The Health Benefits of Eating Italian Foods

Italians are known to have the healthy diets with corresponding longevity in lifespan. This has led to the notion that eating Italian foods must give added health benefits to ardent health conscious people. On average Mediterranean diets are sumptuous yet low in fat and high in nutrient content thereby reducing the risk of chronic diseases. What is in an Italian meal? Italian food consists of little in the form of processed foods, dairy products, red meat, wine or sweets. They do however have large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables. The typical Italian diet has tomatoes, garlic, onions, spinach, citrus fruits and leafy greens. These have low fat content hence little bad cholesterol and are high in nutrient content. These foods are also high in dietary fiber which is found in plant foods. This is a form of carbohydrate found in whole grains, legumes, fruits, grains, vegetables and nuts. Italian foods are cooked with olive oil and this is rich in healthy fats. They also consume sea foods which are a good source of good cholesterol. Fish like Salmon and Tuna are great sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. Benefits of the foods This type of diet is rich in iron that is useful for transporting oxygen all over the body aiding in the normal chemical reactions and Vitamin A which is crucial for great vision. These same foods are great for weight management and also aid those aspiring to loose with. The fiber is indigestible in humans and is good for the digestive tract because it prevents constipation, maintains blood sugar levels and reduces cholesterol. The sea foods and olive oil ensure they have healthy hearts. The unsaturated fats are found in fresh fish such as tuna and Salmon. These also keep cholesterol levels low. All these foods are sources of strong antioxidants like Vitamin A, C and E ,lycopene and beta-carotene and thus protect the cells in your body from damage from free radicals (which are unstable molecules) reducing the risk of cancers. Tomatoes are renowned to reduce the risk of prostrate cancer. With the increase in the cases of cancer, fluctuating blood sugar, depression and weight gain, the European Health Card will be a privilege to own for emergency care, providing quality healthcare facilities and reducing your medical bills. How they consume the food? What is remarkable about Italian cuisine is that they eat small portions of food. This is an additional benefit to ensuring they remain healthy because they eat only when hungry. They also take a lot of mineral water alongside their food. Water is world over a healthy beverage compared to soft drinks and other hot beverages that are taken by most people. What is notable about the Italian foods? A normal Italian diet is made of the freshest vegetables. This ensures that the food retains the natural taste and is high in nutrients. The olive oil is used conservatively and lightly to keep the foods light and healthy. Grains are eaten whole meal and beverages other than water used fresh milk not cream and have very little sugar added or none at all. Leo Josh The Health Benefits of Eating Italian Foods Italian Design Italian Design – made in italy design furniture

Online shoppers favor white sellers in classified ads, study finds

Online shoppers favor white sellers in classified ads, study finds Online classified ad shoppers respond less often and offer lower prices when a seller is black rather than white, finds a newly published study based on a field experiment. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 25, 2013 — If you walked into a store to buy a brand-new Apple iPod, would you be less likely to buy it, or want to pay less for it, if it were presented by a salesperson who was black rather than white?Transpose that shopping experience to Craigslist, and that sums up how the average American behaves, according to newly published research co-authored by University of Virginia professor Jennifer Doleac.A yearlong experiment selling iPods in about 1,200 online classified ads placed in more than 300 locales throughout the United States, ranging from small towns to major cities, tested for such racial bias among buyers by featuring photographs of the iPod held by a man’s hand that was either dark-skinned (“black”), light-skinned (“white”), or light-skinned with a wrist tattoo. In all other respects, the photos were very similar.The experiment, conducted from March 2009 to March 2010, found that black sellers did worse than white sellers on a variety of metrics: they receive 13 percent fewer responses, 18 percent fewer offers, and offers that are 11 to 12 percent lower. These effects are similar in magnitude to those associated with a white seller’s display of a tattoo, which the authors included to serve as a “suspicious” white control group.Buyers corresponding with a black seller also behave in ways suggesting they trust the seller less: they are 17 percent less likely to include their names, 44 percent less likely to agree to a proposed delivery by mail and 56 percent more likely to express concern about making a long-distance payment.“We were really struck to find as much racial discrimination as we did,” said Doleac, assistant professor of public policy and economics at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, who co-authored the paper with Luke C.D. Stein, assistant professor of finance at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business. Stein and Doleac conducted the experiment while both were doctoral students in economics at Stanford University.Their paper, “The Visible Hand: Race and Online Market Outcomes,” was published online Thursday by The Economic Journal of the Royal Economic Society.At the time the ads were placed, among the 300-plus local ad sites, the average market had 15.7 other advertisements for iPod Nanos that had been listed in the previous week. Just 18 percent of the experiment’s ads were posted in markets with at least 20 other advertisements.In those thicker markets with at least 20 other iPod ads, black sellers received the same number of offers and equal best offers relative to whites. Conversely, black sellers suffered particularly poor outcomes in thin markets with fewer buyers and sellers, where they received 23 percent fewer offers and best offers that were 12 percent lower – very similar to the results for the tattooed sellers’ ads.Furthermore, black sellers do worst in markets with high property crime rates and more racially segregated housing, suggesting that at least part of the explanation is “statistical discrimination” – that is, where race is used as a proxy for unobservable negative characteristics, such as more time or potential danger involved in the transaction, or the possibility that the iPod may be stolen – rather than simply “taste-based” discrimination (against race itself), Doleac explained. However, “it is also possible that animus against black sellers is higher in high-crime or high-isolation markets.”The authors also found evidence that black sellers do better in markets with larger black populations, “suggesting that the disparities may be driven, in part, by buyers’ preference for own-race sellers,” they write in the conclusion.The experiment ads all featured a silver, 8-gigabyte “current model” iPod nano digital media player, described as new in an unopened box, and for sale because the seller did not need it.Doleac and Stein never met with the buyers in person. … For more info: Online shoppers favor white sellers in classified ads, study finds ScienceDaily: Living Well News Online shoppers favor white sellers in classified ads, study finds L’articolo Online shoppers favor white sellers in classified ads, study finds sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Micronutrient supplements reduce risk of HIV disease progression, illness

Micronutrient supplements reduce risk of HIV disease progression, illness Long-term (24-month) supplementation with multivitamins plus selenium for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients in Botswana in the early stages of disease who had not received antiretroviral therapy delayed time to HIV disease progression, was safe and reduced the risk of immune decline and illness, according to a study. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 26, 2013 — Long-term (24-month) supplementation with multivitamins plus selenium for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients in Botswana in the early stages of disease who had not received antiretroviral therapy delayed time to HIV disease progression, was safe and reduced the risk of immune decline and illness, according to a study appearing in the November 27 issue of JAMA.“Micronutrient deficiencies, known to influence immune function, are prevalent even before the development of symptoms of HIV disease and are associated with accelerated HIV disease progression. Micronutrient supplementation has improved markers of HIV disease progression (CD4 cell count, HIV viral load) and mortality in clinical trials; however, these studies were conducted either in the late stages of HIV disease or in pregnant women,” according to background information in the article.Marianna K. Baum, Ph.D., of Florida International University, Miami, and colleagues examined whether specific supplemental micronutrients enhance the immune system and slow HIV disease progression during the early stages of the disease in antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naive adults. They randomized 878 HIV patients to supplementation with daily multivitamins (B vitamins and vitamins C and E), selenium alone, multivitamins with selenium, or placebo for 24 months. The vitamins (vitamins B, C and E, and the trace element selenium) are nutrients essential for maintaining a responsive immune system. Selenium may also have an important role in preventing HIV replication.Participants receiving the combined supplement of multivitamins plus selenium had a lower risk compared to placebo of reaching a CD4 cell count 250/µL or less (a measure that is consistent with the standard of care in Botswana for initiation of ART at the time of the study). This supplement also reduced the risk of a combination of measures of disease progression (CD4 cell count ≤ 250/µL, AIDS-defining conditions, or AIDS-related death, whichever occurred earlier).“This evidence supports the use of specific micronutrient supplementation as an effective intervention in HIV-infected adults in early stages of HIV disease, significantly reducing the risk for disease progression in asymptomatic, ART-naive, HIV-infected adults. This reduced risk may translate into delay in the time when the HIV-infected patients experience immune dysfunction and into broader access to HIV treatment in developing countries,” the authors conclude.The researchers add that their “findings are generalizable to other HIV subtype C-infected cohorts in resource-limited settings where the provision of ART is being scaled up, rolled out, or not yet available to all in conditions similar to those in Botswana at the time of this study.” For more info: Micronutrient supplements reduce risk of HIV disease progression, illness ScienceDaily: Top Health News Micronutrient supplements reduce risk of HIV disease progression, illness L’articolo Micronutrient supplements reduce risk of HIV disease progression, illness sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Confronting the lung cancer stigma

Confronting the lung cancer stigma via Cancerwise | Cancer blog from MD Anderson Cancer Center: By Andrew Davison I lost my dad to lung cancer. Thirteen years later, I was diagnosed with the same illness that took his life. The difference was that he smoked two packs of cigarettes day, and I did not. While I did smoke occasionally in my early 20s, I have been active and healthy for most of my life. But whether a person smokes or not shouldn’t matter in how we approach lung cancer patients. Through my lung cancer treatment journey, I’ve learned we need to end the stigma surrounding lung cancer. My lung cancer diagnosisAlmost four months ago, I was riding on top of the world, literally. In the midst of a five-hour mountain bike ride at a ski resort in Colorado, I crashed. I was a little banged up and went in to get checked out. After a few stitches and a chest x-ray, I was cleared to go home with a bag of ice and some ibuprofen. Two hours later, while grilling at a summer BBQ, I missed a call from the clinic. The doctor left a voicemail saying that, after a second review, the radiologist had noticed a spot on the upper apex of my left lung. He said it was probably nothing, perhaps even just some scar tissue, and that I should schedule a CT scan. I turned to my wife and said, “There is no way that is good news.” I called my primary physician the next day. I pleaded to get a CT scan ordered and scheduled. The next day, the physician’s assistant informed me there was in fact an indeterminate mass, but that it was nothing to worry about. She said that given that I was young and healthy, did not smoke and maintained a regular fitness routine, it was most likely a false positive. Two days later, a biopsy, pneumothorax and test results revealed a positive diagnosis for stage 1 lung cancer. I was stunned. Lung cancer, of all things? I use my lungs regularly at high altitude and high intensity. They work fine. Lung cancer stigma for nonsmokersBy the second day, I had already become familiar with the ubiquitous question: “Did you smoke?” It is a logical question. We all know smoking causes lung cancer. But when people ask this, it brings up a range of emotions from resignation to annoyance. Sometimes I find myself getting defensive of the three years I did smoke. It was part of the culture. Besides, that was more than 25 years ago. And, though my doctors don’t know exactly what caused my lung cancer — Secondhand smoke exposure? Some other toxins? Something else? — they say those few years I smoked probably were not a factor. Other times I feel compelled to educate my listener about the increasing numbers of nonsmokers who contract lung cancer. Sometimes I gently remind my listener no one deserves an awful disease with low survival rates and tremendous suffering, even if he or she made poor choices in the past. When my dad received his lung cancer diagnosis, I was emotionally devastated. However, if I am honest, my response mimicked the party line, “Well, I am not surprised. After all, you smoked two-plus packs a day for 57 years.” His lung cancer battle lasted 14 months. It was a hard road from surgery through chemotherapy. I helped him through the entire process, and amidst the hardships, our relationship deepened and evolved. The reality is that lung cancer is a mass murderer on a global scale. According to the American Cancer Society, 13 percent of lung cancers are unrelated to smoking. Even with my family history, I knew relatively little about this pernicious disease until recently. Like millions of others, I believed that lung cancer only affected smokers. Changing the stigma surrounding lung cancerDoes it really matter if you smoked, were exposed to secondhand smoke, worked with toxins, lived in a radon house or randomly inhaled the wrong particles? Is anyone really in a position to claim that someone really deserves lung cancer? No, of course not. We need to change the way the world looks at lung cancer. We need to build programs around awareness and educate the public, invest more money in research detection and therapies as well as support the promotion of healthy lifestyles and prevention. It is time for lung cancer to become as relevant in our culture as breast cancer. It is time to end the stigma. It is time for change. Lung cancer is one of the cancers MD Anderson is focusing on as part of our Moon Shots Program to dramatically reduce cancer deaths. Learn more about our Lung Cancer Moon Shot. For more info: Confronting the lung cancer stigma Cancerwise | Cancer blog from MD Anderson Cancer Center Confronting the lung cancer stigma L’articolo Confronting the lung cancer stigma sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Junk food, poor oral health increase risk of premature heart disease

Junk food, poor oral health increase risk of premature heart disease The association between poor oral health and increased risk of cardiovascular disease should make the reduction of sugars such as those contained in junk food, particularly fizzy drinks, an important health policy target, say experts. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Dec. 2, 2013 — The association between poor oral health and increased risk of cardiovascular disease should make the reduction of sugars such as those contained in junk food, particularly fizzy drinks, an important health policy target, say experts writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.Share This:Poor oral hygiene and excess sugar consumption can lead to periodontal disease where the supporting bone around the teeth is destroyed. It is thought that chronic infection from gum disease can trigger an inflammatory response that leads to heart disease through a process called atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Despite convincing evidence linking poor oral health to premature heart disease, the most recent UK national guidance on the prevention of CVD at population level mentions the reduction of sugar only indirectly.Dr Ahmed Rashid, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge, who co-wrote the paper, said: “As well as having high levels of fats and salt, junk foods often contain a great deal of sugar and the effect this has on oral health may be an important additional mechanism by which junk food elevates risk of CVD.” He added: “Among different types of junk food, soft drinks have raised particular concerns and are the main source of free sugar for many individuals.”The authors refer to the well-publicized New York ‘soda ban’ controversy which has brought the issue to the attention of many. Yet, they point out, in the UK fizzy drinks remain commonly available in public areas ranging from hospitals to schools. Dr Rashid said: “The UK population should be encouraged to reduce fizzy drink intake and improve oral hygiene. Reducing sugar consumption and managing dental problems early could help prevent heart problems later in life.”Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:Other social bookmarking and sharing tools:|Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by SAGE Publications, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above. Journal Reference:A. … For more info: Junk food, poor oral health increase risk of premature heart disease ScienceDaily: Top Health News Junk food, poor oral health increase risk of premature heart disease L’articolo Junk food, poor oral health increase risk of premature heart disease sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Brain connectivity study reveals striking differences between men and women

