Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Potential seen in adult stem cells

SYDNEY, Australia (CNN) -- Australian scientists have found that stem cells taken from adults could have the same life-saving potential as those taken from embryos, a discovery that could potentially end the contentious debate over embryonic research.

The results from the four-year project, at Australia's Griffith University in Queensland, show that adult stem cells harvested from the nose can be grown into virtually any kind of cell in the human body.

Until now it has been thought that adult stem cells could only develop into different cell types of their own tissue, unlike embryonic stem cells which can turn into any body cell type.

Griffith University researcher Professor Alan Mackay-Sim said the study showed that olfactory stem cells could develop into heart cells, liver cells, kidney cells, muscle cells, brain cells and nerve cells. In addition the olfactory stem cells did not have the problems of rejection or forming tumors as is common with embryonic stem cells.

"Our experiments have shown adult stem cells isolated from the olfactory mucosa have the ability to develop into many different cell types if they are given the right chemical or cellular environment, Professor Mackay-Sim said, in research published on the Internet.

"These adult olfactory stem cells appear to have the same ability as embryonic stem cells in giving rise to many different cell types but have the advantage that they can be obtained from all individuals, even older people who might be most in need of stem cell therapies. Stem cells obtained and transplanted into the same person would not be rejected by the immune system," he said.

Professor Mackay-Sim said olfactory stem cells can be taken from small pieces of tissue taken from the nose under local anaesthetic, and are relatively easy to grow and multiply in the lab.

"We can multiply them from small samples into millions of cells and these cells can then be directed to turn into different types of cells. These attributes make them good candidates for cell transplantation therapies and tissue reconstruction," Professor Mackay-Sim said.

"Their other big advantage over embryonic stem cells is their potential for autologous therapies in which a patient's own cells are removed from the nose, grown and multiplied in a dish and transplanted back into the same patient which overcomes the issue of immune rejection or related immune-suppressing drug therapies," he said.

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, told The Australian newspaper that the research could provide a possible solution to the moral debate over embryonic research and said he would refer it to the Vatican.

The Catholic Church provided Aust. $50,000 ($39,000) in funding for the Griffith University project.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

TIAs Occur Hours or Days Before a Stroke

TIAs Occur Hours or Days Before a Stroke

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Mar 07 - Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) typically occur just hours or days before a stroke, leaving a small window for preventive efforts, according to a report in the March 8th issue of Neurology.

"We have known for some time that TIAs are often a precursor to a major stroke," lead author Dr. Peter M. Rothwell, from Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, UK, said in a statement. "What we haven't been able to determine is how urgently patients must be assessed following a TIA in order to receive the most effective preventive treatment."

Dr. Rothwell's team analyzed data from 549 ischemic stroke patients with a preceding TIA who participated in one of two population-based studies or one of two randomized trials.

The authors found little variation between the studies in the timing of stroke following TIA. Seventeen percent of TIAs occurred on the day of the stroke, 9% on the previous day, and 43% at some time during the preceding week.

The researchers were unable to identify any patient characteristics or vascular risk factors that predicted which patients would have a short interval between TIA and stroke.

"This study indicates that the timing of a TIA is critical, and the most effective treatments should be initiated within hours of a TIA in order to prevent a major attack," Dr. Rothwell concluded.

Neurology 2005;64:817-820.
Transient ischemic attacks (TIAs
)A temporary blockage of the blood supply to the brain caused by a blood clot and usually lasting ten minutes or less, during which dizziness, blurring of vision, numbness on one side of the body, and other symptoms of a stroke may occur. Also called ministroke.

Google Desktop searches:

Here’s a quick one: Google has taken its Desktop Search Tool out of beta and released a final version.

Improvements include natively supporting non Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, for example, and no longer indexes password-protected files. The release version of Google Desktop Search also gives users the option of indexing secure Web pages. The tool can now search the contents of Adobe PDF, music, and video files, the company says.

Attention Deficit

Preschoolers’ motivation, temperament relate to attention skills, study finds

* ADHD: Children
* ADHD: Medications
* Brain Development
* ADHD: Education

“The findings from this study suggest problems that arise from attention
difficulties are not limited to difficulty with concentration and sitting still,
but are related to how children approach challenging or new situations,” said
Chang. “Clearly, it is the case that much more needs to be understood about the
nature and implications of having an attention problem.”

Continue reading: Preschoolers’ motivation, temperament relate to attention skills, study finds

Thursday, March 03, 2005

22/12/04 - Health section

Aromatherapy oils could kill deadly superbug

Essential oils normally used in aromatherapy could be used to kill deadly MRSA bacteria, scientists say.

In tests carried out at the University of Manchester, three essential oils killed MRSA and e.coli bacteria within two minutes of contact.

Researchers believe the oils - chemical compounds found in aromatic plants - could be blended into soaps and shampoos to eradicate the spread of superbugs.

Revolutionary discovery

Peter Warn, from the University's faculty of medicine, who worked on the research, said the findings could help save lives.

He said: "We believe that our discovery could revolutionise the fight to combat MRSA and other superbugs but we need to carry out a trial and to do that we need a small amount of funding, around £30,000.

"We are having problems finding this funding because essential oils cannot be patented as they are naturally occurring, so few drug companies are interested in our work as they do not see it as commercially viable.

"Obviously we find this very frustrating as we believe our findings could help to stamp out MRSA and save lives."

The researchers tested 40 essential oils against ten of the most deadly bacteria and fungi.

Two of the oils killed MRSA and e.coli almost instantly, while a third was found to act over a longer period of time.

This means that any soaps made by blending the three oils would be effective through a course of treatment.

'Enormous benefit'

Jacqui Stringer, clinical leader of complementary therapies at Christie Hospital in Manchester, instigated the oils research.

She said: "Our research shows a very practical application which could be of enormous benefit to the NHS and its patients.

"The reason essential oils are so effective is because they are made up of a complex mixture of chemical compounds which the MRSA and other superbug bacteria finds difficult to resist.

"The problem with current treatments is that they are made of single compounds which MRSA relatively quickly becomes resistant to, so treatment is only successful in around 50% of cases."

She added: "While a wide range of products currently exist to help prevent the spread of MRSA these are often unpleasant for patients as their application can cause skin irritation.

"MRSA is often carried inside the nose which means that patients often have to insert treatments up their nostrils, whereas these essential oils can simply be inhaled to prevent the patient being at risk."

Find this story at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/healthmain.html?in_article_id=331698&in_page_id=1774
©2005 Associated New Media