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(Anatomy) Touch: World-First Test of Sun-Damaged Skin

 
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 9:26 am    Post subject: (Anatomy) Touch: World-First Test of Sun-Damaged Skin Reply with quote

World-first test of sun-damaged skin launched
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date released 17 November 2005

A world-first test that assesses the damage people have done to their skin through sun exposure is being launched to the public at clinics throughout the UK.

The scientific test, whose launch comes as holidaymakers make plans to top up their tans during warm winter breaks, is able to reveal extent of the damage that sunbathers have inflicted on their skin’s genetic material, DNA, over many years.

The new test, called ‘skinphysical’, draws on pioneering work by Newcastle University skin cancer experts, together with Canadian company Genesis Genomics. It is being offered via branches of the Court House Clinics, which are based across the country in London, Essex, Sussex, Birmingham and, to come soon, in Manchester, and by the BUPA clinic in Washington, Tyne and Wear.

Few people are aware that once their suntan has faded, the damage to their skin remains. This damage accumulates with every exposure, creating a personal tower of damage which never diminishes, continuously growing, leading to skin ageing and increasing the risk of skin cancer in later life.

Patients opting for skinphysical must give a small sample of their skin from just above their elbow, which is sent off for laboratory tests. They also fill in a comprehensive, ten-page questionnaire as part of a full analysis, which asks detailed questions about their lifestyle, skin type, sun protection regime, and more. All the information is used to provide customised sun safety advice, and patients can repeat the test at a later date to see if a change to their regime has had any affect on their skin cancer risk.

Professor Mark Birch-Machin, a skin cancer expert with Newcastle University’s School of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, and managing director of Genesis Genomics UK, which has set up a base in his laboratories on the University campus, said:

“We’re getting richer as a society, and there are more package holidays available, which means that more people are enjoying hot and sunny holidays abroad all year round. But the rise in the number of skin cancer cases in the UK shows that people are not taking the advice on protecting their bodies from the sun’s harmful rays.

“The key issue with handing out general advice on sun safety is that it’s not specific enough for the individual. It’s human nature for people to assume that diseases like skin cancer happen to other people – and they tend not to make any adjustments to their behaviour until they are threatened with the real possibility of it affecting them.

“That’s where our skin test has the advantage. People who take it get a highly personalised assessment of the risks they are facing from the sun, which depends on factors such as their genetic skin type, lifestyle, and, most importantly, the results from the test, which reveals the extent of damage accumulated over many years.”

Prof Birch-Machin, who is also developing the next generation of sun creams in his laboratories, added: “We then provide customised advice, such as the sun protection factor and star rating of sun cream patients should buy, and further advice on how to apply it. We also tell patients about behaviour changes they should make to increase their sun protection that would allow them to enjoy the sun but to enjoy it more safely. They can then come back for further tests to see if the changes they have made have had any affect.”

The full test includes the skin test and questionnaire analysis but if there is not a healthcare provider nearby then the individual may want to try the questionnaire alone. This will be available online. Prof Birch-Machin would eventually like to see the UK’s Department of Health take the service on board and offer it to NHS patients.

MEDIA INFORMATION:

INTERVIEWS: Prof Mark Birch-Machin. Tel. + 44(0)191 222 5841 or m.a.birch-machin@ncl.ac.uk

*************************************************************

Questions to explore further this topic:

What is skin?

http://kidshealth.org/kid/body/skin_noSW.html
http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopic.....mp;id=1766

How does the skin feel?

http://faculty.washington.edu/.....eptor.html

How does one take care of one's skin?

http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay....._care.html
http://www.webmd.com/content/A.....107937.htm

What are some of the skin's common problems?

http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopic.....mp;id=1602

What are pimples?

http://kidshealth.org/kid/heal...../acne.html
http://kidshealth.org/kid/heal.....myths.html
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medline.....0_no_0.htm

What is a scar?

http://kidshealth.org/kid/heal.....scars.html

What are blisters, callus and corns?

http://kidshealth.org/kid/heal.....sters.html

What are skin rashes?

http://kidshealth.org/kid/heal.....ashes.html

What are moles?

http://www.cancer.gov/cancerto.....nevi/page2

What is eczema?

http://kidshealth.org/kid/heal.....czema.html

What are fungal infections?


http://kidshealth.org/kid/heal.....ungus.html

What is skin cancer?

http://www.musckids.com/health.....cancer.htm
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medline.....lesson.htm

What is melanoma?

