Thursday, September 20, 2012

Smokers With Lung Cancer Have Tenfold Genetic Damage

The tumors of smokers who develop lung cancer have ten times more genetic damage than those of never-smokers who develop the disease, according to a study published online in the journal Cell this week.

Senior author Richard K. Wilson is director of The Genome Institute at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in the US. He says in a media statement that none of his team was surprised that the genomes of smokers with lung cancer had more mutations than the genomes of never-smokers with the disease:

"But it was surprising to see 10-fold more mutations. It does reinforce the old message - don't smoke," he adds.
Lung Cancer
There are two main types of lung cancer: small cell and non-small cell (NSCLC), which accounts for about 85% of all cases.

Within non-small cell there are also three further classifications: adenocarcinomas (usually found in an outer area of the lung); squamous cell carcinomas (usually found in the center of the lung next to a bronchus or air tube); and cheap Zyban.
The Study
For their study, Wilson and colleagues examined tissue from 17 patients: 16 with adenocarcinoma and one with large-cell carcinoma. 12 of the patients had a history of smoking, while the other five did not.

In their paper, the researchers describe how they carried out "whole-genome and transcriptome sequencing of tumor and adjacent normal tissue samples" from all 17 patients.

Across all 17 patients they identified just over 3,700 mutations, with an average mutation frequency more than 10-fold higher in the smokers compared to the never-smokers.
Available Drugs May Already Serve Against Some of the Mutations
Across all the patients, the researchers identified 54 mutations for which targeted drugs are already available. In each patient who had never smoked, there was at least one gene that can be targeted with available drugs.

However, the researchers can't say whether these will work on these mutations in lung cancer patients, as first author Ramaswamy Govindan, an oncologist who treats patients at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University, explains:

"Whether these drugs will actually work in patients with these DNA alterations still needs to be studied."

"But papers like this open up the landscape to understand what's happening. Now we need to drill deeper and do studies to understand how these mutations cause and promote cancer, and how they can be targeted for therapy," he adds.
The Cancer Genome Atlas Project
Wilson and Govindan are also part of The Cancer Genome Atlas project, which recently reported in Nature a larger genomic study of 178 patients with squamous cell carcinoma lung cancer.

Govindan says over the next 12 months or so the project will have studied nearly 1,000 genomes of patients with lung cancer. He says research is moving in the right direction, "toward future clinical trials that will focus on the specific molecular biology of the patient's cancer".
Shift from Organ-Based to Gene-Based View of Cancer
Wilson says the emerging evidence from genetic research is starting to make scientists re-think cancer: many quite different cancers appear to share the same mutations.

He sees a day when doctors no longer talk about "lung cancer", for example, but about "EGFR cancer", after the mutated gene that drives the tumor growth. Mutations in the EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) gene have been found in lung, colon, breast, and other cancers.

Citing another example, Wilson says he has seen lung cancer patients with mutations in the same gene that is targeted by Herceptin, essentially a breast cancer drug.

"In the coming years, we hope to be treating cancer based more on the altered genetic make-up of the tumor than by the tissue of origin," he notes.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

How to get rid of pimples and Get Your Beautiful Skin Back Again

I'm sure you're sick get pimples all over again. You wake up in the morning worried that you look in the mirror and find new spots on my face. But do not worry, because we all acne from time to time. I know that it can be very stressful.
You have tried countless products and to your surprise, sometimes they do not work as it should be. So how do you find one that works to get beautiful skin back? It can be quite simple. You think, "Oh, I'm sure it's easy," being sarcastic, of course. The reason is that you can hear him from time to time and nothing works. So what will work? That's a great way to get rid of acne and honestly to get beautiful skin back.
Before I begin, I tell you about some masks that you can use to help clean and moisturize the skin. I'm sure you would like it. Is not it? So let's get into it.
Tip one to get rid of acne, the first mask that you should only use regular mask of honey. What you should do is take the "filtered" honey and spread it evenly on your face. Leave it there for at least 10 to 15 minutes. When you're ready to wash away what you do, use warm water to rinse face and then use cold water to wash away everything else. Use cold water and then it will close the pores and give you look younger.
Honey is known to be very effective in cleaning time, because it has anti-microbial properties. After the honey has been removed your face you will notice that your skin will become soft and smooth.Some things to keep in mind that you may be worrying about honey, it is sticky, it does not guarantee immediate results, and usually dirty. Another important point is that depending on your body type you may be allergic to honey.
And remember to look for filtered honey because any other type may contain pollen and dust.
There are other masks that are associated with honey. Some of these masks, apple honey masks, aloe vera honey mask, masks, cinnamon honey, butter and honey mask wood mask aspirin honey.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fireplaces, Wood-burning Stoves Can Increase Risk of DNA Damage

Photo by Wikimedia CommonsMillions of people this winter will use a fireplace or wood-burning stove as a source of heat. Unfortunately, combustion of biomass and wood can contribute substantially to air particulate matter that can be traced to DNA damage and possibly even cancer, according to a review of research conducted by Denmark researchers and published by the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Air Particles Produced From Wood-Burning Can Negatively Affect Health

