New method enables drug target validation for COPD treatment
Together with clinical partners, a team led by Dr. Dr. Melanie Königshoff and the doctoral student Franziska Uhl at the Comprehensive Pneumology Center of Helmholtz Zentrum München have investigated, for the first time, the suitability of Wnt/beta-catenin
activation to initiate repair in patient-derived COPD lung tissue. To achieve this, the researchers used a variety of chemical, biological and imaging techniques.
“In our study we showed that activation of the Wnt / beta-catenin ** - signaling pathway induces lung tissue repair, depending on the patient’s stage of COPD,” said Königshoff. The method developed by her team represents a powerful new tool for pathological assessment, drug validation, and mechanistic studies in patient-derived lung tissue, which will open novel avenues for successful clinical translation and precision medicine.
New method represents important advancement
“Previously, studies largely relied on animal models, and cell cultures in the petri dish were limited to two dimensions and individual time points,” said Uhl.
Can cheap wine taste great? Brain imaging and marketing placebo effects
When consumers taste cheap wine and rate it highly because they believe it is expensive, is it because prejudice has blinded them to the actual taste, or has prejudice actually changed their brain function, causing them to experience the cheap wine in the same physical way as the expensive wine? Research in the Journal of Marketing Research has shown that preconceived beliefs may create a placebo effect so strong that the actual chemistry of the brain changes.
“Studies have shown that people enjoy identical products such as wine or chocolate more if they have a higher price tag,” write authors Hilke Plassmann (INSEAD) and Bernd Weber (University of Bonn). “However, almost no research has examined the neural and psychological processes required for such marketing placebo effects to occur.”
Participants in one of the studies were told they would consume five wines ($90, $45, $35, $10, $5) while their brains were scanned using an MRI. In reality, subjects consumed only three different wines with two different prices. Another experiment used labels to generate positive (“organic”) or negative (“light”) expectations of the pleasantness of a milkshake. Some consumed identical milkshakes but thought they would be either organic or regular; others consumed identical milkshakes but thought they would be either light or regular.
Baclofen shows promise in patients with alcohol-induced liver disease
Results revealed today at The International Liver Congress™ 2015, show that in patients with alcohol-induced liver disease (ALD), Baclofen has a positive impact on alcohol consumption and overall measures of liver function and harm.
ALD is a major cause of alcohol-related mortality and helping patients with ALD to stop drinking is a primary goal of treatment. The primary aim of this study was to measure the effectiveness and tolerability of Baclofen in maintaining abstinence in this difficult to treat group, and to determine if this resulted in a reduction in standard measures of liver damage.
The results show promising outcomes for these patients, helping them to reduce their alcohol consumption as well as improving overall indicators of liver function and lowering physical dependence. A randomised controlled trial is now needed to confirm the benefit of Baclofen in this patient group.
About The International Liver Congress
This annual congress is the biggest event in the EASL calendar, attracting scientific and medical experts from around the world to learn about the latest in liver research.
Many European countries ill-prepared to prevent and control the spread of viral hepatitis
Many countries in the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region are facing limitations in conducting chronic viral hepatitis disease surveillance, assessing the burden of disease and measuring the impact of interventions, according to results revealed today at The International Liver Congress™ 2015.
The study highlights that less than one-third (27%) of WHO European Member States have national strategies in place that contain a surveillance component. Furthermore, only 64% have a national surveillance system for chronic hepatitis B and 61% for chronic hepatitis C.
The study also reveals the main areas in which governments would like the WHO’s support:
Development of national plans for viral hepatitis prevention and control (39%)
Estimation of the national burden of viral hepatitis (34%)
What’s the life expectancy of patients when they begin treatment for osteoporosis?
Despite reports that people with osteoporosis have an increased risk of dying prematurely, a new study has found that life expectancy of newly diagnosed and treated osteoporosis patients is in excess of 15 years in women below the age of 75 and in men below the age of 60.
