Health and Medicine

Health and Medicine, Cancer, Weight loss, Vitamins, Healthy Living, Surgery, Alternative Medicine, Health News

Spider peptides battle superbugs and cancer

As antibiotic resistance rises and fears over superbugs grow, scientists are looking for new treatment options. One area of focus is antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which could someday be an alternative to currently prescribed antibiotics, many of which are becoming increasingly useless against some bacteria. Now, a team reports in ACS Chemical Biology that they have improved the antimicrobial — and anticancer — properties of an AMP from a spider.

By American Chemical Society - Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - Full Story

House dust spurs growth of fat cells in lab tests

Poor diet and a lack of physical activity are major contributors to the world’s obesity epidemic, but researchers have also identified common environmental pollutants that could play a role. Now one team reports in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology that small amounts of house dust containing many of these compounds can spur fat cells to accumulate more triglycerides, or fat, in a lab dish.

By American Chemical Society - Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - Full Story

The Fart Pill: Could It Get The Nobel Prize?

Could hydrogen sulfide (H2S), the gas that causes the odour of farts, ever receive the Nobel Prize in Medicine? Dr. Rui Wang, an internationally known Canadian researcher, reports that one day we may have a “fart pill” that fights one of our great killers, hypertension.

Passing flatus affects Kings, Queens and the rest of us. Who hasn’t been at a dinner party when we’d prefer to be in the Sahara Desert so we could pass flatus? It’s also hard to research how much flatus is normal. After all, no doctor wants to say, “I’m a specialist in farts.” But research reveals that most people fart 15 to 25 times a day.

By Dr. Gifford Jones - Monday, August 14, 2017 - Full Story

New sensors could enable more affordable detection of pollution and diseases

When it comes to testing for cancer, environmental pollution and food contaminants, traditional sensors can help. The challenges are that they often are bulky, expensive, non-intuitive and complicated. Now, one team reports in ACS Sensors that portable pressure-based detectors coupled with smartphone software could provide a simpler, more affordable alternative while still maintaining sensitivity.

By American Chemical Society - Thursday, August 10, 2017 - Full Story

Exposure to toxins in e-cig vapor varies depending on scenario

E-cigarettes are often perceived to be less harmful than their traditional counterparts, but they could still expose the people who “vape” and those around them to harmful compounds. Researchers now report in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology that heavy use and secondhand emissions could lead to inhaled levels of toxins that exceed set exposure limits. But under typical use, secondhand exposure would have a lower impact on health than second- and third-hand cigarette smoke.

By American Chemical Society - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - Full Story

An end to cavities for people with sensitive teeth?

An ice cold drink is refreshing in the summer, but for people with sensitive teeth, it can cause a painful jolt in the mouth. This condition can be treated, but many current approaches don’t last long. Now researchers report in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces the development of a new material with an extract from green tea that could fix this problem — and help prevent cavities in these susceptible patients.

By American Chemical Society - Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - Full Story

Puritanical Lies about Alcohol

Are you becoming as skeptical as I am about public information? Fake political news? Alternative facts about the state of the world’s economy? So, now I ask how honest is medical news?  Of course everyone knows that consuming stupid amounts of alcohol is unhealthy. But puritans and some doctors can’t accept the proven fact that moderate amounts of alcohol can prolong life.

Professor Keith Scott-Mumby, an internationally known U.K. expert on alternative medicine, echoes what I have written over the years, that people who drink moderately live longer on average than teetotalers or those who drink to excess. In fact, there are over 20 studies that confirm this. In court it’s a criminal offense to withhold truth, so why doesn’t the same principle hold true in medicine?

By Dr. Gifford Jones - Monday, August 7, 2017 - Full Story

Synthesizing the human genome from scratch

For the past 15 years, synthetic biologists have been figuring out how to synthesize an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. They’ve tackled the genomes of microbes, but now one large consortium has its sights set on the human genome. The cover story in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, explores Genome Project-write (GP-write) and the technical and ethical challenges it faces.

By American Chemical Society - Friday, August 4, 2017 - Full Story

Indoor air in schools could add to children’s exposure to PCBs

The U.S. banned PCBs nearly four decades ago, but they persist in the environment and have been found in animals and humans since then. Now researchers report in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology that concentrations of airborne PCBs inside schools could result in some students inhaling the compounds at higher levels than they would consume through their diets. Exposure through both are lower than set limits, but cumulative amounts, researchers caution, could be concerning.

