFLD?

NAFLD develops in two stages (1). In the first stage fat accumulates in the liver. This fat can come from several sources: free fatty acids released into the blood by fat tissue, lipogenesis in the liver from carbohydrates (especially fructose from HFCS or table sugar), and dietary fats carried to the liver by chylomicron remnants. Fatty liver disease is a silent epidemic because its first stage, fat accumulation, generally doesn't produce overt symptoms. Readmore…

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Heart Disease, Diabetes, Depression a Deadly Mix

(HealthDay News) -- Heart disease, diabetes and depression can be a lethal triple-play -- boosting a patient's death risk by 20 percent to 30 percent, new research shows.

"We do not know what this increased risk is due to, but it could either be that depression influences crucial aspects of self-care behaviors needed to manage diabetes or that a more severe disease process is reflected in more depressive symptoms," said lead researcher Anastasia Georgiades, a research associate in the department of psychiatry and behavioral science at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Georgiades was expected to present the findings Friday at the American Psychosomatic Society annual meeting in Budapest, Hungary.

In their study, the Duke team followed 933 heart patients for more than four years. During that time, there were 135 deaths among patients with type 2 diabetes and/or depression, the researchers found.

Among patients with moderate-to-severe symptoms of depression who were also diabetics, the researchers observed a significant 30 percent greater risk of dying over the four-year period compared with patients with either depression alone or diabetes alone. Read more…

Bipolar Kids May Focus on Different Facial Features

(HealthDay News) -- Children with bipolar disorder and a similar condition called severe mood dysregulation spend less time looking at the eyes when trying to identify facial features, compared to children without the psychiatric disorders, researchers say.

This new study finding may help explain why children with bipolar disorder and severe mood dysregulation have difficulty determining other people's emotional expressions, said the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health investigators.

The researchers tracked the eye movements of children with and without psychiatric disorders as they viewed faces with different emotional expressions, such as happy, sad, fearful and angry. In general, the children spent more time looking at the eyes, the facial feature that conveys the most information about emotion. Read more…

Saturday, May 12, 2012

New Heart Valve Repair System Tested for Safety

(HealthDay News) -- A new method of repairing leaking mitral heart valves appears safe, a small study shows.

In the new study, researchers tested a reversible implant called the Percutaneous Transvenous Mitral Annuloplasty (PTMA) system, which is installed via a catheter.

In the heart, the mitral valve controls the flow of blood from the left atrium into the left ventricle (from the upper left chamber into the lower left chamber). A leaking mitral valve causes blood to flow back into the left atrium. This condition can worsen existing heart failure or cause congestive heart failure, according to a news release from the American Heart Association.

Currently, mitral valve repair requires opening the chest and putting the patient on a heart-lung machine. This method increases the risk of heart attack and stroke during surgery, as well as post-surgery risks such as lung problems, irregular heartbeat and infection, the news release noted. Read more…

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Complex cancer industry trial literature is too confusing for patients to understand

By J. D. Heyes

Have you ever read something so complex and confusing that it frustrated you to the point of distraction? Well, a new study has found that cancer trial literature causes that kind of frustration - and may be misleading to patients as well.

According to Prof. Mary Dixon-Woods, professor of Medical Sociology at the University of Leicester Department of Health Sciences in Great Britain, a number of cancer patients found information leaflets describing cancer trials too long, too incomprehensible and too intimidating.

"These information sheets are poorly aligned with patients' information needs and how they really make decisions about whether to join a cancer trial," said Dixon-Woods, lead author of the research, which was published in the international journal Sociology of Health and Illness.

"Some patients did find them very useful, but many others paid them little attention. They preferred to rely on discussions they had with their doctor to make up their minds," she said. Read more…

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Two Drugs Safe for Rare Forms of Kidney Cancer

(HealthDay News) -- Using a combination of the drugs temsirolimus (Torisel) and Bryostatin appears to be safe in patients with metastatic kidney cancer, according to early data from 25 patients in a phase 1 trial.

The researchers said a pathway known as mTOR signaling promotes tumor cell proliferation and tumor blood vessel development. The temsirolimus-bryostatin combination blocks two portions of the mTOR signaling pathway, and the early data suggests the drugs may be active in patients with rare forms of renal cell cancer that are less likely to respond to other therapies.

"We have certainly seen sustained responses with this combination, which are encouraging," Dr. Elizabeth Plimack, a medical oncologist and attending physician at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, said in a news release from the center.

"Patients with non-clear cell renal cell cancer, including papillary renal cancer, don't respond as well to tyrosine kinase inhibitors, such as sunitinib [Sutent] and sorafenib [Nexavar], as patients with clear cell renal cell. So there is an unmet need for therapy for these patients. We've seen that this combination may be active to some degree for them," Plimack said.

The findings were to be presented Sunday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting, in Orlando, Fla. Read more…


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