'Super antibody' fights off flu

The first antibody which can fight all types of the influenza A virus has been discovered, researchers claim.

Experiments on flu-infected mice, published in Science Express, showed the antibody could be used as an "emergency treatment".

It is hoped the development will lead to a "universal vaccine" - currently a new jab has to be made for each winter as viruses change.

Virologists described the finding as a "good step forward".

Many research groups around the world are trying to develop a universal vaccine. They need to attack something common to all influenza which does not change or mutate.

Influenza vaccine 

Human source

It has already been suggested that some people who had swine flu may develop 'super immunity' to other infections.

Scientists from the Medical Research Council's National Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill and colleagues in Switzerland looked at more than 100,000 samples of immune cells from patients who had flu or a flu vaccine.

They isolated an antibody - called FI6 - which targeted a protein found on the surface of all influenza A viruses called haemagglutinin.

Sir John Skehel, MRC scientist at Mill Hill, said: "We've tried every subtype of influenza A and it interacts with them all.

"We eventually hope it can be used as a therapy by injecting the antibody to stop the infection."

Professor Antonio Lanzavecchia, director of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Switzerland, said: "As the first and only antibody which targets all known subtypes of the influenza A virus, FI6 represents an important new treatment option."

When mice were given FI6, the antibody was "fully protective" against a later lethal doses of H1N1 virus.

Mice injected with the antibody up to two days after being given a lethal dose of the virus recovered and survived.

This is only the antibody, however, not the vaccine.

A vaccine would need to trigger the human body's immune system to produce the antibody itself.

Sir John said the structure of the antibody and how it interacted with haemagglutinin had been worked out, which would help in the search for a vaccine, but that was "definitely years away".

Professor John Oxford, a virologist at Queen Mary, University of London, said: "It's pretty good if you've got one against the whole shebang, that's a good step forward."

FDA urged to rethink approval of medical devices

A review requested by the agency calls for a new system for evaluating and approving many high-risk medical devices before they reach the market.

Reporting from Washington — Katherine Ayers was 36 when she decided the pain in her hip had become too much to bear. A surgically implanted metal-on-metal hip joint soon made her pain-free.

But a few years later, she was startled to receive a letter saying the artificial joint was being recalled.

FDA urged to rethink approval of medical devices 

"In my mind, recalls were for dishwasher and cars, not body parts," she told a congressional hearing earlier this year. Ultimately, Ayers had to have a new implant.

It was experiences such as Ayers' — and scores of others with even more serious consequences — that has led the Institute of Medicine, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, to call on the government to design a new system for evaluating and approving many high-risk medical devices before they reach the market.

"It's not clear that the … process is serving the needs of either industry or patients, and simply modifying it again will not help," David Challoner, chairman of the committee that wrote the recommendation, said in a statement.

Medical devices range from simple adhesive strip bandages used for minor cuts to contact lenses and pacemakers. When complex devices fail, they can generate health problems and healthcare costs, even imperil lives.

Surprising as it may seem, the way the present system works is that thousands of devices are routinely cleared for market without any of the clinical testing for safety or effectiveness that is required for prescription drugs.

"I thought that any medical device that was actually being put into people's bodies had been extensively tested before it was released to the public," said Ayers.

Not exactly.

When the FDA was given responsibility for medical devices in 1976, Congress specified that those already on the market could continue to be sold without testing.

At the same time, Congress created the so-called 510(k) process under which new devices could be cleared for market if they were "substantially equivalent" to existing products.

As a result, thousands of medical devices have received FDA clearance based on older devices, neither of which were subjected to the kinds of rigorous pre-market testing required for pharmaceuticals.

Further, a study of high-risk recalls from 2005 to 2009 found that more than two-thirds of medical devices recalled for potentially serious risks went through the expedited-approval process.

More than 90,000 artificial hip joints were recalled last summer after studies showed that about 1 in 8 recipients needed to have them replaced. The implants, manufactured by a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, were found to release small metallic particles into patients' bloodstreams over time.

In 2009, the Institute of Medicine noted, about 4,000 medical devices were cleared under the expedited 510(k) process — more than 90% of all devices subject to FDA clearance. Simple "devices" such as tongue depressors and adhesive strips can be sold without FDA clearance, although companies must notify the agency.

Critics contend that the 510(k) process amounts to a loophole for marketing products without adequate attention to safety or effectiveness.

Bowing to pressure from the Government Accountability Office and consumer groups, the FDA initiated two internal reviews of the process in 2009. This year, it outlined 25 changes it planned to make, including streamlining the review of lower-risk devices.

But the new recommendation, released Friday in a report requested by the FDA, was met with resistance from an agency official.

"FDA believes that the 510(k) process should not be eliminated," Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the agency's medical devices arm, said in a statement about the new report. "But we are open to additional proposals and approaches for continued improvement of our device-review programs."

Device manufacturers contend that the 510(k) process slows the flow of products to market.

"It is not technology, science, ingenuity or the economy that is standing in the way of success in developing new medical technologies. In my opinion, it is today the FDA," engineer Robert Fischell told a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week.

Fischell, inventor of an implantable insulin pump and a series of coronary stents, said that the medical device approval process is inconsistent and that the FDA staff is not sufficiently trained.

AdvaMed, a lobbying group that represents major manufacturers, rejected the findings of the new report, saying the committee "recommends entirely scrapping this proven process with a vague new plan that contains no useful guidance."


Doctors group says hot dogs as dangerous as cigarettes

INDIANAPOLIS -- Instead of grouping hot dogs with Mom and apple pie, a national medical group wants you to consider them as bad for your health as cigarettes.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a Washington, D.C., group that promotes preventive medicine and a vegan diet, unveiled a billboard Monday near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the advisory: "Warning: Hot dogs can wreck your health."

The billboard features a picture of hot dogs in a cigarette pack inscribed with skull and crossbones. It aims to increase awareness of a link between colorectal cancer and hot dogs.

Doctors group says hot dogs as dangerous as cigarettes

Hot dogs, like cigarettes, should come with a "warning label that helps racing fans and other consumers understand the health risk," said Susan Levin, the committee's nutrition education director.

Other health experts disagree.

Although hot dogs are certainly not health food, neither are they toxic, if consumed in moderation, they say.

"It is not necessary to eliminate consumption of red or processed meat; rather the message is that these foods should not be the mainstay of your diet," American Cancer Society guidelines state.

About twice a month, Kimberly Hunt indulges. She harbors no illusions that hot dogs are good for her, but she's not worried about the risks.

"Not any more than any other processed foods that we eat," said Hunt, as she finished off lunch in downtown Indianapolis. "There's a lot of things that are going to cause cancer. Are hot dogs on the top of my list? No."

Hot dogs are low in nutritional value, said Dr. Jesse Spear, an internal medicine physician with St. Vincent Medical Group in Fishers, Ind. They're high in salt, which can lead to hypertension and heart disease.

Should we avoid them at all costs?

That's not what Spear tells patients. Instead, he advises them to eat a generally healthy diet -- more fruits and vegetables, less processed meats.

"I don't personally tell people never to eat hot dogs, because I guess I'm just realistic enough to know that people will still consume them to some degree," he said.

But there's something about a car race that encourages hot dog consumption. Last year, more than 1.1 million hot dogs were sold during the Indianapolis 500.

So this year, the Physicians Committee decided to target another Speedway event, Sunday's Brickyard 400, with its $2,750 billboard.

The strong warning is needed to make people think twice about eating hot dogs and all processed meats, Levin said. That includes deli meats, ham, sausage, bacon and pepperoni.

"A hot dog a day could send you to an early grave," said Levin, a registered dietitian. "People think feeding their kids these foods (is) safe, but (it's) not."

The research linking colorectal cancer and processed meat is convincing, says a 2007 report by the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research.

Just one 50-gram serving of processed meat -- about the amount in one hot dog -- a day increases the risk of colorectal cancer, on average, by 21 percent, the study found.

George Hanlin has his consumption down to one or two a month, as part of a plan to eat healthier. Monday, he contemplated the data linking hot dogs to health risks.

"Will it keep me from never eating hot dogs? No," Hanlin said. "But there's no question I will try to limit it a lot more."

Muscle Mass Knocks Out Insulin Resistance

Having more muscle mass may protect against insulin resistance and prediabetes, no matter overall body size, researchers said.

In a cross-sectional study, every 10% increase in the ratio of skeletal muscle mass to total body weight was associated with an 11% reduction in risk of insulin resistance and a 12% drop in risk of transitional, prediabetes, or overt diabetes, Preethi Srikanthan, MD, of the University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues reported online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The findings point to the importance of gauging muscle mass, in addition to other established risk factors such as body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference, when assessing a patient's metabolic health, the researchers said.

Muscle Mass Knocks Out Insulin Resistance

The results may also have implications for the role of muscle-building exercises in preventing metabolic dysfunction, Preethi and colleagues wrote.

