Cereal flake size influences calorie intake

People eat more breakfast cereal, by weight, when flake size is reduced, according to Penn State researchers, who showed that when flakes are reduced by crushing, people pour a smaller volume of cereal into their bowls, but still take a greater amount by weight and calories.”People have a really hard time judging appropriate portions,” said Barbara Rolls, professor of nutritional sciences and Helen A. Guthrie Chair in Nutrition. “On top of that you have these huge variations in volume that are due to the physical characteristics of foods, such as the size of individual pieces, aeration and how things pile up in a bowl. That adds another dimension to the difficulty of knowing how much to take and eat.”According to Rolls, national dietary guidelines define recommended amounts of most food groups in terms of measures of volume such as cups.”This can be a problem because, for most foods, the recommended amounts have not been adjusted for variations in physical properties that affect volume, such as aeration, cooking, and the size and shape of individual pieces.” Rolls said. “The food weight and energy required to fill a given volume can vary, and this variation in the energy content of recommended amounts could be a challenge to the maintenance of energy balance.”The researchers tested the influence of food volume on calorie intake by systematically reducing the flake size of a breakfast cereal with a rolling pin so that the cereal was more compact and the same weight filled a smaller volume. In a crossover design, the team recruited 41 adults to eat cereal for breakfast once a week for four weeks. The cereal was either standard wheat flakes or the same cereal crushed to reduce the volume to 80 percent, 60 percent or 40 percent of the standard. The researchers provided a constant weight of cereal in an opaque container and participants poured the amount they wanted into a bowl, added fat-free milk and non-calorie sweetener as desired and consumed as much as they wanted.The researchers reported their results in the current issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.The research showed that as flake size was reduced, subjects poured a smaller volume of cereal, but still took a significantly greater amount by weight and energy content. Despite these differences, subjects estimated that they had taken a similar number of calories of all versions of the cereal. They ate most of the cereal they took, so as flake size was reduced, breakfast energy intake increased.”When faced with decreasing volumes of cereal, the people took less cereal,” Rolls said. …

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Y-90 provides new, safe treatment for metastatic breast cancer

A minimally invasive treatment that delivers cancer-killing radiation directly to tumors shows promise in treating breast cancer that has spread to the liver when no other treatment options remain, according to research being presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s 39th Annual Scientific Meeting. In the largest study of its kind to date, researchers reviewed treatment outcomes of 75 women (ages 26-82) with chemotherapy-resistant breast cancer liver metastases, which were too large or too numerous to treat with other therapies. The outpatient treatment, called yttrium-90 (Y-90) radioembolization, was safe and provided disease stabilization in 98.5 percent of the women’s treated liver tumors.”Although this is not a cure, Y-90 radioembolization can shrink liver tumors, relieve painful symptoms, improve the quality of life and potentially extend survival,” said Robert J. Lewandowski, M.D., FSIR, associate professor of radiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “While patient selection is important, the therapy is not limited by tumor size, shape, location or number, and it can ease the severity of disease in patients who cannot be treated effectively with other approaches,” he said.Approximately 235,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are diagnosed each year. Of these, approximately half of patients who develop metastatic disease will have cancer spread (metastasize) to the liver, explained Lewandowski. While chemotherapy is the standard treatment for these women, many will either have progressive liver disease despite multiple different treatment regimens while others will not tolerate the side effects from toxic agents. Currently, patients are considered for Y-90 radioembolization when they have no other treatment options, he said.”The value of Y-90 radioembolization in treating patients with non-operative primary liver cancer and metastatic colon cancer has been demonstrated,” said Lewandowski. Given the low toxicity and high disease control rates, this therapy is expanding to other secondary hepatic malignancies, he said. “We’re looking to gain maximal tumor control while minimizing toxicity and preserving quality of life,” he added.Y-90 radioembolization is a minimally invasive, image-guided therapy where an interventional radiologist inserts a small tube, or catheter, through a tiny cut in the groin and guides it through the blood vessels and into the artery that supplies the liver. …

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Cows are smarter when raised in pairs: Evidence practice of housing calves alone linked to learning difficulties

