Novel drug cocktail may improve clinical treatment for pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. and has the lowest overall survival rate of all major cancers (~6%). With current treatment options being met with limited success it is anticipated that pancreatic cancer will move up to the second leading cause of cancer deaths by as early as 2015. Surgical removal of the tumor presents the best chance of survival, however only 15% of patients are eligible due to the late stage of diagnosis common with this disease. With very limited improvements in patient outcome over the last two decades there remains an enormous need for new therapies and treatment options.David Durrant, a Ph.D. student in the laboratory of Dr. Rakesh Kukreja from the Pauley Heart Center at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Medicine, is studying a novel combination therapy for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. The traditional chemotherapy drug, doxorubicin (DOX), has long been used in the treatment of several cancers. However, patients commonly acquire resistance to DOX because of increased activation of specific survival proteins or through increased expression of drug transporters which reduce cellular levels of the drug. This is especially true for pancreatic cancer, which does not respond to multiple treatment strategies, including those that contain DOX. …

Read more

Positive outcomes for hepatitis C transplant patients

New research announced at the International Liver CongressTM 2014 today provides new hope for the notoriously difficult-to-treat population of liver transplant patients with recurring hepatitis C (HCV).As part of a compassionate use program, 104 post-liver transplant patients with recurring HCV who had exhausted all treatment options and had poor clinical prognoses, received sofosbuvir (SOF) and ribavirin (RBV) with pegylated interferon (PEG) included at the physicians’ discretion for up to 48 weeks. Among patients whose clinical outcomes have been reported, 62% achieved SVR12. Additionally, 62% of patients had improvements in clinical conditions associated with hepatic decompensation (e.g., ascites and encephalopathy) and/or improvement in liver function tests. SOF+RBVPEG was well-tolerated and led to high rates of virologic suppression.EASL’s European Policy Councillor Professor Patrizia Burra of the Multivisceral Transplant Unit, Padova University Hospital, Padua, Italy said: “There are currently no effective treatment options for this patient group. However, this new trial involving the nucleotide polymerase inhibitor sofosbuvir (SOF) has demonstrated promising results, providing further evidence of its clinical potential.””For patients with advanced hepatitis C liver disease, liver transplants offer a second chance,” continued Professor Burra, “and for those who continue to suffer post-surgery, it’s important for us to keep following up all avenues possible to improve their quality of life.”Other research revealed at the International Liver CongressTM 2014 showed that most patients with mild hepatitis C recurrence diagnosed one year after liver transplant have excellent long-term outcomes.In the second study, 172 patients who were diagnosed with mild hepatitis C recurrence one year after undergoing liver transplant surgery between 1999 and 2012 were followed for six and a half years with all relevant transplant-related, donor and recipient variables recorded. The cumulative probability of HCV-related graft loss five and 10 years after liver transplant were 3% and 10%, respectively.However one third of these patients are still at risk of going on to develop cirrhosis, further demonstrating the need for antiviral therapy pre or post-transplant.Hepatitis C infection is a common cause of liver transplantation, with virus-related diseases comprising 40% of primary indications for liver transplantation in Europe among patients with cirrhosis.More than 5,500 liver transplantations are currently performed in Europe per year.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by European Association for the Study of the Liver. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Read more

Fatty acid composition in blood reflects quality of dietary carbohydrates in children

Recently published research in the University of Eastern Finland found that fatty acid composition in blood is not only a biomarker for the quality of dietary fat but also reflects the quality of dietary carbohydrates. For example the proportion of oleic acid was higher among children who consumed a lot of candy and little high-fibre grain products. Earlier studies on the topic have mainly concentrated on the association of the quality of dietary fat with fatty acid composition in blood. In the present study, the association of the quality of dietary carbohydrates with plasma fatty acid composition was investigated for the first time in children.A higher consumption of candy and a lower consumption of high-fibre grain products were associated with a higher proportion of oleic acid in blood. One explanation for this finding may be that children who consumed more candy and less high-fibre grain products also consumed more foods rich in saturated fat. Saturated fat, that is known to be harmful to health, has previously been shown to correlate positively with oleic acid intake in Western diet not favoring olive oil.A higher consumption of candy was associated with a higher estimated delta-9 desaturase that indicates the activity of delta-9-desaturase in liver. A higher intake of carbohydrates has previously been shown to be associated with a higher activity of delta-9-desaturase in adults but the studies on this topic are lacking in children. The delta-9-desaturase is an enzyme that catalyzes the reactions of producing monounsaturated fatty acids from saturated fatty acids. Thus, it prevents the accumulation of saturated fatty acids in the liver but at the same time it promotes the excretion of fatty acids to the blood stream. The increase in delta-9-desaturase activity may be related to an increased production of saturated fatty acids from sugar in the liver that is harmful for lipid metabolism.A higher consumption of vegetable oil-based margarine containing at least 60 percent fat was associated with higher proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acid and alfa-linolenic fatty acid in blood that is in line with the results of the previous studies in adults and children. …

Read more

The science of champagne fizz: How many bubbles are in your bubbly?

