Jumat, 10 April 2009

Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital may have found a simple test that spots Alzheimeir’s disease before symptoms become obvious.

To date, no sure test exists for diagnosing the disease: Alzheimeir’s disease can be confirmed only at autopsy. Dr. Zaven Khachaturian, director of the Office of Alzheimeir’s Disease Research at the National Institute on Aging, calls the possibility of such a test “an exciting development”. However, experts caution that Harvard team’s results with 58 volunteers must be duplicated in larger studies.


According to a recent study, Boston University Medical Center researchers have found that individuals who had 50 percent of their hair turn gray by age 40 were four times more likely to develop osteoporoses. While more studies are needed to confirm these findings, researchers speculate that the link between the conditions may be related to genes that control premature graying and bone mass.

Says chief of the department of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism Dr. Michael F. Holick:”The association between premature graying and osteoporosis provides people with either premature graying or a family history of it with an opportunity to seek advice from the doctor on how to prevent the ravages of osteoporosis.


Every year about 5000 Americans die of asthma-related complications. Looking into difference between those who survive and those who die, Japanese doctors found that people with asthma have reduced capacity to sense when they’re in danger.

Most asthma suffers automatically compensate for low oxygen levels in the blood (due to spasm of the airways) by breathing more deeply and more rapidly, but those who have near-fatal attacks fail to do so. They don’t recognize that they were in trouble until almost too late; thus they delay taking medication and seeking medical attention.

Severe asthmatics should know how to monitor their daily exhalation rate with peak-flow meters. If the rate falls by more than 20 percents of their personal best, they should know at what point to take extra medicine, to call the doctor or go straight to the hospital. They should also consider wearing a Medic Alert bracelet identifying their problem.


  1. Lumpectomy. New data from breast cancer studies show that a woman who discovers the disease early and chooses a lumpectomy has as good survival chance as a woman opting for mastectomy. The information update was reported at a U.S. National Cancer Institute conference on the state of breast-cancer treatment. Last spring, falsified reports by a doctor participating in a large trial evaluating lumpectomy’s effectiveness raised questions about the study’s findings: lumpectomy, with follow-up radiation, produced survival rates as good as the more drastic mastectomy. Researchers said that conclusion is supported by reports from worldwide trial and from an audit of original lumpectomy trial. Says Dr. William Wood of Atlanta’s Emory University School of Medicine: “Lumpectomy’s effectiveness appears to stand on the basis of these data”.
  2. Gene Flaw in Prostate Cancer. Johns Hopkins University researchers have found what appears to be most common genetic defect linked to prostate cancer. In nearly all of 91 prostate cancers studied, the defect apparently blocked the production of an enzyme that protects against environmental carcinogens. Earlier studies have shown that high level production of protective enzyme is stimulated by consumption of cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and broccoli. “We can’t advice people to just eat Brussels sprouts,” adds Nelsons, but these vegetables are a clue we’ll chase after aggressively”.


Polycystic kidney disease affects hundreds of thousands of people. Victims are born with thousands of microscopic cysts, the growths accumulate fluid and enlarge over three to five decades, and they can eventually destroy the kidney. In the last stages, patients need dialysis and kidney transplants. So far, no known treatment has stopped the disease’s progression. But now researchers, working with mice having naturally occurring form of the disease, have shown that the anti-cancer drug taxol halts the loss of renal function. Compared with untreated mice that died four to five weeks after birth, those that received taxol lived several months.

Though taxol is not yet practical for treating humans with disease, Dr. Jared Grantham, nephrologists at the University of Kansas Medical Center, says, “This is the first time a medication given to an animal with polycystic kidney disease has stopped the codition.

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