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Australia up there with the top 10 healthiest countries in the world, Global Burden of Disease Study Shows

September 26th, 2016

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The USA can keep its hoard of Olympic medals. Australia has thrashed the superpower in a far more significant world ranking.

Australia is among the top 10 healthiest countries in the world, according to the most comprehensive analysis of burden of disease and living standards to date.

multi-country-flags image www.newcures.info
Australia is among the top 10 healthiest countries in the world. 

A suite of perfect scores buoyed Australia’s performance, including top marks for indicators associated with war, malnutrition, water access, sanitation and malaria.

Top 30 countries by health-related Sustainable Development Goals
Rank Country
1 Iceland
2 Singapore
3 Sweden
4 Andorra
5 UK
6 FInland
7 Spain
8 Netherlands
9 Canada
10 Australia
11 Norway
12 Luxembourg
13 Ireland
14 Malta
15 Germany
16 Denmark
17 Cyprus
18 Belgium
19 Switzerland
20 Italy
21 Brunei
22 Portugal
23 Israel
24 France
25 Slovenia
26 Greece
27 Japan
28 US
29 Estonia
30 New Zealand
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But its result was dragged down by lower scores for suicide, alcohol, smoking, overweight, HIV, violence and disaster (defined as the death rate due to exposure to forces of nature per 100,000 population).

The US’s comparatively poor performance will come as a surprise to many, considering its socio-economic heft, wrote the research coalition of more than 1870 international researchers who analysed the performance of countries between 1990 and 2015.

The superpower’s lacklustre scores for maternal mortality alcohol consumption, childhood overweight, and deaths due to interpersonal violence, self-harm, and unintentional poisoning compared to other higher income countries dragged down its overall ranking.

East Timor was the biggest success story, winning the title of most improved and rocketing up the rankings to 122nd place.

Dead last was the Central African Republic, with a total SDG index score of 20. War-torn Afghanistan came in 180th place, and Syria fell to 117th, still scoring better than Russia in 119th place. China came was 92nd, and Papua New Guinea 155th.

Overall, the most pronounced progress internationally was among the universal health coverage indicators, largely thanks to anti-retroviral therapies and widespread use of insecticide-treated nets in malaria-endemic countries since the early 2000s.

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And while there were also substantial improvements in childhood stunting caused by malnutrition, childhood overweight rates had worsened considerably over the past 15 years.

“Our analysis not only highlights the importance of income, education, and fertility as drivers of health improvement but also emphasises that investments in these areas alone will not be sufficient,” the researchers said.

The SDG targets have been a source of intense debate, with critics arguing they were too vague, unrealistic, poorly measured, or missing key indicators – for instance, banning forced labour or mental health improvements.

The SDG agenda replaced the Millenium Development Goal framework, which expired in 2015.

The scores routinely inform decisions concerning which countries may be most deserving of aid funding, as well as national and international policy and strategies.

“The difficulties of measurement are also further compounded by persistent problems of data availability, quality and comparability across a host of indicators” as the researchers work to pull together a daunting tangle of national data sets, survey results and pharmaceutical records.

VNFY

Australia’s health indicator perfect scores
Health issue Score /100
Stunting 100
Wasting 100
Malaria 100
Water access 100
sanitation 100
war 100
Neglected tropical disease 100
Household air pollution 100
Skilled birth attendance 100

The latest analysis was a step towards a more cohesive approach to understanding the interaction between SDGs, targets and indicators by comparing the relationship between education, income and fertility, the authors said.

It also raised questions about the impact of other drivers on health and living standards across the globe.

The authors urged governments, donors, and global development institutions to use the results to “enhance accountability through open and transparent review and action”.

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Henry Sapiecha

 

Seeds of hope for cancer victims Video & story

September 10th, 2016

blushwood-berries -in-hand image www.newcures.info

Dr Victoria Gordon and Dr Paul Reddell have discovered a compound EBC-46 that may transform cancer treatment in the fruit of the Brushwood tree in the rainforest on the Atherton tablelands.North Queensland Australia  Source: News Limited

VICTORIA Gordon holds in her hands the chance at life that she had to deny her cancer-stricken sister: a potential breakthrough drug that “eats” tumours.

Dr Gordon and her husband, fellow scientist Paul Reddell, discovered the compound in a north Queensland rainforest and have spent nearly a decade developing the drug and dem­onstrating its effectiveness in ­animals.

Hundreds of horses, dogs, cats, even a Tasmanian devil had life-threatening tumours reduced to harmless sludge by the experimental drug, EBC-46, produced from the seed of the common blushwood tree.