It's known that very low muscle mass (sarcopenia) is a risk factor for insulin resistance, but it's unclear whether increasing muscle mass outside of the sarcopenic range can boost insulin sensitivity or protect against diabetes.

So to determine whether increases in muscle mass are associated with improved glucose regulation, the researchers looked at data on 13,644 patients from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III, conducted from 1988 to 1994.

Patients had data on homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR); glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c); prevalence of transitional, prediabetes, or overt diabetes (PMD); and prevalence of overt diabetes mellitus. These four factors served as the study outcomes.

Muscle mass was assessed via bioelectrical impedance, which measures opposition to the flow of an electric current through body tissues, determining total body water to estimate body composition.

The researchers found that all four of the outcomes declined across quartiles from lowest to highest skeletal muscle index, or the ratio of skeletal muscle to body weight.

The smallest effect size was seen for HbA1c, with a 5.8% relative mean reduction between the highest and lowest quartiles.

On the other hand, the most striking effect was in diabetes prevalence, with a relative reduction of 63%. Prevalence was 14.5% in the lowest quartile compared with only 5.3% in the highest, the researchers reported.

After adjusting for confounders including age, ethnicity, sex, and obesity, the relationships persisted for insulin resistance and prevalence of transitional, prediabetes, and overt diabetes.

Specifically, each 10% increase in skeletal muscle index was associated with 11% relative reduction in HOMA-IR and a 12% relative reduction in the combined diabetes endpoint.

After excluding patients with diabetes, these relationships were strengthened, Preethi and colleagues wrote. For every 10% increase in muscle mass ratio, there was a 14% reduction in HOMA-IR and a 23% reduction in combined diabetes prevalence.

They explained that the weaker associations when diabetic patients were included were likely due to the effects of diabetes on muscle mass and on pancreatic beta-cell mass.

The researchers concluded that the relationship between muscle mass and insulin resistance was not limited to sarcopenia, as "increases in muscle mass above even average levels were associated with additional protection against insulin resistance and prediabetes."

The study was limited by its cross-sectional nature, and by its use of bioelectrical impedance alone to estimate muscle mass. Also, there was no differentiation between type 1 and type 2 diabetes in the original survey, they said.

As well, patients with high muscle mass tend to have low fat mass, so any of the associations may be due to adipose tissue, they cautioned, although they attempted to control for this.

Despite these findings, prior prospective studies of short-term strength training programs in overweight and obese patients have been unclear in terms of their effects on metabolic abnormalities, they said.

They called for more work to determine the proper duration of exercise interventions needed in order to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, and ultimately to have an effect on diabetes incidence.

Primary source: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism

Source reference:
Srikanthan P, et al "Relative muscle mass is inversely associated with insulin resistance and prediabetes: Findings from the third NHANES" J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2011.

Beyond Brain Cancer: Other Possible Dangers Of Cell Phone

In a nearly unanimous decision, 31 expert advisers to the World Health Organization (WHO) last week stunned the world's 5 billion cell phone users and declared radiofrequency and electromagnetic radiation a "possible" cause of brain cancer. Microwave radiation from cell phones joins a list of well-reviewed cancer-causing agents, that includes engine exhaust, some pesticides, lead, coffee and unusually preserved vegetables. (See TIME
magazine's perspective here).

Founded on an exhaustive analysis, the WHO expert opinion rests on a simple and well-accepted public health premise: Every compound known to cause cancer in humans also produces it in animals when adequately studied. The goal of such assessments is not to prove harm, but to provide the grounds for steps to prevent damage from unfolding. How did preserved vegetables make the list? In areas of rural China that lack refrigeration, extremely high levels of salts in preserved meats, fish and vegetables that form toxic compounds have created devastating rates of digestive system cancers. What about caffeine? In fact, like a number of chemotherapy agents that have both positive and negative impacts, caffeine slightly raises the risk of bladder cancer, while reducing that of colon and other tumors.

In fact, brain cancer is hardly the only health issue of concern linked to cell phone radiation, nor are cell phones the only source of radiofrequency and electromagnetic radiation. Studies in
and rats have showed that pulsed digital signals from today's smartphones damage sperm, brain, liver, eyes and skin of exposed offspring, and impair their memory and behavior. According to independent studies at the Cleveland Clinic and Australia's national research center, men who use cell phones four hours a day have about half the normal sperm and three times more damage to their DNA than those with much less use.

More studies on cell damage (Chavdoula et al, Mutation Research, 2010) and birth defects (

Fragopoulou et al, Pathophysiology, 2010) caused by cell phone radiation were presented in Istanbul

last month.

Fortune magazine asks: If cell phones caused brain cancer, then why don't we face an epidemic now? To those who understand the long latencies involved, the absence of a general brain tumor epidemic at this time provides no comfort. Survivors of the atomic bombs that fell on Japan experienced no increase at all in brain cancer until four decades after the war's end. Cell phones were not heavily used until quite recently. Three out of every four cases of brain cancer occur in someone over age 60 -- a group that had not used cell phones extensively even a decade ago. In contrast, every major study ever conducted has found that those who use cell phones half an hour a day or more have a doubled risk of brain cancer, and those who began using cell phones as teenagers have four to five times more disease in less than 10 years.

Concerned about the growing evidence that cell phone radiation damages membranes of living cells, many nations are acting now to reduce cell phone radiation exposures to the young brain. With its latest expert review, WHO joins with medical specialists in Israel, Finland, France, Russia, India and Brazil, all of whom agree that cell phone radiation should be reduced now, rather than waiting for the deadly confirmation we received with tobacco and asbestos.

The WHO's advice rests on a fundamental concept: It is far better to prevent rather than to prove danger. Thanks to pioneering exposés by

Professor Stan Glantz and others, we now know that scientists' warnings about tobacco and asbestos were long suppressed and ignored -- fueled by a sophisticated campaign that saw science as just another public relations tool.

The United Kingdom's distinguished Sir William Stewart chaired a Royal College of Physicians Commission more than a decade ago that advised that those under age 16 to limit their use of cell phones, and offered similar advice to that which was just affirmed by WHO. Given the absence of serious and extensive research on this topic at this time, we are treating ourselves and our children like experimental rats and rabbits, but without any unexposed control groups.

Because children's skulls, brains and bodies are thinner and more vulnerable, we put them in bicycle helmets and car seats. We need to take parallel steps to protect them and ourselves from the potential impact of microwave radiation from cell phones. If sales of children's thongs are to be banned in the United Kingdom to protect against early sexualization, we also need to protect their developing brains and bodies from exposure to a sea of radiofrequency radiation whose full impact cannot be gauged at this time.

Visit www.SaferPhoneZone.com, and follow us on Twitter @saferphone.

Benefit to help young cancer victim

TRUMANSBURG -- T-Burg Mini Golf is hosting a benefit Saturday to raise money for the family of a 4-year old boy diagnosed with a rare inoperable brain tumor.

Ten percent of the day's profits will go to help pay for the family's medical expenses. The event is open to the public and will include a chicken barbecue, baked goods, raffles, a bounce house and music.

On March 17, Brian and Debbie Houck, formerly of Groton, took their son Evyn to the doctors because he wasn't feeling well. "His balance and eating were off," said Brian Houck, who worked as the electronics and entertainment specialist for Target in Lansing before moving with his family to Virginia.

"We took him to the hospital and the doctors immediately sent him to the emergency room for an MRI scan," Houck recalled. There, doctors found a malignant tumor called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), situated on Evyn's brain stem that cannot be operated on due to its proximity to critical nerve functions. Classified as fatal, a large percentage of children with DIPG don't live beyond nine months with only a few surviving a year or more, according to the American Brain Tumor Association.

After his diagnosis, Evyn's health deteriorated rapidly. "He went from this active kid who loves superheroes and playing outside to being unable to walk or lift his head," Brian Houck said. His vision also became impaired, a source of frustration for Evyn. "We were losing our little boy," he continued. Evyn's mother, who had transferred from the Ithaca PetSmart to one in Charlottesville, Virginia, took unpaid medical leave so she and her husband, a stay-at-home dad, could attend to Evyn full-time.

After seeing a handful of specialists, Evyn was given radiation therapy, which he responded well to. Most of his symptoms have since subsided and his most recent brain scan showed no sign of the tumor, said Brian Houck, who feels his family's prayers were answered.

"He's back to his old self and improving every day," he said, adding that although the couple remains optimistic, there is a chance the tumor could return. As for the doctors, said Brian Houck, they're also in disbelief. But for now, Evyn and his family are getting back to life as usual. For more information on the event, visit

www.tburgminigolf.com. To follow Evyn's progress or to donate, visit


A Beginner Guide To Yoga!

