Thursday, 27 April 2017

Defying dementia: How to keep your brain fighting fit

The number of people with dementia in the US, UK and other wealthy nations has gone down in recent years – a healthy lifestyle can make a difference via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Defying dementia: How to keep your brain fighting fit

The number of people with dementia in the US, UK and other wealthy nations has gone down in recent years – a healthy lifestyle can make a difference via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Unstable chromosomes in lung tumours linked to heightened relapse risk

Finding could help predict disease return before standard tests can, say researchers

Related items from OnMedica

Survival rates rise for lung cancer surgery
UK lung cancer survival rates are improving
Major boost for lung cancer diagnosis
Blood test could help predict response to lung cancer treatment
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Better Care Fund ‘ruse’ to hide lack of funds for adult social care

And it has failed to achieve any of its stated objectives, says highly critical report

Related items from OnMedica

Major reform of social care funding and provision needed
Set up independent ‘Office for Health and Care Scrutiny,’ Lords demand
Integrated health and social care workforces is the future
Better Care Fund ‘built on flawed logic’
NHS to have protected slice of the joint health/social care fund
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Government still clueless on GP extended access issues, say MPs

No understanding of current provision or how to maximise existing resources

Related items from OnMedica

It ‘beggars belief’ that seven-day NHS plans are uncosted, say MPs
Poor GP access ‘not chief reason for A&E winter pressures’
Pressure increases on CCGs to meet GP access targets
To improve GP access, we all need to step out of the trenches
The incredible invisible bed crisis
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Paediatrician shortfall jeopardising child health services

Workforce data reveal widespread vacancy rates for senior doctors and trainees

Related items from OnMedica

Children’s services at ‘breaking point’ survey reveals
Three quarters of CCGs miss child mental health target
New child care standards could cut hospital admissions
Neonatal staff shortage warning
Staff survey results ‘alarming’, say health leaders
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Plain cigarette packs may be helping to drive down smoking prevalence

Cochrane review finds that emerging evidence seems to back the measure

Related items from OnMedica

Smoking cessation
Cancer charity calls for a ‘tobacco levy’ to save quit services
Hospitals 'must' become tobacco-free
Report claims plain packaging has cut smoking rates
Global tobacco treaty cuts smoking rates by 2.5%
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Cheap and accessible drug tackles death in childbirth

New research shows promising results for cutting the risk of women bleeding to death in childbirth. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Postpartum haemorrhage: Cheap lifesaver 'cuts deaths by a third'

A drug to stop bleeding after labour could cut deaths by a third, research suggests. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

'Exciting' blood test spots cancer a year early

The discovery allows doctors to detect returning tumours earlier and increases chances of a cure. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Anne-Marie Slaughter: A year's maternity leave is too long for mothers

Former Hillary Clinton advisor Anne-Marie Slaughter clarifies why she thinks a year of maternity leave is too long for working mothers. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

American woman gives birth during family trip to a zoo in Omaha, Nebraska

Kymica Hubbard was on a family day out at a zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, when she went into early labour. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Pollution nanoparticles may enter your blood and cause disease

A study of airborne nanoparticles – which are nearly impossible to measure in our air - may explain why pollution is linked to heart attacks and strokes via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Vital that parties tackle NHS funding shortfall

Politicians must show how they will address £30bn funding gap in the NHS, says BMA

Related items from OnMedica

GP politician makes direct plea to Chancellor on NHS funding
Doctors make plea to PM over NHS funding
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Defying dementia: It is not inevitable

Growing older doesn't necessarily mean you'll get dementia. Cases are rising as more of us live longer, but the reasons are debated and you can fight back via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Air pollution: 'Heart disease link found'

Extremely small particles of air pollution have the potential to end up in the body, a study suggests. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Put patients before Brexit, College tells politicians

RCGP urges all parties to put general practice and patient care at the centre of manifestos

Related items from OnMedica

Unmanageable GP workload threatens safety of patient care, warns GP leader
GP Forward View has had ‘patchy’ first year
Brexit: what’s next for UK science and patients?
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Health system complexities holding back HIV progress

