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Health Bulletin


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  1. #1361
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Botox could help treat stomach cancers!

    Scientists have suggested that Botox, the popular wrinkle eraser, could also be effective in treating stomach cancers.

    Through their study, the scientists have shown how the drug slows cancer growth by eliminating the signals sent by nerves that are linked to cancer stem cells.

    Led by Duan Chen, professor at Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and Timothy Wang, professor at the Columbia University, the study has been published in the US journal Science Translational Medicine, Xinhua reported.

    “We believe this treatment is a good treatment because it can be used locally and it targets the cancer stem cells,” said Chen. “The Botox can be injected through gastroscopy and it only requires the patient to stay in the hospital for a few hours.”

    The procedure is also less toxic than most standard cancer treatments, less expensive and has hardly any side effects, he added.

    Though the procedure has been tested on mice as yet, researchers will soon start testing it on humans.

    According to Chen, the study shows that nerves control cancer stem cells. “We found that by removing the effect of the nerve, the stem cells in the cancer tumor are suppressed, leading to cancer treatment and prevention.”
    Researchers tried four methods to cut the connection between the nerves and the tumor. “… we found that the anti-cancer effects were remarkable, especially with local vagotomy or by injecting Botox. It actually surprised us. The finding that Botox was highly effective was particularly exciting,” Chen said.

    Botox, made from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, is well-known as a beauty treatment. But it is also used for different medical indications.

    The promising results from this study have led to an initiation of a phase II clinical trial for patients with stomach cancer in Norway.

    Researchers believe the Botox treatment could be an additional treatment for patients who have inoperable stomach cancer, or patients who have received chemotherapy but no longer respond to such therapy.

    It could also be considered in patients who, due to toxicity of chemotherapy, cannot be offered chemotherapy treatment or who, after detailed information about chemotherapy, still do not want such treatment.

    The nerve-tumor growth connection could also occur in other solid tumors, such as in prostate cancer, but more research was needed to identify the precise nerves involved, which were expected to vary from organ to organ and tumor to tumor.


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  2. #1362
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Juvenile diabetes: Can it be prevented?

    Diabetes has become a common disease these days just like any other whacky flu, cough and cold. According to a study conducted by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the number of Indians suffering from this malicious disease is expected to cross the 100 million mark by 2030.

    But, if you are under the impression that diabetes is an old man`s disease, you need to think again, as more and more children are falling prey to this silent killer disease these days. According to a study conducted by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), there are about a million children with Type I diabetes in India.

    Type-1 diabetes or juvenile diabetes is a form of diabetes mellitus that results from autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing beta-cells of the pancreas. Type-1 diabetes is fatal unless treated with insulin. It mainly affects children in the age group of 10-14 years. Those aged between five and nine years have middle risk of developing it and kids of 0-4 years have a lower risk of developing diabetes.

    The major reasons touted for the rise of the disease is, kids consuming unhealthy diet, low fruit and vegetable intake, increased intake of trans-fats and very less physical activity.

    The first warning signs for a parent could be, if the child is drinking too much water, urinating more frequently than he used to, has gained weight, or feels hungry more frequently. Once detected that your child is suffering from the disease, it can be actually stressful not just for the child, but also for the parents. But, parents should constantly encourage their children to follow a healthy lifestyle.

    Here are some useful guidelines for parents to protect your child from the malicious disease:
    -Parents need to watch that children are not overweight. To ensure this, they should get their child screened on regular basis, especially if symptoms are noticed and persist.

    -As parents, you should encourage your child to engage in sports, exercise and other outdoor activities, so that the child remains active and does not gain weight.

    -Motivate your child to eat healthy and nutritious diet which includes vegetables, fruits etc. and avoid eating oily and fried food (read junk food).
    -Ask your child to snack in between meals so that sugar levels can be maintained.

    -And last but certainly not the least, motivate your child to opt for meditation or yoga to keep him stress free.