Cows learn better when housed together, which may help them adjust faster to complex new feeding and milking technologies on the modern farm, a new University of British Columbia study finds.The research, published today in PLOS ONE, shows dairy calves become better at learning when a “buddy system” is in place. The study also provides the first evidence that the standard practice of individually housing calves is associated with certain learning difficulties.”Pairing calves seems to change the way these animals are able to process information,” said Dan Weary, corresponding author and a professor in UBC’s Animal Welfare Program. “We recommend that farmers use some form of social housing for their calves during the milk feeding period.”As farms become increasingly complex, with cattle interacting with robotic milkers, automated feeding systems and other technologies, slow adaptation can be frustrating for cows and farmers alike.”Trouble adjusting to changes in routine and environment can cause problems for farmers and animals,” Weary says, adding that the switch from an individual pen to a paired one is often as simple as removing a partition.Farmers often keep calves in individual pens, believing this helps to reduce the spread of disease. But Weary says that the concern is unwarranted if cows are housed in small groups. “The risk of one animal getting sick and affecting the others is real when you’re talking about large groups, but not with smaller groups like two or three,” he says.BackgroundThe study, conducted at UBC’s Dairy Education and Research Centre in Agassiz, B.C., involved two cognitive tests for two groups of Holstein calves housed in individual pens or in pairs.In the first test, researchers introduced a novel object (a red plastic bin) into the calf’s pen. When first exposed to the novel object all calves showed interest, as expected. But after multiple encounters with the bin, the individually housed calves continued to respond as if this was their first exposure, while the paired calves began to habituate and ignored the bin.”The test suggests that individual rearing can make calves more sensitive to novelty, and thus less able to habituate to changes in their environment,” says Prof. Dan Weary. “This could make it more difficult for a farm animal to be trained or to do something as simple as walk down a path and not be overwhelmed by a bright light or a new noise.”In the second test, the calves were taught to complete a simple task, approaching a black bottle full of milk and avoiding an empty white bottle. After the calves learned to preferentially visit the black bottle, the researchers switched the rules to determine how well the calves were able to adjust to a change in rules.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. …

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The number of tumor cells spread to sentinel lymph nodes affects melanoma prognosis

Cancer cell spread to the sentinel node — the lymph node to which cancer cells are most likely to spread from a primary tumor — is a risk factor for melanoma death. According to a study published in this week’s PLOS Medicine by Anja Ulmer, Christoph Klein and colleagues from the Universities of Tbingen and Regensburg, Germany, the prognosis of a patient largely depends on the number of disseminated cancer cells per million lymphocytes in the sentinel node. Even very low numbers were found to be predictive for reduced survival.The leading cause of death from skin disease is melanoma, which is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. When melanoma metastasizes and spreads to other parts of the body, treatment options become limited and the prognosis is poor. Melanoma staging (and prognosis) is currently focused on the primary tumor itself, with characteristics like tumor thickness, mitotic rate, and ulceration (break in the skin caused by the tumor) indicating the likelihood that the tumor has started to spread. Looking for tumor cells in the sentinel nodes is done for patients who are at increased risk for spread, but standard procedures for how to measure spread to the nodes and how to integrate this information with the tumor histology are needed. Since melanoma is one of the deadliest cancers, better predictors of prognosis for melanoma patients are needed for patient information and to determine treatment options.The researchers prospectively collected a large number of samples for this relatively rare cancer: 1,834 sentinel lymph nodes from 1,027 patients with melanoma who had been followed for 5 years after the samples were taken. They labelled disseminated cancer cells (DCCs) in the lymph nodes through the use of a marker for melanoma cells, counted them, and calculated DCC density. They then asked whether DCC density was related to a patient’s survival. They found that patients with high DCC density in the lymph nodes were more likely to die from melanoma within 5 years. …

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Discovery may help to explain mystery of ‘missing’ genetic risk, susceptibility to common diseases