Services need to focus on quality of life in older people, not just on viral suppression

Related items from OnMedica

Preventing HIV
GPs should offer HIV tests in routine appointments
UK HIV diagnosis rates twice as high as western Europe
HIV infection may make patients vulnerable to diabetes
Scotland first country in UK to fund PrEP through NHS
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Long delay after FIT linked to higher risk of cancer

Increased risk of colorectal cancer when colonoscopy delayed after positive screening test

Related items from OnMedica

Developing and using a tool to improve outcomes in colorectal cancer
Early stage bowel cancer more likely to be picked up by screening
Fifth of emergency bowel cancer cases had red flag symptoms
Nearly a third of hospitals failing bowel cancer patients
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Real food and brisk daily walk best for heart health

Common belief that saturated fats clog arteries and cause CHD ‘plain wrong’, say experts

Related items from OnMedica

Advice to eat more fat, sparks major health row
Diet for lowering blood pressure also reduces risk of kidney disease
Mediterranean diet reduces brain shrinkage in elderly
May be time for Britons to switch to Mediterranean diet, study suggests
Nutrition more important than calories, say experts
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Artificial womb helps premature lamb fetuses grow for 4 weeks

A fluid-filled plastic bag can help extremely premature lambs to develop and grow – and will be used to support premature babies in three years’ time via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

'500kg' Egyptian woman's sister accuses Indian doctors of lying

The sister of an Egyptian woman who went to India for weight loss surgery lashes out at her doctors. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Mid-Life Exercise Could Jog Your Memory

Combination of aerobic, resistance training best for boosting brain health, study finds

HealthDay news image

Source: HealthDay via Exercise and Physical Fitness New Links: MedlinePlus RSS Feed Read More Here..

Exercise Benefits Aging Hearts, Even Those of The Obese

Physical activity helps ward off heart damage in middle age and beyond, study finds

HealthDay news image

Source: HealthDay via Exercise and Physical Fitness New Links: MedlinePlus RSS Feed Read More Here..

Premature lambs kept alive in 'plastic bag' womb

Scientists were able to keep premature lambs alive for a month using an artificial "plastic bag" womb. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Doctors concerned over talking to DVLA about patients

New GMC guidance on doctors disclosing information to DVLA comes into effect today

Related items from OnMedica

Driving errors double due to mild dehydration
Lower drink-drive limit, says police
GPs tell DVLA about patients who should not be driving
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

GP Forward View has had ‘patchy’ first year

BMA has grave workforce concerns, and demands urgent delivery of promised funding

Related items from OnMedica

GP leader urges caution over ‘super-hub’ general practice
Things to look forward to
GP leaders warn against ‘imposing’ services
The incredible invisible bed crisis
BMA calls for maximum number of patients per GP
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

WHO Director-General’s statement to high-level pledging event for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen

Nearly 19 million people in Yemen are in desperate need of assistance. This is a country that has been battered by conflict for more than two years. This is a country that, before the conflict intensified, was already extremely vulnerable following years of poverty, political unrest, and weak rule of law.

Since the conflict intensified, some 325 attacks have been verified on health facilities, schools, markets, roads, and other infrastructure, added to the challenges and the population’s many causes of misery. via WHO news Read More Here..

Ted 2017: Frugal scientist offers malaria tools

A toy-inspired device for malaria detection that costs 20 cents is shown off at the Ted conference via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Third of emergency cancer presenters never saw GP

Emergency cancer diagnosis doesn’t signal missed GP diagnosis, but more help still needed

Related items from OnMedica

Variation in GP cancer referrals identified
GP cancer guidelines should be 'liberalised' for easier referrals
Labour to invest in GP cancer equipment in ‘every town’
Early diagnosis needed to improve ovarian cancer survival rates
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Medical marijuana may be a salve for the US opioid epidemic

In US states where medical marijuana has been legalised, people seem to be switching from other prescribed drugs to cannabis as a treatment for pain via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Hungry stomach hormone promotes growth of new brain cells

