Testing It Up

Oscar de la Renta Dies Of Cancer

The fashion world is mourning the death of legendary designer Oscar de la Renta, who died October 20 at the age of 82. According to Reuters, de la Renta passed away in his Connecticut home. The fashion icon succumbed to cancer, which was diagnosed in 2006.

oscar de la rentaNews spread like wildfire over Twitter, other social networking sites, and in several newspapers.

In his hometown of Dominican Republic, de la Renta was remembered as a cultural icon who never forgot where he came from. “The international fashion (world) and all the Dominican Republic is in mourning. We lost the great Oscar de la Renta,” said Dominican Republic president Danilo Medina. Meanwhile, the country’s foreign minister Andrés Navarro expressed the fashion legend’s impact not only on the runway but also on society. “He was a permanent ambassador of our country abroad. He diffused the qualities that adorn the Dominican Republic. With his departure, the nation says goodbye to one of its most universal sons and a promoter of the best Dominican qualities,” Navarro said.

De la Renta was famous for dressing all of the first ladies starting with Jacqueline Kennedy. The Clinton family expressed their tribute to the late fashion mogul in a statement as posted on CNN: “Oscar’s remarkable eye was matched only by his generous heart… His legacy of philanthropy extended from children in his home country who now have access to education and healthcare, to some of New York’s finest artists whose creativity has been sustained through his support.”

Prior to his death, de la Renta designed the much talked about wedding gown of Amal Alamuddin, who married George Clooney on September 29 of this year.

Today at 3:08 am Comments (0)

DNA Helps to Protect Some Hispanic Women from Breast Cancer

New research has found that some Hispanic women are less prone to breast cancer thanks to their DNA. mammogram showing breast cancer

Compared with women of European or African-American descent, fewer Hispanic women develop breast cancer and fewer of them die from it, medical statistics show, and an international team led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, recently said they now know the reason why this is.

A tiny difference in the DNA of certain women makes Latinas who inherit it about 40% less likely to develop breast cancer, medical geneticist Laura Fejerman and her colleagues reported in Nature Communications. And, if women have inherited the variation from both sides of their family, they are 80% less likely to get breast cancer.

“It is strongly protective,” said cancer specialist Elad Ziv at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, who helped conduct the study funded by the National Cancer Institute. “We really need to do more experiments to nail it down and understand what it is doing.”

Women who carry the genetic variant have breast tissue that appears less dense on mammograms. High-density breast tissue is a known risk factor for breast cancer.

The finding may lead to more effective genetic testing for women at risk, by helping to determine who most needs to take preventative measures.

October 20, 2014 at 7:33 am Comments (0)

Blue Light Controls New Type 2 Diabetes Drug to Improve Treatment

The erratic response of the human body to existing drugs for Type 2 diabetes has prompted a group of scientists to develop a new treatment that involves blue light technology.

blue light controlled antidiabetic drugA joint research from the UK’s Imperial College London Department of Medicine and Germany’s LMU Munich created JB253, an experimental drug that triggers pancreatic beta cells to release insulin. What’s unique about this new drug is that it is triggered by blue LED light exposure. The prototype medication is a hybrid of the antidiabetic drug sulfonylurea but with the ability to change shape in the presence of blue light.

The motivation behind this research is the fact that sulfonylurea may increase the risk of developing hypoglycemia and heart diseases. By using the new drug, the patient can control the activity of the medication by switching on a blue LED light source pointed at the abdomen. This causes the drug’s active ingredient to change shape and become active. When the light is switched off, the drug’s components become deactivated. This mechanism gives the patient more control over how the drug will function, so as to prevent side effects.

“In principle, this type of therapy may allow better control over blood sugar levels … because it can be switched on for a short time when required after a meal. It should also reduce complications by targeting drug activity to where it’s needed in the pancreas,” study co-author Dr. David Hodson said in a news release.

The prototype is still being developed, and has not reached human trials thus far. “There’s a long way to go before a therapy is available to patients, but this remains our ultimate goal,” Hodson added.

[ Image source ]

October 18, 2014 at 12:00 am Comment (1)

Study: Smoking Causes Millions of Medical Conditions in the U.S.

