Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Premature C-Section Causes Infant Breathing Problems

Source: WebMD Medical News
Summary: Medical Discoveries
Date: Dec 2007

Premature C-Section Causes Infant Breathing Problems

"Mothers who choose elective cesarean section should be aware that the risk of respiratory problems is four times raised at 37 weeks' gestation vs. full-term, intended vaginal delivery," Kirkeby Hansen tells WebMD. "The rate of respiratory problems is 10% for elective C-section at 37 weeks, but it is 2.8% for intended vaginal deliveries. That is why we say you should never do elective cesarean section at 37 weeks."

Most children fully recover from these breathing problems, notes Emory University pediatrician Lucky Jain, MD. But the long-terms effects aren't clear.

Avandia treats diabetes but higher risk of heart attack

Avandia treats diabetes but higher risk of heart attack

An independent analysis of thousands of older people with diabetes found that those treated with the widely used drug Avandia had significantly elevated risks of heart attack and death.

The finding, published on Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association, could rekindle the debate about whether Avandia, a controversial treatment for Type 2 diabetes, should remain on the market. Earlier studies drew similar links between Avandia and cardiac risks.

The study analyzed drug use and health outcomes for 159,000 people age 65 and older treated for Type 2 diabetes in the government-run health system that provides medical care to all people in Ontario. Of those patients, 2,268 took Avandia.

The findings suggest that for every 100 people taking Avandia over a four-year period there would be five additional deaths, four additional heart attacks and three additional episodes of heart failure, Dr. Lipscombe said.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mammogram checks are not as accurate

Source: Chicago Tribune
Summary: Medical Discoveries
Date: Dec 2007

2 of 10 cases missed in mammograms

Diana Miglioretti and her colleagues published a study with the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. They examined the performance of 123 radiologists who interpreted nearly 36,000 diagnostic mammograms between 1996 and 2003 at 72 U.S. facilities. All the mammograms had been ordered for women who found a lump themselves or whose doctors discovered something of concern.

They found that doctors reading mammograms miss an average of 2 in every 10 cases of breast cancer, even for women with lumps and other symptoms.

Multiple researchers discover link of cancer and any type of alcohol

Multiple researchers discover link of cancer and any type of alcohol

Source: WebMD
Summary: Medical Discoveries
Date: Sept 2007

Whatever your pleasure -- beer, wine, or spirits -- more than three daily drinks ups your risk of breast cancer by 30%. Red wine, white wine, whatever health benefits you think it will bring you, is cancelled by increase cancer risk and other diseases.

"It doesn't matter if you drink red wine or white wine. If you are a heavy drinker -- more than three drinks a day -- you will have an additional 30% risk of breast cancer," said Dr. Yan Li, MD, PhD, of Kaiser Permanente.

Li and researchers looked at 70,000 women in a study from 1978 to 1985. They then analyzed to see if they had breast cancer by 2004. Women who drank one or two drinks a day had a 10% higher chance of breast cancer than women who drank less than a drink a day. But it took more than three drinks a day to increase that risk to 30%.

Shumin Zhang, MD, ScD, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School did not participate in the research, but has also found that frequent drinking raises a woman's risk of breast cancer.

"Many studies have reported an association between alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk in women," Zhang tells WebMD. "The current findings are generally consistent with previous research."

In short, women aren't the only ones at risk. Alcohol is an equal opportunity killer, studies show that men are also in danger of increased chances of cancer if they drink alcohol.

Pork and other meats increase chances of cancer

People who eat a lot of red and processed meats have a higher risk of developing several types of cancer, including lung cancer and colorectal cancer, according to a new study from the National Cancer Institute.

In summary, red and processed meat intake appears to be positively associated with risk of cancer of the colon and rectum, esophagus, liver, lung, and pancreas in a new, large US cohort study of 500,000 men and women. However, this study provided little support for an association with other cancer sites. Current dietary guidelines recommend selecting meats that are lean, low-fat, or fat-free, thus promoting limited consumption of red and processed meats.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Heartburn drugs Prilosec and Nexium, no effect on heart, but checking on hip fractures, says FDA

Prilosec and Nexium considered safe for heart, investigation continues about hip fracture side effect

Source: FDA/Forbes
Summary: Medical Discoveries
Date: Dec 10, 2007

MONDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- A U.S. government review of the popular heartburn drugs Prilosec and Nexium found no evidence of increased heart risks, health officials said Monday.

