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Updates found with 'effective treatment'

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Updates found with 'effective treatment'

Harvard Medical SchoolControlling your weight is key to lowering stroke riskThere is a lot you can do to lower your chances of having a stroke. Even if you've already had a stroke or TIA ("mini-stroke"), you can take steps to prevent another.Controlling your weight is an important way to lower stroke risk. Excess pounds strain the entire circulatory system and can lead to other health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obstructive sleep apnea. But losing as little as 5% to 10% of your starting weight can lower your blood pressure and other stroke risk factors.Protect your brain: That’s the strategy that Harvard doctors recommend in this report on preventing and treating stroke. Whether you’ve already had a mini-stroke or a major stroke, or have been warned that your high blood pressure might cause a future stroke, Stroke: Diagnosing, treating, and recovering from a "brain attack" provides help and advice.Of course, you'll need to keep the weight off for good, not just while you're on a diet. The tips below can help you shed pounds and keep them off:Move more. Exercise is one obvious way to burn off calories. But another approach is to increase your everyday activity wherever you can — walking, fidgeting, pacing while on the phone, taking stairs instead of the elevator.Skip the sipped calories. Sodas, lattes, sports drinks, energy drinks, and even fruit juices are packed with unnecessary calories. Worse, your body doesn't account for them the way it registers solid calories, so you can keep chugging them before your internal "fullness" mechanism tells you to stop. Instead, try unsweetened coffee or tea, or flavor your own sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime, a sprig of fresh mint, or a few raspberries.Eat more whole foods. If you eat more unprocessed foods — such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — you'll fill yourself up on meals that take a long time to digest. Plus, whole foods are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber and tend to be lower in salt — which is better for your blood pressure, too.Find healthier snacks. Snack time is many people's downfall — but you don't have to skip it as long as you snack wisely. Try carrot sticks as a sweet, crunchy alternative to crackers or potato chips, or air-popped popcorn (provided you skip the butter and salt and season it with your favorite spices instead). For a satisfying blend of carbs and protein, try a dollop of sunflower seed butter on apple slices.For more information on lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent a stroke, buy Stroke: Diagnosing, treating, and recovering from a "brain attack, " a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.Stroke: Know when to act, and act quicklyIdentifying and treating a stroke as quickly as possible can save brain cells, function, and lives. Everyone should know the warning signs of a stroke and when to get help fast.The warning signs of a stroke can begin anywhere from a few minutes to days before a stroke actually occurs. The National Stroke Association has devised the FAST checklist to help determine whether a person is having a stroke.Act FASTIf the answer to any of the questions below is yes, there's a high probability that the person is having a stroke.Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Does he or she fail to repeat the sentence correctly?Time: If the answer to any of these questions is yes, time is important! Call the doctor or get to the hospital fast. Brain cells are dying.When stroke symptoms occur, quick action is vital. If you think you or someone with you is having a stroke, call the doctor. Ideally, the person affected should be taken to a hospital emergency room that has expertise and experience in treating stroke as it occurs (called acute stroke). If you or someone you love is at high risk for having a stroke, you should know the name and location of the nearest hospital that specializes in treating acute stroke.The goal of stroke treatment is to restore blood circulation before brain tissue dies. To prevent brain cell death that is significant enough to cause disability, treatment is most effective if it starts within 60 minutes of the onset of symptoms. But it can still be very effective if given within 3 hours of symptom onset.An important goal of ongoing stroke research is to find treatments that can buy time by protecting the person's brain until blood circulation is restored, which can increase the chances of survival and decrease the chances of disability.
