Mens Health | Womens Health News

Monday, October 31, 2005

Record number of US unmarried women give birth

More unmarried women in the USA are having babies than ever before. This does not mean more teens, it just means more unmarried women. In fact, teens having babies only make up 24% of that total - in 1970 half of all unmarried mothers giving births were teens. The age group that has seen the biggest rise in unmarried births is 25-29... click link for more info.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Structure of key cancer drug target identified

Researchers from Monash's Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology have determined the structure of the protein JAK2 kinase, a discovery with huge implications for the design and development of new cancer drugs. NHMRC Industry Research Fellow Dr Isabelle Lucet, from Monash's Protein Crystallography Unit headed by Dr Jamie Rossjohn, was part of the team that determined the structure... click link for more info.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

McDonald’s to add nutrition data to packaging

By mid-2006 most McDonald’s food packaging, such as the wrappers and boxes for hamburgers, will include basic nutritional information. Yesterday’s announcement confirms the key elements of industry rumors that CalorieLab Calorie Counter News reported here on October 5.

Each food package will contain a small infographic showing the amount of calories, protein, carbohydrates, fat, and sodium, indicated both in units and in the percentage of the Food and Drug Administration’s Daily Reference Values for a 2,000 calorie diet. As shown in the diagram below, the infographic will include a user-friendly bar chart displaying the percentage of the DRV that is contained in the item.

The announcement was met with praise by most nutrition and health authorities. However Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest quibbled that the packaging would not break out saturated and trans fat from the overall fat figure. And public interest law activist Professor John Banzhaf of George Washington University Law School expressed concern that the values to be displayed were based only on a 2,000 calorie diet. This exceeds the calorie needs of small children, who represent a significant segment of McDonald’s customers. The 2,000 calorie level is the standard for Nutrition Facts food labels for packaged food, and represents the average daily calorie needs of postmenopausal women. Men and active younger women usually need more calories, while children below 10 years of age may need fewer, depending on activity levels.

Both Jacobson and Banzhaf complained that customers would not see the nutritional information until after ordering their food, preventing comparison of items. In addition, customers who order multiple items need to add up the values themselves.

A spokeswoman for Burger King told the New York Times that they had no plans to add nutritional labels to their packaging. For the benefit of Burger King customers CalorieLab Calorie Counter News took the liberty in the diagram above to use the nutritional data for the Burger King Enormous Omelet Sandwich, formatted according to the new McDonald’s packaging standards.

Polly Wanna Crack Down on Avian Flu?

2005_10_health_polly2.gifIt's funny how much more attention the Avian Flu is getting now that a parrot has died from the virus in London. The disease felt more distant and exotic when it was just knocking off hens and roosters in the crowded marketplaces and butcheries of Asia. And now that several swans, other darlings of the bird world, have fallen ill in Romania, the public's interest (and fear) will continue to grow.

As part of the most recent frenzy over the disease on our own homefront, a lab outside of Albany has been examining hundreds of New York City bird cadavers for possible infection. Of the 360 birds examined so far, none has been found to be a carrier. With its tremendous poultry market, New York City is estimated to be one of the top 5 cities in America that would be affected by the virus if it were to make its way over here. Worse yet would be if the virus were to mutate and make the jump to humans. But while about 60 people have died from the illness worldwide, only 1 is confirmed to have caught it from another human. This puts a New Yorker's chance of getting sick as VERY LOW confirming the World Health Organization's advice to just stay informed and relax.

Check out this BBC map which shows where the virus is these days.

Image from

[via Blogdigger search for health science]

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Testosterone therapy improves sexual function in post-menopausal women

The addition of testosterone to hormone therapy in women after menopause enhances their sexual function. However, it may also reduce HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) in women, according to a systematic review of current evidence. "If the reduction in HDL had been associated with an increase in triglycerides [fatty acids] or LDL cholesterol it would be of great concern," said Dr... click link for more info.

Monday, October 24, 2005

New tumor vessels require macrophages to bud

Inflammatory angiogenesis is a critical process in tumor progression and other diseases. The inflammatory cytokine IL-1beta promotes angiogenesis, tumor growth, and metastasis, but its mechanisms remained unclear. In a paper appearing online on October 20 in advance of print publication of the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Mayumi Ono and colleagues from Kyushu University examined the association between IL-1beta-induced angiogenesis and cell inflammation... click link for more info.

