Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Doctors should check blood pressure on both arms: study

I don't think a lot of doctors are aware of this, or they don't buy it; I've had a recent check-up from our local company clinic, and the usual left-arm check was done... or maybe the situation doesn't call for it... maybe...

Posted: 30 January 2012
A man has his blood pressure checked by a nurse. (AFP Photo/Hector Retamal)
PARIS: Measuring blood pressure on both arms rather than only one can reveal an elevated risk of heart disease or even death, according to a study released on Monday.

In a review of medical literature, researchers at the University of Exeter found that a difference in the so-called systolic blood pressure between arms can be a useful indicator of the likelihood of heart trouble.

People with high blood pressure - also called hypertension - have an increased risk of developing heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and dementia, previous research has shown.

High blood pressure is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as 140 over 90 millimetres of mercury or more. Mercury is used in blood-pressure gauges.

The first number measures maximum heart pressure (systolic), while the second measures pressure when the heart is in a resting phase (diastolic).

Published in the British medical journal The Lancet, the findings suggest that both-arm blood pressure checks should become standard practice, the researchers said.

The probe reviewed 28 studies with data on the difference in systolic blood pressure between arms.

They concluded that a gap of 15mm of mercury or more was linked with an increased risk of the narrowing and hardening of the arteries that supply blood to the legs and feet.

It was also associated with pre-existing cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood supply to the brain and can contribute to dementia.

Above this threshold, death rates due to cardiovascular problems likewise went up.

Most such cases are "clinically silent" and double-arm checks would better identify those at risk, the study said.

- AFP/al

Taken from ChannelNewsAsia.com; source article is below:
Doctors should check blood pressure on both arms: study

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Ultrasound zaps could be used as male contraceptives: study

Posted: 30 January 2012

Test samples
WASHINGTON: Zapping testicles with ultrasound can reduce sperm counts and might be used in the future as an inexpensive, reliable and reversible male contraceptive, according to US researchers.

Scientists from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, who conducted experiments on male rats, issued their findings on Saturday in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology.

They said they were convinced that the method, if studied further, could be used on humans.

The team, led by Doctor James Tsuruta, found that by rotating high frequency (3MHz) ultrasound around the testicles, they were able to cause depletion of germ cells throughout the testes, the reports said.

The best results were seen using two ultrasound sessions of 15 minutes, two days apart.

Saline was used to provide conductivity between the ultrasound transducer and the skin, and the testes were warmed to 37 degrees Celsius (almost 99 degrees Fahrenheit), the study noted.

The procedure reduced the sperm count to zero, the researchers said.

Fertile men in normal conditions have more than 39 million sperms when they ejaculate.

The World Health Organization has defined low sperm concentration as less than 15 million sperms per millilitre.

"Unlike humans, rats remain fertile even with extremely low sperm counts," Tsuruta said. "However, our non-invasive ultrasound treatment reduced sperm reserves in rats far below levels normally seen in fertile men."

He said that further studies will be required to determine how long the contraceptive effect lasts and if it is safe to use multiple times.

- AFP/al

Taken from ChannelNewsAsia.com; source article is below:
Ultrasound zaps could be used as male contraceptives: study

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New lung cancer test predicts survival

Posted: 27 January 2012

The British medical journal The Lancet. (AFP Photo/Loic Venance)
PARIS: Clinical trials in the United States and China have shown that a new gene-based test for patients with lung cancer beats standard methods in predicting survival, researchers reported on Friday.

The findings, published in the British medical journal The Lancet, should help doctors to make more accurate prognoses and better choices for treatment, the scientists said.

Lung cancer is the most lethal type of the disease worldwide, claiming some 1.4 million lives - more than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined - each year.

The experimental test measures the activity of fourteen genes within cancerous tissue, and is especially effective is assessing a form called non-squamous non-small cell cancer, commonly brought on by tobacco use.

"This has the potential to help hundreds of thousands of people every year to survive longer," said David Jablons, the main architect of the study and a professor at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF).

Currently, doctors classify early-stage lung cancers by their size, location and microscopic profile.

Known as staging, this type of assessment guides decisions on the use of supplementary treatment - including chemotherapy - after cancerous tissue is removed.

A more precise prognosis would mean "more people who might benefit from additional therapy could receive it after surgery, before any residual cancer has had a chance to grow," Jablons explained in a statement.

