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Health Bulletin


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  1. #711
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Exposure to chemical in plastics may up prostate cancer risk.

    Researchers have suggested that fetal exposure to a commonly used plasticizer Bisphenol A, or BPA, found in water bottles, soup can liners, could increase the risk for prostate cancer later in life.

    Lead author Gail Prins, professor of physiology at University of Illinois at Chicago, said that their research provides the first direct evidence that exposure to BPA during development, at the levels we see in our day to day lives, increases the risk for prostate cancer in human prostate tissue.

    Prins said that the findings of adverse effects of BPA in human tissue are highly relevant and should encourage agencies like the Food and Drug Administration to re evaluate their policies in the near future.

    Prins investigated the effect of BPA on human cells by implanting human prostate stem cells taken from deceased young adult men into mice. Prostate stem cells are very long lived. They arise during early fetal development and produce and maintain a man's prostate tissue throughout his life.

    To mimic exposure to BPA during embryonic development, for two weeks following implantation the mice were fed BPA in amounts in line with those seen in pregnant American women as the cells produced humanized prostate tissue.

    Prinsa said that the amount of BPA we fed the mice was equivalent to levels ingested by the average person.

    After the tissue was allowed to mature for one month, the mice were given estrogen to mimic the naturally rising estrogen levels seen in aging men. This rise in estrogen later in life is one of the known drivers of prostate cancer .


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  2. #712
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Bone marrow stem cells could defeat drug resistant tuberculosis

    Patients with potentially fatal "superbug" forms of tuberculosis (TB) could in future be treated using stem cells taken from their own bone marrow, according to the results of an early stage trial of the technique.

    The finding, made by British and Swedish scientists, could pave the way for the development of a new treatment for the estimated 450,000 people worldwide who have multi drug resistant (MDR) or extensively drug resistant (XDR) TB.
    In a study in The Lancet medical journal on Thursday, researchers said more than half of 30 drug resistant TB patients treated with a transfusion of their own bone marrow stem cells were cured of the disease after six months.
    "The results ... show that the current challenges and difficulties of treating MDR-TB are not insurmountable, and they bring a unique opportunity with a fresh solution to treat hundreds of thousands of people who die unnecessarily," said TB expert Alimuddin Zumla at University College London, who co led the study.

    TB, which infects the lungs and can spread from one person to another through coughing and sneezing, is often falsely thought of as a disease of the past.

    In recent years, drug resistant strains of the disease have spread around the world, batting off standard antibiotic drug treatments.
    The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that in Eastern Europe, Asia and South Africa 450,000 people have MDR-TB, and around half of these will fail to respond to existing treatments.
    TB bacteria trigger an inflammatory response in immune cells and surrounding lung tissue that can cause immune dysfunction and tissue damage.

    Bone marrow stem cells are known to migrate to areas of lung injury and inflammation and repair damaged tissue. Since they also modify the body's immune response and could boost the clearance of TB bacteria, Zumla and his colleague, Markus Maeurer from Stockholm's Karolinska University Hospital, wanted to test them in patients with the disease.
    In a phase 1 trial, 30 patients with either MDR or XDR TB aged between 21 and 65 who were receiving standard TB antibiotic treatment were also given an infusion of around 10 million of their own stem cells.

    The cells were obtained from the patient's own bone marrow, then grown into large numbers in the laboratory before being re-transfused into the same patient, the researchers explained.
    During six months of follow up, the researchers found that the infusion treatment was generally safe and well tolerated, with no serious side effects recorded. The most common non serious side effects were high cholesterol levels, nausea, low white blood cell counts and diarrhoea.

    Although a phase 1 trial is primarily designed only to test a treatment's safety, the scientists said further analyses of the results showed that 16 patients treated with stem cells were deemed cured at 18 months compared with only five of 30 TB patients not treated with stem cells.
    Maeurer stressed that further trials with more patients and longer follow up were needed to better establish how safe and effective the stem cell treatment was.

    But if future tests were successful, he said, it could become a viable extra new treatment for patients with MDR-TB who do not respond to conventional drug treatment or those with severe lung damage.


  3. #713
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Chinese scholars announce breakthrough in HIV virus study

    Chinese researchers have claimed to have made a significant breakthrough in the study of HIV virus, offering hope of developing new medications to treat or even cure the disease.

    The researchers said they have made the breakthrough in the structural analysis of the viral infectivity factor (Vif) of the HIV virus, which will help in the development of new medications to treat or even cure the disease, Xinhua news agency reported.

    The new research, published on the website of science journal "Nature", was carried out by a team of Chinese researchers led by Huang Zhiwei, professor of structural molecular biology with the School of Life Science and Technology at Harbin Institute of Technology, China.

    The research reveals the structural analysis of HIV-1 protein Vif, whose role is to subvert antiviral activity.