Brain connectivity study reveals striking differences between men and women A new brain connectivity study has found striking differences in the neural wiring of men and women that’s lending credence to some commonly-held beliefs about their behavior. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Dec. 2, 2013 — A new brain connectivity study from Penn Medicine published today in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences found striking differences in the neural wiring of men and women that’s lending credence to some commonly-held beliefs about their behavior.In one of the largest studies looking at the “connectomes” of the sexes, Ragini Verma, PhD, an associate professor in the department of Radiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues found greater neural connectivity from front to back and within one hemisphere in males, suggesting their brains are structured to facilitate connectivity between perception and coordinated action. In contrast, in females, the wiring goes between the left and right hemispheres, suggesting that they facilitate communication between the analytical and intuition.”These maps show us a stark difference–and complementarity–in the architecture of the human brain that helps provide a potential neural basis as to why men excel at certain tasks, and women at others,” said Verma.For instance, on average, men are more likely better at learning and performing a single task at hand, like cycling or navigating directions, whereas women have superior memory and social cognition skills, making them more equipped for multitasking and creating solutions that work for a group. They have a mentalistic approach, so to speak.Past studies have shown sex differences in the brain, but the neural wiring connecting regions across the whole brain that have been tied to such cognitive skills has never been fully shown in a large population.In the study, Verma and colleagues, including co-authors Ruben C. Gur, PhD, a professor of psychology in the department of Psychiatry, and Raquel E. Gur, MD, PhD, professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and Radiology, investigated the gender-specific differences in brain connectivity during the course of development in 949 individuals (521 females and 428 males) aged 8 to 22 years using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). DTI is water-based imaging technique that can trace and highlight the fiber pathways connecting the different regions of the brain, laying the foundation for a structural connectome or network of the whole brain.This sample of youths was studied as part of the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort, a National Institute of Mental Health-funded collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania Brain Behavior Laboratory and the Center for Applied Genomics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.The brain is a roadmap of neural pathways linking many networks that help us process information and react accordingly, with behavior controlled by several of these sub-networks working in conjunction.In the study, the researchers found that females displayed greater connectivity in the supratentorial region, which contains the cerebrum, the largest part of the brain, between the left and right hemispheres. Males, on the other hand, displayed greater connectivity within each hemisphere.By contrast, the opposite prevailed in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that plays a major role in motor control, where males displayed greater inter-hemispheric connectivity and females displayed greater intra-hemispheric connectivity.These connections likely give men an efficient system for coordinated action, where the cerebellum and cortex participate in bridging between perceptual experiences in the back of the brain, and action, in the front of the brain, according to the authors. The female connections likely facilitate integration of the analytic and sequential processing modes of the left hemisphere with the spatial, intuitive information processing modes of the right side.The authors observed only a few gender differences in the connectivity in children younger than 13 years, but the differences were more pronounced in adolescents aged 14 to 17 years and young adults older than 17.The findings were also consistent with a Penn behavior study, of which this imaging study was a subset of, that demonstrated pronounced sexual differences. Females outperformed males on attention, word and face memory, and social cognition tests. … For more info: Brain connectivity study reveals striking differences between men and women ScienceDaily: Top Health News Brain connectivity study reveals striking differences between men and women L’articolo Brain connectivity study reveals striking differences between men and women sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Secrets to ‘extreme adaptation’ found in Burmese python genome

Secrets to ‘extreme adaptation’ found in Burmese python genome The Burmese python’s ability to ramp up its metabolism and enlarge its organs to swallow and digest prey whole can be traced to unusually rapid evolution and specialized adaptations of its genes and the way they work, an international team of biologists says. via ScienceDaily: Top Science News: Dec. 2, 2013 — The Burmese python’s ability to ramp up its metabolism and enlarge its organs to swallow and digest prey whole can be traced to unusually rapid evolution and specialized adaptations of its genes and the way they work, an international team of biologists says in a new paper.Lead author Todd Castoe, an assistant professor of biology at The University of Texas at Arlington College of Science, and 38 co-authors from four countries sequenced and analyzed the genome of the Burmese python, or Python molurus bivittatus. Their work is scheduled for publication this week (Dec. 2) by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences along with a companion paper on the sequencing and analysis of the king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah). The papers represent the first complete and annotated snake genomes.Because snakes contain many of the same genes as other vertebrates, studying how these genes have evolved to produce such extreme and unique characteristics in snakes can eventually help explain how these genes function, including how they enable extreme feats of organ remodeling. Such knowledge may eventually be used to treat human diseases.”One of the fundamental questions of evolutionary biology is how vertebrates with all the same genes display such vastly different characteristics. The Burmese python is a great way to study that because it is so extreme,” Castoe, who began working on the python project as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in the laboratory of associate professor and paper corresponding author David D. Pollock.Castoe said: “We’d like to know how the snake uses genes we all have to do things that no other vertebrates can do.”The new python study calls into question previous theories that major obvious physical differences among species are caused primarily by changes in gene expression. Instead, it contends that protein adaptation, gene expression and changes in the structure of the organization of the genome itself are all at work together in determining the unusual characteristics that define snakes, and possibly other vertebrates.Pollock said the python and king cobra studies represent a significant addition to the field of “comparative systems genomics — the evolutionary analysis of multiple vertebrate genomes to understand how entire systems of interacting genes can evolve from the molecules on up.”He said: “I believe that such studies are going to be fundamental to our ability to understand what the genes in the human genome do, their functional mechanisms, and how and why they came to be structured the way they are.”The Burmese python’s phenotype, or physical characteristics, represents one of the most extreme examples of evolutionary adaptation, the authors said. Like all snakes, its evolutionary origin included reduction in function of one lung and the elongation of its mid-section, skeleton and organs. … For more info: Secrets to ‘extreme adaptation’ found in Burmese python genome ScienceDaily: Top Science News Secrets to ‘extreme adaptation’ found in Burmese python genome L’articolo Secrets to ‘extreme adaptation’ found in Burmese python genome sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Automated prediction alert helps identify patients at risk for 30-day readmission

Automated prediction alert helps identify patients at risk for 30-day readmission An automated prediction tool which identifies newly admitted patients who are at risk for readmission within 30 days of discharge has been successfully incorporated into the electronic health record of an American hospital. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — An automated prediction tool which identifies newly admitted patients who are at risk for readmission within 30 days of discharge has been successfully incorporated into the electronic health record of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. The tool, developed by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine, is the subject of a study published in the December issue of the Journal of Hospital Medicine.The all-Penn team found that having been admitted to the hospital two or more times in the 12 months prior to admission is the best way to predict which patients are at risk for being readmitted in the 30 days after discharge. As a result of this finding, the automated tool is now able to identify patients as being “high risk” for readmission and creates a “flag” in their electronic health record. Upon admission of a high-risk patient, the flag appears next to the patient’s name in a column titled “readmission risk.” The flag can be double-clicked to display detailed information relevant to discharge planning including inpatient and emergency department visits over the previous 12 months, as well as information about the care teams, lengths of stay, and problem(s) associated with those prior admissions.”The results we’ve seen with this tool show that we can predict, with a good deal of accuracy, patients who are at risk of being readmitted within 30 days of discharge,” said lead author Charles A. Baillie, MD, an internal medicine specialist and fellow in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Penn Medicine. “With this knowledge, care teams have the ability to target these patients, making sure they receive the most intensive interventions necessary to prevent their readmission.”Interventions proven to help reduce 30-day readmissions include enhanced patient education and medication reconciliation on the day of discharge, increased home services to provide a safe landing, follow up appointments soon after discharge, and follow-up phone calls to ensure an extra level of protection. In the process of medication reconciliation, pharmacists compare a patient’s current hospital medication orders to all of the medications that the patient was taking at home prior to their hospital admission. This is done to avoid medication errors such as omissions, duplications, dosing errors, or drug interactions.In support of the study, the Penn Medicine Center for Evidence-based Practice identified in the published literature a number of variables associated with readmission to the hospital, including: prior admissions, visits to the emergency department, previous 30-day readmissions, and the presence of multiple medical disorders.Using two years of retrospective data, the team examined these variables using their own local data and found that a single variable — prior admission to the hospital two or more times within a span of 12 months — was the best predictor of being readmitted in the future. This marker was integrated into the electronic health record and was studied prospectively for the next year. … For more info: Automated prediction alert helps identify patients at risk for 30-day readmission ScienceDaily: Top Health News Automated prediction alert helps identify patients at risk for 30-day readmission L’articolo Automated prediction alert helps identify patients at risk for 30-day readmission sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Scientists design, test new approach for corneal stem cell treatments

Scientists design, test new approach for corneal stem cell treatments Researchers have designed and tested a novel, minute-long procedure to prepare human amniotic membrane for use as a scaffold for specialized stem cells that may be used to treat some corneal diseases. This membrane serves as a foundation that supports the growth of stem cells in order to graft them onto the cornea. This new method may accelerate research and clinical applications for stem cell corneal transplantation. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — Researchers in the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute have designed and tested a novel, minute-long procedure to prepare human amniotic membrane for use as a scaffold for specialized stem cells that may be used to treat some corneal diseases. This membrane serves as a foundation that supports the growth of stem cells in order to graft them onto the cornea.This new method, explained in a paper published this month in the journal PLOS ONE, may accelerate research and clinical applications for stem cell corneal transplantation.Corneal blindness affects more than 8 million people worldwide. Among other causes, corneal blindness can be the outcome of corneal stem cell deficiency, a disease usually resulting from genetic defects or injury to the eye — such as burns, infection or chronic inflammation — that can lead to vision loss. A feasible treatment to rectify vision loss for such patients is corneal stem cell transplantation, either as a biopsy from another eye or by transplanting cultured stem cells, although this promising approach is not yet fully standardized.An approved biological foundation for cultured stem cells is the human amniotic membrane, a thin but sturdy film that separates the fetus from the placenta. For the best growth of stem cells, amniotic cells need to be removed by chemical agents. The existing methods for removing these cells from this membrane are not standardized, leave behind amniotic cells and may cause unwanted loss of some of the membrane components.The amniotic cell removal method created at Cedars-Sinai takes less than one minute and ensures virtually complete amniotic cell removal and preservation of amniotic membrane components, and also supports the overall growth of various stem and tissue cells.”We believe that this straightforward and relatively fast procedure would allow easier standardization of amniotic membrane as a valuable stem cell support and improve the current standard of care in corneal stem cell transplantation,” said lead author Alexander Ljubimov, PhD, director of the Eye Program at the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute. “This new method may provide a better method for researchers, transplant corneal surgeons and manufacturing companies alike.”Mehrnoosh Saghizadeh Ghiam, PhD, a research scientist in the Regenerative Medicine Institute’s Eye Program, assistant professor in the department of Biomedical Sciences and first author of the study, commented on the potential of the new method.”The amniotic membrane has many beneficial properties and provides an attractive framework to grow tissue and stem cells for regenerative medicine transplantations, especially in replacing missing stem cells in the cornea,” said Saghizadeh. “Our method for preparing this scaffold for cell expansion is and may streamline clinical applications of cell therapies.” For more info: Scientists design, test new approach for corneal stem cell treatments ScienceDaily: Top Health News Scientists design, test new approach for corneal stem cell treatments L’articolo Scientists design, test new approach for corneal stem cell treatments sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Barriers to HPF vaccination among teens

Barriers to HPF vaccination among teens Barriers to human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination among adolescents in the U.S. range from financial concerns and parental attitudes to social influences and concerns about the vaccination’s effect on sexual behavior, according to a review of the available medical literature. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 25, 2013 — Barriers to human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination among adolescents in the U.S. range from financial concerns and parental attitudes to social influences and concerns about the vaccination’s effect on sexual behavior, according to a review of the available medical literature published by JAMA Pediatrics, a JAMA Network publication.Share This:HPV vaccine coverage among teenagers has increased since the vaccine was licensed in 2006 but it still remains low compared with other recommended vaccinations. Most HPV infections will clear on their own, but persistent infections can progress to precancers or cancers, including cervical, vulvar, vaginal, penile and anal cancer, as well as cancers of the mouth and throat. Vaccination is recommended for both girls and boys, based on age requirements for the specific vaccines, according to the study background.Dawn M. Holman, M.P.H., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a review of the literature on barriers to HPV vaccination. Their findings summarize 55 relevant articles, which include data collected in 2009 or later: • Healthcare professionals cited financial concerns and parental attitudes and concerns as barriers to providing the vaccine to patients. • Parents often reported barriers that included needing more information before vaccinating their children, as well as concerns about the vaccine’s effect on sexual behavior, the low perceived risk of HPV infection, social influences, irregular preventive care and vaccine costs. • Some parents of boys reported a perceived lack of benefit for vaccinating their sons. • Recommendations from health care professionals were consistently reported by parents as one of the most important factors in their decision to vaccinate their children.”Continued efforts are needed to ensure that health care professionals and parents understand the importance of vaccinating adolescents before they become sexually active. … For more info: Barriers to HPF vaccination among teens ScienceDaily: Living Well News Barriers to HPF vaccination among teens L’articolo Barriers to HPF vaccination among teens sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Results of my PET/CT scan

Results of my PET/CT scan Last week we went to see my oncologist for results of the recent PET/CT scan. With a smile on his face, my oncologist Allan Zimet said ‘Left hand side chest TUMOUR SHRINKAGE, Right hand side NO CHANGE/STABLE, Diaphragm – growing slightly ONLY! No further treatment at this stage, come back early Jan 2014!’ Both Keith and myself could not believe this news! This time with chemotherapy I was fighting for my life and for the moment I have won! I have my life back again! For how long who knows – I am happy with this! I can plan Christmas …. .Having said that lol we are hosting the Bernie Banton Foundation Christmas luncheon at our place tomorrow. Xmas tree and decorations are up and everything is ready for 11am tomorrow – I am so excited to be able to do this and feel slightly tired however WELL!1st December today – I hope this month goes slowly until Xmas day as I love this time of the year.The annual asbestos commemoration service was held last Friday 29 November, I remember last year returning from Nice, France the night before and attending the service. As Keith had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer and my cancer had come back …. we both looked at each other there, squeezed our hands and said to each other – will we be here in 12 mths! Keith said ‘if you look after me and vice versa we will be’! Guess what – Keith has his health and I now have my health back!Life has its ups and downs and if you can deal with what presents itself at the time, and let the universe take care of the big picture you will get through it. For us, life is good – we have our health and each other. via Asbestos – Living with Mesothelioma in Australia Louise (Lou) Williams: Last week we went to see my oncologist for results of the recent PET/CT scan. With a smile on his face, my oncologist Allan Zimet said ‘Left hand side chest TUMOUR SHRINKAGE, Right hand side NO CHANGE/STABLE, Diaphragm – growing slightly ONLY!No further treatment at this stage, come back early Jan 2014!’Both Keith and myself could not believe this news! This time with chemotherapy I was fighting for my life and for the moment I have won! I have my life back again! For how long who knows – I am happy with this! I can plan Christmas …. . Having said that lol we are hosting the Bernie Banton Foundation Christmas luncheon at our place tomorrow. Xmas tree and decorations are up and everything is ready for 11… For more info: Results of my PET/CT scan Asbestos – Living with Mesothelioma in Australia Louise (Lou) Williams Results of my PET/CT scan L’articolo Results of my PET/CT scan sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Modafinil reduces depression’s severity when taken with antidepressants

Modafinil reduces depression’s severity when taken with antidepressants A new study has concluded that taking the drug modafinil, typically used to treat sleep disorders, in combination with antidepressants reduces the severity of depression more effectively than taking antidepressants alone. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — A new study has concluded that taking the drug modafinil, typically used to treat sleep disorders, in combination with antidepressants reduces the severity of depression more effectively than taking antidepressants alone. The study, a collaboration between the Universities of Cambridge and East London and King’s College London, was published online in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.Approximately a third of depressed patients receive little or no benefit from taking antidepressants even when used in combination with psychological counseling. Furthermore, of those who respond to treatment, residual symptoms such as fatigue and trouble sleeping pose risk factors for relapse. The authors of the study believe that these individuals in particular would benefit the most from supplementing their antidepressants with modafinil.Professor Barbara Sahakian from the University of Cambridge said, “Modafinil has actions on a number of neurotransmitter systems. This may explain why adding it to traditional anti-depressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, has beneficial effects on the symptoms experienced by depressed patients.””This is good news for individuals struggling to fight depression,” said Professor Cynthia Fu from University of East London, who undertook the research whilst at King’s College London. “Depression affects all aspects of life, leading to occupational and social disability at varying levels. It is particularly important that people receive effective treatment as the residual symptoms — e.g. fatigue, lack of concentration etc. — can persist and have a negative impact in people’s lives.”For the research, the scientists reviewed various studies which had examined the use of modafinil as an add-on treatment for depression. … For more info: Modafinil reduces depression’s severity when taken with antidepressants ScienceDaily: Top Health News Modafinil reduces depression’s severity when taken with antidepressants L’articolo Modafinil reduces depression’s severity when taken with antidepressants sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