The importance of fizz, more technically known as effervescence, in sparkling wines and champagnes is not to be underestimated — it contributes to the complete sensory experience of a glass, or flute, of fine bubbly. A scientist has now closely examined the factors that affect these bubbles, and he has come up with an estimate of just how many are in each glass. The report appears in ACS’ The Journal of Physical Chemistry B.Grard Liger-Belair notes that effervescence plays an important role in the look, taste, aroma and mouth feel of champagne and other sparkling wines. Wine journalists and bloggers often cite 15 million as the average number of bubbles fizzing in a single glass of champagne, based on some simple mathematics. Sounds impressive, but Liger-Belair suspected that the formula leading to this estimate oversimplified the matter. It didn’t take into account the fact that some of the dissolved carbon dioxide escapes from a glass without forming bubbles. Also, the size of the bubbles changes over time, and this could affect the final number. Liger-Belair wanted to set the record straight.Taking into consideration temperature, bubble dynamics and the tilt of a flute, Liger-Belair came up with a new way to calculate the number of bubbles in a glass of champagne. And the result is far lower than what has been cited. “One million bubbles seems to be a reasonable approximation for the whole number of bubbles likely to form if you resist drinking champagne from your flute,” he concludes. …

Read more

Relaxed blood pressure guidelines cut millions from needing medication

New guidelines that ease the recommended blood pressure could result in 5.8 million U.S. adults no longer needing hypertension medication, according to an analysis by Duke Medicine researchers.The findings are the first peer-reviewed analysis to quantify the impact of guidelines announced in February by the Eighth Joint National Committee. In a divisive move, the committee relaxed the blood pressure goal in adults 60 years and older to 150/90, instead of the previous goal of 140/90.Blood pressure goals were also eased for adults with diabetes and kidney disease.”Raising the target in older adults is controversial, and not all experts agree with this new recommendation,” said lead author Ann Marie Navar-Boggan, a cardiology fellow at Duke University School of Medicine. “In this study, we wanted to determine the number of adults affected by these changes.”Researchers at the Duke Clinical Research Institute, in collaboration with McGill University, published their results online March 29, 2014, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, to coincide with the American College of Cardiology meeting in Washington, D.C.Researchers used 2005-2010 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The database included more than 16,000 participants with blood pressure measurements.Based on the study sample, the researchers determined that the proportion of U.S. adults considered eligible for hypertension treatment would decrease from 40.6 percent under the old guidelines to 31.7 percent under the new recommendations.In addition, 13.5 million adults — most of them over the age of 60 — would no longer be classified in a danger zone of poorly controlled blood pressure, and instead would be considered adequately managed. This includes 5.8 million U.S. adults who would no longer need blood pressure pills if the guidelines were rigidly applied.”The new guidelines do not address whether these adults should still be considered as having hypertension,” Navar-Boggan said. “But they would no longer need medication to lower their blood pressure.”According to the study, one in four adults over the age of 60 is currently being treated for high blood pressure and meeting the stricter targets set by previous guidelines.”These adults would be eligible for less intensive blood pressure medication under the new guidelines, particularly if they were experiencing side effects,” Navar-Boggan said. “But many experts fear that increasing blood pressure levels in these adults could be harmful.””This study reinforces how many Americans with hypertension fall into the treatment ‘gray zone’ where we don’t know how aggressive to treat and where we urgently need to conduct more research” said Eric D. …

