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Showing posts from October, 2014

HIGH DENSITY SOUND WAVES MAY AID REGENERATIVE MEDICINE

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Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a way to use sound to create cellular scaffolding for tissue engineering, a unique approach that could help overcome one of regenerative medicine's significant obstacles. The researchers will present their technique at the 168th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), held October 27-31, 2014, at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown Hotel. The development of the new technique started with somewhat of a serendipitous discovery. The University of Washington team had been studying boiling histotripsy -- a technique that uses millisecond-long bursts of high-intensity ultrasound waves to break apart tissue -- as a method to eliminate cancerous tumors by liquefying them with ultrasound waves. After the sound waves destroy the tumors, the body should eliminate them as cellular waste. When the researchers examined these 'decellularized' tissues, however, they were surprised by what the boiling left intact. "In…

HEART'S ACTION IMMUNE CELLS CAN HELP IT HEAL

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The heart holds its own pool of immune cells capable of helping it heal after injury, according to new research in mice at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Most of the time when the heart is injured, these beneficial immune cells are supplanted by immune cells from the bone marrow, which are spurred to converge in the heart and cause inflammation that leads to further damage. In both cases, these immune cells are called macrophages, whether they reside in the heart or arrive from the bone marrow. Although they share a name, where they originate appears to determine whether they are helpful are harmful to an injured heart. In a mouse model of heart failure, the researchers showed that blocking the bone marrow's macrophages from entering the heart protects the organ's beneficial pool of macrophages, allowing them to remain in the heart, where they promote regeneration and recovery. The findings may have implications for treating heart failure in humans. The st…

WHY SCRATCHING MAKES YOU ITCH MORE

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Turns out your mom was right: Scratching an itch only makes it worse. New research from scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that scratching causes the brain to release serotonin, which intensifies the itch sensation. The findings, in mice, are reported online in the journalNeuron. The same vicious cycle of itching and scratching is thought to occur in humans, and the research provides new clues that may help break that cycle, particularly in people who experience chronic itching. Scientists have known for decades that scratching creates a mild amount of pain in the skin, said senior investigator Zhou-Feng Chen, PhD, director of Washington University's Center for the Study of Itch. That pain can interfere with itching -- at least temporarily -- by getting nerve cells in the spinal cord to carry pain signals to the brain instead of itch signals. "The problem is that when the brain gets those pain signals, it responds by producing the neuro…

SADNESS LASTS LONGER THAN OTHER EMOTIONS

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Why is it that you can feel sad up to 240 times longer than you do feeling ashamed, surprised, irritated or even bored? It's because sadness often goes hand in hand with events of greater impact such as death or accidents. You need more time to mull over and cope with what happened to fully comprehend it, say Philippe Verduyn and Saskia Lavrijsen of the University of Leuven in Belgium. Their research, published in Springer's journalMotivation and Emotion, is the first to provide clear evidence to explain why some emotions last a longer time than others The Belgian researchers asked 233 high school students to recollect recent emotional episodes and report their duration. The participants also had to answer questions about the strategies they use to appraise and deal with these emotions. Meaningful differences in duration were indeed found to exist between emotions. Out of a set of 27 emotions, sadness lasted the longest, whereas shame, surprise, fear, disgust, boredom, being tou…

SCIENTISTS GENERATE FIRST HUMAN TISSUE IN L;AB WITH STEM CELLS

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Scientists used pluripotent stem cells to generate functional, three-dimensional human stomach tissue in a laboratory -- creating an unprecedented tool for researching the development and diseases of an organ central to several public health crises, ranging from cancer to diabetes. Scientists at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center report Oct. 29 in Nature they used human pluripotent stem cells -- which can become any cell type in the body -- to grow a miniature version of the stomach. In collaboration with researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, they used laboratory generated mini-stomachs (called gastric organoids) to study infection by H. pylori bacteria, a major cause of peptic ulcer disease and stomach cancer. This first-time molecular generation of 3D human gastric organoids (hGOs) presents new opportunities for drug discovery, modeling early stages of stomach cancer and studying some of the underpinnings of obesity related diabetes, according…

TEA, CITRUS FRUITS COULD LOWER OVARIAN CANCER RISK

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Tea and citrus fruits and juices are associated with a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer, according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).
The research reveals that women who consume foods containing flavonols and flavanones (both subclasses of dietary flavonoids) significantly decrease their risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer, the fifth-leading cause of cancer death among women. The research team studied the dietary habits of 171,940 women aged between 25 and 55 for more than three decades. The team found that those who consumed food and drinks high in flavonols (found in tea, red wine, apples and grapes) and flavanones (found in citrus fruit and juices) were less likely to develop the disease. Ovarian cancer affects more than 6,500 women in the UK each year. In the United States, about 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. Prof Aedin Cassidy, from the Department of Nutrition at UEA's Norwich Medical School, led the study. She sai…

PROSTATE CANCER RISK REDUCED BY SLEEPING WITH MANY WOMEN , BUT NOT INCREASED WITH MANY MEN

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Compared to men who have had only one partner during their lifetime, having sex with more than 20 women is associated with a 28% lower risk of one day being diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to researchers at the University of Montreal and INRS -- Institut Armand-Frappier. However, having more than 20 male partners in one's lifetime is associated with a twofold higher risk of getting prostate cancer compared to those who have never slept with a man Marie-Elise Parent and Marie-Claude Rousseau, professors at university's School of Public Health, and their colleague Andrea Spence, published their findings in the journalCancer Epidemiology. The results were obtained as part of the Montreal study PROtEuS (Prostate Cancer & Environment Study), in which 3,208 men responded to a questionnaire on, amongst other things, their sex lives. Of these men, 1,590 were diagnosed with prostate cancer between September 2005 and August 2009, while 1,618 men were part of the control gro…

