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  1. #91
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Eat fish during pregnancy

    Researchers have found that the infants of mothers who were given 600 milligrams of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA during pregnancy weighed more at birth and were less likely to be very low birth weight and born before 34 weeks gestation than infants of mothers who were given a placebo.

    This result of this University of Kansas study greatly strengthens the case for using the dietary supplement, commonly found in marine and plant oils, during pregnancy.

    The results are from the first five years of a 10-year, double-blind randomized controlled trial.

    A follow-up of this sample of infants is ongoing to determine whether prenatal DHA nutritional supplementation will benefit children's intelligence and school readiness.

    "A reduction in early preterm and very low birth weight delivery could have clear clinical and public health significance," said Susan Carlson, A.J. Rice Professor of Dietetics and Nutrition at the KU Medical Center, who directed the study with John Colombo, KU professor of psychology and director of the Life Span Institute.

    DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) occurs naturally in cell membranes with the highest levels in brain cells, but levels can be increased by diet or supplements. An infant obtains DHA from his or her mother in utero and postnatally from human milk, but the amount received depends upon the mother's DHA status.

    During the first five years of the study, children of women enrolled in the study received multiple developmental assessments at regular intervals throughout infancy and at 18 months of age.

    In the next phase of the study, the children will receive twice-yearly assessments until they are 6 years old. The researchers will measure developmental milestones that occur in later childhood and are linked to lifelong health and welfare.

    Previous research has established the effects of postnatal feeding of DHA on infant cognitive and intellectual development, but DHA is accumulated most rapidly in the fetal brain during pregnancy, said Colombo.

    "That's why we are so interested in the effects of DHA taken prenatally, because we will really be able to see how this nutrient affects development over the long term," he added.

    The results will appear in the April issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


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  2. #92
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Why can’t you eat just one chip?

    Why people can't stop after eating one potato chip? You can blame it to a condition called hedonic hyperphagia" that plagues hundreds of millions of people around the world.

    At the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, held on Thursday, which featured almost 12,000 presentations on new discoveries and other topics, a team from University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, in Erlangen, Germany, probed the condition with an ingenious study in which scientists allowed one group of laboratory rats to feast on potato chips. Another group got bland old rat chow.

    Hedonic hyperphagia is the scientific term for 'eating to excess for pleasure, rather than hunger, said Tobias Hoch, Ph.D, a member of the team, according to a release by American Chemical Society

    "It's recreational over-eating that may occur in almost everyone at some time in life. And the chronic form is a key factor in the epidemic of overweight and obesity," Hoch said.

    The team from University of Erlangen-Nuremberg Germany had earlier used high-tech magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) devices to peer into the rats' brains, seeking differences in activity between the rats-on-chips and the rats-on-chow.

    The rats were offered one out of three test foods in addition to their standard chow pellets: powdered standard animal chow, a mixture of fat and carbs, or potato chips. They ate similar amounts of the chow as well as the chips and the mixture, but the rats more actively pursued the potato chips, which can be explained only partly by the high energy content of this snack.

    Hoch explained that the team mapped the rats' brains using Manganese-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MEMRI) to monitor brain activity. They found that the reward and addiction centers in the brain recorded the most activity.

    Among the reasons why people are attracted to these foods, even on a full stomach, was suspected to be the high ratio of fats and carbohydrates, which send a pleasing message to the brain, according to the team. But, these are not the only triggers.

    In the study, while rats also were fed the same mixture of fat and carbohydrates found in the chips, the animals' brains reacted much more positively to the chips.

    Since chips and other foods affect the reward center in the brain, an explanation of why some people do not like snacks is that "possibly, the extent to which the brain reward system is activated in different individuals can vary depending on individual taste preferences," explained Tobias Hoch.

    If scientists can pinpoint the molecular triggers in snacks that stimulate the reward center in the brain, it may be possible to develop drugs or nutrients to add to foods that will help block this attraction to snacks and sweets, he said.


  3. #93
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Why cant you eat just one chip?

    Why people can't stop after eating one potato chip? You can blame it to a condition called hedonic hyperphagia" that plagues hundreds of millions of people around the world.

    At the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, held on Thursday, which featured almost 12,000 presentations on new discoveries and other topics, a team from University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, in Erlangen, Germany, probed the condition with an ingenious study in which scientists allowed one group of laboratory rats to feast on potato chips. Another group got bland old rat chow.

