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Diagnosis and Investigation News

Could Electromagnetic Fields Raise a Worker's ALS Risk?

Posted 12 hours ago by

WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2017 – On-the-job exposure to electromagnetic fields may double the risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative disease of the nervous system, a new study suggests. Electric company linemen, welders, sewing machine operators and airplane pilots are all people in occupations that could boost the chances of getting the always-fatal disease, said senior researcher Roel Vermeulen. "Essentially, these are jobs where workers are placed in close proximity to appliances that use a lot of electricity," said Vermeulen, an associate professor of environmental epidemiology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. However, even people holding these jobs still have a low overall risk of ALS, said neurologist Dr. Catherine Lomen-Hoerth, director of the ALS Center at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center. Only one in 100,000 people ... Read more

Related support groups: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Diagnosis and Investigation

'Menstrual Cycle in a Dish' Explores Intricacies of Female Body

Posted 12 hours ago by

WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2017 – Scientists say they have created a palm-size model of the female reproductive system that even has a period. Dubbed a menstrual cycle in a dish, the miniature 3-D replica includes human and rodent tissue and models of ovaries, fallopian tubes, the uterus, cervix, vagina and liver. The technology could lead to improvements in treating diseases in women's reproductive organs, including cancer and infertility, the model's creators said. "This is nothing short of a revolutionary technology," lead investigator Teresa Woodruff said. Woodruff is a reproductive scientist and director of the Women's Health Research Institute at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. EVATAR, as it's called, resembles a small cube. A special fluid pumping through all of the organ models performs the function of blood. Hormones and other secreted substances ... Read more

Related support groups: Menstrual Disorders, Endometriosis, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, Premenstrual Syndrome, Period Pain, Amenorrhea, Menorrhagia, Dysmenorrhea, Diagnosis and Investigation

Preventive Mastectomy Rates Vary by State

Posted 16 hours ago by

WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2017 – In certain areas of the United States, more women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer are choosing to have the unaffected breast removed, new research finds. The study also found that younger women are especially likely to have the second breast removed. Nearly half of women under age 45 diagnosed with early breast cancer in five states opted for the procedure, said the study's senior author, Dr. Ahmedin Jemal. He's vice president of the American Cancer Society's Surveillance and Health Services Research Program. The five states are Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota. The study included records from 1.2 million women from 45 states and Washington, D.C. All patients were 20 and older. All had been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer in one breast and were treated with surgery between 2004 and 2012. Between those years, the ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Breast Cancer - Adjuvant, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Diagnosis and Investigation, Breast Cancer - Palliative, Vascular Surgery

Many Women Who Get Breast Cancer Gene Test Don't Need It

Posted 1 day 16 hours ago by

TUESDAY, March 28, 2017 – An increasing number of American women who don't have breast or ovarian cancer are being tested for BRCA and BRCA2 gene mutations associated with those diseases, a new study shows. Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes significantly increase a woman's risk of breast cancer. These mutations are linked to 5 percent to 10 percent of all breast cancer and about 15 percent of ovarian cancers, the U.S. National Cancer Institute says. The new study found that more than 60 percent of BRCA tests are done on women without breast or ovarian cancer. In 2004, that number was just 24 percent. This increase is likely due to increased marketing of BRCA testing. This may lead women at low risk for BRCA mutations to self-refer for testing, the researchers said. While the number of low-risk women being tested has increased, BRCA testing is being underused by at-risk women, the ... Read more

Related support groups: Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer, Metastatic, Ovarian Cancer, Breast Cancer, Prevention, Diagnosis and Investigation

Is MRI the 'Mammography' of Prostate Cancer Screening?

Posted 2 days 19 hours ago by

SATURDAY, March 25, 2017 – MRI screening might greatly reduce overdiagnosis and overtreatment of prostate cancer in older men, a preliminary study suggests. Compared to the current screening method, MRI can reduce overdiagnosis of prostate cancer by 50 percent, and unnecessary biopsies by 70 percent in men over 70, Dutch researchers reported Saturday at a conference in England. Prostate cancer is common in aging men, but it's often slow-growing and non-threatening. Screening sometimes begins with a blood test to measure the level of PSA (prostate specific antigen). If elevated, it might indicate cancer. So, the next step is a needle biopsy, where a doctor takes multiple samples from the prostate and has them tested for cancer. Because PSA testing is an inexact science, "the benefit of early prostate cancer detection with random biopsy generally does not outweigh the harm induced by ... Read more