In more detailed analyses, the residual life expectancy after beginning osteoporosis treatment was estimated to be 18.2 years in a 50-year-old man and 7.5 years in a 75-year old man. Estimates in women were 26.4 years and 13.5 years. The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research study included 58,637 patients with osteoporosis and 225,084 age- and gender-matched controls. Information on deaths until the end of 2013 was retrieved, providing a follow-up period of 10 to 17 years.
Addressing the needs of young women with disorders of sex development
Disorders of sex development are lifelong conditions that are usually diagnosed at birth or during adolescence. In a recent study of 13 teenaged girls with disorders of sex development, the girls were guarded and reticent about sharing personal information about their disorder during adolescence, but some of them learned to engage in conversations with more confidence as they moved towards adulthood.
The participants noted that frustrations about their bodily differences and the limitations of their bodies limited physical spontaneity, impacted on their perceived sexual fulfillment, and hindered friendships or the possible formation of intimate partnerships. The young women wanted empathic, sensitive support from knowledgeable health professionals to help them understand their bodies.
Total annual hospital costs could be reduced by rapid candidemia identification
A new study describes a model that estimates the economic consequences of using the T2Candida® Panel (a novel diagnostic product that provides Candida detection) as an adjunct to the current blood culture-based diagnostic strategy in a high-risk hospital patient cohort. It estimates that a typical hospital could save as much as $5,858,448 in total annual hospital costs. The study was published online ahead of print in Future Microbiology.
Candida species are a lethal form of common bloodstream infections that cause sepsis. They are associated with high patient mortality and excess inpatient costs because growth-based detection of Candida can delay treatment decisions. Improvements in outcomes are dependent on early identification of candidemia and timely administration of appropriate antifungal therapy. The T2Candida Panel is the first diagnostic test to provide species-specific Candida detection and identification directly from whole blood in 3 to 5 hours, without the need for blood culture.
“We are greatly encouraged by the benefits these data show for the early detection of Candida with our T2Candida Panel,” said John McDonough, chief executive officer of T2 Biosystems. “The findings from this study demonstrate not only significant reduction in hospital costs, but most importantly, the potential to save so many patient lives by providing faster diagnostic results - supporting our goal of changing the paradigm in sepsis diagnosis. We look forward to working closely with the medical community to help implement this important change.”
UTMB develops new online tool for nurses
As tremendous advances are made in medicine, practitioners have new tools, but they also have more information to absorb and incorporate to provide evidence-based patient care: integrating best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient’s perspectives.
For the bedside nurse, this information can be lifesaving but time consuming. This has been a huge problem - until now.
The University of Texas Medical Branch has developed a new program that trains nurses how to pose questions that will point them to the needed information quickly. The Disciplined Clinical Inquiry - Evidence-Based Practice Literacy pathway is an online tool that helps nurses rapidly access filtered research evidence that present information in concise, easy to understand formats. An article describing this new program is available in the Journal for Nurses in Professional Development.
The EBP approach is becoming the “new normal” in patient care. UTMB’s online program offers a streamlined yet full education of the EBP skillset using online modules that take about three hours to learn. The standard DCI-EBP programs may take 50 hours to master.
Widespread agricultural contaminant impacts fish reproductive behavior
A common growth-promoting hormone used worldwide in the cattle industry has been found to affect the sexual behaviours of fish at a very low concentration in waterways - with potentially serious ecological and evolutionary consequences.
Researchers from Monash University, Australia in collaboration with researchers from Åbo Akademi University in Finland, have found that the steroid 17β-trenbolone - used on livestock to increase muscle growth - alters male reproductive behaviour in guppy fish (Poecilia reticulata).
This androgenic growth promoter is part of a group of contaminants called endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that enter the environment through a variety of sources - from discharge of household waste to agricultural run-off and industrial effluent.
Using trenbolone in livestock farming has been banned in the EU. However, in Denmark, researchers have measured high concentrations of it in gym sewage. Trenbolone is popular among bodybuilders. Trenbolone is used for example in the United States, Argentina and Australia.