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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:09 am 
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US woman survives 45 minutes with no pulse

Boca Raton, Florida: A US mother is home and tending her new baby less than a month after surviving without a pulse for 45 minutes following complications from a routine caesarean operation.

A spokesman for Boca Raton Regional Hospital said a team of medical workers spent three hours attempting to revive the woman after a rare amniotic fluid embolism.

Spokesman Thomas Chakurda said the doctors were preparing to pronounce her death when a blip on a monitor indicated a heartbeat. Despite going 45 minutes without a pulse, she suffered no brain damage during the September 23 ordeal.

"She essentially spontaneously resuscitated when we were about to call the time of death," Mr Chakurda said.

Doctors had called family members into the operating room and told them there was nothing more they could do for Ruby Graupera-Cassimiro, 40.

Ms Graupera-Cassimiro gave birth to a healthy daughter before amniotic fluid entered her bloodstream and heart and created a vacuum, stopping circulation. The condition is often fatal.

Mr Chakurda said the woman's survival was a story of two miracles: her resuscitation and the fact she survived without serious brain damage.

Medical workers used shock paddles and chest compressions throughout the emergency to try to restore heart beat and circulation, Mr Chakurda said.

"Today, she is the picture of health," he said.

Doctors had no immediate explanation for her survival, Mr Chakurda said, calling her case one of "divine providence".

http://www.smh.com.au/world/us-woman-su ... 1jhso.html


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:43 pm 
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Retesting Breast Cancer Axioms

American women face conflicting advice about whether to be screened for breast cancer, at what age and how often. The decisions they make are often more strongly influenced by fear or a friend’s experience than by a thorough understanding of the benefits and risks of mammography.

In 2009, the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommended that women 50 to 74 be screened with mammography every two years and that biennial screening of women younger than 50 be considered case by case. There is no good evidence on whether women older than 75 should be screened, the task force said.

Yet, screening rates have not declined. Under the Affordable Care Act, free screening mammography is available to all women every one to two years.

But is this really free, in the fullest sense of the word? Many experts cite hidden costs — financial, medical and emotional.

Before deciding to have a mammogram — every year, every two years, starting at 40 or 50, or not at all — you should consider the possible risks and whether they are outweighed by the expected benefits. Full disclosure: Fifteen years ago, a sonogram revealed an early invasive cancer in my left breast. The cancer was not seen on the mammogram, but had I not gone for one, that sonogram would not have been done to see why I had pain in my breast.

There is no way to know whether my cancer would have disappeared or would have eventually claimed my life, but once I knew it was there, a decision to have it removed was inescapable.

Despite the controversy about annual mammograms, I still advocate them. But it behooves every woman to be aware of the arguments for and against annual screening. Too few are equipped to evaluate what Dr. Lisa Rosenbaum, a national correspondent for The New England Journal of Medicine, has called “considerable uncertainty and complex trade-offs.”

Although expert groups have issued guidelines based on reviews of the scientific evidence, disagreements among them persist, the result of differing professional perspectives, financial concerns and assessments of the medical consequences.

Despite the task force guideline, the American Cancer Society, the American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging continue to recommend yearly mammograms starting at 40 for women at average risk for breast cancer.

The college maintains that screening is largely responsible for the 30 percent decline in the breast cancer death rate since 1990, though advances in treatment have certainly played a role. But a recent review of the available evidence by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston suggested that regular screening accounted for only a 19 percent reduction overall in breast cancer mortality.

So what are the downsides of regular screening? A false-positive result — a suspicious image on mammography that turns out to be nothing — is a major one.

If a 50-year-old woman is screened annually for a decade, she has a 50 percent chance of receiving a false-positive diagnosis somewhere along the way, according to Dr. H. Gilbert Welch and Honor J. Passow of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

The woman receiving a false-positive diagnosis may need only a repeat examination, which may show the initial result to have been wrong. But if that, too, looks suspicious, a biopsy must be done, which happens to 2 percent of women screened. The lesion might turn out to be benign; still, the patient has endured considerable anxiety, inconvenience and expense.

