Dr. Jesse Mills, Director of The Men’s Clinic at UCLA talks about what to expect during a first prostate checkup.
Staff Writer Jocelyn Kaiser joins Sarah to talk about a recent Science paper describing the results of a large study on a blood test for multiple types of cancer. The trial’s results suggest such a blood test combined with follow-up scans may help detect cancers early, but there is a danger of too many false positives.
And postdoctoral researcher Timo Reinhold of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research joins Sarah to talk about his paper on how the Sun is a lot less variable in its magnetic activity compared with similar stars—what does it mean that our Sun is a little bit boring?
From a Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News release:
“This proof of concept study demonstrates a new paradigm that measurement of blood proteins can accurately deliver health information that spans across numerous medical specialties and that should be actionable for patients and their healthcare providers,” said Peter Ganz, MD, co-leader of this study and the Maurice Eliaser distinguished professor of medicine at UCSF and director of the Center of Excellence in Vascular Research at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.
Specific patterns of protein levels in our blood could be used to provide a comprehensive “liquid health check” that gives a snapshot of health and potentially an indication of the likelihood that we will develop certain diseases or health risk factors in the future, according to research by scientists in the U.S. and U.K. working with SomaLogic. The results of their proof-of-concept study involving more than 16,000 participants, and published in Nature Medicine, showed that while the accuracy of models based on specific protein expression patterns varied, they were all either better predictors than models based on traditional risk factors, or would constitute more convenient and less expensive alternatives to traditional testing.
Study published in Nature Medicine: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-019-0665-2
To read more: https://www.genengnews.com/news/blood-based-liquid-health-check-beats-traditional-predictors-of-multiple-disease-risks/?utm_medium=newsletter&utm_source=GEN+Daily+News+Highlights&utm_content=01&utm_campaign=GEN+Daily+News+Highlights_20191203&oly_enc_id=5678C5137845J4Z
From a Harvard Heart Health online article:
For the study, nearly 8,300 people at risk for heart disease had fasting and nonfasting lipid profile tests done at least four weeks apart. (Fasting means they had nothing to eat or drink except water for at least eight hours before the test.) The differences in their total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol values were negligible. Triglyceride levels were modestly higher in the nonfasting samples.
Don’t want to skip breakfast before your cholesterol test? You probably don’t need to. A study published online May 28 by JAMA Internal Medicine adds to the evidence that fasting isn’t necessary before this common blood test, often referred to as a lipid profile.
To read more click on following link: https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/farewell-to-fasting-before-a-cholesterol-test
From a Washington University School of Medicine news release:
A blood test to detect the brain changes of early Alzheimer’s disease has moved one step closer to reality. Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report that they can measure levels of the Alzheimer’s protein amyloid beta in the blood and use such levels to predict whether the protein has accumulated in the brain. The findings represent a key step toward a blood test to diagnose people on track to develop the devastating disease before symptoms arise.
Up to two decades before people develop the characteristic memory loss and confusion of Alzheimer’s disease, damaging clumps of protein start to build up in their brains. Now, a blood test to detect such early brain changes has moved one step closer to clinical use.
Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report that they can measure levels of the Alzheimer’s protein amyloid beta in the blood and use such levels to predict whether the protein has accumulated in the brain. When blood amyloid levels are combined with two other major Alzheimer’s risk factors – age and the presence of the genetic variant APOE4 – people with early Alzheimer’s brain changes can be identified with 94% accuracy, the study found.
To read more click on following link: https://medicine.wustl.edu/news/blood-test-is-94-accurate-at-identifying-early-alzheimers-disease/
From a Harvard Medical School “Harvard Heart Letter”:
Chronic inflammation often begins with a similar cellular response but morphs into a lingering state that persists far longer. Toxins such as cigarette smoke or an excess of fat cells (especially around the belly area) can also trigger inflammation. So can the fatty plaque inside arteries, which causes inflammatory cells to cover and wall off the plaque from the flowing blood. But the plaque may rupture, mingle with blood, and form a clot. These clots are responsible for the majority of heart attacks and most strokes.
A buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque inside arteries — known as atherosclerosis — is the root cause of most heart attacks and strokes. Researchers have long recognized that chronic inflammation sparks this artery-damaging process (see “Understanding inflammation”). Now, they’re zeroing in on better ways to tackle that aspect of the problem.
Addressing inflammation is vital. Even when people take steps to lower their risks for heart disease, such as reducing their cholesterol and blood pressure, they may still face life-threatening cardiovascular events.
Click on following link to read more: https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/new-insights-about-inflammation
“The doctor asked whether he was sure that he had not taken anything else when he was sick? No acetaminophen? No herbs or supplements? The man was certain. Moreover, his labs were abnormal even before he took the antibiotics. The doctor hypothesized that the man’s liver had been a little inflamed from some minor injury — maybe a virus or other exposure — and the antibiotic, which is cleared through the liver, somehow added insult to injury.”
A few weeks before he got sick, he had blood tests for an application for life insurance. Days later, he heard from his doctor that his liver labs were a little off. There are enzymes in the liver that help with the organ’s work of cleansing the blood. When the liver is injured, these hardworking chemical assistants leak into the circulatory system. The levels of these enzymes, his doctor explained, were double what they should be.
Read more in the NY Times Magazine article by Lisa Sanders, M.D.: