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Health Bulletin


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  1. #261
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Breakthrough in breast cancer surgery without disfigurement

    Serious tissue damage and disfigurement are a major fallout of most cancer therapies, but the one for breast cancer in particular has life-altering impact on women. Chicago-based Ananda Chakrabarty, a world-renowned pioneering biotech scientist, and Washington-based Susan Finston, a veteran of the biotech industry, together believe they are potentially close to resolving this major medical challenge.

    Finston passionately talks about the experimental Amrita Breast Cancer Device (ABCD), created by Chakrabarty, and how it has what it takes to deliver locally targeted cancer therapy to the tumour.

    "Our therapeutic approach may provide an important alternative or adjunct to surgery, radiation or chemotherapies that is designed to be non-toxic to healthy cells/tissues in the body," said Finston, who co-founded Ahmedabad (India)-based Amrita Therapeutics, with Chakrabarty, in an interview to a daily.

    Dividing time between Washington and Ahmedabad, Finston has recently embarked on the independent funding platform Indiegogo where individuals invest modest amounts of money in various projects.
    Excerpts from the interview:

    Q: Describe Amrita's breast cancer device in a manner that a lay cancer patient can understand.

    A: The experimental Amrita Breast Cancer Device (ABCD) is designed to provide safe, locally targeted cancer therapy directly to the breast cancer tumour, not affecting healthy breast tissue or the rest of the body, and delivered at the site of the tumour. Our therapeutic approach may provide an important alternative or adjunct to surgery, radiation or chemotherapies that is designed to be non-toxic to healthy cells/tissues in the body.

    Q: At what stage are you in terms of pre-clinical data? When do you intend completing pre-clinical trials?

    A: ABCD is the first therapeutic cancer device to utilise drug-eluting technology and requires pre-clinical testing and evaluation as both an anti-cancer drug and a therapeutic device. We hope to complete pre-clinical testing by the end of 2013, funds permitting, and have a number of interested partners interested in clinical development.

    Q: Who has developed the device? What is its genesis?

    A: Chakrabarty was inspired to invent the ABCD after learning of a patient whose cancer was kept in check - accidentally - through a catheter inserted adjacent to a cancer tumour for a totally different purpose. Ananda then invented the ABCD as a way to deliver safe and locally targeted cancer therapy though use of a drug-eluting device.

    Q: What makes you think that your device has the potential to revolutionize cancer therapy?

    A: ABCD can revolutionise cancer therapy by being the first of its kind. As mentioned, there is no drug-eluting device that is used for breast or other cancer therapy. For the last century, breast cancer patients have had to rely on disfiguring surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapies - carrying substantial health risks and possible side-effects as debilitating as the cancer itself.

    In contrast, ABCD represents a revolutionary advance for breast cancer patients as a meaningful adjunct or alternative to surgery, radiation and chemotherapies, using well-understood drug-eluting stent technologies re-purposed for oncology therapy and using anti-cancer weapons with demonstrated effectiveness.

    Q: What kind of challenges do you anticipate before you reach the FDA?

    A: There are natural challenges associated with bringing the first device of its kind to the patient. We are engaging early on with FDA regulators on both the device and drug side of the house to ensure that we understand the evolving regulatory roadmap and have the smoothest possible transition from pre-clinical to clinical research.

    Q: Are you looking at something akin to a stent?

    A: That is exactly right - we are using drug-eluting technologies to deliver effective anti-cancer therapy by inserting the ABCD adjacent to the tumour site. It may be used as an adjunct to surgery, radiation and chemotherapies.

    Q: When you speak of minimizing the invasiveness of chemotherapy are you talking in terms of inserting this device with some kind of coating the way a stent has?

    A: Exactly right - the drug-eluting device delivers the cancer therapy to the tumour site.

    Q: From this point to your device being available for regular use by cancer patients, what kind of time frame are you talking about?

    A: We would hope to be able to start clinical trials with cancer patients within 12-18 months from completion of pre-clinical trials. Then it will depend on whether it may be possible to gain FDA support for priority consideration based on early clinical experiences.

