Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Environmental Causes of Breast Cancer and Radiation From Medical Imaging

 

From the article abstract at Archives of Internal Medicine (9 July 2012)

[Full text is free at above link]

Susan G. Komen for the Cure asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to perform a comprehensive review of environmental causes and risk factors for breast cancer. Interestingly, none of the consumer products (ie, bisphenol A, phthalates), industrial chemicals (ie, benzene, ethylene oxide), or pesticides (ie, DDT/DDE) considered could be conclusively linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, although the IOM acknowledged that the available evidence was insufficient to draw firm conclusions for many of these exposures, calling for more research in these areas. The IOM found sufficient evidence to conclude that the 2 environmental factors most strongly associated with breast cancer were exposure to ionizing radiation and to combined postmenopausal hormone therapy. The IOM’s conclusion of a causal relation between radiation exposure and cancer is consistent with a large and varied literature showing that exposure to radiation in the same range as used for computed tomography will increase the risk of cancer. It is the responsibility of individual health care providers who order medical imaging to understand and weigh the risk of any medical procedures against the expected benefit.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists in the United States, asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to perform a comprehensive and evidence-based review of environmental causes and risk factors for breast cancer, with a focus on identifying evidence-based actions that women can take to reduce their risk.Environmental exposures were defined broadly to include all factors not genetically inherited, and the IOM committee appointed to write this report included academicians and chairs from departments of environmental health, toxicology, cancer epidemiology, preventive medicine, and biostatistics in addition to advocates for patients with breast cancer. Committee members conducted their own reviews of the peer-reviewed epidemiological and basic science literature, commissioned several papers specifically for their report, and drew on evidence-based reviews already completed by organizations such as the Agency for Research on Cancer and the World Cancer Research Fund International. The publication Breast Cancer and the Environment: A Life Course Approach was released online in December 2011.1

 

August 6, 2012 Posted by | environmental health | , , , , | Leave a comment

New and varied imaging techniques facilitate personalized medicine

A short axis view of the heart showing a cine ...

A short axis view of the heart

New and varied imaging techniques facilitate personalized medicine

‘Imaging is not about technology, but about finding the most appropriate way to assess heart disease’

From the 22 November Eureka News Alert

“The idea is that we’re using the most appropriate technology to address individual clinical questions rather than just focusing on one technique,” explains EAE President Dr Luigi Badano, from the University of Padua, Italy. In addition to echocardiography, he adds, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography and nuclear imaging will all being covered at the meeting, offering delegates a unique opportunity for an in-depth education around non invasive imaging of cardiovascular disease.

In keeping with the patient-orientated approach a new track has been introduced, the Clinical Imaging Session, where lectures and discussions will deal with atrial fibrillation, heart failure, ischemic heart disease, pulmonary hypertension and atherosclerosis.

The main themes of the congress this year are valvular heart disease and left ventricular function, with new techniques available in each area to detect subclinical disease. “The advent of new echo modalities such as exercise, deformation imaging and 3D echo has changed the way to assess heart valves and improved our understanding of physiopathology and our ability to detect subtle, clinically silent impairments,” says Professor Patrizio Lancellotti, the President-elect of the EAE and Congress Programme Committee Chairperson of EUROECHO, from University of Liège, CHU Sart Tilman, Liège, Belgium.

In the assessment of left ventricular function, he adds, the new emphasis has been on myocardial deformation, deformation rate, and at left ventricular torsion to allow clinicians to detect subclinical myocardial dysfunction.

Both valves and left ventricular function are well represented in the 690 original posters and abstracts presented at the congress with other popular themes for submission including cardiomyopathies, tissue Doppler imaging, and speckle tracking. Abstract submissions have been up this year – with over 12 % more submissions in comparison with 2010, and 30% more for delegates aged under 35 years. This later figure is particularly gratifying for the organisers who have placed a special emphasis on attracting young investigators.

New awards have been created, together with opportunities that will allow them to critically discuss their findings with experts in the field who will be able to provide valuable feedback.

November 23, 2011 Posted by | health care, Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

Medical microcamera the size of a grain of salt gives razor-sharp images, very inexpensively

Medical microcamera the size of a grain of salt gives razor-sharp images, very inexpensively

From the March 9 2011 Science Daily item

ScienceDaily (Mar. 9, 2011) — There have been gloves and shavers for one-off use for a long time. In future, there will also be disposable endoscopes for minimally invasive operations on the human body. A new microcamera is what makes it possible. It is as large as a grain of salt, supplies razor-sharp pictures and can be manufactured very inexpensively.

 

March 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Medical imaging breakthrough uses light and sound to see microscopic details inside our bodies

From a November 22, 2010 Eureka news alert

New research in the FASEB Journal shows how combining photoacoustic tomography with gold nanobeacons allows researchers to see blood vessel formation in detail without a microscope

See it for yourself: a new breakthrough in imaging technology using a combination of light and sound will allow health care providers to see microscopic details inside the body. Access to this level of detail potentially eliminates the need for some invasive biopsies, but it also has the potential to help health care providers make diagnoses earlier than ever before—even before symptoms arise. Details describing this advance are published online in the FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org/content/early/2010/11/19/fj.10-171728.abstract).

In the online research report, researchers from St. Louis describe how they combined photoacoustic tomography (PAT) with gold nanobeacons (GNB) to achieve an unprecedented level of imaging detail. Specifically, the researchers were able to identify the first signs of new blood vessel growth, which is necessary for new tumors to form. Specifically, not only were the newest blood vessels with initial blood flow imaged, but pre-vessel formation of inter-vessel bridges and vessel off-shoot sprouts in which blood flow had yet to begin also were captured. This is the first time that the angiogenic process was imaged in such clear detail without a microscope. The scientists anticipate that the combined use of PAT and GNB will be able to further pinpoint precise molecular disease markers.

According to one of the researchers involved in the work, Dipanjan Pan, Ph.D. from the Consortium for Translational Research in Advanced Imaging and Nanomedicine at the Washington University School of Medicine, “This study further establishes the opportunity provided by molecular imaging and photoacoustic tomography to identify, characterize, and guide the rational management of high-risk patients with life-threatening disease earlier when treatment is the most likely to help and quality of life is best preserved.”

To make this advance, the researchers implanted mice with a gel (Matrigel™) that stimulates natural capillary formation, mimicking the same process occurring in an aggressive cancer or unstable atherosclerotic plaque. Then they used GNB to target a prominent molecular indicator of proliferating new vessels. Unlike common ultrasound techniques that send in a sound wave and “listen” for the echo, PAT sends in a light beam that excites and warms certain proteins, such as the hemoglobin in red blood cells. The minutely heated proteins emit a sound wave that is then detected by the ultrasound transducer.

“This type of imaging verges on Star Trek territory,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal. “We’re now exploring inner space with tools developed for outer space.

Early tumors and latent infections give rise to microscopic changes in blood vessels that no one could pick up until this technique came along. It’s the new age of nanomedicine.”

 

November 23, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: