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Blood Pressure Better Controlled with ‘MAP’ for Doctors

Blood Pressure Better Controlled with ‘MAP’ for Doctors

A quality improvement program designed to better control hypertension in primary care practices notably improved hypertension control in six months, according to research presented today at the American Heart Association (AHA) Council on Hypertension, AHA Council on Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease, American Society of Hypertension Joint Scientific Sessions 2017, in San Francisco. One in three American adults has high blood pressure. That number is steadily climbing, despite the fact that high blood pressure can be easily treated using evidence-based guidelines. Based on the American Medical Association’s M.A.P. Framework, the AMA collaborated with Care Coordination Institute Labs, Greenville South Carolina, to create the M.A.P. hypertension improvement program using the latest science in blood pressure control. It stands for measuring blood pressure accurately; acting rapidly to manage uncontrolled blood pressure; and partnering with patients to promote blood pressure self-management. Researchers compared blood pressure measurements of more than 21,000 hypertensive patients from 16 practices, comparing their blood pressures from the start of the study to those taken six months into participating in the MAP intervention. They found: Blood pressure control rose from 65.6 percent to 74.8 percent in six months. Twelve of the 16 practices in the study reported notably better blood pressure control in their hypertensive patients. Among the uncontrolled patients at the study’s start, average blood pressure fell from 149/85 to 139/80 mm Hg. Teaching accurate blood pressure measurement technique resulted in reduced systolic pressures in uncontrolled patients in the office. There was no notable change in physicians increasing the number of or dosage of anti-hypertensive medications to treat patients with uncontrolled blood pressure. There was a significant increase in...
Common Molecule Can Be Genetically Engineered to Allow Scientists to Program the Actions of a Cell

Common Molecule Can Be Genetically Engineered to Allow Scientists to Program the Actions of a Cell

Led by Professor Alfonso Jaramillo in the School of Life Sciences, new research has discovered that a common molecule — ribonucleic acid (RNA), which is produced abundantly by humans, plants and animals — can be genetically engineered to allow scientists to program the actions of a cell. As well as fighting disease and injury in humans, scientists could harness this technique to control plant cells and reverse environmental and agricultural issues, making plants more resilient to disease and pests. RNAs carry information between protein and DNA in cells, and Professor Jaramillo has proved that these molecules can be produced and organised into tailor-made sequences of commands — similar to codes for computer software — which feed specific instructions into cells, programming them to do what we want. Much like a classic Turing computer system, cells have the capacity to process and respond to instructions and codes inputted into their main system, argues Professor Jaramillo. Similar to software running on a computer, or apps on a mobile device, many different RNA sequences could be created to empower cells with a ‘Virtual Machine’, able to interpret a universal RNA language, and to perform specific actions to address different diseases or problems. This will allow a novel type of personalised and efficient healthcare, allowing us to ‘download’ a sequence of actions into cells, instructing them to execute complex decisions encoded in the RNA. Click here to read more on this...
#PWChat Recap: Incorporating Physician Assistants & Nurse Practitioners into Practice

#PWChat Recap: Incorporating Physician Assistants & Nurse Practitioners into Practice

Physician’s Weekly, along with ShereeseM, MS/MBA,‏ hosted another #PWChat on Wednesday, Sept. 13 that focused on physician assistants and nurse practitioners and, more importantly, how to incorporate them into practice. We dove into topics of the advantages to a medical practice in integrating an NP or PA, why a solo or group medical practice would be reluctant to integrate an NP or PA, other obstacles that can be expected when integrating an NP or PA, and much more! You can view our upcoming schedule, or read our other #PWChat recaps here. Below are the highlights from the chat. You can read the full transcript here.     Question 1 Q1: What advantages are there to a medical practice in integrating a #NursePractitioner (#NP) or #PhysicianAssistant (#PA)?#PWChat — Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) September 14, 2017 A1 Integrating NPs &/or PAs into practice settings increases accessibility, efficiency, & bridges the transitional gap for patients #PWChat — ShereeseM, MS/MBA (@ShereesePubHlth) September 14, 2017 Can you elaborate, in 140 characters or less, what you mean by bridging the transitional gap?#PWChat https://t.co/jYjU8wRqo9 — Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) September 14, 2017 Sure, Nurse practitioners have bed-side exp & exp w/ nursing staff. They speak multi-discipline languages in way patients understand #PWChat — ShereeseM, MS/MBA (@ShereesePubHlth) September 14, 2017 Question 2 Q2: Why would a solo or group practice be reluctant to integrating a #NursePractitioner or #PhysicianAssistant?#PWChat #NP #PA — Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) September 14, 2017 A2 This comes up often, ironically. The lack of specialized training is an obstacle. #PWChat — ShereeseM, MS/MBA (@ShereesePubHlth) September 14, 2017 A2 Also, communication between staff can be negatively impacted when new roles are...
Processed Meats Increase Risk of Colorectal Cancer While Whole Grains Decrease Risk

