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Saturday, 8 November 2014

Here’s How You Can Help Make Cannabis Oil Available To All Cancer Patients

Michelle AldrichIt’s hard to believe that multiple governments, including the United Nations still regard cannabis as an illegal drug.  Despite the fact that it has a wide range of therapeutic properties, it still faces a heavy opposition, especially in North America. Granted, we might not know for sure with absolute mainstream scientific certainty that cannabis oil, without a shadow of any doubt, kills all cancers in all humans with cancer. We don’t know this, and can’t say it for sure because there hasn’t been any (unfortunately) human clinical trials to see if it’s actually true.

The Science Behind The Claims

What we do know, on the other hand, is that multiple studies in peer reviewed scientific journals have clearly outlined  the antitumoral effects of cannabis.  For example,  a study published in the British Journal of Cancer, conducted by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Complutense University in Madrid, determined that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids inhibit tumor growth. They were responsible for the first clinical study aimed at assessing cannabinoid antitumoral action. Cannabinoid delivery was safe and was achieved with zero psychoactive effects. THC was found to decrease tumor cells in two out of the nine patients. (1)
 A study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics already acknowledged the fact that cannabinoids have been shown to possess anti-tumor properties. The study examined the effect of cannabidiol   (CBD, non psychoactive cannabinoid compound) on human glioma cell lines. The addition of cannabidiol led to a dramatic drop in the viability of glioma cells. Glioma is the word used to describe brain tumour. The study concluded that cannabidiol was able to produce significant antitumor activity.  
 A study published in the Journal Molecular Cancer showed that THC reduced tumour growth and tumour numbers. They determined that cannabinoids inhibit cancer cell proliferation, induce cancer cell apoptosis and impair tumour angiogenesis. The study provides strong evdience for the use of cannabinoid based therapies for the management of breast cancer.  
 A study published in the American Journal of Cancer determined that cannabinoid receptors are expressed in human pancreatic tumor cell lines and tumour biopsies at much higher levels than in normal pancreatic tissue. Results showed that cannabinoid administration induced apoptosis. They also reduced the growth of tumour cells, and inhibited the spreading of pancreatic tumour cells. 
 A study published by the US National Library of Medicine, conducted by Harvard Medical School investigated the role of cannabinoid receptors in lung cancer cells. They determined its effectiveness and suggested that it should be used for treatment against lung cancer cells.
 A study published by the US National Library of Medicine by the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology, from the Department of General Surgery in Germany determined that cannabinoids inhibit cancer cell invasion. Effects were confirmed in primary tumour cells from a lung cancer patient.  Overall, data indicated that cannabinoids decrease cancer cell invasiveness.
The list literally goes on and on, the truth is that there are hundreds of peer reviewed studies showing that the active constituents within cannabis play a significant role in killing cancer cells.  Again, there are hundreds of these studies, and the anti-tumoral effects of it when it comes to cancer have been known for decades. So ask yourself, if all of this has been known for such a long time, why have we not seen any human clinical trials take place?

Human Success Stories

Regardless of the lack of clinical trials regarding cannabis as a treatment, it has not stopped individuals with cancer taking this route as a form of alternative cancer treatment.
Human success stories are similar to the science behind the claims, there are many of them.
One of the best publicly known examples is Mykayla Comstock. You can check out her website here . In Mykala’s case, her cell counts affected by cannabis decreased as soon as she began cannabis treatment, from a 51 % lymphoblast count in July of 2012 all the way to 0 % in August of 2012. July 30th was the very last time they found lymphoblasts in Mykayla’s blood smear.  
A case study we wrote about examines a teenage female who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia with a Philadelphia chromosome mutation. This mutation accounts for a much more aggressive case of Leukemia.The patient underwent standard treatments of acute and aggressive chemotherapy as well as bone marrow transplants. It was found that none of these treatments were effective which led the family to explore alternatives. The alternative they chose was to treat with cannabinoids administered orally in the form of hemp oil. 
In a recent report, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the Federal government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), stated that marijuana “inhibited the survival of both estrogen receptor–positive and estrogen receptor–negative breast cancer cell lines.” The same report showed marijuana slows or stops the growth of certain lung cancer cells and suggested that marijuana may provide “risk reduction and treatment of colorectal cancer.” 
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New Protein That can Control Diabetes Discovered

A small protein that plays a big role in lowering plasma glucose and increasing insulin sensitivity and can help in controlling diabetes has been identified by scientists.


