March 21, 2014

London Doctors Aim to Grow Ears from Fat

Mar 4, 2014 0

 Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London are aiming to reconstruct people’s faces with stem cells taken from their fat.

The team has grown cartilage in the laboratory and believes it could be used to rebuild ears and noses. They say the technique, published in the journal Nanomedicine, could revolutionize care.

Experts said there was some way to go, but it had the potential to be “transformative”. The doctors want to treat conditions like microtia, that results in the ear failing to develop properly and can be missing or malformed.

At the moment, children have cartilage taken from their ribs, which is then delicately sculpted by surgeons to resemble an ear and implanted into the child. It requires multiple operations, leaves permanent scarring on the chest and the rib cartilage never recovers.

The team envisages an alternative – a tiny sample of fat would be taken from the child and stem cells would be extracted and grown from it.

An ear-shaped “scaffold” would be placed in the stem cell broth so the cells would take on the desired shape and structure. And chemicals would be used to persuade the stem cells to transform into cartilage cells.

This could then be implanted beneath the skin to give the child an ear shape.

The researchers have been able to create the cartilage in the scaffold, but safety testing is needed before they could be used in patients.

One of the researchers, Dr Patrizia Ferretti, told the BBC: “It is really exciting to have the sort of cells that are not tumorgenic, that can go back into the same patient so we don’t have the problem of immunosuppressant and can do the job you want them to do.

“It would be the Holy Grail to do this procedure through a single surgery, so decreasing enormously the stress for the children and having a structure that hopefully will be growing as the child grows.”

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Jonathan to Chair Summit on Health Coverage

Mar 4, 2014 0

President Goodluck Jonathan would on Monday, March 10, preside over the Presidential Summit on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the Minister of Health, Prof. Oyebuchi Chukwu has said.

Chukwu who disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the forthcoming summit on Monday in Abuja said the aim of the summit is meant to demonstrate government’s commitment to achieving universal health coverage in Nigeria.

The theme of the summit is “UHC-Vehicle for Sustainable Growth and Development’’.

According to him, to ensure health for majority of people would require both availability and accessibility to health infrastructure and services.

“The summit is not stopping all current efforts to achieving universal health coverage, but to make it clear to all that it is a national project.
“What the President is going to do with the summit will be much more comprehensive in addressing not only financial access but also geographical access.
“The idea of the summit is to address so many issues for the realization of the universal health coverage in the country” he said.

The health minister further disclosed that the president had set a target of 30 per cent coverage of the universal coverage in Nigeria by 2015. He expressed optimism that the UHC would help address the issue of incessant strike in the health sector of the country.

He called on local and international media to join hands with the President and the federal ministry of health on the summit, stressing that it would be a historical moment for the country.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Amb. Sani Bala, also urged Nigerians to support government efforts at securing good health services in the country.

Bala said the universal health insurance was one of the government strategies to promote good health system.

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Soon, More Effective Vaccines to Help In Fight Against Cancer

Mar 4, 2014 0

Researchers have described the earliest stages of fate determination among white blood cells called T lymphocytes, providing new insights that may help drug developers create more effective, longer-lasting vaccines against microbial pathogens or cancer.

Naive T lymphocytes patrol the front lines of the human body’s defense against infection, circulating in blood and tissues, searching for invasive microbes and other foreign antigens.

They’re called “naive” because they have not yet encountered an invader. When they do, these Tcells activate and divide, giving rise to two types of daughter cells: “effector lymphocytes” responsible for immediate host defense and “memory lymphocytes” that provide long-term protection from similar infections.

John T. Chang, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Medicine and the study’s co-principal investigator, along with Gene W. Yeo, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Institute for Genomic Medicine, said that researchers have been trying for a very long time to understand when and how T lymphocytes give rise to effector and memory cells during an infection.

First authors Janilyn Arsenio, a post doctoral fellow in the Chang lab and Boyko Kakaradov , a graduate student in the Yeo lab and UCSD Bioinformatics graduate program said that they took advantage of recent technological advances in single-cell gene expression profiling and cutting-edge machine-learning algorithms to address this question on a level of detail that was not previously possible.

Chang, Yeo and colleagues discovered that the decision by an individual T cell to produce effector and memory cells is made almost at the moment of infection. “The ‘mother’ lymphocyte seems to divide into two daughter cells that are already different from birth,” said Chang, “with one becoming an effector cell while its sister becomes a memory cell.”

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Angry Outbursts ‘Ups Heart Attack Risk’

Mar 4, 2014 0

 New study suggests that people who do not vent out their anger are more likely at a risk to have a heart attack. So, people who lose their calm often are more likely at risk of cardiac arrests.

The researchers assessed nine trials and suggested that within two hours of a severe anger outburst, a person’s risk of heart attack increases nearly five-fold, while the chances of having a stroke rise three-fold.

According to researchers pent up anger can produce physiological tensions, which increases the blood pressure resulting in damage to the heart.

However, more study needs to be conducted to come up with effective interventions to prevent heart attacks.

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FG Plans to Eliminate Malaria and Elephantiasis Nationwide

Mar 4, 2014 0

The Federal Ministry of Health has launched new national guidelines for implementation of interventions to eliminate malaria and lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) in Nigeria.

During the launching in Abuja on Wednesday, the Minister of Health, Prof.C.O.Onyebuchi Chukwu who was represented by the Director of Public Health, Dr. Bridget Okuagwale said that the combined nationwide strategy is the first of its kind in Africa and will allow the Federal and State Ministries of Health to efficiently protect all Nigerians from the two mosquitos transmitted parasitic diseases.

The Minister noted that though these diseases are preventable and treatable, they still constitute major public health problem in the country and a barrier to social and economic development.

He stressed that impact studies have shown that the distribution of long lasting insecticidal treated nets(LLINs) to prevent human mosquito contacts have shown decline of lymphatic filariasis prevalence; adding that the use of community directed approaches by the two programs will help to fast track the process of the elimination of both diseases.

He observed that the newly released guidelines will harness available resources in a cost-effective manner by taking advantage of the mosquito vector shared by malaria and lymphatic filariasis.

Malaria, he said is a potentially fatal mosquito-borne parasitic disease that kills an estimated 655,000 people, mostly children worldwide each year pointing out that Nigeria has the world’s largest malaria burden, containing nearly one-third of the crisis in Africa.

The Health Minister observed that 97 percent of Nigerians are at the risk of contracting the disease and half of the population will have at least one malaria attack per year. It is also the leading cause of clinic attendance and absenteeism in Nigeria; he added.

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South African Scientists Explore HIV Vaccine

Mar 4, 2014 0

A method for developing antibodies with the ability to kill multiple strains of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was announced on Monday by South African scientists working with US researchers.

A small number of HIV-infected people developed the antibodies, but are not helped by them because they are unable to kill the wide range of HIV, said National Institute of Communicable Diseases virology head Prof Lynn Morris.

“We need to understand how to make better antibodies to HIV. We can learn that from people who are already infected, because a small proportion of them [infected people] make these broadly neutralizing antibodies,” she told reporters in Johannesburg.

“There has been a lot of focus on the individuals that make this special type of antibodies. That information, we hope, is going to help us make a better vaccine to HIV.”

A KwaZulu-Natal woman, identified in the research as CAP256, had responded to HIV infection by making the broadly neutralising antibodies.

The research team had identified these antibodies in her blood and duplicated them by cloning them in a laboratory.

The cloned antibodies were then used in a series of experiments to clarify the pathway followed by CAP256′s immune system to make the HIV-combating antibodies.

The identification and successful cloning of the antibodies had enabled researchers to make large quantities for further testing, similar to the way a medicine used to prevent or treat HIV would be tested.

“What we have to do now is to design a vaccine that is able to engage with the rare B-cells. If we are able to do that, we should be able to make a vaccine that will take months for people to develop the immunity against HIV,” said Morris.

Sometimes referred to as the body’s army, antibodies are specialised cells produced by B-cells as a primary immune defence. They are used by the body for either treatment or prevention.

Morris said CAP256′s antibodies would be used in a sequence of pre-clinical trials in monkeys, a process which could take years to prove their efficacy.

If successful, the research would guide HIV vaccine development. The antibodies might also be used as treatment for HIV.

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HEALTH TIPS: Seven (7) Don’ts for women during pregnancy; 1.Smoking… 2.Alcohol intake… 3.Fasting… 4.Caffeine… 5.Hard Drugs… 6.Use of some medications… 7.Inadequate Ante-natal care HEALTH NEWS:

Mar 4, 2014 0
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