A new study could help to answer an important riddle in our understanding of genetics: why research to look for the genetic causes of common diseases has failed to explain more than a fraction of the heritable risk of developing them.Susceptibility to common diseases is believed to arise through a combination of many common genetic variants that individually slightly increase the risk of disease, plus a smaller number of rare mutations that often carry far greater risk.However, even when their effects are added together, the genetic variants so far linked to common diseases account for only a relatively small proportion of the risk we know is conveyed by genetics through studies of family history.But the major new study, published in the journal PLOS Genetics, shows for the first time in cancer that some common genetic variants could actually be indicators of the presence of much more influential rare mutations that have yet to be found.Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, led an international consortium made up of more than 25 leading academic institutions on the study, which was funded by the European Union.The research, involving 20,440 men with prostate cancer and 21,469 without the disease, identified a cluster of four common genetic variants on chromosome 17 that appeared to give rise to a small increase in prostate cancer risk, using the standard statistical techniques for this type of study.But the study found an alternative explanation for the risk signal — a small proportion of the men with these common variants were in fact carriers of a rare mutation in the nearby HOXB13 gene, which is known to be linked to prostate cancer. Under this ‘synthetic association’, the number of people carrying a cancer risk variant was much lower than had been assumed, but those people who did inherit a variant had a much higher risk of prostate cancer than had been realised.The discovery shows that the prevailing genetic theory — that common cancers are predominantly caused by the combined action of many common genetic variants, each with only a very small effect — could potentially underestimate the impact of rare, as yet undiscovered mutations.The results are important because they show that there is a need for renewed effort by geneticists to find the causal variants, whether common or rare, behind the many common cancer-associated variants identified in recent years.Identifying any underlying rare mutations with a big effect on disease risk could improve the genetic screening and clinical management of individuals at greater risk of developing cancer, as well as other diseases.Study co-leader Dr Zsofia Kote-Jarai, Senior Staff Scientist at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), said: “As far as we are aware, this is the first known example of a ‘synthetic association’ in cancer genetics. It was exciting to find evidence for this theory, which predicts that common genetic variants that appear to increase risk of disease by only a modest amount may indeed sometimes be detected purely due to their correlation with a rarer variant which confers a greater risk.”Our study does not imply how widespread this phenomenon may be, but it holds some important lessons for geneticists in cancer, and other common diseases. It demonstrates the importance of identifying the causal genetic changes behind the many common variants that have already been shown to influence risk of disease.”Our study also demonstrates that standard methods to identify potential causal variants when fine-mapping genetic associations with disease may be inadequate to assess the contribution of rare variants. Large sequencing studies may be necessary to answer these questions unequivocally.”Study co-leader Professor Ros Eeles, Professor of Oncogenetics at The Institute of Cancer Research and Honorary Clinical Consultant at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said: “One important unanswered question in cancer genetics — and in genetics of common disease more generally — is why the genetic mutations we’ve discovered so far each seem to have such a small effect, when studies of families have shown that our genetic make-up has a very large influence on our risk of cancer.”Our study is an important step forward in our understanding of where we might find this ‘missing’ genetic risk in cancer. At least in part, it might lie in rarer mutations which current research tools have struggled to find, because individually each does not affect a large number of people.”

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Link between selling, leasing market prices for cars studied

Changes in the selling prices of cars can be used to improve calculations for how much people should be paying to lease a vehicle, according to a new study.Researchers from Norwich Business School at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB) have for the first time modelled the relationship between variations in leasing and selling market prices, using almost 10 years of data from the US, the world’s largest automobile market. They suggest that in order to determine more accurately the monthly payments agreed in leasing contracts, firms need to take into account the prevailing selling, also known as cash, price of vehicles.For households in developed countries the car is typically the second largest asset purchased after a house, and in the US a third of all cars sold are financed via leasing. The study, published this week in the Journal of Banking and Finance, finds that when selling prices go up in one month leasing rates tend to go down in the following months.Despite its importance, the link between leasing and selling markets for vehicles is not yet fully understood and the standard way companies calculate leasing rates ignores any interactions between the two. The researchers say this could lead to customers paying significantly more or less a month, while the firms could be incurring losses rather than making a profit. To address this problem they have developed a new pricing approach for lease vehicles, which allows changes in the selling market prices to have an effect on leasing market prices and vehicle values at the end of the contract.They use the example of a car worth $30,000 (USD) in the cash market which is leased for six months with a monthly finance rate of 1% and has a value of $25,000 at the end of the contract. Using actual market selling prices for a particular month, the traditional way of calculating the monthly instalment would result in the leasing firm undercharging by more than 40% per cent, or $466, a month. This is because selling prices increased significantly by over 1.5% that month and then leasing prices dropped, in line with the findings in the study, by a total of 2.61% over the next six months.Using the new model the study predicts a 1.77% decrease in lease prices over the six months and a lease payment calculation which is much closer to the fair price, since the difference is less than 5% or $73 a month. Although in this example consumers may seem to be better off, this is not the case when cash prices drop rather than increase, which is equally likely. Leasing firms may try to deal with the uncertainty in leasing rates and their profits by charging higher monthly instalments.Raphael Markellos, professor of finance at Norwich Business School, said: “The results suggest that we can make more accurate predictions about car leasing rates and residual values on the basis of cash prices. If the companies ignore this relationship, mistakes are more likely and sometimes these will benefit the consumer at the expense of the leasing firms, sometimes it will be the other way round. …