Indiana University School of Medicine researchers found that Sestrin 3 plays a critical role in regulating molecular pathways that control the production of glucose and insulin sensitivity in the liver, making it a logical target for drug development for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which can produce increased blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels and insulin resistance. 

Sestrin 3 is a member of a small family of proteins that have long been known to suppress oxidative stress and regulate normal cellular activity, thus making it an important regulator of metabolic homeostasis. 

Lead author X. Charlie Dong and his colleagues monitored blood glucose levels and liver insulin sensitivity in mice with the endogenous Sestrin 3 protein and mice genetically engineered to not produce the protein and to examine the regulatory effects of Sestrin 3, the animals were fed a diet with 18 percent of its calories from fat or a high-fat diet with 60 percent of calories from fat. 

It was found that the mice without the Sestrin 3 protein had elevated fasting blood glucose levels, indicative of impaired liver insulin sensitivity or poorly regulated glucose metabolism. Both insulin and glucose tolerance tests were significantly better in the mice with the Sestrin 3 protein, leading researchers to believe that the protein plays a critical role in hepatic insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. 

The researchers said that the findings have significant implications in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes and could prove to be useful targets for modulation of insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis and as a target for therapeutic agents to increase liver function to prevent diabetes. 

Source:The study was published online in Diabetes, the journal of the American Diabetes Association.

Brain Aging may be Delayed by High-Fat Diet

Signs of brain aging can be postponed with the help of a high-fat diet, a mice study has found.


The study headed by the Center for Healthy Aging, University of Copenhagen and the National Institute of Health found that in the long term, this opens the possibility of treatment of children suffering from premature aging and patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. 

The researchers studied mice having a defect in their DNA repair system. In humans, this defect causes the disorder Cockayne syndrome, where patients prematurely age as children and die at an age of 10-12 years. The study shows that placing a mouse model of Cockayne syndrome on a high-fat diet will postpone aging processes such as impaired hearing and weight loss. 

Professor Vilhelm Bohr said that the study is good news for children with Cockayne syndrome, because we do not currently have an effective treatment and their study suggests that a high-fat diet can postpone a ging processes. A diet high in fat also seems to postpone the aging of the brain. 

The findings therefore potentially imply that patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease in the long term may benefit from the new knowledge.
University of Copenhagen

Study Asks Do Women Have More Olfactory Neurons?

Previous research has shown that males and females differ in their perceptual evaluation of odors and that women outperform men on many kinds of smell tests.

Sex differences in olfactory detection may play a role in differentiated social behaviors and may be connected to one's perception of smell, which is naturally linked to associated experiences and emotions. Thus, women's olfactory superiority has been suggested to be cognitive or emotional, rather than perceptual. 

Previous studies investigating the biological roots of greater olfactory sensitivity in women have used imaging methods that allow gross measures of brain structures. The results of such studies have been controversial, leaving unanswered the question of whether differences in olfactory sensitivity have biological roots or whether they represent a mere by-product of social and cognitive differences between genders. 

The isotropic fractionator, a fast and reliable technique previously developed by a group of researchers at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, measures the absolute number of cells in a given brain structure such as the olfactory bulb, which is the first brain region to receive olfactory information captured by the nostrils. 

Using this technique, a group of researchers led by Prof. Roberto Lent from the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the National Institute of Translational Neuroscience, Ministry of Science and Technology in Brazil, has finally found biological evidence in the brains of men and women that may explain the olfactory difference between genders. 

The group examined post-mortem brains from seven men and 11 women who were all over the age of 55 at the time of death. All individuals were neurologically healthy and none worked in professions requiring exceptional olfactory abilities, such as coffee-tasting or professional cooking. By calculating the number of cells in the olfactory bulbs of these individuals, the group (that also included researchers from the University of São Paulo, the University of California, San Francisco, and the Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo) discovered that women have on average 43% more cells than men in this brain structure. Counting neurons specifically, the difference reached almost 50% more in women than men. 

The question remains whether this higher cell number accounts for the differences in olfactory sensitivity between sexes. "Generally speaking, says Prof. Lent, larger brains with larger numbers of neurons correlate with the functional complexity provided by these brains. Thus, it makes sense to think that more neurons in the female olfactory bulbs would provide women with higher olfactory sensitivity". 