Exposure to particulate matter (PM) from ambient air is already associated with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. The toxicological mechanisms of PM-related health effects are thought to involve the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), oxidative stress, and inflammation. Oxidative stress can induce damage to DNA and inflammation can lead to chronic illnesses such as heart disease.
Steffen Loft PhD and colleagues reviewed 39 scientific journals published by the ACS and found an abundant amount of scientific evidence that links inhalation of fine particles of air pollution from motor vehicle exhaust, coal-fired electric power plants, and other sources to many health conditions. However, they found that there was not a lot of information related to the effects of wood smoke particulate matter (WSPM), so they collected air particle matter from a Denmark village in which the residents regularly used wood burning stoves and from a rural area that did not have a significant contribution from wood stoves.
Read: Health and Safety Precautions in Cold Weather Months
The particles that were collected from the air most affected by wood-burning tended to be of the most potentially hazardous size – small enough to be inhaled into the deepest parts of the lungs and can accelerate hardening of the arteries. The researchers stated that it was the equivalent of inhaling car exhaust.
When tested on cultures of human cells, WSPM caused more damage to the genetic material, more inflammation, and had greater activity in turning on genes that were linked to disease. The WSPM also contained higher levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which include “probable” human carcinogens.
Read: Seven Tips to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
In addition to fine particulate matter, wood burning fireplaces and stoves can release gases such as nitrogen dioxide which can irritate the eyes, nose and throat, exacerbating asthma and carbon monoxide which can increase the risk of death. Other toxic compounds include formaldehyde, benzene, methyl chloride, and methyl ethyl ketone, all which can cause negative health effects when they penetrate deep into the lungs.
Dr. Loft says that to reduce the risk of WPSM effects, those who burn wood in fireplaces or stoves should only use dry wood cut into small pieces and ensure that there is good air flow in the room to minimize exposure to particles. A HEPA filter may also be an easy and accessible way to reduce particulate concentrations, per previous research conducted by Canadian scientists.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Red Cross Announces Critical Need for Type O Negative Blood

The American Red Cross is urging eligible people to donate blood this summer, especially those with Type O negative, as the supply in the United States has dropped to critically low levels. Type O negative blood is always in high demand because it can be transfused to patients with any blood type, particularly in emergency situations when doctors do not have enough time to cross-match a patient’s blood.
There are four major blood groups that include eight different common blood types which are determined by the presence or absence of certain antigens – substances that can trigger an immune response if they are foreign to the body. Group A has only the A antigen on the red blood cell, for example, and Group B only has the B antigen. Those with Group AB blood has both A and B antigens on red cells. Group O blood has neither of these antigens, so they are safe to administer to a person of any type and the patient will not reject the transfusion.
In addition to A and B antigens, there is a third called the Rh factor, which can either be present (+) or negative (-). In general, Rh-negative blood is given to Rh-negative patients, but either Rh-positive or Rh-negative blood can be given to Rh-positive blood. O positive is the most common blood type. Only 7% of people in the US have type O negative blood.
Blood shortages are not unusual in the summer, because there are fewer donors giving due to summer vacations and fewer community hosted blood drives. But the need for blood doesn’t go away. More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day because every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood.
Donating blood is a safe and simple process. Blood donors must be at least 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet weight and height requirements, and be in good health. At the time of donation, each blood donor is given a “mini-physical” to check temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and hemoglobin to ensure it is safe for the donor to give blood. The entire blood donation process typically takes about an hour and 15 minutes.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Those Working In Flooded Areas Should Update Tetanus Shots

As heavy rain is causing flooding in northeastern, eastern and other portions of Missouri, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) today urged Missourians who will be working in or near the flood waters to make sure their immunizations are up-to-date, especially for tetanus. We want residents or volunteers who will be working around flood waters to make sure they are protected from tetanus infection, said Jane Drummond, DHSS director. Anyone planning to help with the flood response should ask their health care provider to review their medical records and to request a tetanus booster shot if it has been more than 10 years since the last booster.
Tetanus shots may also be obtained from local public health agencies, clinics, and hospitals, but people should call first to confirm availability.
"In addition to checking on their tetanus boosters, people should take extra health and safety precautions when working in or around flood waters," Drummond added. These include:
* Wearing rubber gloves for extra protection against contamination.
* Wearing a mask if you have any allergies or chronic lung conditions.
* Washing your hands and exposed skin frequently.
* Disinfecting or discarding any clothing or supplies used in floodwaters immediately after use.
* Washing contaminated clothes separately from other garments.
* Disinfecting everything floodwater or sewage has touched.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Emotional and Physical Consequences of Sperm Donor Children