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Researchers rejuvenate stem cell population from elderly mice, enabling muscle recovery

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have pinpointed why normal aging is accompanied by a diminished ability to regain strength and mobility after muscle injury: Over time, stem cells within muscle tissues dedicated to repairing damage become less able to generate new muscle fibers and struggle to self-renew.”In the past, it’s been thought that muscle stem cells themselves don’t change with age, and that any loss of function is primarily due to external factors in the cells’ environment,” said Helen Blau, PhD, the Donald and Delia B. Baxter Foundation Professor. “However, when we isolated stem cells from older mice, we found that they exhibit profound changes with age. In fact, two-thirds of the cells are dysfunctional when compared to those from younger mice, and the defect persists even when transplanted into young muscles.”Blau and her colleagues also identified for the first time a process by which the older muscle stem cell populations can be rejuvenated to function like younger cells. “Our findings identify a defect inherent to old muscle stem cells,” she said. “Most exciting is that we also discovered a way to overcome the defect. As a result, we have a new therapeutic target that could one day be used to help elderly human patients repair muscle damage.”Blau, a professor of microbiology and immunology and director of Stanford’s Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology, is the senior author of a paper describing the research, which will be published online Feb. 16 in Nature Medicine. Postdoctoral scholar Benjamin Cosgrove, PhD, and former postdoctoral scholar Penney Gilbert, PhD, now an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, are the lead authors.The researchers found that many muscle stem cells isolated from mice that were 2 years old, equivalent to about 80 years of human life, exhibited elevated levels of activity in a biological cascade called the p38 MAP kinase pathway. This pathway impedes the proliferation of the stem cells and encourages them to instead become non-stem, muscle progenitor cells. …

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Mobile compression device recommended to prevent DVT after joint surgery

Research from The Shiley Center for Orthopaedic Research and Education at Scripps Clinic could change how patients are treated to prevent blood clots after joint replacement surgery. A study published today as the lead article in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery determined that after lower extremity joint replacement surgery a mobile compression device was just as effective as blood thinners in preventing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), but without negative side effects including bleeding complications.The multicenter study, led by Scripps Clinic orthopedic surgeon Clifford Colwell, MD evaluated the efficacy of a mobile compression device that is small and portable enough for patients to use at home for 10 days or longer after joint replacement surgery.”Blood thinners have long been considered the standard of care to prevent blood clots after orthopedic surgery, but they can have side effects that are concerning for many patients,” said Dr. Colwell. “Through this research we have found and established an equally effective means of accomplishing the same goal with an added layer of safety for patients.”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Scripps Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Oil composition boost makes hemp a cooking contender

Scientists at the University of York today report the development of hemp plants with a dramatically increased content of oleic acid. The new oil profile results in an attractive cooking oil that is similar to olive oil in terms of fatty acid content having a much longer shelf life as well as greater heat tolerance and potentially more industrial applications.Researchers in the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) in the Department of Biology at York say that high oleic acid varieties are a major step towards developing hemp as a commercially attractive break crop for cereal farmers. The research is published in Plant Biotechnology Journal.Using fast-track molecular plant breeding, the scientists selected hemp plants lacking the active form of an enzyme involved in making polyunsaturated fatty acids. These plants made less poly-unsaturated fatty acids and instead accumulated higher levels of the mono-unsaturated oleic acid. The research team used conventional plant breeding techniques to develop the plants into a “High Oleic Hemp” line and higher oleic acid content was demonstrated in a Yorkshire field trial.Oil from the new line was almost 80 per cent oleic acid, compared with typical values of less than 10 per cent in the standard hemp line. This high mono-unsaturated/low poly-unsaturated fatty acid profile increases the oil’s thermal stability and oil from the new line was shown to have around five times the stability of standard hemp oil. This not only makes the oil more valuable as a cooking oil but also increases its usefulness for high temperature industrial processes.As oilseed rape faces declining yields and increasing attacks from pest and disease, UK farming needs another break crop to ensure the sustainability of its agriculture and maintain cereal yields. An improved hemp crop, yielding high quality oil would provide an excellent alternative. Hemp is a low-input crop and is also dual-purpose, with the straw being used as a fibre (for bedding, composites and textiles), for biomass and as a source of high value waxes and secondary metabolites.Professor Ian Graham, from CNAP, said: “The new line represents a major improvement in hemp as an oil crop. Similar developments in soybean and oilseed rape have opened up new markets for these crops, due to the perceived healthiness and increased stability of their oil.”In 2014 field trials of the new High Oleic Hemp are being rolled out across Europe in order to establish agronomic performance and yield under a range of environmental conditions in advance of launching a commercial crop.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of York. …