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A new Harvard Medical School GuideReady to put a stop to the itching, burning, and discomfort of hemorrhoids?This information-packed guide reveals how you can prevent and treat hemorrhoids.Healing Hemorrhoids In Healing Hemorrhoids, you'll discover:✓ Everything you need to know about the types, causes, and symptoms of hemorrhoids✓ Symptoms that might be signs of other, more serious conditions✓ How to prevent constipation—the #1 cause of hemorrhoids✓ The differences between stool softeners, suppositories, and laxatives✓ Non-surgical, office-based hemorrhoid treatments as well as surgical procedures✓ 19 high-fiber foods that can help keep you regularRead MoreIt's the healthcare issue no one likes talking about: hemorrhoids. Yet more than 75% of people over age 45 experience hemorrhoids. If you have hemorrhoids, you know just how uncomfortable they can be. Now, with Healing Hemorrhoids, a new guide from the experts at Harvard Medical School, you'll learn how to take charge of your hemorrhoids and get back to enjoying life.Everything about hemorrhoids you were too embarrassed to askHealing Hemorrhoids gives you a complete understanding of hemorrhoids (in the comfort and privacy of your own home!). For example, you'll read about the two types of hemorrhoids—internal and external—and their causes and symptoms. (Here's some good news: hemorrhoids are not dangerous and serious complications are rare.) The guide also reveals who is more likely to get hemorrhoids, and explains how hemorrhoids are diagnosed.The #1 tip for preventing hemorrhoidsWhat's the key to preventing hemorrhoids? Preventing constipation! The guide explains in detail how constipation occurs, and what you can do to avoid it. For example, you'll learn how adding fiber to your diet, drinking plenty of water, and exercising can make a big difference in your bowel health. You also get an in-depth look at stool softeners, laxatives, prescription medicines, and other means of reducing constipation.Simple lifestyle changes that help you fight hemorrhoidsThe guide offers additional easy-to-try tips for preventing and relieving hemorrhoids. These include elevating your feet when using the toilet, sitting on soft cushions vs. hard surfaces, and "training" your bowels to stay regular.A complete overview of your treatment optionsWhen it comes to treating hemorrhoids, you have many options, depending on your particular hemorrhoid condition. Healing Hemorrhoids includes safe and easy self-help remedies such as sitz baths, fiber supplements, and topical treatments like Tucks and Preparation H. The guide also goes over non-surgical, office-based treatments for hemorrhoids, as well as surgical procedures (and what to expect after surgery, too).Don't let hemorrhoids slow you down. Get your copy of Healing Hemorrhoids today!Read MoreTo your good health, Howard E. LeWine, M.D.Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
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A Resurgence in Natural Product-Based Drug DiscoveryAdvances in analytical technology are making the screening of natural products and their substructures more viable.Jan 24, 2018By Simon PearcePharmaceutical Technology's In the Lab eNewsletterVolume 13, Issue 2Natural products and their substructures have long been valuable starting points for medicinal chemistry and drug discovery. Since the earliest days of medicine, we’ve turned to nature for our treatments. From the application of digitalis extract as a remedy for heart failure, to the use of Vitamin C to prevent scurvy, many of the first drug treatments were developed by studying the medicinal effects of plants, and isolating the specific compounds responsible for their therapeutic properties. As the knowledge of medicinal chemistry and chemical synthesis advances, the pharmaceutical industry has become more adept at creating synthetic analogues of natural products to reduce the reliance on natural sources, or to improve drug properties such as therapeutic potency, bioavailability, or metabolism by carefully modifying a molecule’s structure (1). Indeed, it’s thought that approximately 40% of drugs available on the market today are derived from chemical structures found in nature (2, 3). Yet over the past few decades, the influence of natural products on drug discovery has notably reduced, in part due to the perceived difficulties of isolating and synthesizing these complex molecules, as well as the challenges associated with screening them using high throughput assays, which are commonly used to identify potential lead compounds.The industry, however, could be at a turning point. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the inclusion of natural products and their substructures in compound screening collections. Here, the author considers how advances in technology and adoption of alternative screening strategies are playing a role in revitalizing natural product-based drug discovery.While nature has been an important source of medicines throughout human history, the value of natural products in drug discovery has been somewhat overlooked in recent times. There is, however, a resurgence of interest in their use, driven to a large extent by the recognition of their enormous potential in the search for new antimicrobials and their efficacy to challenging targets based on the disruption of protein–protein interactions. Alternative screening strategies, such as fragment-based and phenotypic approaches, as well as advances in assay detection technology, have the potential to open up unexplored areas of chemical space populated by these important structures in the search for new and effective treatments.