Read more

Analysis supports use of risk equations to guide statin therapy

In an analysis of almost 11,000 patients, an assessment of equations that help guide whether a patient should begin taking a statin (cholesterol lowering medication) found that observed and predicted 5-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risks were similar, suggesting that these equations are helpful for clinical decision making, according to a JAMA study released online to coincide with presentation at the 2014 American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions.The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recently published the 2013 Guideline on the Assessment of Cardiovascular Risk. As part of this guideline, a group of experts developed the Pooled Cohort risk equations, which were designed to estimate 10-year risk for nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI; heart attack), coronary heart disease (CHD) death, and nonfatal or fatal stroke, according to background information in the article.Paul Muntner, Ph.D., of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues examined the Pooled Cohort risk equations in adults (age 45 to 79 years) enrolled in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study between January 2003 and October 2007, and followed up through December 2010. The researchers studied participants for whom atherosclerotic CVD risk may trigger a discussion of statin initiation (patients without clinical atherosclerotic CVD or diabetes, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level between 70 and 189 mg/dL, and not taking statins; n = 10,997). Additional analyses, limited to Medicare beneficiaries (n = 3,333), added atherosclerotic CVD events identified in Medicare claims data.Among the study population (n=10,997) for whom statin treatment should be considered based on atherosclerotic CVD risk there were 338 events (192 CHD events, 146 strokes). The researchers found that the observed and predicted 5-year atherosclerotic CVD incidence rates were similar.There were 234 atherosclerotic CVD events (120 CHD events, 114 strokes) among the subset of Medicare beneficiaries and the observed and predicted 5-year atherosclerotic CVD incidence rates were also similar for the various risk categories in this population.”These findings support the validity of the Pooled Cohort risk equations to inform clinical management decisions,” the authors write. “Because the Pooled Cohort risk equations were designed to estimate 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk, studies are needed to ensure its accurate calibration over a longer duration.”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by The JAMA Network Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Read more

Despite transfer roadblocks, community college transfers as likely to earn BA as 4-year

Students who begin their postsecondary education at a community college and successfully transfer to a four-year college have BA graduation rates equal to similar students who begin at four-year colleges, according to new research published today. That rate would actually increase — to 54 percent from 46 percent — if not for the loss of academic credits when students transfer, said study authors.”The Community College Route to the Bachelor’s Degree,” by Paul Attewell and David Monaghan, both of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, will be published online today in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis (EEPA), a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).Attewell and Monaghan found that students who begin their postsecondary education at a community college are indeed less likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than otherwise similar undergraduates who begin at a four-year school. However, contrary to an earlier generation of research, there are no significant differences in BA completion rates between those students who started at a community college and successfully transferred and their peers who began at four-year schools.Attewell and Monaghan identified restrictive credit transfer policies — and not a lack of academic preparation, an emphasis on vocational training, or a lack of financial aid — as the reason for the gap in BA attainment between otherwise similar undergraduates who enter community colleges and their four-year counterparts.”Loss of credits is a tax on transfer students,” Monaghan said. “Policymakers should be pushing both community colleges and four-year institutions to address it.””Community colleges should be encouraged to invest more in transfer counseling services for their students, and more four-year institutions need to develop processes for facilitating, not hindering, credit transfer for academically qualified students,” said Monaghan.Attewell and Monaghan found that:Only 58 percent of transfers are able to bring all or almost all (90 percent or more) of their credits with them. About 14 percent of transfers lose more than 90 percent of their credits. The remaining 28 percent lose between 10 percent and 89 percent of their credits. Even after controlling for college GPA and credits earned, students who can transfer most of their credits are more likely to complete a BA than those who cannot.Students who have all or almost all their credits transferred are 2.5 times more likely to earn a BA than students with less than half their credits transferred. Students who get between half and 89 percent of their credits accepted have a 74 percent higher chance of earning a BA. The implication is that students who are able to transfer all or most of their community college credits are more likely to graduate than peers who started their postsecondary education at a four-year school.Some states, such as New Jersey, mandate that all for-credit courses earned in state community colleges must count toward BA graduation after transfer to a state four-year college. Modeling a “what if” scenario for this policy in all states, Attewell and Monaghan project that BA attainment among community college transfer students would rise to 54 percent from 46 percent.”This percentage is potentially underestimated,” said Attewell. …