Processed Meats Increase Risk of Colorectal Cancer While Whole Grains Decrease Risk

Eating whole grains daily, such as brown rice or whole-wheat bread, reduces colorectal cancer risk, with the more you eat the lower the risk, finds a new report by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). This is the first time AICR/WCRF research links whole grains independently to lower cancer risk. Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Colorectal Cancer also found that hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats consumed regularly increase the risk of this cancer. There was strong evidence that physical activity protects against colon cancer. “Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers, yet this report demonstrates there is a lot people can do to dramatically lower their risk,” said Edward L. Giovannucci, MD, ScD, lead author of the report and professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. “The findings from this comprehensive report are robust and clear: Diet and lifestyle have a major role in colorectal cancer.” The new report evaluated the scientific research worldwide on how diet, weight and physical activity affect colorectal cancer risk. The report analyzed 99 studies, including data on 29 million people, of whom over a quarter of a million were diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Other factors found to increase colorectal cancer include: Eating high amounts of red meat (above 500 grams cooked weight a week), such as beef or pork Being overweight or obese Consuming two or more daily alcoholic drinks (30 grams of alcohol), such as wine or beer Click here to read the full press...
Scientists Point to One Powerful Cell That Makes or Breaks Your Habits

Scientists Point to One Powerful Cell That Makes or Breaks Your Habits

Some habits are helpful, such as automatically washing your hands before a meal or driving the same route to work every day. They accomplish an important task while freeing up valuable brain space. But other habits — like eating a cookie every day after work — seem to stick around even when the outcomes aren’t so good. Duke University neuroscientists have pinpointed a single type of neuron deep within the brain that serves as a “master controller” of habits. The team found that habit formation boosts the activity of this influential cell, and that shutting it down with a drug is enough to break habits in sugar-seeking mice. Though rare, this cell exerts its control through a web of connections to more populous cells that are known to drive habitual behavior. “This cell is a relatively rare cell but one that is very heavily connected to the main neurons that relay the outgoing message for this brain region,” said Nicole Calakos, an associate professor of neurology and neurobiology at the Duke University Medical Center. “We find that this cell is a master controller of habitual behavior, and it appears to do this by re-orchestrating the message sent by the outgoing neurons.” The findings, published Sept. 5 in eLife, may point towards new treatments for addiction or compulsive behavior in humans. The team got their first glimpse into the neurological underpinnings of habit in a 2016 study that explored how habits can leave enduring marks on the brain. The research was a collaborative effort between Calakos’ lab and Henry Yin, an associate professor in Duke’s department of psychology and neuroscience. Click...
Intermittent Electrical Brain Stimulation Improves Memory

Intermittent Electrical Brain Stimulation Improves Memory

Intermittent electrical stimulation of an area deep inside the brain that degenerates in Alzheimer’s appears to improve working memory, scientists report. Conversely, continuous deep brain stimulation, like the type used for Parkinson’s and currently under study in humans with Alzheimer’s, impairs memory, according to study results in adult non-human primates reported in the journal Current Biology. With intermittent stimulation — currently not used in any application in the brain in patients — the monkeys were able to remember things up to five times longer in a standard test of working memory. Related Articles Brain Stimulation No Better Than Escitalopram for Depression Deep Brain Stimulation Beneficial in Severe Tourette’s Low Levels of Brain Stimulation May Lessen Bulimia Symptoms Deep Brain Stimulation May Improve TBI Symptoms “That takes a monkey from being sort of a middle-of-the-pack performer to the top of the class,” says Dr. David T. Blake, neuroscientist in the Department of Neurology at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. “A monkey who is a poor performer becomes a middle-of-the-pack performer after two to three months of this stimulation.” In the new studies, scientists used the technique of placing hair-thin electrodes into the brain to deliver electricity and increase the activity of the nucleus basalis of Meynert, a small area in the forebrain that is inexplicably degenerated in both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Click here to read the full press...
New Guideline for Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

