Sleep Problems Triple Women’s Fibromyalgia Risk

Women plagued by sleep problems have more than triple the risk of developing the pain disorder fibromyalgia compared to their better-rested peers, a new study from Norway suggests.

The more often a woman experienced insomnia and other sleep problems, the more likely she was to have developed fibromyalgia 10 years later, according to the study, the largest to date to follow women who were initially free from chronic pain.

The findings imply that sleep problems may lead to fibromyalgia, but the researchers say the relationship isn’t so clear-cut. Although sleep deprivation has been shown in previous research to increase inflammation and reduce the body’s ability to manage pain, experts haven’t been able to draw a straight line from sleep difficulties to fibromyalgia.

“Sleep problems are just one factor that may contribute to the development of fibromyalgia,” says Paul J. Mork, Ph.D., a study coauthor and a researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, in Trondheim. “Fibromyalgia is a complex pain syndrome and there are numerous other factors that may contribute to the development of this illness.”

Doctors have long been aware of the link between poor sleep and fibromyalgia, a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain and tender points in the soft tissues. Fibromyalgia patients — more than 90 percent of whom are women — nearly always report trouble sleeping, while poor sleep is in turn associated with worse pain. (A 1975 experiment found that depriving healthy volunteers of sleep caused them to develop fibromyalgia-like symptoms.)

“In the clinic we really do see a reciprocal relationship between fibromyalgia and sleep quality,” says Lesley Arnold, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. “Pain can affect your sleep; it results in poor sleep for many patients, and that in turn increases the pain and results in the persistence of the problem.”

The new study, which was published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, included 12,350 women age 20 and older who had no fibromyalgia, muscle or bone pain, or other physical impairments when the study began, in the mid-1980s. When the researchers surveyed the women again, in the mid-1990s, roughly 3 percent reported that they had developed fibromyalgia.

At the study’s outset, roughly two-thirds of the women said they had no difficulty sleeping. Compared with that group, those who said they “sometimes” had trouble falling asleep or had any sleep disorder during the previous month had double the risk of developing fibromyalgia. The risk was three and a half times greater among those who said they “often or always” had sleep problems.

The link appeared to be especially strong among women age 45 and older. Women in that age group who reported often or always having sleep problems had a more than fivefold increased risk of fibromyalgia compared to sound sleepers, while the corresponding risk among younger women was just three times greater.

The study has some key shortcomings. The researchers relied on the women’s own assessment of their sleep problems and fibromyalgia symptoms, as opposed to official diagnoses. And though they took several potentially mitigating factors (such as body mass index, depression, and education levels) into account, they lacked data on anxiety, which has been linked to both sleep problems and fibromyalgia.

Other important factors that weren’t measured in the study include menopausal status and a history of physical or psychological trauma, says Carol A. Landis, a professor at the University of Washington School of Nursing, in Seattle. As many as 30 percent to 50 percent of women with fibromyalgia report a history of trauma, Landis says.

Still, “The weight of the evidence really supports the important role of sleep in fibromyalgia,” Arnold says. “We don’t always understand what the biological mechanisms are underlying that association between sleep and pain, but clearly there’s an important connection.”

Doctors and patients should be aware of this connection and should address sleep problems — especially unrefreshing sleep — to lower the risk of the patient developing chronic pain, Arnold says.

“Sleep problems should be taken seriously,” Mork says. “In addition to being a risk factor for fibromyalgia, sleep problems are also associated with increased risk of other chronic diseases,” such as heart disease, he adds. “Early detection and proper treatment may therefore reduce the risk of future chronic disease.”

Source:Heathy Living.


The Dairy Myth: “Milk Does a Body Good”

There is compelling evidence, now published in top scientific journals and some of which is decades old, showing that cows’ milk is associated, possibly even causally, with a wide variety of serious human ailments including various cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and an array of allergy-related diseases. And, this food contains no nutrients that cannot be better obtained from other far more nutritious and tasty foods.”

