New class of antibiotics discovered by chemists

A team of University of Notre Dame researchers led by Mayland Chang and Shahriar Mobashery have discovered a new class of antibiotics to fight bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other drug-resistant bacteria that threaten public health. Their research is published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society in an article titled “Discovery of a New Class of Non-beta-lactam Inhibitors of Penicillin-Binding Proteins with Gram-Positive Antibacterial Activity.”The new class, called oxadiazoles, was discovered in silico (by computer) screening and has shown promise in the treatment of MRSA in mouse models of infection. Researchers who screened 1.2 million compounds found that the oxadiazole inhibits a penicillin-binding protein, PBP2a, and the biosynthesis of the cell wall that enables MRSA to resist other drugs. The oxadiazoles are also effective when taken orally. This is an important feature as there is only one marketed antibiotic for MRSA that can be taken orally.MRSA has become a global public-health problem since the 1960s because of its resistance to antibiotics. In the United States alone, 278,000 people are hospitalized and 19,000 die each year from infections caused by MRSA. Only three drugs currently are effective treatments, and resistance to each of those drugs already exists.The researchers have been seeking a solution to MRSA for years. “Professor Mobashery has been working on the mechanisms of resistance in MRSA for a very long time,” Chang said. “As we understand what the mechanisms are, we can devise strategies to develop compounds against MRSA.””Mayland Chang and Shahriar Mobashery’s discovery of a class of compounds that combat drug resistant bacteria such as MRSA could save thousands of lives around the world. We are grateful for their leadership and persistence in fighting drug resistance,” said Greg Crawford, dean of the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by University of Notre Dame. …

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Substance Found in Turmeric Packs Powerful Punch against Mesothelioma

Curcumin,a naturally occurring polyphenol in turmeric, is being studied for its possible application in the treatment and prevention of mesothelioma. Turmeric has long been believed to have anticancer properties due to its antioxidant andanti-inflammatory properties.Researchers at the University of Vermont found that curcumin caused pyroptotic cell death in both mouse and human in vitro models with malignant mesothelioma cell lines. Cell death was induced by the activation of the enzyme caspase-1, and the increased release of high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), a nuclear protein responsible for organizing DNA and regulating transcription.Researchers blocked production of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18 by inhibiting the NF-κB pathway, a protein responsible for cytokine production and cell survival which has been linked to cancer, …

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Need for individual clinical judgements for wider use of statins: Experts

Charles H. Hennekens, M.D., Dr.P.H., the first Sir Richard Doll professor and senior academic advisor to the dean, and Ira J. Gelb, M.D., emeritus professor of cardiology and senior advisor to the dean for pre-baccalaureate programs at FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, have published an invited editorial in the current issue of Cardiology about the clinical and public health challenges to increase utilization of statins in the treatment and prevention of heart attacks and strokes.In November 2013, at its national meeting, the American Heart Association, in collaboration with the American College of Cardiology and the United States National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, presented and published its new guidelines for the use of statins in the treatment and prevention of heart attacks and strokes.In their invited editorial, Hennekens and Gelb state that any such guidelines are a necessary, but not sufficient basis for the astute clinical judgment of a clinician for each of his or her patients. They provide guiding principles to aid clinicians to make the best judgment about whether to prescribe a statin after consideration of the totality of evidence, which includes the entire risk profile of the patient as well as the benefits and risks of the drug. They re-emphasize that the totality of randomized evidence indicates that there is no threshold for low density lipoprotein cholesterol below which there are no net benefits of statins. These issues in the treatment and prevention of heart attacks and strokes present new and emerging clinical challenges to healthcare providers to more widely prescribe statins in the treatment and prevention of heart attacks and strokes.”The evidence indicates clearly that the more widespread and appropriate utilization of statins, as adjuncts, not alternatives to therapeutic lifestyle changes, will yield net benefits in the treatment and prevention of heart attacks and strokes, including among high, medium and low risk patients unwilling or unable to adopt therapeutic lifestyle changes,” said Hennekens.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Florida Atlantic University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Large-scale studies to evaluate testosterone therapy risks

