‘License Plate Profiling’ in Idaho

 

 
By PHILIP A. JANQUART

BOISE, Idaho (CN) – An Idaho state trooper arrested and searched a 70-year-old Washington man solely because of his license plate from Colorado, where marijuana is legal, the man claims in a federal lawsuit.
Darien Roseen lives in Washington and has a second home in Colorado. He was driving east on I-84 the morning of Jan. 25, 2013, and had just crossed the Idaho-Oregon Border, when he passed Idaho State Police Trooper Justin Klitch, who was in the median observing eastbound traffic.
“Immediately after Mr. Roseen passed his location, Trooper Klitch pulled out from the Interstate median, rapidly accelerating to catch up with Mr. Roseen’s vehicle,” according to the 25-page complaint. Continue reading “‘License Plate Profiling’ in Idaho”

Colorado sheriffs refusing to enforce state’s new strict gun law branding it ‘unconstitutional’

By  James Nye

PUBLISHED: 02:18 EST, 16 December 2013 |  UPDATED: 06:32 EST, 16 December 2013

All but seven of Colorado’s 62-elected sheriff’s are refusing to enforce a law they have sworn to uphold by failing to enact universal background checks and a ban on ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.

Despite failing last month in their bid to sue the state over the new firearm restrictions as unconstitutional, Sheriff’s such as John Cooke of Weld County have taken the unprecedented step to ignore the laws – calling them too vague and a violation of Second Amendment rights.

Despite their introduction in the wake of mass shootings in Newtown, and Colorado’s own massacres at Aurora and Columbine in 1999, Cooke and 55 other sheriff’s have designated the new laws ‘very low priority’.

Not enforcing: Weld County Sheriff John Cooke holds up two identical rifle magazines, one obtained legally and one obtained illegally, while making a speech to supporters of the recall election to oust Senate President John Morse in Denver 

Not enforcing: Weld County Sheriff John Cooke holds up two identical rifle magazines, one obtained legally and one obtained illegally, while making a speech to supporters of the recall election to oust Senate President John Morse in Denver Continue reading “Colorado sheriffs refusing to enforce state’s new strict gun law branding it ‘unconstitutional’”

Obamacare activists STRIP to their underwear in taxpayer-funded, PETA-style stunt to persuade young Coloradoans to ‘get covered’

By  David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor

PUBLISHED: 15:53 EST, 3  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 16:25 EST, 3 October 2013

Obamacare organizers in Colorado are taking  Obamacare promotion to a new low – at least in terms of their dress  code.

A health insurance provider is sending  20-something activists out on the streets of Denver in their underwear to  persuade young people to ‘get covered.’

The resulting photos and video footage, which  the organization published on Instagram this week, has a protest flavor that  comes complete with a Twitter hashtag: #getcoveredCO.

And U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill for  the risque street performances through a federal government loan.

SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO

Cheeky: Denver's Generation Y is being treated to a gander at healthy bodies while they decide whether they like Obamacare

Cheeky: Denver’s Generation Y is being treated to a  gander at healthy bodies while they decide whether they like Obamacare

The message, 'Without health insurance, you're exposed,' was likely cooked up in a late-night college dorm bull session

The message, ‘Without health insurance, you’re exposed,’  was likely cooked up in a late-night college dorm bull session

ColoradoHealthOP, a statewide insurance co-op  that favors full enrollment in Obamacare and sells the policies through the  state’s exchange, says it  was ‘approved for federal funding within the  Affordable Care Act in July 2012.’

The group’s Instagram photos show a cadre of  five college-age activists in their skivvies, carrying strategically placed ‘Get  Covered’ signs while they talk to their recruitment targets.

The Affordable Care Act’s coverage model  depends on enrolling 7 million Americans, including at least 2.5 million young  people.

Without the insurance premiums from the young  and healthy to offset the higher costs associated with being old and sick, the  Obamacare system won’t be funded enough to sustain itself.

The Associated Press reported in July that Connect For Health Colorado, the state’s Obamacare  exchange, is spending more than $21 million to promote enrollment, and that the  funds are coming from federal government grants.

About $17 million of that money has gone to  58 separate Colorado organizations that are making person-to-person pitches and  helping people – especially young people – sign up for Obamacare.

ColoradoHealthOP CEO Julia Hutchins confirmed  that her organization was formed to sell insurance policies  via the Connect for  Health Colorado marketplace. But she denied that any money changes hands between  the two.

‘We, as a co-op health plan, received our own  federal loan money to start a health insurance company that is member-governed,’  she said.

‘And part of the plan we submitted to apply  for the loan money included outreach expenses, and that promotion, the underwear  thing, was part of it.’

Hashtag fun: A clothed Amy Poehler joined other celebs to encourage a mass rush to Obamacare on its first day of open enrollment -- a strategy that hasn't worked so far

Hashtag fun: A clothed Amy Poehler joined other celebs  to encourage a mass rush to Obamacare on its first day of open enrollment — a  strategy that hasn’t worked so far

This pair flashed their skin Tuesday on Denver's 16th Street pedestrian malll, but the photo suggests they didn't have many takers

This pair flashed their skin Tuesday on Denver’s 16th  Street pedestrian malll, but the photo suggests they didn’t have many  takers

Hutchins said that while she wants to sell  insurance plans to young Coloradoans, the stunt’s stripped-down nature was  equally aimed at the older set.

‘Surprisingly, they really did catch the  attention of everybody,’ she said. It was amazing … Our board members, who are  mostly in their 50s and 60s, would have loved to be there.’

The scantily clad Denver street team handed out brochures to anyone who would come within arm-s reach

The scantily clad Denver street team handed out  brochures to anyone who would come within arm-s reach

Colorado policy experts who don’t agree with  the concept of Obamacare, or the use of their tax dollars to promote it, aren’t  impressed.

‘It’s a bad day for Obamacare when proponents  have to hire models to dress like Miley Cyrus to walk the streets of Denver,’  said Compass Colorado executive director  Kelly Maher.

‘These PETA-style stunts show how truly  desperate they are to get people to sign up for these plans.

Compass Colorado is a conservative group that  argues for fiscal responsibility and smaller government.

PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of  Animals, is a group that promotes the improbable and unpopular position that  food, laboratory and fur-bearing animals should have legal rights. Its most  famous for its naked protests that draw attention to its cause.

Jon Caldara, president of  the libertarian-leaning Colorado think tank the  Independence Institute,  told MailOnline  that taking off your clothes isn’t the best way to sell the  merits of the president’s health  insurance overhaul.

‘There  are people who need better health  care in America,’ Caldara said, ‘and what are we  saying to them – that we’re  spending taxpayer money selling these plans  the way a beer company advertises  their product?’

‘This money could be  spent on actual health  care. Give me the hot chicks without the bad  policy and maybe I could be  sold.’

Stripping down is part of the toolbox at PETA, where grabbing attention is the #1 priority

Stripping down is part of the toolbox at PETA, where sex  sells and grabbing attention is the #1 priority


Video Source: Instagram

MailOnline reported  yesterday that some state-level health exchanges have seen fewer than 1 out of  100 website visitors signing up for their insurance plans since they launched  Monday at midnight. Colorado’s exchange administrators didn’t respond to a  request for statistics for that story.

The White House insisted on Wednesday that it  doesn’t have data showing how many Americans have signed up for health insurance  through the federal government’s flagship website, healthcare.gov. The Obama  administration did, however, publish the numbers of Web hits the site received,  along with state covering phone calls and online chats it conducted.

And a Washington Post blogger  pleaded Thursday morning with members of the public who have successfully signed  up for Obamacare coverage to come forward.

‘As of yet, we haven’t tracked this person –  or these people – down,’ the Post writer explained.T’his is not for lack of  effort. Reporters here at The Washington Post and at other publications have  been on the hunt for this mythical creature.’

Connect For Health Colorado, the official  Obamacare insurance exchange in the state said it’s not affiliated with the  nearly-naked stunt. ‘This is not our promotion,’ Bragg-Gamble said in an  email.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2442710/Colorado-Obamacare-activists-STRIP-underwear-persuade-people-covered.html#ixzz2gimoiGaL Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Solar activity drops to 100-year low, puzzling scientists

 

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Predictions that 2013 would see an upsurge in solar activity and geomagnetic storms disrupting power grids and communications systems have proved to be a false alarm. Instead, the current peak in the solar cycle is the weakest for a century.

Subdued solar activity has prompted controversial comparisons with the Maunder Minimum, which occurred between 1645 and 1715, when a prolonged absence of sunspots and other indicators of solar activity coincided with the coldest period in the last millennium.

The comparisons have sparked a furious exchange of views between observers who believe the planet could be on the brink of another period of cooling, and scientists who insist there is no evidence that temperatures are about to fall. In all fairness, Russian scientists have warned over a decade ago that the Earth will enter a mini ice age period.

New Scientist magazine blasted those who predicted a mini ice age, opening a recent article on the surprising lack of sunspots this year with the bold declaration: “Those hoping that the sun could save us from climate change look set for disappointment”.

“The recent lapse in solar activity is not the beginning of a decades-long absence of sunspots, a dip that might have cooled the climate. Instead it represents a shorter, less pronounced downturn that happens every century or so,” (“Sun’s quiet spell not the start of a mini ice age” July 12).

The unusually low number of sunspots in recent years “is not an indication that we are going into a Maunder Minimum” according to Giuliana DeToma, a solar scientist at the High Altitude Observatory in Colorado.

But DeToma admitted “we will do not know how or why the Maunder Minimum started, so we cannot predict the next one.”

Many solar experts think the downturn is linked a different phenomenon, the Gleissberg cycle, which predicts a period of weaker solar activity every century or so. If that turns out to be true, the sun could remain unusually quiet through the middle of the 2020s.

But since the scientists still do not understand why the Gleissberg cycle takes place, the evidence is inconclusive. The bottom line is that the sun has gone unusually quiet and no one really knows why or how it will last.

Counting sunspots

Solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), when billions of tonnes of solar plasma erupt from the surface of the sun and are flung out into space at speeds up to 3,000 kilometres per second, pose the biggest risk to power grids and communications systems.

Sunspots are less dramatic, but because they are easy to count and closely correlated with flares, mass ejections and other indications of solar activity, astronomers and scientists have used them for centuries to monitor variations in the sun’s activity.

Careful observation has revealed the number of sunspots rises and falls in a regular cycle that repeats every 11 years.

Variations in the amount of heat and light reaching the planet’s surface as a result of the cycle are tiny. Total solar output reaching the surface varies by just 1.3 Watts per square metre (0.1 percent) between the maximum and minimum phases of the cycle.

Even this variation has profound impacts on climate and weather. Rainfall, cloud formation and river run-off are all strongly correlated with the sun’s 11-year cycle.

The impact is far smaller than the warming associated with man-made climate change. Solar activity cannot explain long-term trends in global temperatures such as those associated with global warming. But it may have a noticeable impact over shorter timescales.

http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/23966/56/

 

149th Health Research Report 22 FEB 2013

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Health Research Report

149th Issue Date 22 FEB 2013

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

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www.healthresearchreport.me 

 

In this Issue:

 

1. Infant gut microbiota influenced by cesarean section and breastfeeding practices

2. Analysis finds vitamin D potency varies widely in dietary supplements

3. Yale study links common chemicals to osteoarthritis

4. Building healthy bones takes guts : Lactobacillus reuteri, significant increase in bone density after four weeks

5. Study advances LSUHSC research, shows fish oil component reduces brain damage in newborns – DHA

6. Omega-3 lipid emulsions markedly protect brain after stroke in mouse study

7. Increasing evidence links high glycemic index foods and dairy products to acne

8. Study: Resveratrol shows promise to protect hearing, cognition

9. Mushroom-supplemented soybean extract shows therapeutic promise for advanced prostate cancer

10. OMEGA-3s Inhibit Breast Cancer Tumour Growth, U of G Study Finds

11. Scientists unveil secrets of important natural antibiotic

 

 

Infant gut microbiota influenced by cesarean section and breastfeeding practices

Practices may affect health in later life

Method of birth (vaginal birth s. cesarean delivery) and feeding practices (breastfeeding v. formula-feeding) influence the development of gut bacteria in newborns and thus may affect lifelong health, according to a new study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Bacteria in the gut play an important role in health, helping digest food, stimulating the development of the immune system, regulating bowels and protecting against infection. Disruption of the gut microbiota has been linked to a range of diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, asthma, cancer and others.