Read more

Playing as black: Avatar race affects white video game players

What happens when white video game players see themselves as black characters in a violent game?A new study suggests some disturbing answers: It makes the white players act more aggressively after the game is over, have stronger explicit negative attitudes toward blacks and display stronger implicit attitudes linking blacks to weapons.These results are the first to link avatar race in violent video games to later aggression, said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University.And it raises another troubling impact that violent video games can have on players, he said.”Playing a violent video game as a black character reinforces harmful stereotypes that blacks are violent,” Bushman said.”We found there are real consequences to having these stereotypes — it can lead to more aggressive behavior.”The results appear online in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science and will be published in a future print edition.The study involved two related experiments. In the first, 126 white university students (60 percent males) played the violent game Saints Row 2. They were randomly assigned to play the game either as a black or white male avatar.Before the participants arrived, the researchers set up the game with the black or white avatar and rotated the game view so that the avatar was visible to the participant when he or she started playing.The participants were assigned to play with a violent goal (break out of prison) or a nonviolent goal (find a chapel somewhere in the city without harming others).Afterward, those who played with the violent goal and as a black avatar showed stronger explicit negative attitudes toward blacks than did those who played as a white avatar. For example, those who played as a black avatar were more likely to agree with the statement “It’s really a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites.”But the negative attitudes weren’t just explicit. All participants took the Implicit Association Test (IAT), which is designed to reveal unconscious bias. During this test, researchers measure how quickly participants link a white or black face with a “good” word (joy, love, peace) or a “bad” word (terrible, horrible, evil). If it takes a participant longer to link a black face to good words than it does to link a white face, then that is considered showing more negative attitudes toward blacks.Results showed that participants who played the violent version of the game as a black avatar were more likely to associate black faces with negative words on the IAT than were those who played as a white avatar.”The media have the power to perpetuate the stereotype that blacks are violent, and this is certainly seen in video games,” Bushman said.”This violent stereotype may be more prevalent in video games than in any other form of media because being a black character in a video game is almost synonymous with being a violent character.”This stereotype can affect people’s actions, as found in the second experiment.In this study, 141 white college students (65 percent female) played one of two violent games: WWE Smackdown vs. RAW 2010 or Fight Night Round 4. These games both used a third-person perspective, allowing the player to see his or her avatar’s race throughout the game.Again, participants were assigned to play as a black or a white avatar. After playing, the participants completed another version of the IAT, which took an implicit measure of the stereotype that blacks are violent. …

Read more

Genes play key role in parenting: Children also shape parents’ behavior

Scientists have presented the most conclusive evidence yet that genes play a significant role in parenting.A study by two Michigan State University psychologists refutes the popular theory that how adults parent their children is strictly a function of the way they were themselves parented when they were children.While environmental factors do play a role in parenting, so do a person’s genes, said S. Alexandra Burt, associate professor of psychology and co-author of a study led by doctoral student Ashlea M. Klahr.”The way we parent is not solely a function of the way we were parented as children,” Burt said. “There also appears to be genetic influences on parenting.”Klahr and Burt conducted a statistical analysis of 56 scientific studies from around the world on the origins of parenting behavior, including some of their own. The comprehensive analysis, involving more than 20,000 families from Australia to Japan to the United States, found that genetic influences in the parents account for 23 percent to 40 percent of parental warmth, control and negativity towards their children.”What’s still not clear, however, is whether genes directly influence parenting or do so indirectly, through parent personality for example,” Klahr said.The study sheds light on another misconception: that parenting is solely a top-down process from parent to child. While parents certainly seem to shape child behavior, parenting also is influenced by the child’s behavior — in other words, parenting is both a cause and a consequence of child behavior.”One of the most consistent and striking findings to emerge from this study was the important role that children’s characteristics play in shaping all aspects of parenting,” the authors write.Ultimately, parenting styles stem from many factors.”Parents have their own experiences when they were children, their own personalities, their own genes. On top of that, they are also responding to their child’s behaviors and stage of development,” Burt said. “Basically, there are a lot of influences happening simultaneously. Long story short, though, we need to be sensitive to the fact that this is a two-way process between parent and child that is both environmental and genetic.”The study is published in Psychological Bulletin, a research journal of the American Psychological Association.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Read more

Ruling with an iron fist could make your child pack on pounds

If you’re rigid with rules and skimpy on affection and dialogue with your kids, they have a greater chance of being obese, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology & Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity & Metabolism Scientific Sessions 2014.Researchers followed a nationally representative group of 37,577 Canadian children aged 0 to 11. They compared kids whose parents are generally affectionate, have reasonable discussions about behavior with their child and set healthy boundaries (authoritative) with those whose parents were strict about limits without much dialogue or affection (authoritarian).The latter group had a 30 percent higher chance of being obese among kids 2 to 5 years old and a 37 percent higher chance among kids 6 to 11 years.”Parents should at least be aware of their parenting style,” said Lisa Kakinami, Ph.D., a post-doctoral epidemiologist at McGill University in Montreal. “If you’re treating your child with a balance of affection and limits — these are the kids who are least likely to be obese.”Researchers compared parents’ answers to a cross-sectional survey. They then categorized parenting styles and analyzed them with respect to children’s body mass index (BMI) percentile.Researchers also found that poverty was associated with childhood obesity. But parenting style affected obesity regardless of income level.More than one-third of American children are overweight or obese according to the American Heart Association. Exploring factors at home that may be fueling this public health concern could lead to better prevention and interventions, Kakinami said.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Read more

