[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 30-Jan-2012
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Contact: Alissa J. Cruz
media@gastro.org
301-272-1603
American Gastroenterological Association

Barrett’s esophagus (BE) patients who smoke tobacco are at a two-fold increased risk of developing esophageal cancer, according to a new study in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association. BE patients who smoke also double their risk for developing advanced precancerous cells.

“We found that tobacco smoking emerged as the strongest lifestyle risk factor for cancer progression. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol consumption didn’t increase cancer risk in this group of patients with Barrett’s esophagus,” said Helen G. Coleman, PhD, of Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland and the lead author of this study.

While analyzing data (ranging from 1993 to 2005) from one of the largest population-based cohorts of more than 3,000 BE patients worldwide, doctors found that by Dec. 31, 2008, 117 of the patients developed dysplasia or cancers of the esophagus or stomach. For the first time in such a large study, researchers were able to get information about smoking at the time a person was first diagnosed with BE to see how this influenced cancer risk years later. This is important for reducing bias known to be associated with asking patients about their smoking habits in the past.

Current tobacco smoking, regardless of the number of daily cigarettes, was significantly associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer. This suggests that reducing the number of cigarettes smoked per day may not reduce the risk of cancer in BE patients.

The incidence of esophageal cancer is on the rise in developed countries. It originates from the premalignant condition BE, presumably progressing through low- and high-grade dysplasia (precancerous cells). However, progression along this pathway is uncommon, and the vast majority of BE patients never develop esophageal cancer or high-grade dysplasia. Factors distinguishing the small minority of patients who do progress remain largely elusive. This underscores the importance of identifying modifiable lifestyle factors that may contribute to cancer progression.

“Tobacco smoking has been long established as highly carcinogenic,” added Dr. Coleman. “Barrett’s esophagus patients who smoke should start a cessation program immediately.”

Although these findings need to be confirmed in future studies, the study’s researchers suggest that tobacco smoking be discouraged and smoking-cessation strategies considered in BE patients in order to reduce future cancer risk. Further, identifying modifiable lifestyle factors that influence cancer progression may provide an additional cost-effective method of alleviating future cancer burden in this patient group.

###

About the AGA Institute

The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to include 17,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization. http://www.gastro.org.

About Gastroenterology

Gastroenterology, the official journal of the AGA Institute, is the most prominent scientific journal in the specialty and is in the top 1 percent of indexed medical journals internationally. The journal publishes clinical and basic science studies of all aspects of the digestive system, including the liver and pancreas, as well as nutrition. The journal is abstracted and indexed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences, Chemical Abstracts, Current Contents, Excerpta Medica, Index Medicus, Nutrition Abstracts and Science Citation Index. For more information, visit http://www.gastrojournal.org.

Become an AGA fan on Facebook.

Join our LinkedIn group.

Follow us on Twitter @AmerGastroAssn.

Check out our videos on YouTube.

About Queen’s University Belfast

A member of the Russell Group of the U.K.’s 20 leading research-intensive universities, Queen’s University has gained global recognition for the impact of its research and education. The institution has won five Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Further and Higher Education for world-class achievement in cancer research, green chemistry, environmental research, palaeo-ecology and law.

Four prestigious Times Higher Education Awards further recognize the university’s contribution to society. Queen’s received the Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts in 2008, was awarded the title of the U.K.’s Entrepreneurial University of the Year in 2009, the Outstanding Engineering Research Team of the Year in 2010 and Most Innovative Teacher of the Year in 2011.

Founded as Queen’s College in 1845, Queen’s became a university in its own right in 1908, an international center of research and education rooted at the heart of Northern Ireland; it offers a life-changing student experience to students from more than 80 countries. Queen’s is a magnet for inward investment, a patron of the arts and a global player in areas ranging from cancer studies to sustainability, and from pharmaceuticals to creative writing.

About Helen G. Coleman, PhD

Dr. Coleman is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Center for Public Health, within the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast. Dr. Coleman has been researching diet and lifestyle risk factors for cancer for the past six years, and specializes in pre-cancerous conditions of the esophagus (Barrett’s esophagus) and bowel (colorectal polyps). Dr. Coleman works in the cancer epidemiology and health services research group, which is led by Professor Liam Murray.



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AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.

[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 30-Jan-2012
[ | E-mail | Share Share ]

Contact: Alissa J. Cruz
media@gastro.org
301-272-1603
American Gastroenterological Association

Barrett’s esophagus (BE) patients who smoke tobacco are at a two-fold increased risk of developing esophageal cancer, according to a new study in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association. BE patients who smoke also double their risk for developing advanced precancerous cells.