And what if the biopsy reveals a malignancy? Then the patient faces another possible consequence of screening: overtreatment.

There are lingering questions about whether every cancer detected really warrants treatment and how extensive the treatment should be. Some cancers don’t progress, some may even disappear on their own, and others may grow so slowly they would not become a problem during the remaining years of life. But doctors cannot tell with certainty which cancers are safe to leave untreated.

Dr. Rosenbaum cited a survey in which more than 99 percent of women knew mammography could result in a false-positive diagnosis, but only 38 percent believed this possibility should be weighed in decisions about whether to have the test.

Even among those who had a false-positive result, “more than 90 percent still believed that mammography could not harm a woman who ended up not having breast cancer,” she said.

The seemly contradictory responses are part of “the tangled nature of emotions and values” that women bring to mammography, Dr. Rosenbaum wrote.

One study of women in their 40s found that advising them to delay screening until they were 50 only strengthened their desire for screening. Some believed the task force guideline was an attempt to lower insurance costs and keep them from receiving needed care.

Decisions relating to breast cancer are often based more on emotion than reasoning. Unrelenting publicity by well-meaning organizations has frightened many women, who are inclined to accept more risk than they might in, say, screenings for heart disease — which actually kills more women than breast cancer.

And too many have seen firsthand the devastation breast cancer can wreak. Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among women, and the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among women, many of them in the prime of life.

Clinicians often struggle to balance their responsibility to base recommendations on evidence with their respect for what patients want.

“Defaulting to patient preference in the face of uncertainty has become the moral high ground,” Dr. Rosenbaum wrote. “But it is as much our job to figure out how to best help our patients lead healthier lives as it is to honor their preferences.”

To which I would add: It is the job of patients at least to consider the risks before deciding to be screened, whether for breast cancer, prostate cancer or colon cancer.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/1 ... ioms/?_r=0


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:15 pm 
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Queensland researchers make breakthrough in treatment of leukaemia

QUEENSLAND researchers have made a breakthrough in the treatment of leukaemia patients undergoing bone marrow transplants, discovering a way to reduce the incidence of a potentially fatal complication.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg announced QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital had made “significant gains” in reducing a complication associated with the transplant process known as graft versus host disease.

“(QIMR senior scientist) Professor Geoff Hill and his team have conducted clinical trials that could change the treatment worldwide for leukaemia patients undergoing bone marrow transplants,” Mr Springborg said.

“They have made significant gains in reducing the incidence of ‘acute graft versus host disease’ - a potentially fatal complication that can arise following stem cell treatments - by adding the drug Tocilizumab to the transplant medication regime.

“This drug inhibits the body’s response to trauma and its activation of the immune system.

“This means the therapy is safer and could be made available to more patients and improve their prognosis, which is a terrific outcome.”

Professor Hill said trials, conducted at the RWBH transplant unit, had resulted in a significant drop in cases of acute graft versus host disease.

“The incidence of acute GVHD was reduced from 50 per cent to 12 per cent in patients,” he said.

Another phase of the study is currently under way, which will be the final test before the addition of the drug Tocilizumab’s use in the treatment of acute GVHD is registered and adopted in clinical practice.

Originally published as Breakthrough for leukaemia patients

http://www.news.com.au/national/queensl ... 7122788323


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2014 10:03 am 
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Research: Almost half of post-surgery antibiotic use is wrong

Almost half all surgery patients are given an excessive amount of antibiotics to prevent post-operative infection, according to a new survey that underscores concerns about Australia's over-use of the drugs.

The National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey 2013, conducted by researchers at Melbourne Health, found that the need to prevent infection was the most common reason for antibiotic treatment, but that almost half of these treatments were inappropriate.

Commonly, the antibiotics were given for too long, or they acted against too many different types of bacteria and were not specific enough.

