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New migraine find paves way for dopamine-based therapies

Health News - Thu, 03/30/2017 - 09:09

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 30 : A recent research has shown that dopamine levels fall during the migraine attacks.

Using PET scans of the brain, the University of Michigan researchers showed that dopamine falls and fluctuates at different times during a migraine headache.

This could help scientists better understand dopamine-based therapies for migraines as well as a patient's behaviour during an attack.

The connection between dopamine and migraines has long been a poorly understood therapeutic and research area, said researcher Alex DaSilva.

Dopamine, sometimes called the brain's feel-good neurotransmitter, helps regulate emotion, motivation and sensory perception.

Physicians and emergency rooms often give migraine patients dopamine antagonists, drugs that block overactive dopamine receptors, to level off wild dopamine fluctuations and ease migraine attacks.

DaSilva and colleagues took various measurements of brain activity and dopamine levels of eight migraine sufferers and eight healthy patients during migraine attacks and between headaches. They compared study participants to each other with and without headaches, and also migraineurs to healthy patients.

When migraine patients were between headaches, their dopamine levels were as stable and even as the healthy patients, DaSilva said. But during an attack, the migraine patients' dopamine levels fell significantly.

"This dopamine reduction and fluctuation during the migraine attack is your brain telling you that something is not going well internally, and that you need time to heal by forcing you to slow down, go to a dark room and avoid any kind of stimulation," he said.

The study appears in the journal Neurology. (ANI)

These injection shots can keep your bones strong

Health News - Thu, 03/30/2017 - 09:07

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 30 : Making your bones stronger may be as easy as getting injections of peptide, according to a recent study.

Two University of Delaware researchers and their students have joined forces - applying the mathematical modeling expertise of one to the biological inquiry of the other - to point the way to a promising remedy.

The biologist, Anja Nohe, has shown that treating a mouse with a peptide known as CK2.3 increases bone mineral density. The mathematician/engineer, Prasad Dhurjati, has calculated estimated dosages for human beings.

According to their model, injections of CK2.3 can raise bone mineral density of bones badly degraded by osteoporosis back to healthy levels.

Bone mineral density is affected by two processes: bone formation and bone degradation. Current drug treatments, especially bisphosphonates, address the cells involved in bone degradation (osteoclasts). Only the approved drug PTH addresses the cells involved in bone formation (osteoblasts) but doctors must prescribe bisphosphonates with it to target bone degradation simultaneously.

The peptide used in this research, CK2.3, is the only one that decreases bone degradation while simultaneously increasing bone formation.

The study is published in Pharmacometrics and Systems Pharmacology. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Targeting hunger's complex chemistry for obesity drugs

Health News - Thu, 03/30/2017 - 07:19

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 30 : A team of scientists is taking a new tack that could finally yield promising obesity treatments.

Contributing editor Jyoti Madhusoodanan reported that early attempts to therapeutically target leptin and ghrelin, which suppress and stimulate appetite, respectively, were mostly ineffective. But the hormones' discoveries paved the way to a deeper understanding of the chemistry of hunger.

Scientists have found that in addition to leptin and ghrelin, many other factors contribute to eating habits. Protein sensors in the stomach, for example, sense stretch, pressure and volume changes when a person eats, and create a sense of fullness. Neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, also tweak people's feelings of hunger and satiety.

Recognizing the role of the brain in weight gain, researchers developed newer therapies, approved in 2013 and 2014, to target individual neuronal signaling molecules. But to further improve obesity treatments, drugs will most likely need a more complex approach, given the multiple factors involved in hunger.

So researchers are now trying combination therapies to better regulate various parts of the body's appetite control system. A few more years of research could ultimately bear out this strategy or help redirect the field yet again.

The study appears in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN). (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Software-based system can help determine cause of stroke

Health News - Thu, 03/30/2017 - 05:57

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 30 : Determining the cause of an ischemic stroke is critical to prevent a second one and now, a new software-based system has offered hope.

Investigators at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the MGH Stroke Service have developed a software package that provides evidence-based, automated support for diagnosing the cause of stroke.

"This was a much-needed study because, although stroke classifications systems are often used in research and clinical practice, these systems are not always able to produce subtypes with discrete pathophysiological, diagnostic and prognostic characteristics," said senior author Hakan Ay.

Ay added, "We found that the CCS-based classifications provided better correlations between clinical and imaging stroke features and were better able to discriminate among stroke outcomes than were two conventional, non-automated classification methods."

There are more than 150 different possible causes - or etiologies - of ischemic stroke, and approximately half of patients exhibit features suggesting more than one possible cause. This leads to considerable complexity in determining the cause of a stroke and, in roughly one of two patients, can lead to disagreements among physicians about the cause. The CCS software helps to reduce this complexity by exploiting classification criteria that are well defined, replicable and based on evidence rather than subjective assessment.

