Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Brain Scans to Catch Child Depression Before It Starts


Brian Imaging Identifies Great Risk of Depression

Latest developments in brain imaging in identifying children at great risk of depression prior to unbearable and at times dangerous disorder setting in, is being tested by researchers at MIT’s McGovern Institute.It has been estimated by World Health Organization that around 350 million people of all age tend to suffer from depression which is a serious mental disorder.

The study observed a significant negative connection between the depression of parents and kids’ performance at school according to senior author Brian Lee of Drexel University School of Public Health in Philadelphia. Lee stated that depression being a bad thing like any other mental health is less recognized and that mental health affects other people than the people themselves. For parents or guardian, a weak population is their children.

It seems to affect all aspect of a person’s life and in some serious incidents could also lead to suicide cases. Two groups of children are involved in the study, one at high risk of depression owing to family history and a control group with kids at low risk. Kids were scanned from both the groups to map the network pathways in their brains and the question was whether the researchers could detect the difference in brain activity which would indicate a higher risk of depression. The answer was that there were great differences.

Learn to Identify Early Children who are At Real Risk

According to John Gabrieli, professor of Brian and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, they envisaged differences which were striking in various circuits comprising of those which change in depression, inclusive of those involved in feelings and other areas involved in thinking.

Additional thing besides these differences were that the differences were so strong between each child that they were very near to perfect in being capable of categorizing from a brain scan if a child was at risk or not. The aim is to follow these children and observe who among the high risk group tend to develop depression, tracing changes in their brain function all the way.

Gabrieli mentioned that the children which tend to go on to depression more, can be identified more and hope to get preventive treatment and save them from suffering but help them beforehand. He added that they want to learn both to identify early children who are at real risk, help them prior to their struggle and learn from those that are resilient, what could be the difference regarding them since it could give a hint on how to help the children who are not resilient.

Better Understanding on Depression/Improved Treatment Option

The researchers state that a better understanding on how depression tends to affect the brain would eventually lead to improved treatment option for those who may be more at risk. Lee and his colleagues mentioned in JAMA Psychiatry that the earlier studies showed children with depressed parents would possibly have problems with brain development, behaviour and emotions together with the other psychiatric problem. Data from over 1.1 million children born in Sweden between 1984 and 1994 has been utilised for the new study.

3% of mothers and around 2% of fathers had been diagnosed with depression prior to their children finishing their last required year of school which happened around the age of 16 in Sweden. The kids’ grades seemed to suffer, when parents had been diagnosed with depression during their children’s lifespan. Lee considered the link as `moderate’ between parental depression and the children’s school performance

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Harvard Team Discovers How the Brain Gets Its Folds


Mechanical Instability Linked with Buckling- Probable Cause of Folds

The human brain is famous for its walnut shape. It was earlier unclear as to how the brain got its distinctive folds but a team at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have now discovered that a mechanical instability connected with buckling is the probable cause of the folds in the brain.

Published in Nature Physics, the team, in research had created a 3D gel model of a smooth foetal brain constructed on MRI image which was then covered with layer of elastomer gel to duplicate the cortex. It was then immersed in a solvent which led it to swell relative to its deeper regions. Compression within minutes led to the formation of folds identical in size and shape like the real brains.

Lead author of the study, L. Mahadevan had informed that they found that they could imitate cortical folding by utilising simple physical principle and get the results which were similar to what is seen in real foetal brains. This simple evolutionary innovation enabled a larger cortex to be packed into a small volume and is probably the main cause behind the brain folding. He added that when he put the model in the solvent, he was aware that there would be folding but had not expected that kind of close pattern to the human brain.

Brain Folding Abnormalities - Serious

The study of the human cortex could help in solving a longstanding secret regarding the structure of grey matter in brain and understand better the disorder connected to under-folding or over-folding of the brain. Brain folding abnormalities could be serious and infants born with completely smooth brains tend to have very short life expectations. Folding tends to happen as the brain grows with the number, shape, size and position of the neuronal cells which contribute to the expansion of the cortex which is also known as the grey matter comparative to the white matter which is beneath.

The subsequent compression leads to mechanical instability causing the iconic folds. This simple evolutionary invention permits the thin though expansive cortex to be packed in a small volume and is the leading cause behind the folds in the brain which has surprised even the scientists.

Understanding Brain Related Disorders

Researchers suggest that the resemblances between the model and a real brain in the shape of a brain, the geometry of the brain tends to serve in positioning the folds in certain directions. The earlier research in this space observed that a difference in growth between the cortex as well as the soft tissue beneath could enlighten the differences in the folding pattern through the organisms. Comprehending the mechanism, the researcher comment could help in further understanding of brain related disorders.

