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Image Guided Radiation Therapy Is Commonly Used to Ensure Accuracy in Treating Pediatric Tumors

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IGRT is the process of using frequent imaging, typically performed in the treatment room prior to radiation delivery, throughout a patient’s course of radiation therapy treatment to improve localization of the target and normal structures, which allows for more precise and accurate radiation delivery. IGRT is a common practice in both photon (traditional radiation therapy) and proton therapy to treat tumors close to sensitive structures and organs or in areas of the body prone to movement or change in shape. This study, “Practice patterns of photon and proton pediatric image guided radiation treatment: Results from an International Pediatric Research Consortium,” evaluates the use of IGRT in treatment planning for pediatric cancers in an international consortium comprised of seven institutions using either photon or proton therapy with dedicated pediatric expertise. Choosing optimal IGRT regimens that spare healthy tissue and organs is a particular concern for pediatric patients to help prevent potential late effects associated with the distribution of the radiation dose and the total radiation dose the patient receives. …

Diverse gut bacteria associated with favorable ratio of estrogen metabolites

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Since the 1970s, it has been known that in addition to supporting digestion, the intestinal bacteria that make up the gut microbiome influence how women’s bodies process estrogen, the primary female sex hormone. The colonies of bacteria determine whether estrogen and the fragments left behind after the hormone is processed continue circulating through the body or are expelled through urine and feces. Previous studies have shown that levels of estrogen and estrogen metabolites circulating in the body are associated with risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer…

Diverse gut bacteria associated with favorable ratio of estrogen metabolites — ScienceDaily

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Since the 1970s, it has been known that in addition to supporting digestion, the intestinal bacteria that make up the gut microbiome influence how women’s bodies process estrogen, the primary female sex hormone. The colonies of bacteria determine whether estrogen and the fragments left behind after the hormone is processed continue circulating through the body or are expelled through urine and feces. Previous studies have shown that levels of estrogen and estrogen metabolites circulating in the body are associated with risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer…

New, accurate epigenetic test could eliminate unnecessary repeat biopsies for prostate cancer — ScienceDaily

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source : http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140721123743.htm

3-D MRI scans may offer better way to predict survival after targeted chemo for liver tumors — ScienceDaily

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source : http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140326141650.htm

Robots could one day help surgeons remove hard to reach brain tumors

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A robot that worms its way in The median survival rate for patients with glioblastomas, or high grade primary brain cancer, is less than two years. One factor contributing to this low rate is the fact that many deep-seated and pervasive tumors are not entirely accessible or even visible when using current neurosurgical tools and imaging techniques. But several years ago, J. …

NIH, Lacks family reach understanding to share genomic data of HeLa cells

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"Just like their matriarch, the Lacks family continues to have a significant impact on medical progress by providing access to an important scientific tool that researchers will use to study the cause and effect of many diseases with the goal of developing treatments," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. In the Nature Comment, Dr. …

Wait-and-see approach for prostate cancer questioned for black men

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source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/28/wait-and-see-approach-for-prostate-cancer-questioned-in-blacks/

