Biology and Medicine

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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Heracleum Persicum » Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:44 pm




Yes, living in America, but the reason not what you thinking

For an Iranian scientist, when having a laptop let alone laboratory and research equipment is a crime, if one's passion is R&D, no other solution is left except to leave home

Notion Iranian scientist hate Hijab and Mullahs and love Las Vegas and Mustang Ranch naive

and

Despite all this, Iran among leaders in Science advancement (shows Iranian scientist strength despite all the impediment America throwing on our beloved Persia)

.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby kmich » Thu Jul 24, 2014 12:40 am

Letter to NEJM discusses a study that indicated treating bladder cancer with a surgical robot is no better at reducing procedural complications than performing the procedure with traditional surgery, just a lot more expensive. Expense and whiz bang technology apparently doesn't necessarily yield better results.

A Randomized Trial of Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Radical Cystectomy
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:31 am

Company seeks regulatory approval for first-ever malaria vaccine
"This is a key moment in GSK’s 30-year journey to develop RTS,S," said Sophie Biernaux.
By Brooks Hays | July 24, 2014 at 5:44 PM | 0 Comments (Leave a comment)


Bill Gates speaks to an audience gathered at the Sidney Harmen Hall in Washington on global health initiatives. The graphic displayed behind Gates illustrates, in the color red, areas of the world where the transmission of Malaria occurred in 1900. UPI/Alexis C. Glenn
| License Photo
LONDON, July 24 (UPI) --The drug company GlaxoSmithKline has submitted an application to the European Medicines Agency for approval of it its malaria vaccine, RTS,S -- the world's first. The company announced their application Thursday in a press release.

Though there's still no guarantee the drug will make it to market, it is exciting news for researchers who've worked decades to figure out a way to thwart one of the most widespread and prolific diseases in the world. According the World Health Organization, the parasite infected 207 million people in 2012. Some 627,000 of those infected perished. Humans become infected with the disease via mosquitos which carry the parasite and transfer it when they bite.

"This is a key moment in GSK's 30-year journey to develop RTS,S," said Sophie Biernaux, head of the company's malaria vaccine program. "And brings us a step closer to making available the world's first vaccine that can help protect children in Africa from malaria."

Most of the world's malaria cases occur in Sub-Saharan Africa, but peoples of the tropics all over the globe are at risk. The CDC refers to the disease as "one of the most severe public health problems worldwide."

The malaria parasite, which spawns the disease, produces more than 5,000 proteins during its lifetime, making it exceedingly difficult for researchers trying to figure which one to mimic in order to trigger an effective immune response from the body.

But scientists seemed to have finally located a combination of proteins that works, and if the EMA offers their approval, the drug will soon be available to some of the world's most vulnerable populations.

RTS,S has shown promise in trials ever since its earliest development in the 1990s. But recent studies suggest its efficacy might fade after four years. Still, even if RTS,S is only moderately effective, it would still be a boon to health officials looking to curb malaria in some of the poorest regions on Earth.


Read more: http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2014/07/ ... 406233973/
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Mon Aug 04, 2014 5:47 pm

"Miracle" "anti-body" drug cures Ebola VIRUS within hours


Brantly asked that Writebol be given the first dose because he was younger and he thought he had a better chance of fighting it, and she agreed. However, as the first vial was still thawing, Brantly's condition took a sudden turn for the worse.

Brantly began to deteriorate and developed labored breathing. He told his doctors he thought he was dying, according to a source with firsthand knowledge of the situation.

Knowing his dose was still frozen, Brantly asked if he could have Writebol's now-thawed medication. It was brought to his room and administered through an IV. Within an hour of receiving the medication, Brantly's condition dramatically improved. He began breathing easier; the rash over his trunk faded away. One of his doctors described the events as "miraculous."

By the next morning, Brantly was able to take a shower on his own before getting on a specially designed Gulfstream air ambulance jet to be evacuated to the United States.



http://www.ktuu.com/news/health/secret- ... s/27295698

Secret serum likely saved Ebola patients
ZMapp had only been tested in monkeys
By Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Danielle Dellorto CNN
POSTED: 04:44 AM AKDT Aug 04, 2014 UPDATED: 07:08 AM AKDT Aug 04, 2014

Three top secret, experimental vials stored at subzero temperatures were flown into Liberia last week in a last-ditch effort to save two American missionary workers who had contracted Ebola, according to a source familiar with details of the treatment.

On July 22, Dr. Kent Brantly woke up feeling feverish. Fearing the worst, Brantly immediately isolated himself. Nancy Writebol's symptoms started three days later. A rapid field blood test confirmed the infection in both of them after they had become ill with fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

It's believed both Brantly and Writebol, who worked with the aid organization Samaritan's Purse, contracted Ebola from another health care worker at their hospital in Liberia, although the official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention case investigation has yet to be released.

A representative from the National Institutes of Health contacted Samaritan's Purse in Liberia and offered the experimental treatment, known as ZMapp, for the two patients, according to the source.

The drug was developed by the biotech firm Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. The patients were told that this treatment had never been tried before in a human being but had shown promise in small experiments with monkeys.

According to company documents, four monkeys infected with Ebola survived after being given the therapy within 24 hours after infection. Two of four additional monkeys that started therapy within 48 hours after infection also survived. One monkey that was not treated died within five days of exposure to the virus.

Brantly and Writebol were aware of the risk of taking a new, little understood treatment; informed consent was obtained from both Americans, according to two sources familiar with the care of the missionary workers. In the monkeys, the experimental serum had been given within 48 hours of infection. Brantly didn't receive it until he'd been sick for nine days.