– Dr. Colin Campbell

“Due to the extreme processes that milk undergoes, as well as the high amounts of antibiotics, hormones, and genetically-modified substances that cows are continually exposed to, I can, with much certainty, say that there are real and eminent dangers associated with drinking milk from cows. All cows release toxins through their milk, as milk is a natural exit-portal for substances that the body cannot use.”

– Global Healing Center

“The countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis are the ones where people drink the most milk and have the most calcium in their diets. The connection between calcium consumption and bone health is actually very weak, and the connection between dairy consumption and bone health is almost nonexistent.”

– Amy Lanou, nutrition director for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C.

Diary consumption and its effects on the human body has been a subject of debate for quite awhile. With this article I would like to address the myth of dairy being good for our health.

Through mass media tools such as the “Got Milk?” campaign, we are led to believe that “milk does a body good” as they so eloquently state. Is this really the truth? Absolutely not!

“Milk is a high quality source of vitamin D and calcium.”: MYTH

This is entirely not true. Because of the fact that milk goes through a pasteurization process, which means it is heated to 71.7 degrees Celsius to ensure sterilization, almost all nutritional value is lost.  We have to understand that all organic matter has what you can call “life force energy”.  When organic liquid is subject to extreme temperatures such as pasteurization, this life force is destroyed as it debilitates the molecular structure of the milk. It actually destroys the calcium and vitamin D within the milk and as a result, it becomes a leaching agent and seeks to restore its original molecular structure. Animal proteins in dairy also have been found to leach calcium from the body. Upon consumption, dairy acidifies within the body and extracts calcium from our bones. The calcium acts as a neutralizer for the acid as the body tries to naturally balance its PH level. This process in turn results in being a major cause for cancer, osteoporosis, arthritis and other diseases.It’s also similar to the process with distilled water, as it is boiled and when consumed, leaches nutrients from the body that the water had contained before the distilling process occurred.

Now some people may say that raw milk is healthier to drink because is does not go through a pasteurization process, but it’s important to understand that at the infant stage, we carry active enzymes which are called “lactase” enzymes. These enzymes are used to break down lactose in milk so that it can be digested and used efficiently for energy. Through research, it has been shown that after the infant stage of approximately 3 years of age, lactase in the body begins to deplete as we are genetically programmed to no longer be dependent on our mother’s milk. Lactose intolerance is a result of lactase deficiency.  With this being said, it doesn’t matter whether we drink pasteurized or non-pasteurized milk, our bodies are not designed to break it down and digest it properly. Without the proper digestion process the body cannot utilize nutrients properly. If we understand that as we grow older, our bodies are designed to not digest milk does it really make sense to consume it? Large amounts of dairy such as milk and cheese can lead to poor health through the debilitation of our bones, teeth and organs and is an associated cause of various human diseases.


– Humans are the only species on the planet that drinks another species milk.

– Lactose intolerance affects more than 7 million Canadians (20% of the nations population). This is likely an underestimate as many individuals do not associate their symptoms with lactose-containing foods or are asymptomatic.

– More than 20 million Canadians suffer from digestive disorders every year.  (57% of the nations population)

– Digestive disorders cost $18 billion (in 2000) annually in health care costs and lost productivity.

– Canada has the highest incidence of gastrointestinal ulcers in the world and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in the world.

– Next to lung cancer, digestive cancers kill more Canadians than any other type of cancer. One out of every five new cancer cases in 2009 will involve the digestive tract. Colon cancer has the 2nd highest death rate of all cancers in Canada.

In knowing these facts, it shows us just how much our dietary habits affect our health and how we function on the planet. Even a simple change in our diet, such as stopping the consumption of dairy, could drastically reduce funding costs on national and global healthcare and result in a more vibrant and healthier population. This would allow us to move forward greatly in changing human society. Through feeling healthy and restoring the body to it’s natural balance and energetic flow, we will feel more at peace within ourselves and this will reflect in how we function and create our lives individually and collectively. Imagine a world full of healthy people…The energetic difference would be staggering!

