Monday, August 30, 2010


Scientists have identified the first-ever genetic risk factor associated with common types of migraine, a finding they claim may soon pave the way for novel therapies to prevent the debilitating pain attacks.

An international team looked at the genetic data of over 50,000 people and found that patients with a particular DNA variant on Chromosome 8 between two genes -- PGCP and MTDH /AEG-1 -- have a greater risk for developing migraine.

The scientists also discovered a potential explanation for this link -- the associated DNA variant regulates levels of glutamatem a chemical, known as a neurotransmitter, which transports messages between nerve cells in the brain.

The results suggest that an accumulation of glutamate in nerve cell junctions (synapses) in the brain may play a key role in the initiation of migraine attacks, according to the 'Health and Medicine' journal.

Dr Aarno Palotie of Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, which spearheaded the study, said: "This is the first time we have been able to peer into the genomes of many thousands of people and find genetic clues to understand common migraine.

"Studies of this kind are possible only through largescale international collaboration -- bringing together the wealth of data with the right expertise and resources -- so that we could pick out this genetic variant. This discovery opens new doors to understand common diseases."

The team compared the genomes of more than 3000 people from Finland, Germany and The Netherlands with migraine with the genomes of more than 10,000 non-migraineurs, recruited from pre-existing studies, to spot differences that might account for one group's increased susceptibility to migraine.

The statistical analysis revealed that a DNA variation found between the PGCP and MTDH/AEG-1 genes on chromosome 8 appears to be associated with increased susceptibility to common migraine.

The variant appears to alter the activity of MTDH/AEG-1 in cells, which regulates the activity of the EAAT2 gene: the EAAT2 protein is responsible for clearing glutamate from brain synapses in the brain, say the scientists.

"Although we knew that the EAAT2 gene has a crucial role to play in neurological processes in human and potentially in the development of migraine, until now, no genetic link has been identified to suggest that glutamate accumulation in brain could play a role in common migraine.

"This research opens the door for new studies to look in depth at the biology of the disease and how this alteration in particular may exert its effect," said co-author Christian Kubisch of Ulm University.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Astronaut's muscle waste in space!!!!!

A study — the first cellular analysis of the effects of long duration space flight on human muscle — took calf biopsies of nine astronauts and cosmonauts before and immediately following 180 days on the International Space Station (ISS).

The findings show substantial loss of fibre mass, force and power in this muscle group. Unfortunately starting the journey in better physical condition did not help. Ironically, one of the study's findings was that crew members who began with the biggest muscles also showed the greatest decline.

Astronaut muscles waste away on long space flights reducing their capacity for physical work by more than 40 per cent, according to the research published online in the Journal of Physiology.

This is the equivalent of a 30- to 50-year-old crew member's muscles deteriorating to that of an 80-year-old. The destructive effects of extended weightlessness to skeletal muscle — despite in-flight exercise — pose a significant safety risk for future manned missions to Mars and elsewhere in the Universe.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


A concerned husband went to a doctor to talk about his wife. "Doctor, I think my wife is deaf because she never hears me the first time and always asks me to repeat things."

"Well," the doctor replied, "go home and tonight stand about 15 feet from her and say something to her. If she doesn't reply move about 5 feet closer and say it again. Keep doing this so that we'll get an idea about the severity of her deafness."

Sure enough, the husband goes home and does exactly as instructed. He starts off about 15 feet from his wife in the kitchen as she is chopping some vegetables and says, "Honey, what's for dinner?" He hears no response. He moves about 5 feet closer and asks again. No reply. He moves 5 feet closer. Still no reply. He gets fed up and moves right behind her, about an inch away, and asks again, "Honey, what's for dinner?"

She replies, "For the fourth time, vegetable stew!"


Yoga may be superior to other forms of exercise in its positive effect on mood and anxiety.

The researchers set out to contrast the brain gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels of yoga subjects with those of participants who spent time walking. Low GABA levels are associated with depression and other widespread anxiety disorders.

The researchers followed two randomized groups of healthy individuals over a 12-week long period. One group practiced yoga three times a week for one hour, while the remaining subjects walked for the same period of time. Using magnetic resonance spectroscopic (MRS) imaging, the participants' brains were scanned before the study began. At week 12, the researchers compared the GABA levels of both groups before and after their final 60-minute session.

Each subject was also asked to assess his or her psychological state at several points throughout the study, and those who practiced yoga reported a more significant decrease in anxiety and greater improvements in mood than those who walked. "Over time, positive changes in these reports were associated with climbing GABA levels," said lead author Chris Streeter, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at BUSM.

According to Streeter, this promising research warrants further study of the relationship between yoga and mood, and suggests that the practice of yoga be considered as a potential therapy for certain mental disorders.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Nanoscale DNA Sequencing

In experiments with potentially broad health care implications, a research team led by a University of Washington physicist has devised a method that works at a very small scale to sequence DNA quickly and relatively inexpensively.

