Welcome to today’s installment of Bioscience Bulletin, where we bring you the most popular headlines from the week. Chronic Stress Causes Brain Inflammation, Memory Loss Researchers from Ohio State University performed experiments on mice that suggest long-term stress can hurt short-term memory. The mice exposed to repeated stress couldn’t remember where the escape hole was in a maze they had previously mastered. The team also observed brain changes in the stressed mice, including inflammation associated with the presence of immune cells, known as macrophages. Herpes, Chlamydia Could Cause Alzheimer’s, Experts Say in Editorial Scientists are calling for more research and funding to look at Alzheimer’s potentially caused by the herpes virus and chlamydia bacteria. Authors of the editorial calling for more research said that it is known that Alzheimer’s disease has a dormant microbial component and that this microbial presence in blood may also play a pivotal role in causing systemic inflammation, characteristic of Alzheimer’s. Diet High in Certain Carbohydrates Could Increase Lung Cancer Risk A new study suggests people should avoid diets filled with foods with a high glycemic index (GI), such as white bread and bagels, because it could put them at a significantly higher risk of developing lung cancer. The team from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center surveyed 1,905 recently diagnosed lung cancer patients and compared them to 2,413 healthy individuals. They found that those with the highest daily GI had a 49 percent increased risk of lung cancer compared to those with the lowest daily GI. Breast Cancer Drug Combination Could Shrink Tumors in Days A new drug combination of Herceptin (trastuzumab) and lapatinib has had promising results, shrinking or even destroying tumors that are HER-2 positive within just 11 days before surgery. A recent study observed the tumor size in 257 women with breast cancer in the days between diagnosis and when they had their tumor removed. Women received either one drug, both drugs in combination, or no treatment before surgery. About a quarter of the 66 women who received both drugs had tumors that were too small for a second measurement before surgery. GMO Mosquito Gets Finding of 'No Significant Impact' from FDA The genetically engineered Aedes Aegypti male mosquito may be on its way to FDA approval. The mosquito breeds with females and produce offspring that do not live to adulthood. It could be a pway to spread the spread of disease such as Zika, dengue and yellow fever. The FDA announced preliminary findings of no significant impact, the agency said it was “pleased” with.
News Article | January 22, 2016
As the annual Mobile World Congress draws nearer to its schedule, several OEMs already revealed plans on launching their handsets at the event. While some companies consistently show up every year, others prefer holding their own organized event instead. This may be true for HTC this year. The company announced the HTC One M9 at the MWC 2015, but is now rumored to reveal the One M10 at a separate event. Some speculations suggest that HTC is simply not prepared to release the One M10 just yet. The company has already proposed quite a few prototypes of the device and even assigned it with the codename "Perfume." However, the said prototypes were allegedly rejected, leading the company to decide on redesigning the device. This will cause a delay in the handset's unveiling, which means that HTC will not be able to announce the One M10 at the MWC this year. The new HTC One M10 is purported to feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset, a 23-megapixel rear camera, a fingerprint scanner and a massive 3,000 mAh battery. Rumors say it will be the first HTC handset to earn an IP68 certification for water and dust resistance capabilities. Other notable features include HTC Sense 8.0 and Android 6.1 Marshmallow on the software side. Recently, HTC unveiled a pink version of its One A9 handset and made it initially available through its Taiwan-based site. However, the reason to release a pink One A9 should not in any way be compared with the release of a pink One M9 back in October. HTC said the pink One M9 was the company's own contribution to the Breast Cancer Awareness month. Since it was meant to highlight the month-long campaign, the One M9 device was made available to U.S. customers only until the end of October. With that said, it's safe to say HTC is again taking its own sweet time in adding the final touches to the One M10's new exterior. While this year's MWC is slated to occur in February, HTC is reportedly holding a dedicated event sometime in March for the launch of its next flagship. The One M10 device is scheduled to become available in April.
Women who have an average risk of breast cancer should have mammograms every two years from ages 50 to 74, according to the latest recommendations released today by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Women in this 50-to-74 age group are the most likely to benefit from regular breast cancer screenings, suggested the USPSTF, a 17-person, government-appointed panel of medical experts that makes recommendations on the effectiveness of preventive health services. Average-risk women in their 40s also may benefit from getting mammograms, but their overall likelihood of seeing a benefit is smaller, and the potential for harm is larger than for average-risk women age 50 and older, according to the USPSTF's recommendations, published online today (Jan. 11) in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. These latest USPSTF guidelines are basically the same as those the panel released in 2009. But since that time, there has been greater agreement among the guidelines of several major groups of experts, such as the American Cancer Society, the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians, said Dr. Albert Siu, chair of the task force and a professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. [6 Things Women Can Do to Lower Breast Cancer Risk] These groups have independently concluded that mammography is effective and that its benefits increase particularly in women age 50 and over, Siu told Live Science. All of the groups recognize that there is a role for starting mammograms in women in their 40s and support the idea of a personal, informed choice for women in this age group, he said. "The decision to start mammogram screening before age 50 should be an individual one" for average-risk women, the new guidelines state. In other words, women ages 40 to 49 should consider starting breast cancer screenings, but their doctors should inform them about the potential benefits and possible harms of the screening test so that they can weigh both sides in making their decision. After reviewing the newest scientific evidence on mammograms, the task force found that the number of deaths from breast cancer that the screening test can prevent in average-risk women under 50 is smaller than that in older women, and that the number of false-positive results and unnecessary biopsies is larger. A false positive is a result that suggests a woman may have cancer but additional testing and procedures later show that she does not. False-positive findings can be stressful and provoke anxiety, and they may lead to the possibility of overdiagnosis and overtreatment. Still, the task force supports the decision of women who want to start screening in their 40s, and the new guidelines note that the risk of problems from screening may increase decrease as women move from their early 40s to their late 40s, Siu said. Various organizations that make breast cancer recommendations have come to relatively similar conclusions in the areas where the science is fairly black and white, Siu said. Where the groups diverge is in their different interpretations of the gray areas, where studies have not been done, or the areas for which the groups weigh the benefits and risks differently, he said. For example, one gray area is whether average-risk women in the 45-to-55 age group should start mammograms and, if so, how frequently they should get them, he noted. Unlike the USPSTF recommendations to start mammograms at age 50 and rescreen every two years, the American Cancer Society advises women to begin mammograms at age 45 and to have them yearly until age 54. Then, at age 55, women should get mammograms every two years, according to the group's latest recommendations, released in 2015. Recommendations from other groups, such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (a worldwide alliance of cancer centers), call for yearly mammograms in average-risk women age 40 and older. The differing recommendations about when and how often to get mammograms can leave women feeling confused, but ultimately, the decision all boils down to personal choice and consideration of the benefits and risks, Siu said.