New aggressive HIV strain leads to faster AIDS development

New aggressive HIV strain leads to faster AIDS development A recently discovered HIV strain leads to significantly faster development of AIDS than currently prevalent forms, according to new research. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — A recently discovered HIV strain leads to significantly faster development of AIDS than currently prevalent forms, according to new research from Lund University in Sweden.The period from infection to development of AIDS was the shortest reported among HIV-1 types, at around five years.There are over 60 different epidemic strains of HIV-1 in the world, and geographic regions are often dominated by one or two of these. If a person becomes infected with two different strains, they can fuse and a recombined form can occur.”Recombinants seem to be more vigorous and more aggressive than the strains from which they developed,” explained Angelica Palm, a doctoral student at Lund University.The recombinant studied is called A3/02 and is a cross between the two most common strains in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa — 02AG and A3. It has previously been described by Joakim Esbjörnsson, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford, who is a co-author of the study.So far, the new strain has only been identified in West Africa, but other studies have shown that the global spread of different recombinants is increasing. In countries and regions with high levels of immigration, such as the US and Europe, the trend is towards an increasingly mixed and complex HIV flora, unlike in the beginning of the epidemic when a small number of non-recombinant variants of the virus dominated. There is therefore reason to be wary of HIV recombinants in general.”HIV is an extremely dynamic and variable virus. New subtypes and recombinant forms of HIV-1 have been introduced to our part of the world, and it is highly likely that there are a large number of circulating recombinants of which we know little or nothing. We therefore need to be aware of how the HIV-1 epidemic changes over time,” said Patrik Medstrand, Professor of Clinical Virology at Lund University.The research is based on a unique long-term follow-up of HIV-infected individuals in Guinea-Bissau, a project run by Lund University. In future research, Angelica Palm and her colleagues hope to be able to continue researching the characteristics of recombinant viruses and the presence of these among HIV carriers in Europe.For health services, the new research results mean a need to be aware that certain HIV-1 types can be more aggressive than others, according to the research team. For more info: New aggressive HIV strain leads to faster AIDS development ScienceDaily: Top Health News New aggressive HIV strain leads to faster AIDS development L’articolo New aggressive HIV strain leads to faster AIDS development sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Polymer foam expands potential to treat aneurysms

Polymer foam expands potential to treat aneurysms Researchers are using the unique contraction and expansion properties of shape memory polymer foam to design a much improved treatment for brain aneurysms, which cause severe neurological damage or death for 30,000 Americans each year. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — Thirty thousand Americans suffer severe neurological damage or death from brain aneurysms each year and the existing treatments eventually fail in nearly half of patients. Currently, these “bubbles” in the blood vessel are either clamped off, which requires invasive brain surgery, or filled with platinum coils to induce clotting in the aneurysm.Both treatments, although somewhat effective, can have subsequent problems, including inflammation, incomplete healing, and the development of secondary aneurysms adjacent to the initial site. These complications result in approximately 40 percent of patients needing additional treatment to attempt to re-repair the aneurysm.NIBIB-funded researchers in Texas A&M’s bioengineering department are moving rapidly to provide a better treatment for this serious disorder. The group specializes in using the unique properties of foam shape memory polymers (SMPs) to solve clinical conditions lacking satisfactory treatments.The group, led by Associate Professor Duncan Maitland, is using SMPs in a pig model of brain aneurysm to develop a minimally-invasive procedure that fills and stabilizes the aneurysm. Because the system induces only minimal inflammation, it successfully allows natural healing of the border between the aneurysm and the blood vessel. As reported in the May 22 issue of the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, partial healing was observed at 30 days post-procedure and almost complete healing had occurred at 90 days in the pig model.2How it WorksTwo of the properties of SMP are critical to the success seen in the animal experiments: • the foam’s ability to be compressed into a very thin sheath and then induced to expand to 100 times its compressed volume when heated, and • its rigid, yet porous structure when fully expanded.The rigid uniform structure of the expanded foam is a significant improvement over the current practice of filling an aneurysm with a platinum coil. Because a coil is threaded into the aneurysm until it fills the space, pressure is exerted on the aneurysm during the process, which can damage the vessel wall. In addition, the platinum coils do not uniformly fill the space, leaving large gaps that can allow shifting of the coils as well as the formation of unstable, large clots. The platinum coil approach can also result in inflammation which destabilizes the aneurysm, resulting in incomplete healing and failure to completely wall-off from the blood vessel.The minimally-invasive procedure involves inserting the slim, compressed foam into the aneurysm using a microcatheter. … For more info: Polymer foam expands potential to treat aneurysms ScienceDaily: Top Health News Polymer foam expands potential to treat aneurysms L’articolo Polymer foam expands potential to treat aneurysms sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Genetic mutation increases risk of Parkinson’s disease from pesticides

Genetic mutation increases risk of Parkinson’s disease from pesticides Study uses patient-derived stem cells to show that a mutation in the α-synuclein gene causes increased vulnerability to pesticides, leading to Parkinson’s disease. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — A team of researchers has brought new clarity to the picture of how gene-environmental interactions can kill nerve cells that make dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. Their discoveries, described in a paper published online today in Cell, include identification of a molecule that protects neurons from pesticide damage.”For the first time, we have used human stem cells derived from Parkinson’s disease patients to show that a genetic mutation combined with exposure to pesticides creates a ‘double hit’ scenario, producing free radicals in neurons that disable specific molecular pathways that cause nerve-cell death,” says Stuart Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., professor and director of Sanford-Burnham’s Del E. Webb Center for Neuroscience, Aging, and Stem Cell Research and senior author of the study.Until now, the link between pesticides and Parkinson’s disease was based mainly on animal studies and epidemiological research that demonstrated an increased risk of disease among farmers, rural populations, and others exposed to agricultural chemicals.In the new study, Lipton, along with Rajesh Ambasudhan, Ph.D., research assistant professor in the Del E. Webb Center, and Rudolf Jaenisch, M.D., founding member of Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), used skin cells from Parkinson’s patients that had a mutation in the gene encoding a protein called alpha-synuclein. Alpha-synuclein is the primary protein found in Lewy bodies — protein clumps that are the pathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease.Using patient skin cells, the researchers created human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) containing the mutation, and then “corrected” the alpha-synuclein mutation in other cells. Next, they reprogrammed all of these cells to become the specific type of nerve cell that is damaged in Parkinson’s disease, called A9 dopamine-containing neurons — thus creating two sets of neurons — identical in every respect except for the alpha-synuclein mutation.”Exposing both normal and mutant neurons to pesticides — including paraquat, maneb, or rotenone — created excessive free radicals in cells with the mutation, causing damage to dopamine-containing neurons that led to cell death,” said Frank Soldner, M.D., research scientist in Jaenisch’s lab and co-author of the study.”In fact, we observed the detrimental effects of these pesticides with short exposures to doses well below EPA-accepted levels,” said Scott Ryan, Ph.D., researcher in the Del E. Webb Center and lead author of the paper.Having access to genetically matched neurons with the exception of a single mutation simplified the interpretation of the genetic contribution to pesticide-induced neuronal death. In this case, the researchers were able to pinpoint how cells with the mutation, when exposed to pesticides, disrupt a key mitochondrial pathway — called MEF2C-PGC1alpha — that normally protects neurons that contain dopamine. … For more info: Genetic mutation increases risk of Parkinson’s disease from pesticides ScienceDaily: Top Health News Genetic mutation increases risk of Parkinson’s disease from pesticides L’articolo Genetic mutation increases risk of Parkinson’s disease from pesticides sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Oxytocin leads to monogamy

Oxytocin leads to monogamy How is the bond between people in love maintained? Scientists have discovered a biological mechanism that could explain the attraction between loving couples: If oxytocin is administered to men and if they are shown pictures of their partner, the bonding hormone stimulates the reward center in the brain, increasing the attractiveness of the partner, and strengthening monogamy. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 25, 2013 — How is the bond between people in love maintained? Scientists at the Bonn University Medical Center have discovered a biological mechanism that could explain the attraction between loving couples: If oxytocin is administered to men and if they are shown pictures of their partner, the bonding hormone stimulates the reward center in the brain, increasing the attractiveness of the partner, and strengthening monogamy. The results are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Monogamy is not very widespread among mammals; human beings represent an exception. Comparatively many couples of the species Homo sapiens have no other partners in a love relationship. For a long time, science has therefore been trying to discover the unknown forces that cause loving couples to be faithful. “An important role in partner bonding is played by the hormone oxytocin, which is secreted in the brain,” says Prof. Dr. René Hurlemann, Executive Senior Physician at the Inpatient and Outpatient Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the Bonn University Medical Center. A team of scientists at the University of Bonn under the direction of Prof. … For more info: Oxytocin leads to monogamy ScienceDaily: Living Well News Oxytocin leads to monogamy L’articolo Oxytocin leads to monogamy sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Promising new treatment helps people with spine injuries walk better

Promising new treatment helps people with spine injuries walk better Scientists may have found a new treatment that can help people with spinal cord injuries walk better. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — Scientists may have found a new treatment that can help people with spinal cord injuries walk better. The research is published in the November 27, 2013, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.”About 59 percent of all spinal injuries are incomplete, leaving pathways that could allow the spinal cord to change in a way that allows people to walk again. Unfortunately, usually a person affected by this type of spinal injury seldom recovers the ability to walk normally,” said study author Randy D. Trumbower, PT, PhD, with Emory University in Atlanta. “Our research proposes a promising new way for the spinal cord to make the connections needed to walk better.”The research involved 19 people with spine injuries between levels C2 and T12, no joint shortening, some controlled ankle, knee, and hip movements, and the ability to walk at least one step without human assistance. Research team members were based at Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Shepherd Center in Atlanta, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.The participants were exposed to short periods of breathing low oxygen levels, which is called hypoxia. The participants breathed through a mask for about 40 minutes a day for five days, receiving 90-second periods of low oxygen levels followed by 60 seconds of normal oxygen levels. The participants’ walking speed and endurance was tested before the study started, on the first and fifth days of treatment, and again one and two weeks after the treatment ended.The participants were divided into two groups. In one, nine people received either the treatment or a sham treatment where they received only normal oxygen levels. … For more info: Promising new treatment helps people with spine injuries walk better ScienceDaily: Top Health News Promising new treatment helps people with spine injuries walk better L’articolo Promising new treatment helps people with spine injuries walk better sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Medical research needs kids, two-thirds of parents unaware of opportunities

Medical research needs kids, two-thirds of parents unaware of opportunities To improve healthcare for children, medical research that involves kids is a must. Yet, only five percent of parents say their children have ever participated in any type of medical research. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 26, 2013 — To improve healthcare for children, medical research that involves kids is a must. Yet, only five percent of parents say their children have ever participated in any type of medical research, according to a new University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.However, in this month’s poll, nearly one-half of parents said they are willing to have their children take part in research that involved testing a new medicine or a new vaccine, if their child had the disease being studied. More than three-quarters of parents are willing to have their children participate in research involving questions about mental health, eating or nutrition.The poll surveyed 1,420 parents with a child aged 0 to 17 years old, from across the United States.According to the poll, parents who are aware of medical research opportunities are more likely to have their children take part. But awareness is an issue: more than two-thirds of those polled indicated that they have never seen or heard about opportunities for children to participate in medical research.”Children have a better chance of living healthier lives because of vaccinations, new medications and new diagnostic tests. But we wouldn’t have those tools without medical research,” says Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., director of the National Poll on Children’s Health and professor of pediatrics and internal medicine in the University of Michigan Health System.”With this poll, we wanted to understand parents’ willingness to allow their children to participate in medical research. The good news is that willingness is far higher than the current level of actual engagement in research. This means there is great opportunity for the medical research community to reach out to families and encourage them to take part in improving medical care.”In the poll, the willingness to have children take part differed by the type of study — higher for studies involving questions related to nutrition and mental illness; lower for studies involving exposure to a new medicine or vaccine.The poll found that 43 percent of parents were willing to have their children participate in a study testing a new vaccine and 49 percent testing a new medicine. … For more info: Medical research needs kids, two-thirds of parents unaware of opportunities ScienceDaily: Living Well News Medical research needs kids, two-thirds of parents unaware of opportunities L’articolo Medical research needs kids, two-thirds of parents unaware of opportunities sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Craving Normalcy

Craving Normalcy via LBBC’s Blog: April Tegeler was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 38 and is now quickly approaching her 3rd anniversary of completing her treatment. Here she shares with us her journey of finding her “new normal”… January marks my three year anniversary from breast cancer.  It seems so close but so far away, all at the same time. Even though three years seems like ample time to settle back into life, I still have an underlying sense of craving normalcy.  I wonder if it is something you ever really stop searching for as a cancer survivor.  As a breast cancer survivor, I was forced to reinvent myself in more ways than one.  The most obvious way is physically, a new body means new clothes and new shell of reality.  The second way and less conspicuous but perhaps more important is emotionally.  It takes a while to wrap your mind around the fact that you will be a forever changed person.  In a way, it plays tricks on you and makes you think if I am changed this much on the outside, I must be changed on the inside too. After diagnosis, things move pretty quickly and it can get overwhelming.  After the initial plan sets in, things start to fall into place and the motion eventually dissipates.  This can be the hardest part because you feel like you should be settling into normalcy but in actuality you are just beginning a new journey in life.  What could be more unsettling than that! Even years out I am still searching for the time where I am not subconsciously thinking about having a normal day. After my initial surgery, I used to inwardly chuckle when people would approach me asking if I was all done with treatment.  People who aren’t touched by the disease don’t always realize what a lengthy process it can be both emotionally and physically. While I appreciated their concern with a smile and a knowing nod I also wanted to laugh and say, “I am only just beginning”! I think craving is an appropriate word to use when talking about a breast cancer survivor’s “new normal”.  It is a fact finding mission of sorts where it is constantly changing and evolving into something where we finally feel comfort and peace.  A place where we can finally say, “Hey, I think I found my new normal”.  But until you find that comfy zone, you continually crave the normalcy that you once had in your pre-cancer life. Your new normal can often be redefining to caregivers, family and friends because it inadvertently spills over into their pre- normal state too. Consequently, they must evolve and find a new normal that is dependent on yours.  It is all intertwined. Right after my surgery, I had some concerns and I called my doctor saying that I just wasn’t sure if everything was right because I hadn’t defined for myself what my “new normal” was yet.  Funny, I had never even heard this term before but that is what it felt like for me.  Later, I learned that this is a popular term used by breast cancer women after diagnosis.  It couldn’t be more true. Through life, whether you are a cancer survivor or not, we are always evolving as people.  How many people change careers multiple times during their working careers?  Or change partners because they have drifted apart or have just changed as people during their course of their relationship.  It is a natural progression in life.  Why shouldn’t it happen when you experience a traumatic life event such as a cancer diagnosis?  It is disguised as a traumatic response but in actuality is truly a natural progression of life brought on unexpectedly by unforeseen life events.  Therefore, craving normalcy and redefining your “new normal” becomes…well- normal. April Tegeler is a school counselor by trade and a stay at home mom by choice.   Taking a break from counseling has allowed her the privilege of staying at home with her kids and sharing in the opportunities provided to them as they grow.   When she is not busy taking care of them, she enjoys reading books, riding her bike and spending time by the waterside.  Now that they are both in elementary school she is looking forward to revisiting her counseling roots and becoming more involved with LBBC.  For more information about April or to keep up to date with her story visit her blog here. For more info: Craving Normalcy LBBC’s Blog Craving Normalcy L’articolo Craving Normalcy sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