The latest Hollywood debate: Should a woman become a single mother via artificial insemination. Some children of mothers who became pregnant using anonymous sperm donors are saying that they have unresolved emotional issues related to being “donor offspring”. And for some, another health issue is important – understanding their genetic history and risk for contracting certain conditions as an adult.
In Jennifer Aniston’s latest movie The Switch, she portrays a woman who becomes pregnant using a sperm donor. She has told reporters that she approves of the science that has given women the ability to have children without having to “settle with a man just to have that child.” Bill O’Reilly has criticized Ms. Aniston’s statement saying that her comments are “destructive to our society” and accusing her of “diminishing the role of the dad.”
MSNBC today reports the story of two women, Katrina Clark and Lindsay Greenawalt, who have searched (or still searching) for their biological fathers. These women want to transform the dynamics of sperm donation so that if children later wish to learn more about their family history, they can. They seek a ban on anonymous sperm donations as they do in Britain and other European countries.
According to the report, an increasing number of US sperm banks now offer identity-release policies in which donors agree to let offspring contact the donor when they turn 18. But many donors still opt for anonymity.
In a recent study of 485 donor offspring, conducted by the Commission on Parenthood’s Future, titled “My Daddy’s Name is Donor,” children conceived by sperm donation were more troubled and depression-prone than other young adults. Ms. Greenawalt may be among those, saying that she has learned that although the man she seeks is aware of her, he appears to not want to be contacted.
She states in her blog: "If I had to choose between being conceived with half of my identity and half of my kinship deliberately denied from me for eternity — or never being born — I'd choose never being born. We were created to carry a loss. A loss that no human being should have to endure."
Even those who reach their biological fathers often remain unfulfilled, says Dr. Jamie Grifo, a past president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies. Ms. Clark has said that although she has been successful in contacting her sperm-donor father, communication has been sparse.
Another issue many donor offspring must contend with is not knowing critical family medical history. The medical screening process today is stricter than it used to be, however, each sperm bank has its own requirements and procedures for sperm donors. In general, a sperm donor must be between the ages of 18 and 44, were not themselves adopted and must be free of significant illnesses. They must also not have a family history of genetic disease.
Often, the donor will fill out a thorough questionnaire about personal and family medical history and will undergo a full physical with blood testing. Donors will also be screened for current infectious disease, sexually transmitted disease and the most common genetic problems sing a process approved by the FDA, the ASRM, the CDC and the American Association of Tissue Banks. While this procedure is thorough based on what we currently know, medical research learns new information about health and genetics every day.
Some sperm banks do have a procedure for this. In Greenawalt’s case, for example, she requested a medical update, which her donor father has complied with.
Ms. Clark, although an activist to stop anonymous sperm donation, accepts that artificial insemination can be a blessing for some parents. However, she hopes more will be done to assist the donor offspring with emotional and medical needs. She also encourages families to tell their children the truth early about their conception. “The most damaging thing I’ve seen is when parents wait to tell,” she said.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fewer Heart Disease Deaths In Massachusetts As Smoking Declines

If more states introduce tobacco control programs for their residents who are regular smokers, the number of U.S. deaths due to coronary heart disease might drop, finds a new study that looks at an ongoing Massachusetts initiative.
A connection exists between coronary heart disease and cigarette smoking, and the new study determines how a reduction in smoking affected the number of related deaths in Massachusetts between 1993 and 2003. The state introduced its Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program (MTCP) in 1992, which received funding through a special cigarette tax, and the researchers say they expected to find it helped control the rate of smoking.
“California was the first state to have a statewide program like the MTCP and they witnessed substantial declines,” said lead author Zubair Kabir, M.D., who at the time of the study was a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. “So it was not surprising that Massachusetts, the second state, would see such declines as well, which reflect the impact of a comprehensive, integrated and — at the time — well-funded program.”
The study appears in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
Kabir and his colleagues examined data from daily smokers ages 25 to 84. They found that between 1993 and 2003, coronary heart disease mortality declined 31 percent — from 199 deaths to 137 deaths per 100,000 persons each year. Smoking prevalence declined from 20.5 percent to 14.5 percent
Based on these results, the researchers calculated that 425 fewer coronary heart disease deaths were attributable to decreased smoking during the 10-year period. They concluded that expanding comprehensive tobacco control programs, such as MTCP, to other states could avoid more tobacco-related disease deaths.
Audrey Ferguson, health promotions manager at the American Lung Association of Indiana, agreed with the authors’ conclusion.
“The American Lung Association strongly supports comprehensive statewide tobacco control efforts, including increased tobacco taxes and smoke-free workplace legislation,” she said. “We recognize that tobacco use does not affect just the lungs or the heart of the tobacco user. Everyone would see health benefits from a comprehensive tobacco control plan.”
The MTCP was not immune to roadblocks, however. According to Kabir, budget cuts stalled state funding for the program in 2002, but it is now active again.
Nevertheless, he added that, “Although funding has risen somewhat since 2002, now around $12 million per year, it is nowhere near the levels seen at the height of the program in the late 90s.”