Mahadevan had stated that `brains are not accurately the same from one human to another, though we should all have the same main folds in order to be healthy. Research portrays that if a part of the brain does not tend to grow properly, or if the global geometry seems to be disrupted, it may not have the main folds in the right place, which could cause dysfunction in the brain’.

Though the researchers have pointed out that the 3D printed gel based model only predicts the behaviour of simple and regular brain structure at the start of the gyrification process, it is an important step in ultimately recreating more complex and dynamic emerging folds.

Scio Pocket 'Food-Sniffing' Sensor now Shipping to Devs


Pocket Friendly Molecular Sensor – Instant Information on Food

Consumer Physics, the company behind Scio, has announced the pocket friendly molecular sensor which had been a Kickstarter sensation in 2014.Scio had hit its Kickstarter goal within 24 hours in 2014 and towards the end had raised 1,381% of its initial funding goal. Thereafter the device had been redesigned several times and there had been stress on building an ecosystem for developers.

 The company is now making efforts in shipping early SDK units to the researcher community with the possibility that several of those who tend to receive their kit from the early shipment would be super early-bird backers who managed to get Scios at a price of only $149. Dror Sharon, CEO of Consumer Physics had commented that `it had been over four years since the work on Scio had commenced and the Kickstarter campaign had been part of an amazing journey.

The greatest value obtained from the campaign had been highly enthusiastic and engaged community of early adopters, developers, scientists and more Scio explorers’.Scio is for those who would prefer instant information regarding the things they interact with and take in daily. It is beneficial for those who would want help in developing a quick expanding database of valuable knowledge which would be of advantage to the community of users.

Power of Near-Infrared – NIR Spectroscopy

With the potentials of identifying food as well as distinguishing between kinds of pills by only scanning their molecular fingerprints, it was a popular sensor on Kickstarter. Besides identifying objects, it can also provide a breakdown of the several chemicals in it.

Scio tends to operate due to the power of near-infrared –NIR spectroscopy that has the possibilities of scanning physical materials for signs of these fingerprints and is an intensely downsized version of a substantial as well as a very pricey kind of equipment which is known as a lab spectrometer. When one gets their Scio, they will be capable of analysing food, medications and plants.

 For instance, one could get nutritional facts regarding the various types of food like dairy products, fruits and vegetables, knowing the well-being of popular plants, in identifying capsules comprising of medicine and nutritional supplements and help to build the world’s first database of matter. Other apps for drinks, meats, salad dressing, ripeness and much more would be released on a regular basis when the database tends to expand.

Scio – Not a Medical Device for Treating/Preventing Medical Conditions

These are some of the few of the starter applications which one could use on receiving the Scio and after its release, new applications would be created and released regularly. The prospects of Scio applications seems to be endless like for instance, in future one could utilise Scio in measuring properties of cosmetics, flora, clothes, soil, together with precious stones, leather, oils, plastics, rubber etc.

However, users are cautioned that Scio is not a medical device and should not be utilised in treating or preventing medical conditions like allergies. The car clicker sized machines depends on spectroscopy like the light based technology which astronomers tend to use in determining the composition of stars.

While performing a scan, Scio’s tiny optical sensor captures the molecular footprint of the item, measures how those molecules seem to interact with light and develops a barcode like data which the Scio’s in-house app changes into the data it sends to the phone.

Reading about Industry Practices and News with Regular Publications

People in the business world often like to stay abreast of changes and news in their respective industries. One of the leading ways that they stay informed is by subscribing to and reading publications like magazines and newsletters that relate to their jobs. When you want to know all there is to know about the dental industry, you may subscribe to a publication like the Journal of Dental Implantology and other regular print news that aims to inform dental professionals. You can find out how to subscribe and what kind of content can be found in each journal by checking out the website.

Procedural News

Given the nature of this industry, it is important for dental practitioners to stay abreast of the latest news regarding implants and surgical procedures. This information keeps patients safe and also lets dentists practice their trade better.

It also highlights some of the changing technology found within this area of dentistry. Just like any other medical field, dentistry relies heavily on changing technology to treat patients better. When an innovation hits the market or the industry wants to promote a certain practice, it relies on these publications to inform dentists throughout the country. Dentists can then undergo training and begin implementing this technology into their own practices.

The website also promotes products and services that relate to the industry. Dentists on the lookout for new products or services to use in their own practices can consider the advertisements found in the publication itself.

