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Insights into Breast Cancer
Insights and advances into the disease, treatments, outcomes, and alternative therapies in the battle against breast cancer: for a friend
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Nurses examine caregiver grief

Family members who care for terminally ill patients at home can be helped by nurses throughout the course of the illness and particularly after the patient's death, according to Penn State nursing researchers.

 

Penrod and colleagues compared their own theory of caregiving through the end of life to a theory specifically about bereavement by G. A. Bonnano, a clinical psychologist and pioneer in the field of bereavement. That theory suggests grief oscillates, and eventually the grieving caregiver will "return to a state of equilibrium."

 

Penrod breaks her theory into four stages -- sensing disruption, challenging normal, building a new normal and reinventing normal. The comparisons focus on the last stage, "reinventing normal," which is traditionally known as the bereavement period.

 

The process of restructuring their lives after their loved one has died is a cyclical one for the caregivers, the researchers theorize. They believe that support from nurses is important to help the family caregiver grieve.

 

By comparing these two theories, Penrod and colleagues found significant conceptual similarities, which helps validate both theories. The researchers reported their results to attendees at the Council for the Advancement of Nursing 2012 State of the Science Congress today (Sept. 15) in Washington, D.C.

 

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Study shows early brain changes predict which patients develop chronic pain

Study shows early brain changes predict which patients develop chronic pain | Insights into Breast Cancer | Scoop.it
When people have similar injuries, why do some end up with chronic pain while others recover and are pain free?

 

Researchers were able to predict, with 85 percent accuracy at the beginning of the study, which participants would go on to develop chronic pain based on the level of interaction between the frontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens. The study is published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. "For the first time we can explain why people who may have the exact same initial pain either go on to recover or develop chronic pain," said A. Vania Apakarian, senior author of the paper and professor of physiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "The injury by itself is not enough to explain the ongoing pain. It has to do with the injury combined with the state of the brain. This finding is the culmination of 10 years of our research."

 

Read more at: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-07-early-brain-patients-chronic-pain.html#jCp

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Medical Radiation Soars, With Risks Often Overlooked

Medical Radiation Soars, With Risks Often Overlooked | Insights into Breast Cancer | Scoop.it
Both doctors and patients have a responsibility to consider the benefits and risks before deciding on a radiation-based imaging procedure.

 

Radiation, like alcohol, is a double-edged sword. It has indisputable medical advantages: Radiation can reveal hidden problems, from broken bones and lung lesions to heart defects and tumors. And it can be used to treat and sometimes cure certain cancers.

 

But it also has a potentially serious medical downside: the ability to damage DNA and, 10 to 20 years later, to cause cancer. CT scans alone, which deliver 100 to 500 times the radiation associated with an ordinary X-ray and now provide three-fourths of Americans’ radiation exposure, are believed to . . .

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Ibuprofen puts high risk cardiac patients at risk

Ibuprofen puts high risk cardiac patients at risk | Insights into Breast Cancer | Scoop.it
Doctors who treat the painful condition of osteoarthritis in patients with increased cardiovascular risk need to be cautious.
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Taking painkillers increases death risk, second heart attacks in survivors

Taking painkillers increases death risk, second heart attacks in survivors | Insights into Breast Cancer | Scoop.it
Heart attack survivors who take common painkillers after a heart attack have a higher long-term risk of dying or having a second heart attack, according to a new study published in Circulation, an American Heart Association journal.
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Test: Most students not proficient in writing

Just a quarter of eighth and 12th grade students in the United States have solid writing skills, even when allowed to use spell-check and other computer word processing tools.
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Cell death mystery yields new suspect for cancer drug development

Cell death mystery yields new suspect for cancer drug development | Insights into Breast Cancer | Scoop.it
A mysterious form of cell death, coded in proteins and enzymes, led to a discovery by UNC researchers uncovering a prime suspect for new cancer drug development.

