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Showing posts from January, 2009

Beta-Blockers May Slow Melanoma Spread

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New research shows that beta-blockers, commonly used blood pressure medicines, may reduce stress, slowing the rate of melanoma tumor growth. The new findings may lead to improved quality of life for those diagnosed with malignant melanoma.

According to researchers from Ohio State University, there is a definite link between stress hormones and diseases such as cancer. The current study, published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, shows that proteins released by cells exposed to the stress hormone norepinephrine, feeds cancerous tumors, causing the tumors to spread.

The scientists specifically looked for increased levels of three proteins released by cancer cells in response to stress. A process known as angiogenesis produces blood vessels that feed tumors. VEGF, vascular endothelial growth factor,is a protein that is primarily responsible for feeding cancerous tumors. Two other proteins, Interleukin-6 and Interleukin-8, also play a key role in the growth of cancer cells.

Eric …

Exercise Not Often Prescribed for Chronic Neck and Back Pain

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According to researchers from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, exercise is not often prescribed to treat chronic neck and back pain, though it is recommended by current guidelines.

Past studies show that exercise decreases physical limitations and improves pain, yet not enough healthcare providers prescribe exercise for their patients.

According to researchers Timothy S. Carey and Janet K. Freburger of the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at UNC, "Less than 50 percent of the subjects in our sample were prescribed exercise, one of the few moderately effective therapies for the highly disabling illness of chronic back and neck pain."

The study, published in the February issue of Arthritis Care & Research, was initiated to determine what sort of exercises are being prescribed, who might be prescribing, and what sort of exercises are being used to treat chronic neck and back pain.

The research included 684 individuals, who responded to telephone su…

Study Shows Acupuncture Treats and Prevents Migraine Headaches

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Migraine sufferers may now have a medically supported means to prevent migraines, without the use of drugs, using acupuncture. Results of two large studies also show that acupuncture may relieve bothersome, frequent tension headache.

Medications to treat and prevent migraine headaches have side effects that often make them intolerable to patients. Beta-blockers, commonly used for migraine headache can cause fatigue and depression in some people.

Lead reviewer of the newest study, Klaus Linde, MD, from the Center for Complementary Medicine Research at Munich Technical University, Germany says, "The data suggest that in about half of patients, acupuncture decreases the frequency of migraine or frequent tension-type headache by about 50%, which is quite similar to other effective treatments for these disorders.”Compared with drug treatments, acupuncture has fewer side effects, although some patients are adverse to needle insertion."

For anyone opposed to having needles inserted i…

Collagen Promoting Enzyme may Help Prevent Stroke and Heart Attack

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Researchers have identified an enzyme that may help prevent heart attack and stroke. The findings may lead to new ways stop clots in the arteries from rupturing; reducing the chances that common conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol will lead to stroke and heart attack.

When plaques form from atherosclerosis, or fatty build-up in the lining of an artery, they can become unstable, rupture, and block blood flow in smaller blood vessels. The result is stroke and heart attack. According to the new research, one possible way plaque rupture occurs, is when the collagen fibers that hold plaque together become thin, causing them to break apart.

Dr.Göran K Hansson at the Karolinska Institute and colleagues have identified that the LOX enzyme, promotes collagen. The researchers hope the enzyme can be developed to stabilize plaque in the arteries that cause atherosclerosis. The LOX enzyme was found to help collagen mature, stabilizing plaque in atherosclerotic mic…

Analysis shows Alarming Increase in Pediatric MRSA Infections

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A new study from Emory University researchers, in response to a “growing concern about the recent worldwide MRSA epidemic,” shows an “alarming” increase of pediatric MRSA infections of the head and neck.

The Emory team discovered a 16.3% increase of pediatric MRSA infections after looking at a total of 21 009 pediatric head and neck S aureus infections between January 2001 and December 31, 2006. According to Steven E. Sobol, MD, MSc, primary investigator of the study and director of Pediatric Otolaryngology in the Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery at Emory, "Previous studies have established that skin and soft tissue infections in some communities are due to MRSA. However, it has been observed in several institutions that there is a significant rise in pediatric head and neck infections as well."

Dr. Sobol also says, “There is a nationwide increase in the prevalence of MRSA in children with head and neck infections that is alarming. Clinicians must use anti…

FDA Warns Against Hazards of Topical Numbing Agents

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Topical anesthetics, or skin numbing agents, are sold over the counter to treat minor burns, insect bites, poison ivy, and minor cuts. The creams and gels are now under advisory from the FDA. A statement released by the agency January 16 cautions consumers about the potential life threatening effects from improperly using the skin numbing anesthetics, and the warning targets women who use the products for special procedures, two of whom died.