  3. #1363
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Lizard tails may help humans get new limbs

    Lizard tails have fascinated humans from ancient times, falling off and growing back just like new. Now, scientists have solved the mystery of how lizards can regenerate their tails.

    They discovered the genetic "recipe" for lizard tail regeneration, which may come down to using genetic ingredients in just the right mixture and amounts.

    By following the genetic recipe for regeneration that is found in lizards, and then harnessing those same genes in human cells, it may be possible to regrow new cartilage, muscle or even spinal cord in the future.

    "Lizards basically share the same toolbox of genes as humans. They are the most closely-related animals to humans that can regenerate entire appendages," said Kenro Kusumi from Arizona State University.

    Researchers discovered that lizards turn on at least 326 genes in specific regions of the regenerating tail, including genes involved in embryonic development, response to hormonal signals and wound healing.

    "Using next-generation technologies to sequence all the genes expressed during regeneration, we have unlocked the mystery of what genes are needed to regrow the lizard tail," explained Kusumi .

    The findings may also lead to discoveries of new therapeutic approaches to spinal cord injuries, repairing birth defects, and treating diseases such as arthritis, said the study published in the journal PLOS ONE.


  4. #1364
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    'Bhindi' can extend shelf life of ice-cream

    Extracts of the humble okra or 'bhindi' can help your ice cream last longer by acting as a stabilizer in the sweet delicacy, a new study suggests.

    While okra has been widely used as a vegetable for soups and stews, the study by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in Chicago, shows how okra extracts can alson be used as a stabilizer in ice cream. Ice cream quality is highly dependent on the size of ice crystals.

    As ice cream melts and refreezes during distribution and storage, the ice crystals grow in size causing ice cream to become courser in texture which limits shelf life.

    Stabilizers are used to maintain a smooth consistency, hinder melting, improve the handling properties, and make ice cream last longer.

    The American study found that water extracts of okra fibre can be prepared and used to maintain ice cream quality during storage.

    These naturally extracted %stabilizers offer an alternative food ingredient for the ice cream industry as well as for several other food products, researchers said.

    The study was published in the Journal of Food Science.


  5. #1365
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Hangover after party? Blame it on your gene

    Hungover after a wild night of partying? Blame your genes. Researchers have found that genes may partly determine why some people get hangovers after a night of drinking while others do not.

    In a study of twins, scientists looked for links between the study participants' genetic make-ups and the number of hangovers the individuals reported in the past year. The results showed that genetic factors accounted for 45% of the difference in hangover frequency in women and 40% in men.

    In other words, genetics accounts for nearly half of the reason why one person experiences a hangover and another person doesn't, after drinking the same amount of alcohol, the study said. The other half probably comes from outside influences such as how quickly a person drinks and whether he/she eats while drinking.


  6. #1366
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Aging may be linked to diet, new study suggests

    Can diets increase immunity among the elderly, thus preventing diseases and slowing down the inevitable process of aging? New research shows that this is possible because some of the key chemicals that cause decline of immunity with age can be blocked with proper nutrition.

    Two new studies by researchers from University College London (UCL) have demonstrated how interplay between nutrition, metabolism and immunity is involved in the process of aging. These studies, supported by UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), could help to enhance our immunity to disease through dietary intervention and help make existing immune system therapies more effective.

    Professor Arne Akbar's group at UCL had previously shown that aging in immune system cells known as 'T lymphocytes' was controlled by a molecule called 'p38 MAPK' that acts as a brake to prevent certain cellular functions. They found that this braking action could be reversed by using a p38 MAPK inhibitor, suggesting the possibility of rejuvenating old T cells using drug treatment.

    In a new study published in Nature Immunology, the group shows that p38 MAPK is activated by low nutrient levels, coupled with signals associated with age, or senescence, within the cell.

    It has been suspected for a long time that nutrition, metabolism and immunity are linked and this paper provides a prototype mechanism of how nutrient and senescence signals converge to regulate the function of T lymphocytes.