The idea that millions of medical issues are attributable to smoking may sound far-fetched, but a recent study merely echoes what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said in the past decade.

smokingResearchers from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products analyzed deaths related to smoking based on data from national surveys. The results are astounding: about 14 million major medical conditions can be traced to smoking.

Despite the large number, the proponents of the study said that the figure was a conservative estimate because it did not include other recent discoveries on smoking-related diseases. Excluded in the study were ovarian cancer cases that may have been caused by smoking, or detrimental health effects of secondhand smoke. “Most of these conditions were chronic bronchitis and emphysema, often classified as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)… but these estimates and methods, to our knowledge, have not been subsequently updated or refined,” according to the study authors in a news item.

The study data came from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) between 2006 and 2012, as well as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

CDC’s version of the report, which was released in 2000, revealed that 12.7 million medical cases linked to smoking were experienced by more than 8 million people.

October 16, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

Dallas Nurse Condition Improving After Blood Transfusion From Ebola Survivor

The first person to contract the deadly Ebola virus on U.S. soil has been declared as “doing well” after receiving blood plasma from a virus survivor.

nina pham dallas nurse ebola virusThe patient was identified as Nina Pham, a nurse who was part of the medical team that took care of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to arrive in the U.S. carrying the Ebola virus. Pham received blood from Dr. Kent Brantley, an American doctor who successfully recovered from the virus after being treated using an experimental Ebola drug last August.

Pham is currently being treated at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas. Health inspectors continue to investigate the circumstances behind Pham’s contracting of the disease, citing a possible protocol breach. Standard procedures in the hospital require medical professionals to wear protective gear such as masks, gloves and gowns when caring for an Ebola patient.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) chief Tom Frieden said in a news release that he should have sent a stronger and much larger response team during the first case of Ebola in Dallas. “Ebola is unfamiliar. It’s scary and getting it right is really important because the stakes are so high,” said Frieden. “(Sending a larger team) might have prevented this infection.”

The CDC continues to monitor Pham as well as other healthcare workers and people who have come in contact with Duncan, who died last week.

[ Image source ]

October 15, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

New Drug Shows Promise in Fight Against Addiction

A new drug has been developed that could potentially help people kick their drug addictions. cocaine addiction

Developed by Dr. Stanley Glick, former head of the Department of Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience at Albany Medical College, 18-methoxycoronaridine (18-MC) has been successful in getting rats who are hooked on cocaine to completely stop craving the drug.

It has a similar effect on animals addicted to methamphetamine, morphine, alcohol, and nicotine and even seems to work with sugar, indicating potential as an obesity treatment.

“We hope it’s a paradigm shift in the way substance abuse is treated,” Steve Hurst, CEO of Savant HWP, which produces 18-MC, said. “But we’re still trying to figure out if it’s OK to give to people in doses that are safe enough to replicate what we see in animal models.”

18-MC works by blocking the pleasurable effects of cocaine and other substances by “dampening the response” to dopamine.

18-MC has its roots in ibogaine, a bitter white powder derived from the roots of a plant indigenous to the rainforests of Central Africa. Ibogaine is a potent hallucinogen used to induce spiritual visions during tribal ceremonies. Although side effects of ibogaine include nausea and intense hallucinations, Glick and other researchers have managed to formulate a strain of the drug that has the ability to block cravings while not producing any of the side effects.

The drug is ready to start human trials, but because ibogaine is a Schedule I drug in the United States and few pharmaceutical companies are interested in anti-addiction medicine, it has faced a lot of hurdles in its development.

October 14, 2014 at 8:37 am Comments (0)

Insulin-Producing Stem Cells: Hope For Type 1 Diabetes Patients

Type 1 Diabetes remains one of the top health issues that plague Americans to this day. This autoimmune disease renders the body unable to process sugars due to lack of insulin. The root cause is the disease’s attack on pancreatic beta cells, which are responsible for producing insulin.

insulin shot type 1 diabetes stem cell technologyA recent study aims to fix this health issue by using stem cell technology to replace the damaged pancreatic beta cells with new ones. Study lead author Douglas Melton, who serves as co-director of Harvard University’s Stem Cell Institute, revealed via HealthDay that they have developed pancreatic beta cells from human stem cells in large-scale proportions.