[Image] There are many reasons why you should use Bikram Yoga. The advantages of Bikram Yoga can totally change your life. It’s amazing how Yoga can trigger your life and change your perspectives. Bikram Yoga is widely known as the “hot yoga”. It was also called the Bikram Method Yoga. This aims to build your mental and physical strength. Improving your flexibility and balance is important and covered by Bikram Yoga.

Bikram yoga has roots in Hatha yoga which was designed to heal the mind and the body.
Bikram Choudhury was the founder of Bikram Yoga. He was a founder and a yoga practitioner. He developed Bikram Yoga after he met an injury in a weightlifting accident. He was so determined that he had discovered some healing benefits in practicing some exercises. A lot of people have proven the benefits of Bikram Yoga so the practice was passed on and many people continued to practice it.

Some people practice Bikram Yoga for healing purposes and physical therapy. This type of Yoga was proven helpful in bringing holistic benefits to those who believed and practiced it. In fact, there was a patient who suffered from a knee injury. He tried to practice Bikram Yoga and just six weeks after continuous practice, his knees started to feel better. Some difficulties and pains that he suffered from were all disappearing.

In order to be successful with the healing process of Bikram Yoga, you need devotion in practicing it. There are some people who do not believe in the benefits of Bikram Yoga. Bikram Choudhury developed Bikram Yoga with the help of some scientists. The scientists from the University of Tokyo University Hospital proved that Bikram Yoga has medical benefits. Some of its benefits include the repairing of tissues and helps in curing chronic ailments.

The findings and benefits were presented at the International Medical Conference in the year 1972. It was stated that Bikram Yoga has the ability to affect the body internally. The poses and pressure replenishes the cells and the flushing toxins in our body. It also oxygenates blood throughout our body keeping it clean and healthy.

While Bikram was on his research at Tokyo University, he discovered that the healing process takes place when all the body systems are functioning well, conditioned and strengthened. If the body is weak, applying the practice and healing method will be difficult to obtain.

Bikram has come up with twenty-six posture exercises which are to be practiced every day. In doing so, treatment in the body can be easily obtained. Some poses are accumulated with the combination of the western and eastern disciplines in Yoga which focuses on the stretching of the muscles, tendons, organs, nerves, glands and ligaments. The different postures have connections and each of it precedes a posture that is helpful in treating the body effectively.

Anyone who wants to do yoga can use Biktam Yoga. It chooses no age at all. This type of yoga works with a tourniquet effect which includes balancing, stretching and creating pressure which is all done at a same time to keep a good blood flow to all the parts of the body. Thanks to Bikram Choudhury, we can now have solutions to some of our medical problems. Always remember that dedication and devotion to Bikram Yoga is the main ingredient to staying healthy.

Embryonic Stem Cell Case Thrown Out

After months of uncertainty, embryonic stem cell research was deemed appropriate to be federally funded. A lawsuit filed to stop the federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research was thrown out, according to the Boston Globe.

The director of the National Institutes of Health and the White House celebrated the decision.

Stem cell research is an area of biomedical research that scientists believe will be the basis for the development of treatments for ailments ranging from juvenile diabetes to spinal cord injury.

Embryonic Stem Cell Case Thrown Out

Funding for research was temporarily halted when last August, Judge Royce Lamberth, a district court judge in Washington, D.C., granted a preliminary injunction halting funding for embryonic stem cell research.

That ruling was put on hold and eventually reversed by a higher court.

The decision to dismiss the lawsuit finally put to rest the limbo scientists were having to work through.

Douglas Melton, codirector of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute told the Boston Globe, “It was never for me a cloudy or contentious issue; this was a politically motivated lawsuit. I would say I’m relieved - the feeling I have on the news you are giving me is this removes a last question mark . . . about the freedom to do this sort of research.

According to the Boston Globe, when President Obama lifted restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research through an executive order, many scientists and patient groups hailed it as the beginning of a new era for science and medicine. However, those opposed to the research criticized the decision, saying it is unethical because it requires the destruction of human embryos.

Lamberth wrote in a 38-page memorandum, “The question of whether embryonic stem cell research should be funded at all was not a question left on the table for the NIH by President Obama’s order. Indeed, had the NIH adopted plaintiffs’ views and refused to consider funding any embryonic stem cell research projects, its regulation would have been inconsistent with the Executive Order and unlawful.”

Body Dysmorphic Disorder Affects One-Third of Nose Job Patients: Study

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) could be suffered by plastic surgery patients even if they haven't undergone multiple surgeries, a new study reveals.

It was already well known that a connection exists between multiple plastic surgeries and the disorder.

BDD is a psychiatric condition in which excessive concern about imagined or minor defects in appearance interferes with daily life.

woman s nose jpg

A recent Belgian study found that one-third of patients seeking nose jobs have moderate to severe BDD.

That number rose to 43 percent amongst those wanting rhinoplasty mostly for cosmetic reasons.

Among patients seeking rhinoplasty to correct a breathing issue or other medical problem, the incidence of BDD was just 2 percent.

In addition, the study also looked at whether there is a link between the disorder and a patient's appearance.

The study authors wrote that many patients who were highly concerned about their appearance had only minor defects or none at all.

Previous studies showed that just 10 percent of patients seeking rhinoplasty suffer from BDD.

Authors of the study hope that their research will help doctors to identify BDD patients and urge them to seek out therapy rather than surgery.

Building Muscle May Reduce Diabetes Risk, Study Says

THURSDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- Increasing your muscle mass can help lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed data from 13,644 adults who took part in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III between 1988 and 1994. They found that for each 10 percent increase in the skeletal muscle index (SMI) -- the ratio of muscle mass to total body weight -- there was an 11 percent reduction in insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.
Click here to find out more!

 Building Muscle May Reduce Diabetes Risk, Study Says

There was also a 12 percent reduction in pre-diabetes, a condition characterized by higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, said the researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"Our findings suggest that beyond focusing on losing weight to improve metabolic health, there may be a role for maintaining fitness and building muscle mass," Dr. Preethi Srikanthan, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology, said in a UCLA news release.

"This is a welcome message for many overweight patients who experience difficulty in achieving weight loss, as any effort to get moving and keep fit should be seen as laudable and contributing to metabolic change," she added.

The study appears in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

More information

The U.S. National Diabetes Education Program outlines ways to prevent diabetes.

Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Pregnancy stroke surge in the US

The numbers of US women having a stroke during pregnancy has surged, according to doctors.

The incidents increased from 4,085 in 1994-5 to 6,293 in 2006-7, the journal Stroke suggests.

It is thought other risk factors such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes may be to blame.

Pregnancy stroke surge in the US : Pregnancy carries a small risk of stroke 

The Stroke Association said it was concerned by the sharp increase. Pregnancy is a known - if small - risk factor for stroke.

This study compared data from more than 1,000 hospitals in 1994-5 with 2006-7.
More common

During pregnancy itself, the proportion of women having a stroke increased by 47%, going from 0.15 to 0.22 strokes per 1000 deliveries.

In the 12 weeks after birth there was an increase from 0.12 to 0.22 strokes per 1000 deliveries, an 83% increase.

Dr Elena Kuklina, lead researcher from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said: "I am surprised at the magnitude of the increase, which is substantial. Our results indicate an urgent need to take a closer look."

The researchers suggest that two conditions - high blood pressure and heart disease - "explained almost all of the increase" in stroke after birth.

Dr Kuklina said: "Now more and more women entering pregnancy already have some type of risk factor for stroke, such as obesity, chronic hypertension, diabetes or congenital heart disease.

"Since pregnancy by itself is a risk factor, if you have one of these other stroke risk factors, it doubles the risk."

Many of these conditions are also increasing in the UK.

Dr Sharlin Ahmed, research liaison officer for The Stroke Association, said: "We're concerned that this study has found such a sharp increase in pregnancy-related stroke over the past few years.

"It is so important for woman wanting to start a family to understand the risks associated with pregnancy and to take steps to make sure they are as healthy as possible before they become pregnant."

New antibody propels hunt for universal flu vaccine

WASHINGTON — The first human antibody that can knock out all influenza A viruses has been shown effective in lab mice, an exciting step forward in the hunt for a universal vaccine, researchers said Friday.

The broadly neutralizing antibody, called FI6, could help vaccinate people against the flu without scientists struggling to piece together a new cocktail each season to match the often-changing strains.

Antonio Lanzavecchia, lead author of the study published this week in the US journal Science, described the finding as "significant," but noted it may be five years before it can be made into a widely available treatment.

"The antibody works not only by neutralizing the virus, which we knew, but also by recruiting killer cells to the virus-infected cells," Lanzavecchia, director of Switzerland's Institute for Research in Biomedicine, told AFP in a phone interview.

"This suggests that once tested in a human system, the antibodies should work even better."

The antibody was found in plasma cells from a human donor. When given to mice heavily dosed with flu viruses, it was able to knock out the illness, offering hope for use as a remedy in people who get infected with the flu.

