Saturday, March 24, 2012

Germs can help you to increase your immunity

Germs are a necessary part of a healthy immune system, helping our body's defenses beef up and fight future illnesses. When a person's exposure to germs is decreased, problems may arise.
We've known for a while that people who grow up on farms are less likely to have ailments related to the immune system than people who grow up in cities. Those include asthma, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis.

Exposure to germs as a kid seems to be helpful, while living in an environment that's squeaky clean seems to pose risks for some illnesses. Still, nobody knew precisely why. But now some scientists say they think they've figured out the details of the "hygiene hypothesis."

They found that microbes in the gut keep a rare part of the immune system reined in. No microbes, and the immune cells go crazy in the lungs and intestines, increasing the risk of asthma and colitis. Add in the microbes, and cells in question, invariant natural killer T cells, retreat.

The discovery was one of those lovely "aha" moments in science. Or as says Richard Blumberg, the chief of gastroenterology at Brigham and Woman's Hospital in Boston, and co-author of the study says: "We made the serendipitous observation that these cells were dramatically enriched in the lung and colon in mice that lacked any microbes."

These are mice raised in totally germ-free environments in the lab. What really piqued the scientists' interest was that the immune response in the super-clean mouse innards looked very similar to what happens in diseases like asthma.

But they were still missing the connection with exposure to bacteria in early childhood. So Blumberg and his colleagues took pregnant germ-free mice and exposed them to microbes the day before they gave birth. The baby mice had fewer iNKT cells in their guts, even after they grew up.

The researchers also found that genetically altered mice without the iNKT cells don't get colitis, even if they were raised in a germ-free environment.
As far as the hygiene hypothesis is concerned, this abundance of bacteria is a good thing, since it helps exercise our immune system.

"But as we moved into the 1950s and '60s and '70s, and as we in the developed world became progressively hygienic, we began to think that we wish to protect ourselves, particularly fragile newborn babies, from anything that might be microbial," said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "And that turns out to be obviously what we might call an overreaction."
It's unclear which microbes help regulate the immune cells, according to Dennis Kasper, director of the Channing Laboratory at Brigham and Women's, and a co-author of the study, which was published online in Science. Figuring that out is very important, he says. "You can't just put any piece of dirt into a baby and direct the control of the immune system," he says.

He thinks there are a very few special molecules in the 500 to 1,000 species in the intestine that control the immune cells, but it's going to take a lot more work to figure that out.

Of course, this study was done in mice, but it gets at some fundamental questions that would be impossible ask in humans. No germ-free cages for us.

And their findings square with 20 years of epidemiological research showing that exposure to microbes and parasites in childhood reduces the risk of autoimmune disease.

There's evidence that children who are given antibiotics early in life are more likely to have immune-based problems like asthma and food allergies. There's even some evidence that women might have more autoimmune diseases than men because they're kept cleaner than boys as children.

These disorders are more common in developed countries, and in people who move from the developing world into tidier lands.

So parents may someday emulate the germy mouse world, rather than a scrubbed and sterile environment, to ensure the health of their offspring.
Childhood exposure to bacteria and other germs may help build immunity to various microbes later on in life, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) claim in a new study.

According to Carrie Gann of ABC News, this belief is known as the “hygiene hypothesis,” and suggests — in contrast to the common belief that people should strive to remain germ free regardless of circumstances — that bacteria and other germs may be “a necessary part of a healthy immune system, helping our body’s defenses beef up and fight future illnesses. When a person’s exposure to germs is decreased, problems may arise.”

In a press release detailing their findings, the BWH experts say that the hygiene hypothesis helps to explain the increase of allergic reactions and auto-immune diseases in cities throughout the world, and that medical professionals have claimed that various sociological and environmental changes, such as the use of antibiotics among younger patients, have contributed to this phenomenon.

However, no scientific study had ever discovered a biological basis for this belief. They say that their study, which was published Thursday in Science Express, changes that.

“The researchers show that in mice, exposure to microbes in early life can reduce the body’s inventory of invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells, which help to fight infection but can also turn on the body, causing a range of disorders such as asthma or inflammatory bowel disease,” Nature‘s Helen Thompson reported on March 22.

The BWH researchers report that, after studying the immune systems of both “germ-free mice” and those who have received normal exposure to bacteria and other microbes, they discovered that the germ-free mice “had exaggerated inflammation of the lungs and colon resembling asthma and colitis, respectively.”

“Most importantly, the researchers discovered that exposing the germ-free mice to microbes during their first weeks of life, but not when exposed later in adult life, led to a normalized immune system and prevention of diseases,” they added. “Moreover, the protection provided by early-life exposure to microbes was long-lasting, as predicted by the hygiene hypothesis.”

The researchers warn that additional research is required to see whether or not the hypothesis holds true for humans as well, but according to Gann, experts claim that the biological mechanism analyzed in the mice during this study is similar in people.

Likewise, Erika Von Mutius, head of the Munich University Children’s Hospital Asthma and Allergy Department, told Nature that the findings “complement what we see in epidemiology… It supports the idea that the microbiome is very important and the age of exposure is decisive.”

Friday, March 23, 2012

Against TBE helps a vaccination

Given the warm spring weather, forest experts warn of the danger of tick bites in forest walks. Not until the summer, but even in the warm spring, the animals were lurking in the forest meadows, along roadsides and in grassy wood stocks, shares the Thuringian Forest Institute of Erfurt.

From seven degrees ticks were active. Although their bite is not in itself harmful, but the animals can transmit dangerous pathogens - such as for Lyme disease or tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), a form of meningitis. Give it a vaccination against TBE, it said. After each walk in the forest should also be screened clothing and skin for ticks.
Cat and dog owners who discover a tick on their pet, they should be very carefully removed. In spring the parasites lurking in the tall grass and bushes on suitable hosts. If a pet attack, should the little bloodsuckers never be pulled with the fingers, but only with tweezers or a special tick tweezers. It is understood between the skin and the tick tick's head and drags her slow but purposeful and forthright, should the Federal Chamber of Veterinary Surgeons (BTK).

Under no circumstances should you drip oil or nail polish on the tick. The parasite then consisting of his empty stomach contents into the wound through which dangerous pathogens can enter the body. Therefore, one should also take care not to squeeze the tick during removal. The tick's head remains stuck in the animal, can ignite this place. Holders should go to the vet in this case. For through tick bites can be transmitted disease, among other things. Lyme disease causes fever and rash and can damage the joints difficult.

According to doctors MEDI composite leads to Baden-Wuerttemberg, the German statistics ticks. Last year, one in two reported TBE case was, according to a health insurance statistics from Baden-Wuerttemberg. With a total of 201 patients TBE disease was found.

A vaccination is highly recommended protection against ticks, so MEDI. For the TBE can cause massive complications, which would have affected the quality of life significantly restricted and the high cost of treatment for themselves.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Reports on the morning after pill

Health Minister Ana Mato, announced this week that the three reports commissioned on the morning after pill, developed by Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (Competent Authority), the Medical College (WTO) and the Spanish Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics (SEGO) and held by it and are "neither conclusive nor coincidental." These reports, which will build the new policy on this drug have not been made public, not known or the methodology or the evidence on which were based, nor the main conclusions of each.

Health Ministry sources consulted by have noted that these reports are held by the minister and that "not going to publish" at least for now. Nor have they explained the turn of the discrepancies between the three studies and what scientific evidence have been used for processing, which was commissioned by Mato late last January.

In the wake of Health, Juan Jose Rodriguez Sendin, president of the WTO, said during a press conference that they will not make public the results of his report but that in his opinion and that of the organization he chairs, the pill postcoital "must be indicated by a professional, served in a health center and free [...] to ensure that there is reasonable doubt as to their delivery to minors." Phrase that encompasses ideas that the WTO and which presumably has been forwarded to the Executive of Mato.

The WTO position, Rodriguez Sendin said on several occasions, seems representative of the SEGO, which last February issued a joint paper with the Spanish Society of Contraception (SEC) stating that emergency contraception with levonorgestrel is not an abortifacient and that its use "is safe for all women including adolescents."

As the Competent Authority, no data on the document have been developed but, according to Santiago Barambio, gynecologist and president of the Association of Accredited Clinics for Interruption of Pregnancy (ACAI), "it should be based on scientific evidence exist on levonorgestrel, a drug that is well studied for years. "
Free dispensation to prevent pregnancy

"We are not facing a drug-points Barambio unknown. All organizations involved in health hospitalizations say that it is safe and has very little risk. Can produce only mild discomfort, similar to those of pregnancy because, precisely, during pregnancy Women have a lot of progesterone [active ingredient of the emergency pill], more than provided by the drug, "says this expert.