This excessive treatment actually increases the risk of people getting unnecessary complications from antibiotics, such as diarrhoea, and can encourage antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, according to Associate Professor Karin Thursky, who is the director of the new Melbourne-based National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship.

"[The surgeons] may not realise the actual burden of inappropriate prescribing that they are generating at a national level," she said.

The release of some of the survey findings coincides with Antibiotic Awareness Week, which runs until next Sunday, a global initiative to promote responsible use of antibiotics that is being championed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

The commission is bringing together experts from the fields of health, animal health and agriculture to raise awareness of the rising problem of antibiotic resistance, while focusing its campaign mostly on hospital-based doctors.

The commission is also promoting the simple practice of hand-washing and the use of gloves in hospitals.

The initiatives come as Australia ramps up its efforts to combat antibiotic resistance, with the release of a national strategy due next year.

Doomsday predictions for a world without effective antibiotics draw on examples of life before their discovery, when people could die from simple medical procedures or everyday mishaps such as a shaving cut.

A World Health Organisation report released in May suggests that antimicrobial resistance "threatens the achievements of modern medicine". Antibiotics act only on bacteria and are a sub-set of antimicrobials, which are substances that kill micro-organisms such as viruses, bacteria and fungi.

Professor John Turnidge, the senior medical adviser working on the commission's surveillance of antimicrobial resistance, said the issue had battled to compete for attention with other public health crises such as bird flu and the Ebola virus. But antimicrobial resistance was a "smouldering epidemic, much harder to point to and call a crisis".

Australians are among the biggest consumers of antibiotics worldwide. About 22 million prescriptions are written every year in primary care alone. About 45 per cent of the population took at least one course of antibiotics, at least half of which were unnecessary, according to Professor Turnidge.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/research ... 1n9us.html


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:44 pm 
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How Australia’s heaviest man lost 200kgs

IT’S been described as the greatest Australian weight loss story ever told: Jordan Tirekidis, once our country’s heaviest man, has shed an incredible 200 kgs from his frame.

Tirekidis, who two years ago tipped the scales at more than 300 kgs, told his incredible story on tonight’s episode ofA Current Affair.

Incredibly, Tirekidis achieved this feat without the aid of stomach stapling or lap band surgery. Rather, he owes his spectacular weight loss — an Australian record — to hypnotherapy.

“Jordan was eating himself to death one mouthful at a time,” says Dr Mark Stephens, a noted hypnotherapist and motivational speaker who was with Jordan every step of the way.

At his heaviest — 310kg to be exact — Jordan drove in a specially adjusted car. He had to be weighed at the local tip, as usual scales top out at 180 kgs. He had no girlfriend, and couldn’t remember the last time he’d been to the beach, a park or a restaurant. He was 44.

Dr Stephens uses a variety of techniques, including telling his patients they have ‘imaginary lap band surgery’ and encouraging them to associate their favourite unhealthy foods with bad smells and foul images. The philosophy was simple: to focus on Tirekidis’ mind, through regular hypnotherapy and meditation, so that his behaviours and weight loss would follow.

There were scares along the way — his blood pressure would drop dramatically during exercise sessions, requiring emergency trips to hospital — and times when he fell off the wagon and hoarded unhealthy food. But regular hypnosis slowly changed his habits.

Speaking to Perth Now in 2012, Tirekidis detailed the daily diet that caused his weight to creep up: 10 hash browns and two large coffees for breakfast, two Big Macs with fries for lunch and four Whopper burgers for dinner. Custard tarts and lamingtons would fill the gaps between meals, all washed down with almost a litre of Coke.

At his heaviest, Jordan wore custom-made 12XL clothes and could only stand for very short periods of time.

Tirekidis said that it was having his tonsils removed as a nine-year-old that he believes triggered his morbid obesity. He was only able to eat sweet, creamy treats after surgery and those foods soon became part of his life.

Now, he grows his own vegetables and cooks his own healthy meals. He now weighs in at 107.6kg, well under his original goal of 120kgs.