Through the sharing and spreading of this information we hope that it will give people a perspective on dairy and consuming dairy products that they may not have had before. It can lead to major change if enough of us become aware of the effects that consuming dairy has on the body. If you have any concerns regarding calcium intake, you can look into a number of ways to sufficiently supply the body with the amount of calcium that it requires. There are a number of alternative ways to consuming calcium such as plant-based foods and drinking milk products such as almond milk and rice milk. Do yourself the favour and look into how you can change your health and others. It can lead you to a more peaceful and vibrant life!

Source:Collective Evolution


Small Heart With Low Cardiac Output for Orthostatic Intolerance in Patients With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The etiology of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is unknown. Orthostatic intolerance (OI) is common in CFS patients. Recently, small heart with low cardiac output has been postulated to be related to the genesis of both CFS and OI.


Small heart is associated with OI in patients with CFS.


Study CFS patients were divided into groups of 26 (57%) CFSOI(+) and 20 (43%) CFSOI(−) according to the presence or absence of OI. In addition, 11 OI patients and 27 age- and sex-matched control subjects were studied. Left ventricular (LV) dimensions and function were determined echocardiographically.


The mean values of cardiothoracic ratio, systemic systolic and diastolic pressures, LV end-diastolic dimension, LV end-systolic dimension, stroke volume index, cardiac index, and LV mass index were all significantly smaller in CFSOI(+) patients than in CFSOI(−) patients and healthy controls, and also in OI patients than in controls. A smaller LV end-diastolic dimension (<40 mm) was significantly (P<0.05) more prevalently noted in CFSOI(+) (54%) and OI (45%) than in CFSOI(−) (5%) and controls (4%). A lower cardiac index (<2 L/min/mm2) was more prevalent in CFSOI(+) (65%) than in CFSOI(−) (5%, P<0.01), OI (27%), and controls (11%, P<0.01).


A small size of LV with low cardiac output was noted in OI, and its degree was more pronounced in CFSOI(+). A small heart appears to be related to the genesis of OI and CFS via both cerebral and systemic hypoperfusion. CFSOI(+) seems to constitute a well-defined and predominant subgroup of CFS.

source:Clinical Crdiology

Risk Factors of Cardiac Troponin T Elevation in Patients with Stable Coronary Artery Disease After Elective Coronary Drug-Eluting Stent Implantation

Cardiac troponin T elevation after coronary intervention has been demonstrated to be associated with the prognosis of coronary artery disease (CAD). However, there were few studies about comprehensive risk factors analysis of troponin T elevation after elective drug-eluting stent (DES) implantation.


The prognosis of CAD after coronary interventions was associated with clinical and procedural risk factors of CAD, such as age, hypertension, severity extent of CAD and so on.


From March to December in 2010, patients with stable CAD were admitted for elective coronary intervention in our hospital. They were divided into an elevated troponin T group and a normal troponin T group by postprocedural troponin T. Clinical factors, laboratory-test factors, and angiographic factors (such as gender, age, cholesterol, Gensini score, and others) were analyzed.


A total of 209 patients with an average age of 64.0 ± 9.9 years were enrolled in the study: 70 patients with elevated troponin T (≥0.03 ng/mL) after DES implantation and 139 patients with normal troponin T (<0.03 ng/mL). After univariate analysis, we found that age, hypertension, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), Gensini score, number of stenosed vessels, and total implanted stents were associated with postprocedural troponin T elevation. According to the results of multivariate analysis, we found that age, total cholesterol, number of stenosed vessels, and number of implanted stents were independent risk factors of postprocedural troponin T elevation.


Age, serum total cholesterol, number of stenosed vessels, and number of implanted stents could be independent risk factors of troponin T elevation after elective DES implantation.