The study, published in the journal Cell Oct. 9, aims to “replace insulin injections using nature’s own solution, being the pancreatic beta cell,” according to Melton. Preliminary tests have been conducted on laboratory mice, to positive effects. What’s better is that unlike insulin shots that don’t cure the disease, pancreatic beta cells can actually circumvent Type 1 diabetes and its effects. “When provided to an immuno-compromised mouse, we can cure their diabetes right away, in less than 10 days,” Melton explained.

Melton’s team revealed that their product can survive for about six months inside test animals, but these fugures still need to be confirmed. Furthermore, the team hopes that human trials can be started soon.

October 14, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

Coffee, Not Caffeine, Linked To Improved Liver Protection

Many studies in the past have linked coffee drinking with better liver health, but new research suggests that it’s not caffeine that is doing the trick.

coffeeAccording to researchers from the U.S. National Cancer Institute led by Dr. Qian Xiao, drinking coffee at least three cups daily can improve the overall health of the liver. What’s peculiar about the findings of the study was that even those who drank decaffeinated coffee also exhibited the same positive effects. “These data suggest that ingredients in coffee, other than caffeine, may promote liver health,” said Xiao in a news release.

The study looked into about 28,000 U.S. residents at least 20 years old. The respondents were asked about their coffee intake, and subjected to blood tests to check the level of enzymes directly linked to liver condition. Results showed that regular coffee drinkers — whether caffeinated or not — were found to have lower enzyme levels, which meant that their livers were running in good condition.

The study proponents recommend more research to look into the active ingredients behind coffee’s liver-protecting capability against alcohol-related diseases. “Further studies are needed to identify these components,” Xiao added.

October 13, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

Binge Drinking Causes Protein Changes that Increase Risk of Liver Diseases

Several studies have already spotlighted excessive alcohol consumption as a leading cause of liver damage, but a new study reveals that binge drinking makes the damage worse.

binge drinking u.s. liver damageAccording to a study by researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, binge drinking causes changes in protein structures in the liver, leading to a higher risk of liver diseases. Study lead author Shivendra Shukla said that heavy episodic drinking heightens the damage that long-term alcoholism is already doing to the liver.

The study proponents discovered that binge drinking causes changes in the DNA structure not related to heredity or genetics. The “epigenetic” changes are experienced by protein DNA organizers — or histones — that become messed up because of the abnormal rise in alcohol toxicity. “Binge drinking is an environmental trigger that negatively affects histones by altering the correct binding of DNA. The result is unnecessary replication in the copied structure. This initially causes inflammation and damage to the cells as they form, but it is also eventually the cause of more serious diseases such as cirrhosis and cancer,” Shukla said in a news item.

Shukla adds that the changes in histones are not limited to the liver. “Binge drinking can create an inflammatory response in the liver that is like a cluster bomb, sending out various damaging signals to other organ systems in the body. If those organs are working at a lower level of function, then a whole host of physiological processes are affected as a consequence of binge drinking,” the lead author expressed.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers binge drinking as a very costly health issue. In 2011, the cost of binge drinking in the U.S. was estimated at $223 billion annually, primarily due to health care expenses and decrease in productivity at work.

October 12, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

Dog Owned by Spanish Ebola Patient Set to be Euthanized

Barely two days after the first case of Ebola in Spain was reported, Madrid’s health officials said that they plan to euthanize the patient’s pet dog as a safety precaution.

dog euthanasia spanish ebola patientThe patient’s pet, a mixed-breed dog named Excalibur, was declared by the regional government of Madrid as a possible threat to public health, according to Yahoo! News. The patient and her husband, who is also now admitted to the hospital despite not showing any symptoms yet, have expressed objections to the government’s plan. The story was first published through Facebook and has generated online support for the dog’s owners from pet lovers and dog wellness advocates.

The female patient, 40 years of age, started exhibiting symptoms on September 30 but was admitted to the hospital five days later due to fever. Investigations showed that the woman worked at La Paz-Carlos III Hospital in Madrid with a team of medical professionals working on Spanish missionaries who died due to the virus.

The patient’s husband said he was approached by a local health official about the situation. “He said he was going to ask for a court order to forcibly enter my home and sacrifice Excalibur,” said the husband. “I was asked to give them my consent, but I obviously refused.”

The entry of the virus case onto European soil has baffled local health professionals, who have traced the problem back to lack of training and preparation.

[ Image source ]

October 8, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

« Older Posts