When the living, deceased don’t agree on organ donation

When the living, deceased don’t agree on organ donation All 50 states have adopted laws giving individuals the right to consent to organ donation after death via a signed donor card or driver’s license, or by enrollment in a donor registry. While such laws give hospitals legal authority to proceed with organ procurement without consent of the registered donor’s family, a new study shows that organ procurement organizations’ implementation has been inconsistent and incomplete. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 26, 2013 — All 50 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the 2006 Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA) or enacted similar legislation giving individuals the “First Person Authorization” (FPA) to consent to organ donation after death via a signed donor card or driver’s license, or by enrollment in a donor registry. While such laws give hospitals legal authority to proceed with organ procurement without consent of the registered donor’s family, a new study shows that organ procurement organizations’ implementation of FPA has been inconsistent and incomplete.”Sometimes what we preach and what we practice may not be the same thing, especially when dealing with very sensitive issues such as organ donation,” said W. James Chon, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medicine, primary author of the study, which was published early online in the American Journal of Transplantation.Chon and his colleagues conducted a web-based survey of the executive directors of 58 organ procurement organizations to assess their policies and practices regarding donations from registered donors in cases of family objections. Most of the respondents estimated the frequency of family objection as less than 10 percent.Half the groups surveyed did not have a written policy for handling such scenarios. Twenty-one percent said they would first inform the family of the donor’s wishes and proceed with procurement, and another 59 percent said they would proceed even if they could not persuade family members. Twenty percent, however, said they would not proceed with organ procurement unless they had consent of the family, and 35 percent had not procured organs against family objections in the past five years.Chon said that despite the legal backing given by FPA legislation, procurement organizations still have difficulty dealing with family objections because questions about organ donation come at such an emotional time.”When a deadly accident hits, the family is in a state of shock,” he said. “Then out of nowhere, a total stranger comes up to say their son or daughter wanted to be an organ donor and the family often find it difficult to process the information in this time of emotional upheaval.”Lainie Friedman Ross, MD, PhD, the study’s senior author and the Carolyn and Matthew Bucksbaum Professor of Clinical Ethics at the University of Chicago Medicine, said the work highlights the importance of people talking to family members about their organ donation wishes in the event of an untimely death.”What this study shows is that family objections to a kin’s decision is rare. However, we have to remember that it only addresses those cases in which an individual has made known his or her wishes about donation,” she said. “Unfortunately, this is a minority of the country, so it is critical that we convince the public to express their wishes using web-based consent registries, organ donor cards, or driver’s licenses.”Chon added that while organ procurement organizations should continue their efforts to enforce FPA in the face of family objections, increased public awareness about the critical need for donated organs will also help to limit the number of times families refuse to honor the wishes of a loved one.”As people are better informed and better educated about why we’re doing this, I think most people will agree that it’s really up to the deceased person to dictate how the organs are used,” he said. For more info: When the living, deceased don’t agree on organ donation ScienceDaily: Living Well News When the living, deceased don’t agree on organ donation L’articolo When the living, deceased don’t agree on organ donation sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Good news on the Alzheimer’s epidemic: Risk for older adults declining

Good news on the Alzheimer’s epidemic: Risk for older adults declining Improvements in education levels, health care and lifestyle credited for decline in dementia risk. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — People are less likely to experience dementia and Alzheimer’s disease today than they were 20 years ago — and those who do may be developing it later in life — says a new perspective article in the New England Journal of Medicine that examines the positive trends in dementia.Authors examined five recent studies that suggest a decrease in the prevalence of dementia, crediting the positive trend to improvements in education levels, health care and lifestyle.”We’re very encouraged to see a growing number of studies from around the world that suggest that the risk of dementia may be falling due to rising levels of education and better prevention and treatment of key cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol,” says co-author Kenneth Langa, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of Internal Medicine at the U-M Medical School and research investigator at the Center for Clinical Management Research (CCMR), VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.”Our findings suggest that, even if we don’t find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, there are social and lifestyle factors we can address to decrease our risk.”Authors also include Eric B. Larson, M.D., M.P.H., executive director of Group Health Research Institute and Group Health’s vice president for research; and Kristine Yaffe, M.D., a professor of psychiatry, neurology, and epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco. Larson is also an adjunct professor at the University of Washington Schools of Medicine and Public Health.Authors point to two key factors that may explain the decreased risk of dementia over the last few decades: People are completing more years of school, which helps the brain fight off dementia; and there’s more awareness and focus on preventing heart disease, another big risk factor for Alzheimer’s.”The growing number of older adults in the U.S. and around the world means we will undoubtedly see a significant growth in the number of people with dementia, however the good news is they appear to be living longer without experiencing it,” says Langa, who is also a member of the U-M Institute for Social Research, Institute of Gerontology and Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.”We are seeing a positive trend that suggests that improving our physical and mental health go hand in hand with fighting off this devastating condition.”In 2008, Langa and Larson reported one of the first studies suggesting a decline in U.S. dementia rates, using information from the U.S. Health and Retirement Study. They found that decline tracked with education and improvements in health care and lifestyle. Since then, several studies in Europe have confirmed this trend — and the reasons behind it.Other research has also shown that other factors decreasing risk include early and ongoing education, physical activity, retiring later, educated parents (especially an educated mother), maintaining social activities and getting treatment for depression. For more info: Good news on the Alzheimer’s epidemic: Risk for older adults declining ScienceDaily: Top Health News Good news on the Alzheimer’s epidemic: Risk for older adults declining L’articolo Good news on the Alzheimer’s epidemic: Risk for older adults declining sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Untreated cancer pain a ‘scandal of global proportions,’ survey shows

Untreated cancer pain a ‘scandal of global proportions,’ survey shows A new global study reveals a pandemic of intolerable pain affecting billions, caused by over-regulation of pain medicines. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — A ground-breaking international collaborative survey, published today in Annals of Oncology, shows that more than half of the world’s population live in countries where regulations that aim to stem drug misuse leave cancer patients without access to opioid medicines for managing cancer pain.The results from the Global Opioid Policy Initiative (GOPI) project show that more than 4 billion people live in countries where regulations leave cancer patients suffering excruciating pain. National governments must take urgent action to improve access to these medicines, says the European Society for Medical Oncology, leader of a group of 22 partners that have launched the first global survey to evaluate the availability and accessibility of opioids for cancer pain management.”The GOPI study has uncovered a pandemic of over-regulation in much of the developing world that is making it catastrophically difficult to provide basic medication to relieve strong cancer pain,” says Nathan Cherny, Chair of the ESMO Palliative Care Working Group and lead author of the report, from Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel. “Most of the world’s population lacks the necessary access to opioids for cancer pain management and palliative care, as well as acute, post-operative, obstetric and chronic pain.””When one considers that effective treatments are cheap and available, untreated cancer pain and its horrendous consequences for patients and their families is a scandal of global proportions,” Cherny says.The study conducted in Africa, Asia, Latin America & the Caribbean and the Middle East assessed the availability of the seven opioid medications considered to be essential for the relief of cancer pain by the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines [3] and the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care [4]. Those essential medications include codeine, oral oxycodone, transdermal fentanyl, immediate and slow release oral morphine, as well as injectable morphine, and oral methadone.While there are problems with the supply of these medicines in many countries, the main problem is over-regulation that makes it difficult for healthcare professionals to prescribe and administer them for legitimate medical use, the authors say.”This is a tragedy born out of good intentions,” says Cherny. “When opioids are over-regulated, the precautionary measures to prevent abuse and diversion are excessive and impair the ability of healthcare systems to relieve real suffering. The GOPI study has uncovered over-regulation in much of the developing world.””The next step is for international and local organizations working alongside governments and regulators to thoughtfully address the problems,” adds study co-author James Cleary, Director of the Pain and Policy Studies Group and Founding Director of the Palliative Medicine at the UW Carbone Cancer Center, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.”Regulatory reform must be partnered with education of healthcare providers in the safe and responsible use of opioid medication, education of the public to destigmatize opioid analgesics and improved infrastructure for supply and distribution,” he says.There are already concrete examples of countries reforming their policies to improve access to opioid medicines, the study authors say, among them the Ukraine, which previously had a limited opioid formulary. “Concerted efforts supported by the Open Society Institute, reports from Human Rights Watch, together with the investment in local clinical champions through programs such as the Pain and Policy Studies Group’s (PPSG) International Pain Policy Fellowship (IPPF) Program, have led to the government approving the manufacture and distribution of immediate release oral morphine in the Ukraine with concurrent changes in policy,” Cleary says.”The ongoing initiatives to reform regulations, improve accessibility and promote the education of clinicians and consumers in the effective use of opioid medications for the relief of cancer pain will require vision, determination and the same spirit of cooperation between organizations that made this study successful. The challenges are great, but no greater than our resolution to the task of making pain relief for cancer patients a reality irrespective of geography. Governments should look at the GOPI survey data for their country and take concrete actions to reduce the barriers,” Cherny concludes.The “Global Opioid Policy Initiative project to evaluate the availability and accessibility of opioids for cancer pain management” is published as a Supplement of Annals of Oncology; free access available here: http://annonc.oxfordjournals.org/content/24/suppl_11.toc. For more info: Untreated cancer pain a ‘scandal of global proportions,’ survey shows ScienceDaily: Top Health News Untreated cancer pain a ‘scandal of global proportions,’ survey shows L’articolo Untreated cancer pain a ‘scandal of global proportions,’ survey shows sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Pre-existing diabetes in pregnancy increases risk of fetal, infant death

Pre-existing diabetes in pregnancy increases risk of fetal, infant death New research shows that pre-existing diabetes in pregnant women greatly increases the risk of death of their unborn fetus by around 4.5 times compared with pregnant women without diabetes, and also almost doubles the risk of death of infants after birth. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — New research shows that pre-existing diabetes in pregnant women greatly increases the risk of death of their unborn fetus by around four-and-a-half times compared with pregnant women without diabetes, and also almost doubles the risk of death of infants after birth. The research, published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes), is by Dr Ruth Bell and Peter Tennant, Newcastle University, UK, and colleagues from Newcastle University, and the South Tees NHS Trust, UK and Public Health England.While previous research has investigated links between pre-existing diabetes in mothers and deaths of unborn fetuses and young children, it has not previously excluded congenital anomalies1 from causes of death. In this new research, the authors used unique sources of data from several long-standing population-based registers in the north of England to investigate the association between pre-existing diabetes and the risks of fetal and infant death in offspring without congenital anomalies.All normally formed singleton offspring of women with pre-existing diabetes (1,206 with type 1 diabetes and 342 with type 2 diabetes) in the North of England during 1996� were identified from the Northern Diabetes in Pregnancy Survey. The relative risk of fetal death (i.e. death of a fetus at or after 20 weeks’ gestation 2) and infant death (i.e. death during the first year of life) were estimated by comparison with population data from the Northern Perinatal Morbidity and Mortality Survey. Predictors of fetal and infant death in women with pre-existing diabetes were examined.The researchers found that women with pre-existing diabetes were 4.56 times more likely to have their unborn fetus die compared with women without diabetes, while their infants were 1.86 times more likely to die. There was no difference in the risk of fetal and/or infant death in women with type 1 diabetes compared with type 2. Women with glycated haemoglobin (a standard measure of blood sugar control) above 6.6%, those with pre-pregnancy retinopathy (a complication of diabetes) and a lack of folic acid supplementation were all found to be at higher risk of experiencing a fetal or infant death.The prevalence of fetal death was 3% in women with pre-existing diabetes, and the prevalence of infant death was 0.7%, compared with 0.7% and 0.4% in women without the condition. … For more info: Pre-existing diabetes in pregnancy increases risk of fetal, infant death ScienceDaily: Top Health News Pre-existing diabetes in pregnancy increases risk of fetal, infant death L’articolo Pre-existing diabetes in pregnancy increases risk of fetal, infant death sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Mother-to-child HIV transmission in Gipuzkoa reduced significantly over last 25 years

Mother-to-child HIV transmission in Gipuzkoa reduced significantly over last 25 years The evolution that took place between 1984 and 2011 in paediatric HIV infection in Gipuzkoa has been studied. The development of methods to diagnose the disease coupled with increasingly more effective treatments have made it possible to reduce mother-to-child transmission (vertical transmission) from 23.9% to 2.4%, thus virtually eradicating infection in children. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 29, 2013 — Miren Apilánez, researcher in the Department of pediatrics of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country, has studied the evolution that took place between 1984 and 2011 in pediatric HIV infection in Gipuzkoa. The development of methods to diagnose the disease coupled with increasingly more effective treatments have made it possible to reduce mother-to-child transmission (vertical transmission) from 23.9% to 2.4%, thus virtually eradicating infection in children.Vertical transmission occurs between mothers infected with HIV and their offspring. This infection can take place at three different moments or phases: during pregnancy, during birth or during breastfeeding, “but in actual fact, the most critical moment is the birth because the child comes into contact with the mother’s blood or vaginal secretions,” explains the researcher. “Infection is also possible during pregnancy, but it is less likely because the placenta acts as a barrier.” As regards breastfeeding, “the moment it became known that it was a way of transmitting the infection, it was contraindicated in developed countries,” explains Apilánez.In the course of the research, Apilánez studied 239 children of HIV-infected mothers and born between 1984 and 2010 in Gipuzkoa, and their mothers. 30 children were infected by the virus, and 209 seroreverted during the first months of life.Four periods, four scenariosThroughout this time there is proof of an evolution in various aspects relating to the infection in Gipuzkoa: the transmission rate itself, the implementing of diagnostic and therapeutic methods in mothers and children, or the channel through which mothers acquire the HIV infection.So Apilánez has established four periods in the course of time, defined mainly by the implementing of diagnostic measures and therapies. The first period was the one between 1984, when the first child was diagnosed, until March 1994, and Apilánez defines it as “the period of few resources, characterized by the absence of effective therapies.”In March 1994 the results of the ACTG076 protocol were published worldwide showing that the administering of the first antiretroviral drug known as AZT during pregnancy and birth reduced vertical transmission considerably. The protocol stated that it had to be administered during pregnancy in order to improve the immunovirological situation of the mother, who would reach birth with an undetectable viral load and, therefore, with a minimal risk of passing the infection onto the child. The treatment is completed with intrapartum therapy as well as therapy for the newborn during the first 45 days. After starting this treatment in pregnant women infected with HIV in Gipuzkoa (second period), it was seen that within three years transmission fell from 25% to 8%. … For more info: Mother-to-child HIV transmission in Gipuzkoa reduced significantly over last 25 years ScienceDaily: Top Health News Mother-to-child HIV transmission in Gipuzkoa reduced significantly over last 25 years L’articolo Mother-to-child HIV transmission in Gipuzkoa reduced significantly over last 25 years sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Food fight or exercise attack?

