Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Malaria Vaccine Protects Half Who Try It


New Malaria Vaccine – Greater than Licensed Vaccine

According to researchers, a new malaria vaccine seems to protect half of those who tend to try it for about a year, an effect which is greater than the licensed vaccine that is made available. For a small company, it is the first big success which has been working out of a Maryland strip mall for years, providing some kind of hope in combating an infection which tends to kill half a million people a years, mostly children. The company known as Sanaria develops the vaccine utilising the total Plasmodium falciparum parasite and the vaccine had protected 55% of the volunteers from getting affected and stopped the parasite from flowing in their blood stream so that they could not be carrier of the infection.

 Dr Tony Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease that tends to help in testing the vaccine stated that it is potentially a very impressive vaccine. The clinical study of Phase I was just the first stage of testing the vaccine, involving only some volunteers and the vaccine is years away from the market yet. However, 55% protections was seen and improvement from the 30% protection provided by the drug giant vaccine Mosquirix of GlaxoSmithKline that had gained approval from European drug authorities last year.

Sanaria Adopts Different Approach

Malaria is caused by mosquitoes and the parasite tends to persist in the human body for several years. It is difficult to develop a vaccine for a parasite than a virus or bacteria since the parasite seems to have a complex life cycle which takes it from the blood to the liver and back. It is such a kind of a problem which health officials as well as the government seem to be frantic in attempting anything which would be helpful. Pesticides, bed nets together with eliminating wet breeding ground could help to some extent though nothing has oppressed the contamination.

The vaccine of Glaxo utilised a traditional kind of vaccine approach which was a portion of the protein from Plasmodium parasites and made it into an injection. Sanaria adopted a different approach wherein the company removed the total immature Plasmodium, a small organism known as sporozite from the infected mosquitoes. These were weakened utilising radiation and them made as a vaccine.

Goal – Vaccine Useful in Immunizing Total Population

It had been tough to get good immunity in real life, though Sanaria CEO Dr Stephen Hoffman had stated that an intravenous infusion of the substance had been effective. Hoffman informed NBC News that their goal is a vaccine which could be used in immunizing the total population to halt transmission and eliminate the parasite which is a rather lofty goal. His other goal is to be able to utilise the vaccine in preventing malaria in travellers, diplomats, expatriate workers, military personnel, together with people going in and out of malaria affected areas.Medication could be helpful in the prevention of infection though it could be awkward to use and have some serious side-effects.

A team of NIAID and the University of Maryland, for a trial had immunized 57 healthy individuals who never had malaria and compared them to 32 unvaccinated volunteers. Three weeks later, all had agreed to be bitten by malaria infected mosquitoes. The team reported in the journal Nature Medicine that the effect differed based on how many doses the people received. Only two from the nine volunteers who had received doses of the vaccine were infected with malaria when compared to the five out of six unvaccinated volunteers.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Scientists Make 'Second Skin' to Hide Wrinkles

Second Skin

Invisible Elastic Film – Lessen Wrinkle/Eye Bags

Scientist has developed an invisible elastic film which can be applied to the skin in order to lessen the appearance of wrinkle and eye bags. Nature Materials reports after a series of small trials that when the same is applied, the formula tends to dry to form a film which imitates the properties of youthful skin. Presently it is being explored as a commercial cosmetic product. However, the US scientist state that their second skin could ultimately be utilised in delivering medicines and sun protection.

 The team from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had tested their model product on some of the volunteers applying the formula to their under-eye bags, legs and forearms. The polysiloxane polymer had been made in the lab, utilising molecules of silicone as well as oxygen as the building blocks. Though it is synthetic, it has been designed to imitate the real skin providing a breathable, protective layer. The temporary film tends to lock in moisture, helping to boost skin elasticity, according to the researchers. Several tests had been performed including a recoil test wherein the skin was pinched and then released to observe how long it takes to ping back into position.

Skin less Firm/Elastic with Age

As the skin tend to age, it gets less firm and less elastic and hence does not perform well in this type of test. Skin which has been coated with the polymer seemed to be more elastic than skin without the film and to the naked eye, it looked smoother, firmer and with less wrinkles. The researchers with a spin-off company that would finally market their patented formula have stated that the film is basically invisible and can be worn all day without much irritation. It can also withstand things like sweat and rain.