The discovery was made by using newly patented technology to screen hundreds of thousands of plasma cells in order to isolate the rare ones that produced the antibody.

New antibody propels hunt for universal flu vaccine

"We are convinced that this is a very rare specificity but it is a very potent antibody," said Lanzavecchia, who is also chief scientific officer at patent-holder Humlabs.

"The method was really the key to get this very rare antibody."

The antibody was tested in all 16 subtypes of A flu viruses and consistently worked against the often-changing hemagglutinin (HA), the protein that is on the virus's surface.

Mice and ferrets recovered from what would have otherwise been a lethal dose of flu virus when they were given the antibody within two days of infection.

British virologist John Skehel, at the Medical Research Council's National Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill, said the finding may eliminate the need to combine different antibodies into a single shot against the flu every season.

"In terms of designing a vaccine, the main advantage of this completely cross-reactive antibody is that you can focus on the region of HA recognized by one antibody, rather than having to piece together structures from different antibodies," Skehel said in an email.

"In terms of therapeutic use, progress may be quicker, and will move toward clinical trials of the antibody very similar to those required before use of anti-viral drugs."

Flu pandemics are unpredictable, and millions of people around the world are infected annually with seasonal flu varieties that can be lethal for those with weak immune systems, including children, the elderly and pregnant women.

The spread of A(H1N1), or "swine flu," killed at least 18,449 people and affected some 214 countries and territories after it was uncovered in Mexico and the United States in April 2009.

The World Health Organization declared a pandemic on June 11, 2009. The event was formally over on August 10, 2010.

Lanzavecchia said "unpredictability of new pandemics highlights the need for better treatments that target all influenza viruses."

The next steps are to try to develop the antibodies into a treatment for flu-infected people, while scientists use the findings to work toward developing a vaccine that could coax the body into producing such antibodies.

"We have a low-hanging fruit, which is the antibody itself and the potential use of the antibody as a drug," he said.

"Then we have the long-term project, which is the use of the information obtained from the antibody to make a vaccine."

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved.

Walter Reed Army Medical Center: Former Patients Sad About Closure

Walter Reed Army Medical Center was the site where Pfc. Corey Kent took his first steps after the explosion that claimed his legs, his stepfather has revealed.

It was there where Kent fought for his life and learned how to drive a car again, reports The News-Press.

Dan Ashby, Kent's stepfather, said, "Walter Reed is where he survived and was able to start his rehabilitation.”

But the Army's flagship hospital, which began treating patients in 1909, is to close its doors in September.

Mr Kent will be among the hundreds of patients who are transferred to one of two other facilities in the area next month.

Kent, who was celebrating his 23rd birthday Thursday with friends, wasn't immediately available for comment, The News-Press.

Walter Reed Army Medical Center: Former Patients Sad About Closure

The soldier is in the Cape for an extended visit before he returns to Washington next month to continue his rehabilitation and treatment.

"We're looking forward to the move for the change of scenery. But it's still like an old family friend you're saying goodbye to,” Ashby said.

Kent lost both legs and three fingers on his left hand about a year ago to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.

Charles Scoville, chief of amputee service at the hospital, said the new facility for patients such as Kent will have several upgrades.

The upgrades include a walking simulator with a split-belt treadmill, 180-degree video screen and motion-capturing cameras, reports The News-Press.

Scoville said, "Technology has changed over the past several years. We took lessons learned here at Walter Reed to really enhance the facility."

The new home for amputees will be the National Naval Medical Center Bethesda, Md.

It will be renamed Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and be managed by all branches of the military.

Willie Ramsey is a Cape Coral veteran who served in the Persian Gulf War and spent time at Walter Reed for injuries he sustained in 1987 and 1991.

He told The News-Press he was sad when he heard the facility is closing, saying it broke his heart.

"When I saw that on the news the other night, that Walter Reed is gonna close its doors, it's something that stopped me in my tracks," Ramsey said.

He said veterans see it as a place where they know they'll be taken care of: "If I walked into Walter Reed as a veteran and said I've got a problem, somebody would give a damn.”

Bellingham woman's goal: create a treatment center for dogs with cancer

When Bellingham veterinarian Edmund Sullivan heard a doctor tell him "I've been waiting 25 years for your call," he knew he was onto something wonderful to help save cancer-stricken dogs.
And when Sullivan met Amy Baklund a few years later, he considered it "a great example of synchronicity."
Baklund, a longtime Bellingham resident who is currently working in San Diego, has established a foundation called Copan's Place. The foundation is named in memory for Baklund's beloved Bernese mountain dog, which died of cancer the same day she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Baklund is working to establish a center to house a linear accelerator needed to help cure dogs that have leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma with a revolutionary treatment.
Sullivan and his wife, veterinarian Theresa Westfall, co-own Bellingham Veterinary.
Question: Dr. Sullivan, how does the treatment work?
Answer: First, it's important for me to point out that I'm not a veterinarian oncologist. I'm a general practitioner with a special interest in transplantation biology. I did not invent any of this. It's all therapy that originated out of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. The treatment is colloquially known as a bone marrow transplant for dogs.
Q: How does it work?
A: We collect stem cells from the dog's bloodstream while using a machine similar to a dialysis machine. The dog undergoes total body irradiation without the stem cells to kill any remaining tumors, and the harvested stem cells are then re-infused into the dog so a new immune system can develop and save the dog's life, if all goes well.
Q: How did you learn the technique?
A: I contacted Dr. Rainer Storb at Fred Hutchinson and told him I had a dog with lymphoma. He told me, "I've been waiting 25 years for this phone call." He invited Theresa and I to come to Fred Hutchinson and gave us the opportunity to learn this technique (which originated when dogs were used to develop bone marrow transplant treatments for humans). Things have come full circle now, with the ability to treat dogs.
Q: How many dogs have you treated?
A: I've been involved in the successful treatment of about 80 dogs after helping to train doctors at North Carolina State University, Los Angeles, New York and San Diego. About 20 of the dogs are in Whatcom County.
Q: Where will Copan's Place be located?
A: We envision a centrally located area like Kirkland. We need a treatment center and linear accelerator because we've been using two other hospital facilities. The travel and stress do not create an ideal situation.
Q: Amy, what motivated you to form a foundation?
A: The day Copan died I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I'm now a five-year survivor.
I got the idea for the foundation when I met Dr. Sullivan. He has a genuine passion for curing animals and he has a great heart.
My lifelong friend Cathy Belben (a long-distance runner) has been by my side all the way to help, and now she'll help raise money by running several races this summer around the country.
Q: What are your financial needs?
A: We've raised $250,000 already and our goal is to raise $1 million to create a fully dedicated structure for Copan's Place.

Beatles tribute star loses long battle with colon cancer

Mark Vaccacio, who spent a good portion of his career playing John Lennon and George Harrison in Beatles tribute bands, lost a lengthy battle with colon cancer Wednesday. He was 58.

Strawberry Fields, the band with whom he had played for the last 15 years, issued a statement on their website. "We regret the passing of Mark 'Farquar' Vaccacio, who suffered and died on June 15, 2011 from colon cancer and its complications. He was our guitarist for Strawberry Fields and a most dear friend for 15 years and also an aluminist member of Beatlemania. His ability to touch the lives of so many people was immense and all that saw him perform and knew him as a friend were greatly touched by him in so many ways. Thank you, Farquar, for being such a positive light in our lives and we will all miss you forever."

According to his biography on the Strawberry Fields website, Vaccacio starred for three years on Broadway as John Lennon in "Beatlemania" and played George Harrison with Strawberry Fields. The band has had weekly Saturday shows at B.B. King's in New York. On Aug. 16, 2005, the group re-created the Beatles' Shea Stadium show at the original venue, which was demolished in 2009. The performance included taped messages from Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney.

But Vaccacio's Beatle connections weren't totally imitations. He created and starred in "Imagine," a live show based on John Lennon in which he performed with members of Lennon's backup band, Elephant's Memory. And he also played guitar and did backup vocals with Ringo Starr and the Monkees on the national television commercial they did for Pizza Hut. He has recently been executive producer for Strawberry Field's backing tracks.

The news of Vaccacio's colon cancer had been reported in several newspaper stories. For one man, it was a lifesaver. According to fellow band member Tony Garofalo, who plays John Lennon in Strawberry Fields, the man wrote the band after hearing about reading the stories. The man said before reading the newspaper reports, he hadn't had a colonoscopy and said the stories finally made him do it. He said his test results were all clear, but credited Vaccacio with making a big difference in his life.

Garofalo said about Vaccacio, "As the producer, manager and John Lennon impersonator of Strawberry Fields, I can say that Farquar (Vaccacio's nickname) was not only a close and dear friend to me, but a steller musician and showman. He lived to perform and to make people sing and laugh. He will be missed forever both in the social circuit and also in the music industry."