DOES HAVING CHILDREN MAKE US ANY HAPPIER

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The birth of a first and a second child briefly increases the level of their parents' happiness, but a third does not, according to new research from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Western University, Canada. According to the research, published in the journalDemography, parents' happiness increases in the year before and after the birth of a first child, it then quickly decreases and returns to their 'pre-child' level of happiness. The pattern for second births is similar, although the increase in happiness before and around the birth is roughly half of that for first births. The increase in parental happiness surrounding the birth of a third child is negligible. Mikko Myrskyl√§, professor of demography at LSE and Director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, said: "Our results show a temporary and transitory gain in parents' happiness around the birth of first and second children. "The fact…

MUSHROOM EXTRACT , AHCC, HELPFUL IN TREATING HPV

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Japanese mushroom extract appears to be effective for the eradication of human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a pilot clinical trial at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School. The results were presented at the 11th International Conference of the Society for Integrative Oncology in Houston today by principal investigator Judith A. Smith, Pharm.D., associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the UTHealth Medical School. Ten HPV-positive women were treated orally with the extract, AHCC (active hexose correlated compound) once daily for up to six months. Five achieved a negative HPV test result -- three with confirmed eradication after stopping AHCC -- with the remaining two responders continuing on the study. Currently, there is no effective medicine or supplement to treat HPV, which is associated with more than 99 percent of cervical cancer cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control a…

BABY BOOMERS AND SCOLIOSIS : OSTEOPOROSIS A RISK FACTOR

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For many adults, the word scoliosis conjures up childhood memories of lining up in gym class for an examination by the school nurse. But scoliosis isn't just a pediatric condition. Curvature of the spine can develop in adults too, and the osteoporosis that can accompany menopause is a risk factor. Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon Paul Huddleston, M.D., explains how scoliosis develops, prevention and treatment options and a trend he is seeing in Baby Boomer women. What is scoliosis?Scoliosis is a misshaping of the spine as seen from the front -- where the spine seems shifted right or left -- or from a side view, where the spine is bent too far forward or backward, or a combination of the two. It doesn't always cause pain: Schools started screening in elementary school or junior high in part because many children and their parents didn't know the children had it, Dr. Huddleston says. "The range of symptoms can be from asymptomatic, or no symptoms, to completely debilitating…

BREATHE EASIER : GET YOUR VITAMIN D

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Asthma, which inflames and narrows the airways, has become more common in recent years. While there is no known cure, asthma can be managed with medication and by avoiding allergens and other triggers. A new study by a Tel Aviv University researcher points to a convenient, free way to manage acute asthmatic episodes -- catching some rays outside. According to a paper recently published in the journalAllergy, measuring and, if need be, boosting Vitamin D levels could help manage asthma attacks. The research, conducted by Dr. Ronit Confino-Cohen of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Meir Medical Center, and the Clalit Research Institute, and Dr. Becca Feldman of the Clalit Research Institute drew on the records of millions of patients and used physician diagnoses, rather than self-reports, for evidence of asthma episodes. "Vitamin D has significant immunomodulatory effects and, as such, was believed to have an effect on asthma -- an immunologically mediated disease," said Dr…

INITIAL CHOICE OF ORAL MEDICATION TO LOWER GLUCOSE IN DIABETES PATIENTS EXAMINED

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Patients diagnosed with diabetes and initially prescribed metformin to lower their glucose levels were less likely to require treatment intensification with a second oral medicine or insulin than patients treated first with sulfonylureas, thiazolidinediones or dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitors (DPP-4 inhibitors), according to a study published online byJAMA Internal Medicine The American Diabetes Association, the American College of Physicians and guidelines commissioned by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality all advocate metformin as the initial treatment to lower glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Researchers Seth A. Berkowitz, M.D., M.P.H., of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues examined the initial choice of a glucose-lowering medication on the time to subsequent treatment intensification, as well as hypoglycemia, diabetes-related emergency department visits or cardiovascular events. The authors used data from …

HEART DRUG MAY HELP TREAT ALS

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Digoxin, a medication used in the treatment of heart failure, may be adaptable for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive, paralyzing disease, suggests new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, destroys the nerve cells that control muscles. This leads to loss of mobility, difficulty breathing and swallowing and eventually death. Riluzole, the sole medication approved to treat the disease, has only marginal benefits in patients. But in a new study conducted in cell cultures and in mice, scientists showed that when they reduced the activity of an enzyme or limited cells' ability to make copies of the enzyme, the disease's destruction of nerve cells stopped. The enzyme maintains the proper balance of sodium and potassium in cells. "We blocked the enzyme with digoxin," said senior author Azad Bonni, MD, PhD. "This had a very strong effect, preventing the death of nerv…

BRAIN DEVELOPMENT IN UTERO OBSERVED

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New investigation methods using functional magnetic resonance tomography (fMRT) offer insights into fetal brain development. These "in vivo" observations will uncover different stages of the brain's development. A research group at the Computational Imaging Research Lab from the MedUni Vienna has observed that parts of the brain that are later responsible for sight are already active at this stage. To obtain insights into the development of the human brain in utero, the study group observed 32 fetuses from the 21st to 38th week of pregnancy (an average pregnancy lasts 40 weeks). The architecture of the brain is developed particularly during the middle trimester of pregnancy. Using functional magnetic resonance tomography, it was possible to measure activity and thereby gain information about the most important cortical and sub-cortical structures of the developing brain. During the period of the 26th to 29th week of pregnancy in particular, short-range neuronal connection…