However more research is essential before then. The polymer also requires safety approval from regulators. Dr Tamara Griffiths of the British Association of Dermatologist has mentioned that the bags under the eyes are caused by the protrusion of fat pockets related to ageing. Though completely natural, some may see it as undesirable, seeking ways to reverse it and sometimes resorting to surgery.

Developing Second Skin Presents Several Challenges

Dr Griffiths stated that the results seem to be comparable to surgery, minus the associated risks. Further research is essential though this is a novel and very capable approach to a common problem and its development will be followed with interest. Prof Robert Langer who leads the work at MIT commented that `developing a second skin which is invisible, comfortable and effective in holding in water and possibly other materials presents several different challenges.

 He adds that it has to have the right optical properties, or it won’t look good and it has to have the right mechanical properties, otherwise it will not have the right strength and won’t perform correctly. He informs that they are excited regarding the opportunities that are presented as a result of this work and looks forward to develop these materials further, to treat patients better who tend to suffer from various skin conditions.

Burning Solar Rays Get Through Your Car Windows, Study Finds


Car Door Windows Offer Different Levels of Sun Protection

According to research, car windows does not protect from harmful exposure to the sun and it is best to put on your sunglasses and sun block while driving. Though windshields seem to block most of the ultraviolet – UV radiation from the sun, the car door windows tend to offer different levels of protection from the rays that are linked to skin aging and cataracts. As per researcher Dr Brian Boxer Wachler of the Boxer Wachler vision Institute in Beverly Hill, California, state that some cars are as low as 50% blockage.

He informed Reuters Health that `even cars which came with factory tint had no guarantee that it would protect against UV rays’. UV rays tend to account for a small percentage of the sun’s rays though are very damaging to human skin. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, UV-A rays seems to be the most common and tends to penetrate more deeply. Since drivers in the U.S have their left side exposed to the sunlight, UV rays seem to be blamed for the increased number of cataract as well as skin cancers which occurs on the left side, writes Boxer Wachler in JAMA Ophthalmology.

UV Rays – Pass Through Clouds/Glass

UV rays has the capability to pass through clouds and glass and to see if the car windows are protective, Boxer Wachler took a UV-A light meter on a cloudless day in May 2014, to a number of Los Angeles car dealers. He examined around 29 cars from 15 various manufacturers made within the period of 1990 and 2014. The car windshields on an average seemed to block about 96% of UV-A rays and the protection afforded by individual cars stretched from 95 to 98%.

However, side door windows are much less dependable. The percentage of UV-A rays that seem to block varied from 44% to 96%. Out of the 29 cars, only four had windows which blocked over 90% of UV-A rays. Boxer Wachler had mentioned that it had no correlation at all with the cost of the car, high-end car or low-end car. Dr Jayne Weiss in a commentary published with the study wrote that windshield are said to be more protective than car door windows since they must be made of laminated glass in order to prevent shattering. Car door windows though are just tempered glass usually.

UV Filters Added to Car Windows

She informed Reuters Health, `not to assume since you are in an automobile and the window is closed that you are protected from UV light. For the eyes, the best bet is to get sunglasses which block UV-A and UV-B light and wrap around the face, states Weiss who had been directing the Louisiana State University Eye Centre of Excellence in New Orleans. In this study, some of the car windows permit enough UV-A ray to affect the skin according to Dr Paul Nghiem who heads the division of dermatology at the University in Seattle.

Nghiem who is not involved in the new study had mentioned in his email that wearing long sleeved cloth or sunscreen which is broad spectrum could be very effective and seems indicated on long drives on sunny days. Boxer Wachler had stated that people could also get clear UV filters added to their car windows in order to protect from the damaging rays.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Three Ways To Optimize Your Child's Health

Many parents state that one of their primary concerns is ensuring that their child becomes as healthy as possible. However, many of these mothers and fathers find that they don't know which wellness strategies to implement to ensure that their daughters and sons feel their very best. To ensure that you can help optimize your child's health, be sure to implement some or all of the following health strategies:

1. Learn About Allergies.

As many medical experts know, allergies are common in children. As such, it's important for you to get educated about them and learn how to ensure that they don't plague your children. If you're interested in using allergy and hayfever tablets to combat allergies, you can learn more about the subject by visiting the Common Cents Mom blog.

2. Emphasize Activity.

One of the keys to optimizing your child's level of physical and mental health is ensuring that she or he remains physically active. Luckily, there are a wide range of exercise activities that your child can engage in to become and remain active. Some of them include:

-football -cycling
-jump rope

Sometimes, it's a good idea for you to set an example for your child by demonstrating your own commitment to being physically active. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, it may be more difficult for you to convince your daughter or son that they should be active. When you discuss physical activity with your child, be sure to remind them of the positive health benefits they'll attain from exercising. Some of them include:

-better sleep
-enhanced immunity
-weight management
-improved posture
-better metabolism
-enhanced digestion

3. Emphasize Healthy Eating.

One final strategy you should implement to optimize your child's level of health is placing emphasis on eating well. Be sure that you explain to your child that the food she or he eats plays an integral role in enabling the body to function optimally. Talk about the importance of incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables, and explain things like caloric intake, macro nutrient/micro nutrient ratios, and the difference between physical and psychological hunger.


If you're serious about ensuring that your child becomes and remains as healthy as possible, it's important to note that developing a strategic plan can help you realize the goal. While there are several health strategies you can deploy to make wellness an ever-present reality in your child's life, the tips and tricks outlined above can be particularly helpful!

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Cardiff University Microwave Device to Help Diabetics


Portable Blood Glucose Measure for Diabetic

Diabetic patients now have the benefit of the microwave device which tends to help them in testing their blood to check their blood glucose level whenever they need to. Portable blood glucose measure for diabetic has been created by scientists that tend to use microwaves rather than pricking the skin, a painful process, though it may seem like a simple prick. Presently, diabetics need to test their blood many times a day or use inserted devices such as continuous blood glucose monitors – CGMs.

However a new monitor developed by Cardiff University’s School of engineering is subtly stuck on to the skin. Prof Adrian Porch has said that it will help with the management of the condition. He also adds that the conventional methods of monitoring blood glucose need the extraction of the blood and the device is non-invasive.

It does not need the extraction of blood apart from the initial calibration. Dr Heungjae Choi of Cardiff University demonstrated how the device can be worn. Prof Porch stated that the monitor established with Dr Heungjae Choi can be stuck on the arm or side of the body utilising an adhesive. Moreover, it also has a longer shelf-life since it is not chemical in its action. The data that is collected can be monitored constantly on a computer or a mobile app.

Sticking Microwave Emitter to Body

Though the notion of sticking a microwave emitter to someone’s body would sound alarming, Prof Porch said that is seems to be completely safe. He further added that it tends to use microwaves but the levels are very low. Thinking about a mobile phone, we are about a thousand times less than that level.

Prof Stephen Luzio of Swansea University’s College of Medicine seems to carry out clinical research in diabetes and had supervised trials of around 50 patients utilising the device, with plans this summer. He comments that patients are very keen on this device and one of the big problems with patients measuring their glucose is that they dislike pricking their finger and hence there is a lot of interest in the same.

People who are diabetic tend to have higher than normal blood sugar levels. There are about 3.5 million people who have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK with an estimated 549,000 more who seem to have the ailment, though do not know about it.

Product Five Years from Reaching Markets

The 10% who tend to have Type 1 diabetes need to monitor their blood glucose level on a regular basis, around six times a day or 20,000 times over a decade. Diabetes monitor project of Cardiff Universityhad begun in 2008 and since then has received £1m in finance from health improvement charity, Wellcome Trust.

The team have said that the product is possibly five years away from reaching the markets subject to further investment. The device would be of great help for those diabetic patients while monitoring their blood sugar level which needs to be done on a regular basis to keep control on their sugar levels with timely treatment.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Skin Cells Turned Into Sperm


Medical Achievement – Treatment for Infertility

Human sperm from skin cells have been developed by scientists from Spain, a medical achievement which could lead to treatment for infertility. The researchers informed that they had been working with a solution for the approximately15% of couples worldwide who tend to be unable to have children and the only option for them is to use donated sperms or eggs. Carlos Simon, scientific director of the Valencian Infertility Institute, the first medical institution that is entirely dedicated to assist reproduction in Spain, had asked `what to do when someone who wants to have a child lacks sperms or eggs?

This is the problem needed to be addressed, to be able to create gametes in people who do not have them’. Outcome of the research that had been carried out with Stanford University in the United States had been published recently in Scientific Reports, which is the online journal of Nature. The team had been motivated by the work of Japan’s Shinya Yamanaka and Britain’s John Gordon who had shared a Nobel Prize in 2012 for the discovery where adult cells could be altered back into embryo-like stem cells. Within a period of one month, the skin cell had transformed into a germ cell which developed into sperm or an egg, though they found that it did not have the ability to fertilize.