The fact that few cells are added to our brains throughout life suggests that women are already born with these extra cells. But why do women's brains have this pre-wired ability? What mechanisms are responsible for this higher number of cells in their olfactory bulbs? Some believe this olfactory ability is essential for reproductive behaviors such as pair bonding and kin recognition. 

If this holds true, then superior olfactory ability is an essential trait that has been inherited and then maintained throughout evolution, an idea expressed by Romanian playwright Eugene Ionesco when he said "a nose that can see is worth two that sniff". 
Source:Institute of Biomedical Sciences at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the National Institute of Translational Neuroscience, Ministry of Science and Technology in Brazil

Indian Children Struggling With Asthma and Allergies Due to Indoor Pollution

 Indian Children Struggling With Asthma and Allergies Due to Indoor Pollution
A new study presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting in Atlanta has found that exposure to second hand smoke inside the homes increases the risk of asthma and allergic rhinitis (hay fever) among children.

The study was led by Indian American member of ACAAI, Raj Kumar who observed 140 households, 70 of which had no children with symptoms of asthma and/or hay fever while the remaining 70 had at least one child with the symptoms. 

On examining the levels of air pollutants inside the house caused by smoking, kerosene and biomass fuel combustion, the researchers found that those households that had children with asthma symptoms had higher levels of air pollution compared to those households with children who did not display any such symptoms. The study has been published in the journal Cell. 


Thursday, 6 November 2014

Patent office issues final Guidelines for examination of patent applications in pharmaceuticals

After several rounds of discussions with the stakeholders, the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM) has finally issued the “Guidelines for examination of patent applications in the field of pharmaceuticals”, which are aimed to standardise and bring about uniformity in the examination of pharmaceutical patent applications in the country.

The guidelines are supplemental to the practices and procedures followed by the Patent Office as published in the ‘Manual of Patent Office Practice and Procedure’, “Guidelines For Examination of Biotechnology Applications” and the “Guidelines For Processing of Patent Applications Relating to Traditional Knowledge and Biological Material”.

The present guidelines are prepared with the objective that the Guidelines will help the Examiners and the Controllers of the Patent Office in achieving consistently uniform standards of patent examination and grant.   In case of any conflict between these Guidelines and the Patents Act, 1970 and the Rules made thereunder, the provisions of the Act and Rules will prevail.

On the controversial issue of Section 3 (d) of Indian Patent Act, the guidelines state that it is not patentable “the mere discovery of a new form of a known substance which does not result in the enhancement of the known efficacy of that substance or the mere discovery of any new property or new use for a known substance or of the mere use of a known process, machine or apparatus unless such known process results in a new product or employs at least one new reactant”.

It further explains that for the purposes of this clause, salts, esters, ethers, polymorphs, metabolites, pure form, particle size, isomers, mixtures of isomers, complexes, combinations and other derivatives of known substance shall be considered to be the same substance, unless they differ significantly in properties with regard to efficacy.

As per the guidelines, an invention the primary or intended use or commercial exploitation of which could be contrary to public order or morality or which causes serious prejudice to human, animal or plant life or health or to the environment is not patentable. Further, the mere discovery of a scientific principle or the formulation of an abstract theory or discovery of any living thing or non-living substance occurring in nature is also not patentable as per the guidelines.

The guidelines further states that a substance obtained by a mere admixture resulting only in the aggregation of the properties of the components thereof or a process for producing such substance is also not patentable. Any process for the medicinal, surgical, curative, prophylactic, diagnostic, therapeutic or other treatment of human beings or any process  for a similar treatment of animals to render them free of disease or to increase their economic value or that of their products is not patentable as per the guidelines.

Breast Cancer Survivors Could Benefit from Exercise Therapy and Acupuncture

Two new studies offer hope for breast cancer survivors struggling with cancer-related pain and swelling, and point ways to enhance muscular strength and body image.


The studies, from the Abramson Cancer Center and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, appear in a first of its kind monograph from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Monographs focus on integrative oncology, combining a variety of therapies, some non-traditional, for maximum benefit to cancer patients.

