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Health Bulletin


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  1. #381
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Potential new way to treat anxiety discovered

    Scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have discovered a potential new way to treat anxiety and mood disorders.

    Chemically modified inhibitors of the COX-2 enzyme relieve anxiety behaviours in mice by activating natural "endocannabinoids" without gastrointestinal side effects, researchers said.

    Endocannabinoids are natural signalling molecules that activate cannabinoid receptors in the brain, the same receptors turned on by the active ingredient in marijuana.

    These receptors are also found in the gastrointestinal system and elsewhere in the body, and there is evidence that they play a role in wide range of physiological and pathological processes, in addition to modulating stress and anxiety.

    If the "substrate-selective" COX-2 inhibitors also work in humans without side effects, they could represent a new approach to treating mood and anxiety disorders, the researchers said.

    Clinical trials of some of these potential drugs could begin in the next several years, said Lawrence Marnett, director of the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology and the paper's co-senior author with Sachin Patel from Vanderbilt University.

    The scientists are pursuing other potential applications of activating endocannabinoids by substrate-selective COX-2 inhibition, including relieving pain, treating movement disorders, and possibly preventing colon cancer.

    "The door is really wide open. We've just scratched the surface," said Patel, assistant professor of Psychiatry and of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics.

    Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) relieve pain and inflammation by blocking either or both of the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes, which produce pro-inflammatory prostaglandins.

    It has been known for several years that COX-2 inhibition also activates endocannabinoids, researchers said.

    Because the "substrate selective" inhibitors increase endocannabinoid levels in the mouse without blocking prostaglandin production, "we think (they) will not have the gastrointestinal and possibly cardiovascular side effects that other NSAIDs do," said Marnett.

    The approach used by the Vanderbilt team "is a really powerful way to help design the next generation of drugs," researchers said.

    The study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.


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  2. #382
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Paralysed could talk with eyes

    Brain-damaged patients who cannot move or talk can communicate using their dilating eye pupils, thanks to a cutting edge technology developed by German researchers.

    Patients who are otherwise completely unable to communicate can answer yes or no questions within seconds with the help of a simple system - consisting of just a laptop and camera — that measures nothing but the size of their pupils.

    The tool takes advantage of changes in pupil size that naturally occur when people do mental arithmetic. It requires no specialized equipment or training at all, researchers said.

    The new pupil response system might not only help those who are severely motor-impaired communicate, but might also be extended to assessing the mental state of patients whose state of consciousness is unclear, they said. "It is remarkable that a physiological system as simple as the pupil has such a rich repertoire of responses that it can be used for a task as complex as communication," said Wolfgang Einhauser of Philipps-Universitat Marburg in Germany.

    The researchers asked healthy people to solve a math problem only when the correct answer to a yes or no question was shown to them on a screen. The mental load associated with solving that problem caused an automatic increase in pupil size, which the researchers showed they could measure and translate into an accurate answer to questions like "Are you 20 years old?"

    They then tested out their pupil response algorithm on seven "typical" locked-in patients who had suffered brain damage following a stroke. In many cases, they were able to discern an answer based on pupil size alone.

    "We find it remarkable that the system worked almost perfectly in all healthy observers and then could be transferred directly from them to the patients, with no need for training or parameter adjustment," Einhauser said. While the system could still use improvement in terms of speed and accuracy, those are technical hurdles Einhauser is confident they can readily overcome.

    Their measures of pupil response could already make an important difference for those who need it most, researchers said. "For patients with altered state of consciousness — those who are in a coma or other unresponsive state — any communication is a big step forward," he said.

    The study was published in the journal Current Biology.


  3. #383
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Paralysed could talk with eyes

    Brain-damaged patients who cannot move or talk can communicate using their dilating eye pupils, thanks to a cutting edge technology developed by German researchers.

    Patients who are otherwise completely unable to communicate can answer yes or no questions within seconds with the help of a simple system - consisting of just a laptop and camera that measures nothing but the size of their pupils.

    The tool takes advantage of changes in pupil size that naturally occur when people do mental arithmetic. It requires no specialized equipment or training at all, researchers said.

    The new pupil response system might not only help those who are severely motor-impaired communicate, but might also be extended to assessing the mental state of patients whose state of consciousness is unclear, they said. "It is remarkable that a physiological system as simple as the pupil has such a rich repertoire of responses that it can be used for a task as complex as communication," said Wolfgang Einhauser of Philipps-Universitat Marburg in Germany.

    The researchers asked healthy people to solve a math problem only when the correct answer to a yes or no question was shown to them on a screen. The mental load associated with solving that problem caused an automatic increase in pupil size, which the researchers showed they could measure and translate into an accurate answer to questions like "Are you 20 years old?"

    They then tested out their pupil response algorithm on seven "typical" locked-in patients who had suffered brain damage following a stroke. In many cases, they were able to discern an answer based on pupil size alone.