A Step Ahead of the Chinese Researcher

Simon had informed that `this is a sperm though it required a further maturation phase to become a gamete and this is just the beginning’.It seemed to be a step ahead of the Chinese researcher who had earlier in the year, announced that they had created mice from artificial sperm. Simon added that with the human species they could do much more testing since they are talking about the birth of child and are talking about a long process.

 The researchers need also to take into account the legal constraints as the technique involves the creation of artificial embryos that presently is only permitted in some of the countries. British law prohibits fertility clinics in the UK from utilising artificial sperm and eggs in treating infertile couples. If the law is reviewed, skin cells could probably be taken from patients and changed into genetically alike sperm or eggs for use in IVF therapies.

SOX17, Vital in Turning Human Stem Cells in Early-Stage Sperms/Eggs

A woman’s skin cell could only be utilised to make eggs since they lack the Y chromosome. Those from a male could ideally be changed into eggs as well as sperm though Azim Surani leading the work at the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge states that on the basis of present knowledge, the same was doubtful. Surian informed the Guardian that it is not impossible that they could take these cells on towards making gametes, though whether they could ever use them would be another question for another time. In the process of their work, Surani’s team also learned that a specific gene, SOX17, was vital in turning human stem cells into early-stage sperm and eggs.

This discovery was surprising since in mice the corresponding gene does not tend play any role. Surani comments that mice are the key model used to study mammalian development and is generalized from mice to human. He adds that this work tells that the generalization could be unreliable. It is not that all work in mice does not apply to humans but there are essential differences which are needed to be watchful.

New health sensing tool measures lung function over a phone call, from anywhere in the world


SpiroCall – A New Health Sensing Tool – Measures Lung Function

Several people in the developing world suffering from asthma, cystic fibrosis or any other chronic lung ailment have no way to know how well their lungs tend to function beyond a clinic or doctor’s visit. However, most of them have access to a phone and though it could be a 10 year old flip phone or a common village landline rather than the latest app-driven smartphone.

This is the reason why the University of Washington computer science and engineering and electrical engineering researchers had created SpiroCall which is a new health sensing tool that can precisely measure lung function over an ordinary phone call. At the Association for Computing Machinery’s CHI 2016 conference in San Jose, California, a paper to be presented in May will show that the results of SpiroCall came within 6.2% of the results from clinical spirometers utilised in hospitals and doctor’s offices which meant that it meets the standards of the medical community accuracy.

Washington Research Foundation Endowed Professor of Computer Science & Engineering and Electrical Engineering at the UW, Shwetak Patel stated that they wanted to be capable of measuring lung function on any type of phone one may encounter around the world, smartphone, dumb phones, landlines, pay phone. With SpiroCall, one can call a 1-800 number, blow into the phone and utilise the telephone network to test your lung function.

Device to Monitor Ailment At Home

Researcher from the UW’s UbiComp Lab had introduced SpiroSmart in 2012 that enabled people to monitor their lung function by blowing into their smartphones. Patients tend to take a deep breath in and breathe out as hard and fast as they can till they cannot breathe out any more. The microphone of the phone senses sound and pressure from the outbreath and directs the data to a central server that utilises machine learning processes, converting the data into average measurements of lung function.

Lead author Mayank Goel, a UW computer science and engineering doctoral student stated that people have to manage chronic lung disease for their entire lives, so there is a real need to have a device which permits patients to precisely monitor their ailment at home without the need of constantly visiting a medical clinic which could be far off and time consuming.

System Works on Any Phone/Anywhere in the World

The team had collected data from over 4,000 patients, over the last four years, who had visited the clinics in Seattle and Tacoma as well as in Bangladesh and India, where the clinicians had measured lung function by using SpiroSmart as well as a commercial spirometer. The comparative data has enhanced the performance of the machine learning, laying the groundwork for the current FDA clearance process of the team.

However in surveying patients from India and Bangladesh, the team recognized that a significant percentage did not own smartphone and were unable to use SpiroSmart in their own home which happened to be the main goal of the project. The team had also realized that the only sensor used was the microphone that all the phones tend to have and hence they decided to create a system which would work with any phone, anywhere in the world wherein the patient can use a call-in service.

SpiroCall tends to transmit the gathered audio using a standard phone channel against a sound file which is transferred by a smartphone app over the internet. The team integrated various regression processes to provide reliable lung function estimate in spite of the degraded audio quality