By American Chemical Society - Friday, August 4, 2017 - Full Story

Surgery More Effective Than Drano for Stroke

How would you feel if you suffered a stroke and were left paralyzed? Then later discovered that if you had been aware of early signs of stroke, paralysis could have been avoided? This column might help to prevent this tragedy. Moreover, the good news is that surgery is superior to anti-clotting drugs for treatment of this   devastating event.

A report in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that surgery, rather than TPA, a clot dissolving drug that works like household Drano, produces a better outcome.

By Dr. Gifford Jones - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - Full Story

Radical new drug-testing tech could dramatically cut animal testing

After spending an average of $2.5 billion to develop a single new drug, sometimes pharma companies have to pull it from the market due to a bad outcome that was not detected in clinical studies.

That’s what happened in 2000, when a promising Type 2 diabetes drug called troglitazone led to idiosyncratic (unexplained) liver damage in one of every 60,000 users.

The troglitazone mystery wasn’t solved until March 2016, when a novel “liver-on-a-chip” platform developed by Hebrew University of Jerusalem Prof. Yaakov Nahmias revealed what no animal or human tests could: even low concentrations of this drug caused liver stress before any damage could be seen.

“It was the first time an organ-on-chip device could predict information to help pharmaceutical companies define risk for idiosyncratic toxicity,” Nahmias tells ISRAEL21c.—More…

By ISRAEL21c - Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - Full Story

NanoVelcro microchips could someday noninvasively diagnose prenatal conditions

Many pregnant women undergo some form of prenatal testing before their children are born. The information that expectant mothers gain from these tests vary, from the baby’s gender to genetic defects. But the tests are often invasive, which can potentially harm the fetus and the mother. Now, one group reports in ACS Nano that they have developed a device that provides sensitive results but in a less invasive way: a blood test.

Current prenatal tests such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling are accurate, but are also invasive and increase the risk of a miscarriage. Some less invasive tests that could be safer are in development. For example, researchers are working on ways to detect fetal DNA in a mother’s blood, but that genetic material is typically found in short pieces and in very small quantities. Whole fetal cells containing entire genomes also circulate in a mother’s blood. These rare, fragile cells could provide a wealth of information about a fetus’ health, but so far, no method is ideal for capturing them. Hsian-Rong Tseng, Li-Ching Chen, Angela Chen, Margareta Pisarska, Ming-Song Tsai and colleagues previously reported a “NanoVelcro” microchip assay for detecting rare circulating tumor cells. So, in their new paper, they wanted to see if this assay also would work with rare circulating fetal cells.

The researchers developed a new class of NanoVelcro microchips that were prepared with a nano-imprinting fabrication process, which made them more reproducible and faster to make than the previous chips. To specifically capture the fetal cells, the team attached an antibody to a marker on the cells’ surface. When they tested the blood of 15 pregnant women, they found that the method could enrich for fetal cells. It also accurately determined the sexes of the fetuses, as well as genetic conditions that were previously diagnosed by other methods in nine of the fetuses.

Imprinted NanoVelcro Microchips for Isolation and Characterization of Circulating Fetal Trophoblasts: Toward Noninvasive Prenatal Diagnostics

By American Chemical Society - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - Full Story

The $1,000,000 Surgical Error

Many years ago I wrote, “The problem with laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery is it leaves the impression that tiny incisions mean a simple, uncomplicated way to perform an operation. Unfortunately, this is not always the case as catastrophic complications can happen.”  Recently, a Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) survey confirmed the potential dangers of keyhole surgery. So what went wrong to cause a $ 1,000,000 settlement?

The CMPA reviewed 423 surgical cases involving keyhole surgery. It revealed that patients suffered a number of injuries to the bowel, blood vessels, nerves, and reproductive organs. There were 46 deaths. 

Operations that resulted in the most trouble were hysterectomy, other gynecological procedures, removal of the gallbladder, appendix and kidney.

By News on the Net - Monday, July 24, 2017 - Full Story

Orthopedic surgery in Canada: Most had positive outcomes, but one-in-four found the wait too long

As news reports profile orthopedic surgery patients frustrated with lengthy wait-times, a unique Angus Reid Institute survey of more than 1,500 Canadians who have undergone orthopedic surgery within the last ten years finds large majorities satisfied with their surgeon, hospital, and surgery outcome, but a significantly smaller number satisfied with the amount of time they had to wait.

By Angus Reid Institute - Monday, July 24, 2017 - Full Story

Need Cataract Surgery? So What Should You Know?

Do you remember the Holiday Inn ad? It stated, “There Are No Surprises at the Holiday Inn.” But, unlike Holiday Inns, there’s no such thing as surprise-free or risk-free surgery. To get an update about Cataract surgery I interviewed Dr. Raymond Stein, Medical Director of the Bochner Eye Institute, and Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Toronto.

Today, by age 80, half of North Americans have developed cataracts. The only good treatment when visual loss finally affects quality of life is to have a foggy lens removed and replaced with another one. Today, due to improved surgical advances, it’s possibly the safest surgery performed.

By Dr. Gifford Jones - Monday, July 17, 2017 - Full Story

Measuring a patient’s vital signs without any contact

Our bodies are in constant motion – not only on the outside but within. Our hearts beat, our chests rise and fall with each breath, the composition of our blood changes as we take in alcohol or sugar. Each motion, great and small, generates vibrations on the molecular level.

Two scientists – Zeev Zalevsky, professor of electro-optics at Bar-Ilan University, and Javier Garcia-Monreal, professor of physics and optics at the University of Valencia in Spain – have been collaborating for a dozen years on developing ways to measure the tiny, “nanometric” vibrations the body emits.

The result of their decade-long research is a revolutionary way to monitor patients’ vital signs without any physical contact – no more intrusive cables, wires, tubes or IVs.

In 2015, Zalevsky and Garcia-Monreal formed a company, ContinUse Biometrics, to commercialize their work and bring it to consumers and medical professionals.—More…

By ISRAEL21c - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - Full Story

Swimming In 20 Gallons of Pee!

Have you ever wondered what you’re swimming in when someone invites you to a pool party? I’ve always found it hard to turn down these weekend soirees. The weather is usually good, you enjoy cocktails talking to friends, and then a refreshing dip in the pool. Now, an eye-boggling report by Jennifer Clopton in the publication WebMD, shows there’s more lurking in the pool than you imagined.

Clopton reports that Indiana Health Officials had to close a water park when two children received chemical burns from chlorine in the water! This resulted when the chlorine equipment malfunctioned. At least this is a fixable problem.

But Clopton’s research also shows that fixing human behaviour poses a greater challenge. Her study shows that many people pee in pools.

By Dr. Gifford Jones - Monday, July 10, 2017 - Full Story

Israeli doctors find link between Alzheimer’s and bedsores

Dr. Efraim Jaul, director of geriatric skilled nursing at Herzog Hospital in Jerusalem, noticed that many patients with dementia — and especially those with Alzheimer’s disease — seemed more prone to developing pressure ulcers (bedsores).

It occurred to him that perhaps the significantly higher incidence of bedsores was not simply a result of the immobility of advanced dementia patients, as is commonly assumed.

“I wondered if they were really distinct diseases or if there could be any connection between them,” he tells ISRAEL21c.

Quantifying the phenomenon in his own hospital, Jaul found that 76 percent of geriatric patients with pressure ulcers had dementia, whereas only 32% of patients without pressure ulcers had dementia.—More...

By ISRAEL21c - Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - Full Story

Damn It, I was born too soon

Is it an impossible dream to find Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth? No! I’ve just attended my 67th reunion at The Harvard Medical School (HMS) and, while interviewing Dr. George Church, I discovered it is no longer science fiction.

Dr. Church, Professor of Genetics at HMS, one of the world’s great scientists, predicts we are about to end the aging process. In the next five years no less! That’s why I say “Damn it, I was born too soon.”

Is Church too optimistic? Maybe, but when you see his 6-foot 5 inch body towering over you, with his white beard, it’s like talking to Charles Darwin or even Jesus Christ.

By Dr. Gifford Jones - Monday, July 3, 2017 - Full Story