    Hedonic hyperphagia is the scientific term for 'eating to excess for pleasure, rather than hunger, said Tobias Hoch, Ph.D, a member of the team, according to a release by American Chemical Society

    "It's recreational over-eating that may occur in almost everyone at some time in life. And the chronic form is a key factor in the epidemic of overweight and obesity," Hoch said.

    The team from University of Erlangen-Nuremberg Germany had earlier used high-tech magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) devices to peer into the rats' brains, seeking differences in activity between the rats-on-chips and the rats-on-chow.

    The rats were offered one out of three test foods in addition to their standard chow pellets: powdered standard animal chow, a mixture of fat and carbs, or potato chips. They ate similar amounts of the chow as well as the chips and the mixture, but the rats more actively pursued the potato chips, which can be explained only partly by the high energy content of this snack.

    Hoch explained that the team mapped the rats' brains using Manganese-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MEMRI) to monitor brain activity. They found that the reward and addiction centers in the brain recorded the most activity.

    Among the reasons why people are attracted to these foods, even on a full stomach, was suspected to be the high ratio of fats and carbohydrates, which send a pleasing message to the brain, according to the team. But, these are not the only triggers.

    In the study, while rats also were fed the same mixture of fat and carbohydrates found in the chips, the animals' brains reacted much more positively to the chips.

    Since chips and other foods affect the reward center in the brain, an explanation of why some people do not like snacks is that "possibly, the extent to which the brain reward system is activated in different individuals can vary depending on individual taste preferences," explained Tobias Hoch.

    If scientists can pinpoint the molecular triggers in snacks that stimulate the reward center in the brain, it may be possible to develop drugs or nutrients to add to foods that will help block this attraction to snacks and sweets, he said.


  4. #94
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Male hormone smell draws women to men

    Women at their peak fertility find the scent of men with high testosterone levels more appealing, a study has found. Previous research has shown that ovulation can impact a woman's mating preferences. Women in the fertile phase of their menstrual cycle are known to favour more masculine traits, such as a deep voice, characteristics associated with the hormone testosterone.

    In the new study, researchers tested whether women's sexual scent preferences changed depending on men's levels of testosterone and cortisol. Research has suggested fertile women are attracted to men with high levels of stress hormone cortisol. Male volunteers were given T-shirts to wear for two consecutive nights. Then, female volunteers sniffed the men's shirts and rated the pleasantness and intensity of the smells on scales from 1 to 10.

    The women filled in a questionnaire about their stage in their menstrual cycles. The researchers also took saliva samples from the men to measure testosterone and cortisol levels . Women who were at the most fertile stage of their menstrual cycles preferred the smell of men with higher testosterone, rating these "manly " shirts as the most pleasant.

    However, the women showed no preference for the smells of men with higher cortisol levels.


  5. #95
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Biggest family tree of human cells created

    Scientists have created the biggest family tree of human cells yet, mapping unique factors for an incredible 166 different cell types that exist in an individual's body.

    Cells are the basic unit of a living organism. The human body consists of a vast array of highly specialised cells, such as blood cells, skin cells and neurons.

    In total, more than 250 different cell types exist. In the study, scientists tried to answer how the different types are related to each other, which factors are unique for each cell type, and what determines the development of a certain cell.

    Biologists at the Universities of Eastern Finland, Tampere and Luxembourg, Tampere University of Technology and the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, US, designed a computer-based method that used already existing biological data from research groups all over the world and analysed them in an entirely new way.

    This led to the identifications of unique factors for 166 different human cell types. These factor, or master regulators, determine the development and distinguish different cell types from each other.

    With this information they could map the relationship between the cell types in a family tree. These outcomes may serve as basis for the development of cell replacement therapies.

    "Many diseases, such as Parkinson's disease and diabetes, or extensive burns result in the loss or altered functionality of cells," said Dr Merja Heinaniemi, first author of the study.

    "Ideally one would like to replace those sick or lost cells again by healthy ones to cure the patients. This study forms an important step towards the development of such therapies," Heinaniemi, from the University of Eastern Finland, said.

    "The next goal is to better understand the differentiation of cells into other cell types with the help of master regulators on a genome-wide basis in order to find ways to enhance cell differentiation for medical applications," Heinaniemi.

    "This study illustrates the importance of computational biology for medicine. Such large amounts of biological data can only be analysed with computer-based methods," said Professor Matti Nykter of the University of Tampere.

    The study was published in the journal Nature Methods.


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    Re: Health Bulletin

    How mind readies a search party to locate lost items

    Ever wondered how we are able to focus so sharply to find that contact lens on the bathroom floor or a lost set of car keys? Scientists have discovered that when we embark on a targeted search, various visual and non-visual regions of the brain mobilize to track down a person, animal or thing.