Charles F. Rosenay, Horror Happening Examiner and producer of Beatle conventions, also said, "He was among the best Lennon solo imitators in history."

© COPYRIGHT STATEMENT: This article is the original work of Steve Marinucci.

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Tylenol cuts dosage limit to prevent acetaminophen overuse

Johnson & Johnson announced Thursday that it would lower the maximum recommended dose of its painkiller Tylenol to lessen overdoses and liver damage from its widely used main ingredient, acetaminophen.

J&J will lower the top daily dose for single-ingredient Extra Strength Tylenol in the U.S. to six pills a day, or 3,000 milligrams, from 8 pills a day, or 4,000 milligrams, the company's McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit said. The move will take effect later this year, with similar changes for other acetaminophen products in 2012, J&J said.

Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration called for restrictions two years ago to prevent fatal overdoses of acetaminophen, citing its use in scores of over-the-counter and prescription drugs. The compound is found in more than 600 medications and can also cause liver damage.

Tylenol cuts dosage limit to prevent acetaminophen overuse

While acetaminophen is safe when used as directed, some people accidentally exceed the recommended dose when taking multiple products at the same time, said Edwin Kuffner, McNeil's vice president of over-the-counter medical affairs, in the statement. McNeil is revising its labels for products containing acetaminophen in an attempt to decrease the likelihood of accidental overdosing in those instances.

The company said it was working with fellow manufacturers to ensure consistency in dosing instructions for acetaminophen. Recommendations for J&J's Regular Strength Tylenol will be changed next year, it said.

Besides Tylenol, acetaminophen is the active ingredient in the prescription painkillers Percocet and Vicodin and in some nonprescription pain relievers, including NyQuil and some Sudafed products. It's found in thousands of medicines taken for headaches, fever, sore throats and chronic pain.

But people taking multiple medicines at once don't always realize how much acetaminophen they are ingesting, partly because prescription drug labels often list it under the abbreviation "APAP."

Two years ago, a panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration called for restrictions to prevent accidental fatal overdoses of acetaminophen.

Then in January, the FDA said it would cap the amount of acetaminophen in Vicodin, Percocet and other prescription pain killers at 325 milligrams per capsule, just under half the 700 milligram maximum of some products on the market then. The agency also said it was working with pharmacies and other medical groups to develop standard labeling for acetaminophen.

Excessive use of acetaminophen can cause liver damage. In the U.S., it's blamed for 200 fatal overdoses and 56,000 trips to the emergency room each year.

Johnson & Johnson has ordered two massive recalls of its drugs products this year. In June, McNeil recalled Tylenol Extra Strength over reports of a musty, moldy odor. On Wednesday, another recall was announced. Tylenol said the label changes were not related to the recalls.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

Cowboys & Aliens a clever combo

The reason for Cowboys & Aliens — the justification for it, the appeal of it, the whole point of it — is contained in the title.

Take a cowboy movie, add space aliens. That's a gimmick that could easily have exhausted itself after 20 minutes, but director Jon Favreau, a team of screenwriters and some well-cast actors keep it alive, and the result is a crowd-pleasing summer movie with more wit than most.

The more you know westerns, the more you'll enjoy Cowboys & Aliens. Every western cliché is pumped up and blown out, not only the clichés of story but of character, costume and set design. Sam Rockwell, as a merchant, shows up with the little round spectacles and plastered down hair that you've seen in a hundred movies. Paul Dano as a spoiled drunken brat on a rampage starts shooting up the town, like every obnoxious skinny kid with a gun from a thousand westerns. And the shots of the rickety old town, a few structures in a vast nothingness, are a little more forlorn than usual.

Movie : Cowboys & Aliens a clever combo

At the center of it all, of course, is a lonesome stranger with a dark past. This time it's Daniel Craig, as stern and unsmiling as Clint Eastwood, who wakes up in the movie's first scene in the middle of nowhere, with an elaborate metal bracelet on his wrist and suffering from amnesia. But he does remember how to fight. When he takes down four creepy guys - they're filthy with long beards and look like something out of western central casting - the audience settles in for a good time.

For the most part, Cowboys & Aliens delivers. Favreau has a subtly satirical sensibility that can suggest absurdity simply through camera placement, as when Craig stands framed in a doorway, like some western God, and then says, "Hello?" - sounding just a little unsure and ridiculous. The script is sprinkled with funny moments for viewers in the know. At one point, an exasperated Rockwell turns on someone and says, "Why don't you sing a song, cook some beans, do something useful!"

But the movie's most inexhaustible source of delight is Harrison Ford as a cranky old entrepreneur in an Indiana Jones hat. It's a given in every Ford movie that he's ticked off about something. The trick is to give him a reason to be so surly. Space aliens taking his son? Alien death rays burning up his cattle? OK, these are good reasons. Ford doesn't exactly play for laughs, and in fact the movie provides him with several dramatic moments that he seems to relish. But Ford knows who he is on screen and what he has come to mean over the decades. He knows exactly where the laughs are, and he nails every one of them.

On the downside, Cowboys & Aliens is not the western answer to Inglourious Basterds. Here, genre isn't exaggerated to jar audiences from their complacency or to discover new truths. The movie combines cowboys with science fiction only for the sake of doing it, for the fun of it. Like the novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, you already have the best joke going in. Lacking an overarching purpose or viewpoint, the movie is no better than it happens to be in the moment, and there is a 20-minute stretch, about a quarter of the way in, that drags.

But Cowboys & Aliens gets better as it goes along, and benefits from a director with a solid command of tone. The actors may know they're in a comedy, but the characters certainly don't. That's an important difference that allows us, once the premise's novelty has worn off, to care whether Daniel Craig can rescue a very somber Olivia Wilde from the clutches of an alien space ship, for example. Or to maintain a reasonable interest in the fate of a humanity threatened by gigantic, green, snorting monsters.


Navy drops former astronaut Lisa Nowak

(CNN) -- Former astronaut Lisa Nowak, who was accused of assaulting a romantic rival in the parking lot of the airport in Orlando, was forced Thursday to retire from the Navy with an "other than honorable" discharge.

"Nowak's conduct fell well short of that expected of senior officers in our Navy and demonstrated a complete disregard for the well-being of a fellow service member," Juan Garcia, the assistant secretary of Navy, said in a statement.

Prosecutors accused Nowak of driving nearly 900 miles from Houston to Orlando -- wearing NASA diapers to cut down on the number of stops she needed to make -- and donning a disguise before following former Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman from the airport's baggage claim to the parking lot in February 2007.

Her attorney denied that she wore the diapers.

Nowak said she had gone to the airport to talk to Shipman, who was dating Nowak's former love interest, Navy Cmdr. Bill Oefelein.

The Navy released a statement saying Lisa Nowak's conduct "demonstrated a complete disregard for the well-being of a fellow service member."

But Shipman called that claim "at best, ridiculous," saying that Nowak -- whom she did not know -- had ample opportunity to talk to her, as she "stealthily followed me for hours."

She recounted her terror as she realized Nowak was following her in the dark parking lot. She said she sprinted to reach her car. Once she was inside, Shipman said, Nowak attempted to open the door and beat on its window, then spun a tale of being a helpless traveler who was afraid of being in the parking lot.

Shipman said she cracked her window, and Nowak sprayed her in the face with pepper spray.

In 2009, Nowak avoided prison after pleading guilty to lesser charges as part of a plea agreement and was sentenced to a year of probation.

Kim Kardashian Has Psoriasis: What is it?

Psoriasis is a very common skin condition and there are millions of people suffering from it. Now, Kim Kardashian is part of the 7.5 million people who have psoriasis and although she is very worried about it, she did not seem to be ashamed of it when the whole world found out about it.

Kim Kardashian Psoriasis

Yes, it is true, the one and only Kim Kardashian has psoriasis and she found out about it during the Sunday night’s episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” During the same episode, Kim seemed to be really worried about the fact that the red spots on her stomach would appear on the video she is to make for Skechers Shape Ups. However, there is a wide range of treatments the celebrity can use in order to keep the condition under control. She should probably ask her mother, Kris, for help, as she is also known to have psoriasis.

Psoriasis is a hereditary condition and it is quite obvious from whom Kim got her psoriasis from. Still, the skin condition is not contagious and given that there are many treatments people can use to keep it under control, Kim should not be worried at all. So what if Kim Kardashian has psoriasis? There are millions out there who suffer from this condition, but not everybody gets to show their red spots on TV.

B.C. to begin groundbreaking cancer testing

Cancer treatment in B.C. is about to get more personal -and more comfortable -after the announcement Monday of a world-first medical project.

Genome B.C. and the B.C. Cancer Foundation have begun a groundbreaking step in developing a genetic test over the next two years that is hoped to leave the guessing out of cancer treatment.

