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Is saturated fat good for health?

Sat, 12/03/2016 - 09:37

Washington D. C [US], Dec. 3 : A recent diet intervention study (FATFUNC) raises questions regarding the validity of a diet hypothesis that has dominated for more than half a century: that dietary fat and particularly saturated fat is unhealthy for most people.

The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found strikingly similar health effects of diets based on either lowly processed carbohydrates or fats.

In the randomized controlled trial, 38 men with abdominal obesity followed a dietary pattern high in either carbohydrates or fat, of which about half was saturated.

Fat mass in the abdominal region, liver and heart was measured with accurate analyses, along with a number of key risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

"The very high intake of total and saturated fat did not increase the calculated risk of cardiovascular diseases," said researcher Ottar Nygard.

Adding, "Participants on the very-high-fat diet also had substantial improvements in several important cardiometabolic risk factors, such as ectopic fat storage, blood pressure, blood lipids (triglycerides), insulin and blood sugar."

Both groups had similar intakes of energy, proteins, polyunsaturated fatty acids, the food types were the same and varied mainly in quantity, and intake of added sugar was minimized.

"We here looked at effects of total and saturated fat in the context of a healthy diet rich in fresh, lowly processed and nutritious foods, including high amounts of vegetables and rice instead of flour-based products," said expert Vivian Veum.

Adding, "The fat sources were also lowly processed, mainly butter, cream and cold-pressed oils."

Total energy intake was within the normal range. Even the participants who increased their energy intake during the study showed substantial reductions in fat stores and disease risk.

"Our findings indicate that the overriding principle of a healthy diet is not the quantity of fat or carbohydrates, but the quality of the foods we eat," said another researcher Johnny Laupsa-Borge.

Saturated fat has been thought to promote cardiovascular diseases by raising the "bad" LDL cholesterol in the blood.

But even with a higher fat intake in the FATFUNC study compared to most comparable studies, the authors found no significant increase in LDL cholesterol.

Rather, the good cholesterol increased only on the very-high-fat diet.

"These results indicate that most healthy people probably tolerate a high intake of saturated fat well, as long as the fat quality is good and total energy intake is not too high. It may even be healthy," said Ottar Nygard.

Adding, "Future studies should examine which people or patients may need to limit their intake of saturated fat," assistant professor Simon Nitter Dankel points out, who led the study together with the director of the laboratory clinics, professor Gunnar Mellgren, at Haukeland university hospital in Bergen, Norway."

"But the alleged health risks of eating good-quality fats have been greatly exaggerated. It may be more important for public health to encourage reductions in processed flour-based products, highly processed fats and foods with added sugar," he concluded. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonUnited StatesGeneral: HealthResearch

Scientists develop new device to detect complicated prostate cancer

Sat, 12/03/2016 - 09:09

Washington D.C [US], Dec. 3 : A recent research demonstrates that a novel imaging agent can quickly and accurately detect metastasis of prostate cancer, even in areas where detection has previously been difficult.

Published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, the Phase 1 dose-escalation study of Zr-89-desferrioxamine-IAB2M (Zr-89-Df-IAB2M), an anti-PSMA (prostate-specific membrane antigen) minibody, in patients with metastatic prostate cancer shows its effectiveness in targeting both bone and soft tissue lesions.

"This agent is imaged faster than other PSMA-targeting imaging antibodies due to its small size and has been shown to be safe for patients," explained lead researcher Neeta Pandit-Taskar.

Adding, "The radiotracer combines a small amount of the radioactive material zirconium-89 with a fragment of an antibody called a minibody. This minibody has anti-PSMA qualities and attaches to overexpression of the enzyme on the exterior of prostate cancer cells, wherever they may have traveled in the body. Particles emitted from the site are then detected by positron emission tomography (PET). The resulting scan highlights 'hot spots' of PSMA overexpression."

She further said, "Using this agent, we can detect the prostate cancer cells that have metastasized to bone--one of the most difficult areas to evaluate using standard methods."