“Our study addresses an important knowledge gap, since the infant gut microbiota has rarely been characterized with sequencing methods that provide sufficient coverage of the entire bacterial community,” writes Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj, University of Alberta, with coauthors. “Our findings are particularly timely given the recent affirmation of the gut microbiota as a “super organ” with diverse roles in health and disease, and the increasing concern over rising cesarean delivery and insufficient exclusive breastfeeding in Canada.”

As little is known about the development of this gut microbiota, a team of Canadian researchers sought to understand how the gut microbiome is established during early life, and what factors might disrupt this process. They looked at data on 24 healthy infants as part of the larger Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study. CHILD involves more than 10 000 people, including 3 500 infants in 4 provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario) born after 2010 as well as their parents. The sample was representative of the Canadian newborn population, with 25% born by cesarean delivery, and 42% breastfed exclusively at 4 months of age.

New DNA sequencing technology was used by the research team to better understand the infant gut microbiome. Previous studies of this type have been conducted on laboratory cultures, although they were limited, as about 80% of intestinal microbes cannot be grown in culture. The DNA-based methods used in this study allow detection of virtually all bacteria since laboratory culture is not required.

The researchers found that infants born by cesarean delivery were lacking a specific group of bacteria found in infants delivered vaginally, even if they were breastfed. Infants strictly formula-fed, compared with babies that were exclusively or partially breastfed, also had significant differences in their gut bacteria.

“We want parents (and physicians) to realize that their decisions regarding c-section and breastfeeding can impact their infant’s gut microbiome, and this can have potentially lifelong effects on the child’s health,” says postdoctoral student and first author Meghan Azad, University of Alberta.

“The potential long-term consequences of decisions regarding mode of delivery and infant diet are not to be underestimated,” write the authors. “Infants born by cesarean delivery are at increased risk of asthma, obesity and type 1 diabetes, whereas breastfeeding is variably protective against these and other disorders.”

Beginning before birth, CHILD collects a range of information on environmental exposures such as pets, air pollution, household cleaning products, maternal and infant diet and more, and child health outcomes (including biological samples and clinical assessments). The researchers will use this information to study the development of the gut microbiome and its relationship to conditions such as wheeze and allergies in future studies.

“Children born by cesarean delivery or fed with formula may be at increased risk of a variety of conditions later in life; both processes alter the gut microbiota in healthy infants, which could be the mechanism for the increased risk,” writes Dr. Rob Knight, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Scientist and an Associate Professor with the BioFrontiers Institute and Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Computer Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, United States, in a related commentary.

“These issues are of direct relevance to pregnant women and health practitioners and should be considered when choices such as elective cesarean delivery and other interventions are discussed,” state the commentary authors

Analysis finds vitamin D potency varies widely in dietary supplements

Kaiser Permanente analysis finds consumers may not be getting the amount of vitamin D they expect

PORTLAND, Ore., February 11, 2013 – Vitamin D supplement potency varies widely, and the amount of vitamin D in over-the counter and compounded supplements does not necessarily match the amount listed on the label, according to a research letter published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

The analysis showed that the amount of vitamin D in these supplements ranged from 9 percent to 146 percent of the amount listed on the label. Not only was there variation among different brands and manufacturers, but also among different pills from the same bottle.

“We were surprised by the variation in potency among these vitamin D pills,” says Erin S. LeBlanc, M.D., MPH, lead author and investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore. “The biggest worry is for someone who has low levels of vitamin D in their blood. If they are consistently taking a supplement with little vitamin D in it, they could face health risks.”

According to a recent editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine, more than 100 million Americans spend a combined $28 billion on vitamins, herbs, and supplements each year. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering new safety guidelines for some supplements but, for the most part, the industry remains unregulated.

Some manufacturers participate in a voluntary quality verification program operated by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP)—an independent, nonprofit organization that sets public standards for the quality of dietary supplements. In order to receive the USP verification mark, manufacturers’ facilities undergo annual good manufacturing practice audits, and their products are tested for quality, potency, and purity. LeBlanc and her colleagues included one supplement from a USP Verified manufacturer in their sample. They found the amount of vitamin D in pills from that bottle was generally more accurate than the other bottles tested.

“The USP verification mark may give consumers some reassurance that the amount of vitamin D in those pills is close to the amount listed on the label,” said Dr. LeBlanc. “There are not many manufacturers that have the USP mark, but it may be worth the extra effort to look for it.”

The researchers tested 55 bottles of over-the-counter vitamin D from 12 different manufacturers. The over-the-counter vitamin D pills used in the analysis were purchased at five different stores in Portland, Ore. The compounded vitamin D was made by a compounding pharmacy in Portland. The analysis was conducted by an independent lab in Houston.

Yale study links common chemicals to osteoarthritis

New Haven, Conn. – A new study has linked exposure to two common perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) with osteoarthritis. PFCs are used in more than 200 industrial processes and consumer products including certain stain- and water-resistant fabrics, grease-proof paper food containers, personal care products, and other items. Because of their persistence, PFCs have become ubiquitous contaminants of humans and wildlife. The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, is the first to look at the associations between perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and osteoarthritis, in a study population representative of the United States.

“We found that PFOA and PFOS exposures are associated with higher prevalence of osteoarthritis, particularly in women, a group that is disproportionately impacted by this chronic disease,” said Sarah Uhl, who authored the study along with Yale Professor Michelle L. Bell and Tamarra James-Todd, an epidemiologist at the Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The research was the focus of Uhl’s Master’s of Environmental Science Program at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

The authors analyzed data from six years of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, 2003-2008), which enabled them to account for factors such as age, income, and race/ethnicity. When the researchers looked at men and women separately, they found clear, strong associations for women, but not men. Women in the highest 25% of exposure to PFOA had about two times the odds of having osteoarthritis compared to those in the lowest 25% of exposure.

Although production and usage of PFOA and PFOS have declined due to safety concerns, human and environmental exposure to these chemicals remains widespread. Future studies are needed to establish temporality and shed light on possible biological mechanisms. Reasons for differences in these associations between men and women, if confirmed, also need further exploration. Better understanding the health effects of these chemicals and identifying any susceptible subpopulations could help to inform public health policies aimed at reducing exposures or associated health impacts.

Building healthy bones takes guts :  Lactobacillus reuteri, significant increase in bone density after four weeks

In what could be an early step toward new treatments for people with osteoporosis, scientists at Michigan State University report that a natural probiotic supplement can help male mice produce healthier bones.

Interestingly, the same can’t be said for female mice, the researchers report in the Journal of Cellular Physiology.

“We know that inflammation in the gut can cause bone loss, though it’s unclear exactly why,” said lead author Laura McCabe, a professor in MSU’s departments of Physiology and Radiology. “The neat thing we found is that a probiotic can enhance bone density.”

Probiotics are microorganisms that can help balance the immune system. For the study, the researchers fed the mice Lactobacillus reuteri, a probiotic known to reduce inflammation, a sometimes harmful effect of the body’s immune response to infection.

“Through food fermentation, we’ve been eating bacteria that we classify as probiotics for thousands of years,” said co-author Robert Britton, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. “There’s evidence that this bacterium as a species has co-evolved with humans. It’s indigenous to our intestinal tracts and is something that, if missing, might cause problems.”

In the study, the male mice showed a significant increase in bone density after four weeks of treatment. There was no such effect when the researchers repeated the experiment with female mice, an anomaly they’re now investigating.

By 2020, half of all Americans over 50 are expected to have low bone density or osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. About one in two women and one in four men over 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Drugs to prevent bone loss in osteoporosis patients are already in wide use, but over the long term they can disrupt the natural remodeling of bone tissue and could potentially have negative side effects that include unusual bone fractures and joint and muscle pain.

McCabe and Britton are quick to point out that this line of research is in its early stages and that results in mice don’t always translate to humans. But they’re hopeful the new study could point the way toward osteoporosis drugs that aren’t saddled with such side effects, especially for people who lose bone density from an early age because of another chronic condition.

“People tend to think of osteoporosis as just affecting postmenopausal women, but what they don’t realize is that it can occur with other conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and Type 1 diabetes,” she said. “You don’t want to put your child on medications that reduce bone remodeling for the rest of their life, so something natural could be useful for long-term treatment of bone loss that begins at childhood.”

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and MSU. Research assistants Regina Irwin and Laura Schaefer co-authored the paper

Study advances LSUHSC research, shows fish oil component reduces brain damage in newborns – DHA

New Orleans, LA – Research conducted by a team of scientists from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Dr. Nicolas Bazan, Boyd Professor and Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, found the novel use of a component of fish oil reduced brain trauma in newborn mice. The study reports that neonatal brain damage decreased by about 50% when a triglyceride lipid emulsion containing docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) was injected within two hours of the onset of ischemic stroke. The paper, n-3 Fatty Acid Rich Triglyceride Emulsions are Neuroprotective after Cerebral Hypoxic-Ischemic Injury in Neonatal Mice, is published in the journal, PLOS ONE, available online at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0056233.

The study compared the effectiveness of emulsions with two omega-3 fatty acids – DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – as well as optimal doses and therapeutic window. The researchers found that DHA provided protection while EPA did not. The therapeutic window ranged from 90 minutes prior to several hours after with the optimal window for treatment 0 – 2 hours. There was no protective effect at hour 4.

DHA is an essential omega-3-fatty acid and is vital for proper brain function. It is also necessary for the development of the nervous system, including vision. Moreover, omega-3 fatty acids, found in cold water fatty fish, including salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, shellfish, and herring, are part of a healthy diet that helps lower the risk of heart disease. DHA has potent anti-inflammatory effects. Since inflammation is at the root of many chronic diseases, DHA treatment has been widely demonstrated to have beneficial effects in patients with coronary heart disease, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, sepsis, cancer, dry eye disease, and age-related macular degeneration. Its potential benefit in stroke is now being documented.

EPA is also an omega-3 fatty acid found in coldwater fish. EPA can prevent the blood from clotting easily. Often paired with DHA in fish oil supplements, these fatty acids are known to reduce pain and swelling.

Ischemic strokes, representing about 87% of strokes, result from loss of blood flow to an area of the brain due to a blockage such as a clot or atherosclerosis. The damage includes an irreversibly injured core of tissue at the site of the blockage. The area of tissue surrounding the core, called the penumbra, is also damaged but potentially salvageable. The penumbra has a limited life span and appears to undergo irreversible damage within a few hours unless blood flow is reestablished and neuroprotective therapy is administered. A cascade of chemicals floods the tissue along with restored blood flow, including damaging free radicals and pro-inflammatory enzymes which can cause further damage and cell death.

Administering clot-busting drugs (thrombolysis) is currently the only treatment for ischemic stroke. But due to a narrow therapeutic window and complexity of administration, only 3–5% of patients typically benefit from thrombolysis.