Studies, remember Barambio have already shown that this emergency contraception (not abortion) is safe, also before 18 years. "The children, are from the social point of view, but if they can be mothers, are physiologically women," says the president of ACAI.

"These girls have sex, which are allowed by law in over 13 years, so it is logical to gain free access to all measures to avoid undesirable consequences, such as pregnancy," he continues. "The free dispensation, precisely, is a useful tool to limit this."

Many neighboring countries have adopted the free dispensing the morning after pill as did Spain in September 2009. "Was established because, in light of studies on their safety and because it is a single dose, the risks are few, however, could prevent unwanted pregnancies whose risk increases the weekends which is when the access to health facilities is more limited, especially in small populations. "
In the hands of the Advisory Committee

Nevertheless, Ana Mato has on several occasions its concern about how this drug can affect children, which is why these reports commissioned. However, given the disparity of their results, the Minister has announced that it will convene an Advisory Committee "in the coming days or weeks", according to Health.

This committee, as recorded by the Gazette, consists of a Chairman, appointed by the Minister, and two vocal groups: first, the presidents of the General Councils of Associations of professionals in the sector and other recognized experts who will also be elected by the head of the Health portfolio.

The work of this committee, to analyze these reports, you will leave the final decision on the morning after pill, as Mato assured, "there never obey ideological" because "the subject of drugs, decisions must be taken by the scientific and medical criteria alone. "

The tumors are the leading cause of death in Canary Islands

The tumors are the leading cause of death in Canary Islands
The archipelago has the lowest mortality rate of all Spanish regions. The latest figures released yesterday yesterday by the National Statistics Institute (INE), Canary recorded 611.8 deaths per 100,000 population against a national average of 829.2. The main cause of deaths in the Islands are tumors that have increased the islanders by 8.2%. In the rest of the country, however the most common cause of death are circulatory diseases.

Only the autonomous city of Melilla with 511.3 deaths per 100,000 population has a rate more positive than the Canaries, two times lower than that of the Principality of Asturias, where there were 1,203.7 per 100,000 inhabitants. In the whole country there were 382,047 deaths. 183,926 women died, 1% less than last year, and 198,121 men, 0.5% less.

By gender

The crude death rate stood at 829.2 deaths per 100,000 population, which represented a decrease of 1.1% over the previous year. By sex, the female rate stood at 786.8 deaths per 100,000 women, while men was 872.9 per 100,000 men.

The main cause of death in all communities were diseases of the circulatory system, except in the Basque Country, Canary Islands, Madrid and Catalonia, where the first is taken as tumors. The three leading causes were diseases of the circulatory system (responsible for 31.2% of deaths), tumors (28.1%) and respiratory system diseases (10.5%).

The first two kept the trend of recent years: tumors upward (up 2%) and decreased in circulatory diseases (-0.8%). In 2010 also decreased respiratory disease deaths (-7.0%).

The INE estudos notes the increase in deaths due to the group of nervous system diseases (19,309 deaths, of which 11,344 have been for Alzheimer's disease). This increase, sustained over the past decade, ranks as the fourth leading cause of death in 2010, when was the eighth in 2000. By age, the leading cause of death in those over 79 years were diseases of the circulatory system (37.3% of all deaths in this group).

In the age group between five and 14 years and between 40 and 79, the leading causes of death were neoplasms (35.7 and 42.7% of the total, respectively). Among those aged one to four years and 15 to 39 years mortality was the main reason the group of external causes (25.5 and 38.5% respectively).

A surgeon suspended following a medical error

A surgeon suspended following a medical error
A surgeon was suspended for five months after removing a healthy kidney by mistake to a patient, operated in a private clinic in Strasbourg.

The doctor, officiating at the clinic Sainte-Anne, was suspended Wednesday under an order made by the Director General of the Regional Health Agency (LRA), which held that the practitioner exposed his patients "a danger to serious. "

Medical error

On May 13, the surgeon has done "a nephrectomy for a tumor. There was an error side leading to the removal of the kidney healthy, "said the LRA, which has been advised of the incident the same day.

The patient, a septuagenarian, has a psychological support, the LRA said, regretting that "terrible mistake". The surgeon had been suspended "as a precautionary measure" by the clinic from the description of his act.

The doctor acknowledges its responsibility. He removed the right kidney by mistake to his patient because of "bad information in the record," he said.

second error

This type of error is "exceptional," said the president of the Association of the Medical Association, Elizabeth Kruczek. The surgeon must spend the next two months before the Disciplinary Board, which could impose sanctions up to expulsion.

The surgeon had already appeared in March 2011 that House, for a medical error during an operation that killed a young man of 18 at a clinic in Reims in 2006.

Upon arrival at the clinic in Strasbourg in early 2010, his colleagues had issued a unanimous opinion was unfavorable to the institution because of this case.

imperfect solution to the excess fees

imperfect solution to the excess fees
The complementary health will be almost forced to repay some doctors overruns. It remains to see how many private practitioners will volunteer to integrate the device.

A decree and a decree signed by Xavier Bertrand were published in the Official Journal on Thursday, trying to implement a solution against excess fees the most excessive.

As expected, the Minister of Health proposes to anesthetists, surgeons and obstetricians in sector 2 (free prices) to limit their excess fees to 50% beyond the "tariff Safely." It also requires them to perform at least 30% of acts without overshoot. Nothing compulsory volunteers receive in exchange for partial support of their social contributions. In parallel, complementary health (mutual, private insurers, pension funds) are imposed the obligation to repay the overruns to keep certain tax advantages.

The device must be expanded in the coming days. Another decree to impose additional pay as overruns in other medical specialties. With one difference: the doctors involved will commit to not charge more than 20% above the tariff Safely, on acts alone techniques (imaging, minor surgery ...). They can not in practice on clinical procedures and consultations.

Paradox: the device does not fully satisfied neither the doctors nor the supplemental insurers, not patients. While appreciating a "real breakthrough", the CSMF, the first organization of private practitioners, regrets that "practitioners of a sector is left out." Even the tone of the union side, the Bloc, the majority among the surgical specialties. A sector physicians are those who do not have the right to introduce overshoot. They should stick to Safely rates. But Medicare itself recognizes that such rates, frozen for years because of funding, will not match the cost nor the time nor the level of expertise and legal risk of surgical procedures .

Mutuality French, meanwhile, feared windfall: many surgeons already practicing anesthetists or overruns "moderate". They could grow to the the 50% tariff beyond Social Security, and receive in addition to the lightening of their burdens. Conversely, in areas with a concentration of very large excesses (Paris, Lyon, Paca ...), the Mutual fears that the track is "unattractive to practitioners" and therefore ineffective. For patients without supplemental coverage (less than 10% of the population), the problem will remain the same for them.

The solution is partial, imperfect, its success is not guaranteed. She still deserves to exist, after years of fruitless negotiations between doctors, health insurance and mutual agreements signed no tomorrow, and threats of intervention policies ever implemented.

Blood tests soon to prevent heart attack?

Blood tests soon to prevent heart attack?
A U.S. study found that blood tests may help determine whether a patient is on the verge of a heart attack or if it could have one in the coming weeks.
Researchers at the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) found that malformations of blood cells could predict heart attacks. Victims of heart attacks were indeed endothelial cells, covering the interior walls of the heart and blood vessels, which are abnormally thick and exhibit malformations, sometimes with double nuclei.

The ability to diagnose an imminent heart attack has long been considered the holy grail of cardiovascular medicine. "These markers could yet afford to make these cells a reliable indicator of the risk of heart attack," says Eric Topol, chief author of the study and director of STSI. "
Click here!

"With additional validation, the hope is to develop the test for commercial use by one or two years," said Raghava Gollapudi, one of the researchers. The study showed that 50 patients treated in emergency heart attacks in hospitals San Diego, United States, showed cells with these malformations.
Each year 180,000 people die from cardiovascular disease

The cardiovascular risk factors are well known, such as smoking, obesity and cholesterol. However, doctors still fail to assess the imminent risk. "It would be an ideal test for determining whether a patient is on the verge of a heart attack or could have one in the coming weeks, ensures Raghava Gollapudi. For now we can only determine if the patient is having or has recently suffered a heart attack. "

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in France, killing 180,000 people each year, one third of deaths nationally, according to the High Committee of Public Health.