For the study, 18 patients were imaged with the new agent using PET/CT as well as a variety of conventional imaging modalities, including computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), molecular bone scan (SI), and PET with fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG-PET).

Suspected disease sites were then selected and biopsied.

Both skeletal and nodal lesions were detected with Zr-89-Df-IAB2M; scans were positive in 17 of the 18 patients, with bone lesions targeted in 9 and soft tissue disease seen in 14.

In comparison, bone scans with more traditional agents (Tc-99m-methylene diphosphonate and FDG) were positive for bone lesions in 9 and 6 patients, respectively; for nodal/soft tissue disease, CT and FDG scans were positive in 14 and 10 patients, respectively.

In two patients, a single site of disease per patient was identified only by the minibody. In total, Zr-89-Df-IAB2M imaging detected 147 bone and 82 soft-tissue or nodal lesions.

"Results of imaging with this Zr-89 radiolabeled minibody have shown that we are able to detect more disease sites in patients than with conventional imaging," Pandit-Taskar stated.

Adding, "We hope that with further development this technology will help us in earlier and more accurate assessment of disease and assist in clinical decision-making."

"With further validation, this agent could potentially be used for targeted biopsies, which could lead to more appropriate, timely treatment for prostate cancer patients. It may also have potential use in targeted radiotherapy," she pointed out. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonUnited StatesGeneral: Health NewsResearch

Hearing loss caused by chemotherapy can now be prevented

Sat, 12/03/2016 - 09:02

Washington D. C. [USA], Dec. 3 : In first of its kind study, researchers have developed a new treatment that can prevent chemotherapy-induced hearing loss to about half in kids and adolescents with cancer.

The results of the study have been published in Lancet Oncology.

The study found that the greatest benefit was seen in children younger than 5 years of age, who are most susceptible to, and also most affected by, cisplatin-induced hearing loss.

Investigators from Children's Hospital Los Angeles and 37 other Children's Oncology Group hospitals in the U. S. and Canada have determined that sodium thiosulfate prevents cisplatin-induced hearing loss in children and adolescents with cancer.

Cisplatin is a chemotherapy medication widely used to treat a variety of cancers in both adults and children.

"This federally-funded, cooperative group study is the first to show that cisplatin-induced hearing loss can be reduced by about half in children and adolescents being treated for cancer," said lead author David R. Freyer at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

"It is an important step toward developing a safe and effective strategy that will greatly improve quality of life for cancer survivors," he added.

Although effective, cisplatin frequently causes permanent hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears), resulting in functional disability for patients who receive it.

For young children in particular, hearing loss is especially serious because it results in impaired language development, learning and social interactions.

In ACCL0431, the randomized, controlled, phase 3 study, 125 eligible participants between the ages of one to 18 years with newly-diagnosed cancer were enrolled over a four year period. The cancer diagnoses were treated with cisplatin.

The participants received sodium thiosulfate or observation (control) during their chemotherapy. Their hearing was assessed at baseline, following completion of the chemotherapy regimen and one year later.

They found a significant reduction in the incidence of hearing loss in participants who were treated with cisplatin and sodium thiosulfate by 29 percent compared to those who received cisplatin alone were 56 percent.

Overall, sodium thiosulfate was tolerated well without any serious adverse events. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonUnited StatesGeneral: Health NewsResearch

New study throws light on how brain stimulation affects memory reactivation

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 09:57

Washington D. C [US], Dec. 2 : A recent study conducted at the University of Notre Dame examined the fundamental problem an individual's brain has to solve, that is, keeping information in mind or active, so the brain can act accordingly.

The common theory is that the information is kept in mind by neurons related to the information actively firing throughout a delay period.

However, in the new paper published in Science, the researchers give weight to the synaptic theory, a less well-known and tested model.

The synaptic theory suggests that information can be retained for short periods of time by specific changes in the links or weights, between neurons.

