28 Feb

Medical News Today: Schizophrenia begins in the womb, study suggests

Researchers may be one step closer to determining the cause of schizophrenia, after uncovering an abnormal genetic process associated with the disease that begins in the womb.
[A fetus]
Researchers have uncovered a schizophrenia-related process that begins in the womb.

By transforming skin cells from patients with schizophrenia into neuronal progenitor cells – cells that form neurons in early development – researchers identified an abnormal gene pathway called nuclear FGFR1 (nFGFR1) that impairs early brain development.

Senior study author Michal K. Stachowiak, Ph.D., of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo in New York, and colleagues say that their findings may bring us closer to treatments that could prevent schizophrenia in utero.

The researchers recently reported their results in the journal Schizophrenia Research.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 1.1 percent of adults in the United States have schizophrenia – a mental health disorder characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and abnormal thoughts.

While the exact causes of schizophrenia remain unclear, researchers have long known that the condition can run in families, suggesting a genetic origin. Furthermore, an increasing number of studies have uncovered genetic mutations associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia.

For their study, Stachowiak and colleagues sought to learn more about the genomic processes that occur in utero that might influence the risk of schizophrenia development.

Dysregulated nFGFR1 pathway impairs brain development

To reach their findings, the researchers collected skin cells from four adults with schizophrenia and four adults without the disorder.

The skin cells were reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells, and these differentiated into neuronal progenitor cells. This enabled the team to assess the processes that occur during early brain development in people with schizophrenia.

The researchers pinpointed a dysregulated nFGFR1 pathway that targets and mutates numerous genes associated with schizophrenia. The team explains that just one of these gene mutations can impact brain development.

According to the authors, these findings provide proof of concept that schizophrenia may be caused by a dysregulated genomic pathway that influences the brain before birth.

“In the last 10 years, genetic investigations into schizophrenia have been plagued by an ever-increasing number of mutations found in patients with the disease. We show for the first time that there is, indeed, a common, dysregulated gene pathway at work here.”

Michal K. Stachowiak, Ph.D.

Furthermore, the team says that these findings open the door to new schizophrenia treatments. For example, a drug could be administered to expectant mothers, whose offspring has a high risk of developing schizophrenia, that prevents processes related to the disease occurring in the developing fetus.

In future studies, the researchers plan to grow “mini brains” using the same processes used in the current study, with the aim of gaining a deeper understanding of how dysregulation of the nFGFR1 pathway influences early brain development, as well as to provide a model to test possible treatments.

Learn how B vitamins might improve symptoms of schizophrenia.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Source: medicalnewstoday

28 Feb

Medical News Today: WHO prioritize 12 treatment-resistant bacteria for drug development

The World Health Organization have published a global priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to guide the research and development of new and effective antibiotics. The list comprises 12 families of bacteria – categorized according to urgency of need for new drugs – that the United Nations health agency say “pose the greatest threat to human health.”
antibiotics spilling out of jar
The WHO have created a list of 12 types of bacteria that could pose the greatest threat to humans.

The World Health Organization (WHO) developed the “priority pathogen list” after a request from UN member states.

To date, decisions about which pathogens to prioritize for research and development (R&D) have been made by individual drug companies, large and small. These decisions tend to be variously influenced by perceived or unmet medical needs, pressure from investors, potential for scientific discovery, availability of technology, and market size, say the WHO.

Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director-general for Health Systems and Innovation at the WHO, says that:

“Antibiotic resistance is growing, and we are fast running out of treatment options. If we leave it to market forces alone, the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time.”

The idea of a priority pathogen list is not new; in 2013, for instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published an antibiotic resistance threat list for the United States. However, this is the first time that a list has been produced by a global health agency from the point of view of threat to worldwide public health.

In a report on how they compiled it, the WHO note that the main objective of the global priority pathogen list is to “guide the prioritization of incentives and funding, help align R&D priorities with public health needs, and support global coordination in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

The problem of growing antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial drugs have been used effectively for more than 70 years and have greatly reduced illness and death from infection. However, many of them – such as antibiotics designed to kill disease bacteria – have been used so widely and for so long that the microbes have adapted and become highly drug-resistant.

New mechanisms of drug resistance are emerging and spreading around the world, threatening our ability to treat even common infections. This is resulting in lengthier illnesses, longer hospital stays, costlier and more intensive care, disability, and death.

The new WHO list highlights the particular threat of bacteria that are resistant to more than one drug. These bacteria have not only evolved built-in mechanisms that resist treatment, they can also pass their genetic material to other bacteria so that they, too, become drug-resistant.

Growing antimicrobial resistance is already complicating the treatment of tuberculosis (TB), HIV, and malaria. According to the WHO, there are now 480,000 new cases of multidrug-resistant TB worldwide every year.

