Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Bacon Gives You Cancer: Global Health Study Condemns Processed Meat


Processed Meat – Officially Carcinogenic By WHO

Processed meat has been classified as officially carcinogenic by The World Health Organisation after an evaluation of evidence that it could lead to certain kind of cancer. As per the available evidence, WHO had stated that about 50g of processed meat per day, 2 slices of bacon or two small sausages would be adequate to increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer by 18%.

WHO also mentioned that red meat was probably carcinogenic but stated that the evidence was not yet definite. The declarations seems to be among the strongest ever reached by main health body going well beyond recognizing links between meat and cancer as utmost individual research studies are capable of doing.

Dr Kurt Straif, who had joined in the report, had commented that for individual, the risk of developing colorectal/bowel cancer due to their consumption of processed meat tends to be small. However this risk could increase with the amount of meat consumed. A 22-member panel had produced the report who had reviewed the huge research that had already been completed on the link between meat, especially processed and red meats and cancer.

Conclusions Facing Disapproval

The panel had viewed the studies on human diet, together with animal experiments and cell-based studies with a conclusion that there seems to be a link that was important enough to change its authorized guidelines. The conclusions would be facing disapproval with the US beef industry with those said to have prepared a huge lobbying as well as publicity campaign to attack WHOs’ assumption.

The result would be unlikely to end the argument on the safety of consuming processed and red meat. Dr Carrie Ruxton, of the industry funded Meat Advisory Panel had stated that the publication seems to be nothing new and that meat consumption had fallen on an average in the UK.

She commented that WHO had said in their report that they were looking at increased risk – for people consuming 50g and in UK it was only eating 17 when compared with the other European countries which was 24g to 25g each day.She further added that media need to be cautious while reporting bacon and sausages as processed.

Greatest Risk to Health - Smoking

When in UK, curing substances to the sausages is not added and British banger is actually fresh meat and not processed meat.Cancer Research UK stated that it support the decision, however Professor Tim Key, epidemiologist of Cancer Research UK, University of Oxford commented that this decision does not mean one need to stop eating any red and processed meat.

Consuming a bacon roll once in a way would not do much harm and having a healthy diet is all about moderation. Red and processed meat tend to cause less cases of cancer in the UK than the other lifestyles issues The greatest risk to health is smoking which causes over a quarter of cancer death in the UK and around one in five cancer cases.

A list of compounds or activities have been maintained by the International Agency for Research on Cancer with suspected, likely and ultimate links to cancer with the possibility of each item falling in a selected group based on whether it causes cancer or not.

 Processed meat tends to now fall in `group 1 which ranks it as high as tobacco smoking, which is the most dangerous variants of human papillomavirus – HPV and asbestos exposure with regards to causes of cancer. Red meat falls in `group 2A’ with inorganic lead

Thursday, 22 October 2015

How Avi Yaron Invented a Cure for His Own Brain Tumour


Avi Yaron Invented His Way Out For a Cure – Brain Tumour

An Israeli start-up founder and student, Avi, Yaron, in 1993, probably had the luckiest accident of his life that of a motorcycle crash which rushed him to a hospital.

He had been informed by the doctors that they had also discovered a brain tumour close to the area connected to movements and conscious thought. The doctors had told him that inspite of being operated upon; the tumour would change his life, possibly leaving him paralysed down on one side of his body.

However though Yaron would live, his life would be changed forever, mentally as well as physically. Yaron had informed WIRED2O15 at London’s Tobacco Dock that he was in a state of shock but was sure that the doctors were honest and open to him. It was then that he planned to invent his way out for a cure. He decided to fight for his life.

He informs that he went to the medical library and began learning anatomy, biology and every time he thought that he comprehended and took a step forward, he was hit and took two steps backward. The most awful part was that people around him thought that he was insane.

Problem Lied in Scopes Utilised for Brain Tumour Operation

Impulsively, Yaron felt the strainof his previous life, of studying and running two start-ups had be the result of his illness. However he was unable to prove it so he decided to force himself to sleep four hours at least a night, improve on his diet and reduce coffee consumption. On making these changes he was of the belief that the tumour would reduce.

However every four months he had an MRI done and each time it indicated that the tumour had grown. Compelled to go through surgery, he began to recover though the follow-up scans portrayed that the tumour remained. Doctors informed that the technology to eliminate it completely did not seem to exist.

Yaron stated that the problem lied in the scopes utilised for brain tumour operation, the instruments which enabled doctors in viewing in the brain, had to be small. At that point to be too small in order to see in three dimension which would give the doctors the potential of removing the tumour completely.

Creation of Visionsense

Yaron commented explaining how he created Visionsense and spent nine years processing a new scope which was inspired by the structure of insect eyes to view into the brain in 3D. That choice comprises of hundreds of thousands of tiny, micron-sized components which collectively develop live 3D images for the surgeons while they operate.

Studies are now beginning to portray these 3D images could make real difference to success rate of surgery however, other research is in progress. Yaron has said that now the technology tends to work and save thousands of lives worldwide.