Jordan’s got a different problem nowadays, with so much excess skin on his body. He’s just undergone the first of many body sculpting operations, as excess skin is removed and ironically, fat is pumped back into his now-gaunt cheeks.

Asked about his weight loss journey, Tirekidis says it felt “like standing at the bottom of Mount Everest and having to climb up wearing thongs.”

His new goal is to put on 20kgs of muscle. As for his old, oversized body?

“It’s just a bad memory.”

http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv ... 7126221184


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:01 am 
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Time to meet the body farmers: Sydney scientists will research human decomposition

IT’S like something out of TV shows Bones or CSI — Sydney is getting its own body farm so scientists can research human decomposition.

Bodies donated to science will be buried or dumped at the secret site for forensic researchers to study, in a bid to help police solve murders or missing persons cases using data gathered under Australian conditions.

The facility, on University of Technology Sydney land in the Hawkesbury region, is believed to be the first of its kind outside the US.

It will be ringed with fences and CCTV cameras before the first bodies are buried or laid out in the open next year.

UTS forensic scientist Professor Shari Forbes, who will head the groundbreaking centre, said: “What it’s designed to do is help us understand the impact of our local environment on the process of decomposition. All the facilities that do this are based in America and unfortunately given its quite distinct climate we can’t always accurately use their data.”

Local scientists will be better able to help in searching, locating, recovering and identifying bodies.

“It’s about understanding how we can locate the burials based on the odour of decomposition,” she said. “So when a person is buried, how much of that odour is detectable for a cadaver dog and what the likelihood of finding that in different scenarios.”

The University of Wollongong and University of Sydney will be among a host of other institutions to use the facility. University of Wollongong forensic entomologist Professor James Wallman said it would help refine time of death estimates.

“As soon as someone dies and their body dumped outdoors, insects infest the bodies and by looking at the insects we can tell police how long the person has been dead,” he said.

“It’s the first time we can do the research on humans.”

Professor Forbes said the forensic community was indebted to people who donated their bodies.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/n ... 7128860926


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:36 pm 
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Skin cancer tests spark alert

An alarming 132 suspicious lesions - 57 of them possible melanomas - have been referred for investigation by a skin screening clinic held at Cottesloe beach this week.

The five-day free clinic run by Melanoma WA and the Lions Cancer Institute screened 449 men and women, advising 78 people to have lesions investigated, including one person with four concerning spots. Melanoma WA founder Clinton Heal said that while lesions were only listed as "suspect" until proved, it was a higher proportion than expected.

"The numbers are pretty high - it's alarming - and it just shows the importance of our work and these screenings because you don't know if these people would have had them checked otherwise," he said.

"And the team found 57 potentially life-threatening lesions and they're the ones suspected of being melanoma."

The 31-year-old, who was diagnosed with advanced melanoma when he was 22 and was the 2011 WA Young Australian of the Year, said it was worrying that 201 of those checked, including many older people, had never been screened before. Others had not been checked for some time.

"It means 358 people had not been checked in the past 12 months, so that's not ideal," Mr Heal said.

He said people of all ages had lined up to be checked, with almost equal numbers of men and women, and some commercial skin cancer clinics had reported being swamped with people wanting to get lesions further investigated.

Cottesloe was chosen for the event because melanoma is one of the most common causes of cancer in people aged 15 to 39.

Mr Heal said that while visiting the free screening several times in the past week, he was disturbed to see people with little covering baking themselves for hours on the beach.

He was worried the fear of sharks was also prompting people to spend less time in the ocean, with more on the beach "dipping their toes in the water".

"People seem to be spending more time lying on the beach and if they're not covering up, they're putting themselves at risk," Mr Heal said.

According to the WA Cancer Registry, more than 1100 melanomas were diagnosed in WA in 2012 and 147 people died of the skin cancer.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/ ... ark-alert/


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 8:12 am 
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Salvos say Australian ice problem soaring

The Salvation Army is feeling the impact of Australia's debilitating ice problem with a 122 per cent spike in Sydney users of the drug seeking its help.