In the first study, A Hybrid Effectiveness-Implementation Trial of an Evidence-Based Exercise Intervention for Breast Cancer Survivors, Penn researchers assessed patients participating in "Strength after Breast Cancer," a Penn Medicine-developed, evidence-based exercise and education program for breast cancer survivors. The study was intended to investigate the ease and effectiveness of transporting a research-based treatment into a practice setting. The primary goal of the study was to demonstrate program effectiveness for patients after transition from research to a practice setting. The secondary goal was to understand the implementation process and identify barriers to implementation. 

Building upon the team's previous research, results of the new study show several benefits of exercise for participants, including reduced symptoms of lymphedema - a swelling condition in the upper body after breast cancer treatment that can be caused by the removal of or damage to the body's lymph nodes. Results also showed a lower proportion of women with lymphedema onset (eight percent) or the need for therapist-delivered treatment (19 percent), improvements in upper and lower body strength (13 and 9 percent, respectively), and improvements in body image (16 percent). There were no adverse effects noted for the intervention. 

The second aim of the study allowed the team to take the research into a new direction. Led by first author, Rinad Beidas, PhD, assistant professor of Psychiatry, the team sought to identify barriers to implementation of the program. The researchers were able to identify a number of factors that potentially hindered the implementation process, including: intervention characteristics, payment, eligibility criteria, the referral process, the need for champions, and the need to adapt during implementation of the intervention. 

"The results of this study are exciting because they demonstrate that an evidence-based exercise and education program for breast cancer survivors can be translated to a new setting while still remaining effective and safe" says Beidas. "Importantly, we were also able to identify the types of barriers that should be addressed when taking this program to scale, which provides important information translating research into practice, which historically has taken up to 17 years." 

Strength after Breast Cancer was developed by the study's senior author Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH, professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and a member of the Abramson Cancer Center, based on a 2011 study showing that contrary to what was previously believed, exercise and weightlifting can be extremely beneficial for breast cancer survivors. Administered by physical therapists, Strength after Breast Cancer includes group based exercise classes, and an exercise program for patients to continue at home or a gym. 

The program is now available at a broad variety of venues across the Delaware Valley region and beyond. Schmitz also plans to develop an online training course for physical therapists to be able to make the Strength after Breast Cancer program available to survivors across the United States. 

In the second study, Expectancy in Real and Sham Electroacupuncture: Does Believing Make It So? researchers at Penn Medicine and other institutions found that electro-acupuncture ("real" acupuncture) helped reduce joint pain by as much as 40 percent in women with breast cancer, whether the patient expected it to work or not. The study also found that "sham" acupuncture - which involves nonpenetrative needles and no electrical stimulation - provided pain reduction as high as 80 percent if patients had a high degree of expectation that it would work. The study results provide important implications for future treatment of breast cancer patients with joint pain. 

"Our study is the first to provide evidence that expectancy has no effect on whether real acupuncture works or not, but that high expectancy does appear to have a positive effect on patients who receive sham acupuncture," said the study's senior author Jun J. Mao, MD MSCE, an associate professor of Family Medicine and Community Health and director of the Abramson Cancer Center's integrative oncology program, who served as editor of the special monograph. "This issue extends beyond acupuncture and is important to all trials involving pain management that use placebos, such as drugs, procedures, and natural products." 

The findings are the result of an investigation that sought to evaluate the relationship between response expectancy and treatment outcome for joint stiffness or joint pain in real and sham acupuncture among 41 breast cancer patients; a control group received neither intervention. Joint stiffness and joint pain are side effects of aromatase inhibitor, a hormonal therapy used to help treat breast cancer. 

In addition, patients who reported pain relief had increased expectancy that it would continue to work over the course of their acupuncture treatment as compared with nonresponders, suggesting that positive responses during the process of real acupuncture increased the expectations of further positive outcomes -- what the authors call a "bottom-up" result. 

"These findings certainly challenge the notion held by some that acupuncture is 'all placebo,'" said the study's lead author Joshua Bauml, MD, an assistant professor of Medicine in the Abramson Cancer Center. "If it were 'all placebo,' patients receiving real acupuncture who had low expectations that it would work would report little or no reductions in pain. But that's not the case." 

Sham acupuncture only produced clinically important pain reduction for those with high onset expectancy. But patients with the highest expectation that it would work reported as much as 80 percent reductions in pain - twice the rate of patients receiving real acupuncture. (The authors call this a "top-down" result.) Sham acupuncture patients with low baseline expectancy scores did not report any significant pain reduction. 

