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Dec 22, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- LASER ZAPS ACNE

Researchers say people with acne have a new weapon against the unsightly skin condition: a laser. The Smoothbeam Laser, approved by the Food and Drug Administration, goes to the root of the problem, they say. "Considering the fact that over 80 percent of the general population suffers from acne, the condition is the No. 1 reason patients see dermatologists," said principal researcher Dr. Paul Friedman of DermSurgery Associates in Houston. Acne is caused by enlarged sebaceous follicles, which contain the troublesome oil-producing sebaceous glands. Unlike traditional oral and topical acne treatments, the laser offers a long-term solution by altering the structure and function of these glands, reducing acne without significant side effects, Friedman said.


Scientists say Iressa, a drug being studied as a treatment for lung cancer, may also help prevent breast cancers that fail to respond to hormones. The laboratory and animal tests point to the preventive power of the drug, used alone or in combination with other treatments, says Dr. Powel Brown of the Breast Center at Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital. Reporting in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Brown and his team note Iressa, or gefitinib, prevents a cell from growing and dividing, as it is wont to do in cancer. "Our studies also give support to research that would lead to the development of new (drugs) that could specifically target the prevention of breast cancer," Brown said.


Keeping the heart and lungs fit in early adulthood minimizes the chance of developing high blood pressure and diabetes in middle age, studies suggest. The two conditions are major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute also reports staying fit reduces the threat of the metabolic syndrome, a collection of risk factors that includes excess abdominal fat, elevated blood pressure and

triglycerides, and low levels of the high-density lipoprotein, the "good" cholesterol. The researchers found improving fitness in healthy young adults can cut by 50 percent the risk for diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.


Researchers say a vitamin and mineral supplement for eyes may benefit seniors facing vision loss from age-related macular degeneration. The degenerative retinal disease can cause a loss of central vision. AMD, which affects some 13 million Americans, is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 65, and the leading cause of severe vision loss in those over age 55. In a nine-year study by Duke University researchers, the incidence of AMD among seniors increased more than five-fold, from 5 percent to 27 percent. There is no cure for AMD, but the 10-year study indicates a special formulation of high-potency vitamin and minerals may help preserve sight by reducing the risk of progression to advanced AMD by 25 percent and reducing the risk of associated vision loss by 19 percent. The researchers tested Ocuvite PreserVisionO eye vitamin and mineral supplement.


(EDITORS: For more information about ACNE, contact Bretton Holmes at (830) 627-1777. For BREAST, Kimberlee Barbour at (713) 798-7971 or For HEART, (301) 496-4236. For EYES, Elizabeth Crown at (312) 503-8928)

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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