Wearables For Health did a report on health monitors recently, which many would like to be a ubiquitous part of their lives. These devices are becoming more and more portable, from arm bands, to fabric embedded electronics.

Fabric-embedded electronics are no longer science fiction and the health industry in particular seem keen to develop its potential, perhaps because 'gear' is already an integral part of it.

A product that now is taking off is a "stress band", which is worn on the arm and collects data on the wearer's physical state. Until recently, the band was a research tool used to measure the stress in drivers but now, the Fitness Group Apex are promoting the band for consumers as a weight-loss monitoring tool.

Similarly, a shirt developed some years ago by VivoMetrics - which collects and analyzes its wearer's respiration flow, heart rate, and other key metrics - is already used in top medical schools and drug companies. The garment, which collects and analyzes its wearer's respiration flow, heart rate, and other key metrics, can allow researchers to see in real time whether a new treatment is working.

This article also gets into the real guts of smart fabrics with this paragraph about developments over the last two years:

DuPont created new fibers called Aracon, made of Kevlar, that are superstrong, can conduct electricity, and can be woven into ordinary-looking clothes. And chipmaker Infineon developed chip packaging allowing wearable computers to be washed, even in the heavy-duty cycle.

[via Blogdigger search for health science]

Sirolimus-eluting Coronary Stent outperforms paclitaxel eluting stent in seven study meta-analysis

The most comprehensive and detailed analysis conducted to date of drug-eluting stent comparative trials shows a marked difference in the rate of target lesion revascularization (TLR) and restenosis in patients who received the CYPHER® Stent vs. the Taxus Stent in seven studies totaling 4,214 patients... click link for more info.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Good Medicine

BBC ImageBBC Medical Science -- The drug Herceptin cuts the risk of tumours returning in women with early stage breast cancer by 50%, a US study has shown. A second study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed Herceptin can also reduce cancer recurrence when combined with a chemotherapy drug. A leading cancer expert called the studies' findings "stunning". But they will increase pressure on regulators to make Herceptin available for early as well as advanced cancers. Herceptin, which also has the generic name traztuzumab, targets a protein called HER2, which appears to be over-abundant in some women's breast cancers. An estimated fifth of breast cancer cases - around 10,000 women in the UK - are HER2 positive. Roche, which makes Herceptin, has to submit an application to European regulators before the drug can be licensed for use in early-stage disease. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence then has to give its approval for the drug to be prescribed on the NHS. The government has said this process should be fast-tracked. But it is likely to be next spring before Herceptin goes through all these regulatory hoops. Until then, it will be up to primary care trusts to decide if they will fund the treatment for women, which can cost £30,000 a year. On Tuesday, PCTs in Devon and Cornwall announced they would fund the treatment, and last month Barbara Clark won her battle to persuade Somerset PCT to pay for her to have the drug. (10/19/05)

Prototype Bird Flu Vaccine Promising

Public Health ScientistsBBC Medical Science -- Hungary's health minister says a bird flu vaccine appears to be effective in early tests. The trial jab appears to protect humans and animals against the lethal H5N1 virus, preliminary results show. Testing of H5N1 vaccines are also is under way in other countries, including Britain and the US. However, the real fear is that H5N1 will mutate and trigger a human pandemic and such trial vaccines may not work in these circumstances. Experts estimate that it would take four-to-six months from the time a pandemic flu strain emerges to develop and manufacture a bespoke vaccine. At present, H5N1 flu strain poses only a limited threat to humans as it cannot spread easily between people. Experts say it is only a matter of time before the strain acquires this ability, causing a flu pandemic which could kill as many as 50,000 people in the UK. Hungary's health minister Jenö Rácz was among several dozen Hungarians who underwent tests of the trial H5N1 vaccine. He said: "The results are preliminary but I can say with 99.9% certainty that the vaccine works." UK ministers have arranged for 2-3 million doses of a H5N1 vaccine to be available, which could offer some protection against the virus. This could be given to people at particularly high risk of infection, such as health care workers. Researchers would also be able to carry out further clinical studies on the H5N1 vaccine to learn more about how it works against the virus and how effective it could be. The Department of Health is also stockpiling 14.6 million doses of the antiviral drug Tamiflu which works by reducing the symptoms and the risk of a carrier passing on the virus. (10/20/05)