Also, without effective drugs to prevent and combat infection, medical procedures such as cancer treatments, organ transplants, diabetes management, cesarian sections, hip replacements, and other major surgical operations, become very high risk.

According to the CDC, at least 2 million people per year in the U.S. become infected with drug-resistant bacteria and around 23,000 people per year die as a direct result of these infections. Many others die from conditions that are complicated by antibiotic-resistant infections.

Critical, high, and medium priority pathogens

The WHO have categorized the 12 bacteria in terms of urgency of need for new drugs: critical, high, and medium priority.

The critical group includes infection-causing bacteria that are resistant to several drugs and pose a particular threat in hospitals and nursing homes, and specifically to patients on ventilators or fitted with blood catheters.

The bacteria in the critical group include: Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, and some Enterobacteriaceae (including E. coli, Klebsiella, Proteus, and Serratia).

These pathogens can cause severe and often fatal infections, including pneumonia and bloodstream infections.

The high and medium priority groups contain other bacteria that are becoming increasingly resistant to available drugs, and that cause more common infections such as gonorrhoea, food poisoning (caused by salmonella), and Staphylococcal infections (caused by resistant forms of Staphylococcus aureus, such as MRSA).

Drug-resistant strains of the following bacteria are also in the high and medium priority groups: Enterococcus faecium, Helicobacter pylori, Campylobacter species, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Shigella species.


Decision criteria for pathogen inclusion

Researchers from the University of Tübingen in Germany collaborated with the WHO in compiling the list, using criteria and a decision-making method that was vetted by international experts.

The criteria used included: the deadliness of the pathogen; the length of hospitalization they cause; frequency of resistance to antibiotics when spread in the community; ease of spread in animals, from animals to humans, and among humans; how easy it is to prevent infection; how many treatment options are available; and whether new drugs to tackle them are already in development.

The list does not include the bacterium that causes TB because this is already targeted by existing, dedicated programs. Other bacteria – such as Streptococcus A and B and chlamydia – are also excluded because they have low levels of resistance to current drugs and do not pose a significant threat to public health, say the WHO.

Evelina Tacconelli, a professor, head of the division of infectious diseases at Tübingen, and a major contributor to the work, concludes:

“New antibiotics targeting this priority list of pathogens will help to reduce deaths due to resistant infections around the world. Waiting any longer will cause further public health problems and dramatically impact on patient care.”

The WHO also point out that new drugs on their own will not solve the problem of antimicrobial resistance. We also need to continue efforts to prevent infection and avoid inappropriate use of existing and future antibiotics.

Learn how highly drug-resistant infections are rising among U.S. children.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Source: medicalnewstoday

28 Feb

Medical News Today: Frontotemporal dementia: Types, symptoms, treatment

Frontotemporal dementia refers to a group of disorders that cause dementia to start at a younger age. Around 60 percent of people who develop frontotemporal dementia are between the ages of 45 and 64 years. This type of dementia is uncommon.

Dementia is the decline in mental ability that is faster than would be expected with normal aging. Dementia affects everyday activities and gets progressively worse.

Symptoms of dementia include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, language, and problem-solving.

Frontotemporal dementia mainly affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. The frontal lobe is located at the front of the brain, and the temporal lobe is located at the side of the brain. These areas of the brain are responsible for controlling behavior, personality, language, and the ability to plan and organize.

Less than 5 percent of all people who develop dementia have frontotemporal dementia.


Types of frontotemporal dementia

Brain diagram
The frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are located at the front and side of the brain respectively.

The disorders that make up frontotemporal dementia fall into the following categories of symptoms, including:

  • behavior and personality decline
  • language decline
  • motor decline

These symptoms are caused by damage to parts of the frontal and temporal lobes. The symptoms and the lobes that are affected determine the type of frontotemporal dementia a person has.

Behavior and personality decline

Behavior and personality decline is marked by progressive changes in a person’s behavior, personality, emotions, and judgment.

These symptoms often mean that a person has a type of frontotemporal dementia called behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia.

Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia may cause changes in personality, emotional blunting, and loss of empathy. Around 60 percent of people with frontotemporal dementia have behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia.

Language decline

Language decline is marked by early changes in a person’s language ability, which includes speaking, understanding, reading, and writing.

If a person displays language decline, they may have one of the types of frontotemporal dementia that include:

  • progressive non-fluent aphasia – trouble producing speech
  • semantic dementia – loss of the ability to understand single words, familiar people, and everyday objects

Around 20 percent of people with frontotemporal dementia have the progressive non-fluent aphasia subtype, and 20 percent have semantic dementia.

Motor decline

Motor decline refers to problems with physical movement. The person may have difficulties using limbs and walking. They may shake, frequently fall, and have poor coordination.

