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Blood test can diagnose lymphedema
Date: 2012-12-19 16:43:20

A recent study published in the journal PLoS ONE found that blood tests may be effective in detecting lymphedema, a condition that involves painful swelling in the skin that results from the lymph vessels being blocked.

Before blood tests, the only way to diagnose lymphedema was with a physical inspection, which commonly yielded inaccurate results. Also, there is no drug-related treatment for the condition - only physical therapy that is usually ineffective in relieving the swelling that happens in the arms or legs. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), some of these therapeutic methods include massaging the skin, wearing compression stockings over the area that has developed lymphedema and exercise regimens.

During the study, Stanley Rockson, M.D., who is a professor of cardiovascular medicine, analyzed skin samples from 27 patients. Some of the skin samples were lymphedematous, while others had no signs of the disease. The investigators were able to point out six separate proteins that, when found together in certain ratios, indicated the presence of lymphedema. The researchers noted that the recent discovery may yield an effective treatment in the future. The presence of the proteins is also apparent before the lymphedema develops, so patients may be able to get early treatment to prevent more severe symptoms.

"These biomarkers may themselves lead us to valuable pharmaceutical targets," said Rockson.

To test the accuracy of these findings, the scientists analyzed blood from 15 healthy patients and 36 lymphedematous ones. They found that the new method of testing for the six proteins was 90-percent accurate.

Risk factors... Full Story

Study discovers genetic factors for colorectal cancer
Date: 2012-12-26 12:08:40
A recent study published in the journal Nature Genetics has found three genetic "hot spots" that may be responsible for the development of colorectal cancer, which is the third most common kind of cancer in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. The study is the first of its kind to look at other demographics than white Europeans.... Full Story

Low levels of hormone may contribute to pancreatic cancer development
Date: 2012-12-18 10:24:59
A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that a deficiency of a fat cell hormone known as adiponectin may heighten the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Adiponectin decreases levels of inflammation and boosts the sensitivity of insulin.... Full Story

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