There are two types of treatment for cancer -chemotherapy and stem-cell transportation -says Dr. Aly Karsan, medical director for the Cancer Genetics Lab for the B.C. Cancer Agency.

"In order to provide more effective treatment, we must first understand which course of treatment a patient will respond best to," said Karsan.

"We can do this with information from the genetic signature of a patient's cancer and this can be identified through their genomic sequence."

Karsan is leading one jointly supported research project focusing on applying genomics to the management of a devastating and difficult to treat form of leukemia called Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), with which around 200 British Columbians are diagnosed yearly.

ALM has been chosen to spearhead the program because leukemias have been the most investigated form of cancer, Vancouver has world-class sequencing and analysis technology, and cell samples donated by B.C. cancer patients to study are "fresh."


Bears tight end hopes tournament kicks cancer

In what might prove to be a strategic mistake, Chicago Bears tight end Greg Olsen has picked teammates Brian Urlacher and Matt Forte to join his squad in his charity kickball tournament July 9 in Chicago’s Grant Park.

The Bears players most qualified to fill the power hitting slots in a kickball lineup would be kicker Robbie Gould and punter Brad Maynard.

“I should talk to [them],” Olsen realized last week while talking to Pioneer Press. “[They] definitely would do better kicking the ball than the rest of us.”

Despite the NFL lockout, Long Grove resident Olsen pledged that he is in great shape and ready to go for the glory in what has become the world’s largest charity kickball tournament.

But winning isn’t everything: The most important result remains the money raised for Receptions for Research: The Greg Olsen Foundation. Established in 2009, the organization was created to honor Olsen’s mother, a 10-year breast cancer survivor, while helping others realize a second chance at life, too.

“My mother’s diagnosis was a shock to our family,” Olsen said. “We watched her tackle cancer head-on while still raising a family and attending our extracurricular activities. I am happy to say that through perseverance and exceptional care she was able to overcome breast cancer.

“Our goal is for everyone to come out a survivor, just like my mom.”

All the money raised — $750,000 since the foundation’s inception — provides hospitals, doctors, and researchers with the necessary resources to save those affected with all types of cancers.

Olsen teamed up with C.H. Robinson Worldwide for the first time last year. Together they will host the eighth annual Kicks for a Cure kickball tournament.

“Most people haven’t played kickball in a while, so it lets people go have fun and let loose for an afternoon,” Olsen said. “It’s a whole different type of charity event.”

The tournament will feature three divisions of competition to allow players of all skill levels the opportunity to participate. The goal is to field 60 teams, with each squad guaranteed to play at least three games, potentially against Olsen, Urlacher and Forte.

Olsen has lived in Long Grove since the Chicago Bears drafted him 31st overall in the 2007 NFL Draft. Olsen and his wife recently welcomed their first child in June.

“We like that it’s quiet here,” Olsen said of Long Grove. “It’s laid back and it’s a nice place to raise a family. We’ve enjoyed our time here.”

Asked to provide transportation advice or short cuts to his Long Grove neighbors joining him at the tournament, which is not too far from the Bears’ Solider Field home, Olsen laughed.

“Leave early,” he chuckled. “Traffic from here is sometimes tough, but it will be worth their trip. I promise.”

Registration for the Kicks for a Cure tournament is open to the public. Sponsors, donations and volunteers opportunities are still needed. Spectators can purchase a day pass for $50, which includes food and beverages in addition to access to the event.

For more information, visit kicksforacure.mytmc.com.

© 2011 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

8 Adult Female Acne Treatment Tips

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CAD: Ineffective in Finding Breast Cancer

(Ivanhoe Newswire)--Computer-aided detection (CAD) uses software that is designed to improve how radiologists interpret mammograms, but new research is suggesting that this technology may actually make these readings less accurate. A recent study was conducted at UC Davis which concluded that CAD technology is ineffective in finding breast tumors and actually increases a woman's risk of being called back needlessly for additional testing following a mammogram.

Joshua Fenton, assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Family and Community Medicine was quoted saying, "In real-world practice, CAD increases the chances of being unnecessarily called back for further testing because of the false-positive results without clear benefits to women. Breast cancers were detected at a similar stage and size regardless of whether or not radiologists used CAD."

CAD: Ineffective in Finding Breast Cancer

A study used to determine the effectiveness of CAD examined screening mammograms that were performed on more than 680,000 women at 90 facilities within seven states from 1998 to 2006. The rate of false positive test results typically increased from 8.1 percent before CAD to 8.6 percent after CAD was installed at the facilities covered in the study. CAD was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998 in order to analyze a mammogram image and mark suspicious areas for radiologists to review. The use of this detection software has greatly increased in recent years and is applied to a majority of screenings in the United States. Medicare data from 2009 demonstrated that Medicare typically paid about 12 dollars per screening mammogram for CAD in addition to the actual costs of the mammogram (about 81 dollars).

The most recent study of CAD examined screening results in 43 facilities, including seven that used CAD and determined that using CAD software reduced the accuracy of interpretation of screening mammograms but made no difference in the detection rate of invasive breast cancer. Critics of this current study claim that the findings were based on the use of an older kind of CAD technology and therefore did not accurately reflect the usefulness of the device. The authors of this study suggest that differences between real-world studies of CAD and pre-clinical ones may be due to the radiologists in the practice who do not always adhere to the strict use of the technology as it was designed.

SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, July 27, 2011

Best Story in Giants Camp Is a Cancer Survivor

Tom Coughlin got a new contract extension, Eli Manning made an appearance at training camp, and there was talk Plaxico Burress could end up back with the New York Giants.

The best news out of the Meadowlands on Wednesday, though, came from an undrafted rookie just trying to land a spot on the regular season roster.

Mark Herzlich passed yet another physical. The titanium rod in his left leg didn't even give the doctors pause.

Now there's nothing left to do but play football.

"I'm excited about what lies ahead," he said.

That hardly seemed possible just a little over two years ago when the Boston College standout had to seek medical help for the awful pain in his leg. The test results were disturbing.

He had a rare form of bone cancer, the doctor said. Ewing's sarcoma. He had a good chance of living, he was told, but he would never again play the sport he loved so much.

The doctor knew his medicine. But he didn't know Mark Herzlich.

"The first questions in my head were 'Why me?' but that lasted only a few hours," Herzlich said in a phone interview. "I decided, like everything in my life, I would have to tackle it head on. I was determined to not only do everything I could to get rid of the disease but to play football again."

Mark Herzlich : Best Story in Giants Camp Is a Cancer Survivor

The surgery came first, with doctors inserting a 12-inch titanium rod that runs from Herzlich's hip to just above his knee. Then came seven months of chemotherapy and another five weeks of radiation to help make sure the cancer was gone.

And, finally, the long rehabilitation back to where he could play linebacker his senior year at Boston College. One final season that would prove to everyone — himself included — that he had beaten it.

"Just being healthy again wasn't a win in my book," Herzlich said. "I equated football and running out of the tunnel with my team as beating cancer. Getting back to where I was would be the ultimate win."

He lost a season to the cancer, but Herzlich finally ran out of the tunnel last year, crossing over the white line onto the field. He wasn't quite the player who was considered a potential top 10 draft pick after being named ACC defensive player of the year in 2008 — but he was playing again. As the season went on, he began to play better, finishing strong and regaining much of the fluidity that made him such a feared linebacker before he got sick.

That was enough to get Herzlich an invitation to NFL draft in New York. It wasn't enough to convince any of the 32 teams to call his name.

Several teams, though, were interested in signing Herzlich as a free agent rookie. Then Giants co-owner John Mara — a fellow BC grad who had watched Herzlich play — said he "suggested" to team executives that the linebacker was someone they could not afford to overlook.

"He had a monster junior year before he got sick and we just thought he was worth a shot," Mara said. "Anyone who has the strength and mental toughness to overcome what he has is worth taking a chance on."

The 23-year-old understands he has to prove himself to the Giants, no matter how highly the boss regards him. He knows how hard it is for undrafted rookies to make NFL teams.

But he's been up against a tougher opponent. He's beaten longer odds.

"Everybody is under a microscope, especially undrafted free agents," Herzlich said. "Being undrafted means the league had 254 options to take you and they didn't. Now I've got to prove I'm better than those 254 and prove that I deserve one of the spots on the team. I have a lot of confidence in myself to do that."

The paycheck will have less zeroes than the one he would have made as a first-round draft pick. But Herzlich is playing football again, and to him that's just as important as any riches the sport might provide.

He doesn't think about the titanium rod in his leg when he is on the field, doesn't dwell on the fact he had cancer. Off the field, he wants to be a role model and he wants people to know they, too, can overcome adversity.

"I tell people all the time I'm proud to be a cancer survivor. To eliminate that would not do justice to myself or to what I went through," Herzlich said. "It's part of who I am."

Right now is Mark Herzlich of the New York Giants.