    Q: Do you have the best case scenario pricing in mind for your device?

    A: We are hoping that this can be a low-cost medical device to bring cancer therapy to the average patient and cost should not be a barrier to access, all things considered


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  2. #262
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Memory-boosting chemical found in mice, claim researchers

    Researchers claim to have discovered a new memory-boosting chemical in mice, a finding that can pave way for drug targets to improve memory in humans.

    In one memory test, normal mice were able to relocate a submerged platform about three times faster after receiving injections of the potent chemical than mice that received sham injections, researchers said.

    The mice that received the chemical also better remembered cues associated with unpleasant stimuli - the sort of fear conditioning that could help a mouse avoid being preyed upon.

    "It appears that the process of evolution has not optimized memory consolidation, otherwise I don't think we could have improved upon it the way we did in our study with normal, healthy mice," senior study author, Peter Walter from University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) said.

    The memory-boosting chemical was singled out from among 1,00,000 chemicals screened for their potential to perturb a protective bio-chemical pathway within cells that is activated when cells are unable to keep up with the need to fold proteins into their working forms.

    Researcher Carmela Sidrauski discovered that the chemical acts within the cell beyond bio-chemical pathway which activates this unfolded protein response, to broader impact what's known as the integrated stress response.

    In this response, several biochemical pathways converge on a single molecular lynchpin, a protein called eIF2 alpha.

    "Among other things, the inactivation of eIF2 alpha is a brake on memory consolidation," Walter said, perhaps an evolutionary consequence of a cell or organism becoming better well-enabled to adapt in other ways.

    Turning off eIF2 alpha dials down production of most proteins, some of which may be needed for memory formation, Walter said. Its inactivation also ramps up production of a few key proteins that help cells cope with stress.

    Study co-author Nahum Sonenberg, of McGill University previously linked memory and eIF2 alpha in genetic studies of mice.

    The chemical integrated stress response inhibitor (ISRIB) counters the effects of eIF2 alpha inactivation inside cells, the researchers found.

    "ISRIB shows good pharmacokinetic properties (how a drug is absorbed, distributed and eliminated), readily crosses the blood-brain barrier, and exhibits no overt toxicity in mice, which makes it very useful for studies in mice," Walter said.

    These properties also indicate that ISRIB might serve as a good starting point for human drug development, said Walter.

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  3. #263
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Potassium is good for proper functioning of human body

    Potassium is a micronutrient mineral. This means that they are needed by your body in small quantity but they are important for proper functioning of the body. It is a mineral which you get from the foods you eat. It is an important mineral which is classified as an electrolyte.

    Potassium has an electric charge in your body and your body needs potassium for several essential functions like maintaining fluid balance, heart health, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction, and for proper function of all cells, tissues, and organs. In addition to all these functions potassium helps your body to utilize the protein you eat to build muscle, bones, and other cells.

    Some other important electrolytes present in your body include potassium, sodium, and magnesium.

    Who Needs to Pay Attention to Potassium intake?


    • If you have kidney disease you need to watch your potassium intake. People with kidney disease are at risk of accumulating too much potassium in the blood as their kidneys cannot get rid of extra potassium as a normal kidney would. Other causes of increase in levels of potassium in blood are certain medications and certain hormonal deficiencies. However kidney disease is the commonest cause of increase in potassium level in blood. High levels of potassium can affect your heart health and cause irregular heartbeats. So if you have kidney disease or any other factor which puts you at risk of increase in potassium level in your blood consult your doctor periodically to check potassium levels.

    • People with high blood pressure or hypertension can develop low potassium levels (hypokalemia). This occurs mostly due to medications for blood pressure which can deplete potassium levels in the blood. Some other conditions which may cause low potassium levels in blood include vomiting, diarrhea, drugs and eating disorders. Low potassium causes symptoms like weakness, fatigue, constipation, and muscle cramps. Very low levels of potassium can affect your heartbeat as well. If you take blood pressure medication or have a condition that increases your risk of low potassium level consult your doctor periodically to check potassium levels.