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Innovative technique creates large skin flaps for full-face resurfacing

Patients with massive burns causing complete loss of the facial skin pose a difficult challenge for reconstructive surgeons. Now a group of surgeons in China have developed an innovative technique for creating a one-piece skin flap large enough to perform full-face resurfacing, reports The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.Dr. QingFeng Li and colleagues of Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine describe their approach to creating “monoblock” flaps for use in extensive face skin resurfacing. In their successful experience with five severely disfigured patients, the full-face tissue flap “provides universally matched skin and near-normal facial contour.”New Technique Grows One-Piece Skin Flaps for Full-Face ResurfacingComplete destruction of the facial skin and underlying (subcutaneous) tissues presents “the most challenging dilemma” in facial reconstructive surgery. Multiple skin flaps and grafts are needed to provide complete coverage, creating a “patchwork” appearance. Standard skin grafts are also too bulky to provide good reconstruction of the delicate features and expressive movement of the normal facial skin.To meet these challenges, Dr. Li and colleagues have developed a new technique for creating a single, large skin flap appropriate for use in full-face resurfacing. Their approach starts with “prefabrication” of a flap of the patient’s own skin, harvested from another part of the body. The skin flap, along with its carefully preserved blood supply, is allowed to grow for some weeks in a “pocket” created under the patient’s skin of the patient’s upper chest.Tissue expanders — balloon-like devices gradually filled with saline solution — are used to enlarge the skin flap over time. While skin expansion is a standard technique for creation of skin flaps, Dr. …

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Recent Study Reveals Treatment Factors Associated With Long Term Survival for Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma is a cancer which, like pleural mesothelioma, is caused by exposure to asbestos. Instead of attacking the pleura that surrounds the lung, this type of mesothelioma attacks the lining which surrounds the organs of the abdomen. Peritoneal mesothelioma is very rare, accounting for only approximately 500 of the 2,500 to 3,000 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed per year.Prior studies have revealed that treatment utilizing cytoreductive surgery to remove all visible tumor in combination with intraoperative or perioperative high-dose regional chemotherapy to kill any remaining tumor cells offers the best prognosis and has become the standard of care in treating peritoneal mesothelioma.In an effort to identify the factors that contribute to long term survival, an analysis of 211 cases of peritoneal mesothelioma from 1992 and 2010 was performed by …

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Brain scans show unusual activity in retired American football players