    "We find it remarkable that the system worked almost perfectly in all healthy observers and then could be transferred directly from them to the patients, with no need for training or parameter adjustment," Einhauser said. While the system could still use improvement in terms of speed and accuracy, those are technical hurdles Einhauser is confident they can readily overcome.

    Their measures of pupil response could already make an important difference for those who need it most, researchers said. "For patients with altered state of consciousness those who are in a coma or other unresponsive state any communication is a big step forward," he said.

    The study was published in the journal Current Biology.


  4. #384
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    This thread is very useful

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  5. #385
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    have you heard of Stephen Hawkins ? He's a great example for this post

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  6. #386
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Briton claims he cured his diabetes with starvation diet

    A 59-year-old UK man claims that he has cured his diabetes in just 11 days after following a miracle 'starvation' diet developed by scientists from a British university . Richard Doughty, from London, was shocked when a routine health check revealed he had Type 2 diabetes.


    "I was stunned. I have always been a healthy weight, 5ft 7in and 10st 7lb. I had no family history of diabetes, ate a healthy diet, never smoked and I did not have a sweet tooth," Doughty said.

    While researching on the internet, he found Newcastle University scientists had devised a low-calorie diet said to reverse diabetes in eight weeks. It involved eating 800 calories a day - a man's recommended intake is 2,500, the 'Daily Express' reported.

    This was made up of 600 calories from meal replacement shakes and soups and 200 calories from green vegetables , plus three litres of water a day. The diet was devised by Roy Taylor, professor of medicine and metabolism at Newcastle. Taylor's studies found that dieting causes the body to go into starvation mode and burn fat stores. This leads to the liver and pancreas becoming unclogged and insulin and blood sugar levels returning to normal.


  7. #387
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    A way to tell which eatery can leave you sick found

    Scientists have developed a new system that tells you how likely it is for you to fall ill if you visit a particular restaurant by 'listening' to the tweets from other restaurant patrons.

    The University of Rochester researchers said their system , nEmesis, can help people make more informed decisions, and it also has the potential to complement traditional public health methods for monitoring food safety , such as restaurant inspections.

    The new system combines machine-learning and crowdsourcing techniques to analyse millions of tweets to find people reporting food poisoning symptoms following a restaurant visit. This volume of tweets would be impossible to analyse manually, the researchers noted.

    The system "listens" to relevant public tweets and detects restaurant visits by matching up where a person tweets from and the known locations of restaurants. People will often tweet from their phones which are GPS enabled . This means that tweets can be "geotagged" : the tweet not only provides information in the 140 characters allowed , but also about where the user was at the time.

    If a user tweets from a location that is determined to be a restaurant, the system will continue to track this person's tweets for 72 hours. If a user then tweets about feeling ill, the system captures the information that this person is now ill and had visited a specific restaurant.


  8. #388
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Older drinkers need better alcohol advice

    Newcastle University academics have called for changes to be made to the recommended safe levels of drinking for over 65s and also special alcohol advice to be made available for older people.

    The call comes as the team from Newcastle and Sunderland Universities publish a paper which looks at the reasons why many older people continue to drink to levels hazardous or harmful to their health. The paper, published today in the journal PLOS ONE,found that many older people may not recognise they are heavy drinkers if they don't see themselves as dependent and therefore having a problem.

    As part of the study, organised through Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, the academics carried out interviews and conducted focus groups with 53 men and women aged between 65 and 90. They wanted to find out the reasons why so many of people in that age group continue to drink to unhealthy levels, and what their attitudes are to that drinking.

    Current recommended safe levels of drinking are 14 units a week for women and 21 for men. But many of those interviewed were very blase about high alcohol intake and questioned health practitioners who cautioned them to drink less.

    Dr Graeme Wilson, at the Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, who led the study, said: "Many older people are drinking to a level that is having a long-term impact on their health, even if the damage they are doing is not always immediately apparent."

    Previous studies have shown that older drinking is a worsening problem. In England, 28% of men over 65 years and 14% of women over 65 now drink alcohol more than 5 times per week (1). This is a particular problem in the North East of England where for example, the rate of hospital admissions due to alcohol related cause among those aged 50-79 have been found to be higher than those for England as a whole (2).

    One of the women interviewed said she drank a bottle of wine every day, about 63 units a week, but said she didn't have a problem because it didn't have a big effect on her. "If somebody found me in the corner drunk that would probably shock me into stopping but that has never happened....," she said.

    Others who were interviewed talked of having 'skinfuls', or five or six pints and thought there was no problem with that because they didn't suffer any immediate adverse effects that they linked to drinking.

    But heavy drinking in this age group is strongly linked with depression and anxiety and longer term health problems. Metabolism is slower in later life, and older people are very likely to take prescribed medicines that can interact with alcohol. For these reasons heavy drinking can have a bigger impact on the lives of older people than the younger generation. And so far public health messages about harmful drinking have not been as effective for the older age group as they have for the younger.

    Older people saw drinking alcohol as a positive way to relax and be sociable with friends and family. Chronic pain, loneliness and bereavement were identified as likely to lead to heavier drinking in later life.