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medline.....lesson.htm
http://www.cancer.gov/cancerto.....nevi/page4

What causes skin cancer?

http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0193630.html
http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/kids/kids_uvindex.html

Some interesting facts about the skin:

http://www.childrensskincenter.com/kids.html

GAMES

http://faculty.washington.edu/.....chtou.html
http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/kids/challenge.html


Last edited by adedios on Sat Jan 27, 2007 4:31 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 9:05 pm    Post subject: Sun Screen Reply with quote

Sun Screen
July 12, 2006
Emily Sohn

When summer comes, I get sun crazy. I like to eat on the patio and lie on the beach. I walk and bike everywhere. I even bring my work outside. Soaking up the sun feels so good—as long as I'm wearing sunscreen and a hat.

When I was younger, I played in the sun without worry. Now that I'm 30, I realize how important it is to protect myself. That's because the same ultraviolet (UV) rays that make us warm and tan also harm the cells in our skin. You can't see the damage when you're young, but its effects often show up decades later.

After years of tanning, the skin gets wrinkled, leathery, and, worst of all, prone to skin cancer. The disease is directly linked to UV exposure, says Mandeep Kaur. She's a dermatologist at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.

As young people flock to beaches and tanning salons, skin cancer is becoming more common and appearing at younger ages, Kaur says.

"We used to see only older and middle-aged people with skin cancer," she says. "These days, we see people in their 20s or 30s."



For the full article, illustrations, and additional links:

http://www.sciencenewsforkids......ature1.asp
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:23 pm    Post subject: Risk Factors: Little Known Facts about Skin Cancer Reply with quote

Risk Factors: Little Known Facts about Skin Cancer

By Robin Lloyd
Special to LiveScience
posted: 17 July 2006
07:24 am ET



The sun provides the energy for every single thing we eat, touch and enjoy. But its radiation is also deadly, especially for men.

Men fry more than women. Men over 40 have the highest exposure to the sun's harmful rays—ultraviolet radiation, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

While men and women get about equal doses of sun from recreational exposure, which includes biking, walking, gardening and beach-going, "Men are more likely to get occupational sun exposure than women," says Alan Geller of the Boston University School of Medicine.

And this shows up in the cancer stats—about 60 percent of people diagnosed with melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, are white men over 50.


For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/hum.....ancer.html
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:39 am    Post subject: Sunscreen Can Damage Skin if Applied Infrequently Reply with quote

Sunscreen Can Damage Skin if Applied Infrequently

By LiveScience Staff

posted: 29 August 2006
02:38 pm ET



When used properly, sunscreens are proven to prevent skin damage. But if not applied often enough, a sunscreen can actually enhance skin damage, according to a new study.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is absorbed by skin molecules and generates reactive oxygen species, or ROS molecules, which cause visible signs of aging by damaging cell walls and the DNA inside them. Too much sun, especially in childhood, increases the risk of skin cancer.

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/hum.....oblem.html
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:02 am    Post subject: Zit Myths Cleared Up Reply with quote

Zit Myths Cleared Up

By Corey Binns
Special to LiveScience
posted: 04 September 2006
12:45 am ET

Zits are a familiar foe, plugging the pores of people young and old, all around the world.

Acne is the most common skin disorder in the United States. An estimated 80 percent of all people between the ages of 11 and 30 have outbreaks, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Even 50-year-olds endure flare-ups.

Eliminating problem skin isn't easy. Dermatologists, mothers and even P. Diddy have worked to rid us of blemishes.

Yet while research on acne remedies is extensive and treatments fill drugstore aisles, myths about the condition are hard to wash away.

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/hum....._myth.html
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:52 pm    Post subject: Why don't all moles progress to melanoma? Reply with quote

University of Michigan Health System
2 October 2006

Why don't all moles progress to melanoma?

University of Michigan scientists discover how skin cells block cancer-causing mutations
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Everyone has moles. Most of the time, they are nothing but a cosmetic nuisance. But sometimes pigment-producing cells in moles called melanocytes start dividing abnormally to form a deadly form of skin cancer called melanoma. About one in 65 Americans born this year will be diagnosed with melanoma at some point during their lifetime.

Scientists know that 30 percent of all melanomas begin in a mole. They know that 90 percent of moles contain cancer-causing mutations. What scientists didn't know is how melanocytes stop these mutations from triggering the development of cancer.

Maria S. Soengas, Ph.D., and other scientists in the Multidisciplinary Melanoma Clinic at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, have found the answer to this important question in an unexpected place – a structure inside cells called the endoplasmic reticulum, or ER.