The medicine is a three-mouse monoclonal antibody, meaning that mice were exposed to fragments of the Ebola virus and then the antibodies generated within the mice's blood were harvested to create the medicine. It works by preventing the virus from entering and infecting new cells.

The Ebola virus causes viral hemorrhagic fever, which refers to a group of viruses that affect multiple organ systems in the body and are often accompanied by bleeding.

Early symptoms include sudden onset of fever, weakness, muscle pain, headaches and a sore throat. They later progress to vomiting, diarrhea, impaired kidney and liver function -- and sometimes internal and external bleeding.

The ZMapp vials reached the hospital in Liberia where Brantly and Writebol were being treated Thursday morning. Doctors were instructed to allow the vials to thaw naturally without any additional heat. It was expected that it would be eight to 10 hours before the medicine could be given, according to a source familiar with the process.

Brantly asked that Writebol be given the first dose because he was younger and he thought he had a better chance of fighting it, and she agreed. However, as the first vial was still thawing, Brantly's condition took a sudden turn for the worse.

Brantly began to deteriorate and developed labored breathing. He told his doctors he thought he was dying, according to a source with firsthand knowledge of the situation.

Knowing his dose was still frozen, Brantly asked if he could have Writebol's now-thawed medication. It was brought to his room and administered through an IV. Within an hour of receiving the medication, Brantly's condition dramatically improved. He began breathing easier; the rash over his trunk faded away. One of his doctors described the events as "miraculous."

By the next morning, Brantly was able to take a shower on his own before getting on a specially designed Gulfstream air ambulance jet to be evacuated to the United States.

Writebol also received a vial of the medication. Her response was not as remarkable, according to sources familiar with the treatment. However, doctors on Sunday administered Writebol a second dose of the medication, which resulted in significant improvement.

She was stable enough to be evacuated back to the United States and is expected to arrive before noon Tuesday.

ZMapp has not been approved for human use, and has not even gone through the clinical trial process, which is standard to prove the safety and efficacy of a medication. The process by which the medication was made available to Brantly and Writebol is highly unusual. It may have fallen under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "compassionate use" regulation, which allows access to investigational drugs outside clinical trials.

Getting approval for compassionate use is often long and laborious, but in the case of Brantly and Writebol, they received the medication within seven to 10 days of their exposure to the Ebola virus.

On July 30, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, an arm of the military responsible for any chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive threats, allotted additional funding to MAPP Biopharmaceutical due to "promising results."
The classes and the races to weak to master the new conditions of life must give way {..} They must perish in the revolutionary holocaust --Karl Marx
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Continuing Ebola Danger: Semen 60days, Pigs, Possibly Dogs..

Postby monster_gardener » Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:23 pm

Doc wrote:"Miracle" "anti-body" drug cures Ebola VIRUS within hours


Brantly asked that Writebol be given the first dose because he was younger and he thought he had a better chance of fighting it, and she agreed. However, as the first vial was still thawing, Brantly's condition took a sudden turn for the worse.

Brantly began to deteriorate and developed labored breathing. He told his doctors he thought he was dying, according to a source with firsthand knowledge of the situation.

Knowing his dose was still frozen, Brantly asked if he could have Writebol's now-thawed medication. It was brought to his room and administered through an IV. Within an hour of receiving the medication, Brantly's condition dramatically improved. He began breathing easier; the rash over his trunk faded away. One of his doctors described the events as "miraculous."

By the next morning, Brantly was able to take a shower on his own before getting on a specially designed Gulfstream air ambulance jet to be evacuated to the United States.



http://www.ktuu.com/news/health/secret- ... s/27295698

Secret serum likely saved Ebola patients
ZMapp had only been tested in monkeys
By Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Danielle Dellorto CNN
POSTED: 04:44 AM AKDT Aug 04, 2014 UPDATED: 07:08 AM AKDT Aug 04, 2014

Three top secret, experimental vials stored at subzero temperatures were flown into Liberia last week in a last-ditch effort to save two American missionary workers who had contracted Ebola, according to a source familiar with details of the treatment.

On July 22, Dr. Kent Brantly woke up feeling feverish. Fearing the worst, Brantly immediately isolated himself. Nancy Writebol's symptoms started three days later. A rapid field blood test confirmed the infection in both of them after they had become ill with fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

It's believed both Brantly and Writebol, who worked with the aid organization Samaritan's Purse, contracted Ebola from another health care worker at their hospital in Liberia, although the official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention case investigation has yet to be released.

A representative from the National Institutes of Health contacted Samaritan's Purse in Liberia and offered the experimental treatment, known as ZMapp, for the two patients, according to the source.

The drug was developed by the biotech firm Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. The patients were told that this treatment had never been tried before in a human being but had shown promise in small experiments with monkeys.

According to company documents, four monkeys infected with Ebola survived after being given the therapy within 24 hours after infection. Two of four additional monkeys that started therapy within 48 hours after infection also survived. One monkey that was not treated died within five days of exposure to the virus.

Brantly and Writebol were aware of the risk of taking a new, little understood treatment; informed consent was obtained from both Americans, according to two sources familiar with the care of the missionary workers. In the monkeys, the experimental serum had been given within 48 hours of infection. Brantly didn't receive it until he'd been sick for nine days.

The medicine is a three-mouse monoclonal antibody, meaning that mice were exposed to fragments of the Ebola virus and then the antibodies generated within the mice's blood were harvested to create the medicine. It works by preventing the virus from entering and infecting new cells.

The Ebola virus causes viral hemorrhagic fever, which refers to a group of viruses that affect multiple organ systems in the body and are often accompanied by bleeding.