After working for 17 years with the company, Yaron is not with Visionsense, but has not completed inventing his way out of medical issues. He is now focusing on turning back to his old lifestyle and his instinctual belief that his strain could have been due to his illness.

He debates that what is needed are new tools which would enable doctors to monitor wellness constantly providing actionable statistics right from happiness to depression.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Digital Skin' Activates Brain Cells


Flexible Sensor to Identify Touch

Flexible sensor that can identify touch, just like skin, producing electrical pulses that can get faster when the pressure tends to increase, have been built by engineers. These pulses have also been utilised to drive neuronal activity in a slice of mouse brain.

 It is said that the system seems to be more a replica of touch sensation for many other designs of artificial skin, making it a hopeful choice for the progress of responsive prosthetics. This has appeared in Science magazine.

According to senior author Zhenan Bao, the foremost benefit is that the bendy plastic based sensor tends to directly create a pattern of pulses which produces sense to the nervous system. She informed BBC that earlier, with plastic material those in the field were able to make sensitive touch sensors but the electrical signal which comes from the sensor does not seem to be the right format for the brain to be capable of interpreting it.

This means that other designs though they have developed some notable results in test with the patients, needed a processor or a computer to translate the touch information. Prof Bao, chemical engineer at Stanford University informed that now the sensor is coupled with a printed simple electronic circuit which enables the sensor to generate electrical pulses which can communicate with the brain.

First Step towards Use of Plastic Material for Artificial Skin

She considers this as the first step towards the use of plastic materials for artificial skin on prosthetic limbs. She adds that the sensors could prove to be useful in wearable technology. They seem to be very thin and flexible as well as stretchy and one could mount a sensor on the skin and use it in identifying vital signs like heartbeat and blood pressure.

The nature of the design is a layer of rubbery, flexible polymer which is laced with carbon nanotubes, shaped into tiny pyramids. The semi conductive layer provides a reading of the pressure,when sensors tend to get squashed Prof Bao clarified that when pressure is applied, the pyramids tend to get deformed and the top becomes more flat. This tends to change the amount of current which can flow though these pyramids.

 Below the layer there is an inkjet printed circuit known as oscillator that turns the variable current into a train of pulses. With added pressure as well as current, the rate of the pulses seems to go up.

Light Based Technique – Optogenetics – Utilised By Neuroscientists

Prof Bao together with his colleagues, to demonstrate that this signal can relate reliablywith the nervous system, passed it to a blue LED and shone the light on a slice of brain of a mouse. The subset of brain cells there had been engineered to react to this stimulation by expressing a light sensitive channel which floods the cell with the charge when it was hit by blue photons.

When the scientists measured the impulses of individual cells in the slice, they envisaged correct details of the pulses that were produced by the touch sensor and flashed by the light, even when they were moving fast out at 200 pulses per second.

This light based technique considered as optogenetics is utilised by neuroscientist for all types of experiments inclusive of manipulating memories by driving activity in certain sets of neurons. This was chosen by Prof Bao’s team since delivering electricity directly to nerve cells often seems to be a problem.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Cryopreservation of Ovaries Helps Cancer Sufferers have Children


Ovarian Cancer Patients with Improved Option of Bearing Children afterTreatment

A Danish study has discovered that freezing ovarian tissues prior to the patient undergoing potentially damaging cancer treatment could help women with a better opportunity of becoming pregnant. The survey considered 41 women having ovarian tissue frozen, prior to undergoing cancer treatment which could have damaged their fertility and had the thawed tissue again implanted.

From this group, 32 of them preferred to have a child and ten of them were successful. Out of the total of 14 pregnancies, eight occurred naturally while six were the cause of IVF. Besides these, there were two abortions with one miscarriage within the group.

 In any of the cases researched, implantation of the tissue was not connected to a relapse of cancer though three of the patients had experienced unrelated relapses. Professor from the Laboratory of Reproductive Biology in the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Claus Yding Anderson informed `The Guardian’ that for the first time they had a group of patients who had seemed to benefit from this and none of those women ever had cancer as a result of transplanting the tissue.

 Besides providing the women with an improved option of bearing children after treatment, the transplanted tissue stopped the early onset of menopause in most of the women, enabling one young patient to begin puberty.

Ovarian Transplants – Safe & Effective

In the study, it was found that the once again implanted ovarian tissue `remained functional for almost ten years in some cases, lasting only for a short period in others’. Some of the first cases studied still tend to have functional ovarian tissue.

 The study concluded that the cryopreservation of ovarian tissue was expected to become incorporated into the treatment of young women with cancer who may tend to run the risk of losing their fertility. But an NHS report with regards to the study observed that `they don’t know how ovarian transplant tends to compare with the other kinds of fertility treatment, like the extracting and freezing eggs prior to cancer treatment’ and that the study does not show whether any of the women could have been pregnant without a transplant.

A study showed that ovarian transplants could be safe and effective way for women who could have had cancer, to have their own children.

Prompt Doctors to Offer Services to Many

The Danish doctors provided the process to 32 women who underwent cancer therapy and had left them at risk of infertility. The patients had their ovaries frozen before the treatment for cancer and their own ovarian tissue was later on re-implanted once they were restored back to their normal health with ten of the women having successful pregnancies.