The strong response seen in patients with high expectancy for sham acupuncture raises the question of whether such patients could benefit from the nonpenetrative use of needles without electro-stimulation.

Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Drink Lots of Water to Prevent Kidney Stones

 Drink Lots of Water to Prevent Kidney StonesPeople who face problem of kidney stones should drink lots of water to prevent further stone formation, says guidelines from the American College of Physicians.

Water intake should be so much that people are able to produce 2 litres of urine daily.


Kidney stones are formed when urine contains so much of a kind of chemicals that they turn into solids and when urine lacks enough natural stone-preventing substances to stop solids from forming. About 80 per cent of kidney stone is calcium. 

It gets harder for the stones to form when plenty of water passes through the body. But sodas comprising phosphoric acid, which is mainly found in colas, increases the chance of second kidney stones.

According to Dr David Fleming, President of the American College of Physicians, when the amount of fluids a person takes is high, the chance of kidney stone formation reduces by as much as 50 per cent. Increasing the amount of water intake poses no side effects and it is also very safe.

Water acts as the natural flush of the body for the stone to pass. Soda, fatty red meats and fast food can promote kidney stone formation.

Men face higher chance of kidney stone formation compared with women. In the United States, about 13 per cent of men and 7 per cent of women will get a kidney stone at some point in their lives. People who already had one kidney stone have chances of getting it again later.

Certain steps to prevent stone formation include eating calcium-rich foods, decreasing sodium (salt) in the diet, checking the amount of animal protein and stone-forming foods such as beets, chocolate, spinach, rhubarb, tea and most nuts, which are rich in oxalate. 
American College of Physician

Migration Negation :Blocking a receptor may combat cancer metastasis

Like a transformer surge that makes birds on a wire take flight, new research has found that the receptor Frizzled-2 can induce cancer cells to migrate. Image: O'Reilly Science Art
Most cancer deaths occur because of metastasis, yet progress in preventing and treating migratory cancer cells has been slow.
“It’s been particularly challenging to design drugs that work against metastasis,” said Taran Gujral, research fellow in systems biology at Harvard Medical School. “Unfortunately, many cancers aren’t detected until after they’ve already metastasized.”
Gujral and colleagues have now identified a cellular culprit that should help researchers better understand how metastasis begins. Their findings may also inform the design of new treatments to combat it.
As reported Nov. 6 in Cell, the team discovered that an overabundance of a cell receptor called Frizzled-2, along with its activator, Wnt5, appears to raise a tumor’s likelihood of metastasizing by triggering a process known as the epithelial-mesenchymal transition, or EMT.
EMT normally plays a role in human development, allowing certain cells to become mobile and invasive so they can move around and form new structures in the growing embryo. Previous studies have linked EMT to cancer metastasis, where tumor cells acquire those properties to disastrous effect. The question has been: How exactly does that happen?
“This study makes big headway on an extremely important medical problem: what makes one type of tumor metastasize and another type not,” said Marc Kirschner, John Franklin Enders University Professor of Systems Biology at HMS, chair of the Department of Systems Biology and co-senior author of the paper.  
“On a basic biology level, it also reports the unexpected discovery of a brand-new cell signaling pathway,” Kirschner added.
After learning the importance of Frizzled-2, the researchers developed an antibody to block it. The antibody curbed metastasis in mice with certain types of tumors.
The researchers are now pursuing further studies of the antibody with the hope that it can one day be turned into a metastasis-fighting drug.
“Discovering that Frizzled-2 and Wnt5 play a causal role in EMT and metastasis is directly actionable,” said co-senior author Gavin MacBeath, lecturer in systems biology at HMS and senior vice president at Merrimack Pharmaceuticals.
“Frizzled-2 provides a promising new therapeutic target to prevent or delay metastasis, and both Frizzled-2 and Wnt5 are potential biomarkers that can be used to identify which patients are most at risk of metastasis and could benefit from Frizzled-2-directed therapy,” MacBeath said.
The study also illuminates an important biological process and may contribute to better predictions of metastasis likelihood and patient survival.
Researchers had known that cell signaling pathways activated by the Wnt (“wint”) protein family influence EMT, but they weren’t sure how. First author Gujral and his colleagues examined various Wnt signals, and the Frizzled family of receptors they bind to, in many cancer cell lines.
They found that Wnt5 and its receptor, Frizzled-2, were present at higher than normal levels in metastatic liver, breast, lung and colon cancer cell lines. In tissue samples from 48 cancer patients, Frizzled-2 was higher in late-stage cancers than in early-stage cancers. And patients with late-stage liver cancer who had high levels of Frizzled-2 had lower survival rates.
The team then painstakingly pieced together the players linking Wnt5 with the onset of metastatic behavior and discovered a previously unknown Wnt pathway. Frizzled-2, it turned out, could activate STAT3, which is known to drive cancer through EMT.
In addition to exploring Frizzled-2 as a new drug target, a potential biomarker for metastasis and a possible addition to the factors that predict patient survival, next steps include nailing down other pathway players to gain a full understanding of EMT in cancer and beyond.
“Although it will take time to determine whether this discovery can be translated into a novel therapeutic option for patients, I am very excited about the potential,” said MacBeath. “Significant advances in combating cancer must come from new approaches, and developing precision therapeutics that prevent metastasis provides a promising and different way to fight this devastating disease.”