“We found that tobacco smoking emerged as the strongest lifestyle risk factor for cancer progression. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol consumption didn’t increase cancer risk in this group of patients with Barrett’s esophagus,” said Helen G. Coleman, PhD, of Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland and the lead author of this study.

While analyzing data (ranging from 1993 to 2005) from one of the largest population-based cohorts of more than 3,000 BE patients worldwide, doctors found that by Dec. 31, 2008, 117 of the patients developed dysplasia or cancers of the esophagus or stomach. For the first time in such a large study, researchers were able to get information about smoking at the time a person was first diagnosed with BE to see how this influenced cancer risk years later. This is important for reducing bias known to be associated with asking patients about their smoking habits in the past.

Current tobacco smoking, regardless of the number of daily cigarettes, was significantly associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer. This suggests that reducing the number of cigarettes smoked per day may not reduce the risk of cancer in BE patients.

The incidence of esophageal cancer is on the rise in developed countries. It originates from the premalignant condition BE, presumably progressing through low- and high-grade dysplasia (precancerous cells). However, progression along this pathway is uncommon, and the vast majority of BE patients never develop esophageal cancer or high-grade dysplasia. Factors distinguishing the small minority of patients who do progress remain largely elusive. This underscores the importance of identifying modifiable lifestyle factors that may contribute to cancer progression.

“Tobacco smoking has been long established as highly carcinogenic,” added Dr. Coleman. “Barrett’s esophagus patients who smoke should start a cessation program immediately.”

Although these findings need to be confirmed in future studies, the study’s researchers suggest that tobacco smoking be discouraged and smoking-cessation strategies considered in BE patients in order to reduce future cancer risk. Further, identifying modifiable lifestyle factors that influence cancer progression may provide an additional cost-effective method of alleviating future cancer burden in this patient group.

###

About the AGA Institute

The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to include 17,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization. http://www.gastro.org.

About Gastroenterology

Gastroenterology, the official journal of the AGA Institute, is the most prominent scientific journal in the specialty and is in the top 1 percent of indexed medical journals internationally. The journal publishes clinical and basic science studies of all aspects of the digestive system, including the liver and pancreas, as well as nutrition. The journal is abstracted and indexed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences, Chemical Abstracts, Current Contents, Excerpta Medica, Index Medicus, Nutrition Abstracts and Science Citation Index. For more information, visit http://www.gastrojournal.org.

Become an AGA fan on Facebook.

Join our LinkedIn group.

Follow us on Twitter @AmerGastroAssn.

Check out our videos on YouTube.

About Queen’s University Belfast

A member of the Russell Group of the U.K.’s 20 leading research-intensive universities, Queen’s University has gained global recognition for the impact of its research and education. The institution has won five Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Further and Higher Education for world-class achievement in cancer research, green chemistry, environmental research, palaeo-ecology and law.

Four prestigious Times Higher Education Awards further recognize the university’s contribution to society. Queen’s received the Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts in 2008, was awarded the title of the U.K.’s Entrepreneurial University of the Year in 2009, the Outstanding Engineering Research Team of the Year in 2010 and Most Innovative Teacher of the Year in 2011.

Founded as Queen’s College in 1845, Queen’s became a university in its own right in 1908, an international center of research and education rooted at the heart of Northern Ireland; it offers a life-changing student experience to students from more than 80 countries. Queen’s is a magnet for inward investment, a patron of the arts and a global player in areas ranging from cancer studies to sustainability, and from pharmaceuticals to creative writing.

About Helen G. Coleman, PhD

Dr. Coleman is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Center for Public Health, within the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast. Dr. Coleman has been researching diet and lifestyle risk factors for cancer for the past six years, and specializes in pre-cancerous conditions of the esophagus (Barrett’s esophagus) and bowel (colorectal polyps). Dr. Coleman works in the cancer epidemiology and health services research group, which is led by Professor Liam Murray.



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?

AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.

Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-01/aga-bpw013012.php

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Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey

updated 9:38 a.m. ET Jan. 28, 2012

LIVERPOOL, England – There was no crowing from Landon Donovan after he led his Everton side to victory over Clint Dempsey’s Fulham in England’s FA Cup.

After all, the U.S. teammates will be on the same side again soon enough.