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Medical Medium Have you or someone you love been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or psoriatic arthritis (PA)? Have you been told that the cause is a mystery or that it’s your body attacking itself? The truth is that there’s a real cause behind these illnesses that medical science and research are unaware of. Fortunately, this article and the accompanying radio show explore the information medical science has yet to fully understand or uncover. Once you know the real cause, you can begin to move forward with healing as you will be addressing the root issue. The Autoimmune TheoryMost people are told that their rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis are caused by an antibody that has been created within the body that attacks the joints. This is a misguided theory that not only has never been proven, but has also sadly become law within the medical community. When this antibody was discovered, science and research did not even know what it did, and they still don’t. This means that all of the treatments and prognoses that have been delivered since this theory was put in place have been precariously balancing on an antibody whose function is still a complete mystery, which makes the true cause of RA and PA just as enigmatic as it was when research on these illnesses first began. Additionally, since the current treatments and medications prescribed for patients are based on this erroneous theory, there are so many people who are still suffering from swelling, stiffness, and pain in the joints, as well as the other symptoms that are associated with these diseases.When people first began suffering from mystery illnesses in the 1950s, research and science was compelled to blame hormones. This is because, like so many other times in medical research, all the money was in hormones. There was such a deluge of research being conducted on hormones at the time that pharmaceutical companies were primed and ready to sell their new hormone drugs they had been itching to promote.However, one doctor was not convinced hormones were to blame, so he got funding for more research and dug further. He eventually stumbled upon an antibody, which, he thought, was the ticket. He created a theory that the antibody was the body’s inexplicable weapon against itself, even though the actual reason for the antibody was still completely unknown. This research was so heavily funded that it would have been unacceptable to emerge and explain that they have no idea what the antibody does. Therefore, some sort of conclusion was necessary, some theory that would stick. The reason researchers eventually concluded the body was attacking itself was because it protected the institution of modern medicine. In this theory, the patient is blamed above all else, which in turn prevents any fingers being pointed at medicine. Currently, most funding is going toward gene research, which always concludes that the patient’s genes are to blame and there is nothing to be done. In this theory, the patient is blamed above all else, which in turn prevents any fingers being pointed at medicine.The Truth about the AntibodyThis antibody that has become the false poster child for autoimmune diseases is actually just one of many antibodies that have yet to be discovered by science and research. The most ironic part about the events of the last half century is that everything medical research claims to be true about this antibody is actually the exact opposite. Rather than attacking the body, this antibody has been created by the body to protect itself from an outside intruder. The antibody, while an indicator of something being attacked, is not the one doing the attacking. It is proof of your body doing everything it can to support and safeguard you. It doesn’t go after tissue; it goes after the pathogen.The True Cause of RA and PAWe are currently living in a virus culture. Our world is rampant with pathogens that are causing the diseases so many are mystified by and calling autoimmune. Medical science and research are unaware that Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) is the cause of so many illnesses, including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, thyroid disorders, lupus, Lyme disease, tinnitus, vertigo, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. There are over 60 varieties of EBV, which may come as a shock to anyone who is only nominally familiar with this virus as well as to those who work in the medical field.Psoriatic arthritis is created by EBV, which feeds on the heavy metal copper in the liver. Toxic varieties of copper are perfect food for the virus that creates PA. When there is an abundant amount of food that EBV likes, such as copper, the virus becomes stronger and more rampant in the body, attacking the joints and tissues. EBV then creates an internal dermatoxin, which is different to the known external dermatoxin, which then surfaces to the skin. This is when a rash, either of the psoriasis and/or eczema variety, occurs, as well as aches, pains, and inflammation, Thyroid Healing. Medical communities are not aware that this is the true cause of PA, or even that viruses feed on specific foods, metals, and toxins. This is one huge reason why people are not able to receive the answers and help they need to truly heal.Copper can be absorbed into the system in many ways. Someone could have lived in an old house with ancient pipes made of copper that turned everything green. Or they could have used copper pans that flaked the metal off into the food. Copper is rife in pesticides, which means living near farmland, even 50 miles