The CCS software does this in several ways. First, it weights the possible etiologies by considering the relative potential of each to cause a stroke. Second, in the presence of multiple potential causes it incorporates the clinical and imaging features that make one mechanism more probable than others for an individual patient. Third, it determines the likelihood of that cause by taking into account the number of diagnostic tests that were performed. And finally, it ensures that data is entered in a consistent manner. The software can also serve as an important research tool, by providing investigators with both the ability to examine how stroke etiologies interact with one another and the flexibility to define new etiology subtypes according to the needs of the individual research project.

Ay noted, "The information the software provides not only is critical for effective stroke prevention but also could increase the chances for new discoveries by enhancing the statistical power in future studies of etiologic stroke subtypes. We estimate that, compared to conventional systems, the use of CCS in stroke prevention trials testing targeted treatments for a particular etiologic subtype could reduce the required sample size by as much as 30 percent."

The study is published online in JAMA Neurology. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Now, tracing chemicals from fast-food wrappers in body possible

Health News - Thu, 03/30/2017 - 05:41

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 30 : A team of researchers has come up with a technique that has made tracing hazardous chemicals from fast-food wrappers in the body possible.

The University of Alabama and the University of Notre Dame scientists have developed a new method that enables researchers to radiolabel three forms of perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances and track the fate of these chemicals when they enter the body.

This is a significant and timely advancement in identifying and tracking these PFASs, which are known to be harmful to the human body, and just last month were found to be used extensively in fast-food wrapping paper at many popular chain restaurants.

The novelty of the newly designed method is that one of the fluorine atoms on the PFAS molecule was replaced with a radioactive form of fluorine, the same radioisotope fluorine-18 that is used for medical positron emission tomography scans in hospitals around the world.

"For the first time, we have a PFAS tracer or chemical that we have tagged to see where it goes in mice," said senior author Suzanne Lapi. "Each of the tracers exhibited some degree of uptake in all of the organs and tissues of interest that were tested, including the brain. The highest uptake was observed in the liver and stomach, and similar amounts were observed in the femur and lungs."

Key points to know about this discovery, recent findings:

- A study released in February showed that, of the more than 400 samples of packaging materials tested from many popular fast-food restaurants, PFASs were found in 56 percent of dessert and bread wrappers, 38 percent of sandwich and burger wrappers, and 20 percent of paperboard.

- Exposure to PFASs is linked to kidney and testicular cancer, elevated cholesterol, decreased fertility, and thyroid problems in adults.

- Exposure to PFASs is linked to adverse effects on growth, learning and behavior and decreased immune response to vaccines in children.

- A new radio tracing method developed by UAB Radiology enabled researchers to discover that highly fluorinated, potentially toxic chemicals known as perfluorinated alkyl substances, or PFASs, were found in all body organs tested, including liver, stomach, leg bone, lungs, kidney, heart, skin, muscle, brain and other organs.

- Because tracing PFAS compounds conventionally is difficult, UAB Radiology developed a method to tag the intact PFAS compounds with a fluorine-18 radio tracer so researchers could see where the compound was going in the body and make sensitive measurements for the first time.

PFASs are often used in stain-resistant products, firefighting materials and nonstick cookware and not meant for ingestion. Previous studies have shown PFASs can migrate, contaminating the food and, when consumed, accumulating in the body.

"We are very excited about this technique, which borrows from our current work developing nuclear medicine imaging agents," said first author Jennifer Burkemper. "This work can enable rapid screening of PFAS compounds to gain key insights into their biological fate."

The study is published in the Journal of Environment Science and Technology. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Teens who smoke pot at 15 or below may suffer memory loss, respiratory diseases

Health News - Wed, 03/29/2017 - 06:57

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 29 : A team of Canadian researchers has found that teenagers, who begin smoking pot as early as 15 or younger, may suffer long-term cognitive impairment, memory loss, physical illnesses and respiratory diseases.

The findings, published in the journal Health, shows that young users, who smoked pot, reported the most impact to their physical and mental health and those who did not smoke until age 21, are unlikely to develop a lifelong habit, or barely smoke pot at all.

"The task force outlines these benefits to take marijuana out of criminal hands, to tax it, to make sure that product quality is preserved," said lead author Dr James McIntosh.

"We need to start collecting data on it to see what the effects are on people of all ages," McIntosh added.

Researchers from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, looked at data from the 2013 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey, and two others, to determine the effects of cannabis use on self-reported physical and mental health.

The results indicated, when use began below age 15, the drug was found to cause cognitive impairment, memory loss, diminished IQ, limited educational success and likelihood for developing mental illness.

Those who began smoking marijuana at age 17 or younger had an average 62.5 percent lower chance of receiving a high school degree.

The students who smoke high amounts of cannabis have lower grades and perform worse at school.