    This means that if we're looking for a youngster lost in a crowd, the brain areas dedicated to recognizing other objects, or even the areas attuned to abstract thought, shift their focus and join the search party. Thus, the brain switches into a highly focused child-finder, and redirects resources it uses for other mental tasks.


  7. #97
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Way to starve & kill cancer tumors found

    A massive study analysing gene expression data from 22 tumour types has identified hundreds of potential drug targets to starve cancer tumours. The potential drug targets can cut off a tumour's fuel supply or interfere with its ability to synthesize essential building blocks. The results should ramp up research into drugs that interfere with cancer metabolism.

    The analysis, conducted by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center, also identified multiple metabolic expression changes associated with cancer. "The importance of this new study is its scope," said Dennis Vitkup, the study's lead investigator.

    "So far, people have focused mainly on a few genes involved in major metabolic processes. Our study provides a comprehensive, global view of diverse metabolic alterations at the level of gene expression," said Vitkup. "Although a list of biochemical pathways in normal cells was comprehensively mapped during the last century. We still lack a complete understanding of their usage, regulation, and reprogramming in cancer," said Vitkup.

    "Right now we have something like a static road map. We know where the streets are, but we don't know how traffic flows through the streets and intersections. "What researchers need is something similar to Google Traffic, which shows the flow and dynamic changes in car traffic," said Jie Hu, a researcher at Columbia and first author of the study. The research is an important step toward achieving this dynamic view of cancer metabolism.

    Notably, the researchers found that the tumour-induced expression changes are significantly different across diverse tumours.

    Although some metabolic changes — such as an increase in nucleotide bio-synthesis and glycolysis — appear to be more frequent across tumours, others, such as changes in oxidation phosphorylation, are heterogeneous.

    "Our study clearly demonstrates that there are no single and universal changes in cancer metabolism," said Matthew Vander Heiden, assistant professor at MIT, and a co-author of the study. "That means that to understand transformation in cancer metabolism, researchers will need to consider how different tumour types adapt their metabolism to meet their specific needs," Heiden said.

    The results should ramp up research into drugs that interfere with cancer metabolism.

    The analysis, conducted by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center, also identified multiple metabolic expression changes associated with cancer.


  8. #98
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Way to starve & kill cancer tumors found

    A massive study analysing gene expression data from 22 tumour types has identified hundreds of potential drug targets to starve cancer tumours. The potential drug targets can cut off a tumour's fuel supply or interfere with its ability to synthesize essential building blocks. The results should ramp up research into drugs that interfere with cancer metabolism.

    The analysis, conducted by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center, also identified multiple metabolic expression changes associated with cancer. "The importance of this new study is its scope," said Dennis Vitkup, the study's lead investigator.

    "So far, people have focused mainly on a few genes involved in major metabolic processes. Our study provides a comprehensive, global view of diverse metabolic alterations at the level of gene expression," said Vitkup. "Although a list of biochemical pathways in normal cells was comprehensively mapped during the last century. We still lack a complete understanding of their usage, regulation, and reprogramming in cancer," said Vitkup.

    "Right now we have something like a static road map. We know where the streets are, but we don't know how traffic flows through the streets and intersections. "What researchers need is something similar to Google Traffic, which shows the flow and dynamic changes in car traffic," said Jie Hu, a researcher at Columbia and first author of the study. The research is an important step toward achieving this dynamic view of cancer metabolism.

    Notably, the researchers found that the tumour-induced expression changes are significantly different across diverse tumours.

    Although some metabolic changes such as an increase in nucleotide bio-synthesis and glycolysis appear to be more frequent across tumours, others, such as changes in oxidation phosphorylation, are heterogeneous.

    "Our study clearly demonstrates that there are no single and universal changes in cancer metabolism," said Matthew Vander Heiden, assistant professor at MIT, and a co-author of the study. "That means that to understand transformation in cancer metabolism, researchers will need to consider how different tumour types adapt their metabolism to meet their specific needs," Heiden said.

    The results should ramp up research into drugs that interfere with cancer metabolism.

    The analysis, conducted by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center, also identified multiple metabolic expression changes associated with cancer.


  9. #99
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Freezing nerves with ice ease chronic pain

    Patients of neuralgia, a condition where nerves are damaged by surgery, can get relief from a minimally invasive interventional radiology treatment called cryoneurolysis that places a tiny ball of ice on damaged nerves.

    William Moore, MD, a thoracic interventional radiologist at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, completed more than 200 cryoneurolysis procedures for neuralgia to halt nerve pain in many areas of the body, from head to toe.