In some cases, motor disorders may occur with frontotemporal dementia. These include:

  • motor neuron disease or ALS – a progressive disease that attacks the nerves in the brain and spinal cord
  • progressive supranuclear palsy – a brain disorder that causes difficulties with walking, eye movements, and balance
  • corticobasal syndrome – the gradual degeneration of movement, speech, memory, and swallowing


Causes

The cause of frontotemporal dementia is not entirely understood. However, the symptoms may occur because the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain shrink over time.

Shrinkage may happen due to a buildup of abnormal proteins in the brain that clump together. The cluster of abnormal proteins become toxic to brain cells and gradually kill them, which causes the brain areas to shrink.

While several gene mutations have been linked to types of frontotemporal dementia, most people with the condition do not have a family history of dementia.

Frontotemporal dementia and ALS have been shown to share genetics and molecular pathways. However, further studies are needed to work out the significance of this link.


Symptoms

senior man looking confused at a calendar
Issues with planning and prioritizing alongside other behaviors may be a symptom of frontotemporal dementia.

Frontotemporal dementia symptoms vary from person to person and depend on the subtype of the disorder diagnosed.

Symptoms tend to cluster into categories of behavior and personality changes, language difficulties, and movement problems.

Eventually, most people with the condition will experience problems in more than one of these symptom categories, and the disease will spread to affect most of the brain’s functions.

Behavior and personality changes

People who have the behavioral subtype of frontotemporal dementia may experience:

  • problems with planning, judgment, sequencing, prioritizing, multitasking, and controlling behavior
  • repetitive and obsessive behaviors, such as humming or walking the same route repeatedly
  • impulsive and inappropriate behavior
  • compulsive eating
  • personal hygiene neglect
  • irritability and aggression
  • difficulty resisting the impulse to pick up and use objects for no apparent reason
  • a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or initiative
  • flat, improper, or exaggerated emotions
  • an inability to read social signs, such as facial expressions
  • loss of empathy, no emotional reaction
  • being more or less outgoing

Quite often, the person with frontotemporal dementia is unaware that they have developed these unusual behaviors. As the disorder progresses, the person may become socially withdrawn and isolated.

Language difficulties

The language subtypes of frontotemporal dementia cause symptoms such as:

  • inability to understand and use words, but with normal physical speaking ability
  • inability to physically speak properly or slurred speech, but with no effect on intelligence or understanding
  • incorrectly using words
  • reduced vocabulary
  • repetition of a few phrases
  • declining conversation and speech

Sometimes, people with frontotemporal dementia completely lose their ability to speak.

Movement problems

Movement problems that are associated with frontotemporal dementia include:

  • inability to perform complex coordinated movements, such as eating with a knife and fork
  • difficulty maneuvering small objects such as buttons and frequently dropping them
  • uncontrollable contracting of muscles that cause abnormal postures
  • walking abnormalities that cause shuffling or frequent falls
  • muscle weakness and cramps
  • shakiness that usually happens in the hands
  • difficulty swallowing

Some people with frontotemporal dementia develop urinary incontinence and bowel incontinence.


Diagnosis

Doctor in discussion with older man
To diagnose frontotemporal dementia, a doctor may conduct several tests and assessments to rule out other conditions.

Diagnosing frontotemporal dementia can be challenging, because other conditions can cause many of the same symptoms.

Doctors conduct several tests and assessments to make a correct diagnosis and rule out other potential conditions. A doctor may:

  • assess symptoms
  • evaluate mental abilities
  • perform a physical examination
  • review personal and family medical history
  • order blood tests
  • conduct brain scans to detect any loss of brain cells in the frontal and temporal brain regions
  • order testing to identify genetic mutations

Research is ongoing to find a more accurate way to diagnose frontotemporal disorders at an earlier stage.


Treatments

There is currently no way to slow down the progression of frontotemporal dementia and no cure. However, treatment can help manage some of the symptoms.

Treating behavioral problems

There is no medication specifically for frontotemporal dementia. The following medications may help with controlling behavioral problems and managing loss of inhibitions, overeating, and compulsive behavior in some people:

  • antidepressants – trazodone or selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as sertraline or fluvoxamine
  • antipsychotics, such as olanzapine or quetiapine

People with frontotemporal dementia will be carefully monitored while taking these medications. The side effects of these drugs include a greater risk of death in people with dementia.

Coping with language difficulties

The goals of dealing with language difficulties in frontotemporal dementia include:

  • maintaining language skills
  • using tools and new ways to communicate

The person with frontotemporal dementia may need to communicate through a notebook, gestures, sign language, or drawings. They might also benefit from photos of people and objects being labeled with names.

