Posts etiquetados ‘http://www.heraldtribune.com/’

Siete revistas publican unas normas para comunicar mejor los descubrimientos.

28 octubre, 2011

"Sarasota Memorial Hospital" in Sarasota County, Florida is the nucleus of a medical research community.

  • Long life’s secrets may lie in DNA

    “Sarasota Heradl Tribune”(Front Page)RESEARCH: Centenarians will have their genomes sequenced for answers

     

    By MALCOLM RITTER Associated Press

     

    Published: Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 1:00 a.m.
    Last Modified: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 10:54 p.m.

    NEW YORK – George Eberhardt turned 107 last month, and scientists would love to know how he and other older folks like him made it that far. So he is going to hand over some of his DNA.

    He is one of 100 centenarians taking part in a project announced Wednesday that will examine some of the oldest citizens with one of the newest scientific tools: whole-genome sequencing, the deciphering of a person’s complete collection of DNA.

    Scientists think DNA from very old healthy people could offer clues to how they lived so long. And that could one day lead to medicines to help the rest of us stay disease-free longer.

    By the time you reach, say, 105, “it’s very hard to get there without some genetic advantages,” says Dr. Thomas Perls, a geriatrics expert at Boston University.

    Perls is helping find centenarians for the Archon Genomics X Prize competition. The X Prize Foundation, best known for a spaceflight competition, is offering $10 million in prize money to researchers who decipher the complete DNA code from 100 people older than 100. The contest will be judged on accuracy, completeness and the speed and cost of sequencing.

    The contest is a relaunch of an older competition with a new focus on centenarians, and it’s the second sequencing project involving the elderly to be announced this month.

    Genome pioneer J. Craig Venter says the centenarian project is just a first step in revealing the genetic secrets of a long and healthy life.

    “We need 10,000 genomes, not 100, to start to understand the link between genetics, disease and wellness,” said Venter, who is co-chairing the X Prize contest.

    The 107-year-old Eberhardt of Chester, N.J., played and taught tennis until he was 94. He said he is participating in the X Prize project because he is interested in science and technology. It’s not clear his genes will reveal much. Nobody else in his extended family reached 100, and he thinks only a couple reached 90, he said in a telephone interview.

    So why does he think he lived so long? He credits 70 years of marriage to his wife, Marie. She in turn cites his “intense interest in so many things” over a lifetime, from building radios as a child to pursuing a career in electronics research.

    But scientists believe there is more to it, and they want to use genome sequencing to investigate. Dr. Richard Cawthon of the University of Utah, who is seeking longevity genes by other means, says it may turn up genetic features that protect against multiple diseases or that slow the process of aging in general.

    Protective features of a centenarian’s DNA can even overcome less-than-ideal lifestyles, says Dr. Nir Barzilai of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. His own study of how centenarians live found that “as a group, they haven’t done the right things.”

    Many in the group he studied were obese or overweight. Many were smokers, and few exercised or followed a vegetarian diet. His oldest participant, who died this month just short of her 110th birthday, smoked for 95 years.

    “She had genes that protected her against the environment,” Barzilai said. One of her sisters died at 102, and one of her brothers is 105 and still manages a hedge fund.

    Earlier this month, Scripps Health of San Diego announced a different genome project involving the elderly. The Scripps Wellderly Study will receive the complete genomes of 1,000 people age 80 and older from a sequencing company.

    A complete genome reveals not only genes but also other DNA that’s responsible for regulating genes. It’s “the full monty,” showing DNA elements that are key for illness and health, says Dr. Eric Topol, who heads the Wellderly Study.

    Participants in that study have an average age of 87 and range up to 108, and they’ve never had diabetes, heart disease or cancer, or any neurological disease.

    “Why are these people Teflon-coated?” Topol asked. “Why don’t they get disease?” The ability to turn out lots of complete genomes is “the new-new thing” in trying to find out, he said.

    “There’s been too much emphasis on disorders per se and not enough on the people who are exceptionally healthy,” to learn from their genomes, Topol said. “Now we have the powerful tools to do that.”

     

  • Muchos análisis sobre factores de riesgo generan falsas expectativas
  • Siete revistas publican unas normas para comunicar mejor los descubrimientos

María Sánchez-Monge| Madrid, “El Mundo.es”, Biociencia.

Solo se confirma el 0,2% de las asociaciones entre un gen y una enfermedad. | Mitxi

Actualizado miércoles 26/10/2011 05:03 horas

“Cuesta un poco reconocer que las cosas no siempre se hacen con todo el rigor necesario“. Miquel Porta, coordinador del grupo de investigación en epidemiología clínica y molecular del cáncer del Instituto de Investigación Hospital del Mar (IMIM) de Barcelona, admite que muchos estudios contienen deficiencias importantes que restan validez a los hallazgos. “Pero, por otra parte, los investigadores siempre hemos contado con directrices y la comunicación científica dispone de mecanismos para regularse”, añade. Porta forma parte de un grupo internacional de científicos que ha elaborado unas normas para comunicar los estudios de factores de riesgo genético y molecular de forma más precisa y ética.