New heart failure symptom: Shortness of breath while bending over

UT Southwestern Medical Center cardiologists have defined a novel heart failure symptom in advanced heart failure patients: shortness of breath while bending over, such as when putting on shoes.The condition, which UT Southwestern cardiologists named “bendopnea” (pronounced “bend-op-nee-ah”), is an easily detectable symptom that can help doctors diagnose excessive fluid retention in patients with heart failure, according to the findings published in a recent edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure.”Some patients thought they were short of breath because they were out of shape or overweight, but we wondered if there was something more to it. So we developed this study to further investigate this symptom,” said Dr. Jennifer Thibodeau, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine in the Division of Cardiology.Dr. Thibodeau cautions that bendopnea is not a risk factor for heart failure, but rather a symptom that heart failure patients are becoming sicker and may need to have their medications or treatments adjusted.Bendopnea is a way for both doctors and patients to recognize something may be amiss with their current heart failure treatment. Patients should speak with their cardiologist or health care provider if they experience bendopnea, notes Dr. Thibodeau.Of the 5.7 million Americans living with heart failure, about 10 percent have advanced heart failure, according to the American Heart Association. The condition is considered advanced when conventional heart therapies and symptom management strategies no longer work.UT Southwestern doctors enrolled 102 patients who were referred to the cardiac catheterization lab for right heart catheterization and found that nearly one-third of the subjects had bendopnea.When the patients were lying flat, clinicians measured both the pressures within the heart as well as the cardiac output — how well the heart is pumping blood to the rest of the body — in all 102 patients. Then, they repeated these measurements in 65 patients after they were sitting in a chair for two minutes, and then bending over for one minute.”We discovered that patients with bendopnea had too much fluid in their bodies, causing elevated pressures, and when they bent forward, these pressures increased even more,” said Dr. Thibodeau, first author of the study.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by UT Southwestern Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Read more

Higher exposure to take-out food could double the odds of being obese

People exposed to takeaway food outlets around their home, at work and on their way to work are more likely to consume more of these foods, as well as being more likely to be obese, suggest a paper published on bmj.com today.During the past decade in the UK, consumption of food away from home has risen by 29% while the number of takeaways has increased dramatically. This, the researchers say, could be contributing to rising levels of overweight and obesity.Despite increasing policy focus, identifying the association between exposures to unhealthy neighborhood food outlets, diet and body weight has proved challenging.Researchers from the University of Cambridge looked to examine the extent to which exposure to takeaway food outlets in home and non-home environments was associated with eating takeaway foods, BMI and likelihood of being overweight or obese.They used data from the Fenland Study — a population based cohort study of adults aged 29-62 in 2011, in Cambridgeshire, UK, conducted by the MRC Epidemiology Unit. Data on 10,452 participants were available, with 5,442 participants eligible for their study. Only adults working outside the home were included.In addition to food outlets within home and work ‘neighborhoods’, the study also accounted for takeaways around commuting routes between home and work. Commuting routes were modeled according to mode of travel using the shortest distance along the street network between home and work addresses.Analyses allowed for a wide range of factors known to be associated with risk of obesity: age, sex, total household income, highest educational qualification, car ownership, total energy intake, smoking status and physical activity energy expenditure. Physical activity was objectively assessed in the Fenland Study using combined heart rate sensors and accelerometers wearable devices to measure body movement).Using data from food frequency questionnaires, the researchers estimated grams of daily intake of pizza, burgers, fried food (for example fried chicken) and chips, as a marker of takeaway food consumption.As a second outcome, the researchers looked at average body mass index, which they calculated from measured height and weight, and odds of being overweight and obese, based on World Health Organization definitions.Results showed that individuals were exposed to 48% more takeaway outlets at work than at home. The average exposure combining home and work neighborhoods and commuting routes was 32 outlets.Among domains at home, at work, and along commuting routes, associations between takeaway exposure and diet were strongest in work environments, with evidence of a dose-response relationship. Combining the three domains (work, home and commute) there was evidence of a positive and significant dose-response relationship between takeaway outlet exposure and takeaway food consumption. The most exposed group of people consumed an additional 5.7 grams per day compared with the least exposed group.Associations between BMI and exposure to takeaway food outlets were equally consistent. The group most exposed to takeaway food outlets in all environments combined were estimated to have a BMI 1.21 greater than those least exposed, with evidence of a dose-response effect. …