Food fight or exercise attack? Experts offer two ways to battle the holiday bulge. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 29, 2013 — Though the Thanksgiving feast and leftovers are behind you, the holiday eating season has just begun. On average, Americans gain one or two pounds this time of year. Though that might not sound like much, the annual weight gain adds up from year to year and can lead to significant gains as time goes by.If the zipper on your favorite holiday outfit is threatening to burst and you’re despairing at the incoming tide of buffets, cookie exchanges, family meals, toasts and eggnog, pick one of the following approaches to maintain your current weight and still enjoy the season.FOOD FIGHTThis time of year, you are bombarded with food. High calorie treats appear everywhere you look. Tables are filled with home-made cookies, gingerbread, hot apple cider, Swedish meatballs and savory appetizers that are irresistible. But resist you must, says Amy Moore, Ph.D., assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University, who shares strategies to control your holiday eating.Be picky about your splurges. You can eat crackers and cheese any time, but the holidays are a time to sample special seasonal treats that people have spent a lot of energy preparing. So, if you’re at a holiday buffet, browse before you graze to size up your best options, Moore says. If Aunt Helen’s delectable Christmas Buche de Noel chocolate dessert beckons, enjoy a slice but pass on the brownies or soda. … For more info: Food fight or exercise attack? ScienceDaily: Living Well News Food fight or exercise attack? L’articolo Food fight or exercise attack? sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Fix ‘moobs’ with one simple exercise

Fix ‘moobs’ with one simple exercise Heard of ‘moobs’? What about ‘man boobs’?  These common and oh, so descriptive terms refer to a slight ‘sagging’ in the chest area that some men experience as they age.  If you, or a friend, have started to feel self conscious in a tee shirt then take a look at my ‘man boob’ fixing exercise ideas. You might be surprised by how one simple exercise can correct sagging pecs and help anyone feel proud of their chest! Men and women can both benefit from chest-focused exercises. It’s never too late to add exercises aimed at firming the pectoral muscles to an exercise regime and I have a solution for everybody whether they are new to exercise or a weekend warrior looking for new fitness ideas. Problem body areas affect so many people I have to say that I hate the phrase ‘problem body areas’ – let’s focus on what we love about our bodies and enjoy getting fit!  But I know that there are people out there who want help targeting a particular body issue. In exercise, there are no quick wins and we can’t magically spot burn fat. However, we can use exercise to build muscle in key areas and any exercises that burn fat will help you tone up all over. So, if you have  concerns over a sagging chest, droopy pecs, or man boobs – here’s my moob solution: push ups! Pecs need exercise just like any other muscle, and while it’s easy to feel self-conscious about a sagging chest, it’s a surprisingly easy fix! Push ups are a tried and true technique that will lift your spirits and your pecs. I’m sure some of you were hoping for some kind of modern new chest-lifting exercise or gadget, but the truth is, sometimes the basics really are the best. In today’s world, we tend to approach exercise with an “out with the old, in with the new” attitude, but there are few exercises around that can beat a simple push-up in terms of building chest muscle. Just as a sports bra provides support, the physical act of doing a push-up helps build your chest muscles to give your chest a natural lift. Many times, a saggy chest is due to lack of muscle tone, which a simple push-up may help build. Doing push-ups as part of your fitness routine may be an age-old classic, but they certainly don’t have to be boring! Over the years, fitness trainers and exercise enthusiasts have been adding their own style to their push-up technique in order to target specific muscles and keep this old school move feeling fresh. Give one of these eight specialty push-ups a try, or mix and match your favorites to create a workout that’ll lift your pecs and fix that saggy chest! 8 chest building exercise ideas Standard push-up: Up on your hands and toes, slowly lower your chest to the floor. Check out my video on how to do the perfect push-up here! Modified push-up: If you don’t have the strength to support your body off the floor, sit up on your knees instead of on your toes, then slowly lower your chest to the floor. Wide stance: Spacing your feet out to shoulder-width apart takes a little stress off the core muscles, and creating a wider base with your feet requires a little less balance. Combined with a wider hand position, this move is great for putting an emphasis on the outer pecs. Diamond push-up: Place your hands close together to create a diamond shape where your arms bend. This adds a greater physical challenge because the narrow base challenges your core. Additionally, the hand position places an added emphasis on the inside (cleavage area!) of the pec muscle. Plyometric push-up: With this move you get a lot of muscle strength because it requires power and control. To perform a plyometric push-up, start by doing a standard push-up, then push hard with your hands to get a little air time as you push your chest up from the floor. Try to get both hands up off the mat for the greatest challenge! One leg raised push-up: Perform a standard push-up, but lift one leg about an inch off the floor to add extra resistance and a balance challenge. You’ll definitely feel this one after a few reps! Feet up push-up: Elevate both feet on a box to increase the resistance on the chest and shoulder muscles as your perform an otherwise standard push-up. Medicine ball push-ups: Place one hand on a medicine ball and one hand on the floor. This uneven surface will challenge one pec more than the other (be sure to alternate!), as well as deeply your core muscles. *** My favorite push-up challenge is to see how many I can do while keeping good form, trying to beat my personal record every few days or weeks. Try it yourself! I think you’ll be surprised at just how effective this old-school chest-lifting workout can be. And when you mix it up with some of the variations I mentioned, you’re working more than just your chest – you can work your abs, arms, and legs, too! In fact, I consider push-ups to be the perfect total body time-saving hero move. What’s your favorite push-up variation, and how many can you do? Let me know in the comments! Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife. Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com via Discover Good Nutrition, Fitness & Beauty: Learn more about Herbalife – Follow @Herbalife on Twitter- Like Herbalife on Facebook- What is Herbalife? More fitness advice – Watch ‘Fit Tips’ Videos on YouTube- Straightforward exercise advice- Get fit = be happy. Positivity advice Nutrition advice for you – Watch ‘Healthy Living’ on YouTube- Dieting advice you might like- Interesting weight loss articles Copyright © 2013 Herbalife International of America, Inc. For more info: Fix ‘moobs’ with one simple exercise Discover Good Nutrition, Fitness & Beauty Fix ‘moobs’ with one simple exercise L’articolo Fix ‘moobs’ with one simple exercise sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Scientists achieve most detailed picture ever of key part of hepatitis C virus

Scientists achieve most detailed picture ever of key part of hepatitis C virus Scientists have determined the most detailed picture yet of a crucial part of the hepatitis C virus, which the virus uses to infect liver cells. The new data reveal unexpected structural features of this protein. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 28, 2013 — Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have determined the most detailed picture yet of a crucial part of the hepatitis C virus, which the virus uses to infect liver cells. The new data reveal unexpected structural features of this protein and should greatly speed efforts to make an effective hepatitis C vaccine.The findings, which appear in the November 29, 2013 issue of the journal Science, focus on a protein known as E2 envelope glycoprotein.”We’re excited by this development,” said Ian A. Wilson, the Hansen Professor of Structural Biology at TSRI and a senior author of the new research with TSRI Assistant Professors Mansun Law and Andrew B. Ward. “It has been very hard to get a high resolution structure of E2 and it took years of painstaking work to finally accomplish that.”Any successful hepatitis C vaccine is likely to target the E2 protein. Scientists already have isolated rare antibodies from patients that can bind E2 in ways that neutralize a broad range of viral strains.”It took our team six years to crack this very difficult scientific problem, but we didn’t give up,” said Law. “Now that we can visualize the structural details of these binding sites, we can design vaccine molecules that mimic them.”A Silent KillerThere has long been an urgent need for an effective vaccine against hepatitis C virus. Once confined to isolated geographical regions, the virus spread globally during the 20th century, chiefly via blood transfusions, unsterilized medical instruments and re-used hypodermic needles. Although hospitals have screened blood products for hepatitis C virus (HCV) since the early 1990s, as many as 200 million people currently are thought to harbor the virus. … For more info: Scientists achieve most detailed picture ever of key part of hepatitis C virus ScienceDaily: Top Health News Scientists achieve most detailed picture ever of key part of hepatitis C virus L’articolo Scientists achieve most detailed picture ever of key part of hepatitis C virus sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Mutations in mantled howler provoked by disturbances in habitat

Mutations in mantled howler provoked by disturbances in habitat The disturbances of the habitat could be affecting the populations of the mantled howler, or golden-mantled howling monkey, (Alouatta palliate Mexicana) who in an extreme case could be developing mutations that make them less resistant to diseases and climate events. via ScienceDaily: Ecology News: Nov. 28, 2013 — The disturbances of the habitat could be affecting the populations of the mantled howler, or golden-mantled howling monkey, (Alouatta palliate Mexicana) who in an extreme case could be developing mutations that make them less resistant to diseases and climate events, reveled by a study of the Ecology Institute.Juan Carlos Serio Silva, head of the project, of which the objective was to know the structure and genetic diversity of this monkey’s populations and see in which way their habitat fragmentation is affecting them genetically.The mantled howler is one of the three species of primates distributed in the jungles of the southeast of the country and is, without a doubt, the one that present the biggest reduction and isolation of its populations.This phenomenon has carried the monkeys to the point of near extinction. Joined to this fact, very little genetic studies have been carried out in Mexico regarding this specie.To carry out the project the researchers collected hair from the bodies of the mantled howlers in four different regions, using a noninvasive technique with sticky darts.Each one of this regions was divided in two zones: disturbed and the ones without human impact. In total, 300 samples of hair were collected and analysed for DNA extraction.One of the principal findings was that the fragmentation of the jungle has induced in the primates the development of different behavioral patterns like in family breeding.The authors of this study suggest that if this situation becomes more extreme could cause mutations that would make them less resistant to disease and climate events.Another trascendental result is that apparently the mantled howlers in the state of Veracruz (south east of the country) come from two different maternal lineages, which is believed to have happened because of different colonization events in this region.The researcher also highlighted that a way to help conserve this primates would be to stop disturbing their habitat avoiding the negative effects of in family breeding and resulting in a better ecological, behavioral and health quality of life.Finally, he added that a deeper research of the genetic variability in the next generations of mantled howler is important to know the evolution of the fragmentation process and it biological print. (Agencia ID) For more info: Mutations in mantled howler provoked by disturbances in habitat ScienceDaily: Ecology News Mutations in mantled howler provoked by disturbances in habitat L’articolo Mutations in mantled howler provoked by disturbances in habitat sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Eat crow if you think I’m a bird-brain

Eat crow if you think I’m a bird-brain Scientists have long suspected that corvids – the family of birds including ravens, crows and magpies – are highly intelligent. Now, neurobiologists have demonstrated how the brains of crows produce intelligent behavior when the birds have to make strategic decisions. via ScienceDaily: Top Science News: Nov. 28, 2013 — Scientists have long suspected that corvids — the family of birds including ravens, crows and magpies — are highly intelligent. Now, Tübingen neurobiologists Lena Veit und Professor Andreas Nieder have demonstrated how the brains of crows produce intelligent behavior when the birds have to make strategic decisions. Their results are published in the latest edition of Nature Communications.Share This:Crows are no bird-brains. Behavioral biologists have even called them “feathered primates” because the birds make and use tools, are able to remember large numbers of feeding sites, and plan their social behavior according to what other members of their group do. This high level of intelligence might seem surprising because birds’ brains are constructed in a fundamentally different way from those of mammals, including primates — which are usually used to investigate these behaviors.The Tübingen researchers are the first to investigate the brain physiology of crows’ intelligent behavior. They trained crows to carry out memory tests on a computer. The crows were shown an image and had to remember it. Shortly afterwards, they had to select one of two test images on a touchscreen with their beaks based on a switching behavioral rules. One of the test images was identical to the first image, the other different. … For more info: Eat crow if you think I’m a bird-brain ScienceDaily: Top Science News Eat crow if you think I’m a bird-brain L’articolo Eat crow if you think I’m a bird-brain sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Public health data to help fight deadly contagious diseases

Public health data to help fight deadly contagious diseases In an unprecedented windfall for public access to health data, researchers have digitized all weekly surveillance reports for reportable diseases in the US going back 125 years. Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, the project’s goal is to aid in the eradication of devastating diseases. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — In an unprecedented windfall for public access to health data, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health researchers have collected and digitized all weekly surveillance reports for reportable diseases in the United States going back more than 125 years.The easily searchable database, described in the Nov. 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, is free and publicly available. Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the project’s goal is to aid scientists and public health officials in the eradication of deadly and devastating diseases.”Using this database, we estimate that more than 100 million cases of serious childhood contagious diseases have been prevented, thanks to the introduction of vaccines,” said lead author Willem G. van Panhuis, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at Pitt Public Health. “But we also are able to see a resurgence of some of these diseases in the past several decades as people forget how devastating they can be and start refusing vaccines.”Despite the availability of a pertussis vaccine since the 1920s, the largest pertussis epidemic in the U.S. since 1959 occurred last year. Measles, mumps and rubella outbreaks also have reoccurred since the early 1980s.”Analyzing historical epidemiological data can reveal patterns that help us understand how infectious diseases spread and what interventions have been most effective,” said Irene Eckstrand, Ph.D., of NIH, which partially funded the research through its Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study. “This new work shows the value of using computational methods to study historical data — in this case, to show the impact of vaccination in reducing the burden of infectious diseases over the past century.””We are very excited about the release of the database,” said Steven Buchsbaum, deputy director, Discovery and Translational Sciences, for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We anticipate this will not only prove to be an invaluable tool permitting researchers around the globe to develop, test and validate epidemiological models, but also has the potential to serve as a model for how other organizations could make similar sets of critical public health data more broadly, publicly available.”The digitized dataset is dubbed Project TychoTM, for 16th century Danish nobleman Tycho Brahe, whose meticulous astronomical observations enabled Johannes Kepler to derive the laws of planetary motion.”Tycho Brahe’s data were essential to Kepler’s discovery of the laws of planetary motion,” said senior author Donald S. … For more info: Public health data to help fight deadly contagious diseases ScienceDaily: Top Health News Public health data to help fight deadly contagious diseases L’articolo Public health data to help fight deadly contagious diseases sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Ivy is 8 months old!

Ivy is 8 months old! I know these updates are probably more exciting to me than to anyone else, but it’s so fun to have a record of my childrens’ babyhood. Ivy is busy getting into everything: pulling open cabinet drawers, opening doors (if they’re not latched shut), climbing up stairs, pulling dirt out of my houseplants and then eating it if I’m not fast enough, climbing underneath and through the kitchen table and chairs in search of every stray crumb of food. She loves to pull the toilet paper off the roll, rip it into pieces, and stuff it into her mouth. She loves taking baths and showers. She has also acquired some new tricks: waving “hi” at people and shaking her head as if she were saying “no.” She likes to crawl fast…it’s hard to get good pictures because she’s always on the move. With a little help with water and a comb, Ivy’s hair stands up in a mohawk. Dio has now started asking for the same hair style. She’s become really attached to Eric and will often fuss when he leaves the room, even if I’m there. She does the same for me, too, but I like that she cares about her Papa She’s become more accustomed to our houseguests. She will happily play with them and walk around in their arms…most of the time. Sleep is getting better! I don’t know why it happened or what I did/didn’t do…but Ivy has started sleeping longer stretches. Many nights she wakes around 12 am, 4, and 6:30 (or 1, 5, and 6:30) and is up for the day around 7 am. If she wakes up before I am in bed, I let her fuss. It’s worse if either of us go in to help her, and she’s done pretty well at lying herself back down and going back to sleep. Usually, though, she doesn’t wake up until well into the night. If she wakes up soon after I’ve nursed her, I bring her into bed with me and snuggle her in the crook of my arm or lay her next to me and hold her hand. She gets really mad and cries for a few minutes, then conks out. I haven’t started feeding her solid foods yet, but she’s pretty intrepid about finding morsels on her own. If they’re safe, I might let her eat them. She’s started getting carrot sticks, celery sticks, and apples to suck on. Here’s a video of her growling. She hasn’t done it as much the past few weeks. Inga loves to say, “I love that Ivy!” as if there were another Ivy and she had to point out which one she meant. And one of her crawling And one of Dio “reading” a book to Inga via Stand and Deliver: I know these updates are probably more exciting to me than to anyone else, but it’s so fun to have a record of my childrens’ babyhood.Ivy is busy getting into everything: pulling open cabinet drawers, opening doors (if they’re not latched shut), climbing up stairs, pulling dirt out of my houseplants and then eating it if I’m not fast enough, climbing underneath and through the kitchen table and chairs in search of every stray crumb of food. She loves to pull the toilet paper off the roll, rip it into pieces, and stuff it into her mouth. She loves taking baths and showers. She has also acquired some new tricks: waving “hi” at people and shaking her head as if she were saying “no.”She likes … For more info: Ivy is 8 months old! Stand and Deliver Ivy is 8 months old! L’articolo Ivy is 8 months old! sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Figure eights and peanut shells: How stars move at the center of the galaxy

