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Posted - Oct. 23, 2003 at 10:40 a.m.



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Oct 23, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- HIGH DOSE RADIATION FOR PROSTATE CANCER

High doses of radiation may be recommended for men with clinically localized prostate cancer. In a 10-year study at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, researchers found men treated with heavy doses of 3-D conformal radiation therapy remained relapse-free with minimal side effects. "Radiation dose has a significant impact on the outcome of patients. ... We continue to observe that even higher doses have further improved cure rates for patients with localized prostate cancer," said radiation oncologist Dr. Steven Leibel. The lack of severe and cumulative side effects, such as rectal or bladder injury, is most significant for men suffering from the disease and faced with ongoing treatment choices. "This dispels the notion that as time goes on the side effects become more noticeable and patients are more at risk for developing long-term damage years out from treatment," said Dr. Michael Zelefsky.

HOW MUCH FORCE SHOULD A DOCTOR USE?

A new invention helps take the guesswork out of delivering babies for healthcare providers. Engineering students at Johns Hopkins University have invented a device to measure how hard a doctor or midwife is pulling during delivery. Until now, the delicate balance between pulling hard enough to assist a reluctant birth and avoiding injury to the baby has been a matter of feel. Injury can occur if the baby remains caught in the birth canal too long, or if too much pressure is exerted in its extraction. The new device, already being tested, transmits data from the doctor to a computer across the room. The inventors say the new technology also will provide useful feedback for doctors, and will help teach them the appropriate degree of force to apply.

HEART ATTACK VICTIMS RELUCTANT TO EXERCISE

Despite the scare of a serious heart attack, many people do not stick to prescribed exercise programs. A study at Case Western Reserve University finds that among 83 patients recovering form heart attacks, bypass surgery or angioplasty, after basic treatment 12 patients or 14 percent did not exercise at all over the next year, and among all other participants exercise enthusiasm waned over the course of the year. "Either they don't understand what is considered aerobic exercise, or we've designed a program for them that's so uncomfortable that they're not doing it," said lead author Shirley M. Moore. Although reluctance to exercise is not uncommon, the trend among people recovering from heart attacks surprised researchers.

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS LINKED TO IRON DEPOSITS

New research implicates deposits of toxic iron in the brain as a major cause of multiple sclerosis. Characterized by mental impairment and difficulty with ordinary physical tasks, such as walking, MS already is linked to atrophy in the brain's white matter. "Traditionally, we thought MS was strictly a 'white matter disease,' involving the brain's neural pathways that allow various gray-matter structures to communicate with each other," said neurologist Dr. Rohit Bakshi. The new study is important because it shows damage also occurs from iron deposits in grey matter, he said. The new findings may help direct future treatment of MS.

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(EDITORS: For more information on RADIATION contact Esther Carver at (212) 639-3573 or mediastaff@mskcc.org. For FORCE contact Phil Sneiderman at (410) 516-7907 or prs@jhu.edu. For HEART ATTACK contact Jeffrey Bendix at (216) 368-6070 or JXB34@po.cwru.edu. For MS contact Lois Baker at (716) 645-5000 ext 1417 or ljbaker@buffalo.edu.)

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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