 

What Dr. Leisner and her colleagues found, in the end, is that CIB1 is a master regulator of two pathways that cancer cells use to avoid normal mechanisms for programmed cell death. These two pathways, researchers believe, create "alternate routes" for cell survival and proliferation that may help cancer cells outsmart drug therapy. When one pathway is blocked, the other still sends signals downstream to cause cancer cell survival. "What we eventually discovered is that CIB1 sits on top of two cell survival pathways, called PI3K/AKT and MEK/ERK. When we knock out CIB1, both pathways grind to a halt. Cells lose AKT signaling, causing another enzyme called GAPDH to accumulate in the cell's nucleus.Cells also lose ERK signaling, which together with GAPDH accumulation in the nucleus cause neuroblastoma cell death. In the language of people who aren't biochemists, knocking out CIB1 cuts off the escape routes for the cell signals that cause uncontrolled growth, making CIB1 a very promising drug target," said Dr. Parise. This multi-pathway action is key to developing more effective drugs. Despite the approval of several targeted therapies in recent years, many cancers eventually become resistant to therapy. "What is even more exciting," Leisner adds, "is that it works in completely different types of cancer cells. We successfully replicated the neuroblastoma findings in triple-negative breast cancer cells, meaning that new drugs targeted to CIB1 might work very broadly."

 

Read more at: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-09-cell-death-mystery-yields-cancer.html#jCp

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Study details on-off switch that promotes or suppresses breast cancer

Study details on-off switch that promotes or suppresses breast cancer | Insights into Breast Cancer | Scoop.it
Signals can tell cells to act cancerous, surviving, growing and reproducing out of control. And signals can also tell cells with cancerous characteristics to stop growing or to die.
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Researchers discover antitumor molecule that originated within oncogene

Researchers discover antitumor molecule that originated within oncogene | Insights into Breast Cancer | Scoop.it
A common point in all human tumors is that they produce an activation of oncogenes, genes that cause cancer and they also cause a loss of function of the protective genes, called anti-oncogenes or tumour suppressor genes.

 

discovered the existence of an antitumor molecule that originates within an oncogene. The finding is published this week in the Nature Structural & Molecular Biology journal. The identified anti-oncogene is along non-coding ribonucleic acid (lncRNA), ie a molecule that does not produce protein itself but is responsible for regulating the expression of other proteins. Specifically, the identified molecule is produced in a cancer-causing gene (SMYD3) as its role in healthy cells is to inhibit pro-cancer action of the oncogene. If you enter this fragment of ribonucleic acid on cancer cells growing in laboratory or in human tumors implanted in animals for research is able to block cancer growth. "We believe this discovery will be the starting point to find many other oncogenes and anti-oncogenes that coexist in regions of our genome, that when their life together deteriorates, contribute to the development of human tumors," said Dr. Esteller.

 

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-06-antitumor-molecule-oncogene.html#jCp

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Some screens miss spread of breast cancer: study

Some screens miss spread of breast cancer: study | Insights into Breast Cancer | Scoop.it
(HealthDay)—In a new study, three types of screening methods used to determine whether breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body only spotted a small portion of tumors that had done so.
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First comprehensive review of European breast cancer screening programs finds benefits outweigh harm

First comprehensive review of European breast cancer screening programs finds benefits outweigh harm | Insights into Breast Cancer | Scoop.it
A major review of breast cancer screening services in Europe, jointly led by researchers at Queen Mary, University of London, has concluded that the benefits of screening in terms of lives saved outweigh the harms caused by over-diagnosis.
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Dean Ornish: Healing through diet | Video on TED.com

TED Talks Dean Ornish talks about simple, low-tech and low-cost ways to take advantage of the body's natural desire to heal itself.
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Eva Vertes looks to the future of medicine | Video on TED.com

TED Talks Eva Vertes -- only 19 when she gave this talk -- discusses her journey toward studying medicine and her drive to understand the roots of cancer and Alzheimer’s.
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Hurts so good: Chronic pain changes brain response to acute pain

Hurts so good: Chronic pain changes brain response to acute pain | Insights into Breast Cancer | Scoop.it
New research reveals why a stimulus that healthy human subjects perceive as a reward might be processed quite differently in the brains of humans suffering from chronic pain.

 

Dr. Apkarian and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare brain activity in response to acute noxious thermal stimuli in healthy control subjects and in patients with chronic back pain. The researchers found that pain perception and related brain activation patterns were nearly identical in the two groups. However, there was one profound difference in the activity of a specific part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens (NAc).

