Screening for prostate cancer in older men has been problematic. While this form of cancer can be fatal, it often progresses so slowly that men are more likely to die from some other disease. Aggressive treatments such as radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy may eradicate the cancer but have negative effects on quality of life. More conservative treatments may preserve quality of life, but may not be appropriate for those cases where the disease is progressing more quickly. In the face of these uncertainties, what is the appropriate age to stop screening?
Although guidelines suggest that men 75 years or older may not benefit from screening, surveys continue to show high rates of screening in this population. Since most screening and treatment trials for prostate cancer have systematically excluded older men, there are no well-characterized data about survival and quality-of-life issues.
In a population-based cohort study published in the May issue of The American Journal of Medicine, researchers followed 465 men aged 75 to 84 who had been diagnosed with clinically localized prostate cancer in 1994 or 1995. Of those patients, 175 received aggressive treatment (surgery or radiation therapy) and 290 received hormone therapy or no treatment. The authors evaluated health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes and survival 2 years after the original diagnosis. Survival was also evaluated 7 years after diagnosis.
Pamela Poppalardo | alfa
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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