Cancer survivor and football player.


Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org

Cellphones don't increase cancer risk in kids, study says

Using cellphones doesn't increase children's cancer risk, according to a new study, the latest in a series of papers that find no link between the phones and brain tumors.

Scientists say the study is important, because it is the first of its kind to focus on children.

The study's authors compared the cellphone habits of nearly 1,000 children in Western Europe, including 352 with brain tumors and 646 without. Kids who used cellphones were no more likely to develop a brain tumor than others, according to the study of children ages 7 to 19, published online Wednesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Cellphones dont increase cancer risk in kids, study says

Scientists have been eagerly awaiting these results, says Martha Linet, a doctor with the National Cancer Institute who wasn't involved in the study. "It's very reassuring," Linet says.

Cellphones dont increase cancer risk in kids, study says

Researchers, led by Denis Aydin of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, looked at their data in several ways, searching for possible trends with long-term use. They found no increase in brain tumors among children who had used cellphones for five years or more, according to the study, funded by European health agencies.

Some scientists and consumers have been concerned about cellphones' health effects, especially on developing children, because cellphones emit energy close to the brain.

In the study, Aydin and colleagues note that radio frequency electromagnetic fields created by cellphones penetrate deeper into children's brains than adults' brains, mainly because kids' skulls are smaller, the study says. Recent studies have suggested that small children's brains absorb about twice as much mobile phone energy as adults' brains.

But authors also point out that this energy — unlike the radiation given off by X-rays or CT scans — isn't strong enough to damage DNA, cause mutations and lead to cancer. And while many people are concerned about cellphones, no one has ever come up with a way to explain how the devices might cause cancer, Linet says.

If cellphones caused brain tumors, researchers might expect to find those tumors on the side of the head where kids hold their phones. In the new study, however, children had the lowest risk of tumors in the part of the brain exposed to the most cellphone energy, write scientists John Boice and Robert Tarone in an accompanying editorial. They note that there has been no increase in brain tumors — among kids or adults — since cellphones came into widespread use in the 1990s. In their editorial, they note that there were 285 million cellphone subscribers in 2009 in the USA alone. If cellphones really did cause brain tumors, doctors would likely have noticed this by now, they write.

But the study also produced some mixed signals.

In a subset of children, researchers found a higher risk of brain tumors in children whose cellphone subscriptions had begun more than 2.8 years ago.

Overall, however, parents should find these results reassuring, says pediatrician Rachel Vreeman, of the Indiana University School of Medicine, who summarizes recent cellphone research in her book, Don't Cross Your Eyes… They'll Get Stuck That Way!: And 75 Other Health Myths Debunked.

"This is a good piece of evidence that parents don't need to be panicked about cellphones and cancer," Vreeman says.

Concerns about cellphones were renewed last month, when a branch of the World Health Organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, reversed its previous position. In the past, the agency had said there was "no conclusive evidence" linking cellphones to brain tumors. Now, the agency classifies cellphones as "possibly carcinogenic" based on "limited evidence," acknowledging that the few links between cellphones and cancer could be due to chance.

The "possibly carcinogenic" category includes a number of staples of everyday life, however, such as coffee, pickles and styrofoam, Vreeman says.

"Scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices do not pose a public health risk for adults or children," said John Walls of CTIA-The Wireless Association, in a statement.

Consumers who remain concerned can take a number of steps to reduce their exposure to cellphone energy, such as using a hands-free device or a speakerphone, the American Cancer Society says.

Less Tests Mean Less Costs for Early-Stage Breast Cancer Patients

Early-stage breast cancer patients may have a few less tests as well as costs to worry about. An observational study suggests that tests looking for micrometastasis, small collections of cancer cells spreading to additional parts of the body, in the sentinel lymph nodes and bone marrow do not significantly affect mortality rates.

The American College of Surgeons Oncology Group, led by Dr. Armando Giuliano, reviewed the test results, treatments, and survival rates of 5,210 women with early-stage breast cancer, including 5,119 who had sentinel lymph node (SLN) examinations and 3,413 who had bone marrow biopsies. From May 1999 to May 2003, there were no significant signs of increased survival based on these tests.

Among the women with SLN tests, 10.5 percent had evidence of micrometastasis. The study reports that 95.1 percent of the patients with micrometastasis in their lymph nodes survived after five years, while 95.7 percent of women without it survived.

As for women who had bone marrow biopsies, only 3 percent had micrometastasis. Of those women, 90.4 percent survived after five years, compared to 92.2 percent of women without micrometastasis.

The differences for both types of tests are considered insignificant. Results also show no apparent connection to the rate of cancer recurrence.

Despite these results, some medical experts insist on continuing with the use of these tests. They were originally implemented in order to identify breast cancer metastases that are not seen with routine pathological or clinical examinations. Although the incidence rate is too low, according to this study, these tests help identify high-risk women and present any increased chances of mortality. Therefore, eliminating these extra measures might seem daunting to some people.

On the other hand, Giuliano and his colleagues do not recommend any further use of these tests. Perhaps medical practices will eventually change as such routines prove to be less useful. In the end, eliminating these unnecessary processes will save breast cancer patients both time and a significant amount of cash.

Entourage Season 8 Episode 1

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Fan: five reasons Brett Favre’s return would be good for the NFL

No matter how many times Brett Favre retires and unretires, I will always be a fan of his. In this era of overpriced prima donnas and bloated egos, there is something to be said about an NFL star that plays through pain, always gives 100% effort and displays a humble attitude regardless of the circumstances. Here are the top five reasons why Favre's return would be good for the sport.

Unparalled Work Ethic

My father used to work long hours day in and day out as a salesman in New York City. Even when he was sick, he went to work anyways and never complained. In some respects, Brett Favre's work ethic on the football field reminds me a lot of my dad's blue-collar values. Even when Favre had a serious injury, he played through it because he didn't want to let fans and teammates down.

Mentoring Role

Last week, Philadelphia Eagles quarterbackMichael Vick(notes)fueled chatter of Favre's return by saying in a tweet that he would be honored to have the future hall of famer as a backup. According to a Kansas City Star report, Brett Favre's agent responded by saying that talk of him coming back is pure speculation. However, America has been through this before with Favre and we know by now to never say never. If Favre came back to the league with the Eagles, he could continue to foster Vick's positive development at the quarterback position.

Public Relations

Now that the NFL lockout is over, Favre's return would be the feel-good story of the summer. When I think about a player that simply plays for the love of the game, it does wonders to wipe away the bitter taste in my mouth that was created by the NFL lockout. Overdramatic press conferences aside, fans would likely embrace yet another return to the league by Favre. Having a passion for the sport is something that can't be taught, and that will to succeed has always been the driving force behind Favre's game.

Time to Heal

While it is true that Favre had a dreadful 2010 season with the Minnesota Vikings, I have plenty of reason to believe that the 41-year old has a little bit of magic left in him. Favre has had seven months to heal, so that is plenty of time to relax and be game-ready for the new season.

Embracing the Underdog Role

America loves a comeback story. If Favre was somehow able to bounce back from his rocky 2010 season and lead another team into the playoffs, it would be one of the greatest sports stories of all-time. What drives us to succeed in any aspect of life is the will to persevere through adversity in order to reach a goal, and Favre has always been one to battle back from the obstacles in his path.When Brett Favre was on the New York Jets for the 2008-2009 season, I admired his warrior spirit and love for the sport of football. As a lifelong Jets fan, I enjoyed watching Favre give his best effort to help my team win.

David Wu resigns : Read this: Presidential historian Barry Landau charged with theft

Presidential historian Barry Landau has always presented himself as a savvy White House insider, with a dazzling collection of memorabilia. But some believed his tales were too tall. He claimed to have had jobs it seems he did not.

David Wu resigns : Read this: Presidential historian Barry Landau charged with theft

A signed volume of presidential speeches vanished from the home of former Clinton secretary Betty Currie when he was visiting. Now, reports our colleague Justin Jouvenal, Landau's carefully cultivated reputation is shattered by charges he stole documents valued at $6 million from the Maryland Historical Society.

In other news: The year of the congressional sex scandal continues, as Rep. David Wu resigns.
By The Reliable Source

Bacterial infection profiles in lung cancer patients with febrile neutropenia.

The chemotherapy used to treat lung cancer causes febrile neutropenia in 10 to 40% of patients. Although most episodes are of undetermined origin, an infectious etiology can be suspected in 30% of cases.

In view of the scarcity of data on lung cancer patients with febrile neutropenia, we performed a retrospective study of the microbiological characteristics of cases recorded in three medical centers in the Picardy region of northern France.

Methods: We analyzed the medical records of lung cancer patients with neutropenia (neutrophil count <500/mm3) and fever (temperature >38.3degreesC).