Figure eights and peanut shells: How stars move at the center of the galaxy Two months ago astronomers created a new 3-D map of stars at the center of our Galaxy (the Milky Way), showing more clearly than ever the bulge at its core. Previous explanations suggested that the stars that form the bulge are in banana-like orbits, but a new article suggests that the stars probably move in peanut-shell or figure of eight-shaped orbits instead. via ScienceDaily: Top Science News: Nov. 27, 2013 — Two months ago astronomers created a new 3D map of stars at the centre of our Galaxy (the Milky Way), showing more clearly than ever the bulge at its core. Previous explanations suggested that the stars that form the bulge are in banana-like orbits, but a paper published this week in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society suggests that the stars probably move in peanut-shell or figure of eight-shaped orbits instead.The difference is important; astronomers develop theories of star motions to not only understand how the stars in our galaxy are moving today but also how our galaxy formed and evolves. The Milky Way is shaped like a spiral, with a region of stars at the centre known as the “bar,” because of its shape. In the middle of this region, there is a “bulge” that expands out vertically.In the new work Alice Quillen, professor of astronomy at the University of Rochester, and her collaborators created a mathematical model of what might be happening at the centre of the Milky Way. Unlike the Solar System where most of the gravitational pull comes from the Sun and is simple to model, it is much harder to describe the gravitational field near the centre of the Galaxy, where millions of stars, vast clouds of dust, and even dark matter swirl about. In this case, Quillen and her colleagues considered the forces acting on the stars in or near the bulge.As the stars go round in their orbits, they also move above or below the plane of the bar. When stars cross the plane they get a little push, like a child on a swing. At the resonance point, which is a point a certain distance from the centre of the bar, the timing of the pushes on the stars is such that this effect is strong enough to make the stars at this point move up higher above the plane. (It is like when a child on the swing has been pushed a little every time and eventually is swinging higher.) These stars are pushed out from the edge of the bulge.The resonance at this point means that stars undergo two vertical oscillations for every orbital period. … For more info: Figure eights and peanut shells: How stars move at the center of the galaxy ScienceDaily: Top Science News Figure eights and peanut shells: How stars move at the center of the galaxy L’articolo Figure eights and peanut shells: How stars move at the center of the galaxy sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Researchers show how modified pacemaker strengthens failing hearts

Researchers show how modified pacemaker strengthens failing hearts Heart researchers are unraveling the mystery of how a modified pacemaker used to treat many patients with heart failure, known as cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), is able to strengthen the heart muscle while making it beat in a coordinated fashion. In a new study conducted on animal heart cells, the scientists show that CRT changes these cells so they can contract more forcefully. The researchers also identified an enzyme that mimics this effect of CRT without use of the device. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — Johns Hopkins heart researchers are unraveling the mystery of how a modified pacemaker used to treat many patients with heart failure, known as cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), is able to strengthen the heart muscle while making it beat in a coordinated fashion. In a new study conducted on animal heart cells described in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the scientists show that CRT changes these cells so they can contract more forcefully. The researchers also identified an enzyme that mimics this effect of CRT without use of the device.”These discoveries potentially give us new pathways to benefit more heart failure patients — not only those whose hearts beat out of sync, but also those who currently do not qualify for CRT therapy yet still need an effective treatment to help their heart pump stronger,” says David Kass, M.D., professor of medicine and biomedical engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and senior author of the study. “Understanding the inner workings of CRT at the biological level may lead, in essence, to a ‘pacemaker in a bottle.’”The researchers say their ultimate goals are to develop drugs or genetic therapies that strengthen failing hearts and to design a test to identify patients who would be most likely to benefit from CRT.Kass explains that while the typical implanted pacemaker has only one wire that stimulates the right side of the heart, the CRT pacemaker has two wires. The second wire goes to the surface of the left side of the heart to enable both sides of the heart to be stimulated together.CRT helps people whose hearts beat out of sync — one side is activated to “beat” before the other, preventing the muscle from pumping blood evenly. This condition is known as dyssynchrony. CRT “paces” the rhythms of both sides to restore a coordinated beat.In their experiments, the researchers used an animal model of heart failure with dyssynchrony and also examined the impact of CRT on the heart. By studying isolated muscle tissue and muscle cells, they examined the relationship between contraction and the calcium that triggers it. In the hearts that beat out of sync, force from the muscle cells and the level of calcium needed to generate contractions were very much reduced. … For more info: Researchers show how modified pacemaker strengthens failing hearts ScienceDaily: Top Health News Researchers show how modified pacemaker strengthens failing hearts L’articolo Researchers show how modified pacemaker strengthens failing hearts sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Memo to big box retailers: Goodwill has a shelf life

Memo to big box retailers: Goodwill has a shelf life Big box retailers may have had the secret to combating online retailers all along: instant gratification. A new study warns that the positive feelings consumers experience when receiving a discounted price fades dramatically if the consumer is then forced to wait for the product. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 26, 2013 — Big box retailers may have had the secret to combating online retailers all along: instant gratification. A new study from Columbia Business School that is published in the Journal of Consumer Research warns that the positive feelings consumers experience when receiving a discounted price fades dramatically if the consumer is then forced to wait for the product.”This might spell trouble for online retailers like Amazon that offer discounted items and then force consumers to wait for the product,” said Columbia Business School’s Associate Professor of Marketing Leonard Lee, who performed the research with Rotman School of Management’s Associate Professor of Marketing Claire Tsai. “Our research shows that even if the wait is relatively short — as little as 15 minutes — the consumer’s enjoyment of the product decreases dramatically.”Lee continued: “Keeping in mind that instant gratification has become a hallmark of society, brick and mortar businesses can add value to their bottom lines by offering in-store promotions on the products they know people want to experience immediately rather than waiting for delivery. This is a key competitive advantage they could have over online retailers and one that might secure their long-term survival in an expanding online marketplace,” said Lee.The research titled, “How Price Promotions Influence Post-Purchase Consumption Experience Over Time,” defies long-standing conventional wisdom that discounts cause consumers to enjoy products even more.Experiments Prove the TheoryLee and Tsai conducted four experiments across a variety of hedonic products to explore the consumer’s relationship between consumption and enjoyment. Lee and his research partner found that the shopping nirvana one feels for a product after they have received a discount only happens when the product is consumed immediately after it is paid for.One experiment asked participants to purchase orange juice. All of the participants were told that the juice had the same retail price, but half of the participants received a 50 percent discount while the other half paid the full retail price. Then, half of the participants — regardless of whether they received a discount or not — drank the juice as soon as it was paid for, while the other half waited 15 minutes to consume the juice. The researchers found that when participants who had received a discount consumed the juice immediately, the experience was significantly amplified. However, when participants who had received a discount were forced to wait 15 minutes or longer, reviews of the juice were far less favorable than by those who were allowed to consume it immediately. … For more info: Memo to big box retailers: Goodwill has a shelf life ScienceDaily: Living Well News Memo to big box retailers: Goodwill has a shelf life L’articolo Memo to big box retailers: Goodwill has a shelf life sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Pills of the future: Nanoparticles

Pills of the future: Nanoparticles Researchers design drug-carrying nanoparticles that can be taken orally instead of being injected. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — Drugs delivered by nanoparticles hold promise for targeted treatment of many diseases, including cancer. However, the particles have to be injected into patients, which has limited their usefulness so far.Now, researchers from MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have developed a new type of nanoparticle that can be delivered orally and absorbed through the digestive tract, allowing patients to simply take a pill instead of receiving injections.In a paper appearing in the Nov. 27 online edition of Science Translational Medicine, the researchers used the particles to demonstrate oral delivery of insulin in mice, but they say the particles could be used to carry any kind of drug that can be encapsulated in a nanoparticle. The new nanoparticles are coated with antibodies that act as a key to unlock receptors found on the surfaces of cells that line the intestine, allowing the nanoparticles to break through the intestinal walls and enter the bloodstream.This type of drug delivery could be especially useful in developing new treatments for conditions such as high cholesterol or arthritis. Patients with those diseases would be much more likely to take pills regularly than to make frequent visits to a doctor’s office to receive nanoparticle injections, say the researchers.”If you were a patient and you had a choice, there’s just no question: Patients would always prefer drugs they can take orally,” says Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT, a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and an author of the Science Translational Medicine paper.Lead authors of the paper are former MIT grad student Eric Pridgen and former BWH postdoc Frank Alexis, and the senior author is Omid Farokhzad, director of the Laboratory of Nanomedicine and Biomaterials at BWH. Other authors are Timothy Kuo, a gastroenterologist at BWH; Etgar Levy-Nissenbaum, a former BWH postdoc; Rohit Karnik, an MIT associate professor of mechanical engineering; and Richard Blumberg, co-director of BWH’s Biomedical Research Institute.No more injectionsSeveral types of nanoparticles carrying chemotherapy drugs or short interfering RNA, which can turn off selected genes, are now in clinical trials to treat cancer and other diseases. These particles exploit the fact that tumors and other diseased tissues are surrounded by leaky blood vessels. After the particles are intravenously injected into patients, they seep through those leaky vessels and release their payload at the tumor site.For nanoparticles to be taken orally, they need to be able to get through the intestinal lining, which is made of a layer of epithelial cells that join together to form impenetrable barriers called tight junctions.”The key challenge is how to make a nanoparticle get through this barrier of cells. … For more info: Pills of the future: Nanoparticles ScienceDaily: Top Health News Pills of the future: Nanoparticles L’articolo Pills of the future: Nanoparticles sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Pills of the future: Nanoparticles; Researchers design drug-carrying nanoparticles that can be taken orally

Pills of the future: Nanoparticles; Researchers design drug-carrying nanoparticles that can be taken orally Drugs delivered by nanoparticles hold promise for targeted treatment of many diseases, including cancer. However, the particles have to be injected into patients, which has limited their usefulness so far. Now, researchers have developed a new type of nanoparticle that can be delivered orally and absorbed through the digestive tract, allowing patients to simply take a pill instead of receiving injections. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — Drugs delivered by nanoparticles hold promise for targeted treatment of many diseases, including cancer. However, the particles have to be injected into patients, which has limited their usefulness so far.Now, researchers from MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have developed a new type of nanoparticle that can be delivered orally and absorbed through the digestive tract, allowing patients to simply take a pill instead of receiving injections.In a paper appearing in the Nov. 27 online edition of Science Translational Medicine, the researchers used the particles to demonstrate oral delivery of insulin in mice, but they say the particles could be used to carry any kind of drug that can be encapsulated in a nanoparticle. The new nanoparticles are coated with antibodies that act as a key to unlock receptors found on the surfaces of cells that line the intestine, allowing the nanoparticles to break through the intestinal walls and enter the bloodstream.This type of drug delivery could be especially useful in developing new treatments for conditions such as high cholesterol or arthritis. Patients with those diseases would be much more likely to take pills regularly than to make frequent visits to a doctor’s office to receive nanoparticle injections, say the researchers.”If you were a patient and you had a choice, there’s just no question: Patients would always prefer drugs they can take orally,” says Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT, a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and an author of the Science Translational Medicine paper.Lead authors of the paper are former MIT grad student Eric Pridgen and former BWH postdoc Frank Alexis, and the senior author is Omid Farokhzad, director of the Laboratory of Nanomedicine and Biomaterials at BWH. Other authors are Timothy Kuo, a gastroenterologist at BWH; Etgar Levy-Nissenbaum, a former BWH postdoc; Rohit Karnik, an MIT associate professor of mechanical engineering; and Richard Blumberg, co-director of BWH’s Biomedical Research Institute.No more injectionsSeveral types of nanoparticles carrying chemotherapy drugs or short interfering RNA, which can turn off selected genes, are now in clinical trials to treat cancer and other diseases. These particles exploit the fact that tumors and other diseased tissues are surrounded by leaky blood vessels. After the particles are intravenously injected into patients, they seep through those leaky vessels and release their payload at the tumor site.For nanoparticles to be taken orally, they need to be able to get through the intestinal lining, which is made of a layer of epithelial cells that join together to form impenetrable barriers called tight junctions.”The key challenge is how to make a nanoparticle get through this barrier of cells. … For more info: Pills of the future: Nanoparticles; Researchers design drug-carrying nanoparticles that can be taken orally ScienceDaily: Top Health News Pills of the future: Nanoparticles; Researchers design drug-carrying nanoparticles that can be taken orally L’articolo Pills of the future: Nanoparticles; Researchers design drug-carrying nanoparticles that can be taken orally sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Big brains are all in the genes

Big brains are all in the genes Scientists have moved a step closer to understanding genetic changes that permitted humans and other mammals to develop such big brains. via ScienceDaily: Top Science News: Nov. 27, 2013 — Scientists have moved a step closer to understanding genetic changes that permitted humans and other mammals to develop such big brains.During evolution, different mammal species have experienced variable degrees of expansion in brain size. An important goal of neurobiology is to understand the genetic changes underlying these extraordinary adaptations.The process by which some species evolved larger brains — called encephalization — is not well understood by scientists. The puzzle is made more complex because evolving large brains comes at a very high cost.Dr Humberto Gutierrez, from the School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, UK, led research which examined the genomes of 39 species of mammals with the aim of better understanding how brains became larger and more complex in mammals.To do this, the scientists focussed on the size of gene families across these species. Gene families are groups of related genes which share similar characteristics, often linked with common or related biological functions. It is believed that large changes in the size of gene families can help to explain why related species evolved along different paths.The researchers found a clear link between increased brain size and the expansion of gene families related to certain biological functions.Dr Gutierrez said: “We found that brain size variations are associated with changes in gene number in a large proportion of families of closely related genes. These gene families are preferentially involved in cell communication and cell movement as well as immune functions and are prominently expressed in the human brain. Our results suggest that changes in gene family size may have contributed to the evolution of larger brains in mammals.”Mammalian species in general tend to have large brains compared to their body size which represent an evolutionary costly adaptation as they require large amounts of energy to function.Dr Gutierrez explained: “The brain is an extremely expensive organ consuming a large amount of energy in proportion to its volume, so large brains place severe metabolic demands on animals. Larger brains also demand higher parental investment. For example, humans require many years of nurturing and care before their brains are fully matured.”Dr Gutierrez’s research concluded that variations in the size of gene families associated with encephalization provided an evolutionary support for the specific physiological demands associated with increased brain size in mammals. For more info: Big brains are all in the genes ScienceDaily: Top Science News Big brains are all in the genes L’articolo Big brains are all in the genes sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

New agent against cancer cells

New agent against cancer cells Scientists have discovered a new active substance that inhibits cell division in leukemia cells and could play an important role in the fight against cancer. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 26, 2013 — Freiburg scientists have discovered a substance that suppresses unchecked cell division in leukemia cells Scientists of the University of Freiburg and the Freiburg University Medical Center from the collaborative research center Medical Epigenetics (SFB 992) have discovered a new active substance that inhibits cell division in leukemia cells and could play an important role in the fight against cancer.Junior professor Dr. Stefan Günther was in charge of the research project, which also included research groups participating in SFB 992 Medical Epigenetics led by Prof. Dr. Manfred Jung from the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle from the Institute of Biochemistry, and Prof. Dr. Roland Schüle from the Freiburg University Medical Center. The team published their findings in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.The substance XD14 suppresses the function of several proteins from the BET family also known as epigenetic reader proteins: They identify epigenetic changes in so-called histones and pass on this signal, for instance in order to trigger cell division. … For more info: New agent against cancer cells ScienceDaily: Top Health News New agent against cancer cells L’articolo New agent against cancer cells sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Scientists identify potential target for malaria drugs