According to a statement issued today by the Endocrine Society, the risks and benefits of testosterone therapy for older men with declining levels of the hormone need to be fully evaluated.The statement comes in response to recent studies that have raised concerns about the safety of testosterone therapy in older men with a history of heart disease. Two retrospective analyses and one randomized trial supported by the Veterans Health Care System, and the National Institutes of Health found a higher rate of cardiovascular events in men who received testosterone and had preexisting heart problems. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced it plans to evaluate the safety of testosterone therapy.Testosterone is approved for the treatment of hypogonadism due to known diseases of the testes, pituitary and hypothalamus. Although the use of testosterone therapy is increasing, the treatment has not been approved for the treatment of age-related symptoms or the age-related decline of testosterone levels.Important safety data are expected from the NIA’s ongoing randomized trial examining testosterone in about 800 older men with unequivocally low testosterone levels and accompanying symptoms, including sexual and physical dysfunction. The trial’s structure and careful monitoring of cardiovascular events will help provide important safety information.The Society calls for the development of more large-scale randomized controlled trials to determine the true risks and benefits of testosterone therapy in older men.In the statement, the Society recommends that middle-aged and older men who are considering testosterone supplementation for age-related declines should be informed of the potential cardiovascular risks. The Society also believes that it may be prudent not to administer testosterone therapy to men who have had a cardiovascular event (such as myocardial infarction, stroke or acute coronary syndrome) in the preceding six months.In cases where men are being treated for hypogonadism as a result of known diseases of the testes, pituitary and hypothalamus, however, patients should consult their health care providers before making any changes to their medication regimen. The Society believes testosterone is generally safe and beneficial when used to treat young, hypogonadal men with these conditions.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by The Endocrine Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Malignant Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma-What Is This?

In histological terms, there are four different types of mesothelioma: sarcomatoid, epithelial, biphasic, and desmoplastic (a variant of sarcomatoid).In medical terms, the term histopathology refers to the microscopic examination of cellular tissue to gain insight into the manifestations of various diseases.Malignant sarcomatoid mesothelioma is the least common of the four cellular types. It accounts for approximately 7 to 20 percent of cases. When viewed under a microscope,the malignant cells appear as elongated spindle-shaped cells that are irregularly shaped and often overlap one another.Desmoplastic mesothelioma is considered a variant of sarcomatoid mesothelioma. This form is likely the most difficult of all mesotheliomas to diagnose. When desmoplastic mesothelioma invades or metastasizes, the cells can appear very bland and can be misdiagnosed as benign fibrous tissue. Medical …

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Mesothelioma Treatments-What Are Your Options?

There are several options available for the treatment of mesothelioma. The most recommended forms of treatment are: a} Surgery b} Chemotherapy c} Radiotherapy. There are however other less popular, less commonly used forms of treatments, these include gene therapy, immunotherapy, photodynamic therapy and others. Some of these other forms of treatment are still in the stage of experimental and clinical trials usage.The cancer is usually treated by the use of combination therapies involving the use of more than one type of therapy. Most times, surgery is used to remove as much of the tumor as possible and this is followed with chemotherapy and or radiotherapy to kill the remaining cancer cells. This particular combination of surgery and chemotherapy with radiotherapy is one of the commonest forms …

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64 Year-Old Biphasic Mesothelioma Patient Coping With A New Reality. Simi Valley, CA

Sometimes Arlene Delman still sees glimmers of her previous life when she least expects it. Like when a stranger pays her a compliment on her hairstyle at the grocery store which she adds, isn’t the first time, she can’t help but feel good. “I never got this much attention with my real hair,” she giggles. These moments of normalcy most resemble her old life before she was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in October 2012. Now she admits to shedding more than a few tears when she removes her wig at the end of the day. She has always been an attractive woman with big twinkling blue eyes, but her vanity has been rendered insignificant in the way she has tackled her treatment both aggressively and optimistically.Prior …

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Five percent of US children, teens classified as ‘severely obese’