Read more

Gestational diabetes may raise risk for heart disease in midlife

Pregnant women may face an increased risk of early heart disease when they develop gestational diabetes, according to research in the Journal of the American Heart Association.Gestational diabetes, which develops only during pregnancy and usually disappears after the pregnancy, increases the risk that the mother will develop diabetes later. The condition is managed with meal planning, activity and sometimes insulin or other medications.In the 20-year study, researchers found that a history of gestational diabetes may be a risk factor for early atherosclerosis in women during midlife before the onset of diabetes and metabolic diseases.”Our research shows that just having a history of gestational diabetes elevates a woman’s risk of developing early, sub-clinical atherosclerosis before she develops type 2 diabetes or the metabolic syndrome,” said Erica P. Gunderson, Ph.D., M.S., M.P.H., study lead author and senior research scientist in the Division of Research at Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, Calif. “Pregnancy has been under-recognized as an important time period that can signal a woman’s greater risk for future heart disease. This signal is revealed by gestational diabetes, a condition of elevated blood sugar during pregnancy.”At the start of the study, researchers measured risk factors for heart disease before pregnancy among 898 women, 18 to 30 years old, who later had one or more births. The women were periodically tested for diabetes and metabolic conditions before and after their pregnancies throughout the 20-year period. Carotid artery wall thickness was measured on average 12 years after pregnancy when women were 38 to 50 years old. The study controlled for age, race, number of births and pre-pregnancy body mass index, and fasting blood glucose, insulin, lipids, and blood pressure.Participants were divided into women who developed gestational diabetes and those who didn’t. Overall, 119 women (13 percent) reported they had developed gestational diabetes (7.6 per 100 deliveries).Carotid artery media thickness is an early measure of sub-clinical atherosclerosis and predicts heart attack and stroke in women. Researchers used ultrasound studies to image the carotid artery, with four measurements from the near and far wall thickness.Among the women who did not go on to develop diabetes or the metabolic syndrome during the 20- year follow up, they found a 0.023 mm larger average carotid artery intima-media thickness in those who had gestational diabetes compared to those who didn’t, and the difference was not attributed to obesity or elevated glucose before pregnancy.”This finding indicates that a history of gestational diabetes may influence development of early atherosclerosis before the onset of diabetes and metabolic diseases that previously have been linked to heart disease,” Gunderson said. …

Read more

Know the Risks of Medical Tourism: Is It Worth It?

Know the Risks of Medical Tourism: Is It Worth It?Posted onMarch 10, 2014byRichard ReichEnglish-speaking patients are increasingly traveling to such places as Malaysia, Brazil and Mexico to save anywhere from 30 to 90 percent on medical procedures. The medical tourism market reached $10.9 billion in 2012, and according to projections by Transparency Market Research, it will grow to $32.5 billion annually by 2019.Some experts warn of the risks of traveling for medical procedures, however. Boston plastic surgeon Samuel Lin recalls a woman who had traveled abroad for breast augmentation. She came into his office complaining of discomfort, thinking her silicone implant had ruptured—only to learn a large cloth had been left in her chest.Such cases have some consumers wondering whether the risks of medical tourism are worth it. …

Read more

Obese adolescents not getting enough sleep?

Lack of sleep and obesity have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in adults and young children. However, the association is not as clear in adolescents, an age group that is known to lack adequate sleep and have an overweight and obesity prevalence rate of 30% in the US. In a new study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers found that cardiometabolic risk in obese adolescents may be predicted by typical sleep patterns.Heidi B. IglayReger, PhD, and colleagues from the University of Michigan and Baylor University studied 37 obese adolescents (11-17 years of age). Metabolic syndrome characteristics (fasting cholesterol and blood sugar, waist circumference, body mass index [BMI], and blood pressure) were measured to create a continuous cardiometabolic risk score. The adolescents were fitted with a physical activity monitor, which was worn 24 hours a day for seven days, to measure typical patterns of physical activity and sleep.One-third of the participants met the minimum recommendation of being physically active at least 60 minutes a day. Most participants slept approximately seven hours each night, usually waking up at least once. Only five of the participants met the minimal recommended 8.5 hours of sleep per night. Even after controlling for factors that may impact cardiometabolic risk, like BMI and physical activity, low levels of sleep remained a significant predictor of cardiometabolic risk in obese teens. This shows that even among those already considered to be at risk for cardiometabolic disease, in this case obese teens’ decreased sleep duration was predictive of increased cardiometabolic risk.This study cannot determine whether lack of sleep causes cardiometabolic disease or if obesity itself causes sleep disturbances. …