    The results lay a foundation for the design of novel anti-HIV drugs, the paper said. The Chinese team launched the research programme in March 2012.

    Ever since the AIDS virus was discovered in 1981, people have had insufficient knowledge of the virus itself, including the structure of Vif, which is extremely important to virus infection and replication, the lead researcher said.

    Analysing Vif structure is vital to the design of AIDS treatment medicines. The study of Vif structure has been the most important subject for scientists worldwide on AIDS in recent years.

    China is the first to come out with research achievements on the subject, showing it is at the forefront of structural molecular biology study in AIDS, Huang said.

    He said the research team has begun cooperation with drug producers to develop new types of medicines for treating AIDS.

    "After medicine development succeeds, it will break a new path for treating AIDS worldwide, even hopefully curing it," Huang said, adding that it will also pave the way for Chinese-made drugs to fight HIV/AIDS.

    China has about 434,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, according to government statistics. Worldwide, the number reached about 35 million at the end of 2012.


  4. #714
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Researchers uncover secrets of newborn neurons

    A new form of cell sub-division that is key to the development of the nervous system has been identified by researchers at the University of Dundee.

    Neurons are vital to the development of the nervous system and in some regions of our brains they are continually produced throughout our lives. They are `born' in a particular place in the early nervous system and then have to migrate to the correct place to make functional neural structures.

    A team led by professor Kate Storey and Raman Das in the College of Life Sciences at Dundee have now identified a new process, apical abscission, which mediates the detachment of new-born neurons from the neural tube ventricle - freeing these cells to migrate.

    "Neuron production is an important process within our bodies. As an example, our memory centre, the hippocampus, continues to produce neurons throughout our lives," said Storey.

    "What we have identified are the molecular events, the 'letting-go' process, which allow newborn neurons to move to their correct place in the nervous system.

    "This is a new form of cell sub-division so it is of significant interest as it tells us about mechanisms that control how we develop that we didn't know before. We were very surprised when we first saw cells shedding their tip-ends as they began to differentiate into neurons, it is not what we had expected at all.

    "Our discovery comes with the development of novel live-tissue imaging approaches in my lab, which allows us to monitor cell behaviour over long periods. We have also been to make use of state of the art super-resolution microscopy in the Light Microscopy Facility based here within the College of Life Sciences."

    The research has been funded by the Wellcome Trust and the results are published this week in the journal Science.

    The work identifies molecular events that control the shedding of the cell's tip. It takes place as cells lose a key adhesion molecule and involves increased activity of a cell constriction mechanism.

    Surprisingly, this event, also involves dismantling of an important structure in the cell, the primary cilium, known to convey signals that promote cell proliferation. Das and Storey propose that Apical Abscission mediates a pivotal cell state transition in the neuronal differentiation process, rapidly altering the polarity and signalling activity of the new-born neuron.

    The researchers plan to extend the work to determine if this new mechanism also operates in other contexts including different regions of the brain, but will also address if this takes place in some cancers, where cells are known to lose polarity, shed primary cilia and detach from their neighbours as a prelude to tissue invasion.

    "We need to look more widely now to establish whether this regulated mechanism allows other cells to make rapid cell state transitions and to move in other tissues of the body," said Storey.
    Researchers uncover secrets of newborn neurons

    A new form of cell sub-division that is key to the development of the nervous system has been identified by researchers at the University of Dundee.

    Neurons are vital to the development of the nervous system and in some regions of our brains they are continually produced throughout our lives. They are `born' in a particular place in the early nervous system and then have to migrate to the correct place to make functional neural structures.

    A team led by professor Kate Storey and Raman Das in the College of Life Sciences at Dundee have now identified a new process, apical abscission, which mediates the detachment of new-born neurons from the neural tube ventricle - freeing these cells to migrate.

    "Neuron production is an important process within our bodies. As an example, our memory centre, the hippocampus, continues to produce neurons throughout our lives," said Storey.

    "What we have identified are the molecular events, the 'letting-go' process, which allow newborn neurons to move to their correct place in the nervous system.

    "This is a new form of cell sub-division so it is of significant interest as it tells us about mechanisms that control how we develop that we didn't know before. We were very surprised when we first saw cells shedding their tip-ends as they began to differentiate into neurons, it is not what we had expected at all.

    "Our discovery comes with the development of novel live-tissue imaging approaches in my lab, which allows us to monitor cell behaviour over long periods. We have also been to make use of state of the art super-resolution microscopy in the Light Microscopy Facility based here within the College of Life Sciences."

    The research has been funded by the Wellcome Trust and the results are published this week in the journal Science.

    The work identifies molecular events that control the shedding of the cell's tip. It takes place as cells lose a key adhesion molecule and involves increased activity of a cell constriction mechanism.