Las nuevas pautas, publicadas simultáneamente en siete revistas científicas, instan a contar con más detalle cómo se llevan a cabo los ensayos sobre los factores de riesgo que ayudan, entre otras cosas, a predecir el riesgo de sufrir una determinada enfermedad, o bien a diagnosticarla. Por ejemplo, la mutación de un gen o la presencia de cantidades elevadas de una proteína en sangre. Se trata de los denominados biomarcadores, cuyo uso se ha extendido rápidamente en los últimos tiempos y que han propiciado grandes avances, pero no han estado exentos de polémica.

“Efectivamente, se han generado falsas expectativas porque tendemos a exagerar las implicaciones de nuestros hallazgos“, asevera Porta. La revista ‘The Journal of the American Medical Association’ (‘JAMA’) publicó este verano un artículo que constató que buena parte de los estudios con resultados muy positivos han sido posteriormente rebatidos por trabajos más amplios o revisiones sistemáticas. Es lo que sucedió con la vinculación entre la proteína C reactiva en sangre y las enfermedades cardiovasculares, así como con el gen BRCA1 y el riesgo de cáncer de colon.

Los investigadores publican preferentemente los estudios con resultados positivos, guardando en el cajón los que no les han llevado a las conclusiones deseadas. Pero es que los propios directores de revistas científicas desechan los ensayos cuyos descubrimientos no son ‘redondos’.

Porta cita como ejemplo de lo que no se debe hacer las investigaciones realizadas hace algunos años que observaron una asociación entre un alto nivel de pesticidas en el cuerpo y un mayor riesgo de cáncer de mama. “Esos resultados iniciales no se confirmaron, pero tampoco es que se hayan descartado”, comenta. “Los trabajos que se realizaron posteriormente no se hicieron bien y, finalmente, se abandonó esa línea de investigación”, resume.

En el ámbito de la genética, el panorama es, según el epidemiólogo barcelonés, “desolador”, ya que “sólo se confirma el 0,2% de los hallazgos que relacionan un gen con una enfermedad”. Ante esta situación, las nuevas directrices se perfilan como un paso obligado. Lógicamente, no se puede forzar a ningún científico a que las cumpla, pero las revistas que las suscriben (‘PLoS Medicine, ‘European Journal of Clinical Investigation’, ‘European Journal of Epidemiology, ‘Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, ‘Journal of Clinical Epidemiology’, ‘Preventive Medicine y ‘Mutagenesis’) se han comprometido a publicar sólo aquellos estudios que se ajusten a ellas.

Por otro lado, la experiencia muestra que las anteriores directrices, referidas a otros aspectos de la investigación, han servido como revulsivo para reducir las malas prácticas. Bajo el nombre de STROBE-ME (acrónimo en inglés de Fortaleciendo la Conmunicación de los Estudios Observacionales en Epidemiología-Epidemiología Molecular), se recoge el conjunto de recomendaciones que ayudarán a los investigadores a contar de forma más completa y precisa los resultados de sus trabajos, de tal manera que la comunidad científica pueda evaluar sus puntos fuertes y débiles e interpretar claramente los resultados. Los promotores de STROBE-ME harán un seguimiento para comprobar el grado de cumplimiento de la iniciativa.

Autores cubanos en revistas extranjerashttp://www.infomed.sld.cu/
27-10-2011

Unexpanded and Intermediate CAG Polymorphisms at SCA2 Locus (ATXN2) in the Cuban population: Evidences About the Origin of Expanded SCA2 Alleles
Laffita-Mesa J M, Velázquez-Pérez LC, Santos Falcón N. et al. Eur J Hum Gen. doi:10.1038/ejhg.2011.154.
european-journal-of-geneticsMutaciones genéticas en el gen de la ataxina-2 es la causa de la ataxia espinocerebelosa tipo 2 (SCA2). Esta mutación consiste en repeticiones anormales del triplete CAG (Citosina-Adenina-Guanina) en el gen SCA2/ATXN2 en el cromosoma 12. Cuando la longitud de estos tripletes sobrepasa ciertos umbrales causan neurodegeneración del sistema nervioso.

Florida housing underwater make uncertain future for homeowners in Sarasota, Florida..

26 septiembre, 2011

Census indicates area’s mortgage health is poor.

By Doug Sword
Published: Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 11:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 11:14 p.m.

Southwest Florida homeowners, in particular — are straining to make their mortgage payments.