ECT, an effective solution for Depression

ECT, an effective solution for Depression
If ECT is used for many years to treat certain severe depression despite the side effects they cause, no scientific work had helped to understand their mode of action. According to a study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), British researchers are to disclose the process.
Mood disorder causing loss of life force and motivation, depression, affect, each year, 8% of the French population, or 3 million people all ages. While most experts agree that clinical depression includes a number of symptoms (anxiety, loss of attention, memory problems and sleep, etc..), The causes are many and the few mechanisms known.
To address some particularly severe depression, since the 30s, some specialists use electroshock which he was shown the benefits, despite side effects reported, such as memory impairment. Researchers at universities of Aberdeen and Dundee (UK) have been working on nine patients to understand the mechanisms involved. The study consisted of administering electroshock under anesthesia, and analyze brain scans of participants.
The first results confirm that electroshock treatments can improve the condition of people suffering from severe depression, and show that they lead to a decrease of Hyperconnectivity in some areas of the brain linked to depression.

This breakthrough could allow the researchers to consider new therapeutic approaches, including better targeting treatment areas.

Report on Yes well framed to euthanasia

Report on Yes well framed to euthanasia
A sick man should be able to claim the help of a doctor to die, and that, legally.

After more than two years of work, the parliamentary committee that focused on assisted suicide and euthanasia has come to this conclusion, in a 180-page report released Thursday.

To claim the aid of a physician to shorten his days, a patient should be of age, suffering from an incurable disease and estimate endure unbearable physical or psychological suffering.

In addition, the request for euthanasia must come from the patient himself, be in writing and two doctors must certify its compliance.

The Commission on the right to die with dignity, which included nine members of all political parties, therefore recommends that the Attorney General issue a directive to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DCPP) so we can no longer pursue a doctor having helped a dying to end the life.
The Commission was sensitive to the demands of the medical profession, who claimed his side of tags to meet strict, if it was in line to allow some form of euthanasia.

The College of Physicians and the College of Nurses are encouraged to modify their code of ethics, so that their members can assist or perform the type of euthanasia defined by law.

A healthy person could also preventive, to sign a notarized document, which would have a binding legal value, calling medical help to die, "in case they become irreversibly unconscious."

Essentially, however, members of the Committee particularly stressed in their report on the need to avoid the seriously ill the odium of having to beg for assistance to die.

Many of the 24 recommendations of the Commission are therefore intended to assert an upward revision of the provision of palliative services, whether in hospital, in nursing homes or at home. In addition, palliative care should not be reserved for people with cancer, but also be offered to those suffering from degenerative diseases.

All health professionals should receive specific training in palliative care, the commission said.

The receipt of palliative care should become a legally recognized right.

This commission had been a record number of participants, who received about 300 submissions and heard 400 witnesses.

Not to finish his report on a shelf, the commission recommends a law that the coach by June 2013.

Assisted suicide should be legalized

Assisted suicide should be legalized
Quebec should legalize assisted suicide, provided that the "physician assisted dying" is rigorously framed and exercised as a result of a free and informed request of the patient.

This is the conclusion of the special commission "Dying with Dignity." The Commission announced the results of its work on Thursday morning at the National Assembly, after two years of work and reflection. She goes from 24 unanimous recommendations, including amending relevant laws.

"We are convinced that Quebec society wants this change. We concluded that we must acquiesce to requests for assistance to die in specific circumstances. A new option is indeed necessary in the continuum of care at the end of life as palliative care can relieve all the physical and psychological suffering of sick people, "reads the report.

"The aid consists of an act done by a doctor in a medical context, following a free and informed request made by the patient herself. This change is needed because it will allow the dead and softer for a more serene life, including people who will never have recourse to medical help to die, but know that this option exists, if ever their suffering becomes intolerable. "

The report's authors were also inspired by experiences abroad. Thus, they say they have insurance, study support, that "physician assisted dying will not cause harm to those most vulnerable, since it is possible to properly identify the mark and to avoid risk of abuse. "

The Commission members, from all political parties represented in the National Assembly, also recommend that the Department of Health and Social Services Development of palliative care in Quebec. They also suggested providing training in palliative care to all stakeholders in the health system and invest in research.

Now early prediction of Heart Attack is Possible

Now early prediction of Heart Attack is Possible
A blood test that can predict whether a person is at high risk of suffering from a heart attack has been developed by researchers at Scripps Translational Science Institute, and published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. The test can provide the doctor and patient with this vital information up to two weeks before an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) is likely to occur.
Researchers have found oddly-shaped blood cells in heart attack patients, indicating that a blood test could help predict whether a patient is at risk of an imminent cardiac emergency.

The study by the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) found that the endothelial blood cells from heart attack patients are abnormally large and misshapen, sometimes appearing with multiple nuclei.

That could make them reliable indicators of an impending heart attack, according to the study published this week in Science Translational Medicine.

"The ability to diagnose an imminent heart attack has long been considered the holy grail of cardiovascular medicine," said Eric Topol, the study's principal investigator and director of STSI.

Doctors have long been able to identify risk factors -- such as smoking, obesity and high cholesterol -- that can put patients at greater danger of heart disease, but cannot predict imminent attacks.

The study involved 50 patients who showed up at emergency rooms with heart attacks at four acute care hospitals in San Diego, California, and who were found to have the unusually shaped cells.


"With some additional validation, the hope is to have this test developed for commercial use in next year or two," said researcher Raghava Gollapudi.

"This would be an ideal test to perform in an emergency room to determine if a patient is on the cusp of a heart attack or about to experience one in the next couple of weeks.

"Right now we can only test to detect if a patient is currently experiencing or has recently experienced a heart attack."

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, causing some 800,000 deaths every year, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Team leader, cardiologist Eric Topol, explains that if this test is demonstrated to be reliable after further studies, doctors will be better equipped and informed to intervene with patients at very high risk of an imminent heart attack, and thus prevent the attack and the subsequent damage it can cause.

The authors explain that acute myocardial infarction is currently highly unpredictable, despite recent progress in the diagnoses and treatments of coronary artery disease. They add that doctors desperately need a clinical measurement that can predict an impending heart attack.

In this study, a blood test was devised that identifies specific cells that flake off when the blood vessel walls weaken - they are called CECs (circulating endothelial cells), and signal the initial stages of acute myocardial infarction.

Cardiologists believe that a heart attack typically commences days before the formation of a clot (which blocks blood flow to the heart). During the initial stages of a heart attack, the walls of the blood vessel weaken, they become eroded, attracting inflammatory cells, which in turn harm and damage the endothelial cells that line the inside of blood vessels. Endothelial cells are those that are inside the cellular lining of a tissue. Severe inflammation causes the CECs to mutate, they clump together, break off and get into the bloodstream.

The study involved 94 participants, 50 of them had had a heart attack while the other 44 had not (healthy controls). CEC blood levels among those who had had a heart attack were over four times higher compared to those in the healthy control group.

Not only were CEC blood levels much higher among the heart attack patients, but also their CECs had changed; they had either become larger, misshapen, and/or many had multiple nuclei.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pregnancy and cell would not mix

A recent study indicates that using a cell phone during pregnancy could cause behavioral problems in the unborn child.

Exposure to radiation emitted by cell phones could affect brain development of fetuses, making them more likely to suffer from attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity (ADHD), reveal researchers from the Faculty of Medicine, University Yale.

Until now, the link between radiation exposure during pregnancy and cellular behavior problems a child had not been clearly demonstrated, but according to Dr. Hugh Taylor, author of the study, the results his team for the first time demonstrate a cause and effect, at least under tests on mice.
Radiation. Other potential effects of radiation on the human body include infertility and brain tumors. Cell phones emit more radiation when seeking a signal.
"Prenatal exposure is worrisome, because this is when the fetal brain is most vulnerable, says Dr. Taylor. Radio frequencies emitted by cell phones do not damage DNA like X-rays can do, but can permanently alter the electrical activity of cells and compromise the transmission of electronic signals in the brain, thus influencing the child development. "

Pregnant women should they stop using their cell phones until the birth of their child? Dr. Taylor responded firmly that we should not jump to conclusions too quickly. "It would be unethical to expose pregnant women to radiation 24 hours a day, he argues. What our study shows is that the link is qualitative. That said, the fetus of a mouse and the human fetus are very different. We must be cautious in extrapolating our findings to humans. "

Before you panic, it is important to realize that this is not so much your phone to your ear that is potentially harmful. Which involves certain risks, is having an open cell near it for a long time. "As long as the device is open, it will send signals and emit radiation, said Dr Taylor. Radiation from dissipating rapidly with distance from the source, just keep some distance between the phone and the abdomen of a pregnant woman. Do not leave it on your bedside table and do not attach to a pocket near your waist. "Other tips: leave it on a table or desk, and when you go out, carry it in a bag back.

