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Researchers Discover Breakthrough in Understanding the Origin of the Aging Process

Researchers Discover Breakthrough in Understanding the Origin of the Aging Process

Researchers at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) in Mainz have made a breakthrough in understanding the origin of the aging process. They have identified that genes belonging to a process called autophagy, which is one of the cells most critical survival processes, promote health and fitness in young worms but drive the process of aging later in life. This research published in the journal Genes & Development gives some of the first clear evidence for how the aging process arises as a quirk of evolution. These findings may also have broader implications for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease where autophagy is implicated. The researchers show that by promoting longevity through shutting down autophagy in old worms there is a strong improvement in neuronal and subsequent whole body health. Getting old is something that happens to everyone and nearly every species on this planet, but the question is: should it? In a recent publication in the journal Genes & Development titled “Neuronal inhibition of the autophagy nucleation complex extends lifespan in post-reproductive C. elegans,” Dr. Holger Richly’s lab at IMB has found some of the first genetic evidence that may put this question to rest. Richly and his team were able to track the source of the pro longevity signals to a specific tissue, namely the neurons. By inactivating autophagy in the neurons of old worms they were not only able to prolong the worms life but they increased the total health of the worms dramatically. “Imagine reaching the halfway point in your life and getting a drug that leaves you as fit...
Brain Cells that Control Appetite Identified for First Time

Brain Cells that Control Appetite Identified for First Time

Dieting could be revolutionised, thanks to the ground-breaking discovery by the University of Warwick of the key brain cells which control our appetite. Professor Nicholas Dale in the School of Life Sciences has identified for the first time that tanycytes — cells found in part of the brain that controls energy levels — detect nutrients in food and tell the brain directly about the food we have eaten. According to the new research, tanycytes in the brain respond to amino acids found in foods, via the same receptors that sense the flavour of amino acids (“umami” taste), which are found in the taste buds of the tongue. Two amino acids that react most with tanycytes — and therefore are likely to make you feel fuller — are arginine and lysine. These amino acids are found in high concentration in foods such as pork shoulder, beef sirloin steak, chicken, mackerel, plums, apricots, avocadoes, lentils and almonds — so eating those foods will activate the tanycytes and make you feel less hungry quicker. The researchers made their discovery by adding concentrated amounts of arginine and lysine into brain cells, which were made fluorescent so that any microscopic reactions would be visible. They observed that within thirty seconds, the tanycytes detected and responded to the amino acids, releasing information to the part of the brain that controls appetite and body weight. They found that signals from amino acids are directly detected by the umami taste receptors by removing or blocking these receptors and observing that the amino acids no longer reacted with tanycytes. Click here to read the full press...
Top 10 Cartoon Captions Submitted

Top 10 Cartoon Captions Submitted

Our editors voted on the best captions submitted by your colleagues:  “Your blood work results are back and your mercury levels are through the roof.”   “Sal, buddy… I hate to break it to you, but the tests confirm it’s downstream only from this point on.”   “I’m gonna start with antibiotics, but if you don’t see a change within a week, let minnow”   “I’ll be with you in just a moment, I have bigger fish to fry.”   “How much fish oil did you supplement with exactly, Fred??”    “Holy mackerel! We need to get you to the ER!”   “Doc, can I substitute medical marijuana for seaweed?”   “Mr. Jones, you really didn’t need to change into the gown for this visit; the issue clearly involves your face.”   ‘For the last time, say NO to dangling hooks!’   Doc, my paranoia has gotten so bad, I sleep with both eyes open.      ...
New Class of Molecules May Protect Brain from Stroke, Neurodegenerative Diseases

New Class of Molecules May Protect Brain from Stroke, Neurodegenerative Diseases

Research led by Nicolas Bazan, MD, PhD, Boyd Professor and Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at LSU Health New Orleans, has discovered a new class of molecules in the brain that synchronize cell-to-cell communication and neuroinflammation/immune activity in response to injury or diseases. Elovanoids (ELVs) are bioactive chemical messengers made from omega-3 very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (VLC-PUFAs,n-3). They are released on demand when cells are damaged or stressed. “Although we knew about messengers from omega-3 fatty acids such as neuroprotectin D1 (22 carbons) before, the novelty of the present discovery is that elovanoids are made of 32 to 34 carbon atoms in length,” notes Nicolas Bazan, MD, PhD, Boyd Professor and Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at LSU Health New Orleans. “We expect that these structures will profoundly increase our understanding of cellular cross talk to sustain neuronal circuitry and particularly to restore cell equilibrium after pathological insults.” Working in neuronal cell cultures from the cerebral cortex and from the hippocampus and a model of ischemic stroke, the researchers found that elovanoids not only protected neuronal cells and promoted their survival, but helped maintain their integrity and stability. The work is published in Science Advances. “Our findings represent a breakthrough in the understanding of how the complexity and resiliency of the brain are sustained when confronted with adversities such as stroke, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s and neuroprotection signaling needs to be activated,” says Dr. Bazan. Click here to read the full press...
Umbilical Cord Stem Cells Show Promise as Heart Failure Treatment