"Our results support the direct role of the endoplasmic reticulum as an important gatekeeper of tumor control," says Soengas, who is an assistant professor of dermatology in the U-M Medical School. "Until now, no one knew there was a connection between ER stress and the very early stages of tumor initiation."

Results of the U-M study – involving melanocytes from normal human skin and biopsies of non-malignant human moles – are being published in the October issue of Nature Cell Biology.

The endoplasmic reticulum is the cell's protein production factory. The process begins when chains of amino acids are deposited in the ER membrane in response to coded instructions from genes. Chaperone proteins fold these amino acids into specific shapes. When too many of them build up in the membrane, or when something goes wrong with the folding process, the system gets bogged down. This can stress or even kill the cell.

To prevent this, the ER sends out distress signals to activate what scientists call the unfolded protein response (UPR). This slows the protein production process and gets rid of excess incoming amino acids, giving the ER a chance to catch up. If that doesn't work, the UPR causes the cell to destroy itself in a process called apoptosis.

"Traditionally, the ER's role was considered to be limited to protein folding or protein modification," Soengas says. "But scientists like Randal Kaufman, a U-M professor of biological chemistry and co-author on our paper, have found that the ER can sense changes in glucose, nutrients, oxygen levels and other aspects of cellular physiology associated with diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer's disease."

"In our study, we found that the ER senses the activity of certain oncogenes in the melanocyte and triggers a response that prevents the malignant transformation of these cells," Soengas adds.

According to Soengas, the tumor suppressive mechanism induced by the ER in melanocytes with these cancer-causing mutations is premature senescence – a form of "suspended animation" that stops the cell cycle and keeps cells from dividing, but doesn't kill them.

"The cells are held in check – they don't die, but they don't proliferate either," Soengas explains. "In the case of moles, melanocytes can stay this way for 20 to 40 years or even your whole life. For most of us, just holding cells in an arrested state is sufficient to prevent the development of cancer. That's why so many people have moles, but few have melanoma."

In the study, U-M scientists found that the tumor suppressive response in melanocytes varied depending on the type of oncogene being expressed in the cell.

"We found that some oncogenes activated the endoplasmic reticulum, while other oncogenes didn't," Soengas says.

In a previous study, Soengas and colleagues found that certain oncogenes use a different senescence mechanism, which doesn't activate the ER, to block the transformation of melanocytes. Both these mechanisms work in addition to or independent from other well-known tumor suppressor mechanisms involving apoptosis.

Soengas says the results of the study will be important in helping scientists understand all the different mechanisms melanocytes use to protect themselves against oncogenes. But she cautions that there are no immediate clinical applications for the study and additional research will be required.

In future research, Soengas will attempt to determine exactly how oncogenes trigger the unfolded protein response in malignant and non-malignant skin cells. "By comparing what happens in normal melanoctyes with what happens in melanoma, we may be able to come up with events that are specific for tumor cells, which could be used for future drug development," she says.

###
Editors: Color images and video clip of senescent melanocytes available on request.

The study was funded by the la Ligue Contre le Cancer, the Dermatology Foundation, the Elsa U. Pardee Foundation and the National Cancer Institute.

Christophe Denoyelle, Ph.D., and George Abou-Rjaily, Ph.D., former and current U-M post-doctoral fellows, were co-first authors on the study, along with Vladimir Bezrookove, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California-San Francisco.

Additional U-M collaborators were Monique Verhaegen, Timothy M. Johnson, Douglas R. Fullen, Jenny N. Pointer, Stephen B. Gruber, Lyndon D. Su, Mikhail A. Nikiforov and Randal J. Kaufman. Boris C. Bastian from UCSF also contributed to the study.

Citation: Nature Cell Biology - 8, 1053 - 1063 (2006)
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:51 am    Post subject: The psychology of skin cancer Reply with quote

31 January 2007
University of Leeds

The psychology of skin cancer

Thousands of people are jetting off for a week of sun, snow, and aprčs-ski. And while they may worry about breaking limbs, how many consider the dangers of skin cancer?

It is one of the most common cancers in the UK, with more than 69,000 new cases reported every year. The incidences of the most dangerous type – melanoma – have has doubled over the past 20 years.

Now an online survey aims to learn how people of different nationalities behave while having fun in the sun, and their attitudes to tanning and skin cancer.

The survey, at www.genomel.org, is the latest initiative by GenoMEL, a five-year international research consortium, coordinated by the University of Leeds, which is using a combination of genetic science and psychology to try and halt the alarming rise in skin cancers.