Group therapy helps rape victims in poor countries

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Group therapy works better than individual support for women in low-income countries who have been victims of sexual violence, according to the results of a new study done in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The method has already been shown to be effective in wealthier countries. Because measures of depression, anxiety, general functioning and post-traumatic stress disorder improved faster with group therapy, the technique may be useful in other countries were war and unrest often contribute to sexual violence, researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. “We're giving them the skills to rethink the meaning they're giving to their thoughts and feelings” about their attack, lead author Judith Bass of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore told Reuters Health. The study “offers promising evidence” that a form of group therapy can help women who have been exposed to sexual violence, Charlotte Watts and her colleagues at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine wrote in a linked editorial. In the DRC, 40 percent of women have been victims of some type of sexual violence. The researchers evaluated 157 women in seven villages who were offered one individual session and 11 group sessions of so-called cognitive processing therapy. “The women were being taught to identify what thoughts are not helpful to them,” Bass explained. “Thinking 'It's my fault' is not helpful to them. And it involves how to deal with that and get over some of these thoughts that are keeping them from healing.” Those women were compared with 248 women in eight villages who received individual support that included counseling and sympathetic listening. Women in both treatment groups improved even though each village had at least one major security incident during the trial, including attacks and armed robberies. But the improvement was most pronounced with group cognitive therapy. On a combined scale of depression and anxiety, where the worst score was 3 and the best was 0, women in the cognitive therapy group went from 2.0 at the outset to 0.8 at the end of treatment. Six months after treatment their average score was 0.7. The respective scores for women receiving individual support started at 2.2, dropped to 1.7 and eventually fell to 1.5. After six months, 9 percent of group therapy participants and 42 percent of women who received individual support still likely had a diagnosis of depression or anxiety, Bass and her colleagues found. The study did not include the most severe cases - seven of the 494 women screened for the study were found to be severely suicidal and were treated immediately. “Despite illiteracy and ongoing conflict, this evidence-based treatment can be appropriately implemented and effective,” the researchers concluded. “Given the high rates of sexual violence globally, and especially in conflict-affected countries such as the DRC, this finding is very important,” the Watts team wrote in its editorial. “Rape during war is not unique to the DRC; indeed, it affects many, if not most, countries that are at war, including several African states and, more recently, countries in the Middle East.” The study was funded by the World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development Victims of Torture Fund. “We do this because we see mental health as such a large cause of disability and dysfunction,” Bass said. “We want to improve people's health. But when you have such high rates of rape and violence, and such a high rate of mental health problems, it's an often-neglected piece in the bigger development picture.”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/06/group-therapy-helps-rape-victims-in-poor-countries/

Fewer tobacco products, but not alcohol, in movies

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Movie characters smoke less since 1998 regulations that stopped tobacco companies from buying on-screen brand placements, according to a new study. But at the same time, researchers found the number of alcohol brand appearances has increased in popular movies rated PG-13 and below, and the amount of time characters spend drinking hasn't changed. “These results are of great concern,” said David Jernigan, head of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. “In movie reality, it seems like every occasion is right for a drink,” said Jernigan, who wasn't involved in the new study. And that suggests to young viewers that alcohol is much more common than is actually the case, he said. “This whole conversation is about normalization of alcohol use,” Jernigan said. “Young people are particularly vulnerable to the message that drinking is everywhere.” For the new study, researchers watched the top 100 box office releases of each year between 1996 and 2009 and recorded when a movie character was shown using or handling tobacco or alcohol, and when a particular brand was pictured. In all, Elaina Bergamini from the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, and her colleagues recorded 500 tobacco and 2,433 alcohol brand placements in all films combined. The number of tobacco brand appearances ranged from 54 to 98 per year before 2000, then declined to 22 per year after 2006. The amount of time characters were shown using tobacco also dropped over time in both youth and adult movies. That suggests the 1998 regulation, part of the Master Settlement Agreement between tobacco companies and U.S. states, successfully stopped the tobacco industry from paying for its products to be shown on screen, the study team wrote in JAMA Pediatrics. On the other hand, alcohol brand appearances in youth-rated movies, in particular, increased from 80 to 145 per year during the study period. Budweiser was the most common alcohol brand shown in films. Parent company Anheuser Busch did not comment before press time. Jernigan said that because there's unlikely to be a similar settlement for the beverage industry, any regulation on product placement would have to come from the companies themselves or from the movie industry. For example, some organizations have suggested movies showing drinking should automatically be rated R. Concern stems from research tying on-screen smoking and drinking to more of that behavior among youth who watch those movies. “Children who see smoking in the movies are more likely to initiate smoking,” Bergamini said. “I think there is some concern that that may hold true for alcohol as well.” “The notorious thing you find in movies and in TV is heavy drinking without consequences,” Jernigan said. “It leaves it up to parents to tell the consequences story.”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/29/fewer-tobacco-products-but-not-alcohol-in-movies/