New Guideline for Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

A new screening guideline from the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (CTFPHC) for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs), which cause approximately 1244 deaths every year in Canada, recommends one-time ultrasonography screening for men aged 65 to 80 years. The guideline is published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) An AAA is a swelling, or aneurysm, of the aorta, the main blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lower part of the body. In Canada, an estimated 20 000 people are diagnosed with an AAA annually. An AAA results from a weakening in a section of the aortic wall in the abdomen, which bulges because of pressure from blood flow. The aneurysm may grow and eventually rupture, causing death from hemorrhage. Risk factors include male sex, smoking, advanced age and a family history of AAA. Recommendations: One-time screening with ultrasonography for AAA for men aged 65 to 80. (Weak recommendation; moderate quality of evidence) Not screening men older than 80 years of age for AAA. (Weak recommendation; low quality of evidence) Not screening women for AAA. (Strong recommendation; very low quality of evidence) Click here to read the full press...
Discovery of Chromosome Motor Supports DNA Loop Extrusion

Discovery of Chromosome Motor Supports DNA Loop Extrusion

It is one of the great mysteries in biology: how does a cell neatly distribute its replicated DNA between two daughter cells? For more than a century, we have known that DNA in the cell is comparable to a plate of spaghetti: a big jumble of intermingled strands. If a human cell wants to divide, it has to pack two metres of DNA into tidy little packages: chromosomes. This packing occurs using proteins called condensin, but how? When it comes to this question, scientists are split into two camps: the first argues that the protein works like a hook, randomly grasping somewhere in the jumble of DNA and tying it all together. The other camp thinks that the ring-shaped protein pulls the DNA inwards to create a loop. With an article published last week in Science, researchers from TU Delft, Heidelberg and Columbia University give the ‘loop-extrustion camp’ a significant boost: they demonstrate that condensin does indeed have the putative ‘motor power’ on board. In their article in Science, the researchers show for the first time that condensin does indeed have a motor function. They positioned DNA molecules that were stretched on a surface and added condensin proteins, each fitted with a light-emitting quantum dot to enable observation. ‘We observed how condensin does indeed translocate along the DNA. This only happened if fuel was present, in this case the molecule ATP — the petrol that powers all processes in a cell’, explains Jorine Eeftens, graduate student at Delft and one of the first authors. ‘The results also show that condensin takes extremely large steps on the DNA, and therefore needs significantly...
A Tiny Device Offers Insights to How Cancer Spreads

A Tiny Device Offers Insights to How Cancer Spreads

As cancer grows, it evolves. Individual cells become more aggressive and break away to flow through the body and spread to distant areas. What if there were a way to find those early aggressors? How are they different from the rest of the cells? And more importantly: Is there a way to stop them before they spread? These questions drove a team of researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and Michigan Engineering to develop a tiny device designed to solve these big questions. “It’s especially important to be able to capture those leader cells and understand their biology — why are they so successful, why are they resistant to traditional chemotherapy and how can we target them selectively?” says study author Sofia Merajver, M.D., Ph.D., scientific director of the Breast Oncology Program at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Microfluidic devices are helping us understand biology that was previously not accessible,” she says. The problem with existing microfluidic devices is that the cells don’t last long within them. Devices typically lend themselves to brief experiments of several days. But the characteristics of cancer cells change over time. Related Articles Blood Test Can Predict Early Lung Cancer Prognosis New Mobile App Can Easily Screen for Pancreatic Cancer By Taking a Selfie Outdoor Nighttime Light Exposure Linked to Breast Cancer Risk Progress Made on Genetic Test for Anal Cancer “A lot of tumor processes like invasion and resistance don’t happen overnight. Our goal was to track the long-term evolution of invasion,” says lead study author Koh Meng Aw Yong, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in Merajver’s lab. “We...
Researchers Closer to Uncovering a New Feature in Heart Failure

