A Tale of Two Medicines
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A Tale of Two Medicines
Natural Medicine, Pharmaceuticals and GMO’s, the Good, the Bad and the OMG! - (The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on this scoopit page.)
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Geranium extracts inhibit HIV-1

Geranium extracts inhibit HIV-1 | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

 

Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum München demonstrate that root extracts of the medicinal plant Pelargonium sidoides (PS) contain compounds that attack HIV-1 particles and prevent virus replication. A team spearheaded by Dr. Markus Helfer and Prof. Dr. Ruth Brack-Werner from the Institute of Virology and Prof. Dr. Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin from the Analytical BioGeoChemistry research unit (BGC) performed a detailed investigation of the effects of PS extracts on HIV-1 infection of cultured cells. They demonstrated that PS extracts protect blood and immune cells from infection by HIV-1, the most widespread type of HIV. PS extracts block attachment of virus particles to host cells and thus effectively prevent the virus from invading cells. Chemical analyses revealed that the antiviral effect of the PS extracts is mediated by polyphenols. Polyphenol mixtures isolated from PS extracts retain high anti-HIV-1 activity but are even less toxic for cells than the crude extract.

 

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Christian Yamashiba Kasongo's curator insight, January 31, 2014 3:54 PM

Geranium extracts inhibit HIV-1

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Vegetable and fruit intake after diagnosis and risk of prostate cancer progression

Vegetable and fruit intake after diagnosis and risk of prostate cancer progression | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

Cruciferous vegetables, tomato sauce, and legumes have been associated with reduced risk of incident advanced prostate cancer. In vitro and animal studies suggest these foods may inhibit progression of prostate cancer, but there are limited data in men. Therefore, we prospectively examined whether intake of total vegetables, and specifically cruciferous vegetables, tomato sauce, and legumes, after diagnosis reduce risk of prostate cancer progression among 1,560 men diagnosed with non-metastatic prostate cancer and participating in the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor, a United States prostate cancer registry. As a secondary analysis, we also examined other vegetable sub-groups, total fruit, and subgroups of fruits. The participants were diagnosed primarily at community-based clinics and followed from 2004–2009. We assessed vegetable and fruit intake via a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire, and ascertained prostate cancer outcomes via urologist report and medical records. We observed 134 events of progression (53 biochemical recurrences, 71 secondary treatments likely due to recurrence, six bone metastases, four prostate cancer deaths) during 3,171 person-yrs. Men in the fourth quartile of post-diagnostic cruciferous vegetable intake had a statistically significant 59% decreased risk of prostate cancer progression compared to men in the lowest quartile (hazard ratio (HR): 0.41; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.22, 0.76; p-trend: 0.003). No other vegetable or fruit group was statistically significantly associated with risk of prostate cancer progression. In conclusion, cruciferous vegetable intake after diagnosis may reduce risk of prostate cancer progression.

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Christian Yamashiba Kasongo's curator insight, January 30, 2014 3:13 PM

Vegetable and fruit intake after diagnosis and risk of prostate cancer progression

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New analysis finds hempseed oil packed with health-promoting compounds

New analysis finds hempseed oil packed with health-promoting compounds | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

Long stigmatized because of its "high"-inducing cousins, hemp—derived from low-hallucinogenic varieties of cannabis—is making a comeback, not just as a source of fiber for textiles, but also as a crop packed with oils that have potential health benefits. A new study, which appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, details just how many healthful compounds hempseed oil contains.

 

Maria Angeles Fernández-Arche and colleagues note that for millennia, people around the world cultivated cannabis for textiles, medicine and food. Hemp has high levels of vitamins A, C and E and beta carotene, and it is rich in protein, carbohydrates, minerals and fiber.