Subscribing, Contact, and Archives

Dentists who are just getting started in their trade or even dental students looking to conduct research for educational reasons may want to access the archives from the publication. They can find back issues by using the archive tab found on the website.

They can also subscribe to the publication using the subscription option found online. This option lets dentists sign up for and pay to receive the journal.

People who want to contact or interact with the journal can do so on social networking sites. They can use the social media plugins offered on the publication's website.

The dental industry relies on the latest news and technology to treat patients better. Dentists can stay abreast of all there is to know about their trade by subscribing to and reading professional journals that are published on a regular basis.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Grandmother Gives Birth to Granddaughter


Grandmother Offered to Be Surrogate to Daughter

Infertility tends to affect one out of every six couples like the McKissacks. After the miscarriages, the McKissacks had only four embryos left from the earlier vitro fertilization -IVF treatments when Tracey Thomson, a 54 year old grandmother offered to be a surrogate to her daughter who struggled with fertility issues.

At the time of IVF, mature eggs are collected from the woman’s ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. Then the embryo is transferred to the uterus. Thompson had undergone stress tests, full evaluations together with hormones prior to completing the infertility treatment. According to the Medical Centre of Plano, `Tracey had been seven years past menopause but in excellent health. Age alone is typically a limiting factor for childbirth and surrogacy. But medical advances in assisted reproductive technology tend to permit late-in-life surrogacy, under thorough supervision’.

 Tracey Thompson had the opportunity of not only giving birth to her daughter Kelly McKissack, presently 28 yearsold, but also the surrogate mother to McKissacks’s daughter. After several efforts at fertility treatment together with three miscarriages, McKissack and husband Aaron McKissack, 33 had the pleasure of a new-born baby girl, Kelcey McKissacks.

Women Can Give Birth – Surrogacy is Deemed Safe

McKissack had informed KHOU that `she is beautiful and just perfect. No one could give someone a greater gift, ever’. For Thompson, the pregnancy was not an easy affair. Her first and third trimester had been particularly hard and she faced complications at the time of labour. Kelcey’s heart rate too began dropping too far which urged the doctors to go in for a Caesarean section.

Often age however being a limiting factor for pregnancy, hormonal supplementation together with assisted reproductive technology – ART enables women to give birth even after going through menopause. As a matter of fact, it is said that women can give birth when surrogacy is deemed safe, at any age.

The story of the birth began when Kelley McKissack of 28 years of age had faced years of infertility problems. Her husband Aaron and Kelly had made several attempts on multiple IVF treatment and had gone through three heart-breaking miscarriages. It was at this point of time that Kelley’s mother offered to be a surrogate mother for her daughter.

Surrogacy A Possible Option

Kelley had mentioned that `my lovely mom offered to give me the greatest gift I could ever have in my life’. It was said that when Kelley was a teenager, she had jokingly asked her mom to carry her baby.She informed CNN affiliate KTVT that she said, `If I can’t carry my own baby will you carry it for me?’ who had replied that she would, not dreaming that she would actually be doing it.

That promise had been kept when an embryo had been successfully implanted into Thompson in April 2015. Though she was seven years past menopause but in good health, Thompson had to go through several treatments earlier to enable her body to carry the baby. Eventually she gave birth to a healthy six pound eleven ounce baby girl on January 7 at The Medical Centre of Plano in Texas.

The unique name `Kelcey’ had been created by joining the names of her mother and her grandmother – Kelley and Tracey. Their story is being shared by the family to make others aware that surrogacy is a possible option especially to those couples who tend to have issues conceiving on using other methods.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Natural Fertilisation Device for IVF


New Type of IVF Treatment to Aid Conception

A private UK fertility clinic has been offering couples with a new type of IVF treatment which helps conception to take place in the womb instead of, in the lab. Doctors are hoping that making fertilisation more natural would mean healthier pregnancies. The first to use the AneVivo device method is the Complete Fertility clinic in Southampton which is a tiny tubular capsule that is loaded with the sperm and egg prior to being placed into the uterus.

Prof Nick Macklon head of the clinic has insisted that it is not a ploy and has informed BBC that `at this stage we are just offering it to private patients and if the NHS prefers to use it then they would need to know that it is cost effective. We do not know that yet but that does not mean new technology like this cannot be introduced in a cautious manner. I’m very keen that we study new innovation in IVF’.

The cost of the techniques is around £700 per go and has gained the approval of the UK’s fertility watchdog, the HFEA. According to Prof Macklon, international trials among 250 women indicate that it tends to achieve a similar pregnancy rate to conventional IVF.