The charity organisation says cases of speed and ice usage have now surpassed the usage of cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and gambling dependance combined.

By the time users call on the Salvos recovery services, they are grappling with mental health issues, emaciation, skin rashes and poor nutrition.

'The mental health problems, they are probably the most severe,' Salvation Army recovery services clinical director Gerard Byrne told AAP.

'Unfortunately for some they will remain.'

Across NSW, the number of amphetamine-type substance - speed and ice - users who called on the Salvation Army's recovery services jumped by 48 per cent in just the past year.

In Brisbane the number has increased by 40 per cent and in Canberra by 28 per cent.

It's adults that seek the charity's help but some report using ice from as young as 14.

Mr Byrne said users had massive mood swings and unpredictable behaviour.

People with mental health issues now make up 71 per cent of people who front the the Salvation Army's bridge program.

Over the past four years at Salvation Army recovery services in Sydney, users of drugs - including ice - who seek the Salvos help has skyrocketed by 122 per cent.

NSW Police acting Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy said police were also seeing the devastating impact of drugs.

'In particular, we are seeing the shocking effects ice and amphetamine-type substances are having on communities right across NSW.'

The Salvation Army will mark the 50th anniversary of its bridge program on Monday.

http://www.skynews.com.au/news/national ... aring.html


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:31 am 
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Protein 'switch' to turn off Alzheimer's identified

Washington: Blocking a protein that acts like switch to wake us up may help prevent Alzheimer's disease, new research has found, pointing towards a new target to prevent this devastating brain disorder.

The new research, in mice, demonstrates that eliminating that protein - called orexin - made mice sleep for longer periods of time and strongly slowed in the brain the production of amyloid beta protein plaques characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.

"This indicates we should be looking hard at orexin as a potential target for preventing Alzheimer's disease," said senior author David Holtzman from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

"Blocking orexin to increase sleep in patients with sleep abnormalities, or perhaps even to improve sleep efficiency in healthy people, may be a way to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's," Holtzman pointed out.

Researchers had earlier found that sleep loss may increase risk of Alzheimer's in both people and mice

Orexin is made by cells in the brain's hypothalamus that stimulate wakefulness.

"These cells have branches that carry orexin throughout the brain, and the protein acts like a switch," Holtzman explained.

In the current study, the researchers worked with mice genetically engineered to develop a build up of amyloid in the brain.

When the researchers bred these mice with mice lacking the gene for orexin, their offspring slept longer, typically an extra hour or more, and developed only half as many Alzheimer's plaques, compared with the mice that had the orexin protein.

When scientists reversed the experiment and artificially increased orexin levels throughout the brain, the mice stayed awake longer and developed more Alzheimer's-like plaques.

The study appeared in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.

http://zeenews.india.com/news/health/di ... 04646.html


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 1:33 pm 
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First Gene Therapy Drug In West Approved For Sale

Gene therapy, replacing a defective gene with a normal gene, has faced numerous setbacks over the past several decades.

As a result, many scientists have focused on other types of therapies and drugs to treat diseases.

There is a gene therapy for cancer approved in China, but it has not been approved in other countries

The first gene therapy drug approved in the west is now ready to go on sale in Germany, reports News Daily.

The gene therapy drug Glybera, developed by the Dutch company UniQure, is used to correct the extremely rare genetic disease lipoprotein lipase deficiency (LPLD) which clogs blood with fat molecules.

The therapy uses a modified virus which carries a normal gene into the patient's cells.

Each patient will need to take 42 injections from 21 vials of Glybera. That will bring the total cost for the therapy to approximately $1.4 million.

"A final figure will be set after the Germany's Federal Joint Committee gives its verdict and negotiations are held with statutory health insurance funds," according to a spokesperson from Chiesi, UniQures marketing partner.

There are only an estimated 150 to 200 LPLD patients in Europe.

UniQure also has gene therapies in the pipeline for more common diseases such as hemophilia and heart failure, which would enable them to recoup their research and development costs.