According to the UK experts, the results could prompt more doctors in offering this service to many more women with this condition. Though ovary freezing as well as transplantation is available in the UK, it is not public, partly owing to concerns that the transplants may tend to carry cancerous cells.

However, researcher Dr Annette Jensen informed that her team’s study which was published in the journal Human Reproduction seems to be reassuring. She added that as far as they know, this seems to be the largest series of ovarian tissue transplantation undertaken worldwide and these discoveries indicate that grafted ovarian tissue is effective in restoring ovarian function in a safe and effective manner.

The fact that cancer survivors can now be capable of having a child of their own is an immense quality of life boost for them.

The Influential Patent That's Driving Anti-Aging Research


Patent Filed Centred on Single Celled Yeast

The U.S. Patent filed centred on a single celled yeast strain closely related to the microbes utilised in baking and brewing are much bigger that pretzels and beers. As per researchers, it would probably lead to the treatments for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s slow down aging or also help in longevity of life. This patent according to an analysis performed by Reuters and Thomson Reuters IP & Science, its sister company, has emerged as the most cited discovery from academic research in recent years.

David Goldfarb, patent’s sole inventor who owns four other patents and a professor in the Department of Biology at University of Rochester has commented that people really want molecules which extend lifespan. As part of the World’s most innovative universities ranking, Reuter viewed tens of thousands of patents filed by researchers at global universities and counted each time a filing cited other patents as previous art.

 The outcome portrayed more scientists who stated that Goldfarb’s research had inspired their work more than any other recent discovery – 108 certifications since the patent was first filed in Nov. 17, 2010. The Patent had been sourced from Thomson Reuters World Patents Index and restricted to filings from the period 2008-2012 to enable adequate time for patent examinations to be conducted and certification to be accumulated.

Cellular Regulatory Proteins – Sirtuins

The area of Goldfarb’s research is not new and his patent is not the first to benefit from it. From late 1990s, the well-known press and research literature had dedicated sufficient attention to resveratrol, a chemical which appears in red wine and which tends to extend yeast lifespan by increasing the expression of a course of cellular regulatory proteins known as sirtuins.

The effect of resveratrol on one sirtuin, SIRTI had been discovered by the researchers led by David Sinclair, a Harvard University biologist. Sinclair had in 2005 spun out the research into a start-up – Sirtris Pharmaceuticals and the company had been acquired by GlaxoSmithKline in 2008 for $720 million. The research of Goldfarb had been built on his earlier discoveries and in his previous patent, Michael Breitenbach and Goldfarb at the University of Salzburg in Austria, had created a new system of locating compounds which could extend the lifespan of cells.

Epizyme’s Drug Could Treat Mantle Cell Lymphoma

Goldfarb’s work continued inspite of early criticism from aristocracies, in the international research circles that took keen interest in his aim on an unusual subset of chemicals which altered the lifespan of yeast. It was those prudently engineered chemicals which had a major implication on the drugs for the future treatment of cancer, diabetes and obesity like PRMTS inhibitors.

Others like 12 lipoxygenase inhibitors could lead to drugs which could block the inflammation process that contribute to diabetes and heart disease and pyruvate kinase M2 activators which could ultimately eliminate the toughest of cancer cells. Out of these discoveries, any one of them could lead in turn to prolong human life.

These products and treatments are way ahead and researchers as well as pharmaceutical companies quoting Goldfarb’s patent do not yet have their compounds ready for clinical trials. The nearest drug so far developed by biopharmaceutical manufacturer Epizyme quoted Goldfarb’s work in the patent. Epizyme had licensed the drug to GlaxoSmithKline and the two companies had reported at last year’s American Society of Hematology meeting that the drug could lead to treatment for mantle cell lymphoma a rare cancer which typically affects men over the age of 60.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Beating Parasites Wins Three Scientists Nobel Prize for Medicine


Discoveries of 3 Scientist – Development of Potent New Drugs – Parasitic Diseases

Discoveries of three scientists from China, Japan and Ireland that have led to the development of potent new drugs against parasitic diseases like malaria and elephantiasis has won the Nobel Prize for Medicine, recently. William Campbell- Irish-born and Japan’s Satoshi Omura won half of the prize in discovering avermectin, a derivative which has been utilised to treat hundreds of millions of people with river blindness as well as lymphatic filariasis or elephantiasis.

 Youyou Tu from China had been awarded the other half of the prize for discovering artemisinin, which is a drug that has reduced malaria deaths and the mainstay of combating the mosquito-borne disease. Around 3.4 billion people residing in poor countries are at risk of being affected by these parasitic diseases.

According to the Nobel Assembly at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, has stated that `these two discoveries had provided humankind with powerful new means to fight these debilitating diseases which affect hundreds of millions of people annually. The consequences with regards to improved human health and reduced suffering are immeasurable’.

Treatment Effective

Presently the medicine ivermectin, is a derivative of avermectin made by Merck & Company and is utilised all over the world to combat roundworm parasite, while artemisinin based drugs from firms like Sanofi and Novartis seem to be the main tool against malaria.