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“Healthy aging diets other than the Mediterranean: A Focus on the Okinawan Diet”

“Healthy aging diets other than the Mediterranean: A Focus on the Okinawan Diet” | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

The traditional diet in Okinawa is anchored by root vegetables (principally sweet potatoes), green and yellow vegetables, soybean-based foods, and medicinal plants. Marine foods, lean meats, fruit, medicinal garnishes and spices, tea, alcohol are also moderately consumed. Many characteristics of the traditional Okinawan diet are shared with other healthy dietary patterns, including the traditional Mediterranean diet, DASH diet, and Portfolio diet. All these dietary patterns are associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, among other age-associated diseases. Overall, the important shared features of these healthy dietary patterns include: high intake of unrefined carbohydrates, moderate protein intake with emphasis on vegetables/legumes, fish, and lean meats as sources, and a healthy fat profile (higher in mono/polyunsaturated fats, lower in saturated fat; rich in omega-3). The healthy fat intake is likely one mechanism for reducing inflammation, optimizing cholesterol, and other risk factors. Additionally, the lower caloric density of plant-rich diets results in lower caloric intake with concomitant high intake of phytonutrients and antioxidants. Other shared features include low glycemic load, less inflammation and oxidative stress, and potential modulation of aging-related biological pathways. This may reduce risk for chronic age-associated diseases and promote healthy aging and longevity.

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Christian Yamashiba Kasongo's curator insight, January 27, 2014 4:30 PM

“Healthy aging diets other than the Mediterranean: A Focus on the Okinawan Diet”

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Low vitamin D levels a risk factor for pneumonia

A University of Eastern Finland study showed that low serum vitamin D levels are a risk factor for pneumonia. The risk of contracting pneumonia was more than 2.5 times greater in subjects with the lowest vitamin D levels than in subjects with high vitamin D levels. The results were published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

 

The follow-up study carried out by the UEF Institute of Public Health investigated the link between serum vitamin D3 and the risk of contracting pneumonia. The study involved 1,421 subjects living in the Kuopio region in Eastern Finland. The serum vitamin D3 levels of the subjects were measured from blood samples drawn in 1998–2001, and these data were compared against reported cases of pneumonia in hospital records in the same set of subjects in 1998–2009. The results showed that during the follow-up, subjects with serum vitamin D3 levels representing the lowest third were more than 2.5 times more likely to contract pneumonia than subjects with high vitamin D3 levels. Furthermore, smoking constituted a significant risk factor for pneumonia. The risk of contracting pneumonia also grew by age, and was greater in men than women. At baseline, the mean serum D3 concentration of the study population was 43.5 nmol/l, and the mean age of the study population was 62.5 years.

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Christian Yamashiba Kasongo's curator insight, January 27, 2014 4:34 PM

Low vitamin D levels a risk factor for pneumonia

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Association Between Higher Plasma Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Vitamin C Concentrations and Longer Telomere Length: Results of the Austrian Stroke Prevention Study.

Association Between Higher Plasma Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Vitamin C Concentrations and Longer Telomere Length: Results of the Austrian Stroke Prevention Study. | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

This is the first study to investigate the association between plasma levels of antioxidative micronutrients such as Lu~Zx, vitamin C, β-cryptoxanthin, canthaxanthin, lycopene, α- and γ-tocopherol, α- and β-carotene, and retinol and LTL in a population-based elderly cohort. A strong and highly significant protective effect of Lu~Zx and vitamin C on LTL was found. No other antioxidants or the pooled subgroups of provitamin A, non-provitamin A, vitamin E, and total antioxidant status of all micronutrients were associated with telomere length. The proportion of LTL variability that was explained by Lu~Zx was 0.6%, and for vitamin C, it was 4%. It was observed that serum AOPP content did not mediate the effects of Lu~Zx and vitamin C on LTL.

 

 

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Going Feral: my one-year journey to acquire the healthiest gut microbiome in the world (you heard me!) - Human Food Project

Going Feral: my one-year journey to acquire the healthiest gut microbiome in the world (you heard me!) - Human Food Project | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

Unless you’ve been holed up in a cabin in the Siberian outback, it’s been hard to miss the avalanche of research and associated press coverage ballyhooing the connection between microbes and human health and disease in 2013 – and 2014 will be no different, as fecal transplants become the new black!

