Tag Archives: george

odors from human skin cells can be used to identify melanoma

Melanoma is a tumor affecting melanocytes, skin cells that produce the dark pigment that gives skin its color. The disease is responsible for approximately 75 percent of skin cancer deaths, with chances of survival directly related to how early the cancer is detected. Current detection methods most commonly rely on visual inspection of the skin, which is highly dependent on individual self-examination and clinical skill. The current study took advantage of the fact that human skin produces numerous airborne chemical molecules known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, many of which are odorous. …

Walking after meals may reduce diabetes risk

Doctors have long recommended exercise to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, especially in those at high risk for the condition. But a new study found that doing a short walk right after you eat may be the simplest and most effective strategy, especially for older adults. The study,  published in Diabetes Care, found that a 15-minute walk about a half an hour after each meal was as effective at reducing blood sugar as a single 45-minute morning or late afternoon walk.  But researchers found that the quick walk after dinner was even more effective than the longer afternoon walk in lowering blood sugars (glucose) over night into the next day. “The post-meal exercise was especially efficient at lowering the 3-hour post-dinner blood sugar glucose,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Loretta DiPietro, chair of the department of exercise science at George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. The study also found that the most effective time to go for a post-meal walk was after the evening meal. Dinner is usually the largest meal of the day, causing the greatest rise in blood sugar, which lasts into the night and the next morning. These affects were significantly reduced by the after dinner walk.    This is an important finding for older people. As you age, your insulin response to help shuttle sugar out of the bloodstream becomes sluggish. Insulin levels also start to fall in the afternoon and into the evening, adding to the weaker response to sugars you consume. Many people end up sitting around after dinner and going to bed with very high blood sugar levels – which according to DiPietro – is the worst thing you can do. When you exercise, contracting muscles help to clear sugar from the blood and get it stored in the muscles or liver. In this study, older adults walked at a moderate pace, not a brisk walk and not a leisurely stroll. This study, though small, was one of the first to look at the timing of exercise. The general recommendations are to get 150 minutes of exercise a week or at least 30 minutes five days a week. But the study looked at what happened a half an hour after a meal, during the time when sugar begins to flood the blood stream. “When you look at the data, you can see the blood sugar started to go up after a meal, and the exercise abruptly halted that upward rise in blood sugar,” said DiPietro. Though the findings need to be confirmed in larger trials, they are important for those with prediabetes and older individuals. An estimated 79 million Americans have prediabetes but most have no idea they are even at risk. “It may be easy for older adults to take a short walk or combine walking after a meal with running errands or walking the dog,” said DiPietro. The findings may be important for others including pregnant women who are at risk of gestational diabetes.  And if you overindulged in a meal, going for a brisk walk may help your body get rid of that excess sugar more efficiently.Laurie Tarkan is an award-winning health journalist whose work appears in the New York Times, among other national magazines and websites. She has authored several health books, including “Perfect Hormone Balance for Fertility.” Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/12/walking-after-meals-may-reduce-diabetes-risk/

Stench of human feet may lead to better malaria traps

For decades, health officials have battled malaria with insecticides, bed nets and drugs. Now, scientists say there might be a potent new tool to fight the deadly mosquito-borne disease: the stench of human feet. In a laboratory study, researchers found that mosquitoes infected with the tropical disease were more attracted to human odors from a dirty sock than those that didn't carry malaria. Insects carrying malaria parasites were three times more likely to be drawn to the stinky stockings. The new finding may help create traps that target only malaria-carrying mosquitoes, researchers say. “Smelly feet have a use after all,” said Dr. James Logan, who headed the research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “Every time we identify a new part of how the malaria mosquito interacts with us, we're one step closer to controlling it better.” The sock findings were published last month in the journal, PLoS One. Malaria is estimated to kill more than 600,000 people every year, mostly children in Africa. Experts have long known that mosquitoes are drawn to human odors, but it was unclear if being infected with malaria made them even more attracted to us. Infected mosquitoes are believed to make up about 1 percent of the mosquito population. Using traps that only target malaria mosquitoes could result in fewer mosquitoes becoming resistant to the insecticides used to kill them. And it would likely be difficult for the insects to evade traps based on their sense of smell, scientists say. “The only way mosquitoes could (develop resistance) is if they were less attracted to human odors,” said Andrew Read, a professor of biology and entomology at the University of Pennsylvania, who was not part of Logan's research. “And if they did that and started feeding on something else - like cows - that would be fine.” Read said the same strategy might also work to target insects that carry other diseases such as dengue and Japanese encephalitis. In a related study, Logan and colleagues also sealed human volunteers into a foil bag to collect their body odor as they grew hot and sweaty. The odors were then piped into a tube next door, alongside another tube untainted by human odor. Afterwards, mosquitoes were released and had the option of flying into either tube. The insects buzzed in droves into the smelly tube. Logan said the next step is to identify the chemicals in human foot odor so that it can be made synthetically for mosquito traps. But given mosquitoes' highly developed sense of smell, getting that formula right will be challenging. Some smelly cheeses have the same odor as feet, Logan noted. “But mosquitoes aren't attracted to cheese because they've evolved to know the difference,” he said. “You have to get the mixture, ratios and concentrations of those chemicals exactly right otherwise the mosquito won't think it's a human.” Scientists said it's crucial to understand the subtleties of mosquito behavior. Other studies have shown mosquitoes don't become attracted to humans for about two weeks - the time it takes for the malaria parasites to become infectious for humans. “At the moment, we only have these glimpses of how parasites are manipulating the mosquitoes,” said George Christophides, chair of infectious disease and immunity at Imperial College London. “We need to exploit that information to help us control malaria.”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/04/stench-human-feet-may-lead-to-better-malaria-traps/