This breakthrough by Omura and Campbell, to fight the parasitic worms or helminths came about after researching on compounds from soil bacteria that led to the discovery of avermectin which was further modificed into ivermectin. The treatment is said to be so effective that river blindness and lymphatic filariasis now seems to be on the verge of elimination.

Youyou on the other hand turned to a traditional Chinese herbal medicine in a search for a better malaria treatment after the declining success of the earlier drugs choroquine and quinine which led to the isolation of artemisinin, a new class of anti-malaria drug. The Chair of the Nobel Committee, Juleen Zierath, had commented that they now had drugs which could kill the parasites early in their life cycle and they not kill them but tend to stop their infections from spreading.

Annual Award Ceremony – December 10

Colin Sutherland, a reader in parasitology at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine had said that the impact of artemisinin was thoughtful and was widely used all over the world that there could be risk of resistance problem. WHO has said that artemisinin resistance has been confirmed in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

The last occasion when a Chinese citizen had won a Nobel was in 2012 when Mo Yan had received the literature award and China since then had desireda Nobel Prize in science. This seems to be the first Nobel Prize given to a Chinese scientist for the work carried out in China. Medicine prize for the first of the Nobel prizes awarded each year is 8 million Swedish crowns with one half going to Campbell and Omura while the other to Tu.

Each winner would also be receiving a diploma and a gold medal at the annual award ceremony on December 10, which is the anniversary of the death of prize founder Alfred Nobel. Prizes for achievements in literature, peace and science were first awarded in 1901 in accordance to the resolve of dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Viruses are Alive, and They Share An Ancestor With Modern Cells


Viruses – Living Entities/Share Common Ancestor with Cells

Evolutionary biologist are on discussions that the viruses seem to belong to the tree of life, in the universe and have put a case forward for viruses sharing common ancestor with the other cells. The debate is that viruses should not qualify as living entities and that they are not `alive’ since they tend to lack a true metabolism and does not reproduce on their own.

Published in Scientific Advances, Arshan Nasir and Gustavo Caetano-Anolles’s paper – A phylogenomic data driven explorations of viral origins and evolution has challenged this. They state that `virus factories’ structures formed by various giant viruses within the cells they infect are cell-like organisms, strikingly familiar to several intracellular parasitic bacterial which also depend on host metabolism to reproduce’.

These types of bacteria are considered as living things though very simple and researchers claim that virus factories should be regarded as the true `self’ of a virus and the infectious virions to be considered as gametes which then go on to `fertilise’ other cells by infecting them. Taking this into account, viruses could be eligible to form the evolutionary tree of life and take their stand along with the cells.

Viruses Transform/Genetic Codes Change

Nasir and Caetano-Anolles had found the possibility to identify the ancestry as well as the evolution of viruses, describing `proto-virocells which harboured segmented RNA genomes and existed with the ancestors of modern cells. In order to learn more on how viruses could be related to cells, evolutionary biologist Gustavo Caetano-Anolles and Arshan Nasir compared the protein folds of 3,460 viruses with 1,620 cells.

Folds seems to be the basic structures which give proteins their complex shapes and the genetic codes of all cells and the viruses carry instructions for the various protein folds. Comparing them seems a good way of studying evolutionary history particular in viruses.

Most of the viruses often transform and their genetic codes change quickly which could cover the oldest genetic traces. However, protein folds keep their shapes even when their genetic codes seem to change. This makes them a good record of viruses and cells ancient evolutionary history.

True Self of Virus – Intracellular Virus Factory of Infected Cells

Viruses which were analysed by Caetano-Anolles and Nazir turned out to share 442 protein folds with the cells in the study. They also found 66 protein folds which were probably unique to viruses. It was what the biologist basically expected to discover when they compared two related organisms, with a large number of familiarities with a few variations to set the two organisms apart.

 As per Caetano-Anolles and Nasir these discoveries indicate a shared origin for cells and viruses. According to them to determine if the viruses could reproduce and have metabolism it is essential to look at the `virus factory within an infected cell instead of what in usually thought of as the body of a virus, particles known as virions which prevail outside cells, do not reproduce.

They write that the true self of a virus is the intracellular virus factory of infected cells and not the virion. An infected cell tends to reproduce by producing new virions which affect other cells in order to make new virus factories.

Caetano-Anolles and Nasir state that the process is similar to how conventional organisms produce gametes to fertilize other cells and reproduce. Infected cells also tend to produce proteins that fall in the category of production of new virions.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

First UK Patient Receives Stem Cell Treatment for Sight Loss


UK Patient – First to Receive New Stem Cell Treatment

A patient in UK has become the first to receive new stem cell treatment in savings her sight. The woman who had suffered from age related macular degeneration – AMD underwent a procedure known as retinol pigment epithelium at Moorefield’s Eye Hospital in London.

The eye cells derived from stem cells during the operation were utilised to replace the damaged AMD cells behind the retina which had formed a patch over the problem area. As per The London Project to Cure Blindness, the patient did not face any complication till date.