Their main focus of the researchers is collecting DNA from thousands of people, to identify the genes – running in families or populations – which may increase susceptibility to skin cancer. The project coordinator is Professor Julia Newton-Bishop of the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine. She explained: “We have identified four high-risk melanoma genes which increase someone’s risk of skin cancer. There are also many other relatively low-risk genes, such as MC1R, – this one which gives people pale skin, red hair and freckles and therefore makes them more susceptible to sun damage.”

But it isn’t simply genetic. For example, in Australia up to 11 per cent of melanoma patients report an earlier family history of the disease, compared to just one per cent in the UK, although both countries have a similar genetic mix. Susceptibility to cancer may be related to lifestyle, where you live – and how you look after yourself in the sunshine.

The multiple-choice survey aims to show how lifestyle choices and attitudes to exposure to the sun affect the risk of getting skin cancer. It takes between 20 and 30 minutes to complete and offers participants the chance to access receive more information about reducing their own risk.

“This is a great way for people to take part in research and to really make the most of the Internet,” said Professor Newton-Bishop. “With an on-line survey we can involve thousands of people whereas with more traditional methods we could only reach a few hundred.”

The questionnaire is available in English, Dutch and Swedish – though French, Spanish, Italian, German, Slovenian, Hebrew, Polish and Latvian versions of the site will go live over the next few months, allowing researchers to assess how people of different nationalities interpret their own risk and protect themselves in the sun.

The results, expected in early 2008, will help scientists develop more effective prevention and education strategies, aimed at getting millions of sun worshippers to change their behaviour. Professor Newton-Bishop added: “We hope to create an online ‘risk calculator’ that makes it easy for individuals of different skin types to work out how safe they are in the sun, based on our genetic research findings.”

Notes to editors:

Melanoma accounts for almost three per cent of all newly diagnosed cancers each year in the UK. Every year there are about 3,500 new cases of melanoma in men, and over 4,500 new cases in women. In 2004 over 1,700 people died from melanoma in the UK.

GenoMEL, funded by a Ł7m grant from the European Commission, started in December 2005, and runs until 2010.

The Cancer Research UK website www.cancerresearchuk.org offers information about melanoma.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 6:44 pm    Post subject: Human skin harbors completely unknown bacteria Reply with quote

New York University Medical Center and School of Medicine

Human skin harbors completely unknown bacteria

New study finds skin has many more types of bacteria than previously thought

NEW YORK, Feb. 5, 2007—It appears that the skin, the largest organ in our body, is a kind of zoo and some of the inhabitants are quite novel, according to a new study. Researchers found evidence for 182 species of bacteria in skin samples. Eight percent were unknown species that had never before been described.

It is the first study to identify the composition of bacterial populations on the skin using a powerful molecular method. Not only were the bacteria more diverse than previously estimated, but some of them had not been found before, says Martin J. Blaser, M.D., Frederick King Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine and Professor of Microbiology at NYU School of Medicine, one of the authors of the study.

For the full article:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_.....013107.php
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 7:46 am    Post subject: Getting in Touch with Touch Reply with quote

Getting in Touch with Touch
Emily Sohn

April 11, 2007

Next time you open a door and close it behind you, try this quick test. While the door is open, put your hand on the doorknob. Close your eyes. Now, gently push the door shut.
Were you able to do it? If so, good job!

You might have found this test easy, but it actually posed quite a few challenges. Without looking, you had to keep track of how far the door was open. You had to know how hard to push to close it without accidentally slamming it. And you also had to know when to stop moving your hand once you'd finished closing the door.

For the full article:

http://www.sciencenewsforkids......ature1.asp
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 6:54 am    Post subject: Scientist: Don't Trust Sunscreen Reply with quote

Scientist: Don't Trust Sunscreen
By Robin Lloyd, LiveScience Senior Editor

posted: 11 May 2007 09:24 am ET

The latest skin-cancer prevention advice is to stop trusting sunscreen as the front line of defense against harmful rays.

Instead, wear sunblocking clothing or stay out of the sun altogether, experts say.

Sunscreen has been shown to protect against UV skin damage as well as basal carcinomas and squamous cell carcinoma-two of the three most common skin cancers. However, it has not been conclusively shown to protect against melanoma , the most fatal kind, said Stephan Lautenschlager of the Outpatient Clinic of Dermatology at Triemli Hospital in Switzerland.

Lautenschlager and his colleagues carried out a comprehensive review on sun protection strategies worldwide, recently detailed online in the journal Lancet.

