Archive for the ‘health’ Category

‘Supermouse’ bred to beat cancer

November 28, 2007

MouseMice carrying a gene which appears to make them invulnerable to cancer may hold the key to safer and more effective treatments for humans.

The new breed, created with a more active “Par-4” gene, did not develop tumours, and even lived longer, said the journal Cancer Research.

University of Kentucky researchers said a human cancer treatment was possible.  Cancer Research UK said that more research would be needed to prove it didn’t just work in mice.

Par-4 was originally discovered in the early 1990s working inside human prostate cancers, and is believed to have a role in “programmed cell death”, the body’s own system for rooting out and destroying damaged or faulty cells.

Source:  BBC News

Sense of touch restored for woman with bionic arm

November 27, 2007

Claudia Mitchell demonstrates the functionality of her 'thought-controlled bionic arm' during a news conference in Washington DC

A woman with an artificial arm has been given the sense of touch following a pioneering operation to reroute some of her nerves. Claudia Mitchell, 27, lost her left arm in a motorcycle accident three years ago, but can now feel her missing hand after having nerves from her lost limb rerouted to her chest.

Now, when she touches something with her artificial hand she can feel it through a device attached to her chest.

During a four-hour operation, surgeons moved nerves from her shoulder, which normally ferry signals from the hand to the brain, and redirected them to muscles in her chest area.

Four months after surgery, a patch of skin on her chest was able to feel touch, temperature and pain sensations as if they were coming from different parts of her hand and wrist.

Source:  Guardian

Kit to spot serious illness early may be just 10 years away

November 14, 2007

Coloured MRI scans through a human head showing a healthy brain

A home testing kit that spots early signs of disease anywhere in the body could be available within 10 years, according to a leading scientist.

The simple blood test is being developed to allow people to screen themselves for life-threatening diseases, including a variety of cancers and dementias, before they develop any symptoms.

In many cases, a quick diagnosis significantly improves a patient’s chances of recovering from an illness.

The test is expected to be the first major advance to emerge from a new field of biology called “proteomic fingerprinting”, which promises tests that can assess the health of each organ in the body one by one.

“In 10 years’ time, we envisage having a simple test you could do two to three times a year, which uses a prick of blood to check the health of each organ in the body,” said Dr Leroy Hood, who is leading the research at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle. However, some experts believe the technology will also introduce new ethical issues for GPs and patients.

Source:  Guardian

Human race will ‘split into two different species’

October 26, 2007

The human race will one day split into two separate species, an attractive, intelligent ruling elite and an underclass of dim-witted, ugly goblin-like creatures, according to a top scientist.

100,000 years into the future, sexual selection will mean that two distinct breeds of human will have developed.

The alarming prediction comes from evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry from the London School of Economics, who says that the human race will have reached its physical peak by the year 3000.

These humans will be between 6ft and 7ft tall and they will live up to 120 years. Men will have symmetrical facial features, deeper voices and bigger penises.

Women will all have glossy hair, smooth hairless skin, large eyes and pert breasts, according to Curry in a report for men’s satellite TV channel Bravo.

Racial differences will be a thing of the past as interbreeding produces a single coffee-coloured skin tone.

Full article:  Daily Mail

Biotech foods are still hard to swallow

October 22, 2007

OPPONENTS call them Frankenfoods, man-made aberrations that should be banished from our grocery stores or at least clearly labeled so consumers know what they’re eating.

Supporters have long cast genetically modified foods in a different light: as answers to human problems. They would, the dream went, make crops that didn’t rot, spoil or succumb to frost. They would boost harvests, feed the hungry and fortify the malnourished.

Several decades later, very few of those goals have been realized. Yet today, largely unbeknownst to most consumers, more than 70% of processed foods on grocery store shelves contain genetically engineered or biotech ingredients.

Biotech companies and public sector labs are working on the next wave of products, including hypoallergenic, heart-healthy, and vitamin-, nutrient- and even pharmaceutical-packed varieties of engineered crops. But this next wave faces significant challenges.

Source:  Los Angeles Times

Blood Vessels Grown From Patient’s Skin

October 9, 2007

From a snippet of a patient’s skin, researchers have grown blood vessels in a laboratory and then implanted them to restore blood flow around the patient’s damaged arteries and veins.

It is the first time blood vessels created entirely from a patient’s own tissues have been used for this purpose, the researchers report in the current issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

Cytograft Tissue Engineering of Novato, Calif., made the vessels, in a process that takes six to nine months.

Because they are derived from patients’ own cells, they eliminate the need for antirejection drugs. And because they are devoid of any synthetic materials or a scaffolding, they avoid complications from inflammatory reactions.

Source:  New York Times

Cancer treatment to be based on your genes

September 26, 2007

The treatment that more cancer patients receive may one day depend on their genes.

With an increasing number of biological clues available, doctors hope they will be able to customize more patients’ treatments based on their genetic profiles.

In research presented at a meeting of the European Cancer Organization in Barcelona, experts said this week that these clues will help doctors determine not only which patients will probably develop cancer, but even those who will relapse, or be suitable for specific treatments.

“We are going to witness a revolution in cancer treatment,” said Dr. Martine Piccart, head of medicine at the Institut Jules Bordet in Belgium. “In a few years, we will be able to fully demonstrate how powerful these new technologies are.”

Source:  Breitbart

Clinics to grow human eggs

September 22, 2007

A major advance in fertility treatment is signalled today as doctors unveil details of a technique that will allow human eggs to be grown in the laboratory from ovarian tissue samples.

The procedure, which is being pioneered by two British fertility clinics, involves taking a piece of ovary tissue from a woman and “banking” it in a laboratory until she is ready to start a family.

It would allow career women, or those waiting to meet the right partner, to delay motherhood for years.

It could also eliminate many of the health risks associated with IVF treatment. It is expected to be offered to patients within five years.

Source:  Telegraph

Printer technology may let tiny needles deliver drugs

September 13, 2007

The same technology that Hewlett-Packard printers use to squirt ink soon could be administering drugs to patients through thousands of tiny needles embedded in a skin patch.

And just like a cartridge that can fire different colors, this new smart patch would be able to deliver several medications – at various doses and times, according to a person’s needs.

Today, the world’s largest personal computer and printer manufacturer plans to announce a licensing agreement with an Irish company to develop the drug delivery system, which could be ready as soon as 2010.

Source:  San Francisco Chronicle

Hope for new Parkinson’s therapy

July 14, 2007

BrainScientists have discovered a protein which may help to slow, or even reverse symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s destroys nerve cells that produce the brain chemical dopamine, causing movement and balance problems.

Finnish researchers found the new molecule can prevent degeneration of these cells – and help damaged cells start to recover.

Their paper, featured in Nature, showed symptoms eased in rats given injections of the protein.

Source:  BBC News