March 20, 2018

Health Roundup - Cancer Edition

Cancer 'vaccine' eliminates tumors in mice, researchers find

Injecting minute amounts of two immune-stimulating agents directly into solid tumors in mice can eliminate all traces of cancer in the animals, including distant, untreated metastases, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The approach works for many different types of cancers, including those that arise spontaneously, the study found. The researchers believe the local application of very small amounts of the agents could serve as a rapid and relatively inexpensive cancer therapy that is unlikely to cause the adverse side effects often seen with bodywide immune stimulation.

One agent is currently already approved for use in humans; the other has been tested for human use in several unrelated clinical trials. A clinical trial was launched in January to test the effect of the treatment in patients with lymphoma.

Levy, who holds the Robert K. and Helen K. Summy Professorship in the School of Medicine, is the senior author of the study, which will be published Jan. 31 in Science Translational Medicine. Instructor of medicine Idit Sagiv-Barfi, PhD, is the lead author.  Levy is a pioneer in the field of cancer immunotherapy, in which researchers try to harness the immune system to combat cancer. Research in his laboratory led to the development of rituximab, one of the first monoclonal antibodies approved for use as an anticancer treatment in humans.

"All of these immunotherapy advances are changing medical practice," Levy said. "Our approach uses a one-time application of very small amounts of two agents to stimulate the immune cells only within the tumor itself. In the mice, we saw amazing, bodywide effects, including the elimination of tumors all over the animal."

Ovarian cancer doesn't start in the ovaries: 'Silent killer' begins in the fallopian tubes, study reveals

Two studies published last fall have confirmed that ovarian cancer actually starts in the fallopian tubes. Ovarian cancer, dubbed a 'silent killer', kills 14,000 women in the US each year. Lead researcher Dr Ron Drapkin says the recent findings will likely lead to advancements in prevention, detection and treatment of the disease.

Chlamydia DOUBLES ovarian cancer risk, major study finds

Chlamydia is incredibly common across the world, including the United States, where 1.5 million adults currently have the infection, according to the latest CDC data. Though it can be cured with just one pill, or one course of antibiotics, it can be hard to spot. Often, it shows no symptoms and is only spotted from an STD test.  Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths for women; 55 percent of the women who get it die within five years of diagnosis. 
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:10 PM | Permalink

Why Vitamin D is so important

Most people don't get enough Vitamin D, so supplements are in order.  Have your Vitamin D levels checked when you next have your yearly physical.

How Vitamin D can repair and prevent the damage caused by diabetes and high blood pressure

Heart disease is defined as any disorder affecting the organ or blood vessels and is the leading cause of death in adults in the US; resulting in one in four fatalities.  Vitamin D, also called the sunshine supplement, stimulates the production of nitric acid, which is involved in regulating blood flow and preventing the formation of blood clots, according to the first study of its kind. It also reduces 'internal stress' in the cardiovascular system, which could avoid heart-related incidents, the research adds.

The findings were published in the journal Nanomedicine.  Study author Dr Tadeusz Malinski from Ohio University, said: 'There are not many, if any, known systems which can be used to restore cardiovascular cells which are already damaged, and vitamin D can do it.

Vitamin D is an 'inexpensive solution' to drugs as scientists discover the sunshine supplement repairs and prevents damage to the heart caused by diabetes and high blood pressure.  This is a very inexpensive solution to repair the cardiovascular system. We don't have to develop a new drug. We already have it.'

Vitamin D could help millions of people with irritable bowel syndrome

A new study from the University of Sheffield found high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in IBS patients – regardless of their ethnicity.  Their findings suggest supplements may help to ease symptoms which can include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. Vitamin D was shown to have the most benefit on quality of life in IBS. Low vitamin D status has already been associated with the risk of colorectal cancer and has been implicated in inflammatory bowel disease.