Results: The study included 87 lung cancer patients with febrile neutropenia (mean age: 64.2). Two thirds of the patients had metastases and half had poor performance status.

Thirty-three of the 87 cases were microbiologically documented. Gram-negative bacteria (mainly enterobacteriaceae from the urinary and digestive tracts) were identified in 59% of these cases.

Staphylococcus species (mainly S. aureus) accounted for a high proportion of the identified Gram-positive bacteria.

Bacteremia accounted for 60% of the microbiologically documented cases of fever. 23% of the blood cultures were positive.

14% of the infections were probably hospital-acquired and 14% were caused by multidrug-resistant strains. The overall mortality rate at day 30 was 33% and the infection-related mortality rate was 16.1%.

Treatment with antibiotics was successful in 82.8% of cases. In a multivariate analysis, predictive factors for treatment failure were age >60 and thrombocytopenia <20000/mm3.

Conclusion: Gram-negative species were the most frequently identified bacteria in lung cancer patients with febrile neutropenia.

Despite the success of antibiotic treatment and a low-risk neutropenic patient group, mortality is high in this particular population.

Author: Jean-Philippe LanoixEmilie PluquetFrancois-Xavier LescureHoucine BentayebEmmanuelle LecuyerMarie BoutemyPatrick DumontVincent JounieauxJean-Luc SchmitCharles DayenYoucef Douadi
Credits/Source: BMC Infectious Diseases 2011, 11:183

Published on: 2011-06-27

Copyright by the authors listed above - made available via BioMedCentral (Open Access). P

Battling 4-year-old's cancer with chemo, Doritos and caring

From the beginning, the team around Kya Simpson-Freeman faced a daunting task: Stomp out a deadly tumor without crushing the spirit of a 4-year-old girl.

Just 650 cases of neuroblastoma are diagnosed nationwide each year, and Rush University Medical Center

in Chicago sees only about three of them.

But clinicians can't recall ever having a patient hospitalized for as long as Kya.

Since January, the staff at Rush, from doctors to housekeepers, has been dedicated to keeping the rhythms of a little girl's life ordinary amid extraordinary circumstances. Games of Candyland and Connect 4 have become as important to the treatment plan as ultrasounds and IVs.

"I worry about what impact all of this will have … how it will affect her childhood," says Debra Simpson, Kya's mother. "We've all been changed by this experience."

It started about a year ago with a simple stomachache that turned out to be the most deadly form of childhood

cancer. Dr. Paul Kent called the tumor on Kya's adrenal gland, which spread to her liver, lungs, kidneys and

bones, one of the most aggressive he had ever seen.

Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy didn't work. So the Rush team threw a "Hail Mary" pass. They decided to blast Kya with levels of chemotherapy so intense that she would need to live in the hospital's pediatric unit for much of the next six months.

So for up to three weeks every month, Kya and her mother lived at Rush. Over that time, everyone would pull together. Not just Simpson — a single mom with a full-time job — but a host of unsung heroes who never set foot in an operating room.

Each time mother and daughter return to Rush, the drill is the same. Check into the hospital and submit to an assault of chemo drugs. For Kya, that's followed by nausea, loss of appetite, exhaustion, a round of anti-nausea drugs and then, hopefully, signs of rising

blood counts.

The first day of each cycle follows a predictable pattern. Simpson pushes Kya into the clinic by wheelchair, where Kent, an

oncologist who favors Elmo ties, examines his still-sleepy patient.

Next, the infusion room, where Kya is hooked up to an IV. She is already feeling nauseous, but a video of "101 Dalmatians" and an orange soda help ease the transition.

After an hour, Kya is moved up to the fifth floor, where the staff always tries to have the same room prepared, right down to her favorite pillowcase. A party-size bag of Doritos is strategically placed on the bed.

As soon as the doors open, she is greeted like a returning hero. "Welcome back, Miss Kya." "Where'd you get those snazzy new shoes, Miss Kya?"

The patient manages a weak smile.

Simpson, 44, hugs her daughter before heading to the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she is director of the Urban Allied Health Academy. Her office is less than a mile away from Rush, but Kya lingers over the goodbye. Nurse Gina Balzano diverts the girl's attention with a game of tag in the hallway.

Back in December, Kent had laid out the pros and cons of treating Kya as an outpatient vs. living at Rush. Simpson heard the dangers of a wiped-out

immune system — including a fever or blood pressure

that could spike at a moment's notice — and quickly signed on to the live-in arrangement.

That decision led to many long days. Twelve hours after she leaves Kya at the clinic, Simpson finishes work and is back at the hospital, wearily pushing a wheelchair, this time piled with her own clothes and bags for the next two to three-week stay.

Kya's face lights up when her mother walks into the room. Mom gets an update from the nurse on the day while hanging up her wardrobe in the room's gray metal locker. It's the same model she used a decade ago in the Army.

Before each hospital stint,Simpson checks items off her to-do list, ranging from cleaning out the refrigerator to packing the right number of pantyhose.

"No one has a lot of extra time, but the outpouring of support has been something else," she says.

At night, Kya and her mom eat dinner together off trays in the room. Sometimes they order tacos from a neighborhood hangout. They watch TV, followed by a bedtime story and prayers. Finally, Simpson climbs into the hospital bed, curling her body to her daughter's.

On days when Kya is feeling well, life in the pediatrics unit seems a lot like an all-inclusive resort: Wake up and watch cartoons, especially "Dora the Explorer" or "Caillou." Have breakfast in bed, including unlimited bacon. Go next door to the playroom, stocked with puzzles, books and movies. Do some fun activity, like baking cookies.

But then someone in a white coat shows for another test. During one of her treatments, Kya needs a
bone scan, which requires lying very still. The technician has difficulty getting Kya's cooperation and no one wants to use sedation.

When Kya doesn't want to be poked or prodded, she just stares straight at the TV.

Busy doctors rarely have time to help kids understand an overwhelming event like cancer. So it falls to child life specialists like Kim George to make it a little less traumatic. For Kya, George has focused on easing the fear and anxiety surrounding illness and hospitalization.

On one of her visits, George greets the little girl with a smile and creates a diversion with an

iPad until the precise moment for an X-ray.

"The sooner you get this over with, the sooner we can finish our game," George says brightly. The rest of the scan is completed without a hitch.

Averting a crisis is all in a day's work for George, who has logged almost seven years at Rush. Her job description may include finger-painting, squirting shaving cream, booking a magician and tending to Coco, the therapy bunny.

Kya knows she has a "bad thing in her belly" but has yet to use the "C" word — cancer. But plenty of other young patients have asked "why?"

"You try to use language that is honest and age-appropriate," George says. "But sometimes the best answer we can offer is 'I don't know.'"

Other problems are simpler to solve.The staff does what it can to make Kya's bland hospital room kid-friendly. On the wall, her name is scrawled on a whiteboard, encircled by flowers. Stickers, coloring books and markers in Kya's favorite colors are in full supply. A spot is cleared for her beloved stuffed dog, a gift from Kent.

"She's an old soul," says Claudia Martin, a housekeeper. Before she finishes cleaning Kya's room, she leans over the patient, cooing that she will be back at the end of her shift with a bag of chips.

Such bribery usually elicits a smile. Today, no response at all.

"Kya, just talk to me," Martin pleads. "When you're sad, I'm sad."

Later, Martin explains why she loves her job, which she views as so much more than mopping floors and cleaning toilets.

"You just want to do whatever you can," she says. "I will spoil these kids rotten if it means lifting their spirits."

The middle of the lengthy chemo treatment is always the most brutal, and for several days in April Kya is throwing up. Limp as a rag doll, she shows no interest in TV, toys, visitors.

Then, on Day 14 of this cycle, her blood cell and platelet counts inch upward. The storm has passed. Kent suggests an outing to the hospital pharmacy for a much-needed change of scenery.

As nurse Jen Grey wheels her down the aisles, Kya grabs three cans of ravioli, four sticks of beef jerky, raspberry lemonade gum, a Lunchable, a kidney-buster bottle of root beer and every possible chip in the O food group: Cheetos, Doritos and Fritos.

"Kya, you're going to have a heart attack by the time you are 10," Grey says in mock horror.

Grey doesn't hesitate when the cashier rings up the $30 tab. The staff takes turns paying for these outings out of their own pockets. "We're just so happy to see her … getting to be a kid," Grey says.

Then, as she completes the transaction, something catches Grey's attention. She leans over and asks a question of her charge that probably can't be found in any

nursing school textbook.

"How about some pork rinds?"

Kya is scheduled to leave Rush later this week. If all goes well, the next step will be a stem cell transplant at Children's Memorial Hospital in August.

Saying goodbye to a longtime patient unleashes emotions that are layered and complex, staff members said.

"I've cried with Kya; I've had deep conversations with her mom," says Balzano. "On one hand, you feel sad because you get so attached. … On the other hand, we're so happy that they're able to move on."


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