Teenage girls and young women who eat a lot of foods high in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, may have a lower risk of breast cancer later in life, a new study suggests. The researchers found that the women who consumed high amounts of fiber during early adulthood had a 12 to 19 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer over the 20-year study, compared with the women who consumed very little fiber in early adulthood. And the women who consumed high amounts of fiber during their teenage years had a 24 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer before menopause, compared with those who consumed little fiber as teens. "This study reminds us the role of early-life diet on health in later life," said lead study author Maryam Farvid, a scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "Women are doing themselves a huge favor in terms of breast cancer prevention if they increase the amount of dietary fiber intake earlier in life rather than later." In the study, the researchers looked at data from more than 90,500 women ages 27 to 44 about what they normally ate, and followed them for 20 years. At one point during the study, they also asked the women about their diets during high school. [6 Things Women Can Do to Lower Breast Cancer Risk] During the course of the study, 2,833 of the women were diagnosed with breast cancer. The researchers found that the more fiber the women consumed, the lower their risk of cancer was. The results showed that "each additional 10 grams of fiber intake per day — for example, about one apple and two slices of whole wheat bread, or about half a cup of whole grain pasta with half a cup of cooked kidney beans — during adolescence reduces the risk of breast cancer by 14 percent," Farvid said. Therefore, the new findings suggest that "choosing a high-fiber diet to obtain the recommended 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily in early life may substantially reduce the risk of breast cancer in midlife for women," she told Live Science. The study found an association, and not a cause-and-effect relationship, between eating fiber and having a lower risk of breast cancer, and it's not clear what mechanism might link the two. But the researchers said they suspect that fiber may help to reduce high levels of estrogen in the blood, which have been linked with the development of breast cancer. "From many other studies, we know that breast tissue is particularly influenced by carcinogens and anti-carcinogens during childhood and adolescence," study co-author Dr. Walter Willett, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a statement. "We now have evidence that what we feed our children during this period of life is also an important factor in future cancer risk." The new study was published today (Feb. 1) in the journal Pediatrics. Copyright 2016 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Researchers developed a pill that lights up cancerous tumors in a mouse's breast tissue under near-infrared light. Credit: Thurber lab The ongoing debate about breast cancer diagnostics has left many women confused—particularly over what age they should get mammograms and who needs treatment. An issue with current methods is that they often identify lumps but cannot conclusively pinpoint which ones are cancerous. To help resolve this uncertainty, researchers have developed a pill that could improve imaging techniques so that only cancerous tumors light up. Today, the researchers report their diagnostic approach at the 251st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). "There's a lot of controversy right now about when patients should start screening for breast cancer," says Greg Thurber, Ph.D. "Screening can potentially catch the disease early in some patients, but false positives can lead to unnecessary, aggressive treatments in patients who don't need them. We don't know how to select the right patients to treat. Our work could help change that." Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women. Mammograms, the current standard for screening, are X-rays of breast tissue. They give doctors information about a lump's location and size, but they can't distinguish between cancerous and benign growths. To find out more, doctors have to take a biopsy, which can involve needles or surgery. Biopsies, however, aren't 100 percent conclusive. When suspicious lumps are found, doctors and patients will often opt for treatment ranging from surgery to radiation or chemotherapy, which can take months and cause serious side effects. To better weed out patients who don't really need treatment, Thurber's team from the University of Michigan developed an oral pill containing an imaging agent that selectively binds to cancer cells or blood vessels that are unique to tumors. Once attached to its target, the dye fluoresces under near-infrared light. Although at this wavelength, fluorescent tumors can only be detected 1 to 2 centimeters deep, Thurber says given the elasticity of breast tissue, pairing his technique with ultrasound in the same instrument should be able to detect most cancers. Testing in mice showed that with the proper formulation, a considerable proportion—50 to 60 percent—of the agent gets absorbed into the bloodstream. It also binds specifically to cancer cells with little background noise in the image. That is, the fluorescent signal from the tumor was far stronger than the signal from the surrounding tissue. If his team succeeds in formulating the pill for human patients, Thurber says the high image contrast should bode well for women with dense breast tissue whose mammograms are difficult to read. Additionally, Thurber is designing the agent to specifically seek out aggressive tumors, an approach that could distinguish them from slow-growing cancers such as ductal carcinoma in situ, a noninvasive breast cancer. Now Thurber is coupling the probe with molecules to make it easier for human patients to absorb. Predicting when his agent might go into human clinical trials is difficult, he says. However, the dye is already used in Europe for other clinical applications, which could help speed the approval process in the U.S. Explore further: New approach to mammograms could improve reliability More information: Disease Screening Pill for Breast Cancer: In Vivo Demonstration of an Orally Available Near-Infrared Molecular Imaging Agent Using Mouse Xenografts, the 251st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), 2016.