Dr. Bazan’s group at the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans Neuroscience Center of Excellence has increasingly shown that DHA is a potentially powerful treatment for stroke for nearly ten years. His study published in 2011 found DHA triggered production of Neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1), a naturally occurring neuroprotective molecule in the brain derived from DHA and discovered by Dr. Bazan. Not only did DHA treatment salvage stroke-damaged brain tissue that would have died, its repair mechanisms rendered some areas indistinguishable from normal tissue by 7 days.

“Stroke is a brain attack that each year kills 130,000 Americans,” notes Dr. Bazan. “Strokes can occur at any age, including in newborns, with long-term and devastating consequences. DHA is already widely consumed as a dietary supplement in the US, and from a therapeutic point of view, we can now see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

The researchers conclude that the findings suggest a need for further studies to determine if acute injection of these emulsions could be neuroprotective after stroke injury in humans. They also suggest that the emulsion rich in DHA will prove to be a novel and important therapy to treat stroke and could decrease mortality and increase long-term functional recovery after stroke in humans of different ages. The paper’s senior author is Richard Deckelbaum, MD, director of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia’s College of Physicians & Surgeons.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 795,000 Americans have a stroke each year, and stroke causes 1 in every 18 deaths. Stroke is also a leading cause of long-term disability. Louisiana is among the states with the highest prevalence of stroke. It has been estimated that the direct and indirect costs of stroke in the United States totaled nearly $74 billion in 2010. In addition, with an estimated incidence of 1 in 2300 to 5000 births, stroke is more likely to occur in the perinatal period than at other times in childhood. Ischemic stroke in newborns is a disorder associated with significant long-term neurologic impairment. Twenty to 60% of survivors exhibit long-term detrimental neuropsychological consequences which include mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and behavioral disorders.

Omega-3 lipid emulsions markedly protect brain after stroke in mouse study

New York, NY (February 20, 2013) — Triglyceride lipid emulsions rich in an omega-3 fatty acid injected within a few hours of an ischemic stroke can decrease the amount of damaged brain tissue by 50 percent or more in mice, reports a new study by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center.

The results suggest that the emulsions may be able to reduce some of the long-term neurological and behavioral problems seen in human survivors of neonatal stroke and possibly of adult stroke, as well. The findings were published today in the journal PLoS One.

Currently, clot-busting tPA (recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator) is the only treatment shown to improve recovery from ischemic stroke. If administered soon after stroke onset, the drug can restore blood flow to the brain but may not prevent injured, but potentially salvageable, neurons from dying.

Drugs with neuroprotective qualities that can prevent the death of brain cells damaged by stroke are needed, but even after 30 years of research and more than 1000 agents tested in animals, no neuroprotectant has been found effective in people.

Omega-3 fatty acids may have more potential as neuroprotectants because they affect multiple biochemical processes in the brain that are disturbed by stroke, said the study’s senior author, Richard Deckelbaum, MD, director of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia’s College of Physicians & Surgeons. “The findings also may be applicable to other causes of ischemic brain injury in newborns and adults,” added co-investigator Vadim S. Ten, MD, PhD, an associate professor of pediatrics from the Department of Pediatrics at Columbia.

The effects of the omega-3 fatty acids include increasing the production of natural neuroprotectants in the brain, reducing inflammation and cell death, and activating genes that may protect brain cells. Omega-3 fatty acids also markedly reduce the release of harmful oxidants into the brain after stroke. “In most clinical trials in the past, the compounds tested affected only one pathway. Omega-3 fatty acids, in contrast, are very bioactive molecules that target multiple mechanisms involved in brain death after stroke,” Dr. Deckelbaum said.

The study revealed that an emulsion containing only DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), but not EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), in a triglyceride molecule reduced the area of dead brain tissue by about 50 percent or more even when administered up to two hours after the stroke. Dr. Deckelbaum noted, “Since mice have a much faster metabolism than humans, longer windows of time for therapeutic effect after stroke are likely in humans.” Eight weeks after the stroke, much of the “saved” mouse brain tissue was still healthy, and no toxic effects were detected.

Studies are currently under way to test the emulsion in older mice and in mice with different types of stroke. The researchers are also conducting additional studies to identify more precisely how the omega-3 emulsion works and to optimize the emulsion in order to improve functional recovery after stroke.

After animal studies on dosages and timing, and if the emulsions continue to show promising results, Dr. Deckelbaum said, clinical trials could begin quickly, as such emulsions have already been shown to be safe in people. Similar emulsions are used in European ICUs for nutrition support, and in the US they have been found to be safe when tested in babies for their nutritive and anti-inflammatory effects.

Increasing evidence links high glycemic index foods and dairy products to acne

Medical nutrition therapy can play an important role, according to Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics report

Philadelphia, PA, February 20, 2013 – A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has determined that there is increasing evidence of a connection between diet and acne, particularly from high glycemic load diets and dairy products, and that medical nutrition therapy (MNT) can play an important role in acne treatment.

More than 17 million Americans suffer from acne, mostly during their adolescent and young adult years. Acne influences quality of life, including social withdrawal, anxiety, and depression, making treatment essential. Since the late 1800s, research has linked diet to this common disease, identifying chocolate, sugar, and fat as particular culprits, but beginning in the 1960s, studies disassociated diet from the development of acne.

“This change occurred largely because of the results of two important research studies that are repeatedly cited in the literature and popular culture as evidence to refute the association between diet and acne,” says Jennifer Burris, MS, RD, of the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University. “More recently, dermatologists and registered dietitians have revisited the diet-acne relationship and become increasingly interested in the role of medical nutritional therapy in acne treatment.”

Burris and colleagues, William Rietkerk, Department of Dermatology, New York Medical College, and Kathleen Woolf, of New York University’s Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, conducted a literature review to evaluate evidence for the diet-acne connection during three distinctive time periods: early history, the rise of the diet-acne myth, and recent research.

Culling information from studies between 1960 and 2012 that investigated diet and acne, investigators compiled data for a number of study characteristics, including reference, design, participants, intervention method, primary outcome, results and conclusions, covariate considerations, and limitations.

They concluded that a high glycemic index/glycemic load diet and frequent dairy consumption are the leading factors in establishing the link between diet and acne. They also note that although research results from studies conducted over the last 10 years do not demonstrate that diet causes acne, it may influence or aggravate it.

The study team recommends that dermatologists and registered dietitians work collaboratively to design and conduct quality research. “This research is necessary to fully elucidate preliminary results, determine the proposed underlying mechanisms linking diet and acne, and develop potential dietary interventions for acne treatment,” says Burris. “The medical community should not dismiss the possibility of diet therapy as an adjunct treatment for acne. At this time, the best approach is to address each acne patient individually, carefully considering the possibility of dietary counseling.”

Study: Resveratrol shows promise to protect hearing, cognition

DETROIT – Resveratrol, a substance found in red grapes and red wine, may have the potential to protect against hearing and cognitive decline, according to a published laboratory study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

The study shows that healthy rats are less likely to suffer the long-term effects of noise-induced hearing loss when given resveratrol before being exposed to loud noise for a long period of time.

“Our latest study focuses on resveratrol and its effect on bioinflammation, the body’s response to injury and something that is believed to be the cause of many health problems including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, aging and hearing loss,” says study lead author Michael D. Seidman, director of the Division of Otologic/Neurotologic Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital.

“Resveratrol is a very powerful chemical that seems to protect against the body’s inflammatory process as it relates to aging, cognition and hearing loss.”

The study is published online this week ahead of print in the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: http://oto.sagepub.com.

Hearing loss affects nearly one in five Americans. For most, hearing steadily declines with age. Noise-induced hearing loss, too, is a growing medical issue among American troops, with more than 12 percent returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with significant hearing loss.

Noise-induced hearing loss not only impacts a person’s ability to hear, it can cause difficulties with sleep and communication, and even raises the risk for heart disease by increasing a person’s blood pressure, lipids and blood sugar.

Dr. Seidman and his colleagues have published multiple papers exploring noise-induced hearing loss, as well as the use of resveratrol, a grape constituent noted for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The latest study focuses the inflammatory process as it relates to aging, cognition and hearing loss.

It was designed to identify the potential protective mechanism of resveratrol following noise exposure by measuring its effect on cyclooxygenase-2 (or COX-2, key to the inflammatory process) protein expression and formation of reactive oxygen species, which plays an important role in cell signaling and homeostasis.

The study reveals that acoustic overstimulation causes a time-depended, up-regulation of COX-2 protein expression. And, resveratrol significantly reduces reactive oxygen species formation, inhibits COX-2 expression and reduces noise-induced hearing loss following noise exposure in rats.

“We’ve shown that by giving animals resveratrol, we can reduce the amount of hearing and cognitive decline,” notes Dr. Seidman.

Ultimately, these findings suggest that resveratrol may exert a protective effect from noise-induced hearing loss by the inhibition of COX-2 expression and reactive oxygen species formation, although other mechanism may also be involved.

 

Mushroom-supplemented soybean extract shows therapeutic promise for advanced prostate cancer

February 20, 2013

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) —

A natural, nontoxic product called genistein-combined polysaccharide, or GCP, which is commercially available in health stores, could help lengthen the life expectancy of certain prostate cancer patients, UC Davis researchers have found.

Men with prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, known as metastatic cancer, and who have had their testosterone lowered with drug therapy are most likely to benefit. The study, recently published in Endocrine-Related Cancer, was conducted in prostate cancer cells and in mice.

Lowering of testosterone, also known as androgen-deprivation therapy, has long been the standard of care for patients with metastatic prostate cancer, but life expectancies vary widely for those who undergo this treatment. Testosterone is an androgen, the generic term for any compound that stimulates or controls development and maintenance of male characteristics by binding to androgen receptors.

The current findings hold promise for GCP therapy as a way to extend life expectancy of patients with low response to androgen-deprivation therapy.

Paramita Ghosh, an associate professor in the UC Davis School of Medicine, led the pre-clinical study with a team that included UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Ralph de Vere White, a UC Davis distinguished professor of urology. Ruth Vinall in the UC Davis Department of Urology and Clifford Tepper in the UC Davis Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine directed the studies in mice; Ghosh’s laboratory conducted the cell studies.

The research focused on GCP, a proprietary extract cultured from soybeans and shiitake mushrooms and marketed by Amino-Up of Sapporo, Japan. Researchers found that the combination of the compounds genistein and daidzein, both present in GCP, helps block a key mechanism used by prostate cancer cells to survive in the face of testosterone deprivation.

The research team had earlier shown that when a patient’s androgen level goes down, cancerous prostate cells kick out a protein known as filamin A, which is otherwise attached to the androgen receptor in the cell’s nucleus. The androgen receptor regulates growth of prostate cancer cells. Once filamin A leaves the cancerous cell’s nucleus, that cell no longer requires androgens to survive. Thus, loss of filamin A allows these cells to survive androgen deprivation, at and the cancer essentially becomes incurable.

The paper, titled “Enhancing the effectiveness of androgen deprivation in prostate cancer by inducing Filamin A nuclear localization,” shows for the first time that GCP keeps filamin A in the nucleus. As long as this protein remains attached to the androgen receptor, the cancerous cells need androgens to survive and grow. They die off when starved of androgens, thus prolonging the effects of androgen deprivation, which ultimately prolongs the patient’s life.

The team’s hypothesis is that metastatic prostate cancer patients with the weakest response to androgen-deprivation therapy could be given GCP concurrently with androgen deprivation therapy to retain Filamin A in the nucleus, thereby allowing cancer cells to die off.

De Vere White is now pursuing funding to begin GCP human clinical trials. Because GCP is a natural product rather than a drug, and requires fewer government approvals, it’s expected that these trials will proceed rapidly once funded.