A dangerously high percentage of mortgage-holders in Sarasota, Charlotte and Manatee counties are now spending more than 35 percent of their income on their mortgage, property insurance and taxes, and other major home expenses, new census data shows.

Economists say that phenomenon is a definitive warning sign of further foreclosures.

The rule of thumb is that communities are in danger when more than 35 percent of homeowners are spending more than 35 percent of their income on these monthly expenses.

In Sarasota County, 41 percent of homeowners fit that definition; in Charlotte, it was 46 percent; and in Manatee, 38 percent.

“It definitely portends a future trend of high percentages of foreclosures and short sales for the next few years,” said Jack McCabe, a Deerfield Beach real estate consultant.

Unemployment, declining incomes and the resetting of adjustable-rate mortgages are pushing those income-to-mortgage ratios higher even though a record number of owners already have lost their homes to foreclosure in recent years.

A look at the highest rates for Florida’s largest counties reflects the epicenters of high-rolling investment during the boom and foreclosures during the downturn: Monroe, Dade, Collier, Broward, Osceola, Palm Beach and Sarasota counties top the list.

McCabe, who correctly predicted the housing downturn, was especially alarmed by data showing that half of Miami homeowners are now spending more than 35 percent of their incomes on housing.

Economists worried about the strain of housing costs on household budgets even before the downturn.

“We talked a lot during the housing boom about affordability as prices rose faster than income,” said Sean Snaith, a University of Central Florida economist.

Because of its demographics, the trend is particularly troubling in Southwest Florida, said Sarasota attorney Anne Weintraub.

“A good portion of our community is retirees trying to use their fixed incomes to pay for everyday expenses, including their mortgage payment,” said Weintraub, who wrote a manual to familiarize non-real estate attorneys and their borrower-clients with the foreclosure process and who has handled hundreds of short sales for struggling homeowners.

“These percentages are off the charts, and invite mortgage defaults,” Weintraub said.

 

Port Charlotte’s John Cannon says he paid way too much — about $210,000 — for a home during the boom that he would be lucky to sell today for $125,000.

“It’s a gorgeous house,” said Cannon, who is no relation to the Lakewood Ranch builder of the same name. “I gave them way too much money, I don’t know what I was thinking. But I make the payments. It hurts every month I write that check.”

But not writing it is simply not an option for Cannon, 37, who says walking away from an agreement is unthinkable. It is not the kind of message he would like to send to his 16-year-old son.

Business virtually halted in 2008 for Cannon’s firm, Treemendous Tree Service, which is in North Port.

To make the payments on his home and his business’ trucks Cannon worked two years in Port Arthur, Texas, where there was work for an arborist at the oil refineries, which were all in expansion mode at the time.

Now he is back in Southwest Florida and the landscaping business has picked up enough to get by.

“You gotta do what you gotta do, you just can’t sit around and complain,” Cannon said.

While three years of economic hardship seem to have only hardened Cannon’s commitment to meet his obligations, others are giving up the fight to stay in homes whose values have sunk far below their mortgage debt.

“The numbers clearly show that strategic default is an epidemic,” said Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com.

 

The census data shows that Southwest Florida homeowners have long carried heavier mortgage burdens than other Americans, or other Floridians.

According to the 2000 census, 24.9 percent of Sarasota County households were spending more than 35 percent of their income on their mortgage and other monthly payments. At that time, Florida’s average was 22.8 percent and the national average was 19.1 percent.

But the run-up on home prices in the first half of the decade brought about a severe shift in how much income homeowners were diverting to their monthly housing costs.

In 2000, the only major Florida county violating economists’ 35 percent rule was Monroe, home to Key West and traditionally some of the state’s highest-priced homes.

By 2006, 11 of Florida’s 30 biggest counties, based on property values, had crested the benchmark.

By 2011, 21 counties did.

“When incomes go up, they go up in drips and drabs,” McBride said. “But particularly for homeowners that took out exotic mortgages, when the mortgages went up, it went up at a pace that income couldn’t approach.”

Before the boom, the rule of thumb was that banks would make mortgage loans only to borrowers who would pay no more than 28 percent of their income on their monthly payments, McCabe said.

“During the boom years that changed once Wall Street started buying mortgages from originators who would do business with pretty much anyone who could fog a mirror when they came in to get a loan,” said McCabe, the Deerfield Beach real estate consultant.

Also worrisome is that the five- and seven-year teaser rate loans will still be resetting at much higher rates through 2013, which could push even more counties into violating the 35/35 rule.

“That’s why we’re probably going to see these rates continue to go up next year,” McCabe said.

.Source:http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20110924/ARTICLE/110929708?p=3&tc=pg

El suicidio en Sarasota, Florida se incremento en un 85%.