Source:Clinical Cardiology

Endothelial Function and Soluble Endoglin in Smokers With Heart Failure

Although cigarette smoking is a risk factor for heart failure (HF), smokers with HF have lower mortality rates during/following hospitalization compared to nonsmokers. We examined vascular endothelial function in chronic smokers and nonsmokers with HF as it relates to this smoker’s paradox.


Smokers with HF will have attenuated endothelial dysfunction compared to non-smokers with HF.


Brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD), a measure of conduit vessel endothelial function, was measured in 33 smoking and nonsmoking patients with HF vs controls. In addition, soluble endoglin (sEng), a circulating mediator of endothelial function, was measured in a separate group of 36 smoking and nonsmoking patients with HF vs controls.


FMD was significantly lower in smokers without HF compared to the nonsmokers without HF (P < 0.05). FMD was significantly higher in smokers with HF vs nonsmokers with HF (P < 0.05) and did not differ from values seen in nonsmokers without HF (P > 0.05). There were no differences in sEng between smokers and nonsmokers without HF (P > 0.05). sEng was lower in smokers with HF vs nonsmokers with HF (P < 0.05) and did not differ from values seen in nonsmokers without HF (P > 0.05).


Smokers with HF had higher brachial FMD and lower sEng than nonsmokers with HF, and values were comparable to nonsmokers without HF. These findings offer novel insight into the smoker’s paradox and suggest that improved short-term outcome in patients hospitalized with HF may in part be mediated by preservation of vascular endothelial function in this setting.

Source: Clinical Cardiology

Postoperative Atrial Fibrillation Is Not Associated With an Increase Risk of Stroke or the Type and Number of Grafts: A Single-Center Retrospective Analysis

Atrial fibrillation (AF) and atrial flutter are the 2 most common types of dysrhythmia in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery and are associated with increased morbidity and mortality. We sought to explore the association between the type and quantity of bypass grafts and cardiovascular outcomes in patients with postoperative AF (POAF).


The type and quantity of bypass grafts is associated with POAF.


We queried the Society of Thoracic Surgery National Database for CABG operations, both with and without valve procedures, performed at Baystate Medical Center between January 2002 and July 2007. We used multivariable logistic regression modeling to identify predictors of POAF and to explore the impact of AF on major adverse cardiac outcomes in this post-CABG population.


A total of 3068 patients received CABG surgery, 187 (6.1%) of whom received concurrent valve replacement or repair. The incidence of POAF was 38.3%. POAF was significantly associated with readmission within 30 days (P < 0.009), increased length of stay (P << 0.0001), and a strong trend toward increased 30 day mortality (P = 0.058). There was no association between POAF and postoperative stroke (P = 0.92), graft type (P = nonsignificant) or number of grafts (P = nonsignificant).


Patients with POAF experienced increased morbidity and mortality as demonstrated by previous studies. Neither the number of grafts nor type of grafts was associated with POAF. Furthermore, the rate of stroke was not associated with POAF.


Source:Clinical Cardiology




Molecular network pathways and functional analysis of tumor signatures associated with development of resistance to viral gene therapy

Replication-competent attenuated herpes simplex viruses have proven effective in killing many cancer cell lines. However, determinants of resistance to oncolytic therapy are mostly unknown. We developed viral therapy-resistant cells and examined changes in gene-expression pattern compared with therapy-sensitive parental cells. Colon cancer cell line HT29 and hepatoma cell line PLC5 were exposed to increasing concentrations of virus G207. Therapy-resistant cells were isolated and grown in vitro. Tumorigenicity was confirmed by ability of cell lines to form tumors in mice. Human Genome U133A complementary DNA microarray chips were used to determine gene-expression patterns, which were analyzed in the context of molecular network interactions, pathways and gene ontology. In parental cell lines, 90–100% of cells were killed by day 7 at 1.0 multiplicity of infection. In resistant cell lines, cytotoxicity assay confirmed 200- to 400-fold resistance. Microarray analysis confirmed changes in gene expressions associated with resistance: cell surface proteins affecting viral attachment and entry, cellular proteins affecting nucleotide pools and proteins altering apoptotic pathways. These changes would decrease viral infection and replication. Our study identifies gene-expression signatures associated with resistance to oncolytic viral therapy. These data provide potential targets to overcome resistance, and suggest that molecular assays may be useful in selecting patients for trial with this novel treatment.