“We should know within the first eight months or so of human clinical trials if GCP works to reduce PSA levels,” says de Vere White, referring to prostate-specific antigen levels, a tumor marker to detect cancer. “We want to see up to 75 percent of metastatic prostate cancer patients lower their PSA levels, and GCP holds promise of accomplishing this goal. If that happens, it would probably be a greater therapy than any drug today.”

The research was supported by a Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development service Merit Award (I01BX000400) from the Department of Veterans Affairs and by R01CA133209 from the National Cancer Institute.

Other authors were Benjamin A. Mooso, Sheetal Singh, Salma Siddiqui, and Maria Mudryj of the VA Northern California Health Care System; Ruth L. Vinall, Rosalinda M. Savoy, Jean P. Cheung, and Yu Wang of the UC Davis Department of Urology; Clifford G. Tepper, Anthony Martinez, and Hsing-Jien Kung of the UC Davis Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine; and Roble G. Bedolla of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

OMEGA-3s Inhibit Breast Cancer Tumour Growth, U of G Study Finds

 

February 21, 2013 – News Release

A lifelong diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can inhibit growth of breast cancer tumours by 30 per cent, according to new research from the University of Guelph.

The study, published recently in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, is believed to be the first to provide unequivocal evidence that omega-3s reduce cancer risk.

“It’s a significant finding,” said David Ma, a professor in Guelph’s Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, and one of the study’s authors.

“We show that lifelong exposure to omega-3s has a beneficial role in disease prevention – in this case, breast cancer prevention. What’s important is that we have proven that omega-3s are the driving force and not something else.”

Breast cancer remains the most common form of cancer in women worldwide and is the second leading cause of female cancer deaths.

Advocates have long believed diet may significantly help in preventing cancer. But epidemiological and experimental studies to back up such claims have been lacking, and human studies have been inconsistent, Ma said.

“There are inherent challenges in conducting and measuring diet in such studies, and it has hindered our ability to firmly establish linkages between dietary nutrients and cancer risk,” he said.

“So we’ve used modern genetic tools to address a classic nutritional question.”

For their study, the researchers created a novel transgenic mouse that both produces omega-3 fatty acids and develops aggressive mammary tumours. The team compared those animals to mice genetically engineered only to develop the same tumours.

“This model provides a purely genetic approach to investigate the effects of lifelong omega-3s exposure on breast cancer development,” Ma said.

“To our knowledge, no such approach has been used previously to investigate the role of omega-3s and breast cancer.”

Mice producing omega-3s developed only two-thirds as many tumours – and tumours were also 30-per-cent smaller – as compared to the control mice.

“The difference can be solely attributed to the presence of omega-3s in the transgenic mice – that’s significant,” Ma said.

“The fact that a food nutrient can have a significant effect on tumour development and growth is remarkable and has considerable implications in breast cancer prevention.”

Known as an expert in how fats influence health and disease, Ma hopes the study leads to more research on using diet to reduce cancer risk and on the benefits of healthy living.

“Prevention is an area of growing importance. We are working to build a better planet, and that includes better lifestyle and diet,” he said.

“The long-term consequences of reducing disease incidence can have a tremendous effect on the health-care system.”

The study also involved lead author Mira MacLennan, a former U of G graduate student who is now studying medicine at Dalhousie University; U of G pathobiology professor Geoffrey Wood; former Guelph graduate students Shannon Clarke and Kate Perez; William Muller from McGill University; and Jing Kang from Harvard Medical School.

Funding for this research came from the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance/Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Research Fund.

Scientists unveil secrets of important natural antibiotic

An international team of scientists has discovered how an important natural antibiotic called dermcidin, produced by our skin when we sweat, is a highly efficient tool to fight tuberculosis germs and other dangerous bugs.

Their results could contribute to the development of new antibiotics that control multi-resistant bacteria.

Scientists have uncovered the atomic structure of the compound, enabling them to pinpoint for the first time what makes dermcidin such an efficient weapon in the battle against dangerous bugs.

Although about 1700 types of these natural antibiotics are known to exist, scientists did not until now have a detailed understanding of how they work.

The study, carried out by researchers from the University of Edinburgh and from Goettingen, Tuebingen and Strasbourg, is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Sweat spreads highly efficient antibiotics on to our skin, which protect us from dangerous bugs. If our skin becomes injured by a small cut, a scratch, or the sting of a mosquito, antibiotic agents secreted in sweat glands, such as dermcidin, rapidly and efficiently kill invaders.

These natural substances, known as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), are more effective in the long term than traditional antibiotics, because germs are not capable of quickly developing resistance against them.

The antimicrobials can attack the bugs’ Achilles’ heel – their cell wall, which cannot be modified quickly to resist attack. Because of this, AMPs have great potential to form a new generation of antibiotics.

Scientists have known for some time that dermcidin is activated in salty, slightly acidic sweat. The molecule then forms tiny channels perforating the cell membrane of bugs, which are stabilised by charged particles of zinc present in sweat. As a consequence, water and charged particles flow uncontrollably across the membrane, eventually killing the harmful microbes.

Through a combination of techniques, scientists were able to determine the atomic structure of the molecular channel. They found that it is unusually long, permeable and adaptable, and so represents a new class of membrane protein.

The team also discovered that dermcidin can adapt to extremely variable types of membrane. Scientists say this could explain why active dermcidin is such an efficient broad-spectrum antibiotic, able to fend off bacteria and fungi at the same time.

The compound is active against many well-known pathogens such as tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, or Staphylococcus aureus. Multi-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus, in particular, have become an increasing threat for hospital patients. They are insensitive towards conventional antibiotics and so are difficult to treat. Staphylococcus aureus infections can lead to life-threatening diseases such as sepsis and pneumonia. The international team of scientists hopes that their results can contribute to the development of a new class of antibiotics that is able to attack such dangerous germs.

Dr Ulrich Zachariae of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics, who took part in the study, said: “Antibiotics are not only available on prescription. Our own bodies produce efficient substances to fend off bacteria, fungi and viruses. Now that we know in detail how these natural antibiotics work, we can use this to help develop infection-fighting drugs that are more effective than conventional antibiotics.”

v

These reports are done with the appreciation of all the Doctors, Scientist, and other Medical Researchers who sacrificed their time and effort. In order to give people the ability to empower themselves. Without base aspirations of fame, or fortune. Just honorable people, doing honorable things.

 

Infant gut microbiota influenced by cesarean section and breastfeeding practices ( Lifelong Effects )

Contact: Kim Barnhardt kim.barnhardt@cmaj.ca 613-520-7116 x2224 Canadian Medical Association Journal

Practices may affect health in later life

Method of birth (vaginal birth s. cesarean delivery) and feeding practices (breastfeeding v. formula-feeding) influence the development of gut bacteria in newborns and thus may affect lifelong health, according to a new study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Bacteria in the gut play an important role in health, helping digest food, stimulating the development of the immune system, regulating bowels and protecting against infection. Disruption of the gut microbiota has been linked to a range of diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, asthma, cancer and others.

“Our study addresses an important knowledge gap, since the infant gut microbiota has rarely been characterized with sequencing methods that provide sufficient coverage of the entire bacterial community,” writes Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj, University of Alberta, with coauthors. “Our findings are particularly timely given the recent affirmation of the gut microbiota as a “super organ” with diverse roles in health and disease, and the increasing concern over rising cesarean delivery and insufficient exclusive breastfeeding in Canada.”

As little is known about the development of this gut microbiota, a team of Canadian researchers sought to understand how the gut microbiome is established during early life, and what factors might disrupt this process. They looked at data on 24 healthy infants as part of the larger Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study. CHILD involves more than 10 000 people, including 3 500 infants in 4 provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario) born after 2010 as well as their parents. The sample was representative of the Canadian newborn population, with 25% born by cesarean delivery, and 42% breastfed exclusively at 4 months of age.

New DNA sequencing technology was used by the research team to better understand the infant gut microbiome. Previous studies of this type have been conducted on laboratory cultures, although they were limited, as about 80% of intestinal microbes cannot be grown in culture. The DNA-based methods used in this study allow detection of virtually all bacteria since laboratory culture is not required.

The researchers found that infants born by cesarean delivery were lacking a specific group of bacteria found in infants delivered vaginally, even if they were breastfed. Infants strictly formula-fed, compared with babies that were exclusively or partially breastfed, also had significant differences in their gut bacteria.

“We want parents (and physicians) to realize that their decisions regarding c-section and breastfeeding can impact their infant’s gut microbiome, and this can have potentially lifelong effects on the child’s health,” says postdoctoral student and first author Meghan Azad, University of Alberta.

“The potential long-term consequences of decisions regarding mode of delivery and infant diet are not to be underestimated,” write the authors. “Infants born by cesarean delivery are at increased risk of asthma, obesity and type 1 diabetes, whereas breastfeeding is variably protective against these and other disorders.”

Beginning before birth, CHILD collects a range of information on environmental exposures such as pets, air pollution, household cleaning products, maternal and infant diet and more, and child health outcomes (including biological samples and clinical assessments).  The researchers will use this information to study the development of the gut microbiome and its relationship to conditions such as wheeze and allergies in future studies.

“Children born by cesarean delivery or fed with formula may be at increased risk of a variety of conditions later in life; both processes alter the gut microbiota in healthy infants, which could be the mechanism for the increased risk,” writes Dr. Rob Knight, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Scientist and an Associate Professor with the BioFrontiers Institute and Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Computer Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, United States, in a related commentary.

“These issues are of direct relevance to pregnant women and health practitioners and should be considered when choices such as elective cesarean delivery and other interventions are discussed,” state the commentary authors

147th Health Research Report 25 JAN 2013

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Health Research Report

147th Issue Date 25 JAN 2013

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

www.vit.bz

www.youtube.com/vhfilm

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www.healthresearchreport.me 

120922_0002

In This Issue:

1.      Fetal exposure to PVC plastic chemical linked to obesity in offspring

2.      Choline supplementation during pregnancy presents a new approach to schizophrenia prevention

3.      Could probiotics help HIV patients?

4.      Light exposure during pregnancy key to normal eye development

5.      As colorectal cancer gets more aggressive, treatment with grape seed extract is even more effective

6.      Which nutritional factors help preserve muscle mass, strength and performance in seniors?

7.      Study suggests link between regular aspirin use, increased risk of age-related macular degeneration

8.      Beta carotene may protect people with common genetic risk factor for type-2 diabetes

9.      Eczema in infants linked to gut bacteria

10.  Harms from breast cancer screening outweigh benefits if death caused by treatment is included

11.  Common anti-fever medications pose kidney injury risk for children

Fetal exposure to PVC plastic chemical linked to obesity in offspring

UCI study identifies transgenerational effects of obesogen compound tributyltin

Irvine, Calif. — Exposing pregnant mice to low doses of the chemical tributyltin – which is used in marine hull paint and PVC plastic – can lead to obesity for multiple generations without subsequent exposure, a UC Irvine study has found.

After exposing pregnant mice to TBT in concentrations similar to those found in the environment, researchers saw increased body fat, liver fat and fat-specific gene expression in their “children,” “grandchildren” and “great-grandchildren” – none of which had been exposed to the chemical.

These findings suggest that early-life exposure to endocrine-disrupting compounds such as TBT can have permanent effects of fat accumulation without further exposure, said study leader Bruce Blumberg, UC Irvine professor of pharmaceutical sciences and developmental & cell biology. These effects appear to be inherited without DNA mutations occurring.

The study appears online Jan. 15 in Environmental Health Perspectives, a publication of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences.

Human exposure to TBT can occur through PVC plastic particles in dust and via leaching of the chemical and other related organotin compounds from PVC pipes and containers.