    Surprisingly, this event, also involves dismantling of an important structure in the cell, the primary cilium, known to convey signals that promote cell proliferation. Das and Storey propose that Apical Abscission mediates a pivotal cell state transition in the neuronal differentiation process, rapidly altering the polarity and signalling activity of the new-born neuron.

    The researchers plan to extend the work to determine if this new mechanism also operates in other contexts including different regions of the brain, but will also address if this takes place in some cancers, where cells are known to lose polarity, shed primary cilia and detach from their neighbours as a prelude to tissue invasion.

    "We need to look more widely now to establish whether this regulated mechanism allows other cells to make rapid cell state transitions and to move in other tissues of the body," said Storey.

    Last edited by vijigermany; 11th Jan 2014 at 11:41 AM.

  5. #715
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Chemical scientists resolve to vigorously research for anticancer drugs

    "When cancer has remained a hard nut to crack and scientists have failed to provide succor to suffering people chemical biologists should strive hard to find drugs which can help people suffering from cancer to lead a normal life like those afflicted with diabetics," was one of the unwritten resolutions adopted by chemical biology scientists here on Friday. "At the same time we should make the drugs required to treat cancer affordable to the poor" they resolved.

    All these scientists from various drug research institutes, hospitals and universities were part of the two day international symposium on "chemical biology - drug discovery" organized here by UOM in collaboration with DST.

    Briefing reporters on the deliberations and papers presented at the conference, scientists in unison resolved to continue their endeavors and efforts to crack the disease with an intention to help the people, particularly from the developing countries.

    Dr Gautham Sethi from Yong Loo Lin School of Medicince Singapore said one has to accept the fact that scientists have failed to find a cure for the disease, but this should not deter them from fining new drugs which can prevent the cancer cells from spreading (metastasis). "Any growth turns cancerous and into a disease when it metastasis" he said adding that but it would not be an impossible task to find a drug which can stop the cells from dividing. "We should find drugs which can make people to live like those having diabetic and other chronic diseases" he felt disclosing that work is in progress in full speed to find such drugs which provide relief to the people suffering from cancer. It is not good to say that scientists have failed to find a cure to cancer, but today cervical and breast cancers can be cured if they are traced in their early stages through markers, he claimed and said adding that many cancer patients are now living for more than 12 years after diagnosing the disease.

    "We are optimistic of striking at the root of cancer, but it s needs a coordinated effort between clinical scientists and chemical biologists" he added.

    Renowned biochemist from Cambridge university Tom Blundell said study of genomics of people are important and play a key role in finding the new medicines for cancer and still there is a long way to go for the chemical biologists to find a complete cure for cancer based on genomics. "As genomics of individuals vary scientists should work out medicines based on generalized gen mappings" he said, adding that soon generalized gene mappings will be available for the scientists to study and tackle cancer." But we should remain optimistic on the issue and there is no reason to lose heart" he added.

    Dr Peter J Houghton from Nationwide children hospital Columbus, H Hinou gene scientists from Hokkaido University, Alexy Yu Sukhorukov from Russian academy of scientists Moscow also addressed the press meet.


  6. #716
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    25,000 Indian children diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia every year

    The number of children affected by acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has doubled in the last 20 years and it is a cause for concern, director and principal of Adyar Cancer Institute Dr T G Sagar said on Friday.

    Addressing newspersons ahead of a two-day seminar on ALL, which will begin at the institute on Saturday, he said the main objective of the seminar was to discuss modern medical methods of this type of cancer, awareness, treatment and strategies to prevent it.

    Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a cancer of blood and bone marrow and mostly affects children. This type of cancer usually spreads rapidly if it is not detected and treated early.

    "In India, every year nearly 25,000 children are diagnosed with this cancer. The symptoms of ALL include fever, vomiting, hemorrhaging and swelling of glands. Children with fever lasting more than three days should be made to undergo a blood test and then a bone marrow test," he said.

    Since Germany is well-known for treating ALL effectively, two German specialists would speak at the seminar.

    Cancer care experts from across the country would be attending the seminar and more than 50 students would be submitting their research papers.


  7. #717
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    New blood test could be used to predict if a patient will have a heart attack

    Patients who suffer heart attacks have unique cells present in their blood, according to a new study.

    The "significant" findings published in the journal "Physical Biology" could potentially be used to predict whether a patient is about to have a heart attack by testing for circulating endothelial cells (CECs).

    As one person in the UK dies from a heart attack every seven minutes, the test is potentially life-saving if used by doctors.

    Over a 100,000 heart attacks a year in the UK are caused by the build-up of fatty plaque on the walls of a person's blood vessels.

    If this wall breaks, plaque can be released into the bloodstream: blocking the blood-flow into vessels around the heart.

    However, researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in California have discovered that CECs were also released into a patient's blood.

    The study assessed 79 patients who had suffered a heart attack, 25 who were healthy, and seven who were receiving treatment for diseased blood vessels.