Physically, early users also suffered higher rates of respiratory diseases and certain cancers and may also increase the likelihood of long-term habitual use.

The researchers suggested that educational programs, counseling services and a distribution system could help minimise use by young people. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

New study can determine whether someone has high risk of developing liver cancer

Health News - Tue, 03/28/2017 - 05:58

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 28 : Exposure to fungal product, called aflatoxin, is believed to cause up to 80 percent of liver cancer cases in many parts of the world.

A new study by MIT researchers have developed a way to determine, by sequencing DNA of liver cells, whether those cells have been exposed to aflatoxin.

This profile of mutations could be used to predict whether someone has a high risk of developing liver cancer, potentially many years before tumours actually appear.

"What we're doing is creating a fingerprint," said John Essigmann, the William R. and Betsy P. Leitch Professor of Biological Engineering and Chemistry at MIT. "It's really a measure of prior exposure to something that causes cancer."

This approach could also be used to generate profiles for other common carcinogens, said Essigmann, who is the senior author of a paper describing the findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Allergic to any tree nut? Don't worry, now you can eat some

Health News - Tue, 03/28/2017 - 05:23

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 28 : If you have a particular tree nut allergy, then generally you are being asked to avoid every kind of nuts.

But now, a new research suggests that you should consider having an oral food challenge to properly diagnose additional nut allergies, especially if you've never had a reaction to eating those almonds, chestnuts and pistachios before.

The study, published in journal of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, showed that among people allergic to one nut who have a positive test to other tree nuts, more than half passed an oral food challenge to other tree nuts without a reaction.

Passing an oral food challenge means you are not allergic to that nut. Tree nuts include almonds, cashews, walnuts and hazelnuts, but not peanuts.

"Too often, people are told they're allergic to tree nuts based on a blood or skin prick test," said lead study author Christopher Couch.

"They take the results at face value and stop eating all tree nuts when they might not actually be allergic," he added.

The team examined records of 109 people with a known tree nut allergy.

They were tested for other tree nuts that they had never eaten before using blood or skin prick tests.

The results revealed, despite showing sensitivity to the additional tree nuts, more than 50 percent of those tested had no reaction in an oral food challenge.

An oral food challenge is considered the most accurate way to diagnose food allergy. During an oral food challenge, the patient eats tiny amounts of the food in increasing doses over a period of time, followed by a few hours of observation to see if they have a reaction. An oral food challenge should only be conducted under the care of a trained, board-certified allergist. You should never do one on your own since if you are allergic, you could have a severe, life-threatening reaction.

"We found even a large-sized skin test or elevated blood allergy test is not enough by itself to accurately diagnose a tree nut allergy if the person has never eaten that nut. Tree nut allergy should only be diagnosed if there is both a positive test and a history of developing symptoms after eating that tree nut," said co-author Matthew Greenhawt.

"The practice of avoiding all peanut and tree nuts because of a single- nut allergy may not be necessary," said Greenhawt, adding, "After an oral food challenge, people allergic to a single tree nut may be able to include other nuts in their diet." (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

German Shepherds can detect breast cancer accurately: Study

Health News - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 07:22

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 27 : Attention dog lovers! With just six months of training, a German Shepherd can accurately detect breast cancer, a study finds.

According to researchers, the technique is simple, non-invasive and cheap and may revolutionise cancer detection in countries where mammograms are hard to come by.

The results revealed, in the first experiment, the dogs detected 28 out of the 31 cancerous bandages - a 90 percent pass rate.

On the second try, they scored 100 percent - sitting down in front of the box containing the cancerous sample with their muzzle pressed deep into the cone.

"In these countries, there are oncologists, there are surgeons, but in rural areas often there is limited access to diagnostics," said lead researcher Isabelle Fromantin, reports the Mail Online.

Working on the assumption that breast cancer cells have a distinguishing smell which sensitive dog noses will pick up, the team collected samples from 31 cancer patients.

These were pieces of bandage that patients had held against their affected breast.

The team trained German Shepherds Thor and Nykios to recognise cancerous rags from non- cancerous ones.

After six months, the dogs were put to the test.

One bandage was used per experiment, along with three samples from women with no cancer.

Each bandage was placed in a box with a large cone which the dogs could stick their noses into, sniffing at each in turn-four boxes per test.

The team says it is the only one to work with breast cancer detection from skin-touch samples.

Other research projects are testing canines' ability to smell different types of cancer in samples of the skin itself, blood or urine, even the air people exhale. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Video games help to fight depression?

Health News - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 07:10

New Delhi [India], Mar. 27 : Do you know video game can be an effective treatment if your child is undergoing depression?

A new UC Davis study carries it a step further, though, finding that when the video game users were messaged reminders, they played the game more often and in some cases increased the time spent playing.