Some people say that fasting makes them feel mentally sharper. The hunger hormone ghrelin may be why – and it may protect against Parkinson’s disease via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Abused babies sicker and younger than those accidentally injured

Most babies severely injured by abuse present late and arrive by car at non-trauma hospital

Related items from OnMedica

New ambition to halve infant deaths by 2030 in England
Abused children unable to access mental health services
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Moderate exercise improves over-50s’ brain health

Tell over-50s to take 45-60 min aerobic and resistance exercise to improve cognition

Related items from OnMedica

Aerobic exercise benefits moderate to severe asthma
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Inside a neonatal intensive care unit

What does it take to care for the sickest premature babies? 5 live takes a look inside the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Burnley General hospital. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Exercise 'keeps the mind sharp' in over-50s, study finds

The brain is fed with more oxygen and nutrients, boosting thinking and memory skills. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

The volunteers helping ambulances to get to Syria

The BBC meets volunteers in the biggest ever convoy to transport medical vehicles from the UK to Syria. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Google’s new project will gather health data from 10,000 people

Verily’s Project Baseline is set to study the genes, microbiomes and well-being of US volunteers, but it might not cover enough people to give useful results via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Google’s new project will gather health data from 10,000 people

Verily’s Project Baseline is set to study the genes, microbiomes and well-being of US volunteers, but it might not cover enough people to give useful results via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Google’s new project will gather health data from 10,000 people

Verily’s Project Baseline is set to study the genes, microbiomes and well-being of US volunteers, but it might not cover enough people to give useful results via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Google’s new project will gather health data from 10,000 people

Verily’s Project Baseline is set to study the genes, microbiomes and well-being of US volunteers, but it might not cover enough people to give useful results via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Google’s new project will gather health data from 10,000 people

Verily’s Project Baseline is set to study the genes, microbiomes and well-being of US volunteers, but it might not cover enough people to give useful results via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Google’s new project will gather health data from 10,000 people

Verily’s Project Baseline is set to study the genes, microbiomes and well-being of US volunteers, but it might not cover enough people to give useful results via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Google’s new project will gather health data from 10,000 people

Verily’s Project Baseline is set to study the genes, microbiomes and well-being of US volunteers, but it might not cover enough people to give useful results via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Google’s new project will gather health data from 10,000 people

Verily’s Project Baseline is set to study the genes, microbiomes and well-being of US volunteers, but it might not cover enough people to give useful results via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Google’s new project will gather health data from 10,000 people

Verily’s Project Baseline is set to study the genes, microbiomes and well-being of US volunteers, but it might not cover enough people to give useful results via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Google’s new project will gather health data from 10,000 people

Verily’s Project Baseline is set to study the genes, microbiomes and well-being of US volunteers, but it might not cover enough people to give useful results via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Google’s new project will gather health data from 10,000 people

Verily’s Project Baseline is set to study the genes, microbiomes and well-being of US volunteers, but it might not cover enough people to give useful results via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Monday, 24 April 2017

Google’s new project will gather health data from 10,000 people

Verily’s Project Baseline is set to study the genes, microbiomes and well-being of US volunteers, but it might not cover enough people to give useful results via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Google’s new project will gather health data from 10,000 people

Verily’s Project Baseline is set to study the genes, microbiomes and well-being of US volunteers, but it might not cover enough people to give useful results via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Google’s new project will gather health data from 10,000 people

Verily’s Project Baseline is set to study the genes, microbiomes and well-being of US volunteers, but it might not cover enough people to give useful results via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Google’s new project will gather health data from 10,000 people

Verily’s Project Baseline is set to study the genes, microbiomes and well-being of US volunteers, but it might not cover enough people to give useful results via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg on grief: It does get better

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg speaks movingly about her grief after the sudden death of her husband. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Google’s new project will gather health data from 10,000 people

Verily’s Project Baseline is set to study the genes, microbiomes and well-being of US volunteers, but it might not cover enough people to give useful results via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Zika outbreak may have led to fewer births in Rio de Janeiro