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/hea....._less.html
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 11:23 am    Post subject: Panel offers guidelines on skin reactions to new class of ca Reply with quote

AlphaMed Press, Inc.

Panel offers guidelines on skin reactions to new class of cancer drugs

In most cases, cancer treatment continues with rash treatment
DURHAM, N.C., May 22 -- Skin reactions to a powerful new class of anti-cancer drugs are frequent, but manageable through a simple and rational treatment approach — usually without the need to reduce the dose or interrupt treatment with potentially life-prolonging chemotherapy, according to an article in the May issue of "The Oncologist."

The special article presents the first recommendations on skin reactions to the new drugs, called Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Inhibitors (EGFRIs). The guidelines were developed at an international multidisciplinary meeting, including medical oncologists, dermatologists, nurses, and pharmacists. "One important goal is to ensure that healthcare professionals and patients see EGFRI-associated dermatologic toxicity as manageable, thereby optimizing clinical benefit from continued and uninterrupted use of EGFRIs when possible," according to lead author Dr. Thomas J. Lynch, Jr., of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

Treatment with EGFRIs has been shown to improve survival in patients with several types of cancer, including lung, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers. The drugs — including erlotinib (Tarceva), cetuximab (Erbitux), and panitumumab (Vectibix) — work by interfering with cell-signaling abnormalities that contribute to cancer development and growth.

Unfortunately, the EGFRIs carry a substantial risk of skin reactions — more than half of treated patients have some type of skin toxicity, most commonly an acne-like rash. The reactions most likely occur because the receptor blocked by the drugs also performs key functions in normal skin. There is even evidence that the rash may be a sign that EGFRI anti-cancer treatment is working — in some studies, patients with more severe skin reactions had better survival. The skin reactions are rarely so severe that the dosage is reduced or treatment stopped. Until recently, there was no strong scientific data to guide the treatment of skin reactions to EGFRIs.

To address this issue, the authors propose a simple system for classification and treatment of skin reactions. To start, all patients receiving EGFRIs are advised to use a moisturizer and protect against exposure to sunlight — the rash may be more severe in sun-exposed areas.

If skin reactions occur, a structured approach is recommended to keep the rash under control and avoid cancer treatment interruptions. Reactions are classified as mild, moderate, or severe, based on the area of the rash, itching or other symptoms that interfere with the patient's activities, and the risk of infection. Treatment is targeted to severity: mild steroids and/or antibiotics for mild reactions, stronger medications for moderate reactions. If the rash becomes severe, the guidelines call for reduction in the EGFRI dose, along with other medications. Treatment should be interrupted only if the reaction still hasn't cleared within two to four weeks. Once the rash has decreased, treatment with EGFRIs can be restarted — if the skin reaction returns, it will likely be manageable.

The authors underscore the need for further studies to validate their recommendations. Until then, the expert guidelines will play an important role in helping patients and cancer care professionals to understand why EGFRI-related skin reactions occur and the logic behind their management. "[I]t is important to emphasize that, in the majority of cases, there is no clinical need to withdraw EGFRI treatment," Dr. Lynch and coauthors conclude. "Even in worst-case scenarios, suspension of EGFRI treatment often needs only to be temporary, simply allowing for diminution of the rash."

"I believe the consensus guidelines will have a significant impact on the way EGFRI-associated rash is managed," said Dr. Mario Lacouture, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and founding director of the SERIES (Skin and Eye Reactions to Inhibitors of EGFR and kinases) Clinic, Chicago, which focuses on early diagnosis and treatment of reactions to EGFRIs and related drugs. "Currently, many patients with skin reactions to EGFRIs receive no treatment until they have a severe rash, when their dosage has to be decreased. The new classification and treatment guidelines will encourage earlier intervention, hopefully avoiding the need for dose reductions. This should help to improve the anticancer effects of the EGFRIs, while at the same time improving quality of life for patients."

###
The new article, entitled, "Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) Inhibitor-Associated Cutaneous Toxicities: an Evolving Paradigm in Clinical Management," is available online at http://theoncologist.alphamedpress.org and in print in the May issue of “The Oncologist.” The forum received education support from Genentech, OSI Pharmaceuticals and F. Hoffmann-La Roche.