Now, at last, it is to be tested on people battling advanced melanoma and notoriously difficult to treat head and neck cancers. Clinical trials are set to get under way in a number of hospitals by September.

Dr Gordon and Dr Reddell realised something special was happening when they saw hungry rat kangaroos spit out fallen berries from the blushwood tree, which grows only in the tropical rainforests of the Atherton Tablelands, west of Cairns.

The chemical responsible for this “feeding deterrent’’ turned out to be EBC-46, propelling Dr Gordon to her moment of truth with her dying sister, Cheryl.

The 61-year-old chef begged Dr Gordon to toss away the rule book and let her have the experimental drug before she succumbed last December to liver cancer. “I couldn’t,’’ a tearful Dr Gordon says, for the first time telling her story of scientific discovery and its anguished denouement with her older sister.

“Basically, the question Cheryl asked was, ‘Do you believe EBC-46 could help me, and can I have the drug?’ Factually, I said to her we were unsure of the role EBC-46 would play in liver cancer and, even so, this is a drug that has not yet been approved for human use. And, as such, no, she could not use the drug. I just had to be … cold and clinical with that. It was heartbreaking.’’

Dr Gordon and Dr Reddell have been reluctant to speak in detail about EBC-46 until now, with the clinical phase I/II human trial in sight. If all goes to plan, the program will begin within months with about 30 cancer patients, all of them “at the end of the line’’ with conventional treatments.

Turning down her sister was the hardest thing Dr Gordon has had to do. “We are asked almost on a daily basis for access to this drug,’’ she says. “I am sincere when I say this … as much as I would dearly love to help those in need, it’s simply not an option. The regulators and the rules are there to protect patients. Yes, we have very good results in the animals. But if we have not proven this drug is a safe drug to use in people, there is no way we should be making it available.’’

>>>>More CLINICAL information please read this original research work.

Atherton vet Justine Campbell, one of the first to treat pets with the drug, said she was approached by a client who had terminal melanoma. “He was desperate,’’ she said. “He had heard about EBC-46 and asked, ‘Can you treat me?’ And I had to say to him, to his face, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t.’ It’s just awful.’’

Years of research into the drug’s effectiveness in animals have been submitted for publication in an international scientific journal by Dr Gordon, Dr Reddell and scientists from Brisbane’s QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

The head of the institute’s Cancer Drug Mechanism Group, Glen Boyle, said the drug broke down tumours within hours of being injected into them. Human melanoma grown on the skin of laboratory mice began to swell by the time the animals were returned to their cage, a sign the powerful response triggered by the drug was choking off the tumour’s blood supply. Minutes later, the growth was a bruised purple, a sign the cancer cells were dying.

“A couple of days after that there is a scab where the tumour used to be,’’ said Dr Boyle, the lead author of research paper.

Veteran medical scientist Peter Parsons said fieldwork with cancer-struck animals outside the laboratory increased his confidence that the drug would work on most tumour types — and in people.

QBiotics, the company established by Dr Gordon and Dr Reddell, both 54, says the drug destroyed all traces of tumour or shrank them by more than half in 78 per cent of the 344 companion animals treated by vets, including Ms Campbell.

Dr Gordon insists “it’s time, we need to get this into people’’.

For her, the clock is ticking in a personal sense. In addition to losing her sister to cancer, both her parents and grandparents died of a disease that will kill more than 44,000 Australians this year. “I have already lost loved ones. I’m sure that more of my family will present with cancer, as my sister did. I wasn’t ready for her. So I have some incentive, real incentive, to get this drug through.’’

MY EARLIER BLUSHWOOD TREE POSTINGS >> 

ONE    +   TWO   +  THREE

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Henry Sapiecha

How to Build a better brain

August 26th, 2016

growing a brain image www.newcures.info

Experts — Posted 04/02/16

Brain expert Dr Jenny Brockis explains why we should do Sudoku and learn languages – and why the best thinking comes from a calm, rested brain.

We’ve been talking about the need for greater physical health for decades. We know how important healthy eating and exercise are – but until recently, better brain health hasn’t been included in the equation. The primary reason is that our understanding of the human brain is still very much in its infancy.

Fortunately we now have a wealth of neuroscientific information available to us at this critical time when the burden of multiple chronic medical conditions in a rapidly ageing population, along with spiralling levels of stress, anxiety and depression, desperately need sorting out.

There are a number of lifestyle elements that contribute to brain fitness: good food, exercise, enough sleep, mental challenge and stress management. If you have a healthy brain, you start to think better. It’s easier to stay focused, keep things in perspective, stay positive and be more mindful.

Brain fitness is crucial to health and wellbeing across the trajectory of our lifespan. That means if we teach our kids how to build healthier brains they will grow into brain healthy adults.