Umbilical Cord Stem Cells Show Promise as Heart Failure Treatment

A heart failure treatment using umbilical cord-derived stem cells may lead to notable improvements in heart muscle function and quality of life, according to a new study published in Circulation Research, an American Heart Association journal. “We are encouraged by our findings because they could pave the way to a non-invasive, promising new therapy for a group of patients who face grim odds,” said study corresponding author Fernando Figueroa, M.D., professor of medicine at the Universidad de los Andes in Chile. In this trial, 30 patients, ages 18 to 75, with stable heart failure receiving optimal drug therapy underwent intravenous infusions with either umbilical cord-derived stem cells or placebo. The umbilical cords were obtained from full-term human placentas from healthy donors by caesarean section after informed consent. Compared to the placebo treatment, the stem cell therapy: showed sustained and “significant” improvement in the hearts’ ability to pump blood in the year following treatment; resulted in greater improvements on measures of daily functional status and quality of life; and was safe with no adverse effects or development of alloantibodies, a common immune complication in patients receiving organ transplants or blood transfusions. Click here to read the full press release.   Related Articles Stem Cell Factor Tied to Reduced Risk of Cardiac Events, Death Bone Marrow Protein May be Target for Improving Stem Cell Transplants FDA Cites ‘Significant Deviations’ at Florida Stem Cell Clinic  Stem Cell Educator Therapy May Help Fight...
Infographic: The Role of Nurse Leadership in Today’s Healthcare Industry

Infographic: The Role of Nurse Leadership in Today’s Healthcare Industry

A nurse practitioner degree not only sets NPs apart from their peers, but also makes NPs a leader among other nurses. As a leader, NPs are responsible for inspiring the next generation of nurses to perform, engage, and work together to achieve a common goal. View Maryville University’s latest infographic to learn how important nurse leadership truly is in today’s healthcare industry: Source: Maryville...
#PWChat – Pseudoscience in Medicine PART 2: Steering Patients Toward Reliable References

#PWChat – Pseudoscience in Medicine PART 2: Steering Patients Toward Reliable References

Join us Wednesday, October 25 at 3:00pm ET for a live, interactive tweetchat with Linda Girgis, MD, on how to steer patients toward reliable resources when it comes to pseudoscience-related topics. Topics to be discussed are subject to change but will likely include: The pros and cons of aromatherapy, and whether it has any proven health benefits. The pros and cons of vitamin supplements and whether they have any proven health benefits. How patients get sucked into following a type of pseudoscience. How clinicians can address pseudoscience with their patients, including potential harms. How to explain to patients the difference between causation and correlations, as well as other ways to really understand study results. How clinicians can help patients find reliable sources for medical information. What clinicians can do on a wider scale to spread the word about the dangers of pseudoscience and those who tout it. What can be done to counter physicians who sell supplements that “boost the immune system” or are “better than what can be bought elsewhere.” More… How to Join the Chat Log into your Twitter account. Don’t have an account? Where have you been?! Just kidding, we don’t judge, but you should get one! It’s easy to create, and free. You’ll be glad you did. A couple minutes before 3:00pm ET on October 25, Search Twitter (top right of every Twitter page) for #PWChat. On the search results page, click Latest at the top left. This will show you all the latest tweets using the #PWChat hashtag. The page will automatically update every couple minutes, letting you know how many new tweets there...
The American Society for Radiation Oncology, Sept. 24-27

The American Society for Radiation Oncology, Sept. 24-27

The 59th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology The annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology was held from September 24 to 27 in San Diego and attracted approximately 11,000 participants from around the world, including physicians, oncology nurses, radiation therapists, biologists, physicists, and other cancer researchers. The conference featured educational courses focused on radiation, surgical, and medical oncology. In a randomized controlled trial, Justin Anderson, medical student, of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond, and colleagues found that patients who reported severe levels of distress at the time of their initial consult were more likely to miss treatment appointments, which could decrease the efficacy and overall quality of their treatment. “They were also more likely to be admitted to the hospital, which can increase the cost of their cancer care, possibly disrupt their treatment, and indicates they may have required earlier interventions to prevent such an admission,” said Anderson. “We recommend health care providers and especially radiation oncologists use a distress thermometer to measure their patients’ distress and psychosocial well-being. Patients with severe distress should be monitored closely and may require extra resources and earlier interventions from the multidisciplinary oncology team.” News Release/Abstract Marcus Randall, M.D., of the University of Kentucky in Lexington, and colleagues found that pelvic radiation therapy remains an appropriate and probably preferable treatment for high-risk, early-stage endometrial carcinoma. “This large randomized, phase III study did not demonstrate better overall survival or relapse-free survival with vaginal cuff brachytherapy and chemotherapy compared to pelvic radiation therapy in a cohort of patients with high-risk, early-stage endometrial carcinoma. This conclusion...
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