    The study also suggests that the function of old T lymphocytes could be reconstituted by blocking one of several molecules involved in the process. The research was conducted at UCL alongside colleagues from Complejo Hospitalario de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.

    The second paper, published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, showed that blocking p38 MAPK boosted the fitness of cells that had shown signs of ageing; improving the function of mitochondria (the cellular batteries) and enhancing their ability to divide. Extra energy for the cell to divide was generated by the recycling of intracellular molecules, a process known as autophagy. This highlights the existence of a common signalling pathway in old/senescent T lymphocytes that controls their immune function as well as metabolism, further underscoring the intimate association between ageing and metabolism of T lymphocytes.

    This study was conducted by researchers from UCL, Cancer Research UK, University of Oxford and University of Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.

    Professor Arne Akbar said: "Our life expectancy at birth is now twice as long as it was 150 years ago and our lifespan is on the increase. Healthcare costs associated with ageing are immense and there will be an increasing number of older people in our population who will have a lower quality of life due in part to immune decline. It is therefore essential to understand reasons why immunity decreases and whether it is possible to counteract some of these changes.

    "An important question is whether this knowledge can be used to enhance immunity during aging. Many drug companies have already developed p38 inhibitors in attempts to treat inflammatory diseases. One new possibility for their use is that these compounds could be used to enhance immunity in older subjects. Another possibility is that dietary instead of drug intervention could be used to enhance immunity, since metabolism and senesce


  7. #1367
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Scientists find gut bacteria that prevents food allergies

    Mice that were raised in a sterile environment or given antibiotics early in life lacked a common gut bacteria that appears to prevent food allergies, US researchers said on Monday.

    The bacterium, called Clostridia, appears to minimize the likelihood that rodents will become allergic to peanuts, and researchers would like to find out if it does the same in people.

    In the meantime, they found that supplementing rodents with probiotics containing Clostridia later in life could reverse the allergy, according to the report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    "Environmental stimuli such as antibiotic overuse, high-fat diets, caesarean birth, removal of common pathogens and even formula feeding have affected the microbiota with which we've co-evolved," said senior study author Cathryn Nagler, food allergy professor at the University of Chicago.
    "Our results suggest this could contribute to the increasing susceptibility to food allergies."

    Researchers say the incidence of food allergies among children in the United States rose 18 percent from 1997 to 2007.

    The precise cause of food allergies is unknown, but some studies suggest that changes in diet, hygiene and use of antimicrobial soap and disinfecting products may lead to changes in the bacteria of the gastrointestinal tract that leave people more susceptible.

    Some food allergies can be fatal.
    Researchers experimented on mice, exposing some mice born and raised in sterile conditions to peanut allergens. They also tested mice given antibiotics as newborns, a practice which significantly reduced gut bacteria.
    Both groups of mice showed significantly higher levels of antibody response against peanut allergens than did regular mice with average gut bacteria.
    Their sensitization to food allergens could be reversed if Clostridia bacteria were introduced back into the guts of the mice.

    "It's exciting because we know what the bacteria are; we have a way to intervene," Nagler said.

    "There are of course no guarantees, but this is absolutely testable as a therapeutic against a disease for which there's nothing."

    More research is needed to see if the effect would be the same in humans, she said.


  8. #1368
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Aspirin lowers risk of stroke and heart attacks

    A new study has revealed that low dose aspirin lowers the occurrence of new venous blood clots.

    According to the study, low-dose aspirin can help to prevent new venous blood clots and other cardiovascular events among people who are at risk because they have already suffered a blood clot.

    Lead researcher John Simes, University of Sydney Professor, said that the treatment effect of aspirin is less than can be achieved with warfarin or other new generation direct thrombin inhibitors, which can achieve more than an 80 per cent reduction in adverse circulatory and cardiopulmonary events, however, aspirin represents a useful treatment option for patients who are not candidates for anticoagulant drugs because of the expense or the increased risk of bleeding associated with anticoagulants.

