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Health Bulletin


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  1. #2641
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Lack of sleep boosts levels of Alzheimer's proteins: Study

    Chronic poor sleep may contribute to cognitive decline, according to a study that shows wakeful brain produces more of the Alzheimer's protein amyloid beta than its waste-disposal system can handle.
    Levels of the protein rise, potentially setting off a sequence of changes to the brain that can end with dementia, researchers said.

    "This study is the clearest demonstration in humans that sleep disruption leads to an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease through an amyloid beta mechanism," said Randall Bateman, from the Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis in the US.

    "The study showed that it was due to overproduction of amyloid beta during sleep deprivation," Bateman said.

    For the research published in the journal Annals of Neurology, the scientists studied eight people aged between 30 to 60 years with no sleep or cognitive problems.

    The participants were assigned randomly to one of three scenarios: having a normal night's sleep without any sleep aids; staying up all night; or sleeping after treatment with sodium oxybate, a prescription medication for sleep disorders.

    Sodium oxybate increases slow-wave sleep-- the deep, dreamless phase of sleep that people need to wake up feeling refreshed.

    Each scenario occurred during 36 hours of monitoring, starting in the morning and continuing through the afternoon of the following day.

    The researchers took samples of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord every two hours to monitor how amyloid beta levels change with time of day and tiredness.

    All eight participants returned four to six months later to undertake a second scenario, and four people completed all three.

    Studying the same people under different conditions provides the statistical power to detect changes in amyloid beta levels.

    Amyloid beta levels in sleep-deprived people were 25 to 30 per cent higher than in those who had slept the night through.

    After a sleepless night, amyloid beta levels were at par with the levels seen in people genetically predisposed to develop Alzheimer's at a young age.

    "This information could help us figure out how to reduce amyloid beta deposition over time in people whose sleep is chronically disrupted," said Brendan Lucey, from the Washington University School of Medicine.


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  2. #2642
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    3D shapes created from living tissue: Study

    Scientists have developed a way to recreate complex 3D folded shapes from living tissues, an advance that may help better understand fundamental biology.
    By patterning mechanically active mouse or human cells to thin layers of extracellular matrix fibres, the researchers could create bowls, coils, and ripples out of living tissue.

    The cells collaborated mechanically through a web of these fibres to fold themselves up in predictable ways, mimicking natural developmental processes.

    "Development is starting to become a canvas for engineering, and by breaking the complexity of development down into simpler engineering principles, scientists are beginning to better understand, and ultimately control, the fundamental biology," said Zev Gartner, from the University of California, San Francisco in the US.

    "In this case, the intrinsic ability of mechanically active cells to promote changes in tissue shape is a fantastic chassis for building complex and functional synthetic tissues," said Gartner.

    Labs already use 3D printing or micro-molding to create 3D shapes for tissue engineering, but the final product often misses key structural features of tissues that grow according developmental programs.

    The Gartner lab's approach uses a precision 3D cell- patterning technology called DNA-programmed assembly of cells (DPAC) to set up an initial spatial template of a tissue that then folds itself into complex shapes in ways that replicate how tissues assemble themselves hierarchically during development.

    "We're beginning to see that it's possible to break down natural developmental processes into engineering principles that we can then repurpose to build and understand tissues," said Alex Hughes, a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF.

    "It was astonishing to me about how well this idea worked and how simply the cells behave," Gartner said.

    "This idea showed us that when we reveal robust developmental design principles, what we can do with them from an engineering perspective is only limited by our imagination," he said.

    "Alex was able to make living constructs that shape- shifted in ways that were very close to what our simple models predicted," he added.

    Researchers are now curious to learn whether they can stitch the developmental programme that control tissue folding together with others that control tissue patterning.

    They also hope to begin to understand how cells differentiate in response to the mechanical changes that occur during tissue folding in vivo, taking inspiration from specific stages of embryo development.


  3. #2643
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    E-cigarettes may help smokers quit: Study

    "Combustible cigarettes are the most harmful form of nicotine delivery. Alternative delivery of nicotine, through e-cigarettes, could significantly reduce harm and the risks of cancer and other diseases to smokers," said Matthew Carpenter, from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in the US.

    In the pilot study published, funded by the National Institutes of Health, Carpenter evaluated e-cigarettes in terms of usage, product preference, changes in smoking behaviours and nicotine exposure.

    Sixty-eight smokers were evaluated: 46 were randomised to use e-cigarettes however they wished, and 22 were randomised to a control group.

