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HIGHLIGHTED STORIES: Inflammation is a major treatable cause of neurological problems after traumatic brain injury.

9 Feb

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) are arguing that there is a widespread misunderstanding about the true nature of traumatic brain injury and how it causes chronic degenerative problems.  In a perspective article published in the latest issues of Neurotherapeutics, researchers propose that chronic brain damage and neuropsychiatric problems after trauma are to a large degree caused by long-term inflammation.  In their view, this inflammation is a key culprit behind the myriad symptoms that have been linked with traumatic brain injury and mild traumatic brain injury, including brain atrophy, depression and cognitive decline.

CURRENT RESEARCH: New Study Finds That The Potential To Tan May Influence Prostate Cancer Risk

9 Dec

prostate cancerResearch published in the journal In Vivo showed that tanning potential, but not sunlight and vitamin D, is a significant risk factor for prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men in the United States. African American men have the highest risk of developing prostate cancer out of all the ethnic groups and are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease at an advanced stage.

Researchers have hypothesized that the high incidence of prostate cancer in African Americans may be due to a deficiency of vitamin D caused by a reduction in the synthesis of vitamin D from the skin.

It is important to note that prostate cancer research has only looked at sunlight or vitamin D, and not both at the same time. Therefore, researchers conducted a study to determine the relationship between vitamin D, UV exposure and prostate cancer in African American men by looking at tanning potential and vitamin D status.

They recruited 91 African American men with prostate cancer and 92 African American men without prostate cancer.

They then looked at the difference between the two groups in terms of UV exposure, tanning potential, and vitamin D status.

UV exposure was assessed using a UV questionnaire designed to calculate the total amount of UV light exposure from birth until the age of diagnosis of prostate cancer, or age of data collection for controls.

Tanning potential was assessed by measuring the difference in the melanin concentration and color of unexposed areas of the skin and the melanin concentration and color that develops in skin that is exposed to sunlight. Tanning potential is a quantitative index of sun exposure that is related to cumulative lifetime sun exposure. An increased tanning potential indicates increased cumulative sun exposure.

A single vitamin D measurement was taken during the study to assess vitamin D status.

The researchers were interested in learning if vitamin D, UV exposure, and tanning potential all similarly affected risk of prostate cancer. This would indicate that sun exposure plays a role in prostate cancer, and this role is likely mediated in part by vitamin D production.

Here’s what they found:

  • The average vitamin D level for the control group was 29.06 ng/ml and the average vitamin D level for the prostate cancer group was 26.75 ng/ml.
  • Age and tanning potential were significantly negatively associated with prostate cancer risk (p=0.05, for both)
  • UV exposure and vitamin D status were negatively associated with prostate cancer risk, however this association was not significant (p>0.05)
  • After adjusting for both age and vitamin D status, tanning potential remained a significant predictor of prostate cancer risk (p=0.04).

The researchers stated,

“In the present study, we examined the association of serum vitamin D, skin tanning potential, and UV exposure with prostate cancer risk in African Americans. We found a significant association between skin tanning potential and prostate cancer. However, our results showed no significant association between prostate cancer and UV exposure or serum vitamin D.”

One large limitation of the study is selection bias. All of the participants were residents of the Washington, DC metropolitan area who all received similar levels of sunlight. Another limitation was the use of a single vitamin D measurement, which may not reflect long-term circulating vitamin D levels.

These results are puzzling, but the researchers offered a possible explanation: all of the participants were dark-skinned, meaning they likely had similar absorption due to melanin.

The researchers posited that the inverse association between tanning potential and prostate cancer is most likely due to a loss of melanin with age. The less melanin there is, the higher the potential for tanning. This explanation is supported by the fact that age also was strongly and significantly associated with prostate cancer risk.

The low vitamin D levels in both groups may have been the reason as to why a significant relationship was not found between vitamin D status and prostate cancer. There may be threshold beyond which vitamin D status becomes increasingly protective against prostate cancer.

Future research needs to utilize multiple vitamin D measurements in large populations over long periods of time and prospectively assess the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Source

Beyene, D. Use of Tanning Potential as a Predictor for Prostate Cancer Risk in African-American Men. In Vivo, 2014.

Input Needed for a Diabetes Management Study

16 Jul

diabetes-Pearlsa
“A research team at the University of Virginia is interested in learning more about how people with Type 2 diabetes take care of their health. Check out the link to their group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiabetesManagementStudyCommunity/.

Feel free to pass this link on to others you believe would be interested.”
I understand that you may want to know more about this project, so I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about our research. We also have a lot of information on our group’s page, which you are more than welcome to check out.

CURRENT RESEARCH: Alzheimer’s far more likely than breast cancer in women over 60

19 Mar

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Women age 60 and older have a 1 in 6 chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease in their lifetime, and are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared with breast cancer, according to a report from the Alzheimer’s Association.

Men, by comparison, have a 1 in 11 chance of getting Alzheimer’s, according to the 2014 Facts and Figures report.

Age is the greatest risk factor for gender differences among Alzheimer’s patients, but it’s not the only reason. Researchers are also looking at genetic and hormonal differences, according to Maria Carrillo, vice president of medical and scientific relations for the Alzheimer’s Association.
Read more here: http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/19/health/women-alzheimers/

CURRENT RESEARCH –Gene May Help Identify Risk of Alzheimer’s in African Americans

9 Jul

A study conducted by the Alzheimer’s disease Genetics Consortium and the Mayo Clinic in Florida, was the first to look at the genetics of a large number of African-Americans diagnosed with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Study results , published on April 10 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found minor differences between genes that contribute to late-onset Alzheimer’s disease in African Americans and in Caucasians. The study compared 1,968 patients to 3,928 normal elderly African American control participants.

Read more at:Image

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130412132214.htm