"Through the use of carefully designed persuasive message prompts ... mental health video games can be perceived and used as a more viable and less attrition-ridden treatment option," according to the study.

The paper, authored by Subuhi Khan and Jorge Pena, professors in the Department of Communication at UC Davis, is published in Computers in Human Behavior.

The messages, and subsequent games assigned, targeted depression that could be perceived as either internal, caused by a chemical imbalance or hereditary factor; or depression that could come from outside factors - such as a job or relationship situation. The messaging had slight differences in approach, but ended on basic inspirational notes to inspire the participant to play the game.

Each message ended with, "Just like a regular workout, much of the benefit of these tasks comes from using them without taking breaks and putting in your best effort."

Using six, three-minute games, the study found in most cases that playing the specifically designed game helped subjects feel they had some control over their depression. Each game was an adaptation of neurophysiological training tasks that have been shown to improve cognitive control among people experiencing depression.

Portraying depression as something caused internally because of biological factors and providing a video game-based app for brain training made participants feel that they could do something to control their depression. This supports other research that shows that brain-training games have the potential to induce cognitive changes, the authors said. Those users also gave high ratings for the usability of the app.

On the other hand, portraying depression as a condition caused by external factors led users to spend more time playing the game - again, perhaps giving them a feeling of control over their situation. But researchers said this result was likely due to immediate engagement and was unlikely to have long-term benefits.

The study did not examine whether playing the games actually reduced depression, although that will be looked at in future studies, the authors said.

The study looked at results from 160 student volunteers who said they suffered from mild depression. They received class credit for participating. Three-fourths were women, and more than half of the subjects were of Asian heritage, followed by white, Latino, and other ethnicities. The average age was 21. (ANI)

Region: IndiaGeneral: Health

Prescription weight-loss pill helps with opiate addiction

Health News - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 08:37

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 25 : A prescription weight-loss medication can decrease the urge to use opiates such as oxycodone, according to a recent study.

The researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that the drug, lorcaserin, reduced the use and craving for the opioid oxycodone in preclinical studies.

Most of the treatments available to reduce opiate misuse work by occupying opioid receptors in the brain. If someone were to take an opiate while on these treatments, they would not feel the signature euphoria as strongly.

However, a person's drug-taking environment is a powerful cue that can condition someone to anticipate the experience of taking of the drug; this is called cue reactivity. People who have tried the currently available medications often relapse when they are around the people, places or paraphernalia that they associate with opiate use.

Lorcaserin, prescribed for weight loss, alters the serotonin system by changing chemical signals that affect satiety, the sensation of fullness. Serotonin regulates the brain circuitry involved in drug reward and cue reactivity, particularly though activating serotonin 2C receptors.

The researchers trained rats to self-administer oxycodone while exposed to specific lights and sounds that create a drug-taking environment. Once the rats were used to regularly consuming oxycodone, they went through a period where no oxycodone was available to them. The researchers then gave lorcaserin to some of the rats while others were given a placebo and placed them in the drug-associated environment. At this point, oxycodone was again made available to the rats.

The lorcaserin rats self-administered less oxycodone and reacted less strongly to cues associated with taking the drug. In order to show that this effect was attributed to the lorcaserin, a group of rats was given lorcaserin as well as a drug that blocks the serotonin 2C receptors - thus cancelling out the effect of the lorcaserin - those rats tried very hard to get oxycodone.

"The effectiveness of lorcaserin in reducing oxycodone seeking and craving highlights the therapeutic potential for lorcaserin in the treatment of opioid use disorder," said lead author Kathryn Cunningham. "We plan more studies to better understand how drugs like lorcaserin can help us stem the tide of addiction in America."

The study is published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Brain 'switch' to improve blood circulation identified

Health News - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 07:27

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 25 : All it takes is the flip of a protein "switch" within the tiny wire-like capillaries of the brain to increase the blood flow that ensures optimal brain function.

A new research has uncovered that capillaries have the capacity to both sense brain activity and generate an electrical vasodilatory signal to evoke blood flow and direct nutrients to nourish hard-working neurons.

When there is an increase in brain activity, there is an increase in blood flow, said first author Thomas Longden. "The area of the brain covered by the capillaries--the smallest blood vessels in the body -- vastly surpasses the area covered by arterioles. This ideally positions them for monitoring neuronal activity and controlling blood flow."

Understanding the mechanisms that precisely direct cerebrovascular blood flow to satisfy the brain's ever-changing energy needs has, to date, eluded scientists. Neurons consume an enormous amount of the body's energy supplies -- about 20 percent -- yet lack their own reserves, so are reliant on blood to deliver nutrients. Previously, capillaries were thought to be passive tubes and the arterioles were thought to be the source of action.

Now, Longden and colleagues have discovered that capillaries actively control blood flow by acting like a series of wires, transmitting electrical signals to direct blood to the areas that need it most.