Researchers Closer to Uncovering a New Feature in Heart Failure

A team of researchers from Penn Medicine, in collaboration with the University of Connecticut, published their findings today in the Journal of the American Heart Association, building on a methods paper which was published recently in Nature Protocols. The team is the first to have developed a method for measuring the length of telomeres using human heart tissues. “Once we had established the method for measuring the telomeres in heart cells, which was tricky because human cardiac cells are rarely taken from a living person, we acquired heart tissue samples from patients receiving heart transplants and organ donors in order to evaluate telomere length,” said the study’s lead researcher, Foteini Mourkioti, PhD, an assistant professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Cell and Developmental Biology, and co-director of the Musculoskeletal Regeneration Program in the Penn Institute for Regenerative Medicine. “Using samples from the Penn Heart Tissue Biobank meant we were also able to acquire patient data for the samples, so we knew useful information like the patient’s age, sex, and heart function.” Related Articles Risk Assessment Differs for Doctors, Heart Failure Patients New Research Supports Safety of Aspirin in Heart Failure Heart Failure Risk Rises As Weight Increases NT-proBNP Improves Heart Failure Prediction in T2DM Researchers were able to measure the telomeres in the samples of patients who had heart disease and those who did not, and group the findings into categories based on patients’ age. They found that in the samples for healthy people, age did not play a role in telomere length, since the telomeres of both young and old healthy individuals were not affected. However, patients with heart failure had...
#PWChat Recap: The Ins & Outs of Shared Decision Making

#PWChat Recap: The Ins & Outs of Shared Decision Making

The Physician’s Weekly #PWChat series continued with another thoughtful discussion on Wednesday, Sept. 6, which focused on the shared decision making process between doctors and their patients in the ED. It was co-hosted by Marc Probst, MD, and Hemal Kanzaria, MD, and was inspired by their recent article Shared Decision Making in the ED. This TweetChat included the topics: why there are still misconceptions surrounding how and when to use shared decision making; necessary and sufficient factors for determining if a clinical scenario is appropriate for shared decision making; and much more! You can view our upcoming schedule, or read our other #PWChat recaps here. Below are the highlights from the chat. You can read the full transcript here.   Question 1 Q1: Why are there still misconceptions surrounding how & when to use #SharedDecisionMaking? What are some examples?#pwchat — Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) September 7, 2017 A1: Misconcept#1 SDM = informed consent. SDM is based on ethical construct. Informed consent is a legal construct. #PWChat — Hemal Kanzaria (@hkanzaria) September 7, 2017 A1: Misconcept#2 Goal of SDM is to decrease resource use. Not true. Goal of SDM is patient-centered care. — Hemal Kanzaria (@hkanzaria) September 7, 2017 A1: Misconcept#3 SDM shifts decision to pt. Rather, SDM invites collaborative decisionmaking to extent patient is comfortable. #PWChat — Hemal Kanzaria (@hkanzaria) September 7, 2017 A1: I think the main misconception is that SDM is simply communicating well with patients. In fact, it’s much more than that. #PWChat — Marc A. Probst (@probstMD) September 7, 2017 A1: Also, I hear clinicians say that they have “used” SDM to get a patient to follow some course of action…but...
Exercising During Pregnancy is Good for Mother, Baby

Exercising During Pregnancy is Good for Mother, Baby

Spanish researchers have clarified doubts over the physical activity recommended during pregnancy. Their work highlights how exercise should be taken not only by healthy, previously active women, but that it is also a good time to adopt a healthy lifestyle. There are clear advantages for both the mother and baby. Excessive weight gain, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, caesarean section, lower back pain and urinary incontinence are some of the risks of leading an unhealthy lifestyle during pregnancy. A study carried out by experts from Camilo José Cela University (UCJC), published in the Journal of American Medicine Association (JAMA), defines the physical exercise patterns during pregnancy which have shown major physiological benefits for both mother and baby. Related Articles Olympic Panel Says Strenuous Exercise Safe During Pregnancy Antidepressants Prescribed During Pregnancy Show Heightened Risk of Birth Defects Supervised Exercise Program Doesn’t Cut GDM Recurrence “The percentage of women who meet the recommendations for exercise during pregnancy is very low,” says María Perales, the lead author of the study and a researcher from the department of Physical Activity and Sports Science. “This is due in part to uncertainty about what type of exercise should be recommended and which should be avoided.” However, the new study confirms that there is strong scientific evidence maintaining that moderate exercise during pregnancy is safe and beneficial for both mother and baby. Among the confirmed benefits are: the prevention of excessive weight gain (a key factor in the intergenerational transmission of obesity) and a lower risk of fetal macrosomia (babies who are born weighing more than 4 kilograms), pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, caesarean section, lower back pain, pelvic...
Study Reveals Diabetes and Heart Disease Linked By Genes

