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Radioactive Tuna: An Interactive Guide to Sushi’s Biggest Question

Sushi

Sushi-lovers of the world, be afraid. Be very afraid. Or not?

This graphic by our friends at Mint breaks down the dangers of biting into raw, tsunami-induced radioactive fish. You may not need a lot of wasabi after all.

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Injection Could Save Tens of Thousands of Lives Annually

If recently injured patients with serious bleeding were to receive a cheap, widely available and easily administered drug to help their blood to clot, tens of thousands of lives could be saved every year, according to a paper published on-line today by The Lancet.

Dr Ian Roberts, Professor of Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK, revealed that results from a trial show that early administration of tranexamic acid (TXA) to patients with recent, severe bleeding injuries saves lives, with no evidence of adverse effects from unwanted clotting.

The trial, named CRASH-2, was a large, randomised trial involving over 20,000 adult patients in 274 hospitals across 40 countries, and was funded by England’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme. This is the first trial of TXA in injured patients, although smaller trials have shown that it reduces bleeding in patients undergoing major surgery.

TXA is an off-patent drug, manufactured by a number of different companies. The cost per gram is about £3 ($4.50).

The drug helps by reducing clot breakdown. Although this would be advantageous in patients with severe bleeding, doctors were worried that TXA might increase the risk of complications, such as heart attacks, strokes and clots in the lungs. The results of this large trial show that TXA reduces death from bleeding without any increase in these complications.

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last update: July 23, 2014

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Insulin Peptide May Point to a Solution for Type 1 Diabetes

Researchers at National Jewish Health and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have identified the precise protein fragment, or peptide, that can trigger diabetes in mice. The finding, published in the June 15, 2010, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, supports an emerging theory about the origins of autoimmunity, and may lead to new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies in humans.

“Our findings contradict conventional wisdom, which suggests that insulin peptides that are well presented to the immune system trigger diabetes,” said John Kappler, PhD, Professor of Immunology at National Jewish Health. “We believe, however, that the peptide we identified triggers diabetes precisely because it is so poorly presented to the immune system.”

The immune system tries to delete all T cells that might cause autoimmune disease. During development in the thymus, immature T cells are exposed to “self” protein fragments, which are part of the organism. T cells that recognize and bind to them are destroyed. This process, however, is not foolproof, and autoimmune T cells do occasionally escape.

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World’s First Remote Heart Operation Using Robotic Arm

We’re upon a world first for remote medical procedure as Dr. André Ng is all set to perform the first ever heart rhythm treatment operation using the Catheter Robotics Remote Catheter Manipulation System. Dr. Ng will be able to perform the procedure from a remote location outside of the radiation zone using a robotic arm.

This procedure will take place at the Glenfield Hospital Leicester thanks to additional help and expertise from the University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester.

The procedure Dr. Ng will conduct involves inserting thin wires (catheters) into veins near the groin and moving them through to the heart chambers. The catheters contain electrodes that will record and stimulate parts of the heart in order for Dr. Ng to identify the cause of the problem in the patient. Once the cause of the issue is found, the device will “burn” the tissue around the problem area to fix the abnormality. The procedure, called catheter ablation has been used for the past twenty years or so but never before using remote robotics technology.
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Evidence of First Virus That Moves from Plants to Humans

Researchers from the University of the Mediterranean in Marseille, France have found evidence that suggest a virus common to peppers may have moved on to infect humans. Recently, a number of people have become ill and the RNA from the pepper mild mottle virus was found in their feces.

Didier Raoult of the UOM believes that it is possible the plant virus could be causing their symptoms. Of the 304 tested, 7 percent were found to have the virus in their feces. Those which did were more likely to have fever, abdominal pain and itching.

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UBC Graduate Student Finds ‘Start/Stop Switch’ for Retroviruses

A University of British Columbia doctoral candidate has discovered a previously unknown mechanism for silencing retroviruses, segments of genetic material that can lead to fatal mutations in a cell’s DNA.

The findings, published today in the journal Nature, could lead to new cancer treatments that kill only tumor cells and leave healthy surrounding tissue unharmed.

Danny Leung, a 27-year-old graduate student in the laboratory of Asst. Prof. Matthew Lorincz in the Dept. of Medical Genetics, UBC Faculty of Medicine, found that a protein called ESET is crucial to preventing the activity of endogenous retroviruses in mouse embryonic stem cells. Distant relatives of such retroviruses are more active in the cells of testicular, breast and skin cancers in humans.

If ESET can be blocked, retroviruses would become dramatically more active, thus either killing the cancer cells hosting them or flagging them as targets for the immune system.

Leung, who was co-lead author with a graduate student at Kyoto University in Japan, has devoted his studies at UBC to the growing field of epigenetics – changes to the genome that do not involve changes to the underlying genetic code. Such changes determine whether or not a gene is expressed.

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Chip in Pill Tells Doctors Whether or Not You Take Your Meds

No longer will doctors have to worry whether or not their patients have taken their prescribed medications. Thanks to researchers at the University of Florida the pills will now send messages back to the doctor when they have been ingested.

Although still in prototype, each pill is the standard size, with an antenna printed on the surface with ink made of nontoxic, conductive silver nanoparticles. Contained within the pill is a microchip the size of a period which transmits a signal to a nearby receiver. The receiver then sends a message back to the doctor. Currently it is just the transmitting device but in the future it could be built into watches, cell phones or other common items. The antenna breaks down within the body and the mircochip passes through the digestive tract safely.

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