away, can be conducive to toxic copper exposure. Copper is in all pesticides, rodenticides, herbicides, and fungicides, which means we should avoid spraying both inside and outside the house. Anytime you purchase new linens or fabrics, such as towels, sheets, clothing, underwear, or socks, it would be prudent to wash them twice before using. New linens and clothing are loaded with fungicides, which are full of copper that can seep into the skin, your largest organ. It’s important to note that this toxic heavy metal copper is different to the helpful trace mineral copper which is found in plants.Rheumatoid arthritis is also caused by Epstein-Barr Virus that’s in a late stage (read more about the stages of EBV in my book Thyroid Healing, ) except this variety of EBV either does not like to feed on copper as much, or there simply is not an excessive amount of toxic copper in the system. The particular variety of EBV that causes RA much prefers the heavy metal mercury as its food. This specific variety of EBV gets into connective tissue, joints, and ligaments in its fourth stage, causing inflammation that’s evidence of your body trying to hold the invader at bay. Swelling of the knuckles, cervical spine, and the like is an indication that the body is reacting to the virus burrowing deeper and causing permanent damage to nerves and tissue. In its milder forms, this may display itself as mystery aches and pains. In its advanced forms, people experience severe joint swelling and a diagnosis of RA. This information is unknown to medical science and research.The Very First StepThe most important step you can take today toward true healing is way beyond diet or avoiding sprays. You must first know in your heart the true cause of your disease. Your body is not attacking itself. It is the biggest mistake to believe your immune system is not supporting you. When you believe your disease is autoimmune, you are preventing true healing from taking place because you are not giving your body the support it needs as it continues the fight against the pathogen in your body. Knowing your body is not fighting itself but rather a pathogen such as a virus ignites your immune system to become stronger, more focused, and work even harder for you. Additionally, when you know you should be fighting a virus, you can learn the practical steps you can take to give your body as much support as you possibly can.How to HealUnknown to medical research and science, the antibody was created to fight Epstein-Barr Virus; however, your body still needs all the support it can get. The following are some steps to take that can help you to begin recovering from rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis.Remove Heavy MetalsHeavy metals are one of EBV’s favorite foods. And almost all of us unknowingly have toxic heavy metals inside our bodies. These metals make it possible for the virus to continue growing and becoming more prolific. And the more it feeds on metals such as mercury and copper, the more toxic waste matter the virus excretes in the body, which leads to the symptoms of psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis. To get rid of heavy metals, heavy metal detox foods to include in your diet daily: barley grass juice, cilantro, spirulina, wild blueberries. Foods to AvoidWhen healing from RA and PA, it is essential to avoid eating things that happen to be some of EBV’s favorite foods, such as eggs and dairy. Also, it’s best to avoid pork because it burdens the liver to such a degree that it gives viruses an opportunity to proliferate, grow, and inflame the joints and skin. It’s also important to stay away from gluten as well because unknown to all medical communities it also provides fuel for the virus. If you have taken out eggs, dairy, and gluten, and you are still experiencing symptoms after several months, consider removing all grains from your diet, including oats and rice, while you heal. Some people tolerate grains well but for some, grains have to be removed to allow for deeper healing. It’s also helpful to avoid corn, soy, and canola oil.The Healing Food: FruitWhile many have been told to avoid fruit because of its sugar content, this trend is actually another example of misinformation that is only preventing people from taking advantage of the powerful antiviral properties in bananas, dates, apples, melons, mangoes, and all other kinds of fruit. Fruit is the most antioxidant-rich food in the world. Antioxidant should really be synonymous with longevity, as fruit is the best food to prolong life and fight disease. Wild blueberries, blackberries, and cherries are among the most antioxidant-filled foods. You can focus on whichever fruits are most attractive to you. If you have the luxury of a farmers market near you, make it a weekly habit to do your shopping there and explore the numerous varieties of fruit that are available to you: apples, pears, peaches, persimmons, apricots, watermelons, and dates. Different kinds of citrus are also a wonderful addition to your fruit-filled diet. While some people may think oranges, lemon water, or grapefruit cause flare ups in their RA or PA, it only feels that way because the citrus is detoxifying the poisons and viral byproduct in your system. In addition to fruit, be sure to eat plenty of leafy greens, vegetables, and include celery juice daily.Helpful SupplementsFor healing supplements, consider including the following supplements:Zinc sulfate is one of the most important resources to fight EBV. The body uses up supplies and even deep reserves of zinc at a rapid rate—meaning that it’s very common to become zinc-deficient when you have EBV, if you weren’t already. This supplement gives a major boost to the immune system so that EBV cells can be destroyed and suppressed.L-Lysine inhibits and reduces an EBV viral load and acts as an anti-inflammatory to the entire body.Cat's claw is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-viral that can be very helpful for rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis.Taking a methylfolate supplement that supports methylation issues is very important for those suffering with rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis.Bringing in the right B-12 supplement that contains adenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin can be a wonderful addition as well.Glutathione helps to detoxify the liver, which is where the virus and toxins that cause these conditions can be found.Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) repairs and fortifies areas of the body that have been damaged by the virus.Mullein leaf’s strong anti-viral abilities make it an important supplement to consider.Additional TherapiesMany people with RA go to an infrared sauna to help with the fatigue and stiffness. This can be a good option for you, just be sure not to have the heat set too high Be conscious about how long you stay in the sauna. Another extremely helpful treatment is gentle massage therapy, one of the oldest modalities since the beginning of time. Healing touch from one person to another can be incredible for RA.Moving ForwardRheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are not autoimmune diseases, and this myth is one that needs to rectified immediately so that the millions of people who are suffering can begin to get true answers. When you are given wrong information about your illness, you are essentially given a stop sign. My hope is for you to walk away from this understanding of RA or PA with a renewed hope and green light. Realizing that your body is fighting a virus that is feeding on toxins and metals in your system is the first and most powerful thing you can do. You must let go of the idea that your body is working against you. It is impossible for the body to attack a single cell in our bodies.When you are considering your healing options, it can be overwhelming. Remember to take it slow and at your own pace. Everyone’s path is going to look a little different. Maybe the foods to avoid will take you some time to remove but the supplements will come more easily. Maybe eating fruit will be an easy step but including celery juice is too much for you up front. Do what you can today and keep building on it from here. Never forget that your body is working with you, not against you, and healing is possible.
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Calcium, vitamin D, and fracturesPOSTED FEBRUARY 12, 2018, 10:30 AM , UPDATED FEBRUARY 22, 2018. Monique Tello, MD, MPHMonique Tello, MD, MPHContributing EditorWhen I saw the headlines about this recently published study on bone health saying “Vitamin D and calcium supplements may not lower fracture risk.” I thought: Wait, that’s news? I think I remember seeing that headline a few years ago.Indeed, in 2015, this very blog reported on similar studies of calcium supplements, noting that calcium supplements have risks and side effects, and are not likely indicated for most healthy community-dwelling adults over 50. These folks are not in a high-risk category for vitamin deficiencies, osteoporosis, and fractures, and we usually advise them to get their calcium from food. Dietary sources of calcium are everywhere, including milk and yogurt, but also include green leafy veggies like collard greens, legumes like black-eyed peas, tofu, almonds, orange juice… the list goes on (and you can check it out here).What’s new with this most recent study?This research found that taking vitamin D supplements did not protect against fractures in people over 50. The authors examined 33 research studies including over 50, 000 people for their analysis. However, and it’s a big however, study investigators note several times that their research included only healthy people out in the community, and that their findings do not apply to elderly people living in nursing homes who may have a poorer diet, less sun exposure and mobility, and who are at particularly high risk for fractures. Indeed, the original recommendations for calcium supplementation were based on a study of elderly, nursing-home bound women with vitamin deficiencies and low bone density, for whom calcium and vitamin D supplements did significantly reduce fracture risk.What is the takeaway?Well, simply, not much has changed. My advice to my healthy patients is still to get calcium from foods, and the best diet for this is a Mediterranean-style diet rich in colorful plants, plenty of legumes, and fish. This plus high-protein, low-fat, and low-sugar dairy (yogurt is ideal) can supply plenty of calcium. As far as vitamin D, well, vitamin D supplementation continues to be a topic of lively and livid debate among everyone, including competing guideline-authoring endocrine experts (see my Harvard Health Blog post on this). I hesitate to wander into that minefield again. But here goes…The scoop on vitamin D deficiencyThere is a large group of people who are likely to be deficient in vitamin D. It includes people with eating disorders; people who have had gastric bypass surgeries; those with malabsorption syndromes like celiac sprue; pregnant and lactating women; people who have dark skin; and those who wear total skin covering (and thus absorb less sunlight). In addition, people with or at risk for low bone density (perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, people diagnosed with other skeletal disorders, or who take certain medications), should discuss whether they need supplements and to have blood levels of vitamin D monitored.Many New England-dwelling (and Northern hemisphere) residents are at risk for a dip in vitamin D levels during the long, dark winter months. In my own practice I do consider that a risk factor, and I advise a vitamin D supplement of 1, 000 IUs daily. For people who would rather avoid a supplement but may need a boost of vitamin D, it is also found in some common foods, including sardines, salmon, tuna, cheese, egg yolks, and vitamin-fortified milk. I will add that, for those who fall into the “healthy community-dwelling adult” category, a supplement of anywhere from 400 to 2, 000 IUs of vitamin D daily is not likely to cause harm. Yes, vitamin D toxicity is a thing, usually seen at levels above 80 ng/ml, which causes excessive calcium to be released into the bloodstream. This is rare, but I have seen it in patients who took high-dose vitamin D supplementation of 50, 000 IUs weekly over a long period of time.Other important and effective ways to protect your bonesThere are other methods that may be more effective at maintaining bone health and reducing fracture risk. One that we can likely all agree on is regular physical activity. Weight-bearing exercise like walking, jogging, tennis, and aerobics definitely strengthens bones. Core exercises like yoga and Pilates can improve balance. All of this can help reduce falls and fracture risk.And so, in the end, I am recommending what I always end up recommending: a Mediterranean-style diet rich in colorful plants, plenty of legumes, fish, plus low-sugar, low-fat dairy and plenty of varied physical activity throughout your entire life… and maybe calcium and/or vitamin D supplementation for certain people, following a discussion with their doctors.Harvard medical school
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Patients Cured Of Cataract Using Lenses Created From Stem CellsResearchers are now using regenerative medicine approach to remove congenital cataracts in infants, permitting remaining stem cells to regrow functional lenses. The project was a joint effort from University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Shiley Eye Institute, with colleagues in China. The findings were published in the journal Nature.The experimental treatment resulted in much fewer surgical complications than the current standard-of-care and resulted in regenerated lenses with superior visual function in all 12 of the pediatric cataract patients who received the new surgery. It’s important to note, however, that it has been tested in animals and in a small, human clinical trial. The follow video shows the current widely known practices to treat cataracts.Congenital cataracts — lens clouding that occurs at birth or shortly thereafter — is a significant cause of blindness in children. The clouded lens obstructs the passage of light to the retina and visual information to the brain, resulting in significant visual impairment. Current treatment is limited by the age of the patient and related complications. Most pediatric patients require corrective eyewear after cataract surgery.“An ultimate goal of stem cell research is to turn on the regenerative potential of one’s own stem cells for tissue and organ repair and disease therapy, ” said Kang Zhang, MD, PhD, chief of Ophthalmic Genetics, founding director of the Institute for Genomic Medicine and co-director of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering at the Institute of Engineering in Medicine, both at UC San Diego School of Medicine.In their research, Zhang and colleagues relied upon the regenerative potential of endogenous stem cells. Unlike other stem cell approaches that involve creating stem cells in the lab and introducing them back into the patient, with potential hurdles like pathogen transmission and immune rejection, endogenous stem cells are stem cells already naturally in place at the site of the injury or problem. In the case of the human eye, lens epithelial stem cells or LECs generate replacement lens cells throughout a person’s life, though production declines with age.Current cataract surgeries largely remove LECs within the lens; the lingering cells generate disorganized regrowth in infants and no useful vision. After confirming the regenerative potential of LECs in animal models, the researchers developed a novel minimally invasive surgery method that preserves the integrity of the lens capsule — a membrane that helps give the lens its required shape to function — and a way to stimulate LECs to grow and form a new lens with vision.In subsequent tests in animals with cataracts and in a small human trial, they found the new surgical technique allowed pre-existing LECs to regenerate functional lenses. In particular, the human trial involved 12 infants under the age of 2 treated with the new method and 25 similar infants receiving current standard surgical care. The latter control group experienced a higher incidence of post-surgery inflammation, early-onset ocular hypertension and increased lens clouding.The scientists reported fewer complications and faster healing among the 12 infants who underwent the new procedure and, after three months, a clear, regenerated biconvex lens in all of the patients’ eyes.“The success of this work represents a novel approach in how new human tissue or organ can be regenerated and human disease can be treated, and may have a broad impact on regenerative therapies by harnessing the regenerative power of our own body, ” said Zhang, who also has an appointment at Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.
