Color & Control:


The most current and concise informative articles from the medical world.

KLK6 and aggressive prostate cancer

A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer has uncovered new information about the KLK6 gene that is strongly associated with prostate cancer and considered an important first step in understanding a gene that will be as significant as BRCA in breast cancer.

To identify the relevant mutations, Dr. Alexandre Zlotta and colleagues analyzed blood samples of 1,858 men from three cohorts in Canada, the US and Switzerland. The study found that KLK6 gene variants occurred in six to 14 per cent in the population, and that men who carried the mutations had an almost threefold increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

Icebreaker used in Nunavik health survey

A team of 40 health care specialists, professionals, laboratory technicians, researchers and interpreters coordinated the Qanuilirpitaa? (‘How are we now?’) Inuit health survey—a seven-week study conducted across Quebec’s remote Nunavik region, which concluded last October. Using the Canadian research  icebreaker CCGS Amundsen, the team visited all 14 communities of Nunavik. Slightly more than 1,300 Nunavimmiut aged 16 years and older participated. The survey aimed to document the mental and physical health of randomly chosen residents, as well as associated social and cultural factors. Results are expected to be released by fall 2018.
Source: Nunatsiaq News

Whole genome sequencing & the future of health care

Personal Genome Project Canada has sequenced the entire personal genome of its inaugural participants and had its findings published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). Of the
56 healthy adult participants in the whole genome sequencing study, 14 had genetic variants associated with diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurological disease—and 13 were at risk of potentially life threatening adverse drug reactions. All participants had medically relevant findings, including genes for drug reactions, copy number variation of genes involved in mental health, and other genetic alterations that could affect the health of future generations of an affected individual’s family. Given the variety of these relevant findings, PGP Canada anticipate that genomic analysis will likely become a standard component of proactive health care in the foreseeable future.

Stealing and binge-eating—oh my!

Roughly 20 per cent of individuals treated with a class of drugs most commonly effective in controlling tremors, stiffness and temporary inability to move develop devastating side effects. These synthetic dopamine drugs, called dopamine agonists, can introduce risky behaviours such as excessive gambling, spending and sexual behaviour, as well as stealing and binge eating.

University of British Columbia behavioural neuroscientist Catharine Winstanley is investigating the link between a protein called GSK3beta, and the impulse-control problems some people develop when taking these drugs. Winstanley’s team is also testing alternative agents such as lithium and new lithium derivatives, which seem to block GSK3beta.
Source: Parkinson Canada

Spotlight on…

The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation. Lyme disease is on the rise in Canada. The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation (CanLyme) was formedto supply the public, including medical professionals, with information on Lyme disease and related conditions. CanLyme aims to provide research funding, and to communicate concerns to government public health agencies about Lyme disease and Borrelia bacteria, which is passed to animals and humans by ticks. Many strains or genospecies of Borrelia can cause Lyme disease, with some strains more virulent than others.

Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose and treat as there are more than 100 symptoms, which vary from person to person. CanLyme advocates for better education to reduce misdiagnosis and facilitate prompt treatment during the early stages of disease, before it progresses.

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