Significant levels of TBT have been reported in house dust – which is particularly relevant for young children who may spend significant time on floors and carpets. Some people are exposed by ingesting seafood contaminated with TBT, which has been used in marine hull paint and is pervasive in the environment.

Blumberg categorizes TBT as an obesogen, a class of chemicals that promote obesity by increasing the number of fat cells or the storage of fat in existing cells. He and his colleagues first identified the role of obesogens in a 2006 publication and showed in 2010 that TBT acts in part by modifying the fate of mesenchymal stem cells during development, predisposing them to become fat cells.

Choline supplementation during pregnancy presents a new approach to schizophrenia prevention

University of Colorado researchers study choline in infants

AURORA, Colo. (Jan. 15, 2013) — Choline, an essential nutrient similar to the B vitamin and found in foods such as liver, muscle meats, fish, nuts and eggs, when given as a dietary supplement in the last two trimesters of pregnancy and in early infancy, is showing a lower rate of physiological schizophrenic risk factors in infants 33 days old. The study breaks new ground both in its potentially therapeutic findings and in its strategy to target markers of schizophrenia long before the illness itself actually appears. Choline is also being studied for potential benefits in liver disease, including chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis, depression, memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and certain types of seizures.

Robert Freedman, MD, professor and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine and one of the study’s authors and Editor of The American Journal of Psychiatry, points out, “Genes associated with schizophrenia are common, so prevention has to be applied to the entire population, and it has to be safe. Basic research indicates that choline supplementation during pregnancy facilitates cognitive functioning in offspring. Our finding that it ameliorates some of the pathophysiology associated with risk for schizophrenia now requires longer-term follow-up to assess whether it decreases risk for the later development of illness as well.”

Normally, the brain responds fully to an initial clicking sound but inhibits its response to a second click that follows immediately. In schizophrenia patients, deficient inhibition is common and is related to poor sensory filtering and familial transmission of schizophrenia risk. Since schizophrenia does not usually appear until adolescence, this trait—measurable in infancy—was chosen to represent the illness.

Half the healthy pregnant women in this study took 3,600 milligrams of phosphatidylcholine each morning and 2,700 milligrams each evening; the other half took placebo. After delivery, their infants received 100 milligrams of phosphatidylcholine per day or placebo. Eighty-six percent of infants exposed to pre- and postnatal choline supplementation, compared to 43% of unexposed infants, inhibited the response to repeated sounds, as measured with EEG sensors placed on the baby’s head during sleep.

Could probiotics help HIV patients?

Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs are the first line therapy for patients with HIV; however, ARV-treated, HIV-infected individuals still have a higher mortality rate than uninfected individuals. During the course of infection, HIV patients develop inflammation that damages the walls of the intestines, known as the gut mucosa, allowing intestinal microbes to escape and enter the blood stream to cause a life-threatening systemic infection. The health of the gut mucosa is significantly influenced by the complement of bacteria in the gut and there is mounting evidence that probiotic supplements benefit patients intestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, C. difficile infection, and inflammatory bowel disease.

In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers led by Jason Brenchley at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, demonstrated that probiotic supplementation may also be beneficial for ARV-treated HIV patients. Brenchley and colleagues treated SIV-infected macaques (a model of human HIV-infection) with either ARV alone or ARV in combination with a mixture of probiotics. Macaques treated with probiotics had enhanced gastrointestinal immune function and decreased inflammation compared to macaques treated with ARV alone. In a companion article, Judith Aberg and colleagues at New York University School of Medicine discuss how these findings could benefit HIV patients.

Light exposure during pregnancy key to normal eye development

CINCINNATI – New research in Nature concludes the eye – which depends on light to see – also needs light to develop normally during pregnancy.

Scientists say the unexpected finding offers a new basic understanding of fetal eye development and ocular diseases caused by vascular disorders – in particular one called retinopathy of prematurity that can blind premature infants. The research, led by scientists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), appears online Jan. 16 ahead of print publication.

“This fundamentally changes our understanding of how the retina develops,” says study co-author Richard Lang, PhD, a researcher in the Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “We have identified a light-response pathway that controls the number of retinal neurons. This has downstream effects on developing vasculature in the eye and is important because several major eye diseases are vascular diseases.”

Lang is a principal investigator on the ongoing research along with project collaborator, David Copenhagen, PhD, a scientist in the departments of Ophthalmology and Physiology at UCSF. The scientists say their current study, conducted in mouse models, includes several unexpected findings.

“Several stages of mouse eye development occur after birth,” says Copenhagen. “Because of this, we had always assumed that if light played a role in the development of the eye, it would also happen only after birth.”

But researchers in the current study found that activation of the newly described light-response pathway must happen during pregnancy to activate the carefully choreographed program that produces a healthy eye. Specifically, they say it is important for a sufficient number of photons to enter the mother’s body by late gestation, or about 16 days into a mouse pregnancy.

Researchers were also surprised to learn that photons of light activate a protein called melanopsin directly in the fetus – not the mother – to help initiate normal development of blood vessels and retinal neurons in the eye.

One purpose of the light-response pathway is to suppress the number of blood vessels that form in the retina. These vessels are critical to retinal neurons, which require large amounts of oxygen to form and to function. When retinopathy of prematurity occurs in infants, retinal vessels grow almost unchecked. This continued expansion puts intense pressure on the developing eye and in extreme cases causes severe damage and blindness.

The research team led by Lang and Copenhagen conducted several experiments in laboratory mouse models that allowed them to identify the light-response pathway’s specific components and function.

Mice were reared in the dark and in a normal day-night cycle beginning at late gestation to observe the comparative effects on vascular development of the eye. The researchers verified the function of the light response pathway by mutating an opsin gene in mice called Opn4 that produces melanopsin, in essence preventing activation of the photo pigment.

Both mice reared under dark conditions from late gestation, and those with mutated Opn4, exhibited nearly identical promiscuous expansion of hyaloid vessels and abnormal retinal vascular growth. The unchecked vascular growth was driven by the protein vascular endothelial growth factor (Vegfa). When the light response pathway is properly engaged, it modulates Vegfa to help prevent promiscuous vascular growth, according to researchers.

The melanopsin protein is present in both mice and humans during pregnancy. Lang said the research team is continuing to study how the light-response pathway might influence the susceptibility of pre-term infants to retinopathy of prematurity and also be related to other diseases of the eye.

As colorectal cancer gets more aggressive, treatment with grape seed extract is even more effective

By Garth Sundem in In the Lab · January 16, 2013 · No comments

When the going gets tough, grape seed extract gets going: A University of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published in the journal Cancer Letters shows that the more advanced are colorectal cancer cells, the more GSE inhibits their growth and survival. On the other end of the disease spectrum, GSE leaves healthy cells alone entirely.

“We’ve known for quite a while that the bioactive compounds in grape seed extract selectively target many types of cancer cells. This study shows that many of the same mutations that allow colorectal cancer cells to metastasize and survive traditional therapies make them especially sensitive to treatment with GSE,” says Molly Derry, doctoral candidate in the lab of Rajesh Agarwal, PhD, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Derry notes this is an especially important finding in light of increasing colorectal cancer rates (due in part to increasingly high-fat diets and sedentary lifestyles) and a low screening rate; that means 60 percent of patients diagnosed have already reached the advanced stage of the disease.

“Finding a way to selectively target advanced colorectal cancer cells could have major clinical importance,” Derry says.

The group performed their experiments on colorectal cancer cell lines representing various stages of the disease. Whereas it generally takes much more chemotherapy to kill a stage IV cancer cell than a stage II cancer cell, Derry saw that the reverse was true with grape seed extract.

“It required less than half the concentration of GSE to suppress cell growth and kill 50 percent of stage IV cells than it did to achieve similar results in the stage II cells,” Derry says.

The group also discovered a likely mechanism of GSE’s preferential targeting of advanced colorectal cancer cells: when cancer cells were treated with antioxidants the GSE induced cell death was reversed and so Derry and colleagues consider it likely that GSE targets colorectal cancer through inducing oxidative stress that leads to the programmed cell death known as apoptosis.

“A colorectal cancer cell can have upwards of 11,000 genetic mutations – differences from the DNA in healthy cells. Traditional chemotherapies may only target a specific mutation and as cancer progresses more mutations occur. These changes can result in cancer that is resistance to chemotherapy. In contrast, the many bioactive compounds of GSE are able to target multiple mutations. The more mutations a cancer presents, the more effective GSE is in targeting them,” Derry says.

The Agarwal Lab continues its preclinical work studying the effectiveness and action of dietary compounds against cancer and encourages further exploration of their findings in clinical settings.

Study supported in part by NIH R01 AT003623 and NCI R01 CA112304

Which nutritional factors help preserve muscle mass, strength and performance in seniors?

January 18, 2013

New review by International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) Nutrition Working Group examines role of nutrition in sarcopenia, with focus on protein, vitamins D and B, and acid-based diet.

Sarcopenia, or the gradual loss of muscle mass, is a common consequence of ageing, and poses a significant risk factor for disability in older adults. As muscle strength plays an important role in the tendency to fall, sarcopenia leads to an increased risk of fractures and other injuries.

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) Nutrition Working Group has published a new review which identifies nutritional factors that contribute to loss of muscle mass, or conversely, are beneficial to the maintenance of muscle mass.  The Group reviewed evidence from worldwide studies on the role of nutrition in sarcopenia, specifically looking at protein, acid–base balance, vitamin D/calcium, and other minor nutrients like B vitamins.

“The most obvious intervention against sarcopenia is exercise in the form of resistance training,” said Professor Jean-Philippe Bonjour, co-author and Professor of Medicine at the Service of Bone Diseases, University of Geneva. “However, adequate nutritional intake and an optimal dietary acid-base balance are also very important elements of any strategy to preserve muscle mass and strength during ageing.”

The review discusses and identifies the following important nutritional factors that have been shown to be beneficial to the maintenance of muscle mass and the treatment and prevention of sarcopenia:

  • · Protein: Protein intake plays an integral part in muscle health. The authors propose an intake of 1.0–1.2 g/kg of body weight per day as optimal for skeletal muscle and bone health in elderly people without severely impaired renal function.
  • · Vitamin D:  As many studies indicate a role for vitamin D in the development and preservation of muscle mass and function, adequate vitamin D should be ensured through exposure to sunlight and/or supplementation if required. Vitamin D supplementation in seniors, and especially in institutionalized elderly, is recommended for optimal musculoskeletal health.
  • · Avoiding dietary acid loads: Excess intake of acid-producing nutrients (meat and cereal grains) in combination with low intake of alkalizing fruits and vegetables may have negative effects on musculoskeletal health. Modifying the diet to include more fruits and vegetables is likely to benefit both bones and muscles.

Emerging evidence also suggests that vitamin B12 and/or folic acid play a role in improving muscle function and strength.

As well, the Review discusses non-nutritional interventions such as hormones, and calls for more studies to identify the potential of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in the prevention of sarcopenia.

Dr. Ambrish Mithal, co-author and Chair and Head of Endocrinology and Diabetes division at Medanta, New Delhi underlined the need for further research in the field.  “Strategies to reduce the numbers of falls and fractures within our ageing populations must include measures to prevent sarcopenia. At present, the available evidence suggests that combining resistance training with optimal nutritional status has a synergistic affect in preventing and treating sarcopenia, “ said Mithal.

“We hope that further studies will shed light on other effective ways of preventing and treating this condition.”

Study suggests link between regular aspirin use, increased risk of age-related macular degeneration

CHICAGO – Regular aspirin use appears to be associated with an increased risk of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is a leading cause of blindness in older people, and it appears to be independent of a history of cardiovascular disease and smoking, according to a report published Online First by JAMA Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.