However the team behind the operation are unable to state if it was a true success till her recovery of being further examined in December. Macular degeneration is the cause of 50% of all cases of visual impairment in the developed countries and generally tends to affect those crossing the age of 50.

Around 25% of over 60s in the UK have been suffering from some type of degeneration which is likely to increase. Several of the patients suffering from AMD tend to find that their central vision gets affected while the vision around the edges seems to remain normal. There are two kinds of AMD namely, wet and dry.

Two Types of AMD - Wet/Dry AMD

Wet AMD is due to abnormal blood vessels which leak in the centre of the retina, while dry AMD is more common and takes place when the retinal cells tend to become too thin.

The operation seems to be a part of a broader trial which looks at the safety as well as the success rates of retinol pigment epithelium in persons suffering from wet AMD. However, learning from trials has given rise to the ability to treat patients suffering with dry AMD too.

It is said that ten more patients are likely to receive the treatment in the next 18 months and if their operations tends to get successful, the ground-breaking stem cell treatment could be utilised on a wider scale for AMD patients in the UK.

According to retinal surgeon professor, Lyndon Da Cruz from Moorfields Eye Hospital, who had performed the first surgery, states that `there is real potential that people with wet age related macular degeneration would benefit in the future from transplantation of these cells’.

Ability to be one of the First Extensive Application in Healthcare- UK

Professor Pete Coffey of the University College London Institute of Ophthalmology, co-leading the London Project to Cure Blindness adds that, they are very pleased to have reached this stage in the research for a new therapeutic approach.

Though they have recognised this clinical trial focuses on small group of AMD patients, experiencing sudden severe visual loss, they hope that many patients could benefit in the future. If the operation tends to be successful, it would represent a most important breakthrough for the Project, which is a partnership between Moorfields Eye Hospital, University College London, the National Institute for Health Research and Pfizer.

The involved organisations are hopeful that the stem cell trials would be sent to a regulatory review board for testing its efficacy and safety.

Though the application of stem cell technology has been explored in research environments for several years, covering all things from engineering new liver cells to making burgers, this treatment tend to have the ability to be one of the first extensive application in the healthcare in UK.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Neurosurgeon Who Uses a 3D Printer before Operating

3D Print

3D Printer – Prior to Surgeries

A paediatric neurosurgeon, Ed Smith at Boston Children’s Hospital often tends to remove tumours and blood vessels which have grown in tangled shapes. He compares his surgeries as a type of defusing a bomb type surgery. He gets started with his work by utilising an unusual tool, a 3D printer.

Earlier, hospital techniques utilised standard imaging to print a high resolution copy of the child’s brain, tumour etc. Smith tends to examine it for hours and gradually develops a nuanced perceptible feel for the challenge. He comments that he can hold the problem in his hand and can rehearse the surgery several times he wants to.

At the time of the operation, Smith tends to keep the printed brain next to him for his reference. It seems to be powerful as a visualisation tool that it has condensed the length of his surgeries by an average of 12%. His work enables one to view 3D printers in a new way and most of the time; they seem to be inclined as tiny artisanal factories.

 These could be useful for turning out one-off products and niche objects, a desktop sized industrial revolution. The 3D printer’s intellectual influence could turn out to be like an inkjet printer. Usually documents are printed to array them on the desk and to ponder over them and to show them to others.

Understand Data/Resolve Issue

Smith tends to use it in a similar way by printing the way one would print an email or a document, to understand the data and resolve the issue. Smith states that `doctors have long used MRIs and CT scan to help visualise tumours, but when the visualisation is physical, it has haptic impact which screens do not.

That is the reason why architects build scale models of their buildings. By peering around a structure one does not get what’s going on. You see these spatial relations and depth of field which are not possible on-screen’.

 This tends to work better for brains. NASA astronomers had printed a model of a binary star system in order to help visualise its solar winds and they discovered various thing which were not fully appreciated according to Thomas Madura, a NASA visiting scientist. 3D prints could also be appropriate for accessibility providing the blind with a new way to grasp astronomy.

3D Printing – A Regular Part of Process

Smith had stated that 3D printing has become a regular part of their process and is also a tool which enables them to educate their junior colleagues as well as trainees which is safe without putting the child at any risk. The tech would need to be improved to actually unlock the power of 3D printers.

 If the need to use physical documents the way paper is used, looking at them for a while and then tossing them aside, material needs to be recycled and even biodegradable. Moreover, our intellectual culture to evolve would also be needed.

There could be several types of uses for 3D data. Courts tend to use to print forensic evidence which the juries could handle. 3D printers are not just factories for products; on the contrary they are factories for thought. 3D printing makes the procedure much shorter and improves on the accuracy of the surgeries.

Worried About Domestic Violence? What You Can Do Today


Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects a lot of people in the United States. What’s even worse is that domestic violence isn’t just about the adults involved – it often escalates and brings children into the mix. Even if they aren’t hurt physically, domestic violence can damage children emotionally in very severe ways.

While you may not be able to fix domestic violence overnight, there are some things you can do to prevent it from escalating and getting to your children. Use these tips to protect yourself and your family from the dangers of domestic violence.

