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Could “Tapeworm Drug” Help With Zika Virus?

Posted by on Oct 4, 2016 in Health |

Discovered in 1947, the Zika virus was little known until the recent outbreaks in South America and its recent spread into portions of the United States. Because of the virus’ association with microcephaly (smaller cranial size) in fetuses and a desire to find a method to protect pregnant women, the push is on to find an effective treatment or cure. Researchers at Florida State University and others including the National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins University are making inroads.

Mosquito biting human

Zika virus is transmitted by mosquito bite or sexual intercourse

The goal of the research is to find a way to prevent the Zika virus from replicating before it can cause fetal brain cell damage. The disease is spread through mosquito bites and can be transmitted through sexual intercourse.

While research is underway there is as yet no sure method of protection, but scientists are working with existing drug compounds as opposed to developing new ones because of the pressure to combat the disease as quickly as possible.

Currently approved compounds would mean faster time to make the drugs available on the market as opposed to the years-long process of developing new drugs. The research teams looked at six thousand currently FDA-approved compounds as well as those undergoing clinical trials. One such compound is that used as the basis for the tapeworm treatment drug Nicolsamide.

Compounds and drugs such as this could, in theory, offer a way to treat the disease, but identification of effective compounds is merely the first step. Additional testing, beginning with animals, would need to take place and it is not yet clear how the drugs would need to be used in treatment. Still, identification of such compounds is a promising start.

So far, Florida has been the hardest hit region of the United States, with Miami-Dade county taking the brunt of the onslaught. Aside from the risk to pregnant women, the State may be suffering an economic loss as some may be rethinking vacation plans to the state. Aerial and ground-based pesticide spraying has taken place in Florida amidst the protests of some residents.

The Miami Herald provides a daily Zika virus tracker on its website.

The Future of Prosthetics

Posted by on Sep 2, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Prosthetics have come light years from the days of Captain Hook and more advances are around the corner. As of now, researchers have been able to develop prostheses that are owner-controlled in various ways, but they are still imperfect.

Researches from The United States and Korea developed a synthetic skin (actually a polymer) fitted with an array of silicon and gold sensors to imitate how real human skin functions (stretchability, sensory capability).

Silicon is normally not a stretchable substance so it has to be constructed in a specific way to allow for expansion. Sensors in such a “skin” need to be positioned correctly depending on each one’s location on the body. In this study, researchers made a detailed study of the human hand and where it stretches when flexed to determine where to place the sensors.

This is only the first step in the evolution of sensory artificial skin. As of now, one of the biggest challenges is how to connect it successfully to its owner. Establishing a connection between the sensors of this “skin” and the human brain is in its infancy. We’re not near the point where the wearer of such artifical skin can, in fact, “feel” what’s being touched or handled.

Studies in Korea with rats did show some reaction in the rats’ brains to sensory input, but there’s no way yet to gauge qualities like moistness, heat or cold.

One study which met with some promising initial results allowed an amputee to pick up objects (including softer items like fresh cherries) with the right amount of pressure, avoiding crushing of the fruit. This early trial conducted at the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center was reported on by MIT Technology Review.

While there is still much to be done, this area of medical research is already yielding exciting results. Technology advances in fits and starts, but ultimately the goal is reached. How long until a real, viable “smart skin” becomes available? Unknown, but the future does indeed look good.

Science Fact: Advances in ocular technology

Posted by on Jul 12, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Those of “a certain age” will remember the television show “The Six Million Dollar Man” starring Lee Majors. Aside from bionic legs and arm, main character Steve Austin also sported a bionic eye. It allowed for close up views from great distances. While it was science fiction at the time, things have changed and fiction has become fact. At least to a degree.

The Argus II is one such medical breakthrough. This device transmits a wireless signal from sunglasses equipped with a special camera to retinal implants in an otherwise sightless patient. While it has been in use since 2011 in Europe the Food and Drug Administration recently approved its use in the United States.

new advances for retinal pigmentosisThe “eye” does draw comparisons to Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Geordi La Forge (played by Levar Burton). In the series La Forge used wrap-around “shades” to see. Without them he was blind.

However, the Argus II does not (yet) pack the power of La Forge’s sunglasses, but can restore some limited vision to the blind. It allows for general distinguishing of light and dark. It can allow a formerly sightless person to make out single words on a mobile device like an iPad, providing the text is extremely large.

It is currently approved only for those who suffered from retinal pigmentosis and lost their sight to this disease. Drawbacks may include decreased vision over time due to the fact that a person’s retina will heal, covering the implant.

Retinal pigmentosis (or RP) RP is inherited and depends on a person’s parents—whether one or both are carriers for the gene. It is estimated that about 1 out of every 4000 people may contract this disorder.

Regardless, the Argus II is an astounding breakthrough that Steve Austin would applaud and may help restore a degree of sight to those affected by other ocular diseases in the future.

Health And Cancer – Why Cancer Is The Most Dreaded Disease Of Today

Posted by on Jun 27, 2016 in Cancer, Health, Prevention |

You might not know about this, but there is no one cancer which is the same. Because almost every cancer case in the world is unique it is very difficult to device a cure for this illness. This is why it is very important to learn more about cancer, how to stop it from developing and what you can do to prevent it.
What Are Cancer Symptoms?
On the off chance that you think growth, there are a few manifestations that you ought to keep an eye out for. Conceivable indications of growth incorporate a delayed hack, unexplained weight reduction, change in defecations, anomalous dying, or another irregularity. There are additionally numerous different side effects that may show tumor, notwithstanding, in the event that you need to ensure you ought to check your wellbeing with your general doctor.

Disease Prevention

In spite of the fact that not all diseases can be cured, numerous growths in the reality can be anticipated. On the off chance that you need to forestall disease ensure that you keep up a sound weight, don’t drink an excessive amount of liquor, don’t smoke, it a lot of vegetables and organic product, and eat a lot of entire grains.

Additionally, you ought to ensure that you get immunized against irresistible maladies and the lessen eating red meat. Additionally, ensure that you evade an excess of introduction to daylight and get consistent screenings for cervical and colorectal disease.

Cancer Death Rates

Disease is the explanation behind roughly 14.6% of every single human demise. Growth is an illness that influences all individuals and happens all around. Shockingly, there is still no cure for some writes of malignancy, and we can’t spare individuals have disease. Still, we ought to know that the most well-known sorts of tumor in guys are lung growth, prostate disease, colorectal malignancy and stomach disease.

With respect to the females, the most well-known sorts of disease that influence females are bosom tumor, colorectal malignancy, lung growth and cervical tumor. Tumor additionally influences kids. Youngsters who get growth, regularly build up a portion of the accompanying sorts of disease: intense lymphoblastic leukemia, cerebrum tumors, and in Africa kids who have malignancy frequently have non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

What Are Your Odds Of Getting Cancer?

The danger of getting growth increases with age. Additionally, malignancy happens all the more ordinarily in created nations, yet there are likewise numerous different things that may bring about the advancement of disease. The dominant part of growth are impacted because of ecological elements, even up to 90% of all cases. The rest, are as a rule because of the acquired hereditary qualities. Natural variables that cause disease and can prompt lethal result are the utilization of tobacco, corpulence, contaminations, radiation, stress and ecological toxins.