To achieve this feat, the capillary sensory network relies on a protein (an ion channel) that detects increases in potassium during neuronal activity. Increased activity of this channel facilitates the flow of ions across the capillary membrane, thereby creating a small electrical current that generates a negative charge--a rapidly transmitted signal -- that communicates the need for additional blood flow to the upstream arterioles, which then results in increased blood flow to the capillaries.

The team's study also determined that if the potassium level is too high, this mechanism can be disabled, which may contribute to blood flow disturbances in a broad range of brain disorders.

"These findings open new avenues in the way we can investigate cerebral diseases with a vascular component," said co-first author Fabrice Dabertrand. Cerebrovascular illnesses like Alzheimer's disease, CADASIL, and other conditions that cause cognitive decline can, in part, be a consequence of neurons not receiving enough blood flow and therefore not getting sufficient nutrients.

The study is published online in Nature Neuroscience. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

New method can cut dental implant failure

Health News - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 07:03

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 25 : A team of researchers has come up with a new method to reduce dental implant failure.

Dental implants are a successful form of treatment for patients, yet according to a study published in 2005, five to 10 per cent of all dental implants fail.

The reasons for this failure are several-fold - mechanical problems, poor connection to the bones in which they are implanted, infection or rejection. When failure occurs the dental implant must be removed.

The main reason for dental implant failure is peri-implantitis. This is the destructive inflammatory process affecting the soft and hard tissues surrounding dental implants. This occurs when pathogenic microbes in the mouth and oral cavity develop into biofilms, which protects them and encourages growth. Peri-implantitis is caused when the biofilms develop on dental implants.

Scientists from the School of Biological Sciences, Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and the School of Engineering at the University of Plymouth, have joined forces to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a new nanocoating for dental implants to reduce the risk of peri-implantitis.

In the study, the team created a new approach using a combination of silver, titanium oxide and hydroxyapatite nanocoatings.

The application of the combination to the surface of titanium alloy implants successfully inhibited bacterial growth and reduced the formation of bacterial biofilm on the surface of the implants by 97.5 per cent.

Not only did the combination result in the effective eradication of infection, it created a surface with anti-biofilm properties which supported successful integration into surrounding bone and accelerated bone healing.

Researcher Christopher Tredwin commented: "In this cross-Faculty study we have identified the means to protect dental implants against the most common cause of their failure. The potential of our work for increased patient comfort and satisfaction, and reduced costs, is great and we look forward to translating our findings into clinical practice."

He added: "Our work has been about proving these criteria which we have done in vitro. The next step would be to demonstrate the effectiveness of our discovery, perhaps with animal models and then human volunteers."

Lead author Dr Alexandros Besinis said: "Current strategies to render the surface of dental implants antibacterial with the aim to prevent infection and peri-implantitis development, include application of antimicrobial coatings loaded with antibiotics or chlorhexidine."

"However, such approaches are usually effective only in the short-term, and the use of chlorhexidine has also been reported to be toxic to human cells. The significance of our new study is that we have successfully applied a dual-layered silver-hydroxyapatite nanocoating to titanium alloy medical implants which helps to overcome these risks," he continued.

The results are published in the journal Nanotoxicology. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Virus hydrophobicity can help purify vaccines

Health News - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 05:45

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 25 : A team of researchers has found that hydrophobic proteins on virus surfaces can help purify vaccines.

The complex structures making the surface of a virus are small weaves of proteins that make a big impact on how a virus interacts with cells and its environment.

A slight change in protein sequence makes this surface slightly water-repelling, or hydrophobic, causing it to stick to other hydrophobic surfaces. A new paper, published recently in Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, details surface hydrophobicity in porcine parovirus (PPV).

Lead author Caryn Heldt from Michigan Technological University said, "Vaccine purification is all about surface interactions; if the components break apart, then they cannot be used as a therapeutic," adding that sensing and removing viruses also depend on surface interactions. "This may also help biologists understand a virus' interactions with a cell."

The main finding is that Heldt and her team compared experimental methods with computational methods to measure the surface chemistry.

Because virus hydrophobicity is relatively new and difficult to measure, Heldt's team focused on using hydrophobicity models as a comparison. They compared the expected hydrophobicity measurements based on the main protein from the virus, the non-enveloped PPV, to well-studied model proteins that span a range of repelling or attracting water.

Then they analyzed the samples using two kinds of chromatography--the analysis of chemical mixtures, along with fluorescent dyes that illuminate sticky, hydrophobic patches on the proteins.

The key is that the measurements focus on what's easy to reach. These locations are part of what's called a crystal structure's solvent accessible surface area. Narrowing down the observed area in an experiment helped the team measure hydrophobicity.

