Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Fighting Bacteria’s Strength in Numbers

Example of signaling between bacteria. Salmone...

Example of signaling between bacteria. Salmonella enteritidis uses acyl-homoserine lactone for Quorum sensing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 18 May 2012 article at Science Daily

Scientists at The University of Nottingham have opened the way for more accurate research into new ways to fight dangerous bacterial infections by proving a long-held theory about how bacteria communicate with each other.

Researchers in the University’s School of Molecular Medical Sciences have shown for the first time that the effectiveness of the bacteria’s communication method, a process called ‘quorum sensing’, directly depends on the density of the bacterial population. This work will help inform wider research into how to stop bacteria talking to each other with the aim of switching off their toxin production.

As some pathogenic organisms are increasingly resistant to traditional antibiotics, medical researchers around the world, including scientists at The University of Nottingham, are trying to find other ways of fighting infection. This new work involves using ‘quorum quenching’ compounds which interfere with bacterial signalling and disrupt their social lives.

Quorum sensing (QS) is the process by which bacteria communicate and co-operate using signal molecules which control, among other things, the production of toxins. QS is therefore an important factor in a number of bacterial species that cause serious infection in humans includingPseudomonas aeruginosa, a leading cause of death among cystic fibrosis sufferers, and MRSA which is a huge clinical problem in hospitals….

May 18, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

When You Eat Matters, Not Just What You Eat

From the 17 May 2012 article at ScienceDaily

When it comes to weight gain, when you eat might be at least as important as what you eat. That’s the conclusion of a study reported in the Cell Press journal Cell Metabolism published early online on May 17thWhen mice on a high-fat diet are restricted to eating for eight hours per day, they eat just as much as those who can eat around the clock, yet they are protected against obesity and other metabolic ills, the new study shows. The discovery suggests that the health consequences of a poor diet might result in part from a mismatch between our body clocks and our eating schedules.

“Every organ has a clock,” said lead author of the study Satchidananda Panda of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. That means there are times that our livers, intestines, muscles, and other organs will work at peak efficiency and other times when they are — more or less — sleeping….

…”When we eat randomly, those genes aren’t on completely or off completely,” Panda said. The principle is just like it is with sleep and waking, he explained. If we don’t sleep well at night, we aren’t completely awake during the day, and we work less efficiently as a consequence…

May 18, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment

Experts Recommend Overhaul Of Psychiatry’s Diagnostic Manual

From the 18 May 2012 article at Medical News Today

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), long the master reference work in psychiatry, is seriously flawed and needs radical change from its current “field guide” form, according to an essay by two Johns Hopkins psychiatrists published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“A generation ago it served useful purposes, but now it needs clear alterations,” says Paul R. McHugh, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-author of the paper with Phillip R. Slavney, M.D., a professor emeritus in the same department. “They say they can’t do any better. We disagree and can show how.”

The original DSM, published in the 1950s, was intended as a public health service documenting the incidence and prevalence of mental illnesses. By its third edition in 1980 (DSM-III), however, it had evolved into a reference book prescribing how clinicians should identify and classify psychiatric disorders.

Today, the Johns Hopkins psychiatrists say, DSM provides checklists of symptoms, offering few clues to the underlying causes of mental disease and making it difficult to direct treatment or investigate the disorders it details. A new edition, DSM-5, is due out in 2013.

The manual, put together by the American Psychiatric Association, currently identifies hundreds of conditions via lists of diagnostic criteria and symptoms, functioning exactly as does a naturalist’s field guide but for mental illness. It offers no way to make sense of mental disorders and no way to distinguish illnesses that appear to be similar but actually are quite different and require different treatments, the psychiatrists argue.

“If you just name things and don’t explain what the causes are, you do not know how to rationally treat or study the diseases,” says McHugh, former director of Hopkins’ psychiatry department. “The DSM gives everything a name but not a nature.”….

May 18, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , | Leave a comment

9 skin signs for a yearly visit to the dermatologist

Title: Pathology: Patient: Melanoma Descriptio...

Title: Pathology: Patient: Melanoma Description: This slide shows a melanoma on a patient’s skin. Subjects (names): Topics/Categories: Pathology — Patient Type: Black & White Print. Color Slide Source: National Cancer Institute Author: Unknown photographer/artist AV Number: AV-8500-3850 Date Created: 1985 Date Entered: 1/1/2001 Access: Public (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 9 May 2012 article at KevinMD.com

Visiting your dermatologist every year may be an important step to staying skin cancer-free. So, how do you know if you should schedule that annual appointment?

The answer depends on how likely you are to get skin cancer. Do you fall into one of these groups? Then, it’s time for a skin check-up.

1.  Red hair and freckles. If you’ve got red or blond hair, fair skin, freckles and blue or light-colored eyes, you‘re more likely to get skin cancer. But, that doesn’t mean darker-skinned people don’t develop skin cancer too.

2.  More than 50 moles. If you’ve got a lot of moles, you need regular skin checks. Doing this will help your doctor stay on top of unusual mole changes….

Read the rest of the article here

Seek prompt medical attention if you notice any unusual changes that don’t go away after two weeks.

What are the signs and symptoms of skin cancer?

[From Learn about Cancer American Cancer Society]

Skin cancer can be found early, and both doctors and patients play important roles in finding skin cancer. If you have any of the following symptoms, tell your doctor.

  • Any change on your skin, especially in the size or color of a mole, growth, or spot, or a new growth (even if it has no color)
  • Scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or change in the appearance of a bump or nodule
  • The spread of pigmentation (color) beyond its border, such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark
  • A change in sensation, such as itchiness, tenderness, or pain
On a related note (via Sun Safety: Save Your Skin (US FDA)

Slip! Slop! Slap! Wrap!

Don't Fry Day - (LOGO)The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day.” The goal?  To make sure people stay safe in the sun and protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors—on “Don’t Fry Day” and every day.

Here’s why. Skin cancer is on the rise in the United States; the American Cancer Society estimates that one American dies every hour from skin cancer. In 2012 alone, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be more than 76,250 new cases of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.

“Don’t Fry Day” offers simple steps that you and your family can take to prevent sun-related skin cancer, such as:

  • Slip on a shirt
  • Slop on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher
  • Slap on a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Wrap on sunglasses.

For more information on resources available for “Don’t Fry Day” and skin safety, visitwww.skincancerprevention.org disclaimer icon .

May 18, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Education (General Public) | , , | Leave a comment

   

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