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IGIB researchers partially reverse a rare disorderThe HinduR. Prasad10 FEBRUARY 2018 18:13 ISTUPDATED: 10 FEBRUARY 2018 18:14 IST The syndrome also affects about one in one lakh people, causing a range of defectResearchers at Delhi’s Institute of Genomics & Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) have for the first time used zebra fish to model the rare genetic disorder — Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome (RSTS) — seen in humans. They have also used two small molecules to partially reverse some of the defects caused by the disorder in zebrafish, thus showing them to be an ideal animal model for screening drug candidates. There is currently no cure or treatment for the disorder.The Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome has a frequency of about one in one lakh people, and causes intellectual disability, growth retardation (short stature), craniofacial deformities, heart defects and broad thumbs and toes. The results were published in the journal Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Basis of Disease.Close to human genomeSince zebrafish genome has very close similarity to human genome and the embryonic developmental is very similar in the two, the team led by Dr. Chetana Sachidanandan at IGIB went about checking if EP300, one of the two genes that cause the disorder is present in the fish and if mutations in this gene result in a RSTS-like disease in fish.Using chemicals, the researchers inhibited the activity of the protein Ep300 to see if this resulted in the manifestation of the disorder in the brain, heart, face and pectoral fins (equivalent to forearm in humans). “Like in the case of humans, the same organs were affected in the fish when the functioning of the protein was stopped. This helped in confirming that the protein in question does the same functions in fish and humans, ” she says.Since zebrafish commonly has two copies of many human genes, the researchers first checked if one or both the genes were functional and equivalent to the human gene that causes the disorder. “We found Ep300a gene was active and functional while Ep300b was not, ” says Prof. Tapas K. Kundu from the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bengaluru, the other corresponding author. The Ep300a gene is responsible for producing a protein (Ep300) that opens up the DNA.“The protein Ep300 is evolutionarily conserved from fish to humans. Though the Ep300 gene has been earlier identified in fish, its function was not known, ” says Prof. Kundu.Reversal of effectsLike in the case of fish treated with chemicals manifesting the disorder, fish mutants that lacked the Ep300a gene too exhibited defects very similar to those seen in humans.“When we introduced excess amount of a tiny portion of the Ep300a protein in the mutants, the craniofacial deformities became less severe [mutants had severed craniofacial deformities] and pectoral fins in the fish became normal, ” she says.But neuronal defects were not reversed, even partially. “It might be because only a portion of the protein was put into the fish. Probably, that potion isn’t sufficient to compensate for the loss of the whole protein, ” she explains.“It’s proof-of-concept that just a piece of the protein is sufficient to reverse some defects, even if only partially, in zebrafish, ” Dr. Sachidanandan says.Alternatively, the researchers used two small molecules to reverse the defects. If the protein Ep300 is responsible for opening the DNA, there are other proteins that are responsible for closing the DNA.The two molecules were found from a screen of compounds well known for their ability to inhibit proteins responsible for closing the DNA.Like in the case when excess amount of Ep300 protein was introduced, both the molecules could partially restore facial defects but not the neuronal defects.“Introducing excess amount of a portion of the ep300 protein showed greater rescue of deformities than the small molecules, ” says Aswini Babu from IGIB and first author of the paper. “But rescuing the deformities using small molecules is a relatively easier and better option.”