Early symptoms include sudden onset of fever, weakness, muscle pain, headaches and a sore throat. They later progress to vomiting, diarrhea, impaired kidney and liver function -- and sometimes internal and external bleeding.

The ZMapp vials reached the hospital in Liberia where Brantly and Writebol were being treated Thursday morning. Doctors were instructed to allow the vials to thaw naturally without any additional heat. It was expected that it would be eight to 10 hours before the medicine could be given, according to a source familiar with the process.

Brantly asked that Writebol be given the first dose because he was younger and he thought he had a better chance of fighting it, and she agreed. However, as the first vial was still thawing, Brantly's condition took a sudden turn for the worse.

Brantly began to deteriorate and developed labored breathing. He told his doctors he thought he was dying, according to a source with firsthand knowledge of the situation.

Knowing his dose was still frozen, Brantly asked if he could have Writebol's now-thawed medication. It was brought to his room and administered through an IV. Within an hour of receiving the medication, Brantly's condition dramatically improved. He began breathing easier; the rash over his trunk faded away. One of his doctors described the events as "miraculous."

By the next morning, Brantly was able to take a shower on his own before getting on a specially designed Gulfstream air ambulance jet to be evacuated to the United States.

Writebol also received a vial of the medication. Her response was not as remarkable, according to sources familiar with the treatment. However, doctors on Sunday administered Writebol a second dose of the medication, which resulted in significant improvement.

She was stable enough to be evacuated back to the United States and is expected to arrive before noon Tuesday.

ZMapp has not been approved for human use, and has not even gone through the clinical trial process, which is standard to prove the safety and efficacy of a medication. The process by which the medication was made available to Brantly and Writebol is highly unusual. It may have fallen under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "compassionate use" regulation, which allows access to investigational drugs outside clinical trials.

Getting approval for compassionate use is often long and laborious, but in the case of Brantly and Writebol, they received the medication within seven to 10 days of their exposure to the Ebola virus.

On July 30, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, an arm of the military responsible for any chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive threats, allotted additional funding to MAPP Biopharmaceutical due to "promising results."


Thank You VERY MUCH For Your post, Doc.

GREAT NEWS! :D ......

BUT!

Ebola has up to a 21 day incubation period..... :evil:

And Wiki says the disease can be transmitted by semen for up to 2 months by male survivors of Ebola. :shock:

Plus.....
Recently the virus has been shown to travel without contact from pigs to non-human Primates

.....

Ebola virus can be transmitted to dogs and pigs.[133] While dogs may be asymptomatic, pigs tend to develop symptomatic disease.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_virus_disease

Sounds like it could prove to be a VERY BAD idea to bring infected people here so quick unless there is some real value to having them here....

Not to have travel restrictions on Africa..... :idea: :loco:

And not to cancel that Africa conference here.... Given that African leaders will be arriving with large entourages..... :roll: :loco:

IMHO if the US had a wise leader trying to protect US this would be done :idea:

Instead we have a Politically Lying Incompetent in obama and his Incompetent Center for Disease Control (CDC)..... :evil: :loco:

Don't forget the recent news about losing IIRC Smallpox sample for months and years at a time and storing them poorly.... :roll: :loco:

http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/s0708-nih.html


Just on radio....

Traveler falling ill with Ebola symptoms...

Can't find it yet on web...

Plan to check later....


Hope I am wrong.....

Ebola is an especially nasty way to die.....


Update: Here is the possible Ebola traveler link...

Monday, August 04, 2014
UPPER EAST SIDE (WABC) --
Mount Sinai Hospital is performing tests on a patient who had recently traveled to a West African country where Ebola has been reported, the hospital says.

A male patient with high fever and gastrointestinal symptoms came to the hospital's emergency room on Monday morning.

The hospital says the patient has been placed in strict isolation and is undergoing medical screenings to determine the cause of his symptoms.



http://7online.com/health/mount-sinai-p ... us/239663/
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The Best Laid Plans of Men, Monkeys & Pigs Oft Go Awry
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby kmich » Wed Aug 06, 2014 2:10 pm

Concerned about Ebola? You’re worrying about the wrong disease

Despite the terrifying headlines, almost none of us will get sick from Ebola – our fears often bear little relation to reality

A deadly disease is set to hit the shores of the US, UK and much of the rest of the northern hemisphere in the coming months. It will swamp our hospitals, lay millions low and by this time next year between 250,000 and 500,000 worldwide will be dead, thousands of them in the US and Britain.

Despite the best efforts of the medical profession, there’s no reliable cure, and no available vaccine offers effective protection for longer than a few months at a time.

If you’ve been paying attention to recent, terrifying headlines, you may assume the illness is the Ebola virus. Instead, the above description refers to seasonal flu – not swine or bird flu, but regular garden variety influenza.

Our fears about illness often bear little relation to our chances of falling victim to it, a phenomenon not helped by media coverage, which tends towards the novel and lurid rather than the particularly dangerous.

Ebola has become the stuff of hypochondriacs’ nightmares across the world. In the UK, the Daily Mirror had “Ebola terror as passenger dies at Gatwick” (the patient didn’t have Ebola), while New York’s news outlets (and prominent tweeters) experienced their own Ebola scare.

Even intellectual powerhouses such as Donald Trump have fallen into panic, with the mogul calling for the US to shut off all travel to west Africa and revoke citizens’ right to return to the country – who cares about fundamental rights during an outbreak? Not to be outdone, the endlessly asinine “explanatory journalism” site Vox informed us that “If the supercontinent Pangaea spontaneously reunited, the US would border the Ebola epidemic”.