source: cancer gene therapy.


herpes simplex virus; oncolytic viral therapy; G207; molecular networks; signaling pathways

Cockroach ‘let’s hook up’ chemical signal could benefit endangered woodpecker

A North Carolina State University discovery of the unique chemical composition of a cockroach signal — a “Let’s hook up” sex pheromone emitted by certain female wood cockroaches to entice potential mates — could have far-ranging benefits, including improved conservation of an endangered woodpecker.

Dr. Coby Schal, Blanton J. Whitmire Professor of Entomology at NC State and the corresponding author of a paper describing the discovery, says that the study, published the week of Dec. 19 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, advances the knowledge of fundamental biological and chemical properties of an important North American cockroach genus that serves as both a beneficial forest insect and as a pest in homes.

Parcoblatta lata is the largest and most abundant of the wood cockroaches. It also serves as the favored meal of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Schal says that the study, which characterized the pheromone and produced a synthetic version of it, could help scientists determine whether certain habitats have enough woodpecker food. If the synthetic pheromone attracts large numbers of adult male P. lata cockroaches, Schal says, then the roach supply is probably ample. Provided that other aspects of the habitat are also right, the area could be a suitable home for red-cockaded woodpeckers.

Besides feeding woodpeckers, Parcoblatta adult males are excellent flyers that occasionally infest houses after being attracted to porch lights. The pheromone could help control wood roaches near homes, Schal says.

Schal and colleagues from New York and California combined a number of study methods to understand P. lata‘s aphrodisiac. The team used gas chromatography, in which compounds are separated in a controllable oven, to separate it from other chemical compounds that the roaches produce. By connecting this instrument to the antenna of P. lata and monitoring its electrical activity, the researchers zeroed in on the biologically active compound. They then used nuclear magnetic resonance to determine the pheromone’s chemical structure. Finally, they made a synthetic version of the compound to see if it would attract adult male P. lata.

It did. Perhaps surprisingly, it attracted a few other Parcoblatta species, as well. One common wood roach, however, was conspicuously absent: Parcoblatta pennsylvanica, which ignored the synthetic pheromone. As its name implies, P. pennsylvanica has populations into the Midwest and mid-Atlantic states.

“Parcoblatta cockroaches are endemic to North America; unlike pest cockroaches, they were not introduced from other places,” Schal says. “The compound we identified is a major component of a multi-component sex pheromone blend. So learning that the chemical we identify in this paper attracts some Parcoblatta species but not others tells us something about their evolutionary history.”

The roaches that respond to this pheromone probably make up a group of closely related species, Schal says, which together diverged from other Parcoblatta species that either can’t smell this chemical or are attracted to it only when it’s combined with other, yet to be identified, pheromone components.

Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.



A major step forward towards drought tolerance in crops

When a plant encounters drought, it does its best to cope with this stress by activating a set of protein molecules called receptors. These receptors, once activated, turn on processes that help the plant survive the stress.

A team of plant cell biologists has discovered how to rewire this cellular machinery to heighten the plants’ stress response – a finding that can be used to engineer crops to give them a better shot at surviving and displaying increased yield under drought conditions.

The discovery, made in the laboratory of Sean Cutler, an associate professor of plant cell biology at the University of California, Riverside, brings drought-tolerant crops a step closer to becoming a reality.