About AlphaMed Press

AlphaMed Press publishes the internationally renowned journals “Stem Cells” and “The Oncologist.” “Stem Cells,” now in its 25th year, is the oldest and one of the world's top-tier peer-reviewed monthly journals in the fast-paced area of stem cells and regenerative medicine. “The Oncologist”, in its 12th year, is a premier peer-reviewed monthly journal dedicated to physicians entrusted with the care of cancer patients. View AlphaMed Press journals at http://www.alphamedpress.org
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:28 pm    Post subject: Rising skin cancer rates are more likely to affect wealthy p Reply with quote

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
11 June 2007

Rising skin cancer rates are more likely to affect wealthy people, says 12-year review

Men and older people also show higher levels
Skin cancer levels have shown a significant increase in Northern Ireland since the early 1990s and are more likely to affect men, older people and those living in more affluent areas, according to a study just published in the June issue of British Journal of Dermatology.

Researchers who looked at official cancer statistics for nearly 23,000 patients over a 12-year period, reported a 20 per cent increase in patients and a 62 per cent increase in skin cancer samples processed by pathology laboratories.

The figures also showed that the three most common skin cancers - basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma - accounted for 27 per cent of all male cancers and 26 per cent of all female cancers.

“These findings show that many patients will have more than one skin cancer, highlighting the need to analyse both patient numbers and sample numbers to provide an accurate picture of cancer levels” says co-author Dr Susannah Hoey from the Dermatology Department at the Royal Victoria Hospital, part of the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

“The three skin cancers we looked at all increased with age, with the exception of malignant melanomas, which showed a decrease in men aged 75 and over.

“And there was a link between more patients living in wealthier areas and increased levels of malignant melanomas and basal cell carcinomas.”

The team looked at data collected by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, at Queen’s University Belfast, from 1993 to 2004, analysing the records of patients diagnosed with the three most common skin cancers.

They found that men were 30 per cent more likely to suffer from basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, which affected some 1,444 people a year in Northern Ireland during the study period and accounted for 17 per cent of all reported cancers.

And men were twice as likely to suffer from squamous cell carcinoma than women, accounting for 357 of the 640 cases reported each year.

Women were, however, 30 per cent more likely than men to suffer from malignant melanoma - the least common, but most serious skin cancer - which averages 186 cases a year.

Being well-off was a disadvantage when it came to skin cancer.

Women living in affluent areas were 29 per cent more likely than people living in disadvantaged areas to suffer from basal cell carcinoma and nearly two and a half times more likely to suffer from malignant melanoma.

Men displayed a similar pattern. They were 41 per cent more likely to suffer from basal cell carcinoma if they lived in an affluent area and two and a half times more likely to suffer from malignant melanoma.

Affluence didn’t, however, seem to affect squamous cell carcinoma.

Malignant melanomas showed the greatest increase over the 12-year study period, with a 48 per cent rise in patients and a 71 per cent rise in samples. Squamous cell caricoma patients rose by 28 per cent, with a 57 per cent rise in samples, and basal cell carcinoma patients rose by 13 per cent, with a 62 per cent rise in samples.

“The majority of the people who live in Northern Ireland have fair skin and the 2001 census revealed that less than one per cent of the population belongs to a black or minority ethnic group” adds co-author Dr Olivia Dolan, consultant dermatologist at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

“This means that our results are less likely to be affected by different skin tones and ethnic origin than research carried out in countries with a greater ethnic mix.”

The authors point out that the general increase in incidences of skin cancer, coupled with ageing populations, will place greater demands on dermatology and other related specialties over the coming years.

“The number of people aged 60 and over is set to rise by more than a half by 2030 and 80 per cent of all skin cancers occur in this age group” says Dr Dolan.

“It is important that we plan ahead so that we are able to care for patients with skin cancer without compromising other chronic dermatological diseases.”

The authors – from the Dermatology Department at the Royal Victoria Hospital and Queen’s University Belfast - say that their research reinforces the need for anyone exposed to the sun to take sensible precautions, whether they are at home or on holiday.

“Although our research highlights that some section of society face greater risks than others, the safe sun message is one that we all need to heed if we are to halt rising skin cancer rates” concludes Dr Hoey.


###
Notes to editors


Skin cancer trends in Northern Ireland and consequences for provision of dermatology services. Hoey et al. British Journal of Dermatology. 156, pp1301-1307. June 2007.