 

The NAc has been extensively researched with regards to its role in reward and motivation, but how it fits into circuitry underlying the response to aversive events or chronic pain is not clear. In the current study, the researchers discovered that phasic NAc activity at the beginning of painful stimuli predicted pain perception and at termination of painful stimuli predicted reward (pain relief) in the healthy group. In the subjects with chronic back pain, NAc activity correlated with different neuronal circuitry than the controls, and its phasic activity at the end of the stimulus was in the opposite polarity than the healthy subjects, suggesting that the acute pain relieved the ongoing back pain.

 

"The psychophysical part of our study supported the hypothesis that the NAc signal difference between the two groups reflects differences in the predicted valuation of the offset of the acute painful stimulus; in chronic pain patients, it reflects the prediction of worsening the ongoing back pain, as if the patients were disappointed that the painful stimulus was discontinued, while in the control subjects it reflects the prediction of relief," explains Dr. Apkarian. "These findings point to a potential dysfunctional associative learning process in chronic pain patients."

 

Read more at: http://phys.org/news190469585.html#jCp

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Proven strategies successful in reduction of deadly hospital-acquired infections

(Medical Xpress)—A new study by researchers from the Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health reveals that combining several tested and proven practices for preventing central line-associated...
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Short term use of painkillers could be dangerous to heart patients

Short term use of painkillers could be dangerous to heart patients | Insights into Breast Cancer | Scoop.it
Even short-term use of some painkillers could be dangerous for people who've had a heart attack, according to research published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
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Common painkillers linked to increased risk of heart problems

Common painkillers linked to increased risk of heart problems | Insights into Breast Cancer | Scoop.it
Commonly used painkillers for treating inflammation can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, according to an analysis of the evidence published in the British Medical Journal today.
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New study investigates use of soy-rich diet for preventing chronic pain after breast cancer surgery

New study investigates use of soy-rich diet for preventing chronic pain after breast cancer surgery | Insights into Breast Cancer | Scoop.it
(PhysOrg.com) -- A breakthrough study focusing on the benefits of soy in the prevention of chronic pain after breast cancer surgery has been launched by researchers at the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit of the McGill University Health Centre...
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Lack of oxygen in cancer cells leads to growth and metastasis

Lack of oxygen in cancer cells leads to growth and metastasis | Insights into Breast Cancer | Scoop.it
(Medical Xpress)—It seems as if a tumor deprived of oxygen would shrink.

It seems as if a tumor deprived of oxygen would shrink. However, numerous studies have shown that tumor hypoxia, in which portions of the tumor have significantly low oxygen concentrations, is in fact linked with more aggressive tumor behavior and poorer prognosis. It's as if rather than succumbing to gently hypoxic conditions, the lack of oxygen commonly created as a tumor outgrows its blood supply signals a tumor to grow and metastasize in search of new oxygen sources – for example, hypoxic bladder cancers are likely to metastasize to the lungs, which is frequently deadly.

 

Read more at: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-09-lack-oxygen-cancer-cells-growth.html#jCp

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Discovery of protein that fuels breast cancer growth could lead to targeted treatment

Discovery of protein that fuels breast cancer growth could lead to targeted treatment | Insights into Breast Cancer | Scoop.it
(Medical Xpress)—Cancer Research UK scientists have discovered how a key protein fuels breast cancer growth by boosting numbers of cancer stem cells in tumours that have low levels of a protein called claudin, accounting for up to 10 per cent of  all breast cancers
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Epigenetics emerges powerfully as a clinical tool

Epigenetics emerges powerfully as a clinical tool | Insights into Breast Cancer | Scoop.it
A study coordinated by Manel Esteller, published in Nature Reviews Genetics, highlights the success of this area of research to predict the behavior and weaknesses of tumors.