"The entire virus capsid is too large of a complex to do these calculations," Heldt noted, explaining the capsid is an outside shell made of 60 copies of similar proteins--VP1, VP2, VP3--and her team tested the exposed parts of VP2, which is the most abundant. "It was interesting that we were still able to correlate our solvent exposed surface area calculations with the experimental results because we were only using this one protein."

The strong correlation between the computational and experimental results indicates that PPV--and likely other viruses--have a measurable hydrophobicity. Once the measurements are better understood, then Heldt and other researchers can better catch viruses. Doing so can improve detecting viruses, concentrating them and purifying vaccines.

The study appears in Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Weight training, jogging promotes bone growth in men

Health News - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 05:29

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 24 : Weight training, walking, hiking, jogging for 12 months may increase the particular hormone associated with bone growth, promoting bone formation, increasing bone density.

According to researchers from the University of Missouri-Columbia in the US, long-term, weight-bearing exercises decrease sclerostin, a protein made in the bone, in men and increase IGF-1, a hormone associated with bone growth an and prevent osteoporosis.

The study was published in the journal of Bone.

"People may be physically active and many times people know they need to exercise to prevent obesity, heart disease or diabetes," said Pamela Hinton, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology.

"However, you also really need to do specific exercises to protect your bone health," Hinton added.

They analysed 25 to 60-years-old men, who had low-bone mass and were split into two groups.

One group performed resistance training exercises such as lunges and squats using free weights.

The other group performed various types of jumps, such as single-leg and double-leg jumps.

After 12 months of performing the exercises, the team then compared the levels of bone proteins and hormones in the blood.

The researchers noticed a decrease in the level of sclerostin in both of these exercise interventions in men.

"When sclerostin is expressed at high levels, it has a negative impact on bone formation. In both resistance and jump training, the level of sclerostin in the bone goes down, which triggers bone formation," Hinton explained.

To increase bone mass and prevent osteoporosis, Hinton recommended that exercising specifically to target bone health.(ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

World Tuberculosis Day 2017: Need to increase public awareness on TB among children

Health News - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 04:57

New Delhi [India], Mar. 24 : Tuberculosis can affect any age, caste or class and it is one of the top 10 causes of death across the globe, ranking above HIV and malaria.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2015, there were 10.4 million new cases of TB worldwide. Six countries account for 60% of the total TB deaths, with India leading the count, followed by Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa.

As per WHO, each year about 2.2 million people develop TB in India and an estimated 220,000 die from the disease.

However, very few people know that the disease affects children too. In 2015, an estimated 1 million children became affected with TB and 170,000 children died of TB (excluding children with HIV) worldwide.

Almost 10% of total TB cases in India are among children, but only six percent are reported. Childhood TB is often not given adequate attention by healthcare providers as it is difficult to diagnose and treat.

This World TB Day, March 24, 2017, is an occasion to call for increased public awareness on the rising cases of TB among children.

According to Dr. Rahul Nagpal, Director, Pediatrics, Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital, New Delhi, "There has been a steep rise in TB cases among children in India. In a month, I see nearly seven to 10 new cases. It is sad to see children below the age of 5 years in the OPDs with TB but the most unfortunate part is the lack of awareness, proper diagnosis and treatment in case of childhood TB. The youngest TB case handled by me was a 1500 gm baby boy, who was born premature with congenital TB."

"I have seen other similar cases too but what makes me remember this one was that his mother had uterus TB and was unaware of it. Many people aren't aware that TB can happen anywhere and can transfer from anyone. While 60% of TB in children are pulmonary, the rest 40% are extra-pulmonary and are on rise by 20-30% each year, with people knowing very little about it," he added.

It is important to know that TB is a disease which is preventable and curable. Dealing with childhood TB is difficult and crucial because there are several challenges in diagnosis and treatment. At the time of birth, BCG vaccine is compulsory for children. In case a child under the age of 5 years develops TB symptoms, the mantaux test, a very economical and reliable screening test in adults, is done to detect the signs. However this test may have little value in a child who has already taken the BCG vaccine.

According to TB FACTS.ORG:

Signs and symptoms of TB disease in children include:

• Cough

• Feelings of sickness or weakness, lethargy, reduced playfulness

• Weight loss or failure to thrive

• Fever, night sweats

Signs of TB in other parts of the body among children depend on the area affected. Infants, young children, and immunocompromised children (e.g., children with HIV) are at the highest risk of developing the most severe forms of TB such as TB meningitis or disseminated TB disease. A pediatric TB expert should be consulted in the treatment of TB in children and infants. It is very important that children or anyone being treated completes the course and takes the medicines exactly as instructed.

The medication for children is usually prescribed according to their weights and hence the treatment for each child needs to be customized. Taking blood repeatedly for tests is also a problem as the pain is not easy to bear for them or their parents.