It’s the hormones

When plants encounter drought, they naturally produce abscisic acid, a stress hormone that helps them cope with the drought conditions. Specifically, the hormone turns on receptors in the plants, resulting in a suite of beneficial changes that help the plants survive. These changes typically include guard cells closing on leaves to reduce water loss, cessation of plant growth to reduce water consumption and myriad other stress-relieving responses.

The discovery by Cutler and others of abscisic acid receptors, which orchestrate these responses, was heralded by Science magazine as a breakthrough of the year in 2009 due to the importance of the receptor proteins to drought and stress tolerance.

Tweaking the receptor

Working on Arabidopsis, a model plant used widely in plant biology labs, the Cutler-led research team has now succeeded supercharging the plant’s stress response pathway by modifying the abscisic acid receptors so that they can be turned on at will and stay on.

“Receptors are the cell’s conductors and the abscisic acid receptors orchestrate the specific symphony that elicits stress tolerance,” said Cutler, a member of UC Riverside’s Institute for Integrative Genome Biology. “We’ve now figured out how to turn the orchestra on at will.”

He explained that each stress hormone receptor is equipped with a lid that operates like a gate. For the receptor to be in the on state, the lid must be closed. Using receptor genes engineered in the laboratory, the group created and tested through more than 740 variants of the stress hormone receptor, hunting for the rare variants that caused the lid to be closed for longer periods of time.

“We found many of these mutations,” Cutler said. “But each one on its own gave us only partly what we were looking for. But when we carefully stacked the right ones together, we got the desired effect: the receptor locked in its on state, which, in turn, was able to activate the stress response pathway in plants.”

Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Statin therapy reduced mortality in patients hospitalized with influenza

The use of statin therapy was associated with a reduced risk for mortality among patients hospitalized with influenza during the 2007-2008 influenza season, according to new findings published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Seventy-six percent of patients reported use of statins before and during hospitalization; were more likely to be older white males; have cardiovascular, metabolic, renal and chronic lung disease; and to have received influenza vaccination.

Statins are a promising area of study as an adjunct to vaccine and antivirals in preventing severe complications from influenza,” Ann R. Thomas, MD, MPH, of the Oregon Public Health Division, said in an interview. “Part of their appeal is that they could be used when the available vaccine is not well matched to the circulating strain of influenza, or if antiviral medications are either not available or resistant.”

The researchers pooled data from the CDC’s Emerging Infections Program influenza hospitalization surveillance system, which included 59 counties across 10 states. Researchers assessed the association between statin use and influenza-associated mortality among adults hospitalized during the 2007-2008 influenza season.

Of 3,043 patients hospitalized with influenza (median age, 70.4 years; 56% women), 33.3% reported use of statins and 5% died within 30 days of their influenza test.

After adjusting for age, race, history of influenza vaccination, antiviral use and underlying conditions, administration of statins before or during hospitalization was associated with a protective odds for mortality (OR=0.59; 95% CI, 0.38-0.92).

“Our findings need to be confirmed in randomized clinical trials before we would recommend that statins become standard of care for treatment of severe cases of influenza,” Thomas said.

This is a very intriguing study indicating that, in this large population, patients who did not receive statins were almost twice as likely to die of influenza as those who did receive statins. Some of the advantages of this study are that it was a large, rigorously performed study that actually took into account many potential variables, including age, race, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, renal disease, the receipt of influenza vaccine and the initiation of antiviral therapy within 48 hours of admission to the hospital. This study confirms and extends some other smaller, prior studies and suggests that statins do indeed offer some promise for the treatment of influenza, certainly among hospitalized patients as an adjunct to antiviral therapy. In those circumstances where the circulating virus may not have been very well matched to the vaccine, when the influenza virus strains are not susceptible to antiviral medication, or when vaccine is in short supply; these all may be circumstances where physicians may consider statins. It also, I hope, will promote further prospective studies because one of the limitations of this study is that the dose of statins and the duration of administration could not be taken into account.

Source:Endocrine Today.