 

There is a growing need for better biomarkers that allow early detection of human diseases, especially cancer. The markers can improve primary prevention, diagnosis and prognosis of disease. Furthermore, it is possible to predict which may be more effective treatment according to patient characteristics, which is known by the name of personalized medicine. Genetic tests complementary to traditional methods have been used to improve the approach to various diseases, but in the last ten years Epigenetics has hardly emerged to help solve these clinical situations, as highlighted by the article. Epigenetics is the discipline for the study of the chemical changes in our genetic material and the same regulatory proteins. The most known epigenetic mark is the addition of a methyl group to the DNA. The study notes that the last decade two tests based on the methylation of two genes, MGMT and GSTP1, have been proved vital in predicting brain tumours sensitive to the temozolomide drug and in distinguishing prostate cancer compared benign growth, respectively. Dr. Esteller points out that "the most exciting thing is that they are currently being identified new epigenetic biomarkers for predicting the performance and weaknesses of tumours at a fast pace." In this sense, the coordinator of the study cites the recent identification of epigenetic alterations in predictive genes as response to new generation drugs in leukaemia and the fact that obtaining a "picture" of the DNA methylation pattern can expose unknown tumours that previously had a very poor prognosis.

 

Read more at: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-09-epigenetics-emerges-powerfully-clinical-tool.html#jCp

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New device may reduce repeat breast cancer surgeries

New device may reduce repeat breast cancer surgeries | Insights into Breast Cancer | Scoop.it
(HealthDay)—A new device meant to help surgeons determine in the operating room if they have removed all cancerous breast cancer tissue may help reduce repeat surgeries after lumpectomy without compromising cosmetic effects, according to a new study.
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TED 2010: Halting Blood Vessels Key to New Cancer Treatment; Possibly Obesity | Wired Business | Wired.com

TED 2010: Halting Blood Vessels Key to New Cancer Treatment; Possibly Obesity | Wired Business | Wired.com | Insights into Breast Cancer | Scoop.it

LONG BEACH, California --

 

— Blood vessels, literally the lifelines in our bodies, are key to delivering the nutrients our organs need to survive. But they have a deadly side in that they also feed cancerous growths.

 

Treatments for halting the growth of cancer-feeding blood vessels could be key to treating tumors and could also have positive effects on reducing obesity, according to Dr. William Li, head of the Angiogenesis Foundation, a non-profit behind much of the research into these new treatments.

 

The treatments inhibit a process that occurs naturally in our bodies, called angiogenesis.

 

Li, speaking at the Technology, Entertainment and Design conference Wednesday, said the adult human body is packed with 16,000 miles worth of blood vessels, including 19 billion capillaries.

 

We get most of our blood vessels when we’re still in the womb. As adults blood vessels don’t normally grow except in a few circumstance – in women, they grow every month to build the lining of the uterus; and during pregnancy, they form the placenta. Blood vessels also grow after injury, building under a scab to heal a wound.

 

TED 2010: Full Coverage

The body has the ability to regulate the amount of blood vessels that are present at any given time; it does this through an elaborate system of check and balances involving stimulators — the basis for angiogenesis — and inhibitors

 

When we need a brief burst of blood vessels the body releases stimulators that act as natural fertilizer to stimulate new blood vessels. When those extra blood vessels are no longer needed, the body prunes them back to baseline, using naturally occurring inhibitors.

 

For a number of diseases, however, there are defects in the system where the body can’t prune back those extra blood vessels or grow enough new ones in the right place at the right time. In these situations angiogenesis is out of balance. When angiogenesis is out of balance a myriad of diseases result — insufficient angiogenesis (not enough blood vessels) can lead to wounds that don’t heal, heart attacks, poor circulation in legs, death from stroke, nerve damage, hair loss, erectile dysfunction.

 

On the other hand, extensive angiogenesis (too many blood vessels) drives diseases. We see this in cancer, blindness, arthritis, psoriasis, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, endometriosis, and other diseases Li said.

 

More than 70 major diseases affecting more than a billion people worldwide share abnormal angiogenesis as their common denominator. In particular, angiogenesis is a hallmark of every type of cancer.

 

 

Cancers don’t start out with a blood supply. Instead, they begin as small, microscopic nests of cells that will grow only to one half a cubic millimeter in size – the tip of a ballpoint pen. Without a blood supply, most of these cancers will never become dangerous.

 

Cancer cells mutate and gain the ability to release lots of angiogenesis factors that tip the balance in favor of blood vessels invading the cancer. Once those vessels invade a tumor, it can expand, and the same vessels feeding the tumor allows cancer cells to then exit into the circulation as metastases. This late stage of cancer is the one at which the disease is most likely to be diagnosed but the most difficult to treat.

 

But if angiogenesis is a tipping point between a harmless cancer and a harmful one, then one major part of treating cancer would be cutting its blood supply.