Early figures suggest several thousand fewer babies were born in the Brazilian city than usual in the second half of 2016, but there could be several reasons why via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Targeting Alzheimer’s: New Unorthodox Approaches

Alzheimer’s disease affects an estimated 5 million individuals in the US and causes a devastating loss of cognitive function due to the buildup of beta-amyloid and tau proteins in the brain. Previous efforts to combat this disease have focused on developing drugs that target beta-amyloid, but such treatments have been unsuccessful in patients so far. Several exciting new approaches for treating Alzheimer’s are currently being tested in clinical trials in the US and Europe. These trials will assess the efficacy of an anti-viral drug that is normally used to treat herpes, and a new vaccine that generates antibodies against tau protein.

Alzheimer’s disease was first identified in 1906 and is the most common cause of dementia, responsible for an estimated 60–70 percent of dementia cases. Alzheimer’s predominantly affects the elderly, but approximately 5 percent of cases involve early-onset disease (prior to the age of 65). The predominant symptoms of Alzheimer’s are a loss of memory and other intellectual capacities, which must be severe enough to interfere with everyday functioning. Mood swings and behavioral difficulties are also predominant symptoms. As the disease progresses, motor functions can also be impacted, inhibiting the ability of patients to speak, swallow, and even walk. Affected individuals typically survive between 4–20 years beyond the time that their symptoms become noticeable to others, with an average survival time of 8 years.

Research into the causes of Alzheimer’s has revealed that two proteins, beta-amyloid and tau, play a key role in disrupting the neural processes that underlie memory and other cognitive abilities. Beta-amyloid normally acts to combat oxidative stress, regulate cholesterol transport, and fight off bacteria in the brain. In Alzheimer’s, however, beta-amyloid is overproduced. The excess protein forms clumps, or plaques, around neurons that can interfere with the transmission of nerve impulses. Tau is found in abundance in neurons and normally acts to stabilize cell proteins called microtubules in neuronal axons. In Alzheimer’s disease, defective forms of tau are produced, often containing large numbers of attached phosphate groups, termed hyperphosphorylated tau. Defective tau fails to stabilize microtubules, and instead binds together into insoluble aggregates or “tangles” of protein. The buildup of these neurofibrillary tangles inside of neurons, combined with amyloid plaques surrounding neurons, disrupts cell-to-cell communication in the brain.

Current therapies for Alzheimer’s include drugs that treat the symptoms of dementia by regulating neurotransmitter levels; however, none of these treatments directly addresses the cause of the disease. Research efforts have focused on finding a drug that can prevent the buildup of plaques by interfering with beta amyloid synthesis and aggregation. Unfortunately, despite promising preclinical data from animal studies, these drugs failed to produce results in humans or had devastating side effects. For example, one anti-beta-amyloid vaccine caused meningoencephalitis or inflammation of the brain tissue and surrounding membranes. This side effect may have resulted from the reaction of the vaccine with beta-amyloid normally present in the walls of blood vessels. Such serious side effects were cause for cessation of the trial, and researchers have subsequently turned their attention to other possible treatments.

A research team led by Hugo Lövheim from the Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Unit of Geriatric Medicine at Umeå University in Sweden is piloting the first clinical study to address the effect of a herpes virus drug on Alzheimer’s disease. Lövheim’s group previously showed that infection with herpes virus was correlated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. People who tested positive for antibodies associated with the reactivated form of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1 anti-IgM) had double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Thus, the researchers surmised that brain signaling pathways activated by the virus might trigger the disease, and conversely, that anti-viral drugs might reverse disease symptoms.