Study Reveals Diabetes and Heart Disease Linked By Genes

Examining genome sequence information for more than 250,000 people, the researchers first uncovered 16 new diabetes genetic risk factors, and one new CHD genetic risk factor; hence providing novel insights about the mechanisms of the two diseases. They then showed that most of the sites on the genome known to be associated with higher diabetes risk are also associated with higher CHD risk. For eight of these sites, the researchers were able to identify a specific gene variant that influences risk for both diseases. The shared genetic risk factors affect biological pathways including immunity, cell proliferation, and heart development. The findings add to the basic scientific understanding of both these major diseases and point to potential targets for future drugs. “Identifying these gene variants linked to both type 2 diabetes and CHD risk in principle opens up opportunities to lower the risk of both outcomes with a single drug,” said study co-senior author Danish Saleheen, PhD, an assistant professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology. “From a drug development perspective, it would make sense to focus on those pathways that are most strongly linked to both diseases,” Saleheen said. Related Articles New Tool Identifies Diabetes Patients at Risk for Low Blood Sugar Emergencies Moderate Drinking May Be Protective Against Diabetes New Appropriate Use Criteria Issued for Valvular Heart Disease CDC: Not All Newborns Getting Heart Disease, Hearing Loss Tests The researchers started by examining sets of genome data on more than 250,000 people, of South Asian, East Asian or European descent. In this large, multi-ethnic sample they were able to confirm most of the known diabetes “risk loci” — sites on...
Scientists Discover Brain Area Which Can Be Targeted for Patients with Schizophrenia

Scientists Discover Brain Area Which Can Be Targeted for Patients with Schizophrenia

For the first time, scientists have precisely identified and targeted an area of the brain which is involved in “hearing voices,” experienced by many patients with schizophrenia. They have been able to show in a controlled trial that targeting this area with magnetic pulses can improve the condition in some patients. This early clinical work is presented at the ECNP conference in Paris on Tuesday 5th September, with later publication in Schizophrenia Bulletin*. “This is the first controlled trial to precisely determine an anatomically defined brain area where high frequency magnetic pulses can improve the hearing of voices,” said lead researcher, Professor Sonia Dollfus (University of Caen, CHU, France). Related Articles Relapse Down With Clozapine, Injectables in Schizophrenia Patients With Schizophrenia More Susceptible to Infections Blood Test Promising for ID of Early Depression, Schizophrenia Exenatide Does Not Promote Weight Loss in Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is a serious long-term mental health problem. People with schizophrenia experience a range of symptoms, which may include delusions, muddled thoughts and hallucinations. One of the best-known is hearing voices, also known as Auditory Verbal Hallucination (AVH), which around 70% of people with schizophrenia experience at some point. These voices, may be ‘heard’ as having a variety of different characteristics, for example as internal or external, friendly or threatening, they may be continuously present or present only occasionally, and so on. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has been suggested as a possible way of treating the hearing of voices in schizophrenia. TMS uses magnetic pulses to the brain, and has been shown to be effective in several psychiatric conditions. However, there is a lack of controlled trials...
Drug May Curb Female Infertility from Cancer Treatments