Rustic desktop with work accessories. Objects in and out of frame layout with mostly silver color items.

“Brain fitness is about continuing to learn new things that with practice we can get better at. Learning a new language, picking up a musical instrument or signing up for a photography class are all great ways to stretch your mental muscle.”

How to keep your brain strong

Healthy food is important for nourishing your brain, and regular exercise keeps your brain fit as well as your body. Along with these healthy habits, there are some strategies you can use to reduce the effects of stress and brain overload, and to keep your neural connections strong.

Here are some things to try:

1. Reduce stress

Look for ways to manage stress levels by practising relaxation and taking time out. Tai chi, yoga, pilates and meditation are perfect ways to de-stress your day.

2. Create some breathing space

We need time to think, to pause and reflect. So switch off from all that technology regularly and give your brain a break. A 15 minute session to still your mind is all it takes – turn off your phone, close the door and just be.

3. Stretch your mental muscle

Practise being a five-year-old. Be curious about the world, ask questions, explore and try out new activities, especially those you don’t think you will necessarily be any good at. The more effort we apply to our learning the stronger those new neural connections will be. Many of us carry limiting self-beliefs: “I’m no good at (insert here – art, maths, dancing, etc)”. But if you feel drawn to trying something, give it a go anyway – you might surprise yourself.

Brain fitness is about continuing to learn new things that with practice we can get better at. Learning a new language, picking up a musical instrument or signing up for a photography class are all great ways to stretch your mental muscle. And the best thing is, the more we use that muscle the stronger it gets.

4. Connect with people

Staying connected and engaged with our world has been shown to be vital to our health and wellbeing on both a physical and mental level. Joining a club or volunteering are two ways we can widen our group of contacts.

A young man is sitting on a sofa with a cat and is reading a big book

A young man is sitting on a sofa with a cat and is reading a big book

“Break up your work session into blocks of 25 to 90 minutes, and take regular brain breaks of 15 to 20 minutes in between.”

The brain in focus

Much of my work is centred around the “science of high performance thinking.” A high performance brain is a brain that is operating to its true capacity. It’s not about being the best – just your best. It’s about the idea that if we look after our brain, and use it in the way it was designed to operate, we get more done, at a higher level and with fewer mistakes. This leads us to feel less stressed and enjoy a greater sense of achievement and happiness.

Here are three things about brain performance that might surprise you:

1. Multitasking is the one brain function that gets worse with practice

We multitask because we think we can, we think we’re good at it and we think it will save us time and energy. Sadly, this is wrong on all levels.

The brain is designed to be able to focus on only one thing at a time. While we can divide our attention and undertake lots of activities simultaneously, only one can really have our full focus. Trying to multi task exhausts our brain, causes us to make more mistakes, reduces memory, and causes us to take longer to finish our work.

2. We’re not designed for long periods of focus

When we’re working, studying, or focusing on a big task, it’s tempting to think we should switch our brain into overdrive and keep going all day long. But like everything else, our brain needs regular breaks to allow our subconscious to consolidate our thoughts, prioritise what needs to be kept for long-term memory and reboot our mental energy levels.

So what should we do instead? Break up your work session into blocks of 25 to 90 minutes, and take regular brain breaks of 15 to 20 minutes in between.

3. Our best thinking comes from a rested brain

Getting enough good quality, uninterrupted sleep each night is essential for better brain health and function. Our brain is very active at night – doing important tasks like laying down long term memory, deepening our understanding of what we have learnt, as well as loosening up those synaptic connections no longer required. Understandably, it needs some solid quiet time to get this done.

We also need sleep for better mood and emotional regulation. We only have to deal with a cranky, sleep deprived two-year-old to know how true that is!

Plus, sleeping is the time we take out the brain’s trash. Our brain is highly metabolically active and builds up a considerable amount of waste each day. Sleep allows our brain to give itself a good flush each night, so we’re good to go next morning.

Jenny’s latest book, Future Brain, is available now. Learn more about brain health at drjennybrockis.com

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Henry Sapiecha

Ginger-derived nanoparticles attack the roots of inflammatory bowel disease

August 22nd, 2016

ginger-root image www.newcures.info

Ginger-derived nanoparticles have exhibited impressive therapeutic effects in mice

ginger-cancer-cure-treatment-team image www.newcures.info

Ginger has a long and rich history when it comes to improving our wellbeing. Its medical use can be traced back thousands of years as a natural remedy for things like diarrhea and upset stomachs, but still today the thick, knotted root continues to reveal some hidden talents. Researchers have taken fresh ginger and converted it into a nanoparticle that exhibits real potential to treat these kinds of symptoms in one of their more chronic forms, inflammatory bowel disease, and might even help fight cancer, too.