    The researchers found that compared to placebo patients, those who took 100mg daily of aspirin had a one-third reduction in the risk of, thromboembolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism, myocardial infarction (heart attack).

    However, long-term anticoagulant drugs are expensive and inconvenient, requiring frequent regular blood tests and adjustments to the dosage. Further, there is an elevated risk that the treatment could cause bleeding in some patients. For people who are not able to cope with this, the viable alternative of taking regular aspirin will be a great benefit.

    The scientists added that aspirin will be ideal in the many countries where prolonged anticoagulant treatment is too expensive. A major benefit of this treatment is its cost-effectiveness, as the drug is cheap, but it will save the treatment costs of the many recurrent clots that are prevented. This could mean a saving of millions of healthcare dollars worldwide.

    The study was published in Circulation.


  9. #1369
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Depression risk double for diabetics: Study

    If you have a family member suffering from diabetes, make sure he or she is screened for depression among other offshoots of the lifestyle disease. A recent study conducted by a hospital in the city has revealed that depression is twice as common in diabetics as compared to healthy persons.

    It was also found that middle-aged people, particularly women who stay at home, were more susceptible to the mood disorder. The study, conducted at Max hospital, Saket, included 260 people of which 130 were diabetic. The study also showed that nearly 35% diabetics suffer from depression, compared to 20% non-diabetics and the disease is more common among women (32.65%).

    Dr Sujeet Jha, who heads the Institute of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Max hospital said the occurrence of depression in diabetics is related to impaired blood glucose levels, obesity and other complications. "There is no scientific evidence to explain higher prevalence of depression among diabetics. It may have something to do with the chronic nature of the disease. Diabetics have to get their sugar levels checked regularly and higher levels could increase the chance of developing depression," he added.

    Dr Jha said one-to-one or group counselling with trained educators can help reduce the risk of depression. "Encouragement and support from family members is equally important," Jha said.

    Dr Sameer Malhotra, director, Institute of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences at Max Hospital, said he often gets patients suffering from diabetes who complain of depression. "There is a biological link between diabetes and depression. It has been proved scientifically that the former causes changes in neuro-chemicals that affect brain functioning," he said. Dr Malhotra said a healthy diet and proper medication can help ward off the disease.


  10. #1370
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Now, continuous glucose monitoring meter that changes color when level fluctuates

    Scientists have developed a continuous glucose-monitoring system that changes color when glucose levels rise.

    The material, which is developed by Paul Braun and Chunjie Zhang, has a precise wavelength shift and doctors and patients may be able to use it for automatic insulin dosing.

    The sensor is made of hydrogel, a soft elastic jelly-like material, laced with boronic acid compounds. Boronic acid binds to glucose, causing the gel to swell and expand as the glucose concentration rises. Embedded within the hydrogel is a photonic crystal made of tiny, carefully arranged beads. A photonic crystal is like a mirror that only reflects one wavelength of light while the rest of the spectrum passes through. As the hydrogel expands, the reflected color shifts from blue to green to red.

    Lead researcher Braun said that there are significant limitations to current continuous glucose monitoring technologies and the systems available today all have some combination of limited sensitivity, limited precision and frequent recalibration. Using today's systems, you can determine trends in glucose levels, but without frequent recalibration, you don't have the accuracy or reliability to use that to make insulin dosing decisions or to drive autonomous dosing.

    The color-changing material is simple and low-cost to manufacture, and a square inch of hydrogel could be enough for up to 25 patients.

    The researchers envision the hydrogel as part of a subcutaneous system or a sophisticated device that taps into the bloodstream - an insulin pump, for example. However, the application they are most excited about is in short-term continuous monitoring of patients hospitalized or in intensive care units, when patients are most critically in need of continuous monitoring - diabetic or not.


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