Ebola is a horrific disease that kills more than half of people infected by it, though with specialist western treatment that death rate would likely fall a little. It’s unsurprising that the prospect of catching it is a scary one. The relief is that it’s not all that infectious: direct contact with bodily fluids of a visibly infected person is required, meaning that, compared with many illnesses, it’s easily contained.

Even in the midst of the current outbreak – the worst ever – the spread of the disease has not been rapid in west Africa: around 400 new cases were reported in June, and a further 500 or so in July. This is a linear spread, meaning each person at present is infecting on average around (actually just over) one additional person.

Far more worrying are diseases that spread exponentially: if one infected person spreads the disease to two or more on average, the illness spreads far quicker and is a much more worrying prospect, even if mortality is considerably lower.

The 800-plus deaths from Ebola in Africa so far this year are indisputably tragic, but it is important to keep a sense of proportion – other infectious diseases are far, far deadlier.

Since the Ebola outbreak began in February, around 300,000 people have died from malaria, while tuberculosis has likely claimed over 600,000 lives. Ebola might have our attention, but it’s not even close to being the biggest problem in Africa right now. Even Lassa fever, which shares many of the terrifying symptoms of Ebola (including bleeding from the eyelids), kills many more than Ebola – and frequently finds its way to the US.

The most real effect for millions of people reading about Ebola will be fear and stigma. During the Sars outbreak of 2003, Asian-Americans became the targets of just that, with public health hotlines inundated with calls from Americans worried about “buying Asian merchandise”, “living near Asians”, “going to school with Asians”, and more.

Similarly, during the H1N1 “swine flu” outbreak, which had almost identical spread and mortality to seasonal flu, patients reported extreme fear, prompted largely by the hysterical coverage.

In the coming months, almost none of us will catch the Ebola virus. Many of us, though, will get fevers, headaches, shivers and more.

As planes get grounded, communities are stigmatised, and mildly sick people fear for their lives, it’s worth reflecting what the biggest threat to our collective wellbeing is: rare tropical diseases, or our terrible coverage of them.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:41 pm

kmich wrote:Concerned about Ebola? You’re worrying about the wrong disease

Despite the terrifying headlines, almost none of us will get sick from Ebola – our fears often bear little relation to reality

A deadly disease is set to hit the shores of the US, UK and much of the rest of the northern hemisphere in the coming months. It will swamp our hospitals, lay millions low and by this time next year between 250,000 and 500,000 worldwide will be dead, thousands of them in the US and Britain.

Despite the best efforts of the medical profession, there’s no reliable cure, and no available vaccine offers effective protection for longer than a few months at a time.

If you’ve been paying attention to recent, terrifying headlines, you may assume the illness is the Ebola virus. Instead, the above description refers to seasonal flu – not swine or bird flu, but regular garden variety influenza.



It doesn't matter Kmich People will say they don't want no tobaco based drugs for Ebola and they don't want no stinkin irradiated chickens so they won't get bird flu. Surely this is an age of reason -- to say no.
The classes and the races to weak to master the new conditions of life must give way {..} They must perish in the revolutionary holocaust --Karl Marx
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Sun Aug 10, 2014 3:50 am

Online tool flagged Ebola outbreak 9 days before WHO

Link to site:
http://healthmap.org/ebola/


Online tool nailed Ebola epidemic

HealthMap scours thousands of resources to detect and track disease outbreaks. | Getty
By ASSOCIATED PRESS | 8/9/14 5:30 PM EDT

BOSTON — The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is focusing a spotlight on an online tool run by experts in Boston that flagged a “mystery hemorrhagic fever” in forested areas of southeastern Guinea nine days before the World Health Organization formally announced the epidemic.

HealthMap uses algorithms to scour tens of thousands of social media sites, local news, government websites, infectious-disease physicians’ social networks and other sources to detect and track disease outbreaks.

Sophisticated software filters irrelevant data, classifies the relevant information, identifies diseases and maps their locations with the help of experts.

“It shows some of these informal sources are helping paint a picture of what’s happening that’s useful to these public health agencies,” HealthMap co-founder John Brownstein said

HealthMap is operated by a group of 45 researchers, epidemiologists and software developers at Boston Children’s Hospital.

The tool was introduced in 2006 with a core audience of public health specialists, but that changed as the system evolved and the public became increasingly hungry for information during the swine flu pandemic.

HealthMap generates information that includes locations of specific outbreaks and tracks new cases and deaths. The system is also capable of logging public sentiment.

The Ebola outbreak, the largest and longest ever recorded for the disease, has so far killed more than 950 people. It emerged in Guinea in March and has since spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/h ... 09881.html
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Sun Aug 10, 2014 3:48 pm

kmich wrote:Concerned about Ebola? You’re worrying about the wrong disease

Despite the terrifying headlines, almost none of us will get sick from Ebola – our fears often bear little relation to reality

. . .


Bingo.

Humans are terrible at estimating relative risk: giving far too great weight to the new and unfamiliar and far too little weight to the common and familiar.

Probably part of our evolutionary inheritance.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby kmich » Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:04 pm

Another example of too much just going where the money is rather than what patients actually need. A major problem in our current system.

Cancer Screening Rates in Individuals With Different Life Expectancies

Conclusions and Relevance A substantial proportion of the US population with limited life expectancy received prostate, breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening that is unlikely to provide net benefit. These results suggest that overscreening is common in both men and women, which not only increases health care expenditure but can lead to net patient harm.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Sat Aug 23, 2014 6:24 pm

This is huge and goes far far beyond Autism

Study Finds That Brains With Autism Fail to Trim Synapses as They Develop

By PAM BELLUCKAUG. 21, 2014


David Sulzer, a neurobiologist at Columbia, led a study that may help explain symptoms of autism like oversensitivity to noise, as well as why many people with autism also have epilepsy. Credit Ruth

As a baby’s brain develops, there is an explosion of synapses, the connections that allow neurons to send and receive signals. But during childhood and adolescence, the brain needs to start pruning those synapses, limiting their number so different brain areas can develop specific functions and are not overloaded with stimuli.