11 julio, 2011

Reversing the suicide trend
Published: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 7:38 p.m.

An editorial Sunday focused on the 85 percent increase in suicides in Sarasota County from 2000 to 2010. The editorial also noted that suicide rates in both Sarasota and Manatee counties have exceeded the statewide rate.

Since 1993, Sarasota County’s suicide rate has been higher than the statewide rate, according to a calculation used by the Florida Department of Health. In 15 of the past 20 years for which data are available, the suicide rates in both Manatee and Sarasota counties have exceeded Florida’s rate.

As we stated, these trends are unacceptable and should be reversed — in our community and throughout Florida.

Our community can mobilize to help reverse these trends and prevent the numbers from increasing even more. Preventing suicide is difficult and complex. But communities can take several basic steps to improve the chances of prevention.

Local experts recommend the following:

* Promoting awareness.

It’s vital for communities to understand the scope of the problems and mobilize to highlight solutions.

On Aug. 1, the local Behavioral Health Strategic Planning Work Group will meet and continue exploring suicide data from Sarasota County to determine whether they will make the issue of suicide a priority.

Looking at the numbers is a good first step toward addressing the upward trend of local suicides.

* Recognizing symptoms.

Mary Ruiz, president and CEO of Manatee Glens — a behavioral health hospital that handles many state-ordered mental health evaluations — told us that people who commit suicide often experience months of depression. With early detection and affordable access to effective care, that depression can be treated.

An accurate diagnosis is also critical. Sometimes, Ruiz said, physical symptoms of depression are overlooked. In the time leading up to a suicide, an individual might go to the doctor with a backache and not realize it is a symptom of depression, Ruiz said. Also, she said depression is common after a serious car accident or heart attack because the mind is affected as well as the body.

Instead of ignoring the suicidal thoughts of others, it can help to listen to them, Ruiz said. Seeking help is crucial. Depression, she said, is the most treatable mental illness, through both drugs and counseling, but action must be taken.

And, when treatment is sought, it must be accessible and effective.

* Erasing stereotypes.

The stigma surrounding mental illness is one of the reasons people might brush off feelings of depression instead of seeking help. Ruiz said it would help if the stigma was removed.

She calls depression a “no-fault brain disease” and said “if it’s OK to have cancer, it’s OK to have depression.” Society, she said, contributes to people dealing with depression on their own. Without professional help, she said, consequences can be tragic.

* Detecting risks.

Along with knowing some of the basics about depression and suicide, Sarasota County suicide rates might decrease if there were funding for more preventive measures that would help identify people at risk of mental illness.

Ruiz suggests screening young adults for mental illness in school, then showing the results of the screenings to parents who could then pursue possible treatments. This idea deserves the attention of both local mental health agencies and Manatee and Sarasota county school districts.

“We screen for scoliosis, but not for mental illness. We need universal screening; otherwise we are taking our chances at every school and every community,” Ruiz said.

* Funding treatment.

Florida relies on community-based nonprofit providers — such as Manatee Glens and Coastal Behavioral Healthcare in Sarasota — for affordable access to mental-health and substance-abuse treatment.

Funding for those services was in peril during this year’s session of the Legislature. Fortunately, the funding was maintained, but, as Jerry Thompson, president and CEO of Coastal, points out, such funding hasn’t increased over the past 10 years.

Is there a connection between stagnated funding and rising suicides?

There might not be proof at this point, but there is enough evidence of a link to warrant an urgent, comprehensive review of state and local policies — on funding, screening, prevention and treatment — before more lives are lost.

Meg Lowman: New voices to save forests.

13 junio, 2011

“The best science in the world has not managed to persuade governments to reverse forest degradation in order to protect the critical ecosystem services provided by trees. “

“Asian and Latin American countries have cleared more than 40 percent of their forests, due in part to the fact that at least 20 percent of American timber imports are illegally harvested from these regions.”

PUBLISHED IN “THE SARASOTA HERALD TRIBUNE”, SARASOTA, FLORIDA.
By MEG LOWMAN
Meg Lowman, longtime Florida scientist/educator, is establishing the Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, with a mission to engage the public. Her column appears monthly on these pages.
Published: Monday, June 13, 2011 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 10, 2011 at 6:44 p.m.

 “…almost all natural ecosystems are currently degrading at alarming rates, due to human activities. Forests alone provide us with fresh water, medicines, foods, building materials, soil conservation, a genetic library of millions of species, energy production and carbon storage.

Despite the efforts of thousands of professionals over the past several decades, deforestation continues to increase.”

 Full article:http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20110613/COLUMNIST/110619916/2127?p=all&tc=pgall


Seguir

Recibe cada nueva publicación en tu buzón de correo electrónico.

Únete a otros 158 seguidores

%d personas les gusta esto: