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Showing posts with label Health Info. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health Info. Show all posts

Friday, November 18, 2016

A paralyzed monkey can walk again thanks to the new brain implant technology

Thanks to a new system called the brain-spine interface, a paralyzed monkey with primary spinal cord injuries able to walk again in less than six days after treatment. The interface was developed by an international researchers collaboration led by École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. The system uses an electric implants strategically placed helps to provide a signal that is passed through the brain and leg.
Grégoire Courtine holds a silicon model of a primate’s brain and a brain implant. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1fkzLu)
In a statement, one study author Grégoire Courtine explained, "This is the first attempt of neuro technology to restore motor function in a primate." Nevertheless, he warned that there are many challenges ahead and may take several years before all the components of this invention can be tested in humans.

Without a serious injury, signals from the motor cortex of the brain will be forwarded to the spine in the lumbar region, which consists of a neuron tissues and stimulates the movement of the leg muscles. But if there is a lesion in the spinal cord, this communication can be interrupted and makes the brain can not receive the signal from the legs.
A brain implant and silicon model of a primate brain. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1fkydP)
Therefore, the researchers put an array of electrodes in the motor cortex of monkey who have spinal cord injuries, to record the signals coming from the brain when the animal walks. Then the neural activity sent wirelessly to a control computer by using algorithms to identify the encoding signal of muscle flexion and muscle extension.
Once the brain signals has been translated, the computer will submit it through the electrodes that are placed in the lumbar region of monkey who have spinal cord injuries and then stimulated electrically on the tissues will stir the leg muscles.

"The primate was able to walk after the brain-spine interface was enabled. Without physiotherapy or training is required," said co-researcher Erwan Bezard.
Detailed study has been published in the journal Nature and further research involving this technology in humans has now been approved. If the study is successful, then the system could be the latest step in the treatment of paralysis. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | WASHINGTON POST]
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Monday, November 7, 2016

Smoking can alter Your DNA permanently

Smoking is one of the main causes of cancer and heart disease. But, not many people know that smoking can permanently alter the DNA. Not merely changing the DNA permanently. It can also be associated with a number of serious health problems.

Researchers at the US National Institute of Environmental Health have evaluated the test results of approximately 16,000 people in 16 studies. Dr. Normal Edelman an adviser of the American Lung Association said, that smoking has a broad impact huge on your genes.
Smoking can alter the DNA permanently. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1fQcCh)
Furthermore, he says, most are reversible or a process that can be reversed by means of a very small change in some property of the system, but some do not. So, if you smoke, it will change genetically in ways that are not completely reversible.

"There are cases where, after five years of quitting smoking, the gene has not recovered fully or leave a genetic trail," said Dr. Normal Edelman as quoted of Times of India on Monday, November 7, 2016.

Speaking of these genetic markers, the researchers say, these signs are caused by methylation. It is an evolutionary process of DNA that can disable the genes or modify its function, which cause diseases such as cancer.

Meanwhile, Roby Joehanes of Hebrew SeniorLife and Harvard Medical School said, by quitting smoking is still better than nothing. According to him, after you quit smoking, the vast majority of DNA methylation signal never came back after five years. "Which means, your body is trying to heal itself from the harmful effects of smoking," he said. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | TIMES OF INDIA]
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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Turned out, this killer snake to help save human

It is known as the "killer of killers" for attacking and devouring some of the deadliest snakes on Earth, due to the snake has the venom can to help save human. It is blue coral snake (Calliophis bivirgata), a reptile from South East Asia has a blue body with a striking red on the head. The reptiles also have the venom glands that can grow up to a quarter of the body length.

Although it is one of the snakes are fairly well known, but the secret behind its venom still become a mystery until now. A team of scientists who have been studying the blue coral snake believe that the animal's venom can be used as a drug for humans, especially as a pain reliever.
Meet the bona fide killer known as the long-glanded blue coral snake of southeast Asia. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1fI946)
Associate Professor Bryan Fry, from the University of Queensland's School of Biological Science who contributed to the study say that he likes to see to where it is most unusual when searching for new drugs. The uniqueness of blue coral snake and it venom reacts quickly to make it interested to learn.

"Specialization in my lab is using evolution as a map, so we are looking for the weirdest thing we could find," Fry said, as quoted by News.com.au, on Monday, October 31, 2016.

"We had a simple reason, that is, if you want to find something new and amazing to be used as a drug, you're more likely to get it from very unusual venom. From the unbelievably rare animals we have made discoveries that can benefit human health," he added.

The blue coral snake can grow up to two meters and its venom glands can reach 60 centimeters. The animal has a penchant by eating the young king cobra snake. Therefore, a blue coral snake needs to have the ability to paralyze their prey immediately.
The snake’s venom acts in a similar way to a scorpion’s by instantly paralysing its victim. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1fI946)
The blue coral snake develop toxins called calliotoxin that can cause the victims seizures like an electric shock. According to research published in the Toxin journal, it is because the animal's venom contained a number of unusual peptides that can activate all nerves of the prey and causes paralysis.

So how does it work on human health? 
For Fry and his colleague, Jennifer Deuis, the workings of the calliotoxin interesting. Therefore, the sodium channels also likely to affect the appearance of the pain experienced by humans. "By blocking the sodium channels is a promising way of healing to deal with the pain," said Deuis as told to the Washington Post.

Calliotoxin also interesting because it comes from vertebrate. Accordingly, compounds that work on a system that is more similar to humans. Do not imagine that in the future the scientists will be flushed of toxins from the blue coral snake. No, that will not be done by Fry and colleagues. Fry said, that will be developed is a synthetic compound of calliotoxin.