Drug May Curb Female Infertility from Cancer Treatments

An existing drug may one day protect premenopausal women from life-altering infertility that commonly follows cancer treatments, according to a new study. Women who are treated for cancer with radiation or certain chemotherapy drugs are commonly rendered sterile. According to a 2006 study from Weill Cornell Medicine, nearly 40 percent of all female breast cancer survivors experience premature ovarian failure, in which they lose normal function of their ovaries and often become infertile. Women are born with a lifetime reserve of oocytes, or immature eggs, but those oocytes are among the most sensitive cells in the body and may be wiped out by such cancer treatments. Related Articles Obscure herpes virus found in women with unexplained infertility Conference Highlights: ACOG 2017 Targeting lysyl oxidase reduces peritoneal fibrosis The current study, published Aug. 1 in the journal Genetics, was led by John Schimenti, Cornell’s James Law Professor of Genetics in the Departments of Biomedical Sciences and Molecular Biology and Genetics. It builds on his 2014 research that identified a so-called checkpoint protein (CHK2) that becomes activated when oocytes are damaged by radiation. CHK2 functions in a pathway that eliminates oocytes with DNA damage, a natural function to protect against giving birth to offspring bearing new mutations. When the researchers irradiated mice lacking the CHK2 gene, the oocytes survived, eventually repaired the DNA damage, and the mice gave birth to healthy pups. The new study explored whether the checkpoint 2 pathway could be chemically inhibited. Click here to read the full press...
Study in Early Stage Breast Cancer Shows That Even Small Tumors Can Be Aggressive

Study in Early Stage Breast Cancer Shows That Even Small Tumors Can Be Aggressive

Even small tumours can be aggressive, according to a study in patients with early stage breast cancer that will be presented at the ESMO 2017 Congress in Madrid.  Researchers found that nearly one in four small tumours were aggressive and patients benefited from chemotherapy. Aggressive tumours could be identified by a 70-gene signature. “Our results challenge the assumption that all small tumours are less serious and do not need adjuvant chemotherapy,” said lead author Dr Konstantinos Tryfonidis, a researcher at the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), Brussels, Belgium. The MINDACT study is managed and sponsored by the EORTC in collaboration with the Breast International Group (BIG) and included 6,693 women with early stage breast cancer (lymph node negative or 1-3 lymph node positive).  As previously reported, MINDACT showed that around 46% of patients who were at high clinical risk for recurrence, defined using Adjuvant! might not require chemotherapy. (3) These women had a low genomic risk for recurrence according to MammaPrint, a genomic signature that assists in predicting clinical outcomes in women with early stage breast cancer. Related Articles Options Available for Estrogen Depletion After Breast Cancer Outdoor Nighttime Light Exposure Linked to Breast Cancer Risk One-Quarter With Early Breast Cancer Strongly Considers CPM The sub analysis presented at ESMO 2017 Congress included the 826 patients in MINDACT with a primary tumour size of less than 1 cm (pT1abpN0). Clinical and genomic risks were assessed and 196 patients (24%) were found to be at clinical low risk and genomic high risk. These patients were randomised to receive, or not receive, chemotherapy. The researchers found that...
Mysterious Protein-Folding Molecule Could Trigger Metabolic Disorders

Mysterious Protein-Folding Molecule Could Trigger Metabolic Disorders

The cell’s response to unfolded or misfolded proteins could be a cause, rather than a consequence, of metabolic disorders, report researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in an article published online ahead of print on September 4, 2017 by Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. The researchers identified a little-known molecule as the trigger for this response. There are links between protein-folding problems at the cellular level and a range of metabolic disorders, though it is unclear if those problems are causes or manifestations of such disorders. This study provides evidence that problems with protein folding contribute to certain metabolic disorders, according to Zihai Li, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center and principal investigator on the project. Feng Hong, M.D., Ph.D., in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, is lead author on the paper. Related: FDA Approves Newborn Screening Tests for Metabolic Disorders   The unfolded protein response in the cell plays important roles in aging and in many diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disease,” says Li. “Our study has uncovered a novel mechanism that triggers this response.” When improperly folded molecules are encountered in cells, the unfolded protein response (UPR) is activated within the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The ER is in charge of molecular quality control, making sure proteins, lipids and other molecules are folded properly before the cell attempts to use them for metabolic processes. Here, a master protein called grp78 is in contact with three main signaling hubs that make up the control center of the UPR. When an unfolded or misfolded protein is...
Estrogen May Stop Infection-Induced Brain Inflammation