Now a new study suggests that in children with autism, something in the process goes awry, leaving an oversupply of synapses in at least some parts of the brain.

The finding provides clues to how autism develops from childhood on, and may help explain some symptoms like oversensitivity to noise or social experiences, as well as why many people with autism also have epileptic seizures.

It could also help scientists in the search for treatments, if they can develop safe therapies to fix the system the brain uses to clear extra synapses.
Continue reading the main story
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The study, published Thursday in the journal Neuron, involved tissue from the brains of children and adolescents who had died from ages 2 to 20. About half had autism; the others did not.
Photo
Researchers found more spines in children with autism. Spines branch out from one neuron and receive signals from other neurons through connections called synapses, so more spines indicate more synapses. Credit Guomei Tang, PhD and Mark S. Sonders, PhD/Columbia University Medical Center

The researchers, from Columbia University Medical Center, looked closely at an area of the brain’s temporal lobe involved in social behavior and communication. Analyzing tissue from 20 of the brains, they counted spines — the tiny neuron protrusions that receive signals via synapses — and found more spines in children with autism.

The scientists found that at younger ages, the number of spines did not differ tremendously between the two groups of children, but adolescents with autism had significantly more than those without autism. Typical 19-year-olds had 41 percent fewer synapses than toddlers, but those in their late teenage years with autism had only 16 percent fewer than young children with autism.

One child with autism who was 3 when he died had more synapses than any of the typical children of any age, said David Sulzer, a neurobiologist and senior investigator of the study.

Experts said the fact that young children in both groups had roughly the same number of synapses suggested a clearing problem in autism rather than an overproduction problem.

“More is not better when it comes to synapses, for sure, and pruning is absolutely essential,” said Lisa Boulanger, a molecular biologist at Princeton who was not involved in the research. “If it was overgrowth, you’d expect them to be different from the start, but because the synapse difference comes on so late, it’s probably pruning.”

Dr. Sulzer’s team also found biomarkers and proteins in the brains with autism that reflected malfunctions in the system of clearing out old and degraded cells, a process called autophagy.

“They showed that these markers of autophagy decrease” in autism-afflicted brains, said Eric Klann, a professor of neural science at New York University. “Without autophagy, this pruning can’t take place.”

The findings are the latest in an area of autism research that is drawing increasing interest. For years, scientists have debated whether autism is a problem of brains with too little connectivity or too much, or some combination.
Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story

Ralph-Axel Müller, a neuroscientist at San Diego State University, said there was growing evidence of overconnectivity, including from brain imaging studies he has conducted.

“Impairments that we see in autism seem to be partly due to different parts of the brain talking too much to each other,” he said. “You need to lose connections in order to develop a fine-tuned system of brain networks, because if all parts of the brain talk to all parts of the brain, all you get is noise.”

More synapses also create opportunity for epileptic seizures because there are more electrical signals being transmitted in the brain, Dr. Klann said. More than a third of people with autism have epilepsy.

In addition to analyzing the human brains, the Columbia team studied mice they programmed to develop tuberous sclerosis complex, a rare genetic disease that is often accompanied by autism. The mice developed some social behaviors that resemble autism in humans.

In the mice, a key protein called mTOR was hyperactive, which impaired the brain’s ability to clear out unnecessary synapses. By giving the mice the drug rapamycin, the scientists were able to reduce mTOR’s activity, fix the process of pruning synapses, and eliminate the abnormal social behaviors.

“They could treat with rapamycin and restore behavior and restore the pruning,” said Kimberly Huber, a neuroscientist at University of Texas Southwestern. “It’s a very exciting paper. It suggests these deficits in pruning may be contributing to these autism behaviors.”

When they tried the experiment in mice with broken pruning ability that could not be repaired by the drug, the behavior did not improve. That, Dr. Sulzer said, added more evidence that pruning problems were linked to symptoms of autism.

Dr. Sulzer also said that while the mice had a specific and rare disorder, many of the hundreds of genes that have been associated with autism risk in one way or another were linked to the mTOR protein at some stage.

Experts and the authors cautioned that it was much too early to know if a drug like rapamycin, an immunosuppressant with potentially serious side effects, could be used successfully in people with autism. The condition can only be approximated in mice, so the study results may not translate to humans. And the mice studied had a rare genetic disease that accounted for a fraction of autism disorders.

“We don’t know if it’s this particular flavor of autism,” Dr. Boulanger said. “This drug has really horrible side effects, and you don’t want to give it to everybody.”

But even though the drug may not be a treatment for people, the research gives hope that another therapy might be found to correct the pruning problem in childhood or adolescence, after autism symptoms emerge.

“The pruning problem seems to happen later in development than one might think,” Dr. Klann said. “It suggests that if you could intervene in that process that it could be beneficial for social behavior.”
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Fri Sep 12, 2014 5:18 pm

Ars Tech | Researchers search for genes behind intelligence, find almost nothing

To what degree do genes determine how intelligent we are? It's a question with a lot of social implications, given the potential for people to get lumped into categories based on their inheritance—or for them to make a self-fulfilling prophecy out of it.

But so far, at least, it's a question that science has been unable to answer. When scientists have focused on specific genes involved in the nervous system's growth and function, they've found a few hints of associations, but those haven't held up in large population studies. Large population studies that scanned the entire genome have also come up empty.