Donovan set up both Everton goals in Friday night’s 2-1 win but says Dempsey is still the American success story in this season’s Premier League.

The former New England Revolution forward has scored 15 goals for Fulham since August and Donovan says “in my opinion, he’s been one of the players of the season in the Premier League.”

United States international Tim Howard was in goal for Everton and Donovan says the match was “a little bit of an American invasion.”

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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More news

Arsenal advances in FA Cup

Roundup: Arsenal kept its bid to end a seven-year trophy drought on track Sunday, scoring three times in eight second-half minutes to beat Aston Villa 3-2 and reach the fifth round of the FA Cup.


Bragging rights

Abby Wambach and Christine Sinclair have spent the last two weeks chasing each other, chasing history and chasing a place in the London Olympics.

Source: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/46173803/ns/sports-soccer/

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Sky Anytime+ achieves impossible, will carry iPlayer (and ITV Player)

Sky’s burgeoning Anytime+ VOD platform is getting a hefty boost today. It was previously open only to customers who also hitched to Sky Broadband, but that restriction’s being gently relaxed: opening it up to all five million Sky+HD box owners. It’s also somehow sweet-talked deadly rivals BBC and ITV into letting their offerings onto the platform — with ITV Player arriving tomorrow and iPlayer slated for arrival later in the year. Head past the break for the official line while we sit here and grumble about the company buying up all the UK rights to Mad Men and charging a kings ransom.

Continue reading Sky Anytime+ achieves impossible, will carry iPlayer (and ITV Player)

Sky Anytime+ achieves impossible, will carry iPlayer (and ITV Player) originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 30 Jan 2012 09:46:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://feeds.engadget.com/~r/weblogsinc/engadget/~3/fCVRMgIs2RI/

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Source: http://news.feedzilla.com/en_us/stories/politics/top-stories/193287288?client_source=feed&format=rss

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[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 29-Jan-2012
[ | E-mail | Share Share ]

Contact: Rachel Champeau
rchampeau@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2270
University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences

UCLA findings point to new treatment pathways for infectious diseases

A team of UCLA scientists has found that the pathogen that causes leprosy has a remarkable ability to avoid the human immune system by inhibiting the antimicrobial responses important to our defenses.

In one of the first laboratory studies of its kind, researchers discovered that the leprosy pathogen Mycobacterium leprae was able to reduce and evade immune activity that is dependent on vitamin D, a natural hormone that plays an essential role in the body’s fight against infections.

The pathogen manipulated micro-RNAs, tiny molecules made of ribonucleic acids that carry information and that help regulate genes to direct cell activity, including immune system defenses. Micro-RNAs are short RNAs that do not code information for proteins, which carry out all cell activity; rather, they bind to the RNAs that do code for proteins and block them.

Published in the Jan. 29 online edition of the journal Nature Medicine, the findings demonstrate how an infectious disease pathogen like M. leprae can use micro-RNAs to impact the immune system’s fight response.

“We may find that these tiny micro-RNAs can be exploited by pathogens to weaken our immune response,” said the study’s first author, Dr. Philip T. Liu, an assistant professor of medicine at the Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center and in the department of dermatology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “By better understanding how pathogens can escape our immune cells, we can design more effective therapies to boost our immune responses to these difficult to treat infections like leprosy.”

Leprosy, one of the world’s oldest known diseases, is a chronic infectious disease that affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, the upper respiratory tract and the eyes and can lead to disfigurement of the hands, face and feet. In 2008, approximately 249,000 new cases of leprosy were reported worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

For the study, researchers compared the micro-RNAs in human skin lesions from two types of leprosy: tuberloid leprosy, a milder infection that is more easily contained, and lepromatous leprosy, which is more serious and causes widespread infection throughout the body.

In the lab, the scientists identified 13 micro-RNAs that differed between the two types of leprosy. The micro-RNAs that were found to be more common in lepromatous leprosy seemed to target the genes important for directing key immune system cells, including macrophages and T cells.

The team found that a particular micro-RNA, hsa-mir-21, inhibited the gene activity of the vitamin Ddependent immune pathway used to help fight infection. When researchers neutralized the activity of hsa-mir-21 in macrophages, the cells were able to kill the bacteria again.

“The leprosy pathogen was able to effectively evade the host’s immune response by regulating critical immune system genes,” said senior investigator Dr. Robert Modlin, UCLA’s Klein Professor of Dermatology and chief of dermatology at the Geffen School of Medicine. “It’s like having the enemy sending a decoy message to your combat troops and telling them to lower their weapons.”