Sep. 9, 2013 — About 5 percent of U.S. children and teens are “severely obese” — a newly defined class of risk, according to an American Heart Association scientific statement published online in the journal Circulation.”Severe obesity in young people has grave health consequences,” said Aaron Kelly, Ph.D., lead author of the statement and a researcher at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis. “It’s a much more serious childhood disease than obesity.”While childhood obesity rates are starting to level off, severe obesity has increased, Kelly said.Severely obese children have higher rates of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular issues at younger ages, including high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and early signs of atherosclerosis -the disease process that clogs arteries.Treatment options for children with this level of obesity are limited, as most standard approaches to weight loss are insufficient for them.The statement defines children over age 2 as severely obese if they either have a body mass index (BMI) that’s at least 20 percent higher than the 95th percentile for their gender and age, or a BMI score of 35 or higher. A child in the 95th percentile weighs more than 95 percent of other children of the same gender and age.BMI is a measurement based on weight and height. Age- and gender-specific growth charts are used to calculate BMI for children. Children at the 95th BMI percentile or higher are obese, and those between the 85th and 95th percentiles are overweight.A 7-year-old girl of average height weighing 75 pounds, or a 13-year-old boy of average height weighing 160 pounds, would be defined as severely obese.Most experts recommend a step-wise approach for treating severely obese children, with treatment getting gradually more intensive from lifestyle changes, to medication and potentially surgery.”But the step from lifestyle change and medication to surgery is unacceptably large because weight loss surgery isn’t appropriate for or available to all severely obese children,” Kelly said.The statement calls for “innovative approaches to fill the gap between lifestyle/medication and surgery.”The statement suggests ways to close the gap, including:conduct more research on bariatric surgery’s effects and safety; evaluate effectiveness of lifestyle modification interventions, including adherence to dietary and physical activity plans; fund research to find other useful interventions, including better drugs and medical devices; and recognize severe obesity as a chronic disease requiring ongoing care and management.

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Autoimmune disease strategy emerges from immune cell discovery

Sep. 9, 2013 — Scientists from UC San Francisco have identified a new way to manipulate the immune system that may keep it from attacking the body’s own molecules in autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.The researchers, led by immunologist Mark Anderson, MD, PhD, a professor with the UCSF Diabetes Center, have discovered a distinctive type of immune cell called an eTAC, which puts a damper on immune responses.Anderson’s research team found that eTACs reside in lymph nodes and spleen in both humans and mice, and determined that they could be manipulated to stop the destruction of the pancreas in a mouse model of diabetes. The study appears in the September issue of the journal Immunity.Using green fluorescent protein (GFP) to highlight a key regulatory protein called AIRE, Anderson’s research team tracked down the rare eTACs and their role in a phenomenon known as peripheral tolerance, which helps prevent autoimmune disease throughout the body.The newly described immune cells are of a type known as dendritic cells, which make up less than 3 percent of the cells in the immune system. ETAC cells account for a small fraction of all dendritic cells, Anderson said.Dendritic cells already have been the focus of new cell therapies to treat cancer. These therapies, which include treatments evaluated in clinical trials at UCSF, have been used to prod dendritic cells to rev up a complementary class of immune cells, called T cells. Treatment causes the T cells to target cancer cells, which, despite being abnormal, would not otherwise be subjected to vigorous attack in the same way as foreign microbial invaders.However, eTAC cells have the opposite effect. Instead of priming T cells to do battle, eTACs counteract the overactive immune response in autoimmune diseases. Anderson’s team took advantage of this property to demonstrate that eTACs could prevent autoimmune diabetes in mice.By displaying “self” molecules to T cells that target them, and turning off these T cells for good, eTACs help the immune system tolerate the molecules naturally present within us, Anderson said.”The mouse model we are working with involves using T cells that normally attack the islet cells of the pancreas, specifically by recognizing a molecule called chromagranin A that is present on islet cells,” Anderson said. “But if the eTACs can get to the T cells first and display chromagranin A, they can prevent T cells from attacking the islets.”Anderson aims to exploit eTACs therapeutically by finding out how to grow them in large numbers outside the body. “We need to figure out how to grow a lot of these cells, to load them up with whatever molecule it is that we want to induce tolerance to, and then to load them back into a patient,” he said. …

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National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day – Depression …

Instead, he told me that I had clinical depression and that there was hope for me to get better. Learning that my depression was biologically-based and not a character flaw changed my life completely. Today, as I look back on …