The VALZ-Pilot study is currently recruiting participants with Alzheimer’s to investigate the effects of Valaciclovir, sold by the brand name Valtrex, a drug typically prescribed to treat genital herpes, cold sores, and shingles. Thirty-six participants will receive four weeks of drug treatment. Markers in the spinal fluid will be examined to assess the effect of the drug on several Alzheimer’s disease parameters, including levels of tau protein. A subset of subjects will also undergo positive emission tomography (PET) brain imaging analysis. By using a tracer that accumulates in cells with active herpes infection, this methodology can potentially detect this infection in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

A second new approach for treating Alzheimer’s, spearheaded by Petr Novak and colleagues at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, is the generation of a vaccine that targets the tau protein. Previous vaccine treatments for Alzheimer’s, which have thus far proven unsuccessful, focused only on beta-amyloid. The new vaccine, AADvac1, will prompt the body to generate antibodies against tau. The production of anti-tau antibodies will hopefully direct the immune system to clear tau protein from inside brain cells, similar to the way it fights off viruses and bacteria.

Developing a tau vaccine wasn’t easy; tau is a protein also found in healthy brains, and thus the removal of “healthy tau” by a vaccine could have negative side effects. The researchers compared differences in the structure of the healthy and pathological tau proteins, and identified what they call the “Achilles heel” of the abnormal protein. They were then able to create a vaccine that recognizes this feature of the abnormal protein, yielding treatment specificity for the disease-causing tau.

So far the AADvac1 vaccine is in phase 1 of clinical trials, which involves administration of the drug to healthy volunteers to assess side effects, but does not address efficacy. No serious side effects have been observed thus far, and volunteers have experienced only minor reactions at the injection site, similar to other types of vaccines. The lack of side effects is a promising first step. Moreover, the trial has also demonstrated the effectiveness of the drug to elicit an immune response, which is a critical factor for its success. These promising preliminary data provide much-needed hope for Alzheimer’s patients and their families.

References

Hippius H, Neundörfer G. (2003) The discovery of Alzheimer’s disease. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 5(1):101-8. PMID: 22034141.

Marciani D. (2016) A retrospective analysis of the Alzheimer’s disease vaccine progress – The critical need for new development strategies. J Neurochem. 137(5):687-700. doi: 10.1111/jnc.13608.

Novak P, RSchmidt R, Kontsekova E, Zilka N, Kovacech B, Skrabana R, Vince-Kazmerova Z, Katina S, Fialova L, Prcina M, Parrak V, Dal-Bianco P, Brunner M, Staffen W, Rainer M, Ondrus M, Ropele S, Smisek M, Sivak R, Winblad B, Novak M. (2016) Safety and immunogenicity of the tau vaccine AADvac1 in patients with Alzheimer’s disease: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 1 trial. The Lancet Neurology. S1474-4422(16)30331-3. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(16)30331-3.

Lövheim H, Gilthorpe J, Adolfsson R, Nilsson L, Elgh F. (2014) Reactivated herpes simplex infection increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimers Dement. 11(6):593-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2014.04.522.

Image via sasint / Pixabay.

via Brain Blogger Read More Here..

Zika outbreak may have led to fewer births in Rio de Janeiro

Early figures suggest several thousand fewer babies were born in the Brazilian city than usual in the second half of 2016, but there could be several reasons why via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Timing of Lunch, Recess May Determine What Kids Eat

Study found children who ate first consumed more vegetables, while those who played first wasted less food

HealthDay news image

Source: HealthDay via Exercise for Children New Links: MedlinePlus RSS Feed Read More Here..

Your true self: When the self breaks

That seamless sense of who you are can be disturbed by many things, including illness, injury or drugs, explain Anil Ananthaswamy and Graham Lawton via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

New test identifies antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Technique uses current hospital equipment

Related items from OnMedica

Use of antimicrobial sutures saves money
Point-of-care CRP tests could save NHS millions
Antibiotic research programme launched
Patient safety alert issued on antimicrobial resistance
Point-of-care diagnostics needed to curb antimicrobial resistance
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

New laws to tackle sexual abuse introduced in Scotland

Juries to better understand victims’ responses

Related items from OnMedica

Domestic violence linked to pregnancy termination
Sexual assault found to include young age and alcohol consumption
New support to help identify domestic abuse
via OnMedica News Read More Here..