To test the significance of this micro-RNA with other infectious diseases, the researchers also introduced hsa-mir-21 to human macrophages that were then infected with tuberculosis in the lab. Researchers found that the micro-RNA similarly blocked the ability of the macrophages to kill the bacteria.

Researchers also demonstrated that immune activation of the leprosy-infected immune cells decreased the leprosy bacteria’s viability four-fold but only when hsa-mir-21 activity was silenced. In fact, an over-expression of this micro-RNA blocked immune activity, resulting in a five-fold increase in bacterial viability.

“We were surprised at the devastating effects that even a single micro-RNA had on the ability of immune cells to fight the infections,” Liu said.

In addition, the team showed that this micro-RNA was found in human immune cells only 18 hours after the onset of leprosy infection. The presence of the micro-RNA so early in the infection suggests it might play a role in actual disease development, the researchers said.

Further investigation of this single micro-RNA in leprosy may provide a framework for analyzing other micro-RNAs to help determine their cumulative role in regulating the immune response.

The micro-RNAs are small, and therefore it is possible to develop treatments which neutralize them, the researchers said.

“We may find that a combination of vitamin D supplementation with a genetically targeted therapy could provide an optimal treatment approach to leprosy and possibly other chronic infectious diseases,” said Modlin, who also serves as vice chair for cutaneous medicine and dermatological research at UCLA and is a distinguished professor of medicine and of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics.

“Vitamin D insufficiency has been associated with a number of infectious and autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease and cancers,” Modlin added. “Our study indicates that micro-RNAs can alter human vitamin D responses and contribute to disease pathology.”

Dr. Barry Bloom of Harvard University, who was not an author of this study but is part of the research team studying this field, agreed.

“Such a novel approach may be especially worth exploring in treatment of drug-resistant pathogens such as some forms of tuberculosis, where antimicrobial therapy is becoming increasingly problematic,” Bloom said.

###

Bloom, the former dean of the faculty at Harvard’s School of Public Health, is Harvard’s Distinguished University Service Professor and the Jack and Joan Jacobson Professor of Public Health in the School of Public Health’s department of immunology and infectious diseases and department of global health and population.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of Arthritis, Skin and Musculoskeletal Diseases, both parts of the National Institutes of Health.



[ Back to EurekAlert! ] [ | E-mail | Share Share ]

?

AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.

[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 29-Jan-2012
[ | E-mail | Share Share ]

Contact: Rachel Champeau
rchampeau@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2270
University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences

UCLA findings point to new treatment pathways for infectious diseases

A team of UCLA scientists has found that the pathogen that causes leprosy has a remarkable ability to avoid the human immune system by inhibiting the antimicrobial responses important to our defenses.

In one of the first laboratory studies of its kind, researchers discovered that the leprosy pathogen Mycobacterium leprae was able to reduce and evade immune activity that is dependent on vitamin D, a natural hormone that plays an essential role in the body’s fight against infections.

The pathogen manipulated micro-RNAs, tiny molecules made of ribonucleic acids that carry information and that help regulate genes to direct cell activity, including immune system defenses. Micro-RNAs are short RNAs that do not code information for proteins, which carry out all cell activity; rather, they bind to the RNAs that do code for proteins and block them.

Published in the Jan. 29 online edition of the journal Nature Medicine, the findings demonstrate how an infectious disease pathogen like M. leprae can use micro-RNAs to impact the immune system’s fight response.

“We may find that these tiny micro-RNAs can be exploited by pathogens to weaken our immune response,” said the study’s first author, Dr. Philip T. Liu, an assistant professor of medicine at the Orthopaedic Hospital Research Center and in the department of dermatology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “By better understanding how pathogens can escape our immune cells, we can design more effective therapies to boost our immune responses to these difficult to treat infections like leprosy.”

Leprosy, one of the world’s oldest known diseases, is a chronic infectious disease that affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, the upper respiratory tract and the eyes and can lead to disfigurement of the hands, face and feet. In 2008, approximately 249,000 new cases of leprosy were reported worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

For the study, researchers compared the micro-RNAs in human skin lesions from two types of leprosy: tuberloid leprosy, a milder infection that is more easily contained, and lepromatous leprosy, which is more serious and causes widespread infection throughout the body.

In the lab, the scientists identified 13 micro-RNAs that differed between the two types of leprosy. The micro-RNAs that were found to be more common in lepromatous leprosy seemed to target the genes important for directing key immune system cells, including macrophages and T cells.