Aspirin is one of the most widely used medications in the world and is commonly used in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) and ischemic stroke. While a recent study suggested that regular aspirin use was associated with AMD, particularly the more visually devastating neovascular (wet) form, other studies have reported inconsistent findings. Smoking is also a preventable risk factor for AMD, the authors write in the study background.

Gerald Liew, Ph.D., of the University of Sydney, Australia, and colleagues examined whether regular aspirin use (defined as once or more per week in the past year) was associated with a higher risk of developing AMD by conducting a prospective analysis of data from an Australian study that included four examinations during a 15-year period. Of 2,389 participants, 257 individuals (10.8 percent) were regular aspirin users.

After the 15-year follow-up, 63 individuals (24.5 percent) developed incident neovascular AMD, according to the results.

“The cumulative incidence of neovascular AMD among nonregular aspirin users was 0.8 percent at five years, 1.6 percent at 10 years, and 3.7 percent at 15 years; among regular aspirin users, the cumulative incidence was 1.9 percent at five years, 7 percent at 10 years and 9.3 percent at 15 years, respectively,” the authors note. “Regular aspirin use was significantly associated with an increased incidence of neovascular AMD.”

The authors note that any decision concerning whether to stop aspirin therapy is “complex and needs to be individualized.”

“Currently, there is insufficient evidence to recommend changing clinical practice, except perhaps in patients with strong risk factors for neovascular AMD (e.g., existing late AMD in the fellow eye) in whom it may be appropriate to raise the potentially small risk of incident neovascular AMD with long-term aspirin therapy,” the authors conclude.

(JAMA Intern Med. Published online January 21, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1583.)

Editor’s Note: This study was supported by project grants from the National Health & Medical Research Council Australia. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Commentary: Relationship of Aspirin Use with Age-Related Macular Degeneration

In an invited commentary, Sanjay Kaul, M.D., and George A. Diamond, M.D., of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, write: “This study has important strengths and limitations. It provides evidence from the largest prospective cohort with more than five years of longitudinal evaluation reported to date using objective and standardized ascertainment of AMD.”

“The key limitation is the nonrandomized design of the study with its potential for residual (unmeasured or unobserved) confounding that cannot be mitigated by multivariate logistic regression or propensity score analysis,” the authors continue.

“From a purely science-of-medicine perspective, the strength of evidence is not sufficiently robust to be clinically directive. These findings are, at best, hypothesis-generating that should await validation in prospective randomized studies before guiding clinical practice or patient behavior,” the authors conclude. “However, from an art-of-medicine perspective, based on the limited amount of available evidence, there are some courses of action available to the thoughtful clinician. In the absence of definitive evidence regarding whether limiting aspirin exposure mitigates AMD risk, one obvious course of action is to maintain the status quo.”

(JAMA Intern Med. Published online January 21, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.2530.)

Beta carotene may protect people with common genetic risk factor for type-2 diabetes

STANFORD, Calif. — Stanford University School of Medicine investigators have found that for people harboring a genetic predisposition that is prevalent among Americans, beta carotene, which the body converts to a close cousin of vitamin A, may lower the risk for the most common form of diabetes, while gamma tocopherol, the major form of vitamin E in the American diet, may increase risk for the disease.

The scientists used a “big data” approach to hunt down interactions between gene variants previously associated with increased risk for type-2 diabetes and blood levels of substances previously implicated in type-2 diabetes risk. In people carrying a double dose of one such predisposing gene variant, the researchers pinpointed a highly statistically significant inverse association of beta carotene blood levels with type-2 diabetes risk, along with a suspiciously high positive association of gamma tocopherol with risk for the disease.

“Type-2 diabetes affects about 15 percent of the world’s population, and the numbers are increasing,” said Atul Butte, MD, PhD, associate professor of systems medicine in pediatrics. “Government health authorities estimate that one-third of all children born in the United States since the year 2000 will get this disease at some point in their lives, possibly knocking decades off their life expectancies.”

Butte is the senior author of the new study, which will be published online Jan. 22 in Human Genetics. The first author, Chirag Patel, PhD, is a former graduate student in Butte’s lab and now a postdoctoral scholar at the Stanford Prevention Research Center.

The findings point the way to further experiments that could establish whether beta carotene and gamma tocopherol are, respectively, protective and harmful themselves, or merely “markers” whose blood levels dovetail with the presence or absence of some other substance, process or defect that is a true causal factor.

Moreover, the fact that both beta carotene and gamma tocopherol interact with the same gene variant to influence diabetes risk, albeit in opposite directions, suggests that the protein the gene called, SLC30A4, codes for may play a crucial role in the disease. Indeed, that protein is relatively abundant in insulin-producing islet cells of the pancreas, where it aids the transport of zinc into those cells. This, in turn, triggers the release of insulin, whose adequate secretion by the pancreas and efficient uptake in muscle, liver and fat tissue counters the dangerous buildup of glucose in the blood and, in the long run, the onset of type-2 diabetes.

The genomes of some 50 to 60 percent of the U.S. population carry two copies of that very gene variant, which previous studies have shown to confer a slightly increased risk of contracting type-2 diabetes. This variant was one of 18, each found by other researchers to have a mild association with type-2 diabetes risk, that the Butte team incorporated into its analysis.

These gene/disease connections had been identified via so-called “genome-wide association studies,” or GWAS. In such analyses, the genomes of large numbers of people with a disease are compared with those of people without it to see if certain versions of any gene variants occur with substantially greater frequency in one group than in the other.

The most well-studied gene variations are substitutions of one type of chemical unit of DNA for another one at a single position along the genome. “It’s like a single-letter spelling change,” said Butte. “‘Grey’ versus ‘gray’ may not matter much, if at all. But when ‘grey’ turns into ‘grew,’ you might have some serious semantic issues.” The genome contains millions of spots at which such differences occur, so advanced statistical techniques must be employed to screen out “frequency differences” between the “diseased” and “healthy” groups that are, at bottom, the mere results of blind chance.

“While plenty of genetic risk factors for type-2 diabetes have been found,” said Butte, “none of them taken alone, and not even all of them taken together, comes close to accounting for the prevalence of type-2 diabetes.” But genes don’t act in a vacuum, he added. (If food is hard to find, nobody gets fat, obesity predisposition or not.)

A few years ago, Butte and his associates designed an approach analogous to the GWAS: the EWAS, or environment-wide association study. Unlike the genome, which is huge but finite (about 3 billion chemical units long), the environment contains an infinite number of substances, from dietary micronutrients to synthetic pollutants, to which a person might be exposed over a lifetime. But increasing numbers of exposures are being cataloged by investigators — including, for example, scientists at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who conduct massive biennial screenings to collect data that can guide public-health policy decisions. This ongoing endeavor, called the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, involves a detailed analysis of substances in blood drawn from thousands of volunteers along with their heights, weights, blood pressures, fasting blood-glucose levels and other indicators of their medical status.

In 2010, Patel, Butte and their colleagues published the results of the first-ever EWAS, in which they combed large public databases to compare people with or without high blood-glucose levels — a defining marker of type-2 diabetes — in pursuit of differences between the two groups’ exposures to myriad environmental substances. The analysis fingered five substances, including both beta carotene, found in carrots and many other vegetables, and gamma tocopherol, which is relatively abundant in vegetable fats such as soybean, corn and canola oils and margarine.

The Stanford investigators learned that the NHANES contained data on numerous individuals’ environmental exposures and, for many of the same individuals, their genomic compositions. This enabled the researchers to perform a novel study pairing each of the 18 type-2-diabetes-implicated gene variants with each of the five suspect environmental substances to see how, for individuals carrying a particular gene variant, different blood levels of a given substance correlated with those individuals’ blood-glucose levels.

None of the genetic factors studied in isolation had shown a particularly impressive impact on type-2 diabetes risk. But when they were paired off one by one with the environmental factors, a couple of statistically robust results jumped out. First, for those carrying two copies of the variant in SLC30A4, higher beta-carotene levels correlated with lower blood-glucose levels. “This vitamin was already known as being ‘good’ with respect to type-2 diabetes, so it was no surprise that we saw it, too,” said Butte. “But it was reassuring, as it suggested we were doing things right, and interesting to find it paired with SLC30A4.”

The second finding was at once novel and disconcerting. High blood levels of gamma tocopherol appeared to be associated with increased risk for the disease.

The Butte lab is now gearing up to perform studies in which purified beta carotene and gamma tocopherol will be fed to lab mice. This may show whether those substances themselves are critical to preventing or accelerating the onset of type-2 diabetes. It also may throw light on precisely how these substances affect the production or performance of the protein for which the implicated gene codes.

“We can’t say, based on just this study, that ‘vitamin E is bad for you,'” said Patel. He noted that blood levels of alpha tocopherol — another form of vitamin E that predominates in most supplements — showed no deleterious interaction with the predisposing gene variant in the new study.

But maybe it can’t hurt to eat a few more carrots.

Eczema in infants linked to gut bacteria

Children with eczema have a more diverse set of bacteria in their guts than non affected children, finds a new study in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Microbiology. The types of bacteria present were also more typical of adult gut microbes than for toddlers without eczema.

Eczema is a chronic inflammation of the epidermis. The gut bacteria of children with or without eczema was examined when they were six and 18 months old. At six months all the infants had the same types of bacteria but by 18 months old the children with eczema had more of a type of bacteria normally associated with adults (Clostridium clusters IV and XIVa) while the healthy children had a greater amount of Bacteroidetes.

MSc Lotta Nylund from University of Turku, Finland, who led the project explained, “The composition of bacteria in a child’s gut depends on its environment and the food it eats. You would expect that as a child’s diet changes so will the bacteria present. The number of bifidobacteria naturally falls with age and in total we found 21 groups of bacteria which changed in this time period. However it is the early change towards adult-type bacteria which seems to be a risk factor for eczema.”

 

Harms from breast cancer screening outweigh benefits if death caused by treatment is included

 

Cancer expert remains to be convinced by breast screening review

Michael Baum, Professor emeritus of surgery at University College London says that, while deaths from breast cancer may be avoided, any benefit will be more than outweighed by deaths due to the long term adverse effects of treatment.

He estimates that, for every 10, 000 women invited for screening, three to four breast cancer deaths are avoided at the cost of 2.72 to 9.25 deaths from the long term toxicity of radiotherapy.

These figures contrast with an independent report on breast cancer screening, led by Sir Michael Marmot and published in November last year. Marmot and his committee were charged with asking whether the screening programme should continue, and if so, what women should be told about the risks of overdiagnosis.

They concluded that screening should continue because it prevented 43 deaths from breast cancer for every 10,000 women invited for screening.

The downside was an estimated 19% rate of overdiagnosis: 129 of the 681 cancers detected in those 10,000 women would have done them no harm during their lifetime. However, those women would have undergone unnecessary treatment, including surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

But despite this higher than previous estimate of overdiagnosis, they concluded that the breast screening programme should continue.

The report also judged that screening reduces the risk of dying from breast cancer by 20%. But Professor Baum disputes these figures, saying the analysis takes no account of improvements in treatment since these trials were done, which will reduce the benefits of screening. Nor does it make use of more recent observational data.

With these data included, estimated rates of overdiagnosis as a result of screening increase to up to 50%, he argues.

This is important because it can change the decisions women make when invited for screening. In a study also published today, researchers at the University of Sydney explored attitudes to screening in a sample of 50 women. Many of the women were surprised when they were told about overdiagnosis and most said they would attend screening if overdiagnosis rates were 30% or lower, but a rate of 50% made most of them reconsider.