Have a Plan

When you’re worried about domestic violence all the time it can be hard to think straight. In fact, many people who are facing abuse start behaving erratically themselves simply because they’re afraid of what might happen to them if they behave or speak a certain way. Sadly, that’s the nature of abusive relationships.

However, you don’t have to stand for all of that abuse in your home, and you can leave when you’re looking at an abusive situation. That is going to mean making a plan about where you’re going to go, especially if you have children who need to stay in school and maintain a basic routine.

One of the best things you can do if you’re worried about domestic violence is to talk with a friend or family member in your area to see if you can stay with them when you’re in trouble. You’ll need to tell them they may not get much notice because of the situation.

Once you find a place to stay when you’re in trouble you need to keep a bag packed so you can leave quickly. Make sure your bag contains clothes for work, cash and essential toiletries.

Use a Domestic Violence Program

A domestic violence intervention program isn’t something most people want to get involved in, and the person causing the violence is most likely to resist going through these sorts of programs. However, if they want to build a healthy relationship with you and the family as a whole, these programs are essential.

Tell your abuser that you won’t be seeing him or her until they’ve gone through a program for domestic violence. You’ll both be better off in the long run and your family will be much healthier.

A Folding Paper Microscope

Microscopes are important and ever-present tools in science, providing an vital, visual connection between the familiar macro-world we live in and the extraordinary underlying micro-world.

Foldscope can be described as an origami-based optical microscope that can be assembled from a flat sheet of thick printed paper that folds into shape and a lens.

It costs less than a dollar when separated parts, but can give over 2,000X magnification with sub-micron resolution (800nm), weighs less than two nickels (8.8 g), and is small enough to fit in a pocket (70 × 20 × 2 mm3). According to the inventor Manu Prakash of Stanford University, the Foldscope needs no external source of power, and can survive being dropped from a 3-story building or even being treaded on by a person. Its minimalistic nature and scalable design makes it inherently application-specific instead of its purpose being general in nature gearing towards applications in global health, field based citizen science and K12-science education.

The Foldscope is an amazing device which is useful and completely sturdy and can be used by anyone even children and costs hardly a dollar. With this microscope even the tiniest of insects and plants can be investigated and enlarged. Students belonging to all age groups can carry this device in their pocket and get involved in the field of Science from a young age.

This very light and rough device can provide a variety of imaging facilities. Foldscope removed cost barriers and provides for education in science in school and universities and the field of medicine.

By the principles of optical design along with origami, the fold scope can be made from a sheet of flat paper. The sample is kept on a microscope slide, turning the LED and can be viewed placing your eyes close to the lens, and your eyebrow should touch the paper and focusing can be done with your thumbs placed on opposite ends of the slide and moving them in unison to get better illumination stages

Foldscopes can also help in the work of healthcare and in diagnosing blood borne sickness at the basic level.
“The biggest thing we're trying to achieve is to make people interested," Manu Prakash stated. "Our objective is that every child should be able to carry a microscope in their pocket."

Last year, Prakash and his team distributed 10,000 Foldscopes to enthusiastic users willing to do a trial with them. Users submit their findings on the Foldscope site, with studies ranging from school kids looking at banana seeds to the detection of parasitic worms in human waste samples.

Prakash said "I want to make the best feasible disease-detection tool that could be almost distributed for free. The outcome of this project is a sort of use-and-throw microscopy," he said in a Stanford blog post last year.

However, Foldscope is not available at present; one would have to make their own.

Prakash's team says they are working hard to make the Foldscopes commercially available via a spinoff or startup."

Now all we need to do is wait and watch for the next developments.

Is Bariatric Surgery the Right Choice for You?

The weight loss industry is a billion dollar industry that preys on those looking for fast and easy ways to lose weight. You might spend thousands of dollars on gym memberships, workout products you use at home and diet supplements designed to help you lose weight without losing a single pound. The manufacturers of those products often claim that you can lose twice as much weight or more when you rely on those items and stick to a healthy diet, but not everyone loses weight in the same way. If you tried multiple diets and exercise programs in the past and found no success, bariatric surgery might be a good option for you.

What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery refers to two different procedures that doctors perform on overweight patients. The first is something called a sleeve gastrectomy, which involves the doctor making a sleeve from the stomach. This limits the amount of food you can eat and helps you lose weight. The second procedure is a lap band. Doctors use a band that fits around the stomach and reduces the size of the stomach to limit your food intake.

What Happens After the Surgery?

Regardless of which surgery you opt for, the doctor will check your progress over the coming hours or days before determining if you are ready to go home. You might notice some minor swelling around your stomach, and some patients feel a little queasy or nauseous for a few days. Both procedures limit the amount of food you can eat, and most patients find that it takes some time for them to adjust to their new limitations. Though it often takes a few weeks before you notice any changes in terms of your weight, you will find that the weight begins coming off.

Are There Any Foods You Can't Eat After the Surgery?

