Jan. 3 - 7, 2011

French Model Isabelle Caro's Death Highlights Tough Personal Battles Against Anorexia
ABC News
... "I think it is so important that a high-profile death remind us of all of the less high-profile people who are struggling and dying," said Cynthia Bulik, director of the UNC Eating Disorders Program at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Bulik and other experts say anorexia and other eating disorders are physically and mentally devastating. Treatment can be very intense and very difficult, and part of the challenge is that little is known about what causes the distorted body image that is characteristic of these disorders.

Why Scientists Think Salvia Could Lead To Medical Treatments
National Public Radio
...Even though causing hallucinations is a drawback for Salvinorin A as a therapeutic, Bryan Roth sees it as a potential boon for neuroscientists. He's a pharmacology professor at the University of North Carolina. "One of the things that's interesting about drugs that are hallucinogens is they alter the way we see reality," he says. Studying how Salvinorin A affects brain circuits may provide clues about how the brain makes sense of the world. That's a question worth pursuing, in Roth's opinion. "What could be more important than how we view reality?"

Gluten-free not always way to be
The Herald-Sun (Durham)
If you love traditional bread sticks, cake or cookies, you may find the recent popularity of the gluten-free diet bewildering. Some bakeries and Italian restaurants now offer gluten-free products. You can find gluten-free pastas and breads in the aisles of many grocery stores. In fact, U.S. retail sales in gluten-free food increased 74 percent from 2004 through 2009, according to the Nielsen Co.... "Anecdotally, there are lots and lots of patients who say that they have a gluten sensitivity," said Maya Jerath, the director of the Allergy and Immunology Clinic at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

Study seen as breakthrough
The Herald-Sun (Durham)
In a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Aziz Sancar, the Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the UNC School of Medicine, and his colleagues have taken an important step in understanding the underlying molecular signals that influence a broad array of biological processes ranging from the sleep-wake cycle to cancer growth and development.

Scientists Understand Circadian Rhythm Better
WCHL 1360-AM (Chapel Hill)
A group of UNC scientists have pinpointed a link between circadian rhythms and light signals. Scientists identified the genes that direct circadian rhythms in several living organisms, including people. The circadian rhythm describes the changes an organism undergoes during earth’s 24-hour cycle. The recent study takes a big leap to uncovering more about how the cycle works.

New year for life
Roanoke Rapids Daily Herald
At four days old, Emma Flood’s parents were told she wouldn’t survive the weekend due to a rare chromosome anomaly called trisomy 13.
... Emma’s geneticist Dr. Cynthia Powell agrees. She said trisomy 13 is a condition rarer than Down’s Syndrome. Powell is director of the medical genetics residency program at UNC-Chapel Hill. The average survival rate is seven days. She noted one of the oldest surviving trisomy 13 patients is in their 30s. “For Emma, it’s quite rare because less than one in 10 survive,” Powell said. “I told her mom that this is a Christmas miracle.”

Pop Star's Use of Salvia Puts Hallucinogen in the Spotlight
After a video surfaced on the Internet last month of pop star Miley Cyrus -- giggling and semi-coherent, holding a bong -- many wondered what the 18-year-old singer had inhaled.  ... Dr. Bryan Roth, a psychiatrist and a professor of pharmacology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, agreed that salvia might be a one-hit wonder for most who try it. "The experience is likely to be very intense and most people who are taking it are not psychologically prepared for this type of experience," he explained. "The typical college or high school student who's experimenting with this stuff will likely find it bewildering, disorienting and frightening."

Experimental Drug Helps Fight Aggressive Breast Cancer: Report
HealthDay News
...The findings were enough to generate the interest of Dr. Lisa A. Carey, the co-author of an accompanying editorial. "It is early, but it's really exciting because it's a new class of drugs. It isn't that often that we have a completely new approach to treating cancer," said Carey, medical director of the University of North Carolina Breast Center in Chapel Hill. "This is a new book. We've just opened it up."

Antibiotic May Help Ease Irritable Bowel
HealthDay News
This is important, said Dr. Yehuda Ringel, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a study co-author. Current treatments, including anti-diarrheal and anti-constipation medications, target only the symptoms of IBS and work only as long as people continue taking the drugs, Ringel said. But rifaximin may do more.

Salix drug helps irritable bowel syndrome
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
...Doctors don't know what causes IBS, but the success of the antibiotic strongly suggests a bacterial trigger in some cases, said Dr. Yehuda Ringel, an associate professor of medicine at UNC-CH and co-author of the Xifaxan report in today's journal. "How does it work? We have no idea. We can speculate," Ringel said of the drug's effect. " ...When [intestinal bacteria are] targeted, we get beneficial effect. And the effect lasts for 10 weeks, maybe more. That means we are not targeting only symptoms, but maybe the underlying cause."

Repeal health care? First consider facts
The Charlotte Observer
You're going to hear a lot in coming days about repealing the new health care reform law. Republicans who now control the U.S. House say it's their top priority. But chances are that much of what you'll hear or have heard about the law is wrong. ... PolitiFact reporters read the whole 906-page bill and interviewed independent health care experts. "The label 'government takeover' has no basis in reality," says UNC Chapel Hill health policy Professor Jonathan Oberlander.

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