British Journal of Dermatology is published monthly on behalf of the British Association of Dermatologists by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Edited by Dr John English, the journal publishes peer-reviewed papers on both clinical and experimental research in dermatology. www.blackwellpublishing.com/bjd


Blackwell Publishing is the world’s leading society publisher, partnering with 665 medical, academic, and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 800 journals and has over 6,000 books in print. The company employs over 1,000 staff members in offices in the US, UK, Australia, China, Singapore, Denmark, Germany and Japan and officially merged with John Wiley & Sons, Inc's Scientific, Technical and Medical business in February 2007. Blackwell’s mission as an expert publisher is to create long-term partnerships with our clients that enhance learning, disseminate research, and improve the quality of professional practice. For more information on Blackwell Publishing, please visit www.blackwellpublishing.com or www.blackwell-synergy.com.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 8:51 am    Post subject: Welcome to the world of haptics for industrial applications Reply with quote

Welcome to the world of haptics for industrial applications
20 June 2007
Rosa Iglesias Perez UPV/EHU


Firstly, what is “Haptics”? This term means “of or relating to the sense of touch”. Haptic technology, or haptics, refers to the technology that connects the user to a computerized system via the sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations and/or motions to the user. Perhaps people do not realize it, but haptic technology is already in our lives. Vibrating phones, gaming controllers and force-feedback control knobs in cars, like BMW’s iDrive, are examples of this technology. These days, you can turn your phone ring tone off, put it in your purse and still feel that someone is calling you when you get a vibration. On the other hand, the Nintendo Wii video game console has been a new revolution for game lovers. The controller, called Wii, provides vibrations (i.e. when you hit the ball in a tennis game) which enhances the virtual sensation.



However, these examples are only the beginning of a cutting-edge technology. In terms of user-computer interaction, touch offers a new way of interacting or manipulating our screen. We used to just have vision and sound, now we also have touch. Thanks to haptic devices, such as, the most well-known PHANToM haptic devices (Figure 1.a and a.b) or hand exoskeleton devices (Figure 1.c), “you can feel or touch what you see”, recognize object shapes, textures, stiffness or grasp them and feeling their weight. Such devices are being used now for virtual modeling, medicine, education, assistive technology for blind people, as well as industrial design and maintenance. Our work addresses the industrial field.



Currently, physical prototypes are replaced by virtual or digital prototypes/models (Computer Aided Design - CAD) to avoid building expensive prototypes, especially in the automotive and aeronautics sectors (Figure 2.a). Increasingly, these CAD systems also allow designers and engineers to carry out assembly processes. The use of touch in CAD systems allows operators to feel forces and local stimuli similar to those in real situations, which provides more intuitive manipulation (i.e. check any defect or decide the most appropriate assembly sequence). On the other hand, different designers, which may be situated over a thousand kilometers away, often collaborate in the design and revision of products to lessen time and lower costs. The objective of this thesis is to research and provide solutions for collaborative haptic assembly systems, where several designers in different locations can grasp virtual parts and assemble them into a digital engine or other mechanical parts (Figure 2.b). To achieve it, a Collaborative Haptic Assembly Simulator, called CHAS, was developed, where two designers can collaborate together in real-time. Trials between Labein (Derio, Bizkaia) and Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland) have verified this system. When performing the assembly task, the operator in Bizkaia could assemble a part into another part grasped by the remote operator in Belfast. Furthermore, the operator in Belfast could feel the collisions with the part grasped by the remote operator.



This is a small step towards new systems of collaboration over the Internet, or a new way of interacting over distance. Doctors will have the ability to remotely diagnose and operate on patients, or we will be able to shake hands virtually. Greetings from Canada, where I am trying to overcome those challenges.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:00 pm    Post subject: Most Sunscreens Aren't Up to the Task Reply with quote

Most Sunscreens Aren't Up to the Task
By Jamie Talan, HealthDay Reporter

posted: 05 July 2007 09:13 am ET

(HealthDay News) -- Beachgoers lulled into the breezy, bronzed glow of summer take note: Most sunscreens don't live up to their promise of protecting against harmful ultraviolet rays, a new study contends.

"Sunscreens just aren't as good as people think they are," said Dr. James Spencer, a dermatologist in St. Petersburg, Fla. "They aren't perfect, but they are the best tool we have."

"There's no such thing as a safe tan," added Dr. Darrell Rigel, a clinical professor of dermatology at New York University who does laboratory research on melanoma and other skin cancers.

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/healthday/605867.html
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 11:49 am    Post subject: Light Shed on New Sunscreen Technologies Reply with quote

Light Shed on New Sunscreen Technologies
By Robin Lloyd, LiveScience Senior Editor

posted: 06 August 2007 07:14 am ET

Baby oil is out. High-tech sunscreen is in.

Now that the summer high-season has arrived, some new skin-protection technologies are available to smear on your body. Wash-on sunscreen. Anti-oxidant sunscreen. Mexoryl.