Estrogen May Stop Infection-Induced Brain Inflammation

The chemical best-known as a female reproductive hormone — estrogen — could help fight off neurodegenerative conditions and diseases in the future. Now, new research by American University neuroscience Professor Colin Saldanha shows that estrogen synthesis, a process naturally occurring in the brains of zebra finches, may also fight off neuroinflammation caused by infection that occurs elsewhere in the body. The finding reveals clues about the interplay between the body’s neuroendocrine and immune systems. While inflammation is a normal part of immune response, in the brain, too much inflammation can cause degenerative effects, or in the worst-case scenario, death. Humans and other mammals produce estrogen in the brain, but songbirds have evolved a rapid way to harness estrogen to regulate inflammation following trauma to the brain. Saldanha wanted to take his experiment on estrogen in the songbird brain and see if the birds responded similarly when faced with everyday infections that pose a threat, such as flu. Indeed, the experiment revealed that estrogen synthesis in the brain increased in response to infection elsewhere in the body. So why does the brain start making a sex hormone in response to a sickness or bacterial infection? “Possibly to protect vulnerable brain circuits, and to keep the brain from being overtaken by infection or chronic inflammation,” Saldanha said. “Ask any physician. Infections, once they get in the brain, are difficult to control. The estrogen synthesis could be in response to protect neural circuits, of any kind, from damage an infection could wield if it travels to the brain.” In the experiment, the findings of which published today in the open-access journal Scientific Reports,...
#PWChat Recap – Convincing Antivaxxers: Winning the Vaccine Argument With Patients

#PWChat Recap – Convincing Antivaxxers: Winning the Vaccine Argument With Patients

The Physician’s Weekly #PWChat series continued with another informative discussion on Wednesday, Aug. 30, focusing on how to handle antivaxxers in your practice. Topics discussed included the current status of the antivaxxer movement in the United States; why, despite evidence behind the safety & efficacy of vaccines, there are still antivaxxers; the most important things for clinicians to know about antivaxxers as a whole, and more. It was co-hosted by Dr. Linda Girgis, MD, FAAFP. You can view our upcoming schedule, or read our other #PWChat recaps here. Below are the highlights from the chat. You can read the full transcript here.   Question 1 Q1: What do we know about the #antivaxxer movement in the US?#PWChat — Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) August 31, 2017 A1. The #antivaxxer movement has gained some strong support in recent years. #PWchat https://t.co/nBvW50o9QZ — Linda Girgis, MD (@DrLindaMD) August 31, 2017 Question 2 Q2: Why, despite so much evidence behind the safety & efficacy of vaccines, are there still #antivaxxers?#PWChat — Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) August 31, 2017 A2. There is a lot of fake science out there and many celebrities supporting it. #PWchat https://t.co/lCdlppSCXt — Linda Girgis, MD (@DrLindaMD) August 31, 2017 Q2 VERY few antivaxers in places where the diseases are still common. Cultural memory still fresh and raw #PWChat — Matthew Loxton (@mloxton) August 31, 2017 Question 3 Q3: What are the most important things for clinicians to know about #antivaxxers as a whole?#PWChat — Physician’s Weekly (@physicianswkly) August 31, 2017 A3. It is hard to convince them of the true scientific facts. #PWchat — Linda Girgis, MD (@DrLindaMD) August 31, 2017 T3 Anti-vacc is a belief,...
Blood Test Can Predict Early Lung Cancer Prognosis

Blood Test Can Predict Early Lung Cancer Prognosis

Cancer cells obtained from a blood test may be able to predict how early-stage lung cancer patients will fare, a team from the University of Michigan has shown. This information could be used to determine which patients are most likely to benefit from additional therapies to head off the spread of the cancer to other areas of the body. With a new single cell analysis service in U-M’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, the researchers are making the necessary technology more widely available in the university system. They hope these “liquid biopsies” will be offered to patients within the next five years. Circulating tumor cells, representing only about one in a billion cells in the bloodstream, are largely untapped sources of information about tumors, but new methods are bringing their diagnostic value ever closer to patient care. Related Articles Vitamin B6, B12 Supplements May Up Risk of Lung Cancer in Men Total, Saturated Fat Linked to Increased Risk of Lung Cancer ATS: Cancer-Related Suicide Risk Highest for Lung Cancer Patients Sunitha Nagrath, U-M professor of chemical engineering who designs devices that can capture these rare cells, led a team including oncologists and surgeons to explore how cancer cells escape tumors and travel through the body in the bloodstream. This is how metastases, or satellite tumors elsewhere in the body, are thought to form. “The tumors were constantly shedding cells even when they were small — that’s one thing we learned,” Nagrath said. “Although we define the tumors as early stage, already they are disseminating cells in the body.” Early-stage lung cancer patients, whose tumors may only measure a few millimeters in...
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