The technique creates a DNA reader that combines biology and nanotechnology using a nanopore taken from Mycobacterium smegmatis porin A. The nanopore has an opening 1 billionth of a meter in size, just large enough to measure a single strand of DNA as it passes through.

The scientists placed the pore in a membrane surrounded by potassium-chloride solution. A small voltage was applied to create an ion current flowing through the nanopore, and the current's electrical signature changed depending on the nucleotides traveling through the nanopore. Each of the nucleotides that are the essence of DNA -- cytosine, guanine, adenine and thymine -- produced a distinctive signature.

The team had to solve two major problems. One was to create a short and narrow opening just large enough to allow a single strand of DNA to pass through the nanopore and for only a single DNA molecule to be in the opening at any time. Michael Niederweis at the University of Alabama at Birmingham modified the M. smegmatis bacterium to produce a suitable pore.

The second problem, Gundlach said, was that the nucleotides flowed through the nanopore at a rate of one every millionth of a second, far too fast to sort out the signal from each DNA molecule. To compensate, the researchers attached a section of double-stranded DNA between each nucleotide they wanted to measure. The second strand would briefly catch on the edge of the nanopore, halting the flow of DNA long enough for the single nucleotide to be held within the nanopore DNA reader. After a few milliseconds, the double-stranded section would separate and the DNA flow continued until another double strand was encountered, allowing the next nucleotide to be read.The delay, though measured in thousandths of a second, is long enough to read the electrical signals from the target nucleotides

That could open the door for more effective individualized medicine, for example providing blueprints of genetic predispositions for specific conditions and diseases such as cancer, diabetes or addiction.

"The hope is that in 10 years people will have all their DNA sequenced, and this will lead to personalized, predictive medicine," said Jens Gundlach, a UW physics professor and lead author of a paper describing the new technique published the week of Aug. 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Benefits of alzhiemer's disease !!!!

5. You never have to watch reruns on television.

4. You are always meeting new people.

3. You don't have to remember the whines and complaints of your spouse.

2. You can hide your own Easter eggs.

1. Mysteries are always interesting.


It's often said that men are from Mars while women are from Venus. But now, a new book says that they're from the same planet — the difference between them is actually down to the way they are brought up.

According to the book, 'Delusions of Gender', penned by Cordelia Fine, a Melbourne University psychologist, it's nurture, and not nature, which explains why men and women are so different. In fact, nurture has the largest effect on skills, attributes and personalities of men and women, the book says.

So boys aren't born with better map-reading and parking skills; girls do not come into the world with better multitasking and communicating skills, the Daily Mail reported.

According to the book, there are no major neurological differences. There may be slight variations in the brains of women and men but the wiring is soft, not hard.

Lise Eliot, of Chicago Medical School, agrees. "Children don't inherit intellectual differences. They learn them. They're a result of what we expect a boy or a girl to be. Yes, boys and girls, men and women, are different. But most of those differences are far smaller than Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus stereotypes suggest," she said.

Robert Plomin of Institute of Psychiatry, London, added: "Every skill, attribute and personality trait is moulded by experience. People ignore huge similarity between boys and girls and instead exaggerate wildly tiny difference between them."

Friday, August 13, 2010


Ever wondered why some crude jokes make us laugh? Well, scientists say it's because people find such jests funny when the moral violation seemed benign to them.
Researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder found that people tend to laugh at disgusting comedy even including someone's death or immoral behaviour when they perceive them as unreal and not hurting anyone or anything.
They said several past theories attempting to explain humour have failed as they don't explain broader humour across domains. For instance, theories underlying general humour would suggest we think things that are incongruous and release tension are funny.
Now the researchers, led by A Peter McGraw, who co-authored the study with Caleb Warren, have come up with three criteria they find could explain why things are funny.
They figured the anecdote or scenario had to be incongruous (violate some moral or social norms), benign, and also reconcilable. In other words, there has to be some way to be disgusted by a moral violation and also consider it simultaneously benign.
To test their hypothesis, the researchers presented various situations to volunteers they rewarded with candy bars, LiveScience reported.
In one experiment supporting the idea that violation makes fun fodder, the volunteers read one of two versions of a scenario: one describing the company Jimmy Dean using a rabbi as spokesman for a new line of pork products; or one where Jimmy Dean hired a farmer as spokesman.