The announcement followed a three-month safety review after reports of possible heart risks emerged from two preliminary studies. But detailed data from both studies, plus another 14 studies, showed no heightened risk associated with long-term use of the drugs, U. S. Food and Drug Administration officials said.

Complete data showed that patients taking Prilosec had a lower risk of heart problems than patients taking a placebo. And findings from the ongoing Nexium trial found no difference in heart problems between patients taking the drug and those undergoing surgery for GERD, the FDA statement said.

However, Seligman did say that the FDA continues to investigate whether the drugs increase the risk of hip fracture. A report in the Dec. 27, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people 50 and older who took Prilosec or Nexium had a 44 percent higher risk of hip fracture than people not taking these drugs.

Curry Fights Colon Cancer, Skin Cancer, and Breast Cancer

Treatment Based on Curry and Onions Reduced Precancerous Intestinal Growths

Source: WebMD Medical News and TIME Magazine
Reviewed: Dr. Louise Chang, MD
Summary: Medical Discoveries
Date: Aug. 2, 2006

In the study, published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, researchers evaluated the use of these curry ingredients as a potential colon cancer drug in five people with a rare genetic condition that causes the growth of precancerous polyps in the intestines.

The condition, Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP), is usually inherited.

If the colon is not surgically removed, there is a 100% chance some of the polyps will develop into cancer, usually by age 40.

Each of the patients received 480 milligrams of curcumin and 20 milligrams of quercetin three times a day for six months. The results showed that treatment with the curry and onion compounds reduced the average number of polyps by 60%, and decreased their size by 50%.

Additionally, curry may have other benefits besides colon cancer treatments. According to a new study to be published in the August 15, 2005 issue of CANCER, curcumin, the yellow pigment found in the spice turmeric, which is an ingredient yellow curry powder, inhibits cell growth in melanoma, an especially virulent form of skin cancer that killed more than 7,000 Americans in 2002 alone.

Researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center administered varied doses of curcumin to three lines of melanoma cells for different lengths of time. The result: apoptosis, a process that causes the normally immortal cancer cells to die like ordinary cells. And it happened whether the cells got a high dose of curcumin for a short time or a low dose for a long time.

How does curcumin stimulate apoptosis? It appears to work by suppressing two proteins in the cancer cells that would ordinarily block the process; curcumin is a sort of molecular double-negative. The researchers believe that curcumin could kill cancer cells, not just in test tubes, but in actual tumors, and they're now preparing for animal testing—and, if that's successful, for clinical trials in humans.

Breast Cancer Study
Curcumin could be of "tremendous value" if it's shown to be effective in humans, "but we're a long way from being able to make any recommendations yet, says researcher Bharat Aggarwal, PhD, in a news release.

The mice in Aggarwal's breast cancer study were split into four treatment groups: curcumin alone, the breast cancer drug Taxol alone, curcumin and Taxol, and no treatment.

The breast cancer cells were allowed to grow before being removed from the mice. Treatment started after that. Five weeks later, cancer had spread to the lungs of mice in all four groups. But the two curcumin groups fared best.

Less than a quarter of the mice in the curcumin-plus-Taxol group had cancer that spread to the lungs. So did half of the curcumin group. In comparison, cancer spread to the lungs in three-fourths of the Taxol group and almost all (95%) mice that got no treatment.
Surprising Results

Those results were unexpected, so the researchers repeated the test. This time, they let the cancers grow a little bit bigger before removing them.

After five weeks of treatment, half of the mice in the curcumin and curcumin-plus-Taxol groups had cancer in their lungs, says a news release.

"Curcumin acts against transcription factors, which are like a master switch," says Aggarwal. "Transcription factors regulate all the genes needed for tumors to form. When we turn them off, we shut down some genes that are involved in the growth and invasion of cancer cells."

Curcumin is being tested against a type of cancer called multiple myeloma and pancreatic cancer in early phase I clinical trials at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Other groups are conducting a global study of curcumin's ability to prevent oral cancer, says the news release.

Baby walkers delay infants from walking and standing up

Baby walkers delay the development of locomotion in infants, new Irish research has shown.

