Monday, July 31, 2006

New Frontotemporal Dementia Gene

Scientists Discover New Frontotemporal Dementia Gene

July 16, 2006

Scientists have discovered genetic mutations that cause a form of familial frontotemporal dementia (FTD), a finding that provides clues to the underlying mechanism of this devastating disease and that may provide insight for future approaches to developing therapies. The mutations are contained in a single gene that scientists can now identify as responsible for a large portion of inherited FTD. A rare brain disorder, FTD usually affects people between ages 40 and 64 with symptoms that include personality changes and inappropriate social behavior. Published online July 16, 2006, in Nature, the research was funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The discovery builds on a 1998 finding of mutations in another gene that is responsible for a smaller proportion of inherited FTD cases. Amazingly, both the gene found in 1998 and the newly found gene were found on the same region of chromosome 17. Today’s discovery appears to explain all the remaining inherited FTD cases linked to genes on chromosome 17 and may provide new insights into the causes of the overall disease process. Geneticist Michael Hutton, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Jacksonville, Fla., led an international scientific team to discover the new gene.

“This new finding is an important advance in our understanding of frontotemporal dementia,” says NIA director Richard J. Hodes. “It identifies a mutation in the gene producing a growth factor that helps neurons survive, and it suggests that lack of this growth factor may be involved in this form of frontotemporal dementia.”

FTD encompasses a set of rare brain disorders. While most cases are sporadic, an estimated 20 to 50 percent has a family history of dementia, according to the Association for Frontotemporal Dementias. FTD affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. People with FTD may exhibit uninhibited and socially inappropriate behavior, changes in personality and, in late stages, loss of memory, motor skills and speech. There is no treatment.

Hutton and colleagues began looking for genetic causes of FTD after a 1996 NIA–funded conference on the disorder. The conference, he recalls, encouraged researchers to cooperate, rather than compete, to find the FTD gene. At the start, they knew only that the inherited changes were linked to chromosome 17. Two years later, Hutton along with other researchers discovered that mutations in a particular gene on chromosome 17 were responsible for a subset of inherited FTD cases. That gene, called MAPT, contains instructions for a protein known as tau.

But, the researchers also knew there were many other families where FTD was inherited but without mutations in the tau gene. Further searching of chromosome 17 in the families without tau mutations finally turned up what is reported today -- another set of mutations in another gene, this one containing instructions for the assembly of a protein known as progranulin. The progranulin, or PGRN, gene, makes a growth factor protein that stimulates cell division and motility during multiple processes including embryonic development, wound repair and inflammation. Scientists say it is unclear what role progranulin plays in the normal brain. In the FTD families, they explain, the progranulin mutations appear to cut short the assembly process for the protein in brain nerve cells (neurons), and the lack of progranulin eventually causes neurons to die.

Understanding how the mutations of the two different genes on chromosome 17 cause neuronal death might help scientists better understand the different pathways that cause dementia. The findings also suggest that PGRN may play a role in other neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) or Lou Gehrig’s disease, the researchers noted.

The study was conducted as part of the NIA-supported Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the Mayo Medical Center. In addition to NIA funding, the researchers were supported by several other entities in the United States, Belgium, Great Britain and Canada, including, in the United States, the Mayo Foundation, the Robert and Clarice Smith Fellowship program and the Alzheimer’s Association.

NIA leads the federal effort supporting and conducting research on aging and the medical, social and behavioral issues of older people, including Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. For information on dementia and aging, please visit the NIA’s Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center at, or call 1-800-438-4380. For more general information on research and aging, go to

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — the nation's medical research agency — includes 27 institutes and centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Senior Citizen Health Insurance Quotes

Senior Citizen Health Insurance Quotes

Health insurance is important to everyone. The skyrocketing price of hospitalization, diagnostic procedures, medications, and follow up visits can make it difficult for the Senior Citizen. NOW would be a good time to consider the different Senior Citizen health insurance offered

Everybody needs health insurance. However as a Senior Citizen you should pay attention to the health insurance quote being given.

The tremendous increase in price of Senior Citizen health insurance in recent years may be why people are becoming more and more interested shopping around between different companies.

The high incidence of diseases within the Senior Citizen community has been attributed to various health-related factors such as lack of regular exercise, unhealthy food, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, drug addiction. Increased body fat leading to obesity in a large fraction of the Senior Citizen and the all round unheathly life we now lead.

Senior Citizen health insurance includes what the Senior Citizen will get should they choose that insurance. The insurer pays the medical costs of the insured should the insured become ill due to diseases or accidents covered by the health insurance. There are private organizations and government agencies who offer Senior Citizen health insurance. Such as the National Health Service in the UK.

Senior Citizen Health insurance quotes may come from private companies or they maybe government-sponsored. Senior Citizen government health insurance maybe offered on federal, state, or local level.

Senior Citizen health insurance coverage quotes can come from a managed care plan. Their Senior Citizen health insurance quotes include plans having their own doctors and hospital affiliations which would readily provide health care to their members should they need such. However, the disadvantage of this type of plan would be that if you visit a doctor or hospital out of the plan's network, a charge will apply.

A Fee-of-Service plan’s health insurance quotes will offer Senior Citizens payment for the doctors and hospital bills. The insured will pay the company a monthly premium. Two kinds of fee-of-service plan exist. One is a basic health insurance pays the room and care during confinement, the cost of surgery, along with some diagnostic procedures and the medications. The Second Senior Citizen fee-of-service health care plan includes paying the cost of long-term illnesses or injuries.

Philip Jubb
Philip is the Editor of
and has written widely on Senior Citizens
and other subjects.

Friday, July 07, 2006

About Mesothelioma

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About Mesothelioma
By: Greg Fabry

Mesothelioma is an uncommon form of cancer, often associated with exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma is when malignant cells develop in the mesothelium, a protective lining that covers most internal organs. It most often involves the pleura, which is the outer lining of the lungs, but can also be found in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), or the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart). Most people who develop mesothelioma worked on jobs where they are exposed to asbestos, or have gotten exposed to asbestos in some other way. A history of exposure to asbestos exists in almost all cases.

Mesothelioma may not appear till 30-50 years after exposure to asbestos. Shortness of breath and a pain in the chest may be symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss, cachexia, abdominal swelling and pain due to ascites (a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity). Other symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face. These symptoms may also be caused by other, less serious conditions. In either case, it is always best to check with a physician.

Diagnosing mesothelioma can be difficult. More information can be found at Mesothelioma is described as localized if the cancer is found only on the membrane surface where it originated. It is classified as advanced if it has spread beyond the original membrane surface to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, chest wall, or abdominal organs.

Although mesothelioma incidence rates have increased in the past 20 years, the incidence is still low. Currently, incidence of malignant mesothelioma can range from 7 to 40 per 1,000,000 in developed Western countries. In comparison, populations with high levels of smoking can have a lung cancer frequency of 1,000 per 1,000,000. The incidence of mesothelioma depends on the asbestos exposure of that area over the past few decades.

If you are anyone you know may have mesothelioma or any medical condition, it is best to consult a doctor. The internet or any text is not an alternative to visiting a qualified physician.