 

Name just about any ailment plaguing humanity and you will find some researcher, somewhere, working the microbial angle for a causal or correlative connection. More federal funding please!

 

But reading between the lines of the near breathless and optimistic reporting on the human microbiome, sits a sobering fact: scientists know very little about the connection between disease and the potential microbial culprits (these are early days). Science is hard and the human gut is a vast and diverse ecosystem. As with any ecosystem, it’s the community as a whole that’s likely more important, not single members per se. Connecting the dots when there are lots of them – and they are shape shifting all the time – is proving to be tough (a similar reality has slowed our understanding of the role of human genes in disease). This will take some time – but the writing is on the wall.

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Christian Yamashiba Kasongo's curator insight, January 29, 2014 2:11 PM

Going Feral: my one-year journey to acquire the healthiest gut microbiome in the world (you heard me!) - Human Food Project

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The Gut’s Microbiome Changes Rapidly with Diet.

The Gut’s Microbiome Changes Rapidly with Diet. | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

Microbiologists have known for some time that different diets create different gut flora, but previous research has focused on mice instead of humans, leaving the actual relationship between our food and our stomach bacteria unclear. A new study, published Wednesday in Nature, indicates that these changes can happen incredibly fast in the human gut—within three or four days of a big shift in what you eat. “We found that the bacteria that lives in peoples’ guts is surprisingly responsive to change in diet,” Lawrence David, assistant professor at the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy and one of the study’s authors, says. “Within days we saw not just a variation in the abundance of different kinds of bacteria, but in the kinds of genes they were expressing.” (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.)

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Three Cancer Drugs Don't Work Properly Without Gut Bacteria

Three Cancer Drugs Don't Work Properly Without Gut Bacteria | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

Your gut is home to tens of trillions of bacteria. Collectively, they act as another organ, one with many different roles. They influence your body weight, your ability to digest your food, your risk of catching infectious diseases, your chances of resisting infections or autoimmune diseases, the development of your brain, and more.

 

Now, we can add an entry to this growing list. At least in mice, gut bacteria can influence whether cancer treatments work.

 

Working independently, two teams of scientists showed that three cancer treatments rely on gut bacteria to mobilise the immune system and kill tumour cells—not just in the gut, but also in the blood (lymphomas) and skin (melanomas). Remove the bacteria with antibiotics, and you also neuter the drugs.

 

“It was a surprise,” says Romina Goldszmid from the National Cancer Institute, who led one of the studies. “Nobody would ever have thought we should worry about gut bacteria when thinking about treating cancer.”

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Christian Yamashiba Kasongo's curator insight, January 28, 2014 12:29 AM

Three Cancer Drugs Don't Work Properly Without Gut Bacteria

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Cannabis Extracts Rich In Cannabidiol (CBD) May Effectively Treat Colon Cancer.

Cannabis Extracts Rich In Cannabidiol (CBD) May Effectively Treat Colon Cancer. | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

 

Cannabidiol (CBD) seems to carry less of a stigma than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive cannabinoid that is credited with the “high” associated with cannabis, and shows promise as a way to treat a variety of cancers. In turn, CBD has received a great deal of attention in recent years.

 

Now, a team of researchers from Italy and the UK report that cannabis extracts high in cannabidiol (CBD) can help prevent the genesis and spread of colon cancer in mice. Their study was published in Phytomedicine December 27.

 

According to their results, a “botanical drug substance” (BDS) with high levels of cannabidiol (CBD) inhibited the growth of tumor cells, but not healthy ones. The researchers determined that this action was mediated by activation of the cells’ CB1 and CB2 receptors.

 

Also investigated in the study was the effect of pure cannabidiol (CBD) on colon cancer. According to the data collected, pure CBD inhibited tumor growth also. Interestingly, it did so through activation of the CB1 receptors only.

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Christian Yamashiba Kasongo's curator insight, January 18, 2014 4:09 PM

Cannabis Extracts Rich In Cannabidiol (CBD) May Effectively Treat Colon Cancer.

Christian Yamashiba Kasongo's curator insight, January 20, 2014 12:30 AM

Cannabis Extracts Rich In Cannabidiol (CBD) May Effectively Treat Colon Cancer.

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Researchers identify key molecular components linking circadian rhythms and cell division cycles

Researchers identify key molecular components linking circadian rhythms and cell division cycles | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

 

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) have identified key molecular components linking circadian rhythms and cell division cycles in Neurospora crassa, providing insights that could lead to improved disease treatments and drug delivery.

 

The researchers in the UC College of Medicine Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, led by Christian Hong, PhD, published their findings Monday, Jan. 13, online ahead of print in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

 

"Our work has large implications for the general understanding of the connection between the cell cycle and the circadian clock," says Hong, an assistant professor in the molecular and cellular physiology department who collaborated with an international team of researchers on the project.

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Claude Gronfier's curator insight, January 17, 2014 9:01 AM

Superbe etude qui montre que les genes impliqués dans la division cellulaire sont controlés par le systeme circadien, et que la desynchronisation du systeme circadien induite par  la lumiere induit la meme desynchronisation des genes impliqués dans le division cellulaire et perturbe donc la division cellulaire.

Christian Yamashiba Kasongo's curator insight, January 17, 2014 12:28 PM
Researchers identify key molecular components linking circadian rhythms and cell division cycles
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Antioxidant drug reverses multiple sclerosis-like disease in mice.

Antioxidant drug reverses multiple sclerosis-like disease in mice. | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

 

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University have discovered that an antioxidant designed by scientists more than a dozen years ago to fight damage within human cells significantly helps symptoms in mice that have a multiple sclerosis-like disease.

 

The antioxidant — called MitoQ — has shown some promise in fighting neurodegenerative diseases. But this is the first time it has been shown to significantly reverse an MS-like disease in an animal.

 

The discovery could lead to an entirely new way to treat multiple sclerosis, which affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

Multiple sclerosis occurs when the body's immune system attacks the myelin, or the protective sheath, surrounding nerve fibers of the central nervous system. Some underlying nerve fibers are destroyed. Resulting symptoms can include blurred vision and blindness, loss of balance, slurred speech, tremors, numbness and problems with memory and concentration.

 

The antioxidant research was published in the December edition of Biochimica et Biophysica Acta Molecular Basis of Disease. The research team was led by P. Hemachandra Reddy, Ph.D., an associate scientist in the Division of Neuroscience at OHSU's Oregon National Primate Research Center.

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Christian Yamashiba Kasongo's curator insight, January 18, 2014 4:15 PM

Antioxidant drug reverses multiple sclerosis-like disease in mice.

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BPA increases risk of cancer in human prostate tissue

BPA increases risk of cancer in human prostate tissue | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

Fetal exposure to a commonly used plasticizer found in products such as water bottles, soup can liners and paper receipts can increase the risk for prostate cancer later in life, according to a study from the University of Illinois at Chicago published Jan. 7 online in the journal Endocrinology.

 

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is widely used to soften plastics. Steering clear of the chemical is nearly impossible, says Gail Prins, professor of physiology at UIC and lead author of the paper.

 

“Previous studies have shown that people who avoided all contact with plastics or other BPA-containing objects for up to a month or more still had BPA in their urine, which means they must have come into contact with BPA in the last 24 to 48 hours, since it clears the body rather quickly,” said Prins, who is director of the UIC andrology laboratory. “It’s very hard to avoid.”

 

Exposure of the fetus to BPA in utero is of particular concern, because the chemical, which mimics the hormone estrogen, has been linked to several kinds of cancer, including prostate cancer, in rodent models. The new findings show that human prostate tissue is also susceptible.

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Nutrition Education in U.S. Medical Schools: Latest Update of a National Survey

Nutrition Education in U.S. Medical Schools: Latest Update of a National Survey | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

Purpose: To quantify the number of required hours of nutrition education at U.S. medical schools and the types of courses in which the instruction was offered, and to compare these results with results from previous surveys.

 

The authors distributed to all 127 accredited U.S. medical schools (that were matriculating students at the time of this study) a two-page online survey devised by the Nutrition in Medicine Project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. From August 2008 through July 2009, the authors asked their contacts, most of whom were nutrition educators, to report the nutrition contact hours that were required for their medical students and whether those actual hours of nutrition education occurred in a designated nutrition course, within another course, or during clinical rotations.

 

Respondents from 109 (86%) of the targeted medical schools completed some part of the survey. Most schools (103/109) required some form of nutrition education. Of the 105 schools answering questions about courses and contact hours, only 26 (25%) required a dedicated nutrition course; in 2004, 32 (30%) of 106 schools did. Overall, medical students received 19.6 contact hours of nutrition instruction during their medical school careers (range: 0–70 hours); the average in 2004 was 22.3 hours. Only 28 (27%) of the 105 schools met the minimum 25 required hours set by the National Academy of Sciences; in 2004, 40 (38%) of 104 schools did so.

 

The amount of nutrition education that medical students receive continues to be inadequate.

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Curcumin reduces urinary side effects of radiation therapy in prostate cancer patients.

Curcumin reduces urinary side effects of radiation therapy in prostate cancer patients. | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

The Journal of Cancer Science & Therapeutics recently reported the outcome of a pilot trial of curcumin in prostate cancer patients which found a protective effect for the compound against the development of urinary symptoms caused by radiation therapy. While radiation therapy is frequently and effectively employed in prostate cancer, it can result in adverse effects, which can limit the dose of radiation administered.

 

Curcumin, derived from the spice turmeric, has been shown to help protect against the harmful effects of radiation while enhancing radiotherapy's benefit in cancerous cells. The present study included forty men with prostate cancer who were randomized to three grams per day BCM-95® curcumin divided between three meals or a placebo beginning one week prior to external beam radiotherapy and continuing until its completion. Quality of life questionnaires administered before radiotherapy and three months after its cessation assessed urinary and other functions.

 

Urinary symptoms were significantly worse after three months among men who received a placebo. However, individuals who received curcumin experienced milder symptoms, including those related to urinary frequency and daily activity limitation.

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Christian Yamashiba Kasongo's curator insight, January 30, 2014 3:14 PM

Curcumin reduces urinary side effects of radiation therapy in prostate cancer patients

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From common colds to deadly lung diseases, one protein plays key role.

From common colds to deadly lung diseases, one protein plays key role. | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

An international team of researchers has zeroed in on a protein that plays a key role in many lung-related ailments, from seasonal coughing and hacking to more serious diseases such as MRSA infections and cystic fibrosis.

 

The finding advances knowledge about this range of illnesses and may point the way to eventually being able to prevent infections such as MRSA.

 

The key protein is called MUC5B. It’s one of two sugar-rich proteins, with similar molecular structure, that are found in the mucus that normally and helpfully coats airway surfaces in the nose and lung. The other is MUC5AC.

 

“We knew these two proteins are associated with diseases in which the body produces too much mucus, such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis and COPD,” said researcher Chris Evans, PhD, an associate professor in the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “We also knew that many patients with asthma or COPD have as much as 95 percent less MUC5B in their lungs than healthy individuals, so we wanted to see if one of these is the bad player in chronic lung diseases.”

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Christian Yamashiba Kasongo's curator insight, January 30, 2014 3:20 PM

From common colds to deadly lung diseases, one protein plays key role.

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Food-Sourced Melatonin Provides Natural Way to Help Sleep

Food-Sourced Melatonin Provides Natural Way to Help Sleep | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

 

The researchers used a crossover study design with 30 healthy human subjects to see which fruits - tropical fruits selected for their melatonin content - would naturally raise the body's melatonin levels.

 

The researchers tested six tropical fruits among the volunteers, giving them a diet heavy in that particular fruit for one week following a one-week washout. During these periods the researchers analyzed the subjects' urine levels of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin – also referred to as aMT6s.

 

Higher levels of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin or aMT6s in the urine indicates higher levels of melatonin circulating within the bloodstream.

With each different fruit, the subjects' aMT6s levels were tested. The 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (aMT6s) levels after eating some fruits – notably pineapples, bananas and oranges – increased significantly. Pineapples increased 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (aMT6s) levels by over two-and-a-half times (266%) while banana increased aMT6s levels by 180% - almost double. Meanwhile, oranges increased aMT6s levels by 47%.

The other fruits also moderately increased melatonin content among the patients.

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Researchers discover a tumor suppressor gene in a very aggressive lung cancer

Researchers discover a tumor suppressor gene in a very aggressive lung cancer | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

The Genes and Cancer Group at the Cancer Epigenetics and Biology Program of the IDIBELL has found that the MAX gene, which encodes a partner of the MYC oncogene, is genetically inactivated in small cell lung cancer. Reconstitution of MAX significantly reduced cell growth in the MAX-deficient cancer cell lines. These findings show that MAX acts as a tumor suppressor gene in one of the more aggressive types of lung canc

 

 

In addition to identifying the tumor suppressor role of MAX in lung cancer, the group led by Montse Sanchez-Cespedes has unveiled a functional relationship between MAX and another tumor suppressor, BRG1, in virtue of which BRG1 regulates the expression of MAX through direct recruitment to the MAX promoter. However, the functional connection is even more complex. On one hand, the presence of BRG1 is required to activate neuroendocrine transcriptional programs and to up-regulate MYC-targets, such as glycolytic-related genes. Moreover, the depletion of BRG1 strongly hinders cell growth, specifically in MAX-deficient cells, heralding a synthetic lethal interaction. The preferential toxicity of the inactivation of BRG1 in MAX-deficient lung cancer cells opens novel therapeutic possibilities for the treatment of SCLC patients with MAX-deficient tumors.

 

 

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Christian Yamashiba Kasongo's curator insight, January 27, 2014 4:35 PM

Researchers discover a tumor suppressor gene in a very aggressive lung cancer

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Vitamin D supplements reduce pain in fibromyalgia sufferers

Vitamin D supplements reduce pain in fibromyalgia sufferers | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

In a randomized controlled trial, 30 women with FMS with low serum calcifediol levels (below 32ng/ml) were randomized to a treatment or control group. The goal for the treatment group was to achieve serum calcifediol levels between 32 and 48ng/ml for 20 weeks via oral cholecalciferol supplements. Serum calcifediol levels were reevaluated after five and 13 weeks, and the dose was reviewed based on the results. The calcifediol levels were measured again 25 weeks after the start of the supplementation, at which time treatment was discontinued, and after a further 24 weeks without supplementation.

 

Twenty-four weeks after supplementation was stopped, a marked reduction in the level of perceived pain occurred in the treatment group. Between the first and the 25th week on supplementation, the treatment group improved significantly on a scale of physical role functioning, while the placebo group remained unchanged. The treatment group also scored significantly better on a Fibromalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) on the question of "morning fatigue." However, there were no significant alterations in depression or anxiety symptoms.

 

"We believe that the data presented in the present study are promising. FMS is a very extensive symptom complex that cannot be explained by a vitamin D deficiency alone. However, vitamin D supplementation may be regarded as a relatively safe and economical treatment for FMS patients and an extremely cost-effective alternative or adjunct to expensive pharmacological treatment as well as physical, behavioral, and multimodal therapies," says Wepner. "Vitamin D levels should be monitored regularly in FMS patients, especially in the winter season, and raised appropriately."

 

 

 

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Christian Yamashiba Kasongo's curator insight, January 27, 2014 4:37 PM

Vitamin D supplements reduce pain in fibromyalgia sufferers

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The battle for medicine's soul: A century of alternative remedies.

The battle for medicine's soul: A century of alternative remedies. | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

On an October evening in 1893, homeopaths from the Hahnemann Medical College marched proudly down the streets of Philadelphia in the city’s annual medical parade. Cheered on by the crowd lining the streets, the students carried canes and waved banners in the royal blue and burnt orange of their school, proudly displaying their motto: “In things certain, unity; in things doubtful, liberty; in all things, charity.” Unity and charity were far from the minds of the medical students at the University of Philadelphia, Jefferson, and Medico-Chirurgical colleges, however. After learning that the Hahnemann students were to lead the parade, the regular students flatly refused to participate, claiming that to do so would insult “their health and dignity.” And so the homeopaths from Hahnemann along with students from the Philadelphia Dental College marched down Broad Street alone to the taunts of their regular peers: “Sugar pill, sugar pill, / Never cured and never will. / Rickety roup, rickety roup, / Hahnemann, Hahnemann, in the soup.” Led by a brass band and a squad of mounted police called in to keep order, the 250 defiant and proud homeopathic students called out their school cheer as they passed: “Rah, rah, rah, Hahnemann, Hahnemann, sis boom ah.” It was a sweet moment for homeopaths, and yet another reminder to regulars that after nearly a century, the fight to vanquish their irregular competitors was far from won.

 

But American medicine had changed substantially in that century. The discovery of germs, the advent of X-rays, and the growth of sterile surgery among other medical innovations began to shift healing away from individual Americans and the home and into the hands of trained experts working in hospitals. Knowledge about the structure and function of the body had finally reached the point where daily medical practice began to change. These developments could not have come at a better time.

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A New Funding Model for Scientists

A New Funding Model for Scientists | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

What scientist hasn’t dreamed of spending less time getting funding and more time doing research?

 

The current academic funding system, which allocates public money to researchers based on the submission and peer review of countless research proposals, has served science well—but some people believe that the time has come to find more efficient ways to distribute the money. Among them is a group of scientists at the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, Bloomington who proposed a new funding model in an article published last week in EMBO reports.

 

In "From funding agencies to scientific agency: Collective allocation of science funding as an alternative to peer review," the researchers proposed a funding model that they claim would be simpler, cheaper, and fairer than the traditional funding system, and more amenable to high-risk research and chance discovery. The National Science Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health supported the work.

 

The researchers based their new model on what they consider the core characteristics of an ideal funding system. As associate professor and first-author Johan Bollen writes in an e-mail to Science Careers, they wanted their new system to "enable scientists to set their own priorities, fund scientists… not projects, avoid proposal writing and reviewing, avoid administrative burdens, encourage all scientists to participate collectively in the definition of scientific priorities, encourage innovation, reward scientists that make significant contributions to data, software, methods, and systems, avoid funding death spirals (no funding -> no research -> no funding) but still reward high levels of productivity, create the proper incentives for scholarly communication (publishing to communicate, not to improve bibliometrics), enable funding of daring and risky research, and so on."

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Expansion of intestinal Prevotella copri correlates with enhanced susceptibility to arthritis

Expansion of intestinal Prevotella copri correlates with enhanced susceptibility to arthritis | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a prevalent systemic autoimmune disease, caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Animal models suggest a role for intestinal bacteria in supporting the systemic immune response required for joint inflammation. Here we performed 16S sequencing on 114 stool samples from rheumatoid arthritis patients and controls, and shotgun sequencing on a subset of 44 such samples. We identified the presence of Prevotella copri as strongly correlated with disease in new-onset untreated rheumatoid arthritis (NORA) patients. Increases in Prevotella abundance correlated with a reduction in Bacteroides and a loss of reportedly beneficial microbes in NORA subjects. We also identified unique Prevotella genes that correlated with disease. Further, colonization of mice revealed the ability of P. copri to dominate the intestinal microbiota and resulted in an increased sensitivity to chemically induced colitis. This work identifies a potential role for P. copri in the pathogenesis of RA.

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Should journals stop publishing research funded by the drug industry?