Caregivers may need to speak slowly and clearly to the person using simple sentences and wait for a response. Strategies may need to be altered over time as the disease progresses.

Managing movement problems

There are no treatments to slow down the progression of movement problems that are related to frontotemporal dementia. However, certain medications and physical therapy may help with some symptoms.

Researchers continue to investigate more effective treatments for frontotemporal dementia.

One route researchers are currently studying is therapies that target the abnormal proteins that cluster in the brain that may be responsible for frontotemporal dementia.


Outlook

Frontotemporal dementia is progressive. Most people with the disease will experience a decline in functions they use in everyday life. They may come to require around-the-clock care in a residential care facility.

If people have motor neuron disease-related or ALS-related frontotemporal dementia, they may live for around 3-5 years. However, people with other subtypes of the disease may live for 10 years or more. Survival time after symptoms begin can vary significantly.

Caring for someone with frontotemporal dementia can be stressful and challenging. Caregivers may need support from other family members, friends, and support groups.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Source: medicalnewstoday

28 Feb

Medical News Today: Rare but fatal pediatric brain tumor may be stopped with new molecule

Researchers may have found a molecule that inhibits the growth of a rare but fatal tumor that occurs in children, called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma.
[brain tumor]
New research uncovers a molecule that successfully halts DIPG – a fatal pediatric brain tumor.

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a pediatric brain tumor that mainly affects children under 10 years of age.

Approximately 300 children – usually between 5 and 9 years old – are diagnosed with DIPG every year. DIPGs are located in the brain’s pons – a brain region that controls many of the body’s vital functions, including breathing and heart rate.

DIPGs are extremely aggressive and difficult to treat, so being diagnosed with the tumor typically results in death within a year.

New research, however, offers hope for treating DIPG. Scientists from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, may have found a molecule that could stop the development of the tumor. The team was led by Ali Shilatifard, Robert Francis Furchgott professor of biochemistry and pediatrics, and chair of biochemistry and molecular genetics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

The new findings – published in the journal Nature Medicine – build on research that Shilatifard and colleagues have carried out in the past. Shilatifard and his team identified the pathway through which a genetic mutation causes cancer in a study published in the magazine Science, and a follow-up study – conducted in collaboration with Rintaro Hashizume and his team – used this knowledge to test the effects of pharmacological therapy on DIPG in mice.

The latter study inhibited the previously identified genetic pathway and successfully prolonged the life of mice by 20 days. The drug was administered through the mice’s abdomen, but in this latest research, the team set out to investigate whether injecting the cells into the mice’s brainstem would have more robust effects.

BET bromodomain inhibitors successfully halt tumor growth

The scientists sampled tumor cell lines from an untreated patient and injected them into a mouse’s brainstem, where it grew into a tumor. Subsequently, the scientists treated the mouse with a BET bromodomain inhibitor and went on to clinically monitor the tumor.

The BET bromodomain inhibitor has proven efficacious in several cancer models before.

In this study, by using the inhibitor, bromodomain proteins could no longer bind to the histone H3K27M – a mutant protein found in 80 percent of DIPG tumors. BET inhibitors stopped the proliferation of tumor cells, and forced them to differentiate into other cells instead.
This successfully stopped tumor growth.

The study’s first author, Andrea Piunti – a postdoctoral fellow in Shilatifard’s laboratory in biochemistry and molecular genetics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine – suggests that BET inhibitors should next be tested in a pediatric trial to treat DIPG, especially since the drugs are already being tested for pediatric leukemia.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the most effective molecule so far in treating this tumor. Every other therapy that has been tried so far has failed.”

Ali Shilatifard, senior author

The senior author also notes that the currently available radiation therapy is ineffective in treating DIPG; it only adds a few months to the patients’ survival.

Shilatifard comments on the importance of Northwestern University for making this research possible:

“This work could not have been done anywhere in the world except Northwestern Medicine, because of all the scientists and physicians who have been recruited here during the past five years and how they work together to link basic scientific research to the clinic,” Shilatifard says. “This discovery is the perfect example of how we take basic science discoveries and translate them to cure diseases at Northwestern Medicine.”

Learn how childhood cancer treatment may hinder later-life sexual relationships.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Source: medicalnewstoday

28 Feb

Medical News Today: Living with COPD: Tips, activities, and treatments

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a lung condition that affects a person’s ability to breathe. A person who is diagnosed with this illness usually has both emphysema and chronic bronchitis. These conditions result in less air flowing in and out of the lungs.

The symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including shortness of breath, wheezing, and chronic cough, can make daily tasks more challenging.

Everyday things that may not seem physically demanding can be difficult for someone with COPD. Eating, getting dressed, and doing household tasks can be hard to manage when a person has trouble breathing.