Prevent malaria - save lives: WHO push for prevention on World Malaria Day, 25th April

At an event on the eve of World Malaria Day in Nairobi, WHO called today for accelerated scale-up of efforts to prevent malaria and save lives. via WHO news Read More Here..

Three countries get first malaria vaccine

It should prevent four in 10 cases of the disease. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Brain Tumour Charity cautious about Italy mobile phone ruling

Charity urges caution after a ruling in Italy about mobile phone use and brain tumour growth. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

'The grief can damage your mental health'

Survivors say the pain of bereavement can easily push people into mental illness without proper support. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

'I've given up everything to care for mum'

Sue Jenkins says she has given up her life to care for her 88-year-old mother who has dementia. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Friday, 21 April 2017

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

The Salad Trend You Didn't Know You Needed

The Salad Trend You Didn't Know You Needed Blog Post

SPONSORED BY MARZETTI

via EatingWell Blogs - All Blog Posts More READ

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Sixteen-year-old's revolutionary heart surgery idea

A teenager on work experience came with a way for surgeons to see who has previously had surgery. via BBC News - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Should you worry about heavy phone use causing cancer?

An Italian court has ruled that heavy cellphone usage was to blame for a man’s tumour. But there is still no convincing evidence that phones raise cancer risk via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

Arkansas should halt execution spree and let its drugs expire

Regardless of your view on the death penalty, there's scant evidence to back the idea that the use of lethal injection is humane, says Anna Nowogrodzki via New Scientist - Health Read More Here..

New Developments in Treating Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease that affects more than 10 million people worldwide. The disease primarily results from selective degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta part of the brain. Its key clinical features include motor symptoms of rigidity, tremor, and bradykinesia. However, recent findings have confirmed that the disease is also characterized by its non-motor symptoms that appear before the onset of motor symptoms, strongly suggesting that Parkinson’s disease is not motor-specific.

The pre-motor phase is mainly characterized by olfactory abnormality, rapid eye movement behavior, and constipation. In addition, the patient may also experience somnolence, apathy, and fatigue.

Although the disease is not curable, currently available treatments alleviate symptoms, improve the quality of life and prolong survival. This article aims to review some of the recent developments that can make a difference to the patient’s quality of life.

Levodopa: the long-time gold standard for PD

To date, levodopa (a dopamine precursor) has been considered as the most effective drug for controlling both motor and non-motor symptoms. Hence, it is regarded as the long-time gold standard for treating PD. However, as the disease progresses (4–5 years after the onset), the ability of the drug to smooth out symptoms declines, and the patients start to experience motor fluctuations and dyskinesia, i.e., excessive involuntary abnormal movements. The motor fluctuations shift between ON-time, a state when the drug is effective and symptoms are controlled, and OFF-time, a period during which control of symptoms is lost. To overcome this limitation, levodopa is usually combined with a decarboxylase inhibitor like carbidopa to diminish rapid metabolism of levodopa in the periphery and thereby increase its availability for uptake into the brain. Recent research has further improved this add-on therapy to levodopa (i.e., levodopa/carbidopa) to provide sustained-release of levodopa and thereby improve motor fluctuations in PD patients.

New adjunct therapy to levodopa

Recently, a novel extended-release formulation of levodopa/carbidopa has been introduced in the US market with the name IPX066. This newly designed formulation features both the immediate and extended release properties of carbidopa/levodopa, thus it allows for both immediate and longer duration clinical benefits. IPX066 pills can be taken orally and are recommended for all PD patients.

In two clinical trials, the efficacy of IPX066 was tested in both early and advanced PD patients. In these patients, the administration of IPX066 significantly reduced the OFF-time and increased the ON-time without causing dyskinesia.  No serious drug-related adverse effects were reported, although some patients experienced nausea, headache, dizziness, and insomnia.

Concurrently, another novel improved formulation of levodopa is XP21279. This drug is not available on the market as it is still in the earlier phases of clinical development. The XP21279 is a levodopa prodrug that is readily absorbed in the small intestine where it is metabolized into levodopa. The levodopa then enters the plasma and transfers into the brain. The efficacy of XP21279 was tested in a clinical trial conducted on 14 PD patients with motor fluctuations. Out of 10 patients who completed the study, 6 patients showed a 30% reduction in OFF-time, whereas ON-time was not affected.

Opicapone (trade name ONgentys®) is another novel drug that is used as adjunctive therapy to levodopa/carbidopa for mitigating motor complications in patients with PD. The drug was approved by the European Commission in July 2016. This is a catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitor that acts by blocking an enzyme that metabolizes levodopa, enhancing its efficacy and thereby significantly improving motor fluctuations. Unlike other COMT inhibitors such as tolcapone and entacaopne, opicapone is not associated with liver toxicity, as confirmed by experimental studies in animals.

The use of opicapone as adjunctive therapy to levodopa was investigated in two clinical trials: i) 14- to 15-week, double-blind, multinational trial; and ii) 1-year, open-label extension study in the same patients. The results were promising. Administration of opicapone (50 mg/day) caused a significant improvement in motor fluctuations in patients during the double blind trials. The opicapone-mediated improvements in motor fluctuations were maintained in the 1-year extension study. There were few reports of dyskinesia and decreased drug effects along with other common adverse effects, such as constipation, insomnia, and dry mouth, showed no drug relationship.

Safinamide, a highly selective MAO-B inhibitor, has been newly introduced as an add-on therapy to levodopa in mid-to-late-stage PD. The efficacy of safinamide as an adjunct to levodopa was tested in clinical trials of 6 months, 8 months, and 2 years, on middle to advanced-stage PD patients with motor fluctuations. The intake of safinamide (50–100 mg daily) in these patients had drastically increased ON-time without increased dyskinesia. The beneficial effect of increased ON-time was maintained in both 18 month and 2 year extension studies. In addition, the use of safinamide in these patients improved daily living, depression, clinical status, and quality of life.

In addition to levodopa, safinamide is also used as an add-on therapy to dopaminergic agonists in early-stage PD. Administration of safinamide at a dose of 100–200 mg/day was found as an effective PD therapy in combination with dopaminergic agonists.

Although we still have no cure for Parkinson’s disease, recent developments have helped to improve symptomatic therapy, allowing patients to experience a better quality of life.

References

Finberg, P.M.j  &  JoseM.Rabey, J.M. (2016). Inhibitors of MAO-A and MAO-B in Psychiatry and Neurology. Front Pharmacol. 7:340. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2016.00340.

Timpk, J., Petersen, M.U., and Odin, P. (2016). Continuous dopaminergic stimulation-recent advances. Curr Opin Neurol. 29:474–479. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0000000000000354.

Kianirad, Y., & Simuni, T. (2016). Novel Approaches to Optimization of Levodopa Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 16: 34. doi: 10.1007/s11910-016-0635-8.

Scott, J.L. (2016). Opicapone: A Review in Parkinson’s Disease. Drugs. 76:1293–1300. doi: 10.1007/s40265-016-0623-y.

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Connection Between Brain, Depression and Effectiveness of Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a type of therapy that uses various, rather aggressive, medicines to eliminate cancer cells from the body or slow down the growth of tumors. Cancer cells are different from normal cells as they reproduce a lot faster. Chemotherapy specifically targets the fast dividing cells and thus affects cancer cells the most. However, chemotherapy is a systemic therapy and therefore can be harmful for all other cells in the body. It has the largest negative effect on normal tissues that are quickly generated (e.g., blood cells, hair follicles, and sperm cells). Despite the disadvantages, chemotherapy remains one of the most important approaches to cancer treatments.

People with the same type of cancer can react very differently to the same chemotherapy regiments. In some patients, chemotherapeutic drugs demonstrate much stronger effect on cancer cells, while in the others the tumor continues to grow unaffected.