Read more

Stopping smoking linked to improved mental health

The researchers say the effect sizes are equal or larger than those of antidepressant treatment for mood and anxiety disorders.It is well known that stopping smoking substantially reduces major health risks, such as the development of cancers, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. But the association between smoking and mental health is less clear cut.Many smokers want to stop but continue smoking as they believe smoking has mental health benefits. And health professionals are sometimes reluctant to deal with smoking in people with mental disorders in case stopping smoking worsens their mental health.So researchers from the universities of Birmingham, Oxford, and King’s College London set out to investigate changes in mental health after smoking cessation compared with continuing to smoke.They analysed the results of 26 studies of adults that assessed mental health before smoking cessation and at least six weeks after cessation in the general population and clinical populations (patients with chronic psychiatric and/or physical conditions).Differences in study design and quality were taken into account to minimize bias.Measures of mental health included anxiety, depression, positivity, psychological quality of life, and stress. Participants had an average age of 44, smoked around 20 cigarettes a day, and were followed up for an average of six months.The research team found consistent evidence that stopping smoking is associated with improvements in depression, anxiety, stress, psychological quality of life, and positivity compared with continuing to smoke.The strength of association was similar for both the general population and clinical populations, including those with mental health disorders. And there was no evidence that study differences could have skewed the results.Although observational data can never prove causality, “smokers can be reassured that stopping smoking is associated with mental health benefits,” say the authors.”This could overcome barriers that clinicians have toward intervening with smokers with mental health problems,” they add. “Furthermore, challenging the widely held assumption that smoking has mental health benefits could motivate smokers to stop.”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Read more

Sochi games influenced by Lake Placid winter Olympics of 1932

Eight crashes that sent more than a dozen competitors to the hospital marred bobsled practice runs leading up to the 1932 winter Olympic games in Lake Placid, N.Y., but as dramatic as those incidents were, they also provide insight into more ordinary factors that continue to influence the Olympics, according to a Penn State researcher.”The crashes occurred on the Mt. Van Hoevenberg slide, which was specially built for the games at Lake Placid,” said Peter Hopsicker, associate professor of kinesiology. “How that facility came to be established provides an historic precedent that has shaped the Olympics since then, including Sochi games.”The winter Olympics were first organized in 1924, and the Lake Placid games were the first to be held in the United States. The upstate New York location was chosen largely in response to the efforts of Godfrey Dewey, who held investments in Lake Placid as a recreational area and hoped to use the Olympics as a springboard for the region’s development as an international winter sports resort.”The bob-run was the centerpiece — you can’t have a winter Olympics without it, it’s expensive but essential,” said Hopsicker, who describes the bob-run’s planning and construction in the spring issue of the Journal of Sport History. “Dewey lobbied heavily to have it located proximate to the tourist villages of Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, yet the state’s environmental policies protected the public Adirondack wilderness.”Dewey ran headlong into a conservation group, the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, which took legal steps to block his efforts to develop the bob-run on public land, triggering the first battle between developers of an Olympics host city and environmental stewards.The issue became wrapped in politics when New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt balked at spending public funds to build the bob-run no matter where it was located. Dewey lost the battle with the environmentalists and built a world-class bob-run on a privately owned site christened Mt. Van Hoevenberg, but he did persuade Roosevelt to allocate state funds for the games.The completed slide provided unique challenges for the athletes. “It had pronounced drops in the curves,” Hopsicker said, “something new to the sport.”While Dewey provided bobsleds for all international teams, the Germans brought their own sleds built for a more European snow-covered surface. The Germans’ unwillingness to use Dewey’s sleds that were built with the qualities of the Lake Placid slide in mind contributed significantly to the subsequent German crashes during practice runs. …