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Drinking and poor academics affect the future of children with behavioral disorders

Childhood behavioral conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and conduct disorder are linked with an increased risk of being convicted of a felony later in life, with heavy drinking and educational failure contributing to this link.
The findings, which come from an analysis of 4,644 men, suggest that substance use and educational disengagement in adolescence operate as stepping stones toward adult criminality among behaviorally disordered children.
"We think the findings are important because they suggest potential avenues for preventing antisocial children from becoming life-course persistent offenders," said Dr. Jukka Savolainen, lead author of the Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health study.

Genetic damage caused by asthma shows up in circulating blood stream, too

UCLA study finds disease harms more than just the lungs, may be more dangerous than previously thought

Asthma may be more harmful than was previously thought, according to UCLA researchers who found that genetic damage is present in circulating, or peripheral, blood. Doctors previously thought that the genetic damage it caused was limited to the lungs.
In the study, researchers looked for the overexpression of a cytokine called interleukin 13 (IL-13), which is known to mediate inflammation, a critical problem for people with asthma.
The study, which was conducted in an animal model that mimicked human asthma, was the first to assess the role of IL-13 in genetic damage to cells, or genotoxicity, said its senior author, Robert Schiestl, a professor of pathology and radiation oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
"Asthma is a very widespread disease, and we show for the first time an association between asthma and genotoxicity in peripheral blood," said Schiestl, who also is a professor of environmental health sciences at the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA. "This is important because it shows a whole-body effect from asthma, not just damage in the lungs."
The findings were published today in the peer-reviewed journal Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis.
Schiestl said it appears that IL-13 increases important elements of the inflammatory response, including reactive oxygen species molecules — ions or very small molecules that include free radicals. His research team found that ROS-derived oxidative stress induced genetic damage with four types of systemic effects in the peripheral blood:

  • Oxidative DNA damage.
  • Single and double DNA strand breaks.
  • Micronucleus formation.
  • Protein damage.
Schiestl said all four effects causes the chromosomes to become unstable, which could result in a variety of other diseases.
"We found four different markers of DNA damage and one marker of protein damage in blood cells in the body periphery, which was very surprising," Schiestl said. "This could indicate that other organs in asthmatics have a higher risk of developing disease."
Schiestl and his team will next attempt to use chemicals that help repair the DNA of damaged cells. Their goal is to determine whether doing so can make asthma less damaging by reducing genetic instability in the peripheral blood supply.
Asthma, a chronic disease that inflames and narrows the airways of the lungs, affects more than 150 million individuals worldwide. It causes recurring periods of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing, and the symptoms can worsen at any time, making breathing difficult. There is no cure.

Asthma affects people of all ages, but it most often starts during childhood. More than 25 million Americans are known to have the disease, including about 7 million children. There are two types of asthma, allergic and non-allergic asthma, which account for 70 and 30 percent of cases respectively. Non-allergic asthmatics experience more severe and more frequent symptoms.
Source:journal Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis.

How cells defend themselves against antibiotics and cytostatic agents

Structure of the ABC transporter, elucidated thanks to pioneering structure analysis/Publication in Nature

"On the one hand, ABC transporters causes diseases such as cystic fibrosis, while on the other hand they are responsible for the immune system recognising infected cells or cancer cells," explains Professor Robert Tampé from the Institute for Biochemistry at the Goethe University. The considerable medical, industrial and economic significance of ABC transporters is also based on the fact that they cause bacteria and other pathogens to become resistant to antibiotics. Likewise, they can help cancer cells to defend themselves against cytostatic agents and thus determine whether chemotherapy will succeed.
For the first time, the group led by Robert Tampé, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of California in San Francisco, succeeded in determining the structure of an asymmetrical ABC transporter complex with the aid of a high-resolution cryo-electron microscope. "Over a period of five years, we have successfully implemented a number of innovative, methodological developments. These have enabled us to gain insights that previously were unimaginable," says Tampé.
The researchers report in the current issue of the renowned scientific journal,Nature that they have succeeded in investigating a single frozen ABC transport complex at a subnanometer resolution that has never before been achieved. For this purpose, they used a newly developed single electron camera, new imaging processes and specific antibody fragments in order to determine the structure and conformation of the dynamic transport machine.
"The combination of physical, biotechnological, biochemical and structural biological methods has led to a quantum leap in the elucidation of the structure of macromolecular complexes," says Tampé. The method facilitates the targeted development of a trend-setting therapeutic approach.

The inside story: How the brain and skull stay together

University of Miami researchers discover a network of tissue communication that ensures that the brain and spinal cord are matched with the skull and spinal column, during embryonic development

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 4, 2014) — Think about the way our bodies are assembled during early development and ask: How do neighboring cells know that they are supposed to become a nerve or a bone cell and how do these tissues find the correct place and alignment? Researchers at the University of Miami (UM) are answering these crucial questions.
In a new study, UM researchers describe the signaling systems that tissues use to communicate with their surrounding neighbors, at the head-trunk region. Their discovery may have important implications for the treatment of congenital defects like Spina Bifida and Chiari malformations.
"Our work describes a network of tissue communication events that ensure that the brain stays in the skull and the spinal cord in the spinal column," said Isaac Skromne, assistant professor of Biology in the UM College of Arts and Sciences and principal investigator of the study.
The findings are published in the November issue of the journal Development in a study entitled "Retinoic acid regulates size, pattern and alignment of tissues at the head-trunk transition."
The current study reports two major findings. First, it reveals that cells at the head-trunk junction communicate with each other not only to convey information on the type of tissue they will become, but also their location. Second, the study finds that signaling the identity and location of the tissues are separate events.
Previous work focused on understanding how tissues acquire their identity, without taking into consideration neighboring tissues.
"That is like knowing the size of each plot of land in a city block, without knowing the addresses," Skromne said. "Now we know the addresses as well, and we show that each plot can take different addresses, potentially changing their relationship to the neighboring plots."
For the study, the researchers analyzed zebrafish embryos, knowing that the findings about the development of this organism would be applicable to other vertebrates, said Keun Lee, first author of the paper and a medical student at the UM Miller School of Medicine. Lee carried out the study when he was an undergraduate student working in Dr. Skromne's lab.
"We were hoping to understand the earliest mechanism of organizing nerve and bone-forming tissues in zebrafish embryos, because neuroskeletal malformation in newborn babies could severely compromise function," Lee said. "Knowing the mechanism of the malformation in the zebrafish model would help develop interventions to prevent those defects in humans."
The findings show that the coordination of brain and nerve tissue at the head-trunk transition in the zebrafish depends on two activities of a signaling molecule called retinoic acid. One activity specifies the size and the other the axial position of the hindbrain territory. In the future, the researchers would like to gain understanding of the type of information these signals carry.
"Now that we have the big picture of how the tissues are coordinated to form the neuroskeletal system at the head-trunk transition, we would like to know how tissue-specific genes are regulated," Lee said.

The researchers hope that their findings will lead to the development of therapies that target these signaling networks, to prevent abnormalities on the head-trunk junction.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Study shows clear new evidence for mind-body connection

Impact of meditation, support groups seen at cellular level in breast cancer survivors