    In the study, 20 patients received cryoneurolysis for a variety of neuralgia syndromes and were evaluated using a pain scale questionnaire immediately after treatment during one-week, one-month and three-month follow-ups after the initial procedure. Prior to treatment, patients' pain plummeted from an average of 8 out of 10 on the pain scale to 2.4 one week after treatment. Pain relief was sustained for about two months after the procedure. Pain increased to an average of 4 out of 10 on the scale after six months due to nerve regeneration, Dr. Moore said.

    "Neuralgia can be difficult to treat, medicines alone often do not help relieve the intense pain patients' experience, and side effects from these medicines are common," said Dr. Moore, Associate Professor of Clinical Radiology, and Chief of Thoracic Imaging.

    "Cryoneurolysis is an innovative treatment option with an effect that is equivalent to removing the insulation from a wire, decreasing the rate of conductivity of the nerve. Fewer pain signals means less pain, and the nerve remains intact," explained Dr. Moore, who recommends repeat cryoneurolysis treatments as needed.

    Cryoneurolysis uses a small probe that is cooled to minus 50 to minus 70 degrees Celsius, creating a freezer burn along the outer layer of the nerve. This interrupts the pain signal to the brain and blunts or eliminates the pain while allowing the damaged nerves to grow back healthy, he said.

    During the procedure, an interventional radiologist makes a nick in the skin near the source of pain and inserts a tiny probe. Under CT imaging guidance, the probe is advanced through the skin to the affected nerves. Cooled with pressurized gas, the probe creates ice crystals along the edge of the nerves.

    Cryoneurolysis, said Dr. Moore, generally provides an analgesic effect that lasts for weeks to months without damaging the frozen structures. The effectiveness of the treatment varies with patients, depending on the location of nerve damage. Nerves that respond well to freezing include the ilioinguinal nerves, intercostal nerves and superficial femoral nerves.

    "We have been able to manage some patients' chronic neuralgia by treating them as many as six or seven times over the course of several years," said Dr. Moore. "For some patients this is a long-term, safe, and effective solution and helps minimize other methods to keeping their pain under control."

    The study was presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 38th Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans.


  10. #100
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Low-dose aspirin helps slow breast cancer growth

    A new study by scientists including one of an Indian origin has found that aspirin slowed the growth of breast cancer cell lines in the lab and significantly reduced the growth of tumors in mice.

    The age-old headache remedy also exhibits the ability to prevent tumor cells from spreading.

    Results of the study by researchers at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., and the University of Kansas Medical Center, suggested that regular use of low-dose aspirin might prevent the progression of breast cancer in humans.

    Anecdotal evidence indicated that breast cancer was less likely to return in women who took aspirin to lower their risk of heart attack or stroke. But the science behind this relationship is not well understood.

    The VA study found that aspirin might interfere with cancer cells` ability to find an aggressive, more primordial state. In the mouse model the researchers used, cancer cells treated with aspirin formed no or only partial stem cells, which are believed to fuel the growth and spread of tumors.

    Senior author Sushanta Banerjee, director of the cancer research unit and a professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan, said that first-line chemotherapy treatments do not destroy stem cells.

    Eventually, the tumor will grow again. "If you don`t target the stemness, it is known you will not get any effect. It will relapse," said Banerjee, a professor of medicine in division of hematology and oncology.

    In lab tests, aspirin blocked the proliferation of two different breast cancer lines. One of the lines tested is often called triple-negative breast cancer, a less common but more difficult treat form of the disease. "We are mainly interested in triple negative breast cancer, because the prognosis is very poor," Banerjee stated.

    Triple-negative breast cancers, which will be addressed in a special thematic program at the ASBMB annual meeting, lack receptors for estrogen, progesterone and Her2. Aspirin also may improve the effectiveness of current treatments for women whose breast cancers are hormone-receptor positive.

    In the team`s study, aspirin enhanced the effect of tamoxifen, the usual drug therapy for hormone-receptor positive breast cancer.

    Aspirin is used in the treatment of a number of different conditions. Banerjee said its ability to attack multiple metabolic pathways is what makes it potentially useful in the fight against cancer.

    Aspirin is a medicine with side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding. Researchers will continue to explore if the positive effects of regular use of the drug outweigh the risks.

    The lead author of the study, Gargi Maity, a postdoctoral fellow who works in the cancer research unit at the VA Medical Center, presented the team`s findings at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, which is being held in conjunction with the Experimental Biology 2013 conference in Boston.

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