Oct. 17, 2013 — A new study has discovered profound abnormalities in brain activity in a group of retired American football players.Although the former players in the study were not diagnosed with any neurological condition, brain imaging tests revealed unusual activity that correlated with how many times they had left the field with a head injury during their careers.Previous research has found that former American football players experience higher rates of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The new findings, published in Scientific Reports, suggest that players also face a risk of subtle neurological deficits that don’t show up on normal clinical tests.The study involved 13 former National Football League (NFL) professionals who believed they were suffering from neurological problems affecting their everyday lives as a consequence of their careers.The former players and 60 healthy volunteers were given a test that involved rearranging coloured balls in a series of tubes in as few steps as possible. Their brain activity was measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they did the test.The NFL group performed worse on the test than the healthy volunteers, but the difference was modest. More strikingly, the scans showed unusual patterns of brain activity in the frontal lobe. The difference between the two groups was so marked that a computer programme learned to distinguish NFL alumni and controls at close to 90 per cent accuracy based just on their frontal lobe activation patterns.”The NFL alumni showed some of the most pronounced abnormalities in brain activity that I have ever seen, and I have processed a lot of patient data sets in the past,” said Dr Adam Hampshire, lead author of the study, from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London.The frontal lobe is responsible for executive functions: higher-order brain activity that regulates other cognitive processes. The researchers think the differences seen in this study reflect deficits in executive function that might affect the person’s ability to plan and organise their everyday lives.”The critical fact is that the level of brain abnormality correlates strongly with the measure of head impacts of great enough severity to warrant being taken out of play. This means that it is highly likely that damage caused by blows to the head accumulate towards an executive impairment in later life.”Dr Hampshire and his colleagues at the University of Western Ontario, Canada suggest that fMRI could be used to reveal potential neurological problems in American football players that aren’t picked up by standard clinical tests. Brain imaging results could be useful to retired players who are negotiating compensation for neurological problems that may be related to their careers. Players could also be scanned each season to detect problems early.The findings also highlight the inadequacy of standard cognitive tests for detecting certain types of behavioural deficit.”Researchers have put a lot of time into developing tests to pick up on executive dysfunction, but none of them work at all well. …

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New Immunotherapy Compound Anti-CD40 Slows Mesothelioma Tumor Growth After Recurrence

In the September 2013 issue of The Journal of Immunotherapy, researchers from the Western University of Australia published results of a study using a promising new immunotherapy compound and its effects on reoccurring mesothelioma tumors in lab mice. Immunotherapy is based on the body’s natural defense system, which protects us against a variety of diseases.Researchers tested the effects of anti-CD40, an antibody which increases the body’s production of tumor-fighting T-cells, on mesothelioma tumors in mice. Researchers first removed the mesothelioma tumor, then re-implanted mesothelioma cells to mimic reoccurrence of disease. At the occurrence of established regrowth, the anti-CD40 was administered to the tumors through the bloodstream, to the area surrounding the tumor, or directly to the tumor. The results showed slowed metastatic …

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The Hard Reality of Birthing Injuries

The unfortunate reality of childbirth is that not every baby is born strong and healthy. While some infants may be born with birth defects (structural or functional abnormalities that are present at or before delivery), others may actually sustain a physical injury during the birthing process. These children often go on to face a lifetime of disability, and in severe cases, may even die as a result of their injury.A recent study suggests that birth-related injuries occur in 29 out of every 1,000 births in the United States, although published rates have historically varied widely. Birth injuries can occur for a number of reasons, including factors related to the baby (size or positioning in the womb), the mother (difficulty or prolonged labor; small pelvis), or even the decision-making of the medical staff assisting with the birth (e.g., negligence).Head and brain trauma, bleeding, nerve damage, and bone fractures are common examples of birth injuries. Severe swelling of the baby’s scalp can occur as the head bears the brunt of the pressure during delivery, and bleeding between the skull and its fibrous covering can also occur. Babies who are delivered with the help of vacuum extraction or forceps may suffer from bruising or even cuts to the head and face. If the positioning of the baby during labor and/or delivery causes facial nerves to be compressed and/or injured, the baby may suffer from facial paralysis. Nerve damage in the arms and hand or fractures to the baby’s collar bone can occur when the mother has difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder. Under some circumstances, a baby may not receive adequate amounts of oxygen during labor and delivery, which can lead to a wide range of problems. While some babies may be resuscitated quickly and suffer no lasting injuries, others may suffer organ damage, seizures, or even a coma. …

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Life insurance how do I find the best price.

It’s going to come down to how much work you want to put into finding the lowest price. There is not a source or company that is always going to provide the lowest price for everyone. For example, some companies have more favorable rates for people who smoke and some may place more emphasis on a prior medical condition you had and charge higher rates. When you are comparing rate quotes you need to make sure you talk to a qualified agent. Many quote services will quote you the super preferred class of rates, but in the end you may only qualify for the standard class based on your personal or health history, a good agent will make you aware what you can expect through the underwriting …

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Progress and challenges for reinventing food packaging for sustainability

