Category Archives: Early Disease Detection

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

HIV Tests in the Future May be as Simple as Pregnancy Tests

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The HIV test of the future might be as hassle-free as a pregnancy test … and it was invented by a teenager.

Although still in development, a new HIV test may be able to detect the disease from a drop of blood as quickly as a week after a person contracts it. The test would also be disposable and easy to use in underdeveloped countries where HIV and AIDS runs rampant.

Nicole Ticea of Vancouver, BC, invented the early-stage HIV test for a science fair at York House School. She ended up taking home first place for the invention. With the help of Simon Fraser University researchers Professor Mark Brockman Gursev Anmole, the teen created the rapid blood analysis by developing an isothermic nucleic acid amplification system, which allows researchers to detect certain targets in DNA — in this case, HIV infection.

The test is a long way from mass production at this point, but if it is found to be as effective as the teen hopes it will be, it could help stop the spread of HIV and AIDS in underdeveloped countries by quickly, easily and affordably alerting people that they have the infection.

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Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

New Blood Test Could Predict Alzheimer’s Disease by a Full Decade

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Alzheimer's disease

A new blood test could predict if someone is going to develop Alzheimer’s disease by up to 10 years, scientists have announced.

British researchers have identified a single blood protein that acts as a warning sign for mild cognitive impairment – a disorder that is often the precursor to dementia.

In the largest study of its kind, the researchers measured more than 1,100 proteins in the blood of 106 pairs of twins. They tracked the 212 healthy adults over 10 years and found those whose thinking skills diminished the most had lower levels of an individual protein called MAPKAPK5.

The research is still at an early stage, but scientists hope that it might be developed into a test that can help identify those who are at risk of developing dementia.

Study author Dr Steven Kiddle, of King’s College London, said: “Although we are still searching for an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, what we do know is that prevention of the disease is likely to be more effective than trying to reverse it. The next step will be to replicate our finding in an independent study, and to confirm whether or not it is specific for Alzheimer’s disease, as this could lead to the development of a reliable blood test which would help clinicians identify suitable people for prevention trials.”

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Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Study Links Celiac Disease with Increased Risk of Nerve Damage

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People who have the digestive disorder known as celiac disease appear to be at an increased risk for nerve damage, a new study by Swedish researchers suggests.

The researchers looked at more than 28,000 people who have celiac disease and a control group of more than 139,000 people who do not have celiac disease. Those with celiac disease were 2.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with nerve damage than those without it. Nerve damage is medically known as neuropathy.

However, the researchers pointed out, the risk of nerve damage is still low and the study, published online May 11 in the journal JAMA Neurology, does not show a cause-and-effect relationship.

“We found an increased risk of neuropathy in patients with celiac disease that persists after celiac disease diagnosis,” Dr. Jonas Ludvigsson, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and colleagues wrote.

“Although absolute risks for neuropathy are low, celiac disease is a potentially treatable condition with a young age of onset. Our findings suggest that screening could be beneficial in patients with neuropathy,” the researchers concluded.

When people with celiac disease eat gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, they develop problems in their small intestine.

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Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

School With No Sex Ed. Class Suffers Chlamydia Outbreak

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chlamydia trachomatis

Showing that sexual education is incredibly important, a Texas high school that does not have a sexual education class is now suffering an outbreak of the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia among high school students.

Crane High School, part of the Crane Independent School District, has confirmed 20 cases of the common sexually transmitted disease and has sent a letter home to parents explaining the situation. The school district learned of the problem after the Texas Department of State Health Services received a significant number of reports about students with the STD.

Although the school’s student handbook for the 2014-15 school year states, “Crane ISD does not offer a curriculum in human sexuality,” the school district plans on meeting with the School Health Advisory Committee to discuss the school’s lack of sex education and if one should be implemented in the future to avoid similar incidents from happening again.

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Early Disease Detection

Italian Doctors Say They’ve Trained Dogs to Sniff Out Prostate Cancer

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prostate cancer

Detecting prostate cancer may go to the dogs.

Italian researchers say they’ve trained two female German shepherd dogs to sniff out prostate cancer and the canines have greater than 90% accuracy.

The research team from the Humanitas Clinical and Research Center in Milan, Italy collected urine samples from 362 men diagnosed with prostate cancer at various stages of the disease. They also collected urine samples from 418 men and 122 women who were either healthy, had a different kind of cancer or who had a different health condition.

They then trained Zoe and Liu, three-year-old bomb detection dogs who worked with the Italian armed forces, to detect specific volatile organic compounds in urine associated with prostate cancer.

After the dogs were retrained, they were tested using batches of six urine samples from the men with prostate cancer, positioned at random among the non-prostate cancer urine samples.

One dog correctly identified all of the prostate cancer urine samples and misidentified seven of the non-prostate cancer samples, or 1.3%. The other dog correctly identified 98.6% of the prostate cancer urine samples and misidentified 13 of the non-prostate cancer samples, or 3.6%.

The researchers say the study, published in the Journal of Urology, demonstrates that a rigorously trained dog could sniff out prostate cancer samples with high accuracy. But, more tests are needed to see how well the dogs perform when faced with urine samples collected from men who are being examined for possible prostate cancer.