Researchers from the University College Dublin looked at particular locomotor developmental milestones - raising the head, rolling over, sitting with support, sitting alone and walking alone.

By comparing the ages that infants reached these milestones with and without walkers they concluded that baby walkers do slow development in children.

The current research has found that each aggregated 24 hours of baby walker use was associated with a delay of 3.3 days in walking alone and a delay of 3.7 days in standing alone.

The research took the form of brief anonymous and confidential questionnaires completed by parents of children at nine day-care centres in Northern Ireland. The researchers received 190 valid responses – for 83 boys and 107 girls.

Of those infants, 102 used baby walkers, with most starting use at 26 weeks of age and finishing use at 54 weeks. "Achieving crawling, standing alone and walking alone occurred later in this group," the authors state.

Walkers prevent children from seeing their feet while they are walking. "They are not getting any visual feedback. They don't understand what is happening," explained the spokesperson.

Another major complication with the use of baby walkers is that they train children to walk on their toes, she said. "Children are propped up in the walkers and their knees and hips are bent so they are walking on their toes," she said. "This causes tight calf muscles and they can turn into habitual toe walkers."

The problems can be ongoing. "I have eight and nine year olds that I still have to plaster up each year," she said.

Controversy has raged over baby walkers for some time. They are considered dangerous by many because children in them are able to reach items that normally would be out of reach. The other problem is that of children falling down stairs while in the walkers.

An analysis undertaken by the National Injury Surveillance Unit, based at Flinders University, showed that between 1986 and 1993 baby walkers were the highest single product category for injury in children between six and 12 months.

The Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit website supports this finding, stating in June 2000 that "given the dangerous nature of baby walkers and that they have been shown to be of no benefit to the baby. . . their sale and use should be actively discouraged."

The NSW Department of Fair Trading recommends that parents do not buy or use baby walkers at all.

Scientists discover how BRCA1 gene causes breast cancer

Scientists discover how BRCA1 gene causes cancer

Source: Reuters
Summary: Medical Discoveries
Published: Sunday, December 09, 2007
Study Source: Dr. Ramon Parsons, Columbia University Medical Center, New York

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Mutations in the BRCA1 breast cancer gene appear to be linked with the loss of a protein important for putting the brakes on cell growth, a finding that could lead to new therapies, researchers said on Sunday... Researchers at Columbia, working with at team at Sweden's Lund University, now believe mutations in the BRCA1 gene can leave cells incapable of repairing routine DNA damage. When such damage occurs in a protein called PTEN, which regulates the growth of cells, cell growth is unchecked and tumors form. Women with faulty copies of BRCA1 or BRCA2 have a 50 to 85 percent chance of getting breast cancer. Mutations in these genes account for 5 to 10 percent of breast cancer cases. Most breast tumors are called estrogen-receptor positive, because they are fuelled by the hormone estrogen. About 20 percent are HER2-positive, because a protein called HER2 is involved. A third type is driven by the hormone progesterone.

"When it is mutated, it is no longer present in a cell. If a cut occurs in PTEN, there is no way for this cell to fix it," said Parsons, whose study was published in Nature Genetics. "It is like cutting the brake cable on a car," he said. "If PTEN is broken, you turn on a pathway that tells the cell to grow. It tells the cell to start dividing. It tells the cell, 'don't die."'

Parsons said loss of the protein PTEN is how breast cancer gets started in women who have inherited the BRCA1 gene mutation.

Physical therapy reduces hospital stays

Study finds physical therapy reduces hospital stays

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Respiratory-failure patients who got physical therapy within 48 hours of the insertion of a breathing tube reduced their hospital stays, a U.S. study found.

Study leader Dr. Peter Morris of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., said patients who received physical therapy had an average hospital stay reduction of three days, including more than one day in an intensive care unit.

Initial therapy, or passive range of motion therapy, was provided by nursing assistants, with their training designed and implemented by physical therapists, explained Morris. The nursing assistants flexed the joints of patients' upper and lower limbs three times a day, seven days a week. As patients progressed, they received more advanced physical therapy from a physical therapist, Morris said.

There also was no addition to total hospital costs because the salaries of the employees who provided the physical therapy were offset by reduced lengths of stay in the hospital, Morris said.

The findings were presented at a meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians in Chicago.