The team found that a particular micro-RNA, hsa-mir-21, inhibited the gene activity of the vitamin Ddependent immune pathway used to help fight infection. When researchers neutralized the activity of hsa-mir-21 in macrophages, the cells were able to kill the bacteria again.

“The leprosy pathogen was able to effectively evade the host’s immune response by regulating critical immune system genes,” said senior investigator Dr. Robert Modlin, UCLA’s Klein Professor of Dermatology and chief of dermatology at the Geffen School of Medicine. “It’s like having the enemy sending a decoy message to your combat troops and telling them to lower their weapons.”

To test the significance of this micro-RNA with other infectious diseases, the researchers also introduced hsa-mir-21 to human macrophages that were then infected with tuberculosis in the lab. Researchers found that the micro-RNA similarly blocked the ability of the macrophages to kill the bacteria.

Researchers also demonstrated that immune activation of the leprosy-infected immune cells decreased the leprosy bacteria’s viability four-fold but only when hsa-mir-21 activity was silenced. In fact, an over-expression of this micro-RNA blocked immune activity, resulting in a five-fold increase in bacterial viability.

“We were surprised at the devastating effects that even a single micro-RNA had on the ability of immune cells to fight the infections,” Liu said.

In addition, the team showed that this micro-RNA was found in human immune cells only 18 hours after the onset of leprosy infection. The presence of the micro-RNA so early in the infection suggests it might play a role in actual disease development, the researchers said.

Further investigation of this single micro-RNA in leprosy may provide a framework for analyzing other micro-RNAs to help determine their cumulative role in regulating the immune response.

The micro-RNAs are small, and therefore it is possible to develop treatments which neutralize them, the researchers said.

“We may find that a combination of vitamin D supplementation with a genetically targeted therapy could provide an optimal treatment approach to leprosy and possibly other chronic infectious diseases,” said Modlin, who also serves as vice chair for cutaneous medicine and dermatological research at UCLA and is a distinguished professor of medicine and of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics.

“Vitamin D insufficiency has been associated with a number of infectious and autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease and cancers,” Modlin added. “Our study indicates that micro-RNAs can alter human vitamin D responses and contribute to disease pathology.”

Dr. Barry Bloom of Harvard University, who was not an author of this study but is part of the research team studying this field, agreed.

“Such a novel approach may be especially worth exploring in treatment of drug-resistant pathogens such as some forms of tuberculosis, where antimicrobial therapy is becoming increasingly problematic,” Bloom said.

###

Bloom, the former dean of the faculty at Harvard’s School of Public Health, is Harvard’s Distinguished University Service Professor and the Jack and Joan Jacobson Professor of Public Health in the School of Public Health’s department of immunology and infectious diseases and department of global health and population.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of Arthritis, Skin and Musculoskeletal Diseases, both parts of the National Institutes of Health.



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?

AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.

Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-01/uoc–slp012612.php

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LOS ANGELES, Jan 29 (TheWrap.com) ? Scotty Bowers, a former Marine who claims to have run a gay and bisexual prostitution ring for some of Hollywood’s biggest names beginning in the 1940s, is about to spill the details in a tell-all book.

Cary Grant, Rock Hudson, George Cukor, Katharine Hepburn and Vivien Leigh are among those named by Bowers, now 88.

“Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars” is to be published on February 14 by Grove Press. Bowers, who lives in the Hollywood Hills, was interviewed by the New York Times ahead of the release of the book, which was written by Lionel Friedberg.

Bowers, who claims to have plied his trade for nearly three decades, said he has turned down many offers to tell his story over the years.

“I finally said yes because I’m not getting any younger and all of my famous tricks are dead by now,” he told the Times. “The truth can’t hurt them anymore.”

The tales are lurid. Bowers says in the book that he set Hepburn up with “over 150 different women” and recounts the sexual high jinks of Spencer Tracy, Cole Porter, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and publisher Alfred A. Knopf.

Bowers said he got started when he was working at a gas station near Paramount Pictures and actor Walter Pidgeon came in and propositioned him. He accepted, the word spread, and, according to Bowers, a business that flourished until the onset of the AIDS epidemic was born.

Younger readers — at least those raised in the Internet and TMZ age — may find nearly as shocking the fact that the stories were squelched by studio publicists and remained largely under wraps back in the day.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/movies/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20120130/film_nm/us_hollywood_sex

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