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Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Stem Cell Treatment For Type 2 Diabetes Yield Positive Results on Mice

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type 2 diabetes treatment

Months ago, we featured stem cells as a possible key to curing Type 1 diabetes. This time, a new research sheds light into the possibility of doing the same for Type 2 diabetes.

Lab tests done on mice with Type 2 diabetes revealed that glucose metabolism improved after transplanting stem cells from the pancreas combined with drugs that sensitize insulin. The tests were also conducted to assess the impact of stem cells on obesity, which yielded promising results. “Our data suggest that transplanted human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived insulin-producing cells thrive following chronic exposure to high-fat diets, at least in immunodeficient mice… Thus, stem cells are candidates for restoring functional beta cells in an insulin-resistant, obese setting,” according to researchers from the University of British Columbia.

The scientists conducted several tests to check which insulin-sensitizing drug could maximize the effect of stem cells on diabetes and obesity. “The reversal of hyperleptinemia in both sitagliptin- and metformin-treated transplant recipients also suggests a more robust reversal of the obesity phenotype in these groups as compared with the high-fat diet transplant recipients treated with rosiglitazone or without drugs,” the researchers said in a news release.

The study was co-authored by Timothy J. Kieffer, who works as Diabetes Research Group Leader and professor of the university. The research paper was published in the Stem Cell Reports journal.

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Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

New App Claims to be Able to Diagnose Ear Problems

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San Francisco startup CellScope has created a case that slides over the iPhone and transforms it into an otoscope, the device doctors use to peer into patients’ ears. The gadget, which is already selling in California, comes with a lens that enables the smartphone to film quality videos of the ear canal and eardrum.hearing loss

Once users have filmed their ear, using CellScope’s secure app, they can then e-mail the videos to a doctor and get a diagnosis back within two hours.

The company believes its on-demand service will appeal to parents whose children wake up with mysterious earaches in the middle of the night. More than 75% of children get ear infections, most commonly between the ages of 6 to 11 months.

“We realized that there was a huge gap, a huge need,” said Amy Sheng, co-founder of CellScope. “Parents were taking time off work and trying to squeeze in a last-minute visit to the pediatrician’s office or on weekends or after hours. We decided, let’s build something for families to use.”

With its app and device, collectively known as the Oto and priced at $79, CellScope joins a growing number of startups that want to make health care more digital, efficient, accessible and inexpensive.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

CDC Releases List of Healthcare Facilities Equipped to Fight Ebola

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ebola virus africaThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a list of healthcare centers that are able to fight ebola in the United States and plans on keeping the list updated as more hospitals become equipped to fight the disease. As of this writing, there are 35 hospitals equipped to handle ebola cases.

The list of hospitals that are equipped to fight ebola can be found here.

The CDC has also released guidelines for preparing to admit a patient diagnosed with ebola for state and local health departments, acute care hospitals, and other emergency care settings, including urgent care clinics. This newly released set of guidelines serves as an overarching framework for three other specific CDC guidance documents:

  • Interim Guidance for Preparing Frontline Healthcare Facilities for Patients with Possible Ebola Virus Disease;
  • Interim Guidance for Preparing Ebola Assessment Hospitals; and
  • Interim Guidance for Preparing Ebola Treatment Centers.

The new guidance framework for handling ebola patients can be found here.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Dec. 2 is National Mutt Day!

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December 2 is National Mutt Day (again).

Photo courtesy of Kerri Lee Smith on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Kerri Lee Smith on Flickr

National Mutt Day was created in 2005 by animal welfare advocate, Colleen Paige, and is celebrated on both July 31st and December 2nd. It’s all about embracing, saving and celebrating mixed breed dogs, as they represent the largest percentage of dogs euthanized in pet shelters thanks to people’s penchant for purebred and designer dogs.

The goal is to save 10,000 mutts from shelters over the two days. For more information about National Mutt Day, click here.

Once you have adopted your mutt, it’s important to find out what breeds your mutt consists of. Different breeds have different illnesses and conditions they are susceptible to and knowing what breeds your mutt consists of will go a long way to keeping your pooch healthy and happy.

Click here to find out how you can easily find out your dog’s breeds. And happy National Mutt Day!

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Obese Children Already Show Tell-Tale Signs of Heart Disease

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heart diseaseObese children and teens already show the same signs of heart disease as adults do, new research has found.

In a study published online in JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, German researchers studied 61 overweight and obese children 8-to 21-years-old, comparing them with 40 non-obese children of the same age. All of them were free of disease and not taking any medicines.

Compared with children of normal weight, the obese group had significantly higher triglycerides, higher total cholesterol, lower HDL (“good cholesterol”), higher LDL (“bad” cholesterol), higher blood pressure, higher fasting glucose and higher fasting insulin readings.

The researchers also found that in obese children part of the heart muscle was thicker on average, which in an adult would be a sign of impending cardiovascular problems.

“We do not know if these changes are reversible with weight loss or how they will impact future cardiovascular disease in these subjects,” said the lead author, Dr. Norman Mangner, a cardiologist at the University of Leipzig.