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Experimental compound reverses down syndrome-like learning deficits in mice

Sep. 4, 2013 — Researchers at Johns Hopkins and the National Institutes of Health have identified a compound that dramatically bolsters learning and memory when given to mice with a Down syndrome-like condition on the day of birth. As they report in the Sept. 4 issue of Science Translational Medicine, the single-dose treatment appears to enable the cerebellum of the rodents’ brains to grow to a normal size.The scientists caution that use of the compound, a small molecule known as a sonic hedgehog pathway agonist, has not been proven safe to try in people with Down syndrome, but say their experiments hold promise for developing drugs like it.”Most people with Down syndrome have a cerebellum that’s about 60 percent of the normal size,” says Roger Reeves, Ph.D., a professor in the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “We treated the Down syndrome-like mice with a compound we thought might normalize the cerebellum’s growth, and it worked beautifully. What we didn’t expect were the effects on learning and memory, which are generally controlled by the hippocampus, not the cerebellum.”Reeves has devoted his career to studying Down syndrome, a condition that occurs when people have three, rather than the usual two, copies of chromosome 21. As a result of this “trisomy,” people with Down syndrome have extra copies of the more than 300 genes housed on that chromosome, which leads to intellectual disabilities, distinctive facial features and sometimes heart problems and other health effects. Since the condition involves so many genes, developing treatments for it is a formidable challenge, Reeves says.For the current experiments, Reeves and his colleagues used mice that were genetically engineered to have extra copies of about half of the genes found on human chromosome 21. The mice have many characteristics similar to those of people with Down syndrome, including relatively small cerebellums and difficulty learning and remembering how to navigate through a familiar space. (In the case of the mice, this was tested by tracking how readily the animals located a platform while swimming in a so-called water maze.) Based on previous experiments on how Down syndrome affects brain development, the researchers tried supercharging a biochemical chain of events known as the sonic hedgehog pathway that triggers growth and development. …

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Overcome Depression Naturally: Biological Cause

http://www.youtube.com/EncognitiveVidshttp://www.encognitive.com5-HTP is a naturally derived amino acid that has been shown in comprehensive studies to be safer than prescription drugs for the treatment of insomnia and depression, and can also be used for treating obesity, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, and premenstrual syndrome. It may prove to be more popular than St. John’s wort for the treatment of depression and other serotonin-related conditions, as it’s been…

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Preschoolers who stutter do just fine emotionally and socially, study finds

Aug. 26, 2013 — Stuttering may be more common than previously thought, but preschool stutterers fair better than first thought, a study by The University of Melbourne, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and The University of Sydney has found.A study of over 1600 children, which followed the children from infancy to four years old, found the cumulative incidence of stuttering by four years old was 11 per cent, more than twice what has previously been reported.However, the study refutes the long held view that suggests developmental stuttering is associated with a range of poorer outcomes in the preschool period. Interestingly, the study found the reverse was true, with stuttering associated with better language development, non-verbal skills with no identifiable effect on the child’s mental health or temperament at four years old.Surprisingly, researchers found that recovery from stuttering was low, 6.3 per cent, 12 months after onset. Rates of recovery were higher in boys than girls, and in those who did not repeat whole words at onset than those who did. The study boys were more likely to develop stuttering.Lead researcher, Professor Sheena Reilly said parents could be happy in knowing that they can take a ‘watch and wait’ approach to their child’s stuttering and it won’t be causing harm to their child’s language skills or social and emotional development. “Current best practice recommends waiting for 12 months before commencing treatment, unless the child is distressed, there is parental concern, or the child becomes reluctant to communicate. It may be that for many children treatment could be deferred slightly further,” she said.”Treatment is effective but is intensive and expensive, this watchful recommendation would therefore help target allocation of scarce resources to the small number of children who do not resolve and experience adverse outcomes, secure in the knowledge that delaying treatment for a year or slightly longer has been shown not to compromise treatment efficacy.”Due to the low rates of recovery in the study, researchers were unable to determine what predicts which kids will recover from stuttering, but say this will be the focus of research moving forward.The study was published in Pediatrics.

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