Posts Tagged ‘yellow snow’

watch out where the huskies go and don't you eat that yellow snow....frank zappa

It snowed in Georgia Sunday night and our town of Gainesville is at a standstill. I’ve cancelled forty or so patients and 10 or so procedures and much to the chagrin of my poor  wife, am  stuck at home.

We’ve been walking where the dogs go and I have been careful not to eat the yellow  snow!

Dreamed I was an Eskimo

Frozen wind began to blow

Under my boots and around my toes

The frost that bit the ground below

It was a hundred degrees below zero…

And my mama cried

And my mama cried

Nanook, a-no-no

Nanook, a-no-no

Don’t be a naughty Eskimo

Save your money, don’t go to the show

Well I turned around and I said “Oh, oh” Oh

Well I turned around and I said “Oh, oh” Oh

Well I turned around and I said “Ho, Ho”

And the northern lights commenced to glow

And she said, with a tear in her eye

“Watch out where the huskies go, and don’t you eat that yellow snow”

“Watch out where the huskies go, and don’t you eat that yellow snow”


Dogs Sniff Out Prostate Cancer

Approach Associated With Few False Positives in Early Testing
By Charlene Laino
WebMD Health News

June 2, 2010 (San Francisco) — Dogs may be able to sniff out the smell of chemicals released into urine by prostate tumors, setting the stage for a new means of early prostate cancer detection.

In early tests, the approach produced fewer false positives than would be expected with the commonly used PSA test, French researchers report.

The concept isn’t new. Other researchers have reported varying degrees of success using dogs to detect cancers of the skin, lung, and bladder, says researcher Pierre Bigot, MD, of Tenon Hospital in Paris.

The theory is that many tumors release chemicals with distinct odors that can be picked up by dogs, whose sense of smell is much more sensitive than that of humans, he tells WebMD.

Better Prostate Cancer Tests Needed

More accurate prostate cancer tests are sorely needed, says Anthony Y. Smith, MD, chief of urology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

While the widely used PSA test picks up a lot of cancers, it also has a high false-positive rate, he tells WebMD.

“If all the men with high PSA scores go on to have biopsies, fewer than one-third will actually have cancer,” Smith says.

Plus, many men with early prostate cancer are unnecessarily treated because existing tests can’t distinguish between life-threatening and slow-growing tumors, he says.

In the United States, one man in six will receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer during his lifetime, but a much smaller proportion — one in 35 — will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.

Smith moderated a news briefing on the findings at the American Urological Association annual meeting.

Dogs Sniff Out 63 of 66 Prostate Cancer Samples

For the new study, researchers led by Jean-Nicolas Cornu, MD, also of Tenon Hospital, trained a Belgian Malinois — a shepherd breed used for detecting bombs and drugs — to identify urine from patients with confirmed prostate cancer and then to discriminate those samples from urine from healthy men. After about a year of training, the dog was put to the test. During 11 runs, the dog faced six urine samples, only one of which came from a man with prostate cancer. Its mission: To sit in front of the urine it considers cancer.

In 66 tests, the dog was correct 63 times. There were three false positives, in which the dog mistakenly identified samples from healthy men as being cancerous. And there were no false negatives.

And one of the three false positives might not have been that false; when the man who provided the urine sample had another biopsy, he turned out to have prostate cancer, Bigot says.

Other dogs are now being trained, he says.

‘Electronic Nose’ for Prostate Cancer Detection

The low false-positive rate “is pretty spectacular,” Smith says.

“But this is a very small study,” and it remains to be seen if the findings will hold up in other studies, he says.

Skeptics are concerned that the animals may be picking up on subconscious signals from researchers, among other things, Smith says.

The next step is to figure out what chemicals or combination of chemicals the dog is sensing, he says.

If the approach does pan out, don’t look for dogs running around hospitals, sniffing urine samples. That would be impractical and prohibitively expensive, Bigot says.

But if researchers can identify which chemical the dog is reacting to, they hope to develop an “electronic nose” for more accurate prostate cancer detection, he says.

This study was presented at a medical conference. The findings should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the “peer review” process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

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Genetic Variant Associated With Aggressive Form Of Prostate Cancer

12 Jan 2010   

Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues have identified the first genetic variant associated with aggressive prostate cancer, proving the concept that genetic information may one day be used in combination with other factors to guide treatment decisions.

The research will be reported online next week (Jan. 11-15) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“This finding addresses one of the most important clinical questions of prostate cancer the ability at an early stage to distinguish between aggressive and slow-growing disease,” said Jianfeng Xu, M.D., Dr. P.H., professor of epidemiology and cancer biology. “Although the genetic marker currently has limited clinical utility, we believe it has the potential to one day be used in combination with other clinical variables and genetic markers to predict which men have aggressive prostate cancer at a stage when the disease is still curable.”

According to the authors, prostate cancer accounts for one-fourth of all cancer diagnoses in the United States. Autopsy studies suggest that most aging men will develop prostate lesions that, if detected clinically, would be diagnosed as cancer.

Although most men have a slow-growing form of the disease, aggressive prostate cancers are currently the second-leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., accounting for 27,000 deaths annually.

“The current inability to accurately distinguish risk for life-threatening, aggressive prostate cancer from the overwhelming majority of slow-growing cases creates a treatment dilemma,” said Xu.

While researchers, including Xu’s team, have identified multiple genetic variants associated with the risk of developing prostate cancer in the first place, until now there have been no genetic factors associated with disease aggressiveness.

Based on existing evidence that some men are genetically predisposed to developing aggressive prostate cancer, the researchers hypothesized that inherited genetic variants exist that could be used as markers to identify these men at an early, curable stage of disease.

“Identifying factors that are associated with a risk of having or developing aggressive disease is urgently needed to reduce over-diagnosis and over-treatment of this common cancer,” said Karim Kader, M.D., Ph.D., a Wake Forest Baptist urologist specializing in prostate cancer and a co-author on the paper.

The study involved the analysis of genetic information from 4,849 men with aggressive disease and 12,205 with slow-growing disease to determine if the men with aggressive disease had genetic variants in common. The analysis included participants in the Genetic Markers of Susceptibility study performed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as well as additional study populations in the U.S. and Sweden.

The researchers identified a genetic variant (rs4054823) that was associated with a 25 percent higher risk of developing aggressive disease.

“A single variant with a moderate effect such as this is unlikely to be sufficient on its own at predicting risk,” said Xu. “But its identification is significant because it indicates that variants predisposing men to aggressive disease exist in the genome.”

He said that as more variants associated with aggressive disease are identified, it is possible that doctors could test men to determine their risk of aggressive disease not only at the time of diagnosis, but early enough in their lives to target them for increased screening.

“We speculate that a panel of variants could be an important part of developing a screening strategy that could reduce the number of men requiring screening, thereby reducing over-diagnosis, while also identifying men at risk for developing aggressive disease at a stage when the disease is potentially curable.”

The research was primarily funded by NCI.

Source: Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center-Medicalnewstoday.com

My thoughts-

This article addresses the essence of the treatment and “decision” dilemma that faces the newly diagnosed prostate cancer patient. Which one of the types of prostate cancers do I have? The people who die soon after diagnosis or the patient that has metastatic disease at diagnosis most probably have the aggressive or the “tiger”variety. The dual nature of prostate cancer and the impact it should have in making  “the decision” is often overlooked or poorly understood by patients. I mention Frank Zappa(don’t eat the yellow snow) because he was diagnosed in his fifties and died three years later. For now, the aggressiveness of the disease is best told by the Gleason’s score and all patients should understand how the pathologist detirmines it and what the specifics of his particular biopsy is.


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