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Alzheimer’s disease cured in mice with ultrasound technology

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Alzheimer’s disease affects 50 million people worldwide. By definition it is the most common form of dementia, which causes memory loss, problems with thinking and behavior. Symptoms develop slowly and get worse as the patient gets older. Majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older, yet it can develop from the earlier age of 40s or 50s. In the initial stages people start losing their memory, and as it progresses individuals lose their ability to perform daily tasks, not being able to communicate or remember anything about their surroundings.

Australian researchers from the Queensland Brain Institute came up with the great innovation of an ultrasound technology, which acts in forms of sound waves being sent into the brain tissue. This could help individuals with Alzheimer’s to regain their memory. The sound waves open the blood-brain barrier, and activate the microglial cells. These are waste removal cells, which clear out the beta-amyloid clumps, the main structure responsible for the worst symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

The research was done on mice and it demonstrated that in 75% of them the treatment fully restored their memories, with no damage to the brain tissue. The mice were tested in a maze, avoiding places of danger and recognizing objects. They all proved to remember their tasks and had no problem remembering what they previously learnt.

The Australian researchers announced that they will be able to start human trials in 2017. This great innovation can bring a new cure to the people suffering from Alzheimer’s, and it is an important discovery because it does not use drugs to help the patients. Although it is risky dealing with the ultrasounds, it can bring an end to the Alzheimer’s disease. If the research continues to result in positive outcomes, by 2017 individuals will be able to benefit from its miracles.

Who doesn’t enjoy listening to a good story. Personally I love reading about the people who inspire me and what it took for them to achieve their success. As I am a bit of a self confessed tech geek I think there is no better way to discover these stories than by reading every day some articles or the newspaper . My bookcases are filled with good tech biographies, they remind me that anyone can be a success. So even if you come from an underprivileged part of society or you aren’t the smartest person in the room we all have a chance to reach the top. The same message shines in my beliefs. All it takes to succeed is a good idea, a little risk and a lot of hard work and any geek can become a success. VENI VIDI VICI .

Medicine and Health

UK Vote: People born after 2009 will never be able to buy tobacco again

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In a vote on Tuesday, April 16, most politicians in the UK agreed with a law that would make it illegal for anyone born after 2009 to ever legally buy tobacco in the country. “The first smoke-free generation” is what the UK government wants to make happen. What will happen next? How will the ban work?

How does the new law in the UK work?
According to the BBC, the new law will raise the age limit for buying tobacco products in the UK by one year every year. The government wants to make the law effective by 2027. It comes after similar efforts in places like New Zealand, which just recently got rid of its own groundbreaking ban.

In real life, this means that people born after 2009 will never be old enough to buy cigarettes because they will never reach the legal age limit. There will be no changes for people who are already over the age limit (18), and smoking will still be legal.

The Cigarettes and Vapes Bill also wants to stop young people who have never smoked from starting to vape instead. The UK as a whole will follow through on a plan to ban disposable vapes. There will be a new tax, and companies that make vapes will have to change the flavors and packaging of their products to make them less appealing to kids.

These nicotine pouches have been getting a lot of attention in politics lately. Young people will not be able to use them either.

What do people think about the bill?
Everyone in the UK agrees with the bill, and it was expected to easily pass on Tuesday, when it did by 383 votes to 67. A statement from Victoria Atkins, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said that the bill “will save thousands of lives, ease the strain on our NHS and improve the UK’s productivity.”

But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t caused some trouble. A number of Conservative MPs either didn’t vote or voted against the bill.

Former Prime Minister Liz Truss referred to those who supported the bill as “finger-wagging nannying control freaks.” Others have questioned whether the ban can be enforced or even whether it will work to stop people from smoking.

There is, however, broad agreement among health experts that the law will be a good step forward.

“The prime minister’s promise to raise the age at which people can buy cigarettes would really change the health of the next generation,” said Professor Stephen Holgate, an expert in immunopharmacology at the University of Southampton. “What a great legacy it would be to put the health of the nation’s future ahead of all other concerns.”

Prof. John Iredale of the University of Bristol agreed, saying, “We owe it to our kids and teens to stop letting them be around tobacco.” As a junior doctor, I saw over and over how smoking-related illnesses and deaths hurt people, especially breadwinners, people who worked, and their families.

“A chance that will never come up again.”
More than 8 million people die every year from smoking, according to the World Health Organization. In addition to the well-known link to cancer, cigarettes have been linked to a number of other diseases, both in people who smoke them and in people who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

Nicotine in tobacco products is very addicting, which makes it hard to stop. That’s why health officials work so hard to get people not to smoke in the first place.

It took a few years to get the UK to ban it. People who support it will likely feel good about their latest political win, even though there are still more problems to solve before it is fully put into place.

Some commentators have talked about the fact that the country is likely to have a new government later this year. However, the path ahead looks pretty clear since this bill has support from both sides of the aisle.

Expert scientists like Professor Ann McNeill of King’s College London are very happy about this: “We have known for decades how uniquely deadly smoking is, but we have not done anything about it.” The Tobacco and Vapes Bill is a one-time chance to make things right and stop people from smoking in a generation.

“We should all work together to support it.”

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Medicine and Health

The number of global hepatitis deaths is increasing, posing a threat to the goal of eliminating the disease

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According to a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO), the incidence of viral hepatitis-related mortality is rising globally. Approximately 3,500 individuals perish from the disease on a daily basis, positioning it as the second most prevalent infectious cause of death in 2022, with a mortality rate equivalent to that of tuberculosis.