The list of factors that influence the effectiveness and outcomes of chemotherapy is in the hundreds at least. Tumors of the same type are never exactly the same, as they might be caused by different mutations and influenced through different regulatory mechanisms and pathways. The individual sensitivity to chemotherapeutic agents can also differ widely depending on the patient’s sensitivity to drugs, and their ability to metabolize them and remove the metabolites.  Chemotherapeutic agents rarely kill all cancer cells but they can weaken the disease and thus allow the natural immune response to cleanse the body of cancer cells. However, immune system strength can vary greatly and depends on the patient’s age, general health status and presence of other chronic diseases and comorbidities. Therefore, predicting the outcome of chemotherapy is never an exact science, and practitioners only compare treatments in terms of their statistical chances of success.

Novel studies have added a new dimension to the complexity of chemotherapy: it turns out that its success is also linked to the psychological state of patient’s brain.

A few months ago at the end of 2016, researchers from Henan Cancer Hospital, Zhengzhou, China, lead by Yufeng Wu, published results that claim that depression plays an important role in the effectiveness of chemotherapy. The study was conducted on 186 patients with small cell lung cancer who underwent chemotherapeutic treatment. The mental health status of patients and their depression level were evaluated before the beginning of treatment. Patients with more severe depression had a lot more side effects associated with chemotherapy and spent more time in hospital. It was noted that patients at later stages of cancer had more severe symptoms of depression. Also, the body mass index (BMI) played an important role in depression development in cancer patients. Patients with lower BMI experienced more severe depression.

Researchers found that the level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was strongly linked with depression level. In patients with more severe depression, the level of a brain-derived neurotrophic factor was much lower than in patients with less severe depression. The results demonstrate that depression influences cancer prognosis by lowering the level of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

BDNF reduces tissue sensitivity to chemotherapy medicines. This, in turn, reduces the effect of drugs on cancer cells. Thus, the level of BDNF indirectly influences how many tumor cells are killed by chemotherapy.

BDNF is a protein that can be found in human brain and peripheral nervous tissue. BDNF is known to increase the survival of neurons and peripheral neurons in the brain and induce the differentiation of new neurons. It also helps neurons to create new connections. BDNF plays one of the most important roles in the formation of long-term memory, and therefore plays an important role in the development of some diseases and chronic conditions such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression and epilepsy.

BDNF is reduced after extended periods of severe stress associated with high cortisone levels. Lower levels of BDNF cause atrophy of parts of the brain. In case of depression, degenerative processes in the hippocampus were reported. The long-term use of depression medication does protect the hippocampus from atrophy and thus helps in the management of depression.

The reported link between depression, BDNF level, and the effectiveness of chemotherapy certainly gives scientists some food for thought and may direct further research to investigate this phenomenon. It would be interesting to see if the BDNF level in cancer patients can be elevated by using antidepressants, and if this intervention can influence the outcomes of chemotherapeutic treatments. Potentially, treatment of depression may give cancer patients a better chance in fighting the disease.

Being optimistic about health was always considered helpful in fighting various illnesses. It appears that researchers have finally uncovered the actual molecular mechanism behind the will power.  The findings point out to the importance of paying attention to the mental state of patients, as depression may seriously reduce their chances of defeating cancer.

References

Acheson, A., Conover, J.C., Fandl, J.P., DeChiara,T.M., Russell,M., et. al. (1994) A BDNF autocrine loop in adult sensory neurons prevents cell death. Nature 374, 450 – 453. doi: 10.1038/374450a0

Huang, E.J.,  Reichardt, L.F. (2001) Neurotrophins: Roles in Neuronal Development and Function. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 24: 677-736. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.24.1.677

Warner-Schmidt, J.L. and Duman, R.S. (2006) Hippocampal neurogenesis: Opposing effects of stress and antidepressant treatment. Hippocampus, 16: 239–249. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20156

Wu, Y., Si, R., Yang, S., Xia, S., He, Z., Wang, L., He, Z., Wang, Q., & Tang, H. (2016) Depression induces poor prognosis associates with the down-regulation brain derived neurotrophic factor of serum in advanced small cell lung cancer. Oncotarget, 7(52): 85975-85986. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.13291

Image via cristhianelouback0 / Pixabay.

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