    Those in the e-cigarette group were given a device with either high or low dose of nicotine. Everyone was followed over a period of four months.

    Results showed that when smokers were given e-cigarettes without any accompanying instructions or requirements for use, uptake was strong, and many participants went on to purchase their own e-cigarettes.

    The findings were published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.

    This suggests that e-cigarettes might give smokers a suitable alternative to combustible cigarettes.

    Those who used e-cigarettes smoked less and were more likely to quit smoking, as compared to those in the control group.


  4. #2644
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Price tag on gene therapy for rare form of blindness: $850K

    genetic treatment for blindness will cost $850,000, less than the $1 million price tag that had been expected, but it's still among the most expensive genetic therapies in the world.
    Spark Therapeutics says it decided on the lower price tag for Luxturna (Lux-turn-a) after hearing concerns from health insurers about their ability to cover the injectable treatment.

    Consternation over skyrocketing drug prices, especially in the US, has led to intense scrutiny from patients, Congress, insurers and hospitals.

    "We wanted to balance the value and the affordability concerns with a responsible price that would ensure access to patients," said CEO Jeffrey Marrazzo, in an interview with The Associated Press.

    Luxturna is still significantly more expensive than nearly every other drug on the global market, including two other gene therapies approved earlier last year in the US Approved last month, Luxturna, is the nation's first gene therapy for an inherited disease. It can improve the vision of those with a rare form of blindness that is estimated to affect just a few thousand people in the US.

    The treatment is part of an emerging field of medicine that could create dozens of new gene-targeting medications in the next few years.

    There are questions about the wisdom of devoting so much energy to specialty drugs, which are used to treat so few people, but still account for a growing slice of overall health care costs.

    Drugmakers have historically offered little explanation for the prices they charge. However, some companies have begun to offer more detailed reasoning as the backlash against drug prices has grown more heated.

    Spark Therapeutics, based in Philadelphia, has said that the cost for a lifetime of blindness -- including lost earnings and caregiver wages -- can easily exceed $1 million.

    Not everyone agrees with that argument. A preliminary analysis by one group found the drug would have to be priced significantly lower "to be a cost-effective intervention."

    The estimate by the non-profit Institute for Clinical and Economic Review assumes the drug would maintain patients' vision for 10 years. However, Spark expects the drug's effect to be long-lasting, if not lifelong, though it has only tracked patients for about four years.

    At least one gene therapy sold oversees has already crossed the $1-million price threshold.

    The treatment for a rare protein disorder launched in 2012 with a price of $1.2 million. Manufacturer uniQure stopped selling the drug earlier last year after seeing a lack of demand. The drug was never approved in the US.

    Like most prescription medicines in the US, most of the immediate costs of Luxturna will be borne by insurers, including private plans and government programs. For patients, Spark said it would cover all out-of-pocket expenses needed to obtain the medication, including transportation to hospitals trained to administer the injections.

    Spark will try to deflect some pricing concerns by offering unconventional payment plans to insurers. Under one arrangement with the non-profit insurer Harvard Pilgrim, Spark will repay some of Luxturna's costs if patients don't experience the expected improvements in vision. The company said it is also discussing a proposal in which insurers would pay for the drug in installments over several years. That idea would apply to government programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which provide health coverage to the poor and elderly.


  5. #2645
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    'Spider web inspired implant may control type 1 diabetes'

    spider web, that may effectively help control type 1 diabetes.
    For people with type 1 diabetes, daily insulin injections are literally a matter of life and death. In the disease, insulin-producing pancreatic cell clusters (islets) are destroyed by the body's immune system.

    While there is no cure, a research team led by Cornell University in the US has devised an ingenious method for implanting hundreds of thousands of islet cells into a patient.

    They are protected by a thin hydrogel coating and, more importantly, the coated cells are attached to a polymer thread and can be removed or replaced easily when they have outlived their usefulness.

    Transplantation of stem cell-derived, insulin-producing islet cells is an alternative to insulin therapy, but that requires long-term immunosuppressive drug administration.

    One well-researched approach to avoid the immune system's response is to coat and protect the cells in tiny hydrogel capsules, hundreds of microns in diameter.

    However, these capsules cannot be taken out of the body easily, since they are not connected to each other, and there are hundreds of thousands of them.

    The ability to remove the transplant is key because of its potential to form tumours, researchers said.