It's important that you pay close attention to your diet after the surgery to determine what you can and cannot eat. Your doctor will likely recommend that you abstain from alcohol, and you may find that you cannot eat foods that are high in fat or sugar. Before undergoing either of these procedures, talk with trustworthy doctors like Bay Surgical Specialists to learn more about the associated risks and benefits. Bariatric surgery helped millions of patients just like you get down to a healthy weight.

Smart Stethoscope Gets FDA Stamp of Approval


The normal stethoscope now is getting a high tech upgrade known as the smart stethoscope. The only difference between the old and the new stethoscope is that it has a device attached called the Eko. A recording is set up on the smartphone, then the patient’s heart sounds are amplified and recorded and that patient’s health record is stored.

The significance of this stethoscope is that recordings can be directly sent to the cardiologist instead of physically sending the patient to the cardiologist. Thus, the patients would not have to wait to see the cardiologists to know the results.

The Eko Core, a small adapter like device, is inserted into the tubing of a regular stethoscope - between the earpiece and chest piece. Then, the heartbeats are recorded and routed to the phone through Bluetooth the audio data via Eko’s smartphone application and web portal and is sent up to the cloud, where a specialist can then listen to the audio data by pulling it down.

This device has now got the FDA approval and the announcement was made by Eko devices that their product can make regular stethoscopes into smart ones.

The CEO and Cofounder Connor Landgraf stated “This investment round and upcoming UCSF study is a momentous step towards a new age in stethoscope intelligence and cardiac monitoring”

According to 23 year old Eko Devices co founder Jason Bellet it is the first time the old and new medical tools are being combined. They can track a person’s heartbeats from childhood to maturity.

Bellet acknowledges that Eko is not the first smart stethoscope in the market, but it is definitely the first to connect to a smartphone and wirelessly transfer a heart recording. Even though most of the medical field has gone digital, this has been a slow change for the 200 year old stethoscope.

Mayo Clinic’s Dr Charanjit S Rihal says medical science has been stuck in the analog world. Even if doctors are good at examining patients they are not able to remember the patient’s heart sounds, maybe a year later.
Getting a product approved by FDA is a very costly and time consuming process. That’s why raising an investment for this was crucial. This brought Eko to the demo stage in 2014. They face some very tough questions but finally succeeded in getting the money. Eko has received funding worth $2.8 million, which is only the start of its cardiovascular innovations.

Rihal, who joined Eko as an advisor believed that if engineers could examine the sounds using algorithms then that would have real value.

Eko is conducting trials in two hospitals in San Francisco to gather heartbeat data from 200 children and 200 adults. The data collected would then be analyzed and tested to help them develop a heartbeat functionality that Eko is building. It will go through separate testing by FDA, which would take place in early 2016.
Eko CTO Tyler Crouch says they are trying to create the Shazam for heartbeats.

Alternative Treatment Methods: The Benefits of Medical Hypnosis

While the thought of hypnosis as treatment for medical conditions may seem unusual, the truth is that medical hypnosis can actual promote and protect your health. With that said, this type of hypnosis is not the “you’re getting sleepy” drivel that you’re used to seeing in movies and television shows. This is, instead, a clinical procedure that is used in conjunction with other treatment and therapies. In fact, there are several benefits to medical hypnosis, which you can learn more about by reading below:

Improve Deep Sleep

Several studies have shown that hypnosis can help improve deep sleep. In fact, the participants reported that after undergoing medical hypnosis, they slept better. In fact, some studies suggest that medical hypnosis can work just as well as sleep inducing drugs but without the side effects.

Naturally Ease Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms

During a study conducted in 2003, 71-percent of irritable bowel syndrome sufferers who participated in the study reported to have improved symptoms after undergoing an hour-long hypnosis session once a week for 12 weeks. This shows that medical hypnosis could be an effective treatment for those patients who are tired of taking prescription pills.

Treat Hot Flashes

Women who are suffering from postmenopausal symptoms may find relief through hypnosis. A 2012 study took postmenopausal women who said they experiences at least 50 hot flashes every week and had them undergo medical hypnosis. The results showed that 74-percent of the participants said that 5 weekly hypnosis sessions reduce the amount of hot flashes they experienced.

Eases Pain

The most well-known benefit of medical hypnosis is its ability to ease pain. Several studies have been conducted and they all show that hypnosis is effective at relieving pain caused by a wide array of medical conditions, including cancer, arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Calms Nerves

Another well-known benefit of hypnosis is the nerve calming properties it has. In fact, it has shown useful to relax and relieve anxieties experience before medical procedures, such as surgeries, giving birth or scans. However, more research is needed before medical hypnosis can claim to treat generalized anxiety disability, or anxiety that is related to a personality trait rather than a certain or specific event.

No matter what your preconceived notions about hypnosis are, it has proven time and time again to be a useful tool in the medical industry as well as an alternative treatment options for various issues.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Workplace Bullying – Cause for Increase in Suicidal Thoughts

Workplace bullying occurs when an employee is continuously mistreated by his colleagues and counter parts in the workplace that mostly psychologically and sometimes physically affects him or her. Research has shown in most of the cases that the perpetrator is someone who is more senior and holds more power over the victim.