Now, we may have a good idea why. A massive and thorough genetic study has looked into the question and, despite all the effort involved, has only come up with three genes, none of which have a very large effect on cognitive abilities.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:19 pm

Typhoon wrote:Ars Tech | Researchers search for genes behind intelligence, find almost nothing

To what degree do genes determine how intelligent we are? It's a question with a lot of social implications, given the potential for people to get lumped into categories based on their inheritance—or for them to make a self-fulfilling prophecy out of it.

But so far, at least, it's a question that science has been unable to answer. When scientists have focused on specific genes involved in the nervous system's growth and function, they've found a few hints of associations, but those haven't held up in large population studies. Large population studies that scanned the entire genome have also come up empty.

Now, we may have a good idea why. A massive and thorough genetic study has looked into the question and, despite all the effort involved, has only come up with three genes, none of which have a very large effect on cognitive abilities.



And so ends the search for intelligent life in the universe :D
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:21 pm

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/09/1 ... -airborne/

Inability to contain Ebola sparks fears of virus going airborne
Published September 12, 2014
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660_EbolaLiberia.jpg

A banner reading 'Ebola is real, Protect yourself and your family', warns people of the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, Saturday Aug. 2, 2014. An Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 700 people in West Africa is moving faster than efforts to control the disease, the head of the World Health Organization warned, as presidents from the affected countries met Friday in Guinea's capital. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

The World Health Organization's (WHO) recent prediction that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa could afflict more than 20,000 people before it’s brought under control is sparking fear among some about what may happen if the virus goes airborne.

“The [estimate of 20,000] assumes full international backing for an intervention to control the deadly outbreak,” econometrics research assistant Francis Smart told WND.com.

“Failure to support the WHO’s plan presumably would cause the disease to spread in a similar manner as it already has,” Smart said.

The WHO projects six months will be the minimum amount of time needed to contain the epidemic.

However, Canadian researchers say the strain of Ebola afflicting West Africa can be transmitted between humans by breathing, opening up the possibility of the virus going airborne. Suspected cases of airborne infection have already been reported in monkeys in laboratories.

“The possibility of it becoming airborne could result in a global spread of the disease resulting in [an] unprecedented number of deaths world-wide -- it is more than prudent to heavily invest in controlling the number of new patients infected by this disease,” Smart told WND.com.

Smart’s predictions come on the heels of a warning from the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who said the outbreak was “spiraling out of control.”

“Guinea did show that with action, they brought it partially under control. But unfortunately it is back on the increase now,” CDC's Dr. Thomas Kenyon said. “It’s not under control anymore,” adding the window of opportunity for controlling it was closing.

Kenyon also warned that the longer the outbreak went uncontained, the greater the possibility the virus could mutate.

Ebola has killed about 2,300 people with no sign of slowing six months after the outbreak began.

The disease is taking a particularly heavy toll on health care workers, whose jobs put them at high risk because Ebola is only transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids of people showing symptoms or dead bodies. More than 135 health workers have died in the outbreak so far, exacerbating shortages of doctors and nurses in countries that already had too few medical workers to begin with.

Sierra Leone and Liberia have been especially hard hit, and officials have warned that both countries could see a surge in cases soon. Sierra Leone is expecting to uncover potentially hundreds of new cases when volunteers go house to house looking for the sick during a three-day lockdown later this month. The WHO has said Liberia could see many thousands of new cases in the coming weeks.

"We are at war with an enemy that we don't see," Liberian Finance Minister Amara Konneh told reporters. "And we have to win the war."

But he said Liberia would be dependent on international assistance to do so. The U.N. has said at least $600 million is needed to fight Ebola in West Africa, and already several pledges have come in. The United States has spent $100 million so far, with more promised, and Britain has given $40 million.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:08 am

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/pos ... la-crisis/

America’s infuriating response to the Ebola crisis

By Karen Attiah September 12 Follow @KarenAttiah

Health workers carry the body of a woman that they suspect died from the Ebola virus, in an area known as Clara Town in Monrovia, Liberia. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh

The Pentagon does not deserve any pats on the back for its announcement this week of its plans to send a $22 million, 25-bed field hospital to Liberia to help contain the Ebola outbreak that has claimed nearly 2,300 lives in West Africa. As it turns out, that hospital was never meant to treat Liberians at all.

According to this scoop from Jina Moore at BuzzFeed, “Nancy Lindborg, the Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance of U.S. Agency for International Development, which leads the U.S. government response on Ebola, clarified on the call [to journalists] that the health workers for whom the facility is meant are foreign health care workers, not Liberians.”

The Post’s Lena H. Sun’s reported the same. Jeremy Konyndyk, director for the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance at USAID, disputed the original Buzzfeed article, tweeting that the donated facility will treat Liberian health workers. But no official statement from Lindborg or the Pentagon has been released yet to clarify.

Liberia is bearing the full brunt of the Ebola scourge, which has also hit Guinea and Sierra Leone in West Africa. Liberia alone has seen 2,000 cases of infection and almost 1,000 deaths. While the outbreak of Ebola has been steadily punishing West Africa for the better part of this year, what the world is seeing from developed nations is an outbreak of complacency, half-measures, sensationalism and stigmatization toward Africa, which is only serving to exacerbate the problem. With this latest move by the Pentagon to help only foreign workers in Liberia, the message from the United States, intended or not, rings loud and clear: African health-care workers and their patients are not our priority.