"The first commercial treatments are expected in the first half 2015," according to a spokesperson from Chiesi.

UniQure is working through the process to have Glybera approved in the United States by 2018.

"It's really a milestone that this product has been approved," said Katherine High, a pediatrician at the University of Pennsylvania and Children's Research Hospital of Philadelphia. "It marks the first time that a gene therapy has been judged safe and efficacious for human clinical use," for regulations and clinical trials in Europe and the United States, reports The Scientist.

http://www.designntrend.com/articles/27 ... d-sale.htm


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 8:52 am 
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WA Health report shows Perth hospitals to reach capacity in seven years

HOSPITALS in Perth’s northern suburbs will be unable to cope with demand within seven years, new documents show.

And services in the rest of the city will be just as overstretched, with three hospitals in the southern suburbs also expected to have reached “physical capacity” by 2021-22. This is despite the opening of Fiona Stanley Hospital and, next year, the new Midland hospital.

The WA Health Clinical Services Framework 2014-2024, tabled in Parliament by Health Minister Kim Hames this week, said the population of the northern suburbs would grow by 29 per cent to more than 1.35 million by 2026, with demand for hospital services set to exceed capacity by 2021-22. This would necessitate expansion of capacity and the reconfiguration of services between hospitals.

Similar strategies were flagged for Armadale-Kelmscott, Rockingham and Peel hospitals in the southern suburbs, where the population was tipped to explode by 34 per cent to 1.25 million by 2026.

Opposition health spokesman Roger Cook said it showed the Government hadn’t prepared for the increasing need for services.

“In particular, the fact that the Barnett Government has wrecked the state’s finances means Perth hospitals will simply be overrun as the Government realises it has no money for much-needed expansion,” he said.

Australian Medical Association state president Michael Gannon said there was no question WA would need more hospital beds, but he feared the state would struggle to pay for them.

“We agree with the Government that the distribution of goods and services tax to the states is unfair,” he said.

“We can see as well as the Treasurer can that a fall in the iron ore price is a significant problem for WA; the extent to which we as a state rely on mining royalties. So any future-proofing of our economy and where the money comes from is important.

“Not to sound stale, and not to fail to see the demands on a limited pool of fund for Government, but they really failed to get it right when they didn’t build the two extra floors on the children’s hospital.”

Health Minister Kim Hames said the report identified “pressure points”.

Solutions could involve expanding existing hospitals or providing additional services at other hospitals, he said.

Originally published as Hospitals at capacity in seven years

http://www.news.com.au/national/western ... 7139410536


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2014 2:27 pm 
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Imaging Shows Brain Connection Breakdown in Early Alzheimer’s Disease

Chicago. — Changes in brain connections visible on MRI could represent an imaging biomarker of Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

At A Glance

Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) shows changes in white matter connections in the brains of patients with early Alzheimer’s disease.

White matter connections are essential for conducting messages across the billions of nerve cells in the brain.

DTI may offer a role in assessing brain damage in early Alzheimer’s disease and monitoring the effect of new therapies.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. As many as 5 million Americans are affected, a number expected to grow to 14 million by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preventive treatments may be most effective before Alzheimer's disease is diagnosed, such as when a person is suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a decline in cognitive skills that is noticeable but not severe enough to affect independent function. Previous efforts at early detection have focused on beta amyloid, a protein found in abnormally high amounts in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease.

For the new study, researchers looked at the brain's structural connectome, a map of white matter tracts that carry signals between different areas of the brain.

"The structural connectome provides us with a way to characterize and measure these connections and how they change through disease or age," said study co-author Jeffrey W. Prescott, M.D., Ph.D., radiology resident at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

Dr. Prescott and colleagues analyzed results from 102 patients enrolled in a national study called the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) 2. The patients had undergone diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), an MRI method that assesses the integrity of white matter tracts in the brain by measuring how easy it is for water to move along them.

"It is known that water prefers moving along the defined physical connections between regions in the brain, which makes DTI a great tool for evaluating the structural connectome," Dr. Prescott said.