"If you are pregnant, get rid of your cell would be a bit extreme as a reaction. Do not keep it constantly with you and not to use excessive measures should be sufficient, "he advises.

Sandoz sells its drugs from abroad at the same price

The generic drug manufacturer Sandoz promises to sell its products from abroad at the same price as those manufactured at its plant in Boucherville if Health Canada authorizes the import accelerated its products that are currently the subject of a shortage here.

To address the shortage of injectable drugs affecting the country for over a month, Health Canada is to facilitate the massive importation of replacement drugs by accelerating the approval process. So far, 15 of the 19 applications submitted under the fast-track system come from Sandoz. If applications are accepted, the 15 products from Sandoz awaiting authorization approval will be sold at negotiated prices in the tender, the company confirmed to The Press.

Despite this, the crisis will result in additional costs necessarily for taxpayers, said yesterday the Health Minister Yves Bolduc. The pharmaceutical company is required to financially compensate health facilities for the purchase of generic molecules if they are available on the market, said Dr. Bolduc, but if the generic option is no longer available, Sandoz will not have to foot the bill for patented medicines, considerably more expensive.

"Sandoz does not enrich the shortage," he assured yesterday afternoon Mr. Bolduc, on the sidelines of the inauguration of the new training center in Santa Cabrini Hospital in Montreal. "But there are places where it is certain that we will not ask them to compensate. If there was a product they made [in Boucherville plant] and I am obliged to substitute a molecule that is good for the patient, but is more expensive, there are some costs that we will incur. "

Buying groups

In Canada, the purchase of medicines for hospitals through group purchasing. They number 11 in Quebec, divided by administrative region. These buying groups have a mandate to bring the needs of the institutions they represent and find the lowest bidder through joint tenders. The buying group SigmaSanté, which provides health centers and social services in Laval and Montreal, says that the terms negotiated with Sandoz states that if out of stock, Sandoz must assume the cost difference with the substitute product.

Mr. Bolduc also indicated that Quebec should be within two weeks a centralized system which identifies stocks of all establishments in the province, and inspired by the computer system designed for the influenza A (H1N1) .

In the study

For its part, Health Canada says it considers 26 drug submissions for additional supply. "Fifteen are from Sandoz (dexamethasone, granisetron, clindamycin, dobutamine, flumazenil, diazepam, neostigmine, fluconazole, rocuronium, ketamine, furosemide, buprenorphine, naloxone, fentanyl, midazolam) and eleven from other manufacturers," wrote in an email the spokesman for Health Canada, Christelle Legault. "Seven were already waiting and are now handled on an expedited basis and four were received during the last two weeks."

Health Canada says that five plants abroad were added to the license for establishment of Sandoz. "Four are used to produce alternative products, while the fifth is used to test the active ingredients of drugs," said Ms. Legault.

The process of approval from Health Canada can take six to eight months. The federal government hopes to approve the first products in the coming weeks.

Quebec manages the hospital system for over a month the most significant shortage of injectable drugs in its history. Sandoz Canada is the leading supplier of injectable drugs for several Quebec hospitals. These products are essential for critical and intensive care, as well as surgery.

On February 16, the pharmaceutical company announced it would provide fixes at its plant in Boucherville, following a warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which identified "significant violations" in its production standards. In early March, the plant suspended production for about a week to clean up the damage caused by fire.

Canada E. coli containing more than 130 frozen beef products recalled

Frozen products sold in supermarkets and restaurants in Canada have been contaminated with E. coli.

Over 130 products are being recalled, including beef burgers President's Choice, Best Value and Irresistibles among others.

The presence of E. coli O157: H7, the same that killed seven people in Walkerton, Ontario in 2000, is being investigated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

An illness associated with consumption of a Best Value product has already been reported.

A security specialist food and reminders of the CFIA, Garfield Balsom, said that the products affected were from a company based in Saskatoon, New Food Classics. The agency has instead used the establishment number to identify it as the manufacturer's name does not appear on all products.

The CFIA indicated that products were manufactured between July 1, 2011 and February 15, 2012. The CFIA says the products bear the establishment number 761, which appears on packages, boxes or crates. They may also have been stamped with an expiration date of 1 January 2012 until 15 February 2013.

The full list is available on the website of the agency.

The CFIA said consumption of products contaminated with E. coli can cause vomiting, diarrhea and headaches. Symptoms usually appear within three or four days of exposure to the bacteria. They last from 5 to 10 days.

Affected products served at Windsor

Employees of the Windsor Regional Hospital have learned the recall of these foods, one hour after potentially contaminated meat was served.

"We take the security of our patients at heart and they have been visited to find out what they ate," says the food service coordinator, Melissa Alexander Dionisi.

No illnesses have been reported to the institution.

A manifesto for the removal of private in the public hospital

Some doctors in public hospitals have private activity within the public hospital and impose higher fees, a practice tolerated in attracting renowned professionals in the hospital. But on Tuesday, two hundred hospital doctors called for an end to this practice which they denounced the "excesses".
The issue between hospital in the presidential campaign. On Tuesday, 200 hospital doctors have indeed called for the abolition of private practice to public hospitals, which they denounced the "excesses". "We, hospital doctors, deplore the excesses of private practice at the hospital," say essentially the signatories of a manifesto published in Tuesday's newspaper Libération. Among the subscribers of this call candidates, there is particular to Professor Axel Kahn and Irene Frachon pulmonologist, who broke the story of the Mediator. Some doctors in public hospitals have private activity within the public hospital and impose higher fees, a practice tolerated in attracting renowned professionals in the hospital. But this process is increasingly seen as an exaggeration. According to the manifest and signature, "only a little over 1,800 of 45,000 hospital doctors have a private activity with higher fees," and "abuse or fraud reported affect only a small minority of them." However, "these abuses are regularly denounced but is tolerated by the medical community and, unable to enforce ethical rules, and by the administration and political power, unable to enforce the law," they write.
"Revaluation of prices paid"

These doctors then ask the government to "discuss with the professional conditions for an end to private practice within the public hospital." A strong application but in this election period has more chance to be heard. This deletion must also be accompanied, according to them, "Limitation of excess fees in town," a "revaluation of prices paid by Social Security" and the "creation of a public liability insurance professional. "

The agreement will also state that "various allowances" are included in the calculation of pensions hospital doctors. "Until the new law, private activity should not exceed 20% of the activity of doctors," they say, suggesting that "in the interests of transparency," all of these fees are paid into the fund hospital, which will donate the percentage due to practitioners after taking a charge. This manifesto was signed a few weeks after the publication of a study of 60 million consumers. This proved that some surgeons authorized, on average once a week, to perform medical private hospital within the public would benefit to apply "indecent prices." Thus, many price differences between tasks are often identified from one hospital to another. The manifesto will then terminate.

Have an orgasm while playing sports, it is possible

 Exercise-induced orgasm (OIE). A U.S. study of the journal "Sexual and Relationship Therapy" shows that some physical exercises can cause physical pleasure or orgasm in some of the fairer sex.

The site "Slate", which took over the study, explains:
51.4% of women who experienced the OIE said those orgasms were related to abdominal exercises. The others have experienced in connection with dumbbell exercises (26.5%), yoga (20%), cycling (15.8%), jogging (13.2%) and walking or hiking (9.6%).

Two million French people drink polluted tap water

Two million French people drink polluted tap water
The UFC publishes an investigation in which she points agriculture, largely responsible for the pollution.

Nearly two million people in France receive water does not comply with regulations as too polluted, warned Tuesday the consumer association UFC-Que Choisir, involving agriculture, "the source of nearly 70% of pollution. "

"There are nearly two million consumers who pay for water significantly contaminated," said at a press conference Sylvie Pradelle, national director of the association, even if for 97.5% of the population " overall water quality is good through regulation. "

If virtually no pollution is found in large cities or medium-sized cities, 2,750 municipalities receive water does not comply in France, mainly in areas of intensive agriculture, according to the UFC.

The association based its warning on its investigation from the results of analyzes of the Ministry of Health, district by district, over two years. She spent her results to the test of six criteria "reflecting the main contamination."

Pesticides are responsible for most of agricultural pollution (60%) and their use in agriculture "has not declined in 10 years," denounces the association.

She said that if none of the suspected risks could not be demonstrated, an exhibition on the long-term interactions between different pesticides could cause cancer and reproductive disorders.