Sep. 10, 2013 — Nature has provided the food industry with the perfect packages to imitate in the drive to embrace a new genre of boxes, bottles, fast-food clam shells and other sustainable packaging material for the 21st century, according to a recent presentation on the topic.Speaking at the 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), Sara Risch, Ph.D. said that new packaging materials must meet the criteria for being sustainable without sacrificing the security, freshness and visibility of the food inside.”We face a huge challenge in developing new packaging materials that protect food all through the supply chain while being recyclable, compostable, produced with renewable energy or even edible,” Risch explained. Nature has set the standard, and it is daunting. Apples, oranges, bananas, nuts — all come in packaging that is edible or compostable.Risch said that the food industry clearly is embracing sustainable packaging. Although definitions vary, sustainable packaging often means packaging that can be composted, recycled or reused and is produced, transported and recycled using renewable energy; made with renewable or recycled materials; made in ways that optimize use of energy; and safe for people and the environment throughout its life cycle.”The industry has made great strides in reducing the amount of packaging,” said Risch, citing some of the most visible examples, such as thinner plastic water bottles and compostable potato chip bags. She is with Popz Europe Kft, Chicago, Ill. “But remember that packaging is there to protect the product and that function must not be compromised. Not all materials can be properly cleaned for re-use, for instance, and in some cases, it takes a lot of fuel to collect and transport glass and the heavy materials for re-use. In some instances, the fuel may exceed the value of the recycled material.”Industry data indicate that use of sustainable packaging diverted about 1.5 billion pounds of paper, plastic and other packaging material from landfills between 2005 and 2010 in the United States alone. …

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Genetic mutation found in castration-resistant prostate cancer

Aug. 29, 2013 — A Cleveland Clinic researcher has discovered a genetic mutation in a drug-resistant — and often deadly — form of prostate cancer.The mutation occurs in the androgen-synthesizing enzyme 3βHSD1 in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), according to research published online today in Cell. This mutation enables the tumor to make its own supply of androgens, a hormone that fuels the growth of the prostate cancer.Prostate cancer requires a constant supply of androgens in order to sustain itself. The current standard of care for patients with metastatic prostate cancer is medical castration, the ability to interfere with the body’s production of testosterone (androgens) using medications that disrupt the process. Oftentimes, metastatic prostate cancer flourishes despite the lack of testosterone in the bloodstream, creating CRPC. These tumors are able to exist without the body’s supply of testosterone by creating androgens within the tumor cell; however, increased androgen synthesis has not yet been attributable to any known mutations. The Cleveland Clinic discovery shows that the 3βHSD1 mutation makes this enzyme hyperactive to create androgens.”This discovery gives us the ability to identify molecular subtypes of prostate cancer known to resist treatment. By finding the mutated enzyme, we can now investigate treatments that block it. This kind of strategy is the crux of personalized medicine which is currently used as the standard of care for some forms of lung cancer and melanoma,” said Nima Sharifi, MD, Kendrick Family Chair for Prostate Cancer Research at Cleveland Clinic, who led the research.The 3βHSD1 mutation can occur within CRPC tumors and it can also come from germline DNA, which is inherited from maternal and paternal sources.The research found that laboratory models of human prostate cancer fall into two categories of androgen synthesis: those that make androgens slowly and those that do so rapidly. Next, they found that the 3βHSD1 mutation explains the difference between these two categories and that DNA from some patient tumors also contains this mutation. …

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Novel 3-D simulation technology helps surgical residents train more effectively

Aug. 2, 2013 — A novel interactive 3-dimensional (3-D) simulation platform offers surgical residents a unique opportunity to hone their diagnostic and patient management skills, and then have those skills accurately evaluated according to a new study appearing in the August issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. The findings may help establish a new tool for assessing and training surgical residents.Previous research studies have shown that the management of patient complications following operations is an extremely important skill set for surgeons to master. Therefore, in addition to performing operations, surgeons must also be able to effectively manage surgical patients in the emergency room, on the hospital floor unit, or in the intensive care unit. Until now, the standard approach for this instruction has been to learn to master this skill set on patients.”The way we learn in residency currently has been called ‘training by chance,’ because you don’t know what is coming through the door next,” said study coauthor Rajesh Aggarwal, MD, PhD, MA, FRCS, a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) clinician scientist in surgery at Imperial College, St. Mary’s Hospital in London. “What we are doing is taking the chance encounters out of the way residents learn and forming a structured approach to training.”Using an online virtual world called Second Life™, a multidisciplinary team of researchers from Imperial College, St. Mary’s Hospital developed three virtual reality environments — a standard hospital ward, an intensive care unit, and an emergency room.For the study, the researchers created modules for three common surgical scenarios: gastrointestinal bleeding, acute inflammation of the pancreas, and bowel obstruction. Each of these scenarios, which could be accessed through a laptop or personal computer, was designed to put the residents through their paces at three different levels of complexity.”What we want to do — using this simulation platform — is to bring all the junior residents and senior residents up to the level of the attending surgeon, so that the time is shortened in terms of their learning curve in learning how to look after surgical patients,” Dr. Aggarwal said.The study involved 63 surgeons — including interns and junior and senior residents, as well as attending surgeons whose performance was used as a benchmark. …