The researchers correlated changes in the structural connectome with results from florbetapir positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, a technique that measures the amount of beta amyloid
plaque in the brain. Increased florbetapir uptake corresponds with greater amounts of the protein.

The results showed a strong association between florbetapir uptake and decreases in strength of the structural connectome in each of the five areas of the brain studied.

"This study ties together two of the major changes in the Alzheimer's brain—structural tissue changes and pathological amyloid plaque deposition—and suggests a promising role for DTI as a possible diagnostic adjunct," Dr. Prescott said.

Based on these findings, DTI may offer a role in assessing brain damage in early Alzheimer's disease and monitoring the effect of new therapies.

"Traditionally, Alzheimer's disease is believed to exert its effects on thinking via damage to the brain's gray matter, where most of the nerve cells are concentrated," said Jeffrey R. Petrella, M.D., professor of radiology at Duke and senior author on the study. "This study suggests that amyloid deposition in the gray matter affects the associated white matter connections, which are essential for conducting messages across the billions of nerve cells in the brain, allowing for all aspects of mental function."

"We suspect that as amyloid plaque load in the gray matter increases, the brain's white matter starts to break down or malfunction and lose its ability to move water and neurochemicals efficiently," added Dr. Prescott.

The researchers plan to continue studying this cohort of patients over time to gain a better understanding of how the disease evolves in individual patients. They also intend to incorporate functional imaging into their research to learn about how the relationship between function and structure is affected with increasing amyloid burden.

Other co-authors on the study are P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., and Kingshuk R. Choudhury, Ph.D.

http://www.healthcanal.com/brain-nerves ... sease.html


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:41 am 
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WHO launches new guide for cervical cancer prevention and control

New guidance from the World Health Organisation aims to help countries better control cervical cancer, one of the deadliest - yet most preventable - cancers.

The Pink Book, a comprehensive cervical cancer control guide, was launched today at the World Cancer Leaders' Summit in Melbourne, Australia.

The foundation of the recommendations is vaccinating girls aged nine to 13 years with the human papillomavirus vaccine to prevent infection with HPV, the virus responsible for most cases of cervical cancer.

Though girls in more than 55 countries are protected by routine administration of the HPV vaccine, it is not part of the public health vaccination programme in Hong Kong.

More than one million women worldwide are estimated to be living with cervical cancer. The disease is responsible for more than 270 000 deaths annually, 85 per cent of which occur in developing countries.

In Hong Kong, cervical cancer was the ninth most common cancer among females in 2011, with 391 new cases diagnosed. In 2012, 133 women died from this cancer, making it the ninth leading cause of female cancer deaths.

The WHO's Dr Andreas Ullrich insists a better control system for cervical cancer is needed.

"[The figures are] not acceptable because we know how to prevent cervical cancer and how to detect the cancer early, in which case it can be easily treated," Ullrich said. "So in theory, we could prevent every case of this type of cancer."

On the primary level, this means vaccinating girls before they're sexually active. The vaccines prevent about 70 per cent of HPV cases.

There are no official figures on the HPV vaccination rate among girls in Hong Kong. In a survey by Chinese University of more than 3,000 parents of students from about 30 secondary schools, only 5 per cent of schoolgirls had received the HPV vaccine, said microbiology Professor Paul Chan Kay-sheung.

Cost is a factor. The vaccine required three doses over a period of six months, and each dose cost up to HK$1,500, Chan said. The vaccine offered protection from the HPV virus for more than 10 years, Chan added.

With the new WHO guidelines, however, costs have been reduced. It now recommends a two-dose schedule over six months, which has shown to be as effective as the current three-dose schedule.

"It's a good time for the government to revisit this question on whether public money should be used to support Hong Kong-wide HPV vaccination," Chan said.

"There's no doubt that the vaccine should be recommended. The only question is, who should pay for it?"

Both Chan and Ullrich point out, however, that many women develop pre-cancer lesions, and their treatment takes up medical resources.