Read more

Making biodiverse agriculture part of a food-secure future

Is biodiverse agriculture an anachronism? Or is it a vital part of a food-secure future?Given the need to feed an estimated 2.4 billion more people by the year 2050, the drive toward large-scale, single-crop farming around the world may seem inexorable.But there’s an important downside to this trend, argues Timothy Johns, Professor of Human Nutrition at McGill University in Montreal, in a paper to be presented Feb. 15, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago.Diets for most people around the world are becoming increasingly limited in biological and nutritional diversity. “Large-scale agriculture is characteristically simplified and less diverse than small-holder agriculture,” Prof. Johns cautions. “This is true in genetic, ecological and nutritional terms.”Small farmers, by contrast, in many places continue to grow a range of species and multiple varieties that form the basis of their diet and nutrition. Use of a range of wild species of fruit, vegetables, condiments and medicines, as well as wild animal-sourced foods, increase the likelihood that subsistence farmers with access to natural ecosystems meet their nutrition and health needs.The problem is that smallholder farmers in developing countries often have low productivity and little likelihood of generating the profits needed to rise above poverty level, says Prof. Johns, who directs the McGill Canadian Field Studies in Africa program. In particular, the smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa, which account for more than 90 percent of agricultural production and the primary livelihood of 65 percent of the population, need to be more productive.When they have access to improved technology, however, smallholder farmers can be both more productive and more sustainable than large-scale, intensive agriculture. Using family members in farming reduces labor and supervision costs, while a more intimate knowledge of the local soil, plants and animals enables smallholders to maximize output. …

Read more

Early childhood education can pay big rewards to families, society

High quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children can simultaneously reduce inequality and boost productivity in America, contends James Heckman, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago and one of the nation’s leading experts on early childhood education.”With the global rise in income inequality, children born into disadvantaged environments are at much greater risk of being unskilled and facing many obstacles in life — which is bad for individuals and bad for societies,” said Heckman, who delivered a talk “Giving Kids a Fair Chance Early in Life: A Strategy that Works” on Feb. 14 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual meeting in Chicago.He pointed out that economic and socially related gaps in cognitive and non-cognitive skills emerge early, and can be traced in part to adverse early environments.”With smart policies we can arrest the polarization between skilled and unskilled, focusing on early years when change is possible,” he said. Strong early childhood education programs can help overcome the gaps and help children become better prepared for success in life, he said.Heckman spoke at a seminar titled “Talking to Kids Really Matters: Early Language Experience Shapes Later Life Chances.” At the session, scholars discussed the importance of verbal engagement by caretakers in the development of children’s language and cognitive abilities.Researchers have found that the timing, quality and quantity of talking with children are crucial to the development of language and cognitive abilities. In one study, some mothers spoke many thousands of words a day to children, while another spoke only 600 words to her infant over a 10-hour day, organizers of the seminar pointed out.The gap reduces the children’s vocabularies and undermines their performance in school, scholars contend. Early childhood education programs can make up for some of the differences.Heckman has studied extensively early childhood programs, including the Perry Preschool Project and the Abecedarian Project, and found that they were especially effective in helping children from disadvantaged families succeed in school and later in life.When the oldest participants were studied (at age 40 for the Perry program and age 35 for Abecedarian), the people who received services when they were younger scored higher on achievement tests, attained higher levels of education, required less special education, earned higher wages, had better physical health, were more likely to own a home, and were less likely to go on welfare or be incarcerated than other children from similar backgrounds.Non-cognitive skills, which can be fostered at an early age, are as important in the children’s futures as are academic preparation, Heckman said. Those skills include perseverance, attentiveness, motivation, and self-confidence. Those skills help students perform better in school and later on jobs, he has found.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Read more

Prostate cancer advance could improve treatment options

Findings published today in the British Journal of Cancer, and funded by the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR), show how a genetic mutation in untreated patients is linked to aggressive cancer later in life. It was previously thought that the mutation only occurred in response to therapy.The research highlights why relapses could occur in some men following hormone therapy. And it could help identify those patients that will develop fatal prostate cancer much earlier for life-extending therapy.Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with more than 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year. Treatment options for patients diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer vary from “watchful waiting” to hormone-withdrawal therapy, radiotherapy or surgery.Additional tests for indicators of aggressive cancer are necessary to help categorise patients so that those with a low-risk of the disease spreading can avoid unnecessary treatment, and those diagnosed with a high-risk can be targeted for more aggressive first line therapy.Hormone-withdrawal therapy often results in a dramatic remission, however the disease invariably relapses with a resistant form of the cancer. A third of these are due to an increase in copy number of a particular gene called the ‘androgen receptor’. The gene is on the X-Chromosome and so there is normally only one copy of this gene present in men. Prostate cancer thrives on male hormones, and one way that they develop to grow better is to increase the number of copies of the androgen receptor gene. This also enables the cancer to resist therapy.Lead researchers Dr Jeremy Clark and Prof Colin Cooper from UEA’s school of Biological Sciences carried out the research at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, and at UEA.Dr Clark said: “By the age of 60, the majority of men will have signs of prostate cancer. However, only a small proportion of men will die of the disease. The question is — which of these cancers are dangerous and which are not? …

Read more

Utilizzando il sito, accetti l'utilizzo dei cookie da parte nostra. maggiori informazioni

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close