An accompanying editorial points out that the harms of screening will reduce as more effective diagnostic processes develop to inform less harmful and more personalised treatments. In the meantime, it says women need up to date and transparent information about the benefits and harms of screening to help them make informed choices.

Common anti-fever medications pose kidney injury risk for children

Sick children, especially those with some dehydration from flu or other illnesses, risk significant kidney injury if given drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen, Indiana University School of Medicine researchers said Friday.

In an article published online Jan. 25 by the Journal of Pediatrics, Jason Misurac, M.D., and colleagues from IU and Butler University reported that nearly 3 percent of cases of pediatric acute kidney injury over a decade could be traced directly to having taken the common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs.

Although relatively few in terms of percentage of total kidney damage cases, the children with problems associated with NSAIDs included four young patients who needed dialysis, and at least seven who may have suffered permanent kidney damage, the researchers said.

“These cases, including some in which patients’ kidney function will need to be monitored for years, as well as the cost of treatment, are quite significant, especially when you consider that alternatives are available and acute kidney injury from NSAIDs is avoidable,” Dr. Misurac, a fellow in pediatric nephrology, said.

Although such drugs have been linked to kidney damage in small, anecdotal reports, the study reported Thursday is believed to be the first large-scale study of the incidence and impact of acute kidney injury caused by NSAIDs.

The research team evaluated medical records at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health in Indianapolis from January 1999 through June 2010 and found 1,015 cases in which patients had been treated for acute kidney injury from any cause.

After excluding cases in which the acute kidney injuries could possibly be explained by other factors, such as diseases affecting kidney function, the researchers found 27 cases, or 2.7 percent, in which the only factors were the administration of NSAIDs. In nearly all cases, the NSAIDs were administered before the children were admitted to the hospital. Because many of the 1,015 cases involved multiple potential causes of acute kidney injury, the researchers said the 27 cases are likely an underestimate of the number of cases in which NSAIDs contributed to the kidney damage.

Among the researchers’ findings:

  • Most of the children had been treated with recommended dosages.
  • All of the children under the age of 5 needed to undergo dialysis temporarily, were more likely than the older children to be placed in an intensive care unit and needed longer hospital stays.
  • The average cost for hospital and kidney specialist fees in the 27 cases was nearly $13,500, and the costs were much higher for younger children. At least $375,000 was spent on the NSAID-associated kidney injury cases at Riley Hospital over the study period, the researchers said, but billing data for other specialists were not available in the database, suggesting that the actual costs were likely much higher.

NSAIDs affect kidney function by restricting blood flow to the blood-filtering components of the kidneys, which suggests the risks from the drugs are greater among children who are dehydrated due to the effects of their illness, such as vomiting or diarrhea, Dr. Misurac said.

Fever is normal during an infection and not in itself dangerous, he noted, so “one alternative to NSAIDs would be acetaminophen, but another alternative would be no medication at all, at least for a while, to let the body fight the infection.”

v

These reports are done with the appreciation of all the Doctors, Scientist, and other Medical Researchers who sacrificed their time and effort. In order to give people the ability to empower themselves. Without base aspirations of fame, or fortune. Just honorable people, doing honorable things.

UFO Over Denver Not Yet Debunked

EEV: Reposted with another copy of the video

[Fox31 Report]

DENVER, Colo. –  A strange object, flying above Denver has puzzled many who have seen the video, including aviation experts.

KDVR-TV in Denver talked to Steve Cowell, a former commercial pilot, instructor and FAA accident prevention counselor.

He thought he would have a logical explanation, until he watched the video taken by a person who did not want to be identified.

“That is not an airplane, that is not a helicopter, those are not birds, I can’t identify it,” he said. He also told us the objects are not insects.

He said he knows of no aircraft that flies as fast. He did tell us there is one other possibility. “Perhaps there’s some sort of debris that is being raised up by some of the atmospheric winds.”

But in his professional opinion, “As it fits the definition, it’s an unidentified flying object.”

The FAA tracks all air traffic in Colorado and across the country.

(FOX4KC)

http://updatednews.ca/2012/11/16/ufo-over-denver-not-yet-debunked-fox31-report/

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar ‘threatened to punch’ local reporter

By Eric W. Dolan Tuesday, November 13, 2012 18:53 EST

[Image via U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District, Creative Commons licensed]

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar allegedly threatened to punch a reporter for the Colorado Springs Gazette on Election Day, one witness said.

Reporter Dave Philipps had attempted to ask Salazar about wild horses purchased from the Bureau of Land Management amid a gathering of Obama supporters in Fountain, Colorado. A man in southern Colorado is currently under investigation for allegedly buying more than 1,700 wild horses from government holding facilities and sending them to Mexican slaughterhouses. Philipps reported on the story in September.

After Salazar commented on the safety of wild horses, he unexpectedly approached Phillips and told him, “If you set me up like this again, I’ll punch you out,” according to Ginger Kathrens of the the Cloud Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to protecting wild horses and issued a statement regarding the incident on Tuesday.

“These threats would have been inappropriate coming from anyone, but the fact that it came out of the mouth of the Secretary of the Interior is alarming,” Kathrens said. “I can’t believe that a top official in Obama’s cabinet could be so defensive.”

The Cloud Foundation has been critical of Salazar for rounding up wild horses instead of letting them roam free. Salazar said rounding up the wild horses was necessary to prevent them from overpopulating and harming the ecosystem.

An Interior spokesman told Politico that Salazar regrets the exchange.

[Image via U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District, Creative Commons licensed]

Raw Story (http://s.tt/1tjOk)

Documents found in Colorado meth house reveal inner workings of Montana dark money group

By Pro Publica
Monday, October 29, 2012 9:29 EDT

Citizens United (Shutterstock)

Topics:

By Kim Barker, ProPublica, and Rick Young and Emma Schwartz, Frontline

This post was co-published with PBS’ Frontline.

The boxes landed in the office of Montana investigators in March 2011.

 

Found in a meth house in Colorado, they were somewhat of a mystery, holding files on 23 conservative candidates in state races in Montana. They were filled with candidate surveys and mailers that said they were paid for by campaigns, and fliers and bank records from outside spending groups. One folder was labeled “Montana $ Bomb.”

The documents pointed to one outside group pulling the candidates’ strings: a social welfare nonprofit called Western Tradition Partnership, or WTP.

Altogether, the records added up to possible illegal “coordination” between the nonprofit and candidates for office in 2008 and 2010, said a Montana investigator and a former Federal Election Commission chairman who reviewed the material. Outside groups are allowed to spend money on political campaigns, but not to coordinate with candidates.

“My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that WTP was running a lot of these campaigns,” said investigator Julie Steab of the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, who initially received the boxes from Colorado.

The boxes were examined by Frontline and ProPublica as part of an investigation into the growing influence on elections of dark money groups, tax-exempt organizations that can accept unlimited contributions and do not have to identify their donors. The documents offer a rare glimpse into the world of dark money, showing how Western Tradition Partnership appealed to donors, interacted with candidates and helped shape their election efforts.

Though WTP’s spending has been at the state level, it’s best-known nationally for bringing a lawsuit that successfully challenged Montana’s ban on corporate spending in elections, extending the provisions of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United decision to all states.

 

The tax code allows nonprofits like WTP to engage in some political activity, but they are supposed to have social welfare as their primary purpose. As reported previously by ProPublica and Frontline, when WTP applied for recognition of its tax-exempt status, it told the IRS under penalty of perjury that it would not directly or indirectly attempt to influence elections u2014 even though it already had.

The group is now locked in an ongoing dispute with Montana authorities, who ruled in October 2010 that the nonprofit should have registered as a political committee and should have to disclose its donors. WTP sued. A hearing is set for March.

In the meantime, the group has changed its name to American Tradition Partnership, reflecting its larger ambitions. This month, it sent Montana voters a mailer in the form of a newspaper called the Montana Statesman that claimed to be the state’s “largest & most trusted news source.”

The front page accused the Democratic gubernatorial candidate of being soft on sex offenders.

Donny Ferguson, American Tradition Partnership’s spokesman and executive director, did not specifically address the documents found in Colorado or allegations of coordination made against WTP.

“American Tradition Partnership always obeys every letter of every applicable law,” he wrote in an emailed response to questions. “ATP does not, and never will, endorse candidates or urge voters to vote for or against candidates. … These false allegations are old hat.”

On its website, the group says its primary purpose is issue advocacy and combating radical environmentalists, whom it sometimes calls “gang green.” It describes itself as a grassroots group backed by a broad membership of small donors.

When asked about the documents found in Colorado, Jim Brown, a lawyer for the group, said he was unfamiliar with them.

After being shown some of the documents by Frontline, Brown, in a follow-up email, said his review indicated that they appeared to belong to a company called Direct Mail. Direct Mail and Communications is a print shop in Livingston, Mont., run by a one-time key player in WTP and his wife.

Brown urged Frontline to turn over the documents. “If the documents are purported to be what you say they are, then you may knowingly be in possession of stolen property,” Brown wrote.

The records are in the hands of the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, which considers them public and reviewable upon request.

* * *

In the anything-goes world of modern campaign finance, outside groups face one major restriction: They are not allowed to coordinate with candidates. That’s because contributions to candidates and parties are still capped to limit donors’ direct influence, while contributions to outside groups are unlimited.

The Federal Election Commission has a three-pronged test for proving coordination: Did an outside group pay for ads, phone calls or mailers? Did these materials tell people to vote for or against a candidate, or praise or criticize a candidate in the weeks before an election? Finally, did the candidate, or a representative, agree to the expenditure?

Many concerns have been raised about coordination in this election because of close ties between outside groups and campaigns. Super PACs supporting President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney are run by their former staffers. Super PACs and campaigns have used the same consultants, who insist in interviews that they have firewalls.

Proving coordination is extremely difficult, however. Since 2007, the FEC has investigated 64 complaints of coordination, but found against candidates and groups only three times, fining them a total of $107,000, a review of FEC enforcement actions shows.

Montana, which has similar rules, also receives few complaints about such activity, Steab said.

The boxes from Colorado contained a mixture of documents from candidates and outside groups.

Folders labeled with the names of Montana candidates held drafts and final letters of support signed by candidates’ wives and drafts and final copies of mailers marked as being paid for by the campaigns. The folders often appeared to have had an accounting of what had been sent and paid for scrawled on the front.

Several folders included copies of the signatures of candidates and their wives. “Use this one,” someone wrote in red pen next to a cut-out rectangle on a page with five signatures from one candidate.

Steab, the Montana investigator, said she believed these cut-out signatures were then affixed to fliers from the candidates.

Besides material from the campaigns, the boxes also contained mailers on 2008 and 2010 races in Colorado and Montana from Western Tradition Partnership and six other groups. There were bank statements for several groups, including the Coalition for Energy and the Environment, the Alliance of Montana Taxpayers and the Conservative Victory Fund.

In all the documents, one name repeatedly popped up: Christian LeFer. Even though two Montana Republican politicians founded WTP, investigators determined that LeFer was the man behind the scenes.

LeFer, who is described as WTP’s director of strategic programming in memos in 2009, said in an email that the documents “appear to be stolen property” and that, as he’d had no access to them, he couldn’t respond to most of ProPublica’s questions, “which seem to be based on an erroneous and fanciful interpretation of what they mean.”

LeFer did not address whether WTP had coordinated with candidates. Although former employees and candidates said LeFer helped his wife run Direct Mail and Communications u2014 the printing company that Brown, the lawyer, suggested was the owner of the boxes of documents found in Colorado u2014 LeFer said he did not “run or direct the activities” there.

Direct Mail listed its principal office address in Montana filings as being the same Colorado address WTP initially used.