The letter from the FDA especially targets women who use Lidocaine on large skin areas, covered with plastic wrap before undergoing mammogram screening. Lidocaine eases the discomfort associated with mammogram. The FDA is concerned that widespread use of the tactic will lead to an increase in health risks associated with topical anesthetics. The letter states, "As women become more aware of information from this study via Internet sites or word of mouth, increased use of the drug may result in an increase in severe adverse events."

Read t…

Freshwater Animal may Help Humans Fight Drug Resistant Infections

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Scientists have discovered a potentially new antibiotic, found in the freshwater animal, Hydra. Researchers have recently discovered that the freshwater animal, Hydra, contains a protein that might be used to help humans fight infection, providing a solution to concerns about treating infection from bacteria that have become resistant to currently used antibiotics.

Hydra is a freshwater animal related to jellyfish, corals and sea anemones. Researchers now find Hydra possess a powerful protein that can kill a wide range of bacteria that have developed a resistance to antibiotics currently on the market.

Joachim Grötzinger, Thomas Bosch and colleagues at the University of Kiel have discovered that Hydra contains an unusual protein, labelled hydramacin-1. The protein is unique because it has no similarity to other proteins found in antibiotics, except for the leech, used since ancient times because of its ability to help with wound healing.

The researchers discovered through lab experimen…

Omega 3 Fatty Acids Promote Mental Development in Premature Girls

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Breast feeding mothers who deliver premature infants can give their newborns a boost toward normal mental development by consuming Omega 3 fatty acids. A new study, published in the January 14, 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that omega 3 fatty acids can be delivered to premature infants through breast milk, halting the chances of delays in mental development associated with infant girls who are born prematurely.

Omega 3 fatty acids derived from fish oils contain DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), essential for normal brain development. According to the recent study, baby girls born prematurely experienced an 80% reduction of significant delays in mental development when fed they were given DHA.

Lead author Maria Makrides, PhD, from the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide, Australia said in an interview with Medscape Neurology & Neurosurgery, “We recommend increased DHA for all preterm infants born at less than 33 weeks' gestation. W…

Coca Cola Spokeswoman says Vitaminwater Allegations are Ludicrous

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Coca-cola faces a lawsuit over allegations that their vitamin enhanced drink, "Glaceau Vitaminwater" dupes consumers. However, Diana Garza Ciarlante, a Coca-Cola spokeswoman, calls the allegations "ludicrous", saying that today's consumers are savvy enough to read labels and sort out the nutritive value of what they consume. Rather than protecting consumers, Garza claims the suit is "about increasing the readership of CSPI's increasingly irrelevant newsletter."...Read "Coca Cola Spokeswoman: Vitaminwater Allegations Are Ludicrous" at emaxhealth.com

Psychologist Links Online Racial Discrimination to Teen Depression

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Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

According to a new study from Brendesha Tynes, a University of Illinois professor who studies race and the Internet, online racial discrimination is linked to depression and anxiety among teens. Tynes views the problem as a public health issue that deserves attention from parents.

Tynes is an educational psychologist, and professor of educational psychology and African American studies at the University. According to Tynes …” people don't know much about online racial discrimination and its effects on adolescent emotional well-being.” Her study, co-authored by Michael T. Giang, David R. Williams and Geneene N. Thompson, appears in the December 2008 issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The study finds that online discrimination has been experienced at least once by 71 percent of African-American adolescents, 71 percent of white teens, and 67 percent of multiracial/other adolescents. While online, Twenty-nine percent of African-American adolescents, …

New Study Shows Walking Keeps Older Women Mentally Sharp

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Simply walking every day is shown to keep older women mentally sharp. Researchers now find that women, who remain physically fit, from walking, can ensure mental fitness, helping to combat cognitive decline normally associated with aging.

Marc Poulin, PhD, a scientist in the Faculties of Medicine and Kinesiology at the University of Calgary, published a study, appearing in the international journal Neurobiology of Aging. Poulin says, "Being sedentary is now considered a risk factor for stroke and dementia. This study proves for the first time that people who are fit have better blood flow to their brain. Our findings also show that better blood flow translates into improved cognition."

The study, Effects of Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Cerebral Blood Flow on Cognitive Outcomes in Older Women, compared two groups of women. The average age of the women as 65 and included 42 women. The researchers compared those who participated in regular aerobic activity to women who were ina…

Statistics Show Health Personnel put 60,000 People at Risk for Hepatitis

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A new study from the CDC shows that health care workers, working outside of hospitals, have put 60,000 people at risk for Hepatitis B and C because of failure to follow basic infection control guidelines.