    Foods High in Potassium

    Most of us think of bananas when we talk about potassium, but besides banana there are a several other foods that are high in potassium like dried apricots, beets, figs, melon, orange juice, potatoes (with the skin on), soy products, dairy products, and meats. Most of us enjoy foods these foods, but if you have a condition that increases your risk of alteration in blood levels of potassium consult your doctor periodically to check your potassium levels. Consult your doctor or nutritionist to plan a healthy diet for you.

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  4. #264
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Diabetics may soon need just 1 shot a year

    Scientists have made a stem cell breakthrough that could make it possible to treat diabetics with an annual insulin jab, eliminating the need for painful daily injections.


    The technique involves engineering blood stem cells into insulin-secreting cells.

    Experts at London's Imperial College, led by Nagy Habib , and scientists at Hammersmith Hospital are now planning human trials of the new treatment after success in laboratory studies, the 'Daily Express' reported.

    "This is a fantastic breakthrough that we hope will end the burden of daily jabs for diabetics," said Dr Paul Mintz, a leading stem cell researcher at Imperial College, who is part of the team pioneering the research.

    "The beauty of this treatment is that we manipulate the patient's own stem cells, avoiding the complication of giving them something foreign which their body will reject ," he said.

    In diabetes, the pancreas fails to make insulin which crucially controls blood sugar levels or it doesn't make enough.

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  5. #265
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    very good collection of medical information. thank you vijigermany


  6. #266
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Hi sumitra,
    Thanks for the feedback !


  7. #267
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Copper piping in house behind 'bad hair days'

    Scientists claim to have discovered the culprit behind 'bad hair days' - copper piping in your house!

    Researchers found that washing with water containing the metal from copper pipes can lead to split ends and unmanageable hair.

    They found the metal gradually builds up in hair, helping to speed up damage caused by sunlight, causing split ends, fly-away strands and less shine, The Telegraph reported.

    The effect is even more pronounced in those who use hair dyes, researchers claim.

    "Copper is not present in large amounts but it is important as it is catalytically active. The copper comes in from the tap water and the hair acts like a sponge picking it up over time," said Dr Jennifer Marsh, a research fellow at Proctor and Gamble who led the research.

    "Colouring hair can create free radicals that damage the protein in the hair and the copper can catalyse that reaction. In the same way, UV exposure from going out in the sun can do the same thing over a longer period of time," Marsh said.

    "Physical processes like brushing, blow drying and washing, hair is less able to stand up to those and it will break down faster and lead to split ends, lack of shine and make it harder to manage," she said.

    Marsh and her colleagues analysed hair from 450 women from around the world and found that they had varying levels of copper in their hair.

    On average, most had levels of around 20-200 atoms of copper for every million molecules in their hair. Some, however, had levels that were more than 500 parts per million.

    Low levels of copper in drinking water are thought to occur naturally while purifying processes used by water companies can add more.

    Most copper, however, comes from traditional copper pipes used in British houses. Even in homes with plastic piping, hot water tanks can be made from copper.

    As a single strand of hair can grow for up to three years before falling out, the low levels of the metal in the water can build up in the outer layers of the hair, the researchers found.

    Once there it increases the formation of reactive molecules that break down the outer sheath of the hair, known as the cuticle, and the hair's cortex.
    This strips hair strands of their shine and leaves them weaker than normal, meaning they are more prone to breaking when brushing or to damage from blow drying.
    The researchers also found that treating hair with chemicals more commonly used in washing powder, known as chelants, could reduce the action of the copper.

    The findings were published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science.


  8. #268
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    UK South Asians at higher risk of depression: study

    South Asians are five times more likely to be severely depressed following cancer diagnosis in Britain, according to a new research.

    The first study of its kind to investigate depression among British white people and South Asians in the UK found that people of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Sri Lankan origin, classified as British South Asians, appeared to suffer more pain.

    It has led researchers to conclude that this could be a way of drawing attention to their psychological distress.

    "This is the first study that has compared how British South Asians and British white patients cope with cancer. Our findings are strictly only relevant to the study group and patients from the county of Leicestershire.

