March 31, 2017

Health Roundup Birth control app, life-saving virus, new cholesterol drug, most cancer random, depression and pine tree bark

Female Physicist Creates World’s First Government-Approved Birth Control App

If approved in the United States, Natural Cycles would provide Americans a drug-free alternative in a market saturated with hormonal and abortive birth control....In typical use, a peer-reviewed study of 4,000 women found Natural Cycles was 93 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, meaning of 100 women using the app to prevent pregnancy, 7 got pregnant in a given year of use and 93 did not. For comparison, the pill is 91 percent effective, injectable birth control is 94 percent effective, and IUDs are 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy in typical use, according to the CDC.  Another well-established non-hormonal NFP method called Creighton has been rated in a federal study as 98 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.

A virus, fished out of a lake, may have saved a man’s life — and advanced science

Earlier this year, in an experimental treatment, doctors put 100 million OMKO1 viruses into a man’s chest to save his life...Dr. Ali Khodadoust, an ophthalmologist in New Haven, is 80 years old  had spent the past four years fighting a devastating infection.

Khodadoust ended up having a coronary artery bypass; his cardiologist patched a section of his aorta with a piece of plastic mesh. The whole procedure went off without a hitch, after which Khodadoust went home to recover. But things quickly went south. Within 48 hours, he had developed a raging fever and had to be rushed back to the hospital. When surgeons opened his chest, they discovered that an infection had destroyed his sternum, and his chest cavity was filled with blood and pus.... There was a moss-green patch on his aorta. It had to be an infection with a common species of bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa...

Before the  doctors could even think about treating the infection, they had to save Khodadoust’s life.  “He was beyond ill — his heart actually burst on the table,”....When Khodadoust thinks back to that time, he remembers being in absolute darkness. “A tiny string was stretching from me to infinity,” he said.....

[After phage therapy} Khodadoust showed up at Narayan’s office over the summer, without an IV port in his chest and off antibiotics. He had recovered completely from his four-year infection. “I couldn’t believe it,” Narayan said. “He looked like a million bucks.”

Cholesterol-Slashing Drug Can Protect High-Risk Heart Patients, Study Finds

The drug, Repatha, is called a PCSK9 inhibitor and can make cholesterol tumble to levels almost never seen naturally in adults, or even in people taking cholesterol-lowering statins. The Amgen drug and a similar one, sold by Sanofi and Regeneron, were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2015 with the hope — and expectation — that they would lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and not just reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, the dangerous kind.
That hope has now been realized for the Amgen drug.

“This is like the era of the statins coming in,” said Dr. Eugene Braunwald, a cardiologist at Harvard Medical School . ... Like statins, which were introduced in the 1980s, the new class of drugs has the potential to improve the health and longevity of millions of Americans with heart disease, the nation’s leading killer, accounting for one in four deaths.“It’s a new ballgame,” he said.....But cost will be an issue. Statins are available as cheap generics. The new drugs have a list price of $14,523 a year. “The next big challenge is financial: how to pay for it.”

Most cancer mutations arise from ‘bad luck,’ but many cases still preventable, researchers say

Using health records from 69 countries, they conclude that 66 percent of cancer-causing genetic mutations arise from the “bad luck” of a healthy, dividing cell making a random mistake when it copies its DNA.

AI that detects cancer in blood and pinpoints its location before symptoms appear 'could be ready in one year'

Scientists from the University of California developed the new software that works by looking for specific molecular patterns in cancer DNA. The algorithm was able to correctly detect cancer in 80 per cent of cases

Depression Is Now the Leading Cause of Illness and Disability Worldwide

Depression has become the leading cause of ill health and disability across the world, now affecting more than 300 million people globally, the World Health Organization said Thursday. However, half of people suffering from depression don’t get treatments they need to live healthy, productive lives.

How pine tree bark could revolutionize your trip to the dentist:

Resin fillings typically last for seven to ten years at most before they crack and fall out. Scientists have discovered that an extract from the bark of pine tree roots alters the chemical structure of teeth to make them stronger and allow fillings to bind to them better. Dr Guido Pauli, of the University of Illinois at Chicago, said compounds in the pine tree extract work by strengthening dentine – the tissue layer beneath the enamel in teeth. Tests show the tree extracts can increase the strength of dentine by up to ten times.
Posted by Jill Fallon at March 31, 2017 10:05 AM | Permalink