    Dr Katie Haighton, also at the Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, said "Alcohol interventions are not working for older people for many reasons. A lot of those we interviewed said the messages around alcohol were very confusing. There is a need to develop new approaches to target the older population, for example longer in-home support, tailored information on the risks from alcohol in later life, or health workers with specific training on older people's needs.

    "We also think the Government really needs to start looking at lowering the recommended limit for alcohol consumption in those over 65."
    The study was funded by Age UK.


  9. #389
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    This malaria jab is 100% effective

    An investigational malaria vaccine has been found to be 100% effective in protecting all adults who received it.

    It also caused no side effect and has rekindled hopes for an effective vaccine against the vector-borne disease. Malaria affects half-a-billion people, killing three million each year and a child every 30 seconds around the world.

    Scientists called the early-stage clinical tests as the most promising yet in the global war on the world's biggest killer.

    Although the "proof of concept" trial is small involving 40 adults, it could pave the way for the first vaccine offering 100% protection. Known as PfSPZ vaccine, the clinical evaluation was conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

    Hopes of an effective malaria vaccine were dashed after the world's most advanced candidate RTS S that was to be available as early as 2015 failed to live up to its promise. Scientists found in March that its effectiveness waned over time, with the shot protecting only 16.8% of children for as long as four years.

    The latest vaccine has been found to be highly effective in generating an immune system response offering substantial protection against malaria infection in healthy adults. NIH vaccine researchers published results of early-stage clinical trial on Friday in the journal Science.

    Malaria is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. After the bite, infectious malarial parasites in the immature, sporozoite stage of their life cycle first travel to the liver, where they multiply and then spread through the bloodstream, at which time symptoms develop.

    A number of follow-up studies are planned, including research to evaluate the vaccine's different dose schedules, possible protection against other plasmodium strains and the durability of protection. The researchers may also evaluate whether higher doses administered subcutaneously or intradermally provide the same level of protection.


  10. #390
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New vaccine adjuvant from 'Ashwagandha' gets US patent

    The US patent office has granted patent to an innovative industry-academia research project that has led to a new vaccine adjuvant extracted from ' Ashwagandha', also known as Indian Ginseng, a medicinal plant used in Ayurveda as an immunity enhancer. The grant of patent will further the cause of development of far more effective vaccines meant for improvement of human immune system to counter various ailments.

    The Union government's department of science and technology (DST) had sponsored the research project which was jointly executed by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) and University of Pune's Inter-disciplinary School of Health Sciences (ISHS).

    Executive director of SII Suresh Jadhav is the lead author while ISHS head Bhushan Patwardhan and SII research manager Manish Gautam formed the team of inventors. Additional research team included Sunil Gairola and Yojana Shinde from the SII, Dada Patil and Sanjay Mishra from the university.

    Jadhav told TOI on Friday, "We are already in the process of developing new vaccines and the US patent will enable us the use the newly developed adjuvant right from the development stage of these vaccines. The new vaccine adjuvant has been found to be far more effective compared to traditional adjuvant. It has shown greater success in applications related to ailments like meningitis; diphtheria; and tetanus, among others," he added.

    According to Patwardhan, "The application of this new adjuvant can be envisaged not only with vaccines against meningitis, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and hepatitis but also holds promise against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria." Patwardhan has described the project as a unique industry-academia partnership success story with a very high potential of applications owing to the involvement of the industry.

    He said, "Newer vaccines include synthetic, recombinant or highly purified subunit antigens that are weakly immunogenic. Therefore vaccine formulations often require adjuvants for better immunological efficiency. Immuno-modulators obtained from different sources like synthetic, bacterial, viral have been used for enhancement of immune response to vaccines. Plant based products are being considered as one option for immune adjuvants."

    He said, "The concept of rasayana in Ayurveda is based on modulation of immune response to provide better immunity and resistance to fight against diseases. Many extracts and formulations prepared from rasayana plants have shown immuno-modulatory activity in various models. Researchers in health sciences have been actively engaged in establishing immuno-modulatory activity of medicinal plants including 'Ashwagandha','Shatavari' and 'Guduchi.' Our studies indicate that these botanical materials have potential to be developed as immuno-adjuvants. As such, it was desirable to develop well characterized and highly pure adjuvant as compared to crude extracts which can be formulated with vaccines."

    The DST had provided a total financial outlay of Rs 90 lakh spread over three years for the research project, which had completed in 2007 and actual development work continued thereafter at the SII. Following Indian patents, the US Patent application was made in 2009.

    About 'Ashwagandha'

    The project was sponsored by the Union government's department of science and technology

    It was jointly executed Serum Institute of India and the University of Pune's Inter-disciplinary School of Health Sciences

    The US patent will enable researchers to use the adjuvant right from the development stage of the vaccine

    The new vaccine adjuvant has been found to be far more effective compared to traditional adjuvant

    Scientists say the adjuvant can applicable for vaccines against meningitis, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and hepatitis and also holds promise against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria


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