According to Sandeep Guduru, Facility Director, Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital, New Delhi, "TB in children is ignored, goes unnoticed and is under-reported. While there are many campaigns to create awareness about pulmonary TB, we need to work more aggressively towards creating knowledge about extra-pulmonary TB cases. Also, the rise in Multi-Drug-Resistance (MDR-TB) among children has drawn very less attention of caregivers. The government and private sector healthcare providers need to come on a single platform to ensure the next generation is TB free."

While there has been significant progress in the fight against TB, with 43 million lives saved since 2000, the battle is only half-won: over 4 000 people lose their lives each day to this leading infectious disease. Many of the communities that are most burdened by tuberculosis are those that are poor, vulnerable and marginalized.

WHO is calling on countries and partners to "Unite to End Tuberculosis" this year. The call comes as we enter the era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ending tuberculosis (TB) by 2030 is a target of the SDGs and the goal of the WHO End TB Strategy. (ANI)

Region: IndiaGeneral: Health

Weaker non-medical exemption policies reduce likelihood of measles outbreak: Study

Health News - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 08:23

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar.23 : According to a new study, places which have weaker non-medical exemption policies for vaccinations can reduce the likelihood of a measles outbreak 140 to 190 percent by strengthening them.

The research was published in Academic Pediatrics.

The researchers also found, that the magnitude of these outbreaks can also be cut in half by strengthening exemption policies for children.

"In the year 2000 measles was no longer being transmitted in the U.S. Compare that to 2015 when we had over 150 cases in the first three months. Suddenly measles is an issue again despite having an effective vaccine," said the study's lead author Melanie Whittington, PhD., a health services researcher.

Using mathematical models, they simulated the magnitude, likelihood and cost of a measles outbreak under different non-medical vaccine exemption policies.

The states with "easy" exemption policies typically only require a parent signature on a standardized form.

Those, with "medium" exemption policies require parents to obtain a form from a health department and/or attend an educational session on vaccinations, or write a statement of objection.

Finally, states with "difficult" exemption policies require parents to get a standardized form or statement of objection notarized.

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Immunization Study, the researchers found easier non-medical vaccine exemption policies to be associated with a greater risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.

"We modeled an environment where the population had low vaccination coverage and then simulated measles outbreaks under different exemption policies," said Whittington.

Adding, "We found that a state like Colorado is 140 to 190 percent more likely to experience an outbreak with an easy exemption policy than if it had a medium or difficult non-medical exemption policy. The outbreak size can also be reduced nearly by half with stronger policies."

Colorado has one of the lowest vaccination rates for measles. Only 87.4 percent of children between the ages of 19-35 months are covered. And five percent of kindergartners report an exemption.

While the researchers focused on measles, strengthening exemption policies could benefit other vaccine-preventable diseases, such as mumps.

The researchers urged the strengthening of non-medical exemption policies as a way to increase vaccination coverage.

"We are not saying you can't have non-medical exemptions. But if we strengthen them, we can improve health and reduce the economic impact of a potential outbreak," said Campbell and Whittington. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Give a tappa to your taste-buds with a boho appeal!

Health News - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 06:30

New Delhi [India], Mar. 23 : Have you ever imagined of a chat in between watermelon sliders? Or Jalebi in form of churros with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on it?

If not, then get ready for experiencing a bounce on your palate, as 'Punjab Grill Tappa,' as the name suggests, brings to you a young, perky and unique restaurant, designed specially to appeal to the global bohemian travellers.

It is the newest addition by ' Lite Bite Foods,' one of India's largest F&B operators, in Gurgaon's Cyber Hub.

The restaurant stands out with its classy exteriors and a comfortable outdoor seating as well.

It presents a long bar and 'achaar tapas' space, which runs along the length of the interiors and is done in stylish geometric black and white setting. The decor is a perfect combo of lot of old school and modern elements and draws inspiration from global trends to truly carry the legacy of Punjab Grill and Indian cuisine in circa 2016.

'Punjab Grill Tappa' offers North Indian cuisine with an innovative, contemporary flair and a healthier twist.

The starters menu under 'Rock and DholChaalats' feature signature items, such as Watermelon Slider with Crisp Palak and Local Sprouts, Almond and Cucumber Koshimbirand Shrimp and PameloChaat with Ginger and Ambi Panna Glaze.

The appetizers also feature some unusual dishes such as Aampapad with Lettuce wrapped Kurkuri, Tandoori Norwegian Salmon and a healthy version of Chikken Tikka marinated with non-dairy green herb.

Story doesn't end here. For the main course, the Rum-soaked raisin and palak churchur naan have their perfect pairing with some Indian classics like Punjab Grill Dal Makhni or Halim Khao Suey. The Sabut Dana with Shrimp Pulao is a star in the range of Biriyanis on offer and is delicious with the Rehydrated Pineapple and Spinach Raita.