Vitamin D helps body get benefits of calcium

Your need for calcium gets a lot of attention, but your body can't use it without its partner, vitamin D, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Most adults need 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day. Recommendations for vitamin D range from the current recommended daily allowance of 600 International Units (IUs), all the way up to 4,000 IUs to best support bone health.  Vitamin D is added to milk, but it isn't found naturally in many foods other than egg yolks and shiitake mushrooms.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:01 PM | Permalink

Health Roundup - Alzheimer's Edition and breakthrough for Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and the surprising effect of an Alzheimer's drug

Revolutionary Treatment? Scientists Successfully Reverse Alzheimer’s Disease In Mice

A major breakthrough in the war against Alzheimer’s disease may pave the way for one of the most effective treatments to date. A team of scientists say they have successfully reversed the disease in mice. Many more trials, tests, and hours of research remain before their method can be tried on humans, but it’s an historic step in the right direction. The researchers, based at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, found that by gradually reducing an enzyme in the brain called BACE1, they reversed the formation of amyloid plaques in the brains of mice with Alzheimer’s disease, improving their cognitive function. The scientists hope that this research will eventually produce drugs aimed at this enzyme in human brains.

“To our knowledge, this is the first observation of such a dramatic reversal of amyloid deposition in any study of Alzheimer’s disease mouse models,” says researcher Riqiang Yan in a news release by the Rockefeller University press.

More Alzheimer's Has Been Reversed in Mice With This Single Enzyme Treatment

Researchers were able to reverse the formation of amyloid plaques, which gradually kill neurons in patients with Alzheimer's disease, in the brains of mice - essentially reversing the condition.  Alongside the reduction of plaques that impair communication between brain cells, the mice also experienced cognitive improvement. The team from the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute in the US detailed the findings in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

The authors achieved the promising set of results by gradually depleting an enzyme that plays a part in the formation of the plaques, known as BACE1.  One of the most concrete ways in which Alzheimer's is identified in a patient is through an abnormal buildup of beta-amyloid peptide, a protein that can build into the large amyloid plaques in the brain that are a telltale sign of the deadly, and to date incurable disease.  BACE1 helps to produce beta-amyloid peptide, and so inhibiting the enzyme with drugs could ultimately open the door to effective Alzheimer's treatments by halting the buildup.

 Bace1 Effect On Mice
Left: A mouse with Alzheimer's disease shows red amyloid plaques and green activated microglial cells.
Right: The brain that has gradually lost BACE1. (Hu et al., 2018)

Still more Scientists Make Major Breakthrough In Fight Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Scientists at the the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute have successfully reversed Alzheimer's disease in mice, a major breakthrough researchers are hopeful will translate into treatment for humans in the near future. The study was first published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine on February 14.Researchers found that the deletion of BACE1 in adult mice reversed amyloid deposition and improved cognitive functions.

"One of the earliest events in Alzheimer’s disease is an abnormal buildup of beta-amyloid peptide, which can form large, amyloid plaques in the brain and disrupt the function of neuronal synapses. Also known as beta-secretase, BACE1 helps produce beta-amyloid peptide by cleaving amyloid precursor protein (APP)," explains the Rockefeller University Press release.

The scientists successfully "generated mice that gradually lose this enzyme as they grow older. These mice developed normally and appeared to remain perfectly healthy over time," notes the release.
“Our study provides genetic evidence that preformed amyloid deposition can be completely reversed after sequential and increased deletion of BACE1 in the adult,” said Yan. “Our data show that BACE1 inhibitors have the potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease patients without unwanted toxicity. Future studies should develop strategies to minimize the synaptic impairments arising from significant inhibition of BACE1 to achieve maximal and optimal benefits for Alzheimer’s patients.”

As noted by Study Finds, there are still many more trials and test that must be completed before there can be testing on humans, but this latest discovery is "an historic step in the right direction."

Breakthrough for Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), the type Robin Williams suffered before committing suicide. 

Studies have determined the causes of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), he third most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's and vascular dementias. The discovery was made with extremely powerful scanning devices used in DLB for the first time.  The drugs could stop it 'in its tracks' by targeting a key chemical called alpha-synuclein, according to researchers.  The rogue protein is one of four types believed to be behind the devastating neurological disorder.  It disrupts brain cells in dementia with Lewy bodies - also known as DLB that is progressive and gets worse over time. Brain tissue from people who died from it showed the protein builds up in vital parts of neurons that connect cells. These may jump from one cell to another through these connections, say the international team led by Edinburgh University.

The findings shed light on the causes of DLB and will help to speed up the search for a treatment, they say.
Symptoms include problems with memory and judgment, feeling faint and developing tremors.  'These discoveries should invigorate the search for therapies aimed at reducing synaptic damage and open the possibility of targeting the spread of alpha-synuclein through the brain - which could stop disease progression in its tracks.'