"This is also a burden for the health system," Chan said. "If you consider the whole picture, maybe it is cost-effective for the government to provide the vaccine."

In relation to the duration of protection, Ullrich argues that because the vaccine is "still very new", it is not known yet exactly how long the protection lasts. "It's very likely that the protection is much longer," he said.

The Health Department said yesterday that the government had no plan to implement a population-based HPV vaccination programme, but would continue to study the development of scientific evidence for one.

Other guidelines in the WHO's Pink Book include the use of HPV testing - rather than a pap smear - to screen women for cervical cancer.

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/arti ... nd-control


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:36 am 
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New drug found effective against Leukaemia in pre-clinical trials

Washington: A new research has found a new treatment approach that could offer hope to patients with the aggressive blood cancer acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

The study conducted at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute also found that imetelstat delayed or prevented relapse of AML following chemotherapy.

Dr Steven Lane asserted that they tested the drug imetelstat against human leukaemia models and found that it killed or impaired progression of the disease.

Lane continued that it did this by inhibiting a protein needed for the formation of the leukaemia stem cells, which otherwise have enormous self-renewal capacity.

Lane said that the study found that by turning off a gene called telomerase, the cancer cells became unstable and eventually the cells died.

Lane added that early phase clinical trials of imetelstat were already underway for a number of blood cancers, including myelofibrosis so it should be straight forward to start clinical trials in AML.

The study has been published in Cell Stem Cell.

http://zeenews.india.com/news/health/he ... 10145.html


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:13 pm 
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Revolutionary T-Cell Therapy Brings New Hope to Leukemia Patients

In a recent press release, Novartis, a Swiss multinational drug producer, that 92 percent of the patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) experienced complete remissions after undergoing the CTL09 therapy. Also, about 70 to 75 percent of the patients survived a 6-month period without further therapy and no disease comebacks.

Novartis’ CTL09 therapy is a medical technology that uses Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs) to reprogram patients’ T cells to start fighting cancer cells that contain CD19 proteins. The reprogrammed T cells also known as CTL09 enter the circulatory system, multiply and hunt down CD19 cells. Novartis says that CTL09 is nevertheless an investigational therapy available only to patients participating in clinical trials and might never be available for commercialization.

The latest CTL09 findings from clinical trails will be made public at the 56th American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting in San Francisco. Many researchers are extremely excited by the event because they will learn more about how CARs really work and their efficiency in fighting cancer.

“Innovation in the cellular therapy field is accelerating right now. When we see the response patients have to CTL019 when they have few options left, it’s incredibly inspiring. Novartis will leverage our facility in Morris Plains, the first FDA-approved Good Manufacturing Practices quality site for a cell therapy, and the multi-center study for CTL019 in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania, to broaden the reach of this therapy to additional patients in the clinical setting,”
Usman Azam, spokesperson for Novartis Pharmaceuticals, said.

At the ASH meeting will be also presented clinic results about CTL09 effectiveness in fighting against acute lymphoblastic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and B cell non-Hodgkin lyphoma.

Stephan Grupp, lead researcher involved in the clinical trials, said he saw children with ALL who didn’t respond to any other medication achieving complete remissions after a revolutionary T-cell therapy. Dr Grupp added that this was only a first step, but he has high hopes of CAR technology since many children remained in remission after one year or more.

However, the cure has also some side-effects. All patients who had responded to CTL09 therapy developed cytokine release syndrome (CRS). CRS occurs when reprogrammed T-cells start to multiply in the blood system releasing high amounts of cytokines; this leads to high fever, muscle pain, nausea and even breathing difficulties and low blood pressure. Thirty-three patients required urgent treatment with a special antibody to stabilize their blood pressure and respiratory system, while five of them required also corticosteroids.

In 2013, more than 48.000 Americans were diagnosed with leukemia; among them nearly 6.000 were diagnosed with ALL.

http://www.wallstreetotc.com/revolution ... ts/213143/


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