Medical marijuana laws and treats may send more kids to ER

CHICAGO – & Increased use of medical marijuana may lead to more young children getting sick from accidentally eating food made with the drug, a Colorado study suggests. Medical marijuana items include yummy-looking gummy candies, cookies and other treats that may entice young children. Fourteen children were treated at Colorado Children's Hospital in the two years after a 2009 federal policy change led to a surge in medical marijuana use, the study found. That's when federal authorities said they would not prosecute legal users. Study cases were mostly mild, but parents should know about potential risks and keep the products out of reach, said lead author Dr. George Sam Wang, an emergency room physician at the hospital. Unusual drowsiness and unsteady walking were among the symptoms. One child, a 5-year-old boy, had trouble breathing. Eight children were hospitalized, two in the intensive care unit, though all recovered within a few days, Wang said. By contrast, in four years preceding the policy change, the Denver-area hospital had no such cases. Some children came in laughing, glassy-eyed or “acting a little goofy and `off,”' Wang said. Many had eaten medical marijuana food items, although nonmedical marijuana was involved in at least three cases. The children were younger than 12 and included an 8-month-old boy. The study was released Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. Eighteen states and Washington, D.C., allow medical marijuana, though it remains illegal under federal law. Colorado's law dates to 2000 but the study notes that use there soared after the 2009 policy change on prosecution. Last year, Colorado and Washington state legalized adult possession of small amounts of nonmedical marijuana. Some states, including Colorado, allow medical marijuana use by sick kids, with parents' supervision. In a journal editorial, two Seattle poisoning specialists say that at least seven more states are considering legalizing medical marijuana and that laws that expand marijuana use likely will lead to more children sickened.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/27/medical-marijuana-laws-and-treats-may-send-more-kids-to-er/

Genomic analysis lends insight to prostate cancer

"This is the first study to examine DNA alterations using next generation sequencing in adjacent Gleason patterns in the same tumor allowing us to correlate genomics with changes in pathology," says John Cheville, M.D., Mayo Clinic pathologist and one of the authors on the paper. The standard method of evaluating prostate cancer biopsy samples is a numerical scoring system called Gleason grading. A pathologist examines the tumor sample under the microscope, giving it a Gleason score based on the pattern of its cells…

