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Solar images show never-before-seen detail

WASHINGTON, April 21 (UPI) — NASA says even the first images taken by its recently launched Solar Dynamics Observatory display details never before seen by solar scientists.

The space agency’s astronomers said the observatory is returning data that confirm an unprecedented new capability for scientists to better understand the sun’s dynamic processes.

“These initial images show a dynamic sun that I had never seen in more than 40 years of solar research,” said Richard Fisher, director of NASA’s Heliophysics Division. “SDO will change our understanding of the sun and its processes, which affect our lives and society. This mission will have a huge impact on science, similar to the impact of the Hubble Space Telescope on modern astrophysics.”

NASA said the observatory, launched Feb. 11, is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the sun. During its five-year mission, it will examine the sun’s magnetic field and also provide a better understanding of the role the sun plays in Earth’s atmospheric chemistry and climate. It is designed to provide images with clarity 10 times better than high-definition television and return more comprehensive science data faster than any other solar observing spacecraft.

The images are available at http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003700/a003715/index.html.

Added sugar can increase heart attack risk

ATLANTA, April 21 (UPI) — Added sugars — especially in processed foods and beverages — may increase heart disease risk factors, U.S. researchers said.

Study co-author Dr. Miriam Vos, assistant professor of pediatrics at Emory School of Medicine, and colleagues analyzed nutritional data and blood lipid (fat) levels in more than 6,000 adult men and women from 1999 to 2006.

The highest-consuming study subjects ate an average of 46 teaspoons of added sugars per day, while the lowest-consuming study subjects are an average of just 3 teaspoons daily.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found those who ate more added sugar were more likely to have higher cardiovascular disease risk factors — including higher triglyceride levels and higher ratios of triglycerides to high-density lipoprotein, the “good” cholesterol.

“Just like eating a high-fat diet can increase your levels of triglycerides and high cholesterol, eating sugar can also affect those same lipids,” Vos said in a statement. “It would be important for long-term health for people to start looking at how much added sugar they’re getting and finding ways to reduce that.”

FDA: Don’t give your dog bones of any size

WASHINGTON, April 21 (UPI) — Many people believe it’s OK for dogs to chew on bones, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the practice can cause serious injury.

“Some people think it’s safe to give dogs large bones, like those from a ham or a roast,” said Dr. Carmela Stamper in the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “Bones are unsafe no matter what their size.”

Here are 10 reasons why Stamper says it’s a bad idea to give a dog a bone. Most of the reasons require either a visit or an emergency trip to a veterinarian:

– Broken teeth.

– Mouth or tongue injuries.

– Bone becomes looped around the dog’s lower jaw. This can be frightening or painful for the dog.

– Bone becomes stuck in the dog’s esophagus.

– Bone blocks dog’s breathing.

– Bone gets stuck in the dog’s stomach and might be too big to pass into the intestines.

– Bone becomes stuck in the intestines and causes a blockage. Such an event can require surgery.

– Constipation due to bone fragments. The fragments can be very sharp and can scrape the intestine or rectum, causing the dog much pain.

– Severe bleeding from the rectum. This is very messy and can be dangerous.

– Peritonitis, a difficult-to-treat bacterial infection of the abdomen caused when bone fragments poke holes in a dog’s stomach or intestines. Peritonitis can kill the animal.

“Talk with your veterinarian about alternatives to giving bones to your dog,” Stamper said. “There are many bone-like products made with materials that are safe for dogs to chew on.

“Always supervise your dog with any chew product, especially one your dog hasn’t had before,” he added. “And always, if your dog ‘just isn’t acting right,’ call your veterinarian right away!”

New therapy for advanced prostate cancer

NEW YORK, April 21 (UPI) — U.S. cancer researchers say an experimental drug is providing effective targeted therapy in treating an aggressive form of advanced prostate cancer.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center scientists said a new multicenter study suggests the drug — MDV3100 — is safe and effective for patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer. Such cancers are known for their poor prognosis and limited treatment options.

The scientists said the combined Phase 1 and 2 study found MDV3100 not only shrank patients’ tumors, but also reduced serum levels of the tumor marker prostate-specific antigen, stabilized disease that had spread to soft tissues and the bone, and reduced the number of circulating tumor cells in the blood.

“We were encouraged to see anti-tumor activity in men whose disease had spread to other parts of the body after either becoming resistant to previous hormone treatments or progressing following chemotherapy,” said Dr. Howard Scher, chief of the Sloan-Kettering’s Genitourinary Oncology Service and the study’s lead author. “These findings strengthen the drug’s potential to change the outlook for a group of patients who currently have limited effective treatment options from which to choose.”

The study appears online, ahead of print, in The Lancet.

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Categorized | Other, Solar
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