The areas most affected are the Paris Basin, the North Rhone Valley and the Southwest, and the most populous municipalities receiving water are polluted Sens (Yonne) and Lisieux (Calvados).
Pesticides and nitrates

Second source of agricultural pollution and leading cause of catchment closure (water extraction points), nitrates contaminate water mainly in the north, says the association.

The France is being prosecuted by Brussels for failing to fight against this pollution, which is the subject of a directive.

More generally, if the major cities or regions such as Brittany distribute clean water, this is by applying "essentially remedial solutions (dilution water, dépollutions or abandonment of abstraction)," laments the UFC.

These solutions, largely borne by consumers (90%), result in a surcharge of 7 to 12% of the water bill, or between 640 million and 1 billion euros, deplores the association.

"For us, it is urgent to act" because "the future can not be bottled water," which costs 133 times more than tap water, says Alain Bazot, its president.

The UFC-Que Choisir claims therefore "effective protection of all catchments", "application of the polluter-pays in the field of agricultural pollution" and that "the aid of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are reserved for modes production based on integrated and organic farming. "

"We do not stigmatize farmers but agricultural policy," said Alain Bazot, for whom "a way to save the CAP is to add an environmental logic."

Besides agriculture, other sources of water contamination are related "to treatment failure (bacteriological quality, aluminum) and natural contamination (radioactivity)" and related "1500 common and 500,000 consumers."

The UFC-Que Choisir makes available on its website the results, district by district, its statements.

Think before when you near to eat rice

Think before when you near to eat rice
With every forkful of white rice you eat, your risk of type 2 diabetes could go up, or so says an analysis of research published today in the British Medical Journal.

But don’t put the rice cooker away just yet. Other experts caution there may be only a grain of truth to this latest health warning.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health compiled data from seven studies that followed 352,384 subjects for up to 22 years and kept track of what they ate using food questionnaires.  The subjects came from all over the globe, with three of the studies done in Asia, three in the United States and one in Australia.

The results indicate that people in Asia who ate the most white rice were at the highest risk, showing a 55 percent increase in type 2 diabetes over other Asians who ate the least white rice.

But people everywhere were susceptible, as the risk of diabetes went up 11 percent for each additional serving of white rice eaten per day, according to the analysis.

In Asian countries where rice is a staple, this news could have widespread implications.  But diet experts argue it’s not just the rice causing trouble there — rather, a societal shift away from physical activity and toward increased food consumption may be to blame.

“White rice has long been a part of Asian diets in which diabetes risk was very low,” says Dr. David Katz, associate professor of public health at Yale University. “It is white rice plus aspects of modern living- including less physical work- that conspire to elevate the incidence of type 2 diabetes.”

The study authors acknowledge this, and note in their conclusion that, “this transition may render Asian populations more susceptible.”

In the United States, where white rice is eaten much less, no alarms bells have sounded yet.  So nutrition experts are sticking to their usual advice for patients.

“I’d tell them what we know for sure,” says Keith Ayoob, associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. “Take steps to keep from becoming overweight, make physical activity a real priority, include some protein and fiber in each meal and snack, and spread your calories throughout the day”.

Dr. Charles Clark, professor emeritus of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, echoes that sentiment and sums up his advice concisely: “Eat less, eat more natural food and move more.”

Electroconvulsive therapy for depression - new start for the brain

Although often maligned, is the so-called electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) for more than 70 years of the most successful methods in psychiatry. Especially with the not so rare drug-resistant depression in psychiatric hospitals it is a reasonable option, especially since doctors classify unanimously considered safe, side effects and pain free.
Today it is carried out under a short general anesthetic breathing oxygen. With just a few-second current pulses while a seizure is triggered, usually six to twelve treatments. As a major side effect is usually only arise - usually reversible - Disturbances of the short-term memory, but no brain damage. It was not clear yet, however, why ECT works at all.

A team led by Jennifer Perrin and Chris Bauer of the University of Aberdeen, is now offering an explanation for the mechanism of healing surges or short of it caused by seizures. The researchers were using an imaging technique to show how changes in the brain of patients with ECT. Accordingly, the nerve cells of a severely depressed people are "hyper-linked functional", and it is this hyper-linking disappears by the treatment (PNAS Online).

Perrin and Schwarzbauer could thus experimentally confirm an assumption that is made more recently in psychiatry - and actually is counterintuitive. "Intuitively, one would expect so, that the depressed brain, is much less connected," says Schwarzenbauer, including mental patients were more inclined to social withdrawal and reduced communication. But perhaps just had this strong internal linking the reason that people with depression are not so much concerned with the outside world. In any event, the new findings "very robust statistically," says Black farmers, even when examined in the study, only nine patients.

The proof of the researchers, by using a new mathematical method in conjunction with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while the communication between 25,000 sites in the brain observed and analyzed.

Unlike the classical functional imaging while no external stimulation such as by voice or images is required, each of which activates only the corresponding brain centers. The patients had to be only 20 minutes into your brain scanner. Thus a better overall picture of the brain condition. In the analysis it could be seen that in depressed patients a region in the frontal lobes of the brain particularly strongly communicated to the rest of the brain. And with that recovery of this communication to weaken.

This result is not only important for the understanding of ECT, but could also help in developing new approaches for depression, hopes Schwarzbauer. The now measurable degree of internal brain communication could serve as an indicator, the estimated efficacy of new medications and psychotherapies could. "An interesting theory," the expert ECT Here Folkerts by Reinhard riveter Hospital commented in Wilhelmshaven, which would still be confirmed by further studies.

Plasticizers can lead to diabetes and obesity

Plasticizers and flame retardants can cause in humans, according to a study on obesity and diabetes. This is apparent from an examination of the British environmental organization ChemTrust for human exposure by synthetically produced chemicals, said the Federation for Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND) and in Berlin. Plasticizers and flame retardants are present in some plastic toys, electrical appliances, PVC floors and in the coating of food cans. Humans can absorb these chemicals through air, skin or food.
The literature review presented by ChemTrust that summarize nearly 240 studies show clearly that among the causes of obesity and diabetes and hormonal pollutants, said Sarah houses, chemical expert at BUND. In laboratory animals, exposure to chemicals such as bisphenol A was performed in the womb at a later weight gain and increased insulin resistance.There is therefore a danger that people with diabetes will be triggered, warned houses. The federal government must therefore ensure that the chemicals will reduce exposure of sensitive people, especially as children and pregnant women.

 "Plasticizers and bisphenol A have to be replaced with safer alternatives," called houses.Gilbert Schönfelder, a toxicologist at the Charité Berlin, said the diabetes and obesity have a global epidemic. Than previously thought would cause primarily poor diet and physical inactivity. "Recent studies show that the strain could have it with hormonal pollutants is an important and previously underestimated proportion," said Schoenfelder. Therefore, the preventive measures would be strengthened. Hormonally active chemicals should certainly not get into the bodies of children, but not in those of adults.To date, the hormonal effects of bisphenol A, especially for infertility, adverse effects on sexual development as well as prostate and breast cancer blamed. The controversial chemical is similar to the female sex hormone estrogen and affect reproduction and brain development.

Every third German baby is born by caesarean section

Every third German baby is born by caesarean section
The Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden announced on Monday a new report on birth statistics. Thus, almost one in three children in Germany is now the world by caesarean section. Between 1991 and 2010 the proportion of cesarean births from 15.3 to 31.9 percent has more than doubled. Compared to 2009 the proportion rose by 0.6 percentage points to 209 441 caesarean sections. 20 years earlier had been counted only 126 297 births by caesarean section.

Other techniques are used only rarely: A suction cup was in 2010, only 5.3 percent of births used a forceps to 0.6 percent. The probability of a Caesarean section is in the states vary widely. Based on the number of births proportionately the most Caesarean sections were performed in Saarland (36.6 percent), followed by Rhineland-Palatinate (34.8 percent) and Ontario (34.2 percent). In Saxony (22.9 percent) took place very few caesarean delivery.

Planned and unplanned cesareans keep the scale in Germany, such as data of BQS Institute for Quality and Patient Safety show in Dusseldorf. The most frequent indications for a planned caesarean section is that the woman already had a caesarean section. If surgery is spontaneously during birth, most are poor heart sounds the child's cause.

"A Caesarean section is the safer option," Petra Kolip, says Professor of Health Sciences at the University of Bielefeld and author of a large Caesarean section study. Prof. Ulrich Gembruch of the University of Bonn, a board member of the German Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, explains the rising caesarean section rate with the higher average age of women giving birth: The older the women, the more they are at risk pregnant women.