Dad aims to change views of Down syndrome in new book

For George Estreich, the decision to write a book about his daughter, Laura, and her diagnosis of Down syndrome came naturally. A college writing professor and former poet, Estreich started documenting his life with Laura in 2001, when she was 3 ½ months old, shortly after she had undergone heart surgery.  This month, he released his book “The Shape of the Eye,” in which he aims to change the negative connotations associated with Down syndrome. When Estreich looks at Laura’s face, he doesn’t see her disability, he sees his lovely daughter – and wants others to see the same thing. Laura wasn’t diagnosed with Down syndrome until she was 2-weeks-old. At the time of her birth, doctors noticed that she had almond-shaped eyes, which are often a characteristic of Down syndrome. But Estreich brushed off their concerns, attributing the feature to his  Japanese ancestry. Still, doctors wanted “peace of mind.” “For those first two weeks, we just didn’t know,” Estreich, 48, told FoxNews.com. “We were just waiting for the results.” Estreich, and his wife Theresa, had an older daughter, Ellie, who is now 17 – and at the time, life seemed pretty good. Estreich had stopped teaching to focus on raising Ellie, while Theresa worked full-time as a scientist. But upon Laura’s diagnosis, their lives changed. “Things were difficult at first,” Estreich admitted.  Unknown territory  Laura had a congenital heart defect, which was ultimately fixed during surgery, and a feeding disorder that required her to be fed through a tube in her nose about six months, which was difficult for Theresa, who had wanted to continue breastfeeding. Once they got through those challenges, Estreich and his wife had to figure out how to cope with Laura’s developmental issues. With Ellie, Estreich and his wife knew what to expect – they had an idea of when she would crawl or walk or say her first words. With Laura, it was all unknown territory. Estreich set out to research and learn everything he could about Down syndrome, which was named after Dr. John Langdon Down, who first recognized the genetic condition in the 19th century. Individuals with Down syndrome develop a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21 at conception, which causes subtle changes in development, according to Estreich. Physical traits of Down syndrome may include low muscle tone, small stature, a slant to the eyes and a single deep crease across the center of the palm; however, each individual is different and may have varying degrees of these characteristics, according to the National Down Syndrome Society. The Society estimates one in every 691 babies born in the U.S. have Down syndrome, or approximately 400,000 Americans. Though the risk of giving birth to a baby with Down syndrome increases with a mother’s age, doctors don’t know exactly what causes Down syndrome. With recent advancements in medical technology, the lifespan of individuals with Down syndrome has gone up tremendously: As many as 80 percent of adults with the condition reach the age of 60 or older, according to the National Down Syndrome Society. This is largely due to corrective heart surgeries, like the one Laura had in her first year of life. The Estreichs, who now live in Corvallis, Ore., opted not to do any prenatal screening during Theresa’s pregnancy; they figured it was pointless since false-positive rates are so high, and they didn’t want to have an amniocentesis, which can increase the chance of a miscarriage. Theresa insisted no matter what a test discovered, she wouldn’t have terminated the pregnancy anyway. Still, the diagnosis was a shock to the couple. By 21 months old, Laura was able to walk, crawl and eat. As she grew older, she continued to thrive, even if it was at a slower pace. Now, at the age of 12, Estreich said she’s pretty much like any other girl on the verge of being a teenager. She enjoys playing video games, especially Minecraft, Halo and Just Dance. She loves going out to eat – especially if it involves pizza, and she participates in a national program called Girls on the Run. Laura has completed three 5K runs in the past few years, improving her time with each race. And, much to Estreich’s delight, she enjoys assisting him in house renovations, something he talks about throughout the book. “I don’t know what it is for boys; it’s therapeutic to break things,” Estreich said of his obsession with home-renovations. 'There are no special needs' At school, Laura is included in mainstream classes about 60 percent of the time, Estreich said, adding that she has a wide variety of friends – including those with disabilities and those without. Asked whether Laura knows she has Down syndrome, Estreich said he isn’t sure. “As far as she’s concerned, it’s Tuesday, she’s going to school, and she’s putting on a tutu and a tiara. I’m not even sure how she gets away with that.” Estreich said he doesn’t think she really identifies with the condition – but doesn’t think it matters too much. “The term special needs – well, someone made a point – there are no special needs,” Estreich said. “For my older and younger daughter, the needs are the same: to thrive and belong, and the way they go about that will be different. We’re trying to help her the best we can, (to) be what she can be. If we have to address Down syndrome to do that, we do. Otherwise, it’s ‘do your homework.’” As for the future, Estreich hopes Laura can hold down a job, have friends and live with as much independence as possible. Estreich said he believes that Laura will even be able to live on her own someday. And when people read his book, Estreich wants them to take away this message: They should see a person first - as opposed to the disability. Laura isn’t defined by the shape of her eyes, but rather her cheerful personality. “I’d like people to think about who belongs in our society, and the obstacles to belonging,” Estreich said.  “And (the book is) not just about (Laura) developing and getting through her medical troubles – but about my development as a parent.”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/11/dad-aims-to-change-views-down-syndrome-in-new-book/

HPV-related cancers rose before vaccines hit market

The number of some cancers related to the human papillomavirus (HPV) increased throughout the U.S. before vaccines against the sexually transmitted infection were available, says to a new study. Researchers found an increase in many early-stage cancers and anal and head and neck late-stage cancers across the U.S. …