Health Highlights: May 16, 201105/16/11
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Obesity Linked to Worsening of Prostate Cancer
Obese men with prostate cancer appear to have a higher risk of
the cancer spreading, even after they've been treated with
tumor-suppressing hormone therapy, a new study finds.
Researchers from Duke University in Durham, N.C., focused on 287
men who had undergone prostate removal surgery at one of five
Veterans Affairs hospitals between 1988 and 2009. The tumors
reappeared, at which point the patients also got androgen
deprivation therapy, aimed at starving the tumor of testosterone,
which helps fuel prostate cancer's growth.
Reporting Sunday at the annual meeting of the American
Urological Association in Washington, D.C., the research team found
that men who were overweight had triple the odds of cancer
progressing compared to normal-weight men, and the risk jumped
five-fold in obese men. The weight-related increase in risk was
similar when the researchers looked at tumors spreading to the
It's not clear why overweight or obese men fare so much worse,
but "we think perhaps obese men may require additional androgen
deprivation therapy," study lead author Dr. Christopher J. Keto, a
urologic fellow at Duke University Medical Center, said in a
university news release. "The dose [for men with prostate cancer]
is the same regardless of weight, while most drugs are dosed
according to weight," he pointed out.
'Fat Control' Gene Inherited From Mothers: Study
A gene inherited from mothers may determine whether their
children will be fat, a new study suggests.
Scientists assessed 850 twins and concluded that the KLF14 gene
influences the behavior of other genes that play a role in insulin
and glucose levels, body mass index, and cholesterol, Britain's
Daily Mirror reported.
Controlling the gene may lead to new ways to treat obesity,
heart disease and diabetes, the researchers said.
"We are working hard right now to understand how we can use this information to improve treatment of these conditions," study co-leader Professor Mark McCarthy of Oxford University told the Mirror.
The study appears in the journal
Study Outlines Shorter TB Treatment
A combination of pills can treat tuberculosis patients who
aren't infectious in just three months instead of nine, which makes
it much more likely that they'll complete their treatment, a new
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study was
presented Monday at the American Thoracic Society International
Conference in Denver.
About 82 percent of the people in the three-month group
completed the full treatment, compared to just 69 percent on the
nine-month regimen, the
Associated Press said.
Only seven cases of TB disease developed in people on the
three-month treatment, compared with 15 in the standard group, the
news services said.
The CDC says more than 11 million Americans have latent TB,
which means they're infected with the TB bacteria but aren't
infectious and don't have symptoms, the
Setback for Skin-Derived Stem Cells
A new study says stem cells made from a patient's skin cells
might be rejected by the patient's immune system, an unexpected
setback for what had been seen as a promising way to treat a wide
variety of diseases.
These types of stem cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells
(iPS cells), were first created in 2007 and caused a sensation
because it was believed they had two major advantages over
embryonic stem cells -- they didn't require the destruction of
human embryos and they presumably would not be rejected by a
patient's immune system,
The New York Times reported.
But this University of California, San Diego study published
online in the journal
Nature was the first to test the belief that iPS cells would
be accepted by the patient's immune system. The results surprised
stem cell scientists.
The finding "happened to be a particularly startling result that
I wasn't anticipating," Dr. George Q. Daley, director of the stem
cell transplantation program at Children's Hospital Boston, told
"As with any new technology, there is always this initial phase of infatuation, and then the reality sets in," Daley said. "I think it goes to the heart of the issue of how ignorant we really are in understanding these cells."
While the study was conducted in mice, some scientists believe
the results would hold true for humans, the
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