Participants were more likely to laugh when reading the situation with a moral violation -- having a rabbi promote pork -- and to think it was "wrong" compared with the control version of the scenario.
In other experiments, the volunteers read different scenarios of bestiality that were judged as wrong and disgusting by most of the participants. However, they were amused by the harmless versions of the scenarios.
McGraw thinks the humour rules could explain everything from puns and jokes to slapstick and other forms of comedy.
"We laugh when Moe hits Larry, because we know that Larry's not really being hurt," McGraw said, referring to humorous slapstick. "It's a violation of social norms. You don't hit people, especially a friend. But it's okay because it's not real."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


The hottest new weight-loss method chills to kill the flab, instead of melting it with heat based lasers.

Tests have shown that just one treatment is capable of destroying up to 25 percent of fat cells in the area.

This innovative machine, called Zeltiq, uses a cooling method called cryolipolysis to target, chill and break down fat cells, reports the Daily Mail.

Developed by researchers at the Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, Zeltiq has proved a massive hit since being introduced a year ago.
The cryolipolysis process gradually extracts body heat from the subcutaneous levels of fat (the layer that lies just under the skin). The temperature of the fat cells goes right down to zero degrees celsius — literally freezing them. Extremely low temperatures kill the fat cells without affecting either the skin or muscles. The dead cells are then removed naturally by the body through the liver.


Nurse: Doctor, there is a man in the waiting room with a glass eye named Brown.

Doctor: What does he call his other eye?

Monday, August 9, 2010


Pancreatic tumor cells use fructose to divide and proliferate, US researchers said on Monday in a study that challenges the common wisdom that all sugars are the same. Tumor cells fed both glucose and fructose used the two sugars in two different ways, the team at the University of California Los Angeles found.

They said their finding, published in the journal Cancer Research, may help explain other studies that have linked fructose intake with pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancer types. "These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation," Dr. Anthony Heaney of UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center and colleagues wrote.

"They have major significance for cancer patients given dietary refined fructose consumption, and indicate that efforts to reduce refined fructose intake or inhibit fructose-mediated actions may disrupt cancer growth."

Americans take in large amounts of fructose, mainly in high fructose corn syrup, a mix of fructose and glucose that is used in soft drinks, bread and a range of other foods.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


A broken heart could soon be coaxed into mending itself, says an Indian-origin scientist who led an international team which claims to have discovered a way of converting ordinary tissue into beating muscle cells.

The revolutionary treatment could be possible after scientists discovered a technique for turning ordinary connective tissue into muscle cells inside the heart. What it means is that in as little as five years, researchers could be able to coax the heart into regenerating itself, repairing the damage caused by cardiac arrests and Old age.
Two studies published on Thursday show new ways to fix damaged hearts, one by turning structural heart cells into beating cells and another by restoring a primordial ability to regenerate lost tissue.

Deepak Srivastava of the Gladstone Institute at California University and his colleagues say their technique works in a similar way to stem cells but instead of the new cells being grown outside the body and then injected back in, their method simply makes the cells switch at the point where they are needed.

The main problem is that when beating muscles cells — known as cardiomyocytes — die during a heart attack there’s no way to reactivate them and the surrounding connective tissue — known as fibroblasts — cannot take over their role.
But, Srivastava has developed a way of reprogramming fibroblasts into cardiomyocytes. The system involves slowly administering three substances — using an artificial tube called a stent — into the blood that trigger the conversion. One day after the three factors were introduced into mouse hearts, fibroblasts turned into cardiomyocyte-like cells within the beating heart. Up to 20% made the switch.

For the second study, a team at California’s Stanford University looked to amphibians called newts. “Newts regenerate tissues very effectively,” said Helen Blau of Stanford’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine.

Other studies suggest that mammals have had to give up regeneration because the same process can also lead to cancer. A so-called tumor suppressor gene called retinoblastoma, or Rb, helps control this process in mammals.

Working also with mice, they found a second gene called ARF is also involved. When they blocked both Rb and ARF in mouse heart muscle cells, they started to grow and divide.

The key will be to control this process, so the cells do not overproliferate and form tumors, the experts report in the journal Cell Stem Cell. They also want to see if this works for other organs.



A paramedic in Britain saved the life of a baby girl born 14 weeks ahead of schedule by building a makeshift incubator out of a plastic bag.

Sophie Thomlinson weighed just about 600 grams when she was born in the back of an ambulance as her mother Emily, 29, was being driven to hospital during a blizzard earlier this year.

The premature baby was in need of an incubator but the equipment is too large to be installed in most ambulances, reports the Telegraph.

But paramedic Rob Dalziel, 37, was able to keep her moist by wrapping her in a yellow plastic bag usually used for disposing of hazardous medical supplies.

He then used towels to cocoon the child and keep her body temperature at a safe level and forced air into her lungs to ensure she kept breathing as the ambulance continued on to Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.
She spent two weeks in the hospital's intensive treatment unit's 'Hot Room' before being transferred to the High Dependency Unit at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.

Four months later Sophie has been allowed home with her mother and father Peter Hazzard, 27, in Wheatley, Oxon.