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Dry skinKelly BilodeauKelly BilodeauExecutive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watchdry skinIn the winter months, I wash my hands regularly and use a squirt of hand sanitizer from time to time in an effort to ward off colds. It may be a good health habit, but it also pretty much guarantees that I’m plagued by dry, cracked skin and tiny cuts around my fingers until spring.Dry skin in the winter months is common, partly because people ramp up their hand washing, but the combination of cold air and the lack of humidity also plays a role. Your skin spends the winter months fighting to retain moisture, not to mention fending off other insults from cold-weather staples like scratchy wool clothes and crackling wood fires.How can your skin survive the season? We asked Dr. Barbara Gilchrest, senior lecturer on dermatology at Harvard Medical School, to weigh in with her best tips to help you protect your skin from winter dryness.1. What’s the most common winter skin problem?For most people, it’s dry skin and itching, says Dr. Gilchrest. You can blame cold air and low humidity for stripping the water away from the surface of your skin. Instead of lying flat and smooth and then shedding from the surface inconspicuously, dead skin cells from the many layers that make up our protective skin barrier form small but visible partially attached clumps that make your skin feel dry and rough.Eczema craquelé is another problem to watch for in the winter months. It’s essentially an extreme manifestation of dry skin, usually occurring on the lower legs. With this condition, the dryness actually causes cracks in the top layer of skin, known as the stratum corneum. Blood may rise up beneath the skin, appearing as squiggly red lines, which give the skin a mottled appearance. Some people with this condition experience itching and stinging.2. How can you prevent dry skin in the winter months?Combating the problem starts with keeping your home environment moist. Use a humidifier if you can. But the most effective strategy is to use skin moisturizers, which slow water loss and also physically smooth the skin, making it feel less rough, says Dr. Gilchrest.3. Do you have any tips for choosing a moisturizer?Choose the heaviest moisturizer that’s comfortable to wear, and use more on your lower legs and hands, which are most prone to dryness. After a bath or a shower, pat the skin dry and immediately apply a moisturizer. Reapply as needed throughout the day, says Dr. Gilchrest.4. Do expensive, brand-name moisturizers work better than lower-cost options?“It doesn’t have to be expensive to work, ” says Dr. Gilchrest. “To my knowledge, while there are some extremely expensive moisturizers, there are none that are proven to be magically better.” But if you can, she says, look for moisturizers with alpha hydroxy acids, also called fruit acids, such as lactic acid or glycolic acid. Creams with alpha hydroxy acids tend to hold moisture in the skin longer than other moisturizers. You can get them at fairly high concentrations, she says. Use small amounts until your skin gets used to them, so you can apply them and they don’t sting.5. Any other winter tips you can offer?Keeping the outer skin barrier well hydrated is crucial. Also keep your skin covered in cold temperatures, and don’t forget to wear gloves when you’re out, says Dr. Gilchrest. For people with Raynaud’s syndrome, where blood vessels in the fingers overreact to cold temperatures, gloves help prevent fingers from becoming painful and turning white, which happens more often in the winter. Keeping the hands warm can also ensure healthy nail growth during the colder months, she says.In addition, as cozy as it may be, it’s best to avoid sitting next to a fire or a radiator all day, because that type of direct heat can be damaging to your skin. Avoid super-hot baths for the same reason, says Dr. Gilchrest. Whenever possible, try to wear soft fabrics. Wool is warm, but it can scratch and irritate the skin. If you do wear wool when you go outside, be certain to remove it as soon as possible when you go back inside, or layer it over softer fabrics.With a little extra care, you’ll be able to protect your skin from the effects of winter’s chill.
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