Category Archives: Early Disease Detection

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.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month

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November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month.inacatseye

Although many people head into a shelter intent on adopting a young animal, there are advantages to adopting an older pet. Senior pets are typically calmer and less energetic than puppies and kittens and it can be easier to teach them new tricks. Many senior pets already know basic commands. Their low-key natures can also make them ideal for households with children.

Also, older pets are usually house trained, so you don’t have to spend weeks or months trying to train them like you do with a younger pet.

Understanding the personality of an animal is key to finding the perfect match for your family and for that homeless pet. While young puppies and kittens are still developing their personalities, you’ll know right away what type of animal an older pet is.

One thing you have to remember about adopting an older pet is that they do require monitoring for their health, as older animals are more susceptible to diseases and health complications. One way of monitoring your pet’s health is using at-home health testing kits for your dogs and cats. These kits use either a saliva or urine sample to test for common pet ailments so you can keep your pet healthy and happy for longer.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

DNA Helps to Protect Some Hispanic Women from Breast Cancer

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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.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

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Just in case you need another reason to adopt an adorable little pal, October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month.

Photo courtesy of Jack Pease on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Jack Pease on Flickr

As part of the initiative, some shelters are lowering adoption fees and providing incentives for people to adopt dogs. The San Diego Humane Society, for example, is lowering adoption fees for dogs seven months and older to $10 and giving away a free pumpkin with each adoption. There are also several events planned around the city

Often, dogs adopted from shelters are older and have more health problems than their young counterparts. To keep your dog in the best possible health, rely on TestCountry’s at-home dog testing kits.

To find out the breeds of your adopted dog, which is important to maintaining its health, rely on TestCountry’s DNA Dog Breed Saliva kit.

To learn more about adopting a shelter dog, visit the ASPCA website, the American Humane Society website or the Hartz website.


Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

New Blood Test Detects Depression

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Many people believe that depression is just a state of mind and that it can be wished away. A new technology supports the idea that depression is caused by biochemical reactions that can be treated medically and identified through a blood test.

blood test for depressionIn fact, a new test is being developed by Dr. Eva Redei of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine to identify blood particles linked to depressive episodes. Call it a blood test to detect depression. According to Redei, the study could pave the way for treating depression like any other disease, which can be cured through medical treatment.

In the meantime, the study focuses on tracing ribonucleic acids (RNA) in the blood as a marker for depression. The framework of the RNA strand of a person experiencing depression was taken from comparisons conducted on depression patients with those who were not depressed. The study was able to identify differences between the RNA in the blood of depressed people and those of people without the condition.

The study author believes that the study will change the way society thinks about depression. “I really believe that having an objective diagnosis will decrease stigma,” said Redei in a news release.

Medical professionals advise people diagnosed with depression to have their condition treated as soon as possible. Unfortunately, diagnosis takes months to confirm that the person is depressed. With this new blood test, detection of depression is made quicker.