A study in Norway suggests that people who are victims of bullying at the workplace are more likely to consider suicide than those who do not experience an unfriendly work environment. Researchers conducted a survey using a sample of around 1846 employees and kept track them from 2005 – 2010. This study showed that although less than 5% of them showed suicidal tendencies during that time, the chances that they were likely to do show these signs after being bullied became double.

According to leading study conducted by the author Morten Birkeland Nielsen of the National Institute of Occupational Health and the University of Bergen, which shows how bullying is linked to suicidal thoughts. The perception of being bullied on the working place comes before suicidal intentions and is not an result.

Around the world at least 800,000 people commit suicide, making it the leading cause of deaths, which is more worrying according to the researchers. The researchers note that most of the suicide attempts are linked with psychiatric disorders, most people with mental health disorders do not usually take their own lives and they are forced to do that. According to them, the connection between bullying and suicidal thoughts is somewhat like the chicken and the egg – it is tough to decide which of them came first.

To solve this mystery, he surveyed some workers in 2005, 2007 and 2010 and asked them about their workplace environment and mental health. The researchers defined three main features of workplace bullying – the victim must be at the end of the unwanted social behavior, he must be exposed to it for a long period of time; where the occurrence and intensity increases and the victim must feel that they cannot escape from the situation. During the study, the average number of workers who reported bullying was 4.2% - 4.6%, while the occurrence of suicidal thoughts was from 3.9% - 4.9%. No major differences were reported on the basis of sex or age.

People who said the researchers that they had thought about suicide at the begin of the study were not likely to report to report bullying anon than those who had never thought of commiting sucide. However, one drawback of this survey is asking the workers to correctly remember any experiences with bullying or suicidal thoughts, say the authors. According to the researchers, there are some workers who are more likely to consider taking their lives due to some specific predispositions, while others are more likely to consider suicide because of recent experience with harassment.

Continuous exposure to bullying causes changes in the brain, said one of the researcher and the director of the Workplace Bullying Institute located outside Boise, Idaho. The brain becomes flooded with glucocorticoids, also called as stress hormones, which reduce a person’s capacity to think clearly and rationally.

Psychiatrists usually overlook the factor of bullying and focus on relationships or financial problems, where bullying harassment could be the final straw before resorting to commit suicide.

Workplace bullying harassment may be a precursor to suicidal ideation, whereas suicidal ideaseems to have no impact on subsequent risk of being harassed . Regulations against bullying harassment should be integrated into work-related legislation and public health policies.

Is Alcohol Actually Bad for You?


Beer/Wine Consumption – Service to Body

Individuals who tend to enjoy a glass of beer or wine occasionally would be glad to know that they would be doing a kind of service to their bodies. A study was carried out earlier in 1979, by Archie Cochrane and two of his colleagues, drawing a connection between alcohol consumption and health.

They made attempts to work out what was responsible for the different rates of death from heart disease in the 18 developed countries which included the UK, US and Australia. They came up with substantial and transparent link between growing alcohol intake especially wine and declining rates of ischaemic heart diseases.

Cochrane and his colleagues, quoting earlier research which had been found in connection with alcohol intake and lower death rates, from heart attacks, recommended that the aromatic and other compounds of alcohol have been assumed recently to be antioxidants like plant based polyphenols which were probably beneficial instead of the alcohol.

A group of over 50,000 male doctors in the US was surveyed by researchers in 1986, on their drinking as well as eating habits, medical history together with their health state over 2 years, observed that the more alcohol they reported drinking, their chance of developing coronary artery disease was lower inspite of their dietary habits.

Standard Drinking Habit – Lesser Chance of Death

Another bigstudy on male doctors was also published in 2000, and it was found that a `U’ shaped relationship between modest alcohol intake and in the event of death rather than the disease of coronary artery.

Those who consumed a standard drink daily had a lesser chance of death than those who drank less than one in a week or those who consumed extra on a daily basis.This indicated that there was some advantage for the consumption of alcohol and a healthy ground between too less or too much wherein the benefits for cardiovascular health adjusted well with the risk of death from all causes.

However there were queries raised – whether alcohol was providing the benefits or was it a marker for other healthy behaviours. Are the ones drinking in moderation also the types who tend to exercise regularly, maintain a balanced diet and look after themselves well?

Yet another study was once again carried out in 2005, in medical professionals and this time around 32,000 women and 18,000 in an effort to find answer to these queries by observing how their drinking habits could affect with the risk of heart attack and the physiology as well.

Benefits of Alcohol on HDL Cholesterol

Those consuming one to two glasses of alcohol, around three to four times in a week tend to have a lesser risk of heart attack which according to the researchers presumptions could be the outcome of the benefits of alcohol on HDL cholesterol which is considered to be good and the haemoglobin A1c - a diabetes danger together with fibrinogen which is an agent that aids in blood clotting.

These tend to have an important role in the metabolic syndrome, the group of abnormalities which tends to be the cause of cardiovascular diseases as well as diabetes. Other studies have indicated that alcohol could change the balance of these factors for improvement which aims at a possible mechanism wherein alcohol in reasonable measure could benefit health.