Related support groups: Prostate Cancer, Diagnosis and Investigation

Scientists Spot Gene for Rare Disorder Causing Deafness, Blindness

Posted 6 days ago by

THURSDAY, March 23, 2017 – Researchers say they have found the genetic cause of a rare disorder that causes children to be born with deafness, blindness, albinism and fragile bones. The syndrome is called COMMAD. It occurs when children inherit two mutations – one from each parent – of a gene called MITF. Each parent is also deaf due to another rare genetic disorder called Waardenburg syndrome 2A. Further research is needed to learn more about the role of MITF during early development and how mutations in this gene result in the development of Waardenburg 2A and COMMAD, said researchers from the U.S. National Eye Institute (NEI). COMMAD stands for the names of a number of conditions that affect people with this disorder. It includes missing tissue around the eye; abnormally dense bones prone to fracture; small or abnormally formed eyes; an abnormally large head; albinism (lack of ... Read more

Related support groups: Hearing Loss, Diagnosis and Investigation, Visual Defect/Disturbance

Most Cancers Caused by Random DNA Copying Errors

Posted 7 days ago by

THURSDAY, March 23, 2017 – The "Why me?" reaction that can come after a cancer diagnosis may have no easy answer, with new research showing that most tumors are caused by random genetic "mistakes." Investigators at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore used complex mathematical modeling to track mutations driving abnormal cell growth for 32 types of cancer. The model was based on data from The Cancer Genome Atlas, as well as epidemiologic data from the Cancer Research UK database. Scientists have long known that it usually takes two or more gene mutations for cancer to arise. And those mutations can be caused by environmental factors, genes inherited from parents, or simply random DNA copying errors. From their calculations, the researchers now believe that the bulk of cancers are caused by random copying errors. The findings will be published March 24 in the journal Science. "It is ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Diagnosis and Investigation

New Technology Makes Gene Mapping Cheaper, Faster: Study

Posted 7 days ago by

THURSDAY, March 23, 2017 – Scientists say they've developed a much cheaper and faster technology for mapping the genetic makeup of a living organism. They demonstrated the technology by decoding the DNA of the mosquito species that transmits the Zika virus. The original Human Genome Project took 10 years and cost $4 billion, but this new 3-D assembly method did the same in a few weeks for less than $10,000, the researchers reported. This new approach determines the sequence of each chromosome by studying how the chromosomes fold inside the nucleus of a cell. It can be used on any patient, or any species for that matter, they added. "As physicians, we sometimes encounter patients who we know must carry some sort of genetic change, but we can't figure out what it is," study co-author Dr. Aviva Presser Aiden said in a Baylor College of Medicine news release. "To figure out what's going ... Read more

Related support groups: West Nile Virus, Diagnosis and Investigation, Zika Virus Infection

Turning Back the Aging Clock -- in Mice

Posted 7 days ago by

THURSDAY, March 23, 2017 – Aging mice became more youthful following a new cellular therapy about to be tested in humans, researchers say. The treatment reversed age-related loss of fur, boosted the rodents' vitality and improved their kidney function, according to a new report. The experimental therapy "restored health after the mice had already deteriorated," said senior study author Peter de Keizer. "So, I don't think it merely delays aging, but might actually – though more research is needed – counteract it once it has already happened," said de Keizer. He is a researcher of aging at Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands. The research team is preparing to test the therapy in humans with a type of aggressive brain cancer, de Keizer said. "We think we could hopefully make a difference in the treatment of this non-curable disease," he added. Aging occurs when the body ... Read more

Related support groups: Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Risk Reduction, Diagnosis and Investigation

Could Fading Sense of Smell Mean Death Is Closer?

Posted 7 days ago by

WEDNESDAY, March 22, 2017 – Loss of smell even in your 40s and 50s is linked to an earlier death – and dementia isn't the culprit, a new study suggests. The Swedish study found that in middle age and beyond, people with a poor sense of smell had about a 20 percent increased risk of dying within 10 years, said study co-author Jonas Olofsson. "The sense of smell seems to be a good indicator of aging brain health," said Olofsson, an associate professor of psychology at Stockholm University. "We see smell function as the 'canary in the coal mine,'" he added. Although dementia previously had been linked with diminished sense of smell, the researchers found that "dementia could not explain any part of the link between smell loss and mortality risk," Olofsson said. "So there has to be a different, yet unknown, biological explanation for the link." As many as 7 out of 10 older people have an ... Read more

