June 14, 2017

Medical Research and Technology: Ipsiihand, weak bladder, allergies, ovarian cancer, endometriosis and PTSD

"Ipsihand" lets 10 stroke patients regain control of their paralyzed hands

 Ipsihand

The technology called Ipsihand comprises a cap that contains electrodes to detect electrical signals in the brain, a computer that amplifies them and a movable brace that fits over the hand. The device detects the wearer's intention to open or close the paralyzed hand moving it in a pincer-like grip, with the second and third fingers bending to meet the thumb....The machine, developed by the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, targets a small part of the brain that is needed to send the first 'movement signal' to our fingers.

After 12 weeks of using the device, 10 patients increased their grasp ability by 6.2 on the 57-point scale.  While it may sound like a small number, experts insist it was a huge step in stroke research. For some, it even provided enough strength to put on a pair of pants.  Neuroscientist Professor Eric Leuthardt said: 'An increase of six points represents a meaningful improvement in quality of life.

Found, the gene that causes a weak bladder:

One in four women suffer ‘stress incontinence’ associated with laughing, sneezing, coughing, exercising or movements that put pressure on the bladder.  In more than half of all cases, the problem appears to be inherited. This discovery leads to hope that existing drugs can be adapted to treat condition that affects millions.

Researchers studied 9,000 women from three groups in Finland and the UK. They found that the genes affecting incontinence were in a similar area to those connected with pulmonary hypertension and Raynaud’s syndrome – where spasms of the arteries reduce blood flow. Dr Cartwright said: ‘Previous studies had failed to confirm any genetic causes for incontinence.

Scientists make breakthrough that could lead to cure for ALL allergies with a single treatment

Researchers say a single treatment giving life-long protection from severe allergies such as asthma could be made possible by immunology research.  A team led by Associate Professor Ray Steptoe, at The University of Queensland in Australia, has been able to 'turn-off' the immune response which causes allergic reaction in animals.

'The challenge in asthma and allergies is that these immune cells, known as T-cells, develop a form of immune 'memory' and become very resistant to treatments. 'We have now been able to 'wipe' the memory of these T-cells in animals with gene therapy, desensitizing the immune system so that it tolerates the protein. Dr Steptoe said the findings would be subject to further pre-clinical investigation, with the next step being to replicate results using human cells in the laboratory. 

In ‘Enormous Success,’ Scientists Tie 52 Genes to Human Intelligence

A team of European and American scientists announced on Monday that they had identified 52 genes linked to intelligence in nearly 80,000 people. These genes do not determine intelligence, however. Their combined influence is minuscule, the researchers said, suggesting that thousands more are likely to be involved and still await discovery. Just as important, intelligence is profoundly shaped by the environment.

Hope for thousands of women with ovarian cancer:

The first results from a landmark trial have found that the treatment dramatically shrank tumors in seven out of 15 women patients in the terminal stages of the illness, extending their lives by 6 months or more.  The team of doctors and scientists from the Institute of Cancer Research in London have described the results as ‘rare’ and ‘very promising’.

The drug BTG945 is given intravenously – as a drip – and patients have 12 doses every two weeks. It is able to penetrate tumors by disguising itself as folic acid – a naturally occurring vitamin that is particularly beneficial to pregnant women. Ovarian cancer tumors are particularly receptive to folic acid and the disguise enables the treatment to enter the cells and attack. This means the surrounding healthy cells are left alone, which is why the treatment causes so few side effects.

Cancer drugs that could help end the monthly agony of women with endometriosis:

Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that normally forms the lining of the womb each month occurs elsewhere in the body. This can cause extreme pain, as every month the tissue is expelled at the time of menstruation, but has nowhere to go. It also triggers inflammation, which can lead to the development of scar tissue that sticks to internal organs, causing even more pain. If endometriosis forms around the reproductive organs, it can affect fertility.  The discovery that endometriosis cells behave in the same way could lead to new way to treat the condition

Can a Single Injection Conquer PTSD?

The U.S. Army has commissioned a study to determine whether an anesthetic injection to the neck alleviates symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder—a treatment that, if proven effective, could be a big step toward easing an affliction affecting hundreds of thousands of troops who have returned from combat.

The $2 million Army study constitutes the first large-scale randomized control research into use of the shots—called stellate ganglion blocks—to treat PTSD. The injections have been used for decades for arm pain and shingles.  Early clinical experience has produced promising results, with troops experiencing near-immediate relief of anxiety, hyper-vigilance, social withdrawal and other symptoms, said military doctors who have administered the treatment.
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“Once people have the shot, they get dramatically better immediately,” Dr. Lynch said. The shot isn’t a cure, he said, but eases symptoms enough to allow talk therapy, pharmaceuticals and other approaches to achieve long-term improvements.
Posted by Jill Fallon at June 14, 2017 5:34 PM | Permalink