The discovery was the result of a collaboration between researchers at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Georgia State University. Based on previous research highlighting the anti-inflammatory properties of the plant, the team set out to further explore the potential for ginger to treat conditions relating to the digestive tract.

The research began with a fresh ginger root purchased at a farmer’s market, which the team ground up in a typical kitchen blender. But the process was a little more complicated from that point, with the team using super-high-speed centrifugation and ultrasonic dispersion to break the ginger apart into tiny particles, each measuring around 230 nanometers across.

These particles were administered orally to lab mice, where they were drawn to the colon and soaked up by cells in the lining of the intestines. This is the region where inflammatory bowel disease occurs, and the researchers observed that the particles reduced both short-term and long-term inflammation, and even prevented cancer that arises as a result.

Furthermore, the researchers found that the ginger-derived nanoparticles, or GDNPs, improved intestinal repair by increasing the survival and spread of cells making up the colon lining. At the same time, they hampered the production of proteins that give rise to inflammation and boosted those that fight it.

The team believes that these therapeutic effects come from the high amounts of fatty molecules, or lipids, in the particles, which are a consequence of the natural lipids found in the ginger plant. One of these lipids is phosphatidic acid, which plays an important role in the construction of cell membranes, but the researchers say that their particles also retain other important ginger compounds called 6-gingerol and 6-shogaol, which have been shown to fight oxidation, inflammation, and cancer.

The particles appeared to be non-toxic in the mice and the researchers say that in humans they may provide a more targeted treatment of the colon than simply delivering ginger as a herb or supplement. This more precise approach means it could be delivered in lower doses and therefore avoid unnecessary or unwanted side effects.

Among the challenges in turning these GDNPs into a drug, Didier Merlin, leader of the research team explains, is the need to pinpoint the precise mechanisms by which they produce these effects.

“To find the natural components that are responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects of GDNPs, this will be an important step to develop GDNPs into a drug,” he tells New Atlas.

The research was published in the journal Biomaterials.

Source: Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center

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Henry Sapiecha

Tiny “Neural Dust” Sensors Could One Day Control Prostheses or Treat Disease

August 19th, 2016
These devices could last inside the human body indefinitely, monitoring and controlling nerve and muscle impulses

neural-dust-uc-berkeley-sensor-on-fingertip image www.newcures.info

They’re tiny, wireless, battery-less sensors no larger than a piece of sand. But in the future, these “neural dust” sensors could be used to power prosthetics, monitor organ health and track the progression of tumors.

A team of engineers and neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley have been working on the technology for half a decade. They’ve now managed to implant the sensors inside rats, where they monitor nerve and muscle impulses via ultrasound. Their research appears in the journal Neuron.

“There’s a lot of exciting things that this opens the door to,” says Michel Maharbiz, a professor of engineering and one of the study’s two main authors.

The neural dust sensors developed by Maharbiz and his co-author, neuroscientist Jose Carmena, consist of a piezoelectric crystal (that produces a voltage in response to physical pressure) connected to a simple electronic circuit, all mounted on a tiny polymer board. A change in the nerve or muscle fiber surrounding the sensor changes the vibrations of the crystal. These fluctuations, which can be captured by ultrasound, give researchers a sense of what might be going on deep within the body.

diagram-uc-berkeley-sensor-nerves image www.newcures.info

Building interfaces to record or stimulate the nervous system that will also last inside the body for decades has been a long-standing puzzle, Maharbiz says. Many implants degrade after a year or two. Some require wires that protrude from the skin. Others simply don’t work efficiently. Historically, scientists have used radio frequency to communicate with medical implants. This is fine for larger implants, says Maharbiz. But for tiny implants like the neural dust, radio waves are too large to work efficiently. So the team instead tried ultrasound, which turns out to work much better.

Moving forward, the team is experimenting with building neural dust sensors out of a variety of different materials safe for use in the human body. They’re also trying to make the sensors much smaller, small enough to actually fit inside nerves. So far, the sensors have been used in the peripheral nervous system and in muscles, but, if shrunken, they could potentially be implanted directly into the central nervous system or the brain.

rat-diagram-uc-berkeley sensor image www.newcures.info

Neural dust implanted in a rat (UC Berkeley)

Minor surgery was needed to get the sensors inside the rats. The team is currently working with microsurgeons to see what kinds of laparoscopic or endoscopic technologies might be best for implanting the devices in a minimally invasive way.