However, a COPD diagnosis doesn’t have to mean that a person will lose their independence, or that they will have to stop enjoying their favorite activities.

Following a treatment plan can significantly improve a person’s life and help them find their “new normal.”


Keeping up with life with COPD

Man breaking cigarette in half
For people with COPD, quitting smoking is highly recommended.

With some changes and effective treatments, many people with COPD can lead fulfilling lives. Though the diagnosis of COPD can be overwhelming, there are ways to make everyday life easier and more enjoyable:

  • Quitting smoking. This is the best way to help the lungs heal and function at their best, and it benefits the heart and other organs as well. Quitting smoking also strengthens a person’s immune system.
  • Allowing more time to get to and from appointments and events. People can try setting an alarm with an extra 10-20 minutes of time to get out the door. This can help avoid stress, anxiety, and rushing, which can lead to more shortness of breath or wheezing.
  • Considering ways to modify tasks to make them easier to do. Breathing exercises and rest breaks can make walking or gardening more enjoyable, for example.
  • Explaining COPD symptoms to friends and family. If others understand that certain activities are more difficult, they can provide support and compassion. This can reduce worry and give others the opportunity to help when needed.

People should be open with doctors and members of their healthcare team. With a new COPD diagnosis, symptoms may be confusing or even frightening. Talking to the healthcare team about symptoms and challenges helps people to work through them, learn the best way to stay healthy, and still take part in life’s activities.

COPD and medical appointments

After a person has been diagnosed with COPD, they will have to attend regular appointments with their doctor and get used to new treatments. Developing a treatment plan is an essential part of living well with COPD. A treatment plan may include medications, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, lifestyle changes, and education about COPD.

People with COPD sometimes have a large healthcare team around them that can include doctors, nurses, therapists, dietitians, psychologists, social workers, and spiritual advisors such as a chaplain. All of these professionals play an important role in helping a person with COPD stay as healthy as possible.

Many patients have regular pulmonary rehabilitation appointments. A study in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease suggests that pulmonary rehab can help people with COPD lead quality lives in a number of ways, including increasing their ability to exercise.

In addition to medical care, people with COPD can make some changes at home to keep themselves feeling well and to help manage symptoms. With the right treatment and home changes, many people with COPD can continue to do what they enjoy.


Diet changes for COPD

a colorful selection of fruits and vegetables
A healthful diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables alongside other healthful whole foods is recommended for people with COPD.

Eating is a part of daily life, and people with COPD should follow a healthful diet to help with their condition. Choosing the right foods may help a person with COPD continue their daily activities because they will be healthier, more energetic, and less short of breath.

A diet suitable for people with COPD doesn’t have to be overly strict or complex. In general, people with COPD should focus on healthful whole foods including:

  • A variety of fruits and vegetables in different colors. Fresh and frozen are ideal, but canned fruits and vegetables are also fine if they have no sugar, salt, or additives.
  • Whole grains. Ensure that breads and pastas are “100 percent whole grain” or “100 percent whole wheat,” by checking the labels. Whole grain brown rice and steel-cut oatmeal are other popular whole grain choices.
  • Legumes. Peas, beans, lentils and peanuts are common legumes that offer protein and fiber. If excess gas is an issue, these may need to be decreased or eliminated.
  • Lean sources of protein. Eggs, fish, poultry, soy, and milk are healthful sources of protein, which is important for a healthy immune system.
  • Probiotics. Probiotics are protective bacteria and yeast found in many fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and kombucha. Studies suggest a diet supplemented with probiotics, especially Lactobacillus, can decrease viral lung infections in people with COPD and help with heart health.

Many people with COPD will be given diet guidelines by their healthcare team. Following a healthful diet can have a strong impact on how a person feels and can help them avoid lung infections and other complications.

Though it may seem unrelated to the lungs, consuming healthful food is an effective way to help people with COPD feel better and remain active and involved in daily life. A study in Translational Research suggests that intake of certain vitamins and nutrients, especially vitamins E, D, C, and A, was associated with better lung function.


Physical activity and COPD

older person walks their dog in a park
Studies suggest that staying active may reduce the mortality rate for people with COPD.

Exercise can – and should – be a part of life for people with COPD. Staying active with COPD may be difficult at first, but it is well worth the effort.

A moderate amount of exercise can help a person with COPD carry on with their everyday tasks without shortness of breath and other symptoms standing in their way. A study in the CHEST Journal suggested that the more active a person with COPD is, the lower their mortality risk.

Unfortunately, many people with COPD avoid exercise because they are afraid they will be short of breath or simply don’t have the energy. As a person exercises less, their fitness level declines. Over time, they may be unable to do much activity at all.