An Alzheimer's Drug Has Been Shown to Help Teeth Repair Cavities Naturally  No fillings, no drills.

Dental fillings may soon be left in the ash heap of history, thanks to a recent discovery about a drug called Tideglusib.
Developed for and trialled to treat Alzheimer's disease, last year scientists found the drug also happens to promote the natural tooth regrowth mechanism in mice, allowing the tooth to repair cavities.

Tideglusib works by stimulating stem cells in the pulp of teeth, the source of new dentine. Dentine is the mineralized substance beneath tooth enamel that gets eaten away by tooth decay. Teeth can naturally regenerate dentine without assistance, but only under certain circumstances. The pulp must be exposed through infection (such as decay) or trauma to prompt the manufacture of dentine.
But even then, the tooth can only regrow a very thin layer naturally - not enough to repair cavities caused by decay, which are generally deep. Tideglusib changes this outcome because it turns off the GSK-3 enzyme, which stops dentine from forming.

In the 2017 research, the team inserted small, biodegradable sponges made of collagen soaked in Tideglusib into cavities. The sponges triggered dentine growth and within six weeks, the damage was repaired. The collagen structure of the sponges melted away, leaving only the intact tooth. Thus far, the procedure has only been used in mouse teeth.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:38 PM | Permalink

Health Roundup - Diabetes Edition

Type 2 Diabetes Was Misdiagnosed All Along, It Could Actually Be Several Diseases

That's the conclusion of new research, and it could revolutionize the way we detect and treat diabetes in the future.  Analyzing past studies covering a total of 14,775 type 1 and type 2 adult-onset diabetes patients across Sweden and Finland, scientists have found five different and distinct disease profiles, including three severe and two mild forms of the condition.
Instead of splitting diabetes simply into type 1 and type 2, the researchers came up with five different disease profiles - one autoimmune type of diabetes and four other distinct subtypes. All five types were found to be genetically distinct, with no shared mutations. One of the three more serious forms was a group of people with severe insulin resistance and a significantly higher risk of kidney disease. Another more mild type was seen mostly in elderly people.

You can see how those distinctions could improve the way we tackle diabetes – by identifying the types of patients involved and the complications they're at risk from, doctors could work out more personalized courses of treatment. Indeed, the researchers found that many in the study weren't being given the right treatment for the particular characteristics of the diabetes they had.

Could diabetes be triggered by a virus? Alert as scientists identify pathogens that could derail insulin in the body

The exact cause of types 1 and 2 diabetes is not known. Proteins in viruses that mimic insulin may trigger type 1 by tricking the body into thinking the hormone is an invader. Tissues may become resistant to insulin due to the similar viral proteins, causing type 2 diabetes. The Harvard researchers found the insulin-like proteins in four viruses, but think their research could be 'the tip of the iceberg'....Viruses could cause this phenomenon in one of two ways: 'It could cause abnormalities in metabolism itself because they have insulin-like effects, but they are weak, and not fully active,' offers Dr Kahn. 'Or, it could affect the ability of our own cells to respond to our own insulin, a form of insulin resistance,' he says.

This Common Medication Can Actually Prevent Type 1 Diabetes

There's new hope for stopping Type 1 diabetes in its tracks after researchers discovered an existing drug can prevent the condition from developing – and the same techniques used here could also be applied to other diseases.  The drug in question is methyldopa, currently on the World Health Organization's list of essential drugs having been used for more than 50 years to treat high blood pressure in pregnant women and children.
"We can now predict with almost 100 percent accuracy who is likely to get Type 1 diabetes," says Michels. "The goal with this drug is to delay or prevent the onset of the disease among those at risk." That 100 percent prediction rate is made possible by looking at a variety of genetic and biological markers, including autoantibodies in the blood. Those at risk could now be put on a course of treatment to ward of the development of diabetes.