    "When they fail or die, they need to come out. You do not want to put something in the body that you cannot take out. With our method, that is not a problem," said Minglin Ma, assistant professor at Cornell University.

    Taking inspiration from the way water beads on a spider's web, Ma and his team first attempted to connect the islet cell-containing capsules through a string but realised that it would be better to put the hydrogel layer uniformly around a string instead.

    That string is an ionised calcium-releasing, nanoporous polymer thread, the researchers said.

    This thread - which the group has dubbed Thread- Reinforced Alginate Fiber For Islets enCapsulation (TRAFFIC) - was inspired by a spider's web but, according to Ma, is even better because the hydrogel covers the thread uniformly.

    "You do not have any gaps between capsules. With a spider's silk, you still have gaps between the water beads. In our case, gaps would be bad in terms of scar tissue and the like," he said.

    This therapy would involve minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery to implant about six feet of hydrogel- coated thread into the patient's peritoneal cavity.


  6. #2646
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    மன அழுத்தத்தால் கணைய புற்று நோய் ஏற்படுகிறது: ஆய்வில் புதிய தகவல்

    உணவு பழக்க வழக்கம், மரபணு உள்ளிட்ட பல்வேறு காரணங்களால் புற்று நோய் ஏற்படுகிறது. தற்போது மன அழுத்தம் காரணமாக கணைய புற்று நோய் உருவாகுவதாக சமீபத்திய ஆய்வு தெரிவிக்கிறது.

    தொடக்கத்தில் எலிகள் மூலம் இந்த ஆய்வு நடத்தப்பட்டது. அது உறுதி செய்த பின் கணைய புற்றுநோயால் பாதிக்கப்பட்டு மருத்துவ சிகிச்சை பெறுபவர்களிடம் ஆய்வு மேற்கொள்ளப்பட்டது.

    அவர்களில் பெரும்பாலானோருக்கு மன அழுத்தத்தால் கணைய புற்று நோய் தாக்கி இருப்பது கண்டறியப்பட்டது. அதிகமான மன அழுத்தம் காரணமாக நரம்பு மண்டலம் பாதிக்கப்பட்டு ஹார்மோன்கன் வெளியாகி அதன் மூலம் ‘டி.என்.ஏ’ மூலக்கூறுகளில் மாற்றம் ஏற்பட்டு கணையத்தில் புற்று நோய் கட்டிகள் ஏற்படுவதாக நிபுணர்கள் தெரிவித்துள்ளனர்.

    சில அறிவியல் நிபுணர்கள் இதை ஏற்க மறுத்துள்ளனர். அதே நேரத்தில் கணைய புற்று நோய் அதிக மன அழுத்தத்தால் உருவாகுவதை ஆச்சரியத்துடன் பார்க்கின்றனர்


  7. #2647
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    புதுக்கோட்டை அரசு மருத்துவமனையில் உலகத்தரத்திலான சிடி-ஸ்கேன்னர்!




    புதுக்கோட்டை அரசு மருத்துவமனையில் 16 அடுக்கு சிடி ஸ்கேன்னர் நிறுவப்பட்டுள்ளது. இதன்மூலம், விபத்து போன்ற முக்கியமான நேரங்களில் சிகிச்சை செய்யும் நேரம் குறையும் என எதிர்பார்க்கபடுகிறது.

    புதிய ஸ்கேன்னரை திறந்து வைத்து பேசிய தமிழக சுகாதாரத் துறை அமைச்சர் விஜயபாஸ்கர், “இனி மக்கள் சிகிச்சைக்காக திருச்சி மற்றும் தஞ்சாவூர் மாவட்டங்களுக்குச் செல்ல வேண்டிய அவசியமில்லை. சுமார் ரூ.1.48 கோடி இதற்காக செலவிடப்பட்டுள்ளது” என்று தெரிவித்தார்.

    இந்த விழாவில் பேசிய புதுக்கோட்டை மருத்துவக்கல்லூரி தலைவர் டாக்டர்.எஸ்.சாரதா,“இந்தப் புதிய ஸ்கேன்னர் ஜப்பானிலிருந்து இறக்குமதி செய்யப்பட்டுள்ளது. இதன்மூலம் முழு உடலையும் 5 நிமிடங்களில் ஸ்கேன் செய்ய முடியும். மேலும், இதில் கதிர்வீச்சு அபாயம் மிகக் குறைவாக இருப்பதோடு தரமும் சிறப்பாக இருக்கும்” என்று தெரிவித்துள்ளார்.


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