Twenty-five beds is nowhere near enough to begin meeting the needs of the countries facing the disease. In one county alone in Liberia, there is a need for 1,000 treatment beds. The county only has 240. How would anyone see 25 beds as a generous donation?

This move to construct facilities only for foreign health workers comes barely a month after President Obama hosted more than 50 African heads of state, a summit that was aimed at highlighting “the depth and breadth of the United States’ commitment to the African continent.” Global health was on the agenda and with regards to the Ebola outbreak, the White House assured all that the United States “is responding rapidly and effectively.”

Treating African health-care workers as anything less than indispensable is inexcusable. It is worth noting that the U.S. military command in Africa, or Africom, has supposedly been working with USAID since 2008 to improve the capacity of African militaries and governments to prepare for pandemics. While the focus of the Pandemic Response Program (PRP) has been on influenza, it’s a fair question to ask if any of those exercises have proved fruitful in combating Ebola thus far. Africom was established to help in counterterrorism efforts but has been met with a large amount of suspicion from Africans. If Africom appears to be lackadaisical in its approach to containing Ebola in West Africa, it risks squandering the possibility of building trust between itself and the African governments and people.

Ebola is exacting a heavy toll on West African medical personnel. Doctors, nurses, and other health-care workers represent 15 percent of deaths from the virus in Liberia. Five co-authors of a paper on Ebola, including Sheik Umar Khan, a leading doctor in charge of Sierra Leone’s Ebola response, died from the virus before the report could even be released. Each death of an African doctor, researcher or nurse represents a loss of human knowledge that the world needs to help prevent and treat future outbreaks. Additionally, losing medical staff to Ebola means fewer professionals who are knowledgeable about treating other diseases, such as Lassa fever in Sierra Leone.

This is not just an African catastrophe, but a disaster for global public health. To be sure, Ebola represents a much, much lower disease burden to the African continent than malaria, diarrhea, HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis does. But one has to wonder, what with the imposition of travel bans, (which put the countries’ economies and food supply at risk), discrimination against patients and stigmatizing, racialized media coverage, when an outbreak of an empathy and common sense will prevail against this awful virus. The United States risks undermining its own U.S-Africa leadership summit if we fail West Africa in its fight against Ebola
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Tue Sep 16, 2014 5:48 pm

http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2014/09/ ... 410817321/

Schizophrenia is actually eight disorders, not one disease
"What we’ve done here, after a decade of frustration in the field of psychiatric genetics, is identify the way genes interact with each other," explained Robert Cloninger.
By Brooks Hays | Sept. 15, 2014 at 6:44 PM


http://cdnph.upi.com/sv/em/i/UPI-396141 ... isease.jpg
Study finds schizophrenia is actually 8 genetically distinct disorders, not one single disease. (CC/Graham Colm)
ST. LOUIS, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Schizophrenia isn't a single disease but eight distinct disorders, each with their own genetic footprint. That's the discovery researchers at Washington University in St. Louis made after analyzing the symptoms and genetic coding of 4,200 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and 3,800 healthy controls.

It's long been understood that a large percentage of the risk of developing schizophrenia is inherited, passed on in the gene pool. But scientists have struggled to locate the specific genetic malfunctions that correspond to the mental disorder.

This latest study, one of the most exhaustive in the history of schizophrenia research, traced connections between different genetic codes, or clusters, and distinct symptoms. First, by cataloguing the different genetic clusters that have previously been linked with schizophrenia, researchers began to see the ways different genes might interact to cause psychological problems.

"Genes don't operate by themselves," explained study author C. Robert Cloninger. "They function in concert much like an orchestra, and to understand how they're working, you have to know not just who the members of the orchestra are but how they interact."

But the real clarity came when researchers organized schizophrenia patients into groups based on their most prevalent symptoms. When the researchers did this, they were able to see correlations between certain genetic signatures and specific symptoms. For example, certain gene clusters were associated with hallucinations or delusions. Another set of specific clusters was linked with disorganized speech and behavior.

In the end, researchers located eight distinct connections between groups of genes and schizophrenia symptoms.

"What we've done here, after a decade of frustration in the field of psychiatric genetics, is identify the way genes interact with each other, how the 'orchestra' is either harmonious and leads to health, or disorganized in ways that lead to distinct classes of schizophrenia," Cloninger said.

Researchers hope similar strategies can be used to parse through the genetic identifiers of other complex but common diseases and disorders, mental or otherwise.

The study was published online this week in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Sat Sep 27, 2014 7:58 pm

http://aeon.co/magazine/science/why-the ... t-a-helix/

Interesting change of perspective on the role of DNA as a regulator of feedback loops instead of as a genetic blueprint.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Parodite » Sat Sep 27, 2014 9:15 pm

Nonc Hilaire wrote:http://aeon.co/magazine/science/why-the-symbol-of-life-is-a-loop-not-a-helix/

Interesting change of perspective on the role of DNA as a regulator of feedback loops instead of as a genetic blueprint.


Interesting, thanks. Still DNA can be said to be a blueprint.. but then for the type of feedback loops that will occur.

Especially of interest is the question what role feedback loops play over longer periods of time, maybe they can account for speciation/evolution too?
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Typhoon » Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:15 pm

BBC | Paralysed man walks again after [stem] cell transplant

A paralysed man has been able to walk again after a pioneering therapy that involved transplanting cells from his nasal cavity into his spinal cord.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:49 pm

Typhoon wrote:BBC | Paralysed man walks again after [stem] cell transplant

A paralysed man has been able to walk again after a pioneering therapy that involved transplanting cells from his nasal cavity into his spinal cord.