For the first time, researchers have shown that practising mindfulness meditation or being involved in a support group has a positive physical impact at the cellular level in breast cancer survivors.
A group working out of Alberta Health Services' Tom Baker Cancer Centre and the University of Calgary Department of Oncology has demonstrated that telomeres – protein complexes at the end of chromosomes – maintain their length in breast cancer survivors who practise meditation or are involved in support groups, while they shorten in a comparison group without any intervention.
Although the disease-regulating properties of telomeres aren't fully understood, shortened telomeres are associated with several disease states, as well as cell aging, while longer telomeres are thought to be protective against disease.
"We already know that psychosocial interventions like mindfulness meditation will help you feel better mentally, but now for the first time we have evidence that they can also influence key aspects of your biology," says Dr. Linda E. Carlson, PhD, principal investigator and director of research in the Psychosocial Resources Department at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre.
"It was surprising that we could see any difference in telomere length at all over the three-month period studied," says Dr. Carlson, who is also a U of C professor in the Faculty of Arts and the Cumming School of Medicine, and a member of the Southern Alberta Cancer Institute. "Further research is needed to better quantify these potential health benefits, but this is an exciting discovery that provides encouraging news."
The study was published online today in the journal Cancer. It can be found at:
A total of 88 breast cancer survivors who had completed their treatments for at least three months were involved for the duration of the study. The average age was 55 and most participants had ended treatment two years prior. To be eligible, they also had to be experiencing significant levels of emotional distress.
In the Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery group, participants attended eight weekly, 90-minute group sessions that provided instruction on mindfulness meditation and gentle Hatha yoga, with the goal of cultivating non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. Participants were also asked to practise meditation and yoga at home for 45 minutes daily.
In the Supportive Expressive Therapy group, participants met for 90 minutes weekly for 12 weeks and were encouraged to talk openly about their concerns and their feelings. The objectives were to build mutual support and to guide women in expressing a wide range of both difficult and positive emotions, rather than suppressing or repressing them.
The participants randomly placed in the control group attended one, six-hour stress management seminar.
All study participants had their blood analysed and telomere length measured before and after the interventions.
Scientists have shown a short-term effect of these interventions on telomere length compared to a control group, but it's not known if the effects are lasting. Dr. Carlson says another avenue for further research is to see if the psychosocial interventions have a positive impact beyond the three months of the study period.
Allison McPherson was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. When she joined the study, she was placed in the mindfulness-based cancer recovery group. Today, she says that experience has been life-changing.
"I was skeptical at first and thought it was a bunch of hocus-pocus," says McPherson, who underwent a full year of chemotherapy and numerous surgeries. "But I now practise mindfulness throughout the day and it's reminded me to become less reactive and kinder toward myself and others."
Study participant Deanne David was also placed in the mindfulness group.
"Being part of this made a huge difference to me," she says. "I think people involved in their own cancer journey would benefit from learning more about mindfulness and connecting with others who are going through the same things."

New Treatment for Diabetes Announced

Dragon Jade International Limited has announced new Chinese herbal formula that has clinically been proven to treat diabetes. The Company is pleased to announce today that it has recently accredited and accepted another. Specifically, the new product has successfully lowered the AC-glucose level and HbA1C of diabetes patients.  Consumption of the herbal medicine has demonstrated significant health improvements in patients with Diabetes Mellitus.  Diabetes Mellitus is an autoimmune disease that permanently destroys beta cells in the pancreas, meaning that the body can no longer produce insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food.  Lack of insulin production by the pancreas makes diabetes a particularly difficult medical condition to treat.  Scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved in its cause.  Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle.  
 New Treatment for Diabetes Announced
Diabetes Mellitus is a serious problem in most of developed and developing countries.  Three hundred and forty seven million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, in 2010 an estimated 3.4 million people died from consequences of fasting high blood sugar.  The World Health Organization projects the diabetes growth rates for 2000-2030 for the key geographic areas are: US (102%), Europe (43%), Asia Pacific (130%) and Africa/Middle East (162%).  In 2012, the total sales of worldwide diabetes medicine were nearly 35 billion US dollars.  Standard and Poor's estimated that the total sales would be more than 58 billion US dollars in 2018.  

The Company intends to manufacture and distribute the herbal diabetes medicine in tablet form.  It is expected that this naturopathic product will significantly benefit diabetes patients all over the world.  It will be another important addition to the Company's ever-growing product line of natural healing products.  

Dr. Yat Man, Lai, C.E.O. of Dragon Jade International Limited said, "Developing Chinese Medicine for Diabetic Mellitus has provided us with extremely favorable access to diabetes market which we have deemed as a key element of our overall strategy for growth.  There are many other components to our strategic aims, but this product sets the stage for our immediate development program and can greatly aid in positioning our company at the forefront of dietary supplement sector."  
 Source:Dragon Jade International Limited


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