Scientists identify potential target for malaria drugs Researchers have identified the protein in malaria-causing Plasmodium parasites that is inhibited by a newly discovered class of anti-malarial compounds known as imidazopyrazines. The protein, phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase, is the first potential malaria drug target shown to be essential to all stages of the Plasmodium life cycle; imidazopyrazines impede its activity throughout this process. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 27, 2013 — Researchers have identified the protein in malaria-causing Plasmodium parasites that is inhibited by a newly discovered class of anti-malarial compounds known as imidazopyrazines. The protein, phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase (PI4K), is the firstShare This:potential malaria drug target shown to be essential to all stages of the Plasmodium life cycle; imidazopyrazines impede its activity throughout this process. Led by Elizabeth Winzeler, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Diego and Novartis Research Foundation, the research was published online today in Nature. The work was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and other organizations.When a Plasmodium-carrying mosquito bites a human, it transmits infectious parasites that travel to the liver, where they multiply and mature, and then spread throughout the bloodstream, causing malaria symptoms to develop. Dr. Winzeler and her colleagues administered imidazopyrazines to mice and nonhuman primates infected with Plasmodium and found that the compounds blocked the parasites’ development both in the liver and in the bloodstream stages of infection. They also exposed Plasmodium parasites directly to imidazopyrazines and searched for genetic differences between parasites susceptible to the compounds and those that were resistant. They found that the imidazopyrazine-resistant parasites had mutated versions of the gene that codes for PI4K.Currently, only one drug, primaquine, has been approved for elimination of liver-stage parasites for the treatment of relapsing malaria. Knowing that PI4K makes Plasmodium parasites susceptible to imidazopyrazines during the liver and bloodstream stages should help researchers optimize these compounds for future clinical testing in humans, the study authors write.Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:Other social bookmarking and sharing tools:|Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. … For more info: Scientists identify potential target for malaria drugs ScienceDaily: Top Health News Scientists identify potential target for malaria drugs L’articolo Scientists identify potential target for malaria drugs sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

FACT Act Update – A Bad Bill Passes the House

FACT Act Update – A Bad Bill Passes the House This November the U.S. House of Represented passed the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2013 on a party-line vote — 216 Republicans and 5 Democrats voted aye; 7 Republicans and 192 Democrats voted no. The bill must now go to the Senate, where Democrats hold a small majority. The bill might be doomed to fail, based on the lopsided House vote. But if only six Democrats vote with the Republicans, it could pass and become law. What is FACT? FACT’s supporters say it’s a necessary remedy for ending an epidemic of fraudulent asbestos-related damage claims. They allege that many claimants are “double dipping” and filing duplicate claims with the several separate trusts set up by bankruptcy courts to compensate asbestos victims. However, FACT’s detractors say the bill is nothing but a bullying tactic to intimidate victims and discourage them from filing legitimate claims. After the House vote, several newspapers ran editorials — no doubt based on industry press releases — about the alleged rampant fraud the FACT Act would stop. However, Meagan Hatcher-Mays of Media Matters for America pointed out that the editorials were all woefully short of evidence. Responding to a typical piece in the Wall Street Journal, Hatcher-Mays wrote, “The WSJ spends the rest of its editorial fear-mongering about the potential for fraudulent claims being filed with the asbestos trusts. It cites only a few instances of fraud, and claims that one corporation at the center of asbestos litigation ‘has evidence’ of more — but it is unable to provide any specifics because the ‘evidence’ has been sealed by a federal judge.” Further, according to Hatcher-Mays, “There is little to no evidence of rampant fraud, and the error rate in payments from the asbestos trusts is reportedly only .35 percent.” “Before plunging ahead with this misguided attempt to protect asbestos companies from lawsuits, Congress ought to commission an objective study of whether there is even a problem that needs fixing,” wrote the Editorial Board of the New York Times. Here is some background on the asbestos trusts: Through much of the 20th century asbestos widely was used as a fireproofing insulation in ships, building materials, and machine and auto parts, among many other things. However, manufacturers continued to use asbestos long after it was known that exposure to the fibrous mineral causes severe illness, including deadly mesothelioma cancer. The asbestos industry continued to expose workers and consumers to asbestos while aggressively lobbying against government safety regulations. The FDA didn’t ban most uses of asbestos until 1989, and even then courts overturned part of that ban a couple of years later. By then, asbestos manufacturers were beginning to face lawsuits from sick and dying workers. Many manufacturers went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy to protect their assets. Bankruptcy courts required some of these manufacturers to set up asbestos personal injury trusts to compensate present and future claimants. Mesothelioma can take 40 years or more to develop after exposure to asbestos, so workers exposed before the ban are still getting sick today. It is estimated that 10,000 U.S. workers die each year from asbestos exposure. Even so, what is the problem with safeguards against possible fraud? The problem is that the “remedy” would require the 60 or so asbestos trusts to publicly disclose, on websites, all manner of private information about claimants. Anyone in the world with a web browser could learn claimants’ and family members’ names and home addresses, where they work, some personal medical and financial information, and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers. In other words, claimants would be left wide open to identity theft. Further, the FACT Act would allow the defendant companies to demand any information of any sort from claimants, including information that has nothing to do with their claims. This could be a handy way to delay processing a claim indefinitely. Note that in the FACT Act “transparency” only goes one way; no disclosure requirements are placed on manufacturers. If the purpose of the bill were only to prevent duplicate claims, it shouldn’t be that difficult to set up a process through which the trusts could share information without making it public. It’s too obvious that the real purpose of the bill is to intimidate victims from filing claims. FACT will no doubt appear on the Senate calendar after the holidays. The Asbestos Cancer Victims’ Rights Campaign has an online petition to stop the FACT Act. via Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog: For more info: FACT Act Update – A Bad Bill Passes the House Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog FACT Act Update – A Bad Bill Passes the House L’articolo FACT Act Update – A Bad Bill Passes the House sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

New therapeutic target identified for Huntington’s disease

New therapeutic target identified for Huntington’s disease A new study published identifies a new target in the search for therapeutic interventions for Huntington’s disease — a devastating late-onset neurodegenerative disorder. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 26, 2013 — A new study published 26th November in the open access journal PLOS Biology, identifies a new target in the search for therapeutic interventions for Huntington’s disease – a devastating late-onset neurodegenerative disorder.The disease is genetic, affecting up to one person in 10,000, and from the age of about 35 leads to increasingly severe problems with movement, mental function, and behavior. Patients usually die within 20 years of onset, and there is to date no treatment that will modify the disease onset or progression.Huntington’s disease is caused by an unusual type of mutation in a gene that encodes the “huntingtin” protein. These mutations create long stretches of the amino acid glutamine within the protein chain, preventing huntingtin from folding properly and making it more ‘sticky’. This causes huntingtin proteins to self-aggregate in both the nucleus and cytoplasm of cells, disrupting multiple aspects of cellular function and ultimately leading to the progressive death of nerve cells.Nuclear huntingtin aggregates have been found to interfere with the transcription of many genes, and previous work has shown beneficial effects for Huntington’s disease of inhibiting a family of enzymes that are normally thought to regulate transcription – the histone deacetylases, or HDACs. However, humans have eleven different HDAC enzymes, and it’s been uncertain exactly which HDAC needs to be inhibited to see these benefits.The new study from Michal Mielcarek, Gillian Bates and colleagues at King’s College London has pinpointed just one of these enzymes as the target – HDAC4 – but with an intriguing twist; everything is happening in the cytoplasm, not the nucleus, and HDAC4′s classic role in transcription has little to do with it.The researchers noted that the HDAC4 protein naturally contains a region that, like mutant huntingtin, is rich in the amino acid glutamine. They show that HDAC4 can associate directly with huntingtin protein in a manner that depends on the length of the glutamine tracts, but that this association between HDAC4 and huntingtin occurs in the cytoplasm of nerve cells in the mouse brain, and – surprisingly – not in the nucleus, where HDAC4 is known to have its transcriptional role.Bates and colleagues did their work in an aggressive disease mouse model of Huntington’s disease – the gold standard model for this type of study. They find that halving the levels of HDAC4 in the cells of Huntington’s disease mice can delay the aggregation of huntingtin in the cytoplasm, thereby identifying a new route to modulating the toxicity of mutant huntingtin protein. Crucially, reducing HDAC4 levels can also rescue the overall function of nerve cells and their synapses, with corresponding improvements seen in coordination of movement, neurological performance and lifespan of the mice. In agreement with the cytoplasmic association between HDAC4 and huntingtin, this all happens without any obvious improvement in the defective gene transcription in the nucleus.There are currently no disease-modifying therapeutics available for Huntington’s disease. … For more info: New therapeutic target identified for Huntington’s disease ScienceDaily: Top Health News New therapeutic target identified for Huntington’s disease L’articolo New therapeutic target identified for Huntington’s disease sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Brain reward gene influences food choices in the first years of life

Brain reward gene influences food choices in the first years of life Research has suggested that a particular gene in the brain’s reward system contributes to overeating and obesity in adults. This same variant has now been linked to childhood obesity and tasty food choices, particularly for girls, according to a new study. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 26, 2013 — Research has suggested that a particular gene in the brain’s reward system contributes to overeating and obesity in adults. This same variant has now been linked to childhood obesity and tasty food choices, particularly for girls, according to a new study by Dr. Patricia Silveira and Prof. Michael Meaney of McGill University and Dr. Robert Levitan of the University of Toronto.Contrary to “blaming” obese individuals for making poor food choices, Meaney and his team suggest that obesity lies at the interface of three factors: genetic predispositions, environmental stress and emotional well-being. These findings, published in the journal, Appetite, shed light on why some children may be predisposed to obesity, and could mark a critical step towards prevention and treatment.”In broad terms, we are finding that obesity is a product of genetics, early development and circumstance,” says Meaney, who is also Associate Director of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute Research Centre.The work is part of the MAVAN (Maternal Adversity Vulnerability & Neurodevelopment) project, headed by Meaney and Hélène Gaudreau, Project Coordinator. Their team studied pregnant women, some of whom suffered from depression or lived in poverty, and followed their children from birth until the age of ten.For the study, researchers tested 150 four-year old MAVAN children by administering a snack test meal. The children were faced with healthy and non-healthy food choices. Mothers also completed a questionnaire to address their child’s normal food consumption and preferences. … For more info: Brain reward gene influences food choices in the first years of life ScienceDaily: Living Well News Brain reward gene influences food choices in the first years of life L’articolo Brain reward gene influences food choices in the first years of life sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Regular physical activity in later life boosts likelihood of ‘healthy aging’ up to sevenfold

Regular physical activity in later life boosts likelihood of ‘healthy aging’ up to sevenfold It’s never too late to get physically active, with even those starting relatively late in life reaping significant health benefits, finds research. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 25, 2013 — It’s never too late to get physically active, with even those starting relatively late in life reaping significant health benefits, finds research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.Four years of sustained regular physical activity boosted the likelihood of healthy aging sevenfold compared with consistent inactivity, the findings show.The researchers tracked the health of almost 3500 people, whose average age was 64, for more than eight years. All were participants in the English Longitudinal Study of aging, which involves a nationally representative sample of the household population of England, born on or before 29 February 1952.The researchers wanted to quantify the impact of physical activity on the risk of developing long term conditions, depression, and dementia, and on the likelihood of “healthy aging.”This is usually taken to mean not only an absence of major disease and disability, but also good mental health, the preservation of cognitive abilities, and the ability to maintain social connections/activities.There’s a growing body of evidence to suggest that regular physical activity is essential for the maintenance of good health, while across the developed world, inactivity is ranked alongside smoking, excess drinking, and obesity as a leading cause of reduced life expectancy.Participants described the frequency and intensity of regular physical activity they did in 2002-3, and then every subsequent two years until 2010-11.Their responses were categorised as: inactive (no moderate or vigorous activity on a weekly basis); moderately active (at least once a week); and vigorously active (at least once a week).Any changes in frequency and intensity were noted at the two yearly monitoring sessions: always inactive; became inactive; became active; always active.Serious ill health, such as heart disease/stroke, diabetes, emphysema, or Alzheimer’s disease, was confirmed by medical records.Cognitive abilities and mental health were assessed using a battery of validated tests, while disability was measured according to participants’ responses to questions about the ease with which they were able to carry out routine activities of daily living, and an objective test of walking speed.Nearly one in 10 of the sample became active and 70% remained active. The rest remained inactive or became inactive.At the end of the monitoring period almost four out of 10 had developed a long term condition; almost one in five was depressed; a third had some level of disability; and one in five was cognitively impaired.But one in five was defined as a healthy ager. And there was a direct link to the likelihood of healthy aging and the amount of exercise taken.Those who had regularly indulged in moderate or vigorous physical activity at least once a week were three to four times more likely to be healthy agers than those who had remained inactive, after taking account of other influential factors.Those who became physically active also reaped benefits, compared with those who did nothing. They were more than three times as likely to be healthy agers.And those who sustained regular physical activity over the entire period were seven times as likely to be healthy agers as those who had consistently remained inactive.”This study supports public health initiatives designed to engage older adults in physical activity, even those who are of advanced age,” conclude the authors. For more info: Regular physical activity in later life boosts likelihood of ‘healthy aging’ up to sevenfold ScienceDaily: Living Well News Regular physical activity in later life boosts likelihood of ‘healthy aging’ up to sevenfold L’articolo Regular physical activity in later life boosts likelihood of ‘healthy aging’ up to sevenfold sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Alcohol use disorders linked to death and disability

Alcohol use disorders linked to death and disability Disorders related to the abuse of alcohol contribute significantly to the burden of disease in the U.S., finds a new study. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 26, 2013 — Disorders related to the abuse of alcohol contribute significantly to the burden of disease in the U.S., finds a new study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Researchers estimated that in 2005, about 53,000 men and 12,000 women died from issues related to alcohol use disorders (AUD).The results of the meta-analysis were surprising, said lead author Jürgen Rehm, Ph.D., director of social and epidemiological research at the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health at the University of Toronto in Canada. “We had done meta-analyses on AUD before and knew it would be higher than previous literature, but we did not expect the burden for disease to be so high.”Previous research has shown that heavy drinking is a risk factor for more than 200 diseases or injuries. To quantify the influence of alcohol use on the burden of disease, researchers analyzed information from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions and the burden of disease study of the National Institutes of Health and found that AUD was linked to three percent of all deaths in adults 18 and older in the U.S.Alcohol use disorders contributed even more significantly to a measure of disease burden known as years lived with disability (YLD), with 1,785,000 YLD for men and 658,000 YLD for women in 2005.Stuart Gitlow, M.D., psychiatrist and president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine agreed that alcohol is definitely linked to burden of disease in the United States. “But the problem is everyone in the field defines AUD, a fairly new term, differently. For example, alcohol can lead to morbidity such as in traffic accidents, but this may have nothing to do with addiction, abuse and dependence.”Reducing burden of AUD on society needs to have a multi-pronged approach, said Rehm, and prevention can’t be regulated by health care policy makers. “There needs to be restrictions on the availability of alcohol. Increases in taxation or bans of advertisements are not part of health care, and this is part of the problem.”Rehm explained it will take the same long-term perspective as used with tobacco to implement more effective measures in curbing alcohol use. “The most realistic short-term goal is probably an increase in brief intervention and treatment rates.”Gitlow added that alcohol is a public health issue and its cost to society is huge. … For more info: Alcohol use disorders linked to death and disability ScienceDaily: Top Health News Alcohol use disorders linked to death and disability L’articolo Alcohol use disorders linked to death and disability sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Large study shows pollution impact on coral reefs, and offers solution