This drop in fitness can be reduced if a person with COPD keeps physically active. Even those who haven’t been active in the past can begin an exercise program slowly and gradually with a doctor’s guidance. Though exercise cannot reverse COPD, it can help a person remain independent and healthy for as long as possible.

COPD breathing exercises

Breathing exercises are a special way of moving air in and out that can help relax the body and allow the lungs to take in more oxygen. These exercises help relieve immediate symptoms of COPD. They can also increase confidence so that a person feels less afraid to go for a walk, prepare a meal, or do other activities that they have always done.

Breathing exercises are a valuable tool for those with COPD. They can help a person remain active and involved in daily life.

The most common breathing exercises for COPD are pursed lip breathing and belly breathing. A pulmonary rehabilitation specialist can demonstrate how these are done and help people master them so they can be used anytime.


Avoiding illness

A person who has been diagnosed with COPD needs to stay as healthy as they can and should avoid illness as much as possible by:

  • washing hands frequently with soap and water, especially before eating and touching the face and after using the bathroom
  • getting vaccinated against flu, pneumonia, and pertussis (whooping cough)
  • avoiding people who are sick
  • getting adequate sleep and drinking plenty of water

Being mindful of illnesses and germs can help avoid lung infections, which can be serious.


Looking ahead

A COPD diagnosis doesn’t have to mean the end of enjoying life. With the guidance of a healthcare team and a healthful lifestyle, many people are able to continue some or all of their regular activities.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Source: medicalnewstoday

28 Feb

Medical News Today: Risk factors for heart failure subtypes studied in new detail

High BMI and reduced physical activity are both known risk factors for heart failure. A recent study investigates the impact of these factors on a specific subtype: heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.
[Doctor holding a heart]
BMI and exercise influence heart failure subtypes differently, the new study shows.

When the heart is no longer able to pump enough blood to meet the body’s oxygen demands, it is referred to as heart failure – a chronic and progressive condition.

An estimated 5.7 million adults in the United States have heart failure. In fact, heart failure was responsible for 1 in 9 deaths in the U.S. in 2009.

There are a number of subtypes of heart failure, one of which is called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). This form of the condition is characterized by a stiffening of the left ventricle and a reduction in its ability to relax between contractions.

The stiffening associated with HFpEF means that the ventricle is unable to fill with an adequate amount of blood, and it therefore pumps less oxygen-rich blood around the body.

Lifestyle factors are known to increase the risk of heart failure, including lower levels of physical activity and a higher BMI. Because HFpEF accounts for roughly half of all heart failure cases and typically responds less well to current therapies, there is an important emphasis on prevention.

Examining HFpEF

A new study, carried out at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, aimed to investigate the influence of common risk factors on HFpEF, specifically. Their results are published this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The investigators – led by Dr. Jarett D. Berry, associate professor in the department of internal medicine and clinical sciences – used data from 51,541 participants. This information was taken from three studies: the Women’s Health Initiative, the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, and the Cardiovascular Health Study.

All participants were free of cardiovascular disease at the start of the study and were assessed for levels of physical activity and BMI. Across the cohort, over the following years, there were 3,180 heart failure events, as confirmed by independent medical experts.

The data showed that participants with higher levels of physical activity were most often male, white, and likely to have had higher income and education levels. They were also less likely to smoke, have diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.

Conversely, participants with higher BMIs tended to be younger, exercise less, and have a higher prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors.

“We consistently found an association between physical activity, BMI, and overall heart failure risk. This was not unexpected; however, the impact of these lifestyle factors on heart failure subtypes was quite different.”

Dr. Jarett D. Berry

Of the 3,180 heart failure events, 39.4 percent were HFpEF, 28.7 percent were heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) – a subtype associated with a weaker heart muscle that cannot pump adequately – and 31.9 percent were unclassified.

Compared with individuals who did no physical activity, the researchers found a reduction in heart failure risk that matched the exercise level:

  • Low physical activity: 6 percent reduction in risk
  • Participants who met recommended levels of physical activity: 11 percent reduction in risk
  • Participants who exceeded recommended levels of physical activity: 22 percent reduction in risk.

HFpEF vs. HFrEF

When the data were further split into HFpEF and HFrEF, differences in the effect of exercise on heart failure risk were uncovered. Individuals who exceeded recommended levels of activity had a 19 percent reduced risk of HFpEF, compared with those who did not exercise. However, there was no such association between elevated physical activity and risk of HFrEF.

Higher BMIs were, unsurprisingly, associated with a higher overall heart failure risk. However, the relationship between BMI and heart failure subtypes was similar to that of exercise. BMI had a more significant impact on the risk of HFpEF than HFrEF.