Two outside groups with documents in the boxes u2014 the Montana Committee to Protect the Unborn and Montana Citizens for Right to Work u2014 listed their addresses on bank statements as the same post-office box in Livingston used by LeFer and Direct Mail. LeFer was also the executive director of Montana Citizens for Right to Work, an anti-union group.

Former state Rep. Ed Butcher said LeFer and Western Tradition Partnership aided candidates with no experience.

“They’ll come in, if candidates want some help, they’ll come in and help them,” said Butcher, who described LeFer as “a Karl Rove type political strategist” who “stays in the background.”

Butcher’s file in the Colorado boxes was labeled “Butcher Primary ’08 mail samples.” It included an email from LeFer to Butcher with a survey about unions. There was a campaign donation form, and drafts of fliers and a letter from Butcher’s campaign.

A “wife questionnaire” for Butcher’s wife Pam said she met her husband “on a blind date arranged by his buddy that neither of us wanted.” The questionnaire listed her children’s names and that she had been taking care of her disabled mother for five years.

A letter on pink paper from Pam Butcher was in a file marked “wife letters.” The letter, which contained much of the information in the questionnaire, was marked as being paid for by Butcher’s campaign.

Butcher said his wife might have run her letter past LeFer. “He may have asked, ‘Do you need any help?’ and she said, ‘Yeah, I need to get this family letter out,’” said Butcher, who won the Republican primary in 2008 by 20 votes.

A folder for another successful candidate, Mike Miller, included a fax cover sheet from Miller to LeFer, forwarding Miller’s filled-out Montana candidate surveys for two outside groups, the National Gun Owners Alliance and the National League of Taxpayers. It also held a candidate survey asking Miller if he had any research about his opponent, including “any recent scandals.”

Miller confirmed to Frontline that LeFer was an unpaid adviser on his campaign, but would not elaborate further.

Trevor Potter, a former federal election commissioner who now runs the Campaign Legal Center, a watchdog group that advocates for more restrictions on money in politics, reviewed the documents found in the boxes.

“This is the sort of information that is, in fact, campaign strategy, campaign plans that candidates cannot share with an outside group without making it coordinated,” Potter said.

“You need to know more, but certainly if I were back in my FEC days as a commissioner, I would say we had grounds to proceed with an investigation and put people under oath and show them these documents, and ask where they came from and where they were.”

* * *

After the 2008 election, Montana started investigating whether WTP should have disclosed its donors.

The inquiry progressed slowly until 2010, when a former WTP contractor handed over internal fundraising records, saying she was worried about what the group was doing.

The documents showed that the group raised money specifically by telling people and corporations that they could give unlimited amounts in secret.

“The only thing we plan on reporting is our success to contributors like you who can see the benefits of a program like this,” said one document, a 2010 election briefing to read to potential donors. “You can just sit back on election night and see what a difference you’ve made.”

A target list of potential donors included an executive at a talc mine, the Montana representative of an international mining group and a Colorado executive for a global gold-mining company.

One note about a potential donor advised: “Married rich, hard to get a hold of. Have a beer with him.” Another said: “Owns big ranch, signed a hit piece I wrote on cty cmms’r last year (don’t mention), should give $$ $10,000 ask.”

Other notes suggested that solicitors “See Christian” or “Talk to Christian,” apparently references to LeFer.

The documents cited the group’s success in 2008, saying in a confidential grassroots membership development proposal that 28 Montana state legislators “rode into office in 100% support of WTP’s responsible development agenda.”

By 2010, the partnership was active in state races in Montana and Colorado.

That October, Montana authorities said Western Tradition Partnership had violated campaign-finance law and should be fined. They said the group’s purpose in 2008 was “not to discuss issues, but to directly influence candidate elections through surreptitious means.”

The Montana investigation also said the evidence was overwhelming that WTP had established the Coalition for Energy and the Environment, known as CEE, as a “sham organization” to act as a front for expenditures actually made by WTP.

But the investigation also found that “sufficient evidence has not been disclosed to establish coordination between WTP/CEE and any candidate. Concern and healthy skepticism is warranted, however.”

That was before the boxes from Colorado turned up.

A convicted felon named Mark Siebel said he stumbled on them inside a known meth house near Denver at some point in late 2010.

It’s not clear how they got there. Siebel said a friend found them in a stolen car. After reading through some of the documents, he reached out to people he thought might be interested in them u2014 primarily Colorado candidates attacked by Western Tradition Partnership. A lawyer married to one of the candidates shipped the boxes off to Montana investigators.

By that time, however, the Montana probe into the group’s activities in the 2008 election was over. Steab also said that there was no way to determine for certain where the documents were from and who owned them. There was no whistleblower, and no information about how the records ended up in Colorado.

Despite this, Steab said, she found the documents very telling.

“It looks to me that there was a lot of coordination u2014 but I don’t know that it’s coordination that everyone is aware of in all cases,” she said. She said she spoke to one candidate who told her he was upset about all the negative mailers against his opponent.

This year, American Tradition Partnership is as active as ever. It’s suing to try to overturn contribution limits in Montana, so far unsuccessfully. The group sent out mailers attacking candidates before the June primary in Montana, reporting none of them to the state as political expenditures. It later put out a press release saying that 12 of the 14 candidates it backed had won.

For the general election, the group appears to be targeting Montana’s attorney general, Steve Bullock, the Democratic candidate for governor. As attorney general, Bullock fought the partnership’s lawsuits against the state, including the one that ended up in the Supreme Court.

The first issue of the partnership’s Montana Statesman newspaper, dated Oct. 7, which a group press release said was sent to 180,000 voters, featured four photographs on the front page: Three of registered sex offenders, and one of Bullock, accusing him of allowing one in four sex offenders to go unregistered. “Bullock admits failure,” the headline announced. A full-page ad accused Bullock of taking illegal corporate contributions and of “criminal hypocrisy.”

The Statesman’s editor and publisher is none other than Ferguson, the partnership’s executive director, described as an “award-winning newspaper veteran” who has been “commended by other newspapers for his ‘honest, intelligent and issue-oriented’ approach.”

Ferguson didn’t respond to a question about his journalism credentials.

“Conservative group American Tradition Partnership now one of nation’s biggest media outlets,” said a press release on the group’s website, adding that the newspaper would publish “several” editions through Election Day and into 2013.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/10/29/documents-found-in-colorado-meth-house-reveal-inner-workings-of-montana-dark-money-group/#frontline-preview

Young people driving epidemic of prescription drug abuse

Contact: David Kelly david.kelly@ucdenver.edu 303-315-6374 University of Colorado Denver

Abuse of nonmedical analgesics up 40 percent

DENVER (Oct. 16, 2012) – A new study by the University of Colorado Denver reveals that today’s adolescents are abusing prescription pain medications like vicodin, valium and oxycontin at a rate 40 percent higher than previous generations.

That makes it the second most common form of illegal drug use in the U.S. after marijuana, according to Richard Miech, Ph.D., lead author of the study and professor of sociology at CU Denver.

“Prescription drug use is the next big epidemic,” Miech said. “Everyone in this field has recognized that there is a big increase in the abuse of nonmedical analgesics but our study shows that it is accelerating among today’s generation of adolescents.”

The study was published Tuesday in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

It drew on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a series of annual, nationally representative, cross-sectional surveys of U.S. drug use. The analysis used data from 1985 through 2009.

According to Miech, the prevalence of prescription pain medication abuse among the current generation of youth is “higher than any generation ever measured.” This finding was present among subgroups of men, women, non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics.

Miech and his co-authors said a number of factors were driving this trend.

“The increasing availability of analgesics in the general population is well documented, as the total number of hydrocodone and oxycodone products prescribed legally in the U.S. increased more than fourfold from about 40 million in 1991 to nearly 180 million in 2007,” the study said. “Higher prevalence of analgesics makes first-time NAU among contemporary youth easier than in the past because more homes have prescription analgesics in their medicine cabinets.”

Miech said parents often model drug use behavior for their children.

“Youth who observe their parents taking analgesics as prescribed may come to the conclusion that any use of these drugs is OK and safe,” he said.

Yet the consequences are often severe.

Miech said there are now more deaths due to accidental overdoses of these drugs than deaths due to overdoses of cocaine and heroin combined.

Most people who abuse prescription pain relievers report that they obtained them from family or friends.

“While most people recognize the dangers of leaving a loaded gun lying around the house,” said Miech, “what few people realize is that far more people die as a result of unsecured prescription medications.”

According to the study:

  • Nonmedical analgesic use accounted for an increase in emergency room visits of 129 percent between 2004 and 2009.
  • Between 1997 and 2007, NAU accounted for more than a 500 percent increase in the number of Americans seeking treatment for prescription opioid dependency.
  • Prescription drug abuse led to a threefold increase in unintentional overdose mortality from the 1990s to 2007.

Miech, who studies drug abuse issues, published a paper last year in the American Sociological Review showing that of the 100 top causes of death, the biggest increase has been prescription drug overdose.

He concludes his more recent study by saying that there seems to be little social cost in abusing nonmedical analgesics.

“These results suggest that current policies and interventions are not yet effective enough to counter the factors that have increased nonmedical analgesic use among U.S. youth and the general population,” he said. “But it is critical that we devise a strategy to deal with an epidemic that shows little sign of ebbing.”

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The study’s other researchers include Kennon Heard, MD, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine; Jason Boardman, Ph.D., of the University of Colorado Boulder and Amy Bohnert, Ph.D., of the Department of Veterans Affairs, HSR&D Center of Excellence and the Serious Mental Illness Treatment Resource and Evaluation Center, Ann Arbor, MI.

The University of Colorado Denver offers more than 120 degrees and programs in 13 schools and colleges and serves more than 28,000 students. CU Denver is located on the Denver Campus and the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colo.   For more information go to the CU Denver newsroom online.

Telemarketer Threatens To Blow Up Home – Claim Call is Next to Impossible to trace

 

Homes Evacuated In Mead, Nothing Found

GREELEY, Colo. — The Weld County Sheriff’s Office is trying to track down the phone number of a telemarketer who they say threatened the life of a homeowner in Mead.

Sgt. Tim Schwartz told 7NEWS that the homeowner received a call from the telemarketer Tuesday evening.

“The telemarketer was explaining to him that he had won some money,” Schwartz said. “The homeowner was not interested and hung up the phone.”

Schwartz said the telemarketer called back immediately “and got pretty rude, telling the homeowner, ‘I’ve placed a bomb in your house.’”

The homeowner, who declined an on-camera interview, told 7NEWS, “I think the call came from overseas. He had a very thick accent.”

After hearing the threat, the homeowner called 911.

Authorities responded and evacuated nearby homes while searching the victim’s house.

“It was like Oh my God! A bomb threat,” said Elaine Stanchfield, one of the evacuees.

Deputies took the evacuated residents to the Mead Fire Station and Town Hall.

Deputies from the Weld County Sheriff’s Office, and officers from the Colorado State Patrol, Dacono Police, Firestone Police and Mountain View Fire Department searched the home looking for explosives. They did not find anything.

Stanchfield said she can’t believe what happened.

“I personally think that telemarketers are a big pain because they constantly call you even when you ask them not to. But to go to those lengths to actually threaten someone is just ridiculous,” she said.

Schwartz said threats like that are very rare.

“It’s completely out of the ordinary,” Schwartz said. “I don’t know how to explain it. They’re just pretty pushy I guess.”

Schwartz said it may be next to impossible to track down the telemarketer.

He said if they determine the call came from outside the U.S., they’ll alert the FBI to the threats.

He said if they determine the call was made in the U.S., they can issue an arrest warrant, if they learn who made the call