Tappa also has a decadent dessert menu with some unique offerings such as Jalebi Churros with Cinnamon sugar and MalaiRabri, Mango Saffor Creme Brulee and Snow Balls with Dark Chocolate Mousse. The classics also find a spot in the menu with Gulab Jamun and Rabri as well as a Trio of Kulfi on offer among others.

For those who want it all, Tappa has a Dessert Platter to satisfy your sweet tooth.

To sum it all, with an aim to look at Indian cuisine through global lens, Punjab Grill Tappa promises to give a perfect foodgasm, satisfying you to the core. (ANI)

Region: IndiaGeneral: Health

More the pre-baby weight, higher the obesity risk

Health News - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 06:48

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 22 : Turns out, your pre-pregnancy weight determines a lot more than the size of the maternity jeans you'll be wearing.

Specific messaging and resources are needed to promote healthy weight gain during pregnancy for young mothers, a new study suggested.

Weight gain during pregnancy is an issue every pregnant woman faces. After pregnancy, new research showed that for young mothers, , or BMI, and ethnicity might signal likelihood for obesity later in life.

After analyzing the medical records of more than 1,000 women who gave birth between the ages of 15 and 24, investigators from the University of Michigan concluded that physicians caring for adolescent women should use BMI before pregnancy as a strong predictor of whether a young mother will gain too much weight during pregnancy, a risk factor for later obesity. They also found that Hispanic women were less likely than non-Hispanic women to gain too much weight during pregnancy.

For the work, researchers reviewed information about the mothers' pregnancy and delivery, including pre-pregnancy BMI and the mother's weight gain during pregnancy. Follow-up interviews gathered additional information, including access to and use of health care and child care services; experiences with local welfare and child support agencies; parental conflict and domestic violence; and child health and well-being.

Researcher Tammy Chang believes getting young people to understand the importance of maintaining a healthy weight can lead to a healthier population in the future. Although getting adults to eat right, exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle is difficult, she says pregnancy is a prime opportunity for patient education about diet and exercise. Women are often more concerned and invested in their health during pregnancy and have more face time and support from the health care system.

Chang also noted that interventions and programs promoting healthy weight gain during pregnancy must be designed to take adolescent-specific factors into consideration. Younger pregnant women face different issues, concerns and circumstances than older or more established pregnant women.

The results are published in the journal PLOS ONE. (ANI)

Region: WashingtonGeneral: Health

Here're the benefits of hair transplant surgery

Health News - Tue, 03/21/2017 - 08:22

New Delhi [India], Mar. 21 : Hair transplant surgery is changing lives and helping people look younger once again. All those people who have lost their hair can now reverse the process through hair transplant surgery. It is the ideal solution for men looking for a more youthful and attractive appearance. A lot of people lose their confidence because of excessive hair loss and as a result their personal and professional lives suffer. Hair surgery can help you roll back the years and give you the appearance that you desire. Hair loss is something that is very common in men, everyone at some point or the other suffers from it. But now you have a revolutionary solution at your disposal.

Dr Alia Rizvi, Dermatologist at Me Clinic, discuss the various benefits of hair transplant surgery.

- Natural Process: Some people have reservations about hair implants and they think of it as an unsafe process. But according to medical experts this is totally untrue because hair transplants are completely safe and natural. No special chemicals or medicines are used in this process that might damage your hair. Amongst all the hair growing methods hair transplant surgery is the most natural. The results are so good that majority of the people won't be able to tell that you got a hair transplant.

-Eliminate Balding: Once you get a hair transplant done you can say goodbye to all your hair related issues. You won't have to worry about a receding hairline or bald spots on your head because hair transplant surgery can solve all problems. The results from hair transplant surgery are highly effective and you are unlikely to see balding again. The hair growth after a transplant will not be as good as how it was naturally but it will be very close to it.

-Improve Your Looks: People who go bald at an early age are generally looked at in a negative manner by other people. These people may be subject to jokes from colleagues and others. This sort of treatment can lower your self esteem and make you feel older than you actually are. Hair transplant surgery will give you a full head of hair and also return your lost confidence. You will look and feel better too.

- Low Maintenance: Another benefit of hair transplant surgery is that you get hair that is very manageable. Transplanted hair works just like your naturally grown hair so you don't need to apply any special shampoos or chemicals to maintain its density. Hair transplantation is also a onetime process. You won't have to visit the doctor again and again. Transplanted hair generally lasts a lifetime so it is well worth the cost.

- Cost Effective: People might be thinking that how hair transplant surgery is cost effective! Well if you consider the costs of other treatments you will realize that those costs are although small but never ending. Over a long period of time the costs of temporary solutions will exceed that of a hair transplant. If you want a long term and permanent solution for your baldness then consider hair transplant surgery. (ANI)

Region: IndiaGeneral: Health

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