Previous research has shown that chemotherapy given in early-stage lung cancer helps thwart recurrence when there is evidence of lymph node involvement.

The problem, however, is that this especially insidious form of the disease is hard to spot early on.

Only some 30 percent of patients in the United States, for example, are detected in the earliest stage, and even then survival is far from guaranteed - 35 to 45 percent of patients identified with Stage One lung cancer die within five years.

"The prognostic test would address the inability to identify these patients," Jablons said.

In the US trial, the new testing method - designed at UCSF and developed by the California-based company Pinpoint Genomics - used an algorithm to calculate the risk of death after examining the tissue of 361 patients at the UCSF Medical Centre as low, medium or high.

All of these patients had had surgery to treat non-squamous, non-cell lung cancer.

The algorithm was then applied to 433 other patients with the earliest stage of the same type of cancer, and their survival rate was monitored over five years.

The method accurately identified patients with high, intermediate and low risks of death, the researchers said.

A similar study in China, conducted by the China Clinical Trials Consortium, confirmed the results.

A disclosure notice in The Lancet notes that Jablons and several of the co-authors have paid consultant relationships with Pinpoint Genomics.

- AFP/de

Taken from ChannelNewsAsia.com; source article is below:
New lung cancer test predicts survival

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Oral HPV infections more common in men: study

This is my first post coming back, after a long time break doing a small web apps project...

Posted: 26 January 2012
HPV vaccination (AFP Photo/Getty Images/Joe Raedle)
WASHINGTON: Mouth and throat infections of a common sexually transmitted disease known as human papillomavirus, which can lead to cancer, are more common among men than women, said a US study on Thursday.

About seven percent of the US population age 14-69 has oral HPV, said the research in the Journal of the American Medical Association, with a prevalence rate of 10.1 percent among men and 3.6 percent among women.

The findings shed more light on a growing epidemic of HPV-linked head and neck cancers which are expected to eclipse cervical cancer cases by 2020, and could warrant clinical trials of an HPV vaccine against oral lesions, the study authors said.

Currently, the HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and boys as early as age nine and 10 to prevent cervical and anal cancers.

The study included 5,579 people who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2009-2010, and agreed to a 30-second oral rinse test at a mobile examination centre.

Oral HPV was found to be more prevalent among people who had more lifetime or recent sex partners, and was also more frequent in current smokers, heavy alcohol drinkers and among former and current marijuana users.

Peak rates of oral HPV among men were seen at age 60-64, with 11.4 percent of cases in that age range. The next highest oral HPV prevalence was seen in men age 30-34.

According to lead author Maura Gillison of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, the data suggests that a sexual link is likely the cause of the oral HPV infections that researchers saw.

"Taken together, these data indicate that transmission by casual, nonsexual contact is likely to be unusual," she wrote, urging more study in this area to establish what researchers call the "natural history" of a disease.

"Although oral HPV infection is the cause of a cancer that is increasing in incidence in the United States, little is known regarding the epidemiology of infection," Gillison wrote.

"Natural history studies of oral HPV infection are therefore necessary to understand the effects of age, sex, and modifiable risk factors (eg. smoking and sexual behavior) on the incidence and duration of oral HPV infection."

Oral cancers have "significantly increased over the last three decades in several countries and HPV has been directly implicated as the underlying cause," according to background information in the article.

Gillison, who has been studying HPV and cancer for 15 years, told a US science conference last year that when comparing people who have oral HPV to those who do not, "the single greatest factor is the number of partners on whom the person has performed oral sex."

People with oral HPV infections are 50 times more likely to get oral cancer than people who do not have HPV.

Researchers have found a 225-percent increase in oral cancer cases in the United States from 1974 to 2007, mainly among white men.

HPV is linked to almost 13,000 cases of cervical cancer yearly in US women, 4,300 of which are fatal. Researchers expect the number of oral cancer cases will surpass the number of cervical cancer cases in the next eight years.

The study was funded in part by the pharmaceutical giant Merck, which makes a vaccine against HPV.

Merck's Gardasil was approved for girls and women from age nine to 26 in June 2006 and for males in the same age range in October 2009.

- AFP/al

Taken from ChannelNewsAsia.com; source article is below:
Oral HPV infections more common in men: study

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