It may be years before the technology is ready for human testing, Maharbiz says. But down the road, the neural dust has potential to be used to power prosthetics via nerve impulses. A paralyzed person could theoretically control a computer or an amputee could power a robot hand using the sensors. The neural dust could also be used to track health data, such as oxygen levels, pH or the presence of certain chemical compounds, or to monitor organ function. In cancer patients, sensors implanted near tumors could monitor their growth on an ongoing basis.

“It’s a new frontier,” Maharbiz says. “There’s just an amazing amount you can do.”

www.spy-drones.com

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Henry Sapiecha

‘If you don’t vaccinate your kids you’re an absolute fool’

July 27th, 2016

Baby Elijah suffering from chickenpox image www.newcures.info

Baby Elijah suffering from chickenpox. Photo: Facebook

The photos are heartbreaking and almost too difficult to look at, but Kayley Burke is begging other parents to take notice.

“Vaccinate your kids people. The pictures below show you exactly why,” the upset Queensland mother posted on Facebook alongside horrifying photos of 11-month-old son Elijah covered in sores from chickenpox.

“Our poor baby boy who is too young to be immunised has caught the chickenpox. It has almost been a week since they showed up. Today he was admitted to Ipswich Hospital with a secondary infection.”

Ms Burke and her three-year-old daughter Kaliah have also contracted chickenpox. But thankfully, as the little girl has been vaccinated, she only has a few spots and is otherwise well.

The mother described adult chickenpox as “horrible and painful”.

“I’d rather give birth with no pain relief,” she wrote.

Elijah before he fell ill.image www.newcures.info

Elijah before he fell ill. Photo: Facebook

“Bottom line if you don’t vaccinate your kids you’re a bloody idiot. Think about the risk you are putting on other helpless kids that are too young or who actually can’t be vaccinated!”

The plight of baby Elijah has touched hearts everywhere. More than 36,000 people have shared the photos since they were posted on Thursday. Others have sent the family messages of support.

“Oh my gosh, poor bub! Can’t stand hearing about stupid selfish people not vaccinating their children,” one commenter wrote

“If even one more person vaccinates because of this post it’d be a win. But you and you family shouldn’t have to go through this. Man it makes me angry,” said another.

Ms Burke told The Sunshine Coast Daily her son had been crying and trying to itch the sores that now cover his entire head. When the baby boy refused to drink his bottle, she realised the sores must have spread inside his mouth and throat.

“It’s horrible I can’t think of anything worse (than watching him go through this),” she said.

“I’m very annoyed that he’s sick. I’m a strong believer in vaccinations and I’m sure if he was old enough to have the shot he wouldn’t be so sick.”

Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) and it is a highly infectious disease. It causes an itchy red rash with blisters and while most people recover, it can cause serious complications.

Immunisation against chickenpox is included in the combination measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (MMRV) vaccine for children at 18 months.

Children who are vaccinated against chicken pox may still get the virus, however their symptoms will be mild and it is unlikely any complications will result.

KIDS STUFF

Henry Sapiecha

 

Killer Blood Clots — Why They Form and How to Prevent This #1 Killer from Taking Your Life

July 25th, 2016

fibrin-micro-image www.newcures.info

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in the United States, yet, when you think about this condition you may not automatically equate it with blood clots.

However, most heart attacks (myocardial infarctions) are caused by blood clots that limit or block blood flow to your heart.

If you make it to the emergency room, clot-busting medications may be administered because the faster you can break up the clot, the faster you can restore normal blood flow (i.e, oxygen!) to your body.

Preventing blood clots, then, including “breaking up” any potential clots before they develop, is a key strategy to heart health no matter what your age. One way to do this is to attack clots at their root source: fibrin.

What Are Blood Clots Made of and How Do They Form?

Blood clots are made up primarily of fibrin, an insoluble protein that also makes up scar tissue. Your body produces fibrin in response to bleeding. Specifically, the soluble protein fibrinogen is converted into fibrin at the site of a wound via clotting enzymes called thrombin.[i]

It’s an amazing process that’s absolutely crucial to your health and healing, but it must be properly balanced by the action of plasmin, an enzyme known as your body’s natural blood thinner. Plasmin helps to remove excess or unnecessary accumulated proteins so your blood can flow freely.

If this balance is upset, serious consequences including blood clots and heart attack can result. One study published in the Italian Heart Journal noted:[ii]

When fibrin deposition and removal are properly balanced, the organism is protected from both a catastrophic loss of blood at the site of injury and the inappropriate loss of fluidity within the vascular system.

When these activities are not properly balanced, however, severe bleeding or thromboses [blood clots] can occur. Myocardial infarction [heart attack] is a common and morbid consequence of the latter.”