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New Large Hadron Collider discovery: Measurement of predicted particle decay with implications for dark matter search

July 19, 2013 — A discovery facilitated by Rice University’s contribution to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will impact scientists’ search for dark matter in the universe.CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, announced in Switzerland this morning that researchers on two separate LHC experiments have succeeded in measuring “one of the rarest measurable processes in physics,” the decay of B-subscript-s mesons into two muons. The evidence, which scientists have been seeking for 25 years, matches predictions made using the Standard Model of Particle Physics.That match, with only a 1-in-100,000 chance of being caused by a statistical error, virtually eliminates any possibility that B-sub-s meson decay is related to interaction with particles predicted by dark matter theories, as some physicists have suspected.Papers with the results have been posted online and have been submitted to the journal Physical Review Letters.The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), an LHC component that played a role in last year’s discovery of the Higgs boson, is one of the two experiments that captured the new data. (The other is the LHCb experiment.) Rice scientists have spent decades designing components for the CMS and are now enjoying the chance to help analyze the results.”The particle itself was discovered quite some time ago, and that isn’t news,” said Rice physicist Paul Padley, a co-investigator on the CMS experiment and a co-author of the new paper along with nine of his Rice colleagues. “The news is that the Standard Model has predicted that this B-sub-s meson will decay to two muons very, very rarely, and that is what we’ve seen.”The CMS finds rare needles in very large haystacks of data when protons are smashed together at near-light speed in the world’s largest collider. Electronics invented at Rice help sort useful data about subparticles produced by the collisions from background noise.According to a statement by CERN, for every billion B-sub-smesons produced, only three or so are expected to decay into two muons, heavier cousins of the electron. That expectation is confirmed by the new data. Physicists look for results inconsistent with those predicted by the Standard Model to expand knowledge of the physical world — but that didn’t happen here.”It’s extremely rare that it should decay this way,” Padley said of the B-sub-s meson. “But there has been the possibility it could decay through new particles predicted by dark matter theories, such as supersymmetry. If it were decaying through supersymmetric or other new particles, then the prediction of how often this decay should happen would be wrong. And we’d get a different answer.”So the theoretical particle physics community has been extremely interested to see what the two-muon decay rate is for this type of meson,” Padley said. …

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Space-time is not the same for everyone

July 9, 2013 — Before the Big Bang, space-time as we know it did not exist. So how was it born? The process of creating normal space-time from an earlier state dominated by quantum gravity has been studied for years by theorists at the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw. Recent analyses suggest a surprising conclusion: not all elementary particles are subject to the same space-time.Several billion years ago, in the era soon after the Big Bang, the Universe was so dense and so hot that elementary particles felt the existence of gravity strongly. For decades, physicists around the world have been attempting to discover the laws of quantum gravity describing this phase of the evolution of the Universe. Recently Professor Jerzy Lewandowski’s group at the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw (FUW) proposed its own model of the quantum Universe. Recent studies of its properties, discussed during the 20th International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation (GR20), being held in Warsaw in conjunction with the 10th Edoardo Amaldi Conference on Gravitational Waves (Amaldi10), have surprised researchers. The analyses performed by Prof. Lewandowski and his PhD student Andrea Dapor show that different elementary particles “experience” the existence of different space-times.One of the attempts to describe quantum gravity is called loop quantum gravity (LQG). This theory assumes that space-time is structurally somewhat similar to a fabric: It consists of a large number of very small fibres entangled in loops. …

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