    However, we think it is highly likely that there is a higher incidence of depression among British South Asian cancer patients elsewhere in the UK and our findings have important implications for the NHS," said Prof Paul Symonds from the University of Leicester, the lead author of the study.

    "Depression is one of the strongest determinants of health-related quality of life and it can influence medical care and participation in treatment. It may also be linked with other serious outcomes including mortality.

    It should be of major concern to healthcare policymakers in the UK that this study provides evidence that there is a higher prevalence of depressive symptoms among South Asian patients," he added.

    Overall, 53.8 per cent of the British South Asian samples used were born in the Indian subcontinent, 33 per cent in Africa and 12.9 per cent in the UK.

    The researchers investigated whether there are differences in depressive symptoms among 94 British South Asian patients with cancer compared to 185 British white patients over a nine-month period.
    The research, led by the University of Leicester, was part funded by Leicestershire and Rutland based charity Hope Against Cancer and the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, and is published in 'British Medical Journal Open'.

    British South Asian patients had twice the self-reported rate of depressive symptoms than British White patients and five times the incidence of severe depression.

    These differences persisted for nine months after the baseline assessment.

    "The reasons for the difference in the incidence of depressive symptoms are complex. British South Asian patients use potentially maladaptive coping strategies more frequently than British white patients, particularly hopelessness, helplessness, fatalism, avoidance and denial.

    At baseline the use of these maladaptive strategies correlated with a higher incidence of depression... It is most likely that the rates of depressive symptoms are under-reported since anecdotally those who were most distressed often did not feel able to participate in this study," said Prof Symonds, who worked with colleagues from University Hospital of Leicester NHS Trust on the study.


  9. #269
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    More Vitamin D intake may delay precocious puberty

    Mothers may no longer have to worry about their young girls reaching early puberty. New research from South Korea suggests that vitamin D tablets or injections could help delay this early onset.

    At the ongoing Endocrine Society's 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, the researchers said that low levels of vitamin D were found in girls who had attained precocious puberty.

    While girls attain puberty between 10 and 14 years of ages, precocious puberty is diagnosed in some girls who attain puberty before they turn eight.

    The researchers found that 44% of the girls who were suffering from precocious puberty had a severe deficiency in vitamin D. In comparison, only to 21 % of the girls who had age-appropriate physical development suffered from vitamin D deficiency. The researchers also found that vitamin D deficiency affected the hormonal cycle in such a way that it triggered the ovulation process.

    The researchers had studied 110 girls; of this, 35 had attained precocious puberty. While the researchers said that more studies are necessary to establish the exact vitamin D mechanism, the general belief is that taking the vitamin will help normalise the hormonal cycle among young girls


  10. #270
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Chemical in plastic ups prostate cancer risk

    Exposing developing tissue to low levels of the plastic bisphenol A (BPA) is associated to a greater incidence of prostate cancer in tissue grown from human prostate stem cells.

    BPA is found in plastic water bottles and is universally prevalent, and tests indicate that almost everyone has measurable levels of the chemical in their bodies.

    In this study, investigators used human prostate stem cells from organ donors to grow prostate tissue in a mouse model and found that early BPA exposure significantly increased the risk of both prostate cancer and a precancerous condition known as prostate epithelial neoplasia, or PIN.

    Study lead author Gail S. Prins, Ph.D., professor of physiology and urology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said that these results suggest that stem cells are direct BPA targets which may explain the long-lasting effects of this chemical throughout the body.

    Investigators were able to observe the effects of BPA on living prostate tissue by isolating prostate stem cells from young men, then combining these cells with undifferentiated cells called mesenchyme, which, for this study, derived from rat tissue.

    They then grafted this combined tissue to the kidneys of mice where the tissue developed into human prostate tissue. To simulate human BPA exposure, the investigators fed BPA at levels found in humans to the study mice for the first two weeks of the prostate-tissue formation.

    One month after the tissue graft, when the prostate tissue had matured, the investigators administered estrogen and testosterone at elevated levels to the study mice to promote prostate disease.


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