Atherothrombosis: A Blood Clot Within Your Artery

You’re probably familiar with the term atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of plaque in your arteries. Less widely known, yet the leading cause of death in the Western world,[iii] is atherothrombosis — a blood clot that forms within your artery as a result of atherosclerosis.[iv]

Fibrinogen is one of the most studied risk factors in the development of atherothrombosis.[v] Like atherosclerosis, this condition can progress for years with no symptoms until it finally manifests as a heart attack or sudden death.

Fibrinogen levels may give some insight into your risk of this condition, however, as research shows a significant association between high fibrinogen levels and risk of heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease and cardiovascular death.[vi]

The association is so strong that the risk of cardiovascular events in people with the highest fibrinogen levels was twice that of people with lower levels — and this was true in both healthy people and those already at high risk of heart disease and stroke.[vii] Even slight increases in fibrinogen levels may increase your risk of future heart disease.[viii]

Risks of Hypercoagulation

Hypercoagulation is another condition related to increased fibrin in your blood and, as a result, an increased risk of blood clots and related conditions such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolisms (PE), heart attack and stroke. Even kidney failure can occur if a blood clot forms in your kidneys.

Even in cases when excess fibrin does not lead to a blood clot, problems may still occur. Research suggests fibrin deposited in your blood vessels may lead to nutrient deficiencies, lack of oxygen and even chronic fatigue syndrome.[ix][x]

There are many causes of hypercoagulation, including genetic and lifestyle factors. In the latter case, being overweight or obese, smoking, using birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, long plane or car trips, extended bed rest and pregnancy may all increase your risk.

How to Remove Excess Fibrin From Your Blood

It’s possible to remove excess fibrin in your body. The key is activating your body’s natural fibrin cleanup crew, which is made of proteolytic enzymes, a group of systemic enzymes responsible for breaking down protein molecules. They hit masses of excess fibrin and eat them away — literally!

For instance, after 2 months of taking proteolytic enzymes, healthy study participants had decreases in fibrinogen, factor VII, and factor VIII (other proteins involved in blood clotting) by 9 percent, 14 percent, and 17 percent, respectively.[xi] Those at high risk of heart disease had similar reductions (7 percent, 13 percent, and 19 percent, respectively) after taking the enzymes. Decreases in red blood cell aggregation and blood viscosity have also been demonstrated via proteolytic enzymes.[xii]

Systemic enzymes are naturally produced in your pancreas, but your natural production declines with age; these fibrin busters become largely depleted by age 50, with significant declines beginning as early as your late 20s.

Fortunately, improvement is easy… simply supplement your body’s supply of these vital enzymes for heart health. And, as an added bonus, proteolytic enzymes help fight pain-causing inflammation, cleanse toxins from your blood, fight viruses and fortify your immune system.

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Henry Sapiecha

British researchers get the go ahead to genetically modify human embryos

July 11th, 2016

IS THIS THE START OF WORLD BABY FACTORIES MANUFACTURING BABIES TO ORDER??

Scientists investigating miscarriage will not be able to implant embryos or study them for more than two weeks, says HFEA

Dr Kathy Niakan wants to look at the first few days of fertilisation-image www.newcures.info

Dr Kathy Niakan wants to look at the first few days of fertilisation.

Photograph: Francis Crick Institute

Britain’s first genetically modified human embryos could be created within months, after scientists were granted permission by the fertility regulator to carry out the procedure.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) regulator approved a licence application by Kathy Niakan, a stem cell scientist at the Francis Crick Institute in London, to perform so-called genome editing – also called gene editing – on human embryos.

The decision permits Niakan to study the embryos for 14 days for research purposes only. It does not permit them to be implanted into women. Niakan’s research is aimed at finding the genes at play in the early days of human fertilisation.

The decision was greeted positively by the Francis Crick Institute and British scientists but was met with anger and dismay by those concerned that rapid advances in the field of genome editing is precluding proper consideration of the ethical implications.

Paul Nurse, director of the institute, said: “I am delighted that the HFEA has approved Dr Niakan’s application. Dr Niakan’s proposed research is important for understanding how a healthy human embryo develops and will enhance our understanding of IVF success rates, by looking at the very earliest stage of human development – one to seven days.”

The work, using embryos donated by couples with a surplus after IVF treatment, will look at the fertilised egg’s development from a single cell to about 250 cells. The basic research could help scientists understand why some women lose their babies before term and provide better clinical treatments for infertility, using conventional medical methods.

Niakan will use a powerful genome editing procedure called Crispr-Cas9 to switch genes on and off in early stage human embryos. She will then look for the effects the modifications have on the development of the cells that go on to form the placenta.

Crispr-Cas9 has revolutionised biomedical research since its invention three years ago. It allows scientists to make precise changes to DNA, and has the potential to transform the treatment of genetic disorders by correcting faulty genes.

Prof Robin Lovell-Badge, group leader at the Francis Crick Institute, said: “

The approval of her [Niakan’s] licence gives the exciting prospect that we will at last begin to understand how the different cell types are specified at these pre-implantation stages in the human embryo.”

Lovell-Badge said it would also provide invaluable information about the accuracy and efficiency of the technique, helping to inform the debate about whether genome editing could be used in future to correct faulty genes that cause devastating diseases.

That prospect remains a long way off but is already a subject of concern.

Dr David King, director of Human Genetics Alert, said: “This is the first step in a well mapped-out process leading to GM babies, and a future of consumer eugenics.” He claimed the government’s scientific advisers had already decided they were comfortable with the prospect of so-called “designer babies”.

Anne Scanlan, from the anti-abortion organisation Life, said: “The HFEA now has the reputation of being the first regulator in the world to approve this uncertain and dangerous technology. It has ignored the warnings of over 100 scientists worldwide and given permission for a procedure that could have damaging far-reaching implications for human beings.”

There are fears that changes to an embryo’s DNA could have unknown harmful consequences throughout a person’s body and be passed on down the generations.

Last year, leading UK funders called for a national debate on whether editing human embryos could ever be justified in the clinic. Some fear that a public backlash could derail less controversial uses of genome editing, which could lead to radical new treatments for conditions such as muscular dystrophy and sickle cell disease.

The US National Institutes of Health will not fund any genome editing research on human embryos at present.

But supporters of the HFEA’s decision said it had arrived at the right conclusion, balancing the benefits to research and ethical considerations.

“The ruling by the HFEA is a triumph for common sense,” said Darren Griffin, a professor of genetics at the University of Kent.While it is certain that the prospect of gene editing in human embryos raised a series of ethical issues and challenges, the problem has been dealt with in a balanced manner. It is clear that the potential benefits of the work proposed far outweigh the foreseen risks.”

Sarah Norcross, director of Progress Educational Trust, called it a victory for level-headed regulation over moral panic”.

Dr Sarah Chan, chancellor’s fellow at Usher Institute for Population Health Sciences and Informatics, University of Edinburgh, said: “We should feel confident that our regulatory system in this area is functioning well to keep science aligned with social interests.”

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Henry Sapiecha

Children with deadly genetic condition HT-1 get fully subsidised treatment

July 10th, 2016

Twelve-year-old Charbel Torbey, with his dad David, has the extremely rare genetic condition tyrosinaemia type 1 (HT-1)image www.newcures.info

Twelve-year-old Charbel Torbey, with his dad David, has the extremely rare genetic condition tyrosinaemia type 1 (HT-1). Photo: Wolter Peeters

As Charbel’s parents dressed their four-month-old for his christening they noticed his nappy wouldn’t fit over his engorged tummy.

“He was really bloated, and his body was covered in these different coloured patches and he was squirming in pain,” Charbel’s father David Torbey said.

“We didn’t know that his organs had started shutting down.”

The new parents rushed their baby to hospital. Two days later he was diagnosed with the rare genetic condition Tyrosinaemia​ type 1 (HT-1) and treated with the orphan drug nitisinone (Orfadin).

“The doctors told us another day or two and he would have been dead. We were very lucky,” Mr Torbey said.

Just one in 100,000 babies are born with HT-1, amounting to fewer than 20 cases in Australia.

Without access to nitisinone most babies with the metabolic condition don’t live past their fifth birthday. The only treatment is a liver transplantation.

The oral capsules, distributed in Australia by Menarini, can cost between $2000 and $8000 a month and increases as the patient grows.

Those children are now assured fully subsidised access to the oral pill after the federal government added nitisinone on the Life-Saving Drugs Program (LSDP), committing $12.3 million to cover the cost over the next five years.

HT-1 patients don’t have the enzyme needed to break down tyrosine, an amino acid in protein foods, which builds up in the liver causing serious damage to the organ as well as the kidneys and brain.

The metabolic condition is easily missed at birth and the first few months of life with only ague symptoms including fever and failure to gain weight. Eventually the child develops jaundice – a yellow tinge to the skin and eyes – and a distinctive cabbage-like odour to the skin and urine.

A handful for paediatric services in public hospitals have been footing the bill for the drug since it was approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in October 2010.

But families of children with HT-1 had been looking to the future with uncertainty, knowing most hospitals don’t provide the drug, and adding the costly treatment to their drug store was an undesirable prospect for stretched health budgets.