Aim – Maximise Time Spent in the Body than Lab

However, it tends to reduce how long the growing embryo remains artificially outside the womb in a dish of culture fluid. According to Prof Macklon, `the aim is to maximise the time spent in the body rather than in the lab. The immediate advantage is in reducing exposure at this vulnerable time of human development when the genes are switched on and off. Some studies have stated that growing embryos in a dish tends to increase the risk of genetic as well as other health defects.

It is not known yet if the womb device would be an improvement Conventional in vitro fertilization – IVF treatment, includes the eggs which are removed from the ovaries, fertilised with sperm cells and placed in a tiny capsule which is then placed painlessly in the womb for 24 hours during which the embryos tends to develop.

Doctors then remove the device of around 1 cm long and 1 mm wide. After 2-4 days, they then select the embryo which is adequately healthy to implant it back into the lining of the womb, hoping to achieve pregnancy.

Breakthrough in IVF Treatment

Prof Macklon is of the belief that the device could be a breakthrough in IVF treatment since it will enable women to care for an embryo in its initial stage of development for the first time. Earlier studies have indicated that babies born from IVF treatment tend to have a lower birth weight. Though not an issue, low birth weight has been connected to long term health which the researchers intend to improve.

Prof Macklon of the Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton, UK, is of the opinion that long-term health in babies born through IVF can be improved by spending shorter time in the laboratory. He had been involved in the creation of the new device AneVivo. Psychologically it is said to bring parents-to-be, closer to the fertilization procedure and early embryo development.

Moreover it can provide health benefits for the new born, since fertilization could take place in the natural environment of the womb with admission to nutrients as well as signs or indications from the mother. It would also decrease exposure to the synthetic culture fluids that is utilised in the laboratory.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Zika Virus Triggers Pregnancy Delay Calls


Warning to Avoid Pregnancy – Severe Birth Defects

Four Latin American as well as Caribbean nations’ officials have warned women to avoid pregnancy due to apprehensions over an illness resulting in severe birth defects. Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Jamaica have been recommended to delay pregnancies till more details are provided regarding the mosquito borne Zika virus.

 The outbreak had spread to Brazil where it was reported that the number of babies born with suspected microcephaly or abnormally small heads had reached to almost 4,000 since October. In the meanwhile, US health authorities had cautioned pregnant women to refrain from travelling to more than 20 countries in the Americas and beyond where the cases of Zika had been registered.

The connection between microcephaly and Zika is not confirmed though a small number of infants who had died had the virus in their brain with no other explanation for the rush in microcephaly being recommended. The virus is said to be normal like flu symptoms and does not seem to be contagious. Health Minister of Columbia, Alejandro Gaviria has advised women to delay pregnancies for around eight months.

He has been quoted by Reuters that `we are doing this because I believe it’s a good way to communicate the risk, to tell people that there could be serious consequences’.

Spread through Aedes Aegypti Mosquito

Warnings had also been issued in Ecuador, El Salvador as well as Jamaica. But the women’s rights campaigners had disapproved the recommendation stating that women in the region often had little choice about getting pregnant.

Monica Roa, member of Women’s Link Worldwide group had commented that `it is incredibly na├»ve for a government to ask women to postpone getting pregnant in a context such as Colombia, where more than 50% of pregnancies are unplanned and across the region where sexual violence is prevalent’. It is spread due to the Aedes aegypti mosquito that also tends to carry dengue fever as well as yellow fever. It has first been identified in Africa in the 1940s though is now spreading in Latin America.

Scientists are of the opinion that there seems to be an increased indication of a connection to microcephaly which tends to lead to babies born with small heads. Though this condition could lead to a rash and fever, several people tends to have no symptoms and the cure for the same is not known.

Warnings Issued to Several Countries

The only means of fighting Zika is by way of clearing stagnant water where mosquitoes tend to breed and to be careful of mosquito bites.

Brazil’s health ministry has informed that forty-nine babies suspected of microcephaly had died and in five of these cases the infection with Zika virus had been detected. Brazil has been subjected to the largest known outbreak of Zika and several of the cases is in the north-east while others have been identified in the south-east, which is an area comprising of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. There has been an increase in the cases of Zika in many other Latin American countries.

It has been reported that in Columbia there were over 13,500 cases. Besides, these countries, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention had issued initial travel warnings to pregnant women recently with the addition of more places to the list and the warnings are now extended to Central and South America:

Bolivia,Brazil,Columbia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, and Venezuela, Caribbean: Barbados, Guadeloupe, SaintMartin, Haiti, Martinique and Puerto Rico, Oceania: Samoa and Africa: Cape Verde