Large study shows pollution impact on coral reefs, and offers solution One of the largest and longest experiments ever done to test the impact of nutrient loading on coral reefs today confirmed what scientists have long suspected — that this type of pollution from sewage, agricultural practices or other sources can lead to coral disease and bleaching. But there was unexpectedly good news – when you cleaned up the water, the corals recovered. via ScienceDaily: Ecology News: Nov. 26, 2013 — One of the largest and longest experiments ever done to test the impact of nutrient loading on coral reefs today confirmed what scientists have long suspected — that this type of pollution from sewage, agricultural practices or other sources can lead to coral disease and bleaching.A three-year, controlled exposure of corals to elevated levels of nitrogen and phosphorus at a study site in the Florida Keys, done from 2009-12, showed that the prevalence of disease doubled and the amount of coral bleaching, an early sign of stress, more than tripled.However, the study also found that once the injection of pollutants was stopped, the corals were able to recover in a surprisingly short time.”We were shocked to see the rapid increase in disease and bleaching from a level of pollution that’s fairly common in areas affected by sewage discharge, or fertilizers from agricultural or urban use,” said Rebecca Vega-Thurber, an assistant professor in the College of Science at Oregon State University.”But what was even more surprising is that corals were able to make a strong recovery within 10 months after the nutrient enrichment was stopped,” Vega-Thurber said. “The problems disappeared. This provides real evidence that not only can nutrient overload cause coral problems, but programs to reduce or eliminate this pollution should help restore coral health. This is actually very good news.”The findings were published today in Global Change Biology, and offer a glimmer of hope for addressing at least some of the problems that have crippled coral reefs around the world. In the Caribbean Sea, more than 80 percent of the corals have disappeared in recent decades. These reefs, which host thousands of species of fish and other marine life, are a major component of biodiversity in the tropics.Researchers have observed for years the decline in coral reef health where sewage outflows or use of fertilizers, in either urban or agricultural areas, have caused an increase in the loading of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. But until now almost no large, long-term experiments have actually been done to pin down the impact of nutrient overloads and separate them from other possible causes of coral reef decline.This research examined the effect of nutrient pollution on more than 1,200 corals in study plots near Key Largo, Fla., for signs of coral disease and bleaching, and removed other factors such as water depth, salinity or temperature that have complicated some previous surveys. Following regular injections of nutrients at the study sites, levels of coral disease and bleaching surged.One disease that was particularly common was “dark spot syndrome,” found on about 50 percent of diseased individual corals. But researchers also noted that within one year after nutrient injections were stopped at the study site, the level of dark spot syndrome had receded to the same level as control study plots in which no nutrients had been injected.The exact mechanism by which nutrient overload can affect corals is still unproven, researchers say, although there are theories. … For more info: Large study shows pollution impact on coral reefs, and offers solution ScienceDaily: Ecology News Large study shows pollution impact on coral reefs, and offers solution L’articolo Large study shows pollution impact on coral reefs, and offers solution sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Polymer gel, heal thyself: Engineering team proposes new composites that can regenerate when damaged

Polymer gel, heal thyself: Engineering team proposes new composites that can regenerate when damaged Researchers have developed models to design a new polymer gel that would enable complex materials to regenerate themselves. via ScienceDaily: Top Science News: Nov. 26, 2013 — When a chair leg breaks or a cell phone shatters, either must be repaired or replaced. But what if these materials could be programmed to regenerate-themselves, replenishing the damaged or missing components, and thereby extend their lifetime and reduce the need for costly repairs?That potential is now possible according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, who have developed computational models to design a new polymer gel that would enable complex materials to regenerate themselves.Principal investigator is Anna C. Balazs, PhD, the Swanson School’s Distinguished Robert v. d. Luft Professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, and co-authors are Xin Yong, PhD, postdoctoral associate, who is the article’s lead author; Olga Kuksenok, PhD, research associate professor; and Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, PhD, J.C. Warner University Professor of Natural Sciences, department of chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University.”This is one of the holy grails of materials science,” noted Dr. Balazs. “While others have developed materials that can mend small defects, there is no published research regarding systems that can regenerate bulk sections of a severed material. This has a tremendous impact on sustainability because you could potentially extend the lifetime of a material by giving it the ability to regrow when damaged.”The research team was inspired by biological processes in species such as amphibians, which can regenerate severed limbs. … For more info: Polymer gel, heal thyself: Engineering team proposes new composites that can regenerate when damaged ScienceDaily: Top Science News Polymer gel, heal thyself: Engineering team proposes new composites that can regenerate when damaged L’articolo Polymer gel, heal thyself: Engineering team proposes new composites that can regenerate when damaged sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

High-fat diet during puberty speeds up breast cancer development

High-fat diet during puberty speeds up breast cancer development New findings show that eating a high-fat diet beginning at puberty speeds up the development of breast cancer and may actually increase the risk of cancer similar to a type often found in younger adult women. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 26, 2013 — New findings show that eating a high-fat diet beginning at puberty speeds up the development of breast cancer and may actually increase the risk of cancer similar to a type often found in younger adult women.The research comes from the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program at Michigan State University and is published in the current online issue of Breast Cancer Research.Utilizing a preclinical model, the findings indicate that before any tumors appear, there are changes in the breast that include increased cell growth and alterations in immune cells. These changes persist into adulthood and can lead to the rapid development of precancerous lesions and ultimately breast cancer.In addition to the accelerated breast cancer development, this type of diet produces a distinct gene signature in the tumors consistent with a subset of breast cancers known as basal-like that can carry a worse prognosis.”This is very significant because even though the cancers arise from random mutations, the gene signature indicating a basal-like breast cancer shows the overarching and potent influence this type of diet has in the breast,” said Sandra Haslam, physiology professor in MSU’s College of Human Medicine and one of the lead investigators of the project.”Cancers of this type are more aggressive in nature and typically occur in younger women. This highlights the significance of our work toward efforts against the disease.”Richard Schwartz, microbiology professor and associate dean in the College of Natural Science, has co-led research efforts with Haslam since 2010. The research is funded by a five-year, $2.3 million federal grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Cancer Institute.”It’s important to note that since our experimental model did not involve any weight gain from the high-fat diet, these findings are relevant to a much broader segment of the population than just those who are overweight,” said Schwartz. “This shows the culprit is the fat itself rather than weight gain.”Early evidence indicates that the fat, which in this case was saturated animal fat, could potentially have permanent effects even if a low-fat diet is introduced later in life. Schwartz cautions, however, that this preliminary finding requires further investigation and doesn’t indicate with certainty that humans will be affected in the same way.”Overall, our current research indicates that avoiding excessive dietary fat of this type may help lower one’s risk of breast cancer down the road,” he said. “And since there isn’t any evidence suggesting that avoiding this type of diet is harmful, it just makes sense to do it.” For more info: High-fat diet during puberty speeds up breast cancer development ScienceDaily: Top Health News High-fat diet during puberty speeds up breast cancer development L’articolo High-fat diet during puberty speeds up breast cancer development sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Unhappy meals? Majority of very young children in California eat fast food at least once per week

Unhappy meals? Majority of very young children in California eat fast food at least once per week A surprisingly large percentage of very young children in California, including 70 percent of Latino children, eat fast food regularly, according to a new policy brief. via ScienceDaily: Living Well News: Nov. 26, 2013 — A surprisingly large percentage of very young children in California, including 70 percent of Latino children, eat fast food regularly, according to a new policy brief by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.The study found that 60 percent of all children between the ages of 2 and 5 had eaten fast food at least once in the previous week.The majority of the state’s young children also do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, with only 57 percent of parents reporting that their child ate at least five fruit and vegetable servings the previous day.”A weekly happy meal is an unhappy solution, especially for toddlers,” said Susan Holtby, the study’s lead author and a senior researcher at the Public Health Institute. “Hard-working, busy parents need support to make healthy food selections for their kids.”The new study used data from several cycles of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) to examine dietary behaviors of very young children, including their consumption of fast food, sugar-sweetened beverages, fruits and vegetables, and to gauge how much influence parents have over what their children eat.The study’s authors found that in both 2007 and 2009, about two-thirds of children between the ages of 2 and 5 ate at least one fast food meal during the previous week, and 29 percent ate two or more. About 10 percent of children in this age group ate three or more fast food meals the previous week.Although this and previous studies by the center have noted a general decline in the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among children in California, that positive trend is reversed when linked to fast food. Specifically, the study’s authors found that children who ate two to three fast-food meals a week were much more likely to drink soda than those who ate less fast food.”Fast food combined with drinking soda at such a young age can set these kids up for obesity-related health problems,” Holtby said.Other key findings from the study:Asian children eat the fewest fruits and vegetables — Defying the stereotype of the vegetable-rich Asian diet, Asian children were found to eat the fewest fruits and vegetables of any group — only 40 percent ate at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, compared with 56 percent of all the state’s children.Poverty and influence — Parents living in the poorest households — those below 100 percent of the federal poverty level — were less likely than parents in all other income groups to say they have “a lot” of influence over what their children eat.Simple solutions – The authors noted that the data can help identify communities that may benefit from targeted messages about healthy eating and could help promote programs and policies that support parents in offering healthier options to their very young children. For example, an educational campaign to encourage parents to swap fruit juice for actual fruit would go far in reducing unnecessary sugar and increasing fiber and other nutrients, the authors noted.”Simple messages and programs can reinforce what every parent wants — the good health of their children,” said Camille Maben, executive director of First 5 California, which funded the study. “This shows there is more work to be done to reach families with the critical education and support they need.”Read the policy brief, “Majority of Young Children in California Eat Fast Food Regularly but Drink Less Soda” here: http://healthpolicy.ucla.edu/publications/search/pages/detail.aspx?PubID=1236 For more info: Unhappy meals? Majority of very young children in California eat fast food at least once per week ScienceDaily: Living Well News Unhappy meals? Majority of very young children in California eat fast food at least once per week L’articolo Unhappy meals? Majority of very young children in California eat fast food at least once per week sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Electronic cigarettes: New route to smoking addiction for adolescents

Electronic cigarettes: New route to smoking addiction for adolescents E-cigarettes have been widely promoted as a way for people to quit smoking conventional cigarettes. Now, in the first study of its kind, researchers are reporting that, at the point in time they studied, youth using e-cigarettes were more likely to be trying to quit, but also were less likely to have stopped smoking and were smoking more, not less. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 26, 2013 — E-cigarettes have been widely promoted as a way for people to quit smoking conventional cigarettes. Now, in the first study of its kind, UC San Francisco researchers are reporting that, at the point in time they studied, youth using e-cigarettes were more likely to be trying to quit, but also were less likely to have stopped smoking and were smoking more, not less.”We are witnessing the beginning of a new phase of the nicotine epidemic and a new route to nicotine addiction for kids,” according to senior author Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, UCSF professor of medicine and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UCSF.E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that look like cigarettes and deliver an aerosol of nicotine and other chemicals. Promoted as safer alternatives to cigarettes and smoking cessation aids, e-cigarettes are rapidly gaining popularity among adults and youth in the United States and around the world. The devices are largely unregulated, with no effective controls on marketing them to minors.In the UCSF study, the researchers assessed e-cigarette use among youth in Korea, where the devices are marketed much the way they are in the U.S. The study analyzed smoking among some 75,000 Korean youth.The study appears online in the current issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.”Our paper raises serious concern about the effects of the Wild West marketing of e-cigarettes on youth,” said Glantz.Despite industry claims that it markets only to adults, e-cigarettes have achieved substantial penetration into the youth market. In the U.S., the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that the majority of adolescent e-cigarette users also smoke regular cigarettes, and that the percentage of middle and high school students who use e-cigarettes more than doubled from 2011 to 2012. An estimated 1.78 million U.S. students had used the devices as of 2012, said the CDC.In the UCSF study, the researchers report that four out of five Korean adolescent e-cigarette users are “dual” smokers who use both tobacco and e-cigarettes.The authors conclude that young e-cigarette smokers “are more likely to have tried quitting smoking, which suggests that, consistent with cigarette marketing messages, some youth may be using e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid…Use of e-cigarettes is associated with heavier use of conventional cigarettes, which raises the likelihood that actual use of e-cigarettes may increase harm by creating a new pathway for youth to become addicted to nicotine and by reducing the odds that an adolescent will stop smoking conventional cigarettes.”The data for the study came from the Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey, an annual, nationally-representative survey conducted by the Korea Centers for Disease Control in 2011. … For more info: Electronic cigarettes: New route to smoking addiction for adolescents ScienceDaily: Top Health News Electronic cigarettes: New route to smoking addiction for adolescents L’articolo Electronic cigarettes: New route to smoking addiction for adolescents sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.

Alzheimer’s, vascular changes in the neck

Alzheimer’s, vascular changes in the neck An international research team studying Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment is reporting potentially significant findings on a vascular abnormality outside the brain. via ScienceDaily: Top Health News: Nov. 25, 2013 — Studies on Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia have long focused on what’s happening inside the brain. Now an international research team studying Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment is reporting potentially significant findings on a vascular abnormality outside the brain.The finding has potential implications for a better understanding of Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders associated with aging.The pilot study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Nov. 8 online ahead of print by researchers from the University at Buffalo, the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom and National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine in Taiwan. The authors caution that the study is small and that the results must be validated in larger, future studies.They studied a hemodynamic abnormality in the internal jugular veins called jugular venous reflux or JVR. It occurs when the pressure gradient reverses the direction of blood flow in the veins, causing blood to leak backwards into the brain.JVR occurs in certain physiological situations, if the internal jugular vein valves do not open and close properly, which occurs more frequently in the elderly. This reverse flow is also believed to impair cerebral venous drainage.”We were especially interested to find an association between JVR and white matter changes in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and those with mild cognitive impairment,” says Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, FAAN, professor of neurology at the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and senior author.The brain’s white matter is made of myelin and axons that enable communication between nerve cells.”Age-related white matter changes have long been associated with dementia and faster cognitive decline,” he says. “To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first to show that JVR is associated with a higher frequency of white matter changes, which occur in patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.”Ching-Ping Chung, the first author on the study and assistant professor of neurology at National Yang-Ming University, adds: “We are the first to observe that JVR may be associated with formation of these lesions in the brain, given the fact that Alzheimer’s patients have more white matter lesions than healthy people.”If this observation is validated in larger studies,” she continues, “it could be significant for the development of new diagnostic tools and treatments for pathological white matter lesions developed in Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.”White matter changes have been found to have a direct relationship to the buildup of amyloid plaque long seen as central to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.”The accumulation of amyloid plaque may result from the inability of cerebrospinal fluid to be properly cleared from the brain,” says Clive Beggs, second author on the study and professor of medical engineering at the University of Bradford. In addition, he says, the study found that JVR appeared to be associated with dirty-appearing white matter, which is thought to represent early stage lesion formation.”To the best of our knowledge, this is one of the first studies to explore the impact of dirty-appearing white matter in the elderly,” Beggs continues. He adds that the significance of dirty-appearing white matter in the elderly needs more study.The research involved 12 patients with Alzheimer’s disease, 24 with mild cognitive impairment and 17 age-matched elderly controls. … For more info: Alzheimer’s, vascular changes in the neck ScienceDaily: Top Health News Alzheimer’s, vascular changes in the neck L’articolo Alzheimer’s, vascular changes in the neck sembra essere il primo su My Biologica.