Director of pharmacy at the Children’s Hospital Westmead Peter Barclay said he is worried his patients would struggle to access the drug when they aged into the adult healthcare system before the LSDP listing.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty about what happens to these children when they leave our care,” Mr Barclay said.

“It’s a barrier to finding another doctor and another hospital that will agree to supply the medicine, which would cost them tens of thousands of dollars a year for that single patient.

“The listing is great news for families who now know their children will have access anywhere in Australia. This is truly a life-saving drug.”

Mr Torbey said the concern was the hospitals losing funding for the drugs.

“Our biggest fear was the hospitals would say ‘We’ve had your funding cut, so you’ll have to find somewhere else to get [nitisinone]’,” he said.

“[The LSDP listing] means we don’t have to worry about Charbel later in life. That he won’t be constantly thinking about where he’s going to get [his medication].”

The father from Belfield in Sydney’s south-west knows how dire access to HT-1 can be outside of Australia.

Charbel had become ill during a family holiday in Lebanon when he was six months old and taken to a local hospital where another baby had just been diagnosed with HT-1.

“[The doctors] begged us to donate some of Charbel’s medicine to them,” Mr Torbey said.

“But we just didn’t have enough to give away and get Charbel back home. I’m still torn up about that. I don’t know what happened to that kid.”

Almost 12 years on Charbel has grown into a tall, lean boy.

The talented rugby player will need to take nitisinone for the rest of his life and follow a strict protein-free diet. He will never be able to eat meat, eggs, milk, cheese, nuts or lentils.

“In a way he’s lucky he doesn’t know what he’s missing out on,” Mr Torbey said.

“But he loves the smell of meat on the barbecue.”

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Henry Sapiecha

Artificial pancreas for diabetes sufferers could be available within 12 months

July 10th, 2016

artificial pancreas could replace insulin injections for type 1 diabetes patients image www.newcures.info

An artificial pancreas could replace insulin injections for type 1 diabetes patients. Photo: Matthew Bouwmeester

People living with type 1 diabetes could soon be free of regular insulin injections, after researchers said an artificial pancreas could become available within a year.

Those diagnosed with the autoimmune condition need regular insulin injections, sometimes up to six times a day, to compensate for a pancreas that produces little or no insulin. The body needs insulin in order to convert glucose into energy.

The artificial pancreas is able to monitor the wearer’s blood glucose levels and automatically adjust the level of insulin entering the body. Current devices allow insulin pumps to deliver insulin after a reading from a glucose meter.

Some of the components that make up the artificial pancreas image www,newcures.info

Some of the components that make up the artificial pancreas. Photo: Diabetologia

Cambridge University researchers behind the artificial pancreas say the device would “close the loop” and combine both tasks.

Roman Hovorka and Hood Thabit reported a positive response from patients who participated in trials, particularly because the device gave them “time off” or a “holiday” from their diabetes management.

“The system is managing their blood sugar effectively without the need for constant monitoring by the user,” they wrote in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

The artificial pancreas monitors blood glucose in type 1 diabetes patients and automatically adjusts levels of insulin ...

The artificial pancreas monitors blood glucose in type 1 diabetes patients and automatically adjusts levels of insulin entering the body. Photo: Diabetologia

The system works by attaching a smartphone-sized device to the belly of a patient to monitor blood sugar levels. Readings are transmitted to a control gadget attached to clothing, which is linked to an insulin pump to administer the correct dose through the skin.

Insulin requirements vary dramatically between and even within individuals. On one day a person could use a third of their normal requirements and on another, three times what they would normally use.

Developers say the artificial pancreas could also be used by people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

A illustration showing the location of the pancreas.

An illustration showing the location of the pancreas. Photo: Malgorzata Tatarynowicz

“Closed-loop technologies are … destined to provide a viable alternative for existing insulin pump therapy and multiple daily insulin injections,” Dr Hovorka and Dr Thabit concluded.

The US Food and Drug Administration is reviewing one of the proposed artificial pancreas models, with approval possible as early as 2017. The UK equivalent authority, the National Institute of Health Research, has said the device could appear on the market by 2018.

However, some challenges still need to be resolved in the artificial pancreas, including addressing the time it takes for the insulin to take effect. Some fast-acting insulin took up to two hours after injection to reach peak levels in the bloodstream, which is not ideal for people participating in vigorous exercise.

The number of adults with diabetes has quadrupled worldwide in under four decades to 422 million, according to the World Health Organisation.

More than 100,000 Australians have developed diabetes in the past year, according to Diabetes Australia, which estimates 1.7 million Australians are living with diabetes.

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Henry Sapiecha