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Heart failure med good for pulmonary edema

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          HEALTH TIPS - Thursday, February 8, 2007
               "News That Keeps You Healthy"

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           Some oils may cause breast growth in boys

WASHINGTON, -- U.S. National Institutes of Health scien-
tists say repeated topical use of products containing 
lavender or tea tree oils can cause enlarged breasts in 
boys. The study suggests the use of such oils causes 
prepubertal gynecomastia, a rare condition that reverses 
itself when use of the oils is discontinued. Researchers 
at the National Institute of Environmental Health 
Sciences confirmed in laboratory studies what a pediatric 
endocrinologist at the University of Colorado suspected 
after diagnosing three of his young male patients with 
prepubertal gynecomastia. The researchers found an 
association between the use of soaps, skin lotions, sham-
poos or styling products containing the oils and the dis-
order but say more research is needed. At this point, the 
scientists said, their findings are only applicable to 
young males with unexplainable enlarged breasts who are 
regularly use products containing lavender or tea tree 
oils. The study appears in the current issue of the New 
England Journal of Medicine.

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        Heart failure med good for pulmonary edema

CALGARY, Alberta, -- Canadian scientists say acetazola-
mide, a drug used to manage fluid retention in heart 
failure, can also control effects of high altitude ex-
posure. Marc Poulin and colleagues at the University of 
Calgary found the drug controls the effects of pulmonary 
edema -- an accumulation of fluid in lung tissue that 
occurs from high altitude exposure -- as well as improv-
ing brain oxygenation. The randomized, double-blind and 
placebo-controlled study showed acetazolamide had complex 
positive effects on ventilation, pulmonary vascular 
resistance and cerebral blood flow in optimizing brain 
oxygenation during simulated high-altitude tests on nine 
subjects. The researchers conclude the drug could be a 
valuable means of preventing or treating high-altitude 
pulmonary edema. The study's results appear in February 
issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical 
Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.

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        Obesity drug helps advance cancer research

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.,-- U.S. cancer researchers say they've 
discovered that a drug used to fight obesity can prevent 
tumor cell growth and promote tumor cell death. Assistant 
Professor Steven Kridel and colleagues at the Wake Forest 
University School of Medicine say they are the first to 
report a tubular network within cells, known as the endo-
plasmic reticulum, or ER, is regulated by an enzyme close-
ly linked with tumor growth and development. The research 
showed an enzyme known as fatty acid synthase is vital for 
the ER to do its job. Blocking that enzyme, which makes 
fat in cells, has been shown to prevent tumor cell growth 
and to promote cell death. "No one had made connection 
before between fatty acid synthase and the function of 
the ER in tumor cells," said Kridel. "This is the first 
to show that fatty acid synthesis is important in main-
taining ER function and keeping tumor cells alive." The 
researchers found Orlistat, a drug approved to treat 
obesity, can block the function of fatty acid synthase, 
thereby preventing tumor cell growth and promoting tumor 
cell death. The study appears in the current issue of 
the journal Cancer Research.

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