Fry added that the insights gained from how work of the venom to generate important drug development. "Even if it can not be a cure, it is already directly teach us about how the sodium channel works and means we have more data to design the drugs," he said.

For Fry, the research was also a lesson about the importance of conservation. Declining biodiversity may complicate his task, because the number of the most venomous creatures and unique potential to become the drug also reduced. 

Like many other species, the blue coral snake is facing the hard future and uncertain. "This is a very rare snake and it will become more scarce," said Fry. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | NEWS.COM.AU]
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Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Tasmanian devil milk are potentially conquered super microbes

Who would have thought behind its terrible name, the Tasmanian devil species (Sarcophilus harrisii) able to produce something of value to humans. Scientists say, that the milk of the carnivorous marsurpial species contains powerful compounds that are useful to eradicate the most resistant bacteria and fungi.
A Tasmanian devil seen snarling. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1f6IV7)
Emma Peel, a researcher at the University of Sydney, Australia revealed that the Tasmanian devil's milk contains six types of antifungal compounds and bacteria, while human milk is only one. The study has been published in Scientific Reports.

A test revealed that the compound of the milk of the Tasmanian devil could overcome the deadly golden staph bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus). This bacteria causes food poisoning and pneumonia. And the compound components are also able to kill Candida krusei, a rare deadly yeast species.

"It's really exciting, we found that the peptide of Tasmanian devil is able to kill bacteria that are resistant to the drug," said Peel was quoted as saying of Science Alert on Tuesday, October 18, 2016.

Tasmanian devils are an endangered species found only in Tasmania, Australia. Currently the endangered Tasmanian devils, one reason is the Devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) that attack the species. The disease is contagious and can be wiped out more than 70 percent of species.

Astonishingly, the Tasmanian devils could survive despite the danger of the disease for two decades. In fact, at the birth of Tasmanian devils babies not have the primary immune tissue and can not develop antibodies until 90 days of ages. The Tasmanian devil babies could be survive even should to live in their parent bag filled with bacteria.

Researchers guessed, the antimicrobial peptide found in the mother's milk is the key to survival of the Tasmanian devil babies are.  In fact the presumption was true. Once the researchers scanned the genomes of Tasmania and analyzing the molecular structure of milk, they found a compound that is six times more effective against fungal infections and anti-fungal.

Researchers are now testing whether the peptide is found safe for use by humans. Two peptides are effective against harmful bacteria, ie the Saha CATH5 and Saha CATH6. "These peptides have the potential to be developed as an antibiotic. Including further investigate whether it is possible also be used as anti-cancer," said Peel. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | SCIENCE ALERT | LIVESCIENCE]
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Spermbot, a new hopes for infertile couples

Millions of couples struggling to have children, and a common cause of infertility mostly afflict women; for example egg quality is not good, uterine disorders, and age. However, approximately 20 percent of documented cases is 'sole male factor,' such as sperm in low numbers, abnormal shaped, or sluggish.
Motorized ‘spermbot’ helps sperm reach egg (of cattle). (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1evalx)
This is the 'Spermbot,' a magnetically controlled tiny motor like a corkscrew threaded to help propel lethargic sperms toward the target. Spermbot circling at the sperm tails, then pushed toward-and ideally into the eggs. (This happens in the privacy of medical clinics, instead of bedrooms.) 

In the future, this tiny motor developed by the German scientists team can play an important role in artificial insemination. So far, the spermbot only tested on sperm and egg cells of cattle (as in the picture) and have not managed to achieve fertilization. 

"The concept is interesting. But I admit I still skeptical," said Robin Fogle, an reproductive endocrinology expert and researcher at the Atlanta Center for Reproductive Medicine.
Head of research as well as the spermbot technician Oliver Schmidt admitted that the motor is not efficient and there are still many things to do before it's ready for human testing. However, with further improvement, he said, spermbot could give hope the pregnancy for infertile diagnosed couples. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES |SCIENCEMAG]
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Friday, September 30, 2016

Genetic modification of human embryos successfully performed for the first time

A Swedish scientist named Fredrik Lanner was able to edit the DNA in healthy human embryos for the first time. Lanner is a developmental biologist at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm has been genetically modified the healthy human embryonic using the genetic engineering tools called CRISPR-Cas9.
Genetically altering human embryos could mean big things, for better or for worse. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1eMFkx)
He studied the embryos were modified during the first seven days and stopping the growth of its development in the past 14 days. In the initial two weeks, he crippling series of genes have been identified as a gene that plays an important role in normal embryonic development, hoping to help him learn more about the genes involved with infertility.

Theoretically, this research may help us better understand the role of genetics in the development of the embryo, so that it can be used to prevent certain diseases. However, some scientists are concerned, that the DNA editing could have dangerous consequences and could be at risk of entering the faulty gene into the human genome, then causing the new disease.
Fredrik Lanner (right) of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and his student Alvaro Plaza Reyes examine a magnified image of an human embryo that they used to attempt to create genetically modified healthy human embryos. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1eMGCp)
The chairman of the Center for Genetics and Society, Marcy Darnovsky also expressed her concern. According to her, the genetic modification of human embryos could bring a loss equal to the benefits.

"When genetically modifying human embryos, that means you change the genetics of all cells in the body of the fetus, future generations of humans. This change is permanent and irreversible, we do not know what would happen," said Darnovsky.
How the DNA editing technique works. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1eMGOO)
Nowadays, it seems there will not be much danger as feared by scientists. Because, to make genetically engineered babies is illegal in Sweden and the use of human embryos for any kind of research also is illegal in the United States.

Additionally, Lanner also agree that more research is needed before the experimental production of genetically modified babies done, to ensure that the Darnovsky concerns not be true.. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | MEDICAL DAILY]
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