The findings hammer home the importance of BMI and physical activity in preventing HFpEF. First author, Dr. Ambarish Pandey, a cardiology fellow at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, said:

“There was a distinct relationship between both physical activity and BMI and the different heart failure subtypes, which may have important clinical and public health implications. These data suggest the importance of modifying lifestyle patterns to help prevent HFpEF in the general population.”

Although the study was observational and, therefore, cannot prove cause and effect, it will certainly spur further investigation.

Learn how shoveling snow might increase the risk of heart attack in men.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Source: medicalnewstoday

28 Feb

Do You Need an Antibiotic?

News Picture: Do You Need an Antibiotic?

Latest Infectious Disease News

FRIDAY, Feb. 24, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Hoping to lessen their misery, most people would like to know whether the respiratory illness they’ve got could be helped by an antibiotic.

The key to finding out may lie in your nose. Or, more specifically, the mucus in your nose.

Researchers from Duke Health in Durham, N.C., said they’ve identified a group of proteins that could be used to tell if an infection is caused by a virus, which triggers cold or flu.

Antibiotics can only fight bacterial infections, not viral illnesses.

When detected in specific quantities in the mucus of runny noses and inflamed throats, the proteins targeted in the new study were 86 percent accurate in confirming a viral infection, the scientists said.

“In the past, science has focused on identifying the pathogen someone is infected with in the blood or other sample,” said study lead author Thomas Burke. He’s director of technology advancement and diagnostics at Duke.

“Our approach flips the paradigm of how we look for infection. Instead of looking for the pathogen, we study the individual’s response to that pathogen,” Burke said in a health system news release.

For the trial, the researchers infected 88 healthy adults with a common strain of cold or flu virus. They also collected fluid samples from the volunteers’ nasal passages.

Some participants didn’t get sick, but those who did had a distinct set of 25 proteins in their noses, the study showed.

The researchers said their findings could lead to quick, noninvasive tests for upper respiratory infections that could be easily done in a doctor’s office.

Senior author Dr. Geoffrey Ginsburg is director of the Duke Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine. “Every day, people are taking time off from work, going to emergency rooms, urgent care or their primary care doctors with symptoms of an upper respiratory infection,” he said.

“Looking for these proteins could be a relatively easy and inexpensive way of learning if a person has a viral infection, and if not, whether the use of antibiotics is appropriate,” Ginsburg said.

Being able to quickly diagnose a viral infection could help limit the unnecessary use of antibiotics, helping to prevent the rise of antibiotic resistance, the researchers said.

Easier, cheaper tools to diagnose viral infections could also benefit those people with reduced access to health care, the researchers added.

“The protein targets offer a faster, more cost-effective model for rapid screening and diagnoses of viral infections,” said Dr. Christopher Woods, a senior author of the study. He’s associate director of applied genomics.

“If the data are verified, the model could be valuable in many circumstances, such as rural settings or developing countries with less convenient access to health care, or even as an airport screening tool during an outbreak of a particularly threatening strain of flu,” Woods said.

The study was published recently in EBioMedicine.

— Mary Elizabeth Dallas

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: Duke Health, news release, Feb. 22, 2017

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Source: MediciNet

28 Feb

More Booze Won't Beat Back That Hangover

News Picture: More Booze Won't Beat Back That Hangover

Latest Mental Health News

FRIDAY, Feb. 24, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Contrary to what you might want to believe, a hair of the dog isn’t the best remedy after a night of heavy drinking, a substance abuse expert warns.

“There’s no scientific evidence that having an alcoholic drink will cure a hangover,” said Laura Veach. “It will, at best, postpone one.”

Veach is director of screening and counseling intervention services and training at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.

People develop hangovers because the concentration of alcohol in their blood falls dramatically once they stop drinking. This can lead to headache, thirst, fatigue, dizziness, nausea and irritability.

“Taking a drink the morning after may temporarily make you feel better because you’re putting alcohol back into the system,” Veach said in a center news release.

“But it doesn’t cure the hangover; it just sort of tricks you by masking the symptoms. They’re going to show up eventually.”

The liver helps the body get rid of alcohol, and this occurs at a rate of about one drink per hour, Veach explained.

Coffee doesn’t help either, she added.

“No, all that does is give you a wide-awake drunk,” Veach said. “There’s nothing we know of that can speed up that process. Not drinking coffee, taking a shower, standing on your head, getting slapped, walking around outside in the cold. Nothing. The only real cure is time.”

There’s no way to get rid of hangover but there are some things people can do to help ease their discomfort, including resting, staying hydrated and taking aspirin, Veach said.

— Mary Elizabeth Dallas

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, news release, Feb. 14, 2017

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Source: MediciNet

28 Feb

Can Depression Up Odds for Arthritis Linked to Psoriasis?

News Picture: Can Depression Up Odds for Arthritis Linked to Psoriasis?