Emily said, "I was in a lot of pain and quite stressed not knowing what was going to happen. Giving birth 14 weeks premature is not ideal, especially on the side of the road."
"I was really worried and I did not know if Sophie would still be alive when we reached the hospital," she added.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


In what’s claimed to be probably the first scalpel-free surgery, Australian scientists have used a “gamma knife” - a non-invasive neurosurgical tool - to treat a brain cancer patient.
An international team has carried out the treatment at Macquarie University Hospital in Sydney, using the Gamma Knife for treating brain cancer and a range of other brain-related disorders.

Despite its name, it is not a cutting implement and there is no blood or incision involved in treatment. Instead, some 200 radiation beams from cobalt-60 sources converge with high accuracy on the target inside the brain.

Each individual beam has low intensity and therefore does not affect the tissue through which it passes on its way to the target. The beams converge in an isocentre where the cumulative radiation intensity becomes extremely high.

Neurosurgeon John Fuller, who treated the first patient in Australia with the device, said gamma knife treatment is very different to traditional neurosurgery. “Although our first patient had tumours in multiple parts of his brain, we only needed to do one operation lasting an hour or so, no scalpel was used, the patient was awake throughout the entire procedure and only received a local anaesthetic, and he went home last night having been treated in an out-patient setting,” he said.

Fuller said the low impact nature of the treatment on the patient has a range of the flow-on benefits for their families, the medical treatment team and the wider healthcare system.

“Patients who receive Gamma Knife treatment have fewer complications than traditional neurosurgery patients undergoing a craniotomy reducing the need for hospitalisation and intensive care. Now with the Gamma Knife we can offer treatment and along with that hope that the patient’s life may not only be extended, but also that their remaining time will involve a much better quality of life,” he added.


Dr. Willem Kolff is considered the father of dialysis. This young Dutch physician constructed the first dialyzer (artificial kidney) in 1943.
The road to Kolff’s creation of an artificial kidney began in the late 1930s when he was working in a small ward at the University of Groningen Hospital in the Netherlands. There, Kolff watched helplessly as a young man died slowly of kidney failure. Kolff decided to find a way to make a machine that would do the work of the kidneys. The young doctor searched the university library for information on removing toxins from blood and stumbled across an article about hemodialysis with animals published in 1913 by John Abel, a renowned pharmacologist at Johns Hopkins University. Abel’s writing inspired Kolff, and he became committed to the development of an artificial kidney.
At about the same time that Kolff began his research, World War II erupted. Once the Nazis overtook the Netherlands, Kolff was sent to work in a remote Dutch hospital.

Despite challenging conditions, the young physician pressed on. Although materials were scarce, Kolff possessed the resourceful spirit of the true inventor and improvised, using sausage skins, orange juice cans, a washing machine and other common items to make a device that could clear the blood of toxins. Amazingly, he carried on his experiment under Nazi scrutiny, risking his own life by forging documents so that he could continue his work. Kolff was able to get his wife and colleagues to help, even though it meant they too were putting themselves in danger.

In 1943, Kolff’s invention, although crude, was completed. During the course of the next two years, he treated 16 patients with acute kidney failure but had little success. All that changed in 1945, when a 67-year-old woman in uremic coma regained consciousness after 11 hours of hemodialysis with Kolff’s dialyzer. Her first words? “I’m going to divorce my husband!” Thanks to Kolff, she did in fact follow through on her plan and lived seven more years before dying of another ailment.

Willem Kolff, died on February 11 aged 97. He was one of the great creative geniuses of 20th century medicine.

Monday, August 2, 2010


"Honey has been used for centuries as a popular ‘home remedy’ for wounds and ulcers. Recent research has shown that it has antibacterial properties, as well as anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

Honey has been known for its healing properties for thousands of years - the Ancient Greeks used it, and so have many other peoples through the ages. Even up to the second world war, honey was being used for its antibacterial properties in treating wounds. But with the advent of penicillin and other antibiotic drugs in the twentieth century, honey's medicinal qualities have taken a back seat. But that might be about to change - thanks to one New Zealand based researcher.
Peter Molan, Ph.D., likes to tell the story of the 20-year-old wound. Infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, an abscess oozed in an English woman's armpit long after it had been drained. Nothing seemed to help, and the pain prevented her from working. Then in August of 1999, she read about the remarkable wound-healing properties of honey. She convinced doctors to apply some to the dressing to her arm, and a month later the wound healed. Now she's back at work.
Treatment with honey is called apitherapy,which includes replenishing energy, enhancing physical stamina and improving immune systems. Honey also is considered to have a calming effect on the mind and promotes sleep. Honey also helps indigestion and has sometimes been used to treat cardiovascular disease and respiratory complaints. A thin coat of honey can be applied on the skin to disinfect and heal minor skin wounds and chapped lips.