The 2024 Global Hepatitis Report, unveiled during the recent World Hepatitis Summit, presents novel data from 187 countries, marking the highest number of countries ever encompassed in the report. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of fatalities caused by viral hepatitis has risen from 1.1 million in 2019 to 1.3 million in 2022. On a daily basis, around 6,000 individuals get new infections.

What is viral hepatitis?

A viral infection leads to liver inflammation, which is known as viral hepatitis.
Hepatitis is a comprehensive term used to describe an illness that results in inflammation and harm to the liver. Viral hepatitis is classified into five primary groups, namely hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. If physicians are uncertain about the etiology of an individual’s infection, they may label it as hepatitis X or non-A-E hepatitis.

The primary focus of the WHO report is on hepatitis B, which is responsible for 83 percent of newly acquired infections, and hepatitis C, which accounts for the remaining 17 percent. Usually, each of these viruses results in persistent infections that eventually cause cancer, cirrhosis, and liver failure.

The illness is also common in younger populations: people between the ages of 30 and 54 account for 50% of chronic hepatitis B and C infections, while children under the age of 18 account for 12% of cases.

What is causing the increase in mortality rates due to hepatitis?
Untreated hepatitis can lead to serious consequences, but our capacity to fight these diseases has significantly improved with early detection.

Hepatitis B is most commonly transmitted during childbirth, but there are safe and effective immunizations available to prevent it. Hepatitis C is transmitted through contact with contaminated blood, typically as a result of unsafe injection practices or, less commonly, unprotected sexual activity. Although a vaccine has not been developed yet, the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that over 95 percent of individuals can achieve complete recovery if they are able to obtain antiviral medicine.

However, it is where the trouble resides. The recent research emphasizes that a limited proportion of individuals affected by hepatitis B and C are being promptly recognized and provided with treatment, aligning with the objectives set by the World Health Organization.

For instance, in the WHO African area, where 63 percent of new hepatitis B infections originate, the vaccination rate for infants is barely 18 percent. On a global scale, the percentage of individuals with hepatitis C who have undergone curative therapy is only 20 percent, which falls significantly short of the targeted 80 percent.

The paper suggests that the reason for this is the differences in pricing, which prevent many lower-income countries from being able to afford antiviral treatments, including generic pharmaceuticals that are no longer protected by patents. Similarly, individuals residing in numerous nations may be compelled to bear the cost of testing and treatment services, which may be unaffordable for certain individuals.

What measures can be taken to mitigate the issue?
The report includes several recommendations that, if promptly executed, will help us regain momentum in attaining the World Health Organization’s objective of eradicating the hepatitis epidemic by 2030.

The WHO emphasizes the need to expand access to diagnostic tests, enhance preventative strategies, and accelerate research in order to discover a potential cure for hepatitis B. However, the organization warns that the current level of worldwide financing for these initiatives is inadequate.

“The report reveals a concerning situation: although there has been global advancement in preventing hepatitis infections, the number of deaths is increasing due to a lack of diagnosis and treatment for a significant number of individuals with hepatitis,” stated Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

“The World Health Organization (WHO) is dedicated to assisting countries in utilizing all available resources, at affordable prices, to prevent loss of life and reverse this pattern.”

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Medicine and Health

A groundbreaking human trial is being conducted to explore the possibility of transforming lymph nodes into functioning livers

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After more than ten years of work, the first clinical study for a treatment for end-stage liver disease (ESLD) that aims to turn lymph nodes into working livers has begun.

Dr. Michael Hufford, co-founder and CEO of LyGenesis, said that we have successfully administered the first dose of a clinical trial to a patient using their own lymph nodes as living bioreactors to regenerate an ectopic organ. This is a groundbreaking achievement in the field of medicine.

The treatment involves extracting hepatocytes, the primary functional cells of a donated liver, and administering them via injection into the lymph nodes. These lymph nodes, which act as filters for foreign particles, such as infection-causing viruses, play a crucial role in supporting the immune system.

After entering the lymph nodes, the liver cells will undergo growth and division, establishing connections with the circulatory system through the development of blood vessels. “Over time, the lymph node will gradually vanish, leaving behind a small-scale organ,” explained Hufford to New Scientist.

This method has previously demonstrated success with certain animals. Scientists conducted an experiment on pigs by surgically modifying their livers to replicate human liver disease. They then introduced healthy liver cells into the lymph nodes by injection. Each of the six pigs had surgery and successfully grew miniature livers. As a result, they exhibited indications of recuperation from liver failure.

The human trial aims to assess the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of this regenerative cell therapy in a maximum of 12 individuals with end-stage liver disease (ESLD), a condition characterized by irreparable liver damage.

Under these conditions, a transplantation procedure is frequently necessary, but several variables can impede its progress. Certain patients may be deemed medically unfit for surgery due to their severe illness, for instance.

Nevertheless, a significant issue lies in the extensive duration of the transplant waiting list. Currently, there is a population of approximately 10,000 individuals in the United States who are awaiting a liver transplant from a donor. However, the unfortunate reality is that these individuals may have to endure a wait of up to five years until a suitable liver becomes available. Approximately 12 percent of individuals on the list will perish annually.

It is anticipated that this novel therapy will address the issue. “If our study proves successful and we receive FDA approval, our allogeneic cell therapy has the potential to treat numerous ESLD patients with just one donated liver. This could help to address the current imbalance between the supply and demand of organs, benefiting the patients,” stated Hufford.

The initial findings of the experiment will take some time to be revealed. However, researchers will closely monitor the patients enrolled for a year to determine the ideal dosage and safety of the treatment, as well as its effectiveness in addressing the indications and symptoms of end-stage liver disease (ESLD).

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