Related support groups: Nasal Congestion, Diagnosis and Investigation

Smartphone Device Sizes Up Sperm Health

Posted 7 days ago by

WEDNESDAY, March 22, 2017 – A new smartphone device has shown early promise as a convenient way for men to check the health of their sperm in the privacy of their home. The infertility test analyzes semen using a disposable rubberized microchip that's designed to enclose and handle samples. The microchip is slid into an attachment that can be plugged into a smartphone. The semen sample is kept within the microchip, so it never enters the smartphone. But a smartphone app is able to scan and video the sample. Roughly five seconds later, an analysis is produced, indicating whether or not the sample meets World Health Organization standards in terms of healthy sperm concentrations and sperm motility (movement). So far, the tests have shown 98 percent accuracy. "We developed the technology, and we have a prototype that seems to work very well, and with high reliability and accuracy," noted ... Read more

Related support groups: Anxiety, Erectile Dysfunction, Female Infertility, Performance Anxiety, Ovulation Induction, Diagnosis and Investigation, Oligospermia, Follicle Stimulation

Brain 'Rewires' to Work Around Early-Life Blindness

Posted 8 days ago by

WEDNESDAY, March 22, 2017 – Blindness at an early age triggers the brain to make new connections that enhance hearing, smell and touch, as well as memory and language, a new study suggests. Researchers used MRIs to scan the brains of 12 people who were born blind or lost their sight by age 3. The scans showed a number of changes in the brains of the people who were blind that weren't present in scans from people who could still see. Changes caused by early blindness "may be more widespread than initially thought," lead author Corinna Bauer, a scientist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, said in a hospital news release. "We observed significant changes not only in the occipital cortex [where vision is processed], but also areas implicated in memory, language processing and sensory motor functions," added Bauer. Learning more about these connections could lead to more effective rehabilitation ... Read more

Related support groups: Eye Conditions, Retinal Disorders, Diagnosis and Investigation, Visual Defect/Disturbance

Blood Test May Spot Lung Cancer's Return, Even Before Scans

Posted 10 days ago by

MONDAY, March 20, 2017 – A blood test can detect the return of lung cancer months before CT and PET scans, a new study suggests. The research included 48 adults with stage 2 or 3 locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The patients were aged 31 to 84. All were treated with chemotherapy and radiation. Blood samples were taken before treatment, during treatment, and at six different times during the two years following treatment. The blood samples were checked for increased levels of circulating tumor cells, the researchers said. The blood tests were able to detect lung cancer recurrence an average of six months before CT and PET scans, the investigators found. The study was presented March 16 at a meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, in San Francisco. Research presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed ... Read more

Related support groups: Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Diagnosis and Investigation, Body Imaging

Centuries of Climate May Have Shaped Your Nose

Posted 14 days ago by

THURSDAY, March 16, 2017 – Love your nose or hate it, you can perhaps blame ancestral climates for how it looks today, new research suggests. "We focused on nose traits that differ across populations and looked at geographical variation with respect to temperature and humidity," explained study author Mark Shriver, a professor of anthropology at Penn State University. While many people assume they have their parents to thank for their pug, hooked or button nose, research by Shriver's team suggests that people's noses were shaped by local climates as their ancestors adapted over time to either warmth and humidity or cold and dry air. For the study, Shriver's group analyzed nostrils and nose shapes using high-tech 3-D facial imaging. Specifically, the researchers measured nostril width, distance between the nostrils, nose height, nose ridge length and how far the nose sticks out. One ... Read more

Related support groups: Nasal Congestion, Afrin, Oxymetazoline, Azelastine, Astelin, Dymista, Otrivin, Tetrahydrozoline, Twice-A-Day, 4-Way, Diagnosis and Investigation, Olopatadine, Patanase, Astepro, Xylometazoline, Nostrilla, Naphazoline, Rhinaris, Neo-Synephrine Nasal, Ayr Saline Nasal

Seniors With Brain Cancer May Have Better Treatment Option

Posted 15 days ago by

WEDNESDAY, March 15, 2017 – Combined chemotherapy and radiation treatment appears to extend the lives of older patients with brain cancer, new research finds. The study involved more than 560 older patients with glioblastoma, the most common malignant brain cancer in adults. The average age of disease onset is 65 and there is no cure, according to the study. On average, patients who received the chemotherapy pill temozolomide plus a short course of radiation therapy survived two months longer than those who underwent radiation alone, an international team of researchers found. And, many patients in the combination treatment group survived nearly 14 months – about twice that compared to those who received radiation alone, the researchers reported. "Everyone benefited to a varying degree," said co-principal investigator Dr. Normand Laperriere. "There has been no clear standard of care ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Brain Tumor, Temodar, Glioblastoma Multiforme, Diagnosis and Investigation, Malignant Glioma, Temozolomide

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