Research Notes


Published December 6, 2001

Breast cancer tests made less uncomfortable

Diagnosing breast cancer may become less invasive than mammograms, family history and genetic code, according to researchers at the University of California-San Francisco.

A new non-invasive technique using a modified breast pump to obtain fluid samples will allow doctors to predict whether or not a person is at risk for the disease and can be performed in a doctor"s office.

Previous studies done at the university showed that women with abnormal cells in fluid from the breasts were more likely to develop breast cancer later in life.

The researchers" current work expanded on this knowledge, tracking the health of the same group of subjects.

In their new studies, researchers found that not all women emitted breast fluid and were 30 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those women who emitted fluid containing any type of cells.

Women with irregular cells in their breast fluid had twice the risk of developing cancer, compared to the women who didn"t emit fluid. These women also had a 60 percent greater chance of developing breast cancer then the women whose fluid contained normal cells.

One in eight women in the U. S. is at risk for developing breast cancer, the most common malignancy in women.

Smokers more at risk for erectile dysfunction

Non-smoking men are less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction than smoking men, according to Northwestern University researchers.

An estimated 30 million American men suffer from some form of erectile dysfunction, which can lead to impotency, and results in problems with achieving and holding an erection.

Along with smoking, researchers found that coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis also increase a male"s likelihood of developing some sort of dysfunction.

Researchers found smoking amplifies the already known negative effects of a number of heart diseases on impotence in men because of damage to the vascular system in the genitals.

The damage occurs because of the effects of smoking on blood coagulation, which promotes the blood vessels to constrict and block blood flow to the heart. Drugs to treat this condition also increase impotence in men.

Researchers found that nitric oxide also plays a large role in cardiovascular health and erectile dysfunction.

Resources slim for diabetics in Latin America

The future may bring higher costs for diabetics living in Latin America because of a lack in patient care and education, and demographic changes, according to researchers at the Pan American Health Organization.

The study examined the quality of medical care given to diabetics in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Uruguay. Through this examination, researchers found that the care lacked frequent assessment of indicators of disease control, education in self-treatment and adequate drug treatment of other risk factors, like high blood pressure.

This lack of care only worsens the complications of diabetes, which typically lead to illness, higher medical expenses and possibly death.

By the year 2025, researcher"s predict that 39.3 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean will suffer from diabetes, which is double the amount of people afflicted with the disease in 2000, according to a recent press release.

Researchers said that an aging population, a decrease in physical activity among citizens and an increase in obesity all contribute to the increase in diabetes.

Compiled by Daily Staff Reporter Lisa Hoffman.