"It made far more caesarean sections than necessary," however, Susanne Steppat, member of the German Confederation of Midwives believes. A cesarean section was easier for hospitals to plan, but for mothers and children are the worse alternative. The World Health Organization WHO has only a C-section rate of 10 to 15 percent for medically necessary. Prof. Gembruch does not consider it useful to keep the number of Caesarean sections as low as possible, the price would be more ill or even dead children.

Diet rich with the Cadmium is the cause of Breast Cancer

Diet rich with the Cadmium is the cause of Breast Cancer
Ingesting higher levels of cadmium, a metal found in fertilizers, may be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, a new study from Sweden suggests.

The results showed that postmenopausal women with a relatively high daily dietary cadmium intake had a 21 percent increased risk of breast cancer.

The major sources of cadmium in the diets of women in the study were foods that are generally healthy — whole grains and vegetables. These accounted for about 40 percent of the cadmium consumed.

The reason for the link may be that cadmium can cause the same effects in the body as the female hormone estrogen, the researchers said. Estrogen fuels the development of some breast cancers.

Whole grains and vegetables generally protect against cancer, and people should not avoid these foods because of this study, said study researcher Agneta Åkesson, associate professor at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

The study showed an association, not a cause-and-effect link, in one population of women, and further work is needed to confirm the findings.

"Though no single observational study can be considered conclusive, this very large, prospective study of [cadmium] exposure and post-menopausal breast cancer makes an important contribution to what is a fairly sparse literature considering this very important topic," said Michael Bloom, a professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Albany, who was not involved in the study.

Cause for concern?

"It has been known for some time that cadmium is toxic and, in certain forms, carcinogenic," said study researcher Bettina Julin, of the Karolinska Institute of Environmental Medicine.

In the study, the researchers collected data from more than 55,000 women in Sweden for 12 years. The women kept a daily log of everything they ate. The researchers estimated how much cadmium the women's consumed based on the country's data on the amount of cadmium in foods, and divided the women into three equally-sized groups based on their intake.

Over the course of the study, there were 2,112 breast cancer cases among the women: 677 in the women in the lowest cadmium intake group, and 744 in the women in the highest cadmium intake group. Because women's risk of breast cancer rises with age, the researchers took the women's ages into account when calculated the increased risk seen in the high intake group.

The researchers said they are concerned that cadmium is found in foods we consider healthy. The metal is well-absorbed by farmed plants, and fertilizers used to help grow our fruits, vegetables and grains contain cadmium.

The researchers noted that whole grains and vegetables, which were found to contain the most cadmium, have many beneficial nutrients — some that likely counteract the negative effects of the toxic metal.

And the data showed that women who ate the most whole-grain foods and vegetables, even when these foods contained cadmium, were less likely to develop the cancer than women who ingested high levels of cadmium through other types of food.

The highest risk of breast cancer was found among women who had a high cadmium intake, but ate few whole grains and vegetables.

Potatoes, root vegetables such as carrots, and cereal grains can accumulate cadmium from fertilizer and environmental deposits. Other types of food known to have a higher cadmium content include shellfish, organ meats and sunflower seeds.

Balancing act

"A major limitation of such a large-scale study is the exposure assessment," said Alfred Bernard, of the department of medicine at Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. In other words, the researchers estimated cadmium intake, and that may not accurately reflect the actual amount consumed or the absorbed by the body.

Still, because of the high incidence of breast cancer, compared with other types of cancers among women, "even a modest increase in risk will stimulate a substantial public health concern," Bloom said.

Some researchers aware of the link of cadmium and cancer are taking reasonable precautions. "I have reduced my consumption of sunflower seeds considerably," Carolyn Gallagher, of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University in New York, told .

Getting enough iron may also reduce the body's uptake of dietary cadmium, which may help reduce risk, Gallagher said.

The findings are published today (March 15) in the journal Cancer Research.

Alzheimer's Biomarkers Unaffected By Antioxidants 2012

Alzheimer's Biomarkers Unaffected By Antioxidants 2012
Adding antioxidant supplements such as vitamin E and vitamin C to the diet does not appear to affect some cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers linked to Alzheimer's disease, according to the results of a randomized controlled trial that were published online in Archives of Neurology on Monday.
Antioxidant supplements don't appear to have an impact on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers related to Alzheimer's disease, a clinical trial determined.

The combination of vitamin E, vitamin C, and alpha-lipoic acid did not lower levels of the amyloid and tau proteins that make up the plaques and tangles seen in the brain with Alzheimer's disease, Douglas R. Galasko, MD, of the University of California San Diego, and colleagues found.

The combination did reduce CSF levels of the oxidative stress biomarker F2-isoprostane by 19% but raised a safety concern with faster decline in cognitive scores, they reported online in the Archives of Neurology.

The popular antioxidant coenzyme Q (CoQ) had no significant impact on any CSF measures in the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study antioxidant biomarker trial.

Oxidative damage is widespread in the brain in Alzheimer's disease and contributes to neuronal damage, Galasko's group explained.

Some prior observational evidence has pointed to lower Alzheimer's risk with an antioxidant-rich diet, although prevention trials with supplements have had mixed results, they noted.

Their study included 78 adults with mild to moderate Alzheimer's randomly assigned to double-blind treatment over 16 weeks with the combination of 800 IU vitamin E, 500 mg vitamin C, and 900 mg of alpha-lipoic acid once a day; CoQ alone at a dose of 400 mg three times a day; or placebo.

Vitamins C and E act as antioxidants by controlling dangerous free radicals produced when oxygen reacts with certain molecules, while alpha-lipoic acid spurs production of many antioxidant enzymes in the body. CoQ is an antioxidant that helps protect mitochondria from oxidation.

Serial CSF specimens collected from 66 of the participants showed only small changes from baseline.

Beta-amyloid 42, which accumulates to forms plaques in the Alzheimer's brain, declined by 8 pg/mL from a baseline of 190 pg/mL with the antioxidant combination and by 15 pg/mL from a baseline of 185 in the CoQ group, but neither was a significant difference from placebo.

Tau protein, which forms neurofibrillary tangles in the brain with Alzheimer's, fell by 23 pg/mL with the antioxidant combination from a baseline of 123 and by 9 pg/mL from a baseline of 109 in the CoQ group, but again neither differed from changes with placebo.

Levels of tau phosphorylated at a specific site (P-tau181) likewise declined slightly over the study period for the two antioxidant groups but without a significant difference from placebo.

The one significant change was in CSF levels of the oxidative marker F2-isoprostane, which is stable oxidized arachidonic acid.

The vitamin C and E plus alpha-lipoic acid group saw a 7 pg/mL reduction in F2-isoprostane from a baseline of 38 over the 16 weeks of treatment (P=0.04). The other groups showed no change.

"It is unclear whether the relatively small reduction in CSF F2-isoprostane level seen in this study may lead to clinical benefits in Alzheimer disease," the group cautioned.

Cognition, measured with the Mini-Mental State Examination, didn't improve in any of the groups. In fact, the decline in scores appeared accelerated in the antioxidant combination group, with a change of -4.6 points over the 16 weeks compared with -2.3 to -2.4 in the other two groups.

The researchers highlighted that as a potential safety concern that needs further careful assessment if longer-term trials are considered. The antioxidants were otherwise well tolerated.

Function, as measured on the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study Activities of Daily Living Scale, didn't change in any group.
First author Dr Douglas R. Galasko, from the Department of Neuroscience at the University of California San Diego, and colleagues describe how they tested for the effects of a combination of vitamin E, vitamin C and alpha-lipoic acid (E/C/ALA) on levels of CSF biomarkers.

Alzheimer's disease is characterized by an abundance of beta-amyloid protein plaques that clog up the spaces between brain cells and tau-based neurofibrillary tangles that clog up the insides of brain cells. Certain proteins in spinal fluid relate to this amyloid and tau pathology and serve as reliable biomarkers for the disease.

Metabolic reactions in the body produce free radicals that interact with other molecules to cause oxidative damage to proteins, membranes and genes. This influences the aging process and is also linked to disease, including cancer and Alzheimer's. In fact, oxidative damage in the brain is widespread among people with Alzheimer's disease.

The body defends against oxidative damage by producing antioxidants to mop up free radicals. Genes, environment and lifestyle (eg diet, smoking, exercise) determine how well it does this.

Increasing intake of antioxidants can boost the body's ability to defend itself against oxidative damage, and Galasko and colleagues write that some observational studies have suggested that a diet rich in antioxidants can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, but randomized clinical trials have shown mixed results.

For their study, Galasko and colleagues looked at changes in CSF biomarkers related to Alzheimer's disease and oxidative stress, cognition and function in 78 patients from the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) Antioxidant Biomarker study.

