Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Predicting Prostate Cancer With 98% Accuracy

Most often, conventional methods of diagnosing cancer are inadequate because cancer usually spreads at a microscopic level. In a new study at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, researchers found a new blood biomarker that can predict the spread of prostate cancer with 98% accuracy.

The new procedure could help medical practitioners in predicting the spread of prostate cancer from the solid tumor site into the regional lymph nodes by measuring endoglin levels in a patient's blood. The same endoglin is the plasma biomarker that has previously helped predict the spread of colon and breast cancer.

Methods currently used to predict spread of prostate cancer are Gleason grade, prostate specific antigen, and rectal exam. However, these procedures are not adequate enough to predict which cancer will spread when lymph nodes metastases are small, but clinically significant.

While pelvic lymphadenectomy is a procedure that can provide significant staging and prognostic details, it is not universally practiced on all patients. This procedure may take so much time with potential morbidity. That is why it is important to have an accurate blood marker to identify patients who will be qualified to undergo lymphadenectomy, thus sparing patients who are at low risk.

Contributed By: Monch Bravante

Friday, March 26, 2010

Detecting Alzheimer's Disease With High Accuracy

It's sad to think that as we get older, there is a chance that we may get afflicted with Alzheimer's disease – the loss of memory and mental abilities. While the condition is not a regular component of normal aging, the risk of acquiring it increases with old age.

There is no known cure yet for Alzheimer's disease, only treatments that can help improve the quality of life for those with the disease. In 2009, major advances were made in the area of accurate diagnosis of the condition. Experts from UCLA have come up with a reliable blood test for detecting Alzheimer's. Over at Mayo Clinic, MRI imaging of changes in brain activity has been analyzed with an accuracy of almost 80%.

The most accurate method, however, is developed at West Virginia University where defective memory enzymes are detected with 98% accuracy by just pricking a finger. Also, they discovered that low doses of bryostatin, a drug used in chemotherapy, can help reactivate the defective enzymes. The stage is now being set for human clinical trials to start this 2010.

Contributed By: Monch Bravante

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Heart Surgery Procedures

When serious heart conditions occur,surgeons require heart surgery to correct the problem before it becomes too late. Some of the reasons for heart surgery are:

1. Repair or replacement of heart valves that control blood flow
2. Repair of abnormal or damaged structures in the heart
3. Implant of medical devices to regulate heart rhythms or support blood flow and heart function
4. Replacement of a damaged heart with a healthy heart from a donor

One of the most commonly performed heart procedures is open heart surgery, whereby the chest wall is opened to expose the heart and the patient is connected to a heart-lung bypass machine.

Some heart surgery procedures don't require cutting open through the breastbone. Instead, only smaller incisions are made on the chest directly on top of the heart area. Other procedures don't use heart-lung bypass machine. Recently, surgeons perform heart surgery outside of the patient's body.

Experts are comparing these non-traditional procedures with the traditional method of open heart surgery to know which is better in reducing risks and faster recovery time.

Contributed By: Monch Bravante

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tips To Ease Computer Vision Syndrome

In this advanced age of information highway, computer eye strain is fast becoming a major health concern among office workers. Based on studies, computer-related visual problems comprised 50% to 90% of ailments complained about by computer workers such as decreased productivity, physical fatigue, and increased numbers of work mistakes.

To reduce chances of experiencing computer vision syndrome (CVS) and other symptoms of computer eye strain, here are some practicals:

1. For upstart, have an eye exam before starting on the job and do it in an annual basis.

2. Proper lighting means reducing interior and exterior light sources. Use blinds or drapes to eliminate exterior lights. Minimize bulbs and fluorescent tubes and use low-intensity lighting fixtures.

3. Installing anti-glare screen on your monitor can reduce, if not eliminate, reflections on walls and surfaces with glossy finished. Better yet, repaint these surfaces with dark hues and a matte finish.

4. Upgrade your monitor to a flat-panel liquid crystal display (LCD) with at least 19-inch (diagonal) screen size.

5. Adjust the brightness and contrast of your computer screen in relation to the lighting of the work surroundings. Optimize text size and color for eye comfort.

Contributed By: Monch Bravante