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Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

In a land where survival is precarious, Komodo dragons thrive despite being exposed to scads of bacteria that would kill less hardy creatures. Now in a study published in the Journal of Proteome Research, scientists report that they have detected antimicrobial protein fragments in the lizard’s blood that appear to help them resist deadly infections. The discovery could lead to the development of new drugs capable of combating bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics.

The world’s largest lizard, Komodo dragons live on five small islands in Indonesia. The saliva of these creatures contains at least 57 species of bacteria, which are believed to contribute to the demise of their prey. Yet, the Komodo dragon appears resistant to these bacteria, and serum from these animals has been shown to have antibacterial activity. Substances known as cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs) are produced by nearly all living creatures and are an essential part of the innate immune system. So, Barney Bishop, Monique van Hoek and colleagues at the College of Science at George Mason University wondered whether they could isolate CAMPs from Komodo dragon blood, as they previously had done with alligator blood to expand the library of known CAMPs for therapeutic studies.

The team used an approach known as bioprospecting. They incubated Komodo dragon blood with negatively charged hydrogel particles that they developed to capture the peptides, which are positively charged. With this method, they identified and sequenced 48 potential CAMPs with mass spectrometry. All but one of these was derived from histone proteins, which are known to have antimicrobial activities. Eight were synthesized and tested against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. Seven of the peptides showed significant potency against both bacteria. The eighth was only effective against P. aeruginosa. The researchers conclude that Komodo dragon blood plasma contains a host of potentially viable antimicrobial peptides that could help lead to new therapeutics.—Full Article...

By American Chemical Society - Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - Full Story

“Dying, I Don’t want to be There When it Happens”.

Woody Allen, when asked for his opinion about death, replied, “I don’t worry about dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens!” Unfortunately, Allen will be there and so will the rest of us. This week, why I have a personal interest in the end of life. And what can we all do to provide the best of care to loved ones near death?

Years ago I conducted a five year battle to legalize heroin to ease the agony of dying cancer patients. Readers, at that time, sent me funds to help with costs. Finally, when heroin was legalized in 1998, $450,000 was left in the kitty which I donated to the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine, to establish the Gifford-Jones Professorship in Pain Control and Palliative Care. For an update of the current situation, I recently interviewed Dr. Jeff Myers, the current Professor of Palliative Care. 

By Dr. Gifford Jones - Monday, February 20, 2017 - Full Story

Ways to Decrease the Risk of Heart Attack

Every 37 seconds in North America someone dies of a heart attack. But there are several natural remedies to protect the health of our hearts. They’re all available in Health Food Stores and are not associated with the complications of cholesterol-lowering and other prescription drugs. Remember, the first rule of medicine is to do no harm.

One – Get hooked on fish
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health report the magic ingredient in fish is omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty acids, like Aspirin, add oil to the blood, making it less likely that platelets will stick together to form a fatal clot.

By Dr. Gifford Jones - Monday, February 13, 2017 - Full Story

Thank You for Being Our Voice

Last week, I wrote that unless we use Singapore’s solution to hang drug pushers, we will never defeat the opioid epidemic in North America. This week, a strong response from readers.

By Dr. Gifford Jones - Monday, February 6, 2017 - Full Story

Increased Activity = Greater Brain Power

What would get more people walking? This activity shows tons of health benefits. And today one person in three over the age of 85 develops Alzheimer’s disease. This statistic should get everyone out of his or her chair and walking because a report from Tufts University in Boston shows that the most active people have the largest volume of gray matter in parts of the brain typically affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Tammy Scott, at Tufts’ Neuroscience and Aging Laboratory, says, “Physical activity has consistently shown to be beneficial to brain health.” She adds, “There is increasing evidence that regular exercise lowers the risk of dementia.”

By Dr. Gifford Jones - Monday, January 30, 2017 - Full Story

Canada must improve prescription drug safety for seniors

Montreal – Canada needs a national strategy to address inappropriate prescribing practices that lead to the unsafe use of medications by seniors, says the author of a new study from the Institute for Research on Public Policy.

Seniors are the heaviest users of prescription medicines in Canada. On average, two-thirds take 5 or more prescriptions drugs over the course of a year and one-quarter take 10 or more, says Nicole Bernier. “It is estimated that as much as half of the medications given to seniors are taken incorrectly or are overprescribed, increasing the likelihood of adverse drug reactions and interactions.”

By News on the Net - Thursday, January 12, 2017 - Full Story

LeafSource : A Natural Remedy 100 Years in the Making

Can the fossilized remains of an ancient, organic forest treat many modern medical problems? Like Ripley, you might say, “It’s too good to be true”. But unlike today’s medicines, LeafSource has been 100 million years in the making!

The Cretaceous Age started 145 million years ago. It was the golden age of giant tree ferns, fresh marsh vegetation and rich food sources. But, unhappily, all ages end. Nevertheless, this period has been preserved in a seabed deposit in New Mexico, U.S.A. Now, its nutritious content is available in a capsule called LeafSource,

By Dr. Gifford Jones - Monday, January 9, 2017 - Full Story

What Did You Learn in 2016?

Mahatma Gandhi counselled, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”. One never stops learning. So let’s see from this quiz how much you learned this past year.

#1 20 studies show that moderate drinkers live longer than teetotalers or alcoholics.

#2 North Americans with low levels of potassium are more likely to suffer a stroke due to a blood clot.

By Dr. Gifford Jones - Monday, January 2, 2017 - Full Story

MAO is a possible Alzheimer’s disease biomarker

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 35 million people, a number that is expected to increase in the coming years. Currently, Alzheimer’s diagnoses rely on clinical neuropathologic assessment of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide aggregates (plaques) and neurofibrillary tangles. But in ACS Central Science, researchers reveal that an enzyme already implicated in a host of neural disorders could someday serve as a biomarker.

By American Chemical Society - Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - Full Story
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