Should journals stop publishing research funded by the drug industry? | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

 

The BMJ and its sibling journals have stopped publishing research funded by the tobacco industry for two main reasons: the research is corrupted and the companies publish their research to advance their commercial aims, oblivious of the harm they do. But these arguments apply even more strongly to research funded by the drug industry, and we suggest there is a better way to communicate the results of trials that would be safer for patients.

 

Prescribed drugs are the third leading cause of death, partly because of flaws in the evidence published in journals. We have long known that clinical trials funded by the drug industry are much more likely than publicly funded trials to produce results favourable to the company.The reason is obvious. The difference between an honest and a less than honest data analysis can be worth billions of euros, and the fraudulent trials of some cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitors for arthritis and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for depression are good examples.

 

There are many clever ways in which companies manipulate their research, and two recently published books give dozens of examples.

 

Flaws in the coding of adverse events can distort results without leaving any trace of what has happened, as we cannot get access to the raw data the drug companies hold. Three large trials of prasugrel, rosiglitazone, and ticagrelor made by Daiichi Sankyo and Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, and AstraZeneca, respectively, published in the New England Journal of Medicine were shown to be seriously misleading. Such biased selection by the sponsor of “unclear cases” of serious adverse events for review by an independent adjudication committee also corrupts the evidence base. Less cleverly, the companies publish favourable results in major journals and bury unfavourable ones. Half of trials are never published.

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Christian Yamashiba Kasongo's curator insight, January 17, 2014 12:03 PM
Should journals stop publishing research funded by the drug industry?
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Kava May Help Prevent Lung Cancer in Smokers

Researchers at the University of Minnesota (UM) and Texas Tech University recently studied the effects of a special preparation of the kava root (Piper methysticum) on lung cancer in mice, and have concluded that the chemically defined extract may have the potential to reduce the risk of lung cancer in humans, according to a press release (appended below) issued today by UM.

“This is highly interesting research and suggests a potential new use for certain preparations made from kava root and rhizome,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the nonprofit American Botanical Council (ABC). “Of course,” he added, “the preliminary results must be confirmed in human clinical trials.

Blumenthal noted that ABC policy on reporting of scientific and clinical research on herbs and their preparations designates that "ABC does not usually cover animal research in its scientific reporting, preferring human clinical trials. However, in this case ABC believes that the potential implications for human health and the herb kava are significant enough, as suggested by this particular animal research, to warrant attention by ABC."

According to Stefan Gafner, Chief Science Officer of ABC, “The fact that the researchers were able to find evidence of the ability of a kava fraction to prevent the formation of tumors in mice, in support of epidemiological data showing a lower incidence of lung cancer in people living on the South Pacific Islands where kava is traditionally used, makes this study very compelling. If confirmed in human clinical studies, the results could have a big impact on human health and may lead to a greater emphasis on prevention rather than cure."

Jonathan Middleton's insight:

Kava treatments reduced the multiplicity of lung adenomas by approximately 99%. in this ground breaking study.

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Scientists Solve 40-year Mystery of How Sodium Controls Opioid Brain Signaling

Scientists Solve 40-year Mystery of How Sodium Controls Opioid Brain Signaling | A Tale of Two Medicines | Scoop.it

Scientists have discovered how the element sodium influences the signaling of a major class of brain cell receptors, known as opioid receptors. The discovery, from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and the University of North Carolina (UNC), suggests new therapeutic approaches to a host of brain-related medical conditions.

 

“It opens the door to understanding opioid related drugs for treating pain and mood disorders, among others,” said lead author Dr. Gustavo Fenalti, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Raymond C. Stevens of TSRI’s Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology.

 

“This discovery has helped us decipher a 40-year-old mystery about sodium’s control of opioid receptors,” said Stevens, who was senior author of the paper with UNC pharmacologist Professor Bryan Roth. “It is amazing how sodium sits right in the middle of the receptor as a co-factor or allosteric modulator.”

 

The findings appear in an advanced online publication in the journal Nature on January 12, 2014.

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