Are they worthwhile? Do they prevent skin cancer and wrinkles?

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/hea....._tech.html
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:40 am    Post subject: Scientists Learn How to Manipulate Skin Color Reply with quote

Scientists Learn How to Manipulate Skin Color
By LiveScience Staff

posted: 22 August 2007 10:35 am ET

A new discovery of how skin cells work to create pigment could lead to better cosmetics and more natural-looking artificial skin for medical use.

Researchers found that colorless skin cells called keratinocytes can control the darkness of skin grafts by manipulating melanocytes, or pigment-holding skin cells. Specifically, keratinocytes were found to produce chemical signals that control the distribution and amount of pigment, called melanin, found in melanocytes.

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/hea....._deep.html
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 2:25 pm    Post subject: Scientists identify brain circuits used in sensation of touc Reply with quote

Emory University
10 October 2007


Scientists identify brain circuits used in sensation of touch

The ability to tactually recognize fine spatial details, such as the raised dots used in braille, is especially important to those who are blind. With that in mind, a team of researchers has identified the neural circuitry that facilitates spatial discrimination through touch. Understanding this circuitry may lead to the creation of sensory-substitution devices, such as tactile maps for the visually impaired.

The findings appear in the Oct. 10 edition of The Journal of Neuroscience.

The research team, led by Krish Sathian, MD, PhD, professor of neurology in Emory University School of Medicine, included first author Randall Stilla, research MRI technologist at Emory, and Gopikrishna Deshpande, Stephen Laconte and Xiaoping Hu of the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory.

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the researchers found heightened neural activity in a network of frontoparietal regions of the brain when people engaged in fine tactile spatial discrimination. Within this network, the levels of activity in two subregions of the right posteromedial parietal cortex--the right posterior intraparietal sulcus (pIPS) and the right precuneus--were predictive of individual participants' tactile sensitivities.

To determine which areas of the brain were involved in identifying fine spatial details, the researchers asked 22 volunteers to determine only by touch whether the central dot of three vertically arranged dots was offset to the left or to the right of the other two.

"Using their right index fingers, the subjects got to feel the dots for one second to determine in which direction the central dot was offset," says Dr. Sathian. "We also varied the amount the dot was offset from the other two, which allowed us to quantify people's sensitivity. In other words, we asked what is the minimal offset required to discriminate."

In a separate control task, the subjects were asked to determine how long they were touched by three perfectly aligned dots. Brain activity during that temporal task was contrasted with brain activity during the spatial task. The researchers found that different brain regions showed more activity during either spatial or temporal processing.

"What is interesting is that we found the most relevant areas of the brain for spatial processing are on the right side, the same side of the body that was used to feel the stimuli. This is the opposite side to the one that might be expected," says Randall Stilla.

"We usually think of the left side of the brain as controlling the right side of the body, which is generally true. But more and more we are finding that the right side of the brain is particularly important in many types of sensory processing," adds Dr. Sathian.

Dr. Sathian's and Dr. Hu's laboratories also collaborated to determine the strength and direction of the connections between the areas of the brain that govern tactile spatial acuity (perception). Such collaboration, explains Dr. Hu, allows the application of cutting-edge image analysis methods to fundamental questions in neuroscience.

"We found that there are two pathways into the right posteromedial cortex that not only predict individuals' acuity but also predict the magnitude of neural activation," says Dr. Deshpande, who performed the connectivity analyses. "In better performers, the paths predicting acuity converge from the left somatosensory cortex and right frontal eye field (an attentional control center), onto the right pIPS. What's more, these paths are stronger during spatial discrimination than temporal discrimination."

The researchers are not yet sure why this particular neural pathway exists. Dr. Sathian suggests the signal patterns may be a combination of attentional, tactile, and visual processing reflecting the visualization of the spatial configurations. Future research, he says, will attempt to unravel the mechanisms underlying these different component processes.


###
This study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:41 pm    Post subject: Why Skin Is Strong: Cells Stick Like Velcro Reply with quote

Why Skin Is Strong: Cells Stick Like Velcro
By LiveScience Staff

posted: 05 December 2007 01:01 pm ET

Scientists have gotten their best look ever at interactions inside human skin cells, finding a Velcro-like setup that links them and makes skin strong while also supple.

The cell-interior images, made with a new a technique called cryo-electron tomography, show the proteins responsible for cell-cell contacts for the first time.

For the full article:

http://www.livescience.com/hea.....-look.html
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