Poor oral health may increase your risk of diabetes, study warns

It's well-known that people with poorly controlled diabetes have a greater risk of developing dental problems like gum disease and decaying teeth, but new research suggests that poor oral health could also signify an onset of the disease. The current study, done by researchers at City of Hope National Medical Center, suggests dental exams may be a tool for diagnosing a person's risk for developing diabetes.  Researchers found oral health may indicate a person's diabetes risk.  A relationship was found between the number of missing teeth and glucose intolerance
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:15 PM | Permalink

March 16, 2018

Miscellany #93

Drones as Aerial Light Sources
Photographer Reuben Wu uses modified drones as aerial light sources that illuminate obscure landscapes in a way that makes each appear new and unexplored in his ongoing series Lux Noctis.

 Ruben Wu' Drone Illuminated Mountaintops

Ingenious way Finns cruise in the winter

Poop Visible From Space Helped Scientists Find a Remote 'Supercolony' of Penguins

In 2014, Stony Brook University's Heather Lynch and NASA's Mathew Schwaller identified guano stains in satellite images of
the Danger Islands, a rocky archipelago off the Antarctic Peninsula. The visible guano marks signaled that a large population of penguins was living there. When the scientists launched an expedition to the islands to learn more, and counted birds by hand and with a camera-equipped drone, they discovered a "supercolony" of more than 1.5 million Adélies.

The Life of a Parent in a Single Painting by artist Andrei Popov of St Petersburg

 Popov Parent Single Painting

The Rise and Fall of the Waterbed

Time, which first reported on the popularity of the waterbed in 1971, published an article in 2012 about the trend of buying waterbeds for cows. Yes, cows. Apparently this unconventional accommodation helps to reduce sores and infections, and is less likely to grow bacteria than beds of traditional materials like wood chips. There are entire companies devoted to producing waterbeds for cows. As one Oregon farmer put it: "Happier cows, happier milk."

Turning architectural details into visual puns

 Don Quixote

The Science of Crunch - Why We Crave Loud and Crunchy Foods

Why isn't this mandatory equipment on all town and city snowplows?

Another reason why I love Switzerland

"She read me the Riot Act"   Where It Came From and What It Means

First passed by British Parliament in 1714 , the Riot Act - when read aloud - served as formal notice that the parties involved were overstepping their bounds....Typically, the raucous formation would be given 60 minutes to take a hike. If not, their just punishment would be prison, labor, or death.

A Who's Who of the 19th century in a Quilt  Adeline Harris’ masterpiece signature quilt is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art
It took almost 2 decades to collect the autographs and stitch together the quilt in an extraordinary achievement of craftmanship.


The signatures include congressmen, governors, Union Army generals, an astonishing eight presidents of the United States (Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant) and two vice presidents (Schuyler Colfax and Henry Wilson). There are also notable academics, university presidents, journalists and editors, actors, reformers, scientists, artists, poets, essayists, novelists, folklorists, clergymen from numerous denominations. Rubbing shoulders on this extraordinary quilt are the autographs of Samuel Morse, Horace Greeley, Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Julia Ward Howe, Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Cullen Bryant, Alexandre Dumas, Oliver Wendell Holmes, William Makepeace Thackeray and Charles Dickens.

Where does all the FAT go when you lose weight?

The most common misconception, by far, was that fat is converted to energy... Some respondents thought fat turns into muscle, which is impossible, and others assumed it escapes via the colon. ...The correct answer is that fat is converted to carbon dioxide and water. You exhale the carbon dioxide and the water mixes into your circulation until it’s lost as urine or sweat.  If you lose 22 lbs of fat, most of it (18.5 lbs) comes out through your lungs and the remaining 3.5 lbs turns into water. In other words, nearly all the weight we lose is exhaled.  This surprises just about everyone, but actually, almost everything we eat comes back out via the lungs.

World Map with the Literal Translations of Country Names

 Literal North America

Canada is "The Village" while Brazil is "Red Dyewood".  Here are some more

Ethiopia: Land of Burnt Faces
Egypt: Temple of the Soul of Ptah
Spain: Land of Many Rabbits
Hungary: 10 Arrows
Qatar: Land of Tar
Israel: He That Striveth with God
Thailand: Land of the Free
Nauru: I Go to the Beach
Australia: Southern Land
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:56 AM | Permalink

March 2, 2018

How to prepare for your hospital stay

This is just too funny. How to prepare for your hospital stay

 Prepare For Hospital Stay Exercises

These guidelines were created in the 1980s by Dr. Barbara Phillips, Professor of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:26 PM | Permalink