The patients were placed in three groups.

One group took 800 IU per day of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), plus 500 mg per day of vitamin C, plus 900 mg per day of alpha -lipoic acid (E/C/ALA). Another group took 400 mg of the popular antioxidant coenzyme Q (CoQ) three times a day, while the third group was given a placebo.

66 of the patients provided serial CSF samples that were adequate for analysis during the trial, which lasted for 16 weeks.

The results showed that changes in the CSF biomarkers for the amyloid and tau proteins that are related to Alzheimer's disease (alpha-beta, tau, and P-tau proteins) did not differ among the three groups.

The E/C/ALA group did show a 19% reduction in the oxidative stress CSF biomarker F2-isoprostane, but the authors expressed concern at the rapid decline in cognitive function in this group, as assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE).

"It is unclear whether the relatively small reduction in CSF F2-isoprostane level seen in this study may lead to clinical benefits in AD. The more rapid MMSE score decline raises a caution and indicates that cognitive performance would need to be assessed if a longer-term clinical trial of this antioxidant combination is considered," they conclude.

They also note that while the findings suggest CoQ was safe and well tolerated, the absence of any impact on the CSF biomarkers would suggest that at the dose tested in this trail, CoQ does not affect oxidative stress or the progress of neurodegeneration.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cure of the Victim's of Breast Cancer

Cure of the Victim's of Breast Cancer
"Time is ticking for a lot of the people we're interacting with on a regular basis and at times it's frustrating that we can't work faster."

Breast cancer victim Natalie Murphy, 32, was one of those people.

Murphy revealed the huge emotional impact breast cancer had on her life in a video filmed in November, 20 months after she was diagnosed with the disease.

The video, which is calling for donations to help support finding a cure, was launched on the Breast Cancer Research Trust Facebook page today.

Murphy said in the video: "Greg (her husband) remembers telling me that he felt something in my breast, but still in my mind I said it's not cancer, it's something else." But Murphy was told it was cancer, and was in her liver and possibly in her lungs.

Murphy said the woman who broke the news to her burst into tears when she told her: "Unfortunately we can't save you, you are now terminal."

"I had no idea how much time I had and I had to wait two days before I could see my oncologist to find out if I had weeks, months, years."

Finding a cure

Murphy said nobody deserves to get cancer and "it's really sad in this day and age that we don't have cures".

Shelling told Breakfast researchers would like to be able to turn breast cancer into a chronic disease by 2018, so most women diagnosed will survive and go on to live a normal and happy life.

He said breast cancer is a complicated disease that must be found early for the best possible treatment.

"We know that each woman presents with an individual cancer and we're working with the breast cancer research trust to come up with ways to pick up cancer more earlier through blood tests."

A husband's shock

Murphy's husband Greg told Breakfast it was a shock when he found out his wife had incurable cancer. He said she tried a lot of contemporary treatments to fight the cancer.

Greg Murphy said Natalie did the video because she wanted to get her story out there and show that in her case it was not hereditary.

He said she also wanted to make women under 45 aware of the dangers.

Greg Murphy told Breakfast finding a cure was important for Natalie and she would be "ticking another box in her life" if one was found.

Murphy lost her battle with cancer and died in December last year.

Treatment of Menopause and Breast Cancer

Treatment of Menopause and Breast Cancer
Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed)

Dr. Rowan Chlebowski: Effects of estrogen alone vs. estrogen plus progestin on breast cancer risk

Menopausal hormone therapy and breast cancer risk: Emerging evidence from randomized trials

LOS ANGELES (March 15, 2012) - In the past decade, results from large prospective cohort studies and the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) randomized placebo-controlled hormone therapy trials have substantially changed thoughts about how estrogen alone and estrogen plus progestin influence the risk of breast cancer, according to a review published TK in the Journal of The National Cancer Institute.

Although hormone therapy is currently used by millions of women for menopausal symptoms, there is still concern about hormone therapy–induced breast cancer risk. In addition, the effects of estrogen plus progestin versus estrogen alone on breast cancer are not completely understood.

To compare the effects of estrogen alone versus those of estrogen plus progestin on breast cancer risk, Rowan T. Chlebowski, M.D., Ph.D., of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Garnet Anderson, Ph.D., at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, looked at data from two randomized, placebo-controlled full scale clinical trials conducted in the WHI. One trial evaluated estrogen plus progestin in postmenopausal women with an intact uterus, and the other evaluated estrogen alone in postmenopausal women with prior hysterectomy. Estrogen plus progestin statistically significantly increased the risk of breast cancer. In contrast, estrogen alone use in postmenopausal women with a previous hysterectomy, statistically significantly decreased the risk of breast cancer.

The randomized clinical trial findings differ from the predominance of observational studies, which suggested that both estrogen alone and estrogen plus progestin increase breast cancer incidence. Dr. Chlebowksi explains that "an imbalance in the use of mammography with greater screening for hormone users could explain some of the increase in breast cancer incidence with estrogen alone seen in cohort studies because screened populations have more cancers detected than unscreened populations."

While the mechanisms underlying the different effects of estrogen alone and estrogen plus progestin are not completely understood, the authors state that preclinical and other clinical evidence suggests "the findings in the clinic, taken together with preclinical evidence, indicate that many breast cancers in post-menopausal women can survive only a limited range of estrogen exposures."

A Brief Primer of HRT and Breast Cancer

The recent $72 million Pfizer jury award to three women who said they developed breast cancer after taking PremPro has once again placed women in and around menopause in an incredibly stressful situation: to take or avoid estrogen.

Some women are afraid to start it, some worry the entire time they are one it, others won't consider stopping it. But no matter how you feel about estrogen, it remains the most effective government-approved drug therapy in the United States and Canada for treating menopause-related symptoms.

Prior to 2002 and the publishing of the Women's Health Initiative study, a very large percentage of women in menopause were taking estrogen or estrogen plus progestin or progesterone. After the study, which showed that estrogen plus progestin caused an increased risk of breast cancer, heart attack, blood clots and stroke, many women went cold turkey and stopped everything.

I remember my phone ringing off the hook with concerned women. Half the calls were women looking for an alternative to HRT. The other half the calls were from women wanting to know if they could stay on their estrogen. Since that original study, we've learned a lot more about estrogen. The most important one is that estrogen therapy has to be individualized and periodically reevaluated. Here are a few things every female HuffPost reader should know about her hormone therapy.

First, the terms:

Drugs that contain estrogen are divided into two categories:

    ET stands for estrogen therapy. These contain estrogen only. I've included an important video about ET and breast cancer risk below that is sure to help you.

    EPT stands for estrogen-progesterone therapy.

    HT stands for hormone therapy and can refer to either ET or EPT.

    HRT stands for hormone replacement therapy. It's still used a lot by laypeople but it isn't currently used as much by the medical community.

Now the estrogen types:

There are four types of estrogens.

    Human Estrogens. There are three human estrogens -- estradiol, also called 17b-estradiol, is the strongest one. Estrone is 50-70 percent less active. Estriol is 10 percent as active as estradiol. Estradiol is the only government approved single-estrogen product.

    Non-Human Estrogen. These are also called conjugated estrogens or CE. These are a mixture of at least 10 estrogens obtained from natural sources, typically, the urine of pregnant mares. Their effects are caused by the sum of the 10 or more estrogens.

    Synthetic Estrogens. These are manufactured in chemical plants and resemble human and non-human estrogens.

    Plant-Based Estrogens. These are also called phytoestrogens. Some act like an estrogen and others act like an anti-estrogen, depending on which part of the body the phytoestrogens affects. These are not prescription hormones. These are commonly found in foods such as soy, flaxseed, red clover and others.

The recent Pfizer jury award is sure to scare many women. Whether or not to take estrogen and or progesterone is a very personal decision that needs to be individualized. Think of it as you would when considering whether or not to take any medication: It depends on your history, why you are taking it and what other options you have for treatment.

For those of you considering HT, I strongly suggest you have a detailed discussion with your healthcare provider that addresses your personal needs, wants and desires. It's important to know what symptoms you are hoping to alleviate, what the risks are for you as an individual and what alternatives exist for you.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A new lung for the 20-year-old

A new lung for the 20-year-old
Christian's hair hangs in the face casual. He pushes his water glass on the table back and forth. Now and then he passes the tablecloth smooth. Really want to interview the 20-year-old has not. Actually, he had something else before today. But since all know that he is seeing at night (Tuesday, 06/03/2012, "37 degrees") in a documentary on ZDF, the telephone rings constantly.