Latest Arthritis News

FRIDAY, Feb. 24, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Depression in people with the chronic inflammatory skin disease psoriasis increases the risk of getting the joint condition known as psoriatic arthritis by about 37 percent, new research indicates.

The finding raises concerns because depression is not uncommon in people with psoriasis, according to the authors of the study in the Feb. 22 issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

“For many years, the rheumatology and dermatology communities have been trying to understand which patients with psoriasis go on to develop psoriatic arthritis, and how we might detect it earlier in the disease course,” senior investigator Dr. Cheryl Barnabe said in a journal news release. She is from the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health and the O’Brien Institute for Public Health at the University of Calgary in Alberta.

While the study found a connection between depression and the development of psoriatic arthritis, it wasn’t designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Psoriasis is a condition characterized by red, itchy and scaly skin patches. These patches can sometimes be disfiguring. Psoriatic arthritis generally occurs in people with psoriasis, though it can occur on its own, according to the American College of Rheumatology. The condition causes joint pain and swelling, typically in the large joints and fingers and toes. It can cause joint damage, too.

The study authors noted that prior work has linked having a major depressive disorder with a high risk for systemic inflammation. This could explain why depression would bump up the risk for psoriatic arthritis.

To explore the link, the investigators analyzed information on more than 70,000 psoriasis patients in the United Kingdom that had been collected by a primary care database.

Patients were tracked for upwards of 25 years.

The researchers adjusted the data to account for other factors, such as age and drinking habits. Ultimately, they determined that people who had been depressed faced a much higher risk for psoriatic arthritis than those who hadn’t been depressed.

“There is a tendency to think of depression as a purely ‘psychological’ or ’emotional’ issue, but it also has physical effects and changes in inflammatory and immune markers have been reported in depressed people,” said Dr. Scott Patten, from the O’Brien Institute.

“Depression may be a risk factor for a variety of chronic conditions, and this research is an example of how big data approaches can identify these associations,” he said.

— Alan Mozes

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: Journal of Investigative Dermatology, news release, Feb. 22, 2017

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Source: MediciNet

28 Feb

Do You Need an Antibiotic?

News Picture: Do You Need an Antibiotic?

Latest Infectious Disease News

FRIDAY, Feb. 24, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Hoping to lessen their misery, most people would like to know whether the respiratory illness they’ve got could be helped by an antibiotic.

The key to finding out may lie in your nose. Or, more specifically, the mucus in your nose.

Researchers from Duke Health in Durham, N.C., said they’ve identified a group of proteins that could be used to tell if an infection is caused by a virus, which triggers cold or flu.

Antibiotics can only fight bacterial infections, not viral illnesses.

When detected in specific quantities in the mucus of runny noses and inflamed throats, the proteins targeted in the new study were 86 percent accurate in confirming a viral infection, the scientists said.

“In the past, science has focused on identifying the pathogen someone is infected with in the blood or other sample,” said study lead author Thomas Burke. He’s director of technology advancement and diagnostics at Duke.

“Our approach flips the paradigm of how we look for infection. Instead of looking for the pathogen, we study the individual’s response to that pathogen,” Burke said in a health system news release.

For the trial, the researchers infected 88 healthy adults with a common strain of cold or flu virus. They also collected fluid samples from the volunteers’ nasal passages.

Some participants didn’t get sick, but those who did had a distinct set of 25 proteins in their noses, the study showed.

The researchers said their findings could lead to quick, noninvasive tests for upper respiratory infections that could be easily done in a doctor’s office.

Senior author Dr. Geoffrey Ginsburg is director of the Duke Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine. “Every day, people are taking time off from work, going to emergency rooms, urgent care or their primary care doctors with symptoms of an upper respiratory infection,” he said.

“Looking for these proteins could be a relatively easy and inexpensive way of learning if a person has a viral infection, and if not, whether the use of antibiotics is appropriate,” Ginsburg said.

Being able to quickly diagnose a viral infection could help limit the unnecessary use of antibiotics, helping to prevent the rise of antibiotic resistance, the researchers said.

Easier, cheaper tools to diagnose viral infections could also benefit those people with reduced access to health care, the researchers added.

“The protein targets offer a faster, more cost-effective model for rapid screening and diagnoses of viral infections,” said Dr. Christopher Woods, a senior author of the study. He’s associate director of applied genomics.

“If the data are verified, the model could be valuable in many circumstances, such as rural settings or developing countries with less convenient access to health care, or even as an airport screening tool during an outbreak of a particularly threatening strain of flu,” Woods said.

The study was published recently in EBioMedicine.

— Mary Elizabeth Dallas

MedicalNews
Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: Duke Health, news release, Feb. 22, 2017

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Source: MediciNet