Dr. John Ward, director of CDC′s Division of Viral Hepatitis says, “Thousands of patients are needlessly exposed to viral hepatitis and other preventable diseases in the very places where they should feel protected. No patient should go to their doctor for health care only to leave with a life-threatening disease.” He calls the report a “wake-up call”. - read the entire story at eMaxHealth.com titled Health Personnel put 60,000 People at Risk for Hepatitis

Researchers Isolate Cancer Protective Ingredient in Black Raspberries

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Black Raspberries have great potential for protecting us from cancer, according to a new study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. Anthocyanins, found in black raspberries are powerful flavonoids that in the lab protected rats from cancer of the esophagus.

Esophageal cancer can occur anywhere there is damage to the cells that line the esophagus. Risk factors include advanced age, male gender, a history of Barrett’s esophagus, GERD, alcohol and tobacco use, obesity, and consuming a diet low in fruits and vegetables that contain Vitamin A and C.

According to Gary D. Stoner, Ph.D., a professor in the department of internal medicine at Ohio State University, "Our data provide strong evidence that anthocyanins are important for cancer prevention." Stoner hopes to find a standard mixture of anthocyanins that can be used to prevent cancer in humans.

The researchers fed rats an anthocyanin rich extract of black raspberry …

Bug used as Red Dye in Cosmetics and Food now Requires Disclosure

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Cochineal colors, used to make red dye for food, beverages and cosmetics, has been mandated for disclosure to consumers, finally being recognized as an allergen by the FDA. Manufacturers of consumer goods are going to have to list the ingredient on their labels, but not until January 5, 2011.

The FDA published the new rule this week, after recognizing that doing so might protect what they term a “small subset” of people from allergic reactions – some severe.

The additives, carmine and cochineal extract are widely used to provide red color to products such as fruit drinks, candy, yogurt, cosmetics and ice cream. Carmine is the extract taken from the cochineal bug. If you squeeze a tiny cochineal bug, it expresses the liquid dye, which then undergoes a pasteurization process to destroy bacteria. Cochineal extract comes from the dried bodies of the female cochineal beetle, and then undergoes further processing. Carminic acid is the principle-coloring agent used in consumer goods, conta…

Gardasil Manufacturer Seeks HPV Vaccine Approval for Young Males

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Phase III trials involving Gardasil, the HPV vaccine promoted for women, has been shown to protect young males from HPV virus that can lead to cancer. The manufacturer of Gardasil, Merck, now seeks FDA approval for use of the vaccine in young males, age nine to twenty-six. Merck is also awaiting FDA approval for Giardisil use in women age 27 to 45.

Gardasil use in male youths is proposed for the prevention of genital warts and other HPV virus related communicable lesions. Merck's most recent study shows that ninety-percent less boys and young men developed HPV related lesions after receiving the Gardasil vaccine.

A mathematical study, published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that widespread vaccination of women with Gardasil would be less cost effective than screening programs, a detail that has obviously not deterred Merck from promoting Gardasil. Young males are Merck's newest target for Gardasil vaccination. read more at emaxhealth

Study Shows Activity may not Be as Important as Diet for Weight Loss

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Contrary to popular belief and recommendations, activity may not be as important for weight loss as is diet. Researchers from Loyola University health system and other research centers, comparing African American women in Nigeria with those in metropolitan Chicago, found that the two groups burned the same amount of daily calories during activity, yet the Nigerian women weighed an average of 127 pounds, versus African American women in Chicago, who weighed an average of 184 pounds.

To obtain the results of the study, researchers included 172 African American women from the west side of Chicago and suburban Maywood, and 149 women from two rural Nigerian villages.

Richard Cooper, Ph.D., co-author of the study and chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology at Loyola, points out the exercise leads to increased food intake. "We would love to say that physical activity has a positive effect on weight control, but that does not appear to be the case," says Co…

Silencing of a Single Gene Associated with Smoking and Lung Cancer

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New research from Zdenko Herceg, Ph.D., head of the Epigenetics Group at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) shows how tobacco smoking leads to lung cancer.

The researchers discovered that a process known as methylation modifies the behavior of genes. According to Dr. Herceg, "We found that tobacco-mediated hypermethylation of MTHFR, and consequent partial or complete silencing of the gene, may trigger global hypomethylation and deregulation of DNA synthesis, both of which may contribute to cancer development." The process is different from gene mutations that cause disease. Hypomethylation and hypermethylation alter the activity of normal genes. Hypermethylation refers to inactivation of genes, and hypomethylation refers to decreased gene activity. The scientists believe the methylation process becomes imbalanced, changing the chemical structure of our DNA, leading to cancer. Dr. Herceg says, the process has not been well defined.

Herceg further explains, &…