Saturday, October 15, 2011


Altering the chemistry of recreational drug ‘ecstasy’ could help kill certain types of blood cancers, suggests new research.
Ecstasy or Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) was discovered in the late 1970s and early 1980s as a ‘party drug’ because it could induce euphoria.
Matthew Piggott, associate professor at the University of Western Australia, says while researching the use of MDMA in Parkinson’s disease, they came across a paper suggesting that it may also be potent against blood cancer.
So they collaborated with John Gordon, professor at the University of Birmingham, to increase the toxicity of the drug toward blood cancer cell lines, according to a Western Australia statement.
Now, Piggott says MDMA’s structure can be “tinkered with” to create MDMA analogues (compounds structurally similar to MDMA) that could have improved therapeutic properties.
“Professor Gordon found MDMA to be weakly toxic to certain types of blood cancer cell lines, so he presented the idea of ‘redesigning the designer drug,’” he says.
“We contacted him and he was very keen to test our analogues — initially created for Parkinson’s disease treatment research — on his cell lines.
“Initially six compounds were screened but most were not very active. However, there was one that was 10 times more potent, and this became the basis for the next batch of analogues,” says Piggott.
“We are currently at the process of making analogues of the best ‘lead’ compound we have discovered so far — which is 100—fold more potent.”
Piggott says the compounds are being evaluated using in vitro cell lines, but the next step would be testing them in an animal model of blood cancer.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Grey hair could soon be a passe, thanks to scientists who claim to have created a pill from a fruit extract...

After more than a decade of trials, the daily drug -- developed by a team at global cosmetics giant L’Oreal -- is expected to go on sale within four years, a newspaper reported.
L’Oreal hopes it will lead it to victory in the race for the world’s eight billion pounds hair colour market, in which both sexes reach for bottles of dye.
Bruno Bernard, head of hair biology at the company, said: “We think it will have a market among men as well as women. We intend people to take it in the same way as a dietary supplement. It won’t be expensive.”
The drug uses a compound from an unidentified fruit that mimics tyrosinase-related protein 2, an enzyme that protects pigmentation production; it aims to prevent a process called oxidative stress, when hair cells succumb to harmful anti-oxidants and go grey, say the scientists.
Bernard added: “Ideally you would take it for your whole life but realistically we would encourage people to start using it before their hair goes grey because we don’t think it can reverse the process once it has started.”
Hundreds of volunteers have been helping to test the safety of the pill. But, the team says it will only be able to demonstrate its true effectiveness after it has been on the market for at least a decade.
The formula is expected to be unveiled at a science conference in May 2013 but it is already sparking interest among experts. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Old Dr. Carver still made house calls. One afternoon he was called to the Tuttle house. Mrs. Tuttle was in terrible pain. The doctor came out of the bedroom a minute after he'd gone in and asked Mr. Tuttle, "Do you have a hammer?" A puzzled Mr. Tuttle went to the garage, and returned with a hammer. The doctor thanked him and went back into the bedroom. A moment later, he came out and asked, "Do you have a chisel?" Mr. Tuttle complied with the request. In the next ten minutes, Dr. Carver asked for and received a pair of pliers a screwdriver and a hacksaw. The last request got to Mr. Tuttle. He asked, "What are you doing to my wife?" "Not a thing," replied old doc Carver. "I can't get my instrument bag open."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Plan to fortify milk, oil with vitamin D under consideration!!!!

The National Institute of Nutrition is considering a proposal to fortify milk and oil with vitamin D, its Director B. Sesisekaran said here on Monday.
Dr. Sesisekaran was concerned about the huge burden of Vitamin D deficiency in the country, despite the abundance of sunshine in most parts. It would be easy to fortify substances rich in fat, oil and milk, with Vitamin D so that an extra dose of the vitamin can be consumed easily.
Earlier, vanaspati used to be fortified with Vitamin D, but its consumption had dropped over the years. He also pointed out that the flip side of it was that there was very little milk consumption in rural areas; as far as oil goes, the recommendation is to lower the quantity of oil consumed.
Speaking at a national conference on ‘Nutrition in Metabolic Disorders,' organised jointly by Women's Christian College and Nestle Nutrition Institute, Dr. Sesisekaran said there was a powerful interplay between nutrition and metabolic alterations that lead to metabolic disorders.
Metabolic disorders may be inborn or inherited and include disorders such as diabetes, cardio vascular disease, thyroid dysfunction and metabolic bone diseases. A large proportion of metabolic disorders go largely undetected due to lack of awareness.
D. Prabhakaran, Executive Director, Centre for Chronic Disease Control, Initiative for Cardiovascular Health Research in the Developing Countries, New Delhi, said unlike in developed countries, endocrine and metabolic disorders were predominantly caused by environmental factors in India. Metabolic disorders have been found to have a disproportionately high prevalence in the Indian population.
Finding a proper diet based on healthy foods is, hence, imperative, he added. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


An elderly man complains to his wife about feeling a little worse for wear and after a lot of persuasion agrees to go and see a doctor. The doctor checks him out and asks the man to return a few days later for the results. The doctor turns to the patient and says, "I have some good news and some bad news for you. The bad news is that you have terminal cancer, polio and have tested HIV+. But the good news is you also have Alzheimers disease so in about 10 seconds you'll have completely forgotten about it." "Ooh good" said the patient. "What was the bad news then?"

Monday, October 10, 2011


A new study has claimed sleep deficiency could affect their brains later in life.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have carried out the study and found that sleep-deprived teenagers are at risk of long-term damage to wiring of their brains, the ’Daily Mail’ reported.
They found that short-term sleep restriction prevents the balanced growth and depletion of brain synapses, which are the connections between nerve cells where communication occurs.
“One possible implication of our study is that if you lose too much sleep during adolescence, especially chronically, there may be lasting consequences in terms of the wiring of the brain,” said lead researcher Dr Chiara Cirelli.
Mental illnesses such as schizophrenia tend to start during adolescence but the exact reasons remain unclear, say the researchers.
“Adolescence is a sensitive period of development during which the brain changes dramatically. There is a massive remodelling of nerve circuits, with many new synapses formed and then eliminated,” she said.
For their study, the researchers analysed the brains of mice. They wanted to see how alterations to the sleep-wake cycle affected the anatomy of the developing adolescent brain in the animals.
Using a two-photon microscope, the researchers indirectly followed the growth and retraction of synapses by counting dendritic spines, the elongated structures that contain synapses and thus allow brain cells to receive impulses from other brain cells.
They compared adolescent mice that for eight to 10 hours were spontaneously awake, allowed to sleep or forced to stay awake. The live images showed that being asleep or awake made a difference in the dynamic adolescent mouse brain - the overall density of dendritic spines fell during sleep and rose during spontaneous or forced wakefulness.
“These results using acute manipulations of just eight to 10 hours show that the time spent asleep or awake affects how many synapses are being formed or removed in the adolescent brain,” Prof Cirelli said.
She added: “The important next question is what happens with chronic sleep restriction, a condition that many adolescents are often experiencing. It could be that the changes are benign, temporary and reversible or there could be lasting consequences for brain maturation and functioning.”