Lead researcher Nathan Rose said this research advances the potential to understand a variety of higher-order cognitive functions including not only working memory but also perception, attention and long-term memory.

Eventually, this research could lay the groundwork for the potential to use noninvasive brain stimulation techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, to reactivate and potentially strengthen latent memories.

The team is currently working on extending these results to see how they relate to long-term memory.

Rose and his colleagues used a series of noninvasive procedures on healthy young adults to test the idea that certain information is retained in "activity-silent" neural mechanisms, an area of study previously tested largely on only mathematical modeling or rodents.

Participants were hooked up to neural imaging machines that allow researchers to "see" what the brain is thinking about by capturing which areas of the brain are active at any given time, since different areas of the brain correspond to different thoughts.

They were given two items to keep in mind throughout the experiment --for example, a word and a face.

Each of these items activate different areas in the brain, making it easier for the researchers to identify which a person is thinking about.

At first, Rose's team saw neural evidence for the active representation of both items.

"Then, when we cued people about the item that was tested first, evidence for the cued item, or the attended memory item that was still in the focus of attention, remained elevated, but the neural evidence for the uncued item dropped all the way back to baseline levels of activation, as if the item had been forgotten," said Rose.

In half of the tests, Rose's team tested participants again on the second, uncued item - called the unattended memory item - to find out if the item was still in working memory, despite looking as if it had been forgotten.

When the researchers cued participants to switch to thinking about the initially uncued item, "people accurately and rapidly did so," said Rose.

The researchers also saw a corresponding return of neural evidence for the active representation of the initially uncued item.

This indicated that despite looking as if the second, unattended item had been forgotten, it remained in working memory.

"The unattended memory item seems to be represented without neural evidence of an active representation, but it's still there, somehow," Rose said.

In a second round of experiments, the team added TMS, the noninvasive brain stimulation, to the testing for the unattended memory item.

The TMS provided a painless jolt of energy to specific areas of the brain to see how it affected neural activity, looking for signs of the unattended memory item resurfacing.

"Although the TMS activates a highly specific part of the brain, it is a relatively nonspecific form of information that is applied to the network. It's just a burst of energy that goes through the network, but when it's filtered through this potentiated network, the output of the neural activity that we're recording appears structured, as if that information has suddenly been reactivated," Rose said.

Adding, "We're using this brain stimulation to reactivate a specific memory."

The researchers found that after the TMS is applied to the part of the brain where information about the unattended memory item is processed, the neural signals fired back up in the exact form of the forgotten item, going from baseline back to the level of neural activity for the word or face that the participant was keeping in mind.

The team dubbed this reactivation of memory using TMS the "Frankenstein effect," since the neural signals for the secondary item went from baseline activity - looking like it was forgotten - back to full activity.

In further testing, the team discovered that once participants knew they wouldn't have to remember the unattended item any longer in the tests, the memory items truly were dropped from their working memory.

"Once the item is no longer relevant on the trial, we don't see the same reactivation effect," Rose said.

Adding, "So that means this is really a dynamic maintenance mechanism that is actually under cognitive control. This is a strategic process. This is a more dynamic process than we had anticipated." (ANI)

Region: WashingtonUnited StatesGeneral: Health

New guidelines suggest overweight children should be screened for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 08:58

Washington D. C [US], Dec. 2 : According to a recent set of guidelines published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, a screening test for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is recommended for all obese children aged nine to eleven years.

The new guidelines, endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, also outline recommendations for diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care of children and adolescents with NAFLD, a serious condition that may have lifelong health consequences.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease refers to a range of conditions in which fatty deposits occur in the liver.

It can progress to a more severe form, called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), with inflammation and/or scarring of the liver.

"NAFLD has rapidly evolved into the most common liver disease seen in the pediatric population and is a management challenge for the general pediatric practitioners, subspecialists, and health systems," said Miriam B. Vos, the lead author of the study.