Christian likes the fuss about his person, not at all. But he makes the interview. One thing is very important to him: He wants people to have volunteered in Germany that they are organ donors after their death. Christian's surgery is now about half a year ago. In Munich he received in September a new lung - by a woman. Many more do not Christian - and he really does not want to. Direct contacts are prohibited by law. There are good reasons. Of course, the 20-year-old has worked extensively with the question of who died there and why. But he makes one thing clear: This man did not die for him. The donor is dead and she has previously fully conscious, that they donate their organs after death. In this case, their lungs - and Christian is incredibly grateful to her for that.
Two and a half years on the waiting list

Christian lives in the district of Günzburg. His parents are driven every day, around 100 kilometers, to visit him in Munich. Months he lived in the hospital, sealed off from the outside world, often thrown back on himself and his thoughts. Reading and watching TV? Eventually even that was too exhausting. Christian fought with tenacious mucus in the lungs and has been growing weaker. "Cystic Fibrosis" short "CF" is the disease, a form of cystic fibrosis. Two and a half years he was on the "waiting list" for a lung.
The lungs are working well

But Christian does not give up. He thinks further than to the operating room to change everything - when it comes. Three times he was ready for the big operation. Twice had to be canceled. The third time he was finally operated on. After surgery, he is euphoric. The drugs, the excitement, the joy. That will make him worse again. Body and lungs - they have to get used to each other. Today "the lung is working very well," says Christian. She's become a part of it.
Made on the hospital bed-levels at 1.6

On his sick-bed sets from the Christian school. Grade of 1.6. "Yes, all right," he says with a grin afterwards. This year he wants to start studying. Script writing, that would be great. When he gets going once, he likes to tell - and clearly structured. His testimony, he immediately brings to the point.

Helpful drug for cystic fibrosis patients

Helpful drug for cystic fibrosis patients
Rick Cissna, born in 1962, was always sick as a kid. He didn't understand why his lungs were always full of goop, why he couldn't recover from colds like his friends did, why eating made him sick. At 16, he was finally diagnosed: He had cystic fibrosis, an often-deadly disease caused by a genetic defect.

Soon, he became a patient of Dr. Bonnie Ramsey, a pediatrician at Seattle Children's. Ramsey was just starting what would become three grueling decades fighting the devastating disease, which clogged young lungs with mucus and often killed patients before adulthood.

Thirty years later, Cissna's and Ramsey's paths would cross again in a most wonderful way.

It came about because of a little blue pill called Kalydeco, recently approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after a key trial led by Ramsey showed striking results.

Although it helps only a small subset of those who have cystic fibrosis, it is the first drug to target the disease's genetic cause, not just its symptoms.

"I don't think you can overstate how dramatic this result is," said Dr. Peter Mogayzel, director of the Cystic Fibrosis Center at Johns Hopkins.

Not only will it give powerful help to a small percentage of patients, he said, "it also heralds the beginning of a new era" of therapies for other cystic-fibrosis patients.

Kalydeco (kuh-LYE-de-co) rests on scientific work begun decades ago on the human genome.

A "personalized" drug, it works only for a certain genetic mutation — the one Cissna has.

Cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disease, occurs when people inherit two copies of a defective gene — one from each parent. About 30,000 people in the United States have the disease; an additional 10 million or so — about one in 31 Americans — have one copy of the defective gene.

According to the FDA, it is the most common fatal genetic disease for Caucasians.

Targets the lungs

Although Cissna had a relatively mild case, he experienced many of the disease's symptoms.

Because the genetic defect disturbs the body's salt balance, people with CF can't keep their lungs and airways clear. The lining of their lungs dries out and mucus thickens, clogging airways, inviting infections, pneumonia and scar tissue.

People with CF typically die from lung failure, although the disease affects many other organs and the digestive tract, making it hard for people with CF to get enough nutrition. Often, their fingers show a distinctive club shape, and males often are infertile.

Currently, the average life span is about 39 years.

When Cissna and Ramsey first met, about 1980, the average life span was about 18.
At 21, Cissna left her care, and Ramsey lost track of him, hoping he was still alive, but fearing the worst. During the next three decades, Ramsey helped develop important treatments that allowed patients to live longer.

More than 10 years ago, she began collaborating with the company that originally developed the drug. In 2009, she began the trial that led to Kalydeco's approval.

She didn't know that her former patient had volunteered for the study, received the drug — not the placebo — and had quickly improved.

When she found out, she recalled, "I was ecstatic."

Later, she saw a brief video of Cissna. He wasn't coughing. He was running.

"I just started crying. I was just so happy."

Earlier this month, Ramsey and Cissna met again. In a hallway at the Children's Research Institute where Ramsey works, they threw their arms around one another.

Both were elated.

Cissna because Kalydeco has helped him breathe, eat and have more energy. And Ramsey, because finally, there was a "game changer" in her long quest to stop CF's relentless destruction.

"It really is one of the most exciting things that I've been involved with in my career," said Ramsey, director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research at Children's. "It's wonderful to be able to make this impact on someone's life."

Kalydeco, said Dr. Margaret Hamberg, an FDA commissioner, "is an excellent example of the promise of personalized medicine — targeted drugs that treat patients with a specific genetic makeup."

Outlook bleak

In the early years of Cissna's life, the outlook for most kids with CF was grim. Sequencing the human genome was just a dream, and doctors had little to offer beyond oral antibiotics and teaching parents how to pound their child's back to loosen CF's thick mucus.

In those days, most kids were repeatedly hospitalized until lung failure finally sapped their lives.

Many people became aware of the disease's toll through a moving 1982 memoir by sports writer Frank Deford, detailing the life of his daughter, who died in 1980 at age 8.

"Alex: The Life of a Child," and the 1986 TV movie based on it, made millions of readers and viewers cry as they learned about Alex's struggles. In those years, most children were diagnosed through their very salty sweat.

Now, newborns, who benefit from early diagnosis, are screened through a blood draw from the heel. Last year, Washington's screening found 17 newborns with CF.

CF involves 1,800 mutations; any two create the disease.

These days, virtually all CF patients know their mutation, Ramsey said.

Most have at least one copy of a particular mutation, an improperly folded protein trapped inside the cell, unable to reach the surface to do its duty as a salt pump. The protein Kalydeco targets, on the other hand, has made it to the surface, where the drug can "turn it on."

Kalydeco is the "destination in a long journey" that began with the identification of the CF gene in 1989, The New England Journal of Medicine recently noted.

To get there, it needed sustained effort and investment, collaboration of academic and industry researchers and a research network — the Cystic Fibrosis Therapeutics Development Network, created by Ramsey with support from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The development of Kalydeco, Ramsey said, is "step one" in finding drugs to fix the more common defect.

"I think this gives us a clear path to future research," says Ladd Moore, co-president of the Washington chapter of the CF foundation. His sister, Lissy Moore, died of CF in 1998 at age 15.

Treating symptoms

In the early 1980s at Seattle Children's, Ramsey's patients often spent half their short lives in the hospital.

Despite being what Ramsey recalled as "a very sick kid," Cissna enrolled in her very first study.

Cissna "was one of my dearest patients," she said. "The age he was diagnosed was when we were losing most patients."

As Cissna grew up, he and others with CF were helped by innovations, many developed by Ramsey and her colleagues, such as nebulizers and inhaled antibiotics to help quell life-threatening lung infections.

But always, the drugs treated only symptoms.

High hopes for gene therapy were dashed in 2005, when, after 15 years and at least $40 million, a large trial by a Seattle biotech failed to find benefit.

Through it all, Cissna just kept going. He married, adopted two kids, and became a teacher. But denial was getting harder to sustain.

Over the years, he had recurrent lung infections, a collapsed lung and repeatedly developed resistance to antibiotics. Insurance paid for a $14,000 inflating vest to help him clear his airways. He enrolled in the Kalydeco trial more than two years ago. A week after starting to take the little pills, Cissna had a sudden realization: "Ohhhh — I was not on the placebo!"

For the first time, he began gaining weight. Just like normal people do. "My friend said, 'Congratulations! You're now just a middle-aged, overweight guy!' " Now, his wife, Kathy, says it's as though he doesn't have CF anymore. "It's amazing."

Kalydeco doesn't "cure" CF. And it costs $294,000 a year. That means nearly $400 for each blue pill, taken twice a day. Dawn Kalmar, spokeswoman for the drug's Cambridge-based company, Vertex, says it will help many patients with costs.

Ramsey said she expects insurers will pay for this FDA-approved treatment. Parents in online chat rooms note that in some cases, Kalydeco costs less than IV antibiotics, respiratory therapy and hospitalization.