March 17, 2006
Contact: Jerry Carey
Phone: (856) 566-6171
STRATFORD RESEARCH DAY YIELDS NEW MEDICAL DISCOVERIES
STRATFORD—Researchers at the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine announced new findings in the fight against antibiotic resistant bacteria, Alzheimer’s disease, colon cancer, and migraine headaches during the medical school’s 10th annual Research Day program yesterday. Among the findings announced were:
The discovery of a potential clue to determining why bacteria become resistant to antibiotics was presented. Dr. Dmitry Temiakov, of the UMDNJ-Stratford Department of Cell Biology, led an international team of scientists on this project, which determined that streptolydigin, an antibiotic derived from a naturally occurring fungus, blocks the ability of bacteria to produce the proteins that it needs to exist. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bacteria that are resistant to at least one antibiotic cause 70 percent of the two million annual cases of hospital-acquired infections in the United States.
The discovery of the possible "trigger" that signals the beginning of Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Robert Nagele, of the Department of Molecular Biology and the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging, reported that the presence of a specific antibody in the brain tissue of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease points to a breakdown of "blood - brain barrier," which initially occurs deep within the brain of people who develop this disease. Effectively controlling common diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease could prevent this breakdown from occurring in aging individuals and underscores the importance of the "healthy heart - healthy brain" connection. The next step in Dr. Nagele’s research will focus on analyzing blood samples over several years of individuals with mild cognitive impairment or early stage Alzheimer’s disease to monitor presence of these antibodies as part of an evolving condition.
A new study challenges some commonly held beliefs about cultural influences that affect screening for colorectal cancer. Dr. Kathryn Lambert, of the Department of Family Medicine, presented findings from a survey that suggested contrary to research reported elsewhere, African Americans have a higher to or similar rate of colonoscopy screening as Caucasians. The study did, however, identify some existing cultural barriers to colorectal cancer screenings that continue to keep overall screening rates low. This survey included only patients at a physician’s office associated with the medical school. The study will now expand to include individuals in community-based settings.
The development of a new tool for accurately diagnosing chronic headaches was presented. Headaches are one of the most common maladies that patients report to their physicians. Dr. Adarsh Gupta and physicians from the Department of Family Medicine and the University Headache Center have developed a new online assessment tool that allows individuals to catalog information about the characteristics of their headaches, creating a report that will allow a physician to diagnose accurately the type of headaches and identify the most effective course of treatment. The online tool, which will soon be available, can be repeated several times, allowing individuals to assess the change in their condition over time. This research also offers the possibility of similar assessment tools for other medical conditions.
More than 70 research projects were on display during the Research Day program, an annual event that highlights the work of scientists, clinicians and students at the school, which annually receives more in federal research grants than any other osteopathic medical school in the country.
To learn more about these discoveries, or arrange interviews with the researchers, please call Jerry Carey at (856) 566-6171.