 

There are already pioneer treatments available for humans — called anti-angiogenic treatments — that became available starting in 2004, using 12 different drugs to treat 11 different cancer types.

Another 100 or so drugs are in the pipeline.

 

The results of the treatments are that there has been a 70 to 100 percent improvement in survival for people with kidney cancers, colo-rectal cancer, and gastrointestinal tumors. For other cancer types, the improvements have only been mild. The reason, Li said, was generally due to treating cancer too late in the game, when it’s already established or spread.

 

He realized the answer to cancer could be preventing angiogenesis through diet, since diet accounts for 30 to 35 percent of environmentally caused cancers.

 

So he started looking at what people could add to their diet that’s naturally anti-angiogenic to boost the body’s and beat back the blood vessels. In other words, can we eat to starve cancer?

 

What he found was that nature has laced a large number of foods, beverages and herbs with naturally occurring inhibitors of angiogenesis.

 

 

 

He and his researchers built a simulator to test the effect different foods (see list of foods at right) would have on blood vessels at concentrations that are available through eating, rather than concentrated, encapsulated forms. The tests showed that an extract of resveratrol, found in red grapes and red wine, would inhibit abnormal angiogenesis by 60 percent. Extracts from strawberries and soybeans had similar benefits.

 

They also tested four teas — a Chinese jasmine tea, Japanese sencha, Earl Gray and a blend of the Chinese jasmine and Japanese sencha teas. The teas varied in their potencies. The Chinese Jasmine and Japanese sencha teas were each less potent than the Earl Grey tea. But when they combined the two teas, the combination was more potent than either one alone or than the Earl Grey tea. This means there’s food synergy, Li said, and that foods likely work best in combination to create benefits.

 

The Angiogenesis Foundation is in the process of measuring a long list of foods to determine the potencies in different strains and varieties and are creating a rating system to score food according to its anti-angiogenic, cancer-preventative properties.

 

They’ve also tested the potency of traditional cancer drugs on angiogenesis. They looked at statins, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and a few others and found that they also inhibit angiogenesis. And when they compared the dietary factors against the drugs, the diets held their own and in some cases surpassed the drugs in their potential to inhibit angiogenesis. Soy, parsley, garlic, grapes, berries were all high performers in this regard.

 

So what is the evidence in people that eating certain foods can reduce angiogenesis and cancer?

 

He cites a study that followed 79,000 men over 20 years, which found that men who consumed cooked tomatoes 2 to 3 times a week had a 40 to 50 percent reduction in their risk of developing prostate cancer. In those men who did develop prostate cancer the ones who ate more servings of tomato sauce had fewer blood vessels feeding their cancer. Tomatoes, of course, are a good source of lycopene, which is anti-angiogenic.

 

They’re now studying the role of a healthy diet with Dean Ornish, the University of California at San Francisco and Tufts University in Boston on the role of a healthy diet on markers of angiogenesis in the bloodstream.

 

Li says the research could impact consumer education, food services, public health policies and even the insurance industry and, for many people in the world, dietary cancer prevention may be the only practical solution they can afford. Ultimately, he said what we eat could turn out to have the cancer-fighting benefits of taking chemotherapy three times a day.

 

But the research on anti-angiogenesis, also has relevance for tackling obesity. It turns out that fat is highly dependent on angiogenesis, because like a tumor, fat grows when blood vessels grow.

 

The question was, could they shrink fat by cutting off its blood supply?

 

The researchers took a genetically obese mouse — the ob\ob — that eats nonstop until it turns it looks like a furry tennis ball. When they gave the mouse an angiogenesis inhibitor, the mouse lost weight. Once treatment stopped, the mouse gained back the weight.

 

“In effect, you can cycle the weight up and down simply by inhiiting angiogenesis,” Li said. “So this approach we’re taking for cancer prevention may also have an application for obesity.”

 

One caveat – they can’t take obese mice and make them lose more weight than what their normal mouse weight is supposed to be.

 

“In other words, we can’t create supermodel mice,” Li said.

 

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Alan Russell: The potential of regenerative medicine | Video on TED.com

TED Talks Alan Russell studies regenerative medicine -- a breakthrough way of thinking about disease and injury, using a process that can signal the body to rebuild itself.
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