Studies suggest that NAFLD may be present in 0.7 percent of two- to four-year-olds, and up to 38 percent of obese children and adolescents.

The disease is commonly associated with other obesity-related conditions: diabetes and sleep apnea.

While the long-term health impact of NAFLD remains unclear, affected children may be at increased risk for end-stage liver disease, type 2 diabetes, strokes, heart attacks, and liver cancer later in life. In adults, NAFLD has recently become the most common reason for liver transplant.

The Expert Committee performed a comprehensive research review to make evidence-based recommendations for management of pediatric NAFLD. Key recommendations include:

-Screening: The guidelines recommend screening for NAFLD in all obese children between age nine and eleven, and in children with certain risk factors.

Screening can be performed using a simple liver enzyme test (alanine aminotransferase, or ALT).

-Diagnosis: Diagnosis of NAFLD requires further tests to determine whether fat deposits (steatosis) are present and to assess other possible causes.

Testing may include obtaining a sample of liver tissue (biopsy) to check for more advanced disease (NASH or liver scarring).

-Treatment: Lifestyle changes--improving diet and increasing physical activity--are the first steps in treatment for NAFLD.

Weight loss may reduce fatty deposits in the liver. No current medications or supplements are of proven benefit for NAFLD.

Weight loss surgery (bariatric surgery) may be considered for some adolescents with severe obesity and related health problems.

-Long-term care: Recommendations for ongoing care include assessment of other obesity-related diseases and management of cardiovascular risk factors; avoidance of potential liver toxins, including binge drinking and being alert for possible psychosocial issues in children living with NAFLD.

The Expert Committee highlights important areas for further research, emphasizing the need for high-quality pediatric studies of strategies for prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonUnited StatesGeneral: Health

GVK BIO announces launch of GMP compliant analytical services laboratory

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 08:02

Washington D. C [USA], Dec. 2 : In a recent study, scientists from The University of Texas invented a new device that could revolutionize the delivery of medicine to treat cancer as well as a host of other diseases and ailments.

Led by Lyle Hood, the study was published in the Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology.

"The problem with most drug-delivery systems is that you have a specific minimum dosage of medicine that you need to take for it to be effective," Hood said.

Adding, "There's also a limit to how much of the drug can be present in your system so that it doesn't make you sick."

As a result of these limitations, a person, who needs frequent doses of a specific medicine is required to take a pill every day or visit a doctor for injections.

Hood's creation negates the need for either of these approaches, because it's a tiny implantable drug delivery system.

"It's an implantable capsule, filled with medicinal fluid that uses about 5000 nanochannels to regulate the rate of release of the medicine. This way, we have the proper amount of drugs in a person's system to be effective, but not so much that they'll harm that person," Hood explained.

The capsule can deliver medicinal doses for several days or a few weeks.

According to researchers, it can be used for any kind of ailment that needs a localized delivery over several days or a few weeks.

This makes it especially tailored for treating cancer, while a larger version of the device can treat diseases like HIV for up to a year.

"In HIV treatment, you can bombard the virus with drugs to the point that that person is no longer infectious and shows no symptoms," Hood said.

Adding, "The danger is that if that person stops taking their drugs, the amount of medicine in his or her system drops below the effective dose and the virus is able to become resistant to the treatments."

The capsule, however, could provide a constant delivery of the HIV-battling drugs to prevent such an outcome.

Hood noted it can also be used to deliver cortisone to damaged joints to avoid painful, frequent injections, and possibly even to pursue immunotherapy treatments for cancer patients.

"The idea behind immunotherapy is to deliver a cocktail of immune drugs to call attention to the cancer in a person's body, so the immune system will be inspired to get rid of the cancer itself," he said.

The current prototype of the device is permanent and injected under the skin but researchers are now working to collaborate on 3-D printing technology to make a new, fully biodegradable iteration of the device that could potentially be swallowed. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonUnited StatesGeneral: Health

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