    Scientists concluded that the presence of CECs in a person's blood after a heart attack was something not seen in healthy controls.

    Prof Peter Kuhn, who worked on the project, explained that the results of the study are "so significant" that the next step is to establish how the findings can be used to identify patients during the early stages of a heart attack.

    He added: "There are plenty of other ways to suggest that you are at long-term risk of a heart attack and there are good ways of diagnosing that you have just had a heart attack but what we don't have is the ability to say 'you will very likely have a heart attack in the next three weeks and we need to do something about this now'."

    However, Dr Mike Knapton of the British Heart Foundation, said: "In the short to medium term, it is unlikely to change how people in the UK are treated as we already have good ways to treat and diagnose heart attacks, and targets to ensure rapid pain-to-treatment times.

    "This study appears to be laying the groundwork for future research to see if this test could be used to identify patients in the early stages of a heart attack."


  8. #718
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Colorectal cancer cases on the rise in Gujarat

    Four out of 100 people who suffered either bleeding in stool, low hemoglobin, changed bowel habit or sudden loss of weight were diagnosed with polyps, considered to be the pre-cancerous stage for colorectal cancer. A total 100 people were screened in a recent camp held at the HCG Cancer Centre.

    Gastro Intestinal (GI) oncology surgeon Dr Jagdish Kothari of HCG said that there has been a rise in the number of colorectal cancers in India as well as the state due to changing food habits where junk food is fast replacing the traditional balanced meals.

    "Colorectal cancers were considered a malady mainly afflicting people of the West. However, from 2000 to 2012, the incidence of colorectal cancers has risen from 2.5 per one lakh to 6 per one lakh population," said Dr Kothari.

    This is expected to further rise by 40 per cent, he added.


  9. #719
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    India set to be declared polio-free

    India will complete three years without any polio case on Monday. The last polio case was reported on January 13, 2011 from West Bengal. Three years is the gestation period for the WHO to declare a country polio-free. Although the three year period finishes today, the WHO certification will take a month or so.

    RK Saboo, founding member of the Polioplus programme, said, "We have achieved this milestone after perseverance and consistent efforts. However, we will not get complacent. The polio drops will be replaced by the injectable IPV (inactivated polio vaccine) next year in the high risk states." As IPV is not a 'live' vaccine and is an intramuscular injection it carries no risk of vaccine-associated polio paralysis, he said here on Sunday.

    The high risk states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar and Haryana, will have polio vaccines instead of the oral drops for children. This will subsequently be followed in the rest of the country.

    Spelling out the roadmap for the next few years after the polio-free status, Saboo said, "In fact, the door-to-door polio drive will now also check for other national immunization programmes, including pentavalent vaccines."


  10. #720
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    Re: Health Bulletin

    Ultrasound can boost sensory performance: Study

    Ultrasound can modulate brain activity to heighten sensory perception in humans, says a study.

    Scientists at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have demonstrated that ultrasound directed to a specific region of the brain can boost performance in sensory discrimination.

    The study provides the first demonstration that low-intensity, transcranial-focused ultrasound can modulate human brain activity to enhance perception.

    "Ultrasound has great potential for bringing unprecedented resolution to the growing trend of mapping the human brain's connectivity," said William 'Jamie' Tyler, assistant professor at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.

    "So we decided to look at the effects of ultrasound on the region of the brain responsible for processing tactile sensory inputs," he said.

    The scientists delivered focused ultrasound to an area of the cerebral cortex that processes sensory information received from the hand, said the study published in Nature Neuroscience.

    To stimulate the median nerve - a major nerve that runs down the arm and the only one that passes through the carpal tunnel - they placed a small electrode on the wrist of human volunteers and recorded their brain responses using electroencephalography, or EEG.

    Then, just before stimulating the nerve, they began delivering ultrasound to the targeted brain region.

    The scientists found that the ultrasound both decreased the EEG signal and weakened the brain waves responsible for encoding tactile stimulation.

    The scientists then administered two classic neurological tests - the two-point discrimination test that measures a subject's ability to distinguish whether two nearby objects touching the skin are truly two distinct points, rather than one.

    The second is the frequency discrimination task - a test that measures sensitivity to the frequency of a chain of air puffs.

    They found unexpected results.

    The subjects receiving ultrasound showed significant improvements in their ability to distinguish pins at closer distances and to discriminate small frequency differences between successive air puffs.

    "Even though the brain waves associated with the tactile stimulation had weakened, people actually got better at detecting differences in sensations," said Tyler, adding that the ultrasound affected an important neurological balance.

    "We believe focused ultrasound changed the balance of ongoing excitation and inhibition processing sensory stimuli in the brain region, resulting in a functional improvement in perception, he added.

    "This approach can be used for potential treatments of neurodegenerative disorders, psychiatric diseases and behavioural disorders, the study said.


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