Hopefully this works. Earlier attempts have 'back' fired.
http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/201 ... pinal-cord
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Catholic MD's discover genocidal UN vaccine

Postby Nonc Hilaire » Sat Nov 08, 2014 12:13 pm

According to a statement released Tuesday by the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, the organization has found an antigen that causes miscarriages in a vaccine being administered to 2.3 million girls and women by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Priests throughout Kenya reportedly are advising their congregations to refuse the vaccine.

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/a-mass-sterilization-exercise-kenyan-doctors-find-anti-fertility-agent-in-u
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Azrael » Sun Nov 09, 2014 3:18 am

Doc wrote:http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2014/09/15/Schizophrenia-is-actually-eight-disorders-not-one-disease/3961410817321/

Schizophrenia is actually eight disorders, not one disease
"What we’ve done here, after a decade of frustration in the field of psychiatric genetics, is identify the way genes interact with each other," explained Robert Cloninger.
By Brooks Hays | Sept. 15, 2014 at 6:44 PM


http://cdnph.upi.com/sv/em/i/UPI-396141 ... isease.jpg
Study finds schizophrenia is actually 8 genetically distinct disorders, not one single disease. (CC/Graham Colm)
ST. LOUIS, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Schizophrenia isn't a single disease but eight distinct disorders, each with their own genetic footprint. That's the discovery researchers at Washington University in St. Louis made after analyzing the symptoms and genetic coding of 4,200 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and 3,800 healthy controls.

Thanks for posting this. Possibly Nobel Prize-worthy stuff, if it holds up.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:04 am

Azrael wrote:
Doc wrote:http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2014/09/15/Schizophrenia-is-actually-eight-disorders-not-one-disease/3961410817321/

Schizophrenia is actually eight disorders, not one disease
"What we’ve done here, after a decade of frustration in the field of psychiatric genetics, is identify the way genes interact with each other," explained Robert Cloninger.
By Brooks Hays | Sept. 15, 2014 at 6:44 PM


http://cdnph.upi.com/sv/em/i/UPI-396141 ... isease.jpg
Study finds schizophrenia is actually 8 genetically distinct disorders, not one single disease. (CC/Graham Colm)
ST. LOUIS, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Schizophrenia isn't a single disease but eight distinct disorders, each with their own genetic footprint. That's the discovery researchers at Washington University in St. Louis made after analyzing the symptoms and genetic coding of 4,200 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and 3,800 healthy controls.

Thanks for posting this. Possibly Nobel Prize-worthy stuff, if it holds up.


It really makes sense in that treatment for schizophrenia over the years has been pretty spotty in its effectiveness. Now we know why that is. It should make a huge difference in most cases once treatments for the different versions can be worked out.
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Re: Biology and Medicine

Postby Doc » Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:05 am

http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2014/10/ ... st-cancer/

Arsenic in drinking water linked to 50 percent drop in breast cancer deaths

By Sarah Yang, Media Relations | October 28, 2014

BERKELEY —
One typically does not hear talk of the health benefits of arsenic, but a new study by researchers from UC Berkeley and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile has linked arsenic to a 50 percent drop in breast cancer deaths.

High levels of arsenic in drinking water is linked to health problems, but a new study has found that the chemical is associated with a surprising drop in breast cancer deaths. (iStockphoto)
A new study has found that high levels of arsenic in drinking water were associated with a surprising drop in breast cancer deaths. (iStockphoto)

The study, published this month in the open-access journal EBioMedicine, presents results of breast cancer mortality data from a region in Chile where residents were inadvertently exposed to high levels of arsenic, a naturally occurring element found in many minerals. Instead of an increase in mortality, as with many other cancer sites, the study found that breast cancer deaths were cut in half during the period that coincided with high arsenic exposure. The effect was more pronounced among women under age 60, with mortality in these women reduced by 70 percent.

“What we found was astonishing,” said study lead author Dr. Allan Smith, UC Berkeley professor of epidemiology and director of the Arsenic Health Effects Research Program. “We’ve been studying the long-term effects of arsenic in this population for many years, focusing on increased disease and mortality attributed to the historical exposure to arsenic in this population.”

In 1958, the northern Chilean city of Antofagasta switched to a geothermal water source originating in the Andes Mountains. Years later, it was discovered that the water sources contained more than 800 micrograms per liter of arsenic, 80 times higher than the levels recommended by the World Health Organization.

An arsenic removal plant was installed in 1970 after toxic effects from arsenic exposure became apparent in some residents.

Antofagasta is located in the Atacama region of Chile. From 1958 to 1970, the drinking water in this city contained high levels of arsenic. (iStockphoto)
Antofagasta is located in northern Chile. From 1958 to 1970, the drinking water in this city contained high levels of arsenic. (iStockphoto)

As part of the study, researchers at the Stanford Cancer Institute found that human breast cancer cells grown in lab cultures are killed by arsenic, and normal breast cells are more resistant to arsenic.

The medicinal use of arsenic is not entirely new. Arsenic trioxide was approved in 2000 by the Food and Drug Administration as an effective treatment for a rare type of leukemia.

So should arsenic now be used to treat breast cancer?

“Not yet,” said Smith. “We do not know if the treatment will work, but carefully designed clinical trials should take place as soon as possible based on this new evidence.”

Smith and collaborators in Chile are proceeding to design clinical trials in which some advanced breast cancer patients would be given arsenic treatment.

Study co-authors from Pontifical Catholic University of Chile include Guillermo Marshall, professor of statistics, and Catterina Ferreccio, professor of public health. In the United States, leading investigators on the team include Craig Steinmaus, UC Berkeley associate professor of epidemiology, and Mark Pegram, director of the Breast Cancer Oncology Program at Stanford University.
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