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Studies point to possible blood testing for Alzheimer's
Date: 2012-08-20 00:00:00

Researchers at the Emory School of Medicine, in conjunction with scientists at the University of Pennsylvania and Washington University at St. Louis, recently performed a clinical study that they say identifies a number of proteins that act as key markers for Alzheimer's disese. The researchers believe the results of the study indicate that susceptibility to Alzheimer's and other forms of cognitive decline may one day be identified with a blood test. The study's lead author, William Hu, M.D., noted that currently, traditional screening remains the best form of analysis.... Full Story

Researchers say uncontrollable bowels are underreported
Date: 2012-09-28 00:00:00

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that 18 million Americans can't control their bowels. This embarrassing condition could result from complications from numerous diseases, some of which can be detected with blood tests, such as diabetes.

However, colorectal experts from Loyola University suspect that far more than 18 million people in the U.S. are finding it difficult to control their bowels.

"Fecal incontinence isn't something that people talk about, yet we know from our practice that it is extremely common," said Dana Hayden, a colorectal surgeon at Loyola University Health System. "The good news is there are options to manage this condition."

The Food and Drug Administration signed off on an implantable treatment device developed by Loyola researchers that works like a pacemaker to resuscitate damaged, dysfunctional bowel-controlling nerves.

The NIH reports that the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD), an organization that studies conditions that are detectable with blood tests, has also focused efforts on treating incontinence. The NIDDKD strives to develop a method to replace damaged sphincter muscles with tissue taken from other areas of the patient's body.

... Full Story

Injecting good cholesterol may be beneficial
Date: 2012-11-06 00:00:00

WebMD has reported that a small study on a treatment to lower the risk of heart attacks due to high cholesterol, showed signs of success. The treatment involves infusing a key protein in HDL, or "good" cholesterol into the body, which would in turn lower the LDL, or "bad" cholesterol.

According to Harvard Medical School (HMS), HDL may help prevent heart attacks by cleaning excess cholesterol from cells and tissues and bringing it to the liver, which uses it to make bile or recycles it. The source also notes that HDL contains an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of artery clogging by preventing the "bad" cholesterol from turning into lipoprotein, which is usually linked to heart disease.

The study found that after patients were infused with the HDL protein, the removal of LDL increased by nearly 164 percent and no serious side effects were observed.

Andreas Gille, M.D., Ph.D., head of clinical and translational science strategy at CSL Limited in Parkville, Australia, which funded the study, told WebMD that while treatments such as niacin and fibrates are successful in removing cholesterol from artery walls, they can take years to be effective.

Other cholesterol treatment drugs include aspirin and other non-clotting medications, but Gille noted that they do not reduce the underlying problem, which is the cholesterol buildup on the arterial walls.

Cholesterol facts and prevention... Full Story

Sepsis may be detected by monitoring liver function
Date: 2012-11-14 00:00:00

A recent study led by Peter Recknagel, Ph.D., of Jena University Hospital in Germany, found that changes in liver function may indicate sepsis.

Sepsis is a condition that occurs when the body negatively reacts to bacteria and germs due to chemicals that are released by the body, and oftentimes, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it results in death.

The research, which will be published in the journal PLoS One, looked at cell cultures, genetically modified rats and mice and patients who were in critical condition. The data acquired from the tests on the animals showed that liver dysfunction is a symptom of the onset of sepsis and that the detoxification process performed by the liver is also impacted by the condition.

The research conducted on the 48 human patients coincided with these findings, and the investigators said that liver tests may help catch sepsis in its early stages. Due to the condition's effect on the liver, the researchers also noted that some medications that are broken down in the liver could further degenerate the organ and should not be prescribed to patients who suffer from sepsis. They also reported that these findings should be further investigated and that they may have an impact on the detection of liver dysfunction in the future.

Other sepsis side effects... Full Story

Additional chemotherapy may benefit young leukemia patients
Date: 2012-12-12 00:00:00

A study conducted by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute ALL Consortium that analyzed nearly 